July 31, 2014

Beauty Blog: Summer Favorites

So much has gone on in my life the past few months that I haven't been great about posting my monthly beauty favorites so I figured I would do one that consisted of my summer favorites. I must admit that I have been slack with applying makeup this summer because I have stayed at home more and spent time by our pool! However, I do have a few products that are worth mentioning. When I did wear makeup these were used the most....some of them have been mentioned before but are definitely worth mentioning again. Enjoy!

Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation ($8.99) - This has been my go to foundation all summer long! It gives a nice luminous finish that is blendable, buildable and poreless. It's lightweight and doesn't feel like you have a ton of product on your face but gives a medium to full coverage effect. It claims it gives an airbrush finish and I would agree. I think this is perfect for normal to dry skin types but would be weary if you have oily skin. I do like that this has a pump so it makes for an easy application with your fingers or brush. I could see this being a "Holy Grail" item for me because it's that good! My shade is Sandy Beige - medium 1. (Another plus is they have a lot of shades to choose from!)

Maybelline Master Hi-Light in Nude ($8.99) - I have mentioned this in a previous blog post but it's all that I have been using for blush the past few months. I love that it gives color along with a nice hi-light effect that is natural. There isn't an ounce of sparkle or glitter, it's all sheen. It has great pigmentation and is long wearing. I own two other shades in this line but my favorite is Nude. I do couple this with another hi-lighter but that's because I prefer it that way but it gives enough on it's own that you don't have to.

Nyx Dusk til Dawn palette ($14.99) - I ran across this when I was at Ulta and fell in love with the colors. There are 8 shimmery shades and two matte shades that you can create day to evening looks with. They are highly pigmented and are long wearing. I have reached for this palette more than my Naked 3 one. This is super affordable and gives you some of the same shades you will find with the UD Naked Palettes. There are 2 other pallets in the "Dream Catcher" limited edition series; Stormy Eyes and Golden Horizons.

Benefit "They're Real!" Mascara ($23.00) - HOLY CRAP! This is hands down the BEST MASCARA ON THE PLANET! This mascara is amazing and I think everyone should have a tube of it. Within one or two coats your lashes look like falsies. It's crazy. It does everything you need it to...lengthens, curls and separates your lashes. It's like a one stop shop for mascaras. As far as I know it only comes in black and it doesn't say it's waterproof but I have never had a problem with it going anywhere even during tearful moments. I would never tell anyone to go buy a $23 mascara unless it was worth every penny.....and this is. Go get yourself a tube!!!!

famous Dave*s Pro Series Mousse Self Tanner ($32.00) - Even     though I have a pool and get some rays from the sun itself I prefer to keep my skin healthy by applying sunscreen s. naturally,  I don't achieve the tan I  would like. I tried this mouse that was sent to me by "famous Dave*s" and I must admit I was impressed. The scent was very light and didn't have that strong odor you typically get from self tanners. It was easy to apply with the mitt and even though it is colorless it's still easy to see where you're applying it. It produces the prettiest and most natural shade of "tan" in a  few short hours (3-5) with NO streaking. I applied it one night after I showered and exfoliated and woke up happy with the results. I will say the only "con" is that it's a tad sticky and I felt like my clothes were sticking to  me but I can deal with that due to the fact the final product is worth it. For me, the tan lasted around 3 days so this is something you would have to apply on a regular basis but it beats laying in a tanning bed or in the sun exposing yourself to harmful rays.
There you have it! My summer beauty favorites! I hope to get back to my normal monthly blog posts in August. I do so much better once the kids are back in school and I have the house to myself! See you next month!

June 18, 2014

Things I learned from Disney....

We took our first BIG family vacation to Disney World last month and it was an amazing experience. We all had a blast and made memories that will last a lifetime. Being the first time Disney guest I really didn't know what I was getting into because there is SOOOO much to do and see. I didn't know the "in's and out's" like frequent Disney visitors do so it was all trial and error for us. First, our situation was a bit different because we are military so we got a special rate but that doesn't include the "coveted" Disney armbands that most long for. We also didn't stay on a Disney property because we had 6 in our party and I wasn't about to fork over $600-$1000 a night for two rooms just to stay at Disney. I found a 3 Bedroom/2 Bath very nice condo in a gated community 5 minutes from the main gate for $85 a night.....that was a no brainer. Without rambling too much here is what I learned from our week at Disney.

- If you have a child that is 5 or under be prepared to use a stroller. It's a lot of walking and if you go in the summer your child will melt and later have a full blown meltdown. We didn't bring one but quickly learned the first day that our stop after leaving Downtown Disney would be to Target to purchase a cheap stroller for Brody.

- Carry a backpack or camel back and stuff it full of water bottles and snacks. Your wallet will thank you. Your body will also appreciate the fact you are keeping it hydrated. It's nothing but the sun and pavement so you can quickly become dehydrated. There are tons of fountains placed throughout the park so you can just fill your water bottle up when it's empty and it is FREE.

- If you don't stay on the Disney properties you don't get a nifty little armband aka Magic Band....NO WORRIES!!!! They sell them on site for less than $20 and you can link your tickets, fast passes and memory maker to them. You don't have to feel like the red headed step child in a sea of Magic Bands.

- Fast Passes can be your friend or foe. I had a love/hate relationship with them because in MOST cases I could stand in line for a ride and get through before my Fast Pass time. It does come in handy if you want to visit with the Princesses at the Princess Fairytale Hall because every day we were there the wait was over 2 hours! Also FP's were already gone when I tried to get Brody hooked up to see the Frozen Princesses.

- I can't say anything good or bad about the Character Dining because we didn't do those but Brody didn't seem to care or notice.

- We purchased the Memory Maker and I felt it was a good investment. We paid $150 and got about 150+ photos so I paid $1 for each versus $15 for one.

- Alcohol is not sold at the Magic Kingdom (that I saw) so if you want to get your drink on Epcot is the place to go.....and there are tons of places to choose from and you can taste beer, wine, liquor and whatever else your heart desires from all over the world. I wish I could have eaten at every single restaurant there.

- Since we didn't stay on a Disney property we didn't have a meal plan option and honestly it was OKAY. We didn't spend a ton of money on the property and it wasn't that we were being cheap it just wasn't what we did. We ate breakfast before entering the park, packed snacks but still purchased a few during the day, we did eat lunch on the property all days which cost us around $8-9 each and then we did dinner on the way back to the condo. We did do a nice dinner at Epcot one night and it was expensive....each entree was $20 and our margaritas were $15 each. So, for us, I don't think the meal plan would have been beneficial.

- At least one morning you need get there early enough to see the Magic Kingdom Welcome show. It's a lot of fun and Brody loved seeing them open the park.

- At least one night you have to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade and watch the PHENOMENAL Fireworks afterwards at the castle. We had Fast Passes for this event but we scratched that idea (and I am glad we did) and decided to watch them on Main Street. The Fast Passes would have had us set up right at the castle and we were afraid it would block some of the fireworks. The parade starts at 9 and we sat down on the side of the street around 6:30 to save our spots. People start lining up before that but we took our chances and it worked out.

- If you do Animal Kingdom you need to get there first thing in the morning before it's too hot or you won't be able to see a lot of the animals. I highly suggest the Safari because it was neat to see animals that you typically do not see at the zoo. I was impressed.

- Personally if you have small children I wouldn't waste time going to Hollywood studios because there wasn't a whole lot there for smaller kids. The only rides there are for older kids and adults. This is just my opinion but I didn't enjoy it as much as the other parks. However, we did enjoy the Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage and Disney Junior Live on Stage. I do wish that we could have seen the Fantasmic but we didn't have enough time the particular day we were there because the fireworks didn't start until 9:30 & 10:30 and we already had plans to see the ones at the Magic Kingdom.


- You will spend a ton more money if you have a little girl....a lot of things are geared to your little princesses.

- Disney is a melting pot of people from ALL OVER the world. 

- With that being said.....clothing trends are all over the place. 

- Europeans wore the least amount of clothing....and provocative clothing at that.

- Asian cultures really love themselves some Disney. I mean, decked out from head to toe. 

- Deodorant must be optional in come countries - Yuck.

- You really do feel like a kid again when you enter the gates of the Magic Kingdom.

- If it's your child's first visit they will have sensory overload and possibly meltdown as soon as they step foot in the park.

- Americans are actually very polite when it comes to Disney....can't say too much about others. But all cultures are different in that respect.

- Take tissues for the fireworks, they are beautiful and you will cry or at least tear up. It's amazing.

- You could stay 2 weeks and still not do everything you wanted to do at Disney.

- I don't get the whole "Hidden Mickey" thing but maybe I just don't pay enough attention or get intrigued with that sort of thing.

- As an adult I still enjoyed all the kiddie rides and would ride them even if I wasn't there with Brody.

- I brought a camera but only used it a handful of times. I also DID NOT bring my nice Canon as it was too bulky, I opted for a smaller digital camera.

- Download the Disney app on your phone as it is your friend.

- I barely used my phone while I was there because I was having too much fun.

- If you do bring a stroller make sure you mark it with something so people KNOW it's yours. So many of the strollers are the same name and make. Ours was mistakenly taken (and returned) while we were on a ride and it caused a 30 minute cardiac arrest as our backpack was with it and it contained our car keys.

- Disney must give their workers some type of happy pill because it's seriously the "Happiest Place on Earth" as all of the workers smiles and were super polite. It was like visiting Chick-Fil-A all day....kind of creepy in a way.

I am sure there is a ton more I could come up with but that is all I could come up with right now. We will definitly plan another trip within the next two years and eventually Brody will beg to stay at a resort so we will. You can count on your trip costing a pretty penny ($3k+) if you aren't Florida residents so make the most of it! It truly is an amazing place and I can't wait to go back. 

Foodie Post: Super Easy Sundrop Cake

I have been in a baking mood recently and I guess I have also had "home" on my mind because I have been baking Sundrop cakes like crazy!! Many people around here (GA) aren't familiar with the delicious Sundrop that we all crave in Concord....they are missing out! I have a Sundrop cake recipe that was passed down to me from my Mammaw but it is very time consuming so I was thrilled when I ran across a SUPER easy one on Pinterest that uses boxed ingredients. I was skeptical because I mean I was basically cheating while making this but it turns out that it tastes the same (if not better) than the handed down recipe.....*gasp*. I have had several people ask for the recipe so I figured I would share it in a blog post because it's just that darn good. Enjoy!

Cake Ingredients

1 box of Lemon Cake Mix
1 box of INSTANT lemon pudding
3 eggs
3/4 cup of oil
12 ounces of Sundrop

Icing Ingredients

1 cup of powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons of water (I've always used 2)
Vanilla flavoring (I use a capful)

Baking Instructions
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the cake ingredients together and pour into your  greased bundt pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Let your cake cool before removing it from the pan or you run the risk of your cake falling apart. Pour (or drizzle) icing over cake when it has been transferred to serving plate.

March 31, 2014

Beauty Blog: March Hits!

Spring has sprung and we are officially moving into April so that means it's time for my beauty "hits" for the month of March! This month I used a lot of new products that I was impressed with so I am excited to share those with you. 

Nyx Lip Smacking Fun Colors in Tea Rose #628 ($2.99) - This packed with pigmentation tube is a steal for the quality. I always gravitate towards pinkish nudes and this shade is a beautiful mauve pink. I like the fact that it's highly pigmented and leaves my lips feeling moisturized. This has a nice shine to it and the color pay off lasts for hours! The scent is also nice as it doesn't smell like wax. The only downfall to these shades is the packaging and even the display doesn't give you the true color. You kind of pick these up and hope for the best. However, for how cheap they are I really shouldn't complain because I was impressed. I am looking forward to trying some more from this line because they do have some other shades that would be great for Spring. 

L'Oreal Lashout Butterfly Mascara in Blackest Black ($7.99) - I have had this for a while but I used it a lot this month. When I don't want a very heavy, full effect this mascara is great because it doesn't pack a ton of product on your lashes but still gives a beautiful full, feathered effect. The wand is what makes this mascara amazing because it's almost like an angled comb that feathers your lashes out to make the "butterfly effect". This mascara would be great for everyday wear because this doesn't give you a false lash effect -- it's very simple and natural. I didn't buy the waterproof formula and I was impressed with the staying power of this formula....it lasts all day but you don't have to scrub your lashes off trying to remove the product at night! It's a Win/Win if you ask me. 

Maybelline Expert Wear Quad in Autum Coppers ($5.99) - This was mentioned in a YouTube guru's video and I had been eyeing it for a while and I decided to pick it up after she raved about it. I am so glad I did because I have used it a ton this month. The colors are very complimentary to brown, green or hazel eyes. The colors are velvety soft and pretty pigmented. I do notice that they last longer when I wear a primer than when I forget to. There are 4 shades: base, eyelid, crease and liner so it's simple to use for those that aren't sure where they need to apply each color. It's fool proof. This should be a staple in your collection of shadows. 

Nyx Slide on, Glide on, and Definietly a Turn On Waterproof Eyeliner in Jet Black($8.00) - This liner from Nyx has won several beauty mag awards and I can see why because it's a great liner. It's waterproof so it's great to use in your waterlines and it glides on without a ton of tugging. It's mechanical so you don't have to worry about using a sharpener. This line also carries several other shades; some are very bright so if you play around with colored liners be sure to check this line out because it is a good product. As far as the lasting power, it lasts most of the day but it doesn't have the staying power like some of the liquid liners I have used but it will last around 8-9 hours. 

L'Oreal Miracle Blur Instant Eye Smoother ($20.00) - I have several problem areas around my eyes; underneath my eyes are pretty dark and I have several small fine lines around that area that I wanted to blur. This product just came out and I picked it up because the Miracle Blur worked wonders on my face. This has the same concept as it helps blur and diminish the appearance of fine lines in your eye area and it helps fade dark circles in 4+ weeks. I can tell a difference in my eye area when I use this because it does seem to lighten and blur my lines. I have also found that it helps my concealer glide on easier and it doesn't settle in my fine lines underneath my eyes. 

Nyx Illuminator in Narcissistic ($9.00) - I am a sucker for highlighters so I had to try this when I saw it at Ulta. It's the prettiest shade and highlights without a ton of sparkle on your face; it's very subtle. This would be pretty on any skin tone in my opinion. I like that this is a pretty pink, nude shade so it works well with about any shade of blush. It gives a nice healthy, youthful light to your cheekbones. This color has also won several beauty magazine awards so it's truly a great product. The pigmentation is amazing, the price is fair and the staying power is great. There are 4 shades in this line so there is one to compliment all skin tones. 

L'Oreal Revitalift Moisture Blur ($20.00) - I had ran out of my Miracle Blur and was beyond excited when this came out because I was on the fence about the formula with the original product. I am in LOVE with their new Moisture Blur because it has everything I need in one tube. It has 24 hour hydration, SPF and it helps blur the imperfections in my face. It basically mattes everything out so the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, large pores and pigmentation problems are barely noticeable. I wear this under my make-up and some days I just wear it alone if I am not wanting to put my face on but need to run errands. This is totally a holy grail item for me -- I will continue using this as long as they make it!! 

That wraps up my "hits" for the month of the March and this month I have no misses to talk about which is a good thing. That says I didn't waste money on beauty products that turned out to be crap. As always, thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions on the products I have mentioned in this blog post! 

March 18, 2014

Product Empties: Yay or Nay?

This beauty blog post is basically highlighting all the "empties" (products I have used up) I have been collecting the past few months and letting you know how I liked them and if I would repurchase them or not. I enjoy reading these types of blogs and watching them on YouTube because you can get really good feedback because the person took the time to use the entire product so they have a good review based on emptying the container. So without dragging this out any further let me just get to the good stuff...my empties!

Bausch + Lomb Bio true - I have the worst luck when it comes to products for my eyes because they are so sensitive. It doesn't matter if it's makeup or contact solutions; I always manage to get a hold of something that irritates my eyes. I have been using this solution from B+L for over a year or two and it's the only one that seems to keep my eyes happy. My contacts stay fresh and clean without making them look like I just chopped an onion. This solution unlike the others is pH balanced to match your tears so it's basically working like your own eyes. The bottle states that it conditions, cleans, removes protein, disinfects, rinses and stores. It's good for soft contacts including silicone hydrogel lenses. This definitely is a YAY!

Olay Fresh Effects S'Wipe Out Makeup Removal Cloths - I purchased this as a clearance item at Publix and that should have been a red flag. I won't say that these are horrible because it's not the worst I have used but I did not like them as much as other towelettes I've tried. These were soft and the scent wasn't horrible but I felt that it didn't really remove my makeup as well as others have. I also didn't like the way my skin felt afterwards  because it's almost like it left a film of some sort on my face when I was finished. I will say I didn't like that if I even got anywhere near my eyes it would burn so using this to remove my eye makeup was impossible. This is a NAY!

Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo - This has been my favorite for a while now because I truly feel this makes my hair healthier. I picked this one out of the Organix line because it targets dry and damaged hair which is what I suffer from. I have very long hair which I dry and style with hot rollers so my hair suffers. This makes my already thick hair feel lighter and shinier. I also can't get over the smell -- it's heavenly. I like for my shampoo scents to linger and this does for at least 2-3 days. My hair is so dry that I usually wash mine every 2 days and the scent is still there when it's time to wash it again. I also like that this is sulfate free so it's not stripping my hair with harsh ingredients. This is a YAY!

 Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White toothpaste - I've been using this for months and like that it's a whitening toothpaste that doesn't hurt my gums. Most whitening pastes are too harsh on my teeth and gums and this one isn't. It leaves my mouth feeling very clean and seems to keep them whiter. This is a YAY!

Equate Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes - These are my trusty wipes that I always go back to. I tend to try new ones once in a while but keep going back to these at Wal-Mart. This is their version of the Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes. They work great and even get most of my waterproof mascara off and the scent is nice. I will say that when you get down to the last 10 towelettes they are really soaked so they can burn your eyes a tad but it's only the final few wipes.This is most definitely a YAY!

Kiss Everlasting French Petites Nails - These things are awesome and I am addicted to them. They last 7-10 days without chipping or breaking and they look real. They are thin so they look like your natural nail and I love the fact the offer the petite sizes for smaller hands. I use the "5 Second Nail Glue" with these and they are stuck on for days. I am always getting asked where I get my nails done and people look shocked when I tell them they are the Kiss Nails from your local drugstore. Seriously, check these out. They are great for special occasions or those who don't want the commitment to Acrylic Nails. They also don't tear up your nail bed like the Acrylic ones do so this one is a YAY!

Garnier Fructis Volume Extend Dry Shampoo - I was on the fence with this dry shampoo because I was torn for various reasons. First of all, I loved the smell. It made my hair smell fresh and clean. It was lightweight so it didn't weigh my hair down and it did add texture when applied to freshly clean hair. It didn't leave much of a powdery residue on my hair but I found it did leave it on my scalp which I could not stand. None of my other dry shampoos have done that. I will say that it did what it claimed; Extend volume, didn't weigh my hair down and it made it full and bouncy. However, I can't hang with the buildup it left behind so sadly this will be a NAY!

L'Oreal Revitalift Miracle Blur (Original Formula) - I was cursed with larger pores and dry skin so when this came out I was ecstatic. This is an instant skin smoother that helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, pores and imperfections. It totally does all of that and almost works as a primer for your foundation. I am in love with the concept and the final product but I wasn't a fan of the texture of the original formula. With that being said they have TWO NEW formulas; Oil Free and the Moisturizer. I am in LOOOOVVVEEE with the Moisture Blur one because it's an all in one for me (moisturizes and blurs). This truly works and is worth the $20 so this is a YAAAYYYYYYY!

Fing'rs Prints Press-on Nails - This brand has some of the cutest nail styles/art that are so easy to use and are great for special occasions. I tried the ones that I have pictured for a "date night" and I was impressed. The only downfall to these is that they are press-on so they don't have the staying power for long wear. It says you could wear them 5-7 days but I am not so sure about that. Mine were pretty loose after applying so you definitely have to be careful while wearing them. I wish they made these so you could use nail glue. I tried peeling off the adhesive and it was too much work but I still think these are a YAY!! I will buy these again because they're to precious to pass up. 

Physician's Formula Fake-Out Mascara - This mascara is great for those who suffer from super sensitive eyes and want a full lash effect. The mascara itself is 100% organic so you aren't putting a ton of harsh chemicals on your lashes...BUT that is part of the downfall of this product because it's not offered in a waterproof formula. I prefer waterproof formulas because my eyes tend to water so I would get some product transfer when wearing this. However, the formula and brush is amazing because it produces a very full, thick lash effect that is similar to false lashes. I would buy this again if I didn't have issues with watery eyes because it's great for sensitive eyes as well as those who wear contacts. So in my opinion this would be a YAY! I actually have saved the wand of this mascara so I can use it with some of my other mascaras because it coats each and every lash!

Wilkinson Sword Tech 3 Cartridges - I absolutely hate paying a fortune for razors and luckily I stumbled across this brand at Wal-Mart. I was a Venus user for years and the cost of cartridges just burned me up so I decided to try this brand that is available at Wal-Mart. I bought the ladies razor which is called the Wilkinson "Oasis" and then I bought the Tech 3 cartridges because four cost you $6!!! I get a nice clean shave in all areas and I didn't pay an arm and leg for it. It leaves my legs super smooth and I have never been nicked. The cartridges have 3 blades and the Aloe/Vitamin E strip. I have been using these for at least 3 years if not longer so this is a definite YAY!! 

Wet-n-Wild H20 Proof Eyeliner - If you follow my blog you should know I would have an empty of this gem. I love the WnW H20 proof liner because once it's on it doesn't fade or transfer. I love the felt tip brush because I can do a thin or thick line that looks nice and it's super easy to apply. The formula is nice because it doesn't goop up after a few uses like some of the other liquid liners do. I still lover my L'Oreal liquid liner but this one is just as good and easier to use in my opinion. The best part of this liner is that it's dirt cheap and works just as good (if not better) than the high end brands. So, yes, this is a 100% YAY

That wraps up my empties for the past few months! I hope that this post has been helpful or gave you some insight on products that you may have been thinking about purchasing. As always, thanks for reading and be on the lookout for my next post. It may be an entry for "A Must or Bust" because I have tried several new products that hit the market in January and February! 

March 8, 2014

Beauty Blog: February "Hits & MIsses"

The month of February flew by and is now over so that means it's time for me to share my favorite beauty products of the month plus a couple of "misses" that I encountered. I have tried several new products this past month and I am excited to share those with you because I was amazed by a few of them! So, with that, let's just get on with the reviews for this month -- sorry if there are repeats, I think I may have one but it means it's just that good!!

 Garnier Skin Renew BB Cream ($12.00) - I am pretty sure I have mentioned this before in a beauty blog post but I can't get over how good this BB cream really is. I have now tried FIVE drugstore BB creams and this is the only one that I have liked and use a ton. I like the fact that this has SPF 10 in it and that the coverage is almost as good as your typical medium-full coverage foundations. I use the shade "Light/Medium" and it's a perfect match to my skin tone. The only thing I noticed is that some days it gives me too much of a dewy effect so I use powder to matte it out. If you are a very oily person you would definitely want to matte it out because it may end up making you look more oily than normal. The staying power is amazing as it lasts all day until you take it off with whatever method you use for removing your makeup. I use this on days when I don't feel like doing a full face and I have also used this on days where I do apply I full face. Either way I am in love with this product.

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette ($52.00) - This came out around the holidays and had a lot of hype surrounding it's debut. The Naked 3 palette has 12 shades in various shades of rose gold -- only 3 of those are matte shadows. I have really enjoyed this palette because you can do all types of looks with it so it's very versatile and that makes it worth the purchase in my opinion. I will say that I found this palette to have a lot of fall out so you have to be careful when applying your eyeshadow. I would be interested to see if the Naked 2 palette has an issue with fallout because that would be a deal breaker for me. I will say I am completely in love with the following shades in this pallet: Strange, Nooner, Factory, Dark Side, Liar and Trick. 

Maybelline Master Hi-Lighting Blush in Nude ($8.00) - OMG! I didn't think anything could top my favorite blush, Luminoso by Milani but this has. I have not stopped wearing it since I purchased it in January! Maybelline has 6 shades in this line and I purchase the Nude and Coral. This is an all in one product that highlights as well as gives you a hint of natural color on your cheeks. Out of the two I purchased the Nude is my favorite but I think once I get a tan the Coral shade will look great too. This is a must have in your makeup collection! It's fool proof if you are intimidated by highlighters. 

Benefit's "They're Real!" Mascara ($23.00) - I received a trial size tube of this from Sephora for my birthday and I've been obsessed with it. If you want to splurge a little on your mascara then you should check this one out! It's amazing how full your lashes look with just one coat of this stuff. After 2 coats your lashes could pass as falsies. Don't get me wrong...I still LOVE all of my L'Oreal mascaras but if I ever wanted to buy a higher end mascara this would be the one. It doesn't irritate my sensitive eyes and it lasts all day long. I think the brush is what makes this mascara so amazing because the bristles are separated enough that you don't get clumps and each lash is coated with the mascara. It's going to be a sad day when I get to the bottom of this mascara tube because I may be forced to buy the full size expensive tube. 

Nyx Butter Glosses ($4.99) - My CVS just recently started carrying NYX products so I am a virgin when it comes to this line. I picked up two tubes of the butter glosses and I questioned why I didn't try these sooner at Ulta. First of all, they smell AMAZING and the formula isn't sticky like you get with most of your lip glosses. It really does melt onto you lips after applying and they're packed with pigmentation. I can't stop buying these when I go into CVS because I think I am addicting to them. They are great to wear alone or on top of a shade. The ones that I have picked up and loved are: Tiramisu, Peach Cobbler and Apple Strudel.

Nyx Soft Matte Lip Cream ($5.99) - I typically steer clear of matte lip shades because I feel they make my lips look dried out. I bought one matte shade in this line and I was impressed with the outcome. This line does not make my lips look like a dried up raisin and the color payoff is phenomenal. I also love the smell of these too. I typically apply one of the Nyx Butter Glosses over it but I really don't have to -- I think it's just habit. The shades that I have tried and loved are: Stockholm, Antwerp and San Paulo. I can't wait to buy a few more of these because they have changed my opinion on matte lipsticks.

L'Oreal Silkissime Eyeliner in Plum ($8.00) - I had been looking for a nice cobalt blue liner and ran across this one at CVS. Even though the packaging says "Plum" I swear it's a dark cobalt blue. This glides nicely over your lid and has all day staying power. It also doesn't irritate my super sensitive eyes like most liners do. They currently have 4 shades available in the drugstore. They claim this lasts up to 16 hours and as I cant attest to to that it does last all day until I take it off with my makeup remover. If you aren't a fan of liquid liners then you may want to try this line because the colors are deep and rich but last all day. 

So, now time for the misses for February......

Physian's Formula Shimmer Strips All-in-One Nude Pallette ($13.99) - This is supposed to be an all in one box of color. You can use it as a highlighter, contouring and for eye shadows. In my opinion this is a FAIL. It's completely hard to use that way because the tiny blocks of color mix all together and when reading the instructions you walk away more puzzled than you did before you started. I basically have to use this as an eyeshadow palette because it's too hard to use it any other way. The color pigmentation is great, not a lot of fall out but for how they want this to be used isn't practical. 

Revlon Colorburst Laquer Balm ($7.00) - I picked up two of these when they first hit the drugstore because I had watched several guru's raving about them. Honestly, I don't get the hype. These things do nothing for me and the color pay off is poor. I know it's supposed to be a lightweight, sheer coverage but I don't feel like it even does that. I applied both of them and it looks like I have nothing on my lips. I was really disappointed in these and it makes me sad to think I wasted $14 on two products that are pointless. 

There y'all have it ladies -- my hits and misses for February. I hope this has been helpful! 

February 11, 2014

Tasty Tuesday Recipe: Cream of Broccoli Soup (SUPER EASY and transfers to Crock Pot)

Since Mother Nature hasn't been able to make up her mind concerning the weather we go through spells of summer meals and winter meals in a matter of one week. For instance, on Sunday it was a very comfortable 70 degrees but today it was a nasty wet 45 degrees. I was freezing my tail off this morning and I wanted something warm, filling and comforting for dinner and Cream of Broccoli soup came to my mind. After researching several recipes online I found one that I liked but I made a few adjustments and it was everything I wanted it to be plus more! I was really impressed with how easy it was to prep and how delicious it tasted hours later! So, here is my recipe for a hearty Cream of Broccoli soup! I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as ours did. This filled up my entire crock pot so I am assuming it serves at least 12!


- One stick of butter (I used salted)
- One medium white onion, chopped
- (2) 32 Ounce containers of Chicken broth or 64 ounces chicken broth
- (2) 16 Ounce packages of frozen chopped broccoli florets
- 2 pounds of processed cheese food loaf (I used the WalMart brand), cubed 
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
- 2/3 cup of cornstarch
- 1 cup of water (I substituted with chicken broth) -- Save this for Step #3!!! 


1. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Cook chopped onion in butter until softened. Stir in broccoli florets and cover with chicken broth. Simmer until broccoli is tender, 10 - 15 minutes. Once the broccoli is tender you can leave the pot as is with large florets or use a hand mixer to puree them in the pot so that you have smaller pieces. This can also be done in a blender if you don't have a hand mixer. 

2. Reduce heat, and stir in your cheese cubes until they are completely melted. Mix in your milk, heavy cream and garlic powder. Stir all ingredients until they are well mixed. 

3. In a separate bowl add the 2/3 cup of cornstarch with 1 cup of water of chicken broth. Stir well, making sure it is not clumpy. Slowly add this mixture to the crock pot while stirring at the same time and this will thicken your soup instantly.

4. Transfer soup to your crock pot and set to "Low" and let cook at least 4 hours. You can top with shredded cheese or bacon for added flavor. 

February 1, 2014

Beauty Blog: My "Hits & Misses" for January 2014

I swear it feels like I just posted my December "Hits & Misses"! I can't believe how fast January flew by and we even had 31 days this month! January was a weird make-up month for me because my skin has been so dry that I felt like anything and everything I put on my face looked horrible. I have never had such a hard time with my dry skin until this year. I'm also pale as pale can be so that always makes your skin look worse than it really is. Luckily, I was sent a bottle of self tanner to review so that helped me out in the color department last week! I also found that I didn't purchase a lot of new items this month to add to my collection; I am trying hard to use up what I have. I am also saving my money for the day that our ULTA opens in Albany! I can't wait to do a little shopping in there once they open their doors in February. I am hoping they have some really good sales and deals to go along with their grand opening. Without further ado here are my "Hits & Misses" for January.


Garnier Skin Renew BB Cream ($11.99) in Light/Medium Shade - This has to be the best drugstore BB cream currently on the market. It's great for days when you want more of a no make-up face but still want a hint of coverage. It actually gives you more than a "hint" of color; in my opinion it's almost a full coverage shade. It's creamy and feels wonderful on my face. This does everything that it claims: evens out skin tone, blurs imperfections and gives a radiant glow. My skin looks so alive and healthy when I use this BB cream. I was also impressed with how light weight the formula was and the smell was pleasant. I also like the fact that this contains SPF 15. 

L'Oreal 24HR Infalliable Eye Shadow in Golden Emerald ($6.99) - This line of shadows is one of my favorites from the drug store. The pigmentation is outstanding and it has high end quality at a drug store price. I used Golden Emerald a lot this month and it's not your average forest green color. This has flecks of dark and olive green along with gold shimmer. There is nothing matte about this shade. I pair this with a dark purple crease and it really makes my hazel eyes pop. It is also beautiful paired with a dark chocolate brown crease. If you really want a vibrant green it's best to apply this slightly damp and it pops off your lid! Used with a primer this lasts all day without fading or creasing. 

L'Oreal Linear Intense in Carbon Black ($7.94) - Y'all know I love my WnW H2O eyeliner but this is giving it a run for it's money!! I decided to try this after reading great reviews online. I was a bit intimidated by the brush but it's super easy to use. It has a very small natural bristle brush but it gives you a nice sleek line that is bold. It's crazy how thin of a line you can get with this even though it has a brush end versus the felt tip end. I like that it stays put all day without fading or transferring. It doesn't run when you sweat or tear up. It's super easy to remove with an eye make-up remover or towelette. I have used this non-stop since I purchased it over a month ago and that speaks volumes. 

Revlon Colorstay Brow Enhancer in Light Brown ($9.99) - As much as I hate to admit this I feel like my brows are thinning. I do NOT over wax or pluck -- I really should clean them up more than I do but I feel the my brown brows aren't as vibrant as they used to be. Is that possible with age?!? I used this brown enhancer a lot this month and it helped fill in my brows making them look thicker and fuller. I like that the brown shade isn't too dark as it's more like a dark ash blonde. The enhancer comes with two ends as one is used for the brow and the champagne color is used for highlighting your brow bone. I typically don't use that end but it is a nice shade to highlight with. 

Kiss Everlasting French Nails ($7.99) - I have been addicted to these this past month and for a good reason. They are great!! If you don't want the commitment of acrylic nails but have a special occasion or just want a set of nice nails these are wonderful. They are thin and so natural looking that if applied correctly you can get at least 7-10 days wear out of them without having to worry about them popping off. I have worn these while doing the dishes, laundry, cleaning, etc. and they don't budge! I am seriously in love with them and even more so that I don't have to commit to the upkeep of acrylic nails. Check out my video on the best way to apply these :)

5 Second Original Salon Nail Glue ($3.99) - This might as well be compared to super glue because it's that strong. Once this bonds with your nail you don't have to worry about losing a nail. It also literally dries within 5 seconds so you have to be careful not to get this stuck to your fingers while applying your nails or it is a little painful. The good part is that once you do remove your fake nails this glue hasn't ruined your original nail and cleans off easily with acetone remover. This is made in several different formulas/packaging but this is the one I prefer and found that works the best for me. 

L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess in Blackest Black ($7.97) - Holy Cow! Just when I thought I had the perfect mascara from L'Oreal they did it again with this tube of loveliness. The special brush makes clumping almost non-existent and it coats each individual lash. After one coat of this my lashes look longer and fuller. I can't get over how impressive the mascara's are from L'Oreal and this one is currently my favorite out of all of them! I didn't buy the waterproof formula in this and I will tell you that if shed a ton of tears it will run but otherwise it stays put until you take it off. I also feel like this formula isn't as harsh on my lashes as the others are. 

Famous Dave*s Self Tanner (Small Batch Reserve) in Light/Medium ($38.00 online) - I was so lucky to have this bottle of self tanner to review from Dave of "Famous Dave*s Self Tanner" this month. I was a nice shade of pale and needed some color on my skin and this did the trick! I am usually weary of self tanner's because many leave you looking like an orange streaky hot mess but this one impressed me. I applied it after I exfoliated my skin in the shower and the next morning I woke up a nice shade of a natural tan. I loved that the lotion was almost fragrance free and was super easy to rub into my skin. Some tanners give you a work out just trying to apply it but this didn't and absorbed quickly. I went to bed directly after application and it didn't transfer on my pajamas or my bed linens. I was determined to give this an honest review even though the company was generous enough to send me a free full size bottle and the only bad thing I can say about it was there still has that slight smell of self tanner (y'all know what I am talking about) but it wasn't overpowering like most. I wish I had taken a before/after picture because the quality of the tan and the shade it produces it phenomenal. I have applied this once so I know if I wanted a richer shade of tan I could apply a second and it look great but I was so pale to begin with that it would look "too fake" if I did that. I am doing a giveaway with this product BUT....here's the catch....you gotta watch my video on YouTube to get the details. However, if you are interested in purchasing your own bottle head over to their website to check out their line as they have several different tanners to choose from! They have their lotion tanners as well as a mousse tanner and mist tanner. They have a tanner specifically for your face and even offer an exfoliating cleaner along with a bunch of other goodies. The best part is this product is out of NORTH CAROLINA so for my hometown friends it's always good to support our local businesses. Check out their website: www.famousdavestanner.com/!!

Watt's Up Highlighter by Benefit ($30.00) - I received a travel size of this at Sephora for my December birthday gift and I have been obsessed with it since then! This is the *perfect* champagne color and would look fabulous on any skin tone. It's a cream stick that turns into powder once applied. It doesn't have sparkle but leaves a nice soft focus sheen wherever you decide to apply it. I use it on my cheek bones and down the bridge of my nose and it gives the prettiest hint of perfection. It brightens without blinding you as it just adds a subtle glow. I will definitely go and pick up the full size version when I run out of my sample size because it's that freaking awesome. A little also goes a long way so I can justify the price. 

Viva la Juicy Noir by Juicy Couture ($70.00) - Simply amazing is all I can say about this fragrance. For Christmas I received a gift set with all three Viva la Juicy scents and I have fallen in love with this. I have worn the original scent for the past 3-4 years but the Noir tops that. It's very similar to the original but this is a tad heavier and would be perfect for the Fall/Winter if you are a seasonal scent fan. Along with the original scent they have added hints of honeysuckle, sandalwood and berry. This scent is more of a sexy scent where the original is more playful. I will say that I found the original lasts longer than the Noir....however, I love smelling it so I don't mind reapplying it :) 


A! Absolute Make-up Cleansing Tissues with Pomegranate Extract ($6.99) - I received this in my January iPSY bag and I think this is the most foul smelling make-up towelette I have ever used. I honestly can't even tell you how well the product worked because I only used it on half of my face before my gag reflex kicked in and I was desperately trying to find my other wipes to get the scent off of my face. Online this product has really good reviews and maybe it does work great but I just can't handle the smell. The worst part was even after I used my Equate wipes the scent still lingered on my face. Yuck. These will be given to a friend or thrown in the trash because I can't use them. 

L'Oreal Youth Code Illuminating BB Cream ($12.99) - This was featured in my first "A Must or A Bust" video so obviously it was a miss for me this month. I was so happy when I saw this at CVS because I am a sucker for illuminators but this was just overkill. It left my face looking almost greasy/oily and it didn't even out my skin tone like the Garnier BB cream. I had high hopes for this because I love L'Oreal products (as you can tell from my hits this month) but this was just an epic fail in my opinion. If you even have a trace of oily skin this would not work for you at all because I have very dry skin and hated it. I couldn't find my receipt so I didn't return it so I have been using it as a highlighter/illuminator strictly on my cheek bones and it seems to work well for that so I guess it's not a complete miss....but it still fails as a BB cream! 

As always, thanks for reading my blog and be sure to check out my coordinating YouTube video for the details on how to get your own full size bottle of "Famous Dave*s Self Tanner"! I should have a new video for "A Must or A Bust" up soon so please stay tuned. Until then take care and let me know if there are any products out there that you would like a review on :) 

January 26, 2014

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

This past week my husband asked me if I could make him Chicken Cacciatore so I hit my trusty recipe sites searching for a good recipe. I have never made this dish mainly because I was a bit intimidated by it. I had seen recipes in the past and they seemed so involved and even though I enjoy a challenge in the kitchen this was one I wasn't interested in. First, I typically don't cook Italian because the only the person that eats it in our house is my husband and secondly I hate tomatoes. However, I decided to give in and make this since Mike specifically asked for it. After browsing for what seemed an eternity on the web I came across one for the crock pot and it seemed easy enough so I gave it whirl. I am glad that I did because my husband enjoyed it and it did make my kitchen smell phenomenal. I did tweak this recipe from the original one I found on the blog "Stuff I Make My Husband". I have made the changes below that I took from her recipe. Once cooked I served this with angel hair pasta, mixed green salad and garlic bread. My husband said this was a keeper so if your family enjoys Italian food and you want something that you can set and forget then you should definitely try this recipe! This recipe will serve 4 people. 

- 2 lbs of skinless chicken thighs (I used bone in. DO NOT use chicken breast for this recipe!)
- 1 bag of frozen onion, peppers and celery mix. (If you can't find that then any onion mix will do)
- 3 Tbs of tomato paste
- 1 Tbs of extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced (I used the pre-minced garlic in the jar)
- 1/3 oz of dried mushrooms (I used Porcini and my food processor to grind them up)
- 8 oz of sliced mushrooms (I used pre-sliced Baby Bella)
- 1 can of diced tomatoes (I used the can with green chilis because we love spice)
- 1/2 tsp of dried Italian seasoning
- 1/3 cup of a dry red wine
- 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine the frozen veggie mix, dried mushrooms, garlic, oil, tomato paste and pepper flakes into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes.

2. Add the above ingredients along with sliced mushrooms, wine, dried seasoning and diced tomatoes to the slow cooker. Stir to combine all ingredients well.

3. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Nestle the thighs into the sauce.

4. Cook 4-6 hours on Low. I did turn mine up to high halfway through because I didn't start this until later in the day.

January 15, 2014

Beauty Post: Beauty Favorites of 2013

Hey Guys! I hope that all of you are having a fabulous week and are staying warm. I am a bit behind with this post but I still wanted to get it up for everyone since I have been receiving great feedback from friends, family and followers regarding my posts. It makes me feel so incredibly good that I have been helpful to you regarding beauty products that you have been trying from my blog/vlog posts. I seriously can't tell you how much it means or thank you enough!!! It's so awesome!

When picking the products that I am featuring in this post I highlighted the ones that I used the most in 2013. These products are the ones I applied and used almost on a weekly if not daily basis so you can guarantee that I love them and stand behind the product. I am going to try not to elaborate too much on the products because most of these have been mentioned in previous posts. If you do see something that you want more information or feedback on please leave me a comment below or send me a message on Facebook; I will be more than happy to answer them! So, without chatting up a storm, here are my 2013 favorites.....they are in no particular order so please excuse the randomness. There are a lot of products that I am covering so as I mentioned in my video this will be a longer post than my typical ones.

Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream ($12.99) - This is the most amazing BB cream that I have tried from a drugstore (I have tried 5). It's coverage can be compared to a foundation because it literally gives you medium coverage and helps conceal flaws/pigmentation. It's very moisturizing without leaving a greasy residue or shine on your face. I have used this alone and under my foundation and it works well both ways. I use the shade Light/Medium and it matches perfectly and blends out smoothly. You definitely wouldn't wear this for full coverage but just for an every day "non" makeup face this is perfect!

Revlon Colorstay Whipped ($10.97) - This is one of my favorite drug store gems! The foundation is lightweight but provides medium to full coverage. It is supposed to give you 24 hour coverage and I would have to agree that it lasts all day. I do not have a problem with this oxidizing or sweating off of my face during the summer. I use the shade 220 - Nude and I use this during the Spring and Summer only. I have very dry skin and I find that this is too drying for me during the Fall/Winter months so I have to switch foundations. However, I love this foundation and think it's great for normal to dry skin types. The only downfall with this product is the packaging because it's too bulky and hard to store.

Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse ($7.97) - I must admit that I am not normally a fan of Maybelline foundations but this one blew me away. The formula is wonderful for those of you that suffer from dry, dull skin. This provides a medium to full coverage and keeps my skin feeling hydrated throughout the day. This has been a lifesaver for me during these cold months because I've really suffered from dry skin. I wear the shade 200 - Creamy Natural. When you open the package don't let the foundation in the compact scare you because it does look like a pot of grease but it doesn't appear that way on your skin.

L'Oreal Revitalift Miracle Blur Instant Skin Smoother ($19.99) - This is something that you are going either love or hate. And I have had an ongoing love/hate relationship with it myself....BUT...it does work great so I wanted to include it because I have worn this a ton. I can only describe this as a type of primer but it's not really a primer because it's used to blur your imperfections on your face. This weird cream basically blurs the look of fine lines, wrinkles and pores. Amazingly, it works. When I wear this I can tell a difference and it does help minimize the appearance of my pores. I believe the reason I have this love/hate thing going on with it is due to the consistency of the formula. It's a thick paste that you have to blend into your face and it is somewhat tacky to the touch and I don't care for it. However, they do have a "Oil Free" version now that is a gel so I may try that next because I think I will like that much better.

e.l.f. High Definition Powder in Sheer ($6.00) - I am not a huge facial powder person because I do have dry skin but this is an exception. This is a great white translucent powder that helps soften the appearance of your fine lines and wrinkles. This is a "must" in the world of photography because it does help produce an airbrushed, soft finish. This is said to be a dupe for the HD powder by Makeup For Ever which is pretty pricey.

MAC Definitely Defined Extra Dimension Skinfinish ($32.99) - This is a really nice highlighter that I enjoy using during the summer when I have some sun on my skin. I have found that when I am pale I don't enjoy wearing this as much as my Fergie highlighter. This has a nice sheen that doesn't have any glitter or flecks light some highlighters. It can be a bit bold so a little really does go a long way so you can justify the price because you will hold on to this compact for a while. It does have two shades but I just swirl the two together to get a nice shade of pearly light pink. My favorite areas to use this is on my cheekbones, bridge of my nose and cupids bow. This also can be used to highlight your browbone and a nice shade of eyeshadow. Very versatile product in my opinion.

Wet n Wild Fergie Centerstage Collection "To Reflect" Shimmer Palette in Rose Champagne Glow ($5.99) - Wow. Wow. Wow. This is the most stunning highlighter that I have ever used. It floors me that this is actual made by Wet n Wild because the quality is outstanding. It's the perfect highlighter because it's not too shimmery or overpowering like the MAC can be. It provides just the right amount of highlight that looks so natural and pretty. I honestly would choose this over the MAC when it comes to repurchasing one or the other. It's finely milled, highly pigmented and the staying power is phenomenal....a must in your collection!

Physicians Formula Bronze Booster Glow-Boosting Sun Stones in Light to Medium ($12.99) - Bronzers are always an iffy thing to purchase because many of them can leave you looking like a clown. I actually *hate* picking out bronzers because it's difficult to choose the right one. Luckily, you don't have that problem with the Physicians Formula Sun Stones because these are the perfect shade that provides just the right amount of sun kissed color without leaving you muddy or orange. These stones don't pack on color like a pressed powder bronzer so this is best to just use around your face for a hint of color NOT for contouring. I also like this bronzer because you don't have a ton of gold sparkle all over your face after application.

Physicians Formula Bronze Booster Airbrushing Bronzing Veil Deluxe Edition in Light to Medium ($15.99) - This by far is my favorite out of the 2 bronzers I own by PF. This is the perfect color for contouring fair skin. So many bronzers are too dark and muddy on light skin and this is the perfect shade of brown. This is buildable and blends out easily with your kabuki brush. I also love the fact that there is minimal shimmer in this bronzer too. This will definitely be a bronzer that I will repurchase once I have finished this compact. The picture makes the brown look very dark but I promise you it's not -- it's the most perfect shade of "sun".

Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso ($6.99) - Talk about a "Holy Grail" item!!! This is beyond the most FABULOUS color on the planet earth. I adore this shade by Milani and I can guarantee you that you will too. It would look amazing on any shade of skin because it's the perfect mixture of coral and pink. It is a pretty Mosaic of pinks, corals and gold shimmer but once applied it gives you the prettiest glow. It's highly pigmented, blends easily, buildable and lasts all day. It's the perfect blush. It is also said to be a dupe for Nars's "Orgasm". You need this in your life and you can thank me later! Seriously, buy this because you won't regret it.

Wet n Wild Color Icon Blusher in Pearlescent Pink ($2.99) - Once again, WnW has amazed me. This blush is so similar to the Milani shade "Luminoso" but is a tad pinker. It's more pigmented than Milani's and the staying power is insane. I also think this shade would be perfect for any skin tone because it's just so natural and pretty. I did tend to wear this shade more in the Spring and Summer because it was a bit darker than the Luminoso but I loved it just as much as the Milani. The crazy thing is the price of this blush because the quality ranks right up there with higher end blushes!

Stila Eyeshadow in Kitten ($18.00) - Another "Holy Grail" item in my collection that I use every single time I apply makeup to my face. I kid you not....every. single. time. If there were a "perfect shade" this would be it for me. I use this as an all over color because it's such a beautiful champagne color. It is the right amount of sheen without being to blingy. I even like to pack on a little more color at my brow bone and inner corners of my eyes to use as a highlighter because it does help brighten everything up. This is HIGHLY pigmented and I never have a problem with it creasing on my lids. It lasts all day long even without using a primer. I have had my pod a year and I still have at least 6-8 months of use out of it. Run to your local Sephora or Ulta and pick this up because I don't think you will regret it.

Maybelline "Bad to the Bronze" 24 Hour Color Tattoo by Eye Studio ($5.99) - These cream shadows made their debut in the drugstores this past year so naturally I had to try them. I have 5 shades in this line and the "Bad to the Bronze" was my most used this year. This is a very creamy shade that stays on your lid until you use some type of remover to take it off. I like to use this as a base color too when I am using neutral shades because it does help those colors pop. This has a lot of sheen to it so don't come near this shade if you are a matte only shadow user.

"Silent Treatment" trio by Wet n Wild ($2.99) - Love, Love, Love this trio from WnW!! Their shadows are so buttery, smooth and blendable. I own almost every trio they offer and this was the one I used the most out of all of them. It's the perfect combination of colors and I have even used them with other shadows. These are highly pigmented and these don't have a problem with creasing. I have found they do last longer with a primer than without. The only downfall about the WnW shadows is the packaging -- it's cheap but other than that you really can't complain because the quality of the product is outstanding.

"Comfort Zone" Pallet by Wet n Wild ($4.99) - This is a great natural palette that would be perfect for those who have brown, green or hazel eyes. The color pay off with these shades is unbelievable and rank up there with high end shadows such as Urban Decay (I'm not kidding). This palette does not have any matte shades; all 8 shades have sheen or shimmer. I like this palette because it's very versatile and you can make a day and night look using just this palette. The color combinations you can use are endless because they all compliment one another and you have the 8 shades to play with. Once again, the only con on this product is the cheap packaging. Be prepared to have a dusty black palette within a couple of uses.

L'Oreal 24 Hr. infalliable Eye Shadow in "Amber Rush" ($ 6.97) - Another color that I think everyone should own because it's so beautiful. I have raved about this shadow since the day I purchased it because it's gorgeous and the pigmentation is unbelievable. It's a pretty copper, rose gold shade that blends easily on your lid but stays put until you take it off. I have several shades from this line and they are all great but this was the one I used the most last year. I reached for this shade at least 2-3 times a week because I fell in love with it. This is also another shade that is high in sheen; no matte here!

Fergie Take On The Day Eyeshadow Primer "For my Primas" by WnW ($4.99) - This was the only eye shadow primer that I used this past year and that was for a reason....it was that freaking good. I could tell a major difference in my shadows when I used this because the colors were more vibrant and lasted longer on my lid. I did find that you could use too much of this which could lead to "cakiness" so a tiny dab is all you need. I have used the Urban Decay Eye Primer Potion and I feel that the Fergie does a better job for the fraction of the cost. According to their site there are 2 shades of this but the only one I have seen in stores is the nude color that dries clear. That is the one that I use daily.

Pixie Correction Concentrate in "Brightening Peach" ($12.00) - Holy Cow! This little pod of peach goodness is a lifesaver for my tired eyes. I have dark circles that are inherited and I have never been able to cover them fully until I found this at Target. If you suffer from dark circles you need to find a peach/salmon color to help mask them. This helps brighten my under eye area without caking up or creasing underneath my eyes. I have fine lines around and underneath my eyes and this does not settle in them like most concealers do. This is a very tiny pod so you can really talk yourself out of buying it for the money BUT it does last a very long time and a little goes a long way so just go for it :)

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Brightner ($7.99) - This nifty little pen is used as a treatment for dark circles but is great as a highlighter! The sponge tip makes for easy application and the nice pink shade compliments and brightens wherever applied. I have used this over my concealer without any issues but I don't feel it covers as well alone. However, using this strictly as a highlighter this is awesome! This product claims to "erase" your dark circles and I never saw them diminished but I have enjoyed using this product and will continue to repurchase it. I will tell you I have bought the concealer in this line and I prefer the brightener. The only con with this is that it seems to be used up fairly quickly.

Urban Decay "All Nighter" Makeup Setting Spray ($29.00) - I have tried to avoid the whole makeup setting spray thing but I broke down and purchased a trial version of this at Sephora a few months ago and have used it every day since. I am addicted to the stuff. I can tell a big difference when I use this because my makeup does not move -- it looks fresh all day long. I have also used this when I feel like my face needs a "pick me up"....you know, those afternoons when your face looks dull and tired. I honestly thought this was a gimmick until I personally used it and now I know otherwise. I can't wait to see how well it works this summer when it gets hotter than hell here! I'll keep you posted.

Instead of putting up all my lipsticks individually I am just going to mention them. If you are looking for a high gloss lip plumping formula try the Lip Inflation Xtreme by Sally Hanson. I use the sheer gloss as well as the shade "Sheer Bare" when I am wanting the effect of a fuller lip. This past spring my favorite color of coral was in the Color Whispers line by Maybelline called "I Crave Coral". It's almost like a sheen instead of a lipstick because it's not highly pigmented but does provide a nice pop of color to your lips. I feel like the perfect nude shade comes from Milani and it's called "Dulce Caramelo". It's ultra hydrating, pigmented with a bit of gold flecks and it smells great. I wear a nude lip at least 3-4 times a week and the Milani is the one I reach for the most. I have raved and raved about "Red Rival' from the Maybelline ColorSensational line the past few months and it's worth the hype. It's a beautiful red shade that doesn't run or feather nor does it turn pink after applying it. It's a great true red shade that should be a staple in your lipstick collection.

Finding the perfect mascara was a challenge for me up until 2013 and I discovered THREE from L'Oreal that I can not live without. All three are perfect and don't irritate my super sensitive eyes which is a huge relief! They all do something a little different but all are worth the praise because they are outstanding. The "Voluminous False Lashes" has to be my favorite out of the three and the one I use the most. It's skinny wand helps accentuate all of your lashes by separating them therefor making them look long and full. The other mascara that is newer on the market is the "Lash Out Butterfly" mascara and it lives up to it's name because the angled brush helps feather out your lashes making them appear wispy. If you want a very thick lash effect you should try the "Voluminous Million Lashes" because the thick brush helps apply a ton of product on your lashes making them full and thick. I do buy the waterproof formulas and you MUST by some type of eye makeup remover if you want to get this mascara off because once it's on it does not move -- even during a massive crying spell.

Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil ($52.00) - I am currently using the travel size bottle of this (.5 fl oz for $14) and I am amazed by this product. I have seen countless videos on YouTube promoting this oil and I could never bring myself to purchase it because of the steep price. While in Sephora I noticed they do offer a travel size bottle so I picked it up and I am so glad I did. This oil is so moisturizing and has done wonders for my super dry face this winter. I apply it at night before bed because it is very greasy and by the morning it has absorbed completely leaving my face glowing and feeling incredibly nourished. Many reviews suggest using this if you do suffer from oily skin (say what?!?!) because it helps balance out the natural oils in your face leading to fewer break outs. This will be a "HG" item for me.

e.l.f. Studio Line Brushes ($3.00 and up) - I have been floored at the quality of the studio line brushes because they are amazing. I wash mine often and they are durable and I never experience bristle fall out like you typically do with cheaper brushes. These are high quality and can be compared to higher end brushes. Save yourself some money and try these because you will be happy. Check for deals on their website because they offer 50% off from time to time and you can get the entire set for less than $20 which is a steal.

Equate Oil-free Eye Makeup Remover ($3.97) - This is the Walmart version of the Neutrogena remover and I have compared the ingredients and it's the same. I like this remover because it doesn't burn my eyes and it removes all of my waterproof makeup without having to rub my lids raw. Your skin is very delicate around your eyes so tugging to remove your makeup is only going to break down the elasticity of the skin which will make fine lines and wrinkles appear faster. This says it's oil free but it does leave somewhat of an oily residue behind but I just use my makeup cleansing towelettes afterwards and it's easily removed. I prefer this Equate version over the one they have for the L'Oreal version that I used to swear by. I think it works a lot better!

Equate Makeup Remover Cleaning Towelettes ($3.48) - These towelettes are the Walmart version of the Neutrogena brand and I have enjoyed using them. I have a hard time finding towelettes that don't sting my face and eyes, smell good and don't dry out my skin. I feel like these towelettes are the best that I have found so far. They remove everything but waterproof formulas so I am pretty happy with them. I have never used the Neutrogena towelettes so I don't know if they are a great comparison but I do enjoy using them.

Viva la Juicy Perfume ($70.00 for 1.7 fl oz) - This has been my favorite scent for the past 3 years and even though I have purchased other perfumes I keep going back to this one. It's a light floral scent that lingers on your skin all day long. I often get asked what scent I am wearing when I have this on so I guess it appeals to others. I think this would be a perfect gift for a girlfriend or daughter because it's very "girly". The notes of this scent are Wild Berries, Mandarins, Honeysuckle, Gardenia, Jasmine, Amber, Caramel, Vanilla, Sandalwood, Praline. 

Freeman Avocado & Oatmeal Clay Mask ($4.19) - I have been using this mask 1-2 times a week for over a year. I really enjoy this clay mask because it purges my pores without drying my skin out. After using this my face is completely clean and feels really good. When applying this be sure to only put a thin layer on because if not it will take forever for it to dry. I would also use an old wash cloth when taking the mask off because I have noticed it can stain them easily. I think this would be the perfect mask for someone that has sensitive or inflammed/irritated skin because the oatmeal is very soothing on your face. 

In my video I mentioned my favorite products from Organix. I have been using the Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner on my hair for the past year. I love the shampoo because the scent lingers long after you have washed it (like 3 days) and my hair is always soft and never weighed down. I like to use the hydrating Moroccan Argan Oil body wash in the shower and bath because it smells great and doesn't leave a film on my skin after washing it off.The scent also lingers and your body feels well hydrated after you get out of the shower. All three products are sulfate free. I am also using other items from the Organix line but I am including those in an upcoming video/blog post. 

Dove Invigorating Dry Shampoo ($3.49) - I have tried several drugstore dry shampoo's this year and I keep coming back to this one. I love the scent because it's a nice fresh, clean scent. It doesn't leave a white powdery residue on my brunette hair when I use it. It's lightweight so it doesn't weigh your hair down and it instantly adds volume. When I use this you can't tell that I have been a day or two without a washing -- it works great! I use this right after washing my hair to add volume and texture if I am styling it to go out. This is actually one of the cheaper dry shampoo's and it works better than the pricier ones. This is a must if you suffer from oily hair or if you are active and don't have time to wash your hair after dance or the gym.
Garnier Fructis Extreme Control Anti-Humidity Hairspray ($4.19) - I am typically not a hairspray person because they always make my hair feel crunchy and gross. I picked this can up almost a year ago because the 'Anti-Humidity" part caught me eye since it is so miserably hot and sticky here. I have been pleasantly surprised with this hairspray because it doesn't make my hair sticky, crunchy or dried out. It's a nice scent that is lightweight but holds my style when I need it to. 

I believe that this wraps up all of my favorite beauty products for the year 2013! I know this blog post was extremely long so thanks for reading it! Be sure to Check out my YouTube video here. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and spread the word to your friends and family. I will be having a GIVEAWAY in the near future (possibly next week) so please stay tuned for that! Let me know if you want to see specific videos and/or blog posts in the future. I should also have another "Must or Bust" entry up by the end of next week. Until my next post, take care!!