November 26, 2013

Your Road Map to Top Beauty Deals for Black Friday 2013!



It's that time of year...family, friends, FOOD, thankfulness and let us not forget the biggest shopping day of the year! Black Friday!!!!!! It used to be the norm to wake up early Friday morning and drive to the mall to see if we could find pajamas, digital cameras, sweaters, video games and whatever the "hot" new gadgets are at the absolute cheapest prices. Makes total sense, right? Sluggish, hungover (hopefully that's not just me), gastrointestinal stress from your crazy great aunt's "iffy" green bean casserole the night before totally sets you up for success in dealing with rabid women in track suits driving minivans completely prepared to trample you and your kin to get their hands on that performance fleece for $5.....OR DOES IT?

If that's not enough craziness for you, now-a-days some nut jobs savvy consumers (I group yours truly in here because I have done this myself) wait until their major gut bomb of a dinner has settled just enough to throw on their activewear and head out for shopping at midnight! What in the hell is wrong with me? Don't answer that. Home girl likes a good deal...what can I say? Luckily, there are just as many if not more killer deals online these days. The only thing you miss out on if you don't go in person (other than primo people watching) is a shitty doorbuster which is usually NOT worth receiving someone else's elbow in your kidney just to get it. But that's just me.

Fear not, beautiful people! I have navigated the top beauty deals for you so you don't have to worry about doing it ahead of time. That leaves much more room for you to eat, drink and be merry! I'll try to include as many online discount codes as I can for those of you that prefer to do your shopping on the information superhighway (that's the computer for you whippersnappers too young to understand that phrase).

Lastly, be sure to check out Ebates if you DO choose to shop online. It's super easy and FREE to sign up. I usually always check to see if whatever retailer I'll be buying from is listed on their site first so that I can get some cash back. Most major retailers are included. They just mail you a check for whatever percentage the respective retailer is offering as a "cash back" amount. For example, if you plan on buying anything from Nordstrom, they're offering 5% cash back right now, so whatever your total amount spent with Nordstrom is, you'll receive 5% back in the form of a mailed check. It really is that easy. SO worth it.

Okay...without further ado...here are the best deals in my very humble opinion....


Nordstrom (Cosmetics Department) will be offering over 80 various GWPs (gift with purchase) such as Estee Lauder, Jo Malone, Smashbox to name just a few). Additionally, they will be offering Clarisonic facial brushes for UNDER $100 while supplies last, so this is one in my opinion that would be worth being one of the first in line if that was something you were looking to get your hands on. We ALL know how I feel about Clarisonics...see previous post here. Also, those GWPs make for GREAT traveling beauty kits as most of the contents are TSA approved (read: under 3oz).

Sephora is offering a TON of $10 products both in store AND online. If you visit their Pinterest page here, you can see all of the $10 deals that are available only on Black Friday. Also, they are offering the Clarisonic MiaFirst for $99 (reg. $125) both online and in store (no coupon code required). Here is Sephora's official page for deals, coupon codes and promos: Sephora Deals

Ulta has TONS of doorbuster deals. Most notably are the BareMinerals kits for $10 (reg. $44) as well as Benefit Cosmetics "Lip Lotto" for $18 (reg. $54) that includes 3 FULL SIZE LIPSTICKS. Both of these deals are exclusive to Ulta so you won't find them anywhere else. Also at Ulta, get Cargo's Let's Meet in Paris Mini Lip Gloss Kit for 50% off ($8 regularly $16).

Urban Decay (online starts at 6am PST) has a 6-piece lipstick bundle from the Revolution Lipstick collection for $50 (reg. $132). Colors included: Jilted, F-Bomb, Catfight, Naked, Native and Protest. These are super pigmented, creamy, plumping lipsticks. They also always have an AMAZING sale section to check out. Here's the link. 

Bobbi Brown has a few deals going on. There is a Black Friday "warm up deal" that ends on 11/27 at midnight. You get a full-size lip gloss and your choice between the "eye duo" or the "skin duo". Check it out here. For their actual Black Friday deal (11/28 thru 11/30) get a FULL SIZE Extreme Party Mascara as well as a travel-size makeup remover with ANY order (no minimum). You must enter coupon code: "TGIBF".

Clinique Receive 4 FREE Makeup minis with any $25 purchase + FREE shipping on every order with code "PRETTY" (11/29-11/30). Customers can choose a FREE Deluxe Moisture Trio with $35 purchase + FREE shipping on every order with code "OILY" or "DRY" (11/28 only).

Yes To 40% off site-wide (24 hours only, excludes "bundles"). Cannot combine with any other offers or deals. This is my favorite brand of facial cleansing towelettes.

Macy's just like Sephora, Macy's will be offering the Clarisonic MiaFirst for $99 (reg. $125). Also, they have one of my favorite lines Origins "Greats to Go" set for only $35. Also kind of cute is Elizabeth Arden's Holiday Lip Gloss Set for only $15.

Be sure to check back with most retailers online for Cyber Monday! Just don't blame me if you get in trouble from your boss for not working!

We will be out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday but I want to wish you all an early and very lovely Thanksgiving. Hopefully I will have some great photos to post when we get back. If you'll be watching the Apple Cup......GO HUSKIES!!!

Xoxo,
Colleen





November 19, 2013

4 Steps to Refine the Red Lip Look

You know what's great about rocking a bold red lip? You look "put together" in literally seconds (depending on how skilled you are at applying it) and depending on the hue, your teeth will look instantly whiter. But before you go slappin' on any old tube of red lipcolor without paying attention to the rest of your mug, check out how these 4 super easy steps will really pull your look together.

First and formost, make sure your skin is prepped, primed and in the very least, apply a BB or CC cream to make sure you have a flawless finish. I like a completely flawless finish when I wear red lips, so I have a full coverage foundation on in this picture. I'm wearing Revlon's Colorstay Makeup for Combo/Oily Skin in Sand Beige 180 along with YSL Creme de Blush in #02 Powdery Rose. (I contoured down the sides of my nose, sides of forehead and under my cheekbones, but highlighting and contouring is a whole 'nother post in and of itself).

On the left side, you'll see a completely naked eye. I think it looks tired and ponchy, but if you don't see much wrong with it, take a look at the eye on the right. Polished, refined and almost looks "lifted", larger in size and brighter right? See how the brow frames the eye and gives it more life? This took me less than 5 minutes and only 4 products to do with NO eyeshadow whatsoever! Check out below for what was used on my eye (and don't judge my nubby, sharpened WAY down brow pencil).


 Here's what was used for the eye area and below the photo are some tips and application techniques...


First I filled in my brows using YSL Eyebrow Pencil in 02 (You can see how much I love this pencil as it is almost sharpened down to a nub...it's that good). Eyebrows are SO SO SO important! Check out my video tutorial of how I fill in my brows using a powder and a stiff angled brush here.

Secondly, I used Estee Lauder Artist's Eye Pencil in Soft Smudge Black (sadly this is discontinued, but any black eye pencil will do. This is another favorite HERE.) All I did was drag this THROUGH my top lash line. That's it. This takes some practice as most people are used to drawing a line above their lashes, but drawing it through the top lashes creates definition and fullness without a harsh line. It opens up the eye and really makes it "pop". No liner on bottom.

Then I applied a coat of Revlon's Lash Potion Grow Luscious Mascara to my bottom lashes first (always apply to bottom lashes first. If you first apply to top lashes and then try to apply to bottom lashes, you'll end up opening your eyes really wide to apply to bottom lashes and end up getting wet mascara on your brow bone).  

Lastly, if you don't own the NYX Wonder Pencil I HIGHLY suggest getting one. It comes in 3 shades (mine is "Light" (duh). This thing rocks. You can use it to cover spots, blemishes, freckles, imperfections, line the outermost line of lips for a perfect pout and my all time favorite thing to use this for is an eye rimmer for your water line (that slick part of your inner eyelid right above your lower lashes). Nude liner works SO much better than the old white liner in the water line trick as it is so much more natural and doesn't give you a scary white line around your eyeballs. I have used this bad boy so many times to brighten up my eyes when they look tired and red (which is often...I have a 10 month old baby).

The lip lineup...

There you have it! Perfect peepers to go with your pretty pout in just a few extra steps! Just in time for all of those holiday parties that will be popping up all over the place!

November 18, 2013

25 Gift Ideas Under $50 For the Guys in Your Life

25 Gift Ideas Under $50 For the Guys in Your Life

Alrighty, kidlets. As promised, here are my top 25 picks for all the manly mens in your life. Everything featured here is under $50. Some could work as stocking stuffers, others could be full-blown gifts. Here's what I'm digging...

1 & 2) Wood and bark-esque iPhone cases. So rugged. So masculine. No splinters included.
3) Wooden cube portable speaker for all the times you need to crank up the jams.
4 & 5) Bacon. Need I say more? Yes? Ok, bacon-chocolate-toffee. There. Oh you need something to wash that down with? Here's a potato chip milk chocolate bar. Now wipe that drool off your face, ya slob.
6) All the guys in my life (hubs, bro and dad ) are BIG beer snobs. They hate that term, but if the Croc fits...(actually, don't wear Crocs. Ever.) This is just a cool and affordable growler to have handy for all the brewery tours you have planned with your brahs. Bonus points if you buy it ahead of time, WASH IT, and have it filled with a delicious brew...but that would involve planning ahead which we all know, is not really linked to the Y chromosome in regards to Christmas shopping. Just sayin'....
7) I LOVE this. How cool would you look showing up to a rager with 6 different bottles of craft beer strategically placed in this re-claimed wood 6-pack holder?! I think the ONLY way you would get your ass beat for doing this is if you tell your buddies it's re-purposed wood and eco-friendly. So just shut your trap about where you got it and stick a beer in your pie hole. If all else fails, you could use it as a weapon.
8) Um...it's a chrome pistol mug. That's all the description you need.
9) Besides eating it right out of the jar with a spoon, I'd use this maple bacon almond butter to make "peanut butter cookies" (obviously you'd replace the peanut butter with this stuff) then I'd add crispy bacon pieces and chocolate chips. But that's just me.
10) I think Liam Neeson has these hand towels in his powder room bathroom. You heard it here first.
11) Neat inexpensive chrono watch for kicking around on the weekends.
12) How legit are these slippers? Too legit. That's how much.
13) This herringbone backpack is equal parts functional and stylish.
14) Representin' from the 206?! These Seattle Space Needle socks come in 15 different colors but why WOULDN'T you want them in Seattle Supersonics colors? ANSWER ME!
15) Any Breaking Bad fans out there? I'm toeing the line of obsessive. If you asked Jesse Pinkman if you should buy this shirt, he'd say "Yeaaaaah, bitch!"
16) Zara underpinnings. They have whateva style tickles your pickle (pun intended). I like these ones with pipes and bicycles on them.
17) Like wool? Like leather? These gloves have a little of column A and a little of column B.
18) There WILL be times when a guy feels the need to light a candle. If he's doing it while listening to the new Kelly Clarkson album, at least this one will give him a sliver of his manhood back.
19) Wooden earbuds to match your wooden iPhone case and your wooden speaker. Cause we all know how important it is for guys to match their tech accessories, right? Right.
20) For all the guys who like a close shave but hate electric razors. This one looks way cooler than your Mach 3 from Rite Aid.
21) Who else has been so desperate for an ice scraper that they've used whatever is laying around (CD case anyone?) Enter the Quirky Thor with its extra blade and extra handle to give you more "oomph". Small enough to toss in the glove compartment, center console or side door compartment-thingy.
22) I imagine Ron Swanson drinking his black coffee out of this mug in his cabin.
23) Do you find yourself getting your beautiful crystal decanters of scotch, bourbon and rye all mixed up when entertaining guests? OMG me, too! Here are some leather tags to keep 'em straight. Problem = solved.
24) Okay, sue me....this item is NOT under $50. But it looked so good in the collage and will look even better on your feet (or your guy's feet). I'm obsessed with these and firmly stand by my opinion that every guy needs a nice, leather pair of Chukka boots. Just for shits, here is a nice pair under $50 so I can sleep tonight. I've seen them in person and they look really good, much better than online.
25) This camo print carryall is great for weekend trips, the gym, camping, etc. Fits a ton of stuff and has a shoulder strap if that kinda thing blows your skirt up.

And there ya have it. A pretty cool list of (hopefully) some original ideas for you to add to your wish list (or if the ladies are checking this out, some things to add to your shopping list). Keep your eyes peeled for the next installment which will be ideas for all the annoying adorable couples in your life!
November 17, 2013

25 Stocking Stuffers Under $25 {for her}

25 Stocking Stuffers Under $25 {for her}
Well, folks. It's about that time. If you're like me, you've been scouring different shopping sites for gift ideas for all the groovy people in your life. But let's not pretend like we haven't been noticing a few goodies for ourselves. I do it. Often. I thought it might be a cool idea to put together a few gift idea "sets" for those of you that need a little help with originality. First theme up on the agenda? Stocking Stuffers!! I have found 25 amazingly adorable items that any gal would love to have. Stay tuned for my top picks for the men in your life, awesome kid & baby gifts and finally, couples gift ideas. Here's what I'm asking for....
1) Initial mug. I find it fitting that the "C" for Colleen also has an adorable 3-tiered cake on it. Coincidence? I think not.
2) Look at these incredible stonewear measuring spoons! These can be displayed they're so cute!
3) I mean. It doesn't get much cuter than these animal mugs. And for the price, you can get them all!
4) Two words: cinnamon marshmallows. 'Nuff said.
5) These tea towels from Nordstrom are so cute and funny and will be perfect additions to my tea towel addiction collection. They have a ton with really quirky sayings on them. You can pick out any two towels for $16 (otherwise they're $10 a piece).
6) Essential oil rollerballs (if any guys are reading this, that means little aromatherapy perfume rollers). Stash these babies in your purse whenever you need a little pick-me-up. Included: 05 Headache, 18 Sleep, 06 Passion, 09 Focus.
7) Double pencil sharpener...cause...well...in my case, you can NEVER have too many of these.
8) Neon makeup bag. This one would be perfect to keep my makeup contained in my black hole of a purse because it's day-glow and WILL NOT BE IGNORED.
9) This striped hairbrush is pretty maj, right? That's pretty much all.
10) I'm a big fan of bathroom necessities that come in pretty containers and can double as decoration on your counter. No need to stash this little bottle of mouthwash under the sink like the giant jug of Listerine you bought at Costco. This one is cute enough to display prominently front-and-center.
11) Two-in-one! This is a cute iPhone 5 case AND a great makeup palette! 11 eyeshadows, a blush and a bronzer!
12) Listen to what's packed into this sassy little bag: hairspray, clear nail polish, nail polish remover, emery board, lip balm, earring backs, clear elastics, mending kit, safety pin, double-sided tape, stain remover, deodorant towelette, pain reliever, tampon, breath freshener, dental floss, and adhesive bandage.You'll never be unprepared ever again!
13) I'm a big fan of the #hashtag movement. Now I can wear them on mah bod! With tags like "#blessed", "#YOLO" and "#fearless" to name a few. If they only had one that said #hungry I'd be all set.
14) I love these headbands. They don't pull hair, stay in place and they're super cute and festive. Perfect for the gym or a holiday party! Ver-sa-tile.
15) I love love LOVE the simplicity of these vertical bar earrings. They're simple and just a tiny bit bad ass. They also come in silver for the chicks who can't hang with gold.
16) Since I pretty much only use my phone as a camera (HELLLLO, do people still talk on these things?!) this iPhone case is perfect for me. How cute is this?? And the price? Tah die for.
17) Real leather, cute little bow keychain. Comes in 4 colors. I dig the black one and the gold one.
18) Ring holders are such a simple idea but so genius at the same time. I got a really beautiful crystal ring holder a couple of years ago from my mother-in-law and I seriously use it every single night to put my wedding ring on. I may get a second one for my "fashion" rings and this one is calling my name.
19) These little clutches are great for going out. Stash your credit cards, ID, cash and a lipgloss in here and you're GTG. Plus, it's always nice to get pretty leather items for gifts.
20) Black (real) leather driving gloves will NEVER go out of style. Stash 'em in your glove compartment for chilly mornings when your steering wheel is cold as ice.
21) Little leopard umbrella. Small enough to tuck in your purse. Big enough to keep yourself dry.
22) I'm OBSESSED with Maybelline's Baby Lips lip butters. I have them in every color as well as the new "neon" colors. If not already, get acquainted. I just stumbled on these "Dr. Rescue" medicated ones and need them all.
23) This Kate Spade scent smells really pretty and feminine. I love rollerballs so I can refresh my fragrance without hauling around a bottle that can break in my purse or my child can drink.
24) It's fun to get tasty treats in your stocking so you can indulge on Christmas morning. This cocoa is fair-trade and single origin so you can talk about it to everyone and sound like a big asshole at the same time.
25) These gloves are SO STINKING cute! Cashmere blend and a little bit long so your wrists won't get cold. First world problems...AM I RIGHT?!

You may find yourself asking "where can I find that insane pink sequined Juicy Couture stocking?!" Well, sadly, it's currently unavailable from Bloomingdale's. Limited edition. What cha gonna do, eh?

Coming up in the next couple days will be all sorts of amazing and original ideas for the man-pieces in your life. Yes they CAN be fun to shop for if you know what you're doing. I promise.

Happy gift giving and receiving!
November 11, 2013

Winterize You Skin!

Before I got pregnant (back in April of 2012) I nevvvver drank water. Like, neva EVA. I used to kind of joke about how stupid and boring water was and for that reason, I never drank it. There was water in coffee, there was water in diet Pepsi, that's all I needed to know. Then I learned of the tiny life in my belly, announced my soon-to-be spawn and suddenly EVERYONE started telling me how important it was to drink water. Now, if it were just me involved, I would've told them to pound sand. But since I was going to be responsible for a tiny human soon, I figured it would be a good reason to start hydrating. If for no other reason than to be able to tell the middle-aged woman in line at Fred Meyer "yeah, I know, I just slugged 120oz of water, don't worry." What's my point? Here it is: after my bladder adjusted to all the extra H20, I started noticing how much better I felt all around, and BONUS...my complexion looked incredible all through my pregnancy. No hormonal breakouts, no dryness, bright eyes, supple skin, plumped up crow's feet. I was just knocking back bottle after bottle of water, imagining my fetus swimming around in this glorious aqua pool of Dasani and enjoying my 18-year old complexion. I was a believer (and still am)!

You know what blows though? Sometimes hydrating from the inside out doesn't always work on its own and we need an assist from some heavy-hitters of the 'skin moisturizing' category. 

I long for the days of my youthful youth when I used to look forward to Fall (my favorite season) without any concern of water consumption or skincare routines. It was all about finding the perfect boots, sweaters, scarves and getting my hands on EVERYTHING pumpkin flavored I could find (I guess some things never change). Sadly, ever since I started creepin' closer and closer to the big 3-0, I've noticed the skin on mah face and bod starts getting slightly reminiscent of a fine grit sandpaper around November Uno. I'm asked often about my favorite skincare products so I thought this would be a perfect time to let you in on my favorite lotions and potions of the moisturizing varietal. Try one, try them all, then bask in your dewy, radiant skin! Oh...and don't forget to drink your water!!

First up, Eucerin Daily Protection Moisturizing Face Lotion. I thought I'd begin with an everyday favorite. I stumbled upon this daily lotion by accident. Since I don't splurge on skincare products for the hubs (I'm a loser wife, right?) I grabbed some for his extremely sensitive skin and had to use some one day when my daily moisturizer ran out. WOW. It's definitely a drugstore gem. It checks all my boxes for a great daily moisturizer: SPF 30: check. Lightweight: check. Non-greasy: check. Moisturizing: double check! Fragrance free: check. Needless to say, I buy it in bulk now and stash them in the bathroom closet so we never run out. It's that good. Don't forget to apply to your neck as well. Neck wrinkles are SO never going to be cool.



This next one could also be considered a drugstore gem AND it is constantly recommended by dermatologists as a good daily moisturizer for all skin types. CeraVe Facial Moisturizer. I have used it before and really dig the thicker formula, it feels a bit more luxurious. It always struck me as odd that this one isn't more expensive. I suppose it's true what they say about not always judging a book by its cover. Had a derm not mentioned this bad boy, I would have never given it a second look. Another cool thing? It comes in a daily formula as well as a nightly formula (obvi the daily has an SPF which you should NEVER skip). Both formulas help repair damaged skin and both are super plumping (thanks, Hyaluronic Acid!)


This next guy is a bit unconventional but hear me out. Trust me, you'll be glad you did. Back when I was working in Cosmetics for Nordstrom, I discovered Clarins facial oils. They were merchandised on an end cap right next to my YSL counter and out of sheer boredom one day, I decided to try a sample to rub into my dry cuticles. Immediately I noticed the amazing scent. It took me back to my days of doing hair in an Aveda concept salon. Earthy without being "crunchy", calming, clean. I was intrigued. I filled a little sample cup, popped it into my pocket for later and told myself I'd try it out on my face that night. BEST. DECISION. EVER. Now, if you would have told my 13-year old self that one day I'd be applying straight up oil directly to my face, I would have rolled my 13-year old eyes at you and gone back to rubbing a Stridex pad all over my nose. Putting oil on oily skin?! That's just playing Russian Roulette with your face!!! But peep this logic. There are GOOD oils for your skin just like there are GOOD fats for your diet. And using a high-grade, lightweight, quality oil correctly (read: usually just a few drops) can actually help control oil production in some cases (depending on they type of oil) AND moisturize the other areas that are parched. Each one of these does a different thing, but my favorite is the 'Blue Orchid'. Here's a super quick cheat sheet: 'Blue Orchid' = anti-aging. 'Lotus' = purifies, refines, tightens pores. 'Santal' = extra moisturizing for dry/very dry skin. In one of my upcoming posts (fave pregnancy products) you'll see the Clarins 'Tonic' Body Oil which is fantastic for skin elasticity on the body. Stay tuned.

 
I think I've saved the best for last. Kiehl's Creme de Corps. I think as females, we are hard-wired to always be on the lookout for the perfect body lotion. This one is the best. Seriously, the best. In the world. Universe maybe. It is a cult-classic for oh so many reasons. I could give you all the cliched "it feels uh-MAZING!" "it's so CREAMY" "it smells DIVINE" lines, but truth be told, you will just know when you use it. Here's a little fun factoid: when you are the Counter Manager at a department store for a specific line, you are expected to sell your line (duh), merchandise your branded products in your cases and on your shelves (duh), and typically use your own line of products when doing makeovers and skincare consults (double duh)....but....this lotion is so incredible that most of us chicks had a bottle stashed somewhere in our arsenal and used it and sold it to almost everyone who mentioned dry skin. Nordstrom has an exclusive giant bottle with its own pump that's not sold anywhere else for those of you that get so addicted you need the "big papa grande size". It's too legit to quit. 'Nuff said.


And there you have it! Happy moisturizing! Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite face and/or body lotion! As stated above, I'm always on the lookout for new members of my club!






 
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