January 27, 2016

What to Wear on Valentine's Day

Need ideas for what to wear for a Valentine's date night? I am obsessed with every single one of these and made sure to keep them all under $100 so you can spend the rest of your hard earned cash on red wine, red meat, red lipstick....you see where I'm going here...

Top row, left to right: Burgundy Plunge Neck Dress | Fuchsia Jumpsuit | Red Capelet Dress | Striped Dress | Magenta Body Con Dress
Bottom row, left to right: Mesh Top Dress | Peach Capelet Dress | Red Cutout Maxi | V-neck Body Con | Red Cutout Sleeve Dress

I'll be on a wine and chocolate tasting getaway with my main squeeze, my brother, and his beautiful wife (courtesy of my extremely generous parents who can no longer make it) so I don't think I'll be wearing a hotsy totsy number (boooo hisssss!) Here's what I have in mind for myself since I'll want to be comfortable, relaxed, and able to eat and drink with abandon!

January 26, 2016

L'Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation {Rose Gold Makeup Walk Through}

I've been wanting to try this new cushion foundation ever since I heard L'Oreal was going to be coming out with one. There's nothing new about the concept, cushion foundations have been out for a while (if you want to see a high-end version of this one, check out Lancome Miracle Cushion or even Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion), but I have been a fan of L'Oreal's True Match Super Blendable and True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous foundations for years, so I was really excited to see what they'd come up with for this new formula/delivery system. If you want my super simple opinion: I freaking LOVE it. I got my shade spot on the first time around (years of trial and error) and the formula is truly impressive. I will be re-buying when I'm done with this one. I also used the beautiful rose gold packaging as inspiration to create an extremely simple rose gold eye and lip for you! When I say simple, I mean it. I mixed 2 shadows together for my entire lid and crease and brought it down into my lower lash line, skipped liner all together, and popped 2 coats of mascara on! I'll leave the specifics below! And for something totally fun and fresh, I created this lip color just for this look! Read on to see what unconventional product I used to create my peachy, rose gold lips.

Super cute packaging! If you're unsure whether you're "cool", "neutral", or "warm" in this line, just remember this:
Warm - has a slight golden or yellowish undertone to the foundation
Cool - has a slight blueish pink undertone to the foundation
Neutral - you guessed it! A little of both. I have both pink and yellow undertones to my skin so the "neutral" range works beautifully on me. I'm color "N2 Classic Ivory".

Upon opening, you'll see a cute little round sponge with a L'Oreal Paris ribbon across it for you to slip your fingers through for application. Don't. Not only will you not get the best application, but after the first use it just isn't sanitary anymore. I will never advocate using dirty applicators anywhere on your face even if it was you that used it before. Blech. There's just no need when we have plenty of other tools to use. I used my Beauty Blender. That's really my only piece of criticism of this foundation.

Pop that out and flip open the white plastic cover, and you'll find the sanitary seal. Peel that on back to unleash the beast....

Looks kind of like something you'd find in an art supply store or maybe growing under the sea....let's go with art supply store for aesthetics shall we?

I just had to touch it. I'm one of those tactile nerds. I can't help myself. It's strangely satisfying. It's plush and squishy, kind of like if you were sponge painting and decided to touch the wet paint on the sponge, only it's not quite as thick (which was a very pleasant surprise). The color is SO GOOD! I was so stoked to see a truly neutral ivory!

Here I gently patted it onto the back of my hand so that you guys could see the finish. It's beautiful. Slight sheen without being too dewy.

Here's a totally unretouched, unfiltered (GASP!) close up of just the foundation applied to my skin with no primer. This is both artificial and natural lighting with no flash. I used my slightly dampened Beauty Blender to apply.

And here is the same lighting as above, but obviously with the flash on. Just so you guys can see how it performs on camera without a bunch of other makeup clouding your view. Please don't look at my lack of eyebrows for too long, or you may turn to stone.

I really wanted to leave my skin as free from other complexion products as possible so I used the lightest dusting of pressed HD powder on my t-zone, and a bit of NARS Orgasm on my cheeks. I didn't even use concealer! I just used the pointy end of my Beauty Blender dipped back into the L'Oreal cushion foundation and applied a second layer wherever I needed some extra coverage (under eyes, around nose, and chin). They mean it when they say this is buildable coverage. Don't let the liquidy consistency fool you, this can really be built up to get fabulous coverage, but I just could not get this to look thick and cakey which is a GOOD thing!

And now for the eyes and lips! I made you a handy little visual to show you exactly which pans of color I used from my Morphe 35O palette using lime green circles and arrows (below)! They look a bit lighter here in this image, but I used a basic eyeshadow brush and swirled the two colors together and applied all over my lid and ever so slightly into my crease. I used the same brush to bring that same color across the bottom lash line and into the corners of my eyes. I skipped liner all together, curled my lashes, and then applied two coats of Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara to top and bottom lashes.

For this beautiful iridescent, peachy rose gold lip, I lined my lips with NYX Retractable Lip Liner in "Pinky Beige" and used it to fill in my lips. Then I used Tarte LipSurgence Lip Creme in "Pristine" (which is limited edition) but you could also use color "Empowered" or any warm, apricot-like pink. Now comes the fun part: remember that color we blended for our eyes? I just used my ring finger, and verrrrrry lightly swirled the same two shades together, and then lightly dabbed it on my lips over the lip cream. It created the PERFECT rose gold pout and the shimmer from the eye shadow gave the prettiest velvet-like texture! I'm going to do this all the time now with this palette to create custom lip colors and finishes! So much fun! It's like a pink velvet lip! Great for Valentine's Day. And there you have it! A whole face totally inspired from the lid of a foundation!

January 23, 2016

Trend Watch: Lip Oil

Lip oil has been around for a really long time. In fact, I can remember wearing it back in the 90s (it was way less cool back then and I'm sure it was horrible for my lips but I didn't care...I was 10). I've been seeing it pop back up in luxury lines as well as drugstore lines. If you haven't tried them, they're a great alternative to gloss as they aren't sticky or goopy, and if they're tinted, they have the prettiest effect on the lips, as if you just ate a berry popsicle and then licked your lips. I sure painted you a vivid picture there, eh? Ooh la la!

Here's the roundup!

Milani Moisture Lock // Discover a revolution in lip hydration plus a healthy dose of shine! Protect your perfect pout with a first-of-its-kind lightly color-tinted oil in 8 addictively scented, kiss-quenching shades. All formulated with the all-natural healing power of Jojoba, Avocado and Tsubaki Oil. For added benefits, each shade is specially infused with nutrient-dense oils that treat specific concerns. The soft, extra plush applicator hugs the curves of your lips, locking in moisture and smoothing on shine. Flavors: Conditioning Grapeseed, Healing Lemon Honey, Moisturizing Almond Coco, Nourishing Raspberry, Protecting Pomegranate, Rejuvenating Peach Mango, Repairing Primrose, Revitalizing Grapefruit

Hourglass No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil // HOURGLASS No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil is an advanced anti-aging treatment for lips that combines essential oils, vitamins and three powerful active ingredients in a supremely luxurious oil blend. The botanical oils work on contact to condition lips, address dryness and chapping, and shield against environmental elements. It contains three powerful active ingredients that target the delicate lip area by helping to boost moisture levels, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and approve the appearance of lip shape, volume and softness. The treatment oil is dispensed through a 24-karat, antibacterial, gold-plated tip that creates a soothing effect on lips. The formula is enriched with 14 essential oils including bois de rose, lavender, geranium, petitgrain, lemon, rosemary, vanilla, clove, amyris, orange, ylang-ylang, eucalyptus, cedar and rose geranium, as well as lipid-rich plant oils that include hazelnut, kukui nut, rose hip, borage, olive, green tea, cherry pit, sweet almond, jojoba and evening primrose and is fortified with vitamins A, B5, C and E. 

Bite Beauty Cinnamon Plumping Lip Oil // Delicious enough to eat, this Plumping Lip Oil creates a soft cinnamon heat that delivers a natural flush minutes after application. Nourishing oils from cinnamon bark and pink pepper stimulate circulation for a natural plumping effect while peppermint oil provides a subtle warming sensation on lips. French olive oil, pure jojoba, castor seed oil, and argan oil hold five times their weight in moisture for long-lasting all-day hydration.

Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip & Cheek Creamy Oil // Hydrating, nourishing, and argan oil-infused, this tinted treatment starts as a cream and melts into an oil for sheer, natural-looking, never-greasy color.Who is it for: Perfect for anyone craving a portable, hydrating, and multitasking lip and cheek tint.Why is it different: This nourishing, creamy formula is infused with argan oil.How do I use it: This cream will melt to an oil for a soft flush of hydrating color when applied to the lips or the apples of the cheeks.

Ramy Lip Oil 'Rose' // A unique lip treatment specifically designed to nurture and deep condition your lips. Lip Oils are formulated with calming jojoba and almond oils that moisturize even the roughest lips to create a smooth and ideal smile. The unique formula glides on smooth and slowly penetrates the skin for an all day, super-conditioning lip regimen. Perfect to be worn alone or under/over your favorite Ramy beauty therapy lip gloss or lipstick, each luscious, sweet tasting Lip Oil works to help plump even the thinnest of lips.

Yes To Coconuts Cooling Lip Oil // An intense lip moisturizer that adds a natural shine. This lip oil provides long lasting nourishment, softness, and fits just about anywhere (talk about a triple threat!). This new lip oil will quench dry lips with decadent oils, that also cool while it moisturizes. Formulated with a plethora of oils: Virgin Coconut, Olive, and cooling Eucalyptus, your lips will be intensely moisturized and soft. Throw in an added hint of natural shine, and you will be ready for coconut kisses (under the sun!)

Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil // New Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil enhances and nourishes with pure plant oils. Sheer brilliance: Clarins' newest treatment oil transforms lips from dry and damaged, to plump and luscious, while adding just a hint of color. Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil nourishes, soothes and enhances the natural way, with oils of mirabelle plum, jojoba and hazelnut, for lips that look comfortable and fuller-looking. The innovative gel-like, non-sticky texture hugs lips in two limited-edition shades that are as brilliant as the formula: Honey (01) and limited-edition Raspberry (02). 

YSL Volupte Tint-In-Oil // A revolutionary lip color with a lip tint suspended in a deep conditioning oil. What it does: Coat your lips with this lip tint for a lightweight texture that instantly melts onto lips. It is infused with a blend of four essential oils for deep hydration: apricot kernel oil, coriander fruit oil, jojoba seed oil, and possiflora edulis seed oil. Its exclusive applicator envelops the lips in full color and allows for a precise and uniform application. Lightweight and non-sticky, this lip tint offers a new and luminous shine while the tint effect enhances the natural beauty of the lipsmaking it the perfect combination for youthful looking lips. Available colors: Pink About Me 8 ,Crush Me Orange 7 ,Peach Me Love 6 ,Cherry My Cherie 5 ,I Rose You 4 ,Undress Me 3 ,Oh My Gold 2 ,Drive Me Copper 1 
January 22, 2016

Flawless Complexion with Pür Minerals New Hydra Fluid Serum Foundation

I was so excited when I opened this beautiful package from Pür Minerals! I have been reading all about Spring beauty trends and how the focus is going to shift from overly caked and contoured to a more youthful, dewy canvas. The main event will be skin and getting that flawless but real finish. I'm so stoked about this for a couple reasons; I don't have a problem with a very structured, contoured complexion (hell that's what I do a lot of the time!) but while it looks great in photographs and in Instagram photos, it tends to not translate as well in real life. A lot of the time I'll get a great "after" picture for my blog or Instagram only to catch a glimpse of myself in natural light in a mirror and think "um...I don't look like a real person..." which is not a look I want to go for in my everyday life.

Pür Minerals Hydra Fluid Foundation is a serum foundation which means it is incredibly nourishing and hydrating. This super lightweight formula provides light to medium coverage with just a few drops. This would be a perfect option for dryer skin, mature skin, or anyone trying to get that "I'm not wearing any makeup" makeup look. 

The tube has the coolest glass medicinal-looking tip which not only looks great, but is very sanitary (yay!) and makes it virtually impossible to get too much product. You can very easily distribute just the right amount and build coverage as needed. 

I was pleasantly surprised with the consistency. Truth be told, I thought it would be much more liquidy than it was. I put a few drops on the back of my hand and did my "run test" to see how long it took for it to slide down. It held up really well and took at least 5-7 seconds before it started moving. Here's a photo of my face with the foundation applied all over and just a bit of under eye concealer "tapped" on with my middle finger (kind of like I'm flipping my dark circles the bird) and then just barely dusted with the lightest application of loose powder only on my T-zone. I wanted to leave the surrounding areas of my face powder-free so that my skin was really coming through. This foundation on its own leaves a truly dewy finish. I am a bit too oily to leave it that way otherwise I would be way too shiny after 20 minutes. However, if you find that regular foundations always end up looking thick or cakey no matter what you do, this would be a perfect option for you.

You're supposed to apply a few drops to the Pür Minerals Liquid Chisel Brush and then buff it into your skin using a circular motion. I didn't have that brush so I used my MAC 187 Duo Fibre Brush which worked really nice. I did notice the slightest bit of oxidation on my skin after about 45 minutes BUT I didn't use a primer so that may help keep the color from deepening up. When I'm testing out foundation for the first time I like to skip primer to see how the foundation holds up and performs on its own. Today I used it with my Borghese primer underneath and I used a little less foundation and it looks much closer to my skintone and had much better staying power. 

All I did to achieve this look (besides the application of foundation, concealer under the eyes, and dusting of powder), was fill in my brows using Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in "Caramel". A very light wash of Milani baked blush in "Luminoso" on my cheeks was next. I then dusted my lids with the same setting powder as my face, applied a coat of Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer, 2 coats of Tarte Lights Camera Lashes mascara, lined my lips with MAC liner in "Cherry", and then a coat of MAC "Steam Heat" from their limited edition Wash & Dry collection. Easy peasy! Such a pretty look for a Valentine's date! Just be sure to blot that lipstick off before any kissing...or....eating an entire box of chocolates by yourself on the sofa while watching Netflix...(no judgment!) 

January 19, 2016

Valentine's Day Wishlist 2016

Most people think I'm a whack job for loving Valentine's Day as much as I do. It's been my favorite holiday for eons and I'm not sure exactly why. Maybe it's all the pink and red, maybe it's that it means Spring is coming and everything is so fresh and floral and romantic. Maybe it's because CHOCOLATE. My husband knows that if he walks through the door with one thing and one thing only, it is to be the See's Candies Nuts & Chews chocolate box...seasonally wrapped, obvi. While we're on the topic of See's, have you ever had one of their Polar Bear Paws??!!?! OMG. Get your tushola in there immediately if not sooner and ask for one. You get one free sample. Don't you dare say I never did anything for you.

But I digress. I have been pining over some super pretty things for Valentine's Day this year and I thought I'd let you in on what is catching my eye. Peep on down below for a little inspiration.

Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.A.B.L.E. Lipstick in "Bitch Perfect" and Lip Cheat in "PillowTalk" // Free People Tulsi Boot in "Rust" // Gold Square Toggle Necklace // Clarins Lip Oil in "Raspberry" // Pixi Glow Tonic // Bumble & Bumble Invisible Oil Shampoo // Miu Miu Fragrance // Timex Easy Reader Watch in "Gunmetal" // Pink Train Case // Smith & Cult Nail Polishes in "Dark Like Me" and "Gay Ponies Dancing In The Snow"

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January 14, 2016

How to Look Awake and Refreshed When You're Tired and Short On Time

Now here's a topic that is near and dear to my lil black heart. I think as moms we can sometimes get caught up in taking care of everyone else and self-care can really take a backseat. I'm a big advocate of putting my family first, but ain't no shame in finding a few extra minutes in your morning to polish those edges and fake 8 hours of sleep! I didn't think "How to NOT Look Like a Piece of Gutter Trash" would do as well on Pinterest, so I went in a different direction title-wise. However, most days I be feelin' like a hot ass triple grande mess. But here's the rub: when I take 10 to 15 minutes above the neck region, it not only keeps me from scaring all the Target employees (apologies all around, my red and khaki clad brethren), but I feel like I get more accomplished. Is that weird? I really feel like when I'm "pulled together" it gives me a little extra burst of energy throughout the day as opposed to crawling around on the floor with my kids like a swamp monster (which, if I'm being honest, happens about 75% of the time....eh.....85%). Today I told my personal assistant (Siri) to set my stopwatch for 10 minutes and I went to work to see what I could come up with to look as young and energized as possible. Here's what I focused my attention on to get the most "bang for my buck" so to speak.

Splash some cold water on your face as if you're suffering from the world's worst hangover and you need to shock yourself back to reality. Moisturize with a GOOD moisturizer and take a few extra seconds to really massage it into your skin. Now let's get started...

1 | Even out your skintone: If you are one of those people with a perfect peaches-and-cream complexion, thank the skincare gods and move on. If you're like the rest of us blotchy skeezes, get your hands on a good BB or CC cream with buildable coverage that can be applied with your hands.
Department store top pick: It Cosmetics CC Cream
Drugstore top pick: NYX Cosmetics BB Cream (I love the "Nude" color. It is SO neutral with no pink or yellow undertones. It really does such a good job at cancelling out whacky discoloration.)

2 | Find a creamy concealer: On the days I really look tired, there's nothing better than a good, high-quality, densely pigmented but NOT cakey concealer. It really makes all the difference. I like to apply it with a wand applicator which is not only sanitary, but much easier to get it where it needs to go. Check out the handy photo I arted for you below to see where I apply it. If you're wondering, I fill in those under eye areas and forehead area with product. Then I gently press it in with a dampened BeautyBlender. You can gently press it in with your clean fingers though....totes fine!
Department store picks: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer or Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer
Drugstore picks: L'Oreal True Match Super Blendable Concealer or Maybelline Fit Me Concealer
3 | Set everything with a radiant powder: This one was a game-changer for me. I was using a basic "flat" finish powder to set everything with in the past, and while there's nothing wrong with that, it wasn't until I switched over to Laura Geller Balance-N-Brighten Baked Foundation Powder that I realized just how incredible my skin could look. I can't really describe this stuff in words...it's not shimmery, there's not glitter or sparkle...but it's not flat. It somehow just makes it look like you're glowing without being too over the top. I use the lightest shade "Porcelain" and it still doesn't look chalky! Worth every single penny. There is no dupe for this. You can also find this at Ulta and occasionally HauteLook has Laura Geller events so keep your eyes peeled.

4 | Glow baby GLOW: Say it with me now....highlighter. Unless you're living under a rock, you're familiar with it. And guess what, Ladies and Germs?? I made you another handy cheat sheet below with where I apply mine. It is certainly not a necessary step, but it really adds a dewy-without-being-greasy effect that adds such a beautiful, youthful dimension to the skin. Apply it with a fan brush (or if you don't have one, make sure it's bristles are loosely packed so you don't get chalky.)
Department store pick: BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector (Pressed) I use "Moonstone" because I'm pale, but "Opal" is pretty universal if you're any darker than me. You can also find this at Sephora, Ulta, and BECCA's website.
Drugstore pick: e.l.f. Studio Golden Bronzer. This little diamond in the rough is THREE DOLLARS. I use the lightest shade (bottom left corner) and apply it exactly the same as my BECCA. This is a seriously impressive highlighter. Don't be fooled by its price or the fact that it's labeled as a "bronzer". I'm not kidding, grab this at Target next time you're there. 
5 | Line your waterline (that wet area between your lower lashes and your eyeball) with a creamy nude liner: ignore anyone who tells you to use a white liner unless you want it to look super obvious or harsh. You want a nude liner. This gives you that "wide eyed" doe look and cancels out redness like no one's business. Such a quick step that makes a huge difference. I just lined my lower water line here.
Department store pick: NARS 'Larger Than Life' Liner in Rue Bonaparte
Drugstore picks: Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Liner in "Nude" or NYX Wonder Pencil (I use 'Light')

6 | Lay off the heavy liner on the lower lash line: I have nothing against wearing liner on the lower lash line, but if you skip this step it not only saves time, but it makes your eyes look so much more "open" and awake. If you must put something down there, try using an angled brush and smudging a pretty bronze shade along your lower lashes. It'll give you definition but will look so much more modern and youthful. I like Maybelline Color Tattoo in "Bad to the Bronze".

7 | Brows on the fleekiest fleek: It's 2016. Let's resolve to get our brows in ship shape, shall we? If you do nothing else for your beauty routine, do this. It makes the heftiest difference. If you are clueless on where to even begin, I highly suggest visiting a pro. The gals at Anastasia Brow Studio at Nordstrom as well as any of the Benefit Brow Bars (Macy's and Ulta) can really help you shape and choose the correct products. Powders, pomades, pencils...if you don't know which is best for you (and you may need to try a few before you land on the one that's best) they will break it all down for you. I use a combination of Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade with a stiff angled brush and Brow Wiz from the same line.
Drugstore picks: NYX Micro Brow Pencil and NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder (this one is neat because you can experiment with the powder OR use the clear gel that's included and create your own pomade. This is a fabulous brow product for under ten bucks.)

8 | Find a moisturizing, flattering lip product: I love me a strong, matte lip. But when I'm in a hurry and need to look healthy and awake, I usually reach for something I don't need to use a liner with, and something that looks like MLBB (my lips but better).
Department store picks: YSL Rouge Volupte Tint In Oil and Stila Color Balm Lipstick (I like 'Isabelle' and 'Maya').
Drugstore picks: Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter and CoverGirl Oh Sugar! Lip Balms

9 | Cream or stick blush: I usually reach for a cream or stick blush when I look extra wiped out for a couple reasons. One, I'll take a dewy glow wherever I can get it, and two, it's faster (for me). If you're faster or more comfortable with a powder, just make sure you choose a punchy (but sheer) color to perk things up. Another nice thing about using a cream or gel is that it can double for a lip color!
Department store picks: NARS The Multiple Stick and Chantecaille Cheek Gelee
Drugstore picks: NYX Cream Blush and Colour Prevails Bashful Beauty Multi Stick 

10 | Don't forget your hair: I am a frequent offender of the top knot (or man bun as I like to call it) which can look super cute when done correctly, but it takes me the same amount of time to do a center part and twist the sides back securing with a cute clip or bobby pins, or today I did a few extremely fast braids, pulled them apart, and just secured with bobby pins at the nape of my neck. Way more polished. Pinterest is great for quick ideas for hair. My favorite lately is Twist Me Pretty though. If you don't follow her, you're missing out. She's incredible. My hair isn't as long as hers, but I can still get some great ideas from her and they're super easy to execute (most of them). Here are some of my favorite hair accessories right now!

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