Monday, December 29, 2014

Best of 2014! | Setting Powder, Bronzer, Blush, + Highlighter!

Greetings fine people!  Today's Best of 2014 post is dedicated to some of my favorites in the beauty realm: setting powder, bronzer, blush, and highlighter!  Kick back with a warm cuppa tea and let's chat!

DRUGSTORE: L'Oreal Paris True Match Mineral Pressed Powder, $12.99 USD.  This powder is so creamy and fine and it keeps my face free of shine all day.  The pretty white and clear compact contains a mirror and sponge.  Add that to it's smaller overall size and it's a perfect purse companion!
HIGH-END: YSL Poudre Compact Radiance (Radiance-Enhancing Pressed Powder), $47.00 USD.  I picked this up randomly during a Sephora sale without doing any background research beforehand.  It turned out to be one of the best setting powders I've used!  The powder is finely-milled and helps control oil in my t-zone.  I typically don't have to powder my nose (or forehead or cheeks) in the late afternoon hours when I've set my makeup with this little gem.  I got almost a full year's worth of use out of this compact, and believe me, I used it nearly every morning!

DRUGSTORE: Wet N' Wild Color Icon Bronzer SPF 15 in Reserve Your Cabana, $3.99 USD.  While I use this as a highlighter, it can double as an illuminating setting powder for Fair, Light, and Light-Medium skin tones, as well.  The color and finish falls between Hourglass Dim Light and Incandescent Light.  In fact, if you layer one over the other, the resulting shade is a very near match to Reserve Your Cabana!  
HIGH-END: Hourglass Dim Light Ambient Lighting Powder, $45.00 USD.  This creamy peachy beige powder gives the skin a beautiful "lit from within" appearance without the glitter.  It's also one of the 3 powders housed in the Ambient Lighting Palette, so if you're not sure which one to try, get the palette and try 3! | FULL REVIEW HERE (of Mood and Diffused Light).

DRUGSTORE: I was overly involved with my mission to hit pan on the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil this year that I didn't purchase a single drugstore bronzer offering!  If you found a favorite, please share it in the comments!
HIGH-END: Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Medium/Deep Matte Bronzer, $30.00 USD.  How could I not pick this constant companion?  I've had it since March 2013 and use it almost every day.  The matte finish and believable shade of bronze on my NW20 (winter) - NW25 (summer) skin has just been so good, I haven't really explored many others. | FULL REVIEW HERE.

DRUGSTORE: Wet N' Wild Color Icon Bronzer SPF 15 in Reserve Your Cabana, $3.99 USD.  I know!  Again?!  But yes, trust me when I say this is the *perfect* highlighter for people who don't want their pores to appear enlarged or their skin to look frosty!  This subtle peachy illuminator gives the skin an enchanting glow without the "vamps on holiday" glitter.  Thank you to Mary/aLoveTart and Sarah/tatt2sandwarpaint for the recommendation!
HIGH-END: Bobbi Brown Sandstone Shimmer Brick Compact (LE), $ USD.  This is a highlighter for those about to rock!  It's definitely not called a "shimmer brick" for nothin'!  When swirled together, the 5 shades combine into a beautiful shimmering light copper color.  This one does require a light hand (for me), but the finished look on skin is that of a bronzed goddess returning from a weekend in Belize. It is limited edition and is out of stock at Sephora, Bobbi Brown, and Nordstrom, but I did find it available at Macy's.  If you want it, act soon!  This one also pulls double duty as an eyeshadow!

Fingers L to R: Milani Lady Blush, Tarte Tipsy, City Color Fresh Melon
DRUGSTORE: We have a TIE!  First up: City Color Cosmetics Fresh Melon Be Matte Blush, $4.99 USD.  This buttery soft, pigmented coral was my ride or die throughout the summer!  It outlasted numerous weeks of humid, 90 degree temperatures and never appeared faded on my skin at the end of the day.  The generously sized pan contains 8.9 grams of product (for reference, a Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush is 5.6 grams).  Secondly: Milani Rose Powder Blush in Lady Blush, $7.99 USD.  If you missed out on these all-stars of the drugstore, I have exciting news: Milani has announced they will become a part of the permanent line in 2015 and they've been spotted at CVS by Nouveau Cheap reader Autumn
HIGH-END: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Tipsy, $26.00 USD. This orange-y coral adds the prettiest pop of color to the complexion and lasts through anything you throw at it.  I wore this on my wedding day on the apples of my cheeks!

DRUGSTORE: Maybelline Master Hi-Light Hi-Lighting Bronzer in Light Bronze, $9.99 USD.  This gorgeous neutral blush/bronzer hybrid yields a glowing (but never sparkly) rose gold tone.  Thank you to Marge/IG@margecarlos for convincing me to try something from the line!  
HIGH-END: Another TIE!  Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure, $35.00 USD.  I'd call this a must-have for anyone who'd rather spend their hard-earned cash on a blush that will go with any lip or eye look.  The neutral pink color and hint of radiance literally matches EVERYTHING.  Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic Swish & Pop Blusher in Love Glow, $40.00 USD.  Hands-down, the most luxurious blush I've ever owned.  It has a nice heft to it, and the small details like the tiny star on the inside of the compact make it even more of a charmer.  The outer ring of color can be applied to the cheekbones and the inner shade can be popped on the apples, or you can swirl your brush throughout and do whatever you like.  Either way, the luminous finish is understated and beautiful, and the soft pink shade of Love Glow will be flattering across most skin tones. 

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer

What were your favorite finds in these categories?  Anything you think I should try next year?

>> Stay tuned for the next installment of my Best of 2014 series: EYES! 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Glossier Phase 1 Set Giveaway | And the winner is...

The winner of the Glossier Phase 1 Set giveaway is Ana Vera!  Congratulations!

Thank you to everyone who participated!  Stay tuned for more giveaways in the new year!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Best of 2014! | BASE PRODUCTS! (My Favorite Drugstore + High-End Makeup Picks)

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!  Can you guys believe 2014 is almost over??  This was one of the best years of my life.  Just 8 months ago, I was walking down the aisle to marry the best guy I could've ever dreamed up!  We left for a Puerto Rican adventure the next day and the memories made over the course of the wedding and honeymoon were so wonderful, I think of them whenever when I need a pick-me-up.  
My hair had it's own little story arc in 2014.  I cut it in Condado, PR on our honeymoon, went blonde, tried to fix it by going blonder, went back to brunette, and finally, invested in some hair vitamins in an attempt to grow it out long once again.  Biggest thanks go to Stephanie for devising a long-distance at-home hair color fix; my hair would not be the same without you!
2014 was a good year for makeup as well.  I may not have mastered the cut crease or become a pro at doing an ombré lip, but I did discover a plethora of products that made my life easier (and more enjoyabe).  I thought I'd share my favorites with you in a Best of 2014 series.  Today we're focusing on the building blocks: base products!


DRUGSTORE: I didn't find a drugstore primer this year that I loved.  Did you?  What would you recommend?
HIGH-END: Too Faced Hangover Rx Replenishing Face Primer, $32.00 USD.  This silicone-free primer adds hydration without leaving my combination skin an oily mess.  

DRUGSTORE: Lumene Time Freeze CC Cream, $14.99 USD.  I would put this product up against any high-end base product and I believe it would out-perform it.  The silky finish, high-coverage cream leaves my face looking airbrushed. | FULL REVIEW HERE.
HIGH-END: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF30, $42.00 USD.  What more can I say about this?  The raves are true.  Beautiful dewy finish, surprisingly good coverage, and a solid SPF rating. | FULL REVIEW HERE.

DRUGSTORE: Maybelline Dream Wonder Fluid-Touch Foundation, $6.15 USD.  I've literally forsaken all others in favor of this foundation.  Weightless, medium coverage that can be built up to full, and the matte finish is a god-send for anyone with oily or combination skin.  As soon as I finish this foundation, I'll be repurchasing it!  
HIGH-END: Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet, $45.00 USD.  Another beautiful, weightless formula that made my oily summer skin very happy.  Any liquid foundation that allows me to skip finishing powder is a true celebrity in my makeup bag! | FULL REVIEW HERE.

DRUGSTORE: Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller, $12.99 USD.  Caffeine, lemon essence, and mineral pigments combine forces to reduce puffiness while brightening my under-eye area.  The thin, serum-like consistency blends like a dream.  I love putting the tube in the fridge during the warmer months for an even more bombastic cooling/puff-reducing experience!
HIGH-END: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, $29.00 USD. This thick but fabulously blendable concealer is great for under the eyes and on the face.  Apply it to the tops of the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, chin, and forehead, and blend it out with a brush or wet blending sponge for that certain je ne sais quoi J-Lo glow. | FULL REVIEW HERE.


What were some of your fave base products?  If you could only name one base makeup item as your best of the year, what would it be?

>> Stay tuned for the next Best of 2014 installment featuring my favorite powders, bronzers, blush, and highlighters!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Review + GIVEAWAY! | 10 Reasons Why You Need the Glossier Phase 1 Set ❤

If you haven't heard, Glossier is a line founded by Emily Weiss, creator of Into The Gloss.  I first heard of the line through a friend's Instagram post and knew right away I wanted to try it.  After a month of testing the kit and loving the products, I thought I'd make a list of the 10 Reasons Why You Need the Glossier Phase 1 Set!
1. The set contains everything you need to hydrate, calm, and even out your skin.
2. Running late?  Keep your kit in the cute reusable pink bubble pouch it comes in.  Wash your face, grab your pouch, and hit the road!
3.  All Glossier products are cruelty-free.
4. The Balm Dotcom Universal Skin Salve is an incredibly moisturizing (non-sticky, unscented and taste-free) balm for your lips or any other part of your body that's desperately seeking hydration salvation.  If you only buy 1 thing from Glossier, do yourself a favor and spring for this $12.00 20ml tube of magic.  I've forsaken all other lip balms in favor of this, including my previous holy grail (Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask)!
5. Got a case of dull winter skin?  Spritz on The Soothing Face Mist for a burst of calming rosewater bliss and follow it up with a dab of the Priming Moisturizer for a glowing, vibrant face.
6. The Perfecting Skin Tint, a watery, ultra-thin tint of color, is as easy to apply as a moisturizer and adds a dewy, imperceptible hint of tint.  Perfect for days when you need a bit of evening out but don't want to go full coverage.  Follow it up with a few dabs of concealer on any blemishes and voila!  It's your skin, but better.
7. The Priming Moisturizer can be layered on depending on your skin's need for hydration.  I have combination skin and this moisturizer works very well for me alone or under makeup.
8.  There's something empowering about buying products created by a fellow blogger, especially when they're this incredible and take the guesswork out of caring for your skin.  
9. If you're a creative type and love to personalize your goods, the Glossier Phase 1 Set comes with a sheet of adorable stickers for you to adorn your products with and make them your own.
10. Need a pick-me-up at the end of a rough day?  Spritz the Soothing Facial Mist onto your face and take a deep breath.  Ahhhhhhh!
I am giving away one Glossier Phase 1 Set to my lovely readers!  This giveaway is open internationally, but please be mindful of your country's cosmetics mailing regulations.  I don't want your set to be returned by Customs!  The giveaway closes at midnight on Saturday, December 27th.  The winner will be chosen by random draw, contacted by email, and announced here on the blog on Sunday, December 28th! 

This kit goes perfectly with my 2015 word of the year, "Simplify."  My goal is to unclutter both objects and ideas from my physical and mental space that are no longer serving a positive purpose.  There's nothing better than the feeling of being freed from things that are no longer bringing happiness into your life.  I've already started clearing out space in my life to make room for new opportunities and experiences and I'm really looking forward to the new year!

Leave a comment on this post sharing one of your 2015 goals or your word of the year! ❤  If you don't have a Disqus account, please leave your email address so I can get in touch with you if you're the lucky winner! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Loves & Lemons | November 2014

Hi beauties!  So I know it's basically Christmas Eve but there were just too many goodies I loved in November I wanted to share, even though the post is a little late!  Without further adieu...

Makeup Revolution Redemption Palette Iconic 3: This palette truly has been a redemption for me.  You guys know I returned my Urban Decay Naked 3 palette shortly after purchasing it because I felt half the shades were well below UD's phenomenal standard.  After Naked 3 launched into superstardom, I began to think maybe I had a bad batch originally but I've never been keen on shelling out the money to try it again.  I know some people feel strongly about "knock off" makeup, but for me, the Makeup Revolution Iconic 3 is the better palette!  All of the shadows are buttery, soft, and stunningly pigmented.  The design is also more to my liking as it's streamlined and takes up less room.  I ended up taking this beauty on my trip to Arizona and it held up great during rigorous bag shuffling into overhead compartments and lots of trunk travel on the open road.  I plan to do a full review with swatches so you can see how gorgeous this palette is, but let me just break the most amazing news: It only cost £4.00!  ($6.26 USD/$7.18 CAD)
Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash: I love this!  It cleanses and exfoliates and leaves my skin fresh without feeling tight or dry.  I loved being able to try the smaller 2 oz size for $9.00 to see how my skin reacted before committing to the $24.00 6.7 oz bottle.
Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo: I've always heard raves about Moroccanoil products and have wanted to try something from the line.  I visited a salon here in Atlanta after my blonde ambition tour earlier this summer and the stylist finished off my hair with Moroccanoil Treatment.  I could not believe how fantastic my hair looked!  The Moisture Repair Shampoo is another stellar product from Moroccanoil.  It leaves my scalp balanced and my hair shiny without being weighed down or prone to oiliness.  Oh, and it smells AMAZZZZZZZING.
I could not have gotten through November without these little tubes o' bliss.  Both the Suvana Organic Paw Paw & Honey Balm (a recommendation from the lovely Taylor of My Lucite Dreams) and the Papaya Gold Paw Paw Moisturizing Balm were the biggest help to me during my month-long battle with chapped skin.  For the uninitiated, "paw paw" is another word for papaya, and paw paw ointment has been around since the turn of the century.  It's far more popular in Australia, but I think once word spreads of it's incredible soothing powers, it will be everywhere!  Paw Paw will be the new "BB Cream"! ;)  A lavishly thick and rich balm, this is a fantastic salve for dry, chapped, or cut skin.  If you suffer from any of these ailments, both of these ointments are incredible!
Rounding out my month-long balm obsession is the balm dotcom by Glossier.  This is my absolute FAVE.  After falling hard for Bite's Agave Lip Mask, I've been searching for a more budget-friendly lip balm option and this $12.00 tube is IT.  The balm dotcom is 100% scent and taste-free and stays put overnight, leaving my lips very hydrated and soft the next morning.  I've been using this balm during the day, too, instead of lipstick.  I LOVE IT.  HG.  Number 1.  FIVE STARS!  Last but not least, the Maybelline Dream Wonder Fluid-Touch Foundation has just been perfection!  It makes my skin look WAY better than it really is and allows me to skip concealer if I'm short on time.  Full review here.

The sole lemon of the month was the LE Bobbi Brown Mini Eye Palette.  The palette design is fantastic; it's smaller than a drugstore eye quad and would be perfect for travel.  The downside?  The shadows are dry, powdery, and incredibly sheer.  I even tried applying the shades wet (over a shadow primer) and they were still barely visible.  Huge disappointment.  I returned mine.  Save your $35!
So that's it for November!  Can you guys believe Christmas is only 17 days away?!  WOW!

What product were you reaching for all November long?