Woman Seeking: A Simple & Sweet Spring Makeup Look

When the temperature starts warming up and the sun starts shining for longer and longer each day, I start to bring spring into all aspects of my life. I wear more fresh perfumes than sultry scents, break out the lilac and beach scented candles, and throw open my windows (so what if the high is 45 degrees F? This is the Midwest. That’s basically bikini weather!). Among these changes is a switch up in my makeup products. To me, spring makeup is polished but light. It’s not quite time for the messy sexy bronzers and neon that can be rocked during the summer, but the vampy lips and flawless full coverage foundations of winter are a little too heavy. Typically I like to go with a fresh, natural look paired with a bright lip. It looks pulled together and chic yet still has a hint of fun. Here I’ve thrown together the look I’ve been wearing a lot lately that helps me perfectly transition from winter to spring! 

First, I’m going to start with a pore minimizing primer, such as my Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser. To be honest, I do not like this particular one, but I want to use it up, and I’m running low on the one I actually DO like (Benefit’s The Porefessional), so I’ve been grabbing this instead. I smear it all over my face and wait about 5 minutes or so before moving on to the next step. This helps in sink it and do it’s job. If I were to immediately go in with my next product, I could end up with a big mess or a patchy application. 

After my primer has set I go in with my lightest foundation, the Napoleon Perdis Boudoir Mist Spray Foundation. I’m in the shade Look 1. I absolutely love this foundation. When I first bought it, I was disappointed because I thought it applied funny. Once I got a hang of the application, however, I changed my tune. This is so incredibly light on the skin and yet has a buildable coverage. And it still looks like skin! And the shade is spot on! Ugh. So much love. I’ve never tried a spray foundation before this, but I really see a difference. I grabbed this when all Napoleon Perdis products were 75% off at Ulta, and now I’m so sad because it is currently only available at Nordstrom (that I know of) and I don’t have a Nordstrom anywhere near me. Plus this stuff is pricyyy. I don’t know how long the can is going to last me but I’m trying to ration it. Anyhow, I work in areas when applying this, spraying it lightly on one area and buffing it in using my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush before moving on to the next. Occasionally I’ll spray it on the back of my hand and dip my brush in, but I only use this method for the parts of my face I’m scared to spray (like around my eyes). 

I apply a little bit of a lightweight highlighting concealer under my eyes, in between my brows, and on the outsides of my eyes and use th same brush I used for my foundation to gently blend it onto my face. Here I used Maybelline’s Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer. Since I don’t have too much to cover up int he way of dark circles, this just helps bring some life to my face. I also set this with a bit of powder to prevent creasing. Today I forgot powder so I actually used Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Eyeshadow in 10 Ivory Box. Hey, whatever works, right?

I always like to do my brows before doing my eye makeup. Especially if you have more nonexistent brows like I do, I think doing your eyeshadow before brows can easily lead to an overdone look. Brows frame the face and bring attention to the eyes, but if they’re done second, I find I try to use eyeshadow to bring attention to that area, and after filling in my brows the effect is too intense. If I fill in my brows first, I use less eye makeup and also have a better idea of where the shadows should be placed (hard to line up a wing with athe end of an eyebrow you can’t see). I’ve been a loyal Anastasia Beverly Hills Fan for a while, flipping between the DipBrow and the Brow Wiz, both in the shade Taupe. Clearly, I used the Brow Wiz today. 

I’ve really been liking no-fuss eye looks lately. I think they pair perfectly with a spring bright lip and can work for both day or night. I used the Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 hr Cream Eyeshadow pot in Bad to the Bronze. It’s the perfect wash of color that adds dimension without looking too dark for the daytime. I was super skeptical about these not creasing on me sans primer, but they don’t! They blend well and stay put on the lid. These can also be used under powder eyeshadows as a base. If I do something in the evening, I usually take a darker brown powder eyeshadow and throw it in the crease and outer V and call it good. 

Using my Modern Minerals small dome eyeshadow brush, I highlight my brow and inner corners with the Essence eyeshadow in Vanilla Milkshake. It has a touch of shimmer and is such a bargain, I picked this up during a sale for less than $0.50! I feel like this may also be a beautiful budget cheek highlight, but I’m not big into cheek highlighting so someone with more knowledge will have to test this out and let me know!

I get nervous using cream products because of my already oily skin, but I find this Stila Convertable Color to work wonderfully with this foundation. I use my Real Techniques Stippling Brush and dab it in the product, and then do a couple of dabs on the back of my hand to get off any excess color before stippling the remainder on my cheeks. I place blush a little further back because that is what works with my face shape. I have a ruddy Complextion to begin with, so I want to be very careful where I’m placing my blush as to not undo any covering up that I accomplished with my foundation. This way my flush is only where I want it. This sample in the shade Peony is perfect for traveling as well, and looks so natural. 

While there is NOTHING wrong with letting your pale skin be pale, I like to add a hint of bronzer for dimension. I start with a liiiiight contour and blend, and add a bit on my forehead to balance it out. This also sets anything that may need setting. I use just the tiniest bit of Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer in Medium/Deep and went in with a light hand. I want my real skin to show and to look healthy, not overly made up. 

I skip eyeliner and give my lashes a quick curl using my Shiseido curler (you try taking a picture while wielding an eyelash curler -_-) and then add a couple coats of black mascara. Although I’m not a fan of plastic wands, I’ve really been impressed with Maybelline’s The Rocket Volum’ Express. The wand doesn’t poke or hurt my eyes, which is usually my biggest problem with plastic mascara wands. 

Last but not least I pop on a bit of lip product. I have been obsessed with MAC’s Girl About Town lipstick lately. Unfortunately, i needed a more low maintainance lip today so instead went with my Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain in 001 Honey. It’s the easiest shade to wear and because it’s in crayon form I can apply this without a mirror when on the go. It fades nicely as well, and is comfortable on the lips. It also smells like mint! 

So there it is! A simple, easy look that is pulled together but natural. I included pictures in different lighting as well as close ups so you can see how the makeup wears in as real life as I can show with my iPhone. I think this just melts into the skin so flawlessly and creates that fresh faced look I wish I had naturally. 

I am not wearing this same face look or mascara here, but I wanted to show what I meant by a simple face and bright lip. This is MAC’s Girl About Town. I wore this a week ago when I tried to force it to be spring. You’re welcome, by the way…pretty sure that’s why it’s now warmer. 😉

Do you switch up your look when the seasons change? How are you celebrating spring?



Woman Seeking: How to Go from Lipbalm to Lipstick

While you might not know it from looking at my current makeup stash, I was a lipbalm and pink gloss only girl up until just a couple of years ago. I knew plenty of women who rocked lipstick, but I never felt sophisticated or confident enough to pull it off. While some people can cannonball right in, I’ve always been a more “sit on the edge and ease myself in” type of girl. After a little practice, I’ve finally grown comfortable enough to wear my brightest pink and darkest red with the best of them. If you’ve been eyeing the lipstick aisle with longing, but aren’t quite sure how to make the jump, here are my tips to go from cherry Chapstick to Kat Von D’s Backstage Bambi. 

1. Up Your Lipbalm Game

     If you wear little to no lip product whatsoever, the best place to start is adding a little tint in with your go-to. A great beginner option is Lip Smacker’s Dr. Pepper flavored lipbalm. It has a light berry tint while still the exact look, shape, and feel as regular ol’ Chapstick. Depending on how pigmented your lips are, this can go from a barely there tint to a noticeably (but still natural) berry hue. Sephora also sells an EOS-esque lip color in a few shades, I’ve got one in Cotton Candy, a subtle pink. 

2. Try an In-Between Formula

     Once you’ve grown comfortable walking around with a bit of color, the next hurdle to pass is how lipsticks feel. Most lip balms are waxy and hydrating, while lipsticks can range from creamy to somewhat drying. Everyone has a different preference and level of tolerance of formula’s, but jumping from a smooth lipbalm to a drying liquid lipstick can turn you off from all lipstick ever. Instead, try products like Clinique Chubby Sticks, Maybelline Baby Lips, L’oreal Colour Riche Balms, Tarte Amazonian Butter lipsticks, and Clinique Almost Lipsticks. All are hydrating lipstick-lipbalm hybrids that have a good range of colors and pigmentations. 

3. Stick with Nude or Natural Colors

     The way I started getting into lipsticks was to make sure I was picking more neutral tones. While I did pick up a bright pink Baby Lips, I found I never used it until just a few months ago. It’s best to try to stick to more subtle colors (I also picked up the Baby Lips in Peach Kiss and have used that color waaay more). I’ve found the safest bet was picking a color the same color or a tad darker than my natural lip color. Picking a lighter version may seem easier, but sometimes end up looking too light and concealerish, which is NOT a good look on anyone. Remember, if you pick up a color that ends up not being the most flattering, you can almost always return it (just keep the receipt). 

4.  Pick Your Price

     I have two different theories…the first, that you should totally splurge and get a good, high quality lipstick. The second, that drugstore lipsticks can be just as good as highend lipsticks at a fraction of the price. Personally, my first lipstick was from the drugstore. I figured if I ended up never wearing it or just not being a lipstick wearing girl that I wouldn’t have wasted much money, and I was old enough (or mature enough) that having a Brand Name product wasn’t the biggest deal in the world. That being said, I always coveted a “fancy” lipstick and ended up receiving my first high end lipstick two Christmases ago from my parents (Nars Roman Holiday, which is still one of my favorites). Depending on your preference, there are super affordable, quality colors from the drugstore starting at around $2, all the way up to uber chic, uber expensive colors (the most expensive lipstick I found on a quick search at Sephora was over $50!). 

5. Go crazy!

     Now that you’re used to wearing some color and you’ve gotten used to the formula it’s time to branch out! Try a liquid lipstick, pick up a bright color, give in to your inner vamp with a deep burgundy! The lipstick world is your oyster. If you’re unsure of how a color will look on you and are unable to test it out, a good tip I heard was to hold it up to your face in front of your mouth. It’s not completely fool proof, but it will give you some idea. Swatching colors on your hand or wrist is also helpful, but I use this more to get a feel for the opacity, as the color can look different depending on your lip pigmentation and face color (your face and wrist typically don’t match, which is why it’s recommended never to test foundations on your wrist but rather your neck). 

Extra Tips

     Prepping your lips can help lipstick apply smoothly and last longer. A simple lip scrub can remove any flake or dead skin to create a smooth surface. Lip scrubs are sold in beauty stores (my favorite is from Lush), or you can mix a little sugar and olive oil to create your own. Take that Chapstick that you hold near and dear and use it about 10 minutes before applying a lip color. Continue using your lipbalm on the days you don’t wear lipstick to keep your lips in tip top shape. Another great idea is to grab a lipliner. Lipliners help everything stay in place and extend the wear time of your favorite shade. My favorite lipliners at the moment are Essence lipliners. They’re super cheap and come in a variety of colors. NYX also makes great lipliners, and Urban Decay has a variety of bright colors to go with your brightest pinks. And if you’re looking for funky, you can’t beat OCC Cosmic Colour Pencils, who’s cruelty free, vegan product include pinks, purples, blues, browns, oranges, and more! 

Foraging into the world of lip color can be intimidating, but taking small steps can make the process a lot less stressful. Makeup is all about having fun and feeling yourself, so go with whatever makes you feel most confident, whether it’s a sheer nude lip butter or bright purple liquid lipstick!  



Woman Seeking: A Basic Toiletry Kit

I’ll admit, as I’ve gotten older I’ve become somewhat of a bag lady. I have my work bag, gym bag, and duffel bag for short trips. And I pack bags inside of those bags, including my purse, makeup bag, and toiletries bag. Last week I did a post on what I’ve been taking lately in my travel makeup kit (which you can check out here), and today I’ll be going over what I bring in my toiletries kit. 

Not only do I take this kit on trips, but I also use this for the gym, including my early morning tri practices that have me leaving my house at 4 in the morning (sooooo earlyyy). During the warmer months, I also like to keep this in my car so I have it on hand for any impromptu beach trips or sleepovers. My toiletries kit is probably one of the most used bags I own, and because of this I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping it prepared and stocked (but not overstocked) with products I’m going to need. Right now my kit is stocked specifically for the gym. While things do get switched out depending on the event or time of year, I think this can help be a guideline when building a basic toiletries kit for yourself! As always, I’ve tried to go in some sort of order, generally trying to list things in the order I use them. 

Cleansing Cloths – Even though facial wipes aren’t my favorite, they are so handy to keep in my bag and take up almost no space. If I don’t have time for a full shower, I can use a couple of these to freshen up my face and body. If I’m hitting g the gym later in the day, I can wipe of my face so the dirt and gunk of the day doesn’t sink in my pores any further once I get to sweating. Currently I’m using Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth Cleansing Cloths, but any type will do. These aren’t my favorite for removing makeup, but since I don’t typically have makeup on, these work just fine for the time being. 

Facial Cleanser – Having a mini facial cleanser really helps keep my face in tip top form. If I was wearing makeup, I can remove it with a wipe then really wash with the cleanser. After a long, sweaty workout, I want to make sure to cleanse my face properly so I don’t get and extra pimples. As you can see, I have transferred a bit of the cleanser I was using into a travel bottle, I think this is some Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash if you’re curious. I like having both the cloths and liquid cleanser, but if you’d prefer to only pack one, pick the one that works best with your lifestyle and plans. I really recommend packing facial cleanser over a facial cloth, as I just think they do a better job, but if finding water is an issue then cloths may be your best bet.  

Body Wash – Even if you’re not using this for the gym, keeping yourself fresh and clean is pretty important! If I can, I prefer to shower after working out so the sweat doesn’t stay on my skin and cause irritation. I have acne prone skin so even the twenty minutes from the gym to my house is a no-no. Granted, I have my cleansing cloths for the days when I just don’t have time to shower, but if at all possible I like to get a real life rinse off. Again, I just put some of whatever bodywash I was using at the time in a travel bottle (this is Jason Organics Purifying Tea Tree Body Wash). Question – When in the shower do you wash your body once or twice? When I mentioned I washed my body thoroughly once, sometimes hitting certain spots twice if I felt I needed to, but someone I know was a little grossed out and said they had always been taught to wash their entire body twice! Ever since I’ve been super paranoid about it. Now I wash twice, but I still think it’s a little unnecessary and I’m wasting product. Let me know! 

Exfoliating Pads – To be honest, these are almost primarily part of my nighttime routine, but I like to have a couple stashed for the times I have an evening workout. Chances are if I’m working out at 7pm, I’ll be washing up at around 830pm, which means I probably not going to rewash my face once I’m home before I go to bed. While I don’t bring my night creams (unless I’m packing for a trip), I do pack these since I use them immediately after washing my face. These are my go-to Nip + Fab Glycolic Facial Cleansing Pads. While you may or may not need this exact product, I included this to illustrate the importance of thinking beyond your immediate needs to pack a more useful bag. While in all reality as long as you have soap, a toothbrush, and a towel you’ll probably be fine, if you’re using your toiletry bag wit any kind of regularity you’ll want it to be optimized to work with your life, flowing right along with your normal routine, as opposed to a separate entity entirely. 

Facial Lotion – Ok, you definitely don’t need to bring two like I have, but while most days the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel is what I use, occasionally I need to mix equal parts of that with its lotion sibling to combat extra dry air or frigid temps. So it makes sense! I swear! But pick your favorite facial lotion and add it to your kit. Hydration is key!

Eye Cream – This is also something I primarily use in the evening, but if my eyes area gets irritated in the pool or from the wind, this can help soothe the delicate skin. The Hyaluronic Eye Cream from Mario Badescu is what I’m currently using, but it’s not my favorite. It takes too long to sink it for me and is just a little greasy, leaving my eyes kind of sticky. I never attempt eye makeup after using this. I do like its smell, which is very faint and reminds me of oats. Eye cream seems to last me quite a while, though, so I probably won’t be changing any time soon. 

Oral Hygiene Essentials – Including a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss is hopefully common sense. I usually have something small to eat both before and after the gym, as well as tea in the mornings, and I don’t want to walk into work with my breath smelling rank. This mini toothbrush folds up to not only reduce the amount of space it takes up, but the cover also prevents any bits of fuzz from getting in the bristles while it roams around in your bag. I love the 3D White line from Crest, and these Oral-B Glide 3D White Floss Picks make flossing SO much easier than having to wrestle with floss on the go. Mirror space can be limited and regular floss takes two hands, but I can floss at my locker with one hand holding my phone up to use it for a mirror and one hand with a little floss pick. 

Cotton Swabs – I swim and am prone to ear infections, so these are very important to me. I still use them even if I’m not swimming and have just taken a shower after a workout. I feel like this is something small that people always wish they remembered to bring, but don’t. So remember! I bought this little Q-Tip brand travel pack with case and have continued to refill it with whatever brand of QTip I have on hand when it runs out. They’re all the same size so why not? 

Facial Spray – This may be an optional item for some, but facial spray has become a staple in any bag I carry. I love using it in these cold months when the air is so dry that it sucks the life out of me, but I also like to use it in the summer as a refresher on a hot day. I’m obsessed with mario Badescu’s Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater. It has a strong rose scent, but dries quickly and is so cheap! Whether it’s to pop on before/after my facial lotion for a bit extra hydration, or using a bit at the end of getting ready for a bit of a boost, or even on extremely lazy/rushed days when I only have time to quickly use a cleansing cloth and then give myself a couple spritzed of this before heading out, facial spray is such a big part of my life now. Wow, that wasn’t dramatic or anything…

Lipbalm – Do I really have to explain? I have lip balms in my toiletries kit, in my makeup bag, in my purse, in my coat, in my car, on my nightstand, and random other places. Always throw one in your toiletry kit, though, because trust me, it will be after the shower on a freezing cold day after a long hard workout when your lips are so dry you don’t want to breath when you discover the lipbalm in your pocket fell out who knows where. I keep this basic Neutrogena one in mine. 

Lotion – Chlorine and sweating and hot showers can leave your skin feeling a little dry, and having a body lotion in your bag is a good way to keep it hydrated. While they aren’t intensely hydrating, I have been using these Pacifica Hand and Body Lotion Wipes in Tuscan Blood Orange as a quick, mess free way to nourish my skin. I’ve only just started using them, but I’m hoping they work well as time goes on because the concept is just so handy! I love this particular scent from them. The formula of these wipes is just like a facial cloth, and it sinks in without feeling greasy. For some of the areas that need a little e tea attention, I pack a travel size Body Butter from the Body Shop. 

Detangler – You may have noticed I don’t have shampoo. My gym schedule and hair washing schedule have been synced up in such a way that the evenings I have to wash my hair are opposite of the evenings I hit the gym. When I get sample packets of shampoo and conditioner, I do throw them in just to have it on hand, but I since I rarely wash my hair at the gym, I don’t really have a need to add it in my case as a regular item. I do find myself in need of detangler most days, however. I have pretty long hair that inevitably ends up with damp ends somehow, whether from the pool or the shower, and if I have a ponytail it always ends up flying all around during my dry exercises, so detangler helps me restore a bit of order to things. I put a little bit of Johnson’s No More Tangles spray in a mini spray bottle and use just a touch on any snags I run into. 

Perfume Sample – I usually have one of these rolling around the bottom of my toiletry kit. I don’t actually spray it in the locker room, though…it’s such a small space that spraying a fragrance seems a little rude. But I keep a sample vial in my bag to take out and use once I leave if I want it. This is probably an unnecessary item, but it’s in my bag and if I finish one I usually replace it. Just my habit. 

Extra Hair Ties and a Hair Clip – Unless you have short hair, I highly recommend throwing some extra hair ties in the bottom of your bag. It can be miserable when your hair tie breaks and you don’t have an extra. Additionally, I have a hair clip so that I can clip my hair up before I take a shower to keep it dry. 

Mini Meds – My two most commen ailments are stomach aches and headaches, so I like to fill this little case with a couple of Tums and a few Advil. Having a day or two supply of your vitamins could also be helpful, if you take them around your gym time. That way, if you forget to take them before walking out the door, you’re covered. This is definitely personal preference. 

Pads, Tampons, and *gasp* Summer’s Eve – I am a woman. A woman who has a menstrual cycle. Therefore, keeping a few tampons and panty liners in my toiletry kit is definitely essential. Chances are if you are in need of a tampon someone in the locker room has one, but why not be the person that is prepared? I also like to keep a couple indivually packed Summer’s Eve cleansing cloths to clean up any, uhm, surprises. My gym opens at 5am and we’re expected to be in the water at 5:05am, so I don’t have time to deal with any mess that may come with starting my period at some point during my 45 minute commute. And remember how I said earlier that some days a shower isn’t available or I don’t have time to wait, and instead I use a cleansing cloth for my body? Well your lady parts need a quick freshen up too, and you don’t want to take a cloth meant for your face anywhere near your V. Plus, hey, if you need to use the restroom but the stalls are out of toilet paper, if you have one of these packed you’re all set!

Like I said, this bag is packed to be used at the gym. If you’re packing for a trip, you may want to include other things, like shampoo/conditioner, face masks, or spot treatments. For the record, I do use deodorant! I keep one at home, one in my gym dufflIe, and one in my car, so I don’t feel the need to take up space by adding yet another one to my toiletry bag. Figure out what works best for you! If you’re really bad at remembering to grab your contact case, buy a second one specifically for this bag. Need to bring an item that isn’t sold in travel size? There are all sorts of kits with mini bottles and jars. I got mine from TJ Maxx, in the travel section (approved airplane sizes = perfect gym sizes). It’s best to have a bag that is easy to wipe clean, and ideally water resistant. I bring this whole thing into the tiny shower stall with me. If it wasn’t water resistant I couldn’t do that, which means awkwardly trying to find things in my bag from the other side of the shower curtain, or putting a soggy bag in my gym duffle which in turn gets everything else damp. Not to mention that it will begin to smell and mold pretty fast. Gross.its also important to find a bag that fits all your items with just a bit of room to spare. You don’t want a case that is too big, or 1) items will have too much room to move around and may be damaged, or 2) you’ll feel the need to pack more, since you have the space, which means bringing things you probably won’t need and will only get in the way of finding the things you do need. A too small case will obviously be too small and a pain in the butt to repack. I got my bag from Target, I believe, in the travel section. 

Hopefully this helped give you some idea of what items to take in your own toiletry kit. If there are any other items that might be good to include, or you see an item you can’t believe I deem important, leave a comment below! If you enjoyed this type of post and want to see others like it, give it a “like,” and don’t forget to Follow my blog if you’d like to know each time I put out a new post!



Woman Seeking: A Traveling Makeup Kit

As I mentioned in my previous post, I took a trip to the east side of my state at the beginning of the week. I have a terrible habit of overpacking, and am trying to get better at bringing only what I truly need. I did a fairly good job overall, except I forgot pajamas. Whoops. I was proud, however, because my makeup bag actually has room in it! Win! I didn’t pare it down so much that it was just the bare minimum, but I’m getting the hang of it. I still packed some things I didn’t end up using, but not nearly as many as usual. I’ve included the things I brought but didn’t use so you can get an idea for yourself (and I can have a reminder for myself!) and tried to put things in the order I applied them.


Benefit The Porefessional Primer – This is my favorite primer, and having this little sample size takes up almost no room in my makeup bag. I try to wait a few minutes after applying primer before going in with my next product. Additionally, if I notice a visible pore after applying my foundation,I’m take an extra dab and apply it on top. Works every time!


Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion – Another favorite, this eyeshadow primer makes my shadows go on smoothly, look true to color, and last all day without creasing. I have a few samples of this that should last a good long while since I only need the teensiest of bits for each eye.


EOS Lipbalm Stick – While I’m doing all my priming, I like to throw on a lipbalm. Not only does this prep my lips for any lipliner or lipstick I may put on, but if I get a little wild with my face makeup, I can easily wipe it off. I’m a lipbalm junkie, I’ll use any opportunity to give my lips a boost of hydration!


Covergirl Ready, Set, Gorgeous Fresh Complexion Foundation – I’ve really been loving this foundation lately as I find it to be quite versatile. I can apply it lightly or mixed with facial lotion for a light wash of color, or apply a couple layers for more medium coverage. The color match is pretty good for me, and blends out well so I can make it work if I’m a shade lighter or darker from what I was when I bought it.


Too Faced Cocoa Powder Foundation – I received this little sample card of powder with an order I placed, and this was the perfect time to use it! Again, it took up almost no space in my bag and there is a lot more product on the sample than I expected, meaning I can use it again. First impression : I didn’t love nor hate this powder. It worked on top of my liquid foundation wonderfully but I wasn’t like “Oh Wow!” about it. It says it minimizes the appearance of fine lines and pores, and while my Porefessional clears up most issues I have so I can’t say for certain this helped, this didn’t make them reappear. The color blended in to match well even though I expected it to be a bit too dark, so that was good.


NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder – Like I said when I went over my favorite products for brows here, this is my go-to eyebrow product. It works great, isn’t too big, and has wax and both a lighter and darker shade to customize my brow. I like to do my brows before my eyes or cheeks because I find if I do them last, I can look overdone.


Stila The Natural Collectable Palette – I have been reaching for this palette a lot lately as it is so handy. It’s a mini book containing 6 eyeshadows (3 matte, 3 shimmer), am all over shimmer, a bronzer, and even has a mirror on the inside. There is also a little cheat sheet of the a look you can create using this palette printed on the inside. The colors are soft and I don’t experience much trouble blending them. They are pigmented (better than drugstore but maybe not quite as good as Urban Decay), though if you use a light hand or super blend them out you can make them more sheer. It’s a super random palette and I never see it anywhere but Ulta in the checkout lanes, but a good one to own.


Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner in Black Amethyst – I doubt the claim of this being waterproof, but I love this color so I can give it a pass. I’m a huge fan of purple eyeliners, and this deep purpley black is great. It goes on incredibly creamy (to a fault creamy actually, it could crumble if I don’t use a light hand) and smudges so beautifully, then stays put once I give it a moment to set itself. I even smudged this on my lower lash line (not waterline though) and it didn’t make me look like a raccoon.


Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant Mascara – Again, another great travel size item. I like that the formula is buildable without clumping up on me. This means I can use it for both day and night. It’s not the blackest of black mascara, but it’s not an awkward grey either.


Urban Decay Naked Flushed in Naked – Another sample card of powder, this also had more product that I was expecting. Although I do like bronzing, I am not a huge blush or highlighter person as I already have a rosy face, and my skin is textured from acne scarring, so I’ve had this sample card for a few months now without even wanting to use it. I’ve been a little skeptical of these palettes in general as the bronzers looked more orange to me, but the colors on my sample ended up working wonderfully. It’s buildable and blendable and I’ve definitely changed my opinion on these palettes. I still have more product left to sample, and I’m actually excited to now.


Essence Lipliner in (11) In The Nude – Literally my favorite brand of lipliners ever, this particular one is the exact same color of my lips so it works under any lipstick I want to wear to help the lipstick stay put. It’s creamy, not too drying, pigmented, and cheap. I have almost every color they make that my Ulta sells.


ELF Makeup Mist & Set – I was wanting to test this makeup setting spray since it is such a budget buy, so I brought this along with me last minute. I don’t like the scent of this quite as much as my usual Urban Decay spray, but I only notice the scent when I spray it on my hand and sniff to smell it specifically, not when I’m spraying it on my face, which makes the smell a non issue. I’ve only used this once, but my first impression is a positive one. My makeup stayed in place and I didn’t have any adverse reactions from this.


Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick in Ethereal Pink (Tartelette LE) – I love this line of butter lipsticks, and this color is such a great nude on me. It’s so easy to use and hydrating. Plus, cmon, the design on the tube is just too cute! The cardboard packaging isn’t ideal for travel, but it is sturdy cardboard. I feel like it wouldn’t really break any easier than your typical lipstick tube as long as you’re careful.


MAC Creamsheen Lipstick in Créme in Your Coffee – I’m obsessed with this lipstick, and I combined it with my Tarte lipstick to create a really pretty shade. Between the lighter nude of the Tarte and the darker browny nude of the MAC, I figured my lipstick needs were probably covered. That being said…


Urban Decay Lip Junkie Lipgloss in Wallflower – I did bring this easy gloss along as well. I know, I know, I brought a total of 4 lip products, but I figured since this was a mini sample size it couldn’t hurt! Right?! It worked perfectly with the lipsticks I brought and is also great to use alone (though I didn’t this particular trip). It’s not too sticky, not too slippery, glossy and pigmented. And the cap is cool.


Clean Eau de Parfum Rollerball in Skin – I wanted to take a scent but didn’t want to take more than one, and I think this is a great one to take me from day to night. It’s warm and cozy and musky but light at the same time. I didn’t feel over perfumed when I wore it during the day, and still felt romantic and sultry when I wore it at night. The rollerball makes it perfect to store in my makeup bag or slip in my purse.


To apply my products, I brought my Real Techniques Stipping and Setting brushes, my ELF Complexion and Blush brushes, my Anastasia Beverly Hills Small Angle Cut #15 brush, and my Shiseido eyelash curler. I’ve already done posts on brushes so I not going to go over it again, but you can click here to get a more in depth review. As for the products I brought but didn’t use:


Anastasia Beverly Hills BrowWiz – I actually did use the spooly end of this, so I guess that kind of makes it useful, but I could have left it behind and probably not noticed.


Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighter/Concealer – Totally forgot to use this, and I don’t think my face looked tired enough for me to really need it anyhow. I didn’t have to get up early or stay out late while on my trip, so I’m not sure why I thought this was necessary.


Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray – Originally I had packed this, then at the last minute remembered I wanted to test my ELF spray and tossed that in without taking this out. Simple error. Luckily this is the travel sized version.


Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Palomino – I brought this in case I needed something to make my look POP, buuut honestly it was so unnecessary. I was only there for two days. It was a tiny sample size, but it was silly. I think I just wanted to bring a Bite lipstick. I love the duos I have, and those are what I usually pack for traveling, but I was trying to mix things up which is why I packed my other two instead. And then I panicked and threw this in. Because what if? 😌

I’m sure there are plenty of things I could have cut out if I was trying to bring fewer products, but I’m happy with the choices I made. It may be a bit crazy how much I brought for a two day trip, but I enjoy makeup and wanted to have both day and night looks covered since I didn’t know what I’d be doing while there. If I’m packing super light I’ll simply take a BB cream, mascara, lipgloss, and eyeshadow trio, so I would probably consider this a more medium, everyday sized makeup bag, at least for this time of year and for this type of trip. My bag would look completely different in the middle of the summer packing for a concert or beach trip! Even though I was only gone for a few days, this is probably the amount of products I would take if I was gone anywhere from 2-7 days. Too much? Not enough? What do you pack in your makeup bag for a trip away?



Woman Seeking: A 15 Minute Morning Makeup Routine

We all have those mornings where we press the snooze button one too many times. That’s what happened to me on this day. Not only did I go to bed super late, but I woke up every single hour throughout the night so when my alarm sounded in the morning I was not having it. Although I’m lucky and don’t need to wear makeup to work everyday, when I finally managed to drag myself out of bed and in front of the mirror, I realized my sleepless night had taken it’s tole. So I ran out and started my car (winter in the Midwest…ugh), grabbed my iPhone, and documented a quick Wakeup, Makeup look. Prepare yourself, the first few images are not pretty!


Oh yeah. I’m b-e-a-uuutiful first thing in the morning. But after a rough night, waking up and taking a picture is probably not going to have a great outcome. I wanted to be honest about what I was working with however, and although my problem areas or “main concerns” are listed in my “About Me” section, which of course you’ve checked out haha, sometimes a visual helps. We’ve all met the girls who say “I have terrible acne!” when in reality they only get three pimples, and that’s when they’re on their period. So here ya go. I don’t get dark circles too intensely, even if I’m exhausted, but I do get lines under my eyes. Does anyone else have this problem? People always talk about bags and dark circles but I get lines. I also have my typical redness, which is actually acne scarring, and if you look closely (don’t look closely), super enlarged pores around my nose/cheeks and between my brows. Oh, and a new zit near my eye. Lovely. There are other “imperfections” visible like uneven lip lines, and random freckles (like the ones above and on my lips, which so don’t help my uneven lip lines) but…least of my worries, folks. And yes, my bathroom has awful yellow toned lights, so that’s going to be a thing in all of these pictures. It actually tones down my redness, if you can believe it. Anywho. Moving on.


Since I had washed my face well the night before and I was pressed for time, I used my Vichy cleansing water (which you can find in my December empties post, and it will also be featured in my upcoming Skincare post) on a cotton round and gave my face a quick wipe. Normally, I think you’re supposed to style your hair after doing your makeup, but I have no skills when it comes to this area, so I try to do it before my makeup because sometimes even a simple ponytail takes a few tries (thin and fine hair, remember? Scalp peeking through and creating a weird bald spot is an everyday struggle). I also changed my clothes. This already helps.


First I apply a tinted moisturizer or BB cream. Since lack of sleep leaves your skin dull and dehydrated (even those with oily skin…I have oily/combo skin, and I know firsthand that this doesn’t mean it can’t get dehydrated! Half the time that makes your face even oilier as it tries to overcompensate), I wanted something that was going to benefit my skin and not look caked on, which heavier foundations can do if your skin is feeling worn out. I went with my Napoleon Perdis Off Duty Tinted Moisturizer, which is nice and light and tends to fuse with my skin fairly quickly, so I don’t have to wait the recommended 5 minutes for it to dry before continuing with my routine like I do other foundations or BB creams (sidnote, if you’re foundation has been looking piled on, try waiting between layers or powdering for 5 minutes for some of the liquid to dry and for it to combine with your skin! This can make a huge difference! Same goes with primer and spot concealer, wait for them to dry before moving on to the next step). Typically I would use a primer to help fill in my pores and smooth my skin out, but I have some breakouts happening, and I don’t think throwing a silicone primer on top is going to help that situation, so I decided against it. I do have two or three pores that are ridiculously large at times, and occasionally I will go through AFTER my foundation and use a QTip to place primer on just those tiny areas that need it.


Next I applied a medium consistency concealer, Maybelline’s Fit Me Concealer does a fantastic job, to areas where I tend to get discoloration. I do get discoloration on my forehead as well, but I don’t want to use concealer as if it were foundation, that would defeat the purpose and be much too heavy, so I just place it where I feel I really need extra help with my redness. I patted this in using my ring fingers and called it good enough.


I was definitely lacking radiance, so I went through and did some basic highlighting. I had already used concealer on my eyes so I just needed a touch to brighten up that area and counteract any bags or lines, some along my nose and forehead for luminosity, and above my cupids bow and chin for balance (think of highlighting as an upside down triangle). I used a very battered looking Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer. I’m actually not in love with this stuff, but it works decently for a quick face. Again, I patted this is with my ring fingers, focusing on smoothing the edges of where I applied my product so it wasn’t “face face STRIPE OF HIGHLIGHT face.”


I used a combination of powders to set my work. I used the ELF Translucent Powder to lightly set my under eyes, because I didn’t want any extra color, just a bit of powder to keep it from creasing but still allow the highlight to show and brighten my face. This is the only time I don’t really wait for my makeup to dry before going straight into another product. I usually try to powder my eye area fairly quickly after applying my concealer or highlight. I don’t know if this is right but it works for me. I then used Revlon’s Nearly Naked powder to set the rest of my face. Remember when using powder to tap, not brush or swirl, because you will move any makeup that hasn’t completely dried and set itself yet, plus it will kick up any baby facial hairs you have. To apply both of these powders I used my ELF blush brush, which I never use for blush. It is actually a inexpensive all around brush that I highly recommend. I use it for under eye setting, full face setting, powder contouring, and any other random need I have.


I didn’t want to mess with eye shadows and brushes (or all my brushes might have been dirty, ya know, whatever), but I did want a little something to bring out my green eyes, so this light bronze NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in (611) Yogurt fit the bill. I swiped it over my lids a few times then blended with…you guessed it, my ring finger. Bam. Done. I have oily eyelids as well as hooded eyes, and honestly should have used an eyeshadow primer, but I forgot because it was so dang early and I was so dang tired! This pencil does do a decent job fighting the creased up mess my eye wants to make of any shadow I put on it though, so I’m glad this is what I was using on a day I forgot primer.


On the days I don’t wear makeup, I still curl my eyelashes. It opens up the eye and makes you look so much more awake and fresh faced. I absolutely love my Shiseido curler. Revlon curler’s do a great job too, but this one fits my eyeshape in a way that makes curling so much easier. I have smaller, more almond-ish shaped eyes and this curler is a lot flatter than traditional curlers, which tend to be too round for me.


Brows are another thing I almost always do on my low maintenance days. My brow game was not strong this day, I admit, but I think it still helped my overall look. Eyebrows frame your face so keeping them in check will help you look more pulled together. My eyebrows are naturally super light and somewhat sparse, so I fill them in. This day I used my NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder in Blonde with my Anastasia Beverly Hills Angled Brush #15. I also run an old, clean mascara wand through my brows to blend once I’m done. If you have darker or naturally well shaped brows, you could forgo the fill-in and just a quick run of the old mascara wand or spooly with a bit of wax or hairspray to set them should do the trick.


And now for mascara. I wanted a waterproof formula because it helps set my curl as well as fight any smearing from oils on my lids. This Maybelline Full ‘N Soft gives a natural look that adds a bit of volume and definition. I actually have very long eyelashes, but they are very thin and blonde at the tip, so this helps them to stand out a bit without having me look like I’m wearing falsies (which isn’t a look I hate, but not what I’m going for on a day I’m trying to look healthy and awake). If you notice, I bent my brush so that I’m pushing my lashes up when I am applying my mascara, as opposed to pulling. Before I learned to bend my brush, I would usually pull outward more than upward, which I think is a common mistake among people with hooded eyes especially, because pulling up results in hella mascara on your eyelids. Pushing up not only allows me to really keep my curl, but avoids the mascara eyelid, and helps me get into the base of my lashes really well. It did take me a minute to learn how to get the tips of my lashes with my wand at this angle if I want that look, but because my lashes are so long I rarely bother with it unless I’m going out. I didn’t add any mascara to my lower lashes, because they are also very long, and not only does this make me look overdone at times, but creates shadows, which is what I was trying to disguise in the first place.


I wanted a simple lip that could be easily applied and was nice and moisturizing, so I pulled this Sephora Kiss Me Lip Balm in (02) Cotton Candy out of my stash. It claims to have subtle color but in my opinion it shows up pretty intensely for a lip balm. It smells wonderful and really does feel creamy and moisturizing on the lips. I figured with my jeans, grey shirt, and grey and white fleece, the baby pink lips matched and helped give me a fresh look.


Last but not least I used my Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray (super attractive action shot, right?). I suppose this could be an optional product, but because I work for 10 hours, as well as commuting an hour there and an hour back, AND I have a tendency to get oily, if I’m going to wear makeup then I’m going to need something to help it stay in place. This really makes a difference. It also helps get rid of the powdery look that naturally comes with using any powder product and blend my makeup into my skin gorgeously.


And that’s it! It literally takes me 20 minutes to get ready, and 10 minutes of that is me doing my hair and getting dressed. It helps keep my time down that I’m comfortable and familiar with all of these products, which is why I titled this “A 15 Minute,”…wiggle room is a glorious thing. A late morning is not the best time to try crazy new products or techniques. Simply use what you know and only things you really need and workfor you. For example, many articles on how to look fresh faced include using blush as a way to bring some life to your face, but I already have a problem with overall facial redness (not just by my nose like many women experience), so the only times I use blush is if I’m going for a full face look with a heavier foundation or a contour. So when I need to get out of the house and am trying to pull myself together, I’m not going to mess around with blush. I’m going to use concealer only around where a blush shouldn’t be, and have my natural redness work FOR me by letting it act as my blush. So easy! If you have naturally clearer skin, concentrate on playing up your eyes and skip messing around with foundations and concealers.

As I said before, I’m lucky to have a job where I can go makeup free and let my skin breathe most days, but occasionally I feel I need a little extra help and didn’t plan enough time for me to do anything drastic. Hopefully if you find yourself in this position, you’ll now have an idea of how to do the same in a short amount of time. What are your go-to’s, tips, and tricks for a quick and simple morning look?