2015 Favorites and Updates

Holy crap, it’s 2016.

 

This year whizzed past me like no other year has!  There have been a lot of changes in my life, good and bad, but I am definitely ready for a fresh start.

My favorites this year are compromised of some usual suspects and some new loves that I am really excited to write about!

 

One of my resolutions this year is to learn how to take a picture, because mine seem to always be off center ūüė¶

Anyway, my first favorite is the original Lorac Pro palette. I’ve hit pan on a few of the colors which has yet to happen in any of the other palettes I own, so you know this is a good one. There are a million reviews on this so I won’t go to in depth, but if you haven’t tried it yet you really should!

Next up is my mascara favorite, Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara. It’s black, thickens and elongates my lashes, AND it really does curl them. It’s pricey for sure but I’m never let down whenever I use it! An excellent drugstore option is the Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara, however it gets pretty clumpy so be sure to wipe the wand off a bit before you use it.

For the face I was crazy about Nars Sheer Glow Foundation and the MAC Pro Longwear Concealer. Nars Sheer Glow is not sheer by any means, so whoever created the name is a crazy person. I’d say it’s medium coverage with a great dewy finish, but it doesn’t slide off my skin like other creamy foundations do. MAC Pro Longwear is the best concealer I’ve found so far – it’s thin-ish but opaque and it dries down matte on it’s own so I never have to set it with a powder. The matte finish might be a problem if you have some wrinkles (beauty lines if you will), but I love that it lets me skip a step.

What powder did I love you ask? Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light – it’s amazing, just go buy it already. Check out my past post on Hourglass if you need a little enabling.

I am not a crazy highlighter person, but the one I most definitely used the most this year was Becca Champagne Pop. Yes I gave into the hype but oh it’s so pretty – it looked great when I had a tan and now that I’m pale/gray, so it works with a wide range of skin tones.

My favorite lipsticks this year were hands down MAC D is for Danger and YSL Rouge Pur Couture in Rouge Scandal. The MAC website describes D for Danger is a brick red – I don’t know what bricks they’re looking at or using, but this is definitely a deep raspberry red. I do think it has more of a berry tone to it than brownish/red, but maybe that’s just how it shows up on my lips. Regardless I have been wearing the crap out of this and it’s my absolute favorite lipstick! The YSL Rouge Pur Couture lipstick is a great deep red with a very creamy and comfortable formula, although it does move around a little.

The best lip liner of the year award goes to the Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Pencil in 10C. If you need a little berry in you life then you need this – the formula is impeccable. It’s creamy but does not crumble, leaving a nice crisp line without making you feel like you lined your lips in chalk.

 

 

I have consistently used the Anastasia Brow Pencil in Medium Brown for the past few months and it is incredible. I have somewhat thick brows already and I prefer a natural look so this is perfect for me. It’s not super pigmented, but it’s so easy to use and always makes me look put together.

My ride or die lip balm is the Nivea Lip Butter. I don’t like the fact that I have to dip my fingers into the little pot but hey,¬†I have flaws too. It’s SO moisturizing and every scent they have is amazing – I cannot recommend these enough.

Finally (phew!), my favorite scent is Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay Cologne. This is such an enigmatic scent – it’s crisp and earthy, but sweet and sultry at the same time. I try to rotate my fragrances so I don’t get used to them, but I love this one so much that I use it 98% of the time.

 

Since it is New Years (or 2 days after), I am making it my resolution to post more in 2016. I do love blogging, but after working a full day I usually sloth out on the couch and straight up neglect my blog. I know it is not much, but I would like to at minimum post twice a month and I would like to incorporate themes other than just makeup. Thank you to everyone who reads my mindless ramblings, I sincerely hope everyone enjoys a very wonderful 2016 ūüôā

 

Natural Beauty Favorites

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Last month I was inspired by¬†Glossier¬†to write a post about my favorite natural makeup and skincare products, and to be honest I don’t know why I haven’t written this post sooner. I love eye shadow and bright lips, but 80% of the time I roll out of bed and use a few standard products before heading off to work. I could easily wake up 10 minutes earlier and go all out, but my love for sleeping always wins.

In my opinion, there are 4 key components to rocking that “I woke up like this” look – skincare, a breathable base, lightly flushed cheeks, and smooth lips.

First step to a natural look (which should be the first step to all looks) is cleansing and moisturizing your face. Starting off with a fresh face is very important because it gets rid of all of the dirt and grime that gets stuck to your face, even when you cleanse before bedtime. I always start off with a gentle cleanser like the Boscia Tsubaki Cleansing Oil-Gel to de-gunk and soften everything. Then I go in with a lighter moisturizer like this Key West Aloe day moisturizer. I love that this stuff has 40% aloe in it, because it gives me a good kick of moisture without being overly greasy.

Next up is one of my favorite bases, the Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream; It gives the¬†perfect¬†amount of coverage! It’s light enough to let my actual skin breathe but gives a solid wack of coverage with some added skin benefits! FYI – Glossier has a similar product called the Perfecting Skin Tint that I’ve been eyeing up for a while; I will be purchasing this and reporting back!

I guess I wouldn’t say blush is¬†necessary¬†for a natural look, but I do think a teeny bit of color can really make facial features pop! I love the Becca Beach Tints for a light dose of color that’s also low-maintenance. It doesn’t move your base around and it doesn’t slide off after an hour,¬†win-win.

Finally, well pampered lips bring everything together! My makeup and outfit can be on point, but if my lips are feeling all crusty I won’t be able to think about anything else. A great budget option is the Nivea Lip Butter in CoCoa Butter Kiss; It smells incredible and gives a good amount of moisture. I don’t really like how the product is just dumped into a tin, since it’s almost guaranteed I’ll somehow end up with dog hair or lint stuck in it – but hey, you get what you pay for. Another (and seemingly delicious) option is the Glossier Coconut Balm Dotcom skin salve. For starters, it’s in a tube (no dog hair!) and secondly I love anything coconut to an alarming degree. It’s sold out at the moment –¬†cry –¬†but there is the original Balm Dotcom to hold us all over until they restock the coconut one!

Coconut Balm Dotcom

I’d be smiling too if my face smelled like coconuts.

Are there skincare or beauty products you love for a natural look? Let me know in the comments!

*I have been asked by a few companies to do a featured or sponsored post in the past, but I’ve passed on all of them because they either didn’t fit in with my theme or they weren’t brands I could recommend with a good conscience. I read Into the Gloss¬†every day¬†and feel like their mantra of enhancing beauty instead of covering every freckle is something I feel comfortable getting behind.

Perfect Fall Eye Shadows

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For the second installment of my Fall faves, I’m talking about one of my favorite things ever: eye shadow! Fall eyes to me is all about cool taupes, rusty bronzes, glimmering golds and a little bit of purple if you’re a bit daring .

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The original Lorac Pro pallet is the epitome of Fall shadows – Taupe? You got it. Browns? It’s got 3 of ’em. A stunning gold and garnet? Pfft. The color selection of this palette looks like leaves after they’ve turned colors! Honestly, this is the only palette you could ever need for Fall and Winter since it has everything. It’s just the best!

The Lorac Pro 2 isn’t one of my favorites, but I definitely think the bronze and purple-y colors are beautiful when the weather gets chilly. The lighter neutrals are great for a wash of color with a bold lip, and obviously you can smoke things up to focus on your eyes!

Up next is my adorable little Chanel quad (oh you fancy, huh?) in Tisse Rivoli. At first I had no freaking clue on how to use this thing, and the¬†wonderful¬†Jacqueline (seriously one of the nicest people in blogging) from A Vibrant Day recommended that I use my fingers to apply these babies and I haven’t looked back since! I love this thing in the Fall –¬†I feel like these colors are perfect year round since they’re really neutral, but I feel myself planning more looks with these shades now that the weather is finally cooling down a bit.

Finally, the one wash wonder/base that I’m crazy about: the Marc Jacobs Twinkle Pop crayon in Au Revoir. A really cool toned taupey-brown that is¬†remarkable¬†under every shade ever or on it’s own. I find that my shadows stick to it really well and it’s so easy to blend out. *Side note: these have a cooling effect that feels¬†so¬†good in the morning!

Perfect Fall Lip Colors

HOCUS POCUS. PUMPKIN SPICED LATTES. APPLE CIDER DONUTS. LEAVES. CINNAMON SCENTED CANDLES. CARAMEL APPLES. HALLOWEEN.

In case you can’t tell, I’m really into Fall. I love it when earth tones, flannel, and insane amounts of layers come back into fashion! Summer is wonderful, but Fall is where it’s at – hence my post dedicated to fall lipsticks.

Deep wine and raspberry colors are my go-to when it comes to lips, they just look so perfect when the air gets that chill. 

I get all giddy just looking at these beauties, I wish I could wear them all at once (I cannot be the only one who gets like this).  

     Left: NARS Audacious in Fanny, Marc Jacobs in Magenta, Fresh Lip balm in Petal///Right: MAC in D for Danger, Marc Jacobs in So Rouge, MUFE Aqua Lip Liner in 10C
Sadly the Marc Jacobs So Rouge lipstick is only for Sephora VIB Rouge members (dafuq Sephora), so in a way it’s limited edition.¬†Everything else is readily available at Sephora right now, and let me tell you – they’re all good. I can vouch that all of these lipsticks – even the “matte” MAC one – is comfortable enough to where you don’t want to sandpaper off your lips after 2 hours.¬†

Since Fall is so damn important to me, I will have another fun fall themed post coming out shortly! Also I have a good ‘ol fashioned haul coming at you soon (because no one’s read enough of those) that will include the brand new Hourglass Ambient Palette!

Favorites and Over-due Spring Haul

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Spring, Spring, Spring! Usually I’m not a fan of Spring but this year I’m all about it. We had a loooong winter and the fact that it’s 80 degrees here in IL helps out too. Obviously I had to get some new makeup gear to get ready for the warm weather!

A few weeks ago I started my first MAC palette. Now I’m not the biggest MAC fan in the world and I usually find their products a bit sub-par, but you can’t ignore the enormous eye shadow selection they have. Are they my favorite in terms of quality? No, but sometimes I want to bring one palette with me that does it all. I wanted to start off with some cool neutrals and a few purpley-pinks, and grab some warmer colors along the way. Left to Right we have: Dazzle Light, Omega, Concrete, Quarry, Satin Taupe, Blackberry, and Sketch. Dazzle Light might be my favorite brow bone highlight – it’s so shimmery but not obnoxious.

At the Sephora VIB Rouge event I picked up the Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide in the shade Linen. The shade is way too dark for me but I ADORE this formula! It looks like skin but blends out so perfectly. To make the color a little more true to my skin tone I just mix it with the NARS Sheer Glow in Santa Fe –¬†good stuff right there.

Also a few weeks ago I went to Ulta and apparently they sell BECCA products now?? Was this common knowledge or am I being dumb? Either way there was this super cute kit with some full size and deluxe sample sized products all for $35. You know I bee-lined for it. This cheek tint in Guava is incredible for a light slap of color! Sometimes I don’t feel like putting a lot of effort into getting ready but I still want to look put together, so I rely on this guy. I usually dot a bit on and blend away with a duo fiber brush, and the best part? It doesn’t move your foundation around.¬†Hallelujah!

Another Ulta purchase was the Too Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush (long name necessary?) in There’s Something About Berry. I LOVE the movie There’s Something About Mary and this was on sale for $15. Done. Deal. Get. In. My Hands. This color was also the most pigmented of the 3 shades offered, and it has golden flecks running through it. It’s definitely a bold color, but I think I can work with it once I get a bit tanner.

Finally I found the Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in Pansy Pop! Purple might seem like an odd choice for a blush but it really doesn’t look as weird as you think it would. I think it gives more of a fairy like glow than typical pink or peachy blushes do. Fun Fact: I got my first smartphone last Saturday (EEEEEEEEEEE!!!). That being said, I’m going to try and post more pictures of myself wearing products that I mention so you can all see stuff in action.

Recent Favorites

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Let’s get it out there: I’m a total sucker for favorites posts.

It’s the inner snoop in me, I can’t help it! I never do monthly favorites, but lately I’ve been using an army of products for my every day look. These are all tried and true products that I consistently use, and seriously vouch for in terms of quality.

First up is the NYX Mosaic Powder Blush in Spice, which is something that I got in an Ipsy bag a looong time ago. I use this all the damn time because it’s such a perfect rosy-peachy neutral that¬†never¬†looks over-done. This is my go to blush when I have smokey eyes, because it adds a little something without looking ridiculous.

For complexion I have been obsessed with the YSL Fluid Ink foundation in Almond and the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette. The YSL foundation feels¬†so¬†luxurious when it’s applied, it truly feels like it turns to powder the instant it touches your face. The only drawback is this foundation really catches on dry patches, so make sure your skin is well moisturized before applying. I bought the Hourglass palette back in September, and I’m already hitting pan on two shades. I use Dim Light (left) as a setting powder and Radiant Light (right) as a bronzer; Let me tell you, these powders are magic. So magical that I bought Mood Light, which is much more lavender toned and better for winter use in my opinion.

Next we have the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Moonlight, the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette, and the Eyeko Skinny Liquid Liner for eyes. I got the Laura Mercier stick in a limited edition set that was out around the holidays, but the shade itself is permanent. It’s a gorgeous champagne-pewter shade that I use all over the lid, and layer on shades from the Naked 3. Truth be told, the Naked 3 is my all time favorite eye shadow palette. The pink tones are so flattering, I can’t stop using them! I received the Eyeko liquid liner in my Birchbox last month, and it’s so easy to use! I don’t even use tape as a guide with this eyeliner because it’s so smooth and pigmented.

Two things that I didn’t mention were the concealer and blush that I’m hooked on, MAC Pro Longwear concealer and Lancome Blush Subtil Palette, since I have already reviewed them. Very important products, and if you want to read more about the concealer click here, and for the blush click here.

The Best Wax Melts EVER

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Confession: I’ve been completely sucked into the wax melter hype. I have at least 10 Yankee Candle melts in Fluffy Towels on hand because they decided to discontinue my favorite scent. Every time they have their semi-annual sale I pick up the leftover ones no one else wants. No worries, I’ll definitely put them to work and give them a good home!

However when I don’t want my room to smell like clean towels (which isn’t often), I opt for the much cheaper Better Homes and Gardens wax cubes in Candied Caramel Apple. For $1.50 from Walmart my room smells just like those caramel apple lollipops that feel like they’ll rip your teeth out if you try to bite into them! IT SMELLS SO GOOD! I really like the variety of scents Yankee Candle has, but in terms of scent power and throw the cheap Walmart thrill definitely has them beat. Obviously the Candied Caramel Apple scent is really sweet but there¬†are¬†slight tart and crisp notes thrown in there, assumingly from the apples.

I highly recommend the wax melts from Walmart, they’re really good! Fair warning though: smelling this for longer than 10 minutes will make you¬†super¬†hungry.

Fancy Fragrance Favorites

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Over the past few months, I’ve become a fragrance hoarder. I’ve always¬†loved¬†things that smell nice, but being on a student budget means the high priced stuff stays on the Sephora shelves for a little bit longer. Victoria’s Secret fragrances from the Semi-Annual sales were my go-to, and truth be told their Bombshell scent is still an every day spritz for me.

But now since I’m working, I can treat myself once in a while (or all the time because what self-control?). So far I’ve purchased 5 new additions and they’re all pretty different from one another:

Gucci Flora: My first true luxury purchase! This has become my all-time favorite scent; it’s sweet, sexy, and young without being over powering. The notes lean towards more of a sweet smelling flower, and include¬†Citrus Accord, Peony, Rose, Osmanthus Flower, Pink Pepper, Sandalwood. I started out with a 1 fl oz bottle and I’m about half-way through, so the second I run out of this I’m grabbing the bug guy. This scent reminds me of fall-time for some reason; it could be since that was the time of year that I bought it, or that the slight warmth that it has makes me think of cozy nights in with friends. It just smells incredible!

Thierry Mugler Alien:¬†I actually picked this scent from one of the fragrance samplers Sephora put out around Christmas-time. The set was $60, and came with a million little testers with a wide range of scents and a coupon for a full sized bottle was also included. A 1 oz refillable bottle costs $80, so in reality I saved $20 on this – yay! This is going to sound so stupid, but this smells like purple –¬†told you it sounded dumb!¬†I’m not one for deep scents (Patchouli gives me the worst headaches), so this simple yet sweet and mysterious scent is perfect for night time fun. The notes include¬†Solar Accord, Jasmine Sambac, Green Notes, Cashmeran, Vanilla, Transparent Amber. I have no idea what the hell “solar accord” is, but it apparently smells amazing.

Chloe¬†See by Chloe: A recent purchase for Spring! Sweet, crisp, and floral; everything that embodies that first taste of sunny 60 degree weather after a¬†long winter. Mentally, I’m over winter so this might have been a desperate grab at that above freezing feeling. The notes included are¬†Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Vanilla, Musk. Again, this might sound stupid but this scent makes me think of a young woman working in New York City. It just has that air of glamour and confidence in it!

Dolce and Gabbana¬†Light Blue: THE summer fragrance in my opinion! I still remember the exact day that I first smelled this in an Ulta junior year of high school, and ever since I’ve been on a quest to own it. It’s perfectly refreshing with gorgeous citrus and clean linen scents flowing through it. OMG I just cannot even begin to tell you guys how decadent this smells! The notes include Sicilian Citron, Bluebell, Granny Smith Apple, Jasmine Sambac, Bamboo, White Rose, Cedarwood, Amber, Musk. It makes me want to fly to Italy or Greece and hangout on the beach, maybe with a really hot guy there to feed me grapes too.

Tocca¬†Stella: The newest (and most affordable) option I have picked up! At first it smacks me in the face with an orange scent, but then it fades into a lovely floral scent. Another excellent option for Spring, and at $34 for a small-ish bottle that will last you quite some time! The notes include¬†Bitter Orange, Blood Orange, Watery Accord, White Freesia, Wild Diamond Orchids, Spicy Lily, Sheer Musk, Sandalwood. Another scent that reminds me of Italy –¬†I think the below zero temps are slowly crushing my soul…

What are your favorite fragrances? I’m always open to new suggestions!

Used and Abused Products of 2014

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This is going to be one¬†long¬†post, so I’m going to try and keep the intro short! The title says it all and this is my most used and abused products of the year.¬†Here we go!

First off, foundation. This year I have been using bareMinerals Matte Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF15 in the summer and Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24 hr in the winter. I really love the way bareMinerals looks on my skin, and in the summer I really stay away from liquid or cream foundations since they just slide off my face. Only drawback is this can really clog my pores and cause breakouts if I don’t clean my brushes constantly. The Lancome foundation fits my skintone perfectly (I’m 220 for reference) and it does stay all day. It’s not too heavy and doesn’t cling to dry patches; excellent for fall/winter.

My favorite blushes of 2014 didn’t come into play until later this year. Benefit’s Bella Bamba blush is absolutely perfect for my complexion and stays on forever. It’s similar to Nars’ Orgasm, but a little more pink and better pigmentation in my opinion. Nars Almeria is another blush love that is part of the holiday Laced with Edge range, so it is limited edition. It’s more of a muted dusty rose-red color that was gorgeous this fall and also stays around for ages.

My highlighting favorite has been Incandescent Light from the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette. It creates such a stunning glow that can be blended out for daytime or built up for the night.

Eye shadow is one of the hardest things for me to pin down makeup-wise; it’s my absolute favorite thing to buy! I started off Spring and Summer with the Dior Earth Reflection palette with its soft and buttery bronze shades that just always. look. incredible. Fall and Winter have gone completely to the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette. This was the surprise of the century to me since I am by no means a pink person, but this palette’s combination of rose hued taupes and pinks have really wedged a place in my heart.

Eye liner is never that thrilling to me, but the Essence Gel Eyeliner in Midnight in Paris 1¬†really impressed me. It’s incredibly black, smooth, and long lasting and all for $3.99 at Ulta.

My brow routine is pretty standard; I just use an Offra brow pencil I got in an Ipsy bag and a cheap-o mascara wand for Sephora. You know, the ones out on display by the makeup removers intended to test the products? Yeah I swiped 2 of those and use them to comb my massive brows.

Dior Iconic Overcurl Mascara and Maybelline the Rocket claim the best mascara spots for me this year. While I only got the Dior Mascara as a 100 point bonus at Sephora ($28.50 for a mascara is insane), the sample size really brought my lashes to life. Even the tiny tube lasted for about 2 months which is pretty wonderful to me. More realistically, the Maybelline the Rocket mascara is one of my most re-purchased items of this year. It volumizes, lengthens, and stays put for $5.99 at Target –¬†day. made.

I have absolutely¬†horrendous¬†undereye circles that are dark and sunken in, so concealer is paramount. I haven’t found “the one” just yet, but Bobbi Brown’s Corrector has been a big help; the coverage and consistency help cancel out the blue bags. However, the best concealer find this year goes to the Hard Candy Glamoflauge. Beware this stuff is thick and very opaque, but it’s the best I’ve found so far. AND it’s only $6 at Walmart.¬†The quest for the perfect concealer continues…

Finally (Whew!) my favorite lip products of the year are: Nars Audacious lipstick in Fanny, Nivea Lip Butter in Vanilla and Macadamia Kiss, and any Bite Beauty lip product. Nars really killed it this year in my opinion and this lipstick is darling. The deep berry color is dark but not too vampy, and non-drying. Bite Beauty products are my weakness since they have incredible pigmentation and extremely creamy formulas. But my absolute most loved product, the Nivea Lip Butter in Vanilla and Macadamia Kiss, has been in my beauty rotation just about all year. It’s so hydrating and smooth, I can’t get enough of it! Plus, it smells¬†exactly¬†like Cadbury Cream Eggs –¬†mmm…

What were some of your favorites this year?