Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Sean's looking a little intense. lol

Hey, all!
It's my absolute favorite time of the year again! I love Halloween soooooo much. It's so much fun! Sean and I went cheap and chic for this year's costume. We're black and white film stars. The costumes are a mix of thrift store finds and what we already had in our closet. My outfit cost a grand total of $5. Sean's was $9. (And, for a bit of craftiness, I made his bow tie!)

A better look at our full costumes.

Our own little Princess Jasmine wasn't so cheap, but was terribly chic. Her costume was from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Disney World, so, yeah she was going to wear that thing for Halloween! Maybe even the next five Halloweens just to get value out of it.

Ready for her close-up.

We added the wig, because Jasmine has gorgeous black hair, and a long-sleeved shirt and leggings because it's much colder in WV in October than it is in FL in June. Much, much, much colder.

Just finished up at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

Learning Irish step dancing at Raglan Road in Downtown Disney.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Many, many mascaras!

Hey, all!
You may or may not know that I have a seriously major fascination with mascara. I keep looking for the next best thing. I love the whole Bambi-eyed look, but I really, really, REALLY don't want to wear false lashes on a daily basis. So, in order of my favorites to not-so-favorites, here's what I've been wearing lately.

1. Urban Decay Perversion ($22) -  This mascara is perfection in a tube. It gives me the volume that I need and lengthens beautifully. There's no smudging or flaking. It removes so easily but stays put all day. The brush is everything I look for in a mascara brush. It's densely packed with traditional bristles and is large, but not too large to miss the corners and the bottom lashes. I looooove this mascara. If I had $22 bucks to spend on a mascara, I'd choose this one.

*Cue Hallelujah Chorus

2. Ulta Voluptuous Volume in Black/Brown ($10) - But since I don't have $22 for mascara, I'll go with my second pick. This does pretty much everything that Urban Decay's Perversion does. The only reason that Perversion is #1 and not this one is that I prefer the brush on Perversion ever so slightly more. Really, it's a toss-up. Even though the color is Black/Brown, it's still pretty dramatic. I had no idea that there was even brown in it until I looked up the shopping link for this post. The best part (aside from the fact it's awesome) is that Ulta cosmetics are constantly going on sale. Currently there's a "buy two, get one free" offer. There's no need to ever pay full price for this, but if you do, it's still only $10. Also, Ulta has amazing coupons. Just sayin'.

Gorgeous (and cheap!)

3. Benefit They're Real ($23) - This was the first mascara I've ever tried that made me gasp. I literally gasped. It does gorgeous things for my lashes. It lengthens like nobody's business, it thickens, and it separates. Why isn't it #1? (Excellent question, Tabitha! Why thank you, Tabitha!) It's nearly impossible to remove. I tend to just give up after a while and live with it. Benefit now makes a remover, but I haven't had a chance to try that. The bristles on this brush are the hard kind that poke my eyeballs, but it's totally worth it. I love the knobby bit at the end that gets each and every tiny lash in the corners. I really do love this mascara. I don't love the price and I don't love the near-permanence of it.

Drama in a tube.

4. CK One Color in 800 (Show - True Black) ($18) - This one is a bit strange. There's two different wand settings. One for length and definition. The other is for volume. The formula is great. No smudges. No flakes.  All day wear. When you go to remove it, it flakes like crazy then. It's easy to remove, but it's also easy to forget a flake or two and then people ask why your face is dirty. Kinda embarrassing. Just be aware of that.

Maybe this should be called CK two? *cue rim shot

The wand lengthens or shortens by the twist of the knob at the end of the cap. When the wand is fully extended, that is the lengthening setting, which works beautifully. The lashes are very well-defined. When the wand is shortened, the bristles go from a straight row to a twisted pattern. I've found that this setting works best just worked into the base of the lashes. When I try to sweep the brush up the length of my lashes to the tip, it's clump city. It's like I have five really fat lashes. Not cute. So, the way I use this is to first start with the shortened wand at the base of my lashes, and then extend the wand to define and lengthen. To be totally honest, $18 is a lot to spend on this. I'm not completely blown away by it. It's good. It's just not great. But it is a bit fun to play with.

Left - lengthening, Right - volumizing 

5. Maybelline Great Lash Big in Blackest Black ($5.99) - This little guy has BIG claims. It claims to give a "bigger, bolder lash effect", but seriously, meh. Just meh. I used to use the original Great Lash back in the day. I loved it then. I have no idea why, but I really did. The wand on the original is teeny-tiny. This one is sooo much bigger and it looks a lot like my beloved Ulta Voluptuous Volume. It was a door-buster at Ulta for $1.99, so I thought "Why not?" I'll tell you why not. I'm not into natural looking lashes. At all. Ever. Even when I'm doing a minimal makeup look. I don't get the point. Why go to all the trouble of doing mascara if it's going to look like you've done nothing? (Remember my Bambi eyes comment from earlier?) This mascara is fabulous if you like a natural look. I just happen to not enjoy that look. Others probably do. I dunno.

BIG meh!

6. Makeup Forever Smoky Extravagant in Black ($24) - This one is the most expensive on my list and also the most disappointing. The good points: no smudges, no flakes. The bad points: it makes my eyes itch, the brush is diabolical. I've never encountered a mascara that triggered an allergic reaction before, but every time I wear this the skin around my eyes itch all day long. The brush is so weird. It's a tear drop shape with a very thick end that makes it really difficult to get to the base of my lashes without making a mess. I've been using mascara on a daily basis for 26 years (!!!) now and this one tiny, sample-sized  tube has me totally confused. I've never seen anything like it. And not in a good way. I can't comment on volume or length because this mascara bothered me too much to notice and I'm not willing to try it again to see what it does. I love you guys, but I'm not a martyr for the cause.


I hope some of you found this helpful. What mascara have you fallen in love with and which ones should I stay away from?


Thursday, October 16, 2014

October's ipsy bag: Beauty Candy

Beauty Candy, indeed!

Hey, all!
It's ipsy time again! Love it! I really do still get so excited when I see that gorgeous pink envelope/package thingy in the mail. Every. Time!

This month's bag was full of winners! I loved everything in it (except one and that one was just okay). The theme of the month is "Beauty Candy" and most of this stuff certainly qualifies.

In order of favorites:

1. Jesse's Girl Mineralized Baked Shadow Powder in Esmerelda - Oh em gee!!! This shadow is gorgeous, darling! Just gorgeous! The colors mix into a beautiful metallic duo-chrome taupe.

So marble-y!

For a subtle look, the eye shadow can be used dry, but use it with a wet brush for some serious impact.  There are six shades available. (Value $3.99)

Taupe-y: Dry on the left, wet on the right.

Silvery: Dry on the left, wet on the right. (This looks more silver in person.)

2. Ayres Patagonia Body Butter - I'm not that into body creams, lotions, or butters, really. I tend to use oils because everything else seems to take too long to work into my skin and I'm lazy. For realz. For this, however, I will make an exception. This body butter really is lovely. It has a yummy herbal scent that reminds me of the good gift shops in Colonial Williamsburg, VA that sells the old fashioned soaps. Good memories. This is a travel size sold in a pack of three. There's also a large jar available. (Travel pack value $15.00, Large jar value $28.00, Sample value $5.00)

Just in case you didn't know what cream looks like.

3. Starlooks Lip Gloss in Guilty Pleasure -  I love a good lip gloss, and this is a really good lip gloss. It has great pigmentation, excellent staying power, and it smells like vanilla cupcakes. It has the same texture as MAC Lipglass and Avon Glazewear, so if you don't like that level of stickiness, you might not like this, but I loooooove it. The stickiness lets the gloss stay around for a bit longer, so fewer touch-ups are needed.

Love this color!
Guilty Pleasures is a neutral rose. A "your lips but better" kind of color. It's creamy and shimmer-free which is my favorite kind of gloss. (Full size value $12.00, Sample size value $4.00)

So pretty!

4. ECRU New York Acacia Protein BB Cream Beauty Balm for Hair - When I saw that I had received a BB cream for my hair, I rolled my eyes. I'm sooooo over the whole BB cream thing. And then I had to take that eye roll back because this stuff rocks. I used it on my air-dried hair on a rainy day and my husband couldn't get over how good my hair looked. My hair is thick and naturally wavy and it frizzes so easily. On a day like yesterday, my hair would have been huge. This BB cream turned it into a good hair day effortlessly. It left my hair soft and touchable and, most importantly, frizz free!!! And it smells so good! I would definitely buy more. (Value $12.00)

Smells so good!

5. Skyn Iceland Mini Glacial Cleansing Cloths - Okay, now we've come to the one thing I was totally "meh" about. Let's discuss the good parts first. The cloths are self-foaming. You just rub them together to create some lather. They are refreshing. They did a decent job of removing my makeup. They are cruelty free. You don't have to rinse your face afterwards.

Now for the not-so-good parts. They stung my eyes a bit and left my skin feeling a bit dried out. My skin was oddly tacky to the touch, but my face actually felt tight. I'll still use them, but probably only while travelling or in emergencies. And with a good moisturizer. (Full size value $15.00, Sample size value $5.00)

I wanted to love this.

The bag - This month's bag is a quilted style teal vinyl with a nylon lining. Teal is one of my favorite colors, so I'm pretty happy about this one.

Ooh! Shiny!
The grand total for this month's bag is $29.99 plus the bag itself. I have no way of estimating a value for the bags. I believe that was $10 well spent. If you're interested in signing up you can go to or if you want to give me points by using my link, click here.

If you already get ipsy, what did you get this month?


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Office Artwork

Whoooo are you looking at?

Hey, all!
It kind of just occurred to me today that I haven't shared the artwork I have in my office. If you watched the video of my office tour, you saw the first two briefly. My office has all white walls so I needed some color in here. Quickly.

A collaboration with my favorite artist, Zara.

Zara and I had a lot of fun doing this ghostly sunset together. I'm pretty sure there's a half inch of paint on there.

 This lovely lady lives on my desk as a coaster. I wanted it to say something, but could literally think of nothing. So "Umm...?" fits. As it does most days.

I mustache you a question.

No! My lips are sealed!


I call this my Victor/Victoria mug. Because reasons that should be readily apparent.

Zara's scratch art.

Not all artwork in my office is my own. This piece is by Zara. It's her rendering of our wedding. She's become fascinated by the photos of the wedding.

I'm a little teapot...

I really love that kid's crafty side.

Gallery wall

Zara and my niece tend to add to the wall from time to time. I've had to limit them to the side of my printer cart.

What do you do to add pops of color to your workspace?


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September's ipsy Bag: Street Style

My favorite time of the month!

Hey, all! I'm back with September's ipsy bag. This month's theme is Street Style. Oooh! Edgy! lol

1. CAILYN Art Touch Tinted Lip Gloss in Love Affair - First thing's first (I'm the realest!), can we talk about this gloss?!? This is soooo gorgeous and perfect for autumn.

A very wearable vampy color.

It's slightly sheer, but can be built up. It's not at all sticky. There's no scent and it sticks around as long as you'd expect a lip gloss to.  I really adore this and have worn it several times since getting it. (Full size $19.00)

That's my hand. I promise.

2. Crown Brush Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet Brush - This was some seriously good timing. I was just thinking the other day that I need to pick up a pencil brush the next time I'm at Ulta or Sephora. And now I don't have to. Yay!

It's two brushes in one! (And kinda tricky to store.)

This brush is pretty darn awesome. It's very soft and well-made. The larger side is the shadow brush. It's a bit fluffier than I like to pack on color, so I've been using it to blend.

Shadow side. Ooh! Fluffy!
The crease (pencil) side is perfect for adding color to my lower lash line and the inner corner of my eye. It works pretty well for the crease, but it's not my favorite tool for that. The one downside to having a dual-ended brush is figuring a way to store it. I'm storing it on the tray that holds the jars I use to store my other brushes upright. Overall, I'm very impressed with this brush and would consider buying more. This one's currently on sale. (Full price $17.50. Sale price $6.99)

Pencil perfection.

 3. Pacifica Natural Water-Proof Eye Pencil in Gun Metal - I love Pacifica. I really do. They're a vegan and cruelty-free drugstore priced brand that you can get online or at Target. I was thrilled to get to try out another of their products. This liner is very smooth and creamy. It glides on easily, but for me, I had to give it a few swipes to build up enough color. It stays on all day, but won't go on my waterline at all. It literally won't stick to it. I like to use this on my lower lash line. I tried to use it on my upper lash line, but I don't feel it gives enough definition for my tastes.

A nice, travel-sized sample.

The color itself is gorgeous. It's a true gun metal pewter and a bit shimmery, but not glittery. (Full Size $11.00. Sample Size $4.00)

It swatches darker than it shows up on my eyes.

4. Mitchell and Peach Luxury Hand Cream - The good part first: this absorbs really quickly and leaves my hands feeling very soft. Now the bad part: the smell!!! The packaging does say English Growers and Flora No. 1, but did they really need to put *every* flower in there? It's too much and the scent is more herbal than floral, but not in a good way. I'm not seeing the specific scent of Flora No. 1 on the website yet. (Full size $21.49. Sample size $10.75)

Oh, how I wanted to love this!

5. Nourish Organic Moisturizing Cream Face Cleanser - Once again, I'll start with the positives. It's organic and it didn't dry my face. The negative: the smell!!! (Noticing a trend?) In the tube it doesn't smell like much of anything, but once applied...yeah, buddy! It was strong! I was hesitant to try this because their moisturizer clogged my pores, but I bit the bullet and tried it this morning. I might keep it to wash my makeup brushes, but I dunno. I don't want my brushes to reek. (Full size $13.99. Sample size $2.33)!

One of my favorite things about this month's bag is the bag itself. It's a gorgeous pewter with studs. The bag is a very soft fake leather that I'm sure will work well as a small clutch purse. The grand total value of the bag (actual bag not included) is $53.58. $43.07 sale price.

If you're interested in signing up, click here. It's $10 per month and personalized to your tastes. There's a quiz and everything. And I get points if you use my link. Just sayin'.

If you already get it, what did you get in your bag this month? I'm being nosy!


Monday, August 18, 2014

August's ipsy bag: Beauty Schooled

Hey, all!
Another month, another ipsy bag! Woohoo! I was actually quite pleased with this one. Only one dud! Here is my list of best to worst.

1. Urban Decay Perversion mascara - For the longest time Benefit's They're Real mascara was my holy grail. I'm thinking it now has competition. Perversion gives such beautiful volume, it lengthens, it doesn't flake or smudge, and it's easy to remove. It's ever so slightly clumpy, but in a good way. It makes my lashes look thicker, but doesn't make it look like I have just four fat, spiky lashes like a lot of other volumizing mascaras.

One coat will give you very defined, black lashes. Two coats give a very dramatic effect. The brush is a densely packed bristle favorite kind. (I tend to poke myself in the eyeball with the plastic bristle kind.) Full size value $22. Sample size value $5.50

2. Coastal Scents Forever Blush - Shades Fresh (left) and Elegant (right): These tiny pans of color pack a punch! They're so pigmented and the shades are beautiful. I tried using Fresh as a contour, but it's definitely a blush. The pigmentation is so great that you have to use a very light hand. Tip: If you go overboard with blush, just blend it out with some face powder on a big, fluffy brush. 

Fresh has a matte finish and Elegant has a slight sheen. Not too shimmery. Full size value $7.95 (currently on sale for $3.98). Sample size value $2.04.

3. Absolute New York You're The Balm in Green Apple - This balm is unbelievable. It's so smooth and moisturizing. It's yummy. I just love it. Even though it's pink in the pan, it goes on sheer. It's perfect under other lip products or just on its own. I'm able to feel it on my lips a few hours after application. While the sample I received is actually full sized, this normally comes as a duo. The other flavor in this set is Grape. Duo value $5.99. Sample value $3.

4. Lord & Berry Silk Kajal Kohl Eye Pencil in Black Silk: I wanted to love this pencil. I really did. But I didn't. It didn't stay in my waterline for any time at all. It's also a bit smudgy.

As you can see from the swatch below, the pigmentation isn't that great either. I'll use it because it's not the most awful liner I've ever had, but it's definitely not the best. Full size value $17 (although their site is down at the time of this post). Sample size value approximately $4.50.

5. dr. brandt pores no more pore refiner primer- And now for the dud. You thought the eyeliner was the dud, right? Nope. This one's worse. This claimed to erase pores and to mattify skin. Over makeup, it did nothing. Under makeup, it did make my pores ever so slightly less visible. It wasn't mattifying at all. I had to set it. That's all forgivable. What wasn't forgivable was the major breakout I had after using this twice. Not cool, dr. brandt. Not cool. Full size value $45. Sample size value $11.25.

The bag itself is adorable. I love the orange polka dots. It's vinyl, so will be easy to keep clean. I think I'll use it for my brushes when I travel. I seem to have misplaced my brush roll, so this will come in handy. The overall total value for this month's bag is $26.29. Not bad for $10.

ipsy is a subscription service that is totally customized to your likes and dislikes. It's $10 per month. If you're interested in joining up and don't mind giving me some points, click and subscribe.

If  you already get ipsy, what did you get in your bag this month? (Just being nosy!)



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