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.

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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.

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.

Friday Favorites | 12.18.15

I thought I’d start doing Friday Favorites posts when I have products to share with from the previous week. On YouTube, I’m subscribed to LipglossLeslie who does these videos weekly and they’re some of my favorite to watch. These posts also shows what I like do and wear throughout the work week in terms of makeup, clothes, and lifestyle updates.

Makeup

Brownie Points

ELF Smudge Pot – Brownie Points

ELF Smudge Pot Brownie Points

I’ve had the ELF Smudge Pot in Crusin’ Chic for a while and it’s the best cream shadow I own! It’s very similar in color to the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze, but better. I purchased a new Bad to Bronze this past spring and it’s already too dry for my liking. The ELF Smudge Pots don’t dry out – they’re creamy, pigmented, and are great for one shadow looks and bases for more dramatic looks. brownie points label

I purchased Brownie Points because LipglossLeslie talked so highly about it, and it’s just as good as she said. It’s slightly darker and more bronze than Crusin’ Chic and works great as a base for a smokey eye. All I did was pop a transition shade in the crease, add some smokey liner, and use an inner corner highlight.
Definitely wearing that smokey eye to our upcoming Winter Solstice Party! I’m even thinking about going back to Target to get the Wine Not color, which would be great for a Christmas look!

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Cannes

NYX matte lip cream

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Cannes

I picked this up at Ulta while I taking advantage of my 20% off coupon that’s offered during the holidays. I had always heard great things about these lip products, and I’m so happy I finally picked one up. I definitely want to go back and get a whole bunch more! The formula isn’t drying, even after the product sets down to a nearly matte finish. I own the liquid to matte lipsticks from Milani and ColourPop, and I’m not crazy about either especially the ColourPop formula – they’re just too dry. The NYX isn’t. And the color is a great everyday, terra cotta shade that I can easily wear to work or on an evening out.

 

Simple Eye Looks
Since I get up pretty early to be into work around 8 a.m., I usually keep the makeup pretty fast and simple. I don’t usually like doing simple eye looks as much, but this week I’ve really been into it. I’ve been using bronze and taupe shades to make everything easy, but still put-together for work. I dug out MAC’s Satin Taupe which was one of the first MAC shadows I ever purchased, and I still love it!

 

Outfit of the Week

HM sweater

Sweater – H&M, Necklace – Call It Spring

I think it would be fun to share my favorite outfit of the week if I’m able to get a good photo of it! I recently started a new job and had to switch to a business casual dress code, so I’m still learning on what clothes work for my style and that I can wear to work. This week my favorite outfit were simple black pants, a green sweater, low wedges, and a statement necklace. The pants are from OldNavy.com, petite section and sweater is this from H&M in an amazing jade green color that I always get compliments on it. The low wedges are Nine West Irina Wedge Pump add a bit of
sophistication to the outfit and I got the necklacerose gold necklace from Call It Spring two summers ago.

 

 

Cookies!
There’s not many times of the year when I rave about how much I’m enjoying cookies, but Christmas and holidays are an exception to the rule! It’s a tradition for many families to make cookies in celebration of their holiday this season. This past week I made two cookie recipes that I want to share in case anyone is looking for a new recipe to try this weekend! First, Jake and I made eggnog cookies last weekend; eggnog being one of Jake’s favorites this time of year. They’re soft and chewy, a little sweet so be careful with how many you have in one sitting. Then there was a cookie exchange at work and I brought cranberry and white chocolate chip cookies. These were amazing and highly recommend them! I found the recipe on Pinterest, and she suggests adding white chocolate chips to the tops of the cookies as soon as they’re out of the oven to make them look even tastier!

New Camera | Beginner Advice Please!

Over Black Friday I purchase a new camera! Not only did I want to purchase a camera for better photos on my blog, but I also wanted one to bring on my future travels and use for my New Years Resolution (stay tuned)! I used a camera in college while taking some of my visual communications classes, but I never took a full-on photo class so my skills with a camera are definitively not the best.

I purchased a Canon PowerShot SX530 HS digital camera on BestBuy.com for under $200 the morning of Thanksgiving because I couldn’t wait until Black Friday. It has a large display screen and 50 times HD optical zoom lens. Plus, my purchase came with a free case and an 8 GB SD card! I originally wanted to get a DSLR but it’s undeniably a huge investment and I just wasn’t ready to spend that much money. I did however want to get a higher quality camera than a basic point-and-shoot that I’ve had in the past. All in all, I’m so happy with my purchase and I love playing around with taking pictures of my makeup products and random things around my house. I’m waiting for a good snow to happen so I can take photos and play around with white balance.

I’m also getting my hands into editing the photos which is a whole new world. I don’t have the best setup for taking photos in my room so a lot of my editing has been brightening/dulling the light and working with the shadows. I’m not an expert by any means in editing, but that will come with time. Currently I’m playing around with taking pictures against my vanity desk background, which is brown, and the white background of a poster board. Personally, I think the brown background has more character and looks more unique, but since daylight is currently minimal in Minnesota I’m usually forced to use the poster board for my backgrounds.

If you have any suggestions for photography beginners, leave them in the comments. I’m hoping to get a tripod in the next few weeks and may also look into the light box if I’m still unhappy with the lighting in my photos.

Thanks for reading!

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.

Easy-to-Wear Winter Lippies

These are my top picks for winter lip products that are easy-to-wear.  I put these in the category of easy to wear because of the color or the way they apply because of the packaging.  I only have three but they are the three colors that I have been rotating weekly for work.  These were also the three lip colors that I brought to Iceland so I know that they are tried and true favorites.

Rimmel London Moisture Renew lipstick – Tower of Mauve
This line has recently been reformulated to be even more moisturizing than predecessors.  Personally, I feel like the previous formula was bit dry and uncomfortable to put on.  I love the feeling of this lipstick on my lips and I want to collect all the colors in the line.  Of the three products I’m going to tell you about, this is my most warn because of the formula and color.  This particular color is a mauve as you would expect and it leans a bit into the purple family.  The color last for about three hours without touch-up, unless you are drinking then the color wears off on the inside of the lips.  I highly suggest this line of lipsticks for every day wear.

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm – Sultry
E
ven though this product is a matte formula, this balm is easy to wear and reapply throughout the day.  The color Sultry goes on almost as a ‘My Lips But Better’ color, but after it sets to the matte finish the color appears slightly brick red that went well during the holidays.  The colors last longer than the Rimmel lipstick and doesn’t dry out your lips despite the matte formula.  Along with this color, I also own the purple shade Shameless that was my go-to this past fall and I would like to get some brighter colors for spring.

Maybelline Color Elixir – Amethyst Potion
I can’t say that I’m 100% into the fab behind the Color Elixirs, but this shade in particular is a fave.  I purchased three of these back in fall before Jake and I went up to a cabin for the weekend because they seemed like an easy product to wear with a lot of color.  Unfortunately, I got three colors that look too similar to one another and I haven’t worn the other two, but I love the the Amethyst Potion shade.  The shade is definitely in the purple family, but because it comes off glossy and more sheer it’s easy to wear with any outfit or makeup look to work or for play.  I carry this in my handbag and throw it on in the afternoons when I’m finished with lunch.  The color usually lingers around until I leave work around 5:00 p.m.  It’s not the full color that is there when it’s first applied, but it’s a little bit of a stain.