Sunday, October 11, 2015


Hello beauties!

After nearly 3 years, I've decided to hang up my beauty blogging cap (or should I say makeup belt?).  I work full time, so blogging has always been a hobby, not a job.  When I first started out, I was spending every second of my free time creating content so I'd have a new post going up seven days a week.  After a period of time, I got burned out and started posting less frequently.  For the past few months, I've had a lot of realizations about blogging, hobbies, and life in general.  Life is precious and there are no guarantees.  Instead of blogging a few nights a week and all day Sunday, I've been spending that time offline with family and friends, having dinner, laughing, watching TV, reading, traveling, cooking, and enjoying all of the seasonal trappings of late summer and fall.  And I'm perfectly content.  That's when it hit me: I don't have to blog.

The hardest part of this decision was feeling like I was a quitter, or was somehow letting down the amazing online friends I've come to care for so much.  I've realized that we'll still be friends regardless of whether I have my own blog, or I just read yours and keep in touch on social media.  You guys have always been supportive of me like true friends are and I'm so grateful.

In closing, I'd just like to say a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you.  You guys welcomed me into the beauty blogging community like we were Romy and Michele!  It was incredible to meet so many sassy, funny and thoughtful women and it still amazes me to think that I have friends all over the world as a result of this hobby.  I am honored to have met each of you and look forward to continuing our friendship over the years.

All my love!


Thursday, September 17, 2015

FIVE FAVE! | Brown Lipsticks

The cooler weather here in Atlanta has me so excited for all things fall.  Some of my favorite aspects of fall beauty are warm eyeshadows (hello cranberry!), dark nail polishes, and brown lipsticks.  While I personally feel like anyone can pull off brown lipstick, some are dubious.  I decided to dig through my stash and pull out my five favorite browns; the varying degrees of shade and coverage mean there's a brown here for everyone!  

MAC Photo - Golden Brown (Satin)
This is a shade for those who want a bold true brown.  Photo can also be mixed with lighter lipsticks to add a brown tone to them.  Amanda Valentine on Project Runway All Stars wore The Best nude lipstick combo and, thanks to the power of Twitter, she revealed it to be a mix of MAC Photo and Myth.

MAC Double Shot - Full-bodied Mocha Cream (Amplified)
This is a gorgeous, luminous plummy brown.  I love it not only for the color, but also for the name which makes me think of delicious coffee treats from Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks!  If I was playing Lipstick Survivor (c) Liz // BeautyReductionista, Double Shot would be the one I'd forsake all others for.

L'Oreal Brazil Nut - Copper Brown Nude (Colour Riche)
If Revlon's Toast of New York is a little too russet red for you, try Brazil Nut!  The finish is slightly sheer, allowing your natural lip color to peek through, and the color itself is more desaturated.

MAC Shitake - Brown (Glaze)
This is a lovely sheer brown with a hint of sheen.  Glaze is the perfect description for the finish!  [I'm gutted that this was LE!  I thought it was permanent until I went googling for a link.  This color has been brought back a time or two, so if you don't want to scour eBay, it might be for sale in a future collection as a repromote.  I'm so sorry I included an LE item!]

MAC Fresh Brew - Creamed Coffee (Lustre)
This is the sheerest member of what I've come to lovingly think of as MAC's Coffee Shop Collection (Fresh Brew, Double Shot, Creme in Your Coffee), and was a gift from my friend Sarah // tatt2sandwarpaint.  This is a great starter brown for anyone looking to dip their toe into the trend without committing to full-on tater skin realness. ;)

Top to Bottom: Photo, Double Shot, Brazil Nut, Shitake, Fresh Brew
Top to Bottom: Fresh Brew, Shitake, Brazil Nut, Double Shot, Photo

What's your favorite brown lipstick?  What aspect of fall makeup gets you excited for the change in season?  

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Beauty Influencer’s Sunday Column Vol.15: ​​How do you overcome blogger’s block?

BISC Vol.15 Group 1
How do you overcome blogger’s block?
BISC Vol.15 Group 1
LILY | Malaysia | Chloe Ash
When I have blogger’s block, I usually just go offline for a while and enjoy what reality has to offer. For me, personally, the block is because I’m uninspired, and maybe a little burned out. A break is usually a welcome, and most of the time, it takes shorter than expected to get some inspiration to write again. Nowadays however, I have content to write, but just don’t have the time to do it. That’s entirely another type of block. LOL!
ANNE | Germany | Linda, Libra, Loca
I don’t think I ever experienced a severe case of “bloggers block” (knock on wood!), but I have had days where I am completely exhausted and lacking all inspiration. To keep up with my schedule I plan my posts three months in advance, rotating beauty, skincare and random stuff so I don’t get stuck in a rut. And if life gets in the way I still have quality content prepared to see me through at least a week or two without the pressure of having to write, which is the best way to get all inspired again.
TRACY | USA | Swaybeauty
I actually hit a wall about a month ago due to beauty overload. I took a little break and started my “Married to a Chef” series. Having those posts at the ready lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. After the first two went out I found myself more at ease and able to refocus my attention back to beauty related posts. I think taking a break is so important for your mind, body and spirit. I don’t think you should ever have to apologize for doing so because after all we’re only human.
KRISTEN | USA | Glambunctious
I just take a break.  Sometimes it’s a a few days away from social media, or a week off from blogging.  I focus on other areas of my life and when the magic returns, I get to writing!  I don’t really think of it as a block or lack of inspiration; it’s just a time where my brain power is needed elsewhere.
SHEILA | Canada | Maddy Loves
I generally have “moments” of inspiration and then I write, write, write, often several blog posts in one sitting. It’s really hard to motivate myself to write if I have writer’s block, so I generally go away and do something else, or I scroll through my folder of folders of stuff I need to review, hoping to get some inspiration. I might also read other blogs, hoping I’ll get bitten by the writing bug. If all else fails, I might just give up. Blogging is a hobby anyways, so I try not to stress myself out too much by it!
JAA | Thailand | Hello Jaa
I usually just let it be. Sometimes I even think of it as a blessing because I’ll have more time to spend with my friends and family doing “life” things. I’ll try to stay off social media, too, if possible. I find that when I’m happy, I’ll have a lot of energy, and ideas will flow naturally. I also find it easier and more fun to write about things I’m genuinely happy and excited about! :)
[Interested in joining BISC Network? Send your request to jaa*at*]

Friday, September 4, 2015

EMPTIES! #10 | August 2015

Here's what I finished in August!

Dr. Bronner's All-One Hemp Pure-Castile Bar Soaps
LOVE these!!  If you find bar soap drying, try one of these!  They smell so good and leave your skin soft without a hint of tightness.  I like to toss the empty wrappers in my drawers to scent my clothes.  These castile bar soaps also make great makeup brush cleaners!

Living Proof Full Shampoo & Conditioner
I've taken these 2 oz minis on 2 trips and both Jason and I used them.  I felt like the shampoo smelled really nice but didn't do anything supremely volumizing for my hair.  The conditioner was above average but again, not very va-va-voom in the volume department.  [I finally found the OGX Coconut Milk minis at Walgreens, so those are going with me on my next trip!]

MAC Lightful Marine-Bright Formula Cleanser
This was a delightful cream cleanser that did a great job of removing makeup and oil without stripping my skin or causing breakouts.  I would definitely repurchase this.

Maybelline Color Show Nail Lacquer in Lust for Lilac
Such a favorite for me!  I've painted my nails this color so often, the brush is now barely able to reach the lacquer goodness.  Time to repurchase!
Maybelline The Rocket Volum Express Waterproof Mascara
I started out hating The Rocket, but grew to like it.  It is more difficult to remove because it's waterproof, but it's spiky football rubber brush does a damn fine job of separating lashes and keeping them lifted throughout the day.

OGX Coconut Milk Shampoo
This is one of my favorite shampoos ever.  It hydrates the hair without weighing it down or making it prematurely oily.  This is my night time shampoo when I just want a gentle cleanse and a touch of moisture.  I've already repurchased a full size and the travel size of this and the matching conditioner (also a love).

Sunday Riley Good Genes Serum and Treatment
My friend Sarah sent me this, along with some other amazing makeup goodies that didn't work for her, and I was thrilled!  I have the full sized version and love it.  It's a lactic acid serum that promises to do everything from plump fine lines to reduce hyper pigmentation (which, in concert with Luna, it has done dramatically well!).  Unfortunately, I think this mini version got overly hot in my suitcase as it smelled a bit unpleasant.  It smelled fine the first time I used it before we went to NYC.  I also think the plastic packaging didn't help as it had that trademark synthetic scent.  The full sized version is housed in glass - and has never left the confines of my bathroom shelf.  Even though this mini had a bit of a mishap, I highly recommend the full sized version!

Ulta Buttercream Cupcake Beauty Smoothie Shower Gel, Shampoo & Bubble Bath | Review
A must have if you love decadent gourmand scents!  Sidenote: they've released their Fall collection of Beauty Smoothies!  PUMPKINZZZ!
What have you finished lately?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hot Town, Wedding in the City! | NYC Wedding Outfit + Makeup feat. Esqido Lashes

One of my best childhood friends (who happens to be Blair from STFU, Parents) and her fiancé are tying the knot this Friday in NYC!
The Awkward Years: Blair (age 15) and I (age 17), circa 1997
I'm so excited for them because they're both amazing, creative, funny people.  I've never been to New York City and the minute I found out the wedding would be held in Brooklyn, I started dreaming about all there is to do in the Big Apple.  Granted, we're only there for a couple of days, but I hope we'll get to see some of the sights during our visit.  My husband is from upstate New York but hasn't spent much time in NYC since he left at the age of 18 for college in the south.  I'm so thrilled to see the city for the first time with him!
Detail of the Betsey Johnson wedges a/k/a SPARKLESSSSSS!!
Anywho, like I said, as soon as I learned they'd be getting married in Brooklyn, I started preparing.  I ordered the Scarlett Variegated Fit and Flare dress from (which is sadly no longer on the site, here's a similar option) and this pair of glorious sparkly sandals by Blue by Betsey Johnson.  I found this gem of a necklace from Forever21.  Check, check, check!  My outfit planning was done.
I was thinking about my makeup game plan when I was serendipitously contacted by Esqido and asked if I'd be interested in trying a pair of their mink lashes.  I was SO THRILLED!  I've been curious about Esqido false lashes ever since I read reviews from Tracy / Beauty Reflections,  Liz / Beauty Reductionista and Jennifer / Jenny Sue Makeup. What better time to amp up the lash factor than an evening wedding in the city that never sleeps?  Here's my FOTD plan!
I applied Dior DiorSkin Nude Air Serum Foundation SPF20 in 30 Medium Beige (Reviewed) using Pixi's Full Cover Foundation Brush.  I concealed my under eye area with Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer in Light Neutral using a damp Beauty Blender and primed my lids with Laura Mercier Eye Basics Eye Primer in Wheat.  Using a fluffy brush, I bronzed with TheBalm Balm Desert Bronzer/Blush, applied ColourPop Between the Sheets Super Shock Cheek to my cheekbones with my fingers, and popped the apples of my cheeks with Tarte Dollface Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush.

My entire shadow look was done with one brush: a MAC 239, which is a trick my mom taught me.  Her eyeshadow always looks amazeballs and the crease is never blended out too far; a problem I often have.  She told me she only uses the 239!  After giving it a try myself, she's right: the 239 can do it all!  If you only spring for one shadow brush, make it the 239 and you will not be disappointed.  Using the LORAC Unzipped Palette, I placed Unreal on the inner third of the lid and Unbelievable on the middle and outer third of the lid.  I darkened the outer corner with Unbridled and swept it into the crease.  Using only what was left on the brush (of Unbridled), I defined the outer edge of the lower lash line to give me eyes a wider look.  I curled my lashes and lined my upper lash line with Clinique Chocolate Lustre Cream Shaper for Eyes.  I lined the outer part of my lower line with NYX Jewel Slide On Pencil and popped the inner corner with L'Oreal Highlighter Infallible Silkissime Eyeliner Pencil (Reviewed).  I filled in my brows with Anastasia Beverly Hills Taupe Brow Wiz.  Since this is a wedding and I might drop a tear or two, I applied 2 coats of Maybelline Volum'Express The Rocket Waterproof Mascara.  Finally, it was time for the crowning glory: ESQIDO Unforgettable Mink Lashes!  After trimming the edges down a bit to fit my smaller eye, I applied Duo Clear-White Eyelash Adhesive, waited about 15 seconds for the glue to become tacky, and popped them on using tweezers.

My husband walked in as I was working on this FOTD and said he loved my lipstick.  I wasn't wearing any!  So I decided to keep things natural-ish by swiping on Urban Decay Naked Revolution Lipstick.

Here's the finished look!
The Esqido false lashes were super easy to apply, even for someone like me who only wears falsies every once in a blue moon.  I wore them for about 6 hours and they felt incredibly light; there was no trace of that tell-tale "lash fatigue" feeling I've experienced with other lashes in the past.  Esqidos are made from naturally shed mink hairs, so no minks were harmed in the making of these lashes.  One pair lasts up to 25 wears, so they're a great investment for anyone looking for high quality falsies that last more than one or two wears.  I see why Esqido's are referred to as the World's Most Comfortable False Lashes.  I have to say I agree 100%.

This is what happens when Tom Petty's "You Wreck Me" comes on the classic rock station you're listening to whilst working on a FOTD post!  I was feeling it!  🎵
A few more Esquido reviews you should definitely check out:
Julie / Collective Beauty
Lily / Chloe Ash
Melissa / Kiss & Make-up

Need help learning to apply false lashes?  Go straight to the gifted guru who taught me how to do it before my wedding (forever grateful to you, Alison!):
Alison / 10amBeauty (video tutorial)

Please follow me on Instagram to see how our trip unfolds!  Until next time, much love!  XOXO

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Beauty Influencer’s Sunday Column Vol.13: ​What are popular makeup trends in your country and do you follow them?

BISC Vol.13
What are popular makeup trends in your country and do you follow them?
KRISTEN | USA | Glambunctious
“Strobing” seems to be very popular right now, though I don’t think the trend is unique to the United States.  Strobing is basically using only highlighter with no contouring.  Since I have oily skin and the weather where I live is very hot and humid right now, I end up strobing by default at the end of the day.  No highlighter needed! 😉
TRACY | USA | Swaybeauty
I am aware of trends due to reading blogs, articles on the internet, YouTube and beauty magazines however if I don’t think they are conducive to my daily routine I will not incorporate them.  For example I jumped on the contouring bandwagon (which really never worked out for me) but when strobing, baking, and cooking came along I didn’t pay it much attention.  Right now it’s all about natural, no makeup makeup which is what I’ve always practiced so I guess I’m inadvertently following them.
ANNE | Germany | Linda, Libra, Loca
To be honest, I am not good at following trends.
With the change of seasons I will try and get an overview on what is hot right now, but for the blog more than for personal reasons. (Read the latest edition here) The one big thing around here at the moment seems to be “Strobing”, and as I will always be a powder girl at heart, I really cant say I am following this trend.
RAE | Canada | the Notice: a beauty blog
Canada is still working on carving out its own little niche in the beauty world, so our makeup trends are pretty much the same as the ones in the US. Right now, I feel like the major trends are (of course) highlighting and contouring, and while I do do both on a daily basis, I’m doing them the same way I always have — subtly and in very cool tones, which, for some reason, is inexplicably a very not on-trend thing to be doing! 😉
JAA | Thailand | Hello Jaa
I have not been back to Thailand long enough to know for sure but from my observation, makeup styles that make you look “doll-like” seem to be preferred by Thai women. Circle lens (to make your eyes appear bigger), fluttery lashes, big brows (and tattooed brows) are pretty common. Another thing a lot of Thai women aspire to have is a pale (or white) complexion as I literally see hundreds of skin-whitening products being sold at pretty much every beauty store. I rarely wear circle lens but I do wear falsies and big brows occasionally. Skin whitening is not my priority but I do use some to lighten my acne scars and hyperpigmentation.
[Interested in joining BISC Network? Send your request to jaa*at*]

Saturday, August 8, 2015

EMPTIES! #9 | July 2015

Here's what I finished in July!

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
Y'all know my love for this runs very deep and I'm already working on a fresh 2 oz tube.  I also picked up this amazing Ultra Repair Kit from that includes a 6 oz. Ultra Repair Cream, 0.5 fl. oz. Ultra Repair Lip Therapy, 2 oz. Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask, and a 1.7 fl. oz. Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer.  That's 4 FULL SIZED First Aid Beauty best sellers for $42.00!  It would cost you $88 to purchase everything separately, so it's an incredible deal.

Fresh Brown Sugar Hand Cream
This was moderately hydrating but overpriced and I won't buy it again.  It started to smell odd a few months after I purchased it.

NUXE Reve de Miel Lip Balm
This is a nice balm that took years to finish.  It has an interesting paste-to-balm texture and it smells lightly of lemons and honey.  It's very hydrating, but the texture isn't as smooth as I'd like.  Bite Agave Lip Mask just works better for me personally so I probably won't buy Reve de Miel again.  That being said, I can totally see why it's a cult favorite night balm and would encourage anyone with dry lips to give it a go.

Papaya Gold PawPaw Moisturizing Balm
This thick balm made from fermented papaya has a Vaseline-like texture and works wonders on extremely dry skin anywhere on the body.  I would definitely repurchase it.

Proganix Volume Shampoo with Soy Protein + Caffeine
I loved this shampoo!  I used it every morning to give my hair a much-needed volume boost prior to heat styling.  The conditioner is fantastic, too.  I'd absolutely buy both of them again.  Shout out to my moms for the rec!

Ulta Beauty Smoothie Buttercream Cupcake Sugar Scrub
Awesome affordable sugar scrub that doesn't leave an oily residue on the skin or your tub.  I would buy it again.  Check out Torey's review if you're interested in picking it up.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup (samples)
Felt like nothing on, which was great, but it also looked like nothing on.  I need more coverage, but it would probably be a hit with anyone who prefers sheer foundation.  

What have you finished lately?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Loves & Lemons | July 2015

What is Loves & Lemons?  A compilation of the best - and worst - products that I encountered during the previous month.  Read on to see what I loved and what didn't quite measure up!  Be sure to share your loves and lemons in the comments below!  July was a lemon-free month! :)

It Cosmetics Tightline Full Lash Length Black Mascara Primer | Review
This ultra skinny spiral brush is a godsend for anyone with skimpy lashes!  It allows you to start at the roots (without banging into the lid) and grabs every lash for a much lusher, well-defined look.
L'Oreal Infallible Eye Shadow in Bronzed Taupe
This color.  It just goes with anything.  Is it gold?  Is it brown?  Is it taupe?  YES, it's all of the above!  I've been blending it out with Peanut Butter from the Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar palette to add a little depth.  I am so impressed with the texture and pigmentation of these Infallible shadows.  I've had Bronzed Taupe for a long time and it just suits every season and occasion.  I think of it as the eyeshadow version of the perfect pair of jeans.
MAC Lustre Lipstick in Jubilee
I have to give a shout out to Hannah / Gold Glitter Diaries for her post about Jubilee.  She reminded me to pull it out of my stash and it's been true love ever since.  I tossed it into my purse in late June and that's where it has stayed!  It goes with everything from minimal makeup to full-on glam.  On me, Jubilee is a luminous beige pink.  The lustre finish allows some of my natural lip color to peek through and never requires a mirror.

Renpure Originals Argan Oil Luxurious Shampoo & Conditioner
Another Gold Glitter Diaries recommendation!  This shampoo gives my fine hair lift, doesn't irritate my scalp, and smells incredible.  The conditioner is wonderful, too, as it has the same huff-worthy scent and doesn't weigh my hair down.

St. Ives Nourished & Smooth Oatmeal Scrub + Mask
I love St. Ives scrubs.  Not only do they not contain environmentally ravaging microbeads (I'm looking at you, former fave Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream), they also have a handy dandy exfoliation factor scale on the back of each tube to help you determine if the scrub is gentle, moderate, or deep.  THANK YOU! I wish all companies would include such a scale.  This Oatmeal Scrub + Mask is considered a gentle exfoliator; the walnut shell powder is super fine and exfoliates like a dream.  The oat extract and honey leave my skin soft and balanced.  I love using this as a mask (leave it on for 5-7 minutes, dampen and gently massage, rinse with water) or as a quick in-shower exfoliator for my face and body.  Priced at under $5 USD, it's a total drugstore hero.
What were your July Loves & Lemons?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Review! | It Cosmetics Tightline Full Lash Length Black Mascara Primer

You guys know by now that I don't have lush lashes, and I'm always looking for ways to pump up the proverbial jam where my skimpy, fine fringe is concerned.  Enter the It Cosmetics Tightline Full Lash Length Black Mascara Primer.  Tightline is a godsend for skimpy lashes!  The ultra skinny spiral brush allows you to start at the roots and grab every single lash for a full, well-defined look.
L to R: Clinique Lash Power | L'Oreal Miss Manga | It Cosmetics Tightline
Tightline works miracles for me.  It deposits just the right amount of mascara to bring out the best of what (little) I have, and you should see the detail work it does on bottom lashes!  I've never had any issues with bumping the spiral brush against my lids.  Warning: barrage of eyeball pics below.  Top shot is bare lashes, bottom shot is 1 coat of Tightline Mascara.
Though this is called a primer, it can be used as your only mascara product.  I love wearing two coats of Tightline, or laying down 1 coat and topping it off with any volumizing mascara that I find a little too wet or clumpy on it's own.  I love that Ulta carries a trial size for $10.00 USD; it's the perfect way to try it out without committing to a full-sized tube.
Size comparison: Trial size Tightline Mascara to an iPhone 5C
I will be eternally grateful to Mary / aLoveTart for bringing this product to my attention.  She has an amazing comparison video of this and the new NYX Skinny Mascara.
Have you tried Tightline?  What's your favorite root-boosting mascara?