Monday, April 30, 2012

April Favorites

Hello Lovelies! Here is my monthly roundup of products I have been loving recently! 

The eye look I reached for almost every day in April was my Rose Gold Eye Look. It included NARS Eyeshadow Duo in Silk Road layered over MAC Paint Pot in Rubenesque  as a base. 

For mascara, in April I fell in love with this sample of Chanel Inimitable Intense. I don't think I have ever found a mascara that works better with my lashes. I love how deep black the formula is and how it lengthens, curls, separates, and volumizes. With this mascara on, my lashes look fluttery and great all day with zero smudging or flaking. Although this mascara is $30 a tube, I honestly will probably run out and buy one once this sample is done because it is just that good. 

I can't complete this list of April Favorites without mentioning my NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Via Appia. This eyeliner serves a specific purpose for me in my daily makeup routine. In general, I apply MAC's Fluidline in Blacktrack to my upper lash line. However, I have found that applying black eyeliner on my lower lashline can look too harsh on me.  Enter NARS Via Appia. Smudged into my lower lashline, this shimmering copper brown is the perfect accent of subtle definition. An added bonus is this eyeliner does NOT budge once applied. I really can't say enough good things about this product!

For lips, I reached for my tarte LipSurgence Natural Lip Stain in Charmed almost daily. I layered either Chanel Glossimer in Bagatelle, or tarte Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Charmed over the top. I absolutely love the wearable bright- pink combos these products gave my lips. 

In April, I rediscovered an old favorite, Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Bronzer.  As is obvious by the huge pan mark in the box, I really did enjoy using this product. This bronzer is great for contouring the cheekbones & adding subtle color to the face. Also, Hoola thankfully didn't break me out or cause me to have an allergic reaction like so many other bronzers I've tried have done. 

For my nails it was all about the bright girly pinks & corals this month. My most reached for polishes had to be Essie Mod Square, a vibrant barbie pink, and Essie Cute As a Button, a bright coral. I love Essie polishes for their fantastic formula & beautiful color selection. 

P.S. I'm very sad to say that I had to discontinue use of my new bronzer, the Soleil Tan de Chanel Luminous Bronzing Powder because of an allergic reaction I developed to an ingredient in the product. After about 2 days of use, I started to notice strange red bumps on my cheeks & because I hadn't changed anything in my skin care routine or daily makeup, it had to be from the new bronzer. I want to mention though, I do still think it is a GORGEOUS product & was very sad I had to stop using it. I do not think there is anything wrong with the quality of the powder. In fact there seems to be something in most bronzers that irritates my skin. For reference, I had similar experiences with NARS Laguna, Laura Mercier & Clinique bronzers. Very frustrating, but nothing I can do! 

What products were you loving in April?

Thanks for reading!

Lots of Love,


Friday, April 27, 2012

Chanel Summer 2012 Soleil Tan de Chanel Luminous Bronzing Powder

Hello Lovelies! I wanted to show you a new bronzer that I recently picked up. For the past few months I have faithfully been using my Benefit Hoola bronzer to contour my face & add a bit of color to my otherwise lackluster skin. As my Hoola bronzer was nearly finished, I was in need of a new one and wanted to try out something different.  I have to mention that I generally steer clear of shimmery bronzers because I feel they can tend to look a little unnatural. However, I love Chanel face powders & thought the Soleil Tan de Chanel Luminous Bronzing Powders looked promising in photos. So, I decided to stop by my local Chanel counter & let's just say, I fell in love. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Everyday Skin Care Routine

Hello lovelies! Today I wanted to quickly take you through my every day skin care routine step by step. I have been using all of these products for the past few months, and in general am happy with the results I see in the appearance of my skin. I hope you enjoy!

Step 1: I wash my face with Origins A Perfect World Antioxidant Cleanser. This cleanser is a holy- grail product for me. I have been using it & repurchasing it for the past year. It effectively, yet gently, cleans the skin & leaves it feeling comfortable (not at all stripped or tight).

Step 2: This step is optional for me. If my skin is feeling on the dry side, I will apply a thin layer of Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. If however, my skin feels comfortable or a bit oily that day, I will skip this step.

Step 3: Lastly, I try not to ever leave the house anymore without sunscreen. I am fair skinned, and have already begun to see the damage of previous sun exposure on my face. Currently, I am using Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock. This sunblock feels relatively light- weight and non-greasy on the face. Although I am pleased with this product, I am curious to try more high-end sunscreens and see if I prefer any others.  

Step 1: I use Target's Up & Up Brand Eye Makeup Remover to remove my eye makeup. This is a fantastic eye makeup remover. It is non-irritating & easily gets rid of even waterproof makeup. Also, it is super affordable!

Step 2: I remove the rest of my face makeup using my Yes to Cucumbers Facial Towelettes. I love these face wipes! They smell delicious, gently remove all my face makeup, and don't leave any sort of residue behind.

Step 1: I use my Origins A Perfect World Antioxidant Cleanser again to fully cleanse my face.

Step 2: I apply Yon-Ka Phyto 58 Rejuvenation Treatment Cream.  This is an amazing night treatment cream (review here)! 

If I have any acne spots: I will apply Clinique Acne Solutions Clearing Moisturizer to any problem areas before my moisturizer. The benzoyl peroxide in this lightweight gel-cream helps to kill acne- causing bacteria. 

If my skin is feeling dry: I will apply Origins A Perfect World Antioxidant Moisturizer over my Yon-Ka Treatment Cream. I tend to do this nightly in the Winter months. 

At least 2x a week I exfoliate using Origins Modern Friction Scrub. This is another holy-grail product for me. I love that this scrub feels grainy &  like it is really sloughing all the dead skin cells off my face. However, unlike other grainy face scrubs, it is not at all harsh or irritating to the skin.

On alternating days, I will often use my Origins Brighter by Nature High- Potency Brightening Peel Pads. These glycolic acid pads are convenient to use & seem to help exfoliate the skin. I haven't yet noticed any improvement in the brightness of my skin though as a result of using these. I will most likely use them up & see if I notice any difference but I am undecided as to whether or not I will repurchase these. 

What are some of your everyday skin care must-haves? 

Thanks for reading!

Lots of Love,


Sunday, April 22, 2012

tarte Gifts from the Lipstick Tree Achiote Color Collection

Hello Lovelies! I hope you all are enjoying a relaxing Sunday afternoon! The weather here in California has been uncharacteristically warm the last few days (mid 80's). All of the sunshine inspired me to relocate out to the backyard to get a bit of work done. Seeing as how tarte prides itself on harnessing nature's own potent ingredients for their products, what's better than to photograph these treasures in the great outdoors (aka the deck/ garden out back)?

The tarte Gifts from the Lipstick Tree Achiote Color Collection is a new, limited edition collection from tarte for the Spring season. I am a huge fan of tarte Cosmetics for their high quality products but also the fact that they are all formulated without harmful ingredients such as parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, or synthetic fragrances.

The products are all full-sized and include an Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush, LipSurgence Natural Lip Luster, and Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss, all in the shade Achiote. This kit is a fantastic steal at only $42 (available at Sephora and The blush on its own usually retails for $25, the LipSurgence pencil for $24 and the lip gloss for $21. 

The Achiote color that this collection is based on is described by tarte as a "honeysuckle" color and is not available outside of this collection. In person, the color appears to be a red-based coral, with very little pink undertones. The story behind the Gifts from the Lipstick Tree Achiote Color Collection is quite interesting as well. According to tarte, the Achiote Tree is also called the "Lipstick Tree" by native Brazilian women who harvest pigment from the fruit of the tree for use in their natural cosmetics.  


Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss, LipSurgence Lip Luster, Amazonian Clay Blush

Amazonian Clay 12- Hour Blush in Achiote

In my opinion, the Amazonian Clay 12-Hour blushes are one of tarte's best products. They are wonderfully pigmented, easily blendable, long lasting, & come in many flattering shades. I already own Dollface, a light baby-pink shade,  which I often reach for during the Winter. So when I saw that tarte had come out with this blush in Achiote, a coral color, I thought it would be perfect to add to my collection for Spring and Summer.

The blush looks much more pigmented in the pan than it is on the skin. In fact, the powder is semi-sheer but very buildable. This made it a breeze to apply and blend out on the cheeks for a natural wash of color. On my skin (neutral toned, slightly more warm than cool) the color was a more coral- tangerine flush. There was hardly any pink in the blush once I applied it to my face. I think this color would be a lovely compliment to more tanned skin in the Summer time. Also, because it is more neutral-toned than a pink blush per se, I felt that it had a bit of a contouring effect on the cheeks. 

LipSurgence Natural Lip Luster in Achiote

I have to say this product was the only disappointment in the kit for me. I adore my LipSurgence lip tint from tarte in the shade Charmed (bright baby pink) & have been wearing it almost daily with my Chanel Bagatelle on top. When I first swatched this Lip Luster on my arm, I couldn't help but squeal in delight at its gorgeous shimmering coral & gold tones. I thought this color would be the perfect coral counterpart to my beloved Charmed. Unfortunately though, the color looked nothing like it did swatched on my arm, on my lips. On my lips the color was very sheer  and looked like my own natural lip color, only darker and a bit more red-toned. Although that sort of look may appeal to some women, I personally do not think darker lips flatter me, and I generally go for either brighter or lighter lip colors.

I have to say though, the formula of these LipSurgence lip pencils is bar none. They are very long-wearing and feel luxuriously moisturizing on the lips. With a bit of gloss added on top, I have never had any issues with them drying out my lips, like other lip pencils/ lipsticks have in the past. Also, I particularly enjoy their subtle natural peppermint scent. 

Left to Right: tarte Natural Lip Stain in Charmed & tarte Natural Lip Luster in Achiote. 

Swatches Top to Bottom: Lip Luster in Achiote, Lip Stain in Charmed

Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Achiote

I have heard so much about these new lip glosses from tarte, and so was very pleased that one was included in this kit for me to try. I have to say, I adore the formula of this gloss. It might (just maybe) even rival my Chanel Glossimers for all time favorite *gasp* 

Like the lip pencils, the Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Glosses have a subtle peppermint scent & upon initial application impart a refreshing tingling sensation on the lips. The consistency of these glosses in a bit thick, but lovely and smooth and not at all sticky. I was amazed at how long this gloss lasted on my lips! Even through drinking a coffee, my lips were still slightly glossy and lovely! This gloss was also wonderfully moisturizing and slighting plumping. 

The color of this gloss is a beautiful sheer orange-coral. I also discovered that layered over my Natural Lip Stain in Charmed, it creates a beautiful melon popsicle-stained lip effect. So pretty!

The only complaint I have about the Maracuja lip glosses is the packaging. Although the floral design is feminine & eye-catching, the actual package feels a little bulky & awkward. I am not a fan of the click-up dispenser either. 

Below I've included swatches of all the products in this kit. 

Swatches Top to Bottom: Amazonian Clay Blush, LipSurgence Lip Luster, Maracuja Lip Gloss

This kit is a fantastic collection of tarte products that I'm sure are going to fly off the shelves! I would highly recommend you pick one up while they are still available!

Thanks for reading!

Lots of Love,


Friday, April 20, 2012

Today I'm Wearing #8: Essie Mod Square

Hello Lovelies! Hope everyone is looking forward to a great weekend! 

If you saw my last post, a mini haul, you might have seen this nail polish in the mix. I have been enjoying wearing it on my nails so much, that I just had to share. Essie's Mod Square is one of those colors that just make me happy every time I look down at my hands! Also, this color looks amazing paired with more neutral outfits, as a little pop of color. 

 The best way I can think to describe the color is a true, bright Barbie-pink. In the bottle it looks more subdued and less neon than it comes across on the nails.  It was a breeze to work with & was fully opaque in two coats.

2 Coats, Natural Lighting

Essie Mod Square (Left) & Essie Cute As A Button (Right)

Also, Essie Mod Square seems to mesh beautifully with another recent purchase of mine, Essie's Cute As  A Button. I'm thinking Cute As A Button on my hands, Mod Square on my toes?

What are you favorite Spring nail colors?

Thanks for reading! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Lots of Love,


Thursday, April 19, 2012

April Clothing & Cosmetics Haul

Hello Lovelies! Today I wanted to share with you a little haul of the cosmetics & a few clothing items I picked up this month. I'm on a bit of a budget right now, so I apologize if this haul isn't that exciting!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Today I'm Wearing #7: A Rose Gold Eye Look

Hello Lovelies! Last summer, I watched a video by the lovely Ingrid (missglamorazzi on youtube) in which she did a makeup look incorporating MAC Rubenesque Paint Pot & a NARS Eyeshadow Duo in Silk Road on the eyes. The result was an effortless, summery, rose-gold look. Since I already owned NARS Silk Road, I promptly ran out and purchased MAC's Rubenesque. For a week or two, this was my go-to look. Then, as with many of my products, this combo somehow was forgotten in favor of new and more exciting makeup products. A few days ago, I was rumaging through my makeup storage and came across Rubenesque & decided to give it another try. After using these two products for a few days,  I for the life of me can't understand why I ever abandoned them! Go figure...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Review & Swatches: Smashbox Limitless 15 Hour Cream Shadow

Hello Lovelies! If you saw my last post (Spring Products Wish List), you might know that one of the Spring makeup releases I was lusting over was the new Smashbox 15 Hour Limitless Cream Shadows. 

I decided to stop by my local Sephora this afternoon and was very excited upon entering the store, to see these new shadows displayed! I quickly got to swatching the whole gorgeous range of colors. And because I love my readers so much, I had to pull out my iphone & share it all with you!

Spring Products Wish List

Hello Lovelies! Now that the warmer months of the year are right around the corner, cosmetic companies are releasing all of their beautiful Spring goodies. Let me just say, it is all so tempting! I wanted to share with you a few Spring products I am especially excited to try out! Now if only I had a limitless bank account so that I could purchase them all... (but I guess that is why this is called a Wish list).

1. Flora by Gucci- Gorgeous Gardenia ($70)

The original Flora by Gucci is a beautiful, sophisticated fragrance. I adore Gardenia, so I can only imagine how delicious this scent must be.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

My 'No-Makeup' Makeup Picks

Hello lovelies! Do you ever have those mornings where you just can't be bothered to do your full makeup routine, but don't want to leave the house with a completely naked face? Well that was me this morning. The extra 20 minutes of snoozing in bed just seemed so much more appealing at the time, than getting up to get ready. So, I thought today I would share with you my must-have products that I use on days like today where I don't necessarily want anyone to notice I'm wearing makeup but I just want to look like a fresher, more awake version of myself.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Today I'm Wearing #6: A Glimpse of Glitter

Essie- A Cut Above & butter LONDON - Teddy Girl 
I realize you have probably seen this nail look a hundred times before, but for me to actually wear something besides a creme finish on my nails is quite a departure from the norm! Also, I thought this combo was such a pretty & understated way to still wear the glitter polish trend without going all-out disco on your nails!

Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you so much to the lovely Courtney of Strawberree Swing for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! I am so flattered & excited! This is a great way to share with others the blogs you have been loving & to meet more people!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review: Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm

Too Faced Beauty Balm in Vanilla Glow

Ever since I heard about BB Creams making their way onto the US market, I was beyond excited. They sounded like a miracle product for streamlining my morning makeup routine. Primer, light foundation, & skincare in one? Sign me up! Sadly though, I have to admit that so far American BB creams have not lived up to the hype for me. Unfortunately, Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm was another BB Cream that I had high hopes for, but just didn't work well with my skin.  

Friday, April 6, 2012

Today I'm Wearing #5

Chanel Glossimer in Bagatelle, LORAC Unzipped Palette, NARS Blush in Luster

Hi Everyone! Just another quick post to share with you the products I used today. It should come as no surprise if you read my last post that I used the LORAC Unzipped Palette on my eyes. I applied shades Unattainable & Unconditional on my lids/crease to create a really lovely golden fawn, with a hint of mauve, eye look.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Review & Swatches: LORAC Unzipped Palette

Hi Everyone! In all of my makeup obsession, nothing gets me quite as excited as eyeshadow. My opinion is, if the eyes are the window to the soul, why not make that window as pretty as possible? So naturally, when I came across LORAC's new Unzipped Palette, limited edition for Spring 2012, I just knew I had to have it. 

The makeup gods must have been smiling down on me when they created LORAC's Unzipped Palette. For only $40, you get a collection of 10 stunning shadows with shimmers, satins & mattes to please everyone (and a mini Behind the Scenes Eye Primer). If you have ever felt that Urban Decay's cult classic Naked was too warm for you, but their new Naked2 was too cool, then the Unzipped Palette is that happy medium you may have been looking for. The colors are mainly neutral, a bit on the cool side. What I love is that most of the shades lean towards more pink or plum tones. I honestly don't think there is one color in this palette that I would never wear.  

The pigmentation of these shadows is wonderful. They are very finely milled and glide on & blend with ease. The shimmer shades remind me of the new bareMinerals Ready shadows, in that they feel and look like crushed metallic pigments. They lend a bit of light-catching shine to the eyelid, which is very flattering in my opinion. The matte shades are lovely as well. They are not at all chalky, which I have found can be the case with some other brands.

The only negative I have found with the shadows in the Unzipped Palette is that there can be a tiny bit of fall-out. As long as I used my trusty Urban Decay Primer Potion and a flat shader brush to pat on the color (MAC 239) it really was negligible.  


Palette Top Row Swatches: Top to Bottom: Undercover (not very visible on my skin), Unbelievable, Unattainable, Unconditional, Unbridled

Palette Bottom Row Swatches: Left to Right: Untamed, Unspoken, Uncensored, Unreal, Undiscovered

LORAC Unzipped Palette vs. Urban Decay Naked Palette

Don't get me wrong, my Naked Palette will always have a special place in my heart. I feel Urban Decay makes some of the best eyeshadows available on the market in terms of color range, texture and pigmentation. The only thing that frustrates me with that palette, and makes me consider whether or not I will ever repurchase, is that I really only ever use 4 of the shades out of the entire palette (Sin, Naked, Buck, Toasted). All of the other colors are either too glittery (hears looking at you UD Sidecar), too warm, or too dark to work with my coloring. 

If you already own Urban Decay's Naked Palette, I'm not entirely sure you need LORAC's new Unzipped Palette. But if you are like me, and are inclined to use more truly neutral tones on your eyes, Unzipped might be something to consider. 

As far as packaging is concerned, aesthetically I think I prefer UD's Naked Palette. I really enjoy the felt case & think it looks more luxurious and high end. That's not to say I feel the LORAC packaging is bad, it is just your standard cardboard packaging, akin to Stila Cosmetics palettes, for example. The LORAC packaging is however much more compact & would be more convenient for travel or carrying in your purse. 

Below I've included some comparison swatches between shades from the LORAC palette & the UD palette I thought were similar. 

LORAC Unreal (Left) vs. UD Sin (Right)

LORAC Undiscovered (Left) vs. UD Half Baked (Right)
LORAC Uncensored (Left) vs. UD Smog (Right)

Bottom Line: Ladies, go pick up this palette while you still can!! It is worth every penny!

Thank you so much for reading! Does this look like a palette you might pick up?

Lots of Love,


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

March Favorites

Oops! I realize I am a few days late with posting my monthly favorites, but I still thought it might be beneficial to share with you a few of the products that I particularly enjoyed using in March.

Hope you enjoy!


Chanel Ombre Essentiel Eyeshadow -  Safari
This elegant taupe-grey eyeshadow is so easy to wear. It can be blended softly across the lid for a wash of color & then built up in the crease for more dimension. A one stop eye-look for hectic mornings! 

NARS Eyeshadow Duo -  Kalahari
The left side of this duo is one of the loveliest bronze shadows I have ever used. It is more of a neutral, pinky bronze. The texture of these shadows is fantastic- buttery soft!

Urban Decay Primer Potion -  Sin
This looks lovely on the lid all on its own for a pretty natural makeup look. It also adds extra dimension & shimmer to any eyeshadow when worn underneath as a base. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Today I'm Wearing #4: Essie Cute As A Button Nail Polish

Natural Lighting, 2 Coats

I seem to be having a bit of a love affair with Essie polishes lately! They really do have a great selection of fun, bright colors that are perfect for the upcoming warmer months. Cute As A Button is a vivid medium coral-pink, which in some lighting looks like a salmon-pink to me. It is a creme finish, with no shimmer. I think this color would look great as a pedicure color as well, especially with a bit of a tan.