Are you ready to play?

Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I recently was taken off the waitlist for Sephora’s monthly subscription box. Play! by Sephora consists of 5 sample sized products sent monthly along with a fragrance bonus and a cosmetic bag. Oh, and it’s only $10/month.

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I have to say that other boxes have fallen short for me, but Play absolutely exceeded my expectations. Everything included was something I wanted to use, and they were all from brands I was interested in. The May 2016 box was their The Forces of Nature themed box, and included a gift card for 50 extra Beauty Insider Points, a free beauty consultation, and a booklet describing each of the products. They also emailed me a video that ran through all the products so that I knew exactly what I was getting myself into.

So now for the product rundown:

atelier cologne

Up first is Atelier Cologne’s Orange Sanguine perfume. I ended up purchasing this fragrance because it is so damn delicious. With a bursting mix of blood orange and geranium it deserves its own post, so I won’t say too much about it here other than IT’S AMAZING!

tarte

The one dud of a product was Tarte’s Tartiest Lip Crayon in Latergram. I REALLY REALLY wanted to like this lip pencil, as Tarte is one of my favorite brands. Unfortunately, I found that while the color and packaging were beautiful the formula needed some help. It was hard to apply and the crayon kept breaking. Overall this product – with Vitamin E and mineral pigments – was a great idea that unfortunately missed the mark when it came to execution.

bite

There was however a lip product that excelled. Bite Beauty’s Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Kimchi blew me away. With coconut and pomegranate oils this lipstick is every bit as moisturizing as it is bright. It’s a zinger of a pink that made me want to pucker up and take more than a few selfies. My favorite thing is that Bite Beauty uses food grade ingredients in all of its lipsticks, so I never have to worry about ingesting icky chemicals.

origins

One product that I had been curious to try was Origins’ Maskimizer. This innovative priming mist helps to prep skin to absorb the intensive ingredients in face masks. Thankfully, Sephora included samples of my favorite Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask and the delicious smelling Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask. I used these one after the other with the prep mist and my skin was left clear, soft and radiant.

korres facial

Another mask that was included in the mix is Korres’ Wild Rose Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial. I have been wanting to try Korres products for years now, but it’s only been recently that they’ve been back in stock as Sephora. Based in Athens, this brand partners with local farmers to make use of unique natural ingredients native to Greece. This soothing mask is applied after your normal evening skincare routine and then slept in overnight. Rose oil is one of the best ingredients for your skin, and the only oil I allow to touch my face. I definitely noticed happier skin the morning I woke up after using this and its mild scent gave me the sweetest dreams.

briogeo

The final product of the bunch was Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask. While this brand is most widely known for their co-washes, this treatment was one of the best conditioning masks I’ve ever used. It smells wonderful, and the combination of argan and avocado oils left my hair smooth, shiny, and bouncy – just the way I like it!

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All in all I definitely recommend Play! by Sephora, and will keep you up to date on future boxes. I highly recommend you get on the wait list now if you’re interested in signing up. It took me a few months to be selected, but I’m sure glad I took the plunge.

Have any questions? Know of any other subscription boxes I should check out? Let me know by clicking on the comments link above and writing me a note!

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Stowaway

Let’s talk about brand loyalty. There’s a lot out there about whether sticking to one brand of skincare or makeup products is beneficial, or if it’s a marketing ploy aimed at getting you to spend more money. I think the truth falls somewhere in between. Yes, there’s a benefit to knowing that a range of products is specifically formulated to work together – you don’t have to worry about messy and potentially dangerous ingredient reactions, you should have a lower risk of allergic reaction, and all your products will look good when displayed together on your bathroom shelf (it’s a valid reason, I promise.) But there are times when brand loyalty can go too far. You should never settle for less than stellar products simply because you like a particular brand. I personally use a myriad of brands when it comes to styling my hair, but stick to one brand, Glossier, for my skincare. Up until recently, my makeup routine consisted of a blend of multiple brands, and it still does for formal occasions or nights out. However, I’m happy to say that for day-to-day use I’ve finally found a brand that offers a high quality range of products that I can use exclusively to create my perfect daily makeup look.

I’m talking about Stowaway. This niche brand has everything you need to create a complete makeup look, and all of their products are stellar. Plus, everything they make is “right sized” meaning that it’s all designed to be used prior to expiration. Now there’s no excuse for using five year old foundation or potentially hazardous mascara! Now, for the rundown of all their products:

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When it comes to complexion, Stowaway offers a BB Cream foundation and a concealer. The Radiant Complexion Beauty Balm is the only BB Cream I’ve ever liked. It’s got a wonderfully natural dewy finish (that never looks greasy) and covers more than your average balm. Plus, it’s one of the few niche cosmetic foundations that comes in a shade pale enough for me. The Creaseless Concealer is nothing short of miraculous. The teeniest drop can cover my under-eye area and any blemishes or redness I’m dealing with. And it lasts ALL DAY LONG without fading, melting, or creasing. My skin has literally never looked more perfect.

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The next part of Stowaway’s product line is their Cheek & Lip Rouge. This is a cream blush that has a beautiful translucence and blends like a dream. When dabbed into your cheek bones it creates a beautifully natural flush that’s ridiculously pretty. When dabbed onto lips it acts as a stain that’s slightly matte. It’s truly a versatile product. It comes in 3 shades: Cantaloupe – a bright orangey coral that’s great for summer, Peony – the most beautiful popping pink that looks seriously youthful, and Burnt Rose – a deep, dusty red that’s incredibly elegant and perfect for evenings.

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When it comes to eyes, Stowaway offers eyeliner and mascara. This is why I say the brand is perfect for everyday looks, but you might want to switch it up a bit for evenings. Their Effortless Eyeliner is teeny tiny, making it perfect for tightlining. It comes in tow shades: Jet – a deep black, and Spice – a tawny brown. The liner glides on smoothly and dries to waterproof in only thirty seconds (so smudge quickly if you like a bit of smoke) making it perfect for running around in the heat of summer. My only issue with the liner is that it doesn’t apply well to the waterline, but I tend to only line a bit of my lower lashline during the day so it all works out for me.

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In terms of mascara, you have two options. Their Extreme Lash Mascara is really cool. It’s a lengthening mascara that is made without thickening fibers. This means that it defines and lifts your lashes giving you a baby-like look that’s both natural and alluring. Their Defined Lash Mascara uses massive amounts of tiny fibers to build, thicken and define individual lashes so that your lashes look plump and glamorous. It’s perfect for an understated touch of femininity.

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Last is lipstick. Stowaway’s Creme Lipstick is richly pigmented, long lasting, and intensely hydrating. The extra small size ensures that you can fit it into even the smallest even clutch so that you never have to go without a touch up. With seven colors, you’re sure to find one you love:

  • Peony: This popping pink is my absolute favorite shade that Stowaway offers. It’s bright, fresh, and makes me want to smile.
  • Scarlett: A bright orange based red that will make everyone stop and take note.
  • Fig: A deep berry that looks ultra luscious.
  • Cranberry: A vampy, blood red that is perfect for events after dark.
  • Raspberry: A darker, berry pink that’s great for brunches and afternoon shopping runs around town.
  • Muted Plum: Perfect for a natural lip look this flushed shade is my go to for the day-to-day grind.
  • Champagne: This is the only color I didn’t like, because it made me look slightly dead. It’s a true nude skin tone, but was too yellow for my skin tone. Olive toned girls will like this one though!

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So there you have it. If you want to give it a try, click here for a free mascara with your purchase of The Stowaway Kit, which includes the Radiant Complexion BB Cream, Creaseless Concealer, Cheek & Lip Rouge, Creme Lipstick, Effortless Eyeliner, and Defined Lash Mascara. Don’t forget that Stowaway also offers subscription services so you’ll never have to rush to the store for mascara again. Additionally, for those eco-conscious readers, Stowaway offers a Recycling Service that will safely dispose of your finished products AND give you $5 for every 3 products you send back for recycling! What more can you ask for?

Glam It Up

When it comes to iconic beauty brands, Lancôme makes the top of the list. Founded in 1935, it has been synonymous with French elegance in everything from fragrance to lipstick. Their packaging is gorgeous and the products are even better. Today I’m going to be sharing my very favorite pieces of their product line, all of which were included in a recent Sephora exclusive.

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Hypnôse Drama Mascara. I only use travel or sample size mascaras. Anything larger expires before you can use it all. One of my favorite mascaras is this one, it’s the reason I was attracted to the exclusive kit in the first place. It’s blacker than black, curls like a dream, doesn’t run down my face if I cry or get caught in the rain, and gives me a more natural – but just as dense – eyelash look than false lashes. There’s no clumping or flaking, and tons of length.

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Le Stylo Waterproof Eyeliner. If you’re looking for a long-lasting waterproof eyeliner, this is the one. I personally love shade 402 – Sapphire, it’s a bright unapologetic blue that will make anyone want to gaze deeply into your eyes. It glides on easily and looks great tightlined or in a cat eye.

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Advanced Génifique. Want smoother, more radiant skin? This is the serum for you. It’s oil free, lightweight, and provides the clearest, brightest, and best skin ever. Layer it on underneath your moisturizer and you’re good to go. Just a few drops is all you need.

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Lip Lover. Want your lips to pop? This dewy gloss is all you need, particularly if you select the 333 Rose de Nymphes shade. It’s a bright electric pink/red that will draw envious glances from across the room. It’s moisturizing, smoothing, shiny, and perfect for your next selfie. So do ahead and blow a kiss, why dontcha?

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Are you ready to try and glam it up?

Springtime Beauty

Spring has arrived in full force! With it, I’ve made a few alterations to my daily beauty look. I wanted a natural, yet vibrant look with a lovely rosy blush. Here’s what I cam up with.

spring look 01      spring look 02

And here’s what I used to achieve it:

How do you change up your look for the spring? Let me know in the comments

Love Your Selfie

By now you know I love a good full-face palette. I’ve shared both Urban Decay’s Naked on the Run and Pur Minerals’ The Cinderella Palette with you before. Today I want to share yet another full-face in a box collection from Pur Minerals. The Love Your Selfie Best Sellers Collection contains everything you need to look as perfect as the selfie queen, Kim Kardashian. With 8 eyeshadows, blush, bronzer, highlighter, mascara, and lipgloss you have everything you need to look fab from day to night. This is my favorite to take on trips because with it you can create looks that are natural enough for the daytime, and also dramatic smokey eyes for evening wear. Here’s the rundown:

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Eyeshadows –

  • Exposure: this light cream, matte nude is perfect for highlighting your arch and the inner corners of your eyes
  • Fade: a matte sandy peach that is ideal for using all over your lid during the day
  • Filter: with a metallic shimmer this silvery-rose amps up your usual look for a picture perfect evening
  • Photobomb: with tiny glitter flecks this dark plum shade will give you a dramatic smokey eye that will keep everyone hypnotized
  • Flash: similar to Fade, this neutral nude contains just enough shimmer that it’s appropriate for both day and evening
  • Capture: perfect for the crease, this light taupe can complete your matte daytime office look
  • Sepia: excellent for those of us with blue or green eyes this matte rusty brown it total Kim K. drama – use it to line your eyes during the day or to smoke it out at night
  • Closeup: a deep matte black that is perfect for eyeliner and smokey eyes alike

Mineral Glow Bronzer – this bronzer looks very dark in the package, but goes on smoothly and lightly. A light swipe will work for pale girls (like me!) or build it up to contour darker skin tones.

Savvy Blush – Similar to the bronzer in its buildability, this blush is the perfect natural rose hue for day and night. It perfectly mirrors my natural flush and is matte so it never looks like I’m trying too hard.

Afterglow Illuminating Powder – This is by far my favorite highlighter EVER. I’d buy this whole palette for just this powder. It’s got the barest hint of sparkle so that I’m not looking greasy when photographed, and its yellow undertone makes my skin look picture perfect. Honestly, it’s my favorite part of this palette and I use it every time I go out.

Big Look Mascara – If you’re looking for curl and separation, this is the mascara for you. It’s deeply black and never ever clumps. It contains argan oil which not only prevents stickiness, but also helps nourish your lashes to make them grow long and strong.

Chateau Kisses Lip-Plumping Lip Gloss in Exposed – When I first saw this in the tube I thought it looked very 90’s brown. Not the case when you swipe it on. There’s a blush tone to it that makes it look very attractive and boy does it plump! There’s no tingling sensation like you get with other lip plumping glosses, but this will certainly leave you looking full lipped and ready to kiss. Plus, it’s soft shine is absolutely beautiful.

Not only does the palette contain all these great products and a large mirror, but Pur Minerals’ website also provides step by step tutorials on how to create different selfie-ready looks. Here are two of them:


 

Earlybird | Photo-friendly daytime look

1. Sweep Fade over the lid up to the brow bone
2. Apply Exposure the inner corner of the eye
3. Add Flash to the outer corner of the lid
4. Softly blend Filter from the crease to the middle of the lid, then apply Sepia into the outside crease
5. Sweep Filter along the lower lash line
6. Apply Savvy Blush to the apples of the cheeks and blend outwards
7. Apply Mineral Glow to areas of the face where the sun naturally hits
8. Lightly sweep Afterglow along the bridge of the nose, upper cheekbones, and brow bones for a highlight
9. Finish with two coats of Big Look Mascara


 

Slumber | Photo-friendly nighttime look

1. Sweep Filter over the lid up to the brow bone
2. Highlight brow bone to eyebrow with Exposure
3. Blend Close-up along the crease to the eye
4. Apply Photobomb onto the inner and outer corners of the eye
5. Smudge Sepia along the lower lash line
6. Line lid with Closeup along the lash line
7. Apply Savvy Blush to the apples of the cheeks and blend outwards
8. Apply Mineral Glow to areas of the face where the sun naturally hits
9. Lightly sweep Afterglow along the bridge of the nose, upper cheekbones, and brow bones for a highlight
10. Finish with two coats of Big Look Mascara

Give these looks a try and let me know what you think! Comment with your selfies to show off your fabulous faces 🙂

Cherries in the Snow

If you had to ask me what my favorite nail polish color was Revlon’s Cherries in the Snow would be at the top of my list. Today I’m going to let you in on a little secret- there’s a matching lipstick.

The women of my family have been wearing Cherries in the Snow on our lips and nails for generations. It’s iconic, beautiful, daring, and close to my heart.

Not only is the polish classic and wearable but the lipstick, one of Revlon’s Super Lustrous Creme Lipsticks, is utter perfection. It smooths on easily and moisturizes as you wear it. The finish is almost matte, but has a soft velvet shine to it and the color lasts all day and night. What makes it really pop is the color. Too many reds today tend towards orange. This one is more blue, but not to the point of becoming a berry. With my pale skin it looks like something out of Snow White or, honestly, like cherries in the snow. Absolutely stunning!

Courage, Kindness, and a Little Bit of Magic

Cinderella has always been my favorite Disney Princess. No matter what life threw at her she met every situation with grace, dignity, and kindness. That’s the type of woman I want to be. With that in mind, I was excited when Pur Minerals came out with their expansive kit, The Cinderella Palette. While no amount of makeup can ever make you a better person, there is something to be said for looking good on the outside in order to reflect your inner beauty.

The kit contains everything you need for a variety of looks. With eyeshadows, blush, bronzer, highlighter, and lipsticks you’ll be looking Princess Perfect in no time! Here’s the breakdown:

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Eyeshadows

  • Dazzle- shimmery pinkish lavender
  • Elegant- shimmery light nude
  • Ethereal- shiny rose
  • Breathless- warm shimmering taupe
  • Entice- deep plum with soft shimmer
  • Tempt- matte dark brown

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Blush

  • Fairy Tale- pale true pink
  • Dream – shimmery golden coral

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Contouring

  • Illusion- light nude golden highlighter
  • Disguise- golden shimmer bronzer

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Lipstick

  • Enchant- deep berry
  • Lure- shimmery crimson
  • Imagine- sparkly nude
  • Spellbound- bright orange-red
  • Charm- sparkling bright pink
  • Fantasy- satin rose

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One of my favorite things about Pur Minerals as a brand is that they offer step-by-step looks for all of their palettes. Here’s one that’s perfect for Valentine’s day.


Get the Look | Classic Fairy Tale

  • Fill in brows with Tempt. For best effect, use an angled makeup brush.
  • Apply Dazzle all over the lid.
  • Highlight under the brow with Elegant.
  • Apply Ethereal to the inner crease and Tempt to the outer crease.
  • Apply Dazzle under lower lash line and layer Ethereal on top.
  • Apply Dream to the cheeks and apply Fairy Tale on top.
  • Highlight above the cheekbones with Illusion.
  • Apply Charm to the lips.
  • Bonus: Line upper and lower lash line with a chocolate eyeliner.

Let me know if you try this look by posting a selfie in the comments!