Monday, August 11, 2014

Makeup Brush Faves!

Good morning! Just thought I would share a short post while awaiting the much anticipated (ok, maybe only for me) tour of my makeup room! I have scheduled a photo shoot with my photographer (Thanks, Ma!) so it shouldn't be too much longer.

BUT.....while we're waiting. I wanted to share some of my favorite brushes. 

This is a close up of how I have my brushes organized on my desk (as you can see....I love brushes. I'm obsessed with brushes.)

The purple brushes in the long clear vase right in front came from eBay. They aren't a name brand, and I only bought them because they were pretty and purple (let me tell you, not a great way to shop for makeup brushes). When I got them, they smelled like plastic and the bristles (goat hair) were really stiff. I washed and sanitized them really well, and the bristles were still very prickly and hurt my face when I used them! I was disappointed, so I stopped using them, but left them there because they were pretty. Then, one day I was bored and in the mood to clean some brushes. I scoured Pinterest for a good brush cleaner recipe and ended up smooshing a few recipes together and made my own. I used (no particular amounts of each) olive oil, vinegar, Dawn antibacterial dish soap, and a little bit of Pantene shampoo. After I rinsed them really well in warm water, I put some Pantene conditioner on them (figured it couldn't hurt, right?) and let that sit for a few minutes before rinsing well. Make sure you rinse REALLY well if you try this concoction - if you don't get all the soap mixture out, an oily residue will be left on your brushes.

I. was. AMAZED.

After they dried, the brushes were SUPER soft and I love using them now! They really feel like high end brushes now. Maybe not as soft and luxurious as my absolute favorite brushes (don't worry, we'll get to those), but definitely soft and easy on the face. 

I also think that Sonia Kashuk brushes deserve an honorable mention as close runner up to my favorite brushes. 

I have a few Sonia Kashuk brushes, and they are SUPER soft and wonderful quality, especially for how inexpensive they are! The purple brushes on the left are the new, limited edition, 15 pc Anniversary Set and they are selling out in Targets all across the country! I was lucky to find a Target that had a couple in stock - they were on sale for $34.99 and I got an extra 10% off with the Target Cartwheel app (make sure you get that app if you do a lot of shopping at Target!). They are going for insane amounts on eBay!
They are really soft and this set includes face brushes as well as eye brushes - there's a great contour brush and really nice fluffy brushes for blending. These should be the last brushes I need to buy. Ever. Really, there is no need for any other brushes - this set has it all.

But, I'm sure that won't stop me from adding to the collection. :)

And now, it's time. Let's move on to my absolute favorite brushes of all time! 

Aren't they gorgeous?!

Seriously, IT Cosmetics brushes are the softest, most luxurious brushes I have ever used. The brush on the bottom of the pic was the first IT Cosmetics brush I ever used, and fell in love with it instantly. It is the Heavenly Luxe French Boutique Blush brush - retails for $34.50, but I bought it as a set that included a blush on QVC for $32. QVC has some great deals on bundles like this in their Beauty section where you can usually get the brush and a piece of makeup for the same price or even less than the brush costs on its own. 

The shorter flat top brush that is pictured is the Heavenly Luxe Flat Top Buffing Foundation Brush - it retails for $49, but comes in a set on QVC that includes the IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation (which I love!) for $43.50. QVC is currently (until 8/31/14) offering a supersize bundle, which includes the brush and 2 of the foundation compacts for $54.52.

And last, but certainly not least, is the one brush that I love the most :) the huge brush. the softest, fluffiest brush. The Heavenly Luxe Jumbo Powder Brush - retails for $58. $58! But, again, QVC has it in a bundle! The bundle includes the Heavenly Luxe Jumbo Powder Brush and the Anti-aging Vitality Face Disc (which has a bronzer, blush, and illuminating powder) for $48.50.

I am not affiliated with QVC or any of the companies I've mentioned, I just think they are great companies and products. And if you can get the brushes for a better deal for the brushes with a makeup product than you can even buy them on their own, why not?! Also, remember to use Ebates - you can get money back on a lot of your online purchases! Check it out here -

Guess this didn't turn out to be a short post! Hope you enjoyed reading about my brush collection and if you have any questions, leave a comment below! Thanks and have a great day!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Unique Makeup Pencil Organization

Well, hello again! It's been quite some time since my first post, and I'm really going to try and do this more often. Today, I want to show you the recent addition to my makeup organization. 

I was shopping with my mom (Hi Ma!) a couple days ago at our favorite store, TJ Maxx, and she brought my attention to a vase. 

(actually the one she showed me was turquoise - you'll see it later,
but I failed to take a picture of it before I filled it with stuff) :)

At first, I didn't think much of it, but then my mother had a brilliant idea! She asked if I could stick anything in those holes, and thought that my eyeliners would probably fit! There were two vases - a turquoise (which is the perfect color for my makeup room!) and an iridescent white (I avoid buying white things at all cost, because I much prefer color). So, I bought the turquoise one. Spoiler alert: as you can see from the pic above, I went back and bought the white one too. :)

So, how did I end up using these vases? They fit my eyeliners and lipliners perfectly! I put the vase on its side, with the wider side down, so that more of the pencil would show and I could see what each pencil was easier. 

Here is a pic of what my eyeliner organization looked like before the vase (sorry for the horrible blurry shot, but I forgot to take a before picture close-up):

They were all in a clear vase that has some beads in it and it was VERY full - so it was really hard to see what was actually in there. It was pretty, but not functional. 

Are you ready for what they look like now?! 

MUCH better, right?! I can see every single eyeliner individually now and they will get more use now that I can. The vase had the perfect number of holes and fit all my non-Urban Decay eyeliners perfectly. The Urban Decay eyeliners are in their own separate glass vase in the back - they are so pretty :)

I was so pleased with how this turned out that I had to go back to TJ Maxx ASAP and buy the iridescent white vase for my lipliners. I don't have as many lipliners, so I put all of them in there, including the Urban Decay ones. 
They were in the same type of organization before as the eyeliners were - thrown in a square vase all willy nilly. It was hard to see what I had, so I tended to use the lipliners in the front of the vase because it was easier and I am usually in a hurry. I like it so much better now! 

A big shout-out to my Ma for the wonderful idea!!! <3

PS The vases were $7.99 each at TJ Maxx. I am going to keep an eye out for a pink or purple one, because the white just doesn't really go with the decor - but it'll do for now!

UPDATE: I found another turquoise vase and returned the white one, so it matches the decor better. They're perfect! You'll see the updated vase in a post that's coming up. (It's going to be a tour of my makeup room!)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review of The Body Shop - Tea Tree Skin Care Products

Hi everyone! Thank you and Welcome to my blog! This is my first post, so bear with me. :)

I have had skin problems (acne and excess oil) since I was in high school. Now that I'm in my thirties (ugh, I hate saying that!), I thought I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore, but I was wrong! I have spent the past several years of my life trying to find acne/oily skin products and makeup that will work for me. I had some simple goals: reduce blemishes so I didn't have to use a ton of concealer and full coverage foundation, and also to reduce oiliness in my skin so my foundation didn't slide off of my face an hour after applying it. Sounds simple enough right? WRONG. I had used Clinique's Acne Solutions system for several years and it worked well, seemed to control my blemishes pretty well. But, it didn't really do anything to control the massive amount of oil production. Also, after entering a new decade of life a couple (few?) years ago, I started thinking about using anti-aging products. This led me to the Murad line of Anti-Aging Acne products. This was more expensive than the Clinique system, but I was still super excited to try it due to all the great reviews. I thought it was just ok. The moisturizer that came with the anti-aging acne trial kit was too heavy and oily for my skin, so I had to stop using it. Even after stopping that product, my face seemed much more oily than it even used to be and my breakouts were lasting much longer than normal. My skin is SO oily, I've even had strangers comment on it! OK...not strangerS...just one. My friend, Mandy, and I had makeovers at Ulta a few weeks ago and the Urban Decay makeup artist commented several times on what an "oily girl" I am. That is when I knew I needed a change. you're probably bored with reading about my complexion problems, so...onto the review!

Let's talk about the products available and price points first.

I purchased The Body Shop's Tea Tree Blemish Kit (the box on the right in the above pic) for $29 from This included a single use packet of the Tea Tree Face Mask and full sized products of the Skin Clearing Facial Wash, Skin Clearing Toner, Skin Clearing Lotion, and Tea Tree Oil. If purchased separately, those products together would have cost $48, so for $29 it was a steal! I also received as a free gift from Ulta for buying the kit, the Mango Lip Butter, which is AMAZING. Ulta also had the rest of the Tea Tree line on sale for Buy 1, Get one 1/2 off. I purchased the Tea Tree Blemish Fade Night Lotion for $18.50 and the Tea Tree Face Mask half off for $7.75 (originally $15.50). Overall, I think the prices are great, especially considering that either The Body Shop (online or in store) or Ulta usually have these products on sale or coupons that you can use towards them. 

So, as far as pricing goes, I was already liking The Body Shop Tea Tree products better than Clinique or Murad. :)

Next, let's talk product performance! A little disclaimer before we go any further. You will be seeing pictures of me without makeup. Proceed with caution and at your own risk. I very rarely go anywhere sans makeup, and to go as far to take pictures and put on the internet was a real feat! All in the interest of honest and fair reviews, I help my fellow seekers of the perfect skin care products!

The box claims that the products inside will help produce clearer skin in 3 days. I took a picture after taking off my makeup and before using any of the Tea Tree products. I don't have the guts to share that picture yet, but here is one after I put the mask has a nice tingly feeling while on the face. 

It is not intended to dry completely while on for the 5-10 minute recommended time. I left mine on for the full 10 minutes, because I figure, if 5 minutes is good, then 10 is better right?! I noticed after I rinsed it off that my face was much less red than it normally is after using any kind of skin care. I was happy with that. Following removal of the mask, I used the Skin Clearing Toner and Blemish Fade Night Lotion all over my face and the Tea Tree Oil right on my blemishes. By morning, my major blemishes were already half the size (the same blemishes that had been around for 3 weeks while using the Murad system)! I was very impressed with this.

After Day 3, the 3 big blemishes that had been around for weeks are gone and the skin is smooth in those areas. There is one little area of discoloration left from one of them, but I have high hopes that it will be gone in a few days. I still have some blemishes, and some discoloration and redness in other areas, but overall my skin looks much better. Even better, my skin is much less oily during the day than it has ever been. I only blotted my face once today...ONCE. Not once an hour like normal, JUST ONCE. I'm not sure if you can tell much of a difference in the before and after pictures, but here they are:

                               Before                                                                        After

I guess I need to work on my picture taking skills - the lighting isn't very conducive to comparing before and after pics. But trust me, my skin is much better just 3 days after starting the Tea Tree products. 

There is one thing about these products that I should mention as a slight con: the smell. It's not awful, but it is strong. I can't quite place it, but it kind of smells like a cleaning product (Pine-Sol? maybe). It doesn't linger very long, and to me it wasn't enough of a downside to stop using the product, but it may be for some of you. Like I said, it's not a bad smell, just strong - clean and strong. 

Bottom line: Do I like this product and recommend it for acne prone, oily skin?


 I don't think you'll be disappointed if you try it! And for the price that you can get the kit for at Ulta, it's worth a try! PS - if you've never used ebates, you need to sign up for it before you do anymore online shopping!  Try it here! They give you cash back for shopping at hundreds of stores, including Ulta, Sephora, The Body Shop, and many other online stores. 

Thanks for reading this long post! Check back soon for a post and pics of my new makeup room! Ciao and have a wonderful day!