Advertisements

Blog Archives

Beach vacation beauty

Yesterday, everyone said goodbye to summer, but… summer is a state of mind, right? I’m heading to the beach on Saturday, so I’m spending a good chunk of my spare time this week prepping and packing for a sandy getaway.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I don’t go to the beach without my makeup bag. In fact, I like bringing new makeup to try on vacation – I usually bring fun stuff that I wouldn’t wear to work (although that’s up for debate).

When I go to the beach, I like to wear makeup that’s light, has a natural look, and has an SPF.

During days on the beach, I don’t wear a full-blown look, but instead I usually wear a tinted sunscreen for the face and I just got some mineral powder that has SPF 45 by Peter Thomas Roth.

At night, that’s when I pull out all the fixins for a beachy-bronze look, and this year, I put together one that’s mostly using Bare Minerals products topped with a cream blush and strobing cream. Below are all of the products I’m packing and tips for achieving the look:

Dawn Patrol Classic Primer by COOLA (SPF 30)

Nothing wakes up our skin like the crisp dawn air and cool water of an early morning surf. Keep that fresh-faced feeling and look all day with our latest innovation, Dawn Patrol SPF 30 Classic Makeup Primer. Our silky-smooth formula provides a multitasking base for radiant skin and flawless makeup application. A proprietary blend of Honeysuckle, White Lily and Iris Stem Cells instantly enhances overall skin quality, while our signature Plant Protection and broad spectrum SPF 30 shields and protects skin from damaging UV rays. Can be used alone or before foundation for flawless skin protection with the perfect photo finish!

This is a clear gel primer that leaves a matte finish – If you’ve never tried COOLA’s products, this is a good place to start.

BareMinerals Matte Foundation (SPF 15)

I have been using BareMinerals for a few years now and I love their Mineral Foundation combined with the Illuminating Mineral Veil. I was really excited when they came out with a matte version of their foundation and I love the way it looks on the skin.

I use the shade “Fairly Light”.

BareMinerals Bare Radiance

I got this in a set that had blush in it as well. Here’s the official product description: A nude look is always classic. And we all could use some extra glow. This lustrous amber sheen is multitalented – you can wear it over or under your bareMinerals, or mix it right in. You can even put it on your lips and eyes. Wherever it goes, it brings out your natural brilliance before you even say a word.

For me, a little goes a long way, but I use it under my cheek bones for a light contour and along my hairline.

MILK Lip + Cheek in Perk

I used to never wear liquid blush, bronzer, or highlighter, but I have so many samples of the stuff I had to break sometime. And I’m glad I did, because it looks so pretty! I got this one by Milk in my Birchbox and I love the coral color: Perk.

Get creamy cheek and lip color in a single stroke. Easy-to-apply, Lip + Cheek Stick provides buildable, blendable blush and lip color with Milk Makeup’s Milk Melt Technology for instant and seamless absorption. Mango butter, and avocado oil intensify its richness—just layer on for bolder color.

MAC Strobe Cream

You can use this highlighting cream just about anywhere on the face, but for my beachy look, I dabbed it on my cheekbones, bridge of the nose and cupid’s bow.

Quick Pro Portables (Sculpt & Glow) by Pur

Although these little travel palettes are for contouring and highlighting, I used them for my eye shadow in this look. Over the last year, I’ve stopped looking at makeup for what it is – you can use shimmery eye shadow as a highlighter or vis versa.

Skinny Liquid Eyeliner (black) by Eyeko

I love a liquid eyeliner and this one makes it easy to get a perfect straight line. I only used this on the top lip for this look.

Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner by Smashbox

I’ve been using a tiny brush and colorful eye shadow on my lower lash-line for a fun look. I found the perfect teal eyeliner – “Cabana” – for my beach look and it goes on so smooth.

Revlon Colorstay Brow Mousse

This stuff is like mascara for the brows… I use it in dark brown.

Total Tease Waterproof Hydrofuge Mascara by Covergirl

Sei Bella Perfecting Lip Pencil

My favorite nude lip pencil – I love it so much I have several of them to keep everywhere I go.

NYX Velvet Matte Lipstick

Even though this has a perfect matte finish, it’s creamy and almost moisturizing. I am using “Beach Casual” for this look, and it’s my go-to nude lip combo.

Makeover Essentials Shimmer Powder Brush (Bronze)

I love using this on my collarbone and shoulders, because it’s a shimmery bronze that makes me look tan and accentuates my bone structure – i.e. skinny in a brush!

Sunscreen Setting Spray SPF 30 by COOLA

Another layer of SPF for me, please! I love to set my makeup with this, especially on days when lunch at the beach is happening.

And there it is, my beach bronze look, complete with layers of SPF! What are some of your go-to products for vacations?

Advertisements

Review: FitFabFun Editor’s Box Summer 2018

FitFabFun Editor’s Box!

Hey there! I have been polling my followers on Instagram – I want to offer the content you guys want to see – and the results are in: more beauty content. I was getting ready for work one day and realized that although I’m a beauty junkie, I don’t really talk much about the products I’ve tried on this blog. So, that ends now – I promise not to overload you though.

A few weeks ago, my best friend sent me my first FitFabFun Box! I was so, so excited to see all of the goodies inside, and try them all. Well… I’ve officially tried everything in the box (I am even out of some of the items), so I can offer a full-review now. Here’s what was in my box (it was the Editor’s Box for Summer 2018) and what I thought:

MakeupDrop Silicone Beauty Blender in Winter Glitz

I haven’t tried any of the silicone makeup applicators, so this was exciting to see. I have used makeup brushes for most of my daily application, and then I tried different “Beauty Blender”-type sponges. Honestly, after everything I’ve tried, nothing beats the cheap $2 bag of cosmetic wedges – but that’s just me.

I tried this applicator, and although I wanted to love it (I love the glitter inside it), it wasn’t for me. I use setting spray on my sponges to apply my makeup and this didn’t really allow for that. I also felt like it wasn’t blending my makeup – just sort of smearing it around. However, I didn’t toss it – I’m going to see if it would work for anything else, perhaps applying a mask instead?

On the MakeupDrop website, it shows ways to apply eye shadow with it. It is very easy to clean, and it uses less product, so that’s cool. You can get the original MakeupDrop applicator on Amazon for $18.

Trina Turk Turkish Towel

This 100% cotton towel looks more like a light blanket, which I love. It has a blue diamond pattern with white fringe on the end, and would be cute as a wrap and/or a swimsuit cover-up. I immediately put it on my patio and have been sitting on it while I read books (and babysit Blanche). I love it and can’t wait to take it to the beach with me in September!

This exact towel is $78 but I found a very similar one on Amazon for $16.

TULA Dual-Phase Skin Reviving Pads (5-pack)

I always see lots of beauty and fashion bloggers using Tula products, so I was excited to try these… and I kid you not, I woke up the next morning and was stunned at how different my skin looked! Here’s the full description of what these pads do:

 

  • INSTANT FACIAL: These pads provide both chemical and physical exfoliation without any of the down time, giving you baby soft, smooth and brighter looking skin in just 2 minutes.
  • EASY TO USE: Easy to use applicator makes this fool-proof and individually wrapped pads make this an ideal item to take with you wherever you go.
  • IDEAL FOR all skin types and ages, perfect for those with dull, rough, uneven complexions.
  • TULA & PROBIOTICS: TULA is the leader in probiotic skincare. We combine powerful probiotics and skin superfoods for healthy, balanced and glowing skin. All our products are clean, clinically proven, and effective.

It looks like a regular toner pad (like the Clearasil pads we all used in high school), that you slip your finger in and just use both sides, rinse off, and voila! I have used 3 of these already and after the first one, I searched online to see where I could buy them.

These are $59 for a 16-pack – it says to use them 1-2 times per week, so that would last a few months, which isn’t bad, especially for the awesome results. QVC also sells them, and often has sampler packs with some of their other products (which I would love) – keep your eye out for one-day deals and/or the option to make monthly payments.

 

dr. brandt pores no more® LUMINIZER PRIMER

I love trying different primers, and I have used a few of dr. brandt’s other products from my monthly Birchbox. This primer is a light cream color and is pretty sticky – in a good way – you want your makeup to stay! I really do love its light texture and the color. However, it’s not really “luminizing” – which could be could if you prefer more of a matte look. A 1-ounce bottle is normally around $41 – but it’s on Amazon for $19 right now.

pūrlisse BLUE LOTUS Balancing Moisturizer

I have only used this a few times (I’m trying to use up another moisturizer before I jump into another one), but this has a nice texture. Its light (not heavy) and a bit sheer (almost like a gel), so it’s perfect for daily use under makeup. It is supposed to help with anti-aging, but at this point I can’t speak to that aspect of it. It’s normally $55 but Amazon has it on sale for $35 right now!

AHAVA Mineral Hand Cream

I have been using lots of hand-lotion lately – I went through all of the mini bottles of the stuff I’ve collected over the years (mostly stocking stuffers) and put them in my office at work and use them after washing my hands in the restroom, so I happily added this to my desk and it smells SO FREAKING GOOD. It’s not a strong scent, but perfumy, and the lotion itself is not greasy. A little goes a long way – I love it! The 3.4-ounce bottle is $24.

Yumi Kim Makeup Train Case

Ugh, I am such a sucker for cosmetic bags – it’s really embarrassing how many of them I have. This one is so pretty – it’s a periwinkle blue color with cream and pink flowers all over. But, the best part is that it includes a place to hold makeup brushes! I usually just dump everything into one bag and end up digging through it every day while traveling – not now! I haven’t used this one yet (perfect excuse to take a trip), but I am looking forward to using it soon. This one was a partnership with FitFabFun, but if you google “Yumi Kim Makeup Train Case” – it looks like many of them are being sold on Poshmark for $35-40, which is less than the original price (I believe it’s $58).

Spongellé Body Wash Infused Buffer in Papaya Yuzu

I was really amped for this thing and tried it almost immediately. It’s a flower-shaped sponge that has the soap already inside it… and I’ve used it every single day and it’s already all used up! Whoops! But, no worries, I looked up Spongelle, and they have tons of different scents and even options for kids. You can follow them on Instagram @spongellebeyondcleansing and see all of their products. Most of the sponges are around $20 and I think they would make really great gifts; it’s not something I would think to buy for myself, and it felt luxurious to use. I think I will treat myself though – I’ve been eyeing the “Radiant Amber Shimmer” which does say it has a dash of sparkle. Yes!

And there you have it! Do you use FitFabFun? It seems like a really great deal, so I might have to get myself boxes more often – all of the products are full-size, so you really do get your money’s worth!

A Review: bareMinerals skincare!

Photo Source: Fashion Jackson

I admit it: I am a beauty and skincare JUNKIE! Beauty and skincare products are one of my favorite ways to spend money; I’d much rather buy new products than clothes or…well, anything. If you’ve been a blog reader of mine for awhile, you know I’m also a bargain hunter.

However, over the last two years I’ve been trying to test more luxury, pricier items when I can – because I’ve noticed that sometimes it’s worth it. To me, this is different than buying an expensive, designer purse or shoes, because it’s not about a name, but it’s about the quality of the ingredients and what it does for your skin, or perhaps your confidence.

I should go ahead and mention that this post is NOT sponsored. If bareMinerals would like to sponsor me, you know where to reach me 🙂

But anyway, it took me a really long time to even try bareMinerals makeup – remember when they first came out with the infomercials? I have always loved makeup, and I love the look of makeup. I’m never going for a “natural” look – because I have blemishes and redness that needs to be covered. Because of that, I thought any sort of “natural”, “mineral” makeup wasn’t for me.

And some of it is not. However, once bareMinerals started increasing their makeup line to include liquid foundations, concealers, and even bold lip colors, I started paying more attention. So, two Christmases ago, I asked for a bareMinerals starter kit – and I got it! It was a little makeup bag that had the primer, the signature bareMinerals mineral veil and the powder foundation, with their signature brush for applying.

I absolutely loved it. It offers full coverage and it makes my skin look so smooth without feeling heavy. Because I am an Ulta Platinum Rewards member, I can earn points (which equals money) on anything I buy at Ulta. So, I always keep an eye out for any sales on bareMinerals or any of their “kits”. Because of this, I’ve tried their eyeshadows, liquid lipsticks, lipglosses, bronzer, and blush, and have loved ALL of it.

So, when I saw they were offering skincare – I jumped on it! I was actually able to purchase a sampler kit using my Ulta Reward dollars (plus, it was on sale), and I later bought a second kit at TJ Maxx for just $10. If you’re a TJ Maxx regular, they often have the bareMinerals’ starter kits (for the makeup).

So, let’s get into the skincare! The kit I bought from Ulta is called “Glow to Go” ($52), which includes travel sizes of the Pure Plush Gentle Deep Cleansing Foam, SkinLongevity Vital Power Infusion Serum, Brilliant Future Age Defense & Renew Serum, Bare Haven Essential Moisturizing Soft Cream, and a sample of the SkinLongevity Vital Power Eye Gel Cream.

The kit I bought from TJ Maxx had the Pure Plush Gentle Deep Cleansing Foam, Oil Obsessed Total Cleansing Oil, and Clay Chameleon Transforming Purifying Cleanser. I believe it was a holiday package they put together, and I just couldn’t pass it up!

I have been using these products for a few weeks now, and I’m excited to report my findings.

Pure Plush Gentle Deep Cleansing Foam

Here’s the description from Ulta: Enliven your skin every time you cleanse with a burst of plush, cushiony lather. This creamy formula facial cleanser refreshes your skin, lifting away makeup and impurities, while the crisp, scent of grapefruit* invigorates your senses. Infused with elderflower and rosemary extracts, plus mineral-rich sea salts, this daily cleanser leaves skin feeling exceptionally pure, freshly revitalized and comfortably smooth. *Naturally derived fragrance

It’s what’s inside that counts:

  • Mineral-rich sea salts: Cultivated from the waters off the coast of Brittany, these sea salts, rich in magnesium, potassium and calcium, help purify and refine the skin.
  • Elderflower: Known as the herablist’s cosmetic tree, this small, white flower has been used for centuries to beautify the complexion and soften the skin.
  • Rosemary: A fragrant herb known to help cleanse and soften the skin.

This was the first product I tried. First I will say, they are NOT lying about that grapefruit scent and it smells so good! I have used this a few different ways: in the morning right when I wakeup, at night to take off all my makeup, in the shower using my Clarisonic Mia, and just at the skin using warm water and my fingertips. It is creamy, and it has a thicker texture (think: Neutrogena’s deep clean cream cleanser).

Don’t be fooled by their mention of sea salts – this is not a scrub or an exfoliator. It does, however, leave the skin feeling smooth. Plus, a little bit of the cleanser (about a dime-size) is all you need. This is my favorite of the three cleansers! It’s $22 for a 4-ounce bottle at Ulta and is rated 4.5/5 stars.

I’m only using Ulta for this review because you can earn free points for shopping there, AND the sellers on Amazon looked shady.

Clay Chameleon Transforming Purifying Cleanser

Description from Ulta: Transform your cleansing ritual with this beautifully innovative clay-to-cream facial cleanser that combines the benefits of purifying Brazilian red clay and mineral-rich sea salts with the soft comfort of a cream. Enriched with papaya and bamboo extracts, the formula works to gently remove impurities and help detoxify, to leave your skin feeling pure, soft and supple. This skin-enlivening formula is infused with the scent of bergamot and mandarin* to help uplift the senses each time you cleanse. *Naturally derived fragrance

It’s what’s inside that counts:

  • Mineral-rich sea salts: Cultivated from the waters off the coast of Brittany, these sea salts, rich in magnesium, potassium and calcium, help purify and refine the skin.
  • Brazilian red clay: This naturally vibrant red clay helps to purify and improve skin’s clarity.
  • Papaya: Recognized as a good source of skin-loving vitamins and minerals.
  • Bamboo: Known for its strength, elegance and amazing resilience.

 

This cleanser is red from the red clay, and it has a texture of a detoxifying mask (almost identical to the Active Charcoal Mask from Origins). Once you put the cleanser on your face, add a little water, and start cleaning, it turns into a white, milky lather. I have been using this one mostly in the mornings, but I’ve heard other beauty bloggers say it’s good to use on weekends to detox the skin.

This cleanser is also $22 for a 4-ounce bottle from Ulta, and it has a 4.5/5 star rating.

Oil Obsessed Total Cleansing Oil

Desription from Ulta: Immerse your skin in this ultra-lightweight facial cleansing oil for a comforting cleansing experience. Oil Obsessed Total Cleansing Oil glides on to your dry face to effectively – yet gently – dissolve makeup and impurities. Just add a little water and this sensationally elegant oil transforms into a weightless, milky emulsion that easily rinses away. Infused with the uplifting scent of Lavender and Tangerine,* this nurturing blend features borage, sunflower, bilberry and cucumber oils, plus mineral-rich sea salts to leave your skin feeling silky soft and smooth. *Naturally derived fragrance

It’s what’s inside that counts:

  • Mineral-rich sea salts: Cultivated from the waters off the coast of Brittany, these sea salts, rich in magnesium, potassium and calcium, help purify and refine the skin.
  • Bilberry: Grown in Europe and handpicked in the wild underbrush, the oil of Bilberry is valued for its skin soothing properties.
  • Borage: The oil derived from the seeds of the bright, purple flower is known to soothe and nourish the skin.
  • Sunflower: Significant to Native Americans as a source for nutritional, medicinal and ceremonial practices, the emollient oil contains skin-loving vitamins and omega 9 to help nourish skin.
  • Cucumber: The lightweight oil from the cucumber fruit helps nourish and hydrate skin while encouraging resilience.

I have never tried an oil cleanser before, so I don’t really have anything to compare this to. However, I will say that this is light, and not greasy. I have used it to remove my makeup and also just as a cleanser when I’m not wearing makeup. Either way, it’s really gentle on the skin and leaves it soft. I have only used it with my fingers, but am tempted to put the oil on a cleansing mitt or a cotton pad.

This is $30 for a 6-ounce bottle at Ulta, and it has a 4.5/5-star rating.

Bare Haven Essential Moisturizing Soft Cream

Description from Ulta: Embrace your skin in silky-soft, lusciously nourishing moisture. Powered by Intuitive Mineral Moisture Technology, Bare Haven Essential Moisturizing Soft Cream replenishes essential moisture to normal to dry skin, reviving overall resilience and suppleness and infusing an extraordinarily super-smooth feel. This comforting soft cream moisturizer effortlessly blends into skin to help enhance a natural, healthy-looking glow. Plus, a blend of peptides, ceramides and amino acids to help soften rough texture, while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The subtle notes of Bergamot and Eucalyptus* add to the sensory experience to gently enliven and awaken your senses. *Naturally derived fragrance.

It’s what’s inside that counts:

  • Intuitive Mineral Moisture Technology: All of bareMinerals moisturizers are infused with Intuitive Mineral Moisture Technology to help replenish your skin’s moisture reserves and diminish rough texture, dryness and visible signs of aging.
  • St. John’s Wort: A bright yellow flower named for St. John the Baptist, shown to help defend against signs of damage and dry, dehydrated skin.

I have been using this in place of my usual moisturizer and this stuff makes me feel like I’m at a spa. It smells so fresh and it’s light in texture… I love it! I will mention that I do not have dry or oily skin – pretty much in the middle. This provides the perfect start to my skincare routine (after I wash my face, of course). I also realized that I haven’t mentioned…bareMinerals does not test on animals, and many of their products are vegan.

This is $35 for a 1.7-ounce jar (a little goes a long way) at Ulta, and it has a 4.5/5-star rating.

Brilliant Future Age Defense & Renew Serum

Description from Ulta: An innovative serum that contends with the early signs of aging and renews your skin’s natural luminosity. Clinically shown to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Benefits:

  • Dermatologist tested. Non-comedogenic.
  • Mineral manganese
  • Vitamin C
  • Chai hu extract
  • Target the early signs of aging
  • Renew radiance
  • Combat the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

This has a nice scent to it, and it’s light. I’ve never used anti-aging serums, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I’m going to keep using it, and see if I notice changes. I do like the texture, and it makes my skin feel smooth. Also, the bottle says to use 3-4 pumps, but I get by with 2 (always saving when possible!).

This is $55 for a 1-ounce bottle at Ulta.

SkinLongevity Vital Power Infusion Serum

Description from Ulta: This dynamic, first of its kind infusion is designed to revive and help maintain your skin’s most vibrant look of health, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. With bareMinerals patented Long Life Herb Extract at its core, this formula helps to promote skin’s vitality, replenishing it with moisture and reawakening the look of youth. Skin is left feeling empowered, renewed and fortified, with enhanced resilience and a glowingly healthy look.

  • EMPOWER. Unleash your skin’s vitality and radiant luminosity.
  • REPLENISH. Nourish your skin with essential minerals and hydration to reveal softer, more supple skin.
  • RENEW. Diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin texture to promote a youthful look.
  • FORTIFY. Give your skin the resilience to help defend itself against future signs of aging for a healthier looking complexion.

It’s what’s inside that counts:

  • Long Life Herb: Legendary herb shown to help defend against signs of aging. Specially cultivated from the vitamin- and mineral-rich herb grown on Okinawa, known as “the island of long life”.
  • California Poppy: A bright and brilliant flower native to California known for its resilience and ability to thrive in harsh conditions.
  • Lempuyang ginger: A root traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicines and Indonesian Jamu herbal medicine.
  • Skinmimetic Technology: Inspired by the properties of youthful skin, bareMinerals combined Long Life Herb, California Poppy and Lempuyang ginger extracts to create bareMinerals SkinMimetic Technology – a leading edge complex is designed to help protect your skin against visible signs of aging and damage, to promote your most radiantly youthful appearance.

Ugh, I feel really bad for saying this, but this is probably the first real anti-aging product I’ve used. I am really lucky to have young-looking skin, even despite all of my sun exposure over the years. Except for eye creams and products that simply have an anti-aging element, I’ve never really sought out an anti-aging product. I have been using this in the morning (it is recommended to use it at night, too, I just haven’t gotten there yet) and it’s very light, which I love. It also makes my skin feel smooth!

You just need 1-2 pumps to cover your face and neck. This is $38 for a 1-ounce bottle at Ulta, and has a 4.5/5-star rating.

SkinLongevity Vital Power Eye Gel Cream

Description from Ulta: bareMinerals SkinLongevity Vital Power Eye Gel Cream is powered by the patented benefits of mineral-rich Long Life Herb to support vitality and replenish moisture around the eye area for a more youthful look. With added antioxidant benefits of California poppy plus lempuyang ginger help protect against the damages from environmental stressors, and help brighten the appearance of skin. Experience smoother, stronger and more radiant-looking skin. Results you can see and feel in as little as 14 days.

The sample I got was pretty small – I got two uses out of it – so I don’t want to talk too much on this, but I will say this was a soft, light cream. Some eye creams I’ve used are heavy and almost pull on my skin. Not this! I definitely want to try the larger size so I can see how it works over time.

This is $32 for a .5-ounce jar at Ulta – a little goes a long way!

This may seem like a lot, but bareMinerals has SO many other skincare products that I want to try. Here are a few that I’m watching (far sales, free gifts with purchase, double-point days, etc.):

  • Smart Combination Smoothing Lightweight Emulsion ($35, 1.7oz)
  • Blemish Remedy Acne Treatment Gelée Cleanser ($20, 4.2oz)
  • Pure Transformation Night Treatment ($60, 0.15oz)
  • Skinsorials Mix. Exfoliate. Smooth. Add-To-Cleanser Skin Polishing Grains ($22, .88oz)
  • Skinsorials Dirty Detox Skin Glowing & Refining Mud Mask ($35, 2.4oz)

Birthday goodies!

Happy birthday girl.

That’s right, I celebrated a birthday earlier this month. While I don’t like to make a big scene about my birthday, I was really excited to be surrounded by cakes, balloons, and I even got sung to, twice! Lucky, lucky girl right here.

I usually spend my birthday with reflection heavy on the brain, but this year, I lounged by the pool and sipped on a peach + wine slushee (get the recipe here). And honestly, I got some pretty cool gifts! I know, I know, that’s not what birthdays are about, but I thought I’d share some of my favorites in case you’re looking to shop for someone on your list.

Laura Geller Summer Goddess Collection – I have gotten a few Laura Geller samples in my monthly Birchbox and continue to be impressed with the quality of this makeup. So, I was pretty amped to get this four-piece collection of full-size products! It comes with Spackle Tinted Make-Up Primer in Champagne (sheer soft gold), Baked Body Frosting Face & Body Glow in Tahitian Glow (mélange of swirled tan, cream and pearly pink), Dramalash Maximum Volumizing Mascara in Black, and Fifty Kisses Lip Locking Liquid Color in Beige Bite (rich nude).

So far, I’ve used the bronzer and the lip color – both I love. The bronzer is the perfect mix of color and highlighter, and even helps to cover redness. The lip color is good for every day, and stays on ALL day with a matte finish. I love it! You can purchase this collection at Ulta.

Q&A a Day 5-Year Journal – This was such a surprise gift, and kind of just what I needed without really knowing it! I’ve always had trouble keeping up with a diary, or a journal, but I’ve read so much recently about the benefits of doing so. This journal is good for five years, and provides a simple question for you to answer each day. This means you can keep a record of your years, but with less of a hassle – I love it! I started writing in it a week ago, and I’m excited to keep it going and then look back at my entries. You can get this journal on Amazon.

Rhinestone Trinket Box – Earlier this year, I met my mom and best friend in Vegas. For my birthday, my mom surprised me with a small, sparkly trinket box in the shape of a fortune cookie, which she bought in Vegas (this isn’t the exact one, but it’s really close). It’s gold, which goes with pretty much everything I own, not to mention that I love keeping my fortunes – especially if they have my lucky numbers on them.

Girl and Dragon Malbec – As a wine lover, any occasion for gifts brings an opportunity for wine. I will always drink wine, and if you’re ever in questions as to what to get me, it’s wine. I will never get enough and I’m always look to taste something new. So, I was pumped when I got a bottle of Girl and Dragon Malbec, which had a cool label (because of course), and later, I found out they’ve won loads of awards. I drank it with homemade vegetarian lo mein and it was scrumptious. You can purchase a bottle on their website.

“The Year of Voting Dangerously” by Maureen Dowd – I don’t often ask for books or buy books because I borrow so many from the library. But this book in particular, has been on my list, and isn’t available at the library. Here’s the description from AmazonTrapped between two candidates with the highest recorded unfavorables, Americans are plunged into The Year of Voting Dangerously. In this perilous and shocking campaign season, The New York Times columnist traces the psychologies and pathologies in one of the nastiest and most significant battles of the sexes ever. Dowd has covered Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton since the ’90s. She was with the real estate mogul when he shyly approached his first Presidential rope line in 1999, and she won a Pulitzer prize that same year for her penetrating columns on the Clinton impeachment follies. Like her bestsellers, Bushworld and Are Men Necessary?, THE YEAR OF VOTING DANGEROUSLY will feature Dowd’s trademark cocktail of wry humor and acerbic analysis in dispatches from the political madhouse. If America is on the escalator to hell, then THE YEAR OF VOTING DANGEROUSLY is the perfect guide for this surreal, insane ride. …And now I can officially add it to my reading list!

Miss Spa facial masks – Much like wine, face masks are another thing I can’t get enough of. If you’re ever wondering what I’m up to, the chances are very likely that I’m sitting in my bed, watching trashy TV, with some sort of clay, sheet, or bee venom mask on my face in hopes I’ll wakeup with radiant skin. Don’t stop believin’! When I was gifted a STACK of Miss Spa facial masks of different varieties, I was excited to add them to my stash. You can get them on Amazon.

Perhaps these awesome gifts I got can serve up some ideas for someone in your life, or heck, maybe you just need to treat yoself. Cheers!

A sheet-mask comparison.

If I looked this good, I wouldn't need a mask.

If I looked this good, I wouldn’t need a mask.

One thing, among many, that has super sucked is my skin past the age of 25. Then, I chalked it up to my years working in the service industry, surrounded by smoke and guzzling way too much alcohol.

My skin at that point, was so bad, that after trying everything – from basic cleansers and treatments to the complete ProActive skincare line, I started getting professional facials once a week. My face was covered in zits, and not only was it embarrassing, it was very painful.

But, the facials were working (although they were also very painful and expensive) and over time, I was able to go once a month, and my skin was clearing up. Despite having gone through it all, I try to keep my skin routine simple – I am not someone who wants to spend 30 minutes at the sink before bed. I’m tired – which is probably why my skin looks haggard.

Currently, my skincare routine goes a little something like this: at night, I remove my makeup using a makeup remover towel. It requires no chemicals, and is so soft – it’s quite nice. Then, I use my Clarisonic brush along with the Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleanser.

Usually, every other night, I do a face mask of some sort, but other than that, that’s it! I’m currently debating using a night cream, so if you use one you love, please tell me!

In the morning, I skip the cleanser and use Mary Kay Eye Makeup Remover to get any mascara that’s creeped up from the night before, and then I use Formula 10.0.6 Acne Astringent all over my face, followed by Liz Earle Tonic Spritzer.

Finally, I use REN Firming Beauty Shot followed by Melaleuca’s Affinia Moisturizer, Marcelle Anti-Aging eye gel, and Bare Minerals Primer, before applying all my makeup.

So, pretty simple. I leave it up to my collection of face masks to take care of any “specialty” skin issues. A few months ago, I was reading all these articles about how Korean skincare regimens were all the rage, but these suckers were like 12-steps! Hells no!

If you doubt me, go to Ulta and find the entire AISLE dedicated to all the Korean stuff (at the very least, it’s got cute packaging). I did try a bubbly foam cleanser in one of my monthly Birchboxes, and it was very luxurious.

And they’ve also introduced us to the sheet face mask. Here we were, just slathering green clay onto our faces like slobs, when everyone in the eastern hemisphere was simply slipping on a sheet mask while sipping tea.

While I’ve tried several sheet masks over the last year, I am still trying to figure out the hype, so I asked for “various face masks” for Christmas, and I got exactly what I asked for. So, here’s four different sheet masks I’ve used in the last month, and what I thought.

Lanocreme Manuka Honey Intensely Nourishing & Revitalising Formula

Description: Lanocrème Manuka Honey Face Mask is a rich formulation infused with a unique combination of New Zealand ingredients including UMF Manuka Honey to intensely nourish and moisturise dry skin. The activity of the UMF Honey, recognised for its remarkable nourishing and revitalising properties helps soothe and moisturise the skin whilst Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid promotes firmness. Enriched with UMF Manuka Honey, Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera and Argan Oil. Each pack contains 5 individual face masks in their own sachet.

This is the second honey-based mask I’ve done in the last few months, and I just love them. This one really left my skin feeling great. You only have to leave it on for 10 minutes, but you do have to rinse your face afterward, which I’m not a huge fan of.

The other bonus is that unlike most sheet masks, its pretty well-priced – a box of 5 sells for $16 on Amazon (get it here).

Hyaluronic Acid Face Mask (Animated Penguin) by Creme Shop

Description: Animate your skin with The Crème Shop Shop’s Animal Masks! Keep your skin smooth and dewy like a penguin’s perfectly polished coat. Infused with hyaluronic acid, this ultra-moisturizing face mask quenches your skin’s thrist or an effortless, radiant glow.

  • Infused with hyaluronic acid
  • Unparalleled hydration
  • Made in Korea

So, this one is a penguin face, which is cute! It’s a little pricier at $4 a pop (here), but would be fun if you were having a pampering party. This one requires a little more face time (ha, ha) – 15 minutes, but you don’t have to rinse or dry once its done.

I normally don’t mind keeping a mask on for awhile, sometimes hours, but the sheet masks are chilly, and I find I can’t do much while they’re on (you know, like drink wine). Could just be a personal problem.

IPKN Dia Goat Milk Black Mask

Description: Fresh New Zealand goat milk and real diamond powder in premium charcoal mask supplies highly effective nutrition with whitening and baby skin-like complexion.

This one was my favorite out of the bunch. It was soothing, and really made my skin feel nourished. My only complaint? Why is the mask black? Goat’s milk is white. Is it the charcoal? I hope it was black for a good reason, because it was just sort of creepy-looking.

But other than that, this was a quality mask. The sheet itself was very thick, which felt more substantial, and didn’t feel like it was going to tear. Plus, you leave it on for up to 20 minutes, and then you simply peel it off and “pat the essence into your skin”. You can get a pack of 10 for $25 here.

Look Beauty Pretty Animalz Panda

Description: This Panda Character Print Sheet Mask provides intensive hydration while Lavender helps to calm skin with its aromatic and skin soothing properties.

Aside from looking like a little panda, I’ll give this mask props for smelling wonderfully of lavender. I used it before bed just a few nights ago and felt nice and relaxed. This is another one that stays on a little longer – up to 20 minutes – and you can just leave any remaining mask on the skin.

So, there you have it! The honey and the goat’s milk were my favorite, but I think I’ll keep trying others just to see what’s out there. If you haven’t tried one yet, definitely take a look.

There are all sorts of brands that make them, but I’d recommend looking at each mask’s ingredients before purchasing – no parabens should be in the mask. I also found a pretty informative article on sheet masks if you’re interested.

Happy at-home spa-ing!

Dirty 30: Mile-long beauty regimen.

Takes forever to get ready...

Takes forever to get ready…

I don’t want to call it “high-maintenance”, because A. I hate that term, and B. It’s not about material things or money, it’s just about the fact that my beauty regimen is endless.

In my early twenties, I can easily say that I pretty much looked the same with or without makeup. Now, I have always loved wearing makeup – I love putting it on, and I love experimenting with new things, different looks.

But now? The makeup isn’t really an option. My skin is tired. Part of this is because I spent way too much time in the tanning bed as a teenager, and probably because I’ve never gotten enough water. And well, now, I’m just getting old.

It’s not just about the makeup – my skincare routine is no longer just “take off makeup” or slapping a simple pump of orange Neutrogena on my face. It involves makeup removers, brushes to wash, specialty soaps, moisturizers and tightening creams, and of course, face masks almost daily.

There’s also the other areas of my body – my skin all over that probably can’t get enough moisturizer, and hair-inhibiting gels, and creams that fight cellulite. I use body scrubs in hopes of softening my skin, and shaving my legs? It doesn’t leave them as silky smooth as it once did. Bronzers and sunless tanners help with the tiny sunspots on my shins.

Hair? My hair is probably one of my least concerns, but that’s because I make a standing appointment for a cut, color, and deep condition. I do use color-safe shampoo and conditioner, and once a week I do an in-shower protein treatment. But for the most part, my hair has not been affected by my age (if there’s gray under the brown/red, I’ve got no clue and I’m okay with that!).

Nails. I feel like the at-home mani-pedi just isn’t cutting it. I’m not to the point where I regularly get manicures or pedicures (I’m a little too cheap for that), but no matter how long I spend soaking my feet or how carefully I file my nails, it just never looks that great.

According to Allure magazine, our skin cells start to dull around age 30, which is why we’ve got to do more to get that “glow” back. Le sigh.

I know it’s something I’m forced to accept; and some of it is kind of nice (I’ll take a nice facial or a mani-pedi any day). But it’s just one of those things… I’d love to know what some of your favorite products are, or how your beauty and skincare regimen has changed over the years.

Beach beauty.

Capture the glow.

Capture the glow.

I’m heading to the beach TOMORROW, and yes, this makeup junkie is not leaving home without her stash of cosmetics. I know what you’re thinking – ugh, don’t be THAT girl at the beach.

In all truth,  I don’t think I’ve ever been to the beach wearing makeup, but I think I’ve just reached a point wear I don’t really feel comfortable going without it. And, if it helps my case at all, I’m going to a music festival, where there will be thousands of people, shirtless dudes, and selfies. That’s more the reason why I’m choosing to wear makeup.

But, I will also say that, after digging through my stash, I found lots of products that will be appropriate for the sun and sand – I am not going to wear my full face; I just want to even out my skin and appear very glow-y. So, here’s what I’ve packed, my beach-friendly makeup:

Silky Sheer BB Cream (tinted) with SPF 30 by L’Oreal – I’m using this instead of concealer and foundation. L’Oreal Paris Advanced Suncare introduces its first-ever BB facial broad spectrum sunscreen. It protects skin with a patented UVA/UVB filter and evens skin for a healthy tinted complexion. This multi-acting formula is infused with powerful antioxidants vitamin E and white grape seed to help keep skin healthy and youthful-looking.

Mineral Sunscreen with SPF 30 by COOLA – This unscented and lightly tinted formula is made with natural rose hip oil which is rich in free radical fighting vitamin c. Naturally calming evening primrose and flax seed oils deliver abundant omega-3 and gamma-linoleic acid to improve elasticity and help skin retain moisture. Natural shea butter smoothes and hydrates while the phyto-protector plankton extract rejuvenates skin. Formulated for all skin types and tones, including those that are especially sensitive or oily.

Brightening Illuminator by Cynthia Rowley – This velvety highlighter works for all skin tones, delivering a subtle sheen that lights up your features. It’s an ace at strobing, or just adding a little extra brightness to cheekbones, brows, and the inner corners of your eyes.

Water Resistant Blush in Los Cabos by Cargo – This sweatproof, weatherproof blush has been tested by the make-up artists for Dancing with the Stars on the latest live tour. Water resistant blush stood up to hours of dancing. This long-wearing formula withstands moisture so you don’t have to fuss with re-application. Specially formulated with a unique silicone-coated powder that provides better adhesion to the skin and withstands water.

Eye shadow duo in Beach & Bridge by Cargo This duo of two highly pigmented eye shadows takes inspiration from the sand, water, and foliage found on the coast. Use Beach on the lid and Bridge in the crease.

Shimmer eyeliner pencil in black by E.L.F. – The smooth formulation glides on effortlessly without tugging at the delicate eye area. These pencils are designed to add depth, definition and a special sparkle to create a very glamorous look. Each pencil includes a convenient sharpener cap for easy use.

Illuminating Palette in Catwalk Pink by Wet n Wild – Illuminating powder in four harmonious shades can be used individually or together on face, cheeks and body for a luminescent radiance.

Lip Balmer in Mint with SPF 15 by Mission Skincare – With powerful sun protection and a long-lasting, vitamin-enriched formula, MISSION Mint Lip Balmer SPF 15 is clinically proven to lock in moisture for up to 8 hours. It can withstand some of the harshest environments, so you know it can handle your busy lifestyle. Our Mint Lip Balmer contains natural moisturizing ingredients that keep lips feeling smooth and soft, whether you’re in the heat of competition or out on the town.

See? Nothing too heavy; I still want to look natural, and most of these products have an SPF. I am most excited to try the products by Cargo – I’m really curious about the water-resistant blush, and the Beach & Bridge eye shadows are so pretty!

I will also say that 75% of these products came in Birchboxes I’ve gotten over the last few months. Not familiar with Birchbox? It’s a monthly subscription, and for $10/month, you get a box of high-end samples (usually 5-6 samples) that are picked just for you, based on a profile you create.

I look forward to getting the box each month, and as you can tell, I love being able to try products I wouldn’t otherwise be able to try. And, if you buy the full-size product, you earn points and can use the points for cash toward more products (I used points to get $20 off my Clarisonic brush). Check out Birchbox here.

Alright, I should probably go finish packing. But don’t worry, I’ll still be blogging! See y’all right here, tomorrow!

My (material) love life.

Things I love, aside from everything John Mayer.

Things I love, aside from everything John Mayer.

Valentine’s Day is two days away, and I’m single, very single. I don’t even have a crush and I ALWAYS have a crush. I mean, I’ve still got John Mayer, so no worries there. So, what does a single girl LOVE on Valentine’s Day? Let me tell you what:

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser – I treated myself to the “starter kit” when I got a coupon for the Birchbox store. The face wash itself is kind of like Noxema (hello, 90’s!) in texture, but it gets off ALL my makeup. I still can’t get over how awesome this stuff is. So, the other part of this system is the muslin cloth you use to remove the cleanser: it’s gentle, but exfoliating so it really gets things clean. Try Birchbox to get exclusive Liz Earle products!

Origins Active Charcoal mask – I use a mask at every night. I am really trying to up my skincare regimen, and I love trying different things to see what works. My latest purchase is the Active Charcoal Mask from Origins. I get blackheads on my nose, chin, and between my eyebrows, and I use this at least once a week to (hopefully) dry up the suckers.

Green Chef meals – It’s been about two months since I signed up to have organic ingredients delivered right to my doorstep each week. I really love this service more than I expected! The ingredients are always fresh, the recipes are things I’ve never made before, and they are easy to make, but it still feels like I’m cooking. I rarely have to go to the grocery store, so it saves me time, and it even cuts back on my food costs since I’m not loading up my cart with unnecessary purchases. Want to try it? You can get 4 FREE meals using my code! I’d love you know what you think.

Ban.do Drink Sleeve – “Fries Before Guys” is my life motto. I love fries, and fuck it, I’m putting them first in my life, forever. Calories be dammed. The cool thing about Ban.do, is that aside from having all sorts of bad ass goodies, they also have free downloads on their website. So, I promptly downloaded a “Fries Before Guys” phone wallpaper, so I won’t get it twisted. Ever.

Amazon Prime – Who doesn’t love free two-day shipping? It makes me want to buy EVERYTHING on Amazon (and I probably have). But, I also enjoy watching free videos (such as seasons of The Newsroom), streaming music, and getting free Kindle books. It’s a pretty great deal, and another excuse for me to avoid public shopping situations. Are you sensing a trend here? Try Amazon Prime for 30 days, for FREE, and see how awesome it is!

ARROW BOOST Color Enhancing Lip Balm – This crazy, cool lip balm adjusts to your unique pH, enhancing each wearer’s natural lip color to create the perfect, just-for-you hue. It also contains mango seed butter to hydrate and protect lips. Another perk? It boasts a lovely minty scent. I like to keep this in my desk drawer at work, because I know I can slather it on before a meeting, and without a mirror, it looks perfect!

DW Home hand-poured candle in Sun Bleached Denim – “Fresh hints of brushed cotton with bright bergamot, zesty lemon, and herbaceous greens over silver sage leaf, earthy patchouli, and cool woody musk.” Holy hell. I don’t know why this is called “Sun Bleached Denim” because it smells like a fine ass man stepping out of a hot shower, and he can’t find his towel ANYWHERE, and I about fainted when I got a whiff of this thing in T.J. Maxx. Get this candle, like, now. It is everything fantasies are made of.

Dexter reruns – A few weeks ago, I discovered FM is airing old episodes of Dexter, in chronological order. Record series. Get popcorn. Binge. Drool. No second thoughts. Who doesn’t love a sexy Mr. Morgan battling crime in his unique code so we all can sleep at night? Count me in.

Not Soap, Radio Body Wash – Funny name, but seriously awesome! Each scent uses the power of smell to hack away at your problems: from relationships to struggles at the office, just hit the shower with this stuff. I’m currently using “Liquid Freud“, which smells of mango and coconut, and aims at calming. Next? I’m getting “Bathing with Sharks” to boost confidence in the boardroom. The bonus? It’s free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates and is never tested on animals.

SkinnyGirl Popcorn – I have a love/hate relationship with popcorn, but when I saw SkinnyGirl popcorn at the grocery, I wanted to try it. I got the “Sea Salt and Lime” flavor, and it is unique and delish! The box is filled with mini bags, which are good for a low-calorie, delicious snack. I’ve seen ads for the “Rosemary and Olive Oil” flavor, but haven’t seen it in-store yet. I cannot wait to try that one!

…And there you have it; all of my lovely favorites right now, just in time for Heart’s Day. If you’re coupled and have something fantastic planned, hey, I’m happy for you. If you’re single, head up, and pop some bottles (See: my complete guide to bubbly). Me? I’ll be at dance rehearsal for a good chunk of the day. This year, Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating strength, and being okay with my #CatLady life! See y’all right here on Monday! xoxo

Faith in the face mask(s).

Don't miss a spot!

Don’t miss a spot!

Right after college, I had TERRIBLE acne. I’m not talking a few zits here or there, I’m talking — it was really bad, like the “before” pictures on a Proactive commercial. Not only was it embarrassing and painful, but I worked in the service industry, and I needed to look presentable, so I often wore loads of makeup to try and cover it up — it was a never-ending cycle.

I’d already tried Proactive, which worked for a little while, and I wasn’t in a position to go to a dermatologist. So, I went to a local spa and asked them if there was anything they could do (I was nearly in tears out of embarrassment). They recommended a detox facial.

So that’s what I did. The facial was a series of steam, scrubs, masks, and extractions (which was very painful that first time). I also bought some of the products my esthetician recommended. For awhile, I got the facial once a week. Before I knew it, my face was clearing up and I started going every two weeks, then once a month.

While it was necessary, it was also quite a treat. I have always loved doing at-home facials, with cucumber slices on my eyes and a clay mask on my cheeks — even if just for a short time, it makes my skin feel so smooth.

The thing is, there are TONS of different face masks you can get for at-home use: for dryness, dullness, acne, oil, wrinkles, etc. Some of these are clay masks, or avocado, or honey, or non-drying.

Since I’m constantly stockpiling face masks, I figured I’d share some of my findings with you. Belo are three different masks I’ve recently tried.

Fabulous skin-reviving rubberizing mask.

Fabulous skin-reviving rubberizing mask.

Bliss Fabulous Skin-Reviving Rubberizing Mask

I got this for Christmas, and it’s definitely the most-unique at-home spa experience I’ve ever had — very fantastic! According to Macys.com, “The same skin-freshening mask used in Bliss Spas. Boost your skincare regimen with this straight-from-the-spa facial treatment, a weekly must for all skin types. The unique rubberizing mask is designed to envelop skin’s surface, allowing its key ingredients to be optimally absorbed by the skin. The brightening, skin-renewing formula is packed with powerful antioxidants and nourishing, detoxifying seaweed. So if you’re looking for a bright and healthy complexion–‘mask’, and you shall receive!”

When you purchase a box, you’ll get six packets (one packet = one mask). The packets are full of powder, which you mix with water and then apply. It really does turn to rubber, and you can peel the entire mask off your face in 20 minutes. The end result? Super silky skin.

NPW Cucumber & Aloe Vera Mask.

NPW Cucumber & Aloe Vera Mask.

NPW Cucumber & Aloe Vera Soothing, Calming & Revitalizing Face Mask

For New Year’s, I got a Detox Pamper Pack that included a hair mask, foot lotion, eye pads, and this face mask.

I finally put it on a few nights ago, after first exfoliating with a coffee scrub from Posh, and I think it was the first time I’ve tried a non-drying mask. It just stays creamy on the skin, and is really light in feeling.

More than anything, this mask is supposed to help you relax, and leave your skin with a new glow — I definitely think it did just that!

Freeman Avocado & Oatmeal Clay Mask

Ah, the classic clay mask — it’s even light green in color. And if anyone does the clay mask for at-home use like a champ, it’s Freeman. They’ve got a ton of masks to choose from, and you can get a pretty giant tube of the stuff for under $10 (I’m a big fan of the lemon-mint).

The classic green mask.

The classic green mask.

I recently tried the Avocado & Oatmeal Clay Mask, and what I love about the green, clay masks is that, although they’re sometimes a little itchy and tight while drying, once you rinse it off, the skin feels so freakin’ soft!

Maximize the Mask

I saved an article I saw in Vogue, “The New Beauty Agenda: Layering Your Face Masks,” which claims we can get even more out of a face mask by layering it — what?

According to the article, “layering” simply means applying one right after the other. In order to get the best effects, apply any exfoliating or purifying masks first, then go for the hydrating or oxygenating, or rejuvenating.

Vogue recommends this routine twice a month, at most.

A. I’m so trying this, and B. If you click the article link above, it offers a few mask “recipes” for your skin type.

Peter Thomas Roth

I can’t do a blog entry on face masks without mentioning Peter Thomas Roth. A large part of my skin regimen recommended by my spa esthetician were products by Peter Thomas Roth. They have tons of different products for acne-prone or aging skin, and I’ve always loved them.

While the products are a little pricy, they last a long time, promise.

One of my FAVORITE products from PTR is the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask. As described by Sephora, “This powerful yet gently exfoliating treatment works in three ways: exfoliates with pumpkin enzyme, peels with alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), and polishes with aluminum oxide. It reveals smoother, younger-looking, radiant, and revitalized skin.”

It’s seriously fabulous — creamy and non-drying, plus it smells like pumpkin (you know me!). What are some of your favorite facial products that make your skin feel amazing?