Sunday, February 9, 2014

Urban Decay Friends & Fanatics Sale!

Hi everyone! You may or may not already know, but Urban Decay is having a Friends & Fanatics 20% off sale! If you're anything like me, you're into saving a little bit of dough here and there. This is a great way to try new Urban Decay products you've been wanting to try -20% off! The sale excludes the Naked3 palette, but there are lots of other great products in their line. Just put the products in your cart and be sure to enter code "FFSPRING14" at checkout.

My recommendations include the original Naked palette, 24/7 eyeliner in Perversion, and the Naked Skin foundation. Definitely some favorites of mine!

Will you be grabbing anything from the Urban Decay sale?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Beauty Bar Sample Society: January 2014

Hi everyone! I hope you are all staying warm and cozy!
Another Arctic cold front is moving through Ohio and it is just bitterly cold today. I only have one day off this week so if these pictures seem a bit hurried, that's why! I wanted to show you the awesomeness that is the January 2014 Beauty Bar Sample Society box.

If you're new to my blog or just want a refresher, Sample Society is a beauty subscription sampling service offered by They've teamed up with the folks at Allure to deliver five beauty samples to your door for $15 a month. The samples are generally deluxe size - meaning you can get more than one use out of them! The best part? Each month, you get a coupon code for $15 off a $50 purchase - as long as a brand from that month's box is in your order. Each box also comes with a mini-magazine from Allure, with helpful tips and tricks (often related to the products in that month's box). I've been subscribing since their first month - March 2012. I have been impressed with every single box. If you want to check out what I've gotten in other Sample Society boxes, feel free to click here!

This month's box was all about Taking Care. "The New Year is here! If you're anything like us, you're probably in need of a little post-holiday TLC. Pamper yourself with nourishing nail and lip treatments, and boost your mood (partied out?) with a new uplifting fragrance. All our best for a beautiful '14. 

Here's what was inside that lovely black box:

1. StriVectin Present Perfect: Packed with protective antioxidants, this ultra-light cream helps skin look younger, firmer, and vibrantly healthy. I have been using this under my foundation lately to give me a great base. It's creamy and sinks into the skin well without any greasy residue. I'm always thankful for StriVectin samples as the brand is a bit pricey for me! (Full Size: $59.00 for 1.7oz | Sample Value: .25oz, valued at $8.68)

2. Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey Eau de Toilette: Famously inspired by the scent of water on a woman's skin, Issey Miyake's signature fragrance is fresh, sophisticated and sensual - the epitome of feminine. This fragrance is light and airy and quite pretty. If this is what I smell like with water on my skin, I'm all about it. It's a very white, aquatic floral, with hints of rose and lotus. I don't love it as much as I loved Harvey Prince's Journey, but it's a nice everyday fragrance. Light and work-appropriate. (Full Size: $72.00 for 1.7oz | Sample Value: .02oz, valued at $0.85)

3. butterLONDON Handbag Holiday Cuticle Oil: Dry, chapped cuticles have finally met their match in this vitamin-rich formula, free of formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP. I'm hoping a cuticle moisturizer would be free of Formaldehyde. Apparently some are not. All joking aside, this is an absolutely lovely cuticle oil and I was so excited to see Sample Society had sent the full size. (Hint: it's as expensive by itself as the entire Sample Society monthly box is.) This smells..tropical, maybe. Kind of coconutty but it's a little fruity, too. I found that just a dot of it on each cuticle moisturizes for hours and makes my cuticles look much less beaten up. Lovely stuff. (Full Size: .6oz for $15.00 | Sample Value: FULL SIZE! $15)

4. Orlane Paris Extreme Line Reducing Lip Care: Pucker up: this intensely hydrating treatment fights lines and wrinkles while also plumping your pout. This stuff is interesting. I've never really seen any kind of anti-aging product for the lips in these sample boxes. Which really is quite funny as the lips are some of the first places you show signs of aging. This is a light balm you rub on your lips and it helps prevent lines. I did feel and notice a bit of a plumping effect. It tingled, but it wasn't over the top. My lips did look a bit fuller due to the plumping. (Full Size: $75 for 0.5oz | Sample Value: .1oz, valued at $7.50)

5. Stila Cosmetics Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso: Looking for a long-wearing lip color that doesn't disappoint? This full-coverage matte formula combines enduring color payoff with a light-as-air feel. Okay Stila, I see you. I absolutely love reds, especially reds that I don't have to do much with. This formula applied like a lipgloss, but then dried down to a beautiful, retro matte finish. It felt light as air, for real. I didn't experience any drying until about ten hours in when I re-prepped and reapplied. This stayed put through a day of coffee, breakfast, lunch, coffee, and dinner. AMAZING. I even included a picture of an example FOTD below. Definitely buying this in full size! (Full Size: 3ml for $22.00 | Sample value: 1ml, valued at $7.33)

Stila Stay All Day in Beso. This was at the end of the day. You could see my foundation has faded in places but the Stila stays strong!
There you have it! My January Sample Society box was worth $39.36!
Considering I only paid $15 for it, I'd say it was a good deal! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How to Deep Clean Makeup Brushes

Hi everyone! I'm here today to remind you to CLEAN YOUR MAKEUP BRUSHES.
So much bacteria and dirt can build up in between uses, especially if you go awhile without washing them!
Today I took some time to deep clean my makeup brushes, and I figured I'd take you along with me through the process. This is how I clean MY makeup brushes. It's not the be-all, end-all, and I'm sure other people have different methods. But this is what works for me and has kept my brushes - especially my expensive MAC investments brushes - in tip top shape. 

This post is picture heavy, so I'll place the tutorial after the jump. 

Here we go!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Birchbox: January 2014

Hi everyone! 
Shortly after my last post, my mailman arrived with January's Birchbox! I know I haven't posted a Birchbox in awhile but I'm excited about this one. It's solidly good. 

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 on my referral link here. I'll get 50 Birchbox points for every person that joins! 

To view other Birchboxes I've gotten and showcased on my blog, click here.  

Each month, they give Birchbox a theme. This month's theme is "Go Time."
Here's what the enclosed postcard said:

Happy January! This year, we're flipping resolutions on their head. Forget giving things up - in 2014, we're taking on more: more things to try, to conquer, to integrate into our lives. New products - in the form of this month's samples - are just the beginning. We'll be bringing you plenty of inspiration, from must-try beauty trends to an energy-boosting 10-minute workout that you can do anywhere.
We've also created some very pin-able cards with suggestions to keep you motivated and happy this month and beyond. We hope you like them as much as we do (which is a lot!).
Here's to an amazing 2014!
Katia, Hayley & the Birchbox Team
This month I got some really nice samples, and they're all nicely sized!

(I know the lighting might be weird, but I couldn't get enough of the afternoon sunlight today.)
Alright, so here's what I got:
  • Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Creme: Rich in olive oil, this creamy frizz-tamer gives strands all-day shimmer. Smooth in a nickel-sized amount through dry or damp hair before styling. Okay, this is only the 293847329th sample of Fekkai's Glossing Creme I have, but this is only the second I've gotten that is this large. This is a cult favorite hair product and I've been using it for years. It's got olive oil in it which is great for the hair, and a little bit goes a really long way for making your hair look soft, smooth, and shiny. I'm currently working through a large sample of this now, so this may get set aside or given away.
    • Full Size: 4oz for $19.99|Sample Value: 1.6oz, valued at $7.99 

  • Harvey Prince Journey eau de Toilette: Intriguing around-the-world scent with notes of Indian tuberose and Japanese orange flower. Spritz onto pulse points. Cue the wanderlust. I've received a few Harvey Prince perfume samples before and really enjoyed them. Journey is a big, bright, beautiful and light floral that opens up warm on the skin. Notes of tuberose and mandarin make you feel like you could just hop on a plane and fly away. It dries down to a warm sandalwood and clove, but it's not the sandalwood and clove you're used to. It keeps the warmth and lightness of the flowers and it's just absolutely perfect for these dreary winter months. I will definitely be revisiting this one often throughout the month.
    • Full Size: 50ml for $55.00|Sample Value: About 2ml, valued at $2.20

  • Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Day Lotion With Clary Sage: Burt's Bees has come a long way since the early '80s when they made all-natural beeswax candles in Maine. Now the brand is known for its supernatural, supereffective products. Their latest wonder is this deeply hydrating moisturizer, which keeps skin supple and flake-free with clary sage, a botanical known for its protective, healing qualities. I'm a fan of Burt's Bees for their natural products that aren't tested on animals. I'm also pretty wild about protecting bees and bee habitats everywhere, and I know that purchases of Burt's Bees products help the bees. :) Soapbox aside, this is a lovely, thick moisturizer that smells clean and herbal. It made my dry skin look plumped up right away and that's what I'm looking for in a moisturizer! Birchbox was kind enough to include a $3 off coupon. 
    • Full Size: 50g for $18.00|Sample Value: 7g, valued at $2.52

  • Nail Rock Glitter: The UK brand's two-step system for the sparkliest mani ever. Accent nail, anyone? Use two coats of polish. Dip wet nails into glitter pot, let dry 20 minutes, and shine on. I've seen these kits around but have never picked one up for myself. I'll definitely try it out, but glitter is messy so I'm kind of wary. The glitter color is GORGEOUS, though. I included a picture below! Luckily I received a blue color, which is one of my favorites. I'll definitely have to post my results!
    • Full Size: $7.00 for one kit|Sample Value: FULL SIZE! $7.00

  • Lastly, the 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara. All-natural lash conditioning wonder that thickens and lengthens with real fruit pigments. Use two coats for extra volume. The nonirritating formula is ideal for sensitive eyes. I'm a total mascara addict, and I'm a big fan of the 100% Pure line for using all plant-based ingredients. I love their sugar scrubs! Below I included some pictures. You can see how dramatic a change I saw from two coats of the mascara. I wore it all day and it didn't flake, smudge, or make my lashes feel crispy. Plus, it smells like blueberries - absolutely intoxicating! I definitely will be purchasing a full size of this one. 
    • Full Size: 7g for $18.00|Sample Value: 3g, valued at $7.71

So there you have it!
My Birchbox for this month was worth a total of $27.42!
That's almost 3 times the $10 I paid. I really loved the mascara, the perfume, and the moisturizer.
What did you receive in your Birchbox? 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Zoya Liberty

Zoya Liberty in Sunlight

Hi everyone! 
I have a gorgeous polish to show you today - Zoya's Liberty from their summer 2013 PixieDust collection. 
I bought the entire collection but for some reason didn't show much of it on the blog. 
I'm so in love with the color, though, that I just had to show you as well!
Zoya Liberty is a gorgeous medium blue in their PixieDust formula - a matte sparkle texture that's both paradoxical and awesome. Two coats here with no topcoat. I bet this is gorgeous with topcoat!

These PixieDusts wear like absolute iron on me. The last time I wore one, I got a week and a half's wear out of it and that's unheard of for me. Anything over a day is great in my book!

Zoya Liberty - Indirect Light

You don't see my right hand too often on the blog. A couple of the nails on my "swatching hand" broke, so I decided to showcase my other hand. Thank goodness I have two. :-P

Hope all of you are having fantastic weeks! I'll be over here, waving my hands around so I can see Liberty glint all of her PixieDust glory into the sunlight :) 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

FOTD 01.09.14: Smoke and Bronze!


Hello, everyone!
I'm trying to wear more makeup in 2014 because I just have SO much.
Today's FOTD was simple - I wanted a more smoky eyeliner, and I wanted to use the new Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer I bought in a little kit at Sephora last week. Believe it or not, I don't really *do* bronzer. It's just something that's never worked its way into my makeup routine. 

Here's what I used:

  • Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil. Two drops in my palm applied to my cheeks and forehead, since those are areas where I especially get dry. I love face oils for light moisture that doesn't make you greasy. Plus, they plump and soften the skin so that foundation looks absolutely amazing. I got a little sample of this at Sephora the other day and I may be buying the full-size, I love it so far!
  • Dr Jart+ Premium BB Cream. You know it's my favorite. Love this for an even, natural finish.
  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light to give the BB Cream just a little more coverage.
  • Milani Naturals blush in Tea Rose. I love this stuff! Got it on clearance at CVS awhile ago and I'm sad I didn't buy more. It's the most gorgeous, finely milled, pigmented blush. I haven't found anything from the drugstore that's quite like it. It's my go-to blush when I want something natural-looking.
  • Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer. I bought a kit of Too Faced minis the other day while browsing at Sephora and this was included. Like I said above, I'm not much of a bronzer person, but this bronzer may change my mind. It has cocoa powder in it, which makes it smell like chocolate! It smells absolutely divine. It's finely milled and matte, so it goes on smoothly and doesn't make it look like you fell into a pit of glitter. How do you think it looks on my face? I liked how much warmth it gave me. I may buy the full size in the lighter Milk Chocolate Soleil because of how pale I am.
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion in the Original formula. I tested out Too Faced's Shadow Insurance yesterday and was pleased with the results. Today I'm seeing how UDPP compares. 
  • Wet 'N' Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio in Walking on Eggshells. I have been absolutely loving this one for a go-to neutral day look. It's got a soft pink champagne shimmer color as the eyelid color, a warm shimmery brown and the crease, and a beige as the highlight for the browbone. The trio contains all shimmery colors, but I find that it's not shimmer overload when I use it. Definitely a steal at around $3.
  • Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner in the color Saletii, which is a deep charcoal grey. I received this pencil ages ago in my Birchbox. (There's my referral link, by the way. I'll get 50 Birchbox points if you sign up!) This is a lovely, creamy and blendable eyeliner that stays put once it sets. It feels so cushiony and soft on the eye and didn't tug or pull whatsoever. I definitely will be buying one of these next time I cash in my Birchbox points. (I'm at almost 500.)
  • Avon Glimmersticks Liqui-Glide Eyeliner in Black to smoke out the lashline and waterline. This stuff feels so awesome! Has the cool, wet feeling of a liquid liner but it's in pencil form.
  • ybf beauty Automatic Eye Pencil in Universal Taupe to give my caterpillar brows just the tiniest bit of definition. Another Birchbox find.
  • Too Faced Better than Sex mascara, 2 coats. This was another mini size I got in the kit from Sephora. Now, you all know that Benefit's They're Real is my all-time FAVORITE mascara. It can do no wrong for me. But this one...this one is seriously giving it a run for its money. Two coats and my lashes are volumized, lengthened, AND curled. This is serious stuff and I'm buying the full size ASAP! 
  • I wanted to keep it simple since I went a bit smoky on the eye, so I applied a sheer layer of Naked Princess Naked Shine Luscious Lip Gloss (dang, that's a mouthful) in Barely Nude. This was another Birchbox sample that I've become enamored with. It's a beautiful, cushiony soft gloss with a nice amount of pigment. As you can see, my lips look pretty nude! 
Well that's that! What did you guys think of my bronzey, smoky fotd today? 
What have been your favorite new makeup purchases? 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Glitter Gradient NOTD

Hey everyone :) I hope the new year is treating you well so far!
I wanted to share with you the first true "NOTD" of the year for me!
I put essie's Sable Collar on last night and I'm so in love with it, I don't want it to end.

So I dabbed Rainbow Honey's Don't Gingersnap at Me! on as a bit of a glitter gradient.

Sable Collar is a gorgeous, dusty mink brown/plum with a beautiful spark of warm shimmer running throughout it. Pictured is two coats. The formula is amazing and the polish basically applied itself. (purchase here)

Don't Gingersnap at Me! is a lovely mix of gold and copper glitters, with some iridescent little glitters as well. The formula on this one was really nice! Thin for a glitter and so workable. I didn't have an issue using this for a gradient at all. (purchase here)

Instagram version:

Happy New Year, lovelies.