I’ve Moved! My Blog That Is!

I’m so excited to share that I’ve moved my blog and created a website, www.angelasarchives.com! Please check out my site for all of my beauty, fitness, and lifestyle updates! I hope you’ll follow me.

Thanks!

Foundation Primer Reviews | Makeup Forever and Smashbox

I was lucky enough to receive two foundation primers for Christmas that had been on my wish list a long time ago – the Makeup Forever Equalizer Mattifying Primer and the Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water! My very good social media pen pal read that I wanted to try these out and she very kindly sent them to me – thank you! I’ve been testing these primers since Christmas thoroughly with different foundations to make sure I have a very clear opinion on each primer’s performance. Both of these primers have had a ton of hype on YouTube so I had high hopes for the performance of both of them.

For the longest time while I was treating my skin for acne breakouts, my skin tended to stay on the dry to normal side. Then in the past six months to a year, I notice that my skin was becoming normal to oily throughout the day. I had never really experienced oily skin, though I would get sweat build-up on my forehead when I would go running after work – nothing that I couldn’t dab off. After trying out a few foundations formulated for oily skin, I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome and decided a primer was the next step. To be honest, I think part of the reason why my skin started to get oily, and even have a few breakouts, was because I changed some products in my skin care routine. I didn’t really have a reason for doing, only that I was becoming bored with the other products I had been using. After I finish products I have open now, I’m going to go back to my previous routine which kept my skin clear and normal.

Makeup Forever Equalizer Mattifying Primer 

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I was finally convinced that the Makeup Forever primer was worth a try when Bailey B did a review of it on her channel, claiming it made it possible for her to wear foundations in her collection that she formerly not able to wear. I had seen so many YouTubers use this primer and claim that it was great, but Bailey B is one that I feel I can really trust. Like I said, I received this primer for Christmas and have been using since. Some days wearing it Smashbox Primer sprayed on my skin first, other days I wore it alone to see it’s true performance throughout the day.

I find that this primer worked best with the Revlon Colorstay Foundation, and old favorite – I have the formula made for dry to normal skin.  When I used it with my favorite Cover Girl Outlast Stay Fabulous and Ready Set Gorgeous foundations I didn’t notice a huge difference, unless I used in conjunction with the Wayne Goss method – apply a tiny bit of loose powder all over my skin before applying foundation. For the price and hype of this primer however I expected that it performs the best alone. I do want note that I didn’t feel the need to use the Wayne Goss method with the Revlon foundation the way I did with the Cover Girl foundations, which could be a difference in the lasting power of the foundations.

Overall, I think this primer works better than any other I’ve tried, but I still feel like I need to work with it to help it perform it’s best. Given the price and the fact that I’m not really that oily compared to others, I was semi let down by this product. I think it’s good and I’ll definitely use it when I’m in need of a primer, but I think I’ll continue looking for a holy grail primer and focus on my skin care routine to correct any oiliness. The Makeup Forever Equalizer Mattifying Primer costs $35 for a full size, so if you’re just looking to test out the product maybe purchase the generous travel size which costs $16. Also, if you’re looking for an alternative use for this product, Baily B just posted a video demoing how to use this to mattify lip products.

Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water

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Of the two primers I received, this was not the one I thought I would enjoy more. I really thought the Makeup Forever Primer was going to be what blew me away. While this product is marketed as a primer, I’ve been able to use it for multiple purposes and it’s performed well in both of those areas. I can use this to prime my face before applying a base, to mist my skin after setting it with loose powder, and throughout the day to freshen up the look of my skin. It’s perfect for taking away any powdery look to the skin, which is a little more obvious this time of the year. I like using this as a primer on the weekends, when I may not be wearing my foundation as long or just on my cheeks. It’s also worked well for setting my foundation to last throughout the day. Generally I stick to using the Urban Decay All Night Setting Spray when I need my foundation locked on until the end of the night, but sometimes I feel like it makes my skin feel really tight. The Smashbox Primer Water doesn’t leave that feeling.

Overall, this has been a great product to have in my collection during these winter months and if it’s something you’ve been thinking about getting, I would recommend it. It’s a primer that I find enhances the appearance of my skin and foundation, not necessary removes oiliness or helps it last longer. A definite bummer part to this product is it runs out so quickly. I keep looking at the clear bottle this product is packaged and I see it going down more and more each day and it makes me so sad. The Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water costs $32 for a full size and $16 for a 1 ounce travel size. I’d love to try the Evian Spray which is $17 for a full size to see how it compares in terms of prepping the skin for makeup and taking away that powdery look that can sometimes happen.

Friday Favorites | 1.15.16

The first full week of January proved to be more busy than I was expecting and I wasn’t able to get a Friday Favorites post up. So here’s my first one of 2016! The first full week back to work since the holidays was overwhelming with having to go back to business casual outfits, getting in my gym sessions during the busiest time of the year, and sending my brother off on his very own journey and road trip across the U.S. With all that behind me, I’ve finally had some time to use some new products I purchased over the holidays or received as gifts! Everything I’ve been loving this past week is makeup related, so sorry to anyone looking for fitness or lifestyle updates. Some times I go through phases when I’m loving all things makeup, and that’s been the case the past two weeks.

Beauty

Sonia Kashuk Brightening PowderI had wanted to purchase the Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder for awhile, but I just couldn’t justify the price tag on a simple powder. The past few months I’ve been loving ELF High Definition Undereye Setting Powder, but I had watched a mini review of the  Sonia Kashuk powder on Jessica Braun’s YouTube channel.  Jessica said that the Laura Mercier powder wasn’t any better than the Sonia Kashuk powder, so naturally I went out and purchased it that very week. I’m always skeptical about using powder to set my under eye concealer because they always seem to crease on me. I’m happy to report that this powder sets my under eye concealer with no creasing. I use it along side my Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer that I raved about in my December Favorites along with a few other favorite under eye concealers.sonia kashuk powder

And I’m also happy to report that the slight glitter in the powder doesn’t distract when it’s on the skin. For a long time I didn’t purchase the Laura Mercier powder because of the glitter in it, but it doesn’t seem to affect the appearance of the powder in person or pictures. A word of warning on this product, the label says to not use near the eye area, so if you have sensitive eyes maybe stay clear of this powder.

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Sonia Kashuk Grand Bazaar Matte Lipstick Crushed Berry (LE) I purchased this lip color right before Christmas and it was the perfect color for the holiday. I put it away right after the holiday since it’s not a very wearable color for work, but pulled it out for the weekend and I wish this was a permanent item in Sonia Kashuk’s line.

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This matte formula is extremely comfortable to wear – not drying at all, doesn’t move outside of my lip lines, and has full pigment. I do have to be careful when applying since it can tend to pill out up itself when layering or reapplying. Sadly, this was a limited edition product which is a total bummer because this is great matte lip product!

Makeup Geek Eye Shadows | I made my first Makeup Geek purchase shortly after Christmas as a gift to myself. I purchased eight eye shadows and a small Z Palette to customize the shadows. I purchased some of the more popular and recommended colors and two colors that I hadn’t heard much about. The first time I used these eye shadows, I’m not going to lie, I was surprised at how much powder kicked up from the pan. I also got fallout from Corrupt which is so pigmented it stains the skin. I pushed through it and really love the blendability of the shadows and their pigmentation. I was a bit unsure of Peach Smoothie since its very warm and has an orange color to it, but I like seeing it peek out in my crease as a transition shade. I’m also very careful about using Corrupt during the week when I’m doing my makeup quickly for work to minimize fallout.

Out of all the colors I purchased my favorites are Homecoming and Showtime. Homecoming is lighter taupe shade with a slight shimmer, great for every day wear and Showtime is a foiled eye shadow that is an amazing wine color – I’m really surprised that I like this shade so much since it’s so outside of my comfort zone. I posted a full review of these shadows earlier this week if you’d like to read more.

Makeup Forever Full Cover Extreme Clamouflage CreamI recently had a few breakouts that I needed cover, but I didn’t have a concealer that could do the job. I have countless concealers that I can use on my under eye area for concealing or highlighting, but nothing made for breakouts or dark spots. I knew I wanted to purchase either this Makeup Forever concealer or the Kat Von Dee Lock It concear so I went to Sephora and made it a point to get a color match before making such an investment. I went the Makeup Forever because the color match was better. IMG_0529 (2)This concealer has great coverage and a little bit goes a long way. It’s perfect for around my nose which tends to be red in the morning and it’s also working great on any breakouts. The concealer looks great over healing breakouts and doesn’t make it look dried out, do you know what I mean? I wear shade 7 for reference and I think it’ll work great even during the summer months. To apply it I use the Sigma F63 which is perfect for blending out a concealer of this consistency.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush Achiote Is it cheating to put all of  your new beauty items into one favorites post? Seriously though, I’m loving this blush! The Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour blushes are the some of the best and I want to keep adding them into my collection. On New Year’s Day Ulta was having a great deal on the Tarte blushes – Platinum members could get them for $14. Half off! I had to purchase some Clarisonic replacement heads anyway so I added this shade to my cart. I expected to love it, just like all the other shades own, and I do! Achiote is the perfect winter peach blush, which is the color I prefer on my skin. The natural, glowing blush colors tend not to show up o my skin color and most of the time I don’t wear pinks. Corals and peaches though look great on me! But those shades are usually reserved for spring and summer. This shade though it’s still in the peach family, is a muted color and works as a more natural looking flush during these winter months.

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At first I thought the color was going to be too similar to Blissful which I have owned for a while and love! While they’re similar, there’s a distinct difference between the two colors. Blissful is more coral, just the pop of color I gravitate towards in the spring and summer, while Achiote is a muted peach that is more subtle and that will work in the winter months. Even though this color will be great for the winter months, I can see myself loving it all year long.

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I don’t really have a lot of other favorites this week in the fitness or lifestyle areas. I’ve been super motivated to get ready for the spring fitness routine and get back into eating healthy. I won’t start the spring fitness routine until the first full week of March and I’m planning on being on that routine for about 12 weeks. I’m making a whole plan all myself, with a two week, four day split routine along with the recipes that I’ll being choosing from during that time. It’ll be intense for me! I’ll be posting all about it so it can hopefully help someone else looking for something new.

Makeup Geek Eye Shadows | Review

After hearing endless great things about Makeup Geek eye shadows all over the beauty community, I finally caved and made a purchase! I definitely had very high hopes for the shadows given everything I’ve heard and I wasn’t disappointed.

After I purchased these eight colors I also bought a small Z-Palette to store the eye shadows in that would be great for traveling. I had a little issue with the shipping method that Makeup Geek chose and the fact that I ordered over a  holiday didn’t help. When the shadows arrived they were very neatly packaged in bubble wrap and in a secure box. I took pictures of all the shades I received before I even swatched them so they showed up as true to color and texture as possible.

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I’m really happy with all of the shades I picked out. I wanted to choose colors that I know I would get good use out of, but I also picked a few outside of my comfort zone. I chose two foiled eye shadows, Grandstand and Showtime, both of which I really love. Grandstand is rose gold, which is a super popular shade in the makeup community at the moment, but sometimes the color washes me out. This shade shows up a bit more bronzy on my skin color and works better than others in my collection. Showtime is a beautiful wine shade and it’s a lot more red than I’m used to using. I love using it as an eyeliner though! It adds a little something different and can be smoked out a bit for an evening look. I of course got Peach Smoothie and Creme Brulee which are some of the more popular transition shades. I also purchased Latte which is a medium brown, but it could work as a transition shade on deeper skin. I’m really liking along side of Homecoming for an everyday look.

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Bottom Row

First impression: these are great quality and a way to add personality to your collection. At first, I was shocked by how powdery these shadows appeared when I dipped my brush in them. I’ve used Mac and Coastal Scents shadows in the past, and I don’t remember them coming off as powdery as my first time using Peach Smoothie. I kept on testing them out and while I get fallout with the shadows, I’m absolutely in love with their color payoff and how well they blend out. I don’t have to do nearly as much as blending with these colors, especially my transition shade, as I’ve had to with other brands. I like to mix Peach Smoothie and Creme Brulee together to get my perfect transition shade, then add Homecoming to the crease, and finish off with Corrupt as my eyeliner. The first time I used Corrupt I really underestimated how pigmented it was as I ended up with black fallout on my under eye, but I’ve learned to really be careful when picking up the color and being sure to tap off any excess.

I really wanted to compare the Makeup Geek eye shadows to Coastal Scents Hot Pots, which I’ve had in my collection for years and are even more affordable than Makeup Geek’s coming in at $1.99. I would say that Makeup Geek’s are better quality in terms of their blending ability and lasting power throughout the day. The pigmentation of both brands are the same and show up great with and without a primer. If you’re trying to decide on purchasing one or the other, I would say go for the Makeup Geek shadows. In the end, you’ll be more happy with how they perform compared to the Coastal Scents shadows. If you’re able to get the Hot Pots on a great sale however, don’t overlook them – they can be a great option for getting vibrant colors that you may not usually gravitate towards.

Overall I’m really loving these shadows and I would definitely get more! Like I said, I was so surprised at how much powder kicked up from some of the shades the first time I used them and that I received some fallout, but it’s nothing too out of the ordinary. I’d love to buy some more shades, especially some from the foiled eye shadow line and maybe a few more outside of my comfort zone as I’m really loving Showtime as an eyeliner.

Meal Prep Sundays | Easy and Healthy Recipes

Happy Sunday! I wanted to share some recipes that I’ve been loving the past few months that are healthy, easy to make, and a great start to the New Year! Part of changing my diet and eating healthy was starting with Meal Prep Sundays! The idea is that on Sundays, or whatever day works for your schedule, you prep all of your meals for the week. This way you have healthy meals already made so you don’t have to think about what to cook or worry about making a healthy meal. I tend to prep only my lunches, and if I’m being really good I prep some healthy snacks to eat throughout the week, then I like to have an idea of what I’ll make for dinner during the week.

I get most of my recipe ideas and inspirations from Pinterest and tailor them to my diet and liking. I just went through my recipes board and removed all the cookie recipes I had added for the holidays. In the future, I think I’ll create a holiday board so that I can keep the yummy holiday recipes separate from my healthy, everyday recipes. I also keep a separate recipe board with meat recipes in case I want to make something separate for Jake. Generally, I don’t eat meat or fish, but go through these periods of time when I really crave a shrimp taco or broiled salmon, so I have them. For the most part, however, I stick to a vegetarian diet. I also try and stay away from carb loaded meals as much as I can. For me, I’ve found that not eating carbs as much as I can avoid them is the real trick to keeping fit in terms of my diet.

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Photo Courtesy of PicJumbo.com

Meal Prep Lunches

Quinoa Bowls | Quinoa is a great staple and alternative to other grains and it should be kept in the kitchen pantry at all times. It’s great as the base for cold salads, in casseroles, or used to replace rice and sometimes even pasta depending on the recipe. I love making fried quinoa, in place of rice, and adding in a lot of veggies – try this Very Veggie Fried Rice from Cooking Classy! One of my favorite recipes for quick and healthy meal prepping are quinoa bowls! There are endless possibilities depending on your favorite vegetables and what protein you add in. Cook quinoa to your liking, I use a slow cooker on high for a few hours, and cool in the fridge. Once cool, divide quinoa into microwave safe containers, add in black beans, add vegetables or your choice – I like using fresh carrots and broccoli, and sprinkle seasoning of your choice on top. All you have to do is pop it in the microwave for two minutes, and your lunch is done. It may not sound exciting, but I love this! This recipe was inspired by a vegan lunch ideas post found on Vegan Runner Eats. I also found a recipe on Lemon Tree Dwelling for quinoa taco bowls that I’d love to try! I can see this being a great alternative to traditional taco salad during the spring months. Not only are these great recipes for eating healthy, but they’re cost effective to anyone on budget!

Lunchables for Adults | Making a Lunchable type meal is another easy way to prep meals. You put together your favorite meals that you want at lunch and you can measure them out so you know the nutrition facts if you’re tracking calories. You’ll need a larger container for this one, I have these EasyLunchboxes from Amazon that have three divided areas for different foods. They only come in a 4-pack, so you’ll have to reuse one for later in the work week. Other than that, these are great! I’ve had them for a few years now and I really enjoy them! Perfect for portion control, children, and stacking in the fridge. My two staple meals for these are a brown rice, broccoli, mashed sweet potatoes lunch and a Mediterranean salad, cottage cheese, hard boiled egg combo – try this Mediterranean quinoa salad or use garbanzo beans instead of quinoa! These containers are also great for reheating leftover chicken or fish at work. If you’re not a fan of plastic containers in the microwave, invest in a glass storage set, like this Pyrex 20-Piece Set I just got for Christmas!

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Soups | If I could make all my meals in a Crock Pot, I would. It’s the best for making nearly any meal and it’s almost impossible to fail at the recipe. So many coworkers have been impressed with my prepped meals, but the secret is throwing all the ingredients into the Crock Pot and letting the magic happen. Soups are perfect for the winter months, and for the most part pretty healthy. Try and avoid cream based soups if you’re looking to cut calories, stick to soups with a lot of vegetable and proteins, and use sodium reduced products if you’re concerned about the salt content.

Some great recipes to try out are this Fall Vegetable Crock Pot Barley Soup from Better Recipes, which includes sweet potatoes and barley, so be careful on your serving size or lower the amount of those two ingredients. It’s super filling and tasty – I love the seasonings in this soup. There’s also this great cannellini bean soup from Martha Stewart. This recipe doesn’t specifically say it can be cooked in a Crock Pot but I’ve done it in the past and it works out fine. It’s been a while since I did a Crock Pot soup – I’m thinking it’ll be next on my list of meal prepping.

Tacos | Jake and I have not been able to get enough tacos this past fall and winter. Even though you can’t really prep tacos for lunch, they are easy to make and you can pretty much add any toppings that you want. The basics of our taco recipes are a tortilla, cabbage, a protein, shredded cheese, cilantro, pice de gallo, and a bit of sriracha mayo. A few great recipes to try are this chipotle lime shrimp tacos from Closet Cooking that calls for a creama lime sour cream, that can of course be omitted. For an vegetarian alternative, I sometimes use chickpeas and let them marinade the same way the shrimp would. For when I don’t feel like cooking, I’ll use my Crock Pot and make these black bean, sweet potato tacos from Kayln’s Kitchen. All I have to do is add in a can of black beans, two sweet potatoes, cumin and coriander seasonings, and let it cook on low while I’m at work. Super easy, super delicious, and a great fall and winter recipe. Always add extra cilantro on top!

Today I’m prepping the brown rice, broccoli, and mashed sweet potato meal and packing up some leftovers. I hope this helps a few of you trying new recipes for 2016 or getting into meal prepping. If you’re really interested in meal prep Sunday’s be sure to check out the subreddit for it on Reddit. People are always posting their preps, container options, and great recipes to try! Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter to see daily updates throughout the week to see what I’m up to!