Two new mascaras… and a new baby!

Well, friends the past few months have been busy – my husband and I welcomed our son Hunter in June to our family. We (as well as our cat Emma) are in love and enjoy every minute (even ones spent listening to crying)! Although I have had a lot going on, I still have made some time to purchase a few new beauty items and wanted to share my thoughts in case you were thinking of purchasing either of the below in the near future. But first, a picture of the kiddo 🙂



Dior DiorShow Pump ‘N’Volume

When this came out in the spring, I couldn’t WAIT to try it. I read about it on blogs and was waiting for my Too Faced Better Than Sex tube to dry up so I could order this from Sephora and not feel guilty about forking over the $29 for it. The hype about this mascara is that it comes in a squeezable tube, so that you can use all the product inside and prevent dry out by squeezing the tube and warming it up as it gets older. I read that the formula was also great, very black and resulted in fake-like lashes. SOLD. When I actually tried it however, I was less than impressed. I found that although it was cool that I could squeeze the tube, it didn’t really do anything. I also did not like that the mascara (although very black and dense in color) did NOT come off for about three days. I don’t mean that in the good sense either. For three days I had raccoon eyes, even with face wash and remover used. I don’t like product of any kind that is that hard to remove so for me this was a no. I don’t know if I was disappointed because my hopes were so high or that it was just wasn’t worth the price tag. Either way, my advice is to pass on this product.




Loreal Voluminous Lash Paradise

One mascara I would recommend is the new Loreal Voluminous Lash Paradise, which I just recently purchased and tried. Judging by the packaging (light metallic pink with thin black type), I think this is supposed to be a dupe of Too Faced’s Better Than Sex. Like the more expensive version, Loreal’s new mascara also promises volume, length, and intensity- all for the low price of $10. I am usually really happy with Loreal’s mascaras, so I had a feeling this would be a winner with me and I was right. It provides drama-like lashes from a drug-store brand. For the same price as one Too Faced mascara ($23 – still super reasonable for department-store mascara), I was able to get the Loreal Lash Paradise and the Voluminous Primer that I enjoy using under my mascaras to give some extra oomph. I still love Too Faced’s version but this is a great option for a cheaper price tag – and you can get it anywhere.

Thinking of trying either of these? Hopefully these reviews helped!



“Silicone Valley”

For the past few years, the Beauty Blender has changed how we apply makeup, creating an airbrushed look for liquid foundations, concealers and even cream blush. What once started as simple egg-looking soft foam sponge has blown up – now available in all colors and sizes and even has created a slew of copy-cats at a cheaper price. I am no stranger to the Beauty Blender and I love it for the great application and airbrushed look it creates. Here is what I don’t like about it – its a pain to clean. Like a big pain. And you have to clean it regularly in order to keep it in great shape. Internet photos and videos have showed what happens if you don’t clean – disgusting results of cutting the egg sponge open and seeing grossness in it. The other thing that made me hesitant in trying it is the cost. For what it is, its not cheap. One Beauty Blender costs a whopping $20! All that being said, I would say if you are looking to try it, I would. I can guarantee you will love it.

But this post is not about the Beauty Blender. Its actually about a new makeup applicator looking to rival the egg and you’re never going to believe what it is – a silicone sponge that yes, resembles a breast implant. I was shocked at this too when I saw a ton of articles and posts about it on the Internet but give me a minute to explain. The applicator, although takes a while to get used to, really has some great benefits that the Beauty Blender lacks. First, the price is a lot cheaper. Because you can’t get one yet at any of the major beauty retailers like Sephora or Ulta, I took my search to Amazon, which of course had many options to choose from. The one I choose was only $7 and came with Prime shipping so I was able to try it right away. Secondly, you are able to clean (we’ll call it the implant) immediately after use with soap and water and then either dry it or have it sit out. That’s probably my favorite part about this little thing as I really dread cleaning the Beauty Blender (and don’t do it as often as I should). Lastly, after you figure out how to use it, uses a LOT less of your makeup product than the Beauty Blender, which means you save more product and ultimately, more money. How you want to apply it is lightly apply your foundation first with your fingers and then use the implant to pat it on and get into all creases/areas. Its definitely not as easy to use for a first timer as the Beauty Blender or even a brush or sponge, but I think the results are great and the other factors far outweigh it.

Silicone Sponge


Have you tried this yet? What did you think?

“Bring it on Home”

Throughout my life I have had many, many manicures. Unlike most women,  I don’t doze off or get lost in my thoughts during this relaxing time. My eyes on glued to the manicurist’s hands, holding mine and using tools, polish and cream to make them beautiful. Although not a certified nail technician, because I spent so much time studying their techniques I have taught myself to recreate the perfect (or at least a really well done) manicure at home. I know all the steps from the prep to finish, with some extras like paraffin wax and oil thrown in occasionally. This is far from my first rodeo. Although I can recreate to the best of my abilities their manicure at home, sometimes it just can’t happen due to lack of resources (ie, I don’t have a gel UV lamp, I don’t know how to do acrylics or have a paraffin wax heater at my disposal). For the first time however, the gel look is becoming more of a reality than a salon-only habit.

Creative Nail Design (who make one of my all-time favorite lotions) is a leader in the gel arena and if you go to your local nail salon (specifically the New England chain Miniluxe) you will find it as one of your only choices for gel. The company also has the same colors offered in a gel-like polish that promises to last one week, without the use of a uv lamp. The line is called Vinylux and won’t cost you any more than your standard manicure at a salon. But here is the best part – now you can buy the polishes on your own! This means two coats of the Vinylux plus their special topcoat and you’re good for a solid week, with the same color as you can find in the gel line. You can’t purchase the line on their site, but you CAN purchase it at Ulta as well as other salons. As of this year, you can also purchase this line on Flash Sale sites like Rue La La for a discount ($7.99 versus Ulta’s $9.99). You will not be able to find all the shades that are available but if you find a color you like, its well worth it to scoop it up at a discount. I just scored Plum Paisley and love it!

If you’re just fine with doing your nails yourself, I strongly suggest checking out this line. For the same price as my beloved Essie and rival OPI, you will get more wear out of the polish and save your dollars for something else – say the pedicure you CAN’T do yourself 🙂


Happy Polishing!


“Two are better than one”

I love mascara. And I mean, I LOVEEE mascara. I take after my mother in this sense (as well as many others), and we are both have a thing for big, bold, doll-like lashes. I personally don’t feel complete until after I’ve applied it and if I only had to put one thing on before I left the house, it would be this. As you may have read in some of my other posts, I am always on the search for the newest, latest and greatest if it means I’m going to achieve fake-lash status (without wearing actual fake lashes). Two products I’m going to talk about in this post actually work really well together- even better!

I actually found the first one by asking two of my team members at work the same question – “What mascara are you wearing?”. I kid you not, I only asked the two of them, in the same email. To my surprise, they BOTH answered with the same mascara – Lancome’s Hypnose Drama. It has a nice dense black color with a curved wand to give a subtle curl. One of them suggested I also try out the primer from Lancome to really up the pow-factor (which I did, obviously). When I was out of the primer and mascara, I decided to re-purchase the mascara for sure, but wanted to try out the Loreal version of the primer. Good decision. The Loreal Paris Voluminous Primer I found to work just as well, if not better than the Lancome version for half the price! I don’t use this everyday but if I really want a dramatic effect, I put this on top and bottom first (it comes out white which actually helps as a guide for the black mascara to be applied to) and then apply two coats of the Hypnose Drama. I highly recommend both products if you like your mascara like me – big and bold – and don’t mind adding a second step.


“Rip it off like a band-aid”

This title is a lyric from one of my favorite songs from Old Dominion and applies to this review as well. Ok, maybe “rip” is a little aggressive for this lip gloss as it isn’t actually supposed to be “torn” off but it is very interesting to say the least. I found this product on Facebook, watched the video as it is very intriguing. The concept is a lip gloss that sets on the lips for up to ten minutes and then turns into a rubbery feel on the skin. At this point, you gently tug on the end and peel it off slowly, leaving behind a subtler (but still vivid) stain of the ultra-bright gloss you originally applied. The end result lasts for hours, which is amazing. You can either wear alone or top with a white gloss to make it shiny or a balm to make it dewy. Sounds good, right? Here is what I thought:

I applied  Berrisom’s Oops My Lip tint in pink generously to both upper and lower lips, making sure not to miss any spots.  After about five minutes you can feel the gloss start to turn to a rubbery consistency and you know it’s ready to be removed. I peeled off the gloss, which reminded me a lot of glue being removed from your hand when you were a kid (which was fun to be honest). The color left behind was more intense than I would normally wear but I still liked it. Best of all, it last hours. I topped it  with my Maybelline Baby Lips lip balm in clear because I like a little dewy shine on my lips and this combo was perfect.

The downside was that when I ordered it from Amazon it took over a month to get to me. I know it’s coming from Korea but come on – over a month for a ten dollar item? I would be interested in trying more colors because of the longevity you get from the color after applying but I like my beauty products readily available to me and prefer not to wait more than a few days to get them. If you don’t mind waiting the time (and perhaps that increases your anticipation) then I would recommend this.


Korean Lip Gloss


What do you think of this lip gloss trend?



It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

Nothing brings back memories of one’s childhood lunch like a good old PB&J (or if you’re from New England, Peanut Butter & Fluff!) But this particular reference to Peanut Butter & Jelly is not the edible kind. I’m referring to Too Faced’s new eye shadow palette called the Peanut Butter and Jelly Eye Shadow Collection ($36, exclusive to Ulta). The palette was inspired by Peanut Butter, which is also one of the shades in the Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar, and features nine gorgeous shades of eye shadow inspired by peanut butter and jelly. The Too Faced Peanut Butter & Jelly Eye Shadow Palette is your standard palette from this brand. It comes housed in a tin with a Glamour Guide located inside with tips on how to create three signature looks. I like the packaging a lot, it is compact and has a mirror which makes it travel friendly. It most definitely smells like peanut butter but for me it smells more like peanut butter and chocolate (but I’m not complaining).

Too Faced sometimes re-runs their shades however, I don’t really feel that way with this one. The majority of the shades have a fresh appeal and the palette consists of shimmer, frost and matte finishes with soft, blend-able textures. There was minimal fall-out, even while I was packing the color on my lids. The shades are grouped by trios but you can use them in any combination you wish to create dynamic eye looks.

  • Bananas (soft peachy gold w/ fine gold shimmer)
  • Extra Creamy (matte creamy beige)
  • Jammin’ (dark chocolate w/ golden sparkle)
  • Jelly (vibrant orchid)
  • Nuts About U (matte brown w/ red undertones)
  • Spread the Love (medium peach w/ gold sparkle)
  • Peanut Brittle (metallic burnt orange)
  • Peanut Butter (matte medium orange brown)
  • Peanut Butter Cup (metallic golden bronze w/ gold sparkle


The tones of these shades are warm and the matte browns (as well as the copper and purple shades) contain a noticeable amount of red, which can make for tricky colors to wear sometimes, depending on your skin tone. I created a look using Extra Creamy all over the lid up to my brow bone and then blended Peanut Butter all through the crease. I took Nuts About U and used that to define the outer corner of my eye and then used Bananas in the inner corner. Lastly, I took Peanut Brittle and used that to create a nice gradient from the inner corner to the outer. For the bottom lash line I used a purple liner and then smoked it out using the Jelly shade. The shimmery shades definitely have the best pigmentation and Nuts About U could be the most difficult to wear without chalkiness; but if you blend them well, you should see no issues. My only con about the palette is the fact that it focuses more on peanut butter versus jelly as there are only two shades of purple in this palette. So if you like warmer shades you’ll likely adore this cute little palette but for those expecting more jelly or purple shades, well, it could be slightly disappointing. That being said, this palette is a must- have for my collection. I even bought one for my god-daughter after hearing they were sold out where she lives. If you love makeup as much as I do this palette makes the beauty game that much more fun.

Besides, it isn’t hoarding if it’s makeup!

Your guest blogger,


Pretty pink pout

Since mid-winter, I have been on the hunt for the perfect shade of pink lip. It doesn’t matter what form it comes in (gloss, lipstick, stain) but I have been searching for the color that can best be described as feminine and soft, natural with a little oomph. To me that means peony, blush, nude-pink, and demure. You would think with all the shades out there and with me Pinning on Pinterest like crazy, that this would be an easy task. Not so much. The colors I like on Instagram and  social media don’t look the same in the store. The girls in the pictures have skin darker than mine so the colors look ridiculous on me. After several unsuccessful trips to Ulta, I came across the perfect pink that I was looking for spring – at CVS!

Burt’s Bees has a few lip lines out from gloss to cream lipstick to balm and while on my search, I found the perfect shade of pink I was looking for in their Lip Shine in Blush. The texture if moisturizing, not sticky and smells/tastes like berries. There were other colors I wanted to try in the line as well, two being their muted nude-purple in Spontaneity and their juicy red berry in Pucker.

The best part? It was under $10 and better than all of the colors I was looking at in the $20s at Ulta! If you’re fair like me and looking for a pretty pink pout, try this one from Burt’s Bees out! (I didn’t mean that to rhyme I swear)




Discounted Beauty

The only thing I love more than beauty products is finding a bargain on those beauty products (although if you ask my husband he will say it’s spending money).  I am a true bargain hunter –  my idea of the perfect Saturday afternoon is spending an hour perusing TJMaxx (my happy place), latte in hand, looking for the best deals on everything from clothing to shoes to jewelry to home items. Beauty was not an area that was always associated with discount in a pleasant manner – it used to imply used, old or imperfect products – ones that you wouldn’t actually want to use on your face, body or skin. Well the times they are a’changin for beauty and the off-price world is ALL over them. If you’re looking for beauty at a discount, check out my top picks for getting your favorite brands for a good deal.

Brick and Mortars:

TJMaxx and Marshalls – this family of brands under the TJX umbrella has managed to grow their beauty department to something of a marvel in the past few years. I once could never tell what I would be able to find there and now brands are consistently brought in on the regular and merchandised well in the store. You can almost expect to find liters of Biolage, Redken, Sexy Hair, and Biosilk hair products, Essie and OPI nail colors, along with brushes and hair tools from brands like Hot Tools, GHD, and T3. Skin and body products are merchandised by color and you can expect to find drugstore brands like Sally Hansen, Loreal, Aveeno and Neutrogena in the mix. If I am looking for a particular product, I often check here first before paying full price as these stores have been known to get obscure brands like Bliss and Ahava on occasion. Something you will also see :  clothing and accessory brands that you didn’t know had makeup lines. Did you know that Max Studio sold makeup? I didn’t either until I saw it in TJs.

Ocean State Job Lot – for my New England gals you might be shocked to know that I check this lower budget chain quite often (when we moved this fall we discovered we are down the street from one). I would not believe it either if I didn’t see it myself but if you have the time to look, you can find a good gem of a beauty product here. The chain gets loads of makeup and skin products on the regular from mostly drugstore brands like Maybelline, Loreal, Wet n Wild, Almay and Neutrogena. Some of the makeup is there due to packaging changes or discontinuation but there are plenty that are at your local drugstore being sold full price (so why pay it?). This is where I picked up my Essie growth treatment for $3.99 and love it! I have also found more Essie products as well as OPI shades. If you live near one of these stores, this is worth a look! Bonus: you can also pick up some cleaning products for your bathroom while you’re there.

Nordstrom Rack – although not an extensive beauty department, you can find some good options at this store, while your checking out the amazing clothing and shoe selection. The mix includes Sephora –type brands like Stila, Smashbox, Philosophy and drugstore brands like Loreal, NYX and Neutrogena. The store also includes nail polishes from Essie, OPI and Orly. Kind of a random mix, but not a bad one.

Flash Sale sites:

Rue La La: Now I am partial to this first one, probably because I am employed by them but Rue La La’s beauty department has EXPLODED over the past year. It’s become a major category for the organization and is on track to be even bigger in 2016 (I’m just a LITTLE excited). We have many recognizable department store luxury brands such as La Mer, Dior, Shiseido, Oribe, Chanel and Kerastase. We also have tons of the same brands you would find in your nearest Sephora such as Too Faced, Clinique, Lancome, Clarins, Nars, Bumble and Bumble, bareMinerals, Clarisonic, L’Occitane, Davines, Living Proof and Philosophy. The items are sold in multi-day boutiques with names like Blowout Bar or Beauty Bar and encompass hundreds of high quality, discounted beauty finds.

Hautelook: I am a regular Hautelook shopper and really enjoy their jewelry department. They tend to have brands I have never heard of and that definitely translates into their beauty department as well.  This flash sale site, which is predominately driven by brand events, has two beauty events per day, ranging from hair and skin appliances to gel nail polish and obscure makeup brands. Brands you can expect to find on Hautelook are Kevyn Aucoin, theBalm, Crown Brush, Laura Gellar, Josie Maran, NYX, FHI Hair Tools, as well as ones that you have never heard of (but could easily become your newest find).  One franchise that I do miss – #mani Monday – a weekly nail event that would include lots of uv gel nail polishes and lamps that were affordable options to the nail salon.

MyHabit: Amazon’s flash sale site’s approach to beauty is much like Hautelook’s  – brand driven.  This is great – unless you don’t know the brand and just want to browse around. In that case, the website does have a Beauty tab in which you can click to see all products live on site at that time. Brand offerings are much like Rue La La’s and Hautelook and include Living Proof, Kerastase, Lancome, Borghese as well as UV nail polish brands.

If you are a beauty lover who doesn’t like to pay full price (like me), there are definitely options for you out there, as long as you don’t mind a little digging. For me, its half the fun.

Where are your favorite places to find discounted beauty products?


My best of 2015 Winners

Everyone has else has posted their favorite 2015 items so its time I summed up all of my favorites as well! Here are the items that I found in 2015 that I love and think you should give a try as well! And unlike everyone else, I will also be posting a second part of this (which is hard for me to write but just as important)- my disappointments of 2015. Hopefully those will save you some time in purchasing if you were interested in those items. Ok, let’s get down to it! Here is who impressed me this year:


bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Gel Cream has been a big winner for me this year. I blogged about it at the beginning of the year and since then, it’s the only foundation I have used. The only change I have made is my application- I now apply it with a wet sponge instead of dabbing it my dry face with my fingers.

Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder – I found out about this product (along with the one below it) together in a video tutorial about the “baking” process. Although I don’t use this powder for that, I use it regularly when I don’t want a dewy finish, but a more matte look. Its invisible and a little goes a long way!

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer – I have been advised to use this on many Sephora trips as it’s a bestseller, but didn’t try it until this year (I’m a stubborn Taurus). It’s fabulous for under eye and along the nose coverage, as well as hiding any blemishes. This was a big find this year.


benefit lollitint cheek & lip stain – I received this in a Sephora 500 perk set and honestly did not think I would use it. I have used the original Benetint Rose stain in the past and found it was just a bit too pigmented for me (given being pale), so I figured I would feel the same way about this color. This is more of a very pretty purpleish pink and looks feminine on both lips and cheeks. I liked it so much I even tried more colors when I went to Sephora  (on one of my MANY trips this year)!

benefit watt’s up! highlighter – this took me awhile to find! I was looking for a great champagny- gold highlighter to use on my cheekbones, nose and under my brows and after trying almost everything in the store, I stumbled on this. It’s the perfect color for someone with light skin tones, comes in a creamy/easy to apply formula and has a soft focus sponge on the other side for easy blending. SOLD.

Too Faced Cocoa Contour Makeup Palette – so at this point at the end of the year, I had watched about a million contouring videos and tried about every contour product available at Sephora, including reading reviews. I tried all the fan favorites (Kat Von D creamy AND powder formulas, Nars, Clinique, etc) and finally got to this. It has four total colors (two browns, two highlighters) all named after chocolate, which by the way, it smells like. This is the first palette I have found that has a lighter brown for a pale girl like myself that was not ruddy brown/red, but a true brown to give you that real contour shading. The palette also comes with a guide to several different looks, depending on how dramatic you want.


bareMinerals 5 in 1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eye Shadow – I jumped on these so fast as soon as they came out, I can’t believe I didn’t do a blog post solely about them! I bought three colors – all of which are gorgeous. The formula goes on creamy and dries to a powder. This is the perfect product for someone who wants to swipe this one without too much work and look polished quickly- either with fingers or the applicator it comes with. The lighter colors I have really open up the eyes (Barely Nude and Candelit Peach ) and the Divine Wine is a nice crease color.

Urban Decay Naked2 Eye Shadow palette – I mean, do I even need to write anything here? Its 12 colors of absolutely gorgeous nude shadows, in which you can take the look from day to night to super drama depending on how much you want to add. The only thing I wish is that I had ALL the Naked pallettes, but that give me something to strive towards for this year.

benefit they’re real! lengthening mascara– I received this in the same 500 point perk gift that I got the lollitint and knew I would like this. I did have to apply at least two coats to get my desired drama look, but I was very happy with the result, which was wide-eyed, long and curled lashes. I would definitely consider purchasing this the next time I need a new mascara. Comes in three colors!


Urban Decay Naked Ultra Nourishing Lipgloss in Beso – this is GORGEOUS. A little pink, a little purple, it is ultra-feminine and makes me feel so pretty. Not sticky but shiny and you can feel the moisture.

Fresh Sugar Lip Shine Treatment in Rose – if you love any of the Fresh Sugar lip balms, you will love this. It’s a super nourishing lip gloss with a bit of color and the same light lemon scent as the rest of the Sugar line. I loved it so much I wore it on my wedding day!


What were your favorite finds of 2015?


Out with the old (make space for the new)

As we approach the start of the new year, many of us take this time to purge the old so we can make room for the new, whether it be goals, attitude or just plain stuff. This is a time we tend to donate gently used clothing, furniture or anything else that would benefit someone else in need. We also tend to rid our closets (and life) of things we no longer need because they are used up or no good to us anymore. The same process applies to cosmetics and beauty products as these, like food, have a shelf life of their own. So when, you ask, is it time to say goodbye? Well it depends on the item. Now don’t be scared – let’s hold hands and do this together.

I know many of you are keeping old makeup or hair products around for the same reasons I am – one being money. You feel you spent x amount of dollars on a product and whether or not you used it, you feel you should keep it around, lingering in that linen closet, staring you down every time you open it. You need to think about cosmetics the same way you’re thinking about those clothes – if you haven’t worn that lipstick in a year – well the odds of you picking that up tomorrow are very low. There is something that doesn’t get you jazzed up about that item, whether it be the color, formula or maybe you just found something better. Why don’t you put it and yourself out of its misery and throw it away?

Most items that you use on your face should be gone within a year and a half (unless its mascara) but my rule of thumb is one year and you’re out. Seriously- why are you keeping it? For the one time you MIGHT use it? Odds are you won’t so get rid of it now. Any kind of lip product should be a year or less, especially if you were sick when you used it. Mascara that has been opened and used should only be kept around for three to four months. That’s usually no problem for me, because I love to change up my mascara often. Same goes for eyeliner. Think of all that bacteria its harboring! Hair products are much longer for obvious reasons but I still say if you have been looking at the bottle of hair serum for a year and are passing it over day after day, its taking up space. Time to say goodbye.

So what about your unused items that you haven’t touched but know you won’t? What about all those little mini samples you won’t use but just can’t throw away? Well there a few options. My first thought is return it if you can. Sephora has changed their return policy so that you now need a receipt in order to return an item, but other than that you shouldn’t have a problem. Ulta and Nordstrom both have time-tables on their return policies and Ulta will only let you exchange your items, not giving you your full refund (you might want to note this when purchasing there). Returning not an option? Give it away. If you have something you know you won’t wear because its not your color choice, give it away. Chances are your sister/cousin/mom/coworker might love that color and you will be saving them dollars. Better yet, plan a beauty swap with your girlfriends where you all bring gently used (and acceptable) products that you don’t want anymore but can’t bear to throw in the trash. Same goes for curling/straightening irons, etc that you have too many of or didn’t work out.

Hopefully this gives you the push to throw away or donate some of those items you have been eyeing in your makeup bag. I will be doing it too so strength in numbers!


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