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.

sk brightening powder

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.

IMG_0577 (2)

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.

IMG_0508 (2)

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.

blush

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.

The Best Fall Nail Polish – Revlon Hold ‘Em

I’m one of those people who is constantly changing my nail polish color or repainting my nails because tiny little chips will show up around the edges. I know it’s normal for manicures to have wear at the tips of the nail, but sometimes I just can’t stand looking at that. You’d think I’d just switch over to gel manicures, but I don’t like the way my cuticle can look once the color starts to grow out. I know, I just can’t be happy. So instead, I do my own manicure switching out the color around twice a week and for the most part they don’t chip very often now that I have a good manicure routine down.

Lately, I haven’t been changing the color out because I have found my polish color of life, Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Hold ‘Em. This is hands down my favorite nail color at the moment. I wore it for a little getaway Jake and I did back in October and I’ve found myself taking off a manicure in this color, only to put it right back on. I love everything about this polish, the color, wear time, gel-like look, and time to dry.

Revlon – Hold ‘Em

This whole nail polish line has quickly become one of my favorites. It was reformulated a while back and it’s a fantastic line; I highly recommend checking it out. In addition to Hold ‘Em, I love the shade Long Shot for Thanksgiving and the fall season – it’s a beautiful burnt orange and I’m currently rocking on my toes. The shade Up The Ante is great for the spring and summer! This formula dries fairly quickly, is resistant to chips, and holds it’s shine for most of my manicure, which is about five days. I use the original OPI Nail Envy for a strengthener and base coat then top the polish off with INM Out The Door Top Coat.

fave nail polish

What’s your favorite fall nail polish shade? Is there a better top coat I should know about? Leave your thoughts!

Add Some Spice to Your Life

I’ve never been a fan of spicy or hot foods. I never was big on Thai or Mexican cuisine simply because I always feared the food would be too spicy for me to handle. I remember growing up thinking my dad was a total weirdo for going to Kansas City and trying the hottest barbecue sauce that he could find, to the point where there would be tears coming from his eyes. Now that I’ve had time for my pallet to grow and I’ve expanded my cooking skills beyond the basic American diet, I’m starting to really enjoy a good kick in a lot of my foods. I know I’m not breaking any new ground by sharing my favorite ways to add some spice to my meals, but this is a new experience for me! I actually crave something hot and spicy to the point where that’s what I’ll tell Jake that’s what I want for dinner. Yes, my hormones are totally normal so please don’t jump to any conclusions.

Jake always makes fun of me and my “sauce collection” going on in the fridge, but I’ve finally discover sriracha and I need it in my life. Also, it’s cousin sriracha mayo – so good on tacos! I had some tofu tacos a few months back when we had a food truck at work and my coworker highly encouraged me to add sriracha mayo on for a little something, something. I’m blaming this new found addition on her. After that I made tacos at home just so I could buy sriracha mayo for my “sauce collection”. It’s great on top of normal tacos, fish tacos, tofu tacos, or these sweet potato and black bean slow cooker tacos. We made this recipe two weeks in a row at home and it’s a perfect dinner dish for fall! And it’s a slow cooker recipe, so it can’t get much easier – I highly recommend trying it. Adding a little sriracha or taco sauce on scrambled eggs or a breakfast sandwich will also fulfill my cravings as they come along.

Another great recipe for a little spice, and also so easy to make, is this easy lo mein dish from Damn Delicious. I added in a tablespoon of sriracha and omitted the sugar, and it turns out perfect. Like I said, this recipe is super easy to make and takes nearly no time to cook it. Jake and I are pretty busy and also work opposite schedules, so I don’t like taking a lot of time to make the meals we get to eat together. Another sriracha inspired meal is this 20-minute spicy ramen. I even did the poached eggs and ate it with chop sticks. I’d love to try out some more homemade ramen recipes for the winter months, so please leave suggestions if you have them!

I’m finally figuring out what I’ve been missing out on all this time. I want to go out and try some authentic Thai or Indian cuisine, play around with their spice levels. Maybe some good, authentic Mexican food too. I’ve already been trying out some new salsas to see how much I can handle; I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew – for now.

Gardening Goals

Last spring, I planted my first seeds in a garden hoping to have an abundance of lettuce for salads in fall.  Unfortunately, I was only able to make one salad with those seeds.  My mom always grew flowers and vegetables in her garden when I was growing up, but I never took a liking to it and did not learn her ways.   In the past few years, my interest in gardening has slowly grown along with my interest in cooking and healthy eating.  This spring I’m hoping to make a small vegetable garden on the side of our house to make at least two salads come fall.

Jake’s house is small, but the backyard is quite spacious.  Both sides of the house have space for a garden and flowers to grow.  Last year, I took over just a small patch, but this year I’d like to create a proper vegetable garden surrounded by chicken wire to prevent rabbits, squirrels, or other animals from picking over the leaves.  The vegetables that I plan to grow are not yet determined because I need to do some research on what’s easiest to grow and how much sunlight they will need.  I would like to grow lettuce again, along with cucumbers and strawberries.  I remember cucumbers being quite easy to grow and also that in nature they grow with thorns on them for protection.  I would also like to plant some flowers leading up to the house even though I use to dread watering them when I was growing up.

If this works out, I’m hoping that one day I will be able to have a full functioning garden to provide for my healthy meals.  Buying lettuce every week seems an odd concept to me as it’s literally just leaves growing from the ground.  Last year I grew butter lettuce, planting four spaces with seeds, but only one head grew large enough to harvest.  Two of the spaces didn’t grow at all and the smaller space grew only a few inches above ground.  Also, last year I planted my seeds in a pot and this year I’d like to turn the soil and plant the seeds directly into the ground.  Planting in the ground poses a greater risk due to animals, but I think the trade off will be better fertilization and watering.

I’m looking for some good blogs or websites for beginner gardeners that would be able to help me along my gardening journey.  Please leave suggestions for me in terms of blogs or even what is best to grow.

2014 Favorites

Beauty Favorites

MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural – Medium Deep
MSF natural is hands down my favorite face powder.  I can use it all year round and it enhances my base, whether it’s foundation or a tinted moisturizer.  I can double up on it as a setting powder for under eye concealer while I’m traveling as long as I use a light hand. Sometimes I feel like the shade Medium Deep is a bit too dark in the dead of winter, but this summer I found out that MAC recently made a MSF natural a half shade lighter than Medium Deep so I may invest in it.  It’s an investment worth it too, I’ve had my compact for over two years now.

Sigma F88 – Flat Angled Kabuki
I own all of the Sigma kabuki brushes, but I always settle with the F88 over the others.  I feel like this one works the best with any kind of foundation, liquid, powder, cream, and whipped.  It can also blend a little bit of concealer in a pinch.  This brush over all the others tends to clean up better than the others, not that a stained brush affects how it performs, but it just feels better when you can see the brush clean.

NYX Powder Blush – Dusty Rose
This is my go-to blush for every day, traveling, and the blush I carry in my handbag for touch-ups.  I love it so much I own two of them so I don’t have to go back and forth from my collection to my handbag.  The finish of this blush is mostly matte, but the color adds a natural glow to cheeks and can be layered.  I tend to use an angled contour brush to apply this blush, which is the same brush I use to apply the Benefit Rockateur Box Blush, another favorite blush for the year.  The Benefit blush is similar to the NYX blush except for the added shimmer finish to it that acts as a highlight for the cheeks.  When I first purchased the Benefit Rockateur blush I didn’t like, but it’s definitely grown on me.  I like to layer both blushes with cream blushes and the Benefit blush works best on my skin color in fall and winter.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Shadow Paint – Rich Russet & Peachy Apricot
I’ve read mixed reviews on this product, but I really love these!  I only have the two shades listed above, but both offer an easy one eye shadow look.  You definitely need to wear an additional eye shadow primer under these like Urban Decay Primer Potion, but I don’t mind the extra step.  This product can be used with fingers or a sythnetic shader brush to apply the product evenly over the lids then if I’m feeling like I want some more dimension I add a light brown the crease and a white to the inner corners.  With an eye shadow primer these shadows last all day, I even wore it to a pool party and accidentally dipped in the water and the shadow stayed in place.  You can also use these as an eye shadow base if you want a more bold look.  These are also great for traveling!

Mario Bedescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream*
I discovered this eye cream this year by accident when I received it as a piece of gratis at my job.  My eye area is very dry, more dry than the rest of skin, and very sensitive.  This was the first time I’ve had an eye cream that has hydrated enough that I can feel comfortable wearing under eye concealer.  It also keeps minor patchy spots that I tend to get on my eye lids at bay.  There is no scent that I can detect with this product and the half ounce lasts since you only need a small amount to get the job done.

Curly Sexy Hair Curling Creme
This is my holy grail curling creme for my naturally (very) curly hair.  I tell everyone to try this no matter what level of curl their hair is on.  This product works with your natural curl while taming frizz and holding the curl all day.  It doesn’t add any additional curl to your style, but for me that’s perfect.  I buy these bottles by the bulk at Ulta when it’s on Buy 2, Get 1 Free.  If you aren’t ready to commit to three bottles of the product, try the Curly Sexy Hair Color Safe Curl Defining Conditioner and the Healthy Sexy Hair Tri-Wheat Leave In Conditioner.  The three products together work wonders on my hair!

OPI Nail Envy
I use this product almost daily to keep my nails from peeling and it doubles up as a base when you paint your nails.  I attribute this product to the health of my nails.  Now that my nails grow a significant length I can keep a manicure for a few days during the week.

Wide Tooth Comb
Any old wide tooth comb or detangling comb is the best for curly hair.  I keep mine in the shower and then use a normal comb after conditioning my hair.  Generally, brushes aren’t the best to use on curly hair so I tend to keep away from them.

Conditioning caps
You can buy conditioning caps at drug stores, Target, Ulta, or Sally’s for pretty cheap.  I get mine  CVS on a BOGO half off and throw them out after one use.  I shampoo my hair, layer on my hair mask of choice, and place a conditioning cap over top.  I usually do this on Sunday mornings and relax for a bit with a face mask on for about 15 minutes and then rinse out the conditioner.

Random Favorites

Blender Bottle*
I know this sounds crazy, but this bottle really is the best thing ever.  I love the size of it, I have a 28 ounce, and it’s perfect for water at the gym or running errands because I can throw the bottle in my purse and I know it won’t leak.  I make protein shakes in this for a quick breakfast on the go, mix vitamin C packets, and water flavors in this bottle.  This is hands down the best bottle ever no matter what you’re using it for.  If you’re a gym goer like me I definitely suggest investing in one just to keep in your gym bag along with a protein mix for an after workout shake.

Sons of Anarchy
I watch the entire series of Sons this past year and it quickly has become one of my favorite TV shows, in my top five for sure.  I started in early spring and watched the series finale this month.  I can’t say I was surprised by the finale, but it was poetic and I can live with it.  I don’t quite know what exactly it is that I love about this show, maybe it’s the family aspect or the hierarchy of it all, but I couldn’t get enough of it once I started watching it.  You can find six seasons of SOA on Netflix and can purchase the final season ITunes

Slow cooker
This year I jumped on the slow cooker bandwagon and I’m never going back; I am cooking in a Crock Pot for the rest of the my life.  One of my favorite recipes is a fall soup that I found on Pinterest that contains sweet potato and barley making it a filling lunch.  I usually freeze half of whatever recipe I cook so I have lunch made for about two weeks.

Most of these favorite products I packed for my upcoming trip to Iceland because I know that they’re the products I can use without having to think about it.  Next year I’m hoping to find a higher end foundation that I fan add to my favorites list and keep working on my personal records for the gym.  I just purchased lifting straps to help with my grip strength since I’m getting to a weight that’s hard on my hands even with gloves.  Hopefully, my 2015 favorites includes blogging, as I’ve added to the top of my New Year’s resolutions list.

Links noted with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links.