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Monday, December 30, 2013

Faves and Fails

It's been a while since I've posted a faves/fails post on the blog. I've been trying out new items and bringing back some old loves into my skin and makeup regimen and wanted to share with you. I hope everyone is enjoying the Holidays. The children are home and even DH had a few days off, so we've been relaxing and enjoying the down time. Here are my recent faves and fails: 


Makeup Item(s): Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Color Balm in Broadest Berry. Have you tried these? These are some of the best lipstick crayons on the market. They wear well and make lips so soft during wear time. I've been obsessed with these and have a few more on my list. Make sure to pick up the intense version if you want color and long wear. 

Skin Care Item: I recently picked up the Beauty Sage Editors Sample Box from their website. Now, I'm not a huge fan of subscription boxes because I always end up with the worst ones. However, with Beauty Sage, you know what items are included before you order and there is no commitment. I'm loving the Clarks Botanical Deep Moisture Mask sample for my increasingly dry skin. This is very emollient without being sticky or tacky. It feels quite cool going on and works wonders on dry skin. I love the ingredients such as Japanese green tea, and natural oils. It's pricey for the full size at $72, but the sample is pretty generous. I hope it lasts me through this "dry phase". 

Purchase: I have been loving Urban Decay Naked 3 Eye Shadow Palette. Now to be fair, I am not overwhelmed with the lighter shades, but I adore the darker shades in the palette. My favorite look is Mugshot on the lid, with limit/nooner to transition in the crease with Darkside, and then I darken the outer V with Blackheart. I'm not sure this is a must have palette, but those dark shades have blown me away.  I'm glad I purchased it!

Nail Care: I picked up Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat as a VIB 100 pt perk in my last online order and have been using it with all of my manicures. I'm loving this over metallic polish such as Essie's Nothing Else Metals which helps to extend the wear of the polish. 
Julep - Freedom™ Polymer Top Coat

Body Care: While cleaning out a room, I found a new tube of Bath and Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar Triple Moisture Body Cream that I purchased in last years sale. I love the scent, and it's very moisturizing on winter skin. 

Hair Care: I've been enjoying Matrix Biolage Exquisite Replenishing Oil since I received a sample in a recent GlossyBox. It's improved the texture/condition of my hair, and it helps with Winter dryness.


Tarte Amazonian skinny smolderEYES Clay Waterproof Eyeliner : I picked this up on a recent purchase at Sephora because I wanted a new liner in black. This was a mess on me. It smeared everywhere and smudged like crazy. I will say that it lasted well (lol) in those places it smudged and on the waterline. I'm planning to return it because I really don't need a $20 liner that makes such a mess
skinny smolderEYES™ Amazonian clay waterproof liner -
Pai Avocado and Jojoba Hydrating Day Cream: I was so excited to try this. I've heard a great deal about Pai and their focus on sensitive skin care. I won this in a Beauty Bay twitter contest, so I'm not out any money. However, this irritated my skin and caused an allergic reaction. And, it made my skin even more sensitive and left an oily cast on my face. I think this is more geared to more normal skin, and not those that are reactive to products. Bummer!
Pai Avocado & Jojoba Hydrating Day Cream | Spirit Beauty Lounge
What are your recent faves/fails? 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Best of Beauty 2013: Makeup Edition: Face Products

First, I would like to apologize for lack of posts the last few weeks. Life has been in the way what with sick children, holiday preparation and dealing with personal chronic illness.  Thank you for understanding. I hope everyone is having a safe and happy holiday. 

It's the time of the year to reflect back and pick favorites. I will be doing a series of best of beauty posts that will include makeup, skincare, bath and body and hair care items.  Here is the first installment.

Favorite Face Primer:  I use a combination of two primers: Benefit The POREfessional in the t-zone and Tarte Clean Slate 12 Hr Brightening Primer on the rest of my face. POREfessional is made to blur pores and hide slight wrinkles while Tarte helps keep makeup in place and provides hydration and healthy complexion. Since discovering this duo, my makeup looks fresh all day and no seeping into pores in t-zone. I highly recommend each of these primers. I've repurchased both, so I plan to keep on using them into the new year. 

Favorite Tinted Moisturizer :   NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer. I recently purchased this one as I love NARS Sheer Glow and wanted a lighter type product for the summer. This product is wonderful in coverage and wears like a second skin. While some tinted moisturizers can be greasy and flat, NARS is just the right balance of moisture and radiance. I wear shade Finland which is a light neutral shade. 

Favorite BB Cream:   I'm not a huge fan of BB creams. I don't like the American versions because they tend to miss the mark on performance as compared to Asian versions. And, both versions contain parabens and suspect ingredients. However, I do have a favorite that I keep around in spite of this to wear on days when I need coverage with an all in one product, and my skin is going crazy. I like Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream for those type days. I can always count on this when I'm in a hurry and just need to get out the door fast. 

Favorite Foundation:  My absolute favorite foundation for this year is Guerlain Lingerie De Peau Invisible Skin Fusion Foundation (01 Beige Pale). This has wonderful coverage and wears so well on skin. It applies like a dream and wears nicely especially on normal/combo/dry skin. It's never cakey and does not cling to dry patches. Yes, it's expensive, but it's perfect for me and worth every dime.  

Favorite Foundation Powder: If I want extra coverage, I use Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder. This is a great powder for normal/drier skin types. It's very hydrating and never cakey. It can also be worn alone for light coverage. 

Favorite Setting Powder:  My holy grail has to be Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. I always have a back up of this at the ready. This is so light but covers and minimizes shine perfectly. It looks very natural on skin which is a bonus for ladies over 40 like myself. 

Favorite Pressed Powder:  No one makes a better pressed powder than MAC in my opinion. My favorite for touch ups and on the go is MAC Select Sheer Pressed Powder. For only $25, it performs as well as higher end counterparts like Chanel and Dior. I've used them all and always come back to Select Sheer . One thing I love is that not only does it give me a natural semi matte finish, but the powder also blurs pores and does not cake up on my 42 year old skin. 

Favorite Concealer:  I own one concealer: Yes you read that right. I've passed along or sold all other concealers as NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer does it all for me. It's my holy grail in that it covers dark circles perfectly without creasing, and any blemishes disappear with just a touch of this one and no cakiness. I need no other.... I wear shade Vanilla . 

Favorite Highlighter:  I rarely wear highlighter as I feel it emphasizes those pesky wrinkles. However, Benefit Watts Up! does not do this and looks very natural on me. 

Favorite Bronzer:  Confession time: I'm 42 and just learned how to apply/wear bronzer.  I love Physician's Formula Bronze Booster Glow Boosting Pressed Bronzer in light/medium. I chose this one because it's light enough for me, not too orange and not overly glowy. It blends very well for a drugstore product as well. It's a win all around. 

Favorite Powder Blush: Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Naked Rose has been my go to blush since I purchased it from Gummy Vision's blog sale a few months back. If a makeup bag needed a blush, it is this one. So pigmented and never chalky. I'll be buying more of these in the future.  The formula just cannot be beat. A second runner up is NARS Guy Bourdin LE blush in Day Dream. 

Favorite Cream Blush:  I enjoy cream blushes for my dryish skin. I've tried more expensive and lower end, and I always come back to Stila Convertible Color products. I don't like them as lip products but love the wear and feel on my cheeks as blush. My favorite shade right now is Rose which is a perfect berry shade for fall and winter. 

Are any of these products your favorites? Let me know your favorites in the comments. 

Next up: My favorite eye products. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Low Buy : Update #2

I started a low-buy at the beginning of November.  Here are a few posts to bring you up to date: initial post and update #1. While, I am still following through with the low buy, I haven't been able to stay within my budget. I think that I needed to replace items and that left almost no room for a treat or two. I'm not beating myself up about going over budget as I've reduced my spending drastically.  The goal of $100/month will still apply as I continue to lower my spending and enjoy what I own.  I'm wanting to buy new furniture for the living room, so that will be even more incentive to stay within the budget.   I exchanged a few items that did not work for me and used a gift card and credit. Technically, I went out of budget after those deductions. However, we received an unexpected bonus, so I allowed myself to buy a few extra treats.  Here are the items I purchased since the last update.

I purchased these items with returns/store credit so nothing out of pocket.
1. fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream - This is my daily face cream , and I ran out of my sample.
2. NARS Guy Bourdin LE Blush in Day Dream:  This has been on my wishlist ,and I decided to buy it. I highly recommend this one as it is peachy pink without shimmer.
3. Koh Gen Do Spa Cleansing water: Joyce from Bronzer Bunny made me buy this! (lol)
4. Tarte Amazonian Clay Skinny Smolder Eyes Waterproof Eyeliner in Onyx: I've been looking for a black eyeliner for my waterline that lasts, and so far this does a great job.

These items: gift card
1. REN 4 piece
2. FAB Radiance Kit

Purchases made with budgeted amount:
1. NAKED 3 $56
2. Stila CC in Rose $18.75 ( Stila F&F price)
3. Vitacost: $28 (Andalou Naturals Eye Serum/ 100%Squalene Facial Oil)

So, I went over a little ,but I'm still happy with this month. I'm learning to be more careful with the amount I spend and to not buy endlessly for fear of missing out on the next big thing.

Are you on a low buy or spending ban? What are some techniques you use to avoid over-spending?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

November Favorites: Makeup, Skincare, Bath & Body, Etc.

Hello! It's time for favorite products from the month of November. I hope that you had a great month and if you celebrate, I hope you are having a wonderful beginning to the holiday season.


For blush, I’m loving my Stila Convertible Color in Rose. This is a perfect shade for fall, as it adds just a little more color than my usual blush. Plus, the color still looks natural on fair skin. These cream blushes are my favorite in price and performance. 

My favorite lip combo has been MAC Twig with Cremesheen Glass in Private Party on top to make a very pretty berry look for Fall.    

Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder has been my go to powder for setting foundation. This is a very smooth and hydrating powder that looks flawless on skin. It’s never dry or cakey.  However, if you are oily I wouldn’t recommend this one, as I think it’s more of a normal/drier skin type powder.

Nails: I love the slight glitter and purple tone in Covergirl Outlast Glosstinis Violet Flicker. I think it's from the recently released Hunger Games collection. 

Skin Care:

Koh Gen Do Spa Cleansing Water:  I purchased this on recommendation from Joyce, and I’m so glad that I listened to her. This works well to remove makeup perfectly even waterproof mascara. So long Bioderma!

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate Eye Cream: I have used all of my samples and will be purchasing the full size. It does what it claims: reduces redness, darkness, soothes puffiness and blurs wrinkles.  As an added bonus, it does not cause irritation to the sensitive eye area nor does it cause milia.

I've been having such issues with serums lately until I discovered First Aid Beauty Triple Brightening Complex Facial Radiance Serum. This one doesn’t break me out, and my skin is looking brighter and more even in tone.

Bath ,Body & Hair:

Caress Glowing Touch Silkening and Passionate Spell Fine Fragrance Elixir have been my choice of body wash. These smell great and moisturize skin like a higher-end product.  At $2.99/each, you really cannot go wrong.

Matrix Biolage Exquisite Replenishing Oil(gold tube) has been my favorite hair oil since discovering in October Sampler.  The product treats the hair as well as making it manageable and soft.

L'Oreal Paris Advanced Hair Care Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm: I don’t normally use drug-store products on my hair due to not having good experience with them. However, I saw this being hyped on You-Tube and gave it a try. It really works well, and I can see improvement in my hair. 


Favorite Candle: B&BW  Fresh Picked Blackberry Spice. For the price, these candles smell great and last well.

Favorite Drinks: I’ve been enjoying Grove Square French Vanilla Cappuccino K Cups and Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla Chamomile Tea at home using my Keurig.  When I’m out, my favorite is Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice.

What are your favorites?