Saturday, December 29, 2012

DIY Freestyle Palettes

I was doing some last-minute Christmas shopping at WalMart, and I happened to see a display of gift card tins. I have been on the lookout for tins that would make good freestyle palettes, and these were definitely it! I was happy to find one that didn't have a Santa or snowman plastered all over it too. The colors are still a bit Christmas themed, but it doesn't scream Christmas to me.

Here's what you would need:

  • The gift card tin (Original price: $3.50; Clearance price: $1.75)
  • Magnetic sheets (This was a 2-pack for just under $2)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors

There are two different ways you could set your palette up. The first way is to leave the tin as it is and place magnets on the back of any pans you want to put in your palette. I actually ended up doing this with a depotted Tarte palette (no pictures of that yet) because the Tarte pans were aluminum and wouldn't stick to a magnet.

The other way is to cover the bottom of the tin with the magnetic sheet like this:

I haven't come up with a perfect method for getting the magnetic sheet to fit exactly, but my favorite method right now is to measure the interior of the palette, mark out the outline on the magnetic sheet, and cut it out. Because of the rounded corners, I had to cut off the corners before inserting the sheet into the tin. Thankfully, the sheet is quite thin and flexible, so a minor excess due to poor measurements or not getting the sheet completely centered easily roll up the sides, so it still fits well.

Here's a look at my tin with a few eye shadows added. My particular tins are around 4 1/2 x 6 inches, and I can squeeze in 23 shadows in 26mm pans. If you are curious, the shadows shown were loose mineral shadows that I pressed myself.

Here's a couple of shots to show you a size comparison. I have Urban Decay's Book of Shadows IV, and it's HUGE and the drawer is a pain to pull out because it sticks. I could depot all of the shadows from it and fit them into one of these little tins. You can see in the bottom picture that the tin is much thinner than the BOS too (it's actually about the same height as the Naked palettes).

Now I just need to convince myself to depot the BOS IV from it's special packaging. As much as it annoys me, I'm still hesitant. Convince me, please!

With these new freestyle palettes (I do already have a couple from StarsMakeupHaven), I've put a Z Palette (or 2, or 3....) on my wishlist. I like these little ones, but I would like more larger ones that make it easier to see a lot of shadows at once.

Do you have any freestyle palettes? Do you depot your shadows?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Secret Santa Package! Yay!

I know I've mentioned here before that I am a member of the Mineral Makeup Forum (aka: Chanty's Forum). Each year, ladies on there do a Secret Santa exchange, which is a lot of fun.

My package came today, and I was so excited!!! I couldn't wait to rip it open and see what I got sent.

I told you I was excited...I couldn't be civilized and take pictures of the box neatly packed. I immediately pulled everything out and unwrapped it. The white paper sticking out the top is a really nice letter explaining everything in the package.

Now for a closer look at my goodies!

The first thing mentioned in the letter was this nail polish called Fantasy Fire by MaxFactor. How gorgeous is this? I cannot wait to get this color on my toes.

These shadow and blush colors are perfect for me.

Lip products! The white looking gloss is a gorgeous shimmer gloss.

I love trying out skincare samples!

Fun treats! I've already eaten 3 of the chocolates, and my fiance wants to steal the tea. :-)

That's the contents of my Secret Santa package. I'll be testing things out starting tomorrow.

Did you have a good Christmas? What fun things did you receive this year (or buy for yourself)?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Forever Red Exclusively at Bath & Body Works

Merry Christmas everyone! My fiance and I are spending a really relaxing day at home today after spending the weekend on the road to visit our families (we traveled a total of about 13 hours from Friday through last night). I hope all of you are having a wonderful Christmas, however you choose to celebrate. 

I recently had the opportunity to test out one of Bath & Body Works's newest fragrances thanks to the Cosmo VoxBox I received from Influenster.You can see the rest of the contents from my Cosmo VoxBox and a brief description of Influenster here.

Here's what Bath & Body Works says about this fragrance:

Our most luxurious longest lasting fragrance blends opulent notes of fiery red pomegranate and delicate peche de vigne, a rare and fleeting French peach. Soft petals of red osmanthus give way to notes of addictive velvety marshmallow and a surprising finale of rich vanilla rum that leaves an unforgettable impression.

  • Top Notes: Fiery Pomegranate, Rare French Peach, Luminous Apple
  • Mid Notes: Red Peony, Night Marigold, Red Osmanthus
  • Dry Notes: Rich Vanilla Rum, Velvety Marshmallow, Oak Wood
 I'm not good at distinguishing individual notes in perfumes, so my impression is much more simplistic. I can smell the tartness from the fruits, and I can smell the sweetness of the vanilla rum and marshmallow. I love the mix of the tart and sweet. It seems like a perfect scent for the holiday/winter season, and it is also one that can go from day to night without any issues.

The Forever Red line includes the following products:

Rollerball and Lip Wand Duo (.24 oz) - $15
Fine Fragrance Mist (8 oz) - $22
Body Lotion (10 oz) - $20
Shower Gel (10 oz) - $18
Triple Moisture Body Cream (8 oz) - $20
Eau de Parfum (2.5 oz) - $44.50
Golden Sugar Scrub (8 oz) - $16.50
Shimmer Mist (8 oz) - $22

I received a .25 oz size of the Eau de Parfum, which retailed for $10 but is no longer available.

While I love the scent, there are a couple of downsides. The first is that it doesn't seem to last very long on me, and I'm not good about reapplying throughout the course of the day. I know layering with another product in the same scent would help, but I don't own any other products in this scent yet. The second downside is that it is more expensive than other Bath & Body Works fragrances. For example, the fine fragrance mist in the scent Cashmere Glow (also an 8 oz size) is only $14.

Bottom line - Would I buy more products in the Forever Red scent? I might if I caught a good sale at Bath & Body Works. For example, the current buy 3 get 3 free sale makes it tempting. I really do enjoy the scent. If I do purchase this scent, I'd probably try the fine fragrance mist as opposed to the eau de parfum to test out the difference in lasting power.

Have you tried out Forever Red yet? What are your impressions?

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from Influenster's VoxBox program for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Milani Powder Eye Shadows - Review and Swatches

While doing some shopping for a Secret Santa gift exchange on, I couldn't help but throw in a few of the new Milani Powder Eye Shadows into the order for myself. I got mine on sale, and I don't remember how much I paid for them, but they are currently selling for $5.99 on Milani's website.

I picked up four colors: French Vanilla, Pearl, Gold Dust, and Caramel Brown.

Clockwise from the top: Gold Dust, Caramel Brown, Pearl, French Vanilla

 French Vanilla

 French Vanilla is a matte, cream shade that makes a nice highlight color. It is a little bit lighter and not quite as opaque as my beloved Brulee by Wet n Wild.


Pearl is about what you'd expect in terms of color. It's somewhere between Urban Decay's Virgin and Sin. Sadly, this one doesn't seem to have very good color payoff. The second picture above was what happened when I pressed too hard trying to get a decent swatch.

Gold Dust

Saldy, Gold Dust arrived in the condition you see in the first picture. Thankfully, cracked powders are a somewhat easy fix. I pushed the loose pieces back to where they broke off from, poured rubbing alcohol over the whole shadow, and lightly pressed over it with a paper towel. A shadow that is completely shattered needs a firmer pressing, typically with something like a coin to help give even pressure.

As for the performance of the shadow, it's pretty sheer. It's a nice color for what it is, but don't expect it to apply like Urban Decay's Half Baked.

Caramel Brown

I think this is my favorite of the four shades I got. It's a gorgeous golden brown color that applies nicely and has good pigmentation. 


Left to Right: French Vanilla, Pearl, Gold Dust, Caramel Brown

Overall, these shadows are decent, with French Vanilla and Caramel Brown being better than the other two. Because of my experiences with Gold Dust coming slightly cracked and Pearl cracking with a bit too much pressure, I would be hesitant to travel with these shadows.

Have you tried the Milani Powder Shadows yet? What was your impression of them?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Liebster Award!

I was just nominated for a Liebster Award by Elle from Lipstick & Lace. It was super sweet of her to nominate me, and you should all definitely go check out her blog! I'm also going to admit that my friend Amber from Book Geek Speaks also nominated me for a Liebster Award back in July (Oops!), but things got crazy busy and I never did my follow-up post.
The Liebster Award is for bloggers with under 300 followers and the rules of the award is that the nominee must link back to whoever awarded them, write 11 random facts about themselves, answer the 11 questions from the award giver, and then nominate another 11 bloggers and make up 11 questions for them to answer. It's a great way for new and undiscovered bloggers to meet new people, get more followers and find some blogs that they want to follow.
11 Random Facts
1. This will be the second year in a row that I have not put up a Christmas tree (unless you count the Charlie Brown Christmas tree my mom sent me). 
2. My favorite type of pen is the Pentel RSVP with a fine tip.
3. I coach a high school color guard.
4. I started painting the downstairs hallway back in July, but it isn't finished yet (I said that life got away from me).
5. My fiance and I had a long-distance relationship for 5 1/2 years.
6. I recommend Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series to EVERYONE.
7. I make homemade toffee for the holidays because it has become a family tradition.
8. My fiance and I will have to drive around 13 hours in three days to attend back-to-back family Christmases that are on opposite sides of the state.
9. I live so close to where I work that I have gone a month on one tank of gas. 
10. My home office is extremely messy at the moment. 
11. I haven't gotten a haircut since February. I'm hoping to get one this week. 

11 Questions from Elle
1. What inspired you to start blogging?
I love trying out and talking about beauty products, but I don't have any girlie friends to share my passion, so I figured blogging would be a way to share this interest with others. 
2. What motivates you to continue blogging?
I am motivated to continue blogging by a lot of things. Honestly, I love seeing the number of GFC followers continue to go up. I love sharing about fantastic products I've found, and I love the challenge of constantly trying to improve.
3. What other hobbies do you have besides blogging?
I consider color guard a hobby. Even though I'm the coach, I don't really get paid for it, and I do it because I love it. I read all the time. I also occasionally enjoy doing cross stitch and crocheting. 
4. What is the concept of your blog (e.g., is it makeup based, fashion based, life based, etc.)?
My blog is makeup based.
5. What is your dream job?
I would love to become a professional beauty blogger, but that's a stretch. If I'm dreaming a little more realistically, I would love to be able to continue to substitute teach while getting paid a full-time salary with benefits. Still not exactly realistic, but I would love it.
6. What's your favorite clothing store?
Hmmm....I can't really think of one favorite. I love my jeans from Old Navy. I love my dress pants from Maurices. I get a lot of my tops from Target. 
7. What's your favorite makeup brand?
My favorite makeup brand would probably get Tarte. 
8. What's your favorite color?
My favorite color would be teal.
9. What's your favorite number?
My favorite number is the number 22. I got to go to England for a week when I was in high school, and we had a crazy tour guide. When we would count off our numbers to make sure we had everyone, he would always finish it off with "Twen-ty TWO" in his fabulous British accent. It's been my favorite number ever since.
10. PC or Mac?
I would love a Mac, but I've got more of a PC budget. 
11. What is on the top of your wish list right now?
Inglot or Makeup Geek eye shadows. 
Questions from Amber
1.  Where is your favorite place to read?
I love curling up in bed to read after a long day.
2. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
I would probably go to France. I took French in high school, so I've always been a bit fascinated with France.
3.  How long have you been blogging?
I'll be having my one-year blogiversary on my blog on January 1.
4. 3 things you would "magically" have with you if you were stranded (pretend food water and shelter are taken care of)
Okay...I'd want a working cell phone (that has GPS), a mode of transportation to get me back home, and someone else with me who is more capable than I am to help me get home. OR...if I'm not cheating, I would probably say a lifetime supply of lip balm, a lifetime supply of sunscreen, and a good wardrobe (I don't want to go naked or wear leaves).
5.  What did you want to be when you grew up?
Most of time when I was growing up, I wanted to be a teacher.
6. Favorite Movie?
Just one? Hmmm...I'm going to cheat again. I'm going to say The Three Musketeers (the one with Chris O'Donnell), Real Genius, and Lilo and Stitch. All three a fun movies, but, more importantly, I have fond memories connected to these movies.
7.  Quick look! What is outside your window?
My blinds are closed, so I can't see anything. Odds are pretty good that I was see a squirrel running around though.
8.  What are your hobbies?
See above. 
9.  Coffee or tea?
Sweet tea or a super sweet coffee drink.
10.  What is your dream job?
See above.
11.  What is one thing you wish you could do?
I wish I could be a motivated person who jumps out of bed every morning, attacks the day, and gets a ton of stuff accomplished.
 I nominate: 

Blush and Brunch
Beauty and Fashion on a College Budget
Blush Bug
Random Drawers
Swatch Soiree
Blush and Barbells
There's Always Time for Lipstick
Beauty Infinitum
Ellie Harper
Fashionable Cents
My Questions
1. How close to done are you with your holiday shopping?
2. What is at least one of your holy grail beauty products?
3. What is your favorite book?
4. Are you going to make any New Year's Resolutions?
5. When you are cooking at home, what is your favorite dinner to make?
6. Are you more interested in going to see The Hobbit or Les Miserables
7. What is one wardrobe staple every woman should have in her closet? 
8. What is your favorite healthy snack? 
9. What is your favorite NON-healty snack?
10. Do you buy cheap or expensive watches and/or sunglasses?
11. How good are you at resisting sales?  
Thanks again to Elle and Amber for nominating me!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Influenster Cosmo VoxBox

I joined the site back at the end of October after seeing several people record videos and do blog posts about the Beauty Blogger Box. I received the Cosmo VoxBox earlier this week, which was really exciting! Sadly, I had a super busy week, and today was the first day I really got to try out the items I received.

If you are unfamiliar with Influenster, it is a review site. You raise your score by doing reviews and answering questions on the website, creating YouTube videos or blog posts, and being active on social media like Twitter and Instagram. It has a ton of programs that could appeal to anyone's interests whether you are into being eco-friendly or you like going camping.

There are no guarantees that anyone will get a VoxBox with freebies. When I was waiting for my information on my Cosmo VoxBox, I saw people on Influenster's Facebook page complaining that they had been active for a year and hadn't received a box yet. I guess I was just lucky to have fallen into the demographics they were looking for when it came to the Cosmo VoxBox.

If you are interested in joining Influenster, I have 5 invites that I can give to people. Please just let me know in the comments that you would like an invite and leave me your email address here or send it to me in an email (if you don't want to publicly post it).

On to the actual box!

My box included:

FriXion by Pilot Pen ($4.50 for a 3-pack) - I got this pen in both black and orange. It's a gel pen that can be erased with the rubber tip at the bottom. It erases a lot better than erasable pens I've used in the past, and I think I'm going to enjoy using them. The only thing I would change about them is putting the rubber tip used to erase with on the cap. I want to put the cap on the end of the pen when I'm using it, but that covers up the eraser.

Forever Red Eau de Parfume from Bath & Body Works ($10.00 for .25 fl oz / $44.50 for full size) - The size that I received was the .25 fl oz, so the bottle in the picture costs $10. I love the scent! I'm not really good with detecting notes in perfumes, but I can smell the pomegranate in it with an underlying sweetness that isn't sickly sweet. I tried this out today, and I'm concerned about the lasting power. The scent didn't seem to stick around very long, but I'll have to keep testing it out.

Ghiradelli Gourmet Milk Sea Salt Escape ($2.79) - Yum! I was a little hesitant about the sea salt, so I never would have bought this for myself, but I had a couple of squares today, and I really liked it. The salt is a nice contrast to the milk chocolate. This bar also has almond bits in it, which I enjoy.

Gillette Venus Embrace Razor and Blade with an extra Venus & Olay Blade ($3.50-$4.50 per month for blade refills) - I used the Venus Embrace razor for years, and I really liked it. However, I suffer from constant ingrown hairs, and I think the 5 blades on these razors was exacerbating the problem. I didn't really want to, but I switched to a razor with 2 blades. When I was using these razors, I preferred the regular Embrace blades. I picked up a pack of blades once that had the moisturizing strips on them, and the strips were gone pretty quickly.

Well...that's my first box from Influenster! I'm looking forward to continuing with this site and hopefully getting more boxes in the future.

Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. I am not being paid by them, and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sinful Colors Eye Shadows - Who Knew?

At the beginning of the month I did a haul post that included an eye shadow trio from the brand Sinful Colors, which is typically known for their inexpensive nail polishes. I didn't know before I saw this palette in a display at Walgreens that Sinful Colors made items other than nail polish.

I wasn't necessarily expecting a whole lot from this palette, which cost somewhere around $2.99, I think. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of these shadows.

 There were several trios available at the Walgreens where I picked this up, but I just went for the neutrals that I knew I would wear. The name of this particular trio is called Barely There.

The cream and warm medium brown shades both have what I would call a satin finish. They have a nice shine to them, but I don't really see much actual shimmer. They creamy to the touch and have really good pigmentation. The darker brown is a matte shade, and it feels drier to the touch.  It isn't quite as pigmented as the other two, but it still has decent color payoff. 

The wear for these shadows is also really good. I wore them over Urban Decay Primer Potion for an entire day out with a friend, and the shadows stayed in place and still looked vibrant.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what the availability on these might be or will be in the future. I would be tempted to pick up more if I ever run across them again. 

Have you tried any Sinful Colors products that aren't nail polish? What was the quality like? Have you seen them anywhere in your area?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Finished It!!! Volume 6

It's that time again. I want to throw a bunch of stuff out, so I have to blog about it first. Hooray for getting rid of things!

Nature's Gate Tea Tree Shampoo and Henna and Pomegranate Sunflower Conditioners - The Tea Tree Shampoo and Pomegranate Sunflower Conditioner are staples for me. I have bought multiple bottles of each and will continue to do so. The Henna Conditioner wasn't bad, but it didn't work as well as the Pomegranate Sunflower one, so I don't plan on repurchasing it.

Philosophy Vanilla Birthday Cake Body Wash - This was my Sephora birthday gift from 2011, and I finally got around to using it. I like the Philosophy body washes, but they are, in my opinion, over-priced for what they are. I might buy more at some point if there is a really good deal, but it's not going to become a staple product for me.

John Frieda Precision Foam Colour Conditioner - This is the conditioner that comes with the John Frieda hair dye, and they always stick around forever because I forget to use them. I liked the hair dye and just bought another box yesterday because it's that time again. I'm trying a new color this time, which makes me nervous. I'm going a bit darker because my town doesn't carry the color that I used before, and I want to try a darker shade for the winter.

Skindinavia 10 Years Younger Makeup Finish Spray - I do believe that this spray helped my makeup stay on longer. Another benefit was helping get rid of the powdery look after I've finished my makeup. I bought the XL bottle of Urban Decay's All-Nighter Spray when this one started running low since Skindinavia makes that as well. I will continue to purchase whichever brand has a better deal at the time I need to purchase more finishing spray.

Benefit The POREfessional Deluxe Sample - I think I got this in a set from last Christmas. I liked it. It did seem to help hide my large pores. I've got several other primers to get through before I buy any more, and I don't think I loved this enough to repurchase it when I do need more primer.

EOS Travel Lotion in Cucumber - Another lotion bites the dust. Yes! I sound like a broken record when I finish lotions, but I'm going to say it again. I have a ton of lotions to use up before I buy any more.

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream - The was a decent, no-frills moisturizer. It didn't have SPF, so I used it at night. I might actually pick this up again after I go through my current moisturizer since I'm using a retinol cream at night, so I don't need a nighttime moisturizer with a lot of frills.

Bobbi Brown Correctioner in Porcelain Bisque - I'm still on the hunt for a Holy Grail corrector for under my eyes. This one wasn't it. Having a different shade might have helped (I purchased blind off because I don't have access to a Bobbi Brown anywhere nearby), but I didn't like the formula enough to repurchase it in another color.

Chloe Perfume Sample - This is a nice floral scent. I'm not big on floral scents, but I like this one. I have a mini bottle that I got in a Sephora value set and a rollerball of this from the Superstars Beauty Essentials set that I picked up. I will continue to use and enjoy those.

Napoleon Perdis Mesmer-Eyes Mascara - I got this over the summer in a Meg's Makeup package, and I really enjoyed using it. I loved the comb wand, and the formula didn't make my lashes feel stiff or flake on me. The only reason this is going away is because I used it for three months, and I'm trying to be good about switching my mascaras in that amount of time. I'm normally hesitant about purchasing high-end mascaras, but I've had so much bad luck with drugstore mascaras that I've purchased to try that I might break down when I'm through my current stash and buy a high end one that I know I like.

Physicians Formula Healthy Wear Powder Foundation in Translucent Light - I had one of these in my last post of finished products. I think I went through this one much quicker than my last one because I wasn't wearing makeup as often over the summer. I have one more of these left, but I won't be opening it up just yet because I'm now officially too pale for it. The last remnants of this one got mixed in with my regular super pale powder to use it up.

Philosophy Full of Promise Samples - These samples were so small that I used both of them for one application. I've been tempted to purchase high end skincare, but I haven't actually done it yet. Philosophy is at the top of my  list to try if I do go the high end route.

Simple Hydrating Light Moisturizer Sample - This came with a $2 coupon off a Simple moisturizer, which I ended up using on their Vital Vitamin Night Cream. It's a nice basic moisturizer, which is what I was looking for since I'm using a homemade serum and a retinal cream; I don't need bells and whistles in my moisturizer too.

Urban Decay Primer Potion - I think this has officially become my favorite primer. I've tried a few other primers recently that other people say work just like UDPP or Too Faced Shadow Insurance, and they crease on me. I like TFSI, but I get annoyed with the fact that it separates.

Urban Decay Complexion Primer Potion Samples - These are okay. I didn't notice anything special about them. I have a bunch of other primers right now.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation in 3.5 and 2.0 - I am loving this foundation. I'm now too pale for both of these shades. I picked up a sample of 0.5 yesterday at Sephora. I'm dying to get a full size of it, but I want to try out this shade first, and I need to work through at least one of the foundations I currently have before I buy another one.

Ojon Damage Reverse Instant Restorative Hair Serum - This was okay. It wasn't a big enough sample to notice the effect of this over time. I'm sure a full size is much more than I'm currently willing to pay on hair care.

Pond's Original All Day Clean Towelettes and Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes - I've mentioned before that I primarily use these when I'm swatching products or occasionally when I want to remove my makeup before doing a face mask, so I'm not overly particular about them. Both of these worked well enough for my purposes. I tend to buy whatever I can get for a good price.

That's it for finished products for now. I'm pleased with what I've been able to finish off even though it always feels like I'm fighting a losing battle. I need to start working my way through mineral eye shadow and blush samples because I have a million of them, and they barely get touched. That however, it a project for another day and another post.

Have you made any progress finishing up items recently?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Product Fail - Wet n Wild Mega Eyes Defining Marker in Dark Brown

I had the urge to play around with liquid liner recently, and since I had a Wet n Wild coupon at CVS, I ended up grabbing theri Mega Eyes Defining Marker in Dark Brown (870). With the coupon, I figured it was worth a shot.

 It had a felt tip, which is what I was wanting. Felt tips seem like they would be better for liquid liner novices like myself.  I excitedly put a swatch on the back of my hand, and imagine my dismay when this is what I saw:

The swatch looked like a red with a little bit of brown. Who in their right mind would call this a dark brown??? I haven't even bothered to try and use it on my eyes because the color just doesn't seem workable. Aside from the fact that the color itself is terrible, I'm not impressed with the formula either. It is streaky when applied, and if I try and build up the color, it continues to streak more. 

Has anyone else tried these Mega Eyes Defining Markers? Did I just get a really old dud or are they all this bad?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Deals! Wow!!!

My credit card is officially whimpering. There's some amazing Cyber Monday sales going on!

The two that I just indulged in:

The Body Shop has everything 50% off (except for a few holiday sets from what I saw). You get free shipping for order over $30, and you can get a tote bag of goodies valued at $100 for $30 with a $30 purchase. If you join their rewards program, which costs $10 for a year, you get 10% off this order and every order throughout the year (along with other perks). Don't forget to use Ebates, which currently has 10% cash back for The Body Shop.

Eco Tools is also have a 50% off sale with free shipping on every order. I love their brushes. I own almost all of them. I don't have their newest 6-piece Day to Night set, and a couple of those brushes looked interesting, so I caved. I added a couple of shower poufs to my order as well because I need to replace mine.

Other deals/info I want to share:

Silk Naturals Holiday Collection went live last week, and it looks gorgeous! Karen created a lot of really great new products and colors. I don't use a lot of loose shadows anymore, but I just couldn't resist picking up a few of the new ones. I'm also anxious to try their caffeinated lip balm. I'm a caffeine addict, so it'll be nice to get a boost without a can of soda. Through December 20, you can use the code GOBBLE12 to get 6% off your order. It isn't a huge discount, but Silk Naturals keeps their costs low to begin with (shadows are only $4 each), and they don't have sales often, so it's worth taking advantage of it.

Darling Girl Cosmetics is also having a nice sale right now. Copied from their Facebook page:
Posted a little early but I get busy in the morning and forget stuff. lol CYBERGEDDON gets you 10% off your orders through 11/26/12. I haven't removed the discounts from the collections or the mix & match sets either so that's just about 20% off of collections and mix & match shadows and I rarely offer that much of a discount!
Tarte Cosmetics is having a 25% off sale. It looks like their Holiday collection is excluded, but sale items receive the discount. You get free shipping with a $40 purchase, and Tarte also includes a deluxe sized sample with every order. 

Shameless plug: I also have a blog sale going on. Please check it out here. I just lowered some prices and added a few items. I'm willing to negotiate, especially if you are interested in multiple items.

I might end up adding to this post throughout the day. Please feel free to share any deals that you notice in the comments! Also please feel free to share what you picked up over the weekend or what you are ordering today to make me feel better about my over-spending lately. :-)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Essence Blushes - Review and Swatches

If you've read even just a couple of my posts, you've probably read a mention about me being pale. It feels really redundant to keep mentioning it, but it does make a big difference when it comes to how I view products.

I love bright colors for my cheeks and lips. I actually think they work well with my fair skin (think Snow White), but I have to be really careful when I apply bright blushes because the Snow White look can quickly become the Extra from Moulin Rouge look. Not good. That's why I decided during one of my many fall shopping trips (Shame on me!) to pick up a couple of blushes that weren't really bright and intense.

I ended up grabbing two blushes from the brand Essence, which is a super-cheap brand sold at Ulta. These blushes are currently selling on for $2.99 each.

Essence Silky Touch Blush in 20 Babydoll
Essence Silky Touch Blush in 10 Adorable
Left to right: Babydoll and Adorable
These blushes do have a soft, silky feel to them, and as you can see from the swatches, they have pretty good pigmentation for inexpensive, light colors. Babydoll is a slightly rose-toned, muted pink, and Adorable is a true, light baby pink. They both have a slight sheen in the pan, but they appear matte when applied.

I love that I can use a normal blush brush to apply these since I have to use a stippling brush for nearly every blush in my collection. The trade-off with these being easy for me to apply is that they don't last as long as some of my other blushes. By the end of a workday, these are pretty much gone. While that's slightly disappointing, there are days when I'm okay with trading-off a little bit of wear time to have something that is hard for me to over-apply, especially for the inexpensive price tag.

Have you tried the Essence blushes? What did you think about them? Are there any other Essence products I should check out? Do you know of any light colored blushes that are easy to apply on fair skin that last all day?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sephora Favorites In the Glow Set - Get Glowing!

I'm disappointed that I fell off the wagon in terms of posting regularly. I was doing really well for a while there, and then I wasn't. *sigh* I don't think I've been a whole lot busier than usual either. I was hoping to get this particular post up before the VIB sale at the beginning of November, and that clearly didn't happen. 

This is a look at the second Sephora Favorites set I got during the Sephora Employee Appreciation Sale back in October. If you want to see my thoughts on the Sephora Favorites Superstars Beauty Essentials Set, you can find it here.

The In the Glow set has 9 deluxe samples and retails for $45. It comes in the same kind of sturdy cardboard box that the Superstars set came in, which can be used for storage after the products are removed. The products are a mix of bronzers, blushes, and highlighters.

Lorac Perfectly Lit Oil-Free Luminizing Powder in Spotlight - 3 g - Approximate value - $10

I'd read rave reviews about this highlighter in the past, but I was worried it would be too dark for me. This set was a great way to try it out without committing to a full size. In the swatch above, the right swatch is a heavy one, and the left one is more blended out. It will be a little dark when my summer tan is gone, but I think I'll still be able to use it. One of the nice things with this highlighter is that it isn't glittery at all; it just has a really nice sheen.

Laura Mercier Shimmer Bloc in Golden Mosaic - 4 g - Approximate value - $25

This product is one that looks gorgeous, but I wasn't originally sure how to use it. In the swatches above, the first four swatches are the individual colors, and the last swatch on the far right is all four shades mixed together. Mixed together, it's too dark for me to use as a highlight, and it isn't a color I would normally use as a blush. I tried using a couple of the colors as eye shadows, and they made a really pretty look. I'll have to keep playing with it though. I might have to try using it as a blush one day.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Splendor - 3.2 g - Approximate value - $13.75

This is a really pretty bright pink with a lot of gold shimmer and some gold glitter. I cringed initially when I saw the chunkier glitter pieces in this, but thankfully, they don't really seem to stick to the skin. The color is similar to Nars Orgasm, but it isn't an exact dupe. It Splendor doesn't have the peachy undertone that Orgasm has, and it is also has more gold shimmer.

Benefit High Beam - .13 fl oz - Approximate value - $7.30

This is a cult classic liquid highlighter that adds a soft pink sheen to the skin. I've had a small sample sized bottle for a long time, and I like it, but I don't love it. I reach for my powder highlighters more. In the swatch above, the one on the right is a heavy swatch and the one on the left is blended out.

Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna - 2.5 g - Approximate value - $9.80

I have to say that this is one of the products I was really excited to try. So many people in the online beauty community us this as their go-to bronzer, and I wanted to see what all the hype was about. This is a nice warm bronzer with a slight golden sheen to it. I haven't decided if I love it yet, but I've been enjoying testing it out.

Tarte Natural Cheek Stain in Flushed - 4.8 g - Approximate value - $3.30

This cheek stain looks really scary in the tube, but, as you can see from the swatch, it blends out to sheer berry color. I have several of their cheek stains, and the way that I like applying them is with a stippling brush. I find that they feel a bit tacky, so they are hard to blend with my fingers. A stippling brush works well. I usually sweep a bit of translucent powder over the stain after I've applied it to help get rid of that tacky feeling.

BareMinerals All Over Face Color in Pure Radiance - .57 g - Approximate value - $12.50

 This is another highlight product that looks like it would be questionable for my pale skin, but, sadly, that's because of my camera skills. With a heavy swatch like the one above, the skintoned base is really apparent, but when applied lightly to the skin, it doesn't. What does show up is tons of very fine pieces of shimmer, that don't show up in the photo. This is a gorgeous shimmery highlight, and my photos fail miserably at showcasing it.

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matter Bronzing Powder - 2.5 g - Approximate value - $7.25

This is another favorite in the beauty community that I was happy to get in this set. It is completely matte and is cooler in tone than Laguna. Like Laguna, I haven't decided if I love it yet, but I'm enjoying playing with it. I blame my general fear of bronzers. I'm always afraid of over-applying them, so I don't apply enough to really notice a difference.

Stila Convertible Color in Peony - 2.2 g - Approximate value - $11.50

This is a highly pigmented cream blush that has a really smooth feel. It blends out easily, and the color Peony is a great neutral, slightly brown-toned pink. 

My total estimated value: $100.40. The box claims a $111 value. 

Final Thoughts

I love these types of sets. I get to try a bunch of products for a lot less than if I was buying full sizes of everything, and it's a great value for just the mini sizes of them. If you love blushes, bronzers, and highlighters, I would suggest picking this set up.