Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pedicure: Subtle Pink Stamping

I was hoping that this stamp would show up a little more contrasted but it turned out pretty subtle.  In the end, I like it anyway.  It's pretty and feminine, which is not always my strongest point.
I started with two coats of Pure Ice nail polish in Outrageous.  This metallic light frosted pink was amazingly opaque at ONE coat but I added two for good measure because I'm OCD like that.  I used Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Pronto Purple to stamp on this pretty fern design from Bundle Monster Image Plate BM225.  This was my first time stamping all of my toes and I think it looks really good!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Swatches and Photos: PF Nude Eyes Liners

I love these eyeliners!!  They are soft and glide on easily but last all day.  They have a small sharpener in the bottom which allows you to get a great point.  Today my focus is on the Physician's Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Eyeliner Trio in Nude Eyes. These liner trios come in a variety of colors but this was the first set I tried so it's the first set I'm going to share.
The box says you can get a natural look with the champagne color, playful with pewter and dramatic with black.  Personally, I like the pewter shade the best.  It dark without being as harsh as black can sometimes be.  However, the black in this trio is actually a rather wearable black but if you want super dark black, this isn't what you're looking for.  Below are swatches.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

5 Minute Makeup Tutorial (Pic Heavy!)

Sundays are almost always lazy get stuff done at home days for Brian and me.  For example, on today's agenda we have: 3 loads of laundry, hemming and mending clothes, and painting fingernails and toenails.  I love these sort of days because I can relax in my pajamas all day while still feeling productive.  However, I don't usually want to spend a lot of time or energy on my hair and makeup.  My hairdo usually consists of a bun of second day hair and for makeup I want something that takes less than five minutes but leaves me feeling a little more pretty and a little less tired than no makeup at all.  I didn't feel like making a full on video tutorial because that at least doubles the time it takes me to apply the makeup, so instead I videotaped it and took still shots of each step along the way to explain how to.  Here are the products I used today:
Products used
All of the items will be listed in the steps of the tutorial in bold print.  Here's a before picture (not touched up) so you can see what we're dealing with for today.
BEFORE makeup
I'm looking a little too much like a tired fourteen year old for my likeness, so let's start the process of beautification!

1. Conceal those fading red acne spots on my chin.  I'm using Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer in Light.  It's not my favorite concealer for blemishes but it was the first one I grabbed today.  (Photo of application is below instructions.)
Conceal spots
2. Now that we've got those spots covered, let's focus on fixing up those dark undereye circles.  Start by priming the skin with Benefit Stay Don't Stray Primer for concealer and eyeshadow.  I usually use my e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadow Primer, but I have a sample of the Benefit that I'm trying to use up.  Unless you have very mature skin, I don't recommend the Benefit primer.  Dislike.
Prime undereye
3. Next we are going to cover those dark circles using Pixi Brightening Peach Correction Concentrate.  Apply a small amount using your ring finger to gently pat it on the skin.  This little jar is my best magic trick.  Bye-bye dark circles!
Correct undereye circles
4. Go back to the Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer and add just a touch of concealer over the corrector to match your skin tone.  Be careful not to use too much!
Conceal undereye area
5. Now that your skin is looking flawless, set it all with Physician's Formula Healthy Wear SPF 50 Powder Foundation in Translucent Light.  I use a soft fluffy brush to set my undereye area, then the sponge applicator that comes with the powder to pat the product onto the rest of my face.
Set undereye area
Apply powder to face
6. Fill in any sparse areas of your brows using a brow pencil or powder.  I used Essence Eyebrow Designer in Light Brown.  It's not the best match for me but I'm trying to make it work for now.
Fill in brows
7. Liven up your face a little by adding some blush to the cheekbones.  I used L.A.Colors Blush in Toast.
Apply blush
8. Set your makeup with e.l.f. Makeup Mist & Set.  This takes away the look of wearing powder makeup and helps your makeup last longer.  While that dries, line your tightline (the area under your lashline on top) with Almay Bright Eyes Liner/Highlighter Duo Pencil in Dark Chocolate/Shell.  I don't recommend this product because it creases and isn't the best liner around but I have it so I'm trying to use it.  I'm using the dark brown liner side for this step.  Gently use the pencil tip to push up your lashes and line underneath.
9. Using the other side of the Almay Bright Eyes Liner/Highlighter Duo Pencil in Dark Chocolate/Shell, lay down the cream color on the lower portion of your eyelid.  Also use it to highlight the inner corner of the eyes by drawing a shape like this >< on the inner corners.  Use your finger to blend by patting the cream shadow.
Cream shadow
10. Using a shimmery light shade, apply color to the lid from lashline fading up to the browbone.  Color should be more concentrated on the lid.  I used Sally Girl Single Eyeshadow in Champagne.  Using the same shade, highlight the inner corner generously.
Set with powder shadow
11. Going back to the Almay Bright Eyes Liner/Highlighter Duo Pencil in Dark Chocolate/Shell, use the shell side to line the waterline for a more wide awake look.  Gently push down on your eye to expose the waterline.
Brighten the waterline
12. I used my e.l.f. $1.00 Eyelash Curler to curl my lashes.  Then I applied a coat of Wet N Wild Clinical Mascara to the top and bottom lashes for definition.
Curl lashes

Apply mascara
13. And finally, to hydrate my lips, I put on some Carmex lip balm, which also adds some shine to your lips.  All done!
Apply lip balm
All together, this takes me about five minutes to do and you could even cut out several steps and make it quicker if you wanted to.  Here is the finished look!
AFTER makeup

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My High End Makeup Collection

I don't own a lot of high end makeup and most of what I have has been given to me as Christmas or birthday presents from my husband.  I'm not a big fan of overpaying for products and that's usually how I feel about high end makeup.  However, I thought it was worth sharing what I did have just to satisfy any curious minds.  If I had to choose one item that I am willing to spend the extra money for, it would definitely be the Too Faced Shadow Insurance eyeshadow primer.  This really is a good deal for the price.  For $18, I get a primer that lasts for about a year and a half and does a great job of making my eyeshadow true to color, last longer, prevents creasing, and yet still makes shadow easy to blend.  All over goodness.
A closer look at the shadows in the Pixie Pin-Ups Palette.  It also came with a mini shadow primer, mini pinpoint mascara, and mini lava gloss eyeliner.
And a closer look at the Smashbox Click You're It Palette.  It came with a mini Smashbox Photo Finish lid primer.  The top three rows are eyeshadows and the bottom row are cream liners that could also be used as an eyeshadow base.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

NOTD: Hot Pink and Flakie

Yesterday, I was dragging all day at work.  When I got home, the first thing I did was get myself a cup of coffee but even that didn't help, as an hour later I was literally sitting up on the couch falling asleep.  I decided to paint my nails to wake myself up.  Looking at my nails now, I am so happy I was exhausted!
Golden pink flakie goodness
I started with a coat of Sally Hansen Insta-Grip and followed with two coats of a nail polish I received as a gift for Christmas from one of my students.  The polish has no name but it came in a set of five that came out around the holidays from The Color Workshop.  While it doesn't have a name, it does have what seems to be an identifying set of letters (seen on the bottle) which are NBLA.  I have used several of these polishes and I find them easy to use with a good formula and great dry time that is neither too fast nor too slow.  This particular color is a frosty hot pink with blueish undertones.  Two coats gave me perfect opacity and you could probably get away with one thick coat if you were a better fingernail painter than my clumsy self.
I thought this color was okay but nothing too special so I decided to kick it up a bit by adding a coat of Essie's Shine of the Times.  This flakie is described on the Essie website as, "scintillating opalescence".  I would describe it as a flakie topcoat that can look gold, green, orange, and a range of other colors, depending on the lighting, angle, and what color you layer it over.  It turned out to be a polish dream over this bright pink.
In this photo (above), you can see that the flakies look rather subtle and come off as a purple or blue color.
In this picture, you can really see the flakies look rather gold and abundant.  On the index finger, they seem to go from gold to orange.  Girly diva goodness!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: Almay Makeup Eraser Sticks

Awhile ago, I had blogged about wanting these Almay Makeup Eraser Sticks.  Shortly after posting that, I took the plunge and went out and bought them.  I've used them several times since then and now I'm ready to review!

What They Are: These are basically cotton swabs that are pre-loaded with Almay's oil-free eye makeup remover.  You snap off the end with the colored ring and the makeup remover rushes into the swab on the other end.  Then you can just wipe the makeup onto the cotton swab.

Company Claims from Almay's website: "Perfect for effortlessly erasing mistakes during application without disturbing the rest of your makeup. these easy to use soft cotton tip swabs are individually filled with the best selling almay® oil free eye makeup remover formula."

These were also an Allure Best of Beauty Award Winner for 2011.

My Thoughts on Their Claims: Personally, I don't use these during makeup application but I guess you could.  I definitely agree that they are easy to use.
Other Information: I use these to clean up any areas around my eyes.  In particular, I generally shower at night (and remove my makeup) but sometimes in the morning if I've worn a lot of eyeliner or if I've worn waterproof mascara the day before, I might wake up with some residue around my eye area.  I use these to clean that up.

Cons: 1. Cost.  The package of 24 sticks will set you back around $5 - $6.  I paid around $5 for mine, which makes each stick cost around $0.21.  Per use, that is kind of expensive, especially when you consider that you really only can use one end of the swab to remove makeup and the other gets snapped (mostly) off so it can really only be used to dry off excess makeup remover.

Pros: 1. Convenience.  It can be a bit of a pain to try to take a regular cotton swab, soak it in eye makeup remover, then fix those smudges.  This is much quicker and easier.  2. Travel-friendly.  These are much easier and less messy to pack for a trip than taking a bottle of eye makeup remover.  3. Non-irritating.  I wear contact lenses most days and some eye makeup removers can irritate my eyes when they touch my contacts or sensitive eye areas like the waterline.  I have used these all over my eyes with no irritation to my eyes or spots left on my contacts.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Would I Purchase Again: Definitely.  For me, the convenience outweighs the price.  I don't use these every day so they last me quite a while.  They are also awesome for travel and since I travel at least every six months, if not more, I will absolutely keep them around for that.  I also really like them for when I'm in a hurry in the morning, like every morning.  Overall, they are quick and easy and in my opinion, not that expensive.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Another Small Haul

I hauled a few things this weekend that are worth sharing and talking about a bit.

It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product: This is my Holy Grail hair product.  It does 10 different things, which I've discussed before but the reason that I can't live without this is because it makes a great heat protectant.  (Yes, I've tried Tresemme Heat Tamer Spray and it did nothing to keep away split ends for me.)  I have purchased and repurchased this product many times and will continue to repurchase.  I am currently almost finished with my other bottle so this was a replacement for me.

Tresemme (Smooth Line) Salon Silk Anti-Frizz Serum: While getting my hair cut yesterday, the I was asking the stylist what I could do to control my extremely frizzy, fly-away ridden hair.  (I am currently using Aussie's Anti-Frizz Cream but it doesn't seem to do a darn thing for me and I am almost out anyways and didn't want to repurchase.)  She suggested that I try the It's a 10 Miracle Styling Serum.  That was just too expensive for me, considering I was already paying over $30 for a shampoo/haircut/blowdry and about $30 more for a replacement bottle of It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product.  She explained that the cream I was currently using was not oil based and I needed something with oils to hydrate my frizz.  (She also explained that we live in Florida and frizz is just a southern issue we have to deal with!  lol)  Since I didn't want to buck up for the salon brand, I went over to the grocery store and picked up a new product from Tresemme.  Apparently, this is so new it's not even on their website, because I couldn't find the link to share with you.  Anyway, it includes the currently famous Argan Oil so I thought I'd try it out.  I have tried and liked other serums in the past so I thought it might work for me.  I've only used it once so I'm not sure yet how I'll like it.
I also purchased two lip products, which are not really replacements but just something fun that I've been wanting.  Sadly, they were both a disappointment, which is frustrating because I did my research on these items and everything and I still ended up with two more items I don't really like.

Wet N Wild Mega Shield Lip Color in Within These Adobe Walls: (top swatch) I had watched and read several reviews about these lip products raving about their combination of hydration and pigmented color.  I stalked swatches on multiple different blogs to help me choose a color I would like.  Yet none of those things helped because to be honest, I just don't really like this product.  The color was much more peach than pink, although in the swatches I saw, it looked like a soft peachy pink.  In my opinion, it comes off on me like a more orangey-peach.  Not the most flattering shade on me.  Also, I feel like the hydration wears off within about five minutes and then leaves my lips drier than before.  I don't want to say for sure that I don't like this yet because I need to try it longer to decide for sure.  But my first impression is disappointment.  :(

Jordana New Matte Lipstick in Lillyrose: (bottom swatch) Again, I read reviews on this and looked at swatches.  I particularly remember one review saying that the person was surprised by how hydrating this was for a matte lipstick and that it even came off more as a cream shade than a matte.  Oh, so very false in my opinion.  First of all, it is very drying, as most matte lipsticks are.  Second, the shade is described on the website as "lavender creme", which I agree with but it swatched much darker than it looked in the tube.  This isn't a terrible lipstick.  I'm just not really a big fan of this particular shade.  Now I'm wishing I had tried Pink Flair or Simply Natural.  However, with the drying formula on this one, I won't be trying any other shades.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hair Cut: Before & After Pics

I finally got my hair cut and it's about time too!  The last time I had a trim was in October of 2011, about four months ago.  I don't ever mean to go so long without getting my hair trimmed but it's one of those things that always ends up being on the bottom of my priority list.  I definitely needed it this time, as I had some pretty heinous split ends and to be honest, my hair was getting so long that I was getting pretty annoyed with it and it was becoming a pain to manage.  So I had about a good two inches chopped off, even though I kept the same style.  To be honest, I don't think you can really tell that much, which I'm okay with.  For your enjoyment, here are some before and after pictures.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Insecure Me: Acne Struggles

Of course, the moment that I post an update about how my skin is the best it's been in months, I then end up with a series of pimples worse than before I started my new skin care routine.  *Sigh*  This is exactly what the struggle with acne is about.  I'm being honest here... my skin is bad right now.  To the point where I don't even want to leave the house this weekend and even my concealer isn't strong enough to cover my spots.

Friday morning I woke up to a patch of several large, painful pimples on one area of my chin.  By Friday night, they were swollen and even worse.  In my frustration, I did one of those acne no-nos and I picked and poked and squeezed at them.  Of course, this made them even worse.

However, I'm not losing hope and I'm not going to let this get me down.  I went back to the acne.org website and reread all the steps to see where I had gone wrong and it all started making sense.  First, I hadn't been being nearly as gentle while applying the benzoyl peroxide as I should have been.  Second and most importantly, I had been applying my moisturizer very roughly in that particular area of my chin because I was having some really dry skin there and wanted to really work in the moisturizer there.  Now I realize that the extra rubbing probably irritated my skin, leading to the breakout.

So I'm going to let the acne take its course and I am now following the acne.org Regimen to the letter, exactly as it is recommended, using only the products that are recommended.  More importantly, I am going to treat my pretty face with the kindness and gentleness that it deserves and hope that it shows its appreciation by clearing up and looking lovely again.

Review: Cover Girl Ultimate Finish Liquid Powder Makeup

Company Claims from the Cover Girl Website:
“Get the beauty of a liquid, a powder, and concealer in one makeup! Ultimate Finish glides on effortlessly to cover and conceal where you need it, then dries to the soft finish of a powder. For an ultimate natural look, it's all you need – all in one!
·         - The beauty of a liquid, a powder, and concealer in one
·         - Oil- and fragrance-free
·         - Dermatologically tested
My thoughts on their claims:  More of a powder and concealer in one, not so much a liquid.  Does not glide on easily.  Definitely conceals but does not give a natural look at all.  I feel that you still need to set it with a powder to last as long as possible.
Other Information: My skin: Most days, my skin is pretty clear.  Occassionally, I get some breakouts, usually on my chin.  Currently, I am having some issues with some pretty bad acne on my chin, as well as some dry skin in certain areas like my temples and between my eyebrows.
Cons: 1.This is a very full coverage foundation.  It’s a bit too much coverage for my preference most of the time.  2. Blending can be an issue with this foundation.  Streaks can be an problem if you don’t blend completely.  3.  This foundation can feel and look cakey and heavy on the skin.  In my hands, it literally feels like modeling clay; not the best texture for a foundation.  4. If you have any areas of dry skin, this foundation will settle into those areas and make it even more obvious.
Pros: 1. If you need some serious coverage, this foundation is definitely going to do that.  I would recommend this if you have really bad acne that you want to cover or other serious discolorations or skin issues.
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Would I Purchase Again: Not unless I was having a bout of extremely bad skin.
Conclusion: This foundation is more coverage than what I would usually want.  It’s heavy and gives really heavy coverage.  The nice thing about that is if you’re having some really bad breakouts (like I am right now) and you’re having trouble covering it with concealer, this will absolutely be enough on its own to cover it.  However, you’ll have to be careful to blend it in well and be sure to keep it away from any dry areas.  Also, I find that it applies best with the fingers so the heat from your hands can help to melt it a bit and blend into your skin.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Skincare: Generic or Brand Name?

I was getting ready for bed last night and as I went through my usual skincare routine, I realized that almost all of the products that I use are generic versions of name brand items.  I have generic Cetaphil, generic ProActiv, generic OXY, and generic Olay.  I am one of those people who believe that generic skincare items are just as good as brand name.  I get the results I want and save some money.

Then I looked at my husband's skincare products are realized that he is a stickler for name brand.  He swears there is a difference between the generics and his tried and true brand names, even at the drugstore.

Of course, there is no right or wrong answer to this question but I was curious about other people's opinion on the subject.  What about you?  When it comes to skincare, do you go for generic items or stick to brand name products?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Shopping My Stash Video

I just posted a video on YouTube sharing some items from my stash that I want to get more use out of over the next few weeks.  To see what items I picked, click the video below!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Insecure Me: Acne Update

About three weeks ago, I published my first post about my struggle with acne (Click here to read that post if you missed it.)  I wrote about how I had found acne.org and was starting a new acne regimen.  I wanted to update you on how things have gone with my skin since then.  At first, my skin was very clear but extremely dry and flaking.  Then I had a few breakouts but I noticed they were smaller than in the past and healed faster.  Currently my skin is continuing to clear and the spots from old acne are still there but they are fading and no new acne seems to be forming.  The dryness has almost completely subsided except for a few patches around my temples, chin, and in between my eyebrows.  I'm really happy with the results I've seen so far and they seem to match up exactly with what the website tells you to expect if you have mild acne, like me (click here to see for yourself).

So far, I am really pleased with the results.  I had just about given up hope of ever having clear skin again but this Regimen with acne.org is really working for me.  I also really like that it has saved me money on products and it saves me a ton of time.  I used to use six different skin care products, all of which were from Proactiv and were very expensive.  Now, I only use four and they are all available at the drugstore.  I no longer have to buy face sponges and cotton rounds.  The skin care routine is simplified, inexpensive, and it's working.  I am cautiously optimistic and really hopeful.  But don't worry, I plan on updating again in a few weeks to let you know how it's going.

Has anyone else tried acne.org?  How did it work for you?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: Bodycology Coconut Lime Body Cream

My Use For This Product: I used this product for several years as a hand lotion and have used it for several weeks as a body lotion for my legs.
Product Claims: "lasting moisture with a light fragrance"
Other Information: The company's website says, "Advanced Beauty Systems, Inc. does not test the finished products on animals."  However, this does not mean that they are a cruelty-free company.  They are not listed as cruelty-free on PETA's or Leaping Bunny's websites.  This tells me that this product is not completely cruelty-free so if that's something that upsets you, you may want to research the topic further.
Cons: This lotion is a bit on the thick side for the hands.  It also takes quite a bit of massaging to work it into the skin.
Pros: Where to even begin?  The fragrance is just as described, light.  It smells lovely yet doesn't overpower other fragrances you might be wearing.  The moisture is definitely lasting and it is very moisturizing.  It has a rather thick but creamy formula (hence why it is called a body cream) and while it isn't what I would call greasy, you will still feel that your skin is a bit slick even a few hours after applying.  This is why I really like it for areas like the legs.  My hair grows very fast and I have to shave my legs every other day to keep the fur at bay.  In the winter, this can cause me to have dry skin on my legs and this lotion does an amazing job of restoring hydration and keeping my skin hydrated over time.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Would I purchase again?  Yes
Conclusion: While I hate the thought that this company might have some fishy animal testing activity going on, this is a great and affordable body lotion.  You can purchase it at  Walmart for around $4.00 and you get a lot of product for the price.  This tube has lasted me for several years and I really enjoy the scent as well as the moisture.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

FOTD: Project 10 Pan Video

I finally did it!  I finished my Project 10 Pan/5 Bottle!  To see what items I used and what I'm still working on, check out the video.  If you want to know what makeup I have on in the video, then just keep reading!
- Hard Candy Sheer Envy Face Primer
- CoverGirl Ultimate Finish Liquid Powder Makeup in Ivory
- e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadow Primer (prime undereye)
- Pixi Correction Concentrate in Brightening Peach
- Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer in Light
- Physician’s Formula Healthy Wear Powder Foundation in Translucent Light
- Hard Candy Baked Bronzer in Hula Hula
- N.Y.C. Bronzing Face Powder in Sunny (contour)
- Mary Kay Mineral Cheek Color in Citrus Bloom
- Essence Eyebrow Designer Pencil in Brown
- e.l.f. Makeup Mist & Set (set makeup)
- Too Faced Shadow Insurance
- Sally Girl Eyeshadow Single in Champagne(inner corner, inner ½ of lid)
- Ulta Eyeshadow in Truffle (outer ½ of lid)
- Ulta Eyeshadow in Molten (crease)
- Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips Nude Eyes Eyeliner (Champagne on lower lash line)
- e.l.f. Shimmer Eyeliner Pencil (Gray shade on top lashline)
- Essence Longlasting Eye Pencil in Almost Famous (waterline)
- Milani Lipstick in Beloved
- Hard Candy Plumping Serum Volumizing Lipgloss in Uptown Girl