My Hits & Misses, My Reviews

Top Travel Favorites

You may have heard by now that I’ve got quite a big trip coming up – six cities in 18 days driving across Italy: definitely the most intense traveling I’ve done since I completely fell in love with makeup a few years ago. I’ll be sharing what’s in my makeup bag while I’m away, but in the meantime wanted to share some of my favorite pieces for when I’m on the go. I don’t usually take a minimalist approach when traveling, but you might, so here are my top eight picks for anywhere but here.

Bite Beauty Multistick in Cava – I’ve never been one for multi-use stick products, I never ever reach for the eyeshadow sticks I’ve accumulated over the years, but something about this one… I absolutely love. The formula is beautifully creamy without being sticky, it’s pigmented but still buildable (and super blendable), and Cava is a perfect match for me whether I use it for eyeshadow, blush, or lipstick.

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Gel in 01 Opal – In the short time I’ve owned this, I’ve already mentioned it multiple times both on Instagram and in previous blog posts (I even did a full on review). Clearly I’m a fan. This sheer to medium coverage gel is perfect for daily adventures, but is totally appropriate for evening glam too. The SPF30 will keep you covered in the daytime and the super natural finish will help keep you looking flawless all night.

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My Face

The Deets: Birthday Makeup

If you know me in real life or have followed me on Instagram for a while, you may know that one of my goals for this year (in addition to going cruelty-free with all of my makeup) was to master the art of red lipstick. This has been an ongoing makeup struggle for me; I continuously chicken out and could not bring myself to go out in public with red lipstick. Do not ask me to explain this to you because I do not have any logical response. I am comfortable with fluorescent pink, practically glowing orange, and just about every other color on the planet and yet red was something I did not feel brave enough for. Well, I finally did it! This past Saturday night, heading out for a birthday dinner with The Boyfriend and our OBF (Oregon Best Friends), I finally wore red lipstick in public! I thought I’d share the look with you guys including a full product list and text-tutorial. Let me know if you enjoy this format, I will try to do it more often.

On the subject of cruelty-free, I should note that this is still a work in progress. I have found some really amazing cruelty-free replacement for products I loved, some of them even much more affordable than what I was originally using. However, there are some products for which I have not yet found a cruelty-free replacement. I would also like to add that while I am not planning to buy any more natural hair brushes, makeup brushes are quite an investment and I will not be getting rid of natural hair brushes that I already owned. The decision was not made lightly.

Products listed in order of my personal application.

SKIN – perhaps the most important part of your makeup, even more important than the makeup itself, is prepping your skin. To me that includes moisturizer, primer, and any other skin treatments I deem necessary (if I’m going for a daytime look that usually includes a vitamin C serum and sunscreen).

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel – This is my go-to daytime/pre-makeup moisturizer, two little pumps is more than enough and it absorbs quickly so it doesn’t disturb makeup application.

EYES – So I can focus on making my eyeshadow look the way I want it to instead of worrying about making a mess, I always do my eye makeup before moving on to foundation, concealer, etc.

MAC Cosmetics Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Painterly – this is my ride or die eyeshadow primer, I have been using it for close to three years at this point, and it takes me pretty close to a full year to get through one jar! I like to apply this with my finger all over the mobile lid and up to my brow bone and then lightly set it with a translucent powder. This is one of the only items in my entire makeup collection that I still have not found a cruelty-free replacement for, I will happily accept any recommendations!

Marc Jacobs Eye-Conic eyeshadow palette in Scandalust – I applied “At The Office” into the crease with my MAC 224, blending it out about halfway up to my brow bone and then using whatever was left on the brush to add some more definition around the lid. Using a Smith 230, I worked “That’s Why” a little tighter into the crease focusing on the outer portion of the eye and blending slightly into the outer 1/3 of the mobile lid. Finally, I used a MAC 221 (possibly my favorite brush of all time) to lightly add “Little Miss” to the outer v, gradually building and blending to develop a smooth gradient with a more dramatic outer corner.

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My Reviews

Anti-Haul: Spring 2017

If you haven’t yet watched one of drag queen/YouTuber Kimberly Clark‘s “Anti-Haul” videos, you are seriously missing out. Kimberly is on a brilliant mission to encourage us, as consumers, to do our research and make educated decisions when it comes to our wallets and what we put on our faces. This is my written version of Kimberly’s famed Anti-Haul series, just in time for the upcoming Sephora VIB sale later this month. ~what I’m not gonna buuuuyyy~

Too Faced Natural Love Ultimate Neutral eyeshadow palette – $59.00 / 24g – Oy, another one!? Too Faced has been cranking out these massive palettes one after another lately, and they have all been so underwhelming. First of all, no one needs 30 shades in one palette – this instantly becomes a “sit on your desk and look pretty” palette rather than one convenient for traveling (which to me, is the only real reason worth owning a palette over eyeshadow singles). Moving on, even if you did need 30 neutral eyeshadows in the same palette (you don’t), there are at least 3-4 nearly identical pink shades and another several nearly identical brown shades. If you like the Too Faced eyeshadow formula, you do you, but this palette is unnecessary on every level.

Kat Von D Alchemist Holographic palette – $30.00 / 5.7g – My criticism of this palette has very little to do with the four holographic highlight shades, they are actually pretty gorgeous. My issue with this is the price, the shape of the packaging, and how late it is to market. The Anastasia Beverly Hills Moon Child Glow Kit is nearly identical to the Alchemist palette, but boasts six shades with nearly 5x as much product for $40. Further, the pans of the Alchemist palette are incredibly small, which is fine for eyeshadow, but for use as a face highlight, using a larger fan brush or other highlighting brush will be pretty difficult. The shape of the palette itself is yet another “sit on my desk and look pretty” design, completely impractical for any on-the-go usage. As pretty as these shades are, I’ll be sticking to my Moon Child Glow Kit and duochrome shades from Makeup Geek and Concrete MineralsAll products mentioned above are cruelty free.

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My Face

Full Face: Bright Colors & Dehydrated Skin

The Boyfriend requested a “bright surprise” for a recent date night and I delivered. I loved the balance of super bright eyes with pretty neutral lips (which is a favorite move for nights out so I can still eat whatever I want). This is not a tutorial, but I often get asked about which products I’m using so I thought I’d share a full product list for one of my go-to styles. These photos have not been edited in any way.

SKIN PREP

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel

Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Primer

MAC Strobe Cream

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My Reviews

Sephora Play! Six Month Review

Before I say anything else, know that this is the longest I have ever stuck with one subscription box. I’ve plowed through Birchbox, ipsy, and even boxycharm but never made it more than a few months before canceling the service. Six months in, the Sephora Play! box still has my undivided attention.

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If you’re not familiar with the box, it’s a $10 monthly subscription box that comes with six deluxe samples of products from brands sold at Sephora. Similar to Birchbox, your samples are chosen based on a profile you fill out. Each month your samples will arrive in a cute little drawstring bag accompanied with a fold out sheet describing each product. To top it off, each box comes with a Sephora card for 50 extra points on your next in-store purchase. While the box is not yet available everywhere, it’s expanding quite rapidly so don’t let a waitlist bum you out (it took me a few months to get my first one).

So what makes this box so much better than the rest? Probably the biggest factor is the choice of brands. Sephora stocks some of the coolest brands out there and they definitely do not skimp when it comes to putting the Play subscription together. I heard some grumbles that one box featured what was likely “leftovers” from last year’s birthday gift, but guess what? Last year’s birthday gift was a NARS lip pencil! Not exactly chump change for most of us. I’ve gotten products from Tarte, Korres, Atelier Cologne (one of my favorite perfume makers), Urban Decay, and even Bite Beauty. Even the scents have all been knockouts – there’s one in every box. I dreaded my unexpected samples from Birchbox, but Sephora’s choices are consistently pleasing and exciting across a variety of styles. So far, Sephora has crushed it each and every time – plus your monthly fragrance sample counts as an extra product, not a replacement for a bigger item.

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The other standout factor for me is the cost breakdown of each box. These things are worth well beyond the $10 they cost each month, even if a few products make their way to friends and family (makes me look pretty great too!)

To remain objective, I’ve decided not to rate any of the products I receive beyond pointing out a few of my overall favorites. Everyone’s preferences are different and it’s not up to me to tell you a product is bad because I personally didn’t like it. There’s something in there for everyone so here’s a look at the last six months of my Sephora Play subscription!

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