Friday, July 25, 2014

My Current Skincare Routine

Posted by Kristen Williford at 7:00 AM Comments
I have been wanting to do this post for the last few weeks.  I put it off because I had made some changes and I wanted to make sure that I liked the products.  Well, I do and my skin is finally starting to stop breaking out.  It had been going bonkers on me for the last few weeks.  Which I am sure is some combination of the humidity, my combination/oily skin, and ungodly amount of coffee just make sure I can be semi-functional.  Anywho, onto the products I have been using.

Skincare Routine

Makeup Removers: I have two makeup removers that I use prior to cleansing because I want my skin to be squeaky clean.  First, I take off any eye makeup with Almay's Longwear and Waterproof Liquid Eye Makeup Remover.  This stuff is pretty great at removing some of the peskiest eyeliners and mascara.  To remove my foundation (most of it, anyway) I have been using The Body Shop's Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter.

Cleanser and Toner: One of my all time favorite cleansers is Arcona's Toner Tea Bar.  It is one of the only cleansers that prevents my skin from getting really oily and it makes a marked difference in the appearance of my skin.  After cleansing, I use the Arcona Triad Pads. Occasionally, I will just use the Triad Pads in the morning instead of a cleanser as they are a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer in one.  They have a lot of great ingredients that the keep the skin clear and healthy.

Treatment: Arcona's "The Solution" is a great evening treatment for keeping blemishes away.  It absorbs quickly and although it does sting a little, it does not cause any irritation.  Everyone that is acne prone needs a spot treatment on hand.  I have been using Clean & Clear's Persa Gel, which has the maximum dose of benzoyl peroxide to banish those pesky pimples.  And it is budget friendly, too.

Moisturizer: Arcona Magic White Ice is a great moisturizer for oily skin because it is effective while being light weight.  It absorbs quickly and does not make my skin feel greasy.

Mask/Exfoliant:  Freeman Beauty makes some amazing products on the cheap.  My favorite product them is their Facial Polishing Mask.  It is a multitasking product that first acts as a mask, but then a gentle scrub.  Your skin will thank you for using this.

Lips:  The original Blistex is one of the best remedies for chapped lips.  I used this a lot as a child and recently rediscovered my love for it.  I slather it on every night before bed and wake up to soft, smooth lips. And for when my lips need some extra TLC, I reach for Lush Mint Julips.  This lip scrub is a must have because it gently gets rid of dry flakes, and the instructions actually say to lick it off.  Which is perfect because this stuff does taste amazing

Honorable Mentions: Clinique Acne Solutions Clarifying Lotion is a product I break out when my skin is being particularly infuriating.  The salicylic acid helps treat blemishes, but it does not cause any irritation.  I always have a bottle of this around just in case.

What are some of your favorite skincare products?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Just A Little Ulta Haul

Posted by Kristen Williford at 8:55 PM Comments

The highlight of the last couple of weeks was getting a 20% off coupon from Ulta, and it was one of the coupons that applied to your entire purchase.  It even included prestige brands, at 10% off. But hey, I will take it.  Since I have been really busy and stressed as of late, I figured why not treat myself to some new goodies?  I only purchased four things, but I am really excited about them.

The first thing I went for was the Lorac Pro Palette 2.  I kept telling myself that I would not get this one.  But the lovely, cool shades were way too tempting. $42 sounds like an insane amount to spend on eyeshadow, but when you consider the amazing quality (Lorac has the best shadows around) and the number of shadows (8 matte, 8 shimmer), plus the travel size primer, it is actually not too bad.  I am feeling pretty lucky right now because I got the last one. =)  I included a few swatches just so you can see the amazing pigment and quality.

After snatching the Pro Palette 2 up, I made a bee line for the nail polish.  I have been lusting after O.P.I's new Mustang Collection.  For one, I do love mustangs.  And secondly, I adore the shade name "Angel With a Leadfoot."  Normally I don't like white polish, but this one looks stunning.  Plus Angel With a Leadfoot is a good description of myself.  But back to the haul.  They were sold out of that shade (UGH!!!!!), so I got another shade that I have been wanting from their Coca Cola collection: Today I Accomplished Zero, also an awesome name.  It a lovely, edgy shade: black with red glitter.  Not very summery, but on the other hand, I am ready for the more moody fall shades.  I also picked up Zoya's Muse, which is a stunning, shimmering mermaid blue.

Lastly, I finally bit the bullet and got Benefit's They're Real Push Up Liner.  I have read so many bad reviews, but I am stubborn and very curious.  I just want to try it for myself and see what happens.  Maybe I will be the crazy blogger that falls in love with it.

I will be trying these products out in the coming days and I will let you know what I think.  What have you hauled recently?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

M.A.C. Look in a Box: All About Pink Review

Posted by Kristen Williford at 7:44 PM Comments

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is an excellent time to pick up some amazing beauty sets.  And this Look in a Box is no exception.  It also comes in a nude and coral (seriously kicking myself for not getting them), but I opted for the pink. And boy, they were not kidding when they said pink.  The lip glass and matte lipstick in this set are not for the faint of heart.  However, I found them to be surprisingly flattering on my pale skin.  Especially when worn together. I like the concept of this box and everything coordinates well together.  For $39, you get:
  • Matte Lipstick in Embrace Me
  • Lip Glass in Unlimited Style
  • Veluxe Pearlfusuion Eyeshadow in Fabulous Three
  • Technakohl Eyeliner in Photogravure

Even though I adore lipstick, I will start with the eyeshadow trio since I am a shadow fiend.  I ended up liking this trio a lot more than I expected.  The shadows are very smooth and blend together pretty easily.  They are very shimmery (especially the middle shade), but I haven't had an issue with fallout. One issue I do have is that tend to fade more readily than a lot of my other shadows.  With this trio, you get a light beige, a super shimmery neutral shade (I honestly don't know how to describe isn't really beige, but not a rose gold) and a lovely plum.  I like applying the second shade on my lid, a little of the plum in the crease and outer V, with the lightest shade at the brow bone.

I even liked the included eyeliner, which I expected to be the black sheep of the set.  It was surprisingly smooth and did not tug.  The color is nothing special, just your everyday brown. Nonetheless, it was a nice addition to the box.

And now for the stars of this set: the vivid pinks.  And boy, are they vivid.  If you are scared of bright lipsticks at all, you will want to skip this set.  Embrace Me (matte lipstick) does feel a little bit drying on the lips, but it is not uncomfortable and is long wearing. I didn't wear any liner with this, and there was no problem with feathering or bleeding.  And it did not magically end up on my teeth. (Am I the only one who has that issue with really bright lippies?) I would recommend exfoliating and applying lip balm before applying as it does slightly enhance dry patches.  Unlimited Style is also a vivid pink, and a nice gloss.  It is opaque and wonderfully pigmented.  The wear time is between 2-3 hours on me.  I love wearing it on top of Embrace Me for a touch of shine, and it also seams to tone down the brightness a little.

Embrace Me, Unlimited Style, and Unlimited Style over Embrace Me

Embrace Me and Unlimited Style

All in all, I am really pleased with this set.  It is a beauty exclusive for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. However, I recently checked the site because I was going to order the coral Look in a Box set, but I no longer saw them on the site.  Bummer.

What have you gotten from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale? I would love to hear.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lorac Nude Skinny Palette First Impressions

Posted by Kristen Williford at 3:19 PM Comments

Can you believe that you can get a Lorac palette for only $15?! Well, you can.  This gem is one of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Beauty Exclusives.  There are three varieties of this palette: Nude, Navy, and Plum.  I went with the Nude Palette because I am a sucker for copper eyeshadows.  In typical Lorac fashion, these eyeshadows are smooth, buttery and nicely pigmented.  I haven't had a chance to wear them yet, but I have swatched them for your viewing pleasure.  This palette comes with 7 shades housed in a beige, mirrored palette that kinda has a snakeskin print on it.  It feels rather nice and sturdy.  That means it will be perfect for travel.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

For $15, you get a lovely range of coppery and bronze shadows with a  mix of shimmer and matte shades.  Once I try them out, I will get back with you for a full review and more swatches.  Until then, what do you think of the Nude Skinny Palette so far?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Beauty Picks

Posted by Kristen Williford at 12:44 PM Comments

Every year, people get incredibly excited over the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  I don't shop at Nordstrom all that much, but I figured I would partake in the hullabaloo this year.  I have to say, they have some freakin' fabulous beauty exclusives.  Unless you are part of Nordstrom's Rewards Program, you cannot view the sale just yet.  But I recently applied for one, so I took a peek the goods.  And here are some of my favorite beauty exclusives. I did purchase a few things, so once they come in,  I will let you know. =) There is also a good chance that I will be doing a second part because they added more stuff to the sale.  And I may include a fashion version.

Nordstrom Beauty Picks

1.) Arcona Triad Toner Pads Two Pack $32 ($64 Value)
You are basically getting two for the price on one here.  And these toner pads are great. I love Arcona, but they are pretty expensive so I rarely by anything by them. This cranberry toner not only smells divine, but it pulls triple duty: it cleanses, tones and hydrates.  So if you are in a crazy rush in the morning, just grab one of these.  Your skin (and nose) will thank you. These are also packed with amazing skin-loving ingredients, such as phytonutrients, vitamins, essential fatty acids, vitamin E, rice milk, and of course, cranberry (which acts as an antimicrobial).  Basically, try these.

2.) Lorac Nude Skinny Eyeshadow Palette $15 ($133 Value)
A Lorac palette full of stunning coppery nudes for only $15?! Sign me up! I had to get this one for a few reasons: I am an eyeshadow fiend (especially coppers), it's Lorac, and it is $15. 'Nuff said. They also have a Navy Skinny palette in case this one isn't your cup of tea.  Heck, you an even get both. I mean look at the retail value compare to what you will be paying? Some serious bang for your buck. At least for us beauty lovers.

3.) NARS Dolce Vita Lip and Eye Set $52 ($66)
Dolce Vita is a classic NARS shade and is universally flattering.  These lovely little kit comes with the renowned Dolce Vita lipstick, plus a lipgloss and nail polish.  If you love this shade, this is a great opportunity to get another tube.  And it all comes housed in a gorgeous keepsake box.

4.) Ciaté Sundae Best Paint Pot collection $25 ($45 Value)
This cute set is another great deal.  With this set, you get three cute colors that are great for the summer: Cookies and Cream, Pepperminty, and Cupcake Queen.  This would make a darling gift for a friend, or for yourself.   Each bottle is full size at 0.46 oz.

5.) Lancôme Mascara Wardrobe $39.50 ($94 Value)
Lancôme has some of the best mascaras around, this set allows you to try some while including their oh so fabulous Artliner in Noir and eye makeup remover.  The mascaras included in this set are Definicils, Hypnose Drama (my favorite), Hypnose Custom Volume, and Clis Booster XL primer. All of the mascaras are travel size, and so is the makeup remover. Trust me, the travel size will last ages.  From my understanding, the eyeliner is full size.

6.) Voluspa "Maison Jardin" Two Wick Candle Trio $29.50 ($48 Value)
Disclaimer: I have never tried these candles.  But the tins are stunning! These candles are made in the USA, made of coconut wax, have cotton wicks, and have a burn time of 50 hours.  The scents included are Yuzu Rose Stonecrop, Sake Lemon Flower, and Linden and Dark Moss. Basically, these are among some of the most glamorous  candles around.

7.) M.A.C. Look in a Box-All About Pink $39.50 ($72 Value)
This is one of three variations of this set; there is also a coral and nude.  I bought the pink because it seemed like the most flattering.  In this set, you get a lipstick in Embrace Me, lip glass in Unlimited Style, eyeliner in Photogravaure, and Veluxe Perfusion Eyeshadow in Fabulous Three. I really hope this set is as great as it looks. Of the things I ordered, I am probably the most excited about this one.

So, there you have it: my picks (part one at least) of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale beauty exclusives.  What do you have your eyes on?

Milani Bella Eyes Eyeshadow Review

Posted by Kristen Williford at 6:48 AM Comments
It seems that drugstore brands are getting pretty good at wowing us with their new products.  These new gel powder shadows by Milani are no exception.  They are classified as a gel/powder hybrid because during the the production, they begin as a gel but a "special process" magically turns them into a powder.  I don't know about you, but I would LOVE to see this in person. It sounds awesome.    Per Milani's website, they were designed to be easily blended with your fingers "to light up your eyes."  Milani created 30 shades, so there is a HUGE variety.  And they are only $3.99 a pop, so they are certainly affordable.  But are they any good?

The Bella's (Pitch Perfect reference, anyone?) come in different textures, including metallic, satin matte, and shimmer. So there is a little something for everyone. All of them have a really nice texture, but the satin mattes are a little more smooth, which is to be expected.

I currently have five of the shades, and I am fairly pleased with the quality. Especially when you consider the price.


  • Bella Bronze: bronze metallic sheen
  • Bella Champagne: shimmering champagne pink
  • Bella Cappuccino: light red brown satin matte
  • Bella Teal: teal metallic sheen
  • Bella Ivory: ivory satin matte
Bella Bronze

Bella Teal

Bella Cappuccino

Bella Champagne
Bella Ivory

Top to bottom: Bella Champagne, Bella Bronze, Bella Cappuccino, Bella Ivory, Bella Teal

Wet Swatches
Swatched Over Primer: Bella Champagne, Bella Cappuccino, Bella Ivory, Bella Bronze, Bella Teal

For the most part, the pigment of these shadows is really nice.  In general, the metallics seem to have the most pigment while the satin mattes have a little less.  Bella Cappuccino was the most disappointing pigment wise, but it pairs well with Bella Ivory for a natural look.  The wear time is also good.  I haven't experienced any creasing and fading is minimal.  With the exception of Bella Ivory, they are not powdery and none of them are chalky. You can use these shadows wet or dry. I personally never, ever use my shadows wet.  It just feels odd to me and it honestly never crosses my mind.  In this case, it doesn't really make a significant difference in the pigment or application with the exception of the metallic shades (Bella Bronze and Bella Teal).  The metallic shades became more opaque and less of a sheen.  I have also never applied these with my fingers, but I can see where it could be done with ease.  The Bella Shadows apply easily and blend well.

Bella Teal and Bella Bronze

All in all, these are worth trying out and they are nice shadows. For $3.99, you cannot go wrong.  Especially when CVS or Walgreens often has BOGO 50% off, or if you are a CVS extra care member, there are always coupons to be had. =)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Maybelline Master Kajal Liner Review

Posted by Kristen Williford at 5:44 PM Comments

I get excited about all new product releases, but I was really stoked about these new eyeliners.  I have never tried a kajal liner before, so I was pretty intrigued. For those that don't know, kajal has been used for centuries to line and darken the eyes.  I can see where some may not like the style of this product, but now that I have gotten used to it, I have become rather fond of these pencils.  They come in four colors: Charcoal Skies, Navy Night, Midnight Brown, and Onyx Rush.  How great are these shade names? They give a nice touch of mystery to the product. Or perhaps that is just me and my weirdness talking. Yes? Okay..moving on.

The shades I have are Navy Night and Midnight Brown.  Navy Night is just that; a nice, dark blackened blue.  And Midnight Brown is, well a dark brown. Obviously.  You can definitely see the smudge factor in my swatches.  In the second picture, I blended out the brown a bit so you can really see it.  I did the swatches by applying like you would do so on your eye.  I did three strokes, followed by one.

Probably the one thing that takes getting used to is the shape.  It isn't your traditional liner and is conical, and tapered.  In order to apply, you hold it sideways and drag along the lash line. These are not designed to create a really thin line, so if that is more your style, you will want to avoid this.

These liners have smooth texture and pretty good pigment.  Despite these qualities, you have to work with these a bit.  I have to go over my initial line twice to get a fully opaque line.  One thing I like about these is that are perfectly smudge-able.  Meaning they are soft enough that you can smudge them on your terms, but Midnight Brown won't migrate by itself.  Navy night on the other hand, decided to go rogue.  That one did go all over the place.  Because of the smudge factor, you can create a smokey eye if you are on a time crunch.  Midnight Brown stays put all day, while Navy Night liked being a brat and moved to my nose and all over the place.  But it is pretty hot and humid, so more than likely that was operator error.

Overall, I have become fond of these liners, but I am not in love with them. They are cool to have lying around, but traditional liners are definitely easier to work with.  Or at least they are for me. Unless you are curious or are an eyeliner hoarder, I say go ahead and pass on them.


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