Thursday, January 29, 2015

Loves & Lemons | January 2015

I skipped out on Loves & Lemons last month since I felt it would be favorites overkill with my Best of 2014 series coming out at the end of December.  That being said, I'm excited to share my loves (no lemons!) with you guys after my little hiatus!  Grab yourself a Matcha Green Tea Latte (delicious recipe courtesy of Rebecca Lately) and let's rock n' roll!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Build Your Own Contour Palette, $40.00 USD.  I posted a full review this week so I don't want to talk about it too much again here but WOW.  These powders are incredible!  Contouring is unbelievably easy once you have the right tools!  I am living for Fawn as my cheekbone contour, and Banana under the eyes sets my concealer and makes me look alive.  I've used this palette every day since I got it! | FULL REVIEW HERE.

Bath & Body Works Vanilla Bean Noel Shower Gel, $12.50 USD.  A shower bursting with the delicious aroma of fresh baked vanilla cupcakes?  Yes, please! | FULL REVIEW HERE.

The Body Shop Papaya and Vitamin E Body Butters, $20.00 USD each for 6.75 oz.  These thick, nourishing butters have been keeping my chapped skin at bay this month.  My skin feels calmed and moisturized from shower to shower. Vitamin E was a gift from Stephanie Eva, who just so happened to see it on my Beauty Wish List Pinterest board!  How cool is that?!  It has a powdery floral scent and the pink tub appeals to my girly side.  The Papaya is LE (get it while it's hot!) and smells lush and tropical.  After this and the Supergoop! Acai Fusion Lip Balm, I think "tropical fruit" is my favorite scent in the world.  Give me all of the papayas and passion fruits!

L'Oreal Glossy Balm in Lovely Mocha, $7.99 USD.  Hydration and beautiful color payoff have made this lipstick/lip balm hybrid a purse staple. | FULL REVIEW HERE.

MAC Paint Pots in Groundwork and Constructivist, $21.00 USD each.  These just make my life easier.  Dab them onto your lids and smooth them out with your fingers and you're done!  They also layer wonderfully under powder shadows to boost color and longevity.  There's a reason Paint Pots are cult classics!

No lemons this month!  Wha-what?!  Believe it or not, nothing irked me or under-performed.  YAY!

What were some of your favorites that kicked off the new year? 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Review! | Anastasia Beverly Hills Build Your Own Contour Palette

I know, I know.  I'm so late to the contour party.  Contouring is even being tossed about as one of the biggest 2014 makeup trends to leave behind!  Before we all discard it in favor of The Next Big Thing, I'd like to make a case for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Build Your Own Contour Palette, $40.00 USD.  I was 100% one of those "I never highlight-and-contour" people, but this palette has changed my daily routine.
I follow founder Anastasia Soare's daughter Claudia a/k/a Norvina on Instagram (seriously, if you're not following her already, GO!  Hit the button!  You're missing out on amazing makeup inspiration, her fun personality, and new ABH products still in the research and development stage!) and knew a few months ago that they were working on a build your own version of their mega popular Contour Palette.  Instead of buying the pre-made option, you can now customize a 6 pan palette that best suits your skin tone.  Individual refill pans are $14.00 each, but once you add 6 to your cart, the price drops to $40.00 and an empty 6-pan palette is added to your order.  It's a great deal and the site narrows the shades by skin tone and undertone to help you choose shades that will be flattering.
I'd always used a matte bronzer on the odd day or two when I'd contour.  I stumbled across a YouTube video from Jordan Liberty called "Why You SHOULDN'T Contour with Bronzer" and the proof was in the split screen (2:23 mark)!

After seeing the difference it made to contour with Fawn, an ashy taupe powder, I've been converted!  It really makes my cheekbones look more defined, as well as my jawline.  Fawn looks more like the color of shadow versus a brown or orange-toned bronzer.  I also love setting my under eye area with Banana; the yellow really counteracts dark circles and makes me look awake.  The bronzer shades I choose are all beautiful, and I love using Terracotta as a blush.

My only suggestion for the brand would be to release a 2 or 3 pan palette version.  I know a lot of people are hesitant to even try a Contour Kit because they feel a 6 pan set up is better suited for a makeup artist's stash and not for a regular user.  I also think a sleek, 3 pan option would be a blessing for those who travel frequently and only want to take the 2-3 powders they consider necessities.
Top Row (L to R): Banana, Fawn, Camel
Bottom Row (L to R): Macchiato, Nude, Terracotta
Indoor Lighting
Indirect Sunlight
If contouring powders or bronzers aren't your thing, you can pick shades close to your skin tone to act as setting powders, or choose from a variety of illuminating powders if you tend to go for the glow.

Since I'm not huge on illuminating on the daily (oily skinned people, I know you feel me!), I didn't choose any highlighters; only powders that I will definitely, 100% use.  Bronzer?  I use that daily.  Setting powder?  Yes!  The customizable palette really allows you the freedom to choose exactly what you want out of this kit.
Need to see more photos and swatches of the refills before making your selections?  
Here are a few blogs I found helpful:
Do I leave the house every day with chiseled cheekbones that could cut glass and perfect pie-shaped isosceles triangles of white light beneath each eye?  But after sweeping Fawn into the hollows of my cheeks and along my jawbone, setting my concealer with Banana, and sweeping on one of the gorgeous matte bronzers in this kit, I do feel like I've upped my makeup ante with minimal time and effort.  A win-win situation for sure that I will definitely not be leaving behind in 2014.

Do you own either the original Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit or the Build Your Own version?  What's your favorite contouring product?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review! | L'Oreal Glossy Balm in Lovely Mocha

While on a CVS run during our Thanksgiving visit to Jason's parents in North Carolina, I found I could no longer resist the lure of the L'Oreal Glossy Balms, $7.99 USD.  I picked up Lovely Mocha, a MLBB pink, and I've been reaching for it ever since!
The texture is perfect: smooth and creamy without being downright SLIPPERY.  I find Lovely Mocha nicely hydrating, which is a huge bonus, and the medium opacity coverage allows for my natural lip color to shine through and make the shade unique.   Glossy Balms are free of scent or taste, making them a nice option for anyone averse to minty or fruity lip products.  The forgiving color and formula means I can apply this shade without a mirror!  I also love that this is a twist-up pencil, so no need to worry about sharpening.  Twist and shout, baby!

Lovely Mocha has become one of my favorite everyday shades, and the smooth texture feels beyond delightful on my dry, weather-beaten lips.

Have you tried one of the L'Oreal Glossy Balms?  What's your favorite hydrating lip crayon?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Update! | Project Make A Dent #1

I haven't shared my Project MAD progress since first posting about it back in August of 2014.  I figured it was time for an update!
These were my nominees:

  • Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in Shade 01 Rose Shimmer
  • Clinique Long Last Lipstick in Bamboo Pink
  • Dior Addict Lipstick in #260 Rose Deshabille (review here)
  • NARS Deep Throat Powder Blush (review here)
  • Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer (review here)
  • Urban Decay Virgin Eyeshadow (Naked Palette review here)
  • YSL Matt + Radiant Pressed Powder 

  • Here's what they look like now:
    I had 3 pan-hitting successes!
    I hit pan on the Too Faced bronzer and finished the YSL powder and the Clinique Bamboo Pink lipstick!  Wee!
    I actually lost the Clarins Lip Perfector within 2 weeks of my original post and only recently found it (in a desk drawer with pens and Sharpies of all places...), so not much progress was made there.  I haven't been using UD Virgin much and I'm having trouble remembering to take it out for brow highlighting purposes.  My lips have been quite dry most of the winter so I've been wearing mostly lip balms and moisturizing lipsticks, hence why the Dior Rose Deshabille still looks the same!  I've been using the NARS Deep Throat, but clearly not enough to show a peek of pan.

    I'm currently rounding up my nominees for Project MAD #2 and would love for you to join me!  This was really fun and a big thanks to Lily at Chloe Ash for inspiring me to participate!

    Did you finish anything recently?  What would you like to make a dent in?

    Sunday, January 18, 2015

    Review! | Bath & Body Works Vanilla Bean Noel Shower Gel

    Happy Sunday, lovelies!

    I know I've waited too long to share this love with you guys as it's no longer available on the Bath & Body Works website, but it's probably still hanging around B&BW stores and it's readily available on the internets.

    Vanilla Bean Noel Shower Gel, $12.50 USD for 10 fl oz, is like being enveloped in the scent of vanilla cupcakes!  It lathers up beautifully and I find it nicely hydrating.  I look forward to using it every time I hop in the shower and will be really sad when my supply runs out and I have to wait until December to get it again!  This is the only body product that I've ever bought back-ups of.  
    If you love true vanilla scents, or anything that smells like cake batter, you will be a fan of this.  Get it while you still can in B&BW stores and online, or make a mental note to give it a whirl next holiday season when it returns to the B&BW site!

    Do you like vanilla scents?  What's your current favorite shower gel?

    Sunday, January 11, 2015

    Best of 2014! | Lips!

    Happy Sunday!  Thanks for sticking with me through my Best of 2014 series!  It's been a blast picking out the best and brightest of the year, and hearing about your favorites.  Today's post will close out the series, and you may say I saved the best for last: L I P S !

    DRUGSTORE: Aquaphor Healing Ointment, $5.26 USD (two 10 gram tubes).  Non-sticky, scent and taste-free, budget-friendly, and ultra hydrating.  Aquaphor will always be one of my HG balms!
    HIGH-END: Supergoop! Acai Fusion Lip Balm SPF 30, $8.50 USD.  Super smooth and moisturizing, this balm packs SPF 30 making it a perfect daytime companion.  It has no taste, but smells like a tropical vacation in a tube.  My two HG balms without SPF are Glossier Balm Dotcom, $12.00 USD (mega moisturizing, scent and taste-free, and the tube packs 20 ml of product!) and Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask, $26.00 USD (truly a repairing salve that works miracles on dry lips!).

    DRUGSTORE: CoverGirl Colorlicious Lip Gloss in Plumlicious, $6.39 USD.  Super comfortable (non-sticky) and nicely pigmented, this gorgeous violet gloss leaves your lips feeling hydrated.  The doe foot wand makes application a breeze!
    HIGH-END: NARS Lip Gloss in Salamanca, $26.00 USD.  Another ultra smooth, non-sticky hero, this watermelon pink gloss lived in my purse all summer and accompanied me on my honeymoon to Puerto Rico.  This one also comes with a doe foot applicator, which is my personal preference to a brush, roller ball, or chisel tip squeeze tube.

    DRUGSTORE: Maybelline The Buffs Lipstick in 940 Touchable Taupe, $8.29 USD.  This gorgeous mocha shade takes me back to the mid-90s when brown lipstick as was as cool as a cucumber.  I've never lost my love for brown-based colors, and this shade is a stunner!
    HIGH-END: MAC Lustre Lipstick in Syrup, $ USD.  This cool rosy pink looks different on everyone due to the Lustre formula; less pigment allows for one's natural lip color to show through a bit and influence the resulting shade.  I love it because it's comfortable to wear and has that great low-maintenaince, mirror-free application thing going for it!

    What was your favorite lip product this year?  

    Sunday, January 4, 2015

    Best of 2014! | EYES

    Happy Sunday!  I hope everyone had a fun NYE and has been enjoying the first four days of 2015!  Today is my 2 year blog birthday, as well as the next installment of my Best of 2014 series: EYES!

    DRUGSTORE: L'Oreal Infallible Eye Shadow in Bronzed Taupe, $6.36 USD.  A lot of people overlook loose shadows and pigments because they think they're messy, but they have a dimensionality that's unparalleled by any pressed shadow.  I'm a bit biased since I started my own makeup journey years ago with Bare Minerals Loose Eyecolors, but there is truly no easier impactful eye than a few pats of loose shadow!  The L'Oreal Infallibles are gorgeous, and this year I particularly fell in love with Bronzed Taupe.  I like to apply it to my lid with a wet brush and blend out the edges with a clean blending brush for a simple, yet beautiful single shadow look.
    HIGH-END: MAC Tan Pigment, $21.00 USD.  This stunning color is universally flattering and looks like you spent 45 minutes doing your eye makeup when in reality it took 2.  I'd recommend picking up a Sized To Go Pigment ($10.00 USD for 2.5 oz) unless you're a professional makeup artist and/or have 9 friends to split the full-sized pigment with.  You will NEVER finish the 4.5 oz version!

    DRUGSTORE: Physician's Formula Shimmer Strips All-in-1 Custom Nude Palette for Face & Eyes in Warm Nude, $11.16 USD.  If you love shimmery neutrals, you should definitely give this a try.  The 12 shades are rich and creamy and can be combined to create a ton of different looks.  It can also be used as a highlighter, but I can't vouch for that since I've never used it that way.  I used this palette a lot over the summer for shimmery copper eyes!  The bright coral shadow is also surprisingly wearable and different.  
    HIGH-END:  LORAC Unzipped Palette, $40.00 USD.  This palette of warm, pink-toned neutrals (along with 2 beautiful browns) has been the palette I've reached for the most ever since I got it.  If pinks aren't your thing, LORAC is releasing a gold-toned version on January 15th!

    DRUGSTORE: NYX Slide On Eye Pencil in Jewel, $7.99 USD.  This plum liner, shot through with copper and plum shimmer, enhances all eye colors.  The smooth, skip-free formula stays put on my oily lids (with primer) all day.
    HIGH-END: MAC Pearlglide Intense Eye Liner in Lord it Up, $16.00 USD.  I picked mine up from the Archie's Girls collection and my socks were knocked completely off by the ultra creamy formula and iridescent shimmer-infused golden brown color.  The Pearlglides are part of the permanent line so you can pick one up anytime.  One caveat, sometimes the glitter particles bother my eyes toward the late afternoon hours, and sometimes they don't.  The shade itself is so stunning, for me it's worth the gamble.  I wore this on my wedding day and it didn't bother my eyes at all, and on top of that, it stayed put until 4 AM when I finally took my makeup off!  I know Jaa/HelloJaa is a huge fan of this formula and has a detailed review with swatches of 5 of the shades here.

    DRUGSTORE: L'Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Mascara, $6.39 USD.  Huge thanks to Vita/MakingUp4MyAge for putting me over the top on trying out this mascara!  The formula and brush are perfection for my skimpy lashes!  The brush is cone-shaped with a very tapered tip to reach the inner corners and coat the bottom lashes without bumping the lid.  I've already repurchased Miss Manga several times; I just love it!
    HIGH-END: Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes*, $29.00 USD.  Truly the best find for anyone who isn't confident whipping false lashes on in 60 seconds.  The fullness and length I get from a single coat of this 2-step lash building system is unreal!  *Press sample | FULL REVIEW HERE.

    DRUGSTORE: Maybelline Master Shape Brow Pencil, $7.99 USD.  On a simplicity scale of 1 to 10, this slightly waxy pencil scores a perfect 10 for being the fastest way to get beautiful brows with minimal effort.  I love that it comes with a spoolie attached for blending!  
    HIGH-END: Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Wiz, $21.00 USD.  Another easy brow product with an attached spoolie!  I'm seeing a trend here, lol!  This super fine retractible pencil makes filling in brows effortless and the finished results look natural, not painted-on.    

    What was your favorite eye product this year?