Monday, April 28, 2014

Clarins Instant Light Brush On Perfector: A Review

As someone with ridiculously dark circles, I usually opt for a medium to full coverage concealer instead of a highlighter under the eyes, because I desperately need the coverage. Recently, I've been trying out layering a highlighter on top of my regular concealer (I'd been using the Maybelline Dream Lumi Highlighter) and have loved the results.
While the Dream Lumi Highlighter is a lovely drugstore option, it does tend to crease a little on me, which led me to explore the more high-end highlighter route. I've tried out the cult favorite YSL Touche Eclat, and while I did love it, it was slightly more sheer then what I wanted. In recent months I've fallen head over heels in love with everything from Clarins, so I decided to try out their highlighter option, the Instant Light Brush-On Perfector (quite a mouthful of a name).
Now, before I go into my thoughts on this little guy, I must note that the shade range on this product is more than limited. The Brush-On Perfector comes in three shades: 00 (Light Beige), 01 (Pink Beige) and 02 (Medium Beige). I have pretty light skin, and chose the shade 02 because the Light Beige was way too light and 02 was far too pink for my yellow-toned skin. I have never in my makeup wearing years worn the darkest shade of anything, because I have pretty light skin. So while I love this product I think they are severely lacking in their shade options, lacking in shades for anyone from medium to dark skin.
That being said, for anyone that is able to use this product I highly recommend it! This Perfector certainly lives up to it's name, adding a light coverage and subtle highlight that looks perfect underneath eyes or anywhere else you'd like to highlight. Even better, the Perfector adds hydration underneath your eyes, and will not crease or budge. Like most Clarins products it's a hybrid makeup-skincare product, and is loaded with lovely ingredients such as Oat extract and Hylauronic Acid Complex. Oat extract has skin tightening benefits while Hylauronic Acid Complex holds up to 1000 times its weight in water. Basically, the benefit to this is that it forms a protective film on the skin surface that seals in moisture which is why it's so wonderfully hydrating.
Here's a picture of myself, with only concealer on the right and concealer and the Brush On Perfector on the left.
As you can see, it definitely adds a gorgeous highlight! While I unfortunately wouldn't be able to get away with wearing it alone under my eyes, due to its light coverage, it would be perfect for anyone with less severe dark circles. It adds the perfect "8 hours of sleep" look, totally brightening up your face and look.
Aside from the poor shade selection, I have nothing but praise for this lovely product! I can see this becoming a permanent part of my daily routine, and would recommend to anyone and everyone. Below is a picture of my finished look, with the Perfector underneath both eyes. I'm also wearing my amazing Clinique CC Cream and Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint duo, which is my current favorite base.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint: A Review

So the Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint has become a bit of a cult favorite throughout the blogosphere. It has won awards and tons of praise, and obviously I was interested to see what all the fuss was about! Jouer is a brand that is not sold in many stores (and certainly none around me) so I kind of had to do my research and guess as far as a shade was concerned. I chose the second lightest shade, Pearl, which is described by the website as a shimmering shade for fair skin. I was kind of between this and Golden, which both have more of yellow undertones, but after seeing some swatches by other bloggers (specifically I have Vivianna Does Makeup to thank for helping me figure out my shade, as she has a similar skin tone to me) I chose the lighter shade.
Within seconds of the first application, it was clear to me this stuff is seriously shiny. Like, as I was putting it on I was seriously concerned I looked like Edward Cullen. Within a few minutes the sheen did go down, and while there are still very noticeable sparkle bits when you look close up it does look much more like a glowing, dewy finish from further back.
I expected this finish because I had read a ton of different reviews on the product before buying, so I knew that I'd probably want to mix it with something else to use. I recently ordered the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint, the matte version of this guy, and I simply cannot wait to receive it so I can mix both versions together, because I've heard the finish of the combination is absolutely lovely. As of now, I've been combining the Luminizing Tint with my NARS Tinted Moisturizer, as well as my Clinique CC Cream. Today I wore it combined with the CC Cream, and I truly love the finish! It's the perfect amount of dewy, glowy-ness that I crave without making my face look like a disco ball. The Luminizing Tint is also quite sheer (so know that if you pick a shade darker or lighter you can still get away with it) so by combining the CC Cream I get to add a little more coverage.
Once I get the Matte Moisture Tint, I will definitely do a review of the two together because I've heard the two combined form the perfect base. But this Luminizing Tint definitely met my expectations, and reminds me very much of a slightly less expensive version of my favorite Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer. So for anyone looking to add a little sheen to their look, definitely give this guy a chance! I definitely approve, and can't wait to try out different looks with this new base!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Business Formal Makeup

So tomorrow I have my Capping presentation for school, which is basically something each senior student needs to do for their major in order to graduate. For Fashion Merchandising, we are placed into groups and given a brand that we're tasked with planning new stores for, or creating a product development line, etc. Over the course of the semester we put together a huge paper (ours is about 50 pages) and then must present a 20 minute presentation (and 10 minute Q&A) in front of all the capping professors, students, and industry partners for whom we've done our presentations on. While I was truly, truly blessed by being put in a group with two girls who are absolutely awesome and were so fun and easy to work with, I would be lying if I said I wasn't still super nervous to be presenting tomorrow. I'm not great at public speaking, and while I feel we've prepared a great presentation I'm definitely starting to feel the nervous jitters already.
Anyways, I could go on and on about my nerves but the main point of this post is that the presentations are "business formal" attire, which made me think about what makeup best suits a business formal atmosphere. I'm at the age now where everyone is looking for a job, and with that comes the inevitable interviews. At this point in my college years I've seen plenty of examples of outfits for business interviews, but I feel like no one ever really touches on what kind of makeup is appropriate.
Now, this look is absolutely my own liberal interpretation, and I truly think that your makeup look will depend on where you're interviewing, the season, etc. So this makeup look that I've done is simply what I do when interviewing during these warmer months. I personally believe that for interviews and business formal atmospheres a more minimal makeup look is appropriate. Again, this might depend on where you're interviewing, but I have always felt that an interview is not the right time to experiment with a new makeup trend. So I always try and keep my makeup to a minimum, trying to keep it simple but pretty.
I started out my look with the NARS Tinted Moisturizer, my favorite trusty base. This is one part that will definitely change depending on the season/the status of my skin. Right now my skin is relatively clear and I feel the NARS TM gets the job done, but if my skin were experiencing a few more blemishes I would probably have gone for the Clinique CC Cream for a bit more coverage while still looking natural. Next up, I used my Origins Quick, Hide! Concealer to cover up any blemishes, as well as for covering up my dark circles. This stuff always gets the job done without looking too cakey, which is definitely a plus for a minimal makeup look.
After concealing, I very lightly lined my top lid with a brown Bobbi Brown (hehe) eyeshadow. I usually would add more, but for this simple look I didn't want to overdo it. After this I used a little bit of my new Clarins Brush On Perfector underneath my eyes, to highlight and make me look a little more awake. On a side note, this stuff is fantastic at providing a light coverage and really bringing your face to life. It's very much like the YSL Touche Elcat, but a little less expensive which I can't complain about!
After the Brush On Perfector, I finished off my eyes with my Clinique Lash Doubling Mascara, which lengthens my lashes without looking too overdone. I topped off the look with a little bit of my Bobbi Brown Blush in Bellini for my cheeks, and my Clinique Chubby Stick in Mega Melon for my lips. After that, I sprayed my face with the incredible Urban Decay Makeup Setting Spray and I was done! A very simple, minimalist look but I find it works to make you look like you've put effort into your look without looking too made up.
As I've said, I really do believe the business formal look is up to your own interpretation, but this is just what I personally find works best for me. I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on their own business formal makeup!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Current Skincare Routine

I have a confession to make. Up until fairly recently, I rarely had any sort of skincare routine or really did much of anything besides taking my makeup off at night (gasp!). I was pretty blessed during my teenage years to have pretty clear, normal skin that didn't require much maintenance. I didn't start wearing makeup until high school (which is kind of crazy to think about now) so I never did much for my skin other than washing my face.
Unfortunately, my skin has gotten a lot more problematic in recent years. My once normal skin type has changed to more of a dry combination, and my once blemish-free skin is no more. I really cannot complain too much because my skin is still not terribly problematic, but it does require more maintenance then it once did.
My morning skincare routine is fairly simple, I usually just use a toner and then moisturize my face with Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion or Clinique Moisture Surge (a truly fantastic moisturizer I'd recommend to anyone with drier skin). Most of my heavy skincare comes at night, because I prefer to leave it on as I sleep. Recently I've begun using Rosehip Oil as I had heard it works fantastically on acne scars, something I desperately am fighting to get rid of. I picked up the Lanoline Rosehip Oil when I saw it in TJ Maxx, and it truly has been wonderful. Eventually I plan on buying the Pai BioRegenerate Rosehip Oil as I hear it's absolutely fantastic, but for now the Lanoline version gets the job done which is all I can ask for.
After letting the Rosehip Oil dry down a bit, I layer up with some moisture by using either my Josie Maran Argan Oil or Tarte Marajuca Oil. I find both of these fantastic, and would truly recommend them to any and every one. While they work fantastically on my dry skin, I've heard incredible results from people of every skin type with both of these little gems, so I'd really recommend looking into them if you're looking to try a facial oil!
Finally, I finish off with an eye cream. This is a very important step for me due to my dark circles and the thin skin underneath my eyes. Currently I'm using the Dr. Weil for Origins Mega Bright Dark Circle Minimizer (jeez that's a mouthful) and loving it, but I'm always trying out new eye creams that can help out with my dark circle problem (and I'm more than open to any suggestions!).
So there you have it, that is my current skincare routine. As I've just recently become more interested in skincare I'm really experimenting with any and everything (which is why many of my products are deluxe sample sizes), so my skincare routine is constantly changing. I love trying out anything new, so if anyone has any suggestions on products I should be using be sure to leave it in the comments below!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Treasure Hunt #2

Last week I started a weekly series dedicated to showcasing amazing blogs that I have found and fallen in love with. There was a great response to it (plus I just loved sharing these amazing blogs!) so without further ado I present my second weekly Treasure Hunt finds.

Mercuteify -I actually discovered Allison's blog
after she had commented on one of my posts, and I am so glad that I did! The blog is full of wonderful photography, writing and reviews that I have been enjoying checking out daily. This blog was truly a find that I am so happy to have stumbled upon, because it has joined the ranks as one of my favorite blogs to read. I love getting to read a blog from someone who is around the same age as I am, as I find it easy to identify with some of the experiences she writes about. Allison also has some amazing YouTube videos that I would recommend checking out at her channel, which you can find here. She just recently had a video where her boyfriend did her makeup which is a hilarious must watch. 

Elle Sees - This blog truly has it all: beauty, hair, reviews, DIYs, you name it. I am so happy to have found this blog, as I've gotten so many great recommendations and ideas from reading Elle's writing! Just recently, she had a DIY idea for Peep Feet Fizzies that was too adorable not to try (you can check out that post here, they're too stinking cute). Elle has also had some great videos and tips on blogging which I have really been following, and would recommend to all others that are just starting out in blogging. All in all this is a blog that I am so happy to have found and it has already joined my permanent daily reading list.

The Leo Beauty - This blog features wonderful photography, writing and reviews which makes for a blog that I love to read. Ellie writes some wonderful reviews (included with swatches and pictures which is something that I love seeing in beauty reviews) and also compiles some to die for wishlists. She and I seem to have very similar taste in beauty products which is one of many reasons i adore reading what she has to say! She started her blog around the same time that I started my own and already has quite a readership, which can be attributed to her lovely writing and detailed reviews. I adore reading what she writes and am always looking forward to her new posts!

If there are any blogs out there that you can recommend please leave any URLs in the comment section below! I always try and check out any and all recommendations that I can get.


Easter Weekend

You know those weekends that you just want to last forever? That was certainly my Easter weekend. Jake was back in town from Thursday through Sunday, and after not seeing him for a month and a half it was amazing to be able to spend a few days with him. On Friday we visited the Vanderbilt Mansion, which is an amazing spot in New York that has some of the most fantastic views of the Hudson River. It was only 65 degrees or so, but after this long past winter that felt like a regular old sauna in comparison, and so Jake and I spent the afternoon having a picnic. I wish I had gotten more pictures of the two of us together, but I managed to take some shots of the beautiful scenery of the Vanderbilt.

On Sunday I spent the day in New York City having brunch and going to see Pippin with Jake and his family, which made for a pretty incredible Easter. Again, I wish I had been able to take more pictures, because I love looking back on them and feeling nostalgia for the incredible memories made. Hopefully Jake and I will be celebrating many more Easters in the future, so I will have to make it my goal for next year to document the day a little more. 

Hope everyone else had a wonderful weekend! I'll be posting another beauty post later today, but for now I thought I'd share some of the pictures of my time at the Vanderbilt. 


Monday, April 21, 2014

Look of the Day: Easter

I apologize for the lack of posts this weekend, my boyfriend was home for the first time in several weeks so I've been trying to spend as much time with him as possible! I'll try and have a post later today about my weekend activities, but for now I just decided I'd do a post of my Easter look and what I used. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!


Friday, April 18, 2014

Clinique Cheek Pop: A Review

Today I got around to buying an item that has been on my wishlist for awhile now, the Clinique Cheek Pop blush in Peach Pop! I have been reading rave reviews of this blush for weeks now, so I have no idea why it took me as long as it did to finally buy it. Honestly I think this blush is worth it for the design alone, I mean how darling looking is it?! 
Anyways, this blush is incredibly pigmented and the color Peach Pop is gorgeous. One makeup tip my mother always taught me was how blush gives you a flush of color and health to your look, so for me blush has always been a vital part of my makeup routine. I've always preferred coral and peach colors for my own complexion, but the Clinique Cheek Pop line hits a home run with every color they offer. Along with Peach Pop there's Berry Pop, Plum Pop and Ginger Pop; I tried out each and imagine that within the next few months they will all be joining my collection because they're perfection.
If you haven't picked one of these guys up yet, I would absolutely recommend going to your nearest Clinique counter to try them out! I have nothing but good things to say about mine, and would recommend to all looking for a pigmented, high quality blush.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Zooey D Inspired

If I haven't made it abundantly clear I am absolutely in love with Zooey Deschanel and her style. Seriously, one person once told me I look like her and it's hands down the best compliment I've ever gotten (obviously since years later I still am talking about it). I wanted to try and do a Zooey inspired makeup look for the day, which is something a little different then I normally do. She's very much known for her signature cat eye look, as well as her bangs obviously.
I didn't want to do an exact replica of her look, but instead wanted to take some inspiration from it. I researched a few different sources and found her makeup listing for her show New Girl here, which I used to help me figure out what I wanted to do. According to the listing, Zooey regularly wears very light base makeup (even using the Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer like I do) but will then emphasize her gorgeous big eyes.
Anyways for my inspired look I started off with my ultimate duo, the NARS Tinted Moisturizer combined with the Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer. I then used my Clarins Instant Concealer to brighten under the eyes, and my Origins Quick! Hide Concealer for any blemishes. After this I primed my eyes with Benefit Stay Don't Stray and used my Bobbi Brown Hot Cocoa Palette to add a little shimmer to my eyelid, and smudge a little brown eyeliner on my lower lid. Then I used Eyeko Skinny Liquid Liner on my upper eyelid, and finished off the eyes with my Clinique Lash Doubling Mascara. Finally, I used Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in True Love for my cheeks and Clinique Different Lipstick in Glazed Berry for my lips and voila!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Trend Test: Reverse Washing

I'm not normally one to jump on the bandwagon with new trends. In fact, I'm usually the person that tries out a trend about a year after it has stopped being cool (I just recently tried out ombré hair, which I'm way behind on). So it's certainly out of the norm for me to try out something that is taking the blogosphere by storm while it's still considered on trend, but the new fad of reverse washing was just too simple for me not try out.

The whole idea behind reverse washing is to condition your hair and then shampoo it. The reasoning behind this is that your hair gets conditioned and then the shampoo removes any excess oils or whatnot that has been left behind. Plenty of bloggers have raved about it, saying it adds volume and health to your hair. I was skeptical. But guess what? This is one trend that actually really works. 

Many people who have written about the benefits of reverse washing have stated they have thinner hair and it helps create more volume to otherwise flat hair. Since I have ridiculously thick hair, the benefits for me come from a different perspective. After about a week of trialing reverse washing I have found my hair to feel healthier, thicker and looks shinier. It's probably not a difference dramatic enough to be noticed by others, but it's something I have taken notice to. After showering my hair always feels "clean" obviously, but with regular washing my hair starts to feel oily by the end of the day. With reverse washing my hair still feels fresh and clean by the end of the day, without an excess oils. 

So all in all, this is one trend I've tested and definitely approve of. I'd be very interested to hear other people's thoughts on the idea, but I know it's something that I'll continue trying out.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Treasure Hunt #1

For years now I have been a huge fan of scouring the web for beauty and lifestyle blogs. There are so, so many creative minds out there, and I can't tell you how much inspiration I've gotten for beauty and style looks from some of these folks. In fact, I have many of these bloggers to thank for inspiring me to finally go ahead and start a blog of my own, which had been a long time dream.
There are so many talented bloggers out there that I decided to start a weekly series to share some of my favorite bloggers on the web. I could never fit all my favorites in one post, so it seemed like a fun idea to share some of my absolute favorites over time so other people could check out these fantastic sites. So without further ado, here are three wonderful blogs I've found and love.

This is probably my most frequently visited blog. The blog includes some lovely photography, wonderful reviews and great tutorials that all equate to a fantastic daily read. I bought my Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation and NARS Tinted Moisturizer solely because of of Kate's reviews, so I have her to thank for the two best bases I've ever owned in all my years of makeup wearing! This is a truly one of the best blogs I've come across throughout the years, and I would highly recommend it! Kate also started the fabulous site Nouvelle Daily, which is a website everyone should check out!

 A Day in the Life of a Northern Girl
This blog is one of my newest daily reads, but with some gorgeous photography and lovely writing it is one that I've been going back to time and time again! There are some fantastic reviews on the blog, as well as some wonderful makeup advice. I actually came across the blog while looking for advice on covering up dark circles, and I was hooked. The blog reviews both high end and drugstore beauty finds, which is something I both love and appreciate. This blog was truly a treasure to find, and one that I am so happy to have come upon!

Skunkboy Blog
This was actually one of the first blogs that I began reading on a daily basis, if you can believe that. The blog was created by the wonderful Katie and includes fantastic photography of her daily life and outfits. Katie always looks gorgeous and pus together amazing outfits, but for me I think my favorite part of her blog is getting to read about her daily life and wonderful family! It sounds strange to say that about someone I have never personally met, but Katie's writing as well as her amazing photos make for a wonderfully accessible blog that everyone should be reading.

I have Bloglovin to thank for all of these wonderful finds, and for the many other truly great blogs I have had the pleasure of finding through the site. Even if you don't have a blog of your own, I highly recommend creating an account so you can look through the many blog options out there, as well as having a fantastically easy way to keep up to date on all the blogs at once.

Pop of Color


I am obsessed with nail polish. In fact, I'm so in love with it that I'm fairly shocked I have yet to write about it in one of my posts. I own an unhealthy number of polishes, and have been known to change colors on a daily basis just for kicks (is that not normal?). I'm not one of those girls that can really pull off a dramatic lip or eye color (I am so jealous of those girls!), but I love trying out new polishes to add a pop of color to my look.
I own dozens of different brands, but truly love the palette options from OPI and Essie. At my college we have a student-run pop up fashion store called Fashionology, which sells awesome accessories and even student-made products. It's really quite lovely, but my point of that is that they sell Essie nail polishes, which has become my undoing. 
I recently bought the three shades pictured above from Fashionology, and they're such pretty, bright pastels. On the left is the color "In the Cab-Ana" which comes out as a beautiful turquoise, teal-ish color. It's what I'm currently wearing, and I'm so in love. In the middle is "Bikini So Teeny" a nice lavender color that is truly perfect for spring. Finally, on the right there's "Resort Fling" a gorgeous peach that looks fantastic on. Somehow this shade makes me look like I have a bit of a tan, which is not an easy feat to achieve right now!
So these three are the polishes I've been cycling through at the moment, are there any others I should be trying out?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Beauty Reads

Recently I've gotten into reading more books about beauty and style. It's not that I was avoiding these coffee-table type reads in the past, but I suppose I just had never gotten around to actually sitting down and reading them. I've now flown through all of Bobbi Brown's books within a couple of weeks, they're all so well-written and informative that they're hard to put down! The one pictured above is her Makeup Manual, which is a wonderful read that I've gone back to time and time again. Bobbi has a way of making her writing and advice accessible to everyone, from beginner to makeup pro. She emphasizes that beauty comes from within, and a combination of some strategically placed makeup along with a healthy lifestyle will help make you feel like the best version of you. It's truly a fabulous read and one that I'd recommend to just about everyone.
The other book I've been reading has been Lauren Conrad's Style. I will readily admit that I am a huge fan of just about everything Lauren Conrad does (her website has amazing pieces about life, fashion and style and is something I'd highly recommend) , and this book of her's is no exception. The book contains some terrific advice from Lauren on fashion for every occasion, as well as accompanying makeup looks. Lauren also has a book entitled Beauty which focus even more on makeup tips and tricks. While I haven't gotten the chance to read that yet, it's certainly on my list. 

Hellooooooo Spring

Well Spring, it's been a long time coming but you're finally here! It's 80 degrees out and sunny today, and I could not be happier (well, I could do without the allergies, but you can't win 'em all). Since 99% of my wardrobe consists of dresses, the warm temperature means that the majority of my clothing will now be weather appropriate thank goodness.
I don't know about you, but for me the warm weather means spending a whole lot more time outside, which means a change in the beauty routine. The past few days I've been keeping my own routine very minimal for several different reasons. One big difference to my routine is the addition of waterproof mascara. In the Fall and Winter I rarely wear waterproof mascara because I find that it's the ultimate hassle to remove at the end of the day. Unfortunately it becomes a necessity in the Spring and Summer because I have absurdly bad allergies. Seriously, I opened the window today and my eyes started tearing up like I had watched Marley & Me again.
Anyways, my trick with waterproof mascara is to use regular mascara and then swipe a layer of waterproof mascara over to seal it in. This has worked out well for me because it gives all the benefits of regular mascara with just one layer of waterproof mascara. The mascara I've been using recently is Clinique's High Impact Mascara, which is wonderful, and then I use layer of  Maybelline Lots of Lash Waterproof Mascara on top.
For the rest of my face I've been using the amazing combination of my NARS Tinted Moisturizer and Laura Mercier Illuminating Moisturizer, which have become my unbeatable duo. These two act like they were made for each other, and together provide light coverage to my face with a glowing, dewy finish. And that's all without being greasy or shiny looking! I then brighten up my eyes with my much-loved Clarins Instant Concealer and moisturize my lips with the lovely Maybelline Dr. Rescue Baby Lips.
Finally I finish up the look with some blush. While my love for Tarte's Amazonian Clay Blush will never die, recently I've wanted a bit of a change and have been using Bobbi Brown's Blush in Peony. It's a lovely hot pink and, as expected from Bobbi Brown, is a wonderful quality. It adds a superb flush that's perfect for Spring!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Embracing the "Flaws"

I have a confession to make. I often trim my own bangs, because it's simple and free and takes like three seconds. For years I've been doing this, and really haven't messed up too badly before. That all changed yesterday. I accidentally cut a chunk of hair way too short, and it looks nothing less than horrible. I had planned on doing a look of the day post today, but with the hair faux pas I had no desire to post a picture of myself on the blog. I already have a lot of trouble taking a picture of myself that I can even remotely stand looking at, but with the haircut from hell I could barely even imagine taking a picture. On top of this, I went to get my eyebrows done the other day and the (very nice) lady took off 75% of the hair I had. So yeah, I'm feeling a bit self-conscious.

The whole point of that spiel is that I finally sucked it up and just decided to screw it and take a picture. Because you know what, we all have our bad days, and I decided there was no better day to post an unedited picture then the day that Instagram has crashed. I'm very guilty of relying on the Instagram filters and editing to make myself look my best, so I'm going to make it a goal on this blog to try and take more pictures without having to use filters. I'm sure this is a promise I will not always be able to keep, but I'm going to try my darndest.

On any given day I can name a million little things wrong with myself, and they frustrate me to no end. But on that same note, I see my friends, family and countless other women critique themselves to death on supposed "flaws" that I would never have even noticed. I see them all as beautiful, amazing women, and that's how I wish they would see themselves as well. But that makes me a hypocrite, because obviously I do the same thing constantly.

Anyways, I'm going to wrap this up because I could go on and on about the subject. I've posted the picture of myself (flaws and all) that I was, and still am, nervous about posting. It's hardly earth-shattering, I mean I still have on makeup and I'm in good lighting. But I wanted to document a picture of myself where I was feeling very self-conscious, if for no other reason then embracing the flaws I loathe so much. I need to realize that hair will grow back, and that I'll have my good days and bad days. Documenting the bad days just makes the good days feel that much better, right?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Look of the Day: Glowing Skin

My skin has been somewhat blemish-y lately, but hopefully will be clearing up soon. To draw the attention away from it, I've been trying to use some products that help make my skin glow a bit and have more of a soft-focus finish.

For the past week or so I've had a fairly similar daily routine, starting off with VitaZing to add some warmth and moisture to my skin, and then using a combination of my beloved NARS TM (I believe I can safely say this has now achieved Holy Grail status) and my newly discovered Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer. I originally tried out the Laura Mercier Illuminating TM on it's own, and while it's lovely my skin was sparkling like Edward Cullen. Maybe I just used too much (re: yes, yes I did)? Anyways, if possible it ended up being a bit too dewy for my taste when worn alone, but I've found when I mix a drop or two with my NARS TM it creates a lovely, lovely finish that I would highly recommend trying out. Just for references sake, I use NARS in shade Light 02 Alaska, and LM in Bare Radiance.

Next up is my Clarins Instant Concealer, which is a product I always end up not using for a bit, and then when I bring it back out I fall in love all over again. I own this concealer in shades 01 and 02, and layer the two for the best coverage (can you tell I'm all about layering?). Shade 02 has a slightly more pink-y tone which works well as a sort of corrector for my dark circles, and then I'll use shade 01 to brighten and provide a bit more coverage. I don't know why I don't use these concealers all the time, because I'm always impressed with how great they are. They provide hydration for the undereye without creasing, and still providing coverage. They also contain some light-reflecting particles that instantly brighten up the shadows underneath eyes. What's not to love?

I feel like I've talked to death about my Tarte Blush in Blissful, so I'll just say this is easily my HG blush and I cannot wait to pick up more shades. I also used the Tarte 4-in-1 Mascara, which is a nice little product. One feature of mine I cannot complain about are my eyelashes; they're long and thick and so I usually can get away with wearing any mascara and being a-ok, but this mascara by Tarte really is a great one that I would recommend to anyone looking to add some definition to their eyelashes. I also lined my upper and lower lids with Clinique eyeshadow in the shade Olive in my Martini (on a side note, how fun would it be to name makeup shades? Seriously, best job every).

Finally, I finished off my look with some Maybelline Baby Lip Dr. Rescue. I've tried several shades of Baby Lips, and have loved every one. This Dr. Rescue is in a sheer pink tint, and is supposedly even more hydrating then the original Baby Lips. In all honesty, I mostly picked it up for the sheer pink tint which I loved, but I suppose it does add a hint more hydration then the original formula.

P.S. Please excuse the awkward picture (I like to call this pose the "head scratcher"), I'm still trying to get used to posing for the camera! Although let's be honest, I'm not photogenic in the least so I'll probably always be awkward :)

Concealing the Worst Dark Circles

Oh my gosh, were you punched in the face? Are you tired? Are you feeling okay? These are all questions I hear on a daily basis because of my ridiculously dark undereye dark circles. You'd think it would be against basic social etiquette to ask someone whether they've been punched in the face, but I digress. I've written multiple times before about how I'm constantly trying to cover up my dark circles, and how they're the plague of my existence. I never would have thought I'd put a picture out on the big bad Internet of one of my biggest insecurities, but I finally just decided to say screw it. This is the face I wake up with in the morning, and if I'm going to be posting pictures of myself on here I should probably have one of myself naturally, flaws and all.

Anyways, back to the concealer. Recently I've kind of come to terms with the fact that my dark circles will never be 100% concealed, so I'd rather cover them up a little and look natural than try and cake on a full-coverage concealer and still have them peaking through.

I took a before and after picture above, and as you can see my dark circles are definitely on the extreme side of things. Oddly enough, while my undereyes are definitely dark they also have some serious redness. Because of this, while trying to bring some light to the area I also want to cancel out some of the redness. So first I start with an eye cream, which is a very important step. Recently I've been using the Origins Dr. Weil Mega which provides a great base and hydration to the delicate skin under eyes. It's supposed to also have some brightening qualities, which I really can't speak to, but I think it does the job of an eye cream well.

Next up, I use It Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness, which has been a much-hyped makeup product in the blogosphere. While most people use it for a foundation base, I find that a light layer of it completely cancels out the redness around my eyes and create a more skin colored based to put concealer on top of. This product is highly pigmented, so for me it's really heavy to use all over my face. I will say though that anyone who suffers with rosacea or redness should really look into this product, because it is a miracle worker at completely cancelling out any and all redness.

Finally, I use my Clarins Instant Concealer duo, which I wrote about in my post earlier. Shade 02 works to correct some darkness, while shade 01 brightens everything up. After this I do the rest of my eye makeup and voila! You can 100% still see some darkness peaking through but it's a far cry from what it looked like originally. I'll try and do more posts on other concealer options, but thought I'd start out with what I'm using in my routine right now.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The AmaZing VitaZing

I've mentioned Origins VitaZing several times before, so I figure it's about time to do a review about it. VitaZing is described as an "energy-boosting" moisturizer by Origins, and contains ingredients such as Ginseng, Mangosteen and Chestnut Seed Extract. These ingredients apparently have some great skin invigorating properties and yada yada yada. I can't specifically speak to all of these ingredients, but I can tell you about my experience with the product.

The lotion comes out white originally but when applied it blends into your skin, evening out skintone and providing a gorgeous glow. Basically it provides a bit of a natural looking temporary tan, without looking too severe. As you can see in the before and after shot above, the lotion cancelled out some of the redness in my hand while evening out the skin tone and giving it a lovely glow.

The images above don't really do justice for how much of a difference this product makes, and how beautiful a color it provides to your skin. I've been wearing this moisturizer underneath my NARS Tinted Moisturizer, and have had people comment on how much my skin was glowing, During the winter my skin is almost translucently pale, so as we go into Spring this is a wonderful transition piece that will give your skin a hint of color without looking overwhelming.

The one downside with this product is that it only comes in one shade, so while it's marketed as being useable for all skintones I have to wonder how well it would hold up on someone with very fair or darker skin. That said, for those with a light to medium skintone this product is absolutely fantastic and I would encourage anyone looking for a glowing, dewy finish to your skin to go out and buy this immediately.


I Want This in My Life: To Tommy From Zooey

If I haven't made it clear enough, I am a huge Zooey Deschanel fan. If I could raid any one celebrity's closet, it would unquestionably be her's (that's a creepier sentence than I had anticipated). When I heard she was helping design a capsule collection for Tommy Hilfiger, I was psyched. Admittedly, I have never bought one item of clothing from Hilfiger before, but I was hoping that would change.

The collection, named To Tommy From Zooey, just launched today and it's even more beautiful then I could've imagined. Is it out of my price range? Hell yeah. But when have I let that stop me? I'm a very open shopaholic, and that's probably not going to stop any time soon.

The capsule emulates Zooey's style with some '60s inspired silhouettes and designs, leading to a very "mod" looking collection. There's certainly a good amount of Hilfiger influence but the look is also inherently Zooey (we're on a first name basis). Some of my absolute favorites are teh Stripe Pleated Dress (droolworthy), Diamond Pleat Dress and the lovely colored Pleated Dress; lots of Pleating, obviously. All the better for twirling around in.

I haven't written too much about fashion on the blog yet, but considering it's what I'm majoring in it's obviously something very important to me. As for my personal style, I've always had trouble classifying it, because I really don't feel that I fall into any specific category. When I go shopping, I buy what I like no matter what the style. A lot of the time I end up items that are probably a little on the bohemian side, but over the past few years I've thrown some more "classic" items in there as well (re: preppy). I grew up in one of the preppiest towns in all of America (this is not an exaggeration, seriously it's name checked in the Preppy Handbook) but somehow always managed to avoid owning a piece of Lily Pulitzer (gasp!). As I've gotten older, it's become clear the style of my hometown had a greater influence on me then I had thought, because I've started incorporating more and more preppy pieces of clothing in my wardrobe.

Anyways, I'm gonna put an end to that tangent because it's incredibly boring. You can check out Zooey's collection by clicking here, but if you can find it in your heart to leave some size 6s in the dresses listed above until I get my next paycheck, that would be wonderful.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Forever Repurchased

As a beauty lover, I'm always trying out some new kind of makeup. Because of this, I have a bad habit of never finishing the makeup I do have. There aren't many items that I have (or will) repurchase, simply because I haven't used them enough to run out any time soon! However, there are a handful of gems that I absolutely adore that I plan to continue to keep in my stock pile.

Maybelline Baby Skin has a slightly off-putting name, but once I got past that there was nothing bad I could say about this primer. It's said to be a dupe for Benefit Pore-Fessional, but I can honestly say having tried both that I prefer the Maybelline version by a long shot. It's a clear, silicone consistency that provides a flawlwess base for your foundation/tinted moisturizer/etc. It claims to be a "pore eraser" and while I don't think there's a product on earth that can completely "erase" your pores from view, this does a great job of evening out the skin's texture to help provide a flawless finish. It's also a heck of a deal, as I bought mine for under $6 at Walgreens! At such a good price and with some great attributes, there's really no reason for me not to buy this again and again.

Next up is another drugstore purchase, and that's my Almay Color + Care Liquid Lip Balm. Since I have dry lips, I need something that provides moisture as well as color, and this guy from Almay does the trick. It truly provides more hydration for my lips then I ever expected from a drugstore brand, and the colors are always so nice (I own several, but my current favorite is Apricot Pucker). It's not the longest lasting, but I do get a bit of wear out of it, and it's so easy to carry around for touch-ups. Add to that the fact that it only costs $5 or so at CVS, and it's a winner in my book!

I know I've talked about NARS Tinted Moisturizer in just about every post. But it's because it is so good! I cannot emphasize enough just how much love I have for this base, and how thankful I am it came into my life (let's pretend I'm not talking about a makeup product in the same sincerety I would a personal relationship, slightly embarrassing). It really does provide everything I've always looked for in a base: lightweight, sheer-to-light coverage, with an added dewy glow finish. It's defintely on the more expensive side of things, at a cost of $42 for a 1.9oz tube, but you don't need much of the product to cover your whole face. I'm always willing to spend a bit more on base products, such as bases and concealers, because I see it as making an investment in a high quality product that I'll be using on a daily basis. The rest of my routine changes all the time, so spending less on a mascara or lip gloss makes more sense to me. NARS is also a cruelty-free brand who use some great ingredients in their products. I have sensitive skin, and have not had any problems with this TM (although I will say it does have a bit of a fragrance, which might irritate some people's skin -- always something to consider).

The last two are products that I have also mentioned on the blog before. My Origins Quick Hide! Concealer and Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush are two things I have been reaching for on a daily basis. The concealer is fantastic for its coverage and creaseless finish, and provides a great base for layering other concealers on top of. It's also what I would consider a "mid-end" price, as at $16 it's far less expensive then some of the higher-end prices, but it also is a bit more expensive then drugstore products. As for the blush, I could honestly go on and on about my love for this guy. I've been using the shade Blissful on a daily basis, and it adds just the right amount of a beautiful pop of coral to my cheeks, giving me a little bit of definition and color as my pale-ass skin transitions into Spring. I've barely even made a dent in it, so while I plan to repurchase this once I'm done I don't see that happening for a long, long time!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

(Weird Facts) About Me 1234

I remember in middle school, the first day of classes we used to have ice breakers like two truths and a lie. I always had trouble thinking of interesting things on the spot, so usually went with my old reliables: the facts that I have three younger brothers and that my mom was born in England. Not really all that interesting, but I sometimes managed to trip people up into thinking they were lies. Anyways, my whole point of that spiel is that I'm gonna do a post of four (interesting? Maybenotreally?) things about me.

1. I will do almost anything for candy. I have the ultimate sweet tooth, and usually my sugar-y cravings are for sweets that no one else really cares for. Razzles and Pez are my go-tos, and usually they're given to me by friends that received them and have no interest. This is not to say that I am picky with my candy, quite the opposite. Anything that's filled with sugar and unhealthy garbage will easily be consumed by me. I have no idea how I'm not five million pounds, I'm pretty sure it defies the laws of science and that I should be studied.

2. When I was younger I always desperately wanted a nickname, but to this day I still don't really have one. Early on, it was discovered that shortening my name (Morgan) resulted in the nickname "Morg". And even as a youngster, I did not want to be nicknamed after a place where dead bodies are stored. Strange of me, I know. I was occasionally called "Mo" as well, but that reminds me too much of The Three Stooges. So yeah there really aren't many nickname options for me, a fact that tormented me in my youth. 

3. I have a freckle in one of my eyes. There's not too much to say about this one, but it's definitely something strange. I've had a freckle in my eye my entire life, and it often results in people starting at my eye for a long period of time before asking me about it. Fun stuff.

4. My next door neighbor is a hooker. I can sincerely say that that is a sentence I would never have imagined myself typing, but alas it's a true. My roommate and I live next to a hooker who, by all accounts, is OCD with cleaning and also a habitual liar. I could go on and on about the character that lives in the apartment over, because she's certainly provided many stories for my roommate and myself. Instead I'll just tell a little story about my first encounter with The Hooker (I don't know her name, so I will refer to her this way from now on). When I first moved into the apartment, my roommate had been there for awhile and had suspicions about our neighbor's occupation. My parents were helping me move everything inside the apartment when there was a knock at the door. I went to open it, with no makeup on and looking like a sweaty mess, and was confused to see a little old man at the door. He immediately looked disappointed upon seeing my appearance (just a bit of a blow to my confidence) and asked if I was the woman he called from the website. Before I could answer, The Hooker opened her door and pulled him inside. So yeah, I'll try not to take it too personally that the man was so clearly disappointed by my appearance, but it made for a lovely first impression to my neighbor's career.

Spotlight On: Tarte Cosmetics

I wanted to start a series where I would focus in on a specific brand I use, with a background on the brand, their products, and my own personal experience with the items I own. For my first in the series, I decided to take a look at Tarte Cosmetics, one of my personal favorite makeup companies.

Tarte Cosmetics was founded in 1999 by Maureen Kelly, who still serves as CEO of the company today. Maureen started the company as a self-professed "beauty addict" who was left disappointed that she couldn't find "pure, powerful" products in the cosmetic market. She set out to create Tarte Cosmetics as a eco-friendly cosmetic company that provided cruelty-free cosmetics infused with amazing skincare ingredients (such as vitamins, minerals and essential oils). In addition to this, all Tarte products are formulated without parabens, mineral oil, gluten and many other irritating ingredients. The company also takes care in their product development, making sure their products look chic and colorful.

Since starting the company fifteen years ago, Tarte has grown to be a favorite makeup line for makeup artists, celebrities and the general public alike. Originally only available in the US and Canada, the line expanded just recently to being available in the UK (something the blogosphere has been abuzz about). The brand has also won various awards for many of their products, including bestsellers such as their Marajuca Oil, Amazonian Clay Blush and Amazonian Clay Cream Eyeshadow.

As for the products I can personally vouch for, I've tried out their Marajuca Oil, Amazonian Clay Blush, Marajuca Oil Creaseless Concealer, Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Concealer, Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer and Lights-Camera-Action Mascara. Whoo, that's a mouthful. I can say that I have enjoyed all of these products, though I do have some definite favorites.

Their Clay Blush is absolutely flaw free, and it's pigmented formula makes for one of my absolute favorite blushes. The Marajuca Oil and their LCA Mascara are also great; I received the mascara in a deluxe sample form, and while I really enjoy it I wouldn't say it's something I reach for each and every day. The Marajuca Oil is fantastic, an incredibly hydrating option to use overnight on my dry skin. It's not something I'd recommend for daily wear, but certainly overnight I think it's a great option.

Their BB Tinted Moisturizer is one product I love. It provides a gorgeous, sheer color that helps even skin tone without looking like you're wearing much. With my dry skin, I prefer to wear another moisturizer underneath it, because I don't find it all that hydrating. However I know there are girls that have oily skin that adore the consistency of this base, and the way it works for their skin. The Full Coverage Foundation is also a great base, although the coverage is a lot more then I prefer to wear. For anyone looking for a full coverage foundation that doesn't look heavy though, this is a must-try. The finish is gorgeous and glowing, and covers any and all flaws.

Finally, there's the Marajuca Creaseless Concealer. As a concealer junkie, I had heard some great things about this option and finally decided to go for it. There's no doubt that this concealer covers well, and even better it is infused with marajuca oil which hydrates the delicate skin underneath eyes. My problem with the concealer is the formula. For some reason, the formula would never dry down on my skin, and instead had a consistently wet, shiny look to it. This could easily have been solved with powder however, when I put powder on it it looked heavy and creased like crazy. That said, I've seen some people look 100% fabulous with this concealer on, and it's many people's HG. It was just too heavy for me, and thus not my favorite product from the brand.

Anyways, with all of this being said, Tarte Cosmetics is a brand I would not only recommend but actually insist that everyone try out. I originally tried it out because it was a Cruelty-Free Option, but ended up falling in love with all of the products for many more reasons. Their Amazonian Clay Blush, Marajuca Oil, and Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer are three products I would recommend to anyone and everyone, and there are many more products from the brand that I look forward to trying in the future.

Saturday, April 5, 2014