Prep and Polish: 10 Fave Beauty Products ($50 Giftcard Giveaway)

Hey you! How was your weekend? Since I am feeling better (thanks for the well-wishes) I ran all sorts of errands this weekend, wrapped presents (I am the worst wrapper, and rapper, come to think of it), and mentally went through my to-do list for the week. I'm heading to my hometown for Christmas and am planning what to pack, including beauty stuff (the fun stuff). When it comes to all things beauty, Neutrogena is one of my favorite brands and today I'm sharing 10 of my faves. I'll be using these to prep and polish for the holiday season, as well as to prep and polish for the new year. Check 'em out and let me know your faves.

1--Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes--These are a must-have in my makeup bag. I like using these in conjunction with my regular facial cleansing routine, but I admit, there have been times when I've been too tired to do it all. New Years Eve is a prime example of this--I grab a wipe and can get rid of all of that makeup. Bonus: Neutrogena Moisturizers--they have several versions, including an oil-free one.

2--Neutrogena Body Oil--My dry skin can be a nightmare during winter. I'm talking redness, chapped skin, and scratches. What I've found that works is to use the Neutrogena Body Oil while my skin is still wet after the shower or bath (be sure to be out of the tub on a safe area). It makes my skin so soft. It is amazing. Bonus: Neutrogena Rainbath--A classic body wash that is always in my shower that is currently being offered in a gift set for the season.

3--Neutrogena Naturals--I love this line, especially the facial cleansers. I love the cream cleansers and the gentle formula on my skin. Bonus: Neutrogena Hand Cream--A staple for my hands that is found in my purse, makeup bag, and work bag.

4--Neutrogena Healthy Skin Foundation--I have dry to normal skin, and this is my drugstore recommendation for foundation. It's lightweight and gives a light coverage. There are other formulas, for skin clearing and long-wearing, that many are huge fans of.

5--Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick--I use these just about every day and recommend them to everyone. If you're on the go, a busy mom, into a natural look, or want an easy makeup look, you need these. I love the scent, the moisture, and the pigmentation (they have something for everyone).

6--Neutrogena Triple Repair Line--I dye my hair and use heat tools, plus my hair is coarse and dry anyway, and can use all the help it can get. But you'd never know it thanks to the Triple Repair Fortifying Line. Not only do I love the shampoo and conditioner, but there's an awesome leave-in treatment. Bonus: The Triple Moisture line is very good, too.

7--Neutrogena Crease Proof Eye Shadow--For those of us who don't wear shadow often, are just beginning makeup, or for those who want a natural look, these are my go-to recommendation. These are crease-proof shadow sticks that give a slight glow to the lids, are fool-proof, and are perfect for travel. Try a gold for the holidays!

8--Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair--Any of these are staples in my skincare routine. I like the eye, serum, and nighttime versions.

9--Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunblock--I am sharing just one here, but seriously, there are so many of these that I love. They have all kinds of versions--this is a spray, but I love the cream and stick ones too. I use these not only on myself, but my loved ones, too. There's a kids' version I swear by for the kids.

10--Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover--For when I need those smokey eyes and waterproof makeup to disappear, I turn to this. I've gone through so many bottles of this. Bonus: Pour some on a cotton swab and use to remover eyelash glue from your falsies so you can reuse them!

Neutrogena has offered an assortment of Neutrogena holiday staples and a $50 Walmart gift card to one of you! Simply comment on what you'd like to try (or already love) with a valid email. US only, please. Giveaway ends 1-1-2015.


NEW Makeup Reviews: L'Oreal, Revlon, Maybelline, Covergirl, MAC, Troi Olivierre

Hey you! I'm still sick (I have been saying that for 2 months now, ugh) so I had to take a Blogger's Day Off. But to make up for it, I've got a post with new makeup reviews AND a video for you to watch. Ooh, idea--you can watch this video while you're wrapping presents. Don't tell me I'm the only one who still isn't finished with that yet? Anyway, check out the video at the end and let's get into the makeup!

You will notice that a lot of these items I wouldn't repurchase. That doesn't mean they are awful, they just aren't my favorites. I encourage you to try what piques your interest (just keep the receipt!). Everything was purchased by me and has been thoroughly tested--no first impressions here! Enjoy and let me know the ones you're interested in!

First up is the new L'Oreal Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender. While this setting spray (water and alcohol are first 2 ingredients) worked on me, it is really pricey for a drugstore product! $13--what?? so I wouldn't repurchase.

I tried out a couple of new foundations. The Covergirl Ultra Smooth Hair Smoothing Foundation + Applicator has an interesting concept. Place foundation on the silicone applicator and apply to face to smooth down hair on face. It did work but the foundation took a while to apply all over my face. A brush worked just as well (depending on the brush) with the foundation. I got a slightly medium coverage with this, but it is tacky-feeling. I usually dermaplane so I don't have to deal with hair, but some might want to try this. Wouldn't repurchase.

Revlon has the new Insta-fix foundation. This stick foundation is nice for touchups on the go, gives a light to medium coverage, but I don't think oily skin would get a full day's wear out of it. Wouldn't repurchase, but keeping in my travel bag!

Mascara time! Covergirl's Full Lash Bloom says it has flake-free and soft lashes, thanks to the beeswax. I found it gave me a nice natural volume and I had no flakes. Not bad, but I want a more dramatic mascara, but many of you will love this.

Rimmel has Wonderlash--which says it has clump-free volume and definition and has Argan oil. I found I liked it the more I used it, but felt it did clump on me. I liked it for definition but didn't give me the volume I was hoping for. A nice mascara, just not my fave.

Maybelline Lash Sensational was my fave out of the three. I wore it in my latest tutorial--Holiday Makeup--did you see it? Anyway, it's more of a wetter mascara and gave me the volume I was looking for. Not a holy grail mascara, but I do like it a lot. All 3 mascaras with one brush-through are pictured below:

I'm sneaking in some high end lipsticks--hope you won't mind. Designer Prabal Gurung collabed with MAC and I fell for the packaging on this lipstick. Isn't it pretty? It's Light English Red, yes red but it's a sheer (lustre) mauve. It makes for a great natural lipstick on me.

Troi Ollivierre, better known as the beauty guru for JCrew, released his own line of lipsticks last month. You know the infamous Poppy JCrew lip? That's him. I grabbed two colors in George (orange-poppy red) and Parker (pinky red) and love them. The swatches for the 3 lipsticks are below.

Light English Red, George, Parker

And here's my video for these products!

Alternate link: http://youtu.be/UrnhYB6iUeM

LAST CHANCE to enter to win $100 Visa Giftcard!


Coffee, Tea, & Hot Chocolate Hacks

Cozy pjs, a crackling fire, a good movie or a book, and a hot beverage...the makings of a perfect evening (or an entire wishful weekend!). But wait--before you put down the computer and start making a drink, check out some of my favorite hacks to change up your usual coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. There's something for just about everyone!

For my tea drinkers, you've got to try making your own sugar cubes! It is SO easy and makes a cute decoration for tea or as a gift. You can use any type of sugar you want, like raw and brown sugar. Next, choose your shapes. I used small silicone molds and small cookie cutters--for Christmas I've done trees, candy canes, snowflakes, and gingerbread men. Mix 1 part sugar with one fourth of water and press into molds. Let dry over night. Remove and serve (or store in air-tight container). BONUS HACKS: Add flavoring to these, like vanilla or peppermint. I've added food coloring too--lightest colors work the best.

A way to enhance any drink is to add a tasty candied rim. I've used finely crushed candy canes, colored sugar, and nonpareils (pictured above) to decorate. Simply pour your candy into a bowl or saucer or plate that is bigger than the rim of your mug or glass. Dip the rim into something to make the candy stick, like water, cream, icing (no judging!), chocolate, honey, etc. then dip the coated rim into the candy.

Marshmallows and hot cocoa are just meant to be together. But instead of the traditional ones, try Christmas Peeps (they have all sorts of shapes) or these Gingerbread ones (not Peeps). They really taste like gingerbread, fyi. Tons of whipped cream, optional.

Remember those cookie cutters I mentioned in the first hack? You can reuse them to make a decorative top on your cream. Simply place on top and add cocoa. If you want to do a lot of these quickly, I suggest tracing your design (mine's a candy cane) onto paper (I've even used a disposable drink cup lid) and cutting it out and then placing over the top. Dust your cocoa over it and your drink automatically looks fancy. Aaand because I cannot make any of that fancy latte art with frothed milk!

Speaking of the top of the drink, if you're a fan of whipped cream, I've got an easy recipe for caramel sea salt. You can use store bought or make your own, like I did. Just add a couple of drops of caramel flavoring, pinch of sea salt, your whipped cream, and mix together before adding a dollop onto your drink. Drizzle caramel sauce and extra sea salt if desired. I usually make enough for a few servings and keep in the fridge.

Sticking a candy cane in a drink is something we've all done, right? But let's make it extra festive this year and try a candy cane twist or spoon. I'm so glad I found these at Walmart (and Michaels) because I've tried to diy my own versions in the past, and let's just say it was a disaster. How cute are these? BONUS HACK: Dip these in chocolate! Add nonpareils! Ok, I just want another excuse to use the nonpareils. Btw I've used the spoon in my tea and loved it.

Here's the spoon and my peppermint mocha. I added crushed candy cane and chocolate sauce at the top because I could. I cannot cook or bake worth a dang flip, so this is how I contribute to the Christmas desserts.

Here's the peppermint twist in a peppermint white hot chocolate. Special thanks to my friends who volunteered to drink the "props" so they wouldn't go to waste.

Which hacks would you like to try?


How To: Holiday Red Lips

It's no secret I love a red lip, especially for the holidays. But red lips used to intimidate me--no more! Today I'm gonna show you how I wear them PLUS my collection of reds--there's something for everyone here!

1--Exfoliate lips to remove any roughness or flaking (try this DIY version or this one) and then add lip balm to moisturize. I do this before I apply my makeup and let it soak in.

2--So I've applied my makeup, my hair is done, and the red lips are the final step. Wipe off the lip balm and choose a lip liner that matches the color of the red lipstick you're going to wear. Outline and fill in lips. This serves as an outline and barrier. I fill them in for extra coverage. I prefer not to use a nude pencil, concealer or eye lid primer, since my lips aren't very pigmented naturally.

3--I apply the lipstick. Since I have small lips, my lipstick keeps its shape, so I use the pointed end to help keep the lines crisp. I'm wearing MAC Ruby Woo--a matte red but it looks so good on everyone.

4--I also use a lip brush to apply and spread out my color--you can see I've got some spots to fill in. The brush allows for more precision. Some swear by lip brush alone, but I prefer both.

5--Time for clean up! Use concealer and a small concealer brush to clean up around the lips for a nice, crisp line. This prevents it from looking messy. I used a nude liner here and then blended it out with a small brush. I find my fingers tend to make the color bleed, so I don't use fingers to blend.

6--To make sure the red lipstick lasts (Ruby Woo really does), take 1 ply of tissue and blot lips. Then take the other ply (or a clean section) of tissue and place over lips. Dust over them with translucent powder to set.

Here I am wearing a few of my favorite red lipsticks--to see my collection, PLEASE KEEP READING...


DIY Press for Champagne Sign

My baby sister (she will always be little to me) and her husband are moving into their first place. And she has asked me to help diy some decorations, and this is one of the ideas she requested. I'm so excited! Longtime blog readers have noticed this in my room for a year now, and after many requests, I'm finally sharing this DIY with you!

You've seen these right? I had a pic forever saved onto my computer as inspiration, then I saw they were being sold for crazy expensive prices, so I decided to make my own. I thought about the components of the sign, broke it down in my mind, made a shopping list, and set out to make one. It is so easy and can be customized exactly how you'd like! This cost me $10 to make (I've seen them sold for $70).

First, find your picture frame. I chose an oval frame that closely resembles the Ikea frame I have in my room. I got mine at a discount store for CHEAP since the glass was broken--holla! I chose a smaller frame, so I removed the backing stand so I could hang it later. My decor is silver, so I painted it to match my frame and let it dry. The inspiration pic I had was with a brass frame and brass bell.

Time to print your sign! This takes some trial and error since you need to make sure it fits in your frame--much easier with a square frame. I used the Calibri font in size 90 using MS Word. I used the frame insert and traced around it before cutting it out and putting in the frame.

Next, you'll need to find your bell. I found mine for $5 at a junk shop, but I have seen these at hardware stores like Lowes and online for $5-$10. If you are looking to actually have it buzz, email me and I can give you some basic circuit info. This is totally optional but I chose to paint mine.

Use a glue gun to attach the bell to the paper. Hang and you're done!

PS: My $100 Visa giftcard giveaway ends 12-21. Have you entered yet?


Holiday Makeup--Golden Smokey Eyes

Hey you! It is the weekend...finally! What are your weekend plans? I'm still residing in Sick City over here, so my plans involve lots of Christmas movies on the couch and lots of hot cocoa. But in case you have a party soon, I wanted to share a holiday makeup look with you.

I'm sharing just the eye look today, but my lipstick is MAC Ruby Woo.

Here's the makeup I used for my eyes:
  • Too Face Chocolate Bar (ps I want the new one, Santa)
  • Maybelline Lash Sensational (review next week)
  • Rimmel Scandaleyes shadow stick
  • Kat Von D liner

-I began by placing the shadow stick over lids as a base.
1-I took a flat brush and patted this gold shade on the lid.
2-With a crease brush, I applied this milk chocolate into the crease and used a blending brush to blend it out.
3- Using a smaller crease blush, I applied this chocolate shade into the outer "v"  and blended it out.
4-I then applied this darker chocolate in the outer "v" but made a smaller "v" and blended that out.
-I took a pencil brush and smudged that darkest shade under my bottom lashes.
-I applied a matte cream to under my brow with a clean pencil brush.
-I curled lashes, applied mascara, and liquid liner.

Here are the eyes--it looks a bit more taupe here but is more golden in person.

I also made you a video showing this look! It's a collab with Tanya and some lovely bloggers:


Tanya- www.leopardlaceandcheesecake.blogspot.com


Check it out below:

Look at Charlie's enthusiasm to be in my video!

Have a great weekend!


How To: Marble Christmas Nails

One of my friends texted me asking how to do marble nails because she wanted to do them with her nieces over the holidays. I told her to head to the blog for a tutorial, but there wasn't one! Um, whoops! I can't believe in over 4 years I've never shared this classic nail art, so I'm sharing it now. If you're looking for some fun nails (they remind me of peppermints and candy canes) Check out my Marble Christmas Nails:

  • red, green, white polishes
  • base and top coats
  • plastic cup (this will be discarded or kept for other marble nail adventures)
  • water
  • toothpicks
  • paper towel
  • masking tape or vaseline
  • nail polish remover and/or q-tips


All products mentioned are purchased by me unless stated.
All pics, thoughts, etc, are mine unless otherwise noted. Publishing or redistributing any content from this blog is strictly prohibited. Please seek permission first. Thank you.

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