Category Archives: NYC

Influenster Frosty Box

Influenster Frosty Box

Influenster Frosty Box

Today I have a Frosty Box from Influenster, full of products to review.  It was chock full of both lifestyle items as well as beauty products.  For those who have never heard of Influenster, here is what they say on their “about” page:  “Influenster is a free-to-join community of trendsetters, social media masterminds, and educated consumers who live to give opinions of products and experiences.  The Influenster site is a hub where members meet to learn about new products from our favorite brands as well as review the products they already use in their day-to-day lives!  Influenster invites its most active members to participate in exclusive VoxBox programs where members receive complimentary products to test and review. In exchange, we ask our members to do what they already love to do: share their opinions with their friends & followers on social media!  But that’s not all. We have a lot going on including digital challenges, twitter parties, & contests!”  Check out for more info.  Now, on to the goodies.

Frosty Box Lifestyle products

Frosty Box Lifestyle products

There were three lifestyle products in my frosty box, and this time around they were all food items.  First off, I received a full bottle of McCormick Gourmet All Natural Thyme.  “The freshest flavors deserve a fresh new look! McCormick Gourmet’s Thyme imparts a light minty flavor that is distinctively warm and aromatic. We use FlavorSealed technology to lock in the fresh thyme flavor and deliver it to you.”  I am a fan of thyme, so it will come in handy for many dishes to come.  Next I got a packet of Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane decaf green tea.  “Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane is made with the very finest green tea leaves, peppermint and other botanicals, because at Celestial Seasonings, we know you are what you steep.”  I wasn’t too impressed with Candy Cane Lane to be honest, but peppermint teas aren’t my favorite to begin with.  If you like minty teas, you my enjoy it, but it wasn’t for me.  The final lifestyle product I received was a bag of Strawberry Fruit Vines Bites made by Red Vines.  “Fruit Vines Bites are a new, soft, chewy fruit candy, from the Red Vines family, available in two fruit flavors – strawberry and cherry.  Low fat and made with no preservatives, Fruit Vines Bites are available in three sizes.”  I was pleasantly surprised by the Fruit Vines Bites.  They are not waxy or chalky like some fruit snacks can be, and they don’t have a strongly artificial taste like some others do.  I don’t know about the Cherry flavor, but the Strawberry flavor tasted very authentic.  I liked them.  If you are someone who buys fruit snacks, you should give them a try.

EcoTools Style + Smoother hairbrush

EcoTools Style + Smoother hairbrush

Now, on to beauty products.  This is the EcoTools Style + Smoother hairbrush.  “A versatile half-round design provides the styling features of a round brush, while the cushioned paddle gently smoothes and detangles.”  I have naturally very straight hair that tangles easily.  This brush helps prevent static and frizz, and does a great job of getting tangles out without breaking my hair.  I’ve had a lot of success in styling my hair, both wet and dry, with this brush. The EcoTools Style + Smoother hairbrush is definitely worth trying, especially if you have naturally straight hair.

Rimmel London’s Scandaleyes Kohl Kajal Eyeliner

Rimmel London Scandaleyes Kohl Kajal Eyeliner

I was thrilled to see Rimmel London Scandaleyes Kohl Kajal Eyeliner in my Frosty Box.  “Get long lasting shocking color intensity with Rimmel London’s Scandaleyes Kohl Kajal Eyeliners.  Their high intensity pigments give you an instant color impact and the ultra smooth & creamy formula glides on easily.  They are waterproof, smudge-proof, sweat-proof, heat-proof, humidity-proof and scandal- proof!”  I reviewed these liners when they first came out about a year and a half ago.  The Scandaleyes Khol Kajal Liners have excellent staying power, and last on the lid all day without fading or smudging.  In the waterline, they last about 3-4 hours.  They are fantastic, and a great buy from the drugstore.  If you haven’t tried them yet, do it.

Rimmel London’s Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

Rimmel London Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

Also from Rimmel is the Gentle Eye Makeup Remover.  “At the end of the day, Just Let It Go with Rimmel London’s Gentle Eye Makeup Remover.  This Eye Makeup Remover gently removes all eye make up, including long lasting & waterproof make up, with no oily residue.  Gently remove all of your eye makeup and start fresh again in the morning!”  This one wasn’t a hit for me.  I agree that Rimmel’s formula is gentle and will not irritate the eyes.  It is true that there is no oily residue and it feels cooling on the skin.  However, it has a hard time with long-wearing or waterproof eye makeup.  Ironically, Rimmel’s Gentle Eye Makeup Remover can’t remove it’s own Scandaleyes Kohl Kajal Eyeliner.  If you usually go light on your eye makeup, you may enjoy this light and gentle formula.  But, if you favor dramatic looks or waterproof makeup, look elsewhere.  Rimmel London’s Gentle Eye Makeup Remover can’t keep up.

No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum

No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum

I received a sample of No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum.  This and the single tea packet were the only products I received that were not full sized.  “No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum – Visibly younger. Supercharge your skincare regime with this clinically proven serum. No7’s highly acclaimed Protect & Perfect Intense technology has been re-engineered to deliver even better anti-aging results.”  To be honest, don’t really have anything to say about this serum.  The packet was only good for about two uses, and it did not leave any impression on me one way or the other.  That tells me that the formula is pretty generic, and similar products can be easily found in the drugstore.

NYC Expert Last Lip Color

NYC Expert Last Lip Color in Sugar Plum

The final product in my Frosty Box is the NYC Expert Last Lip Color in the shade Sugar Plum.  “Ready to take your lips to the next level? Try our NEW Expert Last Lip Color in twenty tantalizing shades. Get intense amplified color and shine that lasts up to 6 hours! Our moisturizing formula glides of easily for a silky, smooth, velvety finish for all day wear.”  I liked the formula of the NYC Expert Last Lip Color, but Sugar Plum is not the shade for me.  The lipstick applied creamy and smooth, and felt moisturizing on the lips.  Unfortunately, Sugar Plum is too frosty a shade for me.  It emphasized lip lines and looked awful.  Sugar Plum might look great on younger or smoother lips, but my dry lips were not looking so hot.  I’d be willing to try a different shade in  the line, though, because the formula was nice.

voxboxThat’s it for my Frosty Box.  I was a little surprised that Influenster sent me a vox box because I have been absent from the site for a while, but I am glad that they did.  I love being able to try out new products, good or bad.  I ended up liking more than half the items in the box, so I’ll consider it a success.  I do not know if I will receive another one in the future, but I hope that I do.

FTC Disclosure: The products reviewed in this post were sent to me for free by Influenster for review.  This does not guarantee a positive review, and my thoughts on these products are 100% honest.  No other type of compensation was offered or accepted.

Monthly Favorites for March 2013

March 2013 favorites

March 2013 favorites

Well, April showers are here in full swing.  It’s a dark, gloomy, rainy day that looks less like spring and more like, say, October.  Despite to bad weather and poor lighting conditions, it’s past time to get my March Favorites up, so here they are.  These are the products that particularly stood out to me during the month of March.  But before we get into my favorites, I have a big favor to ask of you.

Paula’s Choice is the newest certified member of the Leaping Bunny program, and is holding a photo contest on facebook to help stand against animal testing and animal cruelty.  Each week, one photo will win a $100 Paula’s Choice gift certificate. In the final week of the 4-week contest, a grand-prize winner will win a year’s supply of Paula’s Choice skin-care products of their choice.  If you could do me a very big favor and follow this link to vote for my photo of my cat Bella, I’d really appreciate it.

Vote for Bella

Vote for Bella

There is only one vote per person, and it should only take a second for you to click on the link and vote.  Thank you so much.  🙂  Okay, now onto my favorites.

Maybelline Deam Liquid Mousse Foundation

Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation

I haven’t used my Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation in a while.  First I was obsessed with the Revlon Whipped Creme foundation, then I’ve been testing a bunch of foundations and BB Creams.  I recently picked Dream Liquid Mousse up out of my collection again, and was reminded of why I love it so much.  The coverage is really great and it settles so well into my skin.  It’s not too heavy, but it definitely perfects and covers much more than the foundations that I’ve been testing lately.  Though probably not the best bet for oily skin, those with dry skin would really like the emollient formula that doesn’t dry out or accentuate pores, lines, or dry patches.  My only problem with it is that this particular shade is a little dark for me right now after a long winter.  That’s okay, though, I can still make it work.

Revlon Nearly Naked Pressed Powder

Revlon Nearly Naked Pressed Powder

Revlon Nearly Naked Pressed Powder is a really great product.  I recently reviewed both the Nearly Naked foundation and powder, but to reiterate what I said then, it is not chalky or even powdery.  It has a smooth, creamy consistency (yes, the powder is creamy), with a silky-soft texture that blurs skin imperfections while still looking natural.  This is definitely one of the best powders to come out of the drugstores in a very long time.  I have both the Light and Fair shades.  Fair helps to tone down a darker foundation that better suits my skin in a sunnier season and give me a better match.

NYC Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder in Sunny

NYC Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder in Sunny

What can I say about NYC Sunny that hasn’t already been said by a million other bloggers?  It’s a cult favorite for a reason.  If you have lighter skin, this is a great matte bronzer and contour shade.  It’s light enough as to not overwhelm, while still providing sufficient color.

NYX Powder Blush in Mocha

NYX Powder Blush in Mocha

I’ve also been loving my NYX Powder Blush in Mocha.  Despite the misleading name, Mocha is a fresh, natural-looking pink.  This matte shade is pretty popular because it is a universally flattering color to suit a variety of skin tones.  NYX blushes are fantastic, very pigmented and long-lasting.  Mocha is a gorgeous spring shade.

e.l.f. Single Eyeshadow in Raspberry Truffle

e.l.f. Single Eyeshadow in Raspberry Truffle

I’ve really been enjoying e.l.f. Single Eyeshadow in Raspberry Truffle.  It took me a long time to jump on the Raspberry Truffle bandwagon.  Though the e.l.f. Single Eyeshadows are hit and miss, Raspberry Truffle is a beautiful shade.  The plummy-brown shadow applies effortlessly and blends smoothly.  It is quite pigmented, and applies more brown and less purple than it looks in the pan.  I’ve paired it with a variety of shadows, and have been very pleased with the results.

L'Oreal Colour Caresse Lip Color in Lilac Ever After

L’Oreal Color Caresse Shine Stain in Lilac Ever After

Back in February, I reviewed L’Oreal Color Caresse Shine Stain Lip Color in Everlasting Caramel.  Though I loved the color and staying power of the product, I was less thrilled by the dry-down period which I found uncomfortable.  I still stand by my review, but I have had better luck with Lilac Ever After.  The dry-down is more comfortable, and all of the positive attributes that I enjoyed in Everlasting Caramel still hold with Lilac Ever After.  The color is noticeable but natural, and very easy to wear.  I  keep picking it up as a “no brainer” lip color.  Though I have to be careful during application- they aren’t kidding about the staining part- I feel that I can pretty much forget about it after that and just apply lip balm throughout the day for added moisture.  After a few hours, the initial color fades into a perfect natural mauvey-pink stain.  I love it.



Here is a swatch of the color products I’ve mentioned in this post.  From Left to Right, e.l.f. Raspberry Truffle, NYC Sunny, NYX Mocha, and L’Oreal Lilac Ever After.  These are really heavy swatches of the blush and bronzer, but this way you can get a better idea of the color.

I hope that you enjoyed my March favorites.  What are some of your favorite products of the past month?  Let me know in the comments below.  Thanks again if you choose to support me by voting in the photo contest.  I really appreciate it.  🙂

NYC Blushable Creme Sticks at the Dollar Tree


NYC Blushable Creme Sticks

I was at the Dollar Tree this weekend and wandered down the makeup aisle, as per usual.  You’d be surprised what gems can be found there.  This time, I was rewarded with a whole slew of the now discontinued NYC Blushable Creme Sticks.  There were a ton of them, in about five or six different shades.

This display went all the way down to the floor in a line of creme sticks.

I had heard great things about the NYC Blushable Creme Sticks, but never got a chance to try them out.  They were discontinued right around the time I heard about them (this past spring).  Rated 4.4 out of 5 on Makeup Alley, NYC Blushable Creme Sticks are supposed to be really great cream blushes that go on velvety and dry down to powder finish.  They popped up in several favorites videos on youtube, so I was bummed that I missed the boat.

NYC Blushable Creme Sticks

Luckily, the Dollar Tree still has them.  If you are a fan of these blushes and want back ups, or if you also missed out and want to try them, definitely head on down to your local Dollar Tree to see if you can find the NYC Blushable Creme Sticks for yourself.  I picked up three shades: Plaza Pink, South St. Seashell, and Big Apple Blush (which I had heard the most about).  There are at least two more shades available, or at least there were at my Dollar Tree.  As an added bonus, Dollar tree is now accepting coupons, so if you have one for NYC, you can pick up a blush for even less than a dollar.

New LE from Maybelline and Halloween Displays Spotted


I saw some exciting displays at Rite-Aid this week that I can’t wait to tell you about.  I pulled out the cell phone and snapped a few pictures of my finds.  The Fall collections are all being released, and they are just starting to pop up at drugstores.  There should be many more in the following weeks, so be sure to keep an eye out for the Limited Edition Collections.  One of the most exciting things (for me) to see were a couple of Halloween displays.  If you read my latest post on my other blog, ( be sure to follow) then you know that I can’t wait for summer to be over.  Seeing the Halloween displays pop up so early warms my heart and thrills me that Fall is right around the corner.  So let’s get into it. (click images to enlarge.)

NYC Sweet & Devilish Collection

The NYC Sweet & Devilish Collection is exploring duality this Halloween.  The devil and angel themes are represented with a red/black color scheme and a nude/gold color scheme.  The display includes: 2 dual sided lip sticks, 2 eyeshadow duos, a bronzer/highlighter, 2 dual ended eyeliners, 3 nail polishes, false lashes and mascara.  I believe everything is LE except the mascara, which is part of the permanent line.

Wet n Wild Ghoulish Glitz Collection

This is one of many Wet n Wild Fantasy Makers Halloween displays to be hitting shelves.  The yearly Fantasy makers collection is pretty extensive, so you will see many displays popping up between now and Halloween.  The Ghoulish Glitz display includes glitter gel, glitter liners, and holographic body glitter.  All of these shades are very similar to past years I believe, but are still pretty fun.

Eco Tools Backstage Vanity Set

I love the adorable brush holder in this Eco Tools by Alicia Silverstone 4-piece Backstage Vanity Set.  It is so cute!  The brushes included are the Finishing brush, the Angled Eyeshadow brush, and the Lash & Brow Groomer.  I already own two out of the three brushes, so I won’t be getting this set (be sure to check out my review of my Eco Tools brushes).  I really love that super cute brush cup, though, and it’s almost worth it to get this set.

Maybelline Great Lash LE shades

Somehow I missed posting these LE shades of the Maybelline Great Lash mascara.  They started popping up a couple weeks ago, so you should have no trouble finding them in your area.  There is a definite 80’s vibe happening here, but I am totally down with that.  I love the 80’s.

Maybelline Great Lash Blink of Blue, Go Go Green, Pop of Purple, and Totally Teal

The four shades offered are, from left to right, Blink of Blue, Go Go Green, Pop of Purple, and Totally Teal.  Rite-Aid has them listed for $5.39, though prices  vary by location.  I have not used any Maybelline Great Lash mascaras, so I am not familiar with the formula.  The colors do look pretty cool, though.

Maybelline LE 2012 Fall Fashion Week Collection

I was the most excited to see this Maybelline LE 2012 Fall Fashion Week Nail Polish Collection.  I can tell you right now that these babies are going to sell out fast, so grab them if you see them.  There will be several Maybelline LE 2012 Fall Fashion Week Collection displays coming out that will feature new eyeshadow palettes, blushes, lipsticks, even the Touch of Light Luminizing Face Glow.  There are four new LE shades of the fantastic Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo shadows.  The only display that I have seen so far, though, is this one featuring the Color Show nail polishes.

Maybelline LE 2012 Fall Fashion Week Collection polishes

I snapped a quick pic of the six polishes available.  There are some amazing shades in this collection, including several duo-chromes.  That is a dupe for Chanel Peridot in there, as well as a beautiful green-brown duo-chrome on the end that reminds me of MAC Club eyeshadow.  The polishes are $3.99 each, and you will definitely want to grab a couple.

I hope that you saw something that you liked.  You know that I had to pick up a couple of those polishes, so I’ll be swatching them for you next week.  I’m also tempted by the LE shades of Great Lash mascara, though I’m not sure when I’d wear it.  I am super excited to see what displays pop up.  With the Fall collections coming and then the Holiday displays right after, there will be some very interesting limited edition collections to keep me busy.

Spotted: NYC, L’Oreal, Revlon and More


I went to Rite-Aid and Ulta this weekend and saw a bunch of new displays.  Here is what I found.

NYC Limited Edition Summer In The City Collection

First up is the Limited Edition NYC Summer In The City Collection  This collection features primer and mascara that are part of the core collection, but the bronzers, lipgloss, eyedusts and nail polishes are all limited edition shades.

NYC Limited Edition Color Rush! Collection

The other Limited Edition Collection that I saw was the NYC Color Rush! Collection.  This display features several Expert Last Nail Colors and two LE palettes.  The palettes include four eyeshadows, a primer base, and an illuminator.  The display also features a tear-away coupon for $0.50 off any NYC product.

L’Oreal LE London Fall Nail Polish Collection

New for nails, I spotted the L’Oreal Limited Edition London Fall Nail Polish Collection.  The new Colour Riche shades are from left to right: Tea and Crumpets, The Perfect Trench, Hyde Park, Rainy Picadilly, Notting Hill Blues, Brit Invasion.  Are those the cutest names, or what?

Nicole by OPI Kardashian Collection

You’ve probably seen the display of full sized bottled from the Nicole by OPI Kardashian Collection.  But have you seen these boxes of minis (pictured below)?  The “Pretty Petites” come in two boxes, “Celeb-Bitties” and “Sophisti-cuties”.  I love it when polish collections offer minis.  I have so much polish that I never finish full sized bottles, so minis allow me to have  a taste of the collection without spending the money or the storage space that full sized bottles would cost me.

Nicole by OPI Kardashian Collection Pretty Petites

Jesse’s Girl Rock Star Collection

This is the Jesse’s Girl Rock Star Collection.  In addition to nail polish, this display features three shades of Glow Stix lipgloss.  At the back of the display are three patterns of mirrored compacts, and on the left hand side are 6-Piece Manicure Kits.  The kits contain a cuticle pusher, nail file, manicure scissors, nail clipper and tweezers in those cute little cases.

SensatioNail™ Starter Kit and Color Gel Polish

I was a little surprised to see this gel polish kit complete with LED lamp at Rite-Aid.  According to the website, “Your SensatioNail™ Starter Kit includes everything you need for 10 perfect applications! Kit includes the exclusive Pro 3060 LED Lamp – designed to safely and quickly flash- cure your favorite Gel Polish, sealing in the color to a glossy, damage-proof, mirror-like finish. After 10 manicures simply purchase the Essentials Kit and the color of your choice and you’re good to go again.”  The starter kit is $59.99 and the Gel polish is $11.99.

Revlon Nail Art Moon Candy 3D Cosmic Effects Collection

I was super excited to finally find the Revlon Nail Art Moon Candy 3D Cosmic Effects Collection.  I’ve been waiting for this collection to hit stores since seeing it first previewed back in April.  Like the other Revlon Nail Art duos that have been introduced recently, these are dual sided nail polish tubes.  One side is a solid polish and the other side is a flakie polish.  I love flakies, so I had to grab a couple of these.  I spotted the collection at Ulta and my Rite-Aid didn’t have them in yet.  If they aren’t available in your area yet, they should be popping up soon.

Revlon Nail Art Moon Candy 3D Cosmic Effects Collection

Here is a closer (though blurry) look at the 8 shades.  There will definitely be a review coming soon on the two shades that I got.  There is one thing to note if you are interested in buying these polishes yourself.  Although the flakie sides all look like they are suspended in tinted polish, the tint is so sheer as to be almost negligible.  Choose your shade based on the actual flake colors, not the gel surrounding the flakes.

I hope that you saw something interesting in this post.  I can’t wait to play with my new Revlon polishes.  My sister ended up getting one of the NYC bronzers and eyeshadow palettes for me to review, so keep an eye out for those as well.  What about you, will you be hauling any of these products?  Let me know in the comments below.

The $20 Makeup Challenge


I try to keep up with the beauty community on Youtube so that I can stay aware of what trends and products I should be trying and reviewing here on the blog.  One thing that I really enjoy on youtube is the tags that go around.  They provide a nice change of pace and are often either a way to get to know the youtuber better or else are pretty funny.  One tag that has been going around is the $20 Makeup Challenge.  The idea is that you are traveling and unexpectedly lost your makeup bag and have nothing left to use.  You have to go shopping with only $20 to do a whole face of makeup, preferably that can transition from day to night.  Even though I am not a youtuber, I really wanted to have a crack at this challenge here on BiBB.  But first, a rant (I promise I’ll be quick).  One thing that really stood out to me as I attempted to tackle this challenge is that it is almost impossible to do a full face of makeup for only $20 these days.  In fact, the youtube challenge included tools in the $20 price tag, which made for some entertaining videos as people tried to use makeshift items or blend eyeshadow with their fingers, but forced people to resort to some pretty unrealistic and often ridiculous choices.  I did not include brushes in my $20 to give myself a fighting chance.  I am really angry and disappointed with the drugstore brands for raising their prices so much over the last two years.  Granted, quality has also improved, but still… This challenge should not have been as hard as it was.

Many of the $20 Makeup Challenge videos that I saw (and I saw several) attacked the challenge in one of two ways.  The first is that they went to Target and got 20 $1 e.l.f. items, regardless of how good or bad the products were.  The other option was to get slightly pricier items that meant making huge sacrifices, mostly in foundation.  Either they skipped foundation entirely, or tried to use a concealer all over their face as if it were foundation.  I didn’t like either of these approaches.  I don’t see the point of throwing away $20 on products that you hate and will never use again, and I can’t skip foundation.  My skin isn’t good enough to go without, and a full face covered in concealer (especially cheap concealer) is just ridiculous.  I wanted the results of this challenge to be as realistic as possible so that if you ever were in a situation where you suddenly needed a lot of products on the cheap, you could actually feel confident in purchasing a few of the items that I am going to show you.  For that reason, with the exception of one product, all of these items came from my own collection.  I stand behind *almost* all of them (I’ll get to the exception in a minute) as products you could actually use to go out in public.

The $20 Makeup Challenge

Here are the products that I used for the challenge.  This challenge was really hard.  I opted to go for a casual day time look that can be pumped up for night time by smoking out the eyes and going deeper with the blush.  The look I provided for you is totally office appropriate and good for those who like a more “natural” look.

  • NYC Skin Matching Foundation $3.57– This is the only product that I bought specifically for this challenge.  I struggled the most with choosing a foundation because it is usually so expensive.  I personally was not a fan of the NYC Skin Matching Foundation and would not purchase it again.  It will do in a pinch if you are desperate, but I didn’t think it blended smoothly at all, and the coverage was minimal.  I would have gotten better results with my e.l.f. tinted moisturizer for around the same price ($3).  Honestly though, I don’t think you should compromise on foundation.  Spend the extra $5 and buy Maybelline.
  • e.l.f. Studio Pressed Powder $3.00– I have featured this powder here on the blog before (Oct 2011 favorites), so I won’t say too much about it now.  I use it every day and stand behind it 100%.  I didn’t have room in my budget for concealer, so this powder really helped pick up some of the slack that the foundation fell short on.
  • Wet n Wild Coloricon Blush in Mellow Wine $2.99– I was first introduced to this blush in the LE Flora collection and immediately went out to buy the full-sized version.  It was also featured in my April 2011 Favorites, and you can check either post if you want to see a swatch.  The blush is pigmented and blends easily, and is a great bargain.
  • NYC Smooth Skin Bronzing Powder in Sunny $2.99– What is there to say about Sunny that hasn’t already been said?  It’s a cult classic and one of the best drugstore bronzers out there for lighter skin.  I’ve mentioned it several times here on BiBB.
  • e.l.f. Essential Eyelid Primer $1– I keep meaning to do a full review of e.l.f.’s $1 primer, and never seem to get around to it.  In essence, this primer is fantastic and keeps my shadow lasting all day.  However, if you have oily eyelids, it won’t work too well for you.  It is definitely geared more towards normal to dry skin.
  • e.l.f. Brightening Eye Color Quad in Brownstone $1– I really like these e.l.f. shadow quads, but like all e.l.f. eyeshadows they are hit and miss and some are way better than others.  My favorite by far is “Butternut”, which is very nice and I’ve used it quite a bit.  The shades are very similar to the quad I used here, but shimmery.  I chose “Brownstone” because the shadows are matte (mostly) and I didn’t have room in my budget for a brow pencil so I needed it to double up for my eyes and brows.  e.l.f. shadows are greatly improved by the use of a primer, so I highly recommend using one.  My eyeshadow look was subtle, but as I stated before, that’s what I was going for.  That being said, however, “Brownstone” is not the most pigmented of the quads, and I don’t think it is the best example of what these quads have to offer.  My eyebrows did not come out too well, but it’s better than nothing.  $20 is not a lot of money, y’all.
  • Jordana INCOLOR Fabuliner Liquid Eyeliner in 02 Brown $2.99– Jordana Fabuliner is a marker style felt tip eyeliner.  It is very good, doesn’t skip, and lasts all day.  The only hitch is that “brown” is very dark and pretty much looks black, so be aware of that.  Otherwise, it’s fabulous and I totally recommend it to you.
  • e.l.f. Lengthening and Defining Mascara $1– I chose this mascara because it came in a kit, so I already had it and didn’t have to hunt down a cheap mascara.  It’s not horrible, but my Holy Grail drugstore mascara is Cover Girl Lashblast, and there is just no comparison.  This one will do in a pinch, though.  The formula is on the dryer side, which I prefer, but the brush is very small.  I can’t say that I recommend it, but for a dollar, it can’t hurt to try it out if you are curious.
  • Jordana Easyshine Glossy Lip Color in Berry Colada $1.99– I’ve posted about these before and they are awesome.  Pigmented, moisturizing, and they smell fantastic.  Lip color was probably the easiest category because there are so many inexpensive products to choose from.  I highly recommend these Easyshine Glossy lip colors.

Grand total: $20.53, close enough for rock and roll.  Let’s just assume you found some change in your pocket, kthnxbye.  Put it all together, and here is the finished look.  (Thanks to the husband for taking the picture for me in less than ideal conditions.)

The $20 Makeup Challenge Results

The lighting is not the best here so I’m a little washed out, but you can still get the idea (darn June gloom).  Again, the foundation that I used was an epic fail in my opinion.  You can really see my rosacea redness peeking through.  My advice is to spend the extra money on a good foundation, even if you have a really tight budget.  No matter how pretty the rest of your makeup is, if your skin doesn’t look as good as it can, you will end up disappointed.  The eyes can obviously go darker for night time, but I am generally pleased with this for a casual, natural look on a budget.  I would probably not wear all of these products at the same time normally, but I do stand behind most of them and think they can easily blend into your existing collection.

I hope that you found this interesting.  I’d love to know if you attempted or want to attempt the $20 Makeup Challenge.  Leave me a link to your blog or youtube and I’ll be sure to check it out.  🙂


May 2012 Favorites


Monthly Favorites May 2012

It’s time once again for my monthly favorites.  If you are just tuning in, “Monthly Favorites” are the items that really stood out to me this month as products that I reached for again and again.  I kept things pretty simple in May, and my favorites reflect that.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette

I have already reviewed the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette at length with a bunch of pictures, so I won’t bore you by repeating myself.  You can read all about it here in this post.  This has been my go-to palette all month.  I am so happy that I broke down and bought it, because it really is a great palette.  Love, love, love!

NYX 10 Color Eyeshadow Palette in Secret World

The one thing that Naked 2 is missing (for me) is an olive or khaki shade.  Green is my favorite color and I am obsessed with green eyeshadow.  I picked up this NYX 10 Color eyeshadow palette in Secret World during the 40% off sale a while back.  It’s a really nice palette in and of itself, but throughout May I have been pairing the dark khaki (bottom row, second one in) with 2 Urban Decay shades from Naked 2 (Verve and Pistol).  I was surprised how well the NYX shadow holds up when used with the high-end palette.  Secret World will turn out to have been a great purchase for me.  I can see myself using it a lot.

NYC Color Wheel Mosaic Face Powder in Pink Cheek Glow

NYC Color Wheel Mosaic Face Powder in Pink Cheek Glow is the blush that I’ve been continually reaching for this month.  It’s a very pretty, warm pink shade that sheers out really well (left side of swatch) or can be built up for major pigmentation (right side of swatch).  The way the bright pink blends with the mauve and taupe shades is really flattering for my skin.  I do not own a ton of NYC products, but I am really enjoying their cheek colors.  I use my NYC Sunny bronzer all the time, and this Pink Cheek Glow is definitely a keeper.  Best part, it’s under $5.

e.l.f. Studio Eyebrow Lifter & Filler

I have a confession.  I have almost no eyebrows whatsoever.  It is from no fault of my own, it’s genetic.  My mother is the same way.  For many years I just ignored the issue because my brows are so extremely sparse that anything I attempted to do with them looked way too fake.  I finally found a good system using a powder shadow to fill them in, but it can take some time to get them looking good, and frankly, I can’t always be bothered.  That’s where the e.l.f. Studio Eyebrow Lifter & Filler comes in.  It’s not the most perfect look that I can possibly achieve, but it fills them in nicely and is super quick when I don’t have the time or inclination to fill them in properly.  Although this pencil is dual-ended, I only use the “filler” side.  I’m not the biggest fan of the “lifter”, mainly because I find the formula too dry.  I like that it comes with it’s own sharpener in the cap, and I especially like that it’s only $3.  I use the shade Ash.

e.l.f. Studio Eyebrow Lifter & Filler

Bath & Body Works Wallflower in Eucalyptus Spearmint

My final item is a Wallflower from Bath & Body Works.  This scent is from the aromatherapy line, which is absolutely divine.  When I first came across the “stress relief” scent Eucalyptus Spearmint, I thought that it sounded gross.  But then I smelled it.  Oh my heaven, it smells so unbelievably good.  I am not really a fan of either eucalyptus or spearmint, but somehow this combination is fantastic.  I do find it soothing and “stress relieving”, and I love it in my bedroom.  I have insomnia, so any extra help to make it sleep-inducing is a-okay by me.  I originally fell in love with the Eucalyptus Spearmint scent body lotion, but I’m so glad that I got the wallflower.  I will definitely be repurchasing.

That’s it for my May favorites.  I realize that there weren’t too many, but hopefully you still managed to see something that caught your interest.

March 2012 Favorites


It’s the first week of April, so that means that it’s time for my Monthly favorites for March.  Last month, I mentioned that February was hard on me, and expressed a wish that March would be better.  That did not happen, in fact it got worse.  My posting schedule was a bit spotty this month, and some of you know that it was due to a family health issue and the loss of a loved one.  I’ve been really struggling.  I wore makeup a lot more this month than I usually do, but it was different than usual.  I didn’t wear much mascara or eyeliner because I had a lot of days when I knew that I’d most likely be crying and didn’t want raccoon eyes.  I had to go out and buy a waterproof mascara for the memorial service because I don’t normally wear waterproof.  I did end up with several products that I reached for over and over again, so there are a lot of items to mention in this post.

Freeman masks

I was under a great deal of stress this month and, consequently, I’ve been experiencing some skin problems.  I’ve had breakouts and such, so I decided to treat myself to a few masks.  I really enjoy Freeman masks, because there are inexpensive and I can experiment with several different kinds.  You can, of course, get the full size bottle of your favorite Freeman mask, but I like the variety of these “travel” sizes.  For $1.37 each (at Walmart), I can try the whole line if I want to without having to commit, and I usually get two masks out of each pouch.  They have helped clear my skin up, and have given me a chance to pamper myself during a tough time.  My favorites (so far) are the Avocado & Oatmeal Facial Clay Mask, the Chocolate & Strawberry Facial Clay Mask, and the Goji Berry Facial Hydration Mask.  Freeman has several other masks to choose from for a variety of skin types.

Hard Candy Glamoflauge (top) and Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer (bottom)

Because my skin has been such crap this month, I’ve been relying on concealer.  Both of these concealers were my top choices for my 2011 favorites for face post, so check it out here for more details on the products.  I use the Hard Candy Glamoflauge to cover any breakout issues because it’s heavy duty and covers anything, but it’s too thick for under the eye.  I’ve had major dark circles due to lack of sleep, so I’ve been using the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer under the eyes and it’s been really helping.

e.l.f. Complexion Perfection

To set my under eye concealer, I’ve been turning to the e.l.f. Complexion Perfection Powder.  Actually, I just checked e.l.f.’s website, and they have changed the name to the Studio Tone Correcting Powder, but it’s the same product.  It is $3.00 from the Studio line.  I rediscovered this little gem in my collection this month after not using it since the summer.  I especially like the yellow tone for under eye, and blending the yellow and green over my cheeks where I have a lot of redness.

Revlon Photoready Color-Correcting Primer

You may remember my full review here of the Revlon Photoready Color Correcting Primer.  In my review I mentioned that, although this primer doesn’t live up to it’s color-correcting or brightening claims, it’s nonetheless a fantastic primer.  I’ve been using it almost every day under a variety of foundations.  I love the soft-focus finish that it gives, and it makes my foundation look great.  I think it’s a keeper, even though it doesn’t actually color-correct.

e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation

I have been pleasantly surprised by the e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation.  I wasn’t sure if e.l.f.’s foundation would be that great because of the extremely low price.  I really like the Flawless Finish Foundation, though.  It gives my skin a beautiful smooth semi-matte finish with pretty good coverage.  It doesn’t dry me out, and my skin looks great hours into wear.  And check out that glass bottle!  E.l.f. really stepped it up with the packaging for the Flawless Finish Foundation.  The packaging looks expensive, but it is still only $6.00, which is pricey for e.l.f., but lower than anything else you can find in the drugstore.  I totally recommend checking it out.  I have seen limited shades of the e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation at Target.

NYC Bronzer in Sunny

NYC Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder in Sunny is a cult favorite in the beauty community.  Chances are you own it, or have at least heard of it.  I’ve been loving it this month to give my face some life and dimension and a natural-looking glow.  Sunny is a sheer matte bronzer, not too dark, so it’s great for this time of year when I don’t have any tan.  It warms my face up without looking too fake or muddy.  Sunny is smooth and blends easily, and retails for about $3.

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24hr Eyeshadows in Tough as Taupe and Pomegranate Punk

I’ve been doing really fast and easy eye looks this month, so I’ve been using the Maybelline Color Tattoo 24hr Eyeshadows a lot, especially the shades Tough as Taupe and Pomegranate Punk .  You can read my full review of these shadows here.  I’ve mentioned them several times here on BiBB, so you already know that I think they are awesome.  The Color Tattoos are so easy peasy.  I’ve been using them alone on the lid, just dabbing some on with my fingers and blending up a bit into the crease.  Then I finish off with my next two items.

Wet n Wild Brulee and Sonia Kashuk Small Multipurpose Powder Brush

This is the second month in a row that Brulee has been a favorite, so there’s not much more that I can say about it.  It is a universal highlight shade, and I use it all the time.  I’ve been sweeping it on with almost every single eye look I’ve done in March.  The Sonia Kashuk Small Multipurpose Powder Brush is a fantastic brush to sweep on and blend out Brulee.  I got this brush for Christmas and L-O-V-E it!  It’s perfect.  It’s so soft and fluffy, and is the best blending brush that I own.  You can find the Sonia Kashuk Small Multipurpose Powder Brush at Target for around $10-$12.

That’s it for my March favorites.  I hope that you saw something you like.  If you try any of these products, I’d love to hear what you thought of them.  Leave me a comment below and let me know.

2011 Favorites: Face


I am staring my “2011 Favorites” series.  There are just too many categories to fit everything into one post, so I decided to break them up.  In this post I’m going to talk about my makeup favorites for the face, everything from primer to blush.  (I’ll do skin care separately.)  When I say “favorites of 2011,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that the product came out in 2011, but that it has been a favorite of mine this last year.  I chose one favorite and one honorable mention in each category.  My favorites are all drugstore items (I’m including e.l.f., NYX, and Coastal Scents in that description) and I’ve included the retail price, but my honorable mentions may include high-end items.  I also limited my selection to items that I had time to enjoy during the year, so anything I got in November or December is not going to be included (with one exception).  Just because a product isn’t listed, doesn’t mean that I didn’t like it.  These products are the ones that really stood out to me this last year.  I’ve reviewed many of these products, so be sure to click the provided links for more info and swatches.  So, let’s get on with it.

Here are my Favorites for 2011: the face edition.


Favorite Revlon Beyond Natural Smoothing Primer.  I featured both of these in my Battle of the Drugstore Primers post, so check it out for the full review.  Revlon Beyond Natural Smoothing Primer is a clear silicone based gel primer.  It feels smooth and silky to the touch, dries down fast with no wait time, and locks in moisture without making my face oily or too wet for foundation.  It’s fantastic for normal to dry skin, as most silicone gels are.  I’ve noticed that prices really vary on this one so shop around.

Honorable mention- Hard Candy Sheer Envy primer.  Though I sounded a bit critical in my “battle” post, I do really like Sheer Envy.  It’s a very good option to try.


Favorite- Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse.  Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse was one of my October favorites.  I am a liquid foundation girl, so both of my choices fit into that category.  It’s a great formula for my dry skin and doesn’t flake up on me at all.  It is a medium coverage foundation and I get a beautiful, almost air brushed finish when I apply it.  I do not have a problem with staying power, but then again I usually only need 6-8 hours worth of coverage.  It retails for around $9.00.

Honorable mention- Revlon Photoready Liquid Foundation.  This was my go-to foundation at the beginning of the year, until I found Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse.  Overall, I really like Revlon Photoready and it came in at a very close second.


Favorite- Hard Candy Glamoflauge.  I covered Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer in my October favorites post, but here is the run down.  This heavy coverage concealer has a thick and creamy consistency that is best applied with a flat concealer brush and set with powder.  I would never recommend that you use Glamoflauge under the eye because it’s too thick, but for trouble spots it’s awesome and lasts all day.  A little goes a very long way, and this tube is going to last me forever. Hard Candy is sold exclusively at Walmart, and Glamoflauge retails for $6.00.

Honorable mention- Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer.  Because Glamoflauge isn’t good for under the yes, I wanted to include one that is.  As you read in my review, this is the only concealer that I have found that works well for me under the eyes, so I had to include it in my favorites even though I’ve only had it since early December.  (This is my one exception.)


Favorite- E.l.f. Pressed Powder.  E.l.f. Studio Pressed Powder is another product featured in my October favorites.  This replaced my L’Oreal True Match powder.  It’s just as good for a fraction of the cost.  I am not a huge fan of translucent powders, and like a powder to have some coverage of it’s own. E.l.f. designed the studio pressed powder to be used wet or dry for more coverage and I have seen reviews that this makes a great powder foundation.  Despite it’s great coverage, e.l.f. Studio Pressed Powder doesn’t come on too strong or look chalky, and is a great setting powder on top of foundation for a natural look.  I find it best to press the powder on with the sponge it comes with and then lightly buff with a kabuki, or a large blush brush.  This is one of the e.l.f. products available at Target, and of course it’s available at e.l.f.’s website for $3.00.

Honorable mention- L’Oreal True Match.  I used L’Oreal True Match for my pressed powder for years, including the front half of 2011, and it’s a really great powder.  I switched because I wanted to try to find something that cost less since L’Oreal is kind of pricey for drugstore.


Favorite- Milani Baked Bronzer, and my favorite shade in the line is 05 SoleilClick here to read my full review of Soleil with swatches.  I really like this bronzer.  It’s a medium bronze with veins of milk chocolate and shimmery gold running through it that gives a warm golden glow.  It’s the perfect golden sheen to brighten up your cheeks.  All of the products in Milani’s baked line have been a huge hit this year and the bronzers are no exception.  These retail for around $8-9.

Honorable mention- NYC Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder in Sunny.  What makes Sunny worth noting is that it is one of the few matte bronzers available in the drugstore.  If shimmer isn’t your thing, especially in the winter, give Sunny a try.


Favorite- E.l.f. Golden Bronzer, the lightest shade in the quad.  I don’t use a highlight too often, so I don’t have many products to choose from as a favorite in this category.  I do really like the e.l.f. Golden Bronzer, which is a quad of four blendable shades for an all-over sheer wash of color, or you can use each shade separately.  The lightest shade is a very soft peachy gold, which is a fantastic powder highlight for a subtle sheen.  Like all e.l.f. Studio products, this retails for $3.00.

Honorable mention– None in this category


Favorite- Milani Baked Blush, and my favorite shade in the line is 02 Rose D’Oro.  Milani Baked Blushes may be my favorite product of all of 2011.  They are certainly in the top three.  Click here for my full review and swatches of the three shades I own. The product is soft, not chalky at all, and blends like a dream.  These super pigmented blushes provide a luminous healthy glow on the cheeks that is simply ravishing.  Rose D’Oro is a universally flattering rosy peach shade with golden shimmer, and probably the prettiest of all nine shades.  Milani Baked Blushes retail for $6-7.

Honorable mention- E.l.f. Studio Cream Blush, and my favorite shade in the line is TeaseClick here to read my review of the original “bouncy” blush.

That’s it for my Favorites for 2011: the face edition.  I hope that you found some good options to try, and stay tuned for more posts in this series very soon.