Saturday, February 21, 2015

Beauty Tag!

This is a beauty tag where I answer 20 beauty questions relating to my makeup/skincare routine. I love reading these types of posts because it’s a great way to get to know person behind the blog. These questions are from Carol of Intrice Blog.  I love her style, writing, and eye for beauty!

I think women should wear whatever makeup they want for themselves. Makeup should be fun. 
- Emma Stone

Do you remember your first makeup item?
I think the first makeup item I owned was Candy Kisses in Watermelon!  I felt like hot stuff in middle school!

Describe your perfect mascara. Have you found one 

that fits your specifications?
I want a formula that never clumps, never flakes, and applies easily to every lash!  I want additional volume, NOT length! I want a brush that holds the perfect amount of product, can handle my long lashes, and helps plump out their volume.  I'm getting there.  Since I started blogging, I've gotten really picky! LOL!

What kind of coverage do you prefer from foundation?
I need something that offers medium coverage, but feels light and looks super natural!  I have rosy cheeks from my mom, and I need something that helps to cover them without washing me out completely.

Favorite high end brand?
I really like BareMinerals.  I've been using their mineral veil, bronzer, and blushes for almost a year; I'm a total convert.  I keep adding to my collection!  I would love to add Dr. Jart+ BB Cream to my repertoire eventually!

What cosmetic brands have you always wanted to try but still haven’t? 
Mally Beauty, Urban Decay, Too Faced

Favorite drugstore brand?
I'm a fan of Maybelline's new mascaras.  I just tried this amazing foundation from CoverGirl so I'll add that one!  

Do you wear fake eyelashes? 
Nope!  I would really only need them for volume, not length.

Is there any kind of makeup you can't leave the house without?
I prefer a fully done face, but minimally, dark brown mascara and lip balm!

What is your most cherished beauty product?
Right now, its my new Shea Butter Cleansing Oil from L'Occitane.  Hubby splurged on me!  I've been testing so many different skin care products the last few months that I needed something to help restore my skin!  (Besides, I scored a free gift! LOL! Free gifts will eventually be my downfall!)

How often do you shop for makeup?

I'm always on the prowl.  Looking isn't so bad.  Its the buying too often that is!

Do you have a “beauty budget” or you spend freely?
I need to budget myself.  Right now, its called the hubby-rule! Whatever hubby says "yes" or "no" to sets my budget!

What type of product do you buy the most of?
Anything to do with my eyes!  I'm a sucker for a good eye liner, eye shadow, mascara, anything!  I love playing with my eyes!

Do you avoid certain ingredients in cosmetics like parabens or sulfates? 
Eh, not really.  I realize that there are all kinds of perspectives on this, so I try to emphasize paraben and sulfate free for my readers.  But for me, sometimes sulfates in shampoo make all the difference for whether or not my hair actually gets clean.

Do you have a favorite place to shop for makeup?
I'm a huge fan of Birchbox for some things since I can earn/ use points.  I also love Sephora, Ulta, Target, and boutiques like L'Oocitane and Bare Minerals.  I'll shop online if I can get free shipping; I hate paying for shipping!

Do you like trying new skincare products or do you keep a certain routine?
I have a general routine: cleanser, toner (occasionally), 1-2 serums, moisturizer.  I'll switch out what I use based on what I'm reviewing, what my skin is doing, and how I'm feeling.

Favorite bath and body brand? 
I have an obsession with Burt's Bees, which is reasonable.  I recently starting flirting with L'Occitane, but since that could potentially turn into a bad habit, I'm practicing serious restraint!

Do you like multifunctional products like lip and cheek stains?

No.  They scare me!  LOL!  I shy away from them because I just recently started needing cheek color (rosy cheeks and all), so I'm still learning.  Its like learning to wear makeup all over again!

Are you clumsy in putting makeup?
Yes, but it hits me like a "clumsy attack."  I don't know that its coming until that cat eye that I thought I had nailed goes all wonky without warning!

Do you ever consider taking makeup classes?
I've just recently starting researching makeup application techniques.  I feel so behind!! But really, videos are awesome, but I would totally love to take some classes!

What do you love about makeup?
I feel like it helps me express myself; it can help me accentuate my eyes to play up feelings of happiness, seductiveness, or mellowness.  Its one of the ways that I show myself love. After I spend time pampering every inch of my face, how could I hate it? :-)

Makeup is also fun!  Its an artistic outlet.  Its a medium I can use to connect with hundreds of other people through social media.  Its a way to explore colors, contours, and techniques.  

Do you feel the same way about makeup? What do you love the most about it?
Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Joining with 1000 Voices for Compassion: One Simple Way to Embody Compassion

I am so excited about the opportunity to join with other bloggers to write about compassion today!

For me, compassion begins as something intangible, a slippery thought that draws me beyond my normal mode of operating, and invites me to consider the creatures around me in a new, kinder, and more gentle way.

It is very important to me that those moments of compassion become embodied in some way.  Whether compassion takes the form of kind words to another, giving myself the time and space to relax in a bubble bath, or simply smiling with understanding at the father calming a crying baby in the grocery store, I want to be a living expression of compassion in the world.

Hubby and I moved from a suburb of Atlanta to a suburb of Chicago in 2008.  I had never seen homelessness in such stark, harsh reality before reaching Evanston, IL.  There were usually one or two men of various ages who waited outside my local Jewel-Osco to ask for food, money, basically anything others were willing and able to spare.  

I remember the first of many times I shared what I could spare with one particular gentleman.  I rarely carry cash on me, and so I had intended to get him something from my cash back option at the checkout line.  But, after my long trek through the store, I completely forgot.  I felt horribly.  So, I frantically dug about in my parcels, and pulled out several oranges.  His ability to ask and willingness to express genuine gratitude astonished me.  I remember him commenting on how helpful they would be fighting off sickness in the oncoming winter.

Through our years of graduate school, and early marriage, Hubby and I have been reliant on the compassion of family and friends more than once.  After surviving an apartment fire in which we lost everything, I clearly remember what it is to go to sleep in a foreign bed with nothing more to my name than the clothes on my back.  In the financially tight moments since that apartment fire, I am eternally grateful that I have never had to know the coldness of sleeping on concrete, the hunger of not knowing where my next meal is coming from, nor the harshness of untreated mental illness.

I'm writing about compassion and homelessness, because I believe that it is an invitation to move beyond our society's judgement that we ought to "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps."  I believe that it isn't even about generosity.  It is about knowing what I can spare and what I cannot spare.  John the Baptist had a simple, yet practical, teaching about love: if you have two coats give one to someone who does not have a coat.  

I still rarely carry cash.  I'm a graduate student on a tight budget, and I would definitely give away more than we could afford if I carried cash in my pocket.  However, I saw a YouTube video HowTo about Backpacks for the Homeless, and I was inspired.  So, I carry little kits with me in the car so that when someone asks, I can offer what I do have to spare!

I keep one kit in the car at a time.  After I give one away, its time to make another.  Every kit is a little different based on what extras I have on hand when its time to make a new one. 

This kit Includes:

- Lotion, Shampoo, Conditioner, Bath & Face Soaps: from a recent hotel stay.

- Washcloth: purchased as a bundled pack of 10 from Target for $3.

- Toiletries Bag: purchased from the $1 Spot at Target.

- Paper and Pen: from a recent hotel stay.

- InTouch Magazine: encouraging reading material.

- Quaker Chewy Dipps: took a few from a box I bought for Hubby's lunches.

Total Out of Pocket Cost: ~$5

I give out of my home what I can spare for someone who does not have a home.  This is one way I embody the compassion I want and need to be more present in the world around me.  I hope that this contribution to the 1000 Voices for Compassion helps to inspire you to consider how compassion is a part of your every day life!

What does compassion mean to you?  How do you embody it in your life?  When are you most in need of compassion from others or from yourself?

My Current Favorite Products for my Wavy Hair! +Tutorial!

I have been embracing my wavy hair for a number of years.  During that time I have tried a number of various products, techniques and hair cuts to enhance my shy waves.

I think I have finally found an easy and effective system that works for me:

I wash & condition my hair; even if I use a co-wash product, such as the one I have from DevaCurl, I'll use a mask just for the added moisturizing benefits.  

I make sure to comb my hair in the shower; once I get out, its a few finger combs with products, and then no touchy!

I personally love a really good turban wrap for hair.  It coaxes my wet hair to form beautiful waves while keeping it from dripping everywhere.  I have to make sure that my hair doesn't get too dry or else products don't work very well.

Here are the products I use:

- Curl Keeper Total Control for Frizzy Hair Original: I love this stuff!  Wow.  Okay, so I gently apply this product to my hair as though it were conditioner.  This is the first thing I apply to my hair once I take the towel wrap off.

Roux Anti-Aging Hair Serum Leave-in Treatment: I like how this product adds volume to my hair at the roots.  It also helps my hair appear brighter and healthier.  I add this second, massaging it  into my scalp and the roots of the hair

- Davines Replumping Hair Filler Superactive: This stuff is seriously my best friend.  I separate hair into two sections: one over each shoulder.  Then I apply 2-3 sprays of product per side.  Finally, I gently tousle my hair to encourage the waves.

- Then I allow my hair to air dry!

- Parlor by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing Sea Salt Spray: I add this after my hair is dry just to rejuvenate the waves, add a little volume, and finish the look!

Care & Maintenance:

- I put my hair into a half-pulled through ponytail bun when I go to bed.  This keeps my waves from flattening out while I sleep.  It also means that my hair is sometimes wavier on day #2!

- I have an empty sample size of the Davines SuperActive bottle that I've filled with water to evenly wet my hair the next morning and reactivate my waves.

- I sometimes use dry shampoo, but with this much product in my hair already, it usually just makes my scalp itch.

- I play around with different styles on days 1 & 2: headbands, pulling half my hair back in a clip, or putting hair in a high, scrunched ponytail are all fun ways of making my hair look last longer!

Interested in more Blog Posts about Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle? Check out some more blog links here!

#DIY Friday: Aromatherapy for This Beginner!

Okay, so I've been having a difficult time staying focused and awake while working on my comprehensive exams (as I'm sure we're all aware by now).

So, as part of my latest reviews, I've been becoming increasingly interested in essential oils and their benefits!

My first serious project was to create a home fragrance that I could put on my desk to help me focus, concentrate, and feel a little bit more upbeat than I have lately.

*      *      *      *      *

I gathered all my materials:

- Small Jar: I found this diffuser set on clearance at Marshall's for $2.99!  It came with an oil in a separate container so I'm using this set for my own!

- Reeds: Mine came in the set I found on clearance, but you can find them either on Amazon, Pier 1 Imports, or likely any boutique that specializes in essential oils. ( I struck out at my local Target, as a side note).

- Lemon Essential Oil: this is supposed to relieve depression and anxiety, which is great for me!  I struggle with anxiety based depression, which tends to disrupt my ability to concentrate, stay on task, and be productive.  Since I received some for review, I figured, this would be the perfect place to start!

- Mineral Oil: simple baby oil helps to carry the solution up the reeds

- Alcohol: Either vodka or rubbing alcohol.

*      *      *      *      *

Then I Put Them Together:

- Mix 1/4 cup of Mineral Oil and 2 Tbsp. of Alcohol

- Add 1 1/2 Tbsp of Essential Oil

- Pour mixture into small jar and add reeds

Final Product:

Perfect for my desk! 

*      *      *      *     *

Care & Maintenance:

- Flip the Reeds every few days

- Refresh with more essential oils as needed

- Replace reeds when they become completely saturated with oil

I hope that you've enjoyed this little DIY post!  What other DIY projects would you like to read about here?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

My #MOTD ~ Foundation & Contouring

So, yesterday I shared with you the new-to-me colors and brands of eyeshadows and lip colors I recently played with to create this daytime look.  Today, I want to talk about the products and techniques I used for foundation and contouring to create the rest of this look!

First, I applied CoverGirl's foundation all over using the silicone applicator.

One of the goodies that came in my first Influenster VoxBox was this new product from CoverGirl called Ultra Smooth Foundation.  (So, I got this item for free for review purposes.) It comes with this odd little silicone applicator.

At first, I really didn't know what I thought about this whole package.  But after using it just once, I am totally convinced that this is an amazing pair of products!

I love the consistency and color of the foundation.  The applicator works wonderfully!  Plus, it gives me the perfect amount of coverage.  We all know how hard that is to find in a foundation, right? 

Next, I applied bronzer using Beauty Junkees Angled Kabuki Brush (affiliate link) with BareMinerals Bronzer under my cheek bones.  

I followed up with adding BareMinerals Blush to my cheeks with the Bellangé Brush & Bronzer Brush.  

Finally, I used BareMinerals Mineral Veil and matching brush to blend out the whole look while creating a soft finish.

I hope that you've enjoyed this mini-tutorial!  Happy Contouring!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My Eyes & Lips! #MOTD + Mini-Tutorial!

I really do love playing around with makeup!  I think that playing with lips & eyes is the best part of doing my daily makeup looks.

Here's what I used today on my eyes & lips:

- Cailyn Mineral Eyeshadow Powder in Autumn:
Lid using UBU no.30

- Ulta Color Pure Eye Shadow in YOLO:
Crease to Brow using UBU no.35

- Cargo Cosmetics Liquid Eye Liner in Black:
Applied in a thick line just above the lashes

- Mirenesse Mattfinity Lip Rouge in Paris:
Applied very carefully, blotted & allowed to set!
(Much happier with this second use than the first time!)

What I used on my Brows and Lashes:

- Beauty Lashious Eyelash Curler:
Used as close to lash roots as possible

- Laura Geller GlamLash in Black:
Applied from root to tip, top & bottom lashes, 2 coats

- Ellen Tracy Neutral Eye Shadows:
Used mini brush to accentuate brows

- Ellen Tracy Brow Pencil in Brown:
Used with Beauty Brow Tool to shape and define brows

What do you think of my #MOTD?  What other kinds of beauty posts would you like to see here?

Its like asking the Wizard of Oz for the Perfect Eye Gel!

Every woman needs her ideal eye gel, and if you're in the market, I'd recommend considering this Super Youth Eye Gel from Oz Naturals!

Product Description:

- Formulated to address all major concerns for eye areas including dark circles, puffiness, as well as fine lines and wrinkles

- Award Winning Formula considered to be the most effective and complete eye treatment available according to Allure Magazine

- Non comedogenic as well as free from parabens, sulfates, and alcohol

Includes high quality ingredients such as Cucumber Hydrosol, Organic Jojoba Oil, Botanical Hyaluronic Acid, Wildcrafted Periwinkle, Organic Licorice, Wildcrafted Eyebright, and Vitamin E 

- Cruelty Free, Vegan Formula that is 100% natural and 75% organic

What I Love about Oz Naturals:

- Highly Effective at reducing/ eliminating puffiness  and dark circles around my eyes.  I can actually feel my skin tighten ever so slightly after application!

- Smells wonderful!  The mix of licorice, cucumber, Frankincense, and other ingredients creates a highly refreshing and pleasant scent.

- I have peace of mind knowing that I'm putting high quality ingredients on my skin.

Oz Naturals Super Youth Eye Gel is available on Amazon for $17.49 for .5 fl oz.

Verdict: Yay!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by and made possible by Oz Naturals.  Products were provided in exchange for my time in assessing their quality and writing an honest review about them. All product information is gleaned from the manufacturer's product description.  All opinions are my own based on my experiences with the product.  All photos are my own. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My MOTD with Fantastic & Frugal Makeup Brushes!

I am so excited to share these brushes with you!  I am always on the hunt for a good find, and this fantastic Makeup Brush set from Bellangé certainly qualifies!

MY #MOTD with Bellangé Brushes!

How I Use This 10 Piece Kabuki Makeup Brush Set froBellangé for My MOTD:

Product Description:

- 10 piece Kabuki Makeup Brushes with Makeup Bag

- Made with soft, luxurious synthetic bristles

- Each brush labled with name, use and number on the handle

Set Includes

- Foundation Brush

- Flat Top Brush

- Contour Brushes (large)

- Contour Brushes (small)

- Eye Brushes


What I Love about Bellangé Brush Set:

- High Quality: no shedding!

- Very soft

- Includes a variety of brushes

- Each brush is clearly labeled and numbered!

- Highly Effective for working with powders and creams!

You can find Bellangé's Bellangé Makeup Brush Set (affiliate link) on Amazon for $15.00!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Bellange.  Products were provided in exchange for my time in assessing their quality and writing an honest review about them. All product information is gleaned from the manufacturer's product description.  All opinions are my own based on my experiences with the product.  All photos are my own.