mmm delicious... too faced chocolate bon bons

Thursday, December 31, 2015

As a huge fan of the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette, I was definitely excited when I heard about the Chocolate Bon Bons palette. I jumped on my first chance to get it, and how could I not? It comes in cute pink packaging, the shadows are heart-shaped, and (of course) it smells like chocolate! 

The eye shadow addict in me is completely smitten with the palette. Aside from being cute in appearance, it really delivers in quality, as you've come to expect from Too Faced shadows. The shades have a strong pigmentation and the color selection in the palette is well rounded, making it a great palette for traveling.

The highlights in the group are exactly what you'd need- Satin Sheets is a shimmery champagne highlight and Divinity is a nice matte highlight for under the brow bone. The mattes are fantastic transition shades- I've been reaching for Almond Truffle constantly. Molasses Chip stands out as one of the true stars of this group with an incredible amount of pigmentation and a gorgeous metallic sheen! 

Gretchen Wieners finally made fetch happen! Totally Fetch is an eye catcher and would make such a fun bright liner! Glam rock at it's finest. :) I used Earl Grey as a soft blue-grey winged liner the first time I pulled out this baby and loved the effect of the subtle cool color.

Out of all the shades, the paler ones were the most meh for me, as a couple of them took a few swipes to built up to the color payoff I was looking for. Not terrible by any means, just not packing the punch that some others did. Aside from that, I'm seriously impressed with these shadows. If you're looking for a palette with both beautiful everyday shades and some fun pops of color, you'll love the Chocolate Bon Bons shadows. 

Now all I'm thinking is, do I need to give the Semi-Sweet palette a shot? I never paid much attention to that one, but if it's as good as the original or the bon bons, maybe I need it to round out the group! ;) Let me know what you think about these shadows or your feelings on the Semi-Sweet palette if you've tried it! Have fun on new year's eve and I talk to all of you in 2016! 

birthday haulin'

Monday, December 28, 2015

One of the best parts of any birthday are the presents, amiright? As I said in my last post, my parents took me and Steve out to dinner for my birthday. After dinner they surprised me with a birthstone Alex and Ani bracelet- so pretty! Of course, I ended up going a little nuts with online shopping a few days later. I had about a zillion coupons and birthday freebies for every store imaginable, so I clicked the "Place Order" button a few times... 

I picked out a couple of books that Steve bought for me. One I've always wanted to read (The Great Gatsby) and one that had recently been released to continue the Miss Peregrine series I've been making my way through (Library of Souls). Because a woman can't say no to a handbag, especially one that's on clearance for $20 (with a coupon code), I went for the Steve Madden BPrivate crossbody clutch in the black and brown version. Baublebar's coupon sucked me in as well so I chose the Crystal Flurry Collar Necklace. I wore this out to dinner recently with a faux leather peplum top and it made the whole outfit look so much more festive!

I went a little makeup shopping crazy and placed not one, but two orders from Sephora. I picked up my birthday Nars lip pencil minis in Cruella and Rikugien. (So excited to try Cruella!) I also tossed into that order a repurchase of the Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara, a Bobbi Brown shadow stick in Shadow (a cool gray), and the Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle in Guava/Moonstone. The second order was the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Pink Quartz, which I've wanted for ages and have been using daily for a glowy boost, and the new Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons palette (review to come!).

So there you have it, this year's birthday haul. Not too shabby and I'm sure there will be reviews coming your way for some of the makeup bits that I picked up, so keep an eye out for that! Also, just wanted thank you for all of the positive and sweet comments on my last post- it means a lot to have such lovely readers! Hope you all had a great Christmas!

So this is 30

Thursday, December 24, 2015

I'm officially 30. There. I said it out loud (sort of). Yes, as of December 6th, I became part of club 30's and left behind my fabulous 20's. Turning 30 has been a life event that I've been dreading and trying to ignore for quite some time. I liked being in my twenties. There's something about saying that I'm twenty-something that always seemed more palatable than saying I'm thirty. I enjoyed feeling like a young chicky, and being 30 seems instantly less fun. I suppose that wisdom and experience come with age, so there's that. I'm trying to deal with it positively and embrace it, though. It's just a number after all. Let's just hope I've inherited my grandma's anti-aging genes and always look much more youthful than I am!

The day itself was pretty low-key. The 6th was a Sunday and on the Friday before, Steve had sent me an Edible Arrangement at work to surprise me. (Chocolate covered fruit FTW!) On Sunday we ran a few errands and he cooked a delicious dinner of lobster tail, scallops, and rice, followed by a grand finale of a mouth-watering cheesecake sampler tray that we picked up that afternoon. My parents took us out to dinner the next day for Mexican at one of our favorite spots, too.

This birthday has kicked in an awakening of sorts for me. Reality seems to have set in that several decades how now come and gone, and there's plenty of things I'd like to do as I move forward in this next chapter.

Get healthy // I eat garbage and barely move most days, so I really want to get my butt into gear on the whole health-front. Steve and I are consciously starting to eat better- I'm cutting way down on sugars and am down about 6 lbs so far! We also joined a gym. That's a phrase I never thought I'd say. I've never belonged to a gym before, but I'm pleasantly surprised by it so far. I actually enjoy going and trying new machines that I've never used before. I'm really just looking to get back to a healthier weight and get a bit stronger. It's all about realistic goals right now.

Try new things // Instead of saying 'I always wanted to do that' I want to actually start doing some of those things. First up- snowboarding! It's something I always wanted to try, so I suggested it to Steve (who used to snowboard) and we decided to jump on it. Two days later, we got the necessary gear and headed out to the slopes, about an hour and a half away from our house. I only managed to make it down the bunny hill once and I was ridiculously sore and bruised the next day from just practicing (and falling - a lot), but I'm looking forward to going back soon! I will say, it was hands-down the most physically exhausting sport I've ever tried in my life. Especially being as out of shape as I am (lol- see previous paragraph).

Declutter and get organized // I don't know about you, but my house seems to be in a constant state of messy at all times. It's starting to drive me nuts, so it's near the top of my to do list to get on top of it. A good closet clean out is in order and some better organization for everything that tends to pile up is much overdue.

Read more // Making the time to read more is something that I'm really striving for from now on. I used to read so much and with everything else that needs to be done every week, it's just fallen off as a priority. I have a whole stack of books next to my bed that I'm determined to make time to get to. Next up on the nightstand is And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

So there you have it, the big three-oh here and gone and I've survived to tell the tale. Honestly, it wasn't so bad and I'm grateful for every year that I'm given to be able to experience more in life! Hope you're all having a great day!

The Hourglass powder trio has me hooked

Monday, December 14, 2015

I didn't need the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, but I definitely wanted it. I'd heard the hype, read plenty of reviews, and gazed at it on the Sephora site, but I still didn't truly understand how a trio of powders could get everyone so psyched. Until I swatched it, of course. That pretty much sealed the deal for a purchase.

The swatches alone were glorious. Intensely smooth, finely milled, and each serving a different purpose. The Hourglass powders when applied are supposed to mimic flattering lighting and make your skin appear more luminous. I've been using these every single day since I bought it and now I'm at the point where I can't imagine not owning them. Uh oh...

After applying my base products, I've been using Dim Light to set the concealer under my eyes and on my forehead and chin. Incandescent Light, since it's a brighter shade, looks best applied down the bridge of my nose and the tops of my cheekbones, if I'm not using any other highlight for the day. Radiant Light has an almost bronze tone to it, so I'll add a light dusting of that all over just to warm up my skin in a natural way. Since they're all such fine powders, they blend into your skin seamlessly and really do make you look like that glow is allll you! 

I really want to try out the Mood Exposure blush from Hourglass next. I don't have anything like it, and since I've been so pleased with the quality of these powders, I'm guessing I'll love the blushes too! 

Hope you all had a great weekend! Steve and I walked around Canalside in Buffalo for a while on Saturday night before meeting some friends for dinner. It was all decorated for Christmas and the skating rink was open, so we got some coffee and watched the skaters and a group that was curling for a while. There were also a few little stores open, so I ended up finding a Christmas gift for my mom and a skirt for myself! One for you, one for me, right? :)

A $3 Brush for a Flawlessly Blended Crease

Thursday, December 10, 2015

It's as if you've struck gold. That feeling you get when you find a brush that's inexpensive, but does a fantastic job, and you're using it in a completely different way than what it was made for. Well, it's happened. This is not a drill, people. Enter the e.l.f. Flawless Concealer Brush

This baby is only $3, so already this is looking like a great find. Now I said it's meant to be a concealer brush, right? Sure, I suppose it would be just fine for that. But if you're thinking outside the box, then it's big and fluffy enough to big a great crease blending brush. I loooove it for that! I've been pulling it out as the last step in my smokey eye shadow game and it's perfection for that final blend through the crease to ensure  all of your shadow is looking seamless and merged. #flawless

What brush do you use in a different way that's now a go-to for you?

what I've been up to {#2}

Monday, November 16, 2015

I've been slacking and haven't posting anything for about a month, so I figured it was about time to check in with all of you! The trip to Vegas was a lot of fun- shopping, eating, and gambling. Pretty much all that you could want in a trip (with a bit of training for work too haha)! My friend and I couldn't resist stopping at the Bellagio our first day there to check out the autumn display and it didn't disappoint. Every detail makes you so excited about fall!

The view from our rooms at the Cosmopolitan was fantastic- it looked right over the Bellagio fountains so we could watch the show every night.

We went out for shopping and dinner each night (a lot of Italian, wine, and one night of Mexican- yum!) I went for a black faux-leather peplum top one night with a pink fedora and a light blue floral romper another night. That one thing I love about Vegas- you can wear just about anything and never be out of place!

The last day of the trip we took a quick walk over to Aria to wander around and saw some truly stunning floral installments, including this hot air balloon!

I was actually pretty good about my shopping and only bought a pair of boots for myself and a couple of shirts for Steve (High five for self control...and only being just over the weight limit at the baggage counter- oops!)

Over the past month I've been watching Gilmore Girls religiously on Netflix. I've seen them all before, but you get such a good flow to the story watching them binge-style. I was completely psyched when I heard they're making a 4 episode revival of the show. OMGGGG I'm desperate for Rory and Jess to end up together in the end! (Fingers crossed!!!) If any of you are die hard GG fans too- let's talk about everythinggggg! 

I really want to start reading again. I used to read all the time and I just never make the time for it anymore. I'm in the middle of Hollow City (the second novel in the Peculiar Children series) and after that I'd like to move onto And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie and Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. I'd love to hear any of your book recommendations!

My birthday is coming up next month and I don't have any ideas for what to do to celebrate. I normally don't do much, but it's a bigger one so I kind of want to do something a little more special (or ignore it altogether...still undecided lol). Let me know in the comments the best thing you've ever done to celebrate your birthday! 

I'll try to post more often after this brief hiatus! Thanks for sticking around!

Night out makeup 2 ways: Too Faced Chocolate Bar and Urban Decay Naked 3 Palettes

Monday, October 19, 2015

As I mentioned in a few recent posts, I went to two weddings recently, which were two weekends in a row. I went with a smoky eye for both looks, but I did them in two different ways, so I thought it would be a fun post to show you how I changed up the look for each wedding. Hopefully this can serve as inspiration if you're itching for a smoky eye look for an upcoming night out!

Wedding #1: Too Faced Chocolate Bar

I wore a black dress to both weddings, so the possibilities were endless. I wanted to go for a look that focused on the cherry shade in the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette (one of my favorite shades in the bunch!) I started by blending Salted Caramel through the crease following by Milk Chocolate in the same fashion. These are such great shades for building up a transition! I patted Cherry Cordial across the lid and under my eye and finished blending out the crease with Semi-Sweet. Adding a pop of Champagne Truffle to the inner corners finished up the eye look and gave my eyes a bit of brightness! I really like how deep and dark it turned out, but since the darkness is from a deep burgundy, it's not quite as harsh of pure black.

Wedding #2: Urban Decay Naked 3

For the second wedding I was craving a look more in the pink family with more of the intensity around the lashes, rather than all over the eye. Naturally, the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette was the clear choice for the night! I blended the light pink Limit and then a deeper pink, Nooner, throughout the crease to build up the transition. I added the gray shade Darkside on the lid and under the eyes to amp up the darkness and topped it all off with Blackheart near the lash line on the upper and lower lid. I love this shade, as the red glitter throughout it spices up the black shadow. A bit of Strange at the inner corner and the shadows are complete! (I used the tape trick to get a nice clean edge for this look, too!)

A bit of black liner on the waterline and mascara for both looks and it's complete! I'd love to know what type of makeup look you go for when you have a wedding to go to! Which look is your favorite of the two smoky eyes? Have a fantastic week everyone! Leaving for Las Vegas pretty soon and I'm so excited! I need to start planning out some outfits for the days and nights there - I'm looking forward to some warmer weather!

Copper Penny

Monday, October 12, 2015

A shadow stick that has multiple purposes and is a gorgeous color is a total win in my book. The Laura Geller Eye Dew Cream Shadow Crayon in Copper Penny is all that and more! While browsing in Ulta one afternoon, I swatched the shade Trick from the Urban Decay Cosmic eyeliner set. It was instant love for this rosy-copper liner, but I was not willing to spend $29 for five eyeliners when I only wanted one of the shades in the box. So what a girl to do? Find a dupe, of course! I stumbled upon the Laura Geller shadow crayon in Copper Penny and swatched side by side they were an almost perfect match! At $16 for the shadow crayon, it's not the best dupe ever, but since it can be used as both a liner and a shadow, I think it's a good value. 

The crayon's been great for multiple uses, so I've been getting some versatile wear out of it. I love it three different ways- quickly applied and blended with my finger for a light wash of color and sheen, heavily layered up and blended with a brush for an intense metallic eye, or just in the inner corner for an unexpected highlight shade. 
The formula is top-quality for a cream shadow. It doesn't crease without a primer and it feels creamy both when it's applied and hours later. The shadow's been made with Aloe extract and Vitamin E to condition your eyelids, as well. Although it has all of those moisturizing components to it, the shadow never makes your lids feel oily. Can we also talk about how on-trend it is that shade falls somewhere between copper and rose gold? That completely sucked me in and it would be flattering on so many skin tones!

I hope you all had a great weekend! I started watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix and watched more episodes in one weekend than I'm willing to admit. I've seen the whole series before (my mom and I used to watch it together when I was originally on air), but I still love re-watching it! I'd highly recommend it if you haven't seen it before!

September Favorites 2015

Thursday, October 1, 2015

I would say the typical "Where did this month go?", but I know the answer for me: work and sickness. Long hours followed by a cold did not make September an amazing month by any means. October is going to be excellent, though! (Two weddings, a trip to Las Vegas, and Halloween!) I did have good month beauty-wise, and I found some great new products to share with all of you!

Origins Drink Up // Having a cold is terrible, but the damage it does to the skin around your nose when you've had to blow it about 500 times in one day is even worse. At the end of that tissue-filled day, my nose was irritated and red, so I used the Drink Up mask on just that area for about 15 minutes before bed. I'm not even exaggerating, when I woke up it wasn't red at all and you wouldn't even know I was sick! 

NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Ash Brown // I've mentioned in many posts that I'd heard the NYX brow pencil was a good dupe for the Anastasia Brow Wiz. Now that I've tried it, I can confidently say that it really is! Half the price and the same results makes this a shoe-in as a favorite this month! The shade selection in NYX is decent as well, with 8 shades to choose from. I'm somewhere between Chocolate and Ash Brown, but I think Ash Brown is a pretty good match for what I need for my brows.

Rimmel Lift Me Up Mascara // I've been switching it up from my beloved Maybelline Lash Sensational lately to the new Lift Me Up mascara from Rimmel. It's not quite as good in terms of length and volume, but it does a good job and is much easier to remove. It smells just like cucumbers, similar to the rest of the Wake Me Up range, and it has Argan oil in it to condition your lashes. My only complaint would be that the two larger ends of the waved brush are gigantic and I tend to get a little smudge of mascara on my lid no matter how hard I try not to every time I apply it.

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Orchid // Can you be in love with a color? 'Cuz I'm pretty sure I'm the heart-eyed emoji every time I apply this. I've worn this shade so much this month- it's ridiculous. This pretty color is a shimmery, cool-toned light purple with a bit of pink in it. The shade reminds me so much of the light purple shades I wore in my late-teens- I must be feeling nostalgic! If you have green eyes, this color will really enhance them, too! I can't rave enough about the formula of these shadow sticks. No primer needed and they can be worn more sheer or built up to a brighter color. I might go as far as to say I like them better than the By Terry Ombre Blackstars. (Eek!)

Laura Geller Eye Dew in Copper Penny // I have a full review of this shadow stick coming up next week, but for now I'll say that this was a surprising favorite! It was an unplanned purchase, but I've fallen in love with the versatility of the shade! Copper Penny is truly metallic shade, that I've been using in three different ways: a sheer wash of shimmer across the lid, built up to an intense copper shimmer, and as an inner corner highlight in an unexpected shade. 

Revlon Lip Butter in Creme Brulee // You might have noticed that Creme Brulee wasn't in my full review of the Revlon Lip Butters. Yes, I bought another one since then. #notashamed This shade shot to the top of my favorite colors and I've worn it almost every day. It looks like a brown-ish tan in the tube, but on the lips it transforms into a glossy nude your-lips-but-better shade and goes with any look you've created that day. I looooove it! I can't find the lip butters on the Revlon website anymore, so I'm wondering if they're discontinued?!? I hope not! Get 'em while you can, I guess!

What was your favorite product this month? A new purchase or a rediscovery of an old favorite? As I said earlier, I have two weddings this month and they're two weekends in a row- busy busy! My company is also send me and my work bff to training in Vegas at the end of the month. We're going down a day ahead of time to have some fun before training starts (read: shopping and eating). We're trying to pull together our list of restaurants to go to while we're there. Any suggestions are welcome!

Current skincare routine: a.m., p.m. and everything in between

Monday, September 28, 2015

My skin is something that gets commented on both on the blog and in person relatively often. I take a lot of pride in my skin and think that it's a combination of being lucky to get very few breakouts nowadays and taking good care of it every day. I'm hoping I've inherited my grandma's anti-aging genes- I swear she didn't age at all during the last 20 years of her life! I'm going to preface this entire post my saying that I'm not an expert in skincare and I'm just sharing what works for me, which may not be what will be best for you. For your reference, my skin is currently sensitive and combination/dry.

Each morning for the past month or so, I've been reaching for the Simple Moisturizing Facial Wash. My skin was feeling pretty dry prior to switching to this and I can honestly say that it feels significantly more hydrated every day when I wash with this. After I'm all cleansed-up, comes the finishing steps. I use a toning spray (both morning and night) after cleansing and have been spritzing nothing but Lush's Breath of Fresh Air for months. After generously spraying this refreshing and nourishing toner that smells like the sea (love the scent!),  I apply a light layer of the Simple Replenishing Rich Moisturizer. I'm pretty impressed by the formula of this moisturizer, as it doesn't irritate my sensitive skin, a little goes a long way, and you really do feel like your skin stays moisturized for hours.

If you've been a reader around here for a while, then you've probably noticed that in pretty much all FOTD posts, I never mention a foundation. That's because 99% of time I don't use any. Don't get me wrong, I feel like foundation can be great for balancing skin tone, hiding blemishes and scars, and making a nice, even-toned base. However, it always makes my skin feel like it can't breathe all day and is super clogged for days to follow. This might just be me, but I feel like going foundation-free helps my skin to be healthier and have less breakouts. I will apply a tinted moisturizer every once in a while, though, so I completely understand wanting more coverage from time to time.

My makeup removal varies, depending on what I have on and my laziness at night, honestly. On nights when I'm tired and can't be bothered for intense makeup removal I'll use the Up & Up makeup removing wipes (not pictured) or the Simple Micellar Cleansing Wipes. (I'm shaking my head at myself for using wipes, but we all know the struggle...) On tough as nails waterproof mascara (I'm lookin' at you Lash Sensational) I'll reach for an oil-based makeup remover pad to get off the excess that won't budge. I really like these pre-soaked eye makeup remover pads from Almay. On evenings when I'm actually being good about my skincare, my favorite makeup removing and cleansing hybrid is the cult favorite Ultrabland from Lush. The texture is somewhere between an oil and a balm and leaves your skin feeling both clean and hydrated. As I said in the A.M. routine, I follow up cleansing with a few sprays of toner water and moisturizer.

Everything in Between
Aside from the typical cleansing and moisturizing, there are a few others steps that I consistently keep in my routine to keep my skin looking as radiant and youthful as possible. I dont ever sleep in makeup. Ever.  Even on those nights when you come home after having far too many drinks and can barely function, I still take two minutes to quickly remove my makeup. Your skin will thank you the next day. I'm also an extreme stickler for sunscreen, especially on my face. If I know I'll be outdoors for more than 10 minutes, some form of spf will be on my face. I'd rather not risk getting the dreaded lobster-look from sunburn, premature aging, or (most importantly) risk my long-term health.

Masks are your friend when your skin is dry, acting up, seen too much sun, or recovering from a night out. I like the Origins Drink Up Mask for either spot treatments of dry areas or a hydration boost for my entire face (full review here). BioRepublic Sheet Masks are a favorite of mine, as well. The Aloe Rescue mask is so good after a day in the sun - I used it one day this summer after I was outside all day and my face felt so cooled and soothed after I used it! Lastly, let your skin have one day off a week. Unless I have some serious plans, every week I abide by makeup-free Sunday. Every Monday morning, my skin feels cleaner and less irritated because of it.

Oh boy, the makeup free selfie. (It was makeup-free Sunday when I took it, of course!) Well, there you have it, my daily routine and some tips and tricks for what keeps my skin looking and feeling healthy. I'd love to know what products and tricks you swear by in your skincare routine!

I hope you all had a great weekend! Of course as soon as I finished working crazy hours, I got sick. Isn't that always the way? Ugh. I'm definitely feeling a lot better than I was a few days ago, so things are looking up! What is everyone up to this week? Steve and I have a wedding to go to on Saturday for my cousin. I've finally found a dress, so now I just have to decide how to style it and what makeup and hair combo to go for! Have a great week!

Simple and chic nail art

Monday, September 21, 2015

I typically can't be bothered with any nail art. It never seems to turn out how I envisioned and I usually prefer the look of a single color. However, I was feeling inspired to shake it up the other day and tried out a simple, chic, and easy nail art design using only two colors. 

After the normal base coat, I applied two coats of a sheer pink polish, to make my nails look natural with a hint of shine and tint. I used the Sally Hansen Triple Shine polish in a sheer pink, Jell-ous, which isn't available anymore, but Essie's Pink Glove Service should give you the same effect.  After the sheer pink had dried a bit, I went in with a cool gray (Essie Chinchilly) and free-handed the triangle section in the same corner of each nail. If your hand isn't very steady you may need to use tape to keep the line even, but the Essie brush is a good firmness for helping to create a straight line.

So that's it! Really easy to create, but more unique than a one color mani. Are any of you going to try this out? If you do, upload a picture to Instagram and tag me (@_shelikestoshop) so I can check it out! I hope you all had a great weekend! I went to a bachelorette party on Saturday, which was such a blast! I caught up with some old friends that I haven't seen for years, and had some delicious drinks along the way while we stopped at different local breweries!

Revlon Lip Butters: the tinted balm I can't get enough of

Monday, September 14, 2015

I know when to admit that I have a problem... And that moment was when I knew I had a bunch of the Revlon Lip Butters, but didn't know just how many until I gathered them for this post. Now that I've 'fessed up, let's dive into exactly why I keep buying them!

First and foremost, I am a lip balm girl. I use a balm more than any lipstick, lipgloss, or lipstain that I own. It's the ease of a balm that really appeals to me. The quick slap on, knowing that if it wears off I don't need to touch it up unless I want to, and the hydration that it gives my lips. Enter the Revlon Lip Butters. They're the more refined version of a typical lip balm- they do all the things that a balm does, but they also provide a nice sheen and wash of color to the lips. 

Out of all of the shades that I own, I seem to gravitate towards the lighter, more sheer colors most often. Must be that fuss-free thing, again. My hands-down favorite, and most recent addition is Cotton Candy (as seen in my August favorites). It's a cool-toned pink that's a perfect color for me. I carry it around everywhere, which, for me, is a clear cut sign of a winner. Juicy Papaya, a light coral, and Strawberry Shortcake, a baby pink, have been go-to shades for me all summer. They're such easy colors to finish off a any makeup look, since they go with almost any eyeshadow and blush you could choose for the day.

If a red lip is what you're looking for, but you don't want the extreme commitment of a red red, then Candy Apple is what you need. A light wash of red, but not too intense. Of all the shades I've tried, Lollipop is my least favorite, solely because of the ridiculous amount of glittery bits in it. That glitter makes it look terrible on it's own (who wants glitter chunks on their lips?), but topped off with a pigmented gloss, it makes a nice bright pink base.

As we're moving into fall, Raspberry Pie and Sugar Plum are great deeper colors for the seasonal change. Raspberry Pie is the deeper pink-toned berry shade that every lip collection needs. Sugar Plum is great for anyone who's loving the 90's trend being a dark purple with a heavy brown undertone.

The packaging is bright and fun and the names are honestly yummy! Since each tube is color coded you know which shade is which at a quick glance. The perpetually late lady in me loves that, since in so simple to find the one you're looking for within your lip stash (or hoard, as mine seems to have become...)

Have you tried the Revlon Lip Butters before? If you have, what's your favorite shade? Do you have any other tinted lip balms that you'd recommend?

August Favorites 2015

Monday, September 7, 2015

August was a crazy month for me. A lot of long days at work, which left me exhausted on the weekends. As sad as I am that summer is almost over, I'm looking forward to work slowing down and all of the great things that autumn brings! Even though last month was hectic and exhausting, there were some great products to get me through it!

Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Brown // One half of my holy grail brow team. I've loved this one so much that it's officially empty! This lovely pencil has the perfect little nib for filling out my light and sparse brows perfectly and naturally. Set it with your brow gel of choice, and you're good to go all day, without fading or smudging. I've heard NYX has a good dupe of this that I'd really like to check out. If you've tried it, please let me know what you thought!

Revlon Lip Butter in Cotton Candy // I have a whole review of these coming soon, but I think out of all of the shades I've tried, this one is my perfect match for every day. Cotton Candy is a sheer cool-toned pink with strong blue undertones. It's light enough to slap on sans mirror, but still has a hint of color that gives your lips the extra boost that standard balms don't have.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara // Aka the best mascara I've used in a long time. You can read my full review here, but I will say that I fully plan on re-purchasing this when it runs out. My lashes look ridiculously longer when I add a coat or two of this and the waterproof formula really does hold the curl, even if it's a giant pain to remove.

L'Oreal Magic Lumi Highlighting Concealer // All month long I've swapped out my typical concealers for this. Swiping the product under my eyes has added the perfect amount of both concealer and light to my sleep-deprived undereyes. I love the effect this gives, as it's not too heavy, but it gives a beautiful brightened glow to wherever it's applied. 

Satya Constellation Pendant (on sale!) // I picked up this pretty pendant in the Nordstrom anniversary sale back in July and have been wearing it non-stop. The gray face paired with the gold detailing are such a perfect color pairing in my opinion. The fact that it's your astrological sign (hello fellow Sagittarius ladies!) and your birthstone make it so much more personalized and unique. The chain is the perfect length and the style of the pendant goes with almost anything, from dresses to t-shirts. It's 50% off right now, too!

I hope you all had a great August! I'm looking forward to September and October, and autumn in general! I have a bachelorette party in September for one of my good friends from high school, so that should be a ton of fun. October will be bringing two weddings, a trip to Las Vegas with my work bff (more on that later!), and of course Halloween, my favorite holiday! Have a fantastic week everyone!

Urban Decay Lounge - unusual in the pan, unexpected on the lid

Monday, August 31, 2015

As I mentioned in my review of Urban Decay's Tonic shadow, I wanted to try out Lounge next. I didn't even remember seeing it in the store when I bought Tonic, so I was on a mission for it the last time I went shopping. Once I spotted it, I remembered why I didn't notice it last time. It looks like straight-up green shadow at first glance. Green shadow isn't exactly my jam when it comes to colors I typically use, but I swatched it anyway. 

Lounge is one magical little shadow. Although it's a deep green in the pan, it becomes a stunning reddish-brown with a hint of green shift when it's applied. I've never used anything like it. It's so multi-dimensional and stunning! A neutral lover's dream, it's a very wearable warm red-brown, but when light catches it, that green gives it a unexpected colorful sheen that amps it up! This has been my go-to lately when I want one shadow all over the lid, but I'm still looking for something a little unique. 

Have you ever tried Urban Decay's Lounge? What eyeshadows have surprised you that looked odd in the pan? I don't know what it is about these UD singles, but they keep sucking me in. Who knows which one I'll try next. If you have recommendations, I'd love to hear them! Have a great week!

We've got a one coat-er here, folks

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Opaque in one coat. Sweeter words were never spoken. As a self-professed Essie addict, it takes a lot for me to try out another nail polish. I'd heard a little bit of buzz about Trust Fund Beauty so I was definitely excited to give it a whirl when it came in my Ipsy bag this month. Although it's a bit pricier than an Essie polish, at $15 a bottle, it might be worth the splurge for the right shade. In a tall, hefty bottle it already has a feeling of luxury, and being non-toxic and cruelty-free takes the brand up another notch. 

The shade I tried, Elegantly Wasted, is a deep lilac purple, so a seriously Me shade. Earning points already... The brush is the perfect size for full brush strokes that evenly coat the nail. I can't speak to all shades, of course, but I can say that this purple gem was fully opaque in one coat, without being streaky or bubbly. Cue party music, 'cuz that is some serious joy and so hard to find in a polish. Two coats? Sure! But one? Yes, please, sign me up!

As I was browsing around the Trust Fund Beauty site, I was loving their vibe more and more. Their colors are chic and their shade descriptions equally sassy. Resting Bitch Face, a duochrome shade that caught my eye, is described as "Nothing is wrong, I am not mad it's just my face!" Hilarious, and I can completely relate to the RBF syndrome! I also love the looks of Got Yacht (a deep blue that's perfect for fall) and Kiss Kiss Darling (a chic, dark burgundy red).

Use the code IPSYGIRL through September 30th to get 35% off your order on the Trust Fund Beauty site. If you try any of the polishes, let me know if you like the formula, too! I'm always excited for a recommendation!

The reality of a beauty box subscription for a beauty addict

Monday, August 24, 2015

When the beauty box subscription trend took off a couple of years ago I was totally on board. It sounded awesome - $10 a month and you'd get a box full of beauty surprises delivered to your doorstep to try out. I signed up to Birchbox first and Ipsy a few months later, and I'm still subscribed to both. (I'm on the fence about continuing with one of them, but more on that later...) I wanted to share my experiences and thoughts on the best and worst parts of them, as well as some more info on the ones that I use.

Obviously one of the most fun parts of these monthly boxes for a beauty addict is being able to try out a lot of new products for a relatively reasonable cost. I've discovered so many incredible products that I might never have tried if they hadn't come in a beauty box (I'm looking at you, Laura Geller Blush-n-Brighten.) I've also received so many different makeup removers, hair oils, and face sunscreens that I won't need to buy any for a very long time. However, you're also rolling the dice with getting something you'll never use. I've received several lipsticks that are shades that I'll never wear in a million years, and it's not like you can exchange them for something different.

Being both a beauty lover and beauty blogger, I tend to buy a lot of makeup, skincare, and hair products pretty often. So adding in ten-ish more products a month from two boxes on top of what I've already bought leads to the dreaded pileup. I have so many products between what I've willingly bought and what's come in my beauty boxes that I'll never have enough time to try out, let alone consistently use them all. There are honestly several boxes worth of products that haven't even been opened. This is probably the biggest con for me of having these subscriptions and why I want to cut it down to just one. I've ended up putting together a little pile of things I think my mom would like or that I have something similar to to give her her so at least someone will get use out of them.

As I said before, I currently subscribe to both Birchbox and Ipsy. I'm strongly considering getting rid of Ipsy, though. Out of the two I seem to get more beauty related products in Ipsy (more beauty than skincare, etc.). However, the shades I get are really hit or miss for me- either something in a shade I don't like, another black eyeliner, or, at times, a chalky eye shadow. Granted, there are definitely some gems once in a while (nail polish from Trust Fund Beauty, a shadow brush from Crown Brush), but not too many products that really stand out to me. Last but not least, I feel like the rewards program is horrendous. You get points for reviewing products, but by the time you have enough to cash in for an extra product in your bag, pretty much everything is sold out. They also seem to expire faster than I can earn enough to use most of the time, so I feel like I'm really not getting any type of rewards for being subscribed.

Birchbox on the other hand is the box that I see myself keeping for quite some time. They've really upped their game since I first subscribed to them two years ago. The boxes I get have a good mix of beauty products, hair care, skincare, nail polish, and everything in between. They've also added a great feature where every month you can choose between a guest editor box which is selection of products chosen by the likes of Emily Schuman from Cupcakes and Cashmere, Nicole Richie, Rent the Runway (that was a great box!), or you can choose one of the 5 products that you'll receive in your next box from a small list. I love this feature, since it gives you a little bit more control over what you'll be receiving, and I have to say, the guest editor boxes have been really good lately. 

The rewards program that Birchbox offers is killer and one of the main reasons I'll keep subscribing. Every product you review is 10 points and every dollar you spend in the Birchbox shop is 1 point. Every 100 points earned is $10 you can spend in the shop, so basically if you just review all of you products each month, then every 2 months you'd have $10 to spend. The shop offers a lot of great products, too, from brands like Benefit, Oribe, By Terry, and Laura Mercier, among others. Just for an example of how great the rewards program can be, I just combined some earned rewards points with a discount code that they sent me and bought a Laura Mercier baked eye shadow, cream shadow stick, and a By Terry Ombre Blackstar shadow stick all for a little less than $50. For what those cost full price, that's a steal in my mind, and most of the rewards that I cashed in were from doing a quick review of the products in my box each month.

If you subscribe to any beauty boxes, let me know if you're experiences are similar to mine! If you're interested in subscribing to Birchbox, click here! Ok, now I feel like that turned into an unintentional essay... Who knew there was so much to say about beauty boxes? This post wasn't sponsored in any way, I just really wanted to throw my thoughts your way about these boxes.

I'm sorry I'm been MIA for over a week - work got super busy and I had some plans on the weekends, so there just ended up being no time for creating any posts that I would feel proud of. I went shopping on Friday night, mostly as a mental boost after a long week at work. After a few stores and a lot of browsing, I picked up a couple of new things including these little flats (on sale!) that I posted on my Instagram. I did almost nothing on Saturday (literally nothing - it was awesome!) and on Sunday I had a bridal shower to go to. Afterwards, Steve and I went to our nephew's football game, too. I hope you all had a great weekend!

I've got your oasis right here

Thursday, August 13, 2015

I'm going to need to start cataloging my Essie polishes soon, 'cuz I'm starting to lose track of which ones I have at this point. (I'm officially an Essie hoarder.) Luckily the latest one I picked up, Find Me An Oasis, was a shade I didn't have yet. The baby blue tone was calling to me- it looked so soft and feminine, making it a great summer nail color! This one's a pale gal in the bottle, almost like a white polish with a hint of blue. When applied, it comes across a lot brighter than you would think! It has quite a pop to it and reminds me a little bit of Mint Candy Apple (but less minty, of course).  As light as it is, two coats made it completely opaque. I looove when it only takes two coats! It wears just as well as most Essie polishes, too. I'm about a week into it as I type this and there's not a chip in sight. I'm definitely happy to have added this cute color to the group!

Have any of you ever tried this shade or anything similar? Will this color be your summer nail oasis?

Back on the Maybelline mascara train

Monday, August 10, 2015

Now I remember why I only bought Maybelline mascara for years! After being loyal to The Falsies, then The Rocket, I decided to shake it up and try some other brands' mascaras for a while. Not that they were bad by any means, they just weren't exactly what I look for to enhance my lashes. I picked up a tube of the Maybelline Lash Sensational after hearing that it was one of the best drugstore mascaras to come out in a while. After one use, it all came back to me and I've completely reignited my love for Maybelline mascaras. 

I went for the waterproof version, since my lashes can't hold a curl to save their life. When they say waterproof, man do they mean it. Only tough makeup remover can get this stuff off at the end of the day (I've been using Lush's Ultrabland), so it definitely is a long lasting formula. I really put it to the test this weekend - Steve and I went out on the motorcycle for a while and even with the wind in my eyes and them watering like crazy, this stuff didn't budge!

It's a wetter formula and quite a bit comes out of the tube onto the brush, so I've found it best to wipe the excess off on the opening of the tube before applying. One coats gives me good definition and coats all of my lashes nicely, but it can also be built up with multiple coats easily. If multiple coats are added, you'll need to work a little faster than normal, since this formula seems to dry more quickly than the average mascara. 

The plastic brush might be my favorite feature of this mascara. It somehow seems to snugly grab each lash right at the root and hug them to coat each one all the way to the tip. I love that feeling during application- so satisfying! The slight bend of the wand also nicely fits along my lashes without getting mascara all over my lid, too. (We all know how much I hate that!)

Let me know if you've tried Lash Sensational and what you thought of it! It's safe to say I'm back on the Maybelline mascara train with this one. I hope you all had a great weekend! Steve and I popped over to an annual art festival on Saturday and picked up a few small pieces for the house. The weather was perfect for walking around there, too - not too hot like it always seems to be. I went to a bridal shower on Sunday for one of my best friends from high school and caught up with a few other old friends when I was there, too! Looking forward to the bachelorette party and wedding!

The contour powder I've been using daily

Thursday, August 6, 2015

I've heard beauty bloggers talk about the NYX HD Blush in Taupe as a contour shade for a while now, but I was on the fence, especially since it had been reformulated and repackaged. Holly from Bloomin Rouge featured it in her June favorites and reminded me again that I wanted to give it a whirl.

I have a hard time falling in love with powders for contouring. The only one I've used (and liked) in the past is Benefit's Hoola, so I really wanted to find a drugstore alternative. NYX's Taupe incredibly inexpensive at $6.50, which is such a bonus. I'm just going to say it- this blush has completely blown me away and hit on all of the things I look for in a powder contour. The powder is finely milled, so one swipe of your brush has enough to provide a subtle shadow, but it's also really easy to build up to a more noticeable contour. The color itself is a cool-toned brown with a subtle gray undertone, so basically a gorgeous contour shade. It's very long-wearing, as well- I can still notice it on my face at the end of the day after applying it in the morning.

So long story short, this has shot to the top of my list for contour powders! Have you ever tried NYX's blush in taupe? Let me know your favorite drugstore product for contouring!

July Favorites

Monday, August 3, 2015

As we're getting into August already (August-eek!!), it's time for July Favorites! I've been using some new products and rediscovered some old favorites, so let's dive right in!

Lush Breath of Fresh Air Toner Water // I haven't given this one a full review yet, since I'm still testing it out, but I've been misting this on my face both morning and night for about a month. It smells incredibly refreshing, like seawater, and makes my skin feel revitalized when I use it. 

NYX HD Blush in Taupe // I bought this after reading a great review of it in Bloomin Rouge's June Favorites and now it's in my favorites, so... On Thursday I'll have a full review of this, so stay tuned, but I'll just say for now that it's been my daily contour powder every single day for weeks. I luuuurve it!

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer // As you can see, this concealer is well loved and almost empty. I love this drugstore gem since it gives good coverage, it's very creamy, and blends out easily. I like to swipe this on the general area that I need it, and then blend it out with brush to make it a little more seamless.

Revlon Color Burst Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya // I've swapped out my typical lip balm for this sheer peachy glossy balm and loving the added oomph it gives to my daily look. I always forget about these, but I'm so happy I rediscovered this while shopping my stash. It's such an easy product to quickly slap on, but it gives such a bright, summery color to your lips!

theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer // I don't know if it's the sudden heat wave we've been having or strobing being everywhere you look, but I have been completely obsessed with slapping this highlighter all over my cheekbones for an intense glow. I probably wear too much for daytime, but who cares- do what makes you happy. The champagne sheen it adds to my cheeks gives me all the feels.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Tonic // You may have seen my full review of this purple shadow a few weeks back, and I'm still just as in love with this duochrome shade now as I was then. I've been loving it on minimal makeup days for a little added dimension on my lids and a light wash of color. It's such a versatile stunner!

The Strain // My last July favorite is a tv show! Steve and I watched the first season of The Strain in less than a week and now we're caught up on season 2, which is still in progress. I didn't know much about it before I watched it, but I'm pretty addicted now. If you like shows that have anything to do with vampires, zombies, or apocalyptic environments, then you'll probably like this one.

Let me know what your favorite product was in July! I'd love to hear your recommendations!

A brush to save your shadow from the dreaded mascara smudge

Thursday, July 30, 2015

You would think that as I've applied makeup since I was a teenager I would have mastered mascara application by now. Not the case. Without fail, multiple times a week I end up getting a smudge on my freshly applied shadow. I really need to get it together...

With all of those failed mascara applications, I've found a savior for fixing it, in an unexpected place! For years I tried to squeeze my pinky to the freshly smudged sections, whilst trying not to destroy the shadow and get wet mascara all over my finger. (I do not want to start all over again.) I'm sure you can picture it or have even been there yourself!

Eventually, I spotted a solution that was (literally) right in front of me the whole time- in my cup full of makeup brushes! I've swapped out the unreliable pinky for a helpful little concealer brush from e.l.f.! I always hated this brush for concealer- it didn't do well with applying it or blending it, so it sat there useless for quite some time. For fixing mascara mess-ups, though? Perfection! It's small, skinny, and dense so it wipes away the smudge like a dream without messing up the rest of your makeup. And it's only $1!

Will you be using this trick on your next mascara accident?

The pastel nail polish you need in your collection

Monday, July 27, 2015

I don't know about you, but when I go to a salon for a manicure I love to try out colors that I've had my eye on for a while, as a "test run". I did just this last week, and now Essie's Go Ginza is at the top of my must-have list! In the bottle it looks like a white-based pale pastel lilac with a soft pink undertone. It reminds me a bit of White Horse Street from Nails Inc's The New White collection (which I've eyed-up for a while now), but it's much more affordable. Once it's applied it takes on a muted shade somewhere in between purple and pink, depending on how the light hits it. I love the color and although I'm a bit of a purple nail polish hoarder, I don't have anything like it in my collection. 

Have you tried Go Ginza before? What color have you been itching to try lately?

Jewelry on repeat

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Seeing as I've been on a couple of jewelry buying binges lately and I have some well-loved and always-worn pieces that I throw on constantly, I thought it was the perfect time to showcase what's in my jewelry rotation. All of it's still available too, (except for one)!

I was never much of a ring wearer, aside from my wedding rings. However, I wanted to add something into the daily mix and stumbled onto the Galisfly site while shopping on Etsy. Everything in this shop is handmade and I instantly fell in love with the Shiny Cuff Ring in Rose Gold ($25). Pretty sure I've worn it every single day since I bought it last fall and I'm completely in love with it! I'd definitely recommend having a browse through the rest of the store, as the other jewelry is just as fab and ranges from simple rings to ear jackets, statement bracelets, and septum rings, among others. (I'm totally not sponsored, I just genuinely love Gal's jewelry and am always up for supporting small shops!)

The newest addition to my daily ring posse is the Parallel Bar Ring in Rose Gold from Baublebar ($28). Can you be in love with a ring? 'Cuz I'm pretty sure I am with this one. It's so simple, yet still eye-catching and I literally stare at it when it's a complete weirdo. The band is slim and incredibly comfortable, too. It really rounds out what was missing in my ring collection.

If you've been a longtime reader of this blog, then you would've seen this Marc Jacobs rose gold and burgundy watch crop up in tons of photos. I've worn this beauty daily for well over a year and I'm still in love with it! The burgundy face, while unconventional, surprising matches everything. Somehow it jives with every outfit, and it's a little more eye-catching than the standard watch face. Unfortunately it's no longer available, but I love this peach one, this off-black one from the same brand, and this one from Fossil.

I've been a fan of Alex and Ani for several years now and have built up a bit of a collection, but I have a few faves that I wear more than others. The newbie to the group is the Flame Rock and Raw Wrap ($68), which I picked up recently when they were having a sale on their site. I love the almost duochrome purple-y tones to the beads, plus the spikes make it so perfect for adding some edge to any outfit. Love this. My first and most worn charm from the brand is the Eye of Horus Bangle in Gold ($28). I've always had a fascination with ancient Egyptian history the eye of Horus is such a stunning symbol. It's claimed to be a token of protection that wards off evil - probably not, but I like the idea! Last up is the Atlantean Wrap in Gold ($58)! I love the shape and lines of it and the added dimension it gives to my wrist party.

I'm a sucker for anything with a snake on it, so of course the Serpentine Cuff in Rose Gold from Baublebar ($32) totally got me. I was torn between this rose gold and crystal version and the gold and black style (both gorgeous!), but I figured the rose gold bracelet went with the rest of my jewelry. The crystals on each snake make it a bit more feminine, too.

Last, but not least is a statement necklace that amps up anything from a printed dress to a simple t-shirt and jeans. The Flurry Fringe Tassel Pendant from Baublebar (Normally $42- currently on sale for $15!) was on my wishlist for ages and when I saw it pop up as the buried bauble for practically a steal of a price I took it as a sign to grab it! I love the antique gold finish and the thick link texture of the chain. The square tassels paired with the mix of clear and opaque crystals make it such a unique necklace in my collection. It reminds me out something straight out of the Gatsby-era and that probably what I love most about it!

Also, just wanted to share a few tips for getting items for a little less. I didn't spend full price on a lot of these, so I wanted to share a couple of the ways that I've scored a discount. I found the watch on a clearance rack in Macy's. I think it was 50% off at the time, as it looked like a fall piece (my guess, based on the deep color) and I bought it in the spring. So keep your eyes posted at jewelry counters, since you never know what you'll find on sale! I picked up the Alex & Ani wrap bracelet for 50% off, combining a site-wide sale with a coupon for taking a survey for the company. The survey came in an email, since I signed up for them after my first purchase! Combining discounts never felt so good haha! As for the discount on the necklace, I get emails from Baublebar too, and when there's a new buried bauble (aka a super-discounted item) for the week, I find out. So when this one came through I jumped on it immediately in case it sold out! So, long story short, keep an eye out for discounts in stores and if you're a fan of a brand, signing up for emails from them might get you a great discount from time to time!

So what's you're favorite piece out of all of these? What the most worn jewelry item in your collection? I'd love to know!

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