Friday, November 21, 2014

IT Cosmetics Brushes for ULTA Review

It Cosmetics has come out with three new brush collections that are available exclusively at Ulta. There are three different collections: Airbrush Essentials, Live Beauty Fully and Velvet Luxe. They are all about delivering a high quality brush that leave a flawless finish. Here are the three I chose:

Live Beauty Fully All Over Powder Brush #211 - This is a jumbo-sized fluffy round brush. I use it for applying setting powder by lightly buffing my T-zone, inner cheeks and jawline. The bristles don't grab too much product when I dip it into a pressed powder which helps create a flawless finish. With its buttery soft bristles, you truly feel pampered when using this brush. This was the priciest of the three brushes, retailing for $40. It takes some of the sting away knowing that with every brush purchased from the Live Beauty Fully line, IT donates a brush to the Look Good, Feel Better foundation, a charity that supports women living with cancer.

Velvet Luxe LBD Foundation Brush #302 - This is part of the Velvet Luxe Blurring Collection. As the name intends, this line is very fancy. The brush handle has a soft-touch grip (think Nars packaging) and is ergonomically correct.  Each brush even comes with a velvet pouch. The brush features a medium domed brush head designed to blend foundation evenly across your face. It reminds me of a more luxurious version of the Real Techniques expert face brush. The blend is seamless and I don't have any problems with streaking as I do with the expert face brush. The brush head is also a bit larger. The brush itself is made up of dense micro-fine anti-microbial optical blurring hair. The bristles seem to soak up hardly any product which means I'm wasting less foundation.

Velvet Luxe Plush Blush Brush #316 - This is a custom cut angled brush that is designed to softly blend blush into your skin for a natural flushed complexion. I was looking for a synthetic version of my beloved Sigma F40. Although I do like this brush, I find that the extreme softness of the bristles are actually a hindrance in this case. My usual method of applying blush is I dust it onto the apples of my cheeks and then go back in and blend it out with the same brush without any additional product. This gives me a natural and uplifted finish. The bristles on this brush are just too soft to do this and I find myself having to go back in with a Kabuki to fully blend my blush.

There are over 60 brushes in the three lines so these are just the tip of the iceberg. Have you tried any of the new IT Brushes?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Burn Notice: My Favorite Fall Candles

I love all things decorating and home decor. While I like things to look put together and pretty, I also want our home to be cozy. That's why I always look to candles to add the perfect finishing touch to a room. The season that I find myself burning candles the most is in the fall. Here's a roundup of my seasonal favorites:

Yankee Candle Spiced Pumpkin - Yankee describes this scent as "pumpkins baked in simmering spices of clove, nutmeg and sweetened with cinnamon and brown sugar". To me this scent is heavy on the spice, light on the pumpkin. The spicy notes makes this a nice transitional candle as we approach the holidays. It really makes me think of Thanksgiving and Pumpkin Pie, which might be why I really love burning this in the kitchen. It has a great throw that permeates throughout the whole house.

Beanpod Chai Tea - As fall rolls around I start to crave Tea and Chai Tea is my absolute favorite. So when I saw this candle I knew I had to take it home. It has a nutty scent with notes of Ginger and a twist of citrus and vanilla, a lovely mild scent.

Bath & Body Works Leaves - It was this candle that started my love affair with Bath & Body Works candles. I grew up using their soaps and lotions but really hadn't been into the store in a few years. I had no idea they even sold candles. I had heard rave reviews on this candle so I finally went into the store to check it out. I was astonished with all the amazing candles they had to offer and I've been a convert ever since! B&BW describes this scent as a blend of golden nectar, red apple and spiced berries. It is the most classic fall scent that reminds me of an apple pie. As with all the B&BW candles, the burn is flawless. It burns evenly all the way down to the last drop.

Bath & Body Works Autumn - B&BW describes this candle as blending the scents of dark pomegranate, red delicious apple and juicy fig. It reminds me of a less spicy version of the Leaves candle, it is a more pure apple scent. This one has the prettiest packing of the bunch with the embossed gold leaves. The lid is topped with two decorative leaves that make it extra special.

Bath & Body Works Sweater Weather - B&BW describes this candle as a blend of eucalyptus, juniper berry and fresh sage. This is the strongest scent of the bunch. I'll admit that it took some getting used to but now I love it. The scent is hard to describe. The word that comes to mind is crisp. It is a very cozy scent that freshens the whole house. Theres almost has a hint of musk in there, like a nice nice men's cologne. This has the best throw out of the five. It makes the whole house smell like a crisp autumn breeze. If you aren't into the pumpkin and apple fall scents, this ones for you.

Have you indulged in any seasonal candles this fall?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fall Nail Polish Picks

Fall not only motivates me to change up my Makeup routine, its also a great time to change gears when it comes to Nail Polish. Each time the seasons change, I like to check out the new collections from my favorite brands as well as peruse my own stash to find the perfect colors for the upcoming season.

Where Fall is concerned, its time to turn in those summer brights for some rich and cozy tones. If you're on the hunt for the perfect fall polish, here are 10 shades I recommend:

(Left Hand)

OPI In the Cable Car-Pool Lane - This is a vampy reddish-purple color with a creme finish. Opaque color in two coats. I've been wearing this one a lot recently and its a great neutral color that goes with any outfit.

OPI Got the Blues for Red - This is a deep red creme finish. I'd call the color a deep blood red that leans more oxblood in in the shade. Opaque color in two coats. 

China Glaze Salsa - This is a bright, fire engine red polish with a creme finish. It leans a bit Orange in natural light which makes it a perfect fall red. Opaque color in two coats.

Essie Going Incognito - This is a beautiful Emerald Green. There are some cool blue undertones in there which makes it not your average forest green polish. Opacity is to die for, you could get away with one coat if you're careful. I think the color is versatile enough to be appropriate for all seasons but I find myself wearing this one most in the fall.

Essie The Perfect Cover Up - This is from Essie's Fall 2014 "Dress to Kilt" collection. The color is a deep teal green creme. The formula is very thick but not goopy. Opaque color in 1 coat!

(Right Hand)

OPI Live and Let Die - This was part of one of my favorite OPI collections, the James Bond Skyfall collection that came out for Holiday 2012. The color is a deep dark green with green and gold shimmer. The formula is thick and again, you can get away with one coat if you're careful. This color is so pretty in the sunlight, it really sparkles.

Deborah Lippmann Chain Reaction - This color is a blend of Gold, Olive and Green shimmery glitter. It is just such a unique color. I think the green and copper in it make it a great accent color for fall. Opaque in two coats. I actually got this one as part of the the "Rock this Town" trio on GILT a while back for a nice discount so keep your eye out for it on the daily deal sites. 

Sephora by OPI Metro Chic - This is a gray-purple creme color. The consistency is very sheer. I used three coats. I can get over the sheerness because I love the color, I really don't have anything like it in my collection. This line is now discontinued by Sephora but they come up every so often on Hautelook and I've spotted them at Big Lots for a huge discount.

Formula X Cosmic - This is a dark plum purple with blue shimmer. It definitely has that celestial vibe as the name intends. Its multidimensional and really sparkles in the sunlight. Two coats to opacity. 

China Glaze Bermuda Breakaway - This is an indigo blue creme. The base color is actually similar to Cosmic but without any of the glitter. Its an inky blue that's appropriate for all seasons. Opaque in two coats.

I hope this post gave you some great ideas to change up your nails for Fall. I love curating my own little collection of go-to colors for the season.

What polishes are you loving for Fall?

Friday, October 31, 2014

90's Brown Lips: Three modern takes

In a recent post I talked about the mauve lip trend that's been all the rage this season. Today we're talking about another lip look that is growing in popularity for fall, 90's Brown lips.

The inspiration:

90's fashion and beauty trends are popping up all over the place lately. What better way to compliment your flannel shirt than with some brown lipstick? Here are three ways to recreate this totally 90's look with a modern twist:

Gerard Cosmetics Lipstick in 1995


This is the most matte and the most brown of the bunch. This color was created in collaboration with Jaclyn Hill for Gerard Cosmetics. She totes it as a Kylie Jenner dupe but I think its darker than Kylie's Mauve lips look. The formula is supposed to be a creamy matte. I wouldn't say that it was creamy but it wasn't totally drying on the lips either. I'd say the formula is that of a typical matte.

Milani Lipstick in Naturally Chic


This lipstick is a neutral brown with a bit of red. This is one of their cream formulas which is hydrating and provides a hint of shine. Its a great natural color that is really comfortable to wear.

Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipstick in Touch of Spice


This is part of the new Maybelline Creamy Matte collection that has come out for fall. This isn't the usual matte lipstick you're used to. The formula is matte in finish but the texture you feel on your lips is buttery smooth and glides on your lips with ease. This particular color is the darkest and most dramatic of the three. It is a darker brown with a hint of pink. Its a beautiful color that is noticeable without being too loud.

MAC Lip Pencil in Whirl

Of course we can't talk about 90's lipstick without lip liner! Lately I am a lip liner convert. It really helps define my lips while also extending the staying power of my lipstick. In the 90's lip liner was all the rage but it got a bad rap due to people wearing a liner that was about 5 times darker than their chosen lipstick, for example:

Today we're back to using lip liner in the more traditional sense of matching it with our lipstick. I choose MAC Whirl to pair with each of the three lipstick shades. MAC describes the color as "Dirty Rose", its a matte brown pencil that has a hint of pink.

I get so excited about 90's trends. It is really the first beauty/fashion revival that I've experienced the first time around! I've been rocking these three lip combos for a few weeks now and I'm really loving the look. Its a step outside my normal lipstick realm of nudes and pinks, but in a good way. If you're a fan of darker lips this time of year than I'd say this 90's trend is for you!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette Review

My love for the Hourglass Ambient Lighting powders runs deep. I have two of the blushes that came out in the spring so when I heard that they were coming out with a Holiday blush palette, I knew I had to try it! 

If you aren't familiar with the Ambient Blushes, they are a hybrid product in that they mix a cheek color with the soft-focus lighting effects of one of their Ambient Lighting Powders. The result is a natural finish that refines your complexion while also adding color to your cheeks. To read more on their blush concept check out this post I did on the colors: Dim Infusion and Radiant Magenta.

The blush palette contains three blush shades, one of which is new and exclusive to the palette, the other two can be found in the regular line. These are only slightly smaller than the regular sized blushes. Regular blushes contain 0.15 oz of product. Each blush in the palette contains 0.11 oz. Like the other two shades I own, these three have the same great texture and wear I have come to expect from Hourglass.

Luminous Flush: Hourglass describes this shade as "champagne rose." It is mixed with the Luminous Light Ambient Powder which is "A champagne pearl that creates a soft, incandescent candlelit glow." I think the Flush name is appropriate, it gives your cheeks that pinched-pink look, like you've just come back from a brisk walk.

Incandescent Electra: This shade is described as "cool peach." It is mixed with the Incandescent Light Ambient Powder which was exclusive to the Ambient Lighting Powder Palette, which provides a "celestial glow." This is a pretty baby pink. At first I was thinking this would be more of a spring shade but I've worn it a few times recently and I'm really loving the subtle glow it adds to my cheeks. I think this color is actually showing up on my cheeks better this time of year since I'm fairer than it would during the spring or summer.

Mood Exposure: This shade is described as "soft plum." It is mixed with the Mood Light Ambient Powder which is "A soft, sheer lavender pink that mimics the softest, most forgiving light and brightens the complexion." It is coming off more brown than plum in the picture, but in person it is a beautiful soft plumy-pink color. I've been loving these colors for fall so this one is my favorite shade from the palette of the moment. 

My only gripe with this palette is that since the powders are so soft and finely milled, they are delicate and tend to kick up some excess powder when you dip your brush into them. I don't think I'd pack this for travel. Overall, I'm happy with this purchase and would recommend this palette if you're looking to add color that provides a natural, lit from within glow to your cheeks.

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Weekend in the Mountains

Last weekend was our annual family camping trip to Gunstock Mountain in Gilford, NH. This was our second time camping here for Columbus Day Weekend. We stayed with my parents on their RV and were joined by my sister as well as some of my aunts and uncles. Here's a peek inside our holiday weekend in the mountains.

The campground is located in the NH Lakes Region, right around the corner from Lake Winnipesaukee. Its no secret that I love NH in the summer but I also really love it in the fall. The foliage around the Lakes Region and in the White Mountains cannot be beat! It really looks like a postcard.

We camped in the safari field area which is located at the bottom of a former Ski Jump. I love camping in this area. Its so cool to be staying at the actual foot of a mountain.

On Fright night when we arrived we were greeted with some homemade Apple Cider Moonshine. Not a bad way to kick off the weekend!

One thing to keep in mind about mountainside camping this time of year, as soon as the sun leaves the campsite it is COLD! I need to remember to bring warmer clothes next year. I was layering two sweatshirts and a scarf and was still cold. We worked hard to keep the campfire roaring to stay warm. Don't mind my socks with sandals or "Scandals" as we so fondly call them. They are perfectly acceptable when Camping or at Abakee.

There were a few intense games of Jumbo Jenga. At one point an actual ladder was brought out because the tower was getting so high.

On Saturday morning we took Dale for a walk and checked out the Wetlands Boardwalk. It is a 1/4 mile raised boardwalk around the wetlands area of the mountain. It was a nice quiet and peaceful walk with lots to look at. Keep an eye out for the Beaver dams.

That night my aunt and uncle put together an awesome fall beer tasting. We blind taste tested nine different beers and rated them. The beer with the highest rating turned out to be UFO Pumpkin.

To keep with the Pumpkin/Fall theme, you guessed it, we carved Pumpkins. You're never to old to enjoy a nice Jack-O-Lantern! We lit them every night and they were a nice festive addition to our camp.

There are several different hiking trails at Gunstock. Since I'm a beginner we didn't hike up to the top of the mountain but we did take a nice hike on the Quarry trails on Sunday morning.

If you are a lover of Fall Foliage the best way to take it all in is to ride the Panorama chairlift up to the mountain summit. Its a truly breathtaking ride with awesome views of the lake.