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Makeup Splurges & Saves


I recently replaced almost all of my makeup, and I've slowly been adding new things. This time around, I am really trying to give economical drugstore products a fair shot, and I've been pleasantly surprised by a few of them I've tried. Right now, these are my top recommendations for "saves":

Makeup Saves

1. Maybelline SuperStay 12HR Lip Stain, ~$6: I have this Maybelline stain in the "Cool Coral" shade, and I've been really impressed with the staying power. No, of course it doesn't actually stay on for 12 hours as promised, but it gets me through coffee drinking until lunchtime, which is more than any other product I've tried. It's a little bit drying, but not too terrible, and easy enough to pair with a gloss. I also really like the slightly spongy wand applicator, as it makes it easy to apply without getting it all over (and thus staining my face). I would definitely put this stuff up against higher priced counterparts like The Balm's Stainiac ($17) and Benefit's BeneTint ($30).

2. Physicians Formula Eyebrightener Multi-Colored Eyelighter, ~$8: I bought this multi-shade eye brightener by Physician's Formula in "Natural Eyelight" on a complete lark, because it was on sale and I had a good coupon that left it under $2, and I was desperate to find something to make me look a bit more awake. And I love it. It doesn't have great staying power, but layered over eye primer it does fine, and the tones work perfectly, making me look not like I am wearing a bunch of shadow, but just like I have slept recently. I've been wearing this a couple of times a week (when I want a less-is-more look) for the last month or so and I am really happy with it.

3. Revlon Age Defying with DNA Advantage Cream Makeup SPF 20, ~$12: I bought this makeup completely by mistake. After Allie recommended Maybelline Instant Age Rewind "The Lifter" at Wardrobe Oxygen, I wanted to try that, but I misremembered her recommendation and bough this similar-looking Revlon product instead. And I really like it! It is not the perfect foundation--I am still on the lookout for that magical product that is full-coverage, but lightweight, doesn't make me look shiny or dry, and doesn't clog my pores or come off on my phone--but it's every bit as good as a lot of the spendier options I've tried, and I prefer it over several of them. I try to use something a bit lighter with a bit more sunscreen on most days this time of year, but when my skin really looks like it could use some help, I reach for this product. I got the "Bare Buff" and it's a good match for my very-slightly-tanned face.

4. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Color, ~$4: I've been a huge fan of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri polish for ages, and I keep coming back to it after I try other things. It goes on smooth, dries fast, lasts well, comes in tons of colors, and is cheap! What more could you possibly want? I've been experimenting lately with higher-end polishes (mostly Julep), and they're also nice, but I still think I like this stuff better. I have it in at least a dozen shades.

5. NYC New York Color Applelicious Glossy Lip Balm, ~$3: I got a tube of this stuff in the "Big Apple Red" color in my Spring FeverVoxBox from Influenster, and I've been amazed at how much I like it. The color is great, subtle, but nice, and it feels so nice on--buttery and soft and moisturizing. The staying power isn't great, but I've yet to find a lip butter/tinted balm that does have good staying power, at any price point. This stuff is absolutely worth the less than $3 price tag, and I'll probably grab a few in other shades the next time I see them and stash them in my car, desk, etc. for touch-ups.

6. Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter,~$7: Revlon Colorburst is my other favorite tinted balm, and it's not new--I think I might have posted about it here before, and I know other bloggers, including Allie, have written about how great it is. I've got it in three or four shades--Strawberry Shortcake and Sweet Tart are among them, I'm sure, but I can't think of what else--and I reach for them often. Again, the staying power isn't great, but the lip feel is wonderful and they are just the right amount of color for most days.

As much as I'm enjoying bargain makeup, though, there are some things I still think are worth shelling out for. These are the current winners:

Makeup Splurges

1. Sue Devitt Eye Intensifier Pencil, $22: I'm almost certain I've sung the praises of the Sue DeVitt Eye Intensifier pencil before, but I really can't say enough good things about these. I love them so very much. Easy application, great pigmentation, wonderful staying power...they're just my very favorite. I heard a nasty rumor that they weren't being made any more, so I'm seriously considering stocking up. As of right now, I have four colors: Bangalore, Golden Triangle, Surat, and Zaire. The first three are in regular rotation, the last requires some sort of special occasion for me to bust it out.

2. Urban Decay Naked2 Eye Shadow Palette, $50: I was very skeptical of the Urban Decay Naked and Naked2 palettes--$50 for eye shadow?--but I decided to splurge on this one with a Sephora gift card that I needed to spend, and I'm glad I did. Every single shade in this palette is useful, though I am particularly fond of the Foxy (cream bisque with matte finish), Booty Call (shimmering cork), and Suspect (pale golden beige with shimmering finish). And layered over primer, they last all day, looking as if they were just applied. I'm also really glad I chose this palette over the original Naked palette, as I'm pretty sure the last three shades on that one wouldn't have worked for me. I do think, however, that my needs may have been just as well served by the smaller and cheaper Naked Basics palette, as it includes my beloved Foxy and is all matte, and I am really preferred matte eyeshadow lately. I may splurge on that one in the future (it's $27 and includes six shades).

3. Clinique Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula, $16: I'm a bit of a picky picky princess when it comes to mascara. It has to be dark black, long-wearing, and have a thin, sparse brush. It can't dry my eyes out. It can't clump. It can't flake. And I am extremely fickle. On my last Sephora expedition, a helpful associate recommended this long-wearing formula with a sparse brush by Clinique, and I've been pretty happy with it. I wouldn't say it's five star, but it's a solid four. It doens't flake much and doesn't end up all over my face by the end of the day, and I feel in control when I'm applying it, so those are definite pluses. I would like a bit more lengthening power, but you can't win 'em all.

4. Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Primer + Shadow + Liner, $22: The Stile Smudge Crayon is another long-time favorite. Just like the Sue DeVitt product, it is easy application and great staying power that really put this one over the top. Right now, I have it in Kitten and Smoke, and wear both regularly, though the Kitten is maybe a bit light and frosty for my taste. I'd like to try the Antique.

5. bareMinerals READY™ Touch Up Veil Broad Spectrum SPF 15, $22: This is another product for which I have to thank the helpful Sephora associate. I wanted something to cut down on the shine on my skin without making its way into my nice new wrinkles and making me look dried up, and this mineral powder does the job splendidly. I have it in "Translucent," and it really is colorless. It's gives just enough of a matte finish to cut shine, but doesn't make me look powdery. And it has an extra SPF 15, which I like. This is a product I definitely plan to keep using, and I use it almost every day.

6. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion Tube, $20: You know how I keep talking about layering things over eye primer? Well, this is the eye primer. There are lots of eye primers, and this one is the best, by almost anybody's assessment. I have the original, which is matte and colorless, and that works perfectly for me, but it's available in several shades now, as well, including gold, matte tawny, and shimmering champagne. To my mind, those would lose you a lot of versatility, but I could see how they'd be useful if you were a dedicated user of one or two shades of shadow--layering the color would probably make the staying power even better. This is definitely a product for which I haven't found any substitute that comes even close.

So there you have it, six cheaper ideas, six spendier ones. What are you wearing lately? Any recommendations?

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Beauty Blogger Sample Swap Haul!


You all, I just had the most fun. A few weeks back, I saw the call for participants in the Summer Beauty Blogger Sample Swap from Shannyn at Frugal Beautiful, and I scrambled to sign up. As you know, I get a jillion or so beauty sample boxes, and no matter how great they are, lots of the products in them are things that just aren't my cup of tea. So, I had a big box of stuff to give away, and the swap allowed me to send some of that on to someone who might like and to get a box of someone else's samples in return! Score!

I was partnered with swap host Shannyn herself, and I was really happy with the box I put together for her (see her reveal post on what I sent!). I was also stoked a few days later, when I got my box from Shannyn!

This was my haul:

beauty sample swap goodies.jpg

The rules of the swap called for sending "6-8 beauty & skin care samples and ONE full sized small beauty product"--as you can see, I got a lot more than that!

Shannyn sent:
-Mary Kay Color Cards in "Berries" and "Chocolates"
-Mary Kay Nourishine Lip Gloss samples in "Fancy Nancy", "Gold Rush", and "Sugarberry"
-Lauren Brooks Cosmetiques ColourFusion Lip Glaze sample in Guava
-a cute package of 3 Seedballz
-Sparklehearts Soft Conditioner sample
-Violent Lips Temporary Lip Tattoos
-Natural Newborn Bug Stopper Soap sample
-L'Oreal Kerastase
-WaterColors Water-Based Nail Enamel in San Francisco
-Beyond Coastal SFP 15 Daily Active Sunscreen
-Befine Daily Moisturizer and Befine Exfoiliating Cleanser sample packets
-Burt's Bees Radiance SPF 15 Day Lotion sample
-Trident Layers Juicyberry/Tangy Tangerine gum
-Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Skin Energy Hydration Delivery System & Treatment Cleansing Foam
-Taylor Swift Wonderstruck perfume sample
-ChapStick LipShield 365

A fun assortment, right? I liked that Shannyn included so many different types of products, including a few non-beauty items, like the fun gum and Seeballz! I haven't tried in Mary Kay stuff in ages, so the lip gloss samples and color cards will be fun to play with. The thing I'm most excited about, though, are the Amore Pacific skincare products--those look really promising. I also found it really fun to guess/remember which boxes originally sent certain products I recognized (like the lip tattoos and the water-based nail polish). All in all, I thought this swap was a great time and I loved participating. I'd even consider hosting a similar one in the future--would I have any takers?


I'd definitely be interested.

I'm in. Please let me know when the next swap is ...

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Where to buy beauty products: a guide


I recently had a friend ask me where the best place to buy makeup is. The short answer, of course, is that it depends on your priorities, what you're looking for, etc. However, the short answer is decidedly non-helpful, so I thought I'd do a rundown of some of the online and brick and mortar options I've tried and how I think they stack up.

Sephora (online and brick & mortar)
Sephora is kinda the makeup gold-standard. Both in-store and online, they strive for a hip, upscale vibe and they only carry prestige brands. They carry skin and hair products and fragrance as well, but makeup seems to be their specialty.

-great selection of high end makeup brands
-generally knowledgeable sales people in the stores
-stores are generally clean and well-organized
-website is generally easy to navigate and well-organized
-amazing return policy both online and in-store
-free shipping for orders over $50 online
-3 free samples with every online order
-regular online coupon codes for free deluxe samples
-good house line
-special "Sephora only" colors and palettes from several brands
-good membership/rewards program (points don't expire, annual birthday gift)

-overall sales are rare
-no non-prestige brands
-brands not carried include Sue DeVitt, Cargo, Jane Iredale, Mally, Pop Beauty, and Essie
-increasingly stingy with samples in-store
-stores can feel overwhelmingly trendy or hip
-store stocks vary widely by location

Ulta (online and brick & mortar)
After Sephora, Ulta is probably the second most often cited online and brick & mortar beauty store. Ulta carries both prestige and drugstore brand makeup, plus a ton of hair, fragrance, skin, and bath products. Most stores also have in-store salons and many have Benefit Brow Bars. It feels a bit less upscale than Sephora and is set up more like the cosmetics/hair care section of a Target or similar store.

-carries inexpensive as well as prestige products
-large selection of hair, bath, and skin products
-good return policy both in-store and online
-free shipping for orders over $50 online
-3 free samples with every online order
-lots of sales/coupons (though many have severe brand limitations)
-lots of brand-specific in-store and online sales/offers (i.e. get a product or deluxe sample free with purchase of $X)
-rewards program
-inexpensive house line

-stores can be disorganized and messy
-brand not carried include NARS, MUFE, Dior, Sue DeVitt, Josie Maran, Mally, Jane Iredale, and TheBalm
-carry some brands in-store only, including DuWop and Fresh
-don't typically give samples in-store
-coupon/sale brand exclusions can be very frustrating (online only) is the prestige brand arm of online giant It's an online-only market for higher-end beauty products, including skin care, makeup, hair care, fragrance, and bath items. Because it's partnered with, it is easy to one-stop-shop for drugstore brands/items at the same time as prestige items.

-good selection of both prestige and drugstore brands
-lots of sales/coupon codes (though again, brand restrictions may apply)
-free shipping on orders of $25 or more
-3 free samples with every purchase
-easy return policy for cosmetics (anything with the "100% Color Guarantee" symbol on the listing)
-tends to feature kits/palettes that are hard to find elsewhere
-lots of brand-specific online sales/offers
-purchases contribute to rewards program

-online only
-no house line
-brands not carried include MUFE, Dior, and Josie Maran
-poor return policy for non color-guaranteed items
-website can be difficult to navigate
-brand restrictions on sales/coupons can be frustrating (online only)
As is the prestige arm of, is the prestige arm of less well-known As is the case with the former situation, drugstore brands are available within the same online shopping trip from the sister site. carries skin care, makeup, hair care, fragrance, and bath items. I am new-ish to the site, having only made one or two orders from them, but am a fan so far.

-both prestige and drugstore brands available
-lots of sales/coupons, with what seem to be fewer brand restrictions than Ulta or
-free shipping on orders of $25 or more
-3 free samples with every order
-easy, free return policy on everything
-very clean and easy-to-use website
-purchases contribute to Familyhood Rewards program

-online only
-no house line
-weakest selection; brands not carried include MUFE, Dior, Josie Maran, Fresh, NARS, Mally, Smashbox, Cargo, Tarte, Urban Decay, and Benefit

There are, of course, other places to buy cosmetics--some people swear by department stores, others are dedicated to drugstores. Some people love brand-specific stores like MAC. I have very little personal experience with those outlets--department store makeup counters intimidate me (though I hear they are the best for scoring samples), I don't buy much drugstore makeup, and I'm not a MAC fan. Maybe someone can jump in and give their impressions of those options in the comments?

Clearly, each store I've reviewed has its strengths and weaknesses. They are all about the same when it comes to shipping costs and samples, but beyond that, they do vary. If I were giving awards, it would be something like:

Best Selection:
Best Prices (least exclusive sales):
Best Return Policy: Sephora and
Most Exclusive Shades/Products: Sephora
Best Rewards Program: Sephora
Most Accessible: Ulta

My where-to-buy preference depends a lot on what I am looking for. None of the four stores I mentioned carry all of the brands I like, so I typically need to shop multiple stores to get everything I am looking for. In general, I prefer to shop online, and makeup is a finicky thing to buy without trying, so return policy is also an important factor. I lost some love for when I realized that I couldn't return some expensive face care pads that weren't covered under the color match guarantee. I also look for who is having a sale, and what that sale actually covers--the $10 or $15 off coupons Ulta regularly runs don't do me much good when all of the brands I am looking to buy are excluded from the sale, but if the brand in which I am interested happens to be available at, their coupon code is less likely to exclude it. Freebies also feature in my decision--Ulta and both regularly have deals wherein you get large cosmetic bags of samples with a $50 or $100 purchase, and I find those extremely hard to resist. Finally, rewards programs play a factor--I think Sephora's is the best, but that may just be because my intro to prestige makeup was at Sephora, I've been shopping there the longest, and my rewards have built up several times.

Mostly, like the short answer says, it comes down to what is important to you. With the exception of special events like Sephora's Friends & Family sale, across-the-board prices aren't going to vary that much for most prestige branded things (drugstore brand prices will vary wildly though, and those cosmetics can often be had for pennies, so it's worth price shopping those). The perks, then, become important, as does the shopping experience, whether it is online or in-store. And a lot of that come down to preference. I will likely continue to shop all four stores, and there isn't one among them I don't recommend.


AIUI, MUFE is exclusive to Sephora.

My nearest Sephora is 40 minutes away so I don't go often. I go to Ulta the most because they carry Deva. I find their rewards program to be marginally useful as it excludes all hair artistry, prestige cosmetics and fragrance--the 3 categories I'm most likely to buy there.

I used to be a MAC fan (insofar as I buy cosmetics, which is, as you know, not a huge amount!) and still like their lipstick. I don't like shopping in MAC stores. If I want to buy MAC, I go to Nordstrom or buy it online. I've been avoiding the stores long enough that they might have had an attitude adjustment by now, but I found them actively unpleasant. At the Nordstrom counter, they at least don't ignore you or give you actively bad advice ("If you can feel this foundation on your skin, you're going to feel everything.") I've never seen MAC anywhere but department stores or dedicated counters.

My big issue with shopping in department stores is that you need to know what brand you want; it's not easy to compare products or mix and match. Sephora was probably the most helpful when I was restarting from scratch.

I get tons of samples at Ulta! Make friends with the register workers and just ask. They also do tons of gifts with purchase.
I love Sephora online, but the stores are too much; loud, crowded, too many people, too much light.

I am a huge MAC fan, and have been since the late 1990s, but I live in a town where there are no MAC stores or department stores that carry MAC. I end up visiting MAC stores whenever I travel, and I've found that they are pretty hit-or-miss in terms of atmosphere and quality. I've had some great experiences at MAC stores and counters--the San Diego MAC store was particularly great, and the MAC counter at the Nordstrom flagship in Seattle was awesome--but I've had some lousy experiences, too.

I do most of my MAC purchasing online. Aside from the occasional free two-day shipping code, there aren't really any sales, and they don't send samples. Their online customer service is great, though. The one time I had a problem with a missing item from a shipment, they took care of it promptly, no questions asked. The online store does sell out of limited-edition products way faster than it should, especially for popular collections like the Disney Villains series from 2010.

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Lip balm, a literature review


So I love lip balm. I put it on approximately one-hundred-sixty-seven times a day. I've tried a zillion lip balms and probably currently own two dozen varieties. And I have different lip balm preferences for different times/places. So, I thought I'd share with you my lip balm literature review.

By the bed

One of the most important lip balm areas, to my mind, is next to the bed. My lips get way dry at night. For this application, I want something long-lasting, easy-application, and not too sticky or shiny or fancy. Bonus points for nice smells and tastes, and extra bonus points for an easy-to-find-in-the-dark large applicator. My choice?

eos Lip Balm Smooth Sphere
eos smooth sphere.jpg

Several years ago, I got one of the then-new eos lip balm sphere as part of a swag bag at BlogHer, and I've been a fan since then. My original sphere was mint, but I have since switched to the lemon drop shown here--I just love the subtle smell and taste. The large applicator and non-rollingness of it make it perfect for my bedside table, and one sphere lasts forever. It's also a 95% organic product, not animal tested, petrolatum, phthalate, and paraben-free, available in tons of flavors, and CHEAP (around $3). What's not to love?

In my makeup bag

As part of my makeup application, there are two uses for lip balm. One is to go under lip sticks or pencils, the other is to wear on its own. The second category is general tinted, the first is not. For untinted balm to wear under other things, I like:

Pangea Organics Lip Balm
pangea lip balm.jpg

Like the eos, I love that the Pangea has a nice smell (I use the Italian Red Mandarin shown here) and a bigger-than-average applicator. It doesn't tend to get lost among my makeup clutter. It also provides a really nice, non-sticky base layer. It's also vegan, mostly organic, and free of petroleum or synthetics. It's a bit more expensive, at about $12, but lasts forever (I've had the same tube for at least two years).

For tinted balms, it's hard for me to choose, but there are two big stand-outs:

Laura Mercier Hydratint SPF 15
laura mercier hydratint.png

I just discovered Laura Mercier Hydratint and so far I LOVE it. It has great color choices (I have the rose tint, which is medium pink), it's very hydrating, and it has good staying power. It doesn't have much for a scent or a taste, which I know is important to some people. I like that it's SPF 15, too, as I'm trying to get higher SPF in all of my daily use products. It is sheer color, so if you are looking for drama, it's probably not the best bet. It's also on the spendy side at $20, since it's kinda small (regular chapstick size) and has decidedly un-fancy packaging. It actually reminds me a whole lot of Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm, which is a lot cheaper at $7, but I can't wear because it contains lanolin.

Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15
fresh lip balm.jpg

I've been a fan of Fresh Sugar lip balm's for a while now, and have recently become very attached to the new coral one. My all-time favorite, though, is the rose one shown here. Fresh is just as moisturizing as Laura Mercier, with slightly more saturated color. I also really like the packaging--the harder-shelled twist-top tube can stand being knocked around in my purse. Like the Laura Mercier, it's SPF 15, and it has decent lasting power, though re-application after hot coffee is necessary. It's spendy, though--$22.50.

In my purse

It would be a fat lie for me to tell you that there is only one lip product in my bag at any given time. However, there is one that is ALWAYS there:

pūr~lisse pur~lip comfort
purlisse lip balm.jpg

I got my first tube of pūr~lisse from my first BeautyFix bag, and I've been using it since then. I think this is tube #3. I like it for my purse because it's a very shiny balm, so I can put it on over anything to get a freshly glossy look. It's also really moisturizing, though it doesn't have good staying power, and relatively smell and taste-free. It's $16, and doesn't last as long as the harder balms do, but I don't use it that often and it's great for those times I need it.

In my desk

For my desk, I tend to rotate through lip products depending on what I like at a particular moment. One thing I always have, though, is something I can put on before a meeting if I unexpectedly need to look a bit more put together. It's not exactly a balm, but I'm including it anyway:

Clinique Almost Lipstick
clinique almost lipstick.jpg

Clinique's Almost Lipstick, in Black Honey, is a bit of an all-time beauty blogger favorite. It's one of those "everybody should have this!" things. And I can't disagree. It's somewhere between tinted balm and lipstick, goes on easily, and is a perfect color for "I'm presentable, but I'm not really trying or anything." Honestly, I think it's a little bit boring, which is why it's desk lip product and not something I wear often, but it's good to have in a pinch. It's also a great quality product at a decent price, selling for $15 for a tube that will likely last you (or me, at least) forever.

And there you have it! A million lip balms, and those are my favorites. Are you a lip balm addict? What are your favorites?


Thanks for the overview. Lip balm is one of those things that can easily take over your purse, if you're me, and I have a hard time narrowing it down.

Shockingly, I have yet to try the Eos (the packaging put me off, actually). I LOVE Pangaea's balm, though I use the Egyptian Fennel with Grapefruit and Sweet Orange. It does last forever.

And I've found the new Revlon Color Burst Lip Butter in Fig Jam to fill the same role Clinique's Black Honey used to for me. I'll probably be rebuying, since it's cheap.

That eos product looks awesome...I'm going to bookmark that.

I, too, have the clinique black honey, but I usually put it on over a neutral lipstick, as it shows flakes like crazy. I do love it still, though. :)

Thanks for this list. I always get the women in my life something (very) small for Mother's Day and I think the eos lip balm is perfect!

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Creating the super-fast everyday makeup routine


For the first half (and then some...) of this pregnancy, I more or less completely stopped wearing makeup. It wasn't really an intentional decision, I just didn't have the energy to put in effort that wasn't absolutely necessary, so all but the most basic hygiene fell by the wayside. I thought, for a while, that I had kicked the habit and would return to being the makeup-free person I was for so many years once I got to feeling better. I was wrong. For the last few weeks, I've been back into the face paint in a serious way, and the truth is that it makes me feel better about my appearance. I know, both emotionally and intellectually, that there are some very serious problems with that, and I hope to someday be able to unpack them completely and convince myself that makeup is truly optional, but for right now, given the large and strange effect pregnancy (and, I'm sure, new motherhood) has one one's appearance and one's feelings about said appearance, I'm going to give in on this one and just resume being a happy makeup wearer.

Except. Except that energy is still in a semi-short supply, and 5 minutes more sleep IS 5 minutes more sleep. I know this will be even more true once I have a baby. So it's essential that my daily makeup routine be fast and easy. I've never been one to take too much time with it, but still, I am working on paring it down further. Forget about the 5 minute face, we're talking the 2.5 minute face. I think what I'll do is put the products that I use every day in a separate small makeup bag, so when I don't have extra time (i.e. most mornings), I can just grab it and do my thing, without even seeing all of my other options. If you do your daily makeup this way, I'm super curious to hear about what you use. Leave a comment?

And in the meantime, this is my current lineup, which is still definitely under revision:

balm shelter.jpg
theBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer SPF 18 in Light
I love tinted moisturizer--I've never been comfortable with thick foundation, and this is just the perfect compromise. I may switch to BB cream if I find one I like, but in the meantime, this stuff by theBalm, which I picked up at Marshall's/TJ Maxx, is great. It goes on easy, the light color is a great skin tone match for me, and it smooths everything out without looking caked on. Plus it's SPF 18, which I like.

nars powder foundation.jpg
Powder Foundation SPF 12 in Deauville
I'm not sure what makes this product "powder foundation" as opposed to just pressed powder, but I've been using it for quite a while and I like it a lot. It goes on easy, mattifies my shine-prone areas, and is a good color match for my skin in the Deauville (light to neutral complexions with a perfect balance of pink and yellow) tone. I am actually about to replace it, however, since I'm hitting the pan, and I am going to try something else, since it's pretty spendy ($45) and feels like it might be overkill now that my skin has calmed down.

Smashbox High Lights Creamy Cheek Color in Golden Blossom

This Smashbox cream blush/highlighter duo is actually not sold anymore, which is too bad, because it's my favorite natural looking blush. I like cream blush, especially when I'm in a hurry--finger application with just a quick swipe. I don't use the highlighter part of this, just the medium pink blush part. This is not at all serious blush--it's a barely-there type of thing--but that's just fine for me right now, as pregnancy seems to have put some natural color in my cheeks anyway.

benefit lemon-aid.jpg
Benefit Lemon-Aid

Lemon-Aid is "color-correcting eyelid primer." So, it neutralizes the darkness around sleepy eyes, and gives your eye shadow something to cling to. Primer is one of those products that someone who is trying to streamline probably ought to give up, but I'm not going to. In fact, I just bought a replacement for my nearly-empty Lemon-Aid. A swipe of this stuff makes a huge difference, both as far as how tired/allergic I look, and how well my eye shadow stays put. It's staying on the list.

stila eye shadow.jpg
Stila Eye Shadow in Kitten

Eye shadow is one of those areas where it's easy to get hung up on making a decision--so many choices! For my quickest face, though, I think it's best to go with the perfect neutral, and Stila's Kitten is, to my mind, the perfect neutral. I don't super-love Stila's eye shadow formulation, as even with primer I don't end up with a lot of it still on at the end of the day, but I love Kitten so much that I use it anyway.

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Tarte SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Fig

Regular eyeliner is not something I can do fast (or well...). However, jumbo liners like my favorite ones from Tarte are easy to apply and meant to be smudgy. I just draw a quick line, finger smudge, and I'm done. These liners are the best, because they truly do not budge all day--even for someone like me who habitually rubs her eyes. I have a bunch of colors, but if I have to narrow down to just one everyday color, I choose Fig, the darker/more neutral of the two purples Tarte offers. This color seems to suit me on almost any day.

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Clinique Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula in Black Onyx

I just bought this Clinique mascara, because I needed something that would stay put for allergy season, and so far I am really happy with it. The brush is really small and sparse, which makes application a bit more precise than I'm used to, but as I get used to it I see how it could be even easier than a bushy brush. So far, I haven't seen any rings-around-my eyes or anything while it's on. It's not the easiest thing in the world to get off when I'm trying (I really hate eye makeup remover), but that beats having it come off when I'm not, so I plan to keep using it.

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Clinique Long Last Soft Shine Lipstick in Bamboo Pink

Like eye shadow, lipstick is an area where I can be crippled by choices. I have no fewer than four dozen lip color options in my arsenal, so choosing among them could take way longer than I have on most mornings. For a true neutral, though, this lipstick by Clinique is a great start--totally subtle color, and moisturizing, with just the right amount of shine. Unfortunately, as is always the case with lipstick, it doesn't last as long as I'd like it to.

Now that I have them all listed, it seems that I'm still using quite a few products. I swear, though, as long as I don't have to choose anything, it hardly takes any time to put them on. And, like I said, it's a work in progress. What would you cut? Change? Leave me a comment, makeup lovers!


Personally I would skip the foundation and powder and just use concealor where needed. I feel like concealor is more needed then a whole face is. Mostly under my eyes and around my nose.

If you are using a jumbo liner I would skip the shadow too but I would add a shimmer stick.

So no powder, foundation or eyeshadow but yes to concealor, blush, mascara, fat liner rubbed in you know swipe it across quick,give it a good smudge and done. then a shimmer stick over top of cheek down nose and under brows. I do that last thing in the morning. I litearally just slap it on and rub as I walk out. oh and trade lipstick for colored balm. Keeps your lips soft and doesn't require a mirror.

Hi Grace!!! I've been keeping tabs on you and hope you are feeling well, and strong! I'm kinda feelin' you on this one. I recently (sans budget mind in place) went To MAC and spent a small fortune, but left with great new tips and a few different looks I even I could muster up. I wear makeup when I feel like it, and when I don't... YIKES!!!! ; ) I'm getting old, oh well.

You are beautiful with or without makeup. xoxo kris

Hi Grace thanks for your useful post on the fast everyday makeup. I really like to have a fast makeup too as I always remain busy with my work. I have contacted an expert makeup artist of a makeup school to learn the fast makeup techniques and I have discovered some thing amazing. I agree with you but want to add a few things like you can use lip plumper and lip gloss. Lip plumps and gloss give our lips a fuller appearance. I always wear lip gloss with my lipstick. If you get some time then moisturizing is really important. As we age our face usually becomes dry so we need to moisturize to help our makeup go on smoother. There are many moisturizers to choose from so find one that works for you and your skin. Anyway, thanks again for sharing.

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Drugstore product love


It has been mentioned to me before that the majority of the products I mention on my blog--makeup, bath stuff, etc--are higher end things that can't be found in your average drugstore. That's a fair critique, as I have developed an expensive preference for the hoity toity when it comes to those things. However, there are still a whole mess of regular drugstore products that I love, so I thought it might be fun to feature some of those today.

Head & Shoulders Itchy Scalp Care Dandruff Shampoo with Eucalyptus, typically about $6

My hair can be kind of a pain. It's long, thick, and tends towards frizzy. To complicate matters, I have a very dry scalp and get dandruff and horrible itchies. I've tried a lot of shampoos, all the way up through expensive brands, and Head & Shoulders works best. This particular formulation, meant for itchy scalps, with tingly eucalyptus, is my current favorite.

Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Organic Aloe Vera Formula Toner, typically about $8

I first tried Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel after seeing it on Allie's blog, and I was an instant convert. All the great, gentle toning of witch hazel with a much better smell! I recently learned that Thayers has cucumber, lavender, and lemon versions as well.

Degree Women Ultra Clear Body Responsive Antiperspirant & Deodorant with TriClear, typically about $5

I don't know if there are fancy options for deodorant, but my guess is yes. I've never explored them, because I have been a dedicated Degree girl for years. For me to love it, a deodorant must: a) work; b) not smell gross; c) not leave white marks all over my clothes. This one hits all three, so I stopped looking. I buy it in bulk when it's on sale or when they have it at Big Lots.

Bio-Oil Scar Treatment, typically about $12

Bio-Oil is a new addition to my list, but I think it will always be in my bathroom from here on out. I've been using it on my breasts and belly to help prevent stretchmarks (yeah, I know the science on that is sketchy), but I'd use it as a regular moisturizer, too. It smells divine, goes on easily and sinks in nicely. Plus, a little bit goes a very long way.

Alba Botanica Moisturizing Cream Shave in Mango Vanilla, typically around $7

Once upon a time, I fell in love with a shaving cream available at Trader Joe's. Then I moved to Austin and didn't have a Trader Joe's, and I was very sad. Then I found this Alba cream shave and was happy again, as it was a very close duplicate. Now I'm back in the land of Trader Joe's and still tend to use this Alba stuff. The end.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, typically about $5

I am not loyal to Cetaphil--I go through all kinds of facial skin cleansers, some upscale, some not--but when my skin has a certified freak out, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is the product I always come back to. It's just about liking washing your face with plain water, I think, and sometimes that's what's needed.

Eco Tools 5 Piece Bamboo Brush Set, typically about $11

I have some expensive makeup brushes, and I just plain like my Eco Tools brushes better. In fact, every brush I use on a regular basis is from Eco Tools, and none of them cost more than a few bucks apiece.

eos Smooth Lip Balm Sphere in Sweet Mint, typically about $3.50

Like many dry-skinned people, I live and die by lip balm. I probably have 25 varieties. But the one I reach for by my beside is this eos sphere. I don't know if it's the formula or the shape, but it just seems like the easiest option for putting on at night, with no mirror and no glasses.

Blum Naturals Daily Cleansing & Makeup Remover Towelettes for Normal Skin, typically about $7

I love, love, love these Blum Naturals towelettes. Even when I plan to get into the shower and wash my face, I like to remove makeup before I do, and these are perfect for that. They are both super gentle and super effective, and they smell really nice. I've tried a few of the other varieties, as well (the exfoliating ones and the dry skin ones, I think), and they're just as good.

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Herbal Essences None of Your Frizzness Smoothing Conditioner, typically about $4

I find admitting to this one a bit embarrassing--maybe because of those horrible commercials? Anyway, I recently tried Herbal Essenses None of Your Frizziness conditioner, and I've been really pleased. The smell is a bit strong while you're putting it on, but it doesn't linger too badly, and the product does seem to help with my frizz issues. I use a boatload of conditioner, too, so I like using something cheaper.

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Rosebud Perfume Co. Smith's Rosebud Salve, typically around $6

This last one is a bit of cult product, and it can be kind of hard to find, but I think it's worth scooping up if you do happen to see it. Technically, it's a more-than-a-century-old USA-made and packaged lip balm, and it is great for that, but you can also put it on chapped skin, minor burns, use it as cuticle cream, etc. It's classically rose scented (which means that someone is going to say it smells like an old lady--I'm OK with that) and has the greatest tin ever.

OK, now tell me what great drugstore product you use! I am thinking of some sort of best-of-the-drugstore contest or giveaway in the future, so I want to start a list!


I'm a drug store product girl, for the most part. My favourites are Dove brand shower products - I use their shampoo, conditioner, hair gel and body wash.

I also adore Burts Bees lip balm. It's the only one that doesn't leave my lips feeling gooey or make me break out along the lip line.

I love Spectro Moisturizer for Blemish-prone skin. It's the only one both DD and I can use without hives.

Also, TRESemmé shampoo for the kids and Marc Anthony Strictly Curls hair products for me :)

Straight talk: how long does it take you to go through a tube of deodorant? I recently tossed one that had expired more than a year earlier even though I wasn't even remotely close to finished with it. And I don't buy, like, jumbo sizes, and I do use deodorant every day!

The trader joes shave cream is the same as Alba. I swear. Packaging even matches.

Sephora carries the rosebud salve. Its always near the registers. I got one for my mil for christmas and she had red raw hands from doing dishes and instantly she said she noticed a difference.

yea, I was going to say, that Alba shaving lotion looks really similar to the Trader Joes stuff (which I also love).

Lately, since we are so far away from TJs right now, I have been using this: because they have it at Target and Target is slightly easier to get to than TJs. It's not bad! I still prefer TJ's though.

I'm going to have to try that conditioner - I don't like Head and Shoulders conditioner but my hair needs something.

As you'd probably suspect, I'm much more of a drugstore girl than a high-end girl. I also like the Cetaphil and None of Your Frizzness (though I do love Aveda hair products best). My latest find is Revlon Lip Butters lipstick - because they don't smell or taste like anything. I didn't wear lipstick for years because I could not stand the horrible taste and smell, then I finally conceded to Burts Bees colored lip balms because they were peppermint, but the lip butters are perfectly neutral. For me, Berry Smoothie color is just pink enough without being a Barbie pink.

You probably read a lot about shampoos on people's blogs. Anyone mention a good shampoo for people allergic to sodium laurelate (or whatever it's called)? The natural ones are too wimpy for my thick hair!

nivea colored lip balm--great color!

textures & tones hair color for red hair coloring--it's marketed to black women but i have used it for YEARS and it's the best. It has no ammonia and it is pretty gentle though it strips color better than "white people" hair color. If you live in a white hood, they may not have this at your drugstore. I also use a variety of "black" pomades.

cvs grapefruit facewash--almost all facewashes have whatever is in oxy, and i am way allergic to that.

salon selectives curly hair shampoo--better than any i have tried.

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Peering in: my makeup collection

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I don't know if this is true for you, but I'm the type of blog reader who loves nothing more than getting to peer in on the details of other people's lives. Show me the contents of your handbag, your fridge, or your closet, and I am gonna be there. Recently, I've loved looking at Allie's closet and Hillary's makeup desk. So, I decided to take a page from their books and show you my makeup. My collection isn't quite so vast as Hillary's, but it's pretty substantial. It's also not nearly so well organized.

Most of my makeup lives on my bathroom counter, in a plastic divided container:

The overflow, which is stuff I'm not sure works for me, or duplicates, lives in a plastic drawer:

A bit more lives in a train case under my sink, but I forgot to photograph that. It's stuff I know doesn't work for me that I need to either give away or throw out.

It doesn't really look like all that much, does it? kinda is...I took an inventory, and my collection includes the following:

Cream Blushes
Becca Beach Tint in Watermelon (sample, unopened)
Makeup Forever High Definition Blush in No. 06 (sample, unopened)
NARS Cream Blush in Penny Lane
NARS Illuminator in Orgasm
Smashbox Creamy Cheek Color & Brush in Masquerade
Smashbox Highlights in Golden Blossom
Smashbox O-Glow (sample, unopened)

Powder Blushes
Benefit Dandelion (unopened)
NARS Blush in Deep Throat
NARS Blush in Madly (unopened)
NARS Blush in Orgasm
Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights in Baked Starburst (sample, unopened)
Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights in Baked Starlight
Stila Custom Color Blush

Laura Gellar Blush N Brighten in Honey Dipped
Laura Mercier Shimmer Bloc in Peach Mosaic
NARS The Multiple in South Beach (sample)
Tarte Matte Waterproof Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess

Eyeliners/Shadow Pencils
Bare Escentuals Buxom Insider Eyeliner in Onyx (unopened)
MAC Eye Kohl in Prunella
MAC Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Bourdeauxline
MAC Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Gray Utility
MAC Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Prussian
Mally Evercolor Starlight in Midnight (unopened)
NARS Eyeliner in Black Moon (unopened)
Sephora Jumbo 12 Hour Liner in Kaki
Sephora Jumbo 12 Hour Liner in Marine
Sephora Jumbo 12 Hour Liner in Purple
Sephora Jumbo 12 Hour Liner in Violet
Smashbox Limitless Liquid Liner Pen in Jet Black (unopened)
Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner Peacock unopened
Sue DeVitt Eye Intensifier Pencil in Bangalore
Tarte SmolderEyes in Moss
Tarte SmolderEyes in Silver Black
Tarte SmolderEyes in Smoke
Tarte SmolderEyes in Violet
Ulta Eye Crayon in Cinderella
Ulta Eye Crayon in White Wedding
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil in Midnight Cowboy

Powder Eyeshadows
Bare Minerals Ready Eyeshadow 4.0 Palette in The Dream Sequence (unopened)
Kat Von D Rock N Roll Eyeshadow Duo in Confessional
MAC Eyeshadow in Shale
NARS Eyeshadow in Abyssinia
NARS Shadow Duo in Pandora (unopened)
Sephora Colorful Duo in No. 08
Sephora Eye Shadow Palette in Almost Nude No. 09
Sephora Eyeshadow in Universal Beige No. 08
Smashbox Eye Shadow Palette in Kiss 'N Tell
Smashbox Shadow & Liner Quad in Risque
Stila Eyeshadow in Kitten
Urban Decay Loose Pigment in Protest (unopened)

Cream Eyeshadows.Eyeliners
Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner in Birthday Suit
Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner in Get Figgy
Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner in Purple Snap
Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner in R.S.V.P. (sample)
Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner in Skinny Jeans
Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner in Violet Ink
Makeup Forever Aqua Cream Eyeliner in No. 13
Sephora Smoky Cream Eyeliner in Bewitch Me

Benefit BadGal in Black (sample)
Benefit BadGal in Plum (sample, unopened)
Benefit They're Real in Black (unopened)
blinc in Black (unopened)
Smashbox Bionic Mascara in Jet Black (unopened)

Mixed Palettes
Mary Kay Compact Mini
Stila Collectable Beach Palette in Living the Life in Laguna (unopened)

Benefit Lemon Aid
Benefit That Gal (sample)
Fresh Twilight Freshface Glow (sample)
Laura Gellar Spackle in Bronze (sample, unopened)

Almay Pure Blends foundation in Buff (unopened)
Clinique Almost Makeup in 02 Light (unopened)

Tinted Moisturizers
Philosophy The Supernatural (times two, one unopened)

Benefit Boiing in No. 01
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage in SC-2
Maybelline Dream Mousse in Light (unopened)

Pressed Powders
NARS Powder Foundation in Deauville

Lip Glosses
Bare Escentuals Lip Gloss in Wearable Coral (unopened)
Bare Escentuals Buxom Lip Polish in Brandi
Bare Escentuals Buxom Lip Polish in Eva
Bare Escentuals Buxom Lip Polish in Jessica
Clinique Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss in Currant (sample, unopened)
J.R. Watkins Lip Tint in Tickled Pink (unopened)
Joeur Tinted Lip Enhancer in Shiraz (sample)
Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Opal (sample)
Lauren Brooks Cosmetics Botanical Lip Gloss in Winterberry (unopened)
Lipstick Queen 15 Minutes of Fame in 13 Minutes
Mary Kay Tinted Lip Balm in Rose
Smashbox Double-Ended Lip Enhancing Gloss in Peepshow
Smashbox Limitless Long-Wear Lip Gloss in Candy (sample)
Smashbox Limitless Long-Wear Lip Gloss in Forever
Smashbox Limitless Long-Wear Lip Gloss in Radiant (sample)
Smashbox Limitless Long-Wear Lip Gloss in Tease (sample)
Stila Lip Glaze in Apricot
Stila Lip Glaze in Banana
Stila Lip Glaze in Believe
Stila Lip Glaze in Fantasy
Stila Lip Glaze in Grapefruit
Stila Lip Glaze in Kitten
Stila Lip Glaze in Starfruit

Lip Sticks
Bare Escentuals Buxom Big & Healthy Lipstick in Brooklyn
Bare Escentuals Buxom Big & Healthy Lipstick in Shanghai
Bare Escentuals Lipstick in Even More Wearable Pink (unopened)
Bare Escentuals Lipstick in Wearable Coral
Benefit Full-Finish Lipstick in Dessert First
Benefit Full-Finish Lipstick in Frenched
Clinique Long Last Soft Shine Lipstick in Bamboo Pink (times two, both unopened)
Clinique Long Last Soft Shine Lipstick in Beauty
Lancome Color Fever Shine in Tempt Me
MAC Lipstick in Russian Red
Maybelline Volume XL Seduction Plumping Lip Color in Berry Desirable

Lip Stains
Topshop Lip Marker

Lip Pencils
Makeup Forever Aqua Lip in 15C
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Damned
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Sex Machine
Sephora Crayon Gloss
Sephora Ultra Vinyl Lip Pencil in Gorgeous Peach
Sephora Ultra Vinyl Lip Pencil in Miami Pink
Tarte LipSurgence in Dazzled
Tarte LipSurgence in Enchanted
Tarte LipSurgence in Fiery
Tarte LipSurgence in Flashy
Tarte LipSurgence in Hope
Tarte LipSurgence in Perky
Tarte LipSurgence in Swank

So, am I embarrassed? Kinda. I mean, the financial outlay this list represents is fairly gross. Which would be OK, if I were really into makeup as an art and expression form and all that, but in truth, I'm not. I haven't worn makeup in months, and even before I got pregnant, when I was wearing it daily, I didn't alter what I wore all that much. There are a dozen or so products on this list that were my stand-bys, and the rest got little, if any, use.

I'm not sure where that lands me. Probably, I should ditch all but my basics and make a pact with myself never to buy this much again. But I probably won't.


I want to have a slumber party and give each other makeovers!

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I'd like to introduce you to Sephora


An online friend of mine told me recently that they are opening a Sephora in her town soon.This will be her first experience with the makeup haven. Hearing that, I thought back to my first Sephora visit. I ddn't get into makeup at all until we moved to Austin, so it was there I first entered the black/white/pink paradise.

Sephora is overwhelming. It's crammed full of colorful, touchable, expensive makeup. I still get that "I'm going to break something and have to pay for it" there, even though I'm a regular customer. If you can relax, though, and if the folks working there are friendly (sometimes they are and sometimes they aren't), a trip to Sephora can be a really fun experience.

I've never actually had my makeup done at Sephora, or asked for recommendations, but I hear that's the way to go, and I can see why it would be. However, for those of us who tend towards the shy and would rather not have that much human interaction, here are my tips to enjoying one's first Sephora visit:

1. Check out the end caps.
As is the case in many stores, Sephora's best finds are often in the end caps. My favorites are the ones where they gather all types of one thing together (i.e. eight mascaras or ten primers) and write little blurbs about the advantages of each one. Now, they are a store and they are trying to sell you stuff--the more stuff the better--so you have to take everything you read and hear there as the marketing it is, but it's still fun to be able to easily compare products. End caps that don't have these comparison displays often display box sets instead, and box sets are, especially for the relatively new-to-makeup, often a great way to get started.

A couple of my current favorite sets available at Sephora:

Benefit Cosmetics Project Flawless, $32

Tarte Shining Stars Limited-Edition Best Sellers Collection, $25

2. Speaking of sets--Sephora Favorites
If you're interested in trying a lot of different things, another great thing to look for is the "Sephora Favorites" sets the store offers. These gather large trial sizes of best selling product so that you can buy them together and try them all. Where they are located depends on store, so you may have to ask.

Give Me Some Lash, $30

Glitz & Glam, $75

3. Don't neglect the house brand
I think that one mistake people make at Sephora, when surrounded by tons of luxury makeup, is to forget about Sephora's very good house brand. Sephora's house products are fairly affordable, too, which makes them great for when you want to try something new. A couple of standouts for me have been:

Jumbo Liner 12HR Wear Waterproof, $10 each

Color Flip, $15

4. Look at the minis
One of my other favorite parts of Sephora stores is the "impulse buy" section of mini items near the registers. This section can be dangerous--I've come home with several things I didn't mean to buy--but it can also be a fun way to try things. I think the availability might depend on store, but things I've seen there lately include:

Fresh Sugar Lip Duo, $22

Bare Escentuals Buxom Sidekicks, $19

5. Keep your eyes peeled for a sale
Things do not go on sale at Sephora all that often. However, once in a while, you will run into something on the website or at the store, so it's worth keeping your eyes peeled. Right now, there are a few sale items worth a peek. For example, much of the tokidoki makeup is reduced. These also seem to be good deals:

Sephora Collection Brush Roll Set, $39 (originally $72)

Sephora Collection Beauty in a Box Eye Tutorials, $10 (originally $36)

Other than those tips, I think my advice is of the general "have fun and be careful" variety. And really, do be careful--it's very very to walk out with a much spendier striped bag than you intended.


Um, endcaps generally don't have stuff there cuz it's better. They have stuff there because the company paid the store to put their stuff there to beat out other brands. It's usually stuff the store is trying to rip you off with. :) In the Sephoras I've been to, it's usually "limited edition" things or "free with purchase" box sets that are not that much of a deal. More info:

I find the people who work in Sephora pushy, but then again I go in there mostly when I am going from work to some night time activity and don't have time to go home and put on makeup, but still have time to kill. :)

I love that Buxom Sidekicks set. Best thing I've picked up in that section yet.

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Some new makeup loves


I am not buying makeup right now. I have enough makeup. I plan to un-makeup through the summer.

That said, before I started not buying makeup, I bought some makeup. With a gift card! And I love it so much, I wanted to let you in on it.

Philosophy The Supernatural Poreless, Flawless Tinted SPF 15

Turns out this isn't tinted moisturizer, but tinted foundation primer. I don't care--I use it in place of the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer I was using, and I love it. Same light coverage and SPF protection, much less greasy feel and matte finish. Assuming it doesn't start making me break out, I plan to use this all summer.

Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Flawless Definition Waterproof Mascara

I've had Bare Escentuals mascara recommended before, and I thought that meant Buxom Lash, which I tried and was meh about. Turns out, it meant this stuff, and this stuff is awesome. The fine-tooth comb type brush gets all my lashes, it looks natural and not clumpy, and it lasts all day and stays in place, even with allergies. Total win.

Sephora Collection Jumbo Liner 12HR Wear Waterproof

I am a huge lover of chunky eyeliner pencils. I use them the same way I would a skinny pencil on my top lid, and I get a thick line--something between liner and shadow. It's my favorite every day eye makeup. I've tried lots of them, and loved some more than others (still really dig Sue Devitt). This waterproof one from Sephora's house line? Freaking awesome. Glides on easy, stays on ALL day (through the gym and everything), comes in great colors (I have marine and purple), and only $10 each!

Smashbox High Lights Creamy Cheek Color in Golden Blossom

I'll admit it--I totally bought this just because it was cheap. I like it, though--it's very subtle and gives a nice, casual glow. It's not something I see myself using every day (I avoid cream blush for all-day wear because of my newfound skin oiliness issues), but I think I'll like it a lot this summer for going out in the evening or on the weekends.

Anything you've been digging lately? Don't make it sound TOO enticing--I can't buy anything else until September!


i don't wear make up.

no, really. not at all.

but i do have supernatural (i got it as an SPF to add on top of mosturizor) and that stuff ROCKS. and it makes my pours look smaller AFTER IT'S WASHED OFF.

Glad you liked the mascara. I was skeptical, but it's worked well. And, months into the bottle, it hasn't gotten all clumpy and goopy or hard around the edge of the bottle/applicator.

Do you use any primer/pore minimizer or anything to battle skin redness? If so, I'd love a recommendation. I'm using Smashbox's green primer, but I'm not totally sold.

I love the lip stain things...the ones where it isn't super shiny but the color stays for forever.

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Birchbox winners!


I am so excited to be giving away a three-month Birchbox subscription and a single May box!

The winners are:

Of a one-month Birchbox:

I really love the Dress Me Up's! I would love to see one that is in a sporty casual kind of look. I'm currently drooling over some pieces from athleta, like this Bodega skirt:
But then I stumble on what shoes and top would coordinate. So I would be thrilled by a Dress Me Up that hit this style.
Posted by Deborah | April 6, 2011 5:37 PM

Of a three-month Birchbox subscription:

...and posted on FB about it.
Posted by jen | April 6, 2011 1:24 PM

I'll be emailing you both for mailing details. Congratulations!!

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Birchbox review and giveaway, part 2!


Back in September, I reviewed and gave away a Birchbox. For those who can't be bothered to click, a Birchbox is a lovely little box, arriving at your door each month, full of beauty-related samples. In September, I loved the one I reviewed.

In April, I'm a convert. I've had a subscription since September, and I have been impressed every month. These boxes are great. These aren't your "free from Sephora one-time use" samples. They are good amounts of great products. Some of which I am now using regularly. My favorites:

From the November box, a large sample sized (still using it now) NARS The Multiple in South Beach:

From the December box, a large sample sized (still using it now) Stila Lip Glaze in Kitten:

From the January box, a sample sized (but very potent, I just ran out) Oscar Blandi Olio di Jasmine Hair Serum:

From the February box, a large sample sized NARS Orgasm Illuminator:

From the March box, a full-sized(!) Sue Devitt Eye Intensifier Pencil in Bangalore:

It is no exaggeration to say that I can't wait to see what this month's box brings! At only $10/month (or $110 if you get a 12-month subscription), these boxes strike me as a huge bargain--there hasn't yet been one I didn't get far more than $10 worth of product out of, not to mention the fun of being introduced to new stuff I wouldn't necessarily try and getting mail!

I love these so much, I REALLY think you all should try them. So let's do a giveaway! Here's how you enter:
1. Leave me a comment on this post telling me something you'd like to see here at WINOW.
2. Tweet, FB, or otherwise spread the word of my blog and this contest and leave me a comment to tell me you did it!

I will be picking TWO winners. Second place will receive one Birchbox (April's, if they are still in-stock). First place will receive a THREE MONTH subscription to Birchbox!

Winners will be picked via random number drawing one week from now. GO!


First off, I love your blog, and not just because you're my good friend! I know I don't comment nearly enough but I am going to make a point to do so, more often. I like your writing style and the way you invite us into your world. I LOVE knowing what other people wear and do and are passionate about, and the way you do that is just really excellent. Your blog could easily stand up to any of the other polished, fun, informative blogs I have read over the years. One thing I would like to see is maybe more guest posts on different topics of interest, I think that could be very interesting and fun.

I just posted a shout-out about you on my FB :)

I love when you show us your thrift store finds! I don't thrift as often as I used to, and I miss it.

Just gave you a shout out on my FB Grace! How have I never heard of Birchbox?? This is seriously awesome. I LURVE samples!

I love your blog, Grace; it's the only one I really read!

I enjoy your thrifting and discount store finds the most. I also like your opinionated current-event pieces.

I love your blog, I started reading during the happy housewife run, and I'm loving the dress me up series!

I miss your daily outfits!

I really want to try this!

How did I not know about this Birchbox you speaketh of? I LOVE!

And I shared this giveaway with my Facebook fans. Hope they love your blog as much as I do!

Very cool giveaway - that Stila glaze from December is my favorite lip gloss ever. I tweeted a link.

I love all your wonderful thrifting finds!

Shared on facebook! This sounds awesome! Thanks!

Hi! This is my first time on your blog, I clicked over from Wardrobe Oxygen. My burning question is this: how do I know when to let go of a trend I love but isn't in style anymore? Say, the wide belt at the waist or bold colors?

Gracie, I LOVE your makeup reviews -- my new favourite foundation and mascara are all because of you!

...and posted on FB about it.

I love our blog grace. It's the only one I check daily. I miss your daily outfits though. I hope you'll start doing those again, I loved seeing all the snazzy outfits. And you totally rocked all those looks.

I'll post about this on my blog and on my facebook :)

I'm a big fan of free stuff :)

I miss seeing your daily outfits, and I would love to see more "occasion" outfits, like something for a wedding, summer picnic, cute beach outfit, etc.

I would love to see me and my mom on your blog. She loves clothes and has a really tight budget, but I think you could do some damage on her.

I shared your link with my mom, who loves your clothes picks.

I just wanted to say that I am a big fan of both of those Nars products! I just love them!

Love playing along with the thrifted finds too!

I always love to see your thrifting posts. I'd love to also see you do another kind of fashion challenge of some sort. Loved the daily entries.

I really love the Dress Me Up's! I would love to see one that is in a sporty casual kind of look. I'm currently drooling over some pieces from athleta, like this Bodega skirt:

But then I stumble on what shoes and top would coordinate. So I would be thrilled by a Dress Me Up that hit this style.

I only have one twitter follower (my DH, LOL) but I posted a link to your blog as my FB status.

I love seeing your thrift store purchases, you are so super creative!!!

I LOVE your giveaways! I'd love to see some beach wear (and accessories for the beach) :).

How did I not know about this? I'd love to try it, and now I'm thinking of giving subscriptions to my sister-in-law, mother and best friend for gifts!

I adore the Dress Me Up segments. I hate shopping and DMU gives me a ton of ideas.

Just posted about your blog on my FB!

I'd like to see more belted styles. I am belted style illiterate.

Also? Retweeted for ya!

I would love to see more about your furry friends!

What a fun giveaway! I've heard about Birchbox, but haven't actually tried it out myself yet!

you make up blog posts make me WANT to wear make-up everyday. its like the highest potential of my make-up wearing self is brought to life in your blog posts. thanks for that. i look more put together daily because of you.

I'd love to see more thrifting tips!

I don't know why it took me so long to check out your blog, but I am glad I did. I am just loving the DMU feature. It's inspired me to actually get dressed, as opposed to just "putting on clothes". I've cleaned out my closet and started putting together cute outfits. I'd love to see you tackle a super plus size person (like a size 24W or larger) on DMU.

I shared your blog on my fb feed, but I don't know how many will click over to check it out. I rarely get comments on shared links, even the awesome ones like your blog.

i WOULD LOVE TO SEE "AFTER" shots of the "dress you up". keep up the great work!

I am recommenting because something went weird with my browser so I dunno if you got it. If you did--ignore.

I posted on google reader!

I'd like a post on blog self-censorship for career and/or the interaction of saying personal shit on your blog when looking for a job....

Loveeee Birchbox and Loveeee this giveaway!!! I would like to see more about handbags and shoes. I shared your blog with my Facebook friends :) Hope i win :)

Sent a shout out via facebook. I do love the blog, Grace... so much. My fav bits are totally the Dress You Up.

Love this blog - I've been lurking for ages. This Birchbox looks awesome! I'd love to see more of your daily outfits and where each bit came from. I'm posting about you, your blog, and this contest on FB.

Grace, always love your blog.
I would love a post about making summer casual look good, for those of us that live in places that are so hot. Shorts, tanks, dresses. But still cute and put together.

I LOVE reading your posts- definitely entertaining and thank you for all the information on goodies and such! :)

I love your dress me ups (favorite part) and style iconship. Thrift store finds slay me.

Maybe a little more (for us really broke folk) about budget (not necessarily thrift) finds?

Either way, A+ material, all around. Yay Austin!

Just found out what Birchbox was today. So curious to try it out!

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Do you express feminism in the way you dress?


As I mentioned in my Gloria Steinem post, I've recently joined the Feminist Fashion Bloggers group here in the bloggysphere. Today, the group posts the following question for members' blogging consideration:

Do you express your feminism in the way you dress?

I dunno about you, but for me, that's really not an easy question. I believe that the small choices we make in our day-to-day lives have meaning. I believe they are part of our politics. Many people will tell you that wearing dresses, or heels, or makeup, or whatever, has nothing to do with feminism. I don't buy that. We have extremely different standards of dress, and standards of beauty, for women and for men. The decisions we make about how much to cooperate, or not cooperate, with those standards are not neutral.

For many years, my line in the sand was drawn just this side of makeup. I was never, I insisted, going to treat my life like a stage on which my features had to be grotesquely highlighted or downplayed with paint. You can see how that worked out...I started playing with makeup, discovered I liked it, and I was a goner from there. While I'm still determined not to become one of those people who refuses to leave the house without a full face on, I paint myself up more days than not.

So how to I justify it? Mostly, I don't. A long time ago, on a now-defunct feminist message board, folks uses to say that we "all make our deals with the patriarchy." This is, more or less, true--we all have things about which we've decided not to fight, either because they simply don't strike us as important, or because we need tor reserve our energy for things that are, to us, more vital. Clothing choices and makeup use are deals I choose to make. I recognize that I am not make the most feminist possible statement with my clothes, or my makeup, but it isn't important enough to me to be an area in which I take a stand.

Except when it is. I am an absolute advocate for widening the scope of what we call beautiful, especially for women. The idea that you are attractive only if you have the body of the moment, or only if you fit into a certain set of normative standards, is, bluntly, horseshit. In my own life, it's a constant struggle, but I try very hard to maintain a view of my body that focuses on my strength, my capacity to do things, my competence, rather than how I can manage to squeeze into norms that don't come in my size. Women should NOT all be trying to take up less space. I consciously remind myself of this, on a near daily basis. In this way, wearing heels has been oddly liberating--it's a reminder that it really is OK for me to be taller than the boys.

These issues are complicated. The intersection of feminism and fashion is one I haven't thought much about, mostly because I've tried not to think about it. It leads me to uncomfortable places. But I think it's a worthwhile exercise, and I'm really happy that this group is in existence. I'll be continuing to participate in whatever challenges I can, and I'll be reading with great interest.
You can find other answers to this particular question linked on Mrs Bossa's blog.


"The decisions we make about how much to cooperate, or not cooperate, with those standards are not neutral." - exactly. How can they be?

I really like your point about the priorities we make when we choose to fight. I personally have makeup way down the list too, but I still hate that there is a 'deal' at all...

I might put your 'women taking up less space' quote above my.mirror!

'it really is OK for me to be taller than the boys.'

I love this point!

"The intersection of feminism and fashion is one I haven't thought much about, mostly because I've tried not to think about it. It leads me to uncomfortable places. But I think it's a worthwhile exercise, and I'm really happy that this group is in existence"

Brave and admirable, ma'am!

It is so true that we each one choose our own battles and we cannot fight them all. One of your last lines has me highest heels are just 3" and even at that I am often taller than my male colleagues. Heels have made me self-conscious for that reason, but perhaps that is a feeling I need to WORK on overcoming.

Love this post. Thanks for going there.

You made some really interesting points, which everyone else has already quoted, ha.
You're right, norms are so boring and our bodies are so amazing for what they can do, rather than just what they look like. Although I find it easy to see the beauty in women's physical appearance too.

I often don't wear makeup, but it's not a purposeful feminist statement. It's more that I'm too lazy to bother with applying makeup every day and I really just don't give a damn if anyone else likes it. I love playing with makeup, but I wear it when I want to and when the mood strikes me.

I suppose the fact that I don't care whether I'm wearing makeup or perfectly coifed hair is a statement of sorts. I enjoy being low maintenance and not feeling bad about being "plain." It's easier for me to get dirty if I'm not worried about my 'do.

Thanks for this post.

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When I asked you all what you'd like to see me blog about, I was kinda surprised when so many of you said makeup! I kinda thought I was boring you all when I went on and on about makeup! But I love makeup, and I am all too happy to talk about it!

I've actually found a few drugstore products lately that I'm excited about, and I know someone specifically asked for cost effective alternatives to high end up products, so let's start with those.

maybelline dream matte mousse makeup.jpgI think I've told you about Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse Foundation before, but just in case I haven't--I love this stuff. In fact, it's my favorite foundation ever at this point. I love the smooth matte finish, it doesn't feel heavy, and the colors (my shade is Light 1, Porcelain Ivory) are great. I'm having a problem lately where I get a little bit of shiny face mid-afternoon (new for me!), and using this makes that far less likely to happen. It's got great staying power, and it hasn't bothered my skin in the least. Price? Around $8, when not on sale (and it's pretty easy to catch on sale).

almay liner.jpgI got an Almay intense i-color kohl eyeliner as part of a set with some shadows, and though I found the shadows sub-par (they were creased within hours and didn't last all day), the liner worked quite well. The deep jade (for hazel eyes) is a great blue-green color, it goes on smoothly, and it stayed put nearly as well as my much more expensive MAC liners (though there aren't nearly as many great colors to choose from). The pencil stayed usably sharp for several applications, and it didn't irritate my eyes. I don't tend to strive for a smoky eye or smudge my liner, so I can't speak to how it works for those operations, but for my daily purposes, I found it very satisfactory. The cost? Again, about $8, with frequent sales.

neutrogena eye duo.jpgI found a bunch of Neutrogena Eye Duos in the clearance bins at Target, and I couldn't wait to try them. They come in a ton of great colors--I chose the Sweet Dusk combo. They're super easy to use and coordinate perfectly--which is great, since I have trouble doing multiple shadow shades. Staying power is only so-so--mine lasted most of the day (applied over primer), but not through the gym. Still, if you don't need something with super-strength staying power, I'd recommend these. Regular price is around $7.50 (I think my clearance ones were under $3).

I wouldn't be me if I didn't try to sell you on a few higher end products as well...

fresh sugar plum.jpgI cannot overstate my current love for Fresh Sugar Plum Tinted Lip Treatment. It looks like Clinique Black Honey, but it moisturizes and heals like Burt's Bees or something. It's also SPF 15. I'm in a big lip color phase, and I am having a very hard time with my lips being dried out by things I love color-wise. In the warmer months, I can usually deal with this by just using lip moisturizer at night, but this time of year, with the dry office air I sit in every day, it's not enough. This stuff is the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, it's $22.50.

sephora lip pencil.jpgAt $12, the Sephora Ultra Vinyl Lip Pencil is somewhere between drugstore and department store prices, and it's worth every penny and then some. I love this type of large, soft lip pencil (I've told you before about the Tarte and Nars versions I use). This Sephora house brand one is about half the price of those, and I think I like it even better. It's more moisturizing, and though it doesn't have great staying power (I can't wear it through a morning's worth of coffee drinking, for example), it's dead easy to apply. I have the Gorgeous Peach color, and I plan to go back for the Vinyl Raspberry and Miami Pink next time I buy makeup.

That's about all that's new in my makeup case right now. I'm still searching for perfect mascara, and have crossed several off the list of possibilities recently (I am looking at you, Nars Larger than Life and L'Oreal Telescopic!). I remain dedicated to daily application of Benefit Lemon Aid to keep the shadow and liner on my eyes. I'm trying to streamline things a bit recently, and have stopped using primer or powder on a typical day. I'll be trying Stila's Custom Color blush soon. What's new in your makeup bag?


I love that Sugar Plum tinted treatment! Definitely my favorite lip product lately. I also really like the Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Balm ( I was on a mascara quest for a long time, and ended up just giving up and sticking with Cover Girl Lash Blast volume. My main requirement is that it not flake or smear, and the Lashblast was better in those aspects than the many expensive brands I tried.

I am also still searching for the perfect mascara.

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Product love: NARS


So I am having some serious product love recently, and I thought you should know about it. NARS has long been a favorite cosmetic company (Orgasm blush FTW!) , but they've gone above and beyond in my recent experience.

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NARS The Multiple, $38

Last month's Birchbox included a miniature version of The Multiple in South Beach (shimmering apricot), and I have used it several times since then. NARS describes The Multiple as an "all-in-one, cream-to-powder, multi-purpose makeup stick." I use it to add a little bit of color to my face if I'm not wearing any other makeup, and it does wonders just to give me a bit of a healthy glow in just a few seconds. I wasn't sure the apricot color would work for me when I first opened the stick, but it is actually very subtle and flattering. Best of all, once it's on, I can't feel it at all--it's not greasy and nearly weightless.

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Orgasm Illuminator, $29

Orgasm Illuminator is described as a "complexion enhancer." What it does for me is simple--it makes my blush last all day. I use a little bit of this light cream over my foundation and under my Orgasm blush, and I end up with blush that looks nearly exactly the same at 8pm as it did at 8am. I have no idea how that works, but it works. Ideally, I'd like blush that just lasts all day, but this is the next best thing.

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Powder Foundation SPF 12, $45

Confession: I kinda think liquid foundation is gross. The texture of it squicks me, and it always seems to go on too heavy in some places and not heavy enough in others. Cream foundation is better, but I have always wanted powder foundation, with it's easier application and not spilling all over things, to work out for me. Previous attempts at it, however, have proved useless--no different than just using powder. Until now. I was put off by the price, but I sucked it up and bought NARS Powder Foundation SPF 14 in Deauville ("light to neutral complexions with a perfect balance of pink and yellow"), and I'm never going back. The stuff is magic. It goes on easy, with its own sponge, and it truly does act like both a foundation and a powder. It's lightweight, it doesn't seem to be drying, and it does improve the look of my skin (though I still use a spot concealer underneath it). The staying power seems to be really good, too, especially in combination with the Illuminator.

With the addition of these three products to my makeup bag, I feel really satisfied with my current lineup. I have everything I need to create a quick day face (less than 5 minutes) or a more labor intensive night face, and I feel good about it. Awesome!


Great reviews! You turned me on (teehee!!) to the Orgasm blush, and I absolutely love it. I'll have to try the foundation; I've been wearing liquid since it's gotten cooler, and I just hate the texture.

I got the $15 off $40 gift card today, so maybe I'll get my own stocking stuffer. :)

I love Birchbox. I'll have to try the Nars powder foundation....sounds great!

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New makeup loves (and some not-loves)


As is my way, even when unemployed, I was unable to resist the Sephora Friend & Family sale this past week. So I got...a few things. Mini-reviews to follow:

laura mercier powder foundation.jpg
Laura Mercier Foundation Powder, No. 1, $40

I really wanted this stuff to work. I love the idea of powder foundation--no gloppy messiness! But it just seems to be a sheer, slightly yellow-tinted powder. The coverage isn't much at all, and the color isn't really right for me, either. If my skin wasn't being such a problem recently, I might try the No. 2 color and use it for quick application days, when I don't want full makeup, but I'm so broken out and in need of cover up recently, I don't think it would be worth the $40.

bobbi brown eyeliner gel.jpg
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, Violet Ink, $21

I love gel/cream eye shadow and liner, and have been trying out different kinds for months now. Up until now, Benefit was my favorite. It has been usurped. This stuff is amazing. It goes on great, stays on a long time, and it's really purple--it doesn't end up looking blue or gray like some purple products do. Definitely a new go-to.

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Sephora Collection Ultra Vinyl Lip Pencil, Gorgeous Peach, $12

This is another winner. The formula is great--I love being able to use a pencil to get a clean application to my rather thin lips, and have it look like a nice glossy lipstick. I branched out in terms of color, going with a peach shade, rather than my usual pink/berry range, and I really like it, too. I'll probably go back for a couple more of these in other shades in the future.

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TheBalm Batter Up™ Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow, Grand Slam Pam, $18

This one actually is going back without being tried. It may be a great product, but it's the same color--nearly exactly--as Benefit's Get Figgy, which I already have (and use a lot). So no use in keeping this.

Smashbox Burlesque Beauty Collection, $35

I'm a sucker for a set! This one appealed to me because of the eyeshadow quad--three out of the four colors are my favorite shadow colors--and the loose shimmering powder. Those are actually the only parts of it I've tried so far--and they alone were worth the purchase price. The eyeshadow quad in particular is definitely going on heavy rotation for me this winter.

tarte bronzer.jpg
Tarte Matte Waterproof Bronzer, Park Avenue Princess, $29

I've been using a Laura Mercier bronzer, and I like it, but the mixed colors don't all work for me-the darker two really are too dark, so sometimes it goes on well, other times not. It also seems to wear off. This seems to be a lot better, as far as staying power goes, and the tone is just right for me. I hope it will stay just right through the winter.

tarte lip stain 2.jpg
Tarte Natural Lip Stain with LipSurgence™ Technology, Moody, $24

I've told you before how much love Tarte Lip Stain, and that's still true, but this one isn't my color. It's supposed to be "deep berry," but on me it's...brown. It's going back.

tarte set.jpg
Tarte EyeQuatic Waterproof Summer Essentials Set, $15

I bought this because I've been wanting to try the mascara, Lights, Camera, Splashes! 4-in-1 Natural Waterproof Mascara, and it was just as cheap to buy this whole set, on sale, as just to buy the mascara. The mascara is the only thing I've tried so far, and I'm impressed--great staying power.

All in all, this was a good order. I love the Friends & Family sale! Now, to NOT buy any mor makeup for a couple of months...

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I know a lot of my readers are makeup lovers. And I know a lot of you are fans of/participants at/interested in BlogHer. So, here's an opportunity for you. Go take the BlogHer Women and Beauty Cosmetics Survey. It'll take about 15 minutes of your time, and help BlogHer out. As a bonus, taking it enters you to win a free conference pass for BlogHer 2011, which I can already assure you will be awesome.

To sweeten the pot, come back here and leave me a comment after you take the survey, and I'll enter you into a contest of my own, with a beauty/makeup prize. Go!


I am in! I got to pimp my favorite style blogger (Yay! Poppy!)and try for a free conference pass! Woohoo!

I did it! How fun!

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My makeup bag


Yesterday, Sal at Already Pretty posted her Lazy Gal's Makeup Kit. Amused by how many of the same favorite products we share, and having been enamored with the same inspirational she was--Sonja at Hello Beauty!--I thought it high time to share my current make-up routine with y'all.

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Korres Face Primer, $28

I didn't use primer in the summer, because it seemed like one more layer to melt off, but I'm back to using it this fall. My current selection is Korres Face Primer. I like it because it's silicone free, moisturizing, and goes on in a really smooth, light layer.

Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse Makeup, $6.50-$9

I already told you all about this stuff. I apply it with my finger tips and a little goes quite a long way.

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Benefit Boi-ing Concealer, $18

Like Sally, I'm a huge fan of this "industrial strength" concealer. It covers all my problem spots without feeling like I am coating my face in grout. The light color is a great shade for me, too--I tried the medium first, and that was a disaster. I sometimes apply it with a finger tip and sometimes with a concealer brush from EcoTools ($5).

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Clinique Almost Powder Makeup SPF 15, $23

Powder is another layer that I mostly left off in the warmer months, but I am back to using now. I've been using this Clinique powder since I started wearing makeup, and I'm completely happy with it. It goes on nice and sheer, but keeps the shine down. The neutral tone is perfect for me. I apply it with a long discontinued Lancome powder brush.

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NARS Blush in Orgasm, $26

This is another long-time favorite. I am among the masses who are very dedicated NARS Orgasm fans. It's the perfect blush color. The only drawback is that it really doesn't have great staying power--by the end of the day, it is completely gone. I am thinking of trying something else for daytime for that reason. I apply mine with the blush brush from EcoTools ($8).

benefit lemon aid.jpg
Sephora Lemon-Aid, $20

This is another product on which Sal and I agree, and I use it the same way she does--smear it on my eyelids and under my eyes with my finger to cover up dark circles and make me look well-rested. Easy peasy!

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MAC Eyeshadow in Phloof!, $14.50

Unlike Sal, I have no fear of eyeshadow. I usually start mine with a base coat in a beige/off-white/sand color, and MAC's Phloof! is my favorite. It's the longest wearing eyeshadow I've ever come across, and the only slightly shimmery off-white color is a perfect shadow base. I've been wanting to try a completely matte base color, though, so I may try something else soon.

benefit creaseless shadow.jpg
Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner in Get Figgy, $19

Another place I agree with Sal! She uses her Benefit Creaseless Shadow/Liner as shadow, smearing it on her lids with her finger. I use mind for a liner, applying it to the top lash line with with the pointy end of the Sephora Collection Double-Ended Smokey Eye Brush ($18). I love this stuff because it stays on all day, without flaking or creasing, and it's easy to apply, unlike pencil liners, which I cannot for the life of me master.

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Blinc Kiss Me Mascara, $24

I still haven't found my perfect mascara--the one that makes it look like I have naturally long eyelashes without stiffening them up. Recommendations are always welcome. This one, however, is pretty good. It goes on easy, looks pretty natural, and is absolutely waterproof. I'm still a little weirded out by the "tubes" left on my washcloth when I take it off at night, but that's not a huge deal.

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Tarte LipSurgence Natural Matte Lip Stain in Hope, $24

This is my last overlap with Sal. I'm a very fickle lip color consumer--I have a ton of different lipsticks, glosses, stains, and balms, and I use most of them in rotation. However, like Sal, I'm always on the lookout for something that will actually stay on, and this stuff does the trick. It also has this really nice minty feeling/smell going on. I wear it either alone, for a matte look, or topped with Buxom Lips in clear Krystal ($18) for shimmer. I also really love applying a pencil, rather than a tube or wand--it seems to be an easier way to keep the color within the lines of my rather thin top lip.

Whew! As usual, I am stunned by how much it takes just to create my "everyday" look. It honestly only takes me about 5 minutes to put it all on, though, so I guess it's not that bad.


Try the Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes! Mascara. It's my new go-to. Lots of impact, dark, long, volume, but not stiff and smudgy. Like it better than Lancome.

Thanks so much for the shout out! You might want to try Duwop's new waterproof blush. It's easy to apply and blend, because it's a powder. But it stays on sooooooo much better than most powder blushes. And the peach shade is similar to NARS Orgasm. Hope that helps! xo

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Sometimes, the cheap stuff works just fine


perfekt gel.jpgmaybelline.jpgA while ago, I told you all how much I loved Per-fekt Beauty Skin Perfection Gel. I said:

It's amazing, y'all. It looks more or less like gel-ish foundation but goes on almost as a powder. It's not heavy duty cover up or anything, but it smooths everything out and gives me that porcelain doll look. It lasts all day (and I'm talking long days), even through sweating, and I can skip everything else (powder and blush or bronzer) if I want and still look polished. Score on all fronts. Plus it doesn't smell. I didn't realize how much smelly cosmetics pissed me off until I realized there was another option.

I felt that way until my little tube was finished. And then I was sad, because even though I loved the stuff, I really felt like $57.50 for a 1 oz tube was just kinda ridiculous.

But guess what? There's a cheap version. In fact, a really cheap version. Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse Makeup. I almost never wear drugstore makeup anymore, but I bought this on a whim to see if it would maybe, possibly approximate the Per-fekt stuff, and it does! It has the same light texture, going on easily, not feeling heavy, and looking matte and almost like a powder. Plus it's available in way more colors, and the "Light 1: Porcelain Ivory" shade is a perfect match for my skin. And it's about $8 per .65 oz jar. MUCH cheaper than the Per-fekt stuff.

Looking around at reviews of it, I see that some people are claiming it makes them break out. So far, I haven't noticed it having that effect on me, but I also don't wear makeup every day, so that may be something to look out for. Also, I think it might cause issues for people with dry or flaky skin, since it's very matte. Otherwise, I can't recommend this lovely cheap option highly enough.

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Win a Birchbox!


Head over to my review blog and check out my review of the Birchbox, then enter to win your own!

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Per-fekt skin perfection gel, I will marry you


P119802_hero.jpgI hate it when this happens. I have once again fallen in love with a stupidly expensive beauty product.

On a whim, I purchased the sample size of Per-fekt Beauty Skin Perfection Gel on my last Sephora trip. I thought it was a bit ridiculous that the small one (.25 oz) was $17.50, but it promised to go on smoothly and be completely non-oily, making my skin a perfect baby's ass or something. I'll go pretty far for baby butt skin, so I bought it.

It's amazing, y'all. It looks more or less like gel-ish foundation but goes on almost as a powder. It's not heavy duty cover up or anything, but it smooths everything out and gives me that porcelain doll look. It lasts all day (and I'm talking long days), even through sweating, and I can skip everything else (powder and blush or bronzer) if I want and still look polished. Score on all fronts. Plus it doesn't smell. I didn't realize how much smelly cosmetics pissed me off until I realized there was another option.

The larger size, which is actually only 1 oz, costs a hefty $57.50. That's a "wait for a coupon price" for me. I mean, really? However, I'm realizing as I use it more that I can get away with a fairly small amount. The .25 oz size looks like it's a weekend tube, and it's probably more a two-week or three-week tube. That makes the full size tube a two or three month supply (for the daily makeup user), which is still a bit ridiculous, but this stuff is so magical I think I'll shell out.

It comes in four colors, plus clear. The lightest shade, "Luminous" is perfect for me. After a long day, it looks like this:


Oo, could you do a follow-up on this in a month or so? The reason is that your description reminds me of this mattifying cream I bought from Lancome a few years ago that I loved so much. I felt like it magically sucked all the oil off my face all day long. Sadly, after a few weeks of wear I started to get wee bumps all over my forehead. Sigh. I wonder if your cream avoids that problem...

I just bought this recently as well. So far, I am on the fence... I have very oily skin and it seems to make me a bit oilier than what I usually use, but I do like the coverage (usually I don't wear foundation at all). Beapea, I too have found that it is hard to find a good mattifier that both works and doesn't cause additional skin issues. *sigh*

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One more post about packing: toiletries and makeup


I can't resist--I'm a sucker for completion (except for with that whole cleaning my house thing). These are the contents of my toiletries and makeup bags:

From top left: Downy Wrinkle Release spray, Arbonne Intelligence Self-Adjusting shampoo and conditioner, Tom's of Maine Crystal Confidence deodorant in Citrus-Zest, Giovanni Cleanse body wash in Grapefruit Sky, Clinique liquid facial soap, Scope Outlast mouthwash, custom Diablo Canyon perfume blend from Violette Market, rosemary mint body scrub from Flutterby Beauty, Tide To-Go Instant Stain Remover pen, Neutrogena acne spot treatment pen, Crest Extra White Plus Scope Outlast toothpaste , Target brand toothbrush, Yes to Carrots Deliciously Rich body butter, Clinique Youth Surge SPF 15 Age Decelerating moisturizer.

Most of these are not actually things I use at home. I use all of these types of products, but not these specific brands. However, I have some sort of constitutional issue with decanting my regular products into little plastic bottles to travel, so I have a collection of travel sized products that I raid for trips. These come from three places: free samples that come with Sephora orders, bags of unopened goodies I buy at thrift stores (both the Arbonne and the Clinique stuff I'm bringing on this trip were procured that way), or Target (the natural-ish beauty stuff section has great miniatures--the Yes to Carrots and Giovanni stuff comes from there). I actually like using different-than-usual stuff when I travel, based on what I can find in travel size, as it occasionally introduces me to something I really like and start using at home.

As a travel-by-bus bonus for this trip, I tossed all this stuff in my large makeup bag, rather than having fit it in a Ziploc. Yay!

On the cosmetic side, I'm bringing:

From top left: Blinc Kiss Me mascara in Black, Per-fekt Skin Perfection Gel in Luminous, Lorac Perfectly Lit Oil-Free Luminizing Powder in Luminous, Benefit Georgia powder, powder brush, blush brush, angled eyeliner brush, eye shadow brush, tweezers, Tarte LipSurgence Natural Matte Lip Stain in Hope, Buxom lip gloss in Brandi, Buxom lip gloss in Krystal, Smashbox Limitless Long Wear Lip Gloss in Forever, Nars blush in Orgasm, Benefit Lemon Aid eye concealer/primer, Sephora eye shadow duo #8, Stila eye shadow in Kitten, Benefit Boi-ing concealer in Light, Stila Smudge Pots eyeliner/shadow in Black, and Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner in Stiletto.

This is complete day and night makeup for me, with a few lip color options because I'm fickle that way. Unlike toiletries, I don't have separate travel makeup--the are my regular products. The Per-fekt gel, Tarte lip stain, and Stila Smudge Pot are all new and I'm looking forward to trying them out.

And now you've got the whole picture--everything I'm bringing to BlogHer. Well, aside from the electronics that will be in my shoulder bag: MacBook Pro, iPhone, Canon Powershot digital camera.

Now, the more interesting question--what will I be bringing home?

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Date night threads, 01/23/10


A while back, I posted my daily outfits for a bit. One of the major reasons I did it was because there are a few blogs I really love that do it: What I Wore Today; My Wardrobe Today; Already Pretty; Work With What You've Got; etc. I was also, at that time, really interested in re-defining my style and dressing in a way that felt more authentic.

Well, I'm thinking of picking the habit back up. Clearly, I won't do it every day--I work from home now, and frankly, most days I don't get dressed. However, working from home and not getting dressed most days has made me all the more interested in looking and feeling ood on the days I do go somewhere. So, on those days, I'm going to try to share.

Tonight, Mark and I had a date night. We went out to a nice, but casual, dinner. I wore a knit, empire-waisted black, gray, white, and red patterned top I picked up a year or so ago at Ross (can't remember the brand and I cut the tag out because it itched); black overdyed trouser jeans from Ann Taylor Loft; black suede pointed-toe boots with sequins up the sides from Annie; and a red abalone necklace I picked up somewhere in Austin. I like this outfit a lot--it's stylish and a bit sophisticated (at least the trouser jeans and pointy boots feel that way), but still very comfortable. I felt good in it.

I went fairly neutral with makeup, too. What you see here is Smashbox primer; Korres concealer; a very small amount of Laura Mercier Illuminating tinted moisturizer mixed with my regular moisturizer; Clinique Almost Makeup powder; Cargo blush in Polynesia; Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in 1999; shimmery champagne shadow from this palette by The Body Shop; Lancome Definicils mascara in black; and Bare Escentuals Buxom Lips gloss in Brandi.

There's nothing really spectacular about this outfit or the makeup, but it felt good to me, like a really nice, pretty, natural night out combination. I'll probably wear it again.

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Midweek makeup blogging: eye crayons


It is midweek, right? Well, close enough.

I really will blog about some of the other issues you wonderful readers suggested, but not until I have time and thought to spare. Which could, at this point, be months. In the meantime, it is easy to blog about makeup. Makeup is very, very simple.

So let me tell you about a product I love. The eye crayon. It's like a pencil eyeliner, only bigger and softer. It goes on like a thick eyeliner, but looks sort of somewhere in between liner and shadow. And it's my favorite eye product. If I am in a hurry, I can just color over my top lash line and be done, no need for shadow or anything. If I have a bit more time, I pair it with shadow and love the look even more. It's very natural, not a harsh line like a lot of eyeliner can be.

My love for the eye crayon started with picking up a couple of Jane Colorsticks Eye Crayons on super-sale at Walgreen's (I think they were $.99 or something). Even when not on sale, these are cheap--only about $4 each. I've tried the Mercury Rising, which is a grayish purple, and the Oh Yes, which is a silvery green, and liked both. The only downside I found with these was that they didn't last all day.

In hopes of finding something more long-lasting, I then tried a high end version: Lorac's Sparkle Pencil Shadow/Liner. At $16, this is a much more expensive option than the Jane crayons, and it only comes in Midnight Sparkle (black with silver sparkle) and Blue Topaz (blue with silver sparkle). I bought the Midnight Sparkle. It goes on the same way as the Jane product, and it does last longer, but I'm not a fan of the glitter or the black for everyday use. I'm holding on to the Lorac crayon, but it's a dress-up event type of product, and at $16, I wouldn't buy another one.

Knowing that what I really wanted was a longer-lasting version of the Jane product that comes in a range of colors, without glitter, I saw Sephora's version on a trip to Sephora for something else, and hit the jackpot. The Sephora Brand Jumbo Pencil is the perfect eye crayon. At $6 each, they only cost a bit more than the Jane version, they are long lasting (especially over eye primer), and they come in great colors. I started with the violet, which I love, but I'm expecting the gray and the beige in the mail soon. Don't be turned off by the boring names--the violet is almost exactly the same color as Jane's Mercury Rising, beige is really champagne, etc.

There are some more eye crayons I'd like to try. If I could learn to love the glittery look a bit more, I think Pop Beauty's Glitter Stix would be fun. Nars Glitter Pencil is expensive ($24), but comes in great colors. On the bargain front, Rimmel's Exaggerate Eye Crayon looks promising--it's less than $4 and has fun, glitter-less colors. There is also Maybelline's version,the Cool Effects Cooling Shadow Liner, which has fantastic colors (I love the Cold Front and the Cool as Cucumber) and retails for about the same price as the Sephora version. Finally, I'm interested in the version by Pixi Beauty (which sells at Target). I'm not sure how much they are, but they have awesome bright colors I haven't seen elsewhere.

I recommend these, especially for those who have trouble applying regular eyeliner or don't like the harsh look. But go with a cheaper one--the Jane or the Sephora--this is one area where so far I see no need to spend a lot of extra cash.

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The daily makeup


I'm going to go through the suggestions of things to write about given by the entrants into my June contest, starting with the easier ones. Like Geminita's, which said "Blog about makeup! Show us your favorite products, looks and how to pull them off." Seems like a good place to start!

Playing with Photo BoothWhat you see here (and please excuse my poor Photo Booth picture) is my every day going-to-work makeup. I change it up some, but it basically looks like this.

So what do I have on?

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer; Clinique Moisture Sheer SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer in Neutral; Clinique Almost Makeup SPF 15 Pressed Powder in Fair; Lancome Blush Subtil Delicate Oil Free Powder Blush in Cedar Rose.

Pop Beauty Eye Magnet Primer; Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener; Dior Diorshow Mascara in Black; Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in 1999; The Body Shop Shimmer Cubes Eye Shadow in Palette 16 (Midnight Black and Moonlight Silver only).

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

I know that sounds like a ton of stuff, but it isn't time consuming. My morning routine goes like this:
1. Put on water for coffee (we use a French press)
2. Use bathroom, put on deodorant and perfume; brush teeth, wash face
3. Put on makeup
4. Pour now-boiling water into French press
5. Get dressed
6. Pour now ready coffee into thermos
7. Leave

It's about 25 minutes total, and however long it takes a small kettle of water to boil is how long it takes me to put my makeup on. Less than 15 minutes for sure.


Hi, yeah, you don't know me. I don't know you either, by the way. Well, I've stumbled across your blog by chance, whilst surfing. So, I've read your morning routine, and, well...

Don't you eat breakfast???

You really should, it starts a day way better. Eat some cereals, or some bread with jam, or boild egg with toast. And def. fruit(juice).
All in all, something light and not too fat, with fibres.

That's my 2 cents for ya, for all it's worth.

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