Happy Halloween 2012

Hello everyone!  I hope you are all having a wonderful October… crazy how fast it flew by!  And today is Halloween–which is probably one of the funnest holidays ever.  

Halloween always makes me feel like a kid again, and having my son at the age of 6 going on 7 in a couple months is a really exciting time… Even though he has gone Trick or Treating a couple times before that he remembers, he is at the age where he is really making it his own…  This year he picked out all the different components of his costume.  We purchased each piece separately because he had a specific look in mind.  I must say, it came together well.  
To some it may seem like his costume is a little mature for his age, but this is the kind of stuff that he really likes.  He loves zombies and scary movies… He is a lot like I was at his age.  Fun stuff!  :)  

What are you going to be for Halloween?  I don’t think I am dressing up this year…  I am too bloated pregnant to be something with a “sexy” twist and too tired not creative enough to dream up something cute last minute.  Have fun, stay safe!

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35

I have been using BB Creams for over a year now.  In the last year more and more “Western” cosmetics companies have been coming out with their form of BB Creams.  They are leaps and bounds different from the “Eastern” cosmetics companies, but they are still breaking boundaries within the foundation world!  The Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream is the one I am reviewing for you today, so let’s get right to it!

The packaging is great.  It has a squeeze tube and dispenses the product nicely.  You are really able to control the amount that comes out. 
The consistency of the BB cream is slightly thick but still very airy.  It is more of a cream than a liquid.  
This BB cream as a light to medium coverage.  I find that it evens out my skin well and it still lets my actual skin (like freckles and suck) peek through.

Notice in the top picture you see very visible freckling on the back of my hand but after the Smashbox BB cream was blended in you can see the freckling but it is toned down quite a bit.

This BB cream claims to prime, perfect, hydrate, protect and control oil.   I find that as a primer is does a nice job.  As far as it perfecting my skin it does an okay job, not the best not the worst.  It does offer some hydration, although I don’t really count on a product like this to give me the moisture I need so I always apply one underneath.  As far as protection goes, SPF of 35 is pretty high and I think it does a good job.  Controlling oil………. what?  No, no, no, no…  
This does nothing to help my oil production at all!  I don’t even know why they would throw that into their claims because I can’t see that happening for anyone.  I could definitely be wrong by saying I don’t think it would work for everyone–because, sure, it may work for some.  My skin tends to get a bit oilier when I wear this BB cream.  I have oily skin to start with, so blotting throughout the day is no stranger to me, I just wanted you to not be fooled by that claim.
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream retails for $39 and can be purchased online at Smashbox or Nordstom, as well as anywhere else Smashbox products are sold.  Overall I give this BB cream 3 out of 5 stars.  It does it’s job, but really I feel as though it is nothing more than a pigmented tinted moisturizer.  I do have BB creams that I love whole-heartedly but this one is just okay in my book.  
What is your favorite BB cream?  Let me know in the comments below!  I am always on the looking for a new goodie to try!
*This product was a prize in a Facebook contest.  In no way is this post sponsored.  All opinions are my own.  I am making use of affiliate links.

Target Beauty Bag: Animal Print

It has arrived and it is wild!  :)  The latest (and possible the last) Target Beauty Bag has arrived in my mailbox today and I am excited to show you all!

It is a really nice, high-quality faux-leather animal print makeup bag.  It looks very sturdy and easy to clean on the inside.  This rivals another of Target’s bags as a favorite so far (the other pretty bag is linked here)!  I think it might just win as I am really digging animal print lately.

The samples this time are mostly hair care, which is okay I suppose.  I prefer getting stuff like makeup wipes, etc.  I like travel sizes of things.  Oh well, I will never complain about free!  These will get used.  I like to throw these types of samples into a bin and use them at random or save them for when I go on vacation because it always seems I don’t end up liking the shampoo that hotels give.

Earlier I mentioned that the inside of the bag looked easy to clean, and here you go.  It is a nice nylon-type material and looks like it would wipe clean with a wet wash cloth.  

I recorded a video already, but my sleepy-pregnant-lady syndrome is hitting at the moment.  Doesn’t appear that that will be edited and up until possibly tomorrow!  Until then my lovelies! xoxo
Did you get a Target Beauty Bag?  If so, what did you like/dislike about it?  Let me know in the comments below!
*The item(s) mentioned above were sent free because I filled out information on Target’s Facebook page.  This post is in NO WAY sponsored.  All opinions are my own.

Manic(ure) Monday: Yummy Mummy, Halloween Edition

I, for one, love the names of the Butter London polishes.  None of them are as Halloween ready as Yummy Mummy
I applied Yummy Mummy earlier yesterday morning and was trying to devise a plan on making cute mummy nails all day…. It never came to me so I removed it and applied some other colors.  I then was cruising my Instagram feed and a lady I chat with pretty frequently had done a look very similar to this with her nails so I knew exactly what I wanted to do!  I took off the other colors, then REAPPLIED the Yummy Mummy and smeared white polish to look like gauze/bandages and then took dotting tools with white and black polish for the eyes.  Topped it off with a clear coat and VIOLA! :)

What fun designs are you doing this Halloween?  Anything special?  Vampy colors or intricate designs?

Laura Mercier Deluxe Travel Brush Collection Review

Holiday sets have hit the shelves!  Lots of brands are releasing limited edition products and sets for the holiday season.  Most have a terrific value for the money so they are great for gifts or as a treat for yourself.  Laura Mercier has come out with lots of limited edition sets and I am going to show you the Deluxe Travel Brush Collection.

This kit includes 9 of Laura Mercier’s essential brushes as well as a beautiful case in which to carry the brushes.  The hard shell case has a lot of room and pockets to hold other items so it is essentially the only case you need if you are travelling with light makeup.  

There is a large pocket running the length of one side of the case and on the other there is a smaller pocket that runs the width.  There is elastic in the bands so it can hold your products firmly without a lot of shifting while travelling.  

Another thing I like about the case is that the mesh bag that holds the brushes is magnetized on the bottom and pops in and out for your convenience.  Really a handy bag.  It is quite long.  In fact, it is long enough that if you were to need to throw in an extra brush or two and mascara, etc it would fit fine.

“Everything about the exclusive Laura Mercier Brush Collection is the ultimate in luxury – from the rare Wenge wooden handles to the professional-quality hair bristles to the opulent carrying case. The signature collection is a must-have for every makeup artist – and makeup lover.” (quote from Nordstrom)

The only full-sized (non dual endedbrush in the collection is the Cheek Color brush.  It is a gorgeous natural hair brush that is shaped like a paddle.  It’s sized to perfectly shape the cheek bone.

The rest of the brushes in the collection are dual ended.  This one is the Smudge/Flat Eye Liner.  
The Smudge brush is made of natural hairs and is perfect for adding depth close to the lashes and in the outer corner of the eye.
The Flat Eye Liner is made of synthetic firm bristles that narrow to a thin flat line to ensure the most exact placement of the eyeliner.  

The Secret Camouflage/Camouflage Powder brush is nice.
The Secret Camouflage brush is made of synthetic bristles and shaped for precise application in the tiniest areas.  It is also designed to use the concealer in it’s namesake.  
The Camouflage Powder brush is also made of synthetic fibers.  The bristles are flat and oval shaped.  This brush is best shaped to set your concealer with a loose powder.

The dual ended brush I am most excited about is the Ponytail/All Over Eye Colour brush.
The Pony Tail brush is a natural hair brush; soft, medium length bristles that come to a point in the center of the brush and best used for applying eyeshadow to the crease.
The All Over Eye Colour brush is a large flat paddle shaped brush with a beveled edge.  It is used to pack on color onto the lid with one smooth, perfect application.  Also great for placing base colors down.

One of the most practical of the set is the Brow Definer/Brow Grooming brush.  This is seemingly your all in one brush for brows.  
The Brow Definer is made of synthetic fibers and is great for filling in the brows.
The Brow Grooming brush is a traditional spoolie that is perfect for combing through and taming the brow hairs.

Overall this kit is great.  It has an estimated value of OVER $250 and it retails for a limited time only at $95. You can find the kit in the US at Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom.  The UK offers them at Saks Fifth Avenue UK and House of Fraser.   It is a great value for the money and you will have these brushes in your collection for long time.  Great quality and wonderful case to carry it all in.  I give this 5 out of 5 stars and two great big thumbs up!  

*The product(s) mentioned in this post were provided for editorial consideration.  All opinions are my own.  I am making use of affiliate links.

Ellis Faas: Black is the new Black!

Halloween is coming up and black really is the new black!  Three of Ellis Faas’ bestsellers are black, so they are treating their fans with a discount on the entire order if you include one of the following in your cart:
While checking out don’t forget to use the coupon code “BLACK” to get 15% off of the entire order.  Also keep in mind that if your order is over $50 there is free shipping!!
*Information and photo provided by PR.

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Review and Swatches

Sometimes all you need is a good concealer to achieve the look of even-skin.  Lots of mornings I am limited on the time I have to get myself looking good enough to face the world.  Those mornings are when I reach for concealer and powder and blush to perfect my complexion.  It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye is perfect for that!

It is a full coverage, highly pigmented concealer and also has anti-aging properties!  So not only does it camouflage the dark circles under your eyes–it treats them!  It uses high concentrations of Vitamins K, A, C, E and Hydrolyzed collagen and has been clinically proven to reduce under eye puffiness and discoloration while strengthening the delicate skin of the under eye area.
The beauty of this product is that it is hydrating enough for the under eye but it is also full coverage for all of your concealing needs.  I don’t only use this concealer for my under eyes, I actually use it for all of my discoloration or blemishes as well.  It is a nice moisturizing, creamy consistency that is waterproof!  

The two shades I have swatched for you are Tan on the left and Medium on the right.  While I was more sunkissed this summer I used tan and now that I am a tad more pale I am using medium.  I have found myself mixing the two to custom blend my colors as I was getting lighter.  You can see the great consistency of the cormula in my swatches.  No dragging or anything, just smooth blend-able pigmentation!

You can easily use your pinky finger to pat the product onto your under eye but It Cosmetics makes a fabulous brush that is perfect with the concealer.  It is the Dual Retractable Airbrush Concealer Brush.  It was designed to apply and blend concealer for a precise application and to achieve a flawless, airbrushed look.  

The rounded end allows you to cover your entire under eye area in one sweep while the micro end allows for more accurate precision.  What I love about this brush is that both ends have a cap so it makes throwing it in your handbag or travel cosmetics bag a must.  There are DEFINITELY times you may need to touch up throughout the day and this brush makes touching up on the go super easy!  

And have I talked about the quality yet?  WOW!  These brushes are no different from the rest of the line.  Soft bristles that feel super luxurious on your face.

It Cosmetics has great products.  Bye Bye Under Eye retails for $24 and can be found at itcosmetics.com as well as QVC.com.  The Dual Retractable Airbrush Concealer Brush also retails for $24 and can be found at both locations as well.  
What are you doing on mornings you are short on time, full face or just concealer?
*The product(s) mentioned in this post were provided for editorial consideration by PR.  All opinions are my own and the links are for your convenience only.

theBalm Mary Lou-Manizer Review and Swatches

I love luminous skin so highlighters and luminizers are something that is in my regular routine.  theBalm’s Mary Lou-Manizer is a beautiful one!

theBalm always does a great job on packaging and on Mary Lou-Manizer there is a beautiful blonde with a 1950′s-esque look.  It is simple packaging other than that.  You open the compact to a nice large mirror and the product inside.  This compact holds a lot of product with 0.3 oz.  That is twice the size of your typical blush or highlighter.  

The powder is wonderfully pigmented and very soft and almost creamy.  It is a pale champagne with a hint of gold.  

If you have seen this in person and swatched it at a store you may thing that it is frosty, strong, or just too much but I assure you when applied with a light hand or even just blended out the effect is gorgeous.  On the left side of my arm you can see the beautiful sheered out swatch as compared to the blunt swatch on the right.
Because of the versatility you can use this not only to highlight your face, lips or decollete; you can also use Mary Lou-Manizer as an eyeshadow.  It would made a beautiful lid color to be blended with a dirty gold in the crease.  

theBalm Mary Lou-Manizer retails for $24 and can be found at thebalm.com, Zappos, Nordstrom, ModCloth, as well as any other location that carries the brand.  I am very fond of it and give it 5 out of 5 stars.  It is versatile, beautiful and can suite most skin tones.  
What is your favorite luminizer/highlighter of the moment?
*The product mentioned in this post was purchased by me, all opinions are my own.  I am making use of some affiliate links.

DIY: How To Make a Lightbox

Recently I have been fed up with chasing good light.  It has been really gloomy, rainy, or cloudy during every second of my free/blogging time for the last few weeks and it has been hindering what I can review/write about.  I finally got fed up and started researching lightboxes and some of them are really expensive.  I found a few DIYs on the internet and decided to go for it… here is my tale!

More than likely you have everything you are going to need in your own home already, if not it is relatively cheap to purchase the main items.
What you will need:
1 box (I used 14x14x14), use the size you think you may need.
box cutter (be careful, I accidently nicked my thumb)
white tissue paper
poster board
a light source (I used a table lamp with a bendy neck that I purchased for $6 at Target)
I sort of skip taking pictures of the middle steps because I am a ditz.  When I get into something I tend not to stop until it is done, so reaching for the camera between steps slipped my mind.  But it is super simple.
Step 1:
Tape one end of the box up like you would normally (unless it is already taped, then start at step 2).
Step 2:
Cut windows in 3 sides of the box.  I guest-i-mated about an inch in on each side and used that as my general rule of thumb all the way around.  Also cut top flap of box off because you don’t need that flap for any reason.
Step 3:
Apply the tissue paper over the windows and secure with tape.

I know that she is a little rough around the edges but it honestly is the first one I have ever made and I am super proud of it!  The finishing touch would be to cut a strip the width of the inside of the box out of the poster board and tape that into the top part of the back wall of the box.  It allows the background to look like the endless with no seams.

Finished result: macro studio lighting.  I am still playing with the placement of the light source but it is coming along.

The above photo is the result of the bottom photo!  I have since moved the light closer to the box by way of placing it on boxes on the ground BESIDE the lightbox.  It resulted in brighter lighting inside the box itself.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the question below.  I was inspired by a few different DIY tutorials but my favorite is definitely The Strobist‘s version.  If you have made a lightbox or purchased one let me know what you think.  If you decide to MAKE one let me know and send me pictures via my many social media accts!  :)

Ellis Faas Milky Lips L204

Fall is here and let the bold lips BEGIN!  Ellis Faas is a company that is quite unexpected: from their packaging, shades, and textures.  Today I want to show you the Milky Lips in L204.

First and foremost, their bullet packaging is so pretty and eye catching.  I have never seen anything quite like it.  It looks like it would be super heavy but it is light weight and will slide into a clutch or handbag easily–maybe even a pocket if necessary.  
The formula is a nice smooth creamy consistency–much like the name implies.  It has no shimmer, but the gorgeous high shine makes topping off with a gloss unnecessary.  The applicator is actually a brush that the product pushes up from inside.  This is a perfect lipstick for those that don’t enjoy the feel of a heavy lipstick.

L204 is best described by me as a pumpkin.  As you can tell from my swatches you can wear this really bold or sheer it out to make it a touch more “wearable” or work-friendly.  

The lip swatch above is without flash and the one below is with flash.  

When I first played with this color it was still in the dead heat of summer and my skin was a bit darker and I wasn’t inspired to play with this pretty fall-reminiscent shade but now that the weather is cooling down and my skin is paling out I am enjoying brightening up my face with Ellis Faas Milky Lips L204.  It retails for $35 and can be purchased at EllisFaas.com.  Here is a direct link to the product!
What colors have you been sporting for fall?  Let me know in the comments below.
*I received this product in a GlossyBox, here is the link to the original post.  I am in no way sponsored or compensated by the brand.  All opinions are my own.