Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! 

(a day late)

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. My husband and I are so blessed and had such a great day. 

I got my Clarisonic Mia 2, yay! I'll be sure to post all about it later :) 

Oh yeah, by the way..

Stay tuned for an upcoming giveaway! 

As a late Merry Christmas, and just for fun, I'll be giving away something extra exciting. So check back soon! Hope your bellies are full and you're still running off Christmas bliss.... :) 
Thursday, December 19, 2013

Beauty Gift-Giving Guide

Christmas gift ideas for a makeup lover/beauty junkie!

So you have a makeup/beauty junkie in your life and don't know what to get her.. If you're not into beauty products then the thought of browsing Sephora or Ulta for the perfect gift may seem a little scary. To be honest, there are certain products that just about any beauty lover would love to have, mainly because of its cult following. Whether they are a dedicated YouTube Beauty video fan or they read beauty blogs, chances are they've not only heard of these products, they've been wanting them. So here's a rundown of the best gifts for a makeup lover. Some are a bit pricey, but I only included products that I know for a fact are worth the price tag.

1. Urban Decay Naked Palettes - $52

What you need to know: These are probably the most famous eyeshadow palettes out there.. There are three of them- The original Naked palette, Naked 2, and the brand spankin' new Naked 3. They are pricey but come with 12 shadows (each of which cost $18 individually) and are great quality. If you're looking for a less expensive, but similar, item, see #4.

2. Philosophy Shower Gel - $16-$20

What you need to know: These are actually a triple threat- they are a shampoo, shower gel, and bubble bath all in one. I, personally, wouldn't use it as a shampoo, but they work great for a shower gel/bubble bath. Philosophy products have a great reputation, contain natural ingredients, and smell amazing. 

3. Clarisonic Mia 2 - $150

What you need to know: This one should have been saved for last, since I know the price is a little scary.. This is actually my one must-have item this year. I sure hope I find one under the tree! (hint hint mom) This is a facial cleansing device that can completely change your skin. Its especially great for people who wear makeup daily. It cleanses the skin better than any of its competition, and removes all traces of makeup. There is a less expensive version (the regular Clarisonic or the original Mia) but the Mia 2 actually has a built-in timer, so it tells you how long to clean each section of your face.

4. Naked Basics Palette - $27

What you need to know: Also by Urban Decay, this palette is all apart of the Naked family (hehe) as the 3 palettes described in #1. It has 6 eyeshadows (once again, that retail at $18 individually) in mostly matte shades. Its great for travel or creating quick looks with 6 shades that complement each other well. I personally carry this with me in my purse at all times, for touch-ups, because its small and compact. 

5. Nars Blush in Orgasm - $29

What you need to know: First of all, yes, that's the name. If you're new to the beauty world, I understand if you just blushed a little. It has a slightly inappropriate name, but its a great blush. A universal color that looks great on nearly all skin tones.. plus, its one of the most popular shades out there and wanted by all. I promise. 

6. Benefit's They're Real Mascara - $23

What you need to know: This is such a great mascara, and makes lashes look amazing. Its pretty popular and well-known, because of the great quality. The brush makes it unique. I also included this mascara in my stocking stuffer list, but in the sample size. You can purchase a sample size for $10 online at Sephora, or usually in the line by the check-out counter in Sephora or Ulta. 

7. Real Technique Brushes - $18

What you need to know: The brushes in the picture are all part of the Core Collection (which is the $18 - certain brushes can be purchased individually and cost anywhere from $6-$10). If you've read my blog at all, that means you're heard about these brushes a bajillion times.. They're great. I love them. So do a lot of other people. That's pretty much all you need to know in a nutshell! (Read more here)

So that's a wrap! I truly think any girl who is even remotely into makeup would love and appreciate these products.. expert or newbie. And, of course, if you're unsure of what she has or doesn't have, or what she would or wouldn't like, buy her an Ulta or Sephora gift card! Any girl would love the opportunity to go on a mini makeup shopping spree! Have a great day everyone! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Best Drugstore Eyeshadow.. all under $10!

The Best Drugstore Eyeshadows

I tend to be very picky about eyeshadow, which is why I tend to stick to high-end eyeshadows for the most part. I don't like when shadows are chalky, have a ton of fall-out, or have no color payoff whatsoever. Unfortunately, my experience has been that a lot of drugstore eyeshadows have very little color payoff. I don't like having to dip my brush back in over and over just to get a color to show up on my lid. But here's the good news! I have found some that I like. And some that I dislike. I highlighted my favorites above, and in the end I'll include the few shadows that I found to have poor quality. Here we go!

The Best

1. Wet n Wild Eyeshadow, $1-$5
I had to include Wet n Wild eyeshadows as a whole.. no one palette is better than another. I LOVE the  8-shadow palette, the trios, and the singles. The pigmentation of these shadows is amazing. You have to try it for yourself to see what I mean.. not to mention they are so inexpensive. I'd have to say they beat some of my high end shadows, and they are the cheapest you'll find in any store!
My favorites: Comfort Zone (8 shadows), Walking on Egg Shells Trio, and Nutty (single)

2. Maybelline Eye Studio Quad, $8
Another super pigmented line. These quads are small and compact with just enough eyeshadow in them. The color combinations are so unique, and not something you'd think to put together, but they complement each other so well. I will say, if you aren't into super shimmery shadows, these aren't for you, as they take shimmer to a whole other level; however, I like to combine them with some neutral mattes, and it looks amazing.
My favorites: Coral Oasis, Gusty Green

3. L'Oreal Paris Infallible Eye Shadow, ~$6
I get so many compliments when I wear this shadow. It is so perfect for highlighting the inner corner (in my favorite color) and adding a "pop" in the center of the eye. It is so shimmery but in a classy way, and stays on all day. I usually apply it with a flat shader brush with a spritz of Fix Plus first. I would almost consider it a pigment and not a shadow.. especially since there's enough of it to last you til the end of time.
My favorites: Iced Latte

4. L'Oreal HiP Shadow Duo, $8
Fun fact: HiP stands for High Pigment (I hear so many people calling it "hip".. you know, like the hip joint? lol) High Pigment is a great explanation. Way before I was even that into makeup I was using these shadows. They show up so well, and have such great color combos. If you want a smoky eye, these are super easy to achieve it with!
My favorites: Charged, Platinum

5. Maybelline Quads, $5
I decided to be vague about this because I pretty much love all the quads equally. There's the "stylish smokes" quad, the "expertwear" quad, etc., and I like them all. I think these are the best beginner shadows because they give such a great range of colors that go well together, plus they tell you where to apply each color.. and if you're daring, you ignore that and do your own thing ;) Is every single color of every quad great quality? Ehh.. not really. Its hit or miss. But on average, they're good quality and pigmentation.
My favorites: Amethyst Smokes, Designer Chocolates

6. Physicians Formula Matte Collection, $6
I had to include at least one matte collection. Its so hard to find matte shadows in the drugstore anyway, especially good quality ones! I was always a shimmer girl and was unsure about using matte colors.. so I picked this up to try it out, and it was pretty much the only shadows I wore for months. The quality of these shadows are definitely on the high-end level. They're perfect crease/transition colors, and even the matte white/cream color is great for highlighting and shows up really well.
My favorites: Canyon Classics

The Worst

I bought the one in matte browns, sadly I cant think of the name or find it online. The quality was poor (chalky) and there was 0 pigmentation at all. It was really hard to get it to show up, plus I really disliked the set-up of the palette.. it was hard to use in general because of the skinny shadows.

These were just a waste all around.. I bought the quad that also included a so-called "eye primer" and I was unsatisfied with it all. Just very dry and chalky, barely swatched at all on my fingers, and didn't show up on my eyes at all. 

3. Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips
I bought this because I thought it would be a great dupe for the Naked palette(s); however, it was really hard to use because the tiny, skinny strips of shadows.. Guess the name should've told me that, right? :) Plus, the shadows only worked when I wet my brush first.
Okay that's it folks! :) My favorites and unfavorites. As always, I'd love to hear if you had a similar or different experience with any of these products.. and what your favorites or unfavorites are! 
Friday, December 13, 2013

December Birchbox

December Birchbox!

I received my December Birchbox today! I was so excited to see the shiny gold box in my mailbox with "Happy Holidays" on the front. And I could tell it had a lot in it because it was heavy! I'll cut to the chase, here's what's in it:

December Birchbox!
My 2 favorite items: The lip gloss and the CHOCOLATE. (These aren't in any order, just my random
P.S. If you're interested in trying out Birchbox for yourself, sign up HERE

Lip Gloss: I wasn't too impressed with the lip gloss at first. It isn't a color I'd normally gravitate to and I'm not really a big lip gloss person in the first place. But the card it came on claimed that it is their most wanted lip gloss and has tons of 5 star Birchbox reviews, so I had to try it out; and I was pleasantly surprised! The color still isn't my favorite, but it feels so amazing, I'll rock it anyway! Its super minty and feels great on my lips, plus it made them feel soft (which is rare these days- I majorly need to exfoliate) and the soft feeling is pretty long lasting! I've had it on for well over an hour and I still feel it.

Chocolate covered fortune cookie: I mean, why have I never had one before in the first place? I would describe it as: oh my goodness SO yummy. I ate it in 2 bites and I'm really considering using my Birchbox points to buy some more. Yes, that's sad. I've saved up points and I'm going to use them on chocolate. Don't judge me. Oh! And it came with a fortune- "A white Christmas is coming your way" :) How cute!

Body lotion: I'm undecided on this one for now. The texture is sort of watery so I didn't expect it to be too moisturizing, but it does feel nice on the back of my hand, so I may be wrong. The tube says it contains honey and organic chamomile extracts. I'm guessing that's where the smell comes from. The smell is what I'm undecided about. Honestly, my first thought was that it smells like Pledge. Yeah, the dusting stuff. But I kinda sorta like it. We'll see.

Hairspray: I haven't used this yet, because my hair is currently in a "blob" on top of my head. I'm kind of excited about it though because its a non-aerosol hair spray, which I've never tried. I'm big on smells so I did give it a 'sniff' and it smells like a typical hairspray. Can't think of the particular one, but it smells familiar.
Update: I decided to try this hairspray out yesterday. I curled my hair on the ends and sprayed the non-aerosol spray all on my ends. Throughout the day I kept noticing how knotty my hair was getting, which isn't the norm for me. Halfway through my shopping trip I couldn't even get my fingers through my hair! There were "rats nests" sort of matted knots all through my hair. This never happens so I'm blaming the hairspray! It took forever to get the knots out, and I ended up having to wear my hair up the rest of the day because of how bad it looked. I don't recommend this hairspray! 

Skin Care: I'm not too crazy about anything in packets. I guess I'm a diva. I just prefer my samples in tubes/bottles. I may try it, not sure. I usually throw all my sample packets in a drawer and pull them out on rainy days. I'm still loving my current skincare line (read about Arbonne here) so I'm not looking to try anything new.

They also sent out a little card announcing that Birchbox is now mobile! They have a new Birchbox app where you can track your Birchbox, buy full-sized products, and browse other products. The card came with a little diamond shaped thing with the Birchbox logo.. apparently called a digimate sticker? I was so confused about it at first, but apparently it sticks to the back of your phone, and you can use the non-sticky side to clean your screen, then reattach it to the back. I've never heard of these little guys before, but its cute I guess!

So that's it. I'd rate this box a 6/10. I did like last month's box better, but I loved the fortune cookie, yum! I recently subscribed to Ipsy, and I'm finally off the waiting list. So I should receive my first box in January. So be on the lookout next month for a comparison! And don't forget, if you loved this Birchbox and want to try it out for yourself, you can sign up HERE!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Beauty-Related Stocking Stuffer Ideas

The Best Beauty-Related Stocking Stuffers!

Have a makeup lover in your life? Or want to pass on a big 'ole hint to your man? I did all the work for you! Here's my guide for perfect beauty-related stocking stuffers for Christmas 2013. And you'll be glad to know, none of them will break the bank! For the most part all are available at your local drugstore, Sephora, Ulta, and the one MAC item can always be ordered online. :) And at the bottom I'll include some of my favorite non-beauty related items (that I'd love to get in my stocking this year.. hint hint, husband.)

1. Elf Bronzer/Blush Duo - $3
2. Elf Blending Brush - $1
3. Knotted Hair Ties - ~$5
4. Nail File - $2
5. Burts Bees Lip Balm - ~$3
6. Neutrogena Makeup Removing Wipes - $5

7. Revlon Lip Butters - $8 (the color shown is "Cotton Candy")
8. Essie Nail Polish - $8 (the color shown is "Bordeaux")
9. Benefit They're Real Mascara (Sample) - $10
10. Loreal Infallible Eye Shadow - $8
11. Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips - $10

12. Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette - $27
13. Soap & Glory "Butter Yourself" Body Cream - $20
14. MAC Lipstick (the color shown is "Creme Cup") - $15
15. Sephora (or Ulta) Gift Card - (As much as you see best- there is nothing better than treating yourself to a Sephora shopping spree.. with a gift card!)

Non-Beauty Stocking Stuffers:
Candy, car air fresheners, trail mix, restaurant gift cards, socks, cute gloves, post-its, fun pens, hand lotion, ear buds, tea, eye drops, iTunes gift card, gum, costume jewelry, car charger, small Bath & Body Works candles, body spray... the list goes on and on.

I'd love to hear what's on your "wants" list this year or any other stocking stuffer ideas you may have! Comment below. And hope your shopping is going well!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Top Concealers

Makeup Your Mind's Best Concealers!

I cannot live without concealer, but after all this time I still don't have a "holy grail" concealer. I keep trying new ones which has allowed me to find many that I like; but I keep buying new ones in the search for "the one" and haven't found it yet. The good news, though, is that I can show you all the ones that I do like and why! They are all available in your local drugstore except for the first MAC one.

1. MAC Pro Longwear Concealer, $19
- Good for: Concealing under eyes, blemishes, and brightening 
I avoided this for a while because I didn't want to give into the hype. But I was glad I finally gave in once I tried it. It does an excellent job at concealing blemishes and dark cirlces, and if you get it a shade lighter than your skin tone, it works great to brighten your under eye. I also apply it to my lids as a primer. 
- Tip: It dries fast so you need to work quickly. Dab it under one eye at a time and blend quickly. 

2. L'Oreal True Match Blendable Concealer, $9
- Good for: Concealing under eyes and blemishes
This one has a much thinner consistency and has a lighter coverage, but still does a good job. Sometimes when I apply concealer under my eyes on top of my foundation it feels so thick and cakey, which is why I love the sheer, thin, liquid consistency of this concealer. It goes on smooth and blends well. 

3. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Treatment, $9
- Good for: Concealing under eyes and blemishes 
I used this concealer for a very, very long time. Have you ever had a product that worked for you for a long while, then it became just kind of "eh" for you? That was this concealer. I loved it and used it daily. It works really well under my eyes, and I even used it to conceal blemishes (not sure if I was supposed to!) and loved it for about a year. Don't get me wrong, its still a great concealer, I just prefer something a tad more brightening, so I just use this one when I need major dark circle rehab. 
- Tip: If you feel uncomfortable using the sponge tip applicator (a lot of people worry it breeds bacteria) tap a brush on the end and apply it that way. 

4. Hard Candy Glamoflauge, $6
- Good for:  Major concealing
This definitely isn't your every-day concealer. Some say it's a great dupe for Kat Von D's Lock It Tattoo concealer. I've never tried that so I have no point of reference.. but Kat Von D's is marketed to hide tattoos (and more) and I know the Glamoflauge definitely does the job as well. Its sooo thick and creamy and is super full coverage. I wouldn't use this concealer under your eyes because it is so thick, but its great for covering blemishes, unwanted dark spots, rosacea, etc.

5. Sonia Kashuk Hidden Agenda Concealer Palette, ~$10
- Good for: Under eye concealing
I don't really use anything else in the palette besides the concealer in the top left. The other 2 concealers are corrector shades, but I can't make them work for me, and the other is a setting powder. I love the creaminess of the one concealer that I do use, that it had to make the cut. It goes on so smooth and blends so well. I wouldn't use it to conceal blemishes that much, because I feel like you'd have to layer it on, but it works really well under the eyes. 

6. Garnier Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller, $13
- Good for: Under eye concealing
If I had a HG concealer, this would be it. The only downfall is that it is only for under eyes, and definitely can't be used to conceal blemishes, hide redness, etc. The anti-dark circle eye roller is actually a caffeine gel with a rollerball that energizes and stimulates the skin, plus it has the perfect amount of color to cover up any discoloration. There is actually a non-tinted version that simply helps with dark circles, but I prefer the one with a hint of color because its killing two birds with one stone. 

7. Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, $7
- Good for: Concealing blemishes, under eyes, brightening 
This is a great texture and has great coverage, so its almost tied with Mac Pro Longwear. It isn't quite as thick, but its definitely creamy, and does a great job concealing any issues you may want to hide. My only complaint is that I cannot find a color that works for me! Its either too pink, too dark, too light, etc. I've heard its great for brightening, but I can't get it to do that for me because I can't get the right shade! But I still love it, it just takes some extra blending. 

These are all great concealers for different reasons, and all have their pros and cons. I would say that if I had to choose an absolute favorite I would choose the MAC Pro Longwear. I'd love to hear what you've tried, what you love, and what you hate! Comment below. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Blonde to Brunette Transformation!

Welllllll.. ladies and gentlemen, I did something brave.

Let me start off by reminding you that I was born blonde. Have always been blonde. Turned into a darker blonde and have been getting highlights, and eventually dying it a brighter shade of blonde for a little while now. But I identify myself as a blonde and its all I've ever known.

So a couple weeks ago when I got the sudden urge to go dark, I surprised myself. I've never been dark (aside from a month or so when I was 18 and my best friend decided to box dye it.. but it faded quickly and didn't last long). I texted my hairstylist and told her I wanted to do it, and spent a few days searching Pinterest for color inspiration.

I didn't tell anyone. Not sure why. Maybe I was afraid I'd let someone talk me out of it. Either way, only my mom and husband knew. Half of the excitement of going dark was being able to just randomly say BAM. I HAVE DARK HAIR. And surprise everyone.

I was really nervous and would get anxiety about it sometimes lying in bed at night. (Yeah, I'm loony) but I followed through with it, which was pretty shocking. So.. here it is, my brown head!

Thank you so much Kirsten at Studio Helene
Have a great day guys! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Naked 3 Palette Review w/ Swatches!

FYI: I realized weeks after this post was written that I kept getting the name of the last shadow wrong. It is blackheart not blackout. Sorry! I changed it in the post itself, but not in the photos, so just ignore that part! Or, since I CANNOT get the name right to save my life, maybe I'll just start a new trend and we can all call it blackout? :-)

Shew! Its been a while! I'm finally posting again.. after a long weekend with 2 Thanksgiving dinners and some other exciting things I'll tell you about later :) And its finally time for my Naked 3 palette review with swatches!

But first: Congratulations to Robyn, my giveaway winner!
She has already been contacted and I'll be sending her prizes this week. Thank you so much to everyone who entered! I got to "meet" lots of you in the comment section, on twitter, and even on Instagram. So thank you, thank you, thank you! I had a lot of fun so I plan to do another giveaway soon. Any suggestions on what you'd guys like to win? I'll be thinking about it! But now, lets do this thang!

Naked 3 palette swatch & review! ||
Naked 3 palette swatches & review

I already showed you my first Naked 3 look here.. and I mentioned that I love it. I've been using it some more, experimented with some more looks, and nothing has changed. I still love it :) Like I mentioned before, I haven't really ever worn pink-toned shadows, so I was definitely stepping out of the box buying this palette; and trust me, I didn't just order it because it was another Naked palette. I bought it because I wanted to try something new, and I'm glad I did. My main fear was that the pink tones would cause me to look sick, or like I had pink eye. But I was wrong. They're the perfect mix of pinks/neutrals so that it doesn't make you look sick at all.. it gives a really unique, pretty, feminine look that I'm really excited about.

First and foremost, the basics. 
-Retails for $52
-At the moments it is only available at
-Has already sold out, but they're back in stock! So get it quick!

Naked 3 palette swatch & review! ||
The palette itself is really pretty. Its a hard case, like the Naked 2 palette, in rose gold.
Naked 3 palette swatch & review! ||
Naked 3 palette swatch & review! ||
Like the other 2 Naked palettes, it comes with 12 shades with a mix of
shimmery and matte shades.
Naked 3 palette swatch & review! ||
The first 5 shades are the lightest shades. I really should have used a primer before swatching, because they just didn't show up that well on my skin tone.
1. Strange - A great highlight shade, obviously. Although it does have a tiny bit of sheen to it, it almost looks matte. Its definitely not a super sparkly highlight, but I love it because it looks natural. It does, however, take a few layers to make it as opaque as you see in the photo. It doesn't have great color payoff, but its buildable. 
2. Dust - Dust is a medium pink. This is the sparkliest shade of all, and has lots of glitter. If you wanted this color to stand out, I'd pack it on with a wet brush. I think it would look amazing. I really love adding this color right to the center of my lid for a "pop" because of the shimmer.
3. Burnout - This shade has more of a satin/pearly finish; not too sparkly, but not matte. Its more of a peachy color and the texture is so smooth (not chalky)
4. Limit - One of the gorgeous matte shades. I'd call it a dusty rose. I love love love this color in my crease, combined with nooner. Very nice pigmentation, you should use with a light hand. 
5. Buzz - More of a metallic shade. Sort of a coppery pink, if that makes sense. Definitely has a metallic finish, and is just pink enough to be pink, but would look great with a mix of browns or taupes. 

Naked 3 palette swatch & review! ||
As you can see, the next 7 (aside from tick) are the darkest and most pigmented. It didn't take much to swatch these at all. They went on so smooth. 
6. Trick - A very light-washed shade, but it works. I think if you were going for a really natural look this would be a great shade for all over your lid.
7. Nooner - This is quickly becoming my favorite shade, mainly because I have a thing for matte shadows. Its just such a perfect color, a deep matte mauve. This color in the crease, with limit as a transition color.. ahh. Lately I've been wearing those 2 colors in the crease, with practically nothing but strange on the lid. I just love it. Oh and the texture is super buttery and smooth.
8. Liar - This is another that is just neutral enough that it can work with anything. Its a warm metallic brown, with pink undertones. Very pigmented.
9. Factory - This is a brownish color with warm, red undertones. The texture is really soft, and a bit shimmery. 
10. Mugshot - I thought this shade would be my favorite.. but I'm kind of "eh" about it. Its a little too basic for me. But it does work really well in combination with all of the other colors. Its another metallic shade, sort of a combination between brown and taupe.
11. Darkside - Sort of similar to mugshot, but more of a mauvy taupe. Another metallic finish. Very, very pigmented. The first time I used it I had to remove some and blend out well because it had a lot more color payoff than I expected. I like to wear this in my outer corner.
12. Blackheart - This is a black color with flecks of red glitter. I was unsure on how I would feel about it, buts its growing on me. The red doesn't stand out, obviously, and the color is really blendable. Along with the red glitter, it has a bit of warm red undertones. I haven't used this shade much, but the couple of times I had, I liked it.  
Naked 3 palette swatch & review! ||
Like the other Naked palettes it comes with a great dual-ended brush. A blending brush on one end, and a shadow brush. I know a lot of people prefer the eyeliner that came in the original Naked palette, but I actually love the UD brushes. They don't shed, they're nice and fluffy, and blend well. The shader brush that came in both Naked 2 & 3 are my favorites for packing on a color all over the lid.

Obviously, I love it overall. What I like most about the Naked palettes is that each color can stand alone, and can be combined with any other shade in the palette for a gorgeous look, and this palette is no different. Since I've never experimented with pinks before, this palette is so exciting to me, and I want to play with it every day! I've been using it on my eyes exclusively for the past week, and am playing with all kinds of looks, so I hope to share some soon! So, will you guys be ordering the Naked 3 palette? I'd love to hear your thoughts!