Forever21 Leopard Print Coat

I know, I know.  I have a leopard-print addiction.  My blog is oversaturated with the print, and as much as I argue its neutrality, it’s time for me to branch out.  Giraffe?  Zebra?  The rest of the safari world is jealous.

But grant me one more foray with my beloved print/neutral of choice, please?  How could you not?  If you had seen the Stella McCartney Pre-Fall 2015 Collection and fallen in love with this look (it was intoxication at first site), then you would want to jump on the bandwagon with me.

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I love this leopard-print jacket from Forever 21; it has a little bit of volume, so I pair it with skinny jeans to even things out.

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Leopard is edgy this year.  I love pairing it with killer shoes that mimic the pattern.  (And I’m enjoying getting back to my old footwear post-baby!)

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Love that bracelet?  Grab a similar one!

 

I’m SO INTO STUDS right now, it’s crazy.  You know the saying ‘He’s a man’s man!’?  Well, as far as I’m concerned, studs are the accessory’s accessory.  #BlingBling

Have I convinced you to hop on the leopard bandwagon?  Do you prefer a different print?  Let me know!

Naked on the Run

I’m going to admit something that might shock the beauty world: I obtained a Naked 2 palette six months ago (when I was on my quest for the perfect copper eyeshadow), and I haven’t even opened it.  Gasp!  The horror!  But contrast that with Naked on the Run, which I received after Thanksgiving and have actually used, and hopefully that will regain me some respect.

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If my toddler knew I took this pic, I’d be in trouble.

 

I know, I know.  Urban Decay aficionados are sort of split when it comes to love for this set.  And I understand why.  If you’re used to using eyeshadow on a daily basis, and want tons of shades and not a lot of fluff, then maybe this isn’t the ‘Holy Grail’ Naked item for you.  But it actually is much more practical for my makeup needs, so call me a fan!  I love the idea of having not only a full-service set to throw into my travel bag, but the assurance that all of the components are going to work together seamlessly.  I may not use it for pro-makeup application (contouring?  what’s that?), but I love the natural flush the bronzer adds, and the blush is a super-nice shade of pink (even my husband complimented it).  I use the included highlighter for my eyes, and do stick with my Nars Copacabana Multiple for cheek-highlighting purposes.

Cons: Not a huge fan of Perversion, which is the mascara.  It works, and looks good with the set, but maybe I’ve been spoiled by the Josie Maran I’ve been using.  I have naturally long lashes (which my toddler inherited, I swear it looks like she wears falsies), so I don’t need to worry about length.  But I do want volume and that ‘full’ black look, and Perversion misses the mark a little.  I apply three coats, and usually I’m a one-swipe woman.  Even then I think my lashes still need some ‘oomph’.  What I do like is the PACKAGING of the mascara.  Kudos for that. (But don’t judge a mascara by its cover??)

Pros: The lipgloss!  My lips chap and peel and dry and just … ugh! …. during the winter months.  Seriously, my toddler sometimes makes me blow her a kiss instead of pecking her on the cheeks because ‘Mommy, your lips got a boo-boo, I don’t like that!’ — The Naked gloss goes on so nicely, I love the applicator, and it moisturizes my lips.  I put it on chapped, and it disguises the imperfections so nicely (and I find most other lip products that I use negatively emphasize the poor state of my puckers).  The color is also divine – like a natural rose that enhances my lip color.  And it goes so nicely with the other rose/pink shades in the set.

Raves: The eyeshadows work wonderfully together.  I use ‘Dive’ all over the lids, ‘Fix’ is great for the crease & under the lower lash line.  ‘Stun’ provides a nice depth for the outer corners.  I do find that they’re very powdery shadows, but I think some of that comes from the brush I’m using; which is not the recommended Urban Decay brush.  Touché.  The eyeshadow is very long-lasting, which is a win, because I’m not the type of girl to reapply during the day.  (And I didn’t even use eyeshadow primer with it, even though I had INTENTIONALLY tracked it down and put it on the vanity to join the queue.)  Speaking of eyes, I used ‘Stag’ – the enclosed eye pencil – which is HUGE because it’s the first time I’ve used eyeliner since….like….high school?  I can’t stop looking at myself in the mirror.

Have you tried Naked on the Run yet?  Thoughts?

Boxycharm Review: Jingle Belles

I’m addicted to subscription boxes, to say the least.  There’s not very many that I haven’t tried.  But the December Boxycharm really stood out among the rest as an exciting delivery that cheered up my dreary days.

Boxycharm is a beauty subscription – but unlike similar services, they provide subscribers with FULL SIZE products. So for $21/month (shipping is free), you can expect 5 items that retail for $120+.  Even your Grandma would be proud of you for snagging this deal!

The December products were stellar in selection:

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Coastal Scents Revealed Palette:  This eyeshadow selection is nude and metallic hues – 20 shadows that come in a slim case that’s perfect for travel.  It’s a really nice mix of day and evening tones, and the application goes on very smooth.  Not hard to transition at all, just layer on for an office-to-drinks look.

Lina Lashes Luxury Mink Lashes: I have long eyelashes to begin with, so I’ve never tried faux lashes before!  But I love that these are 100% cruelty free, and hypo-allergenic is a MUST for anything that goes near my eyes.

Mister Beauty Solutions Retractable Beauty Brush:  If you follow the blog, you’ll know I started off the year with my go-to brush essentials.  This one fills a whole in my collection!  Since it’s retractable, you can customize the size/fullness – a maximum sweep to cover the face, or a smaller radius for contouring or T-zone coverage.  I can’t believe I’ve never used a brush like this before!

Be A Bombshell Lip Product: A girl can never have too many lippies!  I received the lip crayon in ‘Hot Damn’ – a bright red that’s perfect for winter!  I love, love, love lip crayons because of how smoothly they go on, and this color has amazing shine for a matte crayon.  I didn’t have to reapply – always a bonus.

Eva NYC Hair Products:  A girl can never get enough travel-size hair products.  I’ve definitely found myself in an awkward situation before, where my shampoo & conditioner didn’t make it through security, and I had to watch the guard confiscate them because I wouldn’t have time to go back and check my bag before my flight.  Oh, the humanity!  This ‘Hold Me Tight’ Hairspray can get me through the mad airport rush, and it’s 1.5 fl oz. – no danger of getting in trouble for stowing it in my purse.  Celebrate!

Grab your own full-size products here:  http://www.boxycharm.com/dec-subscription-products.html

 

This post was Sponsored by Brandbacker

RevelationsRX, Advanced Skin Therapy that Heals Skin from Within

By this point, I think all of you would agree that I have become a mask fiend.  This definitely isn’t going to change anytime soon, because I had the opportunity to try an AMAZING mask system.  Seriously, I can’t stop rubbing my face, it is so incredibly smooth.  (Pssst …. you can get your own FREE SAMPLE!)

I was provided two types of masks: a full biocellulose face mask, and an eye mask.  The face mask is all about firming and anti-aging.  It increases your collagen levels, which gets rid of that dull, sunken look and adds some bounce.  The eye mask is more for your crow’s feet and fine lines – it smooths, brightens, and tightens.  I tried both back-to-back.  Okay, I know – I’m 28.  Do I need to go down this skincare road yet?  Girlfriend, I have bags the size of Chanel under my eyes.  For serious.  It’s never too early to save your skin.  Just ask Betty White.

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RevelationsRX recommends wearing a mask once-a-week (hello, new Monday routine!), but the kits come with these awesome targeted serum rollers, which you can use to spot fix during the week.  It’s the kind of roller that has the good metal ball – you know the ones.  A nice cooling effect during application, and it helps keep things smooth and even.

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The masks themselves are fabric masks, so they come in individually sealed packages.  (The eye mask is in a great case that is coded for left & right eye – perfect for someone like me!)  And Revelations RX definitely does not skimp on the product.  Super saturated.  The fabric is definitely enough to cover anyone’s face – and the good news for a small-visaged girl like me is that it forms to your face in about five minutes, so you’re not oversized for long.  After 45-minutes of facial relaxation, you can take it off, gently pat your face, and voila!

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I saw results after just one mask.  I think the key to the Revelations RX is that it heals from WITHIN the layer of skin, instead of just treating the topical layer.  It’s the same kind of bio-science doctor’s use when healing wounds – and when you think about it, that’s exactly what’s going on with your face.  Skincare is super important.  Each mask is delivering an entire bottle of serum to that deep layer of skin – like a vitamin smoothie.  And the mask themselves are organic coconut fibers, so it’s a completely natural experience.

Seriously, try it for yourself with a free sample.  I am already counting down until Mask #2 – a little wine, The Bachelor on TV, and some facial rejuvenation.  Mmmmmm.  Are you with me?

 

Many thanks to RevelationsRX for sponsoring today’s story & rejuvenating my skin!

Buckhead Betties Infinity Scarf

Each Christmas, I excitedly await for a present from my sorority to come in the mail.  I can usually guarantee that it will be either printed (like a cool Lilly Pulitzer organizer) or monogrammed (brief case, anyone?)  This year did not disappoint – a green printed infinity scarf from a new-to-me company called Buckhead Betties.

I’ve been fighting the urge to pair this dandy with a sundress and boots (let’s face it, soror wardrobe staples), and instead have tried to edge it up a little and make it more hipster.  This weekend, I paired it with a white BB Dakota shirt, a very cool Walter Baker jacket, some black skinnies, and the most awesome pair of studded Oxfords I’ve yet to find.  Add a pair of Foster Grants, and I was ready to hit downtown Lynchburg.

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Currently Addicted To: ‘Cruella’ by Nars

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Love these rings: Pave Spear Ring – Rose Gold & Pauline Ring

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Why yes, I do wear mismatched socks on the reg….#SorryNotSorry

Poppy and Elle

The best sort of fashion discoveries are those that occur in your own backyard.  At least that is how I felt when I learned of Caroline Tillman, a local high school student with a stylish dose of entrepreneurialism.  (Talk about a regular #Girlboss!)

Caroline is the founder of Poppy and Elle, an accessories company that currently focuses primarily on hair ties.  Started in 2013, Caroline describes it as “a continuation of the business spirit instilled in me through circumnavigating”. (Her family and she sailed around the world for three years while she was a preteen; you can find her writing throughout several national sailing magazines).

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With Poppy and Elle, Caroline’s creativity certainly shines through.  She personally manages a myriad of details – from choosing what products to make, to taking photographs for product listings, to delivering customers special orders .  She’s also dreaming big, with exciting plans in store for 2015: partnering with a number of subscription box companies to distribute her hair ties, and adding a line of jewelry made with genuine antique typewriter keys.  (How freaking awesome is that?)

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Personalized Bracelet: $42

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Custom Sorted Hair Ties: $6.99!

To snag your own Poppy & Elle goodies, visit her website, or connect via Facebook, or Pinterest.

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Photo Credits: Caroline Tillman

Nars Digital World Lip Pencil Coffret

It’s no secret that I love Nars more than any other cosmetics company.  So I’m always extremely excited when a set from the company finds its way onto my vanity.  This Digital World Lip Pencil Coffret was no exception.  The set retails for $49, a great deal since the colors individually would be worth over $96.

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The set comes with two Velvet Matte Lip Pencils (Cruella & Iberico), and three Satin Lip Pencils (Yu, Descanso, & Torres Del Paine).  The inner container is a nice acrylic box that is perfect for storing these and other pencils in.  I immediately transferred all of my Nars lip pencils, so that they’re neat and tidy to usher in the new year.

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The keepsake box is part of the ‘Laced with Edge’ Holiday 2014 collection.

Highlights: Descanso is the perfect neutral shade.  Yu is the pink that works with everyone’s skin tone, and has the staying power and pigmentation of the mattes despite being satin.  (It would be perfect for a holiday party, because it doesn’t dry your lips out.)  The miniature size travels nicely, and fits easily into makeup pouches.

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Mattes on the left (sans stripe), satin on the right…

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I love the chubbiness of the lip pencils.  So easy to apply!

Have you tried the Nars pencils?  What is your go-to winter lippie?

#SampleSaturday: Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask

At the end of 2013, I started trying masks.  Remember the Sephora Collection Rose Mask?  The Ginseng Mask?  Exfoliation with Bliss Micro Magic?  I continue down this path with Fresh’s Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask.  I’m a believer in the brand – my husband uses the citrus body wash, and my lips couldn’t survive without their chapstick – so I was excited to see what the mask had to offer.

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Before application, I cleansed skin.  (Okay, confession time: I ran out of my go-to Aveeno makeup removing wipes, so I stole my newborns Johnson & Johnson product. #MommyWin)  Then you apply the mask (it goes on like a thick cream, pretty clear in color, luxurious texture), enjoy it for 5-10 minutes (it smells like tea, so I had to grab a mug of Earl Grey afterwards to appease my craving), and rinse off.  You can do this 2-3 times per week, so it’s a pretty gentle formula.  It does feel a bit tingly on the face, with a strong cooling affect.  I found that this lingered another 10 minutes or so after rinsing, but it’s a pleasant sensation.

The mask claims that it immediately reveals softer, firmer skin, and I definitely experienced this after application.  It seems to be very hydrating (my skin is glowing, but not shiny/oily), and helped me fix some of the dryness that my nose was experiencing.  I totally should have invited some girl-friends over to drink sake and get down to mask-business.

Would I buy a full-size product?  It’s $88 for 3.3 oz, so the jury’s still out on this one.  I will say it’s the best mask that I’ve tried so far.  That being said, quite a few of my readers (hey, girl(s), hey!) have been suggesting both clay masks and overnight masks, which I PROMISE to give a-go this year.

Have you tried the Fresh mask?  What’s your go-to product?

Ann Taylor Leopard Print Popover

It’s no secret that I love leopard and incorporate it into my wardrobe like the neutral that it is.  In 2014, I was infatuated with leopard + green.  In 2013, it was leopard + cobalt.  Perusing the 2015 Ready-to-Wear lines, I am ga-ga over Coach’s use of leopard + pastels.  But in my own little fashion world, I’m hoisting a new flag for the season, a true classic: leopard + red!

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January certainly is a SUNNY month … where are my sunglasses when I need them?

I love the edginess of a boxy popover, and the silhouettes at Ann Taylor right now are ON POINT.  The key to such a shirt is proportions, so pair with tighter/slimming bottoms.  I love these boutique leggings, they feel like second skin.  Since leopard is such a classic print, you could pair with stilettos for a night out, or flats for casual wear.

How will you be wearing leopard this Spring?

 

MakeUp Brush 101

I hereby resolve that 2015 is the year of my beauty revolution.  That’s right – I want to upgrade my cosmetics game.  I have so many creams and powders and gadgets and gift sets – why should I not only put them to use, but the BEST use?

Expert-ism (if that’s not a word, it should be) doesn’t happen overnight, though, so it’s important to begin with the basics.  That’s why I’m starting January off with a brush analysis, to make sure I have the means in my toolbox to transform my artistry.

I like to keep my brush collection neat and tidy.  Even when products come with brushes or applicators, I often prefer to defer to one of my standbys.  Perhaps this ensures a certain level of comfort with a familiar technique, or an even more familiar routine.  Perhaps its a simple desire to maximize the value of my brush selections.  Regardless, I’ve carefully curated a collection – and if you feel I’ve left a must-have brush out, do let me know.

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Sephora Professionnel #47: Foundation ($28)

This is the first brush I reach for every morning – I utilize it with my liquid foundation.  There are no loose hairs to ruin my perfectly painted visage.  It’s easy to apply a thin layer of cosmetic to ensure I don’t look like someone speckled my complexion.  #Flawless

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Sephora Professionnel #40: Angled Blush ($36)

When it comes to powdered cheek color, I could not survive without this staple.  And OH! it picks up such great pigment from pressed powders.  I attribute this to its course bristles – hardy craftsmanship to ensure I start my day with the rosiest of glows.

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Sephora Professionnel #45: Mineral Powder ($14)

#CreeperMoment: Sometimes I run this brush across my face without product because it is the softest brush I’ve ever encountered.  I never vacay without it.  I feel so in-control of my mineral highlight application, and take the utmost care of this baby.  Whereas my foundation brush was a staple, this brush is a #DivaTreat.  I’m considering purchasing a second one to use with under-eye concealer (Resolution #2 for 2015: get rid of my raccoon eye), only because I want to preserve the purity of the relationship I currently have going with this lovely.

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Sephora Professionnel #48: Powder ($24)

I use this brush daily for my powder foundation application.  Just a super-soft swipe to elevate the complexion.  It picks up a good amount of product, but application leaves you with a clean finish.  I’m a weirdo and use both liquid AND powder foundation, so I find that a brush is the way to go vs. the sponge that comes with most powder products.  #NaturalFinish

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Sephora Professionnel #23: All Over Shadow Small ($20)

I hate the teeny brushes that come with eyeshadows – if the shadow comes with a brush at all.  So this brush is a lifesaver.  And unlike those sponge brushes, it applies a soft layer of product that is easy to build-upon.

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Mirabella Eye Blender ($27)

This brush is a bit fluffier than my go-to shadow brush, but it blends very well.  I think of it as my fancy-pants upgrade.  If it’s being used, I’m going ‘full-eye’.

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Sephora Highlighting Fan ($38)

I basically use this after my kabuki brush to make sure I don’t get that “ghost-look” from finishing powder. It helps brush away any loose particles without disturbing the look that was just set.  Close your eyes and picture the movie starlet flitting across her room in a Japanese robe as she dances through the perfume she’s just spritzed.  Yep, I just anthropomorphized this brush.

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Royal Soft-Grip 1″ Brush Ox Hair Wash Brush ($3)

Ok, confession: I’ve never used this brush before.  I have yet to find a deficiency in my other brushes where I might need this one.  But it stays in my stash because I love the contoured grip and I know that one day, it will come through for me in a pinch.  If you have any ideas what niche this might fill, I’m all ears.

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Coastal Scents BR-C-S22 – Classic Foundation Small Synthetic ($5)

This is really my “touch-up brush”.  It’s too small for all-over foundation application, but the density makes it perfect for spot-checks and those PITA places (ex: concealer).  *I expect to use this brush more this year as I tackle Resolution #2 (see above)

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What’s your New Year’s resolution?  What’s your go-to brush?  Anything you can do without?  Let’s chit-chat in the comments!