Review: Naked Heat Palette (Urban Decay)

It is FINALLY feeling like fall here in Chicago, so it’s the perfect time to review my newest eyeshadow palette purchase: Urban Decay’s Naked Heat.  It screams fall.  It should come with a complimentary pair of tall boots and plaid shirt. When you open the case, you should hear the sound of leaves crunching.  You get the picture.

tl;dr – UD’s Naked line always delivers and Heat is no exception.

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This palette is all about warm colors (duh) and these are some suuuuuper pigmented shadows.  I’ve had to play around with this one much more than any other Naked palette to make sure I’m not using too heavy of a hand when applying, but once I got the hang of it, I’m loving the results.

Image result for urban decay naked heat palette swatches

Photo credit: allure.com

There’s a great mix of matte, shimmer and satin finish shadows and the accompanying brush is fantastic for packing on shadow (flat end) and buffing out the crease (fluffy end).

Here’s a somewhat ~dRaMaTiC~ look I created using the middle orange-red-copper tones:

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One of the many reasons I was excited for this palette?  The colors make blue eyes pop something fierce.  But never fear, these colors also look great on green and brown eyes as well.

(And yes, I’m still obsessed with my eyelash extensions and I will probably never stop getting them and yes they are expensive and no I don’t care and who needs gas in their car anyway?)

Here’s a more work-friendly look using Lumbre on the lids (shimmery copper-pink) and a mix of Ashes and Ember in the crease, outer corner and lower lash line for a purple-brown effect:

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No filter because, very rarely, I can show self-restraint

As with other Urban Decay palettes, Naked Heat isn’t exactly cheap, but I think overall it’s worth the price tag of $54.  There’s a solid mix of colors and shadow finishes and Naked palettes always seem to last for years and years.  I also had a $10 coupon which made the decision to buy easier….but let’s be honest, I was going to buy it either way.

Need some inspiration?  I gotchu.

 

Do you have the Naked Heat palette?  What are your favorite shades?  Let me know!

 

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Follow Up: Tape-In Hair Extensions Experience

After almost 6  months with long, voluminous, blonde hair extensions, I type this post extension-free and with hair that barely touches my shoulders.  Let me tell you how I got here.

If you want to read about my tape-in hair extension installation experience, click here

braid

The way we were

Do I miss my extensions?  Yes and No.  Did I love having them? Yes and No.  Would I get them again?  Yes and No.  Instead of continuing to play this super fun guessing game, I’ll just give you a list of my pros and cons of having tape-in hair extensions:

Pros

  • The biggest and most obvious pro was the increased length and volume the hair extensions gave me.  It was AMAZING and borderline life-changing.  I’ve always had very thin hair that never grew much past my shoulders, so being able to swing around a long, full ponytail made me feel like Britney Spears circa 2003 and that is never a bad thing.
    Image result for britney spears 2003
    How I felt I looked  (Image Source)
  • I was able to save the majority of the hair extensions.  My stylist, Ashley, sent me home with a bag of hair (not creepy at all!) since the hair itself was still in very good shape.  The tape bonds on the other hand…not in great shape.  Six months of use was all they could take.  But – Ashley indicated that the hair could be re-used as fusion extensions if I’d like to eventually put them back in.  Fusion extensions require less maintenance (no monthly removal and re-installation like tape) and can be kept in for 3-4 months.
  • The extension removal process only takes 20 minutes!  Win.
  • I was a bit scared that I would lose a ton of hair from wearing the extensions so long and from the removal process, but I was pleasantly surprised that wasn’t the case.  However, my hair had not been cut or trimmed in 6 months so naturally the ends looked, well….incredibly terrible and dead when the extensions were removed.

Cons

  • Speaking of the removal process – When the extensions were all removed, I felt like I had no hair.  None.  Zero.  Now obviously I still had hair but the feeling was very odd and unsettling after having long, thick hair for so long.  It was jarring.  I couldn’t stop touching my natural hair and feeling like it was MUCH thinner than it used to be, although really it was basically the same as before extensions.  I had a glass or three of wine when I came home and quickly got over it.

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How I felt I looked  (Image Source)
  • If you color or highlight your hair like me, it can be tough for the stylist to work around the extensions.  Not impossible by any means, just more of a hassle and adds an extra 30 minutes to the appointment.
  • I will preface this bullet by saying that I had my extensions during the dead of winter in Chicago, and that usually deters me from wanting to walk to the gym, but the extensions also added to my increased ability to say “Nope” to working out.

    Getting tape-in extensions wet or sweaty means immediately having to wash and blow dry, and who wants to do that every day when you have super long, thick hair?  I was on a routine of washing/blow drying/styling only twice a week and filling in with dry shampoo the rest of the time.  Hence working out didn’t happen much more than twice a week, either.  Whoops.

alone, bed, bedroom

Who needs exercise when you have great hair tho
  • Say goodbye to running your fingers through your hair when you have tape-in extensions.  Or massaging your scalp.  Or being able to easily scrub that shampoo around in a lather like they do in commercials.  It definitely took awhile to get used to having to be so gentle with my hair and scalp.  And truthfully I missed being able to run my fingers through my hair.
  • Speaking of scalps, that bitch is going to ITCH like you wouldn’t believe, at least for the first week or so after having the extensions installed.  Thankfully after the first week or so the itch went away (and I got used to the added weight of the hair).  At least I now have acquired a new skill – the weave pat.
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(Image Source)

  • The is the most minor of the cons, but I couldn’t put my hair up into a high ponytail or bun anymore.  If I did, the extension bonds would show and no one wants to see that.  This wasn’t all terrible though because it forced me to come up with new half up/half down styles, braids and lower ponytails.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I really loved having tape-in hair extensions.  They definitely required a bit of work – and more than a bit of money – but they made me feel amazing and gave me a big confidence boost.  And isn’t that really the point of anything we do in the name of beauty?

Since I was able to keep most of the hair I purchased, and it was v. v. expensive, I may have the extensions put in next fall.  I wanted to give my natural hair and my scalp a break for the spring and summer, at the very least.  So I leave you with the final tip to do what I did – schedule a hair cut for the day after extension removal.  Your natural hair will need it, trust me.

I decided that after having long hair for half a year, I was ready to get rid of all those dead ends and go with a lob (long bob).  My inspiration?  ‘Sex & the City’ Carrie, Season 4, Drunk at Vogue + Betty Draper.  Did I pull it off?

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I hope you enjoyed my extension experience review?  Any questions for me?  Let me know 🙂

Double Duty: Health & Beauty Supplements

Happy 2017!  At least I think it’s “happy”?  The rotting orange peel with tiny hands might be hurtling us towards the apocalypse so let’s keep our minds off that and focus on good, actual happy things.  Things like our healthy, beautiful, still-alive bodies.

The start of a new year seems to always push us to improve our health.  I have a few diet/nutritional supplements I like to use that will make your body feel great while providing awesome beauty benefits.  Let’s get to it.

Apple Cider Vinegar

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Apple cider vinegar has a billion health, cooking, cleaning and beauty uses.  Seriously. Here’s how I use it in my beauty routine:

  • Put a tiny bit of ACV on a cotton ball and use as a toner. Especially great for oily skin.
  • Mix ACV with Aztec Clay for a super powerful, deep cleansing face mask.
  • Spray on hair post-shampoo for soft, shiny locks. Or, mix ¼ cup ACV with 2 cups water for a rinse that will restore the natural pH level of the scalp and remove product buildup.

 

Collagen

collagen

As we age, the body’s natural collagen production slows down.  Sad but true.  Thankfully we live in the future and can go on the internet machine and order a tin of powdered collagen from Amazon whenever we please.  I put a couple scoops in my coffee every morning and can’t even taste it.  What exactly does collagen do for beauty?  So glad you asked:

  • Collagen can help reverse signs of aging and increase skin elasticity and moisture.
  • Helps reduce the appearance of cellulite! As we keep making trips around the sun, structural changes take place in the skin that weaken and decrease collagen production, leading to the more prevalent appearance of cellulite. Taking collagen as a supplement can help.  Thank God.
  • Collagen helps speed up hair and nail growth.

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Those are some strong looking nails amirite

On the health benefit side, collagen improves digestion, supports joint and bone health and is a good source of protein.  I’m a fan of the Great Lakes Gelatin brand because I’m a sucker for all things Great Lakes (aka Michigan) related.


Protein Powder

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Speaking of protein, a few scoops of whey protein powder in a smoothie, shake or oatmeal, several times per week, can have serious beauty benefits:

  • Adequate amounts of protein are crucial for healthy and strong skin, hair and nails.
  • Protein helps build lean muscle and accelerates metabolism to keep that body looking A+

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Fish Oil

fish-oil

I’m the type of person who prefers not to eat any type of seafood.  Ever.  I will pass up sushi for Taco Bell every day of the week.  I know, so classy, such sophistication.   But – there are tons of health and beauty benefits from eating fish and I don’t want to miss out on the party.  Enter fish oil capsules.  Aside from helping keep the heart healthy, fish oil can up your beauty game:

  • The fatty acids in fish oil supply hydration to skin, help reduce inflammation and work to ward off acne and wrinkles.
  • The omega-3 fatty acids also protect skin against sun damage and nourish hair follicles.
  • If you’re like me and abuse your hair with dyes, chemicals and extensions (whoops), fish oil provides strength and shine to fragile or weakened hair.

Source


Multivitamin + Biotin

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Can’t forget about the classic, the OG, the multivitamin.  Since I am eternally 12 years old, I’m all about the gummy vitamins but any multivitamin will do.  Although my mutli contains biotin, I’m a “more is more” kind of person and take a biotin capsule every day, too.  Here’s why:

  • Biotin is crucial for healthy, strong nails and hair. My nails grow crazy fast when I’m on top of my biotin regimen.
  • A multivitamin helps fill in the nutritional gaps from your diet. And for someone like me who eats pizza more times per week than vegetables, that’s important.  Having the right balance of vitamins and minerals in the body promotes overall health and when you feel good, you look good.

I promise that I did my Googles for this post and it’s all true, but try these supplements out for yourself and see what you think.  Here’s to a happy and beautiful 2017!

 

Review: Tape-In Hair Extensions

*Before you begin reading the post, I suggest you click this video and let the music set the tone*

A little over a week ago, my life changed forever and immeasurably for the better.  No, I did not achieve enlightenment.  No, I did not cure cancer.  No, I did not adopt the golden retriever puppy of my dreams.

I had small pieces of someone else’s hair taped to my head.  And I could not be happier about it.

In my lifelong beauty journey, my hair has always seemed to be the one thing I just couldn’t quite get right, mostly because I was born with what my Mom (lovingly?) refers to as Your Dad’s Hair – i.e., very thin, curly hair that doesn’t want to grow much past my shoulders.  No matter how many deep conditioning treatments and highlights I put my hair though, nothing can replicate the fullness and thickness of simply having MORE hair.

So I finally decided to take matters into my own hands and set up a hair extensions consultation at Chicago Hair Extensions Salon (also known as the same place I have my eyelash extensions done.)  Here’s what I learned:

The Basics of Tape-In Extensions

The very lovely Ashley, my new hair guru, explained to me that I am a prime candidate for tape-in extensions because they are lightweight and easy to hide under my thin, fine hair.  Tape-ins add fullness, length and can be washed/curled/straightened/styled just as I do my own hair.   She told me I would need to come back in 6-10 weeks, depending on how fast my hair grows (Spoiler: It grows incredibly slowly) and she will move the extensions up and re-tape them.  The hair can be used 2-3 times before needing to purchase new extensions.

Here’s how the application process works.  It’s called the “sandwich method”:

I happily threw down my card and paid the down payment (we’ll get to price later…prepare yourselves) and I was counting down the seconds until I came back for application.

Before & After

For the application itself, Ashley instructed me to shampoo my hair twice before our appointment and not use ANY styling products.  Here’s what my hair looked like before extensions – this is also pre-flat iron, I promise I didn’t normally walk around looking this janky:

before

Not the greatest head of hair you’ve ever seen, right?  Well just 1 short hour later, my head looked like this:

after

Do you see the heavens parting?  Can you hear the angels rejoicing?  That is H-A-I-R, my friend.  Lots of it.  My hair is now a good 3-4 inches longer than before and sooooooo much thicker.  I am in love.

Ashley applied the majority of the extensions on the back and sides of my head up to ear level, making sure to leave the crown area alone so my own hair can cover the extension bonds.

I can’t really put into words how happy I was with my new fabulous, long, thick hair but my face makes it pretty clear:

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And for one more comparison to show you what a difference the extensions make, here’s how my side braid looks before and after:

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Maintenance & Upkeep

I have to admit that it took me a couple days to:

  1. Get used to the added weight – So this is what it feels like to have thick hair!
  2. Walk past any reflective surface without stopping to admire and pet my hair
  3. Update what used to be my 5 minute hair care routine

Hair extensions are expensive so it’s important to treat them as gently as possible to get your money’s worth.  Here are the maintenance and upkeep must-do’s:

  • Use a loop or extension brush – My salon was kind enough to give me a free brush.  It’s crucial to have the proper brush or you can snag your extension hair or get caught up in the bonds when brushing.  Amazon has some great brushes.

    remysoft-loop-brush-for-hair-extensions_thumb155_crop

  • Sleep in a braid or low ponytail on a silk pillowcase – It’s important to keep your hair in a loose braid or low pony while sleeping to reduce tangling and pulling on the tape bonds.  Bonus: Sleeping with a braid gives you lovely waves in the morning.
    While it’s not an absolute necessity, I also highly recommend sleeping on a silk pillowcase to further reduce any snags – and you’ll wake up without those annoying sleep face lines.  I have the pillowcases below and they are amazing (and they stay super cold during the night):

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  • Sulfate-free is the way to be – Ashley emphasized that I can only use a sulfate-free shampoo when washing my hair and to concentrate on the top of my head, being sure not to scrub or pull on the tape bonds.  It’s also best to go a few days between washing to extend the life of your extensions. Batiste dry shampoo continues to be my best friend.

    batisteAfter shampooing, apply conditioner only from ears down and not near the bonds.  Conditioner can make the tape bonds loosen faster and we don’t want that.  I like to spray on leave-in conditioner to the mid lengths and ends each night before braiding.

  • Styling tips – It is a HUGE no-no to go to bed with wet hair when you have extensions, so I make sure to blow dry the bonds and top of my head, letting the length air dry.  Once the hair is dry, I use a heat protector spray and curl or flat iron.  It’s imperative to keep the curling iron or flat iron away from the tape bonds so always leave start an inch or two away from the bonds and you’re good to go.

    back                                                                 Post-blow dry and curling 

Price

If there is one downside to extensions, it’s obviously the price.  They are not cheap.  I don’t want to say the exact price I paid, partially because prices vary by salon, extension brand, applier, etc. and mostly because my Mom reads this blog and if I say the exact price I will Hear. About. It. the next time I’m back home. (Well, once she prints off this post at the tiny library a mile down the road and brings it home to read because my parents shun the internet. I am not making this up.)

I’ll give you a ballpark price of $400-800, which includes the hair extensions themselves and the installation labor. The price will be around $100-$150 every 6-10 weeks to have them moved up and re-taped.

Yes, I know this is expensive and quite frankly kind of a odd thing to do when you really think about it. But I’ve come to terms with the fact that I have a thing for spending my money on applying hair to different parts of my head. Some people go sky diving, some people bet on sports, some people buy houses. I buy hair and it makes me feel fabulous. The universe is working on all of us.

And there you have it!  My tape-in hair extensions experience thus far.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how things progress but for now, I couldn’t be happier.

Eyelash Extensions: Experience & Review

There are milestones in life: birth, death, graduations, relationships beginning and ending.  Sure, those things are important, but allow me to add another milestone to that list – the day the wonder of eyelash extensions enters your world.

As I’ve talked about before, I’m a huge fan of lashes.  Real or fake  – doesn’t matter, give me ALL of them.  I’ve spent countless hours and dollars in the pursuit of the long, lush lashes that will open up my hooded eyes and help me channel my inner Beyonce.

I believe that at long last I’ve finally found the solution: Eyelash extensions. Let the church say AMEN.

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Warning: Extensions cause excessive selfie taking

After doing extensive research (i.e. did my Googles) and telling myself that yes, I can fit this into my budget even if I have to live on grilled cheese for 2 weeks, I decided to plunk down some cash on eyelash extensions.  Soon after I found myself lying on a comfy bed in a suburban Chicago salon for 90 minutes while a very nice lady glued an extension on to each of my individual lashes.  Yes, it takes a long time.  Yes, it’s worth it.

First I’ll show you how my God-given lashes look without any makeup.  Prepare yourself for blurry iPhone photos:

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As you can see, my lovely hooded lids tend to swallow up my lashes and make them pretty much non existent when my eyes are open.  My natural lash hairs are also very fine.  According to the extension applier, I have a lot of lashes, they just aren’t thick or particularly long.  But hey – I have a sparkling personality.  God’s working on all of us.

The process itself is pretty simple – lay down, have your lower lashes taped down (it feels weird but is necessary) and take a little snooze or meditate while the extensions are applied.  It’s actually quite relaxing.

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Photo Credit: edenenvy.com

Typically the salon will have a variety of extension styles.  My salon gave me the option of a more natural look or a more dramatic cat eye and I figured if I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna DO IT so of course I went with the cat eye style.  I’m very happy with how they turned out.

Here’s how they look open, closed and from the side without any other makeup:

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As you can see, one of the biggest advantages of extensions is you don’t have to wear mascara or curl your lashes anymore! It’s taken a couple days to get used to waking up and seeing myself with “done” lashes but it saves time in the morning and makes me look so much more awake and put together even when the rest of my face is completely bare.  An unexpected but very welcomed side effect is that the lashes seem to make the always-present bags under my eyes much less noticeable.  Woo!

The only slight downside is that you cannot get your lashes wet for the first 24 hours and it’s recommended to be very careful to not rub your eyes or pull on your lashes in any way. So, I’ve said goodbye to splashing my face with water in the morning and standing with my face in the water while in the shower, but there are bigger tragedies in life.  I’ve seen the suggestion to wear swimming googles while in the shower, not a bad idea.  Makeup wipes are also a gift from the heavens. The only real day-to-day maintenance is to brush them out every morning with a spoolie as the lashes can get a little tangled and wonky during the night.

The lash extensions are glued directly onto the natural lash and will fall out with their natural cycle.  The salon suggests coming in for fill-ins every 3-4 weeks to keep everything looking great.  I’ve already scheduled my fill-in appointment so I think it’s safe to say that I LOVE lash extensions and highly recommend them.

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Do you have lash extensions?  Do you love them, too?  Let me know!

Products I’m Loving Lately

Today I have a random assortment of makeup, hair and skin products I’ve been using and lovely lately.  There is no rhyme or reason to this mix of products – some I’ve purchased myself and some are samples from Birchbox.  There are few things I love more than beauty products AND receiving packages in the mail so Birchbox has been very up my alley and a great introduction to brands and products I might have never tried.  So, let’s get to it:

Eyes

Two Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Photo Credit: samanthalalaa.wordpress.com, amazon.com 

The name is certainly…memorable, and it should be, because this mascara is excellent (and I have tried an embarrassing number of mascaras).  While it is great, it can be a bit tricky to work with and quickly turn clumpy.  Go slowly when applying and keep an eye on (pun, sorry) how your lashes are progressing and you’ll be just fine.  This mascara will give you long, full lashes that border on looking like falsies.  If that’s your thing, I highly recommend picking up a sample size at Ulta to see if you like it because it can be pricey. I’m always looking out for you.

Eyeko Fat Liquid Eyeliner

Photo Credit: birchbox.com

I received this liner in a Birchbox and at first glance I thought it would be hard to work with, but it is surprisingly easy to use.  Well, as easy as applying liquid eyeliner can be.  Another huge plus is the color payoff – very black, very matte and long-wearing.  I had typically used brush and/or long, fine tipped liners but Eyeko has convinced me that the marker shape is by far the easiest to use and it will be my go-to from here on out.  

Kat Von D Shade & Light Eye Contour Palette

Some day you might turn on Hoarders and see me, surrounded by mountains of eyeshadow palettes instead of garbage and cats, with my finger hovering over the “Add to Cart” button on Sephora.  What I mean is – I have no self control and bought yet another eye shadow palette. The first step is admitting it.

But in my defense, I did my research and bought the absolute best and most useful palette I could find.  Shade & Light has all matte shadows, warm and cool toned neutral colors, with fantastic pigmentation and blendability.  This palette is perfect for everyday looks, smokey eyes, mature/hooded eyes….really anyone with eyes.  

Here are a few of my favorite Shade & Light tutorials I’ve tried out and loved:

 

Lips

POP Beauty Matte Velvet Lipstix in Satin Rose

Photo Credit: popbeauty.com

Another gift from the Birchbox gods, this is a great everyday soft pink lipstick.  This color looks good with everything and I imagine every skin tone.  The formula isn’t too sticky or too glossy and it has pretty great staying power.  Satin Rose is definitely my favorite new “my lips but better” product.

Hair

Redken All Soft Conditioner

Photo Credit: amazon.com

My hair is naturally curly and very fine.  I also bleach and dye my hair monthly to be blonde which leads to the perfect storm of damage and overall terribleness.  Thankfully, there are a ton of products out there to make hair like mine more manageable.  One of my new favorites is the Redken All Soft conditioner.

Redken products are  a bit more expensive than my regular drugstore staples so to stretch it and make my money last, I mix a small amount of this conditioner with the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deep Conditioner.  Leaving that combination on for 5-10 minutes a couple times a week makes a huge difference in the softness of my poor abused hair.

Skin

Soap & Paper Factory Green Tea & Shea Hand Cream

Photo Credit: theoliviashop.com

This stuff smells AMAZING and the older I get, the more I seem to get into hand creams.  It’s the circle of life.

All hand creams basically do the same thing, hydrate your skin, so really the only reason this cream is so great is the heavenly smell (and the cute packaging).  

What products are you loving?  Let me know!

Perfume Post: Scents for Every Situation

I’m a firm believer that you’re never fully dressed without perfume.  Maybe it’s just because I’m one of those weird/awesome people who tie scents to certain memories, or maybe I just like spending money on smelly water in pretty bottles.  Either way – I’m a huge fan of perfume and like to switch up my scents depending on the situation, the season or how I want to feel.

I’ve amassed a sizeable collection of perfumes over the years and to me, each one sends a different message and has its own time and place to be worn.  I’m definitely not one of those people who sniff a scent and can smell the notes of citrus and amber and unicorn sunshine or whatever else perfume companies tell you to make you buy their product.  Instead, I categorize my perfumes by the situations I wear them in and the feelings the scent invokes.

So, here are four of my favorite scents and what they say to me. Let’s get to it:

Guilty – Gucci

gucci guilty

Photo credit: Sephora.com

Perfect for: Night time, going out, date night, drinking, flirting, dancing, possibly regretting your decisions

Guilty by Gucci smells like Saturday night in a bottle.  I affectionately refer to this scent as my “Vegas perfume” because I’ve worn it in Sin City many, many times.  It’s a sexy smell that’s not too overpowering or too mature (not cloying like Chanel No. 5).  The scent lasts FOREVER on clothes/skin and mixes quite well with sweat and vodka cranberries.


Light Blue – Dolce & Gabbana

light blue

Photo credit: Overstock.com

Perfect for:  Day time, beach, pretending you belong to a country club, spring/summer, work, first date

If sunshine and fluffy white clouds had a smell, it would be D&G’s Light Blue.  It’s an airy, delicate scent that honestly smells good on every human being.  Man or woman.  It’s not sickly sweet but it definitely gives you “first few days of spring” vibes.  Happiness in a bottle.

Miss Dior Cherie – Christian Dior

miss dior

Photo credit: Fragrantica.com

Perfect for: V. important work meetings, feeling like a capital “A” Adult, winter, fancy dinners, diamonds & pearls (shout out to Prince)

Miss Dior Cherie is expensive as hell and rightly so, because it smells like WEALTH, darling.  This is a heavier scent that I tend to only wear in the fall and winter, or when I want to feel all classy and sophisticated.  Bonus – smell sticks with you all day long.  Cherie feels very grown up and put together.  Wear it when you’re asking for a raise or to be bumped up to first class.

Alien – Thierry Mugler


alien 

Photo Credit: Sephora.com

Perfect for: Feeling feminine and mysterious, day or night, being memorable, any season, Me

I feel like a gigantic tool saying this, but Alien is my ~*~ SiGnAtUrE ScEnT~*~ and I wear it almost every day.  It’s unique, moody, sultry and definitely a “love it or hate it” type of scent.  I honestly don’t know how to describe Alien’s scent because I’ve never smelled anything like it.  Every single time I wear this perfume, someone stops me to ask “Oooh, what are you wearing? It smells so good!” Alien truly is the most fitting name for this scent because it isn’t heavy, it isn’t light, it isn’t flowery and it isn’t musky.  It’s completely unique and not of this world.  Smell it and see for yourself.

And there you have it.  What other perfumes do I need to add to my collection?  Let me know!

Review: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask

 

aztec mask

I’m back, it’s a new year and I have a new favorite face mask.  And this product couldn’t have come at a better time.  I won’t bore you with the gory details but I’ve been sick for roughly the last month (but am finally almost better, yay!) and when my body isn’t feeling well, my skin likes to go absolutely insane.  Not fun.

But there are perks to spending hours in bed feeling like garbage. The universe smiled upon me and I fell down the Amazon beauty reviews rabbit hole and discovered the immensely popular Aztec Indian Healing Clay.  With 4.5/5 stars and over 7,000 reviews I knew this stuff had to be good, but now I’m convinced this one pound tub of dirt has actual magical properties.

So what’s so great about this stuff?  Here are the basics, per Amazon:

  • World’s most powerful facial
  • Deep pore cleaning
  • 100% natural calcium bentonite clay
  • Does not contain: additives, fragrances, animal products

 

Az1

                 Photo credit: inhautepursuit.com

They forgot to mention that it’s cheap!  A one pound tub will set you back $9, and when you only need one tablespoon per mask, it’s going to last you a loooong time.

Now let’s get down to business.  Here’s how to make the mask:

Az2

        Photo credit: labmuffin.com

You’ll need the clay, a non-metal bowl and spoon and apple cider vinegar.  All of the Amazon faithful suggested Bragg’s Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar so that’s what I’ve got.  It smells a bit like rotting apples but hey, it works.

A couple tips before you mix your mask:

  1. Put your hair up or out of your face because, duh.
  2. Eat or drink something if you want because once this baby is on your face, you can’t eat/talk/drink/smile for a good 20-30 minutes. That’s how intensely this mask dries and pulls the junk out of your face.

Once that’s out of the way it’s time to get started. Mix clay with equal part of raw apple cider vinegar (I use 1 tablespoon of each) in a non-metal bowl. Stir the mixture into a smooth paste.  Apply all over the face.  You should look something like this:

Az3

    Photo credit: uk.pintrest.com

Now the fun part begins.  As this mask dries, you will feel your face pulsate like crazy.  This is good.  Don’t be scared.

The mask will become very tight while it dries and hardens.  If you have oily skin like me, keep the mask on for 30 minutes.  Normal and more sensitive skin can get away with 10-20 minutes.

Pro Tip: While your mask dries, take advantage of your green face and channel your inner Jim Carrey.  I suggest dancing around to this song:

Once enough time has gone by and your mask is dry, soak a washcloth in warm water and lay it over your face for a minute or two to begin loosening everything up.  You don’t want to try to start washing it off right away or the chips of mud will clog your drain and no one wants that.

Apply a nice, heavy moisturizer post-facial.  I usually do my masks at night in the bathtub with a glass of wine I drink through a straw and follow up with the Olay Classic Night Cream.
Az4

Photo credit: amazon.com

You’ll notice that your face is very red after the mask is off but this is normal and will go away in 30-ish minutes.  You’ll probably also notice that your face is beyond smooth and soft, and that’s just one of the benefits.  The others include:

  • Smaller pores and cleaned-out blackheads
  • Reduction in excess oil production
  • Elimination of acne. Honestly, I have not had a spot since using this mask 2-3x per week for the past month and a half.  And that, my friends, is a goddamn miracle.
  • Softening of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Skin tone is more even, rough patches are smoothed
  • Glowing skin like the light of a thousand suns

In short, this tub of clay is the real deal.  It’s definitely worth the money and I’m excited to try other uses for it – hair masks, foot soaks, you name it.  If you’re a fan of face masks or just want to give your skin a detox to start 2016 off right, I very highly recommend picking up some Aztec Healing Clay.

Review: Maybelline Color Tattoo Eyeshadows

There’s one makeup product I hoard more than the rest.  And by hoard, I mean that I have at least 10 of these awesome little pots of color in my makeup bag at any given time.  Excessive? Probably. Do I care? You know I don’t.

The reason I have so many Maybelline Color Tattoo eyeshadows is because they are flat-out amazing.  They’re inexpensive ($5), come in a huge range of colors, and they’re the perfect base for any eye look.  Color Tattoos provide pigment and a nice, sticky base for powder shadows to cling to and stay in place for hours and hours.

My absolute favorite shade, and the one I reach for almost every day, is Bad to the Bronze:

Bad to the Bronze
Photo Credit: ulta.com

This warm bronze is a great base for daytime and nighttime looks.  Use your finger for more sheer coverage; use a wet brush to pack on the color and shine. Bad to the Bronze pairs beautifully with any eye color so if you don’t have it yet, get yourself to CVS ASAP.

maybelline-color-tattoo-25-bad-to-the-bronze

Photo Credit: ivoryavenue.com

For those of you #blessed with hooded eyes like me, Color Tattoos are a must to keep powder shadows from getting lost in the abyss that is our crease.  This is especially true for brightly colored looks.  I’m a huge fan of the Painted Purple Color Tattoo because it makes my blue eyes look mega, crazy blue:

painted purple
Photo Credit: Maybelline.com.au

Here’s Painted Purple with powder shadow on top, in case you’d also like to channel your inner 90s neon workout Barbie:

Halloween

Other shades I’d highly recommend:

  • Barely Branded: Creamy, champagne color for neutral looks

BB
Photo Credit: Maybelline.com

  • Pomegranate Punk: Deep, burgundy color that pairs very well with the shadows in the Naked 3 palette

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Photo Credit: amazon.com

  • Audacious Asphalt: Charcoal grey a.k.a. the only smoky eye base you’ll ever need

8125Y315CaL._SX522_
Photo credit: amazon.com

Color Tattoos are inexpensive, available at every drugstore and online and one pot will last FOREVER.  Literal years.  They do dry out a bit as they age but I find that using my warm finger (that sounds gross but you know what I mean) to apply the shadow “melts” the formula and gives me smooth, even coverage.

I highly recommend you pick up one or 15 Color Tattoos on your next drugstore run.  Enjoy!

Review: Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation

Like many makeup junkies, I am on a never-ending quest to find the perfect liquid foundation.  The definition of “perfect” is different for everyone so here’s mine:

  • Medium coverage without looking/feeling overly made up or cakey
  • Helps control my oily skin and keep shine to a minimum
  • Won’t break me out or clog pores
  • Relatively inexpensive (although I’ve been known to temporarily lose my mind and a lot of money if a foundation really works miracles)

fit me

Photo Credit: maybelline.com

Last week I picked up the Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation and after using it daily, I have to say, I think my quest is over.  This just may be the perfect foundation – and it’s less than $10 (!!).  Here’s why I’m in love:

  • A little goes a long way. I apply a small amount to my brush (quarter sized amount) and the end result is a lightweight, flawless finish that never feels heavy on my skin.
  • Great coverage. Maybelline isn’t joking when they say that this foundation adjusts to match your skin and evens out tone and color. I use shade 120 in Classic Ivory – it cancels out my red tones and never morphs into that weird orange color as the day goes on like other foundations can do.
  • No need for primer. I’ve learned the hard way that while primer does go a long way in giving me a flawless canvas to apply my foundation, it also can break me out like crazy. Thankfully, Fit Me looks great without a primer and applies smoothly, even over rough patches/blemishes.
  • Oil control. I pray to God and Beyoncé each night that my face will eventually stop producing insane amounts of oil, but so far, no luck.  The matte finish does an impressively good job of keeping shine under control throughout the day.  Although the formula is liquid, Fit Me sets more like a powder foundation. Unless you have Exxon-levels of oil like me, you can definitely get away with wearing Fit Me sans powder.
  • Price. It’s only $6! This isn’t one of those foundations that you ration out every drop because it costs you more than a month’s worth of groceries. This is a foundation you pick up at CVS while you’re bored and feel zero guilt, and that’s the best feeling of all.