worth the splurge: high end products I always reach for

Monday, February 29, 2016

Who doesn't love to treat themselves once in a while? I love a good splurge, but I want to know that what I'm spending my hard-earned money on is worth the extra dollars. There's nothing worse than buying something pricey that turns out to be an epic fail. There's a few high end products that I've bought that have been totally worth it. I reach for them all the time and would definitely repurchase them when they run out.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette // I was completely skeptical about buying this and resisted it for a really long time. Since I've bought it, though, I've found myself using it every single day. It's such a finely milled, smooth formula that blends into the skin seamlessly. I mix the shades Dim and Incandescent every morning to set my undereye concealer. 

Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop // The beauty community blew up over this highlighter last year. That craze was justified. The shimmery, golden goodness of this shade is what makes me love it so much. I have quite a few highlighters in my stash, but I always reach for this one over the others. A little bit goes a long way and it adds that pop of glow to take your look up a notch.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel // Brows are an important part of my daily routine- they're tedious, but make the most difference to how I look and feel. I've tried a bunch of brow gels, but there is always something off. This one, on the other hand, has a perfectly-sized brush and gel isn't too wet or dry. It's my top pick, though, because once it's on it holds your brows perfectly, but doesn't make them hard or unnatural. Plus, I use this every day and it's been going strong for months without running out or drying up.

Laura Geller Blush-n-Brighten in Tropic Hues // My hands down, most worn blush in my excessive collection is definitely LG's Tropic Hues. No-makeup makeup day and want a subtle blush? Tropic Hues. Smokey eye and need a blush to balance it out? Tropic Hues. It's such a perfect mix of pink and peach that it goes with anything and can be applied lightly or really built up. It's one my favorite products that I've ever bought. 

Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks // As far as shadow sticks go, I know the By Terry ones get a lot of buzz, but it's the LM Caviar Sticks that have my heart. The formula is super creamy and long lasting. There's a good amount of shimmer to add that extra sheen to your lid, without irritating your eye. The shade selection in fantastic as well - my all time fave is Amethyst, but Orchid and Sandglow aren't far behind. I feel like I'll slowly end up with all of them.

Let me know what your #1 splurge is! Hope you had a good weekend! I spent most of mine getting some rest, after batting a cold/flu beast most of the week. No fun. 

currently loving: february 2016

Monday, February 22, 2016

Since my monthly favorites are more beauty focused, I thought I'd add a post to the rotation every once in a while that encompasses anything that I'm loving lately. From fashion and food to YouTube channels and blogs, plus just about everything in between, I'll be sharing my current obsessions that I can't get enough of at the moment. 

#1 // Gold Ear Crawlers and Bar Studs

I started wearing ear crawlers late last year and bought a few more last month. They're so easy to slide in, but add such an edgy punch to any outfit. Bar shaped studs give a similar effect, but are a little more tame, if you're not feeling the full-on look of an ear crawler. Mine are from Baublebar and Forever 21, and both stores each have a large selection.

#2 // Maybelline Color Tattoo Concentrated Crayon in Lavish Lavender

I talked about this gem in my New In post and it's safe to say this shadow stick is my absolute favorite from that haul. The color is a gorgeous light purple with a silver shimmer in it. I blend it out seamlessly with my fingers, making it a quick and easy application before I run out the door. Plus, the color and finish remind me soooo much of the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Amethyst (one of my all-time faves)! How's that for a dupe?!

#3 // Ashley Benson's makeup for the Marc Jacobs NYFW show
I seriously love this makeup look and how it all ties together. The deep, vampy lip paired with the dark lids and clean undereye is fantastic. I'm completely obsessed.

#4 // Fleur De Force's February Daily Vlogs

As a fan of Fleur De Force's YouTube channel, I can't believe that it's taken me so long to start watching her vlog channel. She's been vlogging every day in February and I've really been enjoying seeing her in her everyday life. Her ski vacation and trip to an award show were fun to watch and I completely identify with how much she adores her dogs!

#5 // Superstore
For me to get excited about a comedy is a rarity anymore. I pretty much only watch The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, and The Goldbergs at the moment. Now I can add Superstore to that list! It's still in it's first season and I've looked forward to watching it every single week. The show is based around the employees of a superstore (i.e. Walmart) and the shenanigans that come from all of their quirky personalities as they work together. It's a great concept for a show and so funny - go check it out!

amplify your natural beauty: my skincare and makeup basics

Monday, February 15, 2016

If you're a frequent reader around these parts, then you know I'm all about natural beauty. I always like to look like me, just the best version of me, whether I'm bare-faced or made up. My skincare and makeup go-to's for getting that natural beauty look are pretty simple, too.

Skincare // I have sensitive skin that's normal to dry most of the time, so the essential players in my skincare lineup are a gentle, but effective cleanser and a hydrating and long-lasting moisturizer. As I mentioned in my January Favorites, my cleanser of choice recently has been Lush's Ultrabland. This cleansing balm is just what my skin needs, both for removing makeup and cleansing without stripping my skin. I'm more fickle about moisturizers and have yet to find one I truly love. I'm almost through Simple's Moisturizer, which I'm kind of meh about. It's gentle enough, but doesn't keep my skin moisturized as long as I'd like. I think I'll be trying out Glossier's Priming Moisturizer* next. If you're not familiar with Glossier, they're a skincare and makeup brand inspired by ladies like us! Their brand is centered around creating staple products that are inspired by real life- a refreshing concept for the beauty community, in my opinion. The Glossier moisturizer has some steller sounding ingredients in it (Mushroom Super Hydrator? you have my attention...) and I'm really curious about the tea and honey in it that reduce redness, since I struggle with that on my nose.

Makeup // As a makeup lover who struggles with time management, my default looks tend to be more natural, since that's pretty much all I have time for day-to-day. I have essential makeup items that I use each morning no matter what, though. A concealer is number one in my routine to liven up my undereyes so I've been reaching for Maybelline's Age Rewind a ton recently and have nothing but good things to say about it's coverage. My naturally fair-is-an-understatement brows need some help daily and the NYX Micro Brow Pencil has been my savior. In less than a minute I can actually frame my face with this little guy. (I swear my brows are complete in that photo...the sun was working against me that day...) One of my favorite tricks for my eyes is applying a really light shimmery shade all over the lid and an even brighter one to the inner corners. I've been pulling out the classic UD Naked palette for this all week and using Sin and Virgin as my eye brightening duo. A coat or two of mascara finish off the eyes - Rimmel's Lift Me Up has been in the rotation a lot lately. My blush varies by mood, but is typically a subtle pink for an easy, "I'm naturally this rosy" flush. Finish it off with a sheer lip color and you're done! (I rarely go full-on with lip color during the week, 'cuz I need All The Coffee as soon as I get to work!)

Above all else, I think it's really important to give your skin a break. As much as I love makeup, I take every Sunday to go makeup free, let my skin breathe, and even pop on a face mask if I have enough time. It's all about balance and enhancing what makes you you! I'd love to hear what you can't live without to enhance your natural beauty. Let me know your favorite products in the comments!

*This post was inspired by Glossier. They believe in skin first, makeup second, and smile always, which is a philosophy I can definitely get behind. All opinions are my own, as always!

new in & new to me- drugstore beauty finds

Monday, February 8, 2016

When you go shopping at Ulta and you're not looking for anything, who knows what you'll find. For me it was a complete score a few weeks ago, when I found some beauty goodies that I was excited to try right away! 

Wandering down the aisles, I found "new in" displays for L'Oreal shadows and Maybelline shadow sticks, plus a display of featured NYX lipsticks, so of course I was sucked in. The L'Oreal Color Riche Mono Shadows are something I've seen raved about by UK beauty bloggers for a while now, so I've been itching for them to come to the states. I went for two neutrals that I can get a lot of use out of- a matte, Cafe Au Lait, and a shimmer, Pain Au Chocolat. I love to pop the matte shade in my crease for a bit of definition and the shimmer shade is a great option for a one color, throw-on-and-go shade. The texture of the shadows feels almost like a pressed pigment and it's velvety smooth when you apply it. (Sidenote...every time I see "Cafe Au Lait" I always think of this scene in Gilmore Girls. Every. Time.)
I'd been hearing the hype about the Maybelline Color Tattoo Concentrated Crayons, so after spotting the display for them, I naturally picked up two shades. (I held back- you have no idea how much I wanted to Buy All The Shades!) In the end I went with Bronze Truffle, (since I love the original Bad to the Bronze Color Tattoo so much) and Lavish Lavender (because, well, it's me and I'm a cool-toned purple shadow addict). Oh man...you neeeed these. Not to be an enabler, but they're seriously amazing and I can't stop using them! They go on so ridiculously smoothly and you can blend out the edges with just your fingertip. They can be a sheer wash of color with a quick application or you could definitely build it up to a stronger color. I may go back to get all the colors after all...haha.

NYX has so many serious winners in their lineup, so when I spotted a display for their High Voltage Lipsticks, I was like a moth to a flame. Something about the 90's gray and grungy tone of Stone was calling my name. It turned out to be complete winner (making it's way into my January Favorites!) and I'm really happy I tried it. The formula is so creamy that it glides on with ease. When they say high voltage, they aren't exaggerating- it's completely opaque and pretty true to the tube (it's reading a little rosy on camera, but it's a lovely nude in person). I really want to try some other shades in the line. 

The last little sneaky purchase I grabbed before heading to the register was a Rimmel Exaggerate Liner in Innocent. Just like many other beauty bloggers, I'm already a fan of the East End Snob liner. I hate to say it, but I think I like Innocent even more! The shade is great to wear on it's own, but it's such a nice neutral nude that it's perfect for layering under other lipsticks and glosses. The formula is so long lasting, too. I'll put it on before I go to work in the morning and it's still there through my morning coffee and lunch. What more could I ask for?

I should really aimlessly wander through Ulta more often. It leads to some great finds! (Or maybe I shouldn't since my I Want It list just keeps growing...) Hope you all had a great weekend! 

january favorites 2016

Monday, February 1, 2016

We're officially one month into 2016 already! Unbelievable. My January consisted of work getting busier, a fun party, and improving at a new sport (more on that later). I've also been getting excited about fashion again and posting more OOTD's on Instagram since I've really been loving some of the pieces that I've picked up recently. The first month of the year also was filled with a lot of great beauty products - from the tried and true, to brand spanking new.

Rimmel Lift Me Up Mascara // I'm really fickle with mascara, so the fact that this is my second tube of this says a lot. I love that it smells like cucumbers (hello, fresh scent!) and it doesn't get clumpy so you can easily build it up. Since I've been using it my lashes have been noticeably stronger, too- I've seen less of them fall out when I wash my face and they seem a little longer than they used to be. It has to be the vitamins in it, 'cuz I have no other explanation for that improvement. It's not the most dramatic mascara, but it's been my go-to for everyday wear.

Whish Almond Body Butter // Winter dry hands seem to be inevitable every year. I found this little travel size body butter in my stash and starting applying it once or twice a day. I wouldn't say it's a long term solution to dry skin, but it does keep my hands feeling softer and moisturized for a solid 12 hours. Plus, the almond scent is sooooo rich and long lasting!

theBalm Instain Blush in Houndstooth // In typical Laura fashion I've been in a rush getting out the door a lot lately and I've found that the best way to quickly give life to my face is with a punch of blush. I love theBalm Instain blushes because of their serious (read: use a light hand!) pigmentation. The staying power of these are incredible too. I've been a fan of the mauve tone of the Houndstooth for a pretty winter flush!

Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Cosmic (Yeyo is very similar) // Another little trick to looker more fresh-faced and awake when you're running late is adding a really bright highlight to the inner corners of your eyes. My pick lately has been the UD liner in Cosmic. It's a super bright shimmery white that's so quick and easy to pop on as a final touch in the morning. It came in a set that's no longer available, but any white shimmery liner will do the trick. 

NYX High Voltage Lipstick in Stone // I bought this lipstick on a whim while browsing in Ulta a few weeks ago and I'm soooo happy I did! It's one of those 90's-inspired shades that's a nude with a gray undertone. The formula is creamy with a nice opacity to it and the color is an understated neutral that goes with everythaaaang. I feel much cooler than I actually am when I wear it. Can't say enough good things about this lipstick - you need to check it out!

Lush Ultrabland Facial Cleanser // I've officially gotten rid of face wipes. Cut the cord. There's no more in the house anymore as my lazy makeup removing fall-backs. Why? Because I've become a complete Ultrabland addict. I use this balmy cleanser every single night to remove my makeup without fail. It effectively removes it all while still keeps my skin soft and hydrated, which is a huge necessity with dry winter air. I'd highly recommend it!

Snowboarding! // After starting to learn this sport last month I've finally started to get a grasp on some basic skills and slowly started to improve. I'm definitely enjoying trying out a new sport and having something fun to do every weekend (we try to go once a week). If I live in a snowy locale, I might as well make the most of it, right? I do have proof that I am legit snowboarding lol:

Onto February! Hope you all had a great weekend!

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