Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Friday, December 5, 2014

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happy Thoughts #7


  1. Kind of an obvious one, but it was so amazing having Thanksgiving with the whole family (including my grandparents and Jake) this year. The food (and wine) was fantastic, and the company even more so. Amazing day with amazing people.
  2. Sooo much pumpkin pie. Yum.
  3. Seeing my high school friends. One of my absolute favorite parts of this week was having some of my best friends from high school home and getting to hang out with them and Jake together. It was amazing to catch up, and even though we don't get to see each other all too much, when we're together it feels like no time has passed at all.
  4. My five year high school reunion. Perhaps one of the most hilarious/fun/drunken/awkward/bizarre nights of my life. It was so strange seeing people I haven't seen since high school, but it was also kind of awesome to catch up. Plus, going with a few of my best friends made it a pretty amazing experience.
  5. Sooo much wine and hard apple cider. The amount of drinks that were consumed this week made me feel like I was back in college.
  6.  Lots of football. I'm a big fan, and one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving day was getting to watch the games.
  7. Having all my brothers home. My oldest brother's away at college, and the two in high school always seem to be out and about. Having them home together was a rare, but nice, experience.
  8. Starting to Christmas shop!
  9. Surviving Black Friday. It's my fourth year of working retail on Black Friday (oh gosh, I need a new career) and I always have such relief when it's over each year.
  10. Burning Christmas candles! I'll admit that working in retail makes me get into the holiday spirit a little bit early, but one of my favorite little things to do is burn Christmas-y type candles. This year's favorites so far are Bath and Body Work's Merry Mistletoe and Diptyque's Resine.
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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Black Friday Weekend Promos + Sales

As a retail worker, I dread Black Friday each and every year. It's loud, crowded and, for every hundred nice people, there is one nutjob that makes your life a living hell as a worker. Anyways, while I've grown sort of bitter to the whole process, I must admit there are some stellar deals going on this weekend, both in store and online. While I haven't started my holiday shopping just yet, I have been looking around and decided to compile some of the best deals going on online this year. If you guys know of any other great deals going on, definitely let me know in the comments!!

ASOS - 30% off full-price styles when you use code TGIBF. Ends 11/30 at 7 PM EST.
BeautyBar - Save $15 when you spend $75, $35 when you spend $150 and $65 when you spend $250 with code BBCYBER14 (some exclusions apply). Ends 12/9. BeautyBar also always offers free 2-day shipping when you spend $49+.
Beautylish - For every $100 you spend, Beautylish is awarding a $20 store gift card with your order (no code necessary). Ends 12/9 at 9PM PST.
Diptyque - Perhaps one of my favorite deals, when you make any purchase online you'll receive complimentary 35g Myrrhe + Feu de Bois candles when you use the code FRIDAY14. Ends 12/2 (or while supplies last).
Giorgio Armani - 20% off orders of $75+ with complimentary shipping. When you spend $150+ you can also get five Deluxe Samples. For both deals, use code FAMILY14. Ends 12/7.
J. Crew - 30% off full-price styles when you use the code HOLIDAY. Ends 11/30 at 11:59 PM.
Jouer Cosmetics - 25% off site-wide when you use code BLKFRDY. Ends 11/30.
Laura Mercier - 25% off when you spend $100+ (excluding holiday sets). Discount applies automatically.
Madewell - 25% off your purchase when you use the code GIFTON. Ends 11/30 at 11:59 PM.
Molton Brown - 25% off your purchase when you use code MBEVENT2. Ends 12/1.
NARS - 20% off site-wide when you use the code TAKE20. Ends 12/2
Sephora- Sephora is offering their annual $10 Beauty Deals all weekend starting on Black Friday and continuing through January 1. The specials are limited time, and will continue while supplies last.
Space NK - For every $100 you spend you'll receive a $25 gift card (applied automatically at checkout). Ends 11/30.
Tarte Cosmetics - 25% off site-wide when you use code FRIDAY. Ends 11/30.
Yves Saint Laurent - 20% off when you spend $75+, plus five deluxe samples if you spend $125+, using code YSLGIFT. Ends 12/7.
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My Christmas Wishlist


Hey guys! First of all, I'm sorry it's been so quiet lately on the blog post front. Between Thanksgiving, a high school reunion and working (especially Black Friday, ugh) I've been swamped with stuff going on!

I wanted to share my Christmas wishlist because I'm a total dork and get real enjoyment out of reading about other bloggers' wishlists. As you would expect, it's chalk-filled with beauty products, with some winter apparel sprinkled in there (I can never have enough oversized sweaters).

What's on your holiday wishlist? Be sure to let me know in the comments below!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Five Minute Glow



I've become a bit of a face mask fanatic as of late. There's just no quicker way to brighten up my dehydrated, dull winter skin, and I absolutely love it. My newest addition is an especially great one - with natural ingredients, exfoliating properties and results in five minutes or less, the Elemental Herbology Facial Glow is a force to be reckoned with.

Elemental Herbology is a brand that I've read tons about, and after reading several rave reviews from a few of my favorite bloggers, I decided to pick up the Facial Glow. At $66 it's quite pricey, but I was able to take off a good chunk of money at BeautyBar (a site that has seriously the best discounts) and get it for a more moderate price. Plus, it takes such a small amount of product to get great results that I think this bad boy will last me the better part of a year...

The Facial Glow is a botanical peel that can be used on a weekly basis. It works to banish everything from dull, tired skin to dry patches, making it pretty darn effective on every skin type. It includes tons of skin loving ingredients, all with different purposes for your skin. For example, a combination of Orange peel, Tangerine and Papaya scrub away dead skin cells, while Macadamia, Olive and Argan Oils work to give your skin essential fatty acids and reduce inflammation. It's ingredients like these that make me so happy I've started using more all-natural products - I love being able to look at the list and actually recognize what I'm putting on my face.

While I've only had the pleasure of using this guy for two weeks now, I've already been pretty blown away by the results. After putting a generous amount of product on my face and neck, I leave it on for about five minutes before rinsing it off with a damp face towel. Instantly after removing it, my complexion is brighter and my skin softer. It doesn't dry it out further or irritate me skin (like some peels have in the past) but instead gives me the most healthy, radiant looking glow. Is it too early to say I'm in love?
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Happy Thoughts #6

  1. Cozy flannel shirts. One of my favorite parts of the cold weather (and there aren't many...) is being able to cuddle up in a cozy flannel shirt and jeans. It's one of my go-to Fall/Winter outfits.
  2. Watching An Idiot Abroad with Jake on a lazy Saturday. If you haven't seen it, it's a hilarious show where Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais send their idiot friend Karl to various countries to immerse him in the country's culture. Jake and I have a friend that is eerily similar to Karl, so we get quite a kick out of it.  
  3. Splurging on the By Terry Densiliss Primer. I'm so disturbed by the price tag, but I'm trying to ignore it because it has been one of my favorite makeup additions ever.
  4. Burning the most amazing candle ever (which you can check out my review of here) and filling up the room with it's intoxicating scent.
  5. Spending time with Jake. I know I mention this every week, but after having him away for so long it's really just amazing to be able to see him several times a week.
  6. Holiday drinks from Starbucks. I've been trying to hold off on these for as long as possible, but I just love their Gingerbread Lattes too much to not allow myself a couple this season.
  7. Reading some lovely comments on the blog. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me that people take the time to comment on posts I write, and it just puts the biggest smile on my face to read them all! So thank you for that!!
  8. Watching It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia will always make me laugh.
  9. There's always got to be a food favorite, and this week it was the amazing Brown Sugar Cake I had with a side of Buttermilk Gelato. Yum.
  10. Getting ready for Thanksgiving, and being able to have Wednesday and Thursday off from work (followed by the horror that is working Black Friday, but let's just not think about that).

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Candle Love Affair



Is there anything better than burning a gorgeously scented candle during these cold months? I'm never more relaxed than when I'm curled up under a blanket, reading a book with a candle burning in the room. The newest candle in my collection is a rather luxurious one, quite a difference from my usual Bath & Body Works candles.

I feel like I've read about Diptyque candles on just about every single one of my favorite blogs. I've read nothing but rave reviews about their strong fragrances and beautiful packaging, so when I gained enough Space NK points to get a bit of a discount I decided to pick up one of my own. Now, the "full size" (6.5 oz) cost $60, and while I have been known to spend way too much money on skincare and makeup (cough cough By Terry Densiliss cough cough) I just can't stomach that price for a candle. I mean, you're literally burning away money. I decided to pick up the "mini" version (2.4 oz), which at $30 is still pretty expensive (though my Space NK points luckily got it down to $20, the max I was willing to spend).

After smelling each scent about a hundred times over the past few months, I finally decided on  Ambre, a gorgeous, cozy scent that's perfect for Winter. With notes of vetiver, patchouli and tonka bean (my favorite) the candle provides a warm, woods-y, almost masculine scent that I really adore. The luxurious candle also burns beautifully, quickly filling up any room with the gorgeous fragrance.

While I probably won't be buying more Diptyque candles anytime soon (though I wouldn't be opposed to getting one as a present for Christmas) I'm pretty darn happy with this guy. And even when it's burned out, I'm looking forward to using the gorgeous jar for storage (something that seems to be a rite of passage for beauty bloggers).

Have you guys tried a Diptyque candle before? If so, what scents do you love?
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Primers: A Necessity or Unnecessary?

I remember when I first heard about makeup primers I was more than a little skeptical. I was afraid that putting more makeup on my face would just result in a heavy, chalky look, so I avoided using primers for awhile even as the blogging world blew up with rave reviews left and right.When I finally did get around to trying a primer (which I believe was just a random drugstore find) I still was fairly unconvinced. It wasn't until this year that I really started discovering the benefits of the primer, and the rest is history.

For the life of me, I cannot remember when they first came about, but I do know that they have come quite a long way since the first few primers came on the market. Nowadays there are primers for just about everything - for mattifying, hydrating, smoothing, brightening, correcting redness... you name it, there's almost definitely a primer for it.

Because of this, it's really been a bit of a journey for me in discovering the "perfect primer". Currently, I have five in rotation that I'm going to talk a little bit about. Below I've swatched each (with a lightly blended swatch next to it) to show the consistency (please pardon my purple-y red hands, which look straight up terrifying).



Of the five, the first I picked up was the drugstore favorite, the Maybelliene Baby Skin. I've found that this budget buy creates quite a divide between beauty bloggers - people either love it or absolutely loathe it. Oddly enough, I'm not in either category. This clear primer is outrageously silicone-y, giving your skin a very slick, makeup-ready surface. For some, this is a godsend, but for me I find it's a little too slick. Primers can be difficult because they need to not only react well with your skin, but also your makeup, making them a fairly personal thing. For me, I found that this stuff doesn't react terribly well with my foundations, making it a bit useless. That being said, I know people who it works fabulously for, and it makes their makeup look incredible. At the low, drugstore price, I'd wager it's one that's worth checking out if you're new to the priming game and want to give it a try.

Next up is my (much talked/raved about) Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow. This one is drastically different than the Maybelline offering, coming in a champagne-colored, bedazzled formula. With skincare benefits, it feels fabulous on the skin, and underneath foundation gives your skin a very evident glow. While I find this one looks lovely with foundation, I personally prefer not to wear it alone. While there's really no coverage to speak of, it is very sparkle-y. This glitter makes it looks fantastic underneath foundation (which covers up the fairly evident specks) but I feel that I look too much like a disco ball wearing it alone. I kind of wish that the formula came with just the champagne color and no glitter, because it really does feel wonderful on the skin. Nevertheless, even if I can't wear it on it's own, as a makeup primer it's one of my favorites. 

Another clear formula is the Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum. I was immediately drawn to this guy for it's immensely hydrating formula which makes applying makeup a dream. Unlike the Baby Skin option, I find this primer dries down easily on my skin, leaving behind a perfectly moisturized base for any makeup you throw on top. Like many Hourglass products, it's also a bit of a skincare/makeup hybrid - the No.28 in the name comes from the fourteen essential oils, ten plant-based oils and four vitamins found in the formula. All of these together do make this quite a fragrant little product, so those with sensitive skin might want to skip on this one. However, I've found that my skin soaks this baby right up, making it a fantastic little primer for my dry winter skin.

My ultimate favorite is unfortunately the most bank-breaking as well (though I bought it at a pretty decent discount from BeautyBar, thank goodness!). I wrote briefly about the By Terry Terrybly Densiliss Primer in a recent post where I spoke of it's incredibly glow-giving abilities. Unlike Wonderglow, this formula doesn't contain glitter but instead gives you the most beautiful lit-from-within glow. It's a skincare/makeup hybrid, which really shows when you feel how wonderfully soft it leaves your skin. Not only does it make every base look a billion times more gorgeous (possible exaggeration) but it even looks incredible on its own. While there's really no detectable coverage, one small pump of this can give life to even the dullest of skin, and it's become an absolute staple in my makeup collection. As expensive as it is, this is the primer that really gave me an overwhelming love of primers...it's just that unbelievably magical.

Finally there's the Korres Greek Yoghurt Nourishing Primer, a product which I received a deluxe sample of with a recent Beautylish purchase. I wasn't really sure what to think of this one at first, but after a few uses I've really been impressed with how hydrated and soft it leaves my skin. It's definitely more of a moisturizer than the other primers, so it really doesn't do anything in terms of coverage, but I'd say it's a pretty darn good option for anyone with super-dry skin. A great one for winter, especially!

What are your thoughts on primers? Have any favorites?



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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Happy Thoughts #5


























  1. Visiting my brother at college for Family Weekend. We walked around the campus, saw Seth Meyers perform, and had an all around great day. It was fun seeing my brother's school, and even better to know how happy he was.
  2. Jake's back from Florida!
  3. Jake and I spent a night at Mohegan Sun (a resort/casino) which was truly one of the most fun things I've ever done.
  4. Family time. This is usually in my "happy thoughts" posts, but it was really great getting the family together for my brother's family weekend. Got me excited for everyone to be home for Thanksgiving!
  5. My best friend and I have been friends our entire lives (our parents are best friends, as well) but have never lived in the same state, or anywhere remotely close to one another. Because of this, we really only get to talk through technology, and even that can be sparse because of how hectic our schedules are. So it was really awesome to have a fun "wine date" over Skype this week.
  6. At-home pedicures are always the best, and it was especially fun to break out the glitter filled holiday colors!
  7. Sleeping in. It was another early week at work, so getting to sleep in this Saturday was a great feeling.
  8. Spending time with Jake's family. I haven't been able to see them for ages, so I am so thankful to be visiting them now (as I type this, in fact).
  9. Drunk food. At Mohegan Sun, Jake and I might have had a bit (ahem, a lot) of alcohol, and I don't think I've ever had better drunk food than the cheese, bacon and gravy fries we got at the Irish Pub in the casino at 1 am. Ah, America.
  10. Hibachi with friends! If you can't tell, I love me some food, so going out to hibachi with Jake our friends was pretty fan-freaking-tastic.
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ready in 5


I work in retail, so my hours are often all over the place. When new shipment comes in, I often start my work day at 5AM, leaving me with absolutely no motivation to get up any earlier than I need to to put on my makeup. Unfortunately, because I work in the business of customer service, I often do have to look at least a little presentable, so I've come up with a routine that takes all of five minutes.

I start off with a lovely little primer that doubles as a moisturizer, and that's the Korres Greek Yoghurt Nourishing Primer. I actually received this as a deluxe sample with my purchase at Beautylish, and it was love at first use! This stuff manages to completely hydrate my skin without any greasy sort of feel, which is the ultimate dream. After that, I'll apply my Dior Nude BB Cream in Fair 002 using my fingers. I honestly could apply this stuff in the dark, it's that beautiful and natural looking. Within seconds of blending, you have a glowing satin-like finish that will last for hours.

Because I'm getting ready in a hurry, I often will opt for a more moderately coveraged concealer as opposed to one that's heavy duty (as those usually take a lot more work and blending). My most reached for would have to by the concealer/highlighter hybrid pen, By Terry's Touche Veloutee in Cream. Within about two seconds this can be blended in, leaving your eyes brightened and far less tired looking. I'll often throw a bit on my top lid as well as an eyeshadow primer, followed by a swipe of the nude shade Skim from my favorite Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Palette. After that, I finish off my eyes with the Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Mascara, one that'll last all day long.

For my cheeks I use the shade Mood Exposure from my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette (a palette I can't seem to shut up about!), which adds both color and a bit of luminosity to the skin. Lastly, I use a bit of my gorgeous Fresh Sugar Berry Tinted Balm which adds just the right amount of berry color to my lips while still keeping them nice and hydrated. And that's about it! Easy peasey, no fuss makeup that I don't have to wake up even earlier for is the goal.
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Monday, November 10, 2014

Love at First Swipe





My makeup favorites are a little strange. For most (normal) makeup lovers, the favorites are lipsticks, eyeshadows or anything colorful. For me, I'm a huge base fan. While I certainly have my stock of lip and eye products, I am a total addict when it comes to foundations and concealers. It's bizarre, and I don't totally get it myself. The one colorful product I could never live without, though, is blush. I am straight up obsessed with giving my cheeks some color (sometimes even going a bit overboard, I'll confess). Anything that adds a pop of color and highlight to my cheeks is a-okay in my book, and the past year has seen me racking up quite a collection!

It's because of my love of blush that I was absolutely ecstatic to hear about the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette. I've never bought one of the Hourglass Ambient Blushes, but have tried them out just about every time I've visited Sephora. At $35 a pop, they are quite pricey, so I jumped at the opportunity to buy the palette of three colors at $58.

The shades Luminous Flush and Mood Exposure were both preexisting shades, while Incandescent Electra is exclusive to the palette. Luminous Flush (the left shade of the palette) is described as a "champagne rose", Incandescent Electra (center shade) as a "cool peach" and Mood Exposure (right shade) as a "soft plum". While the description for Incandescent Electra is spot on, I would argue against the descriptions of the other two shades. I found Luminous Flush to be more of a cool pink, and Mood Exposure as a very Autumn-approved neutral.

I have been adoring wearing Mood Exposure in this weather (you can see me wearing it above), and find that it gives the perfect amount of color on my pale skin. While the other two shades might be better suited for warmer weather,  I'm still enjoying them on days I want a starker pop of color on my cheeks. They all provide a lovely luminous finish that truly does give that "soft focus" effect. I could not be more in love with this palette, and can't wait to use it all year round.



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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Happy Thoughts #4


  1. Finding out that Jake's coming back up North! As I write this, he's traveling back up to the good ol' Northeast, and I truly cannot wait to see him.
  2. A bird invasion. A bird might have flown into the house and all hell might have broken loose. It's possible I have a bit of a fear of birds, and so when the bird flew into the house I hit the floor as if a bomb had gone off. Why is this a happy thought, you might ask? The laughs it provided for my family had us all in stitches. Truly a sitcom-like moment we will talk about for quite a long time. P.S. in case you were wondering, the bird got out just fine and is happily living right outside the house with its partner.
  3. More time for blogging. Life can get pretty crazy (as I'm sure everyone knows) and there have been so many weeks when I've had to put blogging on the back burner in lieu of a million other little things going on. This week I had a little more "me" time and was able to put aside some time for blogging, which made me so happy!
  4. Pretty palettes. This one is fairly superficial and vain, but I picked up the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette and, being the blush lover I am, I am pretty darn excited.
  5. Sleeping in. I don't think that I've slept in past 9AM since college (when it happened quite frequently), and while that wasn't all too long ago it still felt pretty nice to turn the alarm clock off this week and let myself sleep in a bit.
  6. Getting caught up on The Walking Dead. I'm not exactly proud of how quickly I caught up on this show (in fact it's downright embarrassing...at one point Netflix basically asked me if I was still alive), but it is so darn good that I just don't care.
  7. Family weekend visiting my brother. The oldest of my three brothers is currently in his freshman year of college, and my family all went to join him for family weekend. He seems so happy at school, which just makes me so happy to know. Plus, we got to see Seth Meyers perform a comedy show. Makes me jealous I didn't attend a big state school!
  8. Fall scented candles. I previously worked at Bath and Body Works for about two years, so I have quite a collection of their candles. As many as I have, though, one of my absolute favorites is their Fall scent Nutmeg & Spice. Nothing makes it feel more like Fall then burning this candle and just soaking in the gorgeous scent.
  9. Hot chocolate! I'm not quite ready to start with the (very early) holiday drinks at Starbucks, but I'm pretty game for hot chocolate to warm me up in this newly chilly weather.
  10. Did I mention Jake's coming home? :)
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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Makeup Shakeup #1


I'm a creature of habit. As much as I love experimenting with beauty, skincare and the lot (and have a huge stock of the stuff to prove it), I usually find myself using the same products again and again. That being said, occasionally I like to shop my stash (of makeup products, I mean) in lieu of buying anything new, and I'll try out some older buys to try and rediscover the love. So I decided to do a bit of a "makeup shakeup" (get it?) and use a combination of new buys and some older ones.

I'll admit that I cheated a bit with the base and used products that I do use often, but with good reason! I started with my much loved Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Primer , and then followed with my possible favorite foundation ever, the absurdly expensive By Terry Terrybly Densiliss Serum Foundation in #5 Medium Peach. The Wonderglow Primer literally works with any foundation, adding some gorgeous glow to everything.

For my dark circles, I pulled two cult products out of storage, specifically my Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque and It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Concealer in Neutral Medium. I always forget how much I love the Bobbi Brown Corrector, especially when my circles get severely dark during the colder months. I could probably use a shade up (Bisque) as I believe it would work a bit better for me, but Light Bisque does still get the job done. As for the It Cosmetics concealer, I have a bit more of a strained relationship. This stuff has gotten raved about online for its full coverage formula with skincare benefits, so when I bought it way back when I really expected the world. While it's a fine concealer, I personally just find it to have too much of a "tacky" consistency that just doesn't work with my skin. That being said, I've seen some people who wear it beautifully, so it could just be me!

For my lips, I used a newly bought drugstore gem, the Wet n' Wild Fergie Lipstick in Ferguson Crest Caberenet. I read about this line recently on a blog (for which the name is escaping me, unfortunately) and was thoroughly intrigued by the rave review. On a recent trip to Walgreens, I saw it on sale for $2.50 and couldn't resist! Of course, I went with a berry shade, and I will admit I was truly impressed! A moisturizing, highly pigmented formula, this stuff goes on easily and looks absolutely lovely. It's not the longest lasting lip product I've ever used, but for that price I think it's more than worth it!

Finally, I finished with a palette that might be the new love of my life. I'll have a full review up soon, but the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette has truly stolen my heart. With three beautifully pigmented, luminous shades, you really can't go wrong with choosing which one to wear. For the look above, I decided on Luminous Flush, a shade that's described as a "champagne rose". I personally find it to lean much more towards a pink than a rose, but it still looks dreamy on the skin.

All in all, it was really fun to shake things up a bit! Next time I get the urge to go on a little shopping trip, I'll have to try and shop my makeup storage a bit first...

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Dreaming Of #4

My wishlist is never ending it seems, and with the holidays coming up the list is truly kicking into high gear. While some of the picks are safely on the "Gift Wishlist" (specifically Fred Segal's The Blend Kit No. 01, nudgenudge winkwink), many are skin and body care items that I'm really hoping to add to my routine in the near future. As always, there's some makeup love going on in the list, but mostly I've found myself craving lots of skincare and fragrances that are perfect for these chilly days. So without further ado, let me introduce you to my latest long list of covetable items...


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Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Foundation That Photographs Beautifully



This might sound a little strange coming from someone who blogs and takes pictures of herself on a regular basis, but I'm very camera shy. I get ridiculously uncomfortable looking back at pictures, and usually end up nitpicking a million little imperfections I see. It's a bad habit, and one I'm constantly trying to improve upon (with this blog being a huge help).

All of that nonsense aside, blogging has been a (really fun) crash course in photography for me. Not only am I constantly playing around with my new DSLR, playing around with new settings, ISO, etc., but I've also started learning more about what makes for good "photography makeup". As a self-proclaimed "no-makeup makeup" enthusiast, I learned quite quickly that sometimes that tinted moisturizer and light covering of concealer might look fine in person but on camera looks somewhat ghastly. Even worse, the SPF that's usually found in base makeup (for great, beneficial reasons) will cause that dreaded ghost face flash back in any pictures where the flash is used.

This all leads me to a recent discovery, a foundation that's a bit of Photoshop in a bottle. It's a name that most everyone in the beauty blogosphere has probably already heard of, but it's taken me until now to give it a try myself. The foundation I'm talking about is, of course, the infamous Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

I recently picked up this bad boy (in shade #4, for reference) to see what all the fuss was about, and whether it was worth the hefty price tag. When I first applied it, I found it much sheerer than I had expected, with a very liquid, runny consistency. Honestly, aside from the aptly named luminous finish, I wasn't all that blown away at first. That is until I took a few photographs of myself wearing it. My skin was glowing, with a soft-focus effect that I thought could only be achieved through retouching. It truly looked like my skin, but much, much better. Perhaps it was because of the stunning photogenic-ness of the foundation, but I even found myself growing to like the in-person effect it gave more over time

So while this guy might not be part of my everyday routine, you can bet your bottom dollar that this one will be my first choice for holidays, parties, events and the like... 

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Happy Thoughts #3


  1. Skyping with Jake. Having been long-distance for so long, I'd love to say that we Skype all of the time, but more often then not our schedules only allow lots of texting and phone calls. It's really nice to be able to see his face, and I just can't wait 'til it's actually in person.
  2. Marathoning The Walking Dead. I started this as a bit of a pre-Halloween spooky marathon but could not have imagined how sucked into it I would get. Disgustingly gory (and often depressing), but one of the most addictive shows I've ever seen!
  3.  Rocking some darker lips. I usually shy away from anything except for a nude lip, but have really been loving wearing a dark, berry lip recently. It makes for a fun little confidence boost!
  4.  A little online shopping. With a tighter budget, it's hard to buy much new clothing, so it's always exciting to buy a few things from a favorite store (in this case, the lovely Madewell).
  5.  Curling up under a blanket on a cold, damp day. Seriously, nothing better.
  6.  Pumpkin seeds! Nothing feels more like Fall then cooking up some pumpkin seeds with a little salt - absolutely the best.
  7.  Eating dinner as a family. This one sounds kind of cheesy, but one of my favorite things about living at home after graduating (other than the free meals) is being able to spend more time together as a family. My brothers might be sulky teens, but occasionally they're not so bad to hang out with.
  8.  Seeing my grandparents. Same reason as above.
  9.  A Treat Yo Self night (Parks and Rec anyone?). Nothing better than relaxing at night with a bubble bath and a face mask.
  10.  Halloween candy! Best part of Halloween, hands down.
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Saturday, November 1, 2014

October Favorites


I recently realized that I kind of abruptly stopped my weekly favorites without any sort of explanation. Well, it might sound a bit silly, but I honestly was having trouble changing up my favorites each and every week. While I love to constantly try out new products, at the end of the day I find that there are some products that I go back to time and time again, and that routine made it a little difficult to come up with new products each and every week.

I genuinely enjoyed doing posts about some of my favorite products though, so I decided to compromise and write about my monthly favorites. This ended up being perfect, because this past October I discovered some fantastic products that I want to share with you guys (though some might incite a well-deserved eye-roll as I've gone on about them time and time again).

I'm going to start out my favorites with a drugstore product, the Maybelline Brow Drama Mascara. I realize that I don't write about drugstore products enough and one reason for that is I honestly don't buy too many beauty products from the drugstore. That said, I really love this brow gel from Maybelline! With a rounded spooly, this formula is a great dupe for Benefit's Gimme Brow, giving your brows some volume, color and helping them stay in place throughout the day. I found it super easy to apply, and the color Soft Brown is perfect for me! It's my most recent discovery, but one I'm glad I picked up.

On the total opposite end of the cost spectrum is one of my new favorites bases, the By Terry Terrybly Densiliss Foundation. This gem is...disgustingly expensive. Truly, thinking about the price makes me a little bit nauseous. That being said, it applies like a dream. The formula gives you medium coverage and a semi-matte satin finish that truly looks like your skin. It's a skincare/makeup hybrid that's full of anti-aging benefits, and while I can't really speak for those myself I do find my skin feels great even after taking this off. It's, in a word, dreamy.

Before all my bases, I've been applying a combination of two of my favorites - the great Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentrate as a moisturizer, and the Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum as a primer. The moisturizer from Embryolisse is lightweight and sinks into your skin quickly, leaving behind more hydrated skin. I was so excited to pick this up from Beautylish, and it has not disappointed! Since my skin is so dry, I usually follow this up with the very hydrating primer from Hourglass. I wish it wasn't so scented (it smells like incense) but it truly works so well that I can't stop using it!

I've written at length about the Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Grandest Grape and my Urban Decay Naked2 Basics, so I won't bore you too much by talking about their incredible-ness, and instead say you can read my reviews for each here and here (respectively).

Finally, the one non-makeup product in my favorites is the cult favorite Oribe Texturizing Spray. I've seen this written about extensively on beauty blogs (specifically, over on the incredible Vivianna Does Makeup) and finally decided to give it a try by picking up the smaller option on a recent Space NK outing. Described as a volumizer and dry shampoo in one, I was very curious to see if it would live up to those claims. Well, I can say that it does that and more. As someone with seemingly lifeless oily hair, this is my miracle in a (spray) bottle as it brings my hair to life with only a few spritzes. It doesn't leave your hair feeling crunchy or grime-y either, which is a big plus. I've only been using it for a few weeks but you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be picking up the full-size when I run out of this bad boy.
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Friday, October 31, 2014

An Overnight Skin Savior

As soon as the weather starts getting cold, my skin starts to revolt. You'd think that my normally dry skin (which, in cold weather, starts to turn into a straight up desert) would at least mean no acne or blemishes, but noope. Along with freakishly dark circles, dry patches and paleness that makes me look like the living dead, I also break out like crazy. If I can be blunt, let's just say it really sucks and makes me dread Winter every year.

That being said, I'm hoping this year can be a little different, because I've found a genuine miracle product in Korres' Advanced Brightening Overnight Facial. I picked this up on a whim from Beautylish, swayed by the overwhelmingly positive reviews, but I honestly wasn't expecting it to make as big of a difference in my skin as it has.

I actually have been using this daily as my night cream, and every morning I've awoken to more hydrated, brighter looking skin. It plumps up my face and gives it a healthy glow that is so rare for me during the Fall/Winter months. Does it get rid of my blemishes? No, but it doesn't make them any worse (or plentiful) either. But that said, it really does accomplish what it claims to do, which is hydrate and brighten up your skin. I can honestly say I've been blown away by this beauty, and after about three weeks of use the results have only gotten better. Sorry, bank account, because when this one runs out there will certainly be repurchases time and time again...

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Something Different for Fall


Every once and awhile, I want to have a makeup look that's a little different then my norm. By my norm, I of course mean a very minimal, natural looking face. But there are definitely times that I like to amp up my look a bit, and have some serious fun with makeup (which I know fellow beauty bloggers will understand!). This might not be my everyday Fall look, but it's definitely been my go-to on days where I'm feeling a little more adventurous.

To start with, I prime my face with my newly bought (and already much loved!) Hourglass No. 28 Serum Primer. This primer is filled with lots of beneficial skincare goodies and quickly hydrates your skin, leaving a moisturized clean slate that makes applying foundation a dream. After priming, I keep a very natural looking base using an absurdly overpriced foundation that I'm actually feeling a little bit uncomfortable writing about. I won't go too much into it, because honestly I think the effects of this foundation could be duplicated at a fraction of the price, but I have found myself loving the By Terry Terrybly Densiliss Serum Foundation nonetheless (I have shade 5 Medium Peach). It's nauseatingly expensive but it gives a very natural semi-matte finish that I enjoy for Autumn. Finally, I finish my base by concealing any redness or dark circles with the heavy duty Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in 1.5. I bought this last Winter, and have rediscovered my love for the emollient, hydrating and very high coverage formula. My one gripe with it is that it creases like crazy, but other than that I love it for days where I need a lot more coverage.

For my cheeks I used my Autumn favorite, the lovely Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic in First Love. This is such a perfect neutral shade that gives the most natural amount of flush to your cheeks. At $40 it's rather expensive for a cheek product, but I have been so blown away by the formula and results that I'd actually go out on a limb and say it's worth the cost. On my lips I used several layers of (my previously written about) Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Grandest Grape. On an everyday basis I'd usually wear a light layer of this and call it a day, but for a more intense look it's easy to build this up to a deep berry color. The formula is crazy hydrating and long-lasting and, as you all know by now, I'm a little obsessed with this line from the brand.

To finish off the look I swiped a quick layer of the shade Skimp from my Naked2 Basics, and applied a bit of my Rimmel Scandaleyes in Bad Girl Bronze on my lower lash line. After a few swipes of Rimmel's Scandaleyes Retro Glam Waterproof Mascara the look was done! Sometimes there's nothing better than a pop of color against pale Fall skin, and it's a fun look to go for when I have a little bit more time to get ready in the mornings.
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Monday, October 27, 2014

T-Swift's Red Lip Inspired


So today is the day that Taylor Swift's latest album, 1989, is being released in the US. I'm fairly sure it's not normal for anyone over the age of 14 to be really excited about this, but my 23-year-old self certainly is. I've been jamming out (alone, in my room) to "Shake It Off" since it came out last month and I cannot wait to hear what other pop-ish hits Taylor has in her newest album.

In honor of the album release, I decided to try out a bright red lip look, which I've always thought of as Taylor's signature. The girl can rock a red lip like no one else, while I personally look a little more like a kid playing with her mom's makeup. That being said, I took out my Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Mightiest Maraschino (which I believe I got in a Clinique GWP awhile back) and swiped a few layers on for a dramatic red lip.

Not sure this look will be a common one for me (because I certainly can't rock it like Taylor) but I did love playing dress up for the day. Wearing a red lip is an easy way to have a funny little confidence boost!
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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Happy Thoughts #2

It's been a pretty busy week (which, unfortunately, meant a lack of blog posts from me - sorry about that!), and therefore a fairly stressful one. That being said, there are still some awesome little things that brought me happiness this week.

1) Wearing fuzzy socks and drinking hot coffee on a cold day. There's seriously nothing better than huddling up under a blanket with some comfy socks and a hot drink when it's cold out.

2) Finally sleeping in after a week long of working early mornings. On Monday through Friday I had work at 5 AM, so being able to sleep in 'til 9 on Saturday felt like a small miracle.

3) Taking a good picture. I am one of the least photogenic people I know (as I'm sure you can tell from many of my blog pictures) but every once and awhile I manage to snap a shot of myself that's not completely gremlin-like. For me, that came while taking pictures for an upcoming post, and I'd be lying if I said that it didn't make me smile.

4) Rewatching The Silver Linings Playbook. I forgot how damn good this movie is, and how much it leaves me smiling by the end. 

5) Finding episodes of Happy Endings on YouTube. For those that have not seen this hilariously underrated comedy, I urge you to stop whatever you're doing and look it up. The first season starts off slow, but after a few episodes I found myself hysterically laughing at just about every line.

6) Finally trying out Armani's Luminous Silk Foundation. This stuff is Photoshop in a bottle, 'nuff said.

7) Family time. One of the best nights I had this week involved sitting down with my parents and laughing ourselves silly watching John Mulaney's stand-up special New in Town. Probably sounds kind of lame that that's a highlight of my week, but it was truly a fun night that I loved spending with family.

8) Pampering myself with a bubble bath and face mask. There's nothing I love doing more in my time off (okay, that's an overstatement but let's roll with it) then pampering myself a bit. I'm always left feeling more relaxed and happy.

9) Discovering Hannah Magg's YouTube channel. I'm probably the last person on Earth to start watching her Weekly Vlogs, but they're an absolute joy to watch! Beautifully edited, and just all around amazing to watch.
 
10)  My nightly phone calls with Jake. Being in a long distance relationship is tough, but we always make sure to call each other at the end of each day to catch up and talk. It's always a highlight of my day.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Real Talk: Confessions of a Recovering Shopaholic

Today's post is going to be a little something different, but it's one I've wanted to write about for awhile. I feel like it's probably easy to look at my blog and wonder how I can be a recent graduate with a part-time job yet still affording plenty of high-end makeup products. I know it would be easy for me not to mention it, and for it to just kind of be the elephant in the room between me and anyone who happens to read my blog frequently. But I think it's really important to say upfront that my past relationship with money has not been a healthy one.

When I was a sophomore in college, I had a part-time retail job to make some extra cash but I really was not making much money. Up until that point, I only ever used cash and my debit card as my parents had taught me to always make sure you have the money to pay off anything you are buying. Around Christmas time of that year, I thoughtlessly opened up several store credit cards to be able to buy all my loved ones proper gifts for the holidays. I'll fully admit that I didn't know much about paying with credit (interest, late fees, etc.) at the time, and didn't understand that paying the minimum payment each month was not a good idea. Long story (somewhat) short, I ended up falling behind on payments and was swimming in interest fees and debt that I've only now been able to pay off several years later.

Currently, I'm really trying to create a healthier relationship between me and money. If I make a clothing or makeup purchase, I really try and make sure that I have enough money budgeted to pay for it and still be able to put some to the side for savings. I'm trying to rebuild my credit score by making sure I pay off purchases immediately after making them, and hopefully over the next few months will be able to have a higher score (just in time for student loans to start!). I used to make unnecessary luxury purchases (especially beauty-wise) without thinking of the consequences, and now I'm just trying to be a proper adult and think of the consequences when I make a purchase. Instead of buying something on a whim, I'll think about it over the course of a week or so and really decided whether it's something I will use and want in my life.

I am by no means some financial wizard now, and still tend to emotionally shop (a big problem that I have). But I'm consciously trying to make an effort to be a healthier spender, and hopefully a better saver as well.  
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Concealers to Brighten Up Your Day


When it comes to undereye concealer, I'm a pretty picky gal. I need something that's hydrating, brightening and concealing (doh) while still looking natural. I can honestly say I've tried dozens upon dozens of different formulas, trying to find the perfect one to tick off all those boxes. Along the way, I'm happy to say that I've found three that are all equally impressive, and each find their way into my makeup rotation time and time again.

For high coverage brightness: The first of these beauties that I discovered was the Clarins Instant Concealer. I believe I had read about it over at gh0stparties and was instantly intrigued by the claims of being medium coverage, natural looking and super brightening. I picked up shade 01 and it ended up being all of those things and more. Out of the three, this provides the most coverage with the least amount of product. It still manages to look super natural, but can really help to conceal any darkness.

For the brightest of bright eyes: I've written about By Terry's Touche Veloutee numerous times, and for good reason. This guy is a beauty blogger favorite for it's thin formula that achieves natural looking results while still providing good coverage and fantastic brightening powers. This concealer/highlighter hybrid was made by Terry de Gunzburg, the inventor of the cult favorite Yves St. Laurent Touche Eclat. I personally prefer her Touche Veloutee for it's generously sized pen which can be used to highlight and brighten up even the most tired eyes.
 
For natural looking brightness, and skincare benefits: My most recent concealer discovery is Chantecaille's Le Camouflage Stylo. When I heard about this pen-style concealer I was immediately intrigued because I have yet to be anything but impressed by anything from Chantecaille. Boasted as a skincare/makeup hybrid, I knew as soon as this launched I needed it in my collection. This probably provides about the same amount of coverage as the Touche Veloutee, but with a slightly thicker formula that provides tons of skincare goodies. It works to keep your eyes hydrated and provides the most ridiculously skinlike finish that you just can't beat. 
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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Happy Thoughts #1


Life can get pretty stressful, as we all know too well. Too often I let myself get bogged down in the stress, and forget to revel in the little moments of joy that happen on a daily basis. It's because of this that I've decided to start a weekly post compiling the little moments that brought a smile to my face during the week. Sometimes they're big, very often they're sort of mundane, but they've all been things that have brought me some happiness. So without further ado, here are the ten things that I've loved about this week.

1) I've never been a particularly big listener of podcasts, but I have a feeling that is about to change because I've discovered maybe the most hilarious one on Earth. Three of my favorite comedians (Paul Scheer and Jason Mantzoukas from The League, and June Diane Raphael) team up with a guest each week to discuss and dissect terrible movies in their podcast How Did This Get Made. If you've never heard of it before I strongly suggest you give it a listen because it is fantastic.

2) I have paid off all of my credit card debt. I plan on doing a post on healthy spending in the future, but the short story is that I have been in a constant state of stress paying off my credit these past few years, and so to finally have it all paid off is a small miracle and a huge weight off my shoulders.

3) On a far less serious note, I finally found a pair of jeans that are flattering to my pear-shaped, very short figure. J. Crew's Toothpick Jeans have been my saving grace, and while they cost quite a pretty penny I am so grateful to finally have a comfy pair of jeans that I adore.

4) This week I had the pleasure of catching up with one of my oldest friends Sarah (who I've known since we were toddlers!), and I was so grateful for the chance to catch up and laugh about all of the recent goings on in our lives.

5) Having a lazy weekend. It's been the first weekend in awhile where I've had absolutely nothing to do, and I can't tell you how amazing it feels to just chill out in sweatpants and watch Netflix for a day. Which leads me to...

6) Discovering a new "marathon show" on Netflix. You know what I'm talking about, that show you just continue to watch until Netflix genuinely asks whether you're even still there (to which the answer is always yes). This week I've discovered a truly guilty pleasure in Arrow, a superhero soap opera with some seriously hot guys to look at. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm speeding my way through season one...

7) Drinking my first Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season. I know it's a bit late into Fall, and that everyone has already Instagrammed their selfie with a PSL, but I finally had my first of the year and I am remembering why it gets so much hype.

8) Eating Whirly Pop popcorn. If you aren't familiar with Whirly Pop, it's a way of making popcorn on the stovetop, and it always results int eh best tasting popcorn of your life. During the summer, Jake and I seriously ate this every night, but it's been awhile since I made a batch and it felt pretty darn good to make it again.

9) Just like I finally found the perfect jeans, I also found the perfect white T-Shirt in the form of the ASOS Boyfriend T-Shirt w/ Rolled Sleeves. This comfy shirt is the perfect length, and paired with jeans it makes the best possible lazy day outfit (my favorite). I will definitely be buying this shirt in just about every color.

10) Watching the leaves change. It seriously feels like Summer just ended, but this past week the leaves have drastically changed to that beautiful yellow/red color. Driving around New England during the Fall never fails to leave me speechless, it's simply beautiful.
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