Beauty, Makeup

Diorshow Mascara – The Original 

I think that one of the hardest products to buy is mascara. There are so many formulations and brushes. It can be so hard to find the perfect one. I find that I change my mind about mascara more than other products, but I always seem to come back to the original Diorshow Mascara.

This is a pretty expensive mascara at $28.50, but it does seem to last quite a while (however, please keep in mind that if your mascara starts to smell weird, throw it away even if you have a lot left – don’t mess around with potential bacteria near your eyes!)

The brush is really big and fluffy, which I think helps to create a very dramatic effect. I find that just one or two coats can do the job, and I love the jet black finish. The formulation is light enough that it doesn’t weigh down the eyelashes, and I’m able to keep a nice curl throughout the whole day.

I’ve had a few people ask me to recommend a mascara that doesn’t run throughout the day or flake off and settle in the lines underneath the eye. This is absolutely what I recommend. It is not waterproof, so it shouldn’t damage your eyelashes over time like waterproof mascaras do, but it does have remarkable staying power. It’s not going to hold up if you go swimming or have a crying fit, but it will last throughout your average day – even if you got kind of sweaty.

Overall, I think this is one of the best mascaras on the market, and it’s no surprise that so many makeup artists consider this a holy grail product. If you’re in the market for a mascara and you’re willing to splurge a bit, I highly recommend this one!

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Makeup

L’Oreal Brow Stylist Definer 

I know I promote a lot of expensive products on this blog, but there’s one category of beauty products where I rarely feel the need to splurge: brow products! My favorite one right now is the L’Oreal Brow Stylist Definer, but there are also some great ones by Almay and Maybelline.

The $9 L’Oreal brow product absolutely rivals the $30+ brow products at Sephora. Trust me, I’ve used a lot of them. I think that the best thing about this product is that it is so easy to blend. It fills out my brows without making them look too dark or overly done. Super bold eyebrows that look drawn on with a sharpie look ridiculous to me. I think that brows should look defined but natural, which is why I gravitate towards brow pencils instead of gels. They are much easier to blend with a spooly.

So, if you’re in the market for a natural brow look and you just want to fill them in a bit, don’t waste your money on super expensive products from Anastasia or even Benefit when the perfect solution is available at the drugstore!

Skincare

Another Dr. Jart+ Miracle 

I am SO EXCITED about this new product from Dr. Jart +! I know I’ve praised several products from this brand in the past, but this is my absolute favorite so far: the Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment.

Yes, this product has a hefty price tag at $52, but it is so worth it. The tin opens up to a thick green substance that blends into a beige shade on your skin. “Beige” is usually a terrifying shade on my pale skin, but it really does sink in and look absolutely natural even on me.

This product does an amazing job at reducing redness and making the skin look perfectly even. I don’t think I’ve ever liked the look of my skin more than when I use this product. Also, it protects the skin with SPF 30!

The product descriptions suggests that this be used as a primer, but I use it as a lightweight foundation similar to a BB cream. It does a really great job at covering up redness and blemishes, but I’ve been even more impressed by its ability to cover up my acne scars. They are way less noticeable when I use this product, and that is a miracle because they are so hard to hide!

If I had to pick only one product to promote, this would be it. It is the best product I tried in 2016, and believe me, I tried a lot of products in 2016!

Beauty

Clinique Take the Day Off Balm 

My bestie swears by the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, but I just recently tried it out. I received a deluxe sample from Sephora, and I’m so glad that I gave this one a try.

At first, I was hesitant to try this product because the balm feels a bit oily. Since I’m acne-prone, oily products can be kind of hit-or-miss for me, and often they cause breakouts depending on the type of oil. I was also kind of scared to apply this over my eyes to remove eye makeup because it is just such a different experience than typical eye makeup removers. Finally, I was kind of afraid that, if I liked the product, I would feel conflicted over whether or not to buy a $29 product just to remove my makeup when I typically use drugstore products for this.

I was very pleased that this product did not break me out. I did get a few blemishes at first, but I think these were related to my period since I haven’t had any more in the three weeks I’ve been using the product. The oiliness is actually quite nice because it really melts into the skin and does a great job at removing ALL makeup. This did not irritate my eyes, and it is actually really remarkable at removing waterproof eye makeup. I didn’t have to rub much, and I’m sure the delicate skin around my eyes and my fragile eyelashes will thank me for the gentle touch instead of my normal desperate scrubbing to remove all my eyeliner.

Lastly, I am actually okay now with the $29 price tag, and I will absolutely be purchasing this product after my two deluxe samples have been used up. You really only need a tiny amount to remove all your makeup, and I expect that the large full-size container will actually last quite a while. Also, if it’s going to be better for my skin, then it is worth the investment!

One final tip: a lot of skincare expects suggest that you use cleansing oils and balms as the first step in a double-cleanse. This means that once this product removes all of your makeup, they suggest you still cleanse your skin once more with something else that targets your additional skincare needs. For now, I’ll be using the Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser, but I’m not sure what I’ll use once that is all used up. Maybe I’ll embark on a quest for the perfect cleanser whilst blogging about my experience.

Fashion

In Defense of Knitting 

Project Runway has made sewing cool again, but I wish a TV show would come out that would make knitting cool again! Of course, there’s Miss Marple (who I love) but I really wish there wasn’t a stigma attached to yarn crafts that makes them associated only with the elderly.

 

My current yarn stash!

In May of this year, I was feeling kind of stressed and I decided I wanted to try a new hobby that made me use my hands. I also wanted something that I could do on autopilot, ideally when watching TV. I was at a craft store with my family, and I noticed the yarn section. Knitting and crocheting seemed like they would fit the bill!

Thankfully, my Aunt Pat knew how to knit and crochet and she was happy to show me. I definitely struggled at first, but practicing every day made all the difference. I also watched some great tutorials on the YouTube channel Studio Knit. Within a month, I could make potholders. Soon after, I moved on to fingerless gloves. Now, I can also make hats and socks and baby booties and blankets! Knitting and crocheting have becomes really rewarding hobbies that have enabled me to de-stress while making fun things for my friends, family, and charity. A lot of charities, including my favorite – Warm Up America – accept both finished projects and rectangles they can join together.

Anyway, I just wanted to throw this out there: if you’re looking for a new hobby and you want to be creative and do something rewarding, give knitting or crocheting a try! It’s actually really fun and a lot of my coworkers have been impressed by their handmade gifts. Don’t let the stigma stop you if it’s something that interests you!

If you already play with yarn or if you do decide to give it a try, feel free to post ideas here or share pictures of your masterpieces in the comments section!

 

Fashion, Uncategorized

Winter is Here! 

I realized last week that winter had finally arrived when I was working at the library desk and a patron with a hat and coat and gloves came rushing in looking all red in the face. She looked cold and scared and she blurted out, “It’s snowing outside!” before grabbing a few books and checking them out as quickly as she could. Knowing that I had forgotten to wear my new jacket that day, I was worried about leaving and going home until I saw that the blizzard outside was comprised of approximately eight snowflakes.

While I loathe snow and ice, especially when I’m driving, I do love BOOT SEASON! I used to have so many pairs of boots, but when I moved to my own apartment, I knew I didn’t have room to keep them all. Now, I’m down to three pairs of inexpensive but adorable boots.

The first in the above picture (from left to right) is a pair that I got for $30 at Target last year. The middle one I got this year at Gabe’s (previously knows as Gabriel Brothers) for $20. The last pair is from Kohl’s and they were only $30. Places such as these can be very hit-or-miss and their stock turns over very quickly, but I think that inexpensive yet comfortable shoes can be found out there!

So, should you pay low prices for boots you’ll have to replace every year or so? Would it be better to invest in more expensive boots that will last longer? I, honestly, don’t know what the answer should be for you – this is kind of a personal preference. However, I try to invest my money in pieces that are classics. I usually spend very little on anything trendy or something that I won’t wear very often. I’d rather just get the cheaper version if it’s going to have a short life either way. Boots, while they can be trendy, typically fall under the classic category, but I just like to change them up every year. Because of this, I don’t want to spend too much if I’m going to get tired of them by the end of the season.

 

Beauty

Christmas Gift Guide! 

 

Christmas is less than two weeks away! Have you finished your shopping? If not, here are five great beauty buys that are sure to please:

Yes, my presents do match my ornaments! 

1. Dr. Jart + Masking All the Way Set – Sheet masks are one-time-use products that feel like an indulgence. This $37 set from one of Sephora’s best skincare brands comes with 7 different masks to try.

2. Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Bold Lip – Highly pigmented colors are really fun but a lot of people who want to try them are too scared to risk paying for something they may not end up using. This $28 sampler set provides six different shades of lip products from six top Sephora brands, and it’s sure to help people ease into the world of bold colors.

3. NARS Orgasm Blush – This is a cult classic shade that is universally flattering. It is so easy to blend and it builds gradually, so it should work on nearly every skin tone, even super pale people like me. The $30 price tag may deter some, but if you know a beauty junkie, chances are that she either loves this blush or has always wanted to try it!

4. Rosebud Perfume Co. Minted Rose Lip Balm – This is a perfect $7 stocking stuffer. Winter is the season of chapped lips, and this is the best ever lip balm. A tin can probably last you a whole year, and it does an amazing job at moisturizing lips without making them feel sticky. This product does not need to be reapplied often because it has great staying power.

5. Gift cards! – Some may consider this a taboo gift, but I absolutely do not. Shopping is fun, and I think that giving a gift card is giving the gift of an excuse to shop. You can make it slightly more personalized by making sure to give a gift card to a store that you absolutely know the receiver loves.

I hope you all are having a great holiday season so far! While presents are fun, please try to take some time just to spend with loved ones, and remind them how much you appreciate them!

 

Beauty

Sephora Cheek Ink Gel

As the weather gets colder, my skin gets drier, and I tend to gravitate towards more liquid/gel products than powders. Recently, I received a deluxe sample of the Sephora Colorful Cheek Ink Gel.

Shade: Peony

This product is pretty affordable at $14, and it comes in 6 shades. Thankfully, I was given the lightest shade Peony. I was afraid that something with so much concentrated pigment would just be too bold for my pale skin, but this shade really worked and it looks pretty natural. It just gives me a gentle flush.

Another positive feature of this product is that it blends really well without messing up the rest of my face makeup. I had to apply this after applying concealer on a blemished cheek, and I was afraid that it would displace the concealer and make the blemishes more noticeable. I often avoid blush when I have a blemish in this area, but I wanted to try it out to see what would happen. I was pleasantly surprised that it blended without ruining my carefully placed concealer.

Overall, I think this is a nice product. It’s certainly less expensive than a lot of other liquid/gel blush options. It also comes in a nice variety of shades, so I’m sure every skin tone can find the perfect match.

shopping

Half-Off Holiday Cheer! 

Christmas is almost here! Are you excited? I sure am! I have already purchased oodles of Christmas presents for my loved ones and have started wrapping them. I also bribed Josh with hot chocolate and cookies so he would help me put up my tree and other decorations. While I used last year’s decorations this year, I still wanted to let you all in on a tip of where to go if you are still looking for inexpensive last-minute decorations: Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores!

 

Adorable socks I got 50% !!!

Jo-Ann’s isn’t just a place to get deals on fabrics and yarn for crafting projects. They also have a lot of seasonal decorations. Unlike a lot of places that only put seasonal items on sale after the season has passed, this store typically had their seasonal items 50% off during the season. I don’t know how or why, but I do know that you should definitely take advantage of the deals! They have stockings and baubles and baking supplies and tiny trees and socks and so much more!

Now, if you’re all set already for this year, but you still want to take a look, expect the prices to drop to 70% off or more after Christmas!

 

Fashion

New Banana Republic Jacket

The love of my life is constantly pestering me about two things: drinking more water and wearing a jacket when it’s cold. I’ve been resisting them both, but he is, regrettably, correct. The other day we were at Kenwood Towne Centre because he wanted to go to Banana Republic, and I found this gem:

product photo
Credit: Banana Republic

Behold! The Banana Republic Flounce Front Moto Jacket! This picture from Banana Republic’s website doesn’t even do it justice. The front ruffles are adorable, and it also looks really sparkly in person. This girlish charm, however, is tamed by the moto structure and the silver zipper hardware. It’s so flattering in the waist region, and I’m really happy that I bought it. It does retail for $158, but thankfully I went during the 50% off sale! That is one of the reasons I love Banana Republic – they have pretty amazing sales, so make sure to wait if you ever see something regular priced that you want. The risk will (probably) pay off!