Drugstore Beauty Giveaway ($75 value!)

Hello lovelies! I’ve been promising a giveaway for over a month now, and here it is! (or at least one of them πŸ˜‰ ). This giveaway includes mostly full-size products that you can pickup at your local drugstore: Covergirl, Maybelline, … Continue reading

New Years Resolutions Pt.2: 2015

It’s about to get real. (aka…long post warning) It’s that time of year: everyone’s making resolutions, and I absolutely love it. I don’t understand why some people get so annoyed over New Years resolutions. I think it’s absolutely great when … Continue reading

Makeover Monday: Girl in Charge (em Cosmetics)

Hello beauties!

Today’s first Makeover/Makeup Monday (I haven’t decided which one sounds less corny πŸ™‚ ) is featuring em Cosmetics by Michelle Phan. I know I’ve been on the Michelle Phan bandwagon lately, but I can’t help it! She’s so talented, nice, and her tips and tutorials really are fabulous. I had a little haul a week or so ago when her entire website was 50% off! In fact, they’re running that special again until 11:59 p.m. on December 31st! No coupon code needed.

IMG_0950Dusty pink blazer: Forever 21 | Cream-colored lace & chiffon top: Forever 21

This look is called “girl in charge” and uses the upper right quad of the Career Life Palette. Keep reading for how I customized this look!

My em Cosmetics haul included:

productscollagelove me for me flawless finish powder compact in porcelain 02: $25 $12.50
love me for me flawless foundation in porcelain 02: free w/ powder compact
the great cover up ultimate concealer in fair neutral/cool: $17 $8.50
chiaroscuro contour & highlight stick in fair tones: $24 $12
the life palette in career life: $59 $29.50
lip gallery creamy color sheer lipstick in im taken all red-y: $15 $7.50 (not pictured)
lip gallery creamy color classic lipstick in misty mauve: $15 $7.50 (not pictured)

facecollageStep 1: Apply foundation using a makeup sponge (I like Real Techniques brand)
Step 2: Apply concealer under eyes and over problem areas
Step 3: Contour and highlight!
Step 4: Apply eye makeup:

girlinchargeAs stated above, I used the upper right quad of the Career palette:

I applied 1 all over the base of the eyelid and 2 as an eyeliner on the upper and lower lash line. Three was applied in the center of the eyelid and blended outward. Four and 5 were applied up and towards the brow bone. Six was brushed on the apple of the cheeks, while 7 was applied all over the lips. I applied 8 right in the middle of the lips to add more depth.

skintonefairHere is a swatch of all the colors in the “girl in charge” quad. This picture, as well as the stock photos of the products are directly the property of em Cosmetics and their website.

Step 5: To finish the look, I revved up my eyebrows using Anastasia Beverly Hill’s Brow Wiz Pencil and Benefit’s Brow Gel. I applied Lorac’s Cobra Mascara and touched up my shiny spots with em Cosmetic’s powder compact.

The finished result?

IMG_0953As you can see, my freckles are still full force after my trip to Cancun πŸ™‚

My favorite of the products by a LONG shot was the lipsticks. From all the lipsticks I have tried, I can confidently say their formula is similar to MAC. They are THAT good. I wouldn’t pay full price for the Life Palettes, as the color payoff isn’t nearly as great as comparably-priced brands like Urban Decay and Lorac. I might have to pick up a few more lippies though…before the New Year kicks off (spoiler alert: I’m going on ANOTHER shopping hiatus…just for 3 months this time).

If you are curious to try any of Michelle’s products, please visit her website as they are 50% off right now!


I am not paid to review these products. The opinions are my own.

XO Ali

New Photography Equipment

Hello everyone!

I purchased some equipment from Amazon this week (that will be delivered today!) to assist with taking pictures for the blog πŸ™‚ I got a cheap light tent for about $30 and some velvet jewelry display stands.

I’m pretty excited to try it out with my new Limited Edition Birchboxes for CEW (Prestige Headliners and Mass Appeal) that have arrived! Hopefully my turnaround time between receiving product and posting about it will decrease. I probably could have made one for cheaper, but sometimes paying for convenience (and quality) is more attractive…

Don’t forget to enter my massive beauty giveaway by clicking on the image below!

img_1671-3XO Ali

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Review

When the gorgeous Jacqueline from A Vibrant Day announced she was having a Cynthia Rowley beauty giveaway a couple weeks ago, I knew it was fate πŸ™‚ Man, I have been lusting after this set for months, especially after falling in love with my silver eyeliner I received in one of my spring Birchbox boxes. Somehow, I managed to win!!! AHHH

IMG_1382 IMG_1384The Cynthia Rowley set included:

  • Eye Shadow Palette – No. 2
  • Mini Creamy Lip Stain in Valentine
  • Mini Eyeliner in Black
  • Neoprene Confetti Bag
  • Full-size Eyeliner in Sky Blue (extra!)

IMG_1387 IMG_1389 IMG_1393She also threw in some fun extras!

  • A 5×7 in. painting by Terrance Wright
  • Benefit mini-Porefessional primer
  • Besame Sweetheart Balm
  • A sweet little thank you note for entering her giveaway

She’s seriously the best. Go show her some love on her page πŸ™‚

IMG_1396Color swatch from L-R: Cotton Candy, Licorice, Confetti, Cloud, Marshmallow, Black Eyeliner, Sky Blue Eyeliner, Valentine Lip Stain

IMG_1402I used Marshmallow all over as a base coat, then applied Confetti on the lid, blending in Cotton Candy into the outer corner. I used Licorice in both the crease and as a lower-lash liner, finishing with Sky Blue eyeliner on the top lid πŸ™‚

Happy Monday, everyone!

And thanks again to Jacqueline and A Vibrant Day!

Current Raves: Fresh Products

img_0450fresh. Soy Face Cleanser

fresh. Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15

I have been planning on writing a review for the face cleanser for weeks now, but it was only a couple days ago that I got the lip treatment as a part of Sephora’s “Sun Safety Kit,” and I am beyond impressed. Therefore, I decided to include it in my favorites post πŸ™‚

Soy Face Cleanser: I had been looking to replace my long-loved Clean & Clear cleanser (to be reviewed in a future post) with something less harsh for a while now. The smell of this soy product took a tiny bit of getting used to at first–it’s a cucumber with something…I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the rosewater. It’s not terrible, just different. The cleanser is a cloudy gel, that glides across the skin like a dream. It lathers just a bit, but removes all my makeup, including eye makeup, with NO burning or stinging. It’s gentle nature doesn’t cause my skin to dry out after washing, either. This cleanser is absolutely wonderful.

Sugar Lip Treatment: I love everything about this lip balm. The first thing I notice is the fresh (no pun intended) lemon scent, which is not too overbearing. Also, I have a hard time with lip balms keeping my lips hydrated and usually prefer chapsticks such as Blistex. However, after one application of this lip treatment, my lips were smooth, hydrated, and still coated up to 3 hours later. It even tastes good if you lick your lips, ha.

Happy Tuesday everyone!


Laura Geller Beauty: Garden Party Review

Hello OOTD + Makeup Review, it’s been a while! Salmon-colored knit sweater: Forever 21 |Β Floral tie-waisted shorts: Forever 21 Color-enriched lipstick in Pink Mink BB cream all-in-one skin perfecting beauty balm SPF 21 in Medium Supreme lip spackle lip primer … Continue reading

Bowties + Smashbox

Happy Tuesday everyone πŸ™‚ I spent several hours on Sunday trying to get re-inspired by my (what sometimes feels like) limited closet collection. I came up with a bunch of new ideas for pieces I have been hanging onto, but only have worn once!! Unfortunately…they are all paired with skirts…and it’s not supposed to get above 30 here all week. Le sigh…

Realizing that on Monday morning, I somehow managed to pull together something slightly warmer. Yesterday’s LOTD:

20140210-211946.jpg Cream v-neck sweater: Forever 21
Burgundy bow-tie blouse: Forever 21 (I’ve owned this blouse for two years…and I shamefully admit this is the first time I’ve worn it. I knew it was pretty and feminine, but I never knew what to pair with it! Hello new fave sweater/blouse combo!)
Gray skinnies: Delia’s
Burgundy almond-toe wedges: Forever 21

20140210-211957.jpgSince it was Monday, I also put together my “Makeup-Monday” LOTD: “Smashbox Try-It Kit.” This kit retails for $19 and I’ve seen it at Sephora and Ulta, but I’m sure they have it elsewhere. The 5-piece kit includes:

img-thing .out=jpg&size=l&tid=73874357-Smashbox Photo-Finish Oil-Free Foundation Primer
-Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer
-Smashbox Lipgloss in Illume
-Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara
-Smashbox Limitless Eye Liner in Onyx

FOTD, order of application, and review:

20140210-212006*Smashbox Photo-Finish Oil-Free Foundation Primer – I was expecting this to be a white lotion-y cream, but it was actually a translucent gel. It goes on silky smooth and has no odor to it. I will be using this again!

Smashbox CC Cream in Light – this was a sample packet I had received in one of my many beauty hauls and I have to say, I was not impressed. I applied this generously all over my face but it quickly turned cakey and became difficult to rub into the skin, making me somewhat self-conscious all day of that too-much-makeup look :/

Bareminerals Mineral Veil Compact in Translucent

*Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer – again with the cakeyness. I felt it was difficult to rub into the skin and actually felt a little rough. I think I’ll stick with my TooFaced Lid Primer πŸ™‚

Eyelash curler

*Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara – I am a big fan of this mascara. Truthfully, I already had this mascara before I got it in the try-it kit. I saved the unopened sample-size provided in the try-it kit for a possible giveaway in the future (same goes for the eyeliner! Woot!). This is the best mascara I have tried out of my dozen or so I’ve accumulated over the holiday season. It glides onto the lashes so easily and only take a couple strokes to really increase the length! It isn’t waterproof though…my only complaint.

*Smashbox Limitless Eye Liner in Onyx – HELP!!! Oh pencil liners, how I have such difficulty applying you to the upper lash line. I went the safe route and only used on my bottom lash line for a more dramatic effect. This pencil goes on so easily and the color payoff is strong.—–I found it difficult to sharpen w/o breaking, so if anyone has any suggestions, PLEASE comment–whether about application or a good pencil sharpener. I literally wasted HALF of it already trying to sharpen…but it broke every time i pressed it to my eye after that!

Tarte Sugar-Lip Scrub

*Smashbox Lipgloss in Illume – Usually lipglosses drive me crazy–they’re sticky, my hair always gets stuck in them, and they dry out my lips. This one, however, went on rather evenly. It goes on nude with a brilliant shine. Just like the Nars gloss blogged about previously, I actually managed to keep this one on for a full three hours! πŸ™‚

The pieces in this kit are absolutely worth trying for only $19! So add it to your wish-list πŸ™‚


Makeup Monday: Too-Faced “All I Want for Christmas”

Today I want to review a Too-Faced set that came out for the 2013 Holidays. The set includes:


  • La CrΓ¨me Lip Cream in Believe
  • Full Size Shadow Insurance
  • Blush/Eye Shadow Trio Compact
  • Perfect Eyes Eye Liner in Perfect Black
  • Lash Injection Mascara
  • Mint/Gold Chevron Makeup Bag

IMG_6038The order in which I applied my makeup is as follows:

-Ulta Brand BB Cream Beauty Balm SPF 20 in Illluminating

-BareMinerals SPF 15 Foundation in Fairly Light

Too Faced Shadow Insurance* – this is by far my FAVORITE shadow primer I have tried so far of all my samples and other purchases. It has the silkiest, creamiest texture and glides so smoothly across the skin. I’ve never found it to be too thick or difficult to rub in. What is especially nice is that it covers up any residual makeup that may have smeared onto the lids. I use makeup remover on my lids and face before I go to sleep, and I inevitably wake up with smeared mascara on the lids. This shadow insurance wipes it all away onto my finger, and leaves behind a nude primer that eyeshadow clings to so well! I do not know how it does it, but I don’t question, I just love.

Too Faced Blush and Eyeshadow Duo Compact* – the blush is nothing special. A little dark and husky, but goes on light enough that as long as your careful how much you put on your brush, you’ll warm-up your cheekbones. The beige eyeshadow I use more as a brow highlighter and base coat. Again, nothing special. The brown, however, has a nice pop to it. It’s not dark at all, but goes on smoothly and has a slight shimmer to it.

Too Faced Lash Injection Mascara* – unfortunately, nothing special here in my opinion. It definitely lengthened my lashes, but I feel like the thickness wavers: it’s chunky and thin here and there. What I really want to try is the very-hyped “Better Than Sex” mascara Too Faced has…

Too Faced Perfect Eyes Eyeliner in Perfect Black* – I really wanted to brag about what a smooth liner this is. The color comes right off the stick. I really don’t know how Too Faced does it, all of their products are so easy to use and handle. I sort of wish this wasn’t the case with the eyeliner though. It has completely melted and smeared across my eyes in just a few hours. I don’t have anything left to show under my lashes except the faint resemblance of some grayish-black smudging.

-Too Faced Lip Insurance Lip Primer – I know this isn’t included in the kit, but quit what you are doing and go pick up a tube! NOW! It’s THAT good!

Too Faced La CrΓ¨me Lip Cream in Believe* – I love this lipstick so much. The color payoff is out of this world, and it’s so creamy! It only took one stroke on each lip, rubbing my lips together, and KABLAM. A perfect lip. The color is somewhere between a mauve, an orange, and a coral. I really can’t put my finger on it.

The blue/gold chevron bag is just icing on the cake with this set. It’s just as pretty in person, if not prettier. I currently house all of my eye pieces (that aren’t in my “everyday” look) in this bag, so that I can just reach for the bag when I want to try something different. The set normally retailed for $45, but I got it at Ulta for $36 after the holidays.

I’m already a fan of Too Faced’s Lip Insurance Lip Primer, and a few of these products are definitely worth picking up if you have the opportunity.

IMG_6045Necklace: Target
Pastels w/ blue buffalo-plaid shirt: H&M
Black cardi: Maurice’s
Gray skinnies: Delia’s
Black Pumps: Target