Category Archives: Monthly Favorites

Latest Favorites 2016

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Latest 2016 Favorites

Latest 2016 Favorites

I have a Favorites post for you today.  I haven’t done a Monthly Favorites post for a few months because I didn’t feel like I had enough diversity in the products that I was using.  So instead I decided to do more of a seasonal favorites for the products that I’ve been loving for the last few months.  Some of these items have been featured in recent reviews, but most of them are new.  Let’s take a look.

Ofra Silicone Primer Gel

Ofra Silicone Primer Gel

First and foremost, I have really been loving this Ofra Silicone Primer Gel.  I have always been a fan of silicone primers, and my usual go-to option is the Smashbox PhotoFinish Primer.  The Ofra Silicone Primer Gel has a great, silky-smooth formula.  It’s much more lightweight than the Smashbox primer, but still fills in my pores and wrinkles.  It really makes foundation glide on smoothly and last all day.  It also has a cooling sensation when applied that feels great and is nicely invigorating.  I am a huge fan of this primer, and am glad that I gave it a try.

 It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream with SPF 50+

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream with SPF 50+

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream is nothing new to the market, but I had never tried it.  I picked up a deluxe sample after a friend recommended it to me, and I really enjoyed it.  The next time Ulta offered me a 20% off coupon, I had to purchase the full size version.  I love the formula.  It has great coverage, but still looks casual and natural.  It’s the perfect foundation type product for the summer to look like you put in some effort but not too over-done.  It also has SPF 50, so it offers some good sun protection.  It’s a cult favorite for a reason, and I love it.

Makeup Revolution Blushes

Makeup Revolution Blushes

I recently discovered Makeup Revolution Blushes, and I am so impressed with the formula and pigmentation.  It shouldn’t be a surprise, since I love Makeup Revolution Blush palettes, but sometimes the formula differs between palettes and single products.  That’s not the case here.  I started with The Matte Blush in the shade Fusion.  The pigmentation is off the charts here.  I use a duo fiber stipple brush to apply my blushes, so I love a blush with some really good pigmentation.  It is very finely milled and super smooth.  I’d say that it easily holds up to blushes that are 2 or 3 times the price.  Fusion is a lovely warm shade that looks great on my skin.  Next, the Makeup Revolution Baked Blusher in Make Love Instead took me by surprise.  I bought this blush on a whim because it is not my usual fare, but it is so pretty.  My cheeks just glow with it on.  I am way more likely to opt for something fun and shimmery in the summer, and this blush has been perfect.  It’s not as good quality as the matte blushes, but I’ve been enjoying it.  I have been so impressed with the Makeup Revolution brand in general, and these blushes have done nothing but keep the brand in high esteem.

Lorac Pro 3

Lorac Pro 3

It should be no surprise for you to see the Lorac Pro 3 Palette in this mix.  I love the Lorac Pro palettes, especially Pro 2, so when Pro 3 came out, I had to play with it.  I did a full review with swatches in June, so I am not going to get into too much detail here.  You can go ahead and click the link to get all of that information.  Let’s just say that the palette is great, surprisingly versatile, and definitely worth checking out.

TheBalm Meet Matt(e) Trimony Palette

TheBalm Meet Matt(e) Trimony Palette

I reviewed TheBalm Meet Matt(e) Trimony Palette earlier this week, so again, I won’t get into too much detail.  These shadows are really nice.  They will be especially good to have as we transition into Fall, but I’ve been enjoying them now too.  I definitely like this matte palette better than the previous matte palette from theBalm.  It’s laid out so much better and I feel like I will reach for it way more often.  In general, I think that theBalm is an underrated band, but this is a solid palette.  Be sure to check out my review post.

BECCA Beach Tint Shimmer Soufflé

BECCA Beach Tint Shimmer Soufflé

Is there any better time than summer to wear the BECCA Beach Tint Shimmer Soufflés?  They are so gorgeous, and I think that the smooshy gel to powder formula is pretty unique.  I got these on a super sale, but I think that they are worth the splurge even if you do have to pay full price.  I apply them with my e.l.f. Small Stipple brush, and they go on smoothly over foundation and powder for a radiant look.  I am especially loving the Watermelon/Moonstone shade (left), but the Papaya/Topaz (middle) is a fantastic shade for that bronzed goddess look.  I also have Raspberry/Opal (right) which has a cooler tone, but is just as lovely.  I know that that they are rather splurgey for this blog, but they are so beautiful.

ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Bumble

ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Bumble

I am still loving the ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Bumble.  It’s so good!   I love how transfer proof it is.  I hate it when lip product gets on my straws or glasses when I drink water (which I do all day long).  I am not going to reach for an ultra matte lip all the time, but I do love how I can put this on and forget about it.  I know that it won’t budge on me.  I also love this dusty terracotta color.  It looks so good with my skintone.  I need to pick up a few more of these.

Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette

Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette

A few months ago I pulled the trigger on the Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette.  I’ve used it several times now, and I really like it.  This is an obvious drugstore take on the Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning products that are ridiculously priced.  This handy little gadget is about $15, which some of you may still think is ridiculously priced, but you can use the Ulta $3.50 off coupon to knock it down to $11.50.  With two brush cleanser samples included, I thought it was a reasonable price to try it out.  Anything to make brush cleaning faster and more efficient.  It really works.  It fits comfortably on my hand, and the little nubbies do a great job of agitating the bristles to get a deep clean.  The lip catches water nicely and it is dishwasher safe so you can keep any residue from building up.  Thumbs up.

ULTA Regular Instant Nail Polish Remover

Ulta Regular Instant Nail Polish Remover

My final favorite is this Ulta Regular Instant Nail Polish Remover.  I have never used one of these sponge removers, so I’m not sure how the Ulta version compares, but it is so good and only $4.  It easily takes off my polish, even when I’ve done some stamping and there are several layers of polish and topcoat, or if I am wearing water decals.  I don’t find the smell particularly offensive, which I appreciate.  The cuticle dauber is great for stubborn spots and can be used on toe nail polish if you so desire.  I’ve been using it for a couple months, and it is still going strong.  I will definitely repurchase when this tub is gone.

That’s it for what I have been loving lately.  I am not someone who feels like I have to stick to seasonal trends, so they may not necessarily be summer specific products.  But they definitely are great products that I can not get enough of.  I hope that you saw something that you liked.

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Monthly Favorites and Fails for April 2016

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April 2016 Monthly Favorites

April 2016 Monthly Favorites

We are already into the first week of May, and that means that it’s time for a Favorites post.  How can it possibly be May already!  This year is flying by.  Today I have my April Favorites and Fails.  For anyone new to the blog, Monthly Favorites are those products that particularly stood out to me, and ones that I reached for over and over throughout the month.  Fails are products that simply did not work out and I do not recommend, because it is just as important to know what products to avoid as it is to know which ones to get.  I’ve been preforming with my band at the Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire all month long.  We have a stage show, so my makeup has been very specific to go with the guidelines that our costume designer has set forth.  I’ve been playing with some new items, and also busted out a few old favorites that I hadn’t used in a while.  Let’s take a look at what I’ve been reaching for all month long.

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask

My first Favorite that I want to talk about is the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask.  This stuff is amazing!  I had a sample from Sephora around the Holidays that introduced me to the product.  I loved it so much, that I featured it in my December Favorites post.  I have chronically dry lips, and this lip treatment makes a huge difference.  I am going to say right off the bat that this formula is not going to be for everyone.  It is thick and waxy when you apply it, but once it warms up on the lips it melts into the skin.  This isn’t a lip balm that you throw in your pocket.  It is definitely an overnight lip treatment mask.  The main ingredients are lanolin, agave nectar, and jojoba oil.  A little does a long way, and even though the tube is only half an ounce, I am sure that it is going to last me a year.  I don’t love the $26 price tag, but I think that for my lips it is worth the splurge because it is wonderful.  (Although, I lucked out because I had a gift card to Sephora, so thanks Sarah, I put it to good use. 🙂 )

ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Bumble

ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Bumble

Speaking of lips, a surprising Favorite for the month was the ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Bumble.  I really did not expect to love this product so much.  I was worried that the ultra matte formula would be too drying and uncomfortable on my lips, but it really isn’t.  With long hours that I’ve been spending out at Faire, I wanted a lip color that would stay all day through singing and drinking a lot of water.  I also can’t stand it when my lip color transfers to cups or straws.  Bumble does not budge, and it is exactly what I was looking for.  As long as I don’t eat anything greasy or oily, then I am golden.  (Oil breaks most long-lasting lip colors down.)  These lip colors go on as a liquid lip color and definitely dry down completely matte.  You can see a reflection is this photo where the swatch was thicker and hadn’t quite dried yet, but the rest of the swatch is matte.  ColourPop describes Bumble as a “dusty warm terracotta” shade.  It is beautiful, and has been the perfect lip product for me this past month.

NYX Q10 Renew Skin Elixir

NYX Q10 Renew Skin Elixir

I’ve been playing with some different primers lately, and I rediscovered my NYX Q10 Renew Skin Elixir.  I forgot how much I liked this primer.  It has a creamy, lightweight formula with a fresh, unassuming scent.  It infuses the skin with CoEnzyme Q10 that brightens and softens for a flawless foundation application.  NYX Q10 Renew Skin Elixir is especially lovely for those with slightly dry or mature skin.  The added moisture boost will leave your skin soft and supple, but not so much so that it mucks up your foundation.  CoQ10 boosts collagen and elastin production, which wains once you leave your twenties behind.  The Renew Skin Elixir will help to temporarily gain a smooth, bright, and youthful appearance.  I think that NYX Q10 Renew Skin Elixir is targeted at those with normal to slightly dry skin or mature skin.  The Elixir does a great job at smoothing out flakes and rough patches so foundation doesn’t get stuck on them.  The formula absorbs quickly and does not leave skin tacky or sticky.  It feels lovely and my foundation lasts all day.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

Another surprising Favorite for me is the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge.  For years I have said that I prefer flat-top kabuki brushes to apply my foundation.  I’ve tried beauty sponges, including this sponge, and never understood the draw.  My skin went through a period where it was rebelling, and I’ve had some texture issues.  I just wasn’t liking the way my foundation was laying on my skin, so in desperation, I tried the Real Techniques sponge again.  You guys, seriously, I don’t even know what to say.  It’s like someone flipped a switch in my brain and I suddenly get it now.  I have seen the light and I am freaking loving this silly little sponge.  I’ve been using the Cover Girl Outlast Stay Fabulous Foundation for it’s staying power, and the sponge applies it beautifully.  The foundation lays really well when I use the sponge, even over texture issues.  I am not saying that I will be giving up my flat-top kabuki brushes forever, but beauty sponges in general, and this Real Techniques sponge in particular, will definitely be a part of my regular rotation from now on.

Makeup Revolution New-Trals vs. Neutrals Eyeshadow Palette

Makeup Revolution New-Trals vs. Neutrals Eyeshadow Palette

A new item that has become a fast Favorite is the Makeup Revolution New-Trals vs. Neutrals Eyeshadow Palette.  I promise to do a full review with swatches soon.  In the mean time though, let me just say that you all need this palette.  According to Ulta: “New-Trals are the new Neutrals! Upgrade your new natural eye looks with the new generation of natural shades in Makeup Revolution’s New-Trals vs. Neutrals.”  I bought this palette because the shades looked similar enough to the Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette to allow me to resist temptation.  The shadows are gorgeous and they apply smoothly.  I don’t have issues with flaking or fading, and I think that the Makeup Revolution formula is really nice.  The formula reminds me of the Wet N Wild 8-pan palette shadows.  Bonus, this palette is only $10 and you can use the Ulta $3.50 off of $10 coupon, so you can get it for $6.50.  Seriously, put this palette on your list.

The Body Shop Brazil Nut Shower Cream

The Body Shop Brazil Nut Shower Cream

My final Favorite for April is The Body Shop Brazil Nut Shower Cream.  It’s an odd scent for this time of year, I know, but it smells so good that I can’t resist it.  I love the Shower Cream formula.  It is so moisturizing.  The formula is silky and smooth, and so luxurious on the skin.  I love the Brazil Nut scent, though it’s hard to describe.  It’s like caramel, white chocolate, or vanilla, but… not.  It’s sweet and nutty and delicious.  I’ve really been loving it.  (So, I got this bottle a while ago and didn’t realize until today that The Body Shop has discontinued the scent.  You can still get it online, but not from The Body Shop.  Sorry about that.)

That does it for my Favorites, now onto my Fails.

LORAC Color Correcting (CC) Cream

LORAC Color Correcting (CC) Cream

I only have one Fail for April, but it was such a disaster that one was definitely enough.  I’m talking about the LORAC Color Correcting (CC) Cream.  I got the CC Cream as an Ulta 21 days of beauty special, so it was only $15 instead of the full $30 that it normally retails for.  This product is straight up horrible.  The CC Cream is supposed to “instantly neutralize redness and imperfections with a natural-looking, semi-matte finish. This 6-in-1 specially-tinted makeup neutralizes, primes, moisturizes, brightens, soothes and helps your skin look healthy and youthful. CC Cream is oil, silicone, paraben and fragrance free and is suitable for all skin types.”  What the CC Cream really does is apply streaky, sinks into pores, and emphasizes every flaw.  I got the “Light” shade, and it is very light with highly yellow undertones.  I tried it on two separate occasions, applied once with a brush and once with the RT sponge I mentioned above, and both times were so disastrous that I had to completely remove my makeup and start over from scratch.  Am I missing something?  Do any of you have this CC Cream and like it?  Please tell me your experience and let me know if you have any tips because it didn’t work for me at all.  It’s like my skin was rejecting the formula.  I really don’t know what LORAC was thinking.

That’s it for my Favorites and Fails for April 2016.  I hope that you saw something that you liked.  I still can’t believe that it is already May.  I’ve been super busy and will continue that way for at least another month or so.  Things should ease up over the summer.  I don’t know if I mentioned it here on the blog, but I injured my knee pretty seriously over the Holidays, and I am still healing.  I am doing much better now, but I am still using a crutch or a cane and keeping my knee in a brace.  My difficulty getting around makes me so much more tired and makes it a lot harder to get things done.  I’m sure that you’ve noticed that my posts have been pretty few and far between lately.  I’ve just been having a hard time over the last several months and I’ve had to let go of the blog a bit.  That’s the way it goes sometimes.  Anyway, what were some of your favorite products for April?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

March 2016 Monthly Favorites

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March 2016 Favorites

March 2016 Favorites

It’s the first day of April, so that means that it’s time for a Favorites post.  Today I have my March favorites and Fails.  For anyone new to the blog, Monthly Favorites are those products that particularly stood out to me, and ones that I reached for over and over throughout the month.  Fails are products that simply did not work out and I do not recommend, because it is just as important to know what products to avoid as it is to know which ones to get.  March was pretty low key for me, makeup-wise, so you will probably recognize most of these products.  Let’s get onto what I’ve been loving.

Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft-Matte Hydrating Foundation

Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft-Matte Hydrating Foundation

I’ve been wanting a natural-skin look lately, so I am still loving the Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft-Matte Hydrating Foundation.  It just works really well for me.  It has a lovely satin finish, and I can get away with only one layer for nice, natural coverage.  It evens out my redness, but I can still see my freckles ever so slightly peeking through.  I love it.  It’s not for everybody.  If you have normal skin or are only a little dry, you will probably love this foundation. People with very dry skin (thankfully I’ve managed to exit that category) or oily skin will have problems with this formula.  The color selection is also pretty tricky because many of the shades lean either strongly yellow or strongly pink.  But, if you can find a shade match and you are neither too oily nor too dry, this foundation is great.

Ben Nye Luxury Powder in Banana

Ben Nye Luxury Powder in Banana

I’ve been totally digging the Ben Nye Banana Powder this month.  I really like the yellow tones in this powder to help combat my redness.  My skin tone is mostly neutral with some warm yellow undertones, so the banana powder works very well for me.  It is very finely milled and the powder gives me a smooth and brightened look that I enjoy.  Loose powder is not my favorite thing because it is such a mess, but I have been enjoying it a lot.  It gives me a great finished look.

Inglot Palette

Inglot Palette

I’ve been reaching for my Inglot palette a lot this past month.  I was really tempted to get the TooFaced Peanut Butter and Jelly Palette.  Those warm orangey browns really called to me, but I didn’t want to buy it because I thought that there were only a limited number of looks that I could get out of that palette.  Then I remembered that I had similar shades in my Inglot palette and could accomplish roughly the same looks.  Once I started using the palette again, I couldn’t put it down.  For those who haven’t tried them, Inglot shadows are fantastic.  They are extremely pigmented and easy to apply.  This is a Freedom System palette, meaning that I bought the empty palette and then filled it with any shadows I wanted.  The shadows are huge, come in hundreds of shades in a variety of finishes, and are $7 each.  I chose greens, oranges, pinks and gold with a few neutrals to anchor the palette.  There are so many different looks that I can get out of these shadows from extremely bold and colorful, to a neutral day look.  I definitely don’t feel like I need the TooFaced Peanut Butter and Jelly anymore.

Makeup Revolution Ultra Professional Blush Palette in Sugar and Spice

Makeup Revolution Ultra Professional Blush Palette in Sugar and Spice

My go-to blush product all month has been the Makeup Revolution Ultra Professional Blush Palette in Sugar and Spice.  Specifically, I’ve been reaching for the first two shades in the palette.  I have a full review and swatches of all 8 shades in this palette, so be sure to check that out for more details.  The blushes are pigmented, smooth, and last well on my skin.  For $10, you get six blush shades in varying finishes and two shimmer highlight shades. It’s a great palette and I can’t get enough of it.

Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia Jasmine

Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia Jasmine

I don’t actually have my last favorite to show you, so I am including the product picture.  I got a sample of Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia Jasmine from Sephora, and I love it.  I’ve mentioned many times that the original Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia is one of my favorite fragrances.  I had to try this version.  I am not great at describing scents, so here is the description from Sephora: “The warmth and serenity of Acqua di Gioia takes on a new lushness with Acqua di Gioia Jasmine. This floral, fruity new interpretation blends key notes of jasmine with green apple, orange flower, and sweet base notes for a greener, crisper interpretation.”  It is just as fresh and clean a scent as the original, but the fruit and florals evoke a completely different experience.  I really love it.

That does it for my favorites, now onto my Fails.  Always keep in mind that my reviews are based on my specific experience with these products, and good or bad, you may have different results.  So, just because I give a product a bad review, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a bad product.  It just means that it did not work for me.

CoTZ Face Natural SPF 40

CoTZ Face Natural SPF 40

My first fail was a sample of the CoTZ Face Natural SPF 40 that I got from Ipsy.  I ran out of SPF and was going to be out in the sun, so I threw this item in my makeup bag.  Though it did offer me some sun protection, I felt that it dried out my skin.  I did not like the way that it felt, and I thought that my foundation looked odd layered over it.  This would probably be a great product for someone with oily skin, but it was not a good fit for me.

Smashbox Full Exposure Waterproof Mascara

Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara

My final Fail for March was the Smashbox Full Exposure  Mascara.  I am not sure if this is the waterproof version or not.  It’s in a silver tube, but it doesn’t say waterproof on the product.  I can’t for the life of me remember where I got this mascara (I didn’t go out and buy it), so I can’t check.  Either way, I am not impressed.  First of all, the brush is gigantic.  It is so big that I keep poking myself in the eye.  Second, the formula just doesn’t do anything for me.  My lashes are short and pretty wimpy, so I look for length and volume in a mascara.  Smashbox Full Exposure didn’t help me in either department.  It coated my lashes, but they didn’t look fuller or longer.  It really didn’t work for me at all.

That’s it for my Favorites and Fails for March 2016.  I hope that you saw something that you liked.  I will be trying some new products in April that I recently hauled during Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty, so stay tuned to see if any of those pop up in my next Favorites and Fails post.  What were some of your favorites for March?  Let me know in the comments below.

Monthly Favorites and Fails for January/February 2016

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Jan/Feb Favorites

Jan/Feb Favorites

I blinked and we are already ten days into March.  Where is the time going?  It is definitely time for a Favorites post.  For anyone new to the blog, Monthly Favorites are those products that particularly stood out to me, and ones that I reached for over and over throughout the month.  Fails are products that simply did not work out and I do not recommend, because it is just as important to know what products to avoid as it is to know which ones to get. I mentioned at the end of January that I was going to combine January and February’s Favorites into one post.  It’s been a weird couple of months for me.  I’ve been really busy and distracted.  I’ve also been injured, so I haven’t been inclined to go out as often as I otherwise would have.  All of this is reflected in my Favorites and Fails because you will be seeing fewer makeup products and more body products in this post.  So let’s get into the products that I have been loving for the last two months.

It Cosmetics No. 50 Serum Primer and It Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness

It Cosmetics No. 50 Serum Primer and It Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness

Let’s start with this combination from It Cosmetics.  It is the No. 50 Serum Anti-Aging Collagen Veil Primer and the Bye Bye Redness Neutralizing Correcting Cream.  This was my go-to primer/foundation combo throughout January.  My skin was having trouble while I was testing out the L’Oreal Revitalift Volume Filler Skincare line, and these products helped me out so much.  I’ve talked abut Bye Bye Redness here on the blog before.  It blends easily and has great coverage, even for rosacea flare-ups. It has an ultra matte finish though, so that’s where the Serum primer comes in. No. 50 is extremely hydrating without being greasy.  It packs in a lot of moisture, but you can still apply foundation over it with no problem.  The formula is silky smooth and feels great.  If you are interested in the primer, Ulta has No. 50 featured during the 21 Days of Beauty of 4/2 for 50% off.  It is definitely worth checking out.

Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft-Matte Hydrating Foundation

Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft-Matte Hydrating Foundation

While I did enjoy my combination from It Cosmetics in January, as soon as I found the Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft-Matte Hydrating Foundation, I ran with it and never looked back.  Seriously, this foundation is the bomb.  It has a lovely satin finish.  I can get away with only one layer for nice, natural coverage.  It evens out my redness, but I can still see my freckles ever so slightly peeking through.  I love it.  Even my husband commented that it looked nice.  If you have normal skin or are only a little dry, you will probably love this foundation. People with very dry skin (thankfully I’ve managed to exit that category) or oily skin will have problems with this formula.  The color selection is also pretty tricky because many of the shades lean either strongly yellow or strongly pink.  But, if you can find a shade match and you are neither too oily nor too dry, this foundation is great.

e.l.f. Illuminating Palette

e.l.f. Illuminating Palette

I have really been enjoying my e.l.f. Illuminating Palette.  I did a review of the Illuminating Palette back in early January, so be sure to check that out for all of the details and some swatches.  The powders are finely milled and blend easily.  I really love the more subtle shimmer shades, as you can probably tell by how dirty the lower half of the palette looks in that photo.  They are both fantastic highlighting shades for my skin tone.  I am not a fan of the light pink shade in the upper right square, but the other three shades are great, and I am so glad that I got this palette.

Soap & Glory Hand Food

Soap & Glory Hand Food

Moving to body products, I’ve been loving Soap & Glory Hand Food.  This is such a nice hand lotion. I picked up a Holiday set that contained three different scents of Hand Food, and this is the original.  The original Hand Food has a delightful scent of fresh roses and tea with lemon.  What’s great about it is that Hand Food gives me the moisture that I need without feeling greasy.  The lotion dries down pretty quickly.  I hate lotions that linger after I rub them in and make me want to avoid touching anything for a few minutes.  No one’s got time for that.  Hand Food smells amazing and it feels great in the skin. If you haven’t tried it, I strongly recommend it.

Ahava Mineral Botanic Velvet Cream Wash in Hibiscus & Fig

Ahava Mineral Botanic Velvet Cream Wash in Hibiscus & Fig

My final favorite for today is the Ahava Mineral Botanic Velvet Cream Wash in Hibiscus & Fig.  I can’t even describe how luxurious this body wash is.  I picked up the Ahava Starter Kit from Ulta to try out some products from the brand.  This 3 oz sample was included in the kit.  “Velvet Cream Wash” is the perfect name for this formula.  It is silky soft, velvety, creamy, and all things luxurious.  It feels so moisturizing, but it doesn’t leave any sort of film on your skin.  I don’t know how they do it.  The scent is the perfect blend of fruit and floral to smell sweet, without being cloying and sophisticated without feeling old or dated.  I love this scent so much.  The full size 17 oz bottle is $24, so it isn’t something that I would buy all the time.  I do think that it is wort the occasional splurge, though, because it is fabulous.

That does it for my favorites, now onto my Fails.  Always keep in mind that my reviews are based on my specific experience with these products, and good or bad, you may have different results.  So, just because I give a product a bad review, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a bad product.  It just means that it did not work for me.

Ahava Dead Sea Mineral Hand Cream

Ahava Dead Sea Mineral Hand Cream

Another product in that Ahava Starter Kit was the Ahava Dead Sea Mineral Hand Cream.  You know how when I was talking about Soap & Glory Hand Food, I said that I hate lotions that linger after I rub them in and make me want to avoid touching anything for a few minutes?  The Dead Sea Mineral Hand Cream is a big offender in that area.  The formula is so greasy, and what’s worse is that it isn’t even that mpoisturizing.  I end up wanting to apply more lotion to my hands within the hour.  It also has a funky small that is both herbal and powdery at the same time.  This sample is only about two-thirds of an ounce, but I don’t think that I’m going to be able to finish it.  I really hate the way it makes my skin feel.

ImPress Press-on Manicure

ImPress Press-on Manicure

The last product that I have to talk about is the ImPress Press-on Manicure.  Okay, before you judge me, I have a Youtuber that I have watched for years who uses these press-on nails all the time.  Her nail always look beautiful and these designs are gorgeous.  I don’t necessarily think that these nails are a bad product.  I think that my particular nails are too small for them and that’s why they didn’t work for me.  I have pretty small hands, and very narrow nail beds.  I had a really hard time trying to find nails in the Impress Kit that fit me.  In general, they all ended up being too big, so they felt really uncomfortable and in some cases mildly painful once they were on.  The adhesive seemed pretty good, but I could not handle keeping them on my fingers.  I think that if you have larger nail beds than I do, these may work well for you, but I couldn’t make them work for me.

That’s it for my Favorites and Fails for January and February.  I hope that you saw something that you liked.  What were some of your favorite items for the month?  Let me know in the comments below.

Monthly Favorites (and Fails) for November and December 2015

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Monthly Favorites

Monthly Favorites

It’s time for my last Monthly Favorites (and Fails) post of 2015.  You may have noticed that I didn’t do a Favorites post last month.  I just didn’t have enough products to make up a post, so instead of forcing it, I figured that I would combine November and December.  For anyone new to the blog, Monthly Favorites are those products that particularly stood out to me, and ones that I reached for over and over throughout the month.  Fails are products that simply did not work out and I do not recommend, because it is just as important to know what products to avoid as it is to know which ones to get. So these are the products that I have been loving for the last two months.

Michael Todd True Organics Hydration Boost

Michael Todd True Organics Hydration Boost

My number one, can’t get enough of it, holy grail favorite for the month is definitely the Michael Todd True Organics Hydration Boost.  I had been using the Hydration Boost, but had run out in October.  I really noticed the difference in my skin without it, even though I was using the same moisturizer.  I placed a Michael Todd order on Black Friday, and I am thrilled to have the Hydration Boost back.  My skin feels so much more hydrated and healthy with it.  Especially now that winter cold has set in and is trying to dry me out, the Hydration Boost is vital in my skin care regimen.

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask

My next skincare type favorite is one that I only had a sample of, so this product photo is from Sephora.  This is the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask.  This stuff is amazing!  I have chronically dry lips, and this lip treatment makes a huge difference.  I am going to say right off the bat that this formula is not going to be for everyone.  It is thick and waxy when you apply it, and I definitely had my doubts at first.  Once it warms up on the lips, however, it melts into the skin and provides so much healing moisture that I am a little blown away.  This isn’t a lip balm that you throw in your pocket.  It is definitely an overnight lip treatment mask.  The main ingredients are lanolin, agave nectar, and jojoba oil.  A little does a long way, and even though the tube is only half an ounce, I am sure that it would last for several months of daily use.  It is $26 on Sephora’s website, which is pretty hefty, but it just might be worth the splurge because it is wonderful.

MUA Professional Eyeshadow Palettes

MUA Professional Eyeshadow Palettes

Next up are the MUA Professional Eyeshadow Palettes.  If you haven’t seen my review and swatches of these palettes, be sure to check it out.  I have really been enjoying these MUA palettes.  The shades are lovely, and they have been so much fun to play with.  They are really nice for drugstore palettes.  MUA is only available at CVS here in the States.  There is a good chance that you can score these palettes on sale or with a coupon and I think that they are worth checking out.

LORAC Love, Lust & Lace Matte Eye Shadow Palette

LORAC Love, Lust & Lace Matte Eye Shadow Palette

Because the MUA palettes have no matte shades, I have been pairing them with the LORAC Love, Lust & Lace Matte Eye Shadow Palette.  This was one of the $12 Black Friday palettes that Lorac sells through Ulta every year.  I never got any of the Urban Decay Naked Basics palettes, but this one is the same idea.  There are five matte neutral shades, and this is a great palette to mix in with other palettes that may be missing these essential shades.  I know it is sold out on Ulta’s website, but may still be available at your local Ulta store.  If so, pick it up.

Milani Rose Powder Blush in Romantic Rose

Milani Rose Powder Blush in Romantic Rose

I’ve been reaching for my Milani Rose Powder Blush in Romantic Rose quite a bit.  I reviewed two of these Rose Powder Blushes from Milani over the summer, in case you missed it.  I love this shade.  It is a muted, nude rose shade in a similar color family to Tarte Exposed.  It is a very subtle color, but it looks gorgeous on the skin.  The look is minimal and natural, but beautiful.  And of course, I can’t mention this blush without talking about that beautiful embossed rose.  Even though I have used the blush a lot since I got it, the rose is still going strong.  It is a winner.

Maybelline Master Hi-Light blush in Mauve

Maybelline Master Hi-Light blush in Mauve

You may remember the Maybelline Master Hi-Light blush in Mauve that I was obsessed with last year.  Well I busted it out again, and reminded myself why I loved it so much.  It is such a beautiful shade, and it wears really well.  It is sort of a plum toned rose-gold shade with beautiful shimmer that doesn’t look chunky or glittery.  It gives me a lovely sheen and looks great.  A little goes a really long way, so I’ll have this blush for a long time. You can see my review and swatches of both this blush and one of the bronzers here.

That does it for my favorites, now onto my Fails.  Always keep in mind that my reviews are based on my specific experience with these products, and good or bad, you may have different results.  So, just because I give a product a bad review, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a bad product.  It just means that it did not work for me.  And these next two products definitely did not work for me.

e.l.f. Daily Hydration Moisturizer

e.l.f. Daily Hydration Moisturizer

I reviewed the e.l.f. Daily Hydration Moisturizer, and I recommend that you read it because it isn’t necessarily a bad product.  It just didn’t work for me.  The packaging is frustrating, and there are definitely some issues in the formula, mostly that it does not contain SPF and it does have fragrance (though I did like the fresh scent).  I thought that the formula was nice and hydrating and it felt good on the skin.  The moisturizer broke me out, so ultimately I couldn’t use it, but I ended up giving it to a friend who liked it a lot.

Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit

Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit

The biggest dud that I have tried in a while has to be the Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit.  If you read my review, you know that these shadows were terrible.  There were a few decent shades, but overall the palettes lacked pigmentation and the formula varied wildly from shade to shade.  While some of the shimmer shades were nice, other shades were hard and chalky.  The blue toned palette was especially bad.  I did like the green toned palette, but not enough to make the kit worth it.  It was such a disappointment.

That’s it for my Favorites and Fails for November and December.  I hope that you saw something that you liked.  What were some of your favorite items for the month?  Let me know in the comments below.  I am so excited by all of the new items that are releasing for Spring 2016.  I am trying to keep a tight reign on my spending because lord knows that I don’t need more makeup.  But there are some really interesting products popping up in the drugstore, plus all of the spring collections from prestige brands.  What new releases are you most excited for?  Have you gotten anything new for Spring 2016 that you want to tell me about?  Share with me in the comments.

October 2015 Monthly Favorites

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October Favorites

October Favorites

I am finally back from my vacation and somewhat settled in.  I came down with a pretty bad head cold the last day of my trip that has moved into my chest, so I took a couple extra days to rest up.  I’m feeling better now, though, so it is time to get back to blogging.  Today I have my Monthly Favorites post for October.  For anyone new to the blog, Monthly Favorites are those products that particularly stood out to me, and ones that I reached for over and over throughout the month.  This is the second month in a row that didn’t have any fails (go me), so I am going to get right into my favorites because there are a lot of them.

Revlon Nearly Naked Powder & Cover Girl Outlast Stay Fabulous Foundation

Revlon Nearly Naked Powder & Cover Girl Outlast Stay Fabulous Foundation

It’s been a year, but I am bringing back my favorite foundation/powder combo, the Revlon Nearly Naked Powder & Cover Girl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation.  I was obsessed with both of these products toward the end of 2013 and all through 2014.  I used both products up completely (two of the foundation, actually) and decided to move on to other things over the last year.  With my Walt Disney World trip, however, I wanted to go back to this combo.  The Cover Girl Outlast Stay Fabulous is really great and unique because it works equally well for those with oily or dry skin.  Very few products truly are for all skin types, but this foundation really is.  The foundation is mattifying, without drying out your skin or making it look dull or mask-like.  It has solid medium coverage, but is still lightweight and not cakey.  The best part is that it lasts all day long, even in the worst heat and humidity (hello Florida).  I definitely think that it is one of the best drugstore options for foundation and I really needed it during my Disney trip.  Revlon Nearly Naked is such a good pressed powder.  I love how lightweight it is, and the soft focus effect it gives to my skin is lovely.  It blurs the imperfections and makes me look younger.  Revlon Nearly Naked is (for me) the absolute best powder in the drugstore and I am so happy to have it again.  Florida was hot and sticky, and I felt like I was melting every single time I stepped out the door.  I got rained on and completely soaked on Splash Mountain, I was super sweaty the entire time, and I needed my makeup to survive extremely long days.  This combo lasted an impressively long time in a variety of challenging circumstances.  I have experimented with a lot of foundations and powders, and though I have liked some of them quite a bit, this combo is still what works best for me.

Ben Nye Luxury Powder in Banana

Ben Nye Luxury Powder in Banana

I’ve been meaning to mention this next product for a while because I have been using it off and on for the last several months. But October is when I really dug into my Ben Nye Banana Powder.  This is a cult favorite in the beauty community, and many of you have probably heard of it, if you don’t already own it yourself.  I really like the yellow tones in this powder to help combat my redness.  My skin tone is mostly neutral with some warm yellow undertones, so the banana powder works very well for me.  It is very finely milled and the powder gives me a smooth and brightened look that I enjoy.  Loose powder is not my favorite thing because it is such a mess, so this will never be my go-to setting powder, but I have been enjoying it.

Makeup Revolution Ultra Professional Blush Palette

Makeup Revolution Ultra Professional Blush Palette

My go-to blush product all month has been the Makeup Revolution Ultra Professional Blush Palette in Sugar and Spice.  There will be a full review for this product coming, so don’t worry.  In the meantime, I did swatch some of my favorite shades from the palette.  This was wonderful in Florida because I needed to be economical with my packing.  The palette is compact, but gave me the variety I wanted.  The blushes are pigmented, smooth, and last well on my skin.  For $10, you get six blush shades in varying finishes and two shimmer shades.  There is a similar palette in Hot Spice available, and I have enjoyed this one so much that I may have to pick up the other one too.  Seriously, get to Ulta and check this out.  I’ll try to get the review up soon.

Tarte Light Of The Party Collector’s Makeup Case

Tarte Light Of The Party Collector’s Makeup Case

For eyes I have been loving my new Tarte Light Of The Party Collector’s Makeup Case.  I did a full swatch fest, so click over to this post to see everything included in the case and swatches of all the products.  I don’t know what it is about this palette, but I am so inspired by these shadows.  I have been especially loving the navy blue and chrome shadows in that last column for a look that I don’t normally go for.  The shadows are great, and I definitely recommend the case, especially if you are Sephora VIB or VIB Rouge and can take advantage of the sale going on now.

Physicians Forumula Sexy Boost Cat Eyes Mascara

Physicians Formula Sexy Boost Cat Eyes Mascara

I will admit that I bought the Physicians Formula Sexy Boost Cat Eyes Mascara during Ulta’s 40% off sale because of the packaging.  Could this get any freaking cuter?  The red “lace” flocking and that shoe charm!  I mean, come on.  As it turns out, I really like the mascara.  I took a risk because I have not loved Physicians Formula mascaras in the past, but the Sexy Boost Cat Eyes Mascara gives me long flirty lashes.  It’s not the most volumizing, but it does give my wimpy lashes a nice boost and I am happy with it.

Makeup Forever Smoky Extravagant Mascara

Makeup Forever Smoky Extravagant Mascara

Speaking of mascara, I have been enjoying the Makeup Forever Smoky Extravagant Mascara.  I got this sample from Sephora at some point and finally pulled it out.  This was great in Florida.  It is really long-wearing and didn’t smudge on me, despite what I put it through.  Perhaps a little too long-wearing because it was a pain to remove at the end of the day, which is the only negative thing I have to say about it.  It gave me a ton of volume and I really like the formula.  I usually buy my mascaras at the drugstore, but if you go more on the higher end side for your lashes, the Makeup Forever Smoky Extravagant Mascara is a good choice.

Coastal Scents 4 Piece Interchangeable Palette

Coastal Scents 4 Piece Interchangeable Palette

The final Favorite product that I have to mention is, in some ways, something that I use everyday.  This is a Coastal Scents 4 Piece Interchangeable Palette that I created a while ago when I needed a new brow shadow.  I like the Coastal Scents Hot Pot in Timeless Taupe for my brow shade.  You can plug any of their Hot Pots into this magnetic palette, so I chose two brow shades (because I wasn’t sure which one I needed) and two pretty shades.  It’s these two bottom shades that I really want to talk about.  I used the heck out of them while I was at Disney World.  They were so handy for a pretty, but also very easy eye look.  The shades are: Gypsy Green– An opaque wash of verdant beauty with a slight satiny finish and Cherry Moss A reddish-brown hue with green iridescent shimmer.  They were perfect when I got lazy with my makeup, and I wore both shades so many times in October that I can’t even count them.  Coastal Scents Hot Pots are really inexpensive, but I think the formula is great.  They are a good size too.  Coastal Scents is an old favorite of mine.  If you haven’t tried them, you definitely should.

That’s it for my October Favorites.  I hope that you saw something that you liked.  What were some of your favorite items for October?  Let me know in the comments below.  My vacation was wonderful.  I had a blast, and I am so glad that we got the chance to go.  That being said, I am happy to be home.  The Holiday Season has hit early this year, and I am all for it.  I love the Holidays, so I am so excited.  There are so many great collections out for the Holidays.  I am going to have to really work on practicing restraint because at this point I want All-The-Things.  What Holiday products are you planning to pick up?  Are you hitting up the Sephora VIB sale?  Let me know what is on your wish list in the comments.

Monthly Favorites for September 2015

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Monthly Favorites September 2015

Monthly Favorites September 2015

It is time for my Monthly Favorites post for September.  I don’t know what it is, but I really love Favorites posts.  For anyone new to the blog, Monthly Favorites are those products that particularly stood out to me, and ones that I reached for over and over throughout the month.  I’ve been drawn to deep berry and gold shades all month long, and I’ve been trying to mix in some of my older products as well as trying new ones.  Lucky for me, September didn’t have any fails, so I am going to get right into my favorites.

Too Faced Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer

Too Faced Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer

I’ve been trying a new primer in September, and my choice was the Too Faced Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer.  My favorite primer is still the Smashbox Photofinish, but I have been enjoying Primed & Poreless.  It makes my skin feel so smooth, and foundation lays very evenly over it.  It doesn’t fill in my pores as well as Smashbox Photofinish, but I like the way my makeup looks over Primed & Poreless.  It’s a good option.

Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation

The foundation that I have been reaching for has been the new Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation.  I don’t think that the skin bettering ingredients are enough to really make a difference in skin quality, but I like the formula of the foundation and they way it makes my skin look.  It has a light-weight formula that blends easily over the skin.  It builds to medium coverage that looks natural and healthy.  I don’t think that it would do a great job controlling oil, but it feels great on normal-dry skin.  I wouldn’t count on it for real anti-aging or skin improvement, but it has SPF 15 and is a good drugstore foundation.  Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation comes in 12 shades.

Coastal Scents Forever Blush in Poetic

Coastal Scents Forever Blush in Poetic

My go-to blush for September has been Coastal Scents Forever Blush in Poetic.  Poetic is a warm, nude peach with a satin finish that looks good for any occasion.  I have raved about the Forever Blush formula before, so I won’t go into too much detail.  It applies smoothly, and the blushes have great pigmentation and staying power. You can read my full review to see swatches and get more details on the Forever Blushes.  Poetic is such a universally flattering shade, that I strongly recommend it.

Lorac Pro Palette 2

Lorac Pro Palette 2

I pulled out my Lorac Pro Pelette 2 during September and it was hard for me to want to use anything else.  For me, the Lorac Pro 2 has such a perfect mix of shades that I can easily come up with dozens of looks that are beautiful and distinct without having to think too much about it.  I love that, unlike the Naked palettes, there are plenty of matte shades as well as the shimmers for looks that have more complexity and that wear better on aging eyes.  The neutral everyday shades are appropriate for any situation, and the few colorful shades add some whimsy and set the Lorac Pro 2 apart from most other neutral palettes.  The mix of warm and cool tones makes the palette universally flattering and a good choice for anyone.  All the shades have great pigmentation and blend very well with each other without getting muddy.  I personally don’t need primer when I use LORAC shadows to get crease-free wear that lasts all day.  I can not recommend this palette enough, and it is one of my all-time favorite palettes. Feel free to read my full review of the Lorac Pro 2 for swatches.

Sleek Blush by 3 in Sugar

Sleek Blush by 3 in Sugar

When I wasn’t wearing Lorac Pro 2, I pulled out the Sleek Blush by 3 in Sugar and used that middle shade, Muscovado, for a golden berry eye look.  You guys, this shade!  It is amazing on the eyes.  Don’t get me wrong, I like wearing the three blushes in the Sugar palette in the Fall.  They are beautiful, extremely pigmented and long-wearing.  But using Muscovado as an eyeshadow was a stroke of brilliance.  I can’t get enough of the gorgeous rich berry shade with that lovely golden sheen.  It makes me so happy.

L’Oreal Glossy Balm Crayon in Petite Plum

L’Oreal Glossy Balm Crayon in Petite Plum

My final favorite of September is the L’Oreal Glossy Balm Crayon in Petite Plum.  The Glossy Balms are really comfortable on the lips.  They glide on as smooth as silk, and leave lips feeling hydrated.  They are definitely more moisturizing and have more slip than the Revlon Balm Stains.  They feel more like the Maybelline Color Whispers on the lips, but even more hydrating than those.  They really do feel like lip balm, so much so that I forget that I’m wearing lip color.  Petite Plum is a brown based plum shade with a lot of pigmentation.  It’s a great lip color for Fall.

That is all for my September Favorites.  I hope you saw something that you might want to check out for yourself.  There were several oldies but goodies mixed in with the new.  If you have used any of these products, I’d love to know what you thought of them in the comments below.  I am so excited that October is here.  I will be celebrating my 10th wedding anniversary!  I have so many fun things planned and at the end of the month I will be at Walt Disney World for 10 days.  It is going to be a wonderful month and I can not wait for the adventure to begin.