June 23, 2016

StriVectin Friends & Family Sale and Top Picks

I have been wanting to chit chat about my love of StriVectin for quite some time now. If you read my blog regularly, I'm sure you've noticed I've included a few of these bad boys in various posts. Well guess what my little lambs?! It's Friends & Family over at StriVectin which means 20% off all skin care with code FFJUNE at checkout! EEEK! Seriously such a great time to pick up a new product or two (or hell...maybe even revamp your whole regimin! Treat yo'self!) You also get free shipping (yay!) Sale ends on June 28, 2016.

The products pictured above are from my collection (please ignore the dirty grout on my bathroom counter) and products I use in my regular routine. The only one not included in the F&F sale is the densifying foam up there with the purplish cap, since it is a hair product, but I wanted to include it anyway because I LURVE it.

Without further ado...here is what I use and how often I use it!

1 | Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner  I use this guy as my very last step in my routine. Seems kind of weird to apply this over a moisturizer, but that's precisely what you're supposed to do. I immediately notice my T-zone isn't greasy and my skin is somehow pulled taut but not tight. It mattifies and instantly makes pores less visible. This product isn't for everyone though as it has retinol in it. If you have sensitive skin, rosacea, burn easily, etc. this may be a bit intense for you. If I know I'm going to be out in the sun for the day, I skip this step and just use at night instead.
2| Overnight Resurfacing Concentrate  Oh how I love this new concentrate. I use it at night only (every night), right after I cleanse and tone, but before my moisturizer. It is super gentle but crazy effective. My skin looks so much brighter and more plump since I started using this. I also apply to my neck (even though it doesn't say to) because ain't no one got time for scaly jowls! This would absolutely be a great place to start if you have been wanting to incorporate a serum into your routine but feel overwhelmed on which one to try. It's kind of like the popular girl in school who gets along with everyone!
3| Intensive Eye Concentrate for Wrinkles  I've been using this eye serum (nightly) for a few months now and I really do like it. It's very different from what I'm used to which is more of an emollient-style cream. This is definitely for those who have crow's feet, deep set wrinkles, puffy undereyes, and dark circles. I admittedly don't have many wrinkles or puffiness (yet) but I am no stranger to dark circles and I am a chronic "squinter". This tube lasts FOREVER. I'm not kidding, guys. Like I said, I've been using it for months and I still don't feel like I've made a dent in it. A tiny amount really goes a long way. If you typically like thick, creamy eye creams, this one may not blow your skirt up. Pop into Sephora or Ulta and feel it first if it makes you nervous.
4 | Instant Revitalizing Mask and 5 | Oxygen Infusing Smoothing Mask  I basically bounce back and forth (once a week) between these two masks. If I had to choose one over the other, I would totally choose the Instant Revitalizing Mask (the one with the blue stripe down the side) but I still really enjoy the Oxygen Infusing Mask for other reasons. When I use the Instant Revitalizing Mask, it's like I can instantly tell how much better my skin looks. It's brighter, glowier (that's totally a word, Dictionary!!), and just...I don't know....younger looking! The Oxygen Infusing Smoothing Mask is the one I reach for when I feel like I have some damage control to do (i.e. a little too much wine the night before, dull flaky skin that I haven't exfoliated in a while, etc.) it goes on like a cream, and then while it "works" it turns into a foam on your face. It's crazy and kind of tickles! I always feel like Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire from that scene where he dips his face in that cake and has frosting dripping down his chin! Trust me, look in the mirror when you have this on if you need a chuckle ;)

I feel like it deserves a mention firstly because hair products are new to StriVectin and I was really impressed, and secondly, because this treatment foam has made a huge difference in my hair game! If you weren't aware that StriVectin made hair products, they have 3 "systems" depending on your hair type: Ultimate Restore to nourish and thicken (this is the system I have and use), Max Volume to strengthen and plump hair strands, and Color Care which is self-explanatory. I was impressed with the entire Ultimate Restore system, but the two standouts were the densifying foam and the Deep Repair Mask. When I use the foam on my damp hair before I blow dry, it NO JOKE feels like my hair has doubled in thickness. It's insane! I will caution you against using too much around the hairline and part though.....I did this the first time thinking it would plump up my roots, and it just made them greasy. Use sparingly along the hairline. I usually pump 4 pumps into my palm and distribute evenly through hair before drying and it's the perfect amount/distribution.

Make sure you use code FFJUNE at checkout to get your 20% discount and don't forget to also add code BESTDUO to receive two travel size samples ($30 value) if your order reaches $75. Happy shopping and even happier skin to you, loves!

May 29, 2016

Spring Faves

It's Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale! Actually, it has been for a few days. But yesterday as I was getting dressed, I realized that my bag and shoes (that I paid full price for a few weeks ago *sigh*) are both on sale!! For some reason, I couldn't find my bag on Nordstrom's website (I bought mine in-store) but I DID find it on sale on the Sole Society website for you! In my searching on Nordy's site, I did however, find this cute fringed clutch! I need to cool it with the fringe. Who the hell do I think I am? Stevie Nicks?? (I wish.)
This bag is SO cute and gets so many compliments! It looks way more expensive than it is which is always a nice surprise. I originally bought it to go with my new high-waisted Guess bell bottoms, (which are also on sale now...grrrrr) but I found that it looks great with ripped jeans, rompers, sundresses, etc. Works as a crossbody and also just over one shoulder. The inside has the cutest black and white speckled lining! Also comes in black. If you sign up to get emails, you get another 15% off!

I had been wanting these d'orsay ankle-strap espadrilles for weeks after seeing them on Jenna of Lunchpails & Lipstick. They were the perfect blend of casual and dressy with a little bit of rock-and-roll thanks to the gold studs. I was so happy to find out how comfy they are! I was actually able to go down a half size but I have freakishly skinny feet so I didn't want them sliding around. They run pretty true to size. They also come in a cute almond color. I may swoop them up since they're such a great price now.

Topshop 'Daily' Ghillie Sandal | $48
Okay full disclosure...these aren't on sale, but they're under fifty bucks so that's basically free sooo.....yeah. What I hate about this photo is that you can't tell that the heel is actually a mirrored GOLD heel! That was what caught my eye in the first place. I was a little concerned these were going to make my feet look huge as the heel is shorter than what I'm used to, but they have got to be some of the cutest shoes on I have ever owned. They are so flattering! I plan on wearing them with rompers and dresses and these cute wide-leg, sailor culottes that my mom bought me for my birthday. I'm obsessed. They also come in coral and black online. Now I think I need all 3 colors. I'd like to know of a struggle more real than this. 
May 25, 2016

My Current "Everyday" Routine

I'm chuckling to myself as I'm writing this post because one might read the title and think that I put makeup on everyday and look like I do on the right. *Sigh* I'd say I pull my shit together and slap on makeup a solid 4 out of 7 days a week. Maybe 3. In my defense, I am smack dab in the middle of potty training a toddler, and have an almost 11 month old who is hellbent on walking. Homegirl is EXHAUSTED.

Anyhoo. I met a girlfriend for dinner last night, and even though she is amazing and wouldn't give a rat's ass if I showed up looking like the pale, bewildered beast on the left, I decided to clean myself up. I realized as I was putting my makeup on, that I definitely have a "routine" these days when I need to get ready quickly. I mean, granted, it's not one of those BS "get ready in 3 minutes flat!" routines, but I find myself grabbing for the same trusty items each time that I know will get me out the door looking polished and pulled together in a respectable amount of time. I do still love to primp and doddle for special occasions, maybe I'll do a "special occasion makeup" post for y'all soon here. But until then, here's life surrounding my face these days....

Moisturizers | I've been OBSESSED with this line called Scalisi Skincare lately. It was developed by a Wall Street Banker who survived cancer and developed this "wound healing technology" line. It has completely changed my skin. Right now I'm just using two of their products, the daytime moisturizer and the nighttime moisturizer. I love them so much that I will be buying the cleanser and eye cream next. If you sign up for newsletters on their site, you'll receive $10 off.

Primer | Meh....primer is hit or miss for me. Sometimes I feel like I need it, sometimes I don't. When I do wear it, I usually use NARS Pro Prime Oil Free Pore Refining Primer. Drugstore option: Maybelline Master Prime Blur + Smooth Primer.

Foundation | I am a foundation junkie. It's actually embarrassing how many I own. But depending on how much coverage I want for everyday, I find myself reaching for either It Cosmetics CC+ Cream (in Fair) or L'Oreal Infallible Pro Matte Foundation (I mix colors 101 + 102 for my perfect shade). I am wearing the L'Oreal foundation in the above photo. Applied with a damp Beauty Blender.

Concealer | I've been on a major Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer kick lately. It never leaves my side. I use the lightest shade "Fair Neutral" under my eyes and "Light Warm" anywhere else I need concealer. I'm wearing the lighter shade mentioned above.

Setting Powder | I just picked this No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder up after reading great things about it being an affordable dupe for my beloved Laura Mercier Setting Powder and I must say I am damn impressed. I don't know if it is quite as perfect as the Laura Mercier powder, but holy mazola....it's verrrry good. And under $15! Again, I'm wearing it in the above photo.

Contour Kit | Ugh...I have a love/hate relationship with this contour powder. I love the color of the contour. It is truly cool toned, no warmth. I hate the fact that they put shimmer in it. It's very slight, very slight. But if you're looking for an affordable cool toned contour powder, try the NYX Pro Palette, bottom row, 2nd shade from the left. I use it as well. Only reason I used the L'Oreal one above is it was closer to me and I didn't have shimmer anywhere else on my face so I went for it.

Blush | Again, I change blushes like I change my mind, but the one I grab 90% of the time is NARS Orgasm. The other two in my regular rotation are Milani Baked Blush in "Luminoso" (warm pink) and "Dolce Pink" (cool pink).

Highlighter | Always BECCA. Moonstone is my shade.

Brows | Always Anastasia Beverly Hills. Always. I use a combo of her Brow Powder Duo and her Brow Wiz pencil. Both in shade "Caramel". I have yet to find a shade that matches my hair so perfectly. And trust me, I've tried almost all of them.

Eyeshadow | I usually just grab what's close, but I find I do the same "type" of eye for everyday which is a warm shade in my crease and transition area (my favorite is MAC in "Texture") and some type of pinky nude on my lid (fave is MAC in "Malt", "Orb", or "Era").

Eyeliner | I've always used Almay Liquid Liner because the formula is fantastic, it's affordable, and dries totally matte (and it's still an everyday fave) but in the above photo, I'm wearing Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes liner.

Mascara | My drugstore "ride or die" lately is CoverGirl The Super Sizer mascara in "Very Black" because it is the only drugstore mascara that doesn't transfer onto my oily brow bones or end up under my eyes and I can STILL make it crazy dramatic. And I don't even think about using mascara without first using my Tweezerman lash curler.

Lips | Again....this changes with each mood and outfit, but in the above photo, I'm wearing YSL lip liner in "017 Rose" and then I filled in my entire top and bottom lip with it. Then I applied Nivea Kiss of Care and Color Sheer in color "Berry" over the top. I am soooooo obsessed with these balms lately. They were buy 1, get 1 free the other day at Rite Aid so you bet your sweet ass I bought them all!

There you have it! Let me know if you have any questions! I've been toying with the idea of doing some "get ready with me" Periscopes but *long drawn out ugh* I don't know if I have the energy....stay tuned on that....


May 20, 2016

GLOSSYBOX Review & Giveaway!

When I was contacted by Samantha over at GLOSSYBOX, asking if I was interested in receiving the May box, I couldn't have been more excited! I have been wanting to check out GLOSSYBOX for a while now and just haven't gotten around to it. I wasn't notified ahead of time what was in the May box so I was itching to find out! Read on to find out what I received, what was my favorite, and how YOU can win a one month gift subscription for yourself! It couldn't be easier!

Now, these are obviously not full sizes, however, they are deluxe-size samples, meaning they are way more product than what you'd find in Birchbox or many of the other beauty subscription boxes. Also fun to note: the beautiful pink box that you get is gorgeous! It can be used to store makeup, jewelry, gifts for girlfriends, etc. I actually am planning on saving mine up to create a cool DIY pull-out shelf for my makeup vanity! Nothing against those boxes! I think they're a great way to experiment and discover new products! I really love this deluxe size for two reasons: 1) there is enough product for you to really decide if you love it or not before you go out and buy it (unlike a one-time-only sample where you may never see results from skincare, etc.) and 2) they are PERFECT for travel! It's so nice to have luxury products all under the 3oz size so you don't have to worry about squeezing them into those tiny little bottles before hopping on a plane or not having room in your toiletry bag for all your beauty items!

The products I was already familiar with were the Nioxin haircare products, and the Benefit Roller Lash mascara. Both of which I love and highly recommend. If you are like me and don't like shelling out full price for mascara unless you know you'll love it, Macy's has a small tube for $12 you can try out! I believe you can also find that size at Ulta in the checkout aisle. Sorry for the creepy, horribly lit photo below. I quickly ran out into the dark hallway with the flash on while my babies were sleeping to snap a pic of my lashes with the mascara on so you can see the lift it gives. I'm not wearing any eyeliner today. Just two coats of Roller Lash.

Nioxin is a fantastic scalp treatment line and they have done such an incredible job of making sure every single hair and scalp type in the world is represented so that there is a product system for everyone. The one I received just so happened to be perfect for my hair which is "normal to thin looking, chemically treated". Seriously....check out their super handy Consultation Tool to find out what you should be using.

The Rituals Zensation foaming shower gel was really nice. The scent was really pleasant and left just enough behind without being offensive. This would be a great option for those who use shaving gel as it would save you a step in a hurry! I'm not sure I'd purchase the full size of this for everyday use, but I'm not a big shower gel/shave gel type of gal. Different strokes for different folks, eh?

The two facial moisturizers were fantastic! The Talika line is new to me and I have to say I am very impressed. This is a perfect example of getting to try a product, falling in love, and planning on purchasing the full size. This is kind of a lotion/gel hybrid in terms of consistency, however, it is incredibly moisturizing yet not heavy. I plan on tucking the full size into my professional kit to use on clients after I purchase it as I suspect it will work on just about everyone.

The VersaSpa gradual facial moisturizer pleasantly surprised me as well. I'm usually very picky about facial sunless tanners as I typically find them too greasy, heavy and stinky. At first application, this had NO and I mean no nasty DHA smell (the chemical that is present in all sunless tanners). I didn't even catch a whiff of it masked beneath light fragrance or anything! I did, however, smell it a bit as my tan developed, but it was very faint. This developed very quickly and gave me a very subtle, believable tan on my face. It wasn't until later on in the evening that I looked in the mirror and thought "why do I look so healthy and can barely see my undereye circles??" and then I remembered I had applied this after getting out of the shower! That's all the evidence I need! No breakouts to report after using this daily for almost a week!

And now for the fun part! I'm going to be giving away a one-month gift subscription (1 box) to a lucky reader! Winner will be chosen by midnight PST on May 31, 2016. Here's how to enter:

Comment below and answer one of the following questions....

1) Out of all the products mentioned, which would you like to try the most?
2) How would you upcycle your pink GLOSSYBOX instead of throwing it away?

Don't forget to include your email address so I can reach out to you if you win!

That's it! I'll put the responses through a random generator and contact the winner via email! Make sure to remember to include your email address. If there is no email address, I will have to move onto the alternate winner.

Good luck, Beauties! Xoxo!
May 11, 2016

5 Luxury Beauty Products You Should Be Buying at Costco (For a Fraction of the Price)

Soooo....I wasn't even planning on blogging this post. I was online and needed to check something on Costco's website (I can't even remember what it was. Probably something uber important like 'is the jalapeno Skinny Pop available in store yet?' and I was quite distracted by the fact that Costco has some insanely important beauty staples at teensy little prices. Costco! You wiley little rascal, you! Granted, these aren't all available in-store, however, if you have a membership, hop online and swoop these suckers up! There weren't a lot of "ground breaking" items to look at, but I picked 5 of the items that I use on the regular or have used in the past and adore. Make sure you check out the skincare as well because I noticed some Estee Lauder, Clarins, StriVectin, and Embryolisse (to name a few). Some of these are probably things you have in your makeup bag right now that you've been shellin' out full price for! I know I have! Here's the rundown...

Bobbi Brown Bronze Shimmer Brick with Brush $32.99
This one is kind of nuts. The Shimmer Brick alone costs $46 at local department stores as well as Sephora. But the Costco version even comes with the signature Bobbi Brown 'Face Blender Brush'. Granted, the handle is just slightly shorter in this duo, but the brush head is the same. The full size brush retails for $52 alone. Savings of roughly $65 if you were to buy them both, $13 savings if you were to buy just the Shimmer Brick.

BeautyBlender (2-pack) $29.99
Sometimes you can find killer deals on BeautyBlenders on Amazon. However, right now, the 2-pack is $40 which is no savings as a single sponge will run you $20 at Sephora and Nordy's. Costco has all colors of the 2-packs: Original (pink), Nude (light tan), Pro (black), Pure (white), Red Carpet (red), and Royal (purple) all for $29.99! Savings of $10.

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer $26.99
This isn't my personal favorite primer, however, it's a great basic no-fuss primer and I have friends who absolutely love it. Primer is such a personal beauty product. Most certainly not a "one size fits all" kind of gal. But if this one is your jam, you'll save a whopping $9 on the full size tube which totally adds up if you use this regularly! That's a couple lattes!

Bobbi Brown Rich Color Trio Lipstick (3 full-sized lipsticks) $36.99
Here's another one that kind of blew my mind. These retail for $27 EACH. At first I thought these were smaller "sample" or "travel size" lipsticks, but alas! They are full size (0.12oz)! Additionally, they are reallllllly good colors. Usually multi-packs have the duds but not this one! The colors included are: Salmon #1 (a pale peach), Sandwash Pink #22 (pinky beige), and Pink #6 (hot pink). These are 3 colors in their current line, not even discontinued colors! If you've never used Bobbi Brown lipsticks, you're missing out. They are so creamy and moisturizing and have incredible staying power. Full color, soft-matte finish. If you were to buy all 3, it would be $81. Savings of $44.
Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner Duo with Brush $36.99
I started using this eyeliner about 6 years ago and fell in love. I actually use the 'Graphite Shimmer Ink' which is a cool gunmetal grey, in my professional kit as an option for smokey eyes that aren't too intense. Great option for bridal makeup. These are highly pigmented, don't dry out in the jar, don't flake off on the lids, and are super easy to apply (no tugging) and glide across the lid easily. They retail for $26 each without a brush so this kit would be $52 for the full-size liner pots alone. The brush is a shorter-handled version of the Ultra Fine Liner Brush which retails for $28 by itself. $43 savings if you were to buy 2 liners and the brush.

In conclusion, I have learned that I can buy embarrassing amounts of coffee in bulk online, and enough Bobbi Brown cosmetics to choke a show pony at the same time. My husband will be so thrilled!

May 3, 2016

Mother's Day Gift Guide: The Techie

Mother's Day Gift Guide: The Techie

1 | Foreo Luna Mini | So here's the deal with this guy....I am a big time fan of my Clarisonic cleansing device, but the Foreo is becoming more and more appealing due to these below bullet points. There is the Luna Mini ($99), the Luna Mini 2 ($139) which has a 50% bigger brush head and longer and softer "touch points" than the base model and then they have a $169 model which addresses specific skin types (combo, sensitive, ultra sensitive, etc.)
  • Facial cleansing brush featuring T-Sonic technology
  • Just 1 minute use morning and night will leave the skin looking clearer, brighter and healthier in just 3 days
  • T-Sonic technology channels 8,000 pulsations per minute to gently remove dead skin cells, as well as unclog pores of 99.5% of dirt and oil, and 98.5% of makeup residue
  • Silicone brush is resistant to bacteria buildup, making it up to 35x more hygienic than standard sonic-cleansing brushes
  • Great long term value as no replacement brush heads are needed
You can find these at Sephora, Macy's, Nordstrom and Amazon Prime. Macy's and Nordstrom will let you buy online and pickup in-store (just trying to save you some time here) and Macy's has a really cute nautical-looking beach tote free with purchase.
2 | Cute Bluetooth Speaker | I used to have a tiny little bluetooth speaker like this on my work desk and I LOVED it! They're tiny and the sound quality is usually a hell of a lot better than the craptastic Dell speakers that the IT department hooked up when they set up the desktop. I like this Kate Spade one because it's cute, but a Bose one will last ya forever.
3 | Bluetooth Beanie | I bought one of these for my husband for when he's doing yardwork in the fall and winter, but these are also awesome for chilly mornings walking the dog, evening runs, skiing, etc. Basically anytime you don't want earbud cables dangling from your head. I like this light grey one but it comes in a pretty maroon and a hot pink as well.
4 | PMD Microdermabrasion Device | Ugh these things are SO COOL! I read all about them from Mint Arrow but basically this would be great for Mom if she complains about dull, lifeless, lackluster skin. They gently pull off dead skin, unclog pores, brighten skin, reduce blemishes and even out skin tone. You can find these in-person at Nordstrom, and on Amazon Prime.
5 | Tory Burch Block T iPhone Charging Case | Usually charging cases are u-g-l-y but this is one of the prettiest ones I've seen. It holds up to 100% extra battery life!! If Nordy's doesn't carry this one near you, do a search on Amazon Prime for "charging cases" or you should be able to find them in person at Best Buy or Target.
6 | Mini LED Light Up Makeup Mirror | This is one of the sleekest ones I've seen and would be perfect for Mom to put on her work desk, or on her vanity for extra light and magnification. Comes in white or black. Amazon Prime.
7 | StriVectin Intensive Eye Concentrate | This one is near and dear to my heart for two reasons: first being, it's the eye serum I've been using for about a month and I'm OBSESSED with it. Secondly, I am a chronic "squinter" when I'm not wearing my glasses and my husband is constantly giving me a hard time for making horribly unattractive faces while looking at my phone and I don't have a single solitary crinkle or wrinkle to my name. This eye serum is designed for those with "screen fatigue" which nowadays is......all of us, #amiright?? Don't let the price scare you. This tube lasts FORRRREVERRRR. A tiny tiny dot will do ya. You can find this in person at Macy's, Nordstrom, and  Ulta.
8 | Pretty iPad case | This one comes in an iPad Mini (9" W x 6-1/2" H) option or an iPad Midi (8" W x 10-1/4" H x 1" D) so make sure what size Mom has before you buy. I love Patricia Nash. She makes the most gorgeous Italian leather items. The one in the above collage is the "Spring Multi" color of the mini, but if Mom is more classic style, both sizes have a really pretty tan color. Again, you can find these in store at Macy's or buy online and pickup in store. Nordstrom also carries a ton of cute iPad sleeves and cases.
9 | Cable Cord Organizer | If your mom travels a lot for work like mine does, this charging cord organizer would be a godsend. Not only does it carry all of your cords (and keeps them separate and organized) but it would fit all your tech accessories as well. Less than $20 on Amazon Prime. Also comes in a citron green and a light pink.
10 | Iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Pillowcase | This is kind of a "for the woman who already has everything" idea. I am so intrigued by this! I am definitely one of those "hard sleepers" that wakes up with lines all over my face (I sleep face down because I'm a super classy dame) and crusted drool all over my mouth. We all have our skeletons. Claim: "The pillowcase fibers are carefully embedded with Cupron® Copper Oxide technology, derived from a well-known essential mineral. It’s clinically proven to reduce the appearance of wrinkles for smoother, younger-looking skin in as little as four weeks with a continuing effect over time." JUST TAKE MY MONEY! You can find this bad boy in person at Nordstrom, or on Amazon Prime.
May 2, 2016

Mother's Day Gift Guide: The Girly Girl

Mother's Day Gift Guide: The Girly Girl

Hello, lovies! It's the week before Mother's Day and for all you who are still struggling to find ideas for your mom (or ideas to give your husbands and kids...*wink wink*) fear not! I come bearing some kick-arse ideas for you! I linked everything up below, but for the places not offering free rush shipping, I made sure they can be found at your local mall and/or department store in case you need to run in in-person to scoop them up. We're starting with "The Girly Girl" Mom today and each day this week I will have a different theme to hopefully cover a myriad of different personalities since we all know our moms are not "one size fits all" in the character department! Tomorrow will be "The Techie Mom" which I'm personally pretty stoked about since my mom wields an iPhone like a straight up gangster and is surrounded by about 47 computer monitors at work. I think she thinks she works for NASA. Feel free to quite literally steal any and all of these ideas and take credit for them, or just use these guides loosely to steer you in the right direction. *Clears throat* Here we go......

1 | Benefit Dew the Hoola Liquid Bronzer Liquid bronzer is my new jam. Not only can it be swirled onto the face with a duo fibre brush like you would a powder bronzer, but you can also add a couple drops to your foundation for a pretty glow, or you can just use your fingers to apply it in a hurry!
2 | Milani Rose Powder Blush These blushes are so pretty and under $10! Milani is a great drugstore line. I find it at Fred Meyer, Walgreens, CVS, Walmart. It's all over the place. Great cream lipsticks in this line, too.
3 | Dolce&Gabbana 'Dolce Rosa' Excelsa Parfum I use this perfume in the original scent (the mint green colored one of the same bottle) and I'm obsessed. I recently spritzed this on at Ulta the other day and it is AMAZING. It has a really pretty rose scent to it, but not "old lady rose".
4 | YSL La Laque Couture
Ugh. Of course I would use the sold out limited edition color ('Love Pink') in this collage (I'm the worst). However, there is a color of this nail lacquer called 'Rose Romantique' that is the perfect soft, baby pink and it is available at Nordy's. It's feminine without being cheesy.
5 | Burberry Blush Highlighter This is almost too pretty to use! I love blushes and palettes that are a surprise when you open the compact! The heart is a blush, and the surrounding lighter shade is a highlighter. So chic!
6 | ILLUME Scented Hand Creme If you aren't familiar with Illume, they are famous for their candles. Imagine my surprise when I discovered their hand creme! I love the 'Grapefruit Oleander' scent, but they also have a 'Cactus Verde' and 'Watermint' and those both smell divine, too. Great hand creme!
7 | LUSH 'Tisty Tosty' Bath Bomb I had a few bath bombs that looked JUST like this when I was in grade school (back before bath bombs were a thing) and I adored them. I was so happy to see that LUSH has one! This one is called 'Tisty Tosty' and it smells so good and is incredibly moisturizing for dry skin. And who doesn't want little tiny roses floating around in their bath after the bath bomb dissolves?! 
8 | Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Palette Here's another show stopper palette when you open it. Great multipurpose palette with a highlighter, blush and a bronzer. I like these larger ones for the good size mirror which is a must have for your handbag.
9 | Threshold Vanity Organizer I feel like I include this little organizer in lots of gift guides. But it's just so pretty! Imagine how cute of a presentation this would make if you got this for your Mama and filled each compartment with a fun little trinket (lipgloss, hand lotion, pair of earrings, etc.)
10 | Pretty Makeup Brushes (similar at Macy's) (similar at Sephora) I'm really into brushes that could be left on your vanity for display. These are so pretty and are begging to be showed off!
April 13, 2016

The Body Shop Shade Adjusting Drops

Hi guys! I'm back! I feel like every time I log a post I'm apologizing for my absence.....whoops. Turns out life is a bit crazy with two kiddos. Moms of multiple kids: my hat is off to you. Hell, moms of ONE kid, my hat is off to you! Truth be told, I've been in a bit of a blogging slump lately and have not felt the urge to hop online. That is not for lack of material because trust me, I've been loving a LOT of new things lately (and been a bit disappointed with some things as well) but more so that I've just been procrastinating and lazy when it comes to sharing my finds. Let's just say that after a long day of "Mom-ing" and then working out, I just want to shower and plop my arse on the sofa with the Mister, eat Skinny Pop and binge-watch Fixer Upper. Embarrassing disclosure number 1: I follow Skinny Pop on Instagram and it looks like they are adding a Jalapeno flavor and a Dusted Dark Chocolate flavor!! EEEEP! #Gimme. Embarrassing disclosure number 2: I may or may not have a crush on Chip Gaines. There I said it. 

Whew! Look who got all long-winded! Apparently I need another adult to vent to because my 3 year old just isn't interested in my excuses *enter nervous chuckle* but I digress....

I got the cutest little package the other day from my friends over at The Body Shop. Seriously, look how cute this is! I love when brands take the time to make a pretty presentation! I'm going to let you know what I thought about these babies for their intended use, and then how I used them in a more unconventional way. Keep reading to find out...

Upon opening, I found two pretty glass bottles, one light, one dark, with dropper-like caps on top. Imagine my delight when I read that they are their new Shade Adjusting Drops! If you read my blog, you know I am a huge fan of this concept and I spoke a bit about the CoverFX Custom Cover Drops in this post here. Where these ones differ is, they are solely for adjusting color, not coverage level, so they're a bit more straight forward. I love the idea of being able to adjust my foundation shade instead of having 528 different colors of foundations on hand (even though I do have 528 bottles of foundation on hand but that's neither here nor there). Such a great thing to be able to do between seasons because if you're anything like me, homegirl is PASTY in the winter and has a nice, healthy glow in the spring and summer.

Here's what else I loved about these drops. The lightening shade not only lightens up foundations that are a bit too dark, but they also neutralize yellowness without adding pink tones. How cool is that?! There is the slightest iridescence if you look at the drops on their own, but not so much that they make your foundation shimmery or dewy. The darkening drops are the perrrrrfect neutral/cool tone base so they amazingly deepen your too-light foundation without turning you into an Oompa Loompa. Each bottle is pretty good size and contains .5 fl oz which doesn't sound like much but is a ton of product seeing as you only need to apply these drop by drop. They retail for $20 a bottle which may seem steep, but remember, they will last you a long time and will save you on having to replace your foundation frequently which can get uber expensive.

Here's how to use them:

Step 1: Shake product well before use
Step 2: Apply your “almost there” foundation shade to the back of your hand
Step 3: Apply one drop of your chosen Shade Adjusting Drops to the foundation on the back of your hand and blend together.
Step 4: Test the color
Step 5: Apply the mix on your face as usual for a natural make-up look 

Up above I mentioned using these drops for something a bit more unconventional that adjusting my foundation. I just love products that can work for multiple things. After playing around with these a bit, I wanted to see if I could use them as liquid highlighting and contouring products. Short answer: YES. In fact, the profile shot at the top of this post gives you a good idea of how lovely they performed to highlight and contour. I will say this: this method is NOT for those just beginning to dabble in highlighting and contouring. If that is you, stick with powders until you feel you've gotten the hang of it. The darkening drops are HIGHLY pigmented (which is a good thing) but if you are a novice (which there is absolutely nothing wrong with!) then you will get overwhelmed and make a mistake. I'm willing to bet my 31 years of life on it. The lightening drops are a bit easier to work with for this method. If you've been using creams and liquids to contour and highlight with. It's very important to work section by section on your face as you have to work quickly with this and you don't want it to dry before you've had a chance to work it into your skin.

I'm going to put the following in all caps because this is such an important "rule" that everyone needs to know: NEVER APPLY A LIQUID PRODUCT OVER A POWDER. IF YOU ALREADY APPLIED YOUR FOUNDATION AND THEN SET IT WITH A LOOSE OR PRESSED POWDER, DO NOT USE THESE TO HIGHLIGHT AND CONTOUR WITH. Just proceed with your powder highlight and contour products. If you haven't yet set your foundation, you are more than welcome to proceed with the following steps. 

Step 1: Shake product well before use
Step 2: Apply a few drops of the darkening drops to the back of your hand
Step 3: I used my Sigma 3DHD brush to apply the drops around my upper forehead right by my hairline, then I used a clean Sigma F55 brush to buff into my skin in the same manner I would use a powder contouring product
Step 4: Using that same Sigma 3DHD brush, trace a very slim line down each side of nose and blend out with a clean, dampened Beauty Blender (I find that when blending my nose contour, I am able to get much more control with a Beauty Blender as opposed to a brush)
Step 5: Use the Sigma 3DHD brush to draw a very thin line directly beneath each cheekbone
Step 6: I used my Sigma F55 brush to blend and buff my cheekbone contour. You can also use the pointier end of a clean, damp Beauty Blender if that's your jam
Step 7: Continue anywhere else you'd apply powder or cream contour. I chose my jawline and blended with my dampened Beauty Blender
Step 8: Set everything with your setting powder of choice

Since highlighting was a bit more user-friendly, I just used my finger to "dot" the tiniest amount of the lightening drops down the bridge of my nose, along my upper cheekbones, the center of my forehead, and the center of my chin. Then I just blended it with a different (and clean) duo fibre brush. Make sure you don't use the same brush or sponge that you used for contouring!

It sounds way more complicated than it was. Just use common sense and apply the darkening drops sparingly as they go a long way. If you use too much, your face will look dirty or "muddy" and it's hard to bounce back from that. There is no such thing as "Pig Pen Chic". Trust me, I checked.

February 24, 2016

L'Oreal Infallible® Pro-Matte Gloss Review

When L'Oreal sent me a kit chock full of new products, I just about fainted. L'Oreal has been my favorite drugstore brand since forEVER so I was so excited to give these all a go! Seriously...look at this adorable train case they sent me with all these goodies inside! 

I'll write up separate posts for the other items, but these Infallible Pro Matte Glosses deserved their own post. I'm obsessed.

I wasn't sure what to expect as the title is a bit of an oxymoron. I mean that in a good way...it intrigued me, which is hard to do when it comes to makeup. A matte gloss? Isn't gloss supposed to be shiny? So if it's matte, does that make it more like a liquid lipstick? Is it dry to the touch? Is it sticky? You can imagine how quickly I wanted to get these on my MOUF! 

Here they are in all their glory applied to the back of my hand. The photos pretty much speak for themselves as far as what you're looking at. But here are some pinch points for you:
  • HOLY PIGMENT! These babies are sooooo pigmented! I only needed one pass over my skin to get that much opacity. They are not streaky, goopy, thin, or transparent. 
  • The consistency is somewhere between a gloss and a lipstick. I am a big fan of matte liquid lipsticks because they last a long time, but I'm not keen on how they feel on. These Infallible Matte Glosses were so incredibly cushy and comfortable on my lips. They felt a bit more substantial than a traditional gloss, but they were not heavy in the slightest. 
  • The applicator is a pointed sponge which makes it so easy to be precise (which we all know is a must when working with bright and bold shades). I still recommend using a liner with these particular shades, but if you can't, you can still get pretty darn specific on where you're laying down your color. 
  • The finish is 100% opaque with the slightest sheen. I found that I really liked the finish when I lightly pressed a tissue over my lips after application. I got more of a true matte finish. 
  • They last a realllllly long time. Not quite a lip stain, but damn close. You can rub and rub and rub and you're still going to have color left on your lips. I had to use coconut oil to remove them completely.
Here they are on. Such pretty shades! I honestly don't know which is my favorite! I'm a sucker for neon pink, so "Fuchsia Amnesia" stands out...but check out that "Shanghai Scarlet" and "Rebel Rose"! So chic!

 Shanghai Scarlet (true red with neutral undertones)

 Fuchsia Amnesia (hot pink with blue undertones)

 Rebel Rose (darker mauvey pink)

 Forbidden Rose (deep berry)

Rouge Envy (cooler undertone pinkish red)

Needless to say, after trying these 5 shades, I'm coveting the rest of the line (10 shades total). These are extremely wearable in terms of formula. You can really customize the finish you get with them depending on whether or not you blot (that rhymed)! Here are all of the shades offered. Top row is what I'm wearing in this post, the row below it are the 5 I need to get my mittens on! Have you tried these yet? Which is your favorite color??

February 7, 2016

Luxury Products Worth Shelling Out For

I absolutely love finding a good deal. I also love sharing those deals with you guys. I think there are so many incredible products out there that work so well that don't cost an arm and a leg. Drugstore skincare and cosmetics have come a long way over the past decade. That being said, every so often I like to treat myself and splurge on products that I absolutely know I love and that work 100% of the time for me. Even more fun is when a brand introduces me to a luxe product that I may not have purchased for myself due to price alone, or not being able to justify the cost due to not knowing enough about the product.

I thought it might be a fun follow up to my last post about budget finds, to show you guys a few of my favorite "luxury" items and why I love them. I'll be sure to let you know whether or not I purchased them myself, or if they were provided to me from the brand, just for transparency's sake.

Without further ado...

Let's start with YSL Touche Eclat. Look. There are many many other "concealer pens" out there that mimic the Touche Eclat, but that's where there's no comparison. This isn't a concealer pen so much as it is a radiance pen. Yes, it helps conceal under eye circles and even out skin tone, but it provides a finish so beautiful, smooth, and creamy that I just have not been able to find elsewhere. That goes for drugstore AND department store products. Are there good options out there that are more affordable? Yes, of course. But a true dupe just does not exist. I was introduced to this product when I worked as a YSL Counter Manager, and have repurchased many replacements since then. They have an impressive shade range (I'm no. 2 Ivory and sometimes no. 1 Radiance if I want more of a porcelain doll look to my skin). Anytime you see a ".5" after the number, it has a bit more of a yellow or warm tone to it. So if you hate pinkiness to your complexion products, make sure you choose one with a ".5" after it. Also available at Sephora, YSL, Barney's and Sak's.

Okay this one. THISSSS ONE. I've had some really incredible skincare sent to me since the blog has gained momentum (thank you to everyone who reads this lil thing!) and for the most part, I've been really happy with what I've received. However, this bad boy was sent to me about a month ago, and I really wanted to use it for at least a couple weeks to see how my skin responded. I feel I should preface by saying I don't have many fine lines or wrinkles (thanks, Mom!) but don't write me off just yet. What I'm lacking in wrinkles, I make up for in gigantic pores and uneven texture. We can't win 'em all. Enter StriVectin Multi-Action Restorative Cream. When I first received this, I have to admit, I thought to myself "hmm, another anti-aging skin cream...we'll see how you do...." Well, I stand before you humbled. This cream, I'm convinced, has completely changed the texture, tone, and brightness of my complexion. The consistency is almost a whipped, airy feel, which is a welcomed texture to us oily-skinned gals. It doesn't feel heavy at all on the skin, making it an ideal daily and nightly moisturizer for me. The first morning I woke up after using this, I had NO greasiness to my face (which usually happens on my nose, forehead and chin) but my face also didn't feel tight or dry. After a few days of using this, I decided to incorporate the other skincare product provided to me from StriVectin (the Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner) a while back that I was liking on it's own just fine. Let me tell you something: when used in conjunction with this face cream, the results are amplified tenfold. It's as if they were made for each other. Kind of like the Beyonce and Jay-Z of skincare products. Here's where things get kind of backwards and took me a bit to get used to. You use the Restorative Cream first, and then you apply the Pore Refiner as the last step to your regimen. This seemed strange to me as it seemed like the thicker cream should go on top, but questioning StriVectin on skincare advice is kind of like questioning Donald Trump on how to get the best comb-over. You just trust the experts. It's almost like the Pore Refiner seals in the Restorative Cream. I can't tell you the difference this has made in the size and texture of my pores, especially on my forehead. I feel like my forehead is so smooth I could challenge my 7-month old to a skin-off (those exist right??) I scooched myself over to the StriVectin website and saw that (GASP!) they are offering a FREE deluxe sample of the Multi-Action Restorative Cream (7ml) with any $50 purchase with code: FREEMA. I would be remiss not to mention their Auto Replenishment program also, as it saves you 20% with each order. So do yourself a favor, head over to their site, sign up as an Inner Circle member (it's free), pick something out for $50, then pop FREEMA in at checkout to get a sample of this stuff! You can thank me later.

Moving on to hair care! I feel like there are SO many incredible high-end shampoos and conditioners I could recommend, so for the sake of simplicity, I chose an item that is a game-changer for me. Schwarzkopf BC Bonacure Repair Rescue Sealed Ends. This product is an absolute must have for people who are trying to grow out their hair, and anyone with dry, brittle or split ends. Let me just clarify first, that nothing replaces a good old fashioned trim from a professional when your ends are truly splitting (you can't mistake split ends, if you have 'em, you know). However, if you're like me and your ends are dry and parched from heat styling and trying to stretch my trims as long as possible to get some growth on my hair, then you need this stuff. It comes in a small squeeze bottle because it will last you forevvvvver and the tiniest bit goes a long way. Really. Don't overdo it on this stuff or it will weigh your hair down. And don't think "oh I'll just apply it as a mask to my whole head of hair!" Nah, fam. It's only for your ends. Apply to literally just your ends...as in...no further up than half an inch...when your hair is damp. You can either proceed to blow drying, or you can twist hair up into a loose bun and secure with an ouchless elastic or scrunchy (please though, don't wear the scrunchy out in public. I don't care how many magazines say they're making a comeback #JustNo).

Here's another skincare item that I discovered on my own. Always purchased with my own scrill (le sigh). Clarins Face Treatment Oils are sooooo luxurious. The really neat thing about them, other than the fact that they seriously treat the actual skin instead of just making it soft temporarily, is that there is a formula for each skin type. I typically use the "Lotus" formula, but I'm also a fan of Blue Orchid. These are truly incredible and so lush in the dryer weather. I can't even begin to tell you how lovely the scents are either. Coming from an Aveda background, I fell in love with these at first sniff. Here's a little tip: head over to your local Nordstrom and have one of the Clarins counter gals give you a free sample. It's super easy to "drop" into their little glass sample jars. A little bit goes a long way.

I realllllly geeked out over this next one. Again, not given to me, purchased with my own money. Similar to the hair care topic, there are quite a few luxury or department store foundations that I'm gaga over, but this little miracle in a bottle is my newest obsession. Cover FX Custom Cover Drops. This entire line, if you're not familiar, has complexion products totally nailed. They are killing it in almost every foundation, concealer, and powder they crank out. However, the Custom Cover Drops are truly revolutionary because they can take any old foundation, drugstore or department store, and totally customize it to your needs. These are straight pigment. Ultimate coverage with little to no weight whatsoever. The size of the bottle is really small because you really are going drop by drop as needed. These are NOT designed to be used on their own. You're supposed to use them with other beauty products. They way I like to use mine (I'm color N10) is I first apply my foundation or CC cream to the palm of my hand, then I drop the desired number of drops directly on top of it, then I mix it with my finger until it's totally blended. I then apply with either my BeautyBlender, or my Morphe M439 brush. Another reason these drops are so cool, is not only can you totally adjust your coverage, but if you have multiple foundations that you love that are too light come Spring and Summer when you have a tan, you can buy a deeper color and use it to darken your foundation to match your tanned skin without going out and buying new foundations. Paradoxically you can do the same if you have foundations that are too dark and you need to lighten up with a lighter drop shade. You get the idea. They basically turn us into mad cosmetics scientists! Head over to Sephora to play around with these, figure out your shade, and then you can always order on the Cover FX website and receive 15% off when you sign up for emails!

I'll keep it at these 5 superstars (for now) so as to not overwhelm your wallets! What are some of your favorite higher-end products? Have you tried any of these?
February 4, 2016

Let's Talk About Lipstick's Budget Finds

Let's Talk About Lipstick's Budget Finds

This is kind of a mish mash of items but variety is the spice of life, right? RIGHT? Right. I have a handful of super affordable things that I have been using almost daily lately. Things that have been contributing to my "mom uniform" as I so lovingly call it. Well....if I'm being honest, most days my "mom uniform" consists of really unflattering sweat pants (the kind you wouldn't be caught DEAD in in public), a shirt that is stained with baby food, baby snot, baby spit, etc., no bra because....no doi...hair in a really fugly ponytail that makes me look like a preteen from the early 90s (you know the look) and a totally bare face. But when I have to head out of the house, these are the things I've been wearing/using/loving almost daily lately and they're totally wallet-friendly! Let's go clockwise starting with....

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water | I hopped on the micellar water train and CHOO CHOO! I am sold. I was thinking "what's the big deal? Isn't it just a gentle toner?" Well...yeah, but it just works so well! I have the basic all-in-one formula (pink cap) that removes makeup/cleanses/refreshes and works for all skin types (including sensitive). They also have one that is supposed to remove waterproof mascara, but it was sold out so I grabbed the last bottle of the other kind. It's selling like hot cakes! There is no scent whatsoever. I apply it to a cotton ball after I'm finished cleansing my skin and this removes all the leftover traces of makeup and gunk left behind. I've also used it to remove any lingering eye makeup that doesn't come off with my cleansing oil. It leaves my skin feeling SO clean, but not tight or dried out. It's the perfect prep for your serums and/or moisturizers.

Linen Blend Boyfriend Tee | I officially own this bitch in like 8 colors. My favorite is this kind of periwinkle/French blue one though. These long-sleeved tees are so comfy and look so cute with jeans. They're kind of a slouchy, boxy cut which I usually stay away from, but these are somehow slimming and hide any leftover baby weight that some of us are trying desperately to shed. They go on sale in-store all the time and I usually stock up on them when they're under $10.

Shea Moisture Rose Cleansing Oil | Nothing new or noteworthy about cleansing oils (check out one of my archive posts HERE if you need some more info). This one was on Target Cartwheel so I thought I'd give her a go. I am a total sucker for anything rose scented or infused. I love it. This one smells so incredible and does a really beautiful job at removing makeup and leaving skin soft and supple and it is a must have for sensitive skin. It turns to kind of a creamy consistency when mixed with water, similar to a cream cleanser.

Wet n Wild Mega Blast Lipsticks | Another item I own about every color of. Lately I've been wearing 24 Carrot Gold which is a punchy orangey/red. Everyone needs to own the color "Cherry Picking" which is gorgeous on literally every single person in the world. They're under $2 and last forevvvvvver.

High Rise Rockstar Skinnies | I have always loved Old Navy's Rockstar fit which works so well for us gals with small waists and ghetto booties and thighs. I have these in dark washes, light washes, distressed, stretch, non-stretch, you name it, I got it. I usually wear the mid-rise style which I still love, but lately I've been really loving their high rise style. They are so flattering and look super cute with a tucked in button down.

TRESemme Botanique Damage Recovery Oil Elixir | This is basically a dry oil that I've been spritzing in my hair after I very lightly towel blot. I only spray it from the mid-shaft down to the ends (leaving it off the roots and scalp) and MY GOOD GOD THE SMELL is like angels were crying tears of joy and caught them in a bottle. I can't even start to tell you how incredible the smell is. It blows anything coconut scented out of the water and I am the biggest coconut superfan in the world so that's saying something. It's super super super lightweight so don't be intimidated about spritzing oil onto your hair if it's fine (which mine is). It doesn't weigh it down at all. Sometimes I loosely twist it up in a loose bun and let my hair air dry, and sometimes I go right ahead and blow dry. Depends on which way the wind is blowin' me.

CoverGirl LashBlast Super Sizer Mascara | I'm on my 4th tube and I am usually a serial mascara bouncer-arounder (that's a very real thing). I'm obsessed with this one.

Not Your Mother's Plump for Joy Thickening Spray | I grabbed this on a whim and I LOVE it. Here's another one that smells sooooooo good! This one you spray into your hand and distribute it evenly from root to tip, which is kind of misleading seeing as they gave it one of those spray nozzles that typically accompanies a root lifting spray. This stuff really plumps up each strand of my hair and after blow drying it looks like I have 2 heads of hair. Last night I worked it through my damp hair and let it air dry and I woke up to the coolest beachy waves this morning!

e.l.f. HD Shimmering Powder | I had been looking for this powder in the banana color as a more economical and easy to find version of my Ben Nye Banana Powder, but as it turns out, the e.l.f. HD Banana Powder is freaking impossible to find! It's always sold out in stores at Target! So instead I thought I'd give this one a shot. It's really pretty! There is the slightest shimmer to it, no chunky glitter, but just enough oomph to give your skin a pretty, reflective finish. It sets under eye concealer really nicely. The only thing I noticed with this is it doesn't have the best staying power (you get what you pay for). But there's quite a bit in the container and a little goes a long way. So if you don't mind touching up with loose powder throughout the day, this would be a great little budget setting powder.

Let's Talk About Lipstick © 2013.

Design by The Blog Boat