Monday, January 5, 2015

Face of the Day: 01.05.2015

Hello everyone and Happy New Year! I hope 2015 has found you all happy and healthy. 

I'm not normally a resolution maker, but one of my goals for 2015 beauty-wise is to shop my stash more often and use up more of the makeup I've already got instead of blowing a bunch of money at Sephora and Ulta on new goodies. I have some great pieces in my stash and I definitely will be using them more! I also want to be posting more Face of the Day (FOTD) posts here. 

Here's today's Face of the Day:

tarte CC Colored Clay Primer in Fair
tarte CC Colored Clay SPF 15 Liquid Foundation in Fair
Milani Naturals blush in Tea Rose

Jordana fabuLiner in Black
Too Faced Better than Sex mascara
ybf beauty Eyebrow Pencil in Universal Taupe

MAC Cremesheen Glass in Double Dare (I forgot how comfortable this was!)

Really simple face today, but it was better than my post-cold, winter pale skin. I feel like this is helping me look just a LITTLE more awake and alive on this frigid Monday. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

On Loss.

I don't even know where to start with this one. I've started this post thousands of times since my last one, and I just can't seem to find a way to get the words right for what I want to say. I thought 2013 was a rough year. The roughest I'd ever been through. Two house burglaries. Two car accidents. Surprise gallbladder removal. All of that was really hard, and they were all growing moments that taught me a lot about the importance of not taking my life for granted.

But apparently, I had more lessons to learn. 2014 started out with the breakup of my engagement and, eventually, my first foray into casual dating in over 4 years. With a couple minor heartbreaks out of the way, I survived that one pretty much unscathed. I got promoted at my job to a lead position, which I had been working hard for, and it was nice to feel like hard work had paid off. I was living a pretty charmed life until October 3.

On October 3, 2014, my mom passed away suddenly, unexpectedly, from causes that are still unknown to me (and we're still waiting on the coroner's final answer). Someone saw her fifteen minutes before she died. Just fifteen minutes. And then she was gone. They found her on the floor, unresponsive, already gone. My aunt was able to get in touch with me first, not the rest of my family. I had to shoulder the burden of telling my father and sisters that she had died. That was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do and I get emotional and feel actual pain every time I think about it.

Since then, I've been trying to find a new normal. It's astonishing to me how selfish I've been in my life thus far, and how much I've taken things like a mother for granted. Holidays, birthdays, etc - I'm used to her checking in or singing to me or just calling to say, "you go, girl!" Now, I don't have that. My phone doesn't ring at 6am on my birthday. Thanksgiving will no longer include a visit to W. 99th Street in Cleveland. And Christmas won't be the same. Nothing feels normal, nothing feels right, and most of the days I vacillate between numbness and overemotion, wanting to scream, and cry out, and just weep.

I wouldn't wish this on anyone. Ever.

This whole experience has taught me to take less for granted, to enjoy more of the little things, and to tell people how thankful I am that they're in my life. If anything, I feel like my sisters and I have gotten closer. And through the help of some pretty intensive therapy, I'm starting to deal with my emotions, my anxiety, my shit just a little bit better. I've come a little ways, but I have a long way to go before I even begin the healing process (at least, that's how it feels some days).

I know this holiday season isn't going to be easy. But all I can do is just do my best. Do my best to be present and in the moment. Do my best to have a heart full of love and gratitude and share that with everyone around me. Do my best to mourn and grieve in healthy ways while still being a productive member of society. Just yesterday, my mom's brother passed away. It is a monumental loss to experience this twice within about two months. It seems the focus of my life this year has been loss. Changing things. Losing things. Losing people. And I'm learning lessons, but they are hard lessons to learn.

And do my best with blogging. I know I haven't been around, and now you know why. I miss blogging. I miss it a lot. I'll be back very soon, and thank you all for being so patient and kind and wonderful. In 2015 you'll see me switching up a bit with this blog. Not just beauty products. Not just swatches. Life experiences and musings on love and healing and grief and wonder should go here. And they will.

I wish you all the happiest and safest and most loving of holidays. I've got swatches for you soon. Thanks for reading.

All my love,

Friday, September 19, 2014

Birchbox: September 2014

Happy Friday everyone! I am bringing you something I haven't brought you in awhile - a Birchbox post!
I used to post these monthly and I got out of the habit, but decided to show you what Birchbox had in store for me this month.

If you're not familiar with Birchbox or you're just joining me for the first time, here's the rundown about it:
Birchbox is one of my favorite monthly beauty subscription sampling services. It's $10/month for around 5 deluxe beauty samples. It's a great way to discover new brands. If you're a product junkie like me, and hate committing to new products, this is the perfect subscription. You can review the items you get each month for points. Gather up enough points and get $$$ off in the Birchbox shop! If you want to sign up for Birchbox, feel free to click my referral link here. I'll get 50 Birchbox points for every person that joins! 

To view other Birchboxes I've gotten, click here

September is Birchbox's birthday month and I always get excited for whatever they send that month. You can tell a lot more goes into these anniversary boxes. 

The theme for this month was "Fresh Paint."

"September means turning the page on summer, and diving into fall's colors, textures, and inspiration. It's also Birchbox's anniversary month - the perfect time to celebrate our subscribers, reflect on the past years(four and counting!) and gear up for new adventures. With that in mind, we've dressed your Birchboxes in gorgeous patterns fit for a new season. We hope you'll use these keepsake boxes to store samples and other treasures. And of course you can expect plenty more surprises all month - stay tuned!"

I really loved the colorful graphics for the month. 

Here's the inside of my box! I was so excited to see a full size nail polish in there!

And here it all is unwrapped in all its glory.

Let's go through what's in the box, shall we? 

  • Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Gold Couture: A newly launched, decadent blend of wild berries, honeysuckle, and warm caramel notes. Spritz onto pulse points and you're golden. I've got the original Viva La Juicy in my fragrance collection, because I've always enjoyed the warm, caramel-y notes it brings out. Viva La Juicy Gold Couture is first off a mouthful to say. It encompasses a lot of the warmer notes I love in Viva La Juicy. I definitely get an amber, and a caramelized note. Very warm and comforting fragrance and perfect for fall.
    • Full Size: $92.00 for 3.4oz | Sample Value: .05oz, valued at $1.35
  • RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer in RUFFIAN Naked: This 5-free polish in a chic nude shade dries to a glossy, streak-free finish. Apply a base coat and follow with two coats of this long-lasting lacquer. Bonus! we added in this acetone-free towelette to remove your fave RUFFIAN lacquer. I'm not a giant fan of the RUFFIAN nail polishes I've received from my Birchboxes. The formula on this one promised to be relatively streak-free, but I still found myself using three coats. Also, this nude shade is NOT chic on me. I had to cover it with Girly Bits Love Ya Beach! to even feel comfortable with the hue. Ah well, not every nail polish will hit it out of the park. Very cool of Birchbox to include the remover towelette, which I'm told smells like amber.
    • Full Size: $10.00 for 0.17oz | Sample Value: FULL SIZE! $10.00 (Also, this is like HALF the size of a normal nail polish, so it makes me giggle that a nail polish this small is full size.) The remover towelettes are $12.00 for a pack of ten, so the total sample value here is $11.20.

  • Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate: Enhances skin's defensive power against signs of aging for a radiant complexion. Morning and night, apply to clean face before serum and moisturizer to boost results. I had been very intrigued about this one after seeing it in the September issue of Allure. The sample is the cutest packaging ever and is actually quite a nice size. This goes smoothly onto the face and feels invisible. 
    • Full Size: $65.00 for 30 ml | Sample Value: 10ml, valued at $21.67. (Holy wow.)
  • TEMPTU S/B Highlighter in Champagne Shimmer: Liquid shimmer that illuminates and contours your complexion or gives an all-over glow. Dab and blend on apples of cheeks, brow bones, Cupid's bow, or anywhere else you'd like. When I first got into makeup, I went crazy on highlighters. I collected every big one there was to have. I loved the way the shimmer played with the light and drew attention to my features. Now that I'm older and my skin has grown drier, I am sometimes wary about bringing a lot of light to some of my features - haha! TEMPTU is an airbrush makeup system, so it made sense to me that this highlighter would be so liquid. It also isn't shimmery or glittery, but brings a beautiful sheen to the skin. It blends in and looks gorgeous. I wish I had a TEMPTU - if I did, this would be a must-have product for me.
    • Full Size: $27.50 for 1oz | Sample Value: .1oz, valued at $2.75.
  • Tocca Crema de Mano - Bianca: Loaded with natural oils, this green tea and lemon lotion absorbs in a flash. Rub generously into hands - and anywhere you need a moisture boost. I'm mainly a nail blogger, so I get pretty excited whenever I see a hand cream come in my beauty boxes - I go through them like it's my job! (Wait....) This one is a definite green tea and lemon scent, and I really was impressed with how quickly it absorbed into my skin. This has jojoba, olive, and coconut oils, which are among my favorites because they are sebum balancers and don't tell our skin to overproduce oil. I definitely will be popping this sample into my purse for the upcoming dryness I know I'm going to experience with the seasons changing.
    • Full Size: $20.00 for 4oz | Sample Value: 1oz, valued at $5.00. 

The total value of my $10.00 birchbox was $41.97! I'm very impressed! I really loved some of the products this month, like the Shiseido, Temptu, and Tocca items. What did you think of my Birchbox? What did you get that you've been loving? 

Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Zoya Ignite Collection for Fall 2014

(press samples)

Hi lovelies!
Today I have the Zoya Ignite Collection for Fall 2014. As you may have seen from my post about the Entice collection, the Zoya fall is comprised of two parts: some beautiful, smooth cremes and some even MORE beautiful shimmy glass fleck wonders. Today I present to you the Ignite collection - in all of its shimmery, wonderful glory!

Zoya Autumn is a metallic copper with gold glass flecks. As you can see, the gold glass flecks in it really give it a bunch more depth than a metallic copper would normally have. I also loved the glass flecks because they helped eliminate brush strokes. This was a surprise favorite of mine!
Two coats, no topcoat.

Zoya India was one of those ones that made me gasp when I put it on. India is a deep red with gold and red metallic glass fleck shimmers. This one has so much depth, it was absolutely stunning for me. I mean, look at that LED lamp shot! This one burned bright with lots of different colors in the shimmer.
Two coats, no topcoat.

Zoya Remy was another favorite of mine - and I knew I'd love this one from the moment I saw it. Remy is a beautiful deep indigo with green and blue and a bit of gold glass fleck. It looks like underwater treasure and it was absolutely gorgeous. It didn't stain upon removal like I thought it would. Absolutely stunning, and perhaps one of my favorite polishes of 2014.
Two coats, no topcoat.

Zoya Sansa is one that a lot of the nail blogging world was excited about - especially if you're a Game of Thrones fan. Sansa is a deep purple with a gold sparkle. This is gorgeous, but I definitely have a few polishes like this. Purple and gold go really well together, though!
Two coats, no topcoat.

Zoya Teigen is a raspberry pink jelly with gold and pink glass fleck. This one went on a bit more sheer than all the others and I ended up using three coats for photographic purposes. Still very gorgeous and I loved the jewel tones.
Three coats, no topcoat.

Rounding out the collection is Zoya Yuna. Yuna is more of a creme than the rest of the polishes in the collection. It's a gray with this beautiful gold glass fleck shimmer that brings it alive. This was another favorite for me.
Two coats, no topcoat.

Well there you have it - the Ignite collection from Zoya!
If I were to pick favorites or must-haves they would definitely be India, Remy, and Yuna. 
The collection is available now at

Disclaimer: The products featured in this post were sent by PR for review consideration. All opinions in this post are my own. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Zoya Entice Collection for Fall 2014

 Press samples.

Happy September, everyone! Fall is almost here - I can feel it in my bones. In the cold mornings and the crispness of the breeze. And with fall comes great fall nail polish collections. Today I've got one of the two Zoya Fall 2014 collections for you. This is Zoya's Entice collection for Fall 2014!

And it's absolutely gorgeous. Let's go on to the individual swatches, shall we?

Zoya Claire is a warm, rich burgundy. It's got the slightest hint of brown to balance all that red. This was a surprise stunner for me and is one of my favorites of the collection. This is two coats with no topcoat. Absolutely amazing formula, as is customary with Zoya cremes.

This is Zoya Genevieve. I was so excited about this one because I love the name Genevieve, and when I saw it was coming out I thought of my friend S from S&M Beauty Blog who has a daughter named Genevieve. This is a cool leather gray, and Zoya describes it as a cream formula. However, as you can see from my photos, it's not a cream at all. It's got the finest silver microshimmer running through it. I'm not sure if this was to make the formula more easy flowing, but it definitely surprised me when I got it on the nail. 
This is two coats with no topcoat. The formula on this one was way thinner than all the rest. Really loved the color - it screams FALL to me! 

Zoya Margo is described by Zoya as a red plum, but I'd call it more of a plummy fuchsia to be pedantic. This one is rich and these rich jewel tones are exactly what embody fall for me. This was two effortless coats with no topcoat. 

Zoya Nyssa is described by Zoya as a milk chocolate brown. On my cool-toned complexion, I would say it's a warm-leaning camel tone with the slightest bit of khaki/green warming it up. As you can see in my artificial light photo, this looks like baby poop on me. Definitely not one of my favorites of the collection, but it also had a beautiful formula. Two coats with no topcoat. 

Zoya Ryan is a beautiful indigo creme. This one has to be my #1 favorite of the Entice collection. I've worn it three times already and as someone with over 700 nail polishes, it's really uncustomary of me to wear something more than once. This one has a beautiful formula that's a bit thicker and easy to control. Two coats here with no topcoat. I'm drooling just looking at it. 

Rounding out the collection is Zoya Veronica. Veronica is described as a "red wine" but none of the wine I drink is this color. It's definitely a bit redder than Margo, and is a beautiful burgundy. Two coats with no topcoat. As you can see from my cleanup, this one was so pigmented it stained my skin a little bit. 

There you have it, the Zoya Entice collection for Fall 2014! 
I'll be posting the shimmery counterpart to this collection, Ignite, in a day or so.
What did you think of the collection? Overall my winners were Claire, Ryan, and Margo. Genevieve was a close runner-up but the formula wasn't super stellar. I loved this collection, it really helped me get into the fall mood!

Zoya nail polishes are 5-free and VEGAN. Pick up your favorites from the Entice collection at!

The products in this post were provided by PR/the company for review purposes. All opinions are honest and my own words.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Zoya Naturel Deux (2) Transitional Collection 2014 - Review, Photos, Swatches

(press samples)

Hi everyone!
The second post for me in two days! I'm on a roll!
Really, it's my weekend from work and I have been wanting to get caught up.

Today I have the Zoya Naturel Deux (2) transitional collection. This is meant to transition us from summer to fall and I couldn't love it more. The collection is made up of six wonderful, buttery smooth cremes that just scream *fall* to me. 

All swatches are shown in two coats without topcoat. 
The formula on these polishes was absolutely AMAZING! I love a good creme, so I have high standards when it comes to creme polishes. These fit my high standards!
On with the swatches! 

Zoya Aubrey is a plummy mauve shade. Almost a little vampy, and perfect for fall.
Two coats, no topcoat.

Zoya Chanelle is a warm, medium chocolate brown creme. I'm not generally a fan of brown polishes, but I found myself really liking the ones from this collection. This was like a nice milk chocolate on me.
Two coats, no topcoat. Beautiful formula

Zoya Emilia is a dark chocolate brown creme with just a hint of taupe in it. This was a total surprise favorite for me! I love the dark, almost vampy color - it screams FALL FALL FALL to me! I am so ready for fall! I definitely will be rocking this one more than once on my tips and toes.
Two coats, AMAZING formula. No top coat.

Zoya Madeleine is a beautiful dusky rose creme. The formula on this one was completely fantastic and I was blown away by how much I loved the color. This was nice on my pink-toned skin!
Two coats, no topcoat.

Zoya Marnie is a deep, warm-toned winey plum creme. This one had an absolutely amazing formula as well and I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did. One of my favorites from the collection for sure!
Two coats, no topcoat.

Zoya Spencer is a camel-toned creme and it was a really good nude for me, I think. This camel color is so sophisticated, and I feel like I see a lot of the higher-end brands put colors like this out. The formula was absolutely fantastic on this one as well.
Two coats, no topcoat. 

Overall this collection was a smash hit for me and I loved almost every single color. My standout favorites were Madeleine, Marnie, Spencer, and Emilia. What were your favorites? Let me know in the comments!
Zoya nail poilsh is available in select salons and retailers, and at their website

Thanks for looking! Hope you all have a FANTASTIC week! 

DISCLAIMER: The products in this post were provided by the company for review purposes. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the company.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Zoya Bubbly Collection for Summer 2014

(press samples)

Hi everyone! I've got the lovely Zoya Bubbly Collection for Summer 2014 to show you today!
I've had these polishes for a little while but life has gotten in the way of me showing them to you. I got PROMOTED at work and life has just been so crazy! But I have been working on getting this promotion for about the last year. It's so nice to see hard work pay off! Now the work will get even harder. But I'm excited.

Anyways, on to some gorgeous pictures of some lovely Zoya summer polishes. 
This collection is SERIOUSLY awesome. All of them are infused with a gold microshimmer and these awesome iridescent/holographic hex glitter.

The below swatches are shown in two coats without topcoat. 
All of them have a thick consistency that is EXTREMELY workable. I am not usually a fan of thicker formulas, but for these polishes it WORKS. It makes it super easy to control how it's flowing across your nail and I didn't even clean up for these swatches. 

Zoya Alma is a golden peach. This is such a happy color, and I found myself loving it a lot more than I thought I would! Very sunshiny and summery. Two coats with no topcoat. Applied like a dream and removed like a dream.

Zoya Binx is a beautiful, pink orchid fuchsia color. The gold shimmer really popped in this one! Two coats, no topcoat. Applied and removed beautifully.

Zoya Harper might be one of my favorites of the whole collection! This is a bright bubblegum pink packed with the gold microshimmer and iridescent hex glitters that all of the other ones are packed with. I loved the color combination here. Check out the bonus macro, it shows you how truly complex these glitters are.
Two coats, no topcoat. Applied and removed easily. 

Zoya Jesy is an orangey coral base packed full of that gorgeous glitter. I liked this one because the orange base made the blue of the glitter really POP.
Two coats, no topcoat. Applied and removed just as easily as the rest.

Zoya Muse is an absolutely breathtaking blue. Packed with the golden and iridescent glitter and shimmer, it looks like treasure glinting at the bottom of the ocean. This was another favorite of mine - absolutely gorgeous! You can see the shade really brings the glitter contrast out. I thought this one would stain, but I didn't have any staining issues.
Two coats, no topcoat.

And finally, last but not least was Zoya Stassi. I gasped when this one went on - I wasn't expecting to love it so much! This one looks so much more *holo* than the other ones. Such a summery color and I love the combination of green and gold - maybe it's my Irish roots, but it's always so RIGHT for me. 
Two coats, no topcoat.

What did you think of the Zoya Bubbly Collection for Summer 2014? 
My standout favorites were Harper, Muse, and Stassi. What were your favorites? Let me know in the comments!
All of these polishes are available at the Zoya website and wherever else Zoya is sold. 

DISCLAIMER: The products in this post were sent by the company for review purposes. I guarantee an honest review and declare the opinions in this post to be all my own.