july favorites


MAC Mineralized Skin Finish (MSF) in Medium Dark
This has completely replaced my Laura Mercier translucent powder for setting my foundation every day. This provides a slight hint of color, which help match my face to the rest of my body since I'm a little more tan now. My favorite brush to use is the Crown Brush C405, perfect for applying this MAC MSF.

ELF Contouring Blush and Bronzing Duo
This is one of my favorite ELF products, but I forget how much I like it until I start using it again. I like this bronzer for the summer because it’s one of my darker ones, that I can only get away with when I have a tan. This duo is a close dupe for the NARS “laguna/orgasm” blush and bronzer duo, except this only retails for $3 at Target.

NARS Orgasm Blush
Speaking of NARS, I only have one their blushes, and it’s their best-seller, Orgasm. One of my favorite summer-time blushes. It looks pretty intense in the pan, but it goes on as a subtle coral-pink with a hint of golden shimmer. I’ve been reaching for it everyday these past few weeks.

The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer Highlight
I definitely don’t use highlighter on my cheekbones everyday, but when I do it’s always this one by The Balm. I got mine for half off on a Hautelook sale. Many times I’m turned off by highlighters because they are too white, or just way too “sparkly.” This one has a natural finish with some shimmer. My favorite brush for applying is the ELF fan brush.


Tease from the Naked 2 Palette
It isn’t often that I prefer a matte eye shadow over one with shimmer. This one, “tease”, is in the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette. I probably wear this on my crease 6 days out of 7. You can apply it lightly for an everyday look, or build up the color for a more dramatic smokey eye. My favorite shadow out of both of the Naked Palettes. I like applying it with the Sigma E25 Blending brush.

Maybelline MasterDrama Eyeliner
I’m usually biased to the Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner pencil, but decided to give this Maybelline eyeliner in Midnight Master a chance after hearing good reviews. It’s a very opaque midnight black, long-lasting, doesn't need sharpening, and is inexpensive.


Tarte Maracuja Oil Lip gloss in Peaceful
I received this gloss in a Tarte set. I put it to the side for a couple of months because I couldn’t figure out, for the life of me, how to get the product to actually come out. After seeing it in a magazine as a favorite, I busted it out and didn’t stop clicking the tube until I  finally saw some product come through the brush. I’m still not sure why it’s so difficult, (I’m sure it’s user error!) but it’s been one of my favorite lip glosses this month nonetheless. It’s not sticky, and is a perfect sheer pink for summer.


Clarisonic Mia
I finally got a Clarisonic! (Thanks mom!) And like the rest of the world, I love it! After getting off of Accutane in 2009, my skin has been near-perfect (minus the scars). But recently I’ve noticed more frequent breakouts around my chin. It’s not enough of a problem to go back on Accutane, and quite honestly I would dread doing that. And since topical gels never did anything for me, I’m hoping the Clarisonic can help prevent any breakouts in my problem areas. We’ll see, but so far so good. My favorite gentle face wash to use with it is the Neutrogena Naturals face wash.

What have you been loving in July? 


high five for friday

Happy Friday!

As much as I kept telling myself to remember to write a friday post last week, I just plain forgot. I guess being on vacation does that to you. :) But, it's Friday again! Here's how my week went...

1. Basically, all day Monday I just stared at this picture pretending I was still on vacation. Thankfully, I'm not having as many withdrawals anymore. 

2. Okay, I have been needing a new purse for a LONG time. I'm so picky, its ridiculous. But, my amazing boyfriend bought me this Tory Burch that I've been wanting so. so. so. bad. It was my belated birthday present, but I'm so in love with it and it was well worth the wait! 

3. "You know all those things you've always wanted to do? You should go do them." I don't know why, I just love this quote. It's motivational so I just decided to hang it in my office. Thanks Pinterest! 

4. My dear friend Nell (and coworker) is moving to Texas next week, and while I was away, she placed the sweetest birthday card and gift on my desk for me for when I returned to work. She got me the MAC Opulash mascara and this clay mask I've been wanting. So excited to try them out! 

5. My best friend and roommate turned 24 yesterday! We celebrated with a girls night at Gino's Italian Restaurant and some drinks. Good times with the girls!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! 



July 2012 Birchbox

So, I'm a little late writing this post. My Birchbox came the day after I left for vacation, so I actually just opened it. This month's box is a collaboration with Glamour Magazine, which I was really excited about. And I must say, this might be the best box I've received so far. I had high expectations since Glamour is my favorite magazine, and I'm really really pleased with this month's products. 

Here's a quick rundown...

1. Boscia BB Cream: I have tried a couple BB creams recently, and this one seems really interesting. It's a self-adjusting shade and has SPF 27 and PA ++. This is the product I'm most excited to try, and when I do I'll let you know how I like it. Click here to see my review of the Smashbox BB cream. 

2. Color Club polish in Blue-Ming: You can never go wrong with nail polish for me. And... I.LOVE.THIS.COLOR! What's crazy is that I saw this one recently in the store and debated getting it, but ultimately decided against it because I do own similar colors. But hey, I'm not complaining! 

3. Stila lip glaze in Camera: This is a pretty fall color lip gloss. I'm going to hold on to this and use up some other glosses first and try this one out in the fall. I think this is a full size product, so I'm loving that. 

4. Annick Goutal perfume: I've received this same perfume brand before, and I don't really like it. It's just eh, for me. An alright smell, but not going to be reaching for this anytime soon.

5. Tea Forte minteas (lifestyle extra): I love keeping mints in my purse or desk. Can never really go wrong with that. These are the flavor "lime mojito"... yum!

6. Birchbox exclusive earbuds (lifestyle extra): Neon headphones, yes please! These are the exact style of headphones I use and love. I can't use the ones that come with ipods and iphones. These are SO comfortable, and I'll definitely be using them. 

Some months are misses and some months are hits. This box was definitely a "hit" for me! If you're interested in signing up for Birchbox, click here



no-heat beachy waves

As you know, I was in Florida all last week. I tried to take full advantage of the care-free beach atmosphere. For me, that meant little to no makeup and minimal hair care. On a typical day or night, I blow dry (or air dry if time) and straighten my hair. But, during the trip I really wanted to use no heat and minimal products to get a somewhat decent “beachy wave.”

I have long, thick straight hair that frizzes easily, so that’s why I usually stick to my trusty straightener. But, after having some luck with these products, I decided to try this process every day last week. And I have to say, I was really happy with the outcome.

To get the look, I don’t brush my hair when it’s wet. I just let the craziness of the “just taken down from the towel” hair do its thing. I let it dry a tad so its not dripping wet.

I first spray the Aussie Sprunch on most of my hair, and really concentrate on the ends. Then I just scrunch and sprunch (?) my hair with my hands til it starts to get crazy wavy. The Aussie Spray (non-aerosol) is just a little sticky and feels like a light hair spray, which is what helps the waves form and stay. I really recommend the Aussie Sprunch Spray if you’re on a tight budget.

Then I spray the Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray on the top portions of my hair to add some texture. I scrunch some more. Then I lightly spray all over my hair and scrunch some more until it’s exactly how I want it.

All the scrunching causes some major flyaways and frizz. To tame that, I use the Aveda Smoothing Fluid. I focus this on areas with the most frizz, but apply lightly on the roots.

I loved this hairstyle for the beach. It is so easy and much better for your hair than blow drying and straightening.

Let me know if you have other products you use for waves or if you try this one out! 


beauty battle: waterproof mascara

Greetings from Florida! I hope everyone's having a great week. I'm not going to lie, I don't want the week to end yet. I've been in Navarre, Florida and we're headed to Destin tomorrow for the rest of the week. My boyfriend and I have our families here so we're spending time with both throughout the week. It's been a great few days, and I just hope the weather stays nice. 

While I'm here, I haven't put on any makeup. Which is just fine with me. My routine consists of washing my face, loading up on sunscreen, and applying some waterproof mascara. I brought two drugstore mascaras with me. I had them in my collection and thought this was the best time to test which is the best. 

The two I'm testing this week: 

It's no secret that L'oreal Voluminous in carbon black is my holy grail mascara for everyday. It's a drugstore mascara that outperforms even most high end mascaras. For around $6.00, you really can't beat it. So, I decided to try out the waterproof version of this to see if it compares to the carbon black. 
I also like the Covergirl mascara. I find it to be a very underrated, but it has always worked for me. 
I simply just wanted to try this one out again. 

The bristles on the brushes are very different. The L'oreal brush (above) is denser and larger than the Covergirl brush (below). 

To test these two, I've been wearing the L'oreal on one eye and the Covergirl on another for the past few days. I've been in the pool, the sun, and the big salty gulf of mexico. 

When first applied, the Covergirl provided more length and volume than the L'oreal. I like the L'oreal too, but it didn't look as "volumized" as I had expected. 

As far as staying power, the Covergirl didn't smudge nearly as much as the L'oreal. The L'oreal gave me a little bit of a raccoon eye by the end of the day. Although both did perform well for most of the day. 

I really expected the L'oreal to work the best. But, in the end, I would have to pick the Covergirl Professional. I haven't tried any high end waterproof mascaras. So if anyone has had any luck with any others, definitely let me know. I 'll continue to use the Covergirl, but always on the hunt for something better! 



high five for friday

It's Friday! Let's just not acknowledge the fact that it's Friday the 13th. I've been counting down the days because I am leaving for vacation tomorrow.  My week was pretty packed, which has made the week go by pretty fast, which is always a plus. Anyways, here's some fun things from the past few days.

1. Monday marked 20 years since my sister was diagnosed with Leukemia. It's crazy to think that was 20 years ago. We were so young! I put together a picture of us from her Dream Come True trip to Colorado in 1994 and us now. I'm just so thankful that she is as survivor and to have her here with me today. 

2. This handsome little man (my nephew Carter) got to visit me at work. I got to babysit him for the afternoon and I can never get enough of him! 

3. My coworkers treated me to an early birthday lunch. We had some really good sushi and I got to open my present-- a gift card to one of my favorite local boutiques! My coworkers are pretty great!

4. One of my dearest friends from work (Hey Nell!) is moving to Texas next week. And since our birthdays are two days apart, a bunch of us went to happy hour (which actually lasted over 5 hours) to celebrate. I'm sad to see her go, but can't wait to visit... and shop!

5. My friday night will consist of packing. "Yayyyyy!" This is about as far as I got last night. I'm a terrible packer. I actually got bored with the 5 minutes of packing and decided to go shopping instead. I need help! 

Well, that was my week. 
Anybody have some good packing tips? I need all the help I can get! 

Have a good weekend.


witch hazel benefits & uses

Witch hazel is an all-natural herbal remedy that can do some great things for your skin. Some of its standout benefits include: restoring your skin’s pH balance, deep cleaning your pores, minimizing large pores, removing excess oil, and softening your skin. 

Ways You Can Use Witch Hazel

Use as a toner or astringent after washing your face to refine your skin.

Sooth Razor Burn
Pour over a cotton ball and use it to reduce razor burn after shaving.

Makeup Remover
Mix 1 part witch hazel with 1 part olive oil, and use it to remove eye makeup.

It can also be used to temporarily and gently relieve psoriasis, eczema, sunburns, acne, sores/bruises, swelling, razor burn, and sore muscles. Witch hazel contains 14% alcohol, which is what gives it a bit of a drying effect. 

I keep a spray bottle of this in my medicine cabinet, and I use it as my morning toner.
You can get T.N. Dickinson’s Witch Hazel at CVS for around $5. 

Let me know if you try this one out and if you like it!



review: smashbox camera ready bb cream

What is BB cream? The “BB” stands for beauty balm or blemish balm. And if skincare and makeup had a baby, it would be BB cream. This do-it-all cream combines functions of a primer, anti-aging serum, moisturizer, light coverage, tinted color, and contains SPF.

BB cream was originally created in the 1950’s by a German dermatologist to help post-chemical peel patients cover their redness. These creams are very popular in the Asian beauty supply market, and are quickly spreading into the US. Once one company came out with one, the rest quickly followed. Drugstore brands such as Garnier, Maybelline, L’oreal and Covergirl all make a form of BB cream. High-end brand BB creams include Dr. Jart, Stila, Dior and Smashbox.

I’m going on vacation next week and have been on the hunt for the perfect BB cream to replace my foundation for days when I’ll just be laying out on the beach. I once tried the Garnier BB cream, but found it to be way too greasy on my face and didn’t seem to do much else to outweigh that disadvantage. I have oily skin, so an added greasy finish is a no-go.

What I’m specifically looking for in a BB cream is light coverage, oil control (non-greasy), and SPF. I decided to spend more and hopefully get better results, so I picked up the Smashbox Camera Ready BB cream in the shade light/medium with SPF 35. After reading reviews on Sephora, I found that this one claims to do all of the things on my list.

The packaging is nice and sleek. It’s a small squeeze tube, which makes it easy to throw in a bag and apply anywhere. 

The product itself feels just like sunscreen. I apply it in small sections on my face at a time so I can focus on blending before it dries. The results have been 10x better than I expected. I’ve worn this a couple times while laying out at the pool, and it truly does control oil in my t-zone, gives light coverage and also a little bit of a bronzing effect. 

This blended so well into my skin, and the color matches pretty perfectly. 

You might be thinking, “what’s the difference between this and a tinted moisturizer?” Well, to me this one offers more coverage, color, oil control, and contains higher SPF.

I recommend this to anyone with oily skin and/or just wants to replace their foundation on the hot summer days for lighter coverage. If you have dry skin, I would definitely make sure you still apply a moisturizer before, just to be sure this doesn't leave your skin looking too flat or dry. 

Let me know if you try or have tried this product. Have you tried any other brands of BB cream? I’m looking forward to getting my money’s worth out of this next week! 


high five for friday

Linking up w/ Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog to share highlights from this past week. 

1. Picked up some goodies at Sephora, Mac and a local boutique. BB cream, surf spray, neon coral sunglasses, mineralized skin finish, and some jewelry...  got me in the summertime mood. 

2. Bath & Body Works is wrapping up their semi-annual sale, so naturally I *had* to pick up some new candles. I'm usually biased to the Fall scents, but this pineapple orchid scent is ah-ma-zing! 

3. I finally got my Target redcard in the mail, and I was able to use it for the first time this week. It's a pretty new addition to my wallet. 

4. It was a 4-day work week, since july 4 fell on Wednesday. I got to celebrate with a good ole' BBQ by the pool in the sun with my friends. Amazingly fun day!

5. It's July... which means it's my birthday month! No matter how old I get, birthday coupons are always nice to see in my inbox. Makes my inner crazy coupon lady excited to have one more reason to shop. 

Happy Friday! Hope y'all have a great weekend! 


everyday makeup routine

So, its 7 a.m. and I've hit the snooze about 10 times already. After fixing my hair, brushing my teeth, washing my face, and applying moisturizer, the last thing I have time to do is "play" with makeup. Thus, the need to have an everyday makeup routine. The goal: simple and quick. I keep my everyday products together, so I don't have to go digging in drawers for things. The products will change up from time to time, but I try to stick with what I know works for me.

So, without further adieu, here is my very simple everyday makeup:

Rimmel Fix & Perfect Pro primer: I just dab four little dots on my face and rub it in to create a “smooth canvas.” I don’t love this primer, but going to use it up before trying a new one. 

Revlon ColorStay Whipped Creme Foundation: This is a brand new foundation in the ColorStay line and not the usual ColorStay liquid foundation I would normally use. I’m trying/testing this one and so far, loving it. It might even replace my liquid foundation. More on that in a future blog post.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser: I’m blessed with not having hardly any dark circles under my eyes, but when I’m looking super tired, I reach for this dark circle eraser. I tried this one after reading rave reviews, and it really does live up to its hype... for me, at least. 

Laura Mercier Translucent Powder: Probably the easiest thing to apply. Just tap my brush in the cap then apply all over my face to set my foundation and concealer.

ELF Studio Blush in Tickled Pink: I dust a little blush on the apples of my cheeks to give my face some color and definition. If I don’t use blush, I’ll use my Tarte bronzer in the hollows of my cheeks, or sometimes both depending on the day. ELF really does have some great blushes and they are only $3.00 at Target!

NYX Eye Shadow Base: I use this as primer on my eye lid. It’s a skin-toned color and is easy to blend on my lids. This base isn’t as long-lasting as UD Primer Potion, but it does the job for a regular day.

Urban Decay Naked Palette 2I’ll do an in-depth compare/contrast of the UD Naked Palettes, but for everyday looks, I’ll use Tease on the lid/crease, and Foxy as a highlight under my browbone. This palette has the better “daytime” colors because they are cool tone neutrals, whereas the original Naked Palette is darker neutrals.

L’oreal Voluminus Mascara in Carbon Black: I just apply this mascara on my top and bottom lashes. I can't say enough about this mascara. If you haven't tried this one yet... it's only $6 at the drugstore, and you can thank me later.

For lips, I switch it up everyday. I grab whatever my hand touches first in my purse. I love NYX MegaShine lip gloss (in Beige or Sweetheart) or a Revlon Super Lustrous gloss. Those stay in my purse and I use them throughout the day. 

That’s pretty much it. One thing I didn’t mention and will cover in an upcoming post are the brushes I use, which need some love too. Stay tuned! Have a happy and safe 4th of July! 
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