Saturday, November 30, 2013


Just a quick reminder that tomorrow is the last day to enter the giveaway. Tell your friends and spread the word! And don't forget you can tweet it every day for an extra entry! 

And in case you've been busy with the Thanksgiving holiday madness, here's a quick catch-up.

I told you all about a great starter makeup kit for beginners on a budget.

Then I announced the giveaway. You can enter here

Then I told you all about Arbonne and why I love it. You should really check that out!  

And I also shared my Thanksgiving look with you, using the brand new Naked 3 palette!

So that's it! Have a great weekend everyone.
Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Update: If you want to read more about my opinion on the Naked 3 palette, and to see swatches, read my full review here. 

Happy Thanksgiving, guys!! 

I received my Naked 3 palette yesterday and was playing around with it a little this morning. I'll have a whole review on that sometime next week. But for now, all you need to know is that i love it. 

I was kind of hesitant because I don't have any shadows in the pink family, and wasn't sure if I could pull it off. But its definitely wearable, for everyone. To those of you who think that wearing pink-toned shadows will make you look tired or sick (I was that person) trust me, if applied with plenty of other neutral colors, it wont be a problem at all. Here's the look I came up with today. Using just 4 shades.

Naked 3 simple/neutral look ||

I wanted to mention that I used nooner (#4) in my crease, but it didn't show up in the picture at all! Its so hard to tell and I'm bummed that you can't see it because its one of my favorite shades. Its matte, and the perfect crease or transition color. 

So, as you can see in the picture..
I used #1, strange, in the inner portion/tear duct, and brow bone.
I used #2, buzz, in the center of my eye
I used #3, nooner, in the crease and blended upward with #1
And I blended out #3, darkside, in the outer corner and a tiny bit into the crease
I then went back with #2, buzz, and packed a bit more in the center to make it pop! Of course that's not that visible in the picture either. Grr. I'll be sure to use my camera and great lighting next time.

I can't wait to do more looks, and do an entire tutorial with it. Hope you guys check back later for that. And don't forget about my Birchbox + Ulta Giftcard Giveaway here! Happy thanksgiving guys! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Arbonne RE9 Full Review

Arbonne RE9 Full Review || Mention this post for 10% off!

What is Arbonne?
Have you heard of Arbonne? Its okay, I hadn't heard of it either until a few months ago. Its an all natural skincare line- their ingredients are botanically based, dermatologist and opthamologist tested (not just recommended) and are considered certified vegan (they contain no animal products or byproducts). I'm pretty skeptical and don't buy into things easily, so I had to try it for myself to believe it. But the facts speak for themselves, so here are some basic things you need to know. 

The Facts:
-Arbonne means "good things from the earth". It was founded in Switzerland in 1975 and brought to the US in 1980. In other words, they were green before being green was cool :) Arbonne's motto is "Pure. Safe. Beneficial." .. all their products are safe for your skin, and are beneficial for your skin and health. 

-Over 1300 chemicals and ingredients are banned from skincare/beauty products in Europe. Do you know how many are banned in the United States? 6. That's why it means so much that all of the research and development is done is Switzerland and is held to the high European standards. 

-Arbonne products contain no dyes, no fragrances, no mineral oils, and are also paraben-free. Read more here and here on the dangers of these ingredients. 

What it means to me:
If you told me all of this a couple years ago I wouldn't have given it much thought. But I'm starting to see more and more just how dangerous the added ingredients we come in contact with every day are changing our lives and health for the worst. I'm starting to pay more attention to what "extras" I'm eating, drinking, and putting on my skin, and avoiding them at all costs... and I think you should too. Please go read the articles linked above on mineral oils and the other "extras" like dyes and fragrances.  

For the past few weeks I've been using Arbonne's RE9 Anti-Aging skincare line. RE = Results, 9 = the 9 age-defying elements and botanicals. The full set contains a cleanser, toner, serum, eye cream, daytime moisturizer (with SPF 20) and a night cream (but each item can be purchased individually instead of buying the whole set). I make sure to use it morning and night, honestly just because it makes my skin feel amazing. I love the way I feel after using it. No, I'm not "old" but I am-- we all are-- aging. I believe its never too early to invest in your skin, and its never too early to reverse or delay the aging process. I could go on and on about how good it is for you and how amazing it makes your skin look and feel, but you need to see that for yourself. 

I've noticed my skin looks brighter, smoother, tighter, and yes, even clearer. I'm still in my early 20s, and still deal with breakouts. I usually focus on acne-fighting skincare to avoid breakouts at all costs. So I was really surprised to see that my Arbonne RE9 set isn't just improving my skin's overall appearance, it is fighting breakouts and keeping me acne-free as well. Keep in mind, your skin might detox for a week or so (breakouts) as it may need to adjust to the increase in vitamins and nutrients... so, fear not the detox! It is just your skin getting rid of all that junk that has built up! 

How can I try it? 
I'm going to be completely honest- its pricey. Its definitely an investment, but a worthwhile investment; however, if you use the suggested amount, it will last you 6 months. If you aren't willing to spend the full price on the set, I suggest you try out just the day cream or the eye cream from the line to see what you think. I'm positive you'll be convinced. Arbonne is primarily purchased through a consultant; however there are other ways, one of which is becoming a preferred client (preferred clients get 20% off every time they order, plus you can order online at any time!) 

If you're interested in ordering, or want more information about the products or becoming a preferred client, check out and then contact Kristin at to order. Anyone who mentions this blog when ordering gets 10% off! :) 

And click on the flyer below to find out more about her Cyber Monday deal! (BOGO 50% off!!) 
Arbonne Cyber Monday Sale! BOGO 50% off!!
I also recently started using Arbonne's Genius Resurfacing Pads every night. So stay tuned for a future review on that (hopefully with pictures of my results!) If nothing else, I hope you learned something from this post and took away some information about what we put on our skin every day. Skincare that is good for you, not just makes you look good, is so important and I encourage you to try something from Arbonne's skincare lines to see for yourself! Don't hesitate to send Kristin an email, or contact me, with any questions. Have a good day, everyone!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


If you've been following my Birchbox posts (here & here), then you know they were supposed to send me a whole new box, to make up for the whole fiasco. Which was very nice. I received my box today, and was a little surprised that it's all the same items from my last box. But that actually turned out to be a good thing for you guys, because now you can win the items! I thought I'd do a little giveaway as a sort of "Welcome To My Blog!", since I'm just getting started, and as an opportunity to "meet" some of my readers. (There are some readers out there, right?!) And since I received these items for free, I thought I'd throw in an Ulta gift card as well (not pictured) as a "thank you" for taking the time to check out my blog. So keep reading for all of the details! 
November Birchbox & Ulta Giftcard giveaway. Anyone can enter. Click for more details!

So, the prize includes:
Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator.
- Color Club (mini) polish in "Top Shelf" 
TOCCA Crema de Mano in Cleopatra (hand cream- it smells amazing!)
-$10 Ulta Giftcard
To read more about the items in this birchbox, click here. (The chocolate that came with it was broken into tiny pieces, so it wasn't worth including)

Here's how you enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

** Please note that the first, and main step, to enter is commenting the blog. If you click "I did it" but there is no comment from you, that entry will be deleted! **

Remember, the contest ends on Sunday, Dec. 1. And keep in mind you can tweet about the giveaway to get one more entry each day! I know these giveaway "contraptions" above can be a little tricky, so please don't hesitate to ask if you don't understand how to use it. Have fun & good luck! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Starter Makeup Kit for Beginners on a Budget

Starter makeup for beginners on a budget! |
We all have to start somewhere when it comes to makeup, so I have a list of 8 essentials for a beginner makeup kit. I wont go into too much detail about each product, because they all made my list for the same essential reason: they're easy to find, cheap, easy to use, and good quality. They also all make for a nice, natural look which I think is what each beginner should strive for: a natural face. I put them in the general order in which they should be applied (although if you want to apply your lip balm before the rest of your face.. go right ahead!) I've actually talked about a lot of these products before, so I'll include a link to each post where the item was mentioned. Here we go!

1. CoverGirl Outlast 3-in-1 Foundation, $11 [click]
-use with #8 foundation brush to apply 
2. Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, $7
3. Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder $4 [click]
4. e.l.f. Studio Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder, $3
-a great dupe for the Nars Laguna/Orgasm combo I talked about here
5. Wet n Wild Coloricon Eye Shadow, $3
-shown in "walking on egg shells" but any palette from this line is amazing
6. Maybelline Mega Plush Volume Mascara, $7 [click]
7. Baby Lips (original) or Baby Lips Dr. Rescue, $4 [click]
-some people love the original, some people don't. some people love the dr. rescue, some people don't. so I thought I'd include both and you can see what you like. 
8. Real Technique Brushes, $6-$9 [click]
-used to apply the foundation, powder, blush, bronzer, and eye shadow 

Stay tuned for a look featuring these products! I left off eyeliner, because I know a lot of beginners feel intimidated by it. And to be honest, I think its best to start off using a darker eye shadow and play around with it to line your eyes. There are lots of good affordable eyeliners out there, but sometimes the quality of the liner depends on the person using it. So if you're a beginner, try some eye liners and see what works best for your skill level! Have a great day everyone! 
Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday Thoughts...

Sometimes I just have some random thoughts, facts, ideas, or opinions and I just want to share them. So these are my completely random Thursday Thoughts.. (Mostly beauty related of course, because what else goes through my mind?!)

- I ordered the Naked 3 palette today!! I had to really think about whether or not I wanted it, not just for the idea of it, but because I thought I'd use it. And I have to say, I don't own any colors like those in the Naked 3 palette and I'd really like to experiment with some pink/rosy looks. Read my Naked 3 post here.

- I'm looking to try out some new foundations. I picked up a new True Match foundation because the one I had wasn't the right color. I remember liking it in the past so we'll see. I'm so picky about liquid foundations so its hard for me to tell you what is best when I've only tried a couple.. So I'm trying to broaden my horizons :) Are there any foundations you'd like me to try?

- I'm really trying to come up with some ideas for future blog posts. I'm taking any and all suggestions!

- I have Revlon ColorStay polish in "fall mood" on my nails right now and it is lasting forever! I talked about the polish and its long wear on yesterday's post. I'm not crazy about the color but the fact that it's staying on without chipping is making me want to keep wearing it.. there's no point in taking it off, right?

- ItsJudyTime tweeted me! If you're not big on YouTube beauty 'gurus' or vloggers, you probably wont care. But I'm a total nerd and am obsessed with Judy and her family so I was really excited when she tweeted me!! (I told her the name of her Michael Kors purse because she wasn't sure what it was called and she tweeted to thank me.. like I said, I'm a nerd!)

- I subscribed to Ipsy yesterday! I'm still keeping my Birchbox subscription, but I wanted to see if Ipsy is all its cracked up to be. It'll be nice to be able to compare the 2 boxes for you guys. After a few months I'll unsubscribe to whichever one I feel isn't making the cut. I'm still on Ipsy's waiting list though so who knows when I'll receive my first box.

- Ever since it got cold out I've been wanting a nice robe to keep warm while I'm home, or while I'm getting ready. I was being so picky about it and couldn't commit to one. Then I finallyyyyy ordered one from Kohls on the 13th, and it wont even be here until the 25th! That's slightly ridiculous if you ask me. I wish I had just driven the 40 minutes to the closest Kohls and bought it in-store!

- This is the time of year my skin usually starts getting all dry and itchy, and I haven't had that problem at all so far. I'm not complaining!

Okay I think that's it.. Randomness, right? Get used to it because its happening every Thursday! ;) Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Favorites for Fall

Makeup Your Mind's Fall Favorites ||
When I love a product, I want to tell you guys about it. So I thought I'd do a collective post about all the things I'm loving this fall. As I've stated before, I looooove a pretty deep plum or red this fall, and I'm rocking it from head to toe! You can't go wrong with those colors on your nails, lips, clothes.. even cranberry eyes are big this fall! So before I started I wanted to mention those colors in general as "favorites". But now my list of other items I've been getting tons of use out of:

1. Maybelline Baby Lips Dr. Rescue in "Just Peachy" 
I wasn't a big fan of the original Baby Lips, especially the neon ones. I'm more of a Burt's Bees kinda girl, I like a minty taste/smell/feel and nothing fruity. I picked up the Baby Lips Dr. Rescue on a whim, and was pleasantly surprised. Apparently some people have an issue with the menthol smell but I actually liked that part, plus it goes away in less than a minute. The big shocker was the pigmentation. I got the Just Peachy because it was the only one that wasn't too pink or bright. Not only is it hydrating and soft as usual, it left a really sheer (but noticeable) light color on my lips that really gave the look of an effortless nude lip! This will definitely be a staple for me this fall. 

2. Revlon ColorStay Polish in "Rich Raspberry" 
First of all, just know that a favorite of mine in general is Revlon ColorStay polish. I have about 5 from that line and they really are the longest lasting polishes I own... as in, lasts almost 2 weeks! Right now I'm rocking "Fall Mood" but the "Rich Raspberry" is such a great polish because it's not too daring (if you don't like crazy dark polishes) but a great version of fall's hit color!

3. CoverGirl Outlast 3-in-1 Foundation
I've had this foundation since summer, and haven't been wearing it lately because my summer shade was too dark. I recently picked up a shade lighter, and fell in love with it all over again! I had been noticing my Revlon Colorstay foundation had been breaking up later in the day, and making me look a lot more oily than normal, so I thought it was a good time to change it up. I'm so glad I did! It claims to be a primer, concealer, and foundation all in one. I do still apply concealer, but I would definitely believe the primer part of it because of its lasting power. It feels thin and lightweight but definitely gives medium coverage! 

4. Victoria's Secret Angel "Dream" Perfume
I don't know what's wrong with me but I'm not a perfume kind of person. Don't get me wrong, I want to be, but I think I have weird body chemistry or something. I'll like a perfume in the bottle or on other people, but it never smells the same on me! So I've kind of given up on finding one I like. But on an impromptu visit to VS with my mom, we instantly liked what we smelled when we walked in. I asked what the perfume was, the sales girl showed me, and I bought it right away. Which is so not like me! I haven't bought myself a perfume in years, most of the scents I have are Christmas or birthday gifts. But I'm so glad I bought it. It actually smells nice on me and the scent lasts all day. I've gotten tons of compliments on it, so if I find out its limited edition, I'm definitely picking up a back-up! 

5. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Crush
I've already mentioned the Kissable Balm Stain in this post. I'm still rocking it and still loving it! I keep wanting to pick it up in more colors but for some reason I can't make a decision on which ones I want. But in general, I love the wearability, the color, the shine, and the way it feels on my lips! Go read more about it on my lip stain post, and pick one up for yourself!

6. Archer Farms Dark Chocolate Espresso Trail Mix
Okay, okay. I know it's not a beauty item, but its sooo good I think its worth mentioning! I came across it randomly in Target and couldn't say no. It's a yummy mix of chocolate covered almonds, praline almonds, mocha pecans, chocolate chips, hazelnuts and chocolate covered coffee beans. YUM! When I first tried it I wasn't sure if I loved it, but the next day I ended up finishing the bag. Whoops. If you're a coffee and chocolate lover, you need this trail mix. 

7. Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
I try not to include too many high-end items because I know they aren't practical for everyone. This is one of those items I kept checking out, smelling, feeling, and testing in Ulta but kept resisting because it was pricey. But I finally gave in one day and bought it and I'm so glad. First of all, go smell it and you'll see why. It has an amazing chocolate smell (hence the name) and it is sooo yummy. Besides the smell, though, it has a creamy, not chalky, texture and goes on smooth. I was so afraid it would look orange on my skin, but it definitely doesn't. Its a matte color so perfect for contouring or just warming up your foundation.

Ahhh I tried so hard to not be long-winded about these products, but like I said, when I like something I just wanna talk about it! I love hearing from other people, too, and would love to hear what items you've been loving lately, beauty and non-beauty! 

Birchbox Update

I wanted to give a quick update to my Birchbox post. You can read all about it here. They left an item out of my box, no biggie, but I sent them an email anyway because I really wanted to try it. So they quickly responded and let me know they'd be sending me an replacement item. I got the replacement yesterday, and I was not happy :( It was sent in a thin paper envelop with a thin bubble wrap layer inside.. as soon as I saw it I worried it may be broken and I was right. The highlighter pencil was cracked all over, the lid was so bent I cant remove it, and the tip (the highlighter itself) came out and partially melted inside of the cap. Grrrr. So once again, I emailed the same customer service rep that I dealt with previously, and she apologized and offered to send me a whole new box for free to make up for it. So although I was a tad bit frustrated, I was very happy with their response and resolution to the issue. So I'll be updating you again once I get my box to show you what's in it.. what's better than a bonus Birchbox, right?! 

If you're unsure about ordering a Birchbox, don't let my experience scare you. I've actually had nothing but a positive experience with them for over 6 months now, this is the first time I've had an issue, and like I said, their customer service was actually very understanding and helpful. 

To see another November Birchbox with different items, check out my friend Denise's post about her Birchbox items here. She usually gets different items than in my box, and gave a detailed description of the products she got. So check her out to see what other products Birchbox has to offer! 
Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Best Dry Shampoo: Full Review on Batiste Dry Shampoo

Dry Shampoo Review/Recommendation |

Yesterday's post was all about the best and worst dry shampoos, out of the ones I've tried anyway. There are some really fancy-schmancy, expensive dry shampoos out there, which I'm sure work great, but I happen to love my much cheaper option. 

I first heard about Batiste dry shampoo in the YouTube world. After hearing so much about it, and trying other brands, I had to see for myself whether it lived up to the hype or not. The answer, of course, was yes. It does live up to the hype.. its everything they said it was! It does its #1 job, absorbing excess hair oil, all while adding extra lift and boost. 

The good: Like I said, it does it's job and more. I use it even when my hair doesn't really need to be washed, just to add some extra lift. It does a great job of "sucking" up all the oils and making my hair look good as new. Be sure to check back to the end of yesterday's post on how to use dry shampoo properly, to get the most out of the product! 

The bad: The only bad thing about some of the Batiste shampoos I've tried is the smell, but they aren't all bad. There are tons of variations and smells, some good, some not so good. I like to stick to "fresh" or "original" because they're just basic, clean scents. Its definitely a long-lasting smell too. I used the shampoo this morning and I can still smell it almost 8 hours later.. so be sure to get a scent you like, because if not you're stuck with it! "Wild" has the cutest leopard print bottle, but unfortunately the worst scent. (Unless you like smelling like old lady perfume!) 

Batiste is available at Ulta; however, I have the best luck at Marshalls or TJ Maxx! I can usually find the 2 scents I use the most, and they're always a couple dollars cheaper. They retail around $8.. and don't forget to get the mini bottle to keep in your purse! Mine has come in handy way more than I expected. 

Oh-- and one more thing. I've heard lots of brunettes say they can't use dry shampoo because it leaves a white cast on their dark hair. But Batiste found a way to fix that! They came out with a line for brunettes and blondes... I have definitely seen one for red hair (or at least a reddish-brown as opposed to the dark-deep brown) but I haven't seen that on their website or on Ulta's website so I'm not sure if they discontinued it :( The brunette version has a slight brown tint to it to avoid that white powdery effect. I like to use the blonde version for when my roots grow out and I haven't been able to make a trip to the salon. It surprisingly makes my roots like much lighter and less obvious!

So, as you can see, I'd definitely recommend this product. It works for thin hair like mine, thick hair, blondes, brunettes and there are tons of options for everyone, plus they're constantly adding new scents. Go pick it up, and maybe try it on clean hair to get the hang of it. Or try it on a day you wont really be going out, to see if you like it first. Once you try it and love it (like I know you will), you'll start going through a can every few weeks, like me!
Monday, November 18, 2013

All you need to know about Dry Shampoo...

All about dry shampoos. Best & worst brands and tips on how to use it!

I have never been one of those girls who could get away with second or third-day hair. Not without looking like a homeless person anyway. My hair can be very temperamental. It gets super greasy overnight, no matter what, even if I wash it right before bed. I can't let it air dry, because it gets greasy. I can't brush it too often, because, you guessed it, it gets greasy. Its not that I have particularly oily hair, it is just very fine and straight and, like I said, temperamental. 

I know my hair well, what it does and doesn't respond to, so I always assumed dry shampoo would never work for me.. and for a while, I thought I was right in my assumption. I tried brand after brand, and it always made my hair look even worse by leaving a weird, oddly enough, oily film on my hair, or it just weighed my hair down. The result was always a gross, oily, messy pony tail that made me look like I just crawled out of bed. Like everything else, your hair is different than mine, and you may have a different experience with products than I did. But I'll list the dry shampoos I've tried from worst to best, so you can have an idea of what to try, and see what works for you. 

Horrible: Tresemee Fresh Start Dry Shampoo - This was the worst of the worst, and after reading some other reviews on the same product, I think that's the general consensus. This one, more than any other, left my hair looking greasier than before. It sort of just matted my hair down with a weird film.

Bad: Garnier Fructis Volume Extend - I bought this one after hearing Tracy & Stephanie at eleventhgorgeous on Youtube rave about it. Unfortunately, I had a different experience with it. Apparently its not just a dry shampoo but a "instant bodifier", which I would agree with. It did add a little bit of lift to my roots, but not for long, and it definitely didn't absorb any excess oil. 

Okay: Dove Invigorating Refresh+Care Dry Shampoo - This one wasn't horrible, because I loved the smell. Aside from absorbing oils, dry shampoos should smell good to cover that dirty hair smell, and if I could use this solely for the smell, I would. (Hair perfume, maybe?) Unfortunately, it didn't do the first part of its job, so it wasn't a keeper for me. 

Better: "Not Your Mother's" Brand Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo - After trying this one, I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It really did do something. I was actually able to go out in public without washing my hair, and it felt so freeing! It definitely absorbed the oils in my hair, and although the smell wasn't that great, it did its main job; however, it didn't last too long. If you use this one, it would probably be best to keep a bottle with you to touch up and refresh later on. 

Best: Batiste Dry Shampoo - This. is. my. favorite. It does the job, has tons of variety and different smells, adds extra volume and lift, and isn't terribly expensive. Be sure to read my in-depth review on Batiste Dry Shampoo, all about it, and why I love it! 

How to Use Dry Shampoo

It may seem self-explanatory, but I'm willing to bet more than half of you are doing it wrong.. because I was too! I would just spray it on my roots, and brush it through with either a brush, comb, or my fingers, just like all the bottles said. But then I found an amazing infographic on Pinterest all about the correct way to use dry shampoo. The secret is to let it set. Spray it on, and wait. It needs a few minutes to do its job, which means it has to stay on your hair a bit to absorb the oil. Duh! Right? Why didn't I think of that?! I like to apply it by lifting it up at the crown, and all over, and spraying directly onto the root. Then I leave it. I'll use that time to apply the last bit of my makeup, lay out my clothes for the day, or make some coffee. Wait about 7-10 minutes and let it suck it all up. Then I just use my fingers to rub it all in, kind of like I'm scrubbing my hair as if I was washing it. You'd be amazed at just how clean and "normal" your hair looks. It looks just like newly washed/dried hair! For the first time, I can use dry shampoo, and join the rest of the public without looking like a hobo :) Try it! I bet you'll be as shocked as I was!

So did you learn anything? Have you used these dry shampoos as well? What sort of results did you have? Don't forget to check out my Batiste Dry Shampoo full review
Saturday, November 16, 2013

Brushes on a Budget!

brushes on a budget! best makeup brushes under $10 -
The makeup tools you use are as important as the makeup itself. There are a lot of expensive brushes out there (Sigma, MAC, and Bobbi Brown, to name a few) and yes, a lot of times they are worth the investment, but there are other basics out there that can be just as amazing, and don't drain your wallet. As you can see, Real Techniques Brushes are some of my favorites, and you can't go wrong with their line. They have lots of sets and travel sets, with brushes that I love as well, but only come in a set, so keep reading to find more about my favorite brush sets! Here's my top favorite brushes, all under $10! 

1. Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, $9
It took me a while to get used to this brush because its so dense. It almost feels as if you're just smearing a layer of foundation around on the surface, which seemed weird at first, but I quickly saw that it made for an amazing, flawless result. Perfect for any liquid foundation.

2. Eco Tools Large Powder Brush, $8
This is the softest, fluffiest brush I own. I love it so much, I bought a second one for backup. I use it to apply my setting powder directly after my foundation, and it allows the powder to glide on smoothly without affecting my foundation. Definitely a must-have.

3. Real Techniques Blush Brush, $9
I don't see many blush brushes with this unique dome shape. It makes for precise application and perfect for just hitting the apples of your cheeks, or anywhere else, plus its really soft. Can also be used for bronzer.

4. Real Techniques Contour Brush
This brush is only available in the Core Collection set. I'll talk more about my favorite sets later in this post. Like the blush brush, it has a dome shape, (but is much smaller) and is perfect for contouring in the hollows of your cheeks, or apply a highlighter. I've even used it to blend my under-eye concealer, and even though that isn't its purpose at all, it works well for both! 

5. Elf Essentials Blending Brush, $1
This is why I love Elf.. $1!! You can't beat the price, especially since the brush is actually pretty nice. Its a really great crease brush, and the perfect size to do it all. I have noticed a tiny bit of shedding, but considering you can buy a new one for a buck, it just doesn't bother me that much. 

6. Real Techniques Shading Brush, $6
I love, love, love this brush. That's all you need to know, right?! I use it for lots of things, mainly for applying a darker shade to my outer corner; but I also use it to smudge out my eyeliner when I want a smokier outer corner, or smudge it out to make a more natural, imprecise line. You'll probably find lots of uses for it as well! 
It was hard for me to make this list without mentioning sets. A lot of the brushes I use came in sets and aren't sold individually so I wanted to include those as well. And they're by- surprise, surprise- Real Techniques and Eco Tools! 

1. Real Techniques Core Collection 
Includes: (L-R)
Countour Brush, Pointed Foundation Brush, Detailer Brush, Buffing Brush
-- I obviously already included the Contour Brush, but this set is definitely worth mentioning because of the Buffing Brush. Its my other favorite foundation brush. I had this one before the Expert Face Brush and was my first experience with RT brushes. Its amazing for creme foundations, but works well with liquids as well. You can create such a flawless look, especially with Revlon Colorstay Whipped foundation, by buffing it in with circular motions. The other 2 brushes are unique and I've found multiple uses for them (from applying concealer to applying setting powder). Oh and it also comes with the travel case! The set is $18 and can be purchased here or in-store at Ulta.

2. Eco Tools Mineral Set
Includes: (L-R)
Mineral Powder Brush, Concealer Brush, Eye Shading Brush, Mini Kabuki
-- The Eye Shading brush is my "everything" brush. It wasn't included in my list, mainly because it can only be bought in the set, and unfortunately its hard to find in stores. I use this brush for EV-ER-EE-THING. Its perfect for applying all-over color, but the shape is perfect for the crease, and for blending. I like the Kabuki because it really is mini, and perfect for travel. This set comes in the case you see pictured, and is also great for travel, or a great place to store lipsticks in your purse! The set retails for only $10 and can be purchased here, or in-store at WalMart, Rite Aid, or other drugstores (if you can find it!)

If you've tried any of these, let me know! I'd love to hear if you like them or not, or if there are any other inexpensive brushes out there that have made the cut! Comment below!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New Naked 3 Palette? Could it be true?

Is it true? Could it possibly be true? Its true! Urban Decay has confirmed, with a video on their website, that they will release the much anticipated and much rumored Naked 3 Palette. I wish I could tell you when.. there are very few confirmed details on the palette, but Temptalia got the opportunity to use and review it on her website, so you can read much, much more about it here.

What you need to know:
-it includes 12 shadows in hues of pinks and browns
-it also includes a dual ended brush (not the same as the Naked 2 brush) and a week's worth of samples of all of their primers
-the case is a gorgeous rose gold
-it contains a mix of mostly shimmers with a couple matte colors (similar to Naked 2)
Go visit Temptailia's site to read more about it! And check out her comparison of the 3 palettes here.

Are you guys as excited as I am?! I have a feeling its going to be pretty hard to get ahold of, which bums me out. I'm sure it will be sold out everywhere.. But I wont give up! :) Will you be purchasing the Naked 3 Palette? Let me know what you think!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Best of: Plum Lip Stains

I've been shockingly brave when it comes to lip color this year. I'm usually a big chicken and the only lipstick I've worn was nude.. and even that was a big step for me. I've just always been a lip balm kind of girl. But I'm trying to step outside of my conservative box this year and do what I want. Drugstore Princess posted once that its not about which color looks good with your skin tone, eyes, etc., its that you wear it with confidence and don't worry about what others think, and I'm totally embracing that this fall and winter. Sooo.. I've been trying one of this fall's best trends: deep plum lips. 

Because I'm a lipstick newbie, I decided to try stains first. It keeps me from having to reapply constantly, and I can eat and drink without being cautious. I've been trying different brands and products and I think I've narrowed it down to my 3 favorite stains, in 3 different finishes (but similar colors!)

Recently I've been wearing the 3 products above. Although they look like very different colors on the tube, they're surprisingly all very similar on my lips. I'd call them all a deep plum. I want to apologize ahead of time for the very bad photography... I suck. I can admit it. I especially haven't mastered the lip selfie with the camera yet, so these had to be taken on my phone. 

1. The Gloss
-L'Oreal Color Caresse Wet Shine Stain in Berry Persistant, ~$10
"Wet shine" really is the best description for this stain. I was really skeptical on whether this was a true stain or not because it seems just like you're applying a really pigmented lip gloss. It even comes with a doe-foot applicator like a lipgloss.  but it definitely is a stain. Wear it for a little while and try to remove it, you'll be a believer! The trick to this shine stain is to let it set for a few minutes. When I first swatched I touched it to see if it would transfer onto my clothes. It was a bit tacky and did transfer onto my finger so I waited about 10 more minutes, and once it dried it didn't transfer at all, yet still looked shiny! 

2. The Semi-Gloss
-Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Crush, ~$9
This is the perfect stain for the "in-betweener". It was my first and it has the best of both worlds. It definitely has a bit of gloss to it without being obvious. Its a balm stain, so its hydrating. It smells and feels minty which I love and its applied like a giant crayon. I think this is the most wearable out of the 3 and very comfortable on the lips. My only complaint is that when it does fade (hours later) the color is more of a hot pink, which isn't very flattering with my skin tone. But I just reapply and its fine. Its easily reapplied and doesn't feel cakey, just like you're wearing a minty chapstick! 

3. The Matte
-L'Oreal Colour Riche Le Matte Lipstick in Matte-r of Fact, ~$8
This line doesn't actually claim to be a stain, but try it and you'll call it that too. Its very long-lasting and doesn't fade at all, which was unexpected for such a matte color. This one applies like a crayon as well but the point is much smaller than the Kissable Balm Stain. At first I didn't think I'd like the small point, but it actually makes for more precision when applying such a deep-pigmented lipstick. These are pretty hard to find, I don't even think Ulta sells them! And I'm almost positive the matte lipstick, along with its glossy "le lacquer" partner, are limited edition, so pick them up while you can! I found mine at Rite Aid. 

Trust me when I say, you need all 3. Don't pick and choose. They are all wonderful for different reasons. Although the colors are almost identical on my lips, the gloss, semi-gloss, and matte stains all make for different looks. The lasting power is almost identical for all 3 products. I wouldn't have even featured them as favorites if they didn't live up to their "stain" name. They last hours, and are easily reapplied. So will you be picking them up? Which colors will you wearing this fall? Comment below!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

November Birchbox

First of all, before I even start, it occurred to me that some of you may not even know what Birchbox is. So, for my first Birchbox unboxing and review, let me break it down..

What is it? Birchbox is a subscription box. Each month you receive a box in the mail with 5-6 samples. The majority of the samples are beauty items, but in each box there is one non-beauty item. You get to customize your box by filling out your profile and letting them know what you are/aren't interested in. It also finds out the basics like your hair type, skin type, health preference, etc. 
How much? $10 a month, or $110 if you pay for the whole year, which saves you $10. For every person you refer you can wrack up points, which turn into dollars toward their full-size versions of the products on their website. 
Why I like it: Birchbox is a great opportunity to try new brands or products. Since I've been subscribed I've discovered brands that I don't like, and things that I did like, and ended up repurchasing. Last month I received a Chapstick brand chapstick (hydration lock) and loved it so much I bought another. The "extra" non-beauty item is usually fun too. I've gotten everything from hair bands to bon bons.
How can I get it? Unfortunately they have a waiting list. According to their website the wait is 2 weeks at the moment, which isn't too bad (I think I waited a month!). You can sign up, and when your wait is over, you have a window of time to subscribe and pay for your box. Sign up here!

November's box was a good one. I've had good months and bad months; but this month I was almost 100% satisfied.... almost. Unfortunately they forgot an item! This has never happened to me in all the months I've been subscribed. I contacted them immediately, and I'm hoping they will resolve the issue. From what I've heard/read, they have wonderful customer service and almost always resolve issues easily and promptly. So here's hoping! I'll update you on their response. (They say it can take 3 business days)

Each box comes with a card with all the items you received, with a brief description and full retail price. The first item on my card is the one that is missing, which I was bummed about because I don't own a highlighter pencil and that sounds exciting! 

This was the cute inside when I opened everything up. The blue 'pouch' contained 2 items, and the box had the rest. 

The deets: [from L-R]
TOCCA Crema de Mano in Cleopatra (hand cream). Smells AMAZING and my hands feel really moisturized. Full-Size, $8-$20
Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator. Full-Size, $34
Chuao Honeycomb 'Chocopod' (a chocolate bar). Made with premium cocao.
Full size, $9.95 for a pk of 8
Coor Club nail polish in "Top Shelf" from the new "Cocktail Hour Collection"
I was excited about this one the most because I LOVE Color Club polishes. The color in my box is a gorgeous champagne color called "Top Shelf" 

The missing item was a Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter Pencil which claims to illuminate, brighten, and contour and can be applied 10 different ways. The full-size price is $18. Hopefully the issue will be resolved and I'll be able to try it! 

I apologize for the crappy photography.. it definitely isn't my strong suit. But I hope you got the general idea of what goes into a Birchbox. Its always fun for me to get and open, its like a present once a month! You can cancel your subscription at any time, so its worth a try to see if its for you or not! The link to sign up is listed above. Hope you enjoyed!
Friday, November 8, 2013

Best & Worst of Drugstore Mascaras

Is it just me or does it seem like a new mascara comes out in drugstores every week? Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely not complaining. Its really hard for me to resist a new product, and mascaras come in such cute and shiny packaging, I just can't say no! But with that, I've come to learn what I love and what I don't, so I'm sharing that list with you! Keep in mind, this isn't an all-time best/worst list, its just a compilation of mascaras I've tried lately that either worked for me or didn't. They are in no particular order within their own lists.

1. Maybelline Mega Plus Volum' Express
- I think this gives me the most natural look. I bought it a while ago and just recently started using it. I was pleasantly surprised. Very natural, voluminous, "bouncy" looking lashes. Perfect for a "no makeup" look.

2. Maybelline Falsies
- You're probably tired of hearing about it by now.. So I'll spare you. Its my favorite mascara. You can read all about it in my Best Drugstore Buys post.

3. Loreal Telescopic
-This is a new mascara to me. I'm usually not the type to like small, skinny brushes, but I heard a lot of good things about it so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm currently wearing it now, and have been for a week or so. I was shocked at how smoothly it went on and it only took one coat to make my lashes look amazing. It isn't clumpy, and it applies beautifully to my lower lashes. Falsies may have some competition...

4. CoveGirl Clump Crusher
- This is one of the few mascaras I actually completely used up and need to repurchase. It does exactly what it claims: crushes clumps. It does a great job and lifting and separating lashes. I usually use it as a second coat, over another mascara, to comb through and 'crush' any clumps, but it does well on its own as well. 

1. Rimmel Volume Accelerator
- Don't get this confused with the Lash Accelerator, which is apparently very popular. I can't speak for that mascara because I've never tried it; however, this one I was not a fan of at all. I think its the size of the brush that doesn't work for me. Its very big, and although it didn't look horrible on my lashes, I've never been able to apply it without getting it all over my lid. I once had to redo my eye shadow because I got so much of this mascara on my lid. I think its the wetness, which wasn't too bad, but combined with the awkward brush it made for a big mess. Either way, I plan to throw it away or give it away. 

2. Loreal Million Lashes Excess
- This is one of those "the-commercial-sucked-me-in" products. They showed something fancy about the end of the tube where it gripped any excess mascara so there weren't as many clumps. I didn't hate this mascara, it just didn't do much for me at all. I felt like I needed to go over with something else to make my lashes a bit longer. Overall I just didn't see anything special or different. 

3. Maybelline Great Lash
- I almost feel a bit guilty talking poorly about this mascara. Its a classic. I remember my mom using it when I was younger. I just find it way too wet, and feels super heavy on my lashes. I want to like it, I really do. It has such a cult following and I don't hear many bad things about it usually.. maybe I'm just in the minority. But either way, I wont be using it again.

4. Loreal Voluminous Butterfly 
- This is a relatively new product and I just picked it up a couple weeks ago. Now you see what I mean about not being able to resist shiny packaging! Its supposedly one of Loreal's "most exciting mascara innovations yet", because it has a little "wing" that flairs out at the base. They claim that it extends and lifts your outer corner lashes to look like a butterfly wing. All I have to say is, "eh". It isn't a bad mascara, but in my opinion, the butterfly thing is a total gimmick. I find it awkward to hold on my left eye, to get the 'wing' to hit my outer lashes, and it just didn't do anything all that special. I say pass on the gimmick and get one of the 5 'hits' listed above. 

Like everything else, makeup that works for some, doesn't for others. What I love or hate, you may not. So I'm interested to hear if you had different experiences with any of the products I listed. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Best Fall Polish: Oxblood

Oxblood is back! The color was huge last fall, and I'm glad to say its back and as popular as ever. Some people are a bit iffy about the name; oxblood, lionblood, humanblood, whatever you want to call it, its a gorgeous blood-like color that makes for the perfect dramatic nail. I compiled a list of the best nail polish versions of the color, at all price points!

1. OPI - Bastille My Heart [click]
2. Butter London - La Moss [click]
3. Loreal Paris - Red Tote [click]
4. Essie - Bordeaux [click]
5. Wet n Wild - Haze of Love [click]
6. Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear - Flirt [click]
7. OPI - Visions of Love [click]
8. Zoya - Sam [click]
9. OPI - Mrs. O'Leary's BBQ [click]
10. Essie - Berry Hard [click]

What do you think about this fall trend? Sexy and chic or eery and creepy?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Best High-End Beauty Investments

We can't all just take a trip to Sephora or Ulta and spend tons of money on all the high-end products we'd like. I have a list of items I want to purchase, repurchase, or try and I do lots of research on the products before I shell out the money. I also wait a while to purchase high-end items instead of just impulse-buying.. which is why I see them as investments. I've had some hits and misses, but these 5 products are my absolute must-haves if you're looking to invest in some higher quality and higher priced makeup. So here's my list.

1. Erase Paste by Benefit - $26
A brightening "camouflage" for the eyes and face. I use it for my undereye area only. I love the creamy texture and the fact that it hides my super-obvious dark circles. It doesn't crease or look cakey, and stays put all day. I started out with the sample size (only available for purchase at certain times, I got mine in a sample pack from Sephora) and fell in love and had to purchase the full size. Find it here.  

2. Porefessional by Benefit - $30
I struggle with large pores, so hiding them is really important to me. Porefessional is a clear balm/primer that minimizes the appearance of pores. The texture took me a while to get used to, but now its a must. I rub a bit between my fingers and apply it to my t-zone before applying foundation. Its expensive, but I consider it gold in a bottle! Find it here.

3. They're Real Mascara by Benefit - $23
Is it obvious? I really like Benefit products! This is one of those products with a "cult following". In my experience sometimes those products aren't always worth the hype. But this mascara definitely is. I have mostly good luck with drugstore mascaras so I never thought I'd purchase a high-end mascara. But, like the Erase Paste, I purchased the $10 sample size (found at Sephora) and fell in love. My lashes look best when I use this mascara, but I save it for special occasions because I want it to last! They claim it "lengthens, curls, voluminizes, lifts, and separates lashes" and I totally agree. Find it here.

4. Naked 2 Palette by Urban Decay - $52
First of all, I only own the Naked 2 palette, not the original Naked palette, which is the only reason I listed this specific one. I actually think both palettes seem equally amazing and both could make the list. They're the perfect balance of neutral "naked" shades that compliment all skin tones. There are 12 shades which range between rich taupes, grays, coppers, and a gorgeous highlight shade. They're all equally pigmented and go on super-smooth. Like I said, I own the Naked 2 palette and LOVE it, but I think the original Naked palette is worth the investment as well. I also love the brush that comes with the palette. Its my favorite eyeshadow brush and it almost made the list independently! Find it here.

5. Nars Laguna Bronzer/Blush Duo - $41
I had been wanting Nars Laguna for bronzing and contouring, and I always wanted to try Nars Orgasm blush because of the hype surrounding it, and I had no idea I could get the two in a duo set. Laguna is the absolute perfect contouring shade for me, and it would work on almost anyone. It looks shimmery in some lights, but its actually not shimmery at all and doesn't look muddy on the skin. Laguna by itself is a great beauty investment and cost $36 for just the bronzer; however, I think pairing it with one of Nars' famous blushes, for only $5 more, is a great way to get more bang for your buck. You can pair Laguna with Deep Throat, Orgasm, Desire, or Oasis. I use mine almost every day and it has lasted at least 9 months so far! Find it here.

So if you're like me, and you don't want to spend the money on high-end products unless its worth it, take my recommendation and try these out. Save up a little bit every week, and invest in one item at a time! Hope this helped with your research!