Beauty Favorites – early Summer 2013 + a Giveaway!

Hey, hey!

It’s time, yet again, for beauty favorites! This time, we’re thinking early summer. Time to bust out the bold lip and flashy mani/pedis. I have a TON of lipcolor and nail polishes to share, plus my EVER-FAVE-EVAR eyeshadow palette, my skincare sitch–as requested, some other randoms, and…oh, yeah…a giveaway! I am really excited about this one as these items are all things I love and have been hoarding away for you guys. Details at the end of the post, for now…on to the make-ups!

I’ve been loving lipsticks this year…a LOT. I always wear a lot of tinted balms and such, but lately I’ve been layering on the lip color in the form of lipsticks and lipgloss. I used to wear lipgloss everyday when I was a single-lady, then I got all monogamous and dude was/is not into sticky gloss…but, I realized I don’t wear lipgloss/make-up for him (I’m pretty sure he could care less about my make-up situation), so whatev!  Lip color and air kisses are back, in full force.

First up, Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids in Wild Rose (1.) and Shocking Coral (5.) I am loving both colors, Wild Rose is a bright and bold, medium red-toned pink. It reminds me of bougainvillea and deep pink roses. Shocking Coral is, shockingly, not very coral in my opinion, but more pink…regardless, I love it. Both colors from the Vivids line have great color pay-off. I only recently discovered Buxom glosses (by Bare Escentuals) via my BFF and I LOVE them. If you aren’t a fan of lip-plumping products, this may not be for you, but if you are…read on! These glosses have a tingle-y, cool plumping sensation, instead of the hot, burning kind. I actually like both, but if the hot/burning ones turn you away, this may be a good one to try out — it’s more of a refreshing tingle. I have two in the colors Kanani (2.) and Debbie (6.) Kanani is a sparkly, opaque pink and is a color I wasn’t sure I’d love, but I definitely do and every time I wear it I get a ton of compliments. I am wearing it in this picture. It’s pink and pigmented, but still a bit sheer. Debbie is a creamy, coral color and would look great on pretty much everyone. I keep both in my bag at all times, they are my go-to lip products of the moment. Next, is my first-ever Lipstick Queen color. I have heard only good things about Lipstick Queen and the Sinner line is their 90% pigment lipcolor (Saint is 10% pigment, like a tinted balm)…which means MAJOR color pay-off. The best thing, to me, about these lipsticks are their vintage-inspired color range and while being majorly pigmented, they aren’t drying and your lips will actually gain some moisture. This is Lipstick Queen Sinner in Sunny Rouge (3.) and it’s my new favorite red with an orange tint, it’s warm and totally day-time wearable. I’d love to snag all of the Lipstick Queen colors…one day. Next, we have MAC Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Lady at Play (4). This color is what I think Shocking Coral should be…if we’re going on titles alone. It’s coral and playful and one of my favorite lipcolor purchases…EVER (swatch HERE, where I first saw it). It’s just so perfect for the summer season and such a hot color for right now. Finally, I have one more of the Revlon Lip Butter’s (which I have a few of and love), this one is Wild Watermelon (7.), a newer release, it leaves a wash of vibrant watermelon red…totally easy to wear and perfect for that popsicle-stained-pout look.

I have long been a fan of MAC paint pots, they set up so nicely, don’t migrate from your eyelid throughout the day, have lots of layer-able pigment, and don’t really crease at all — they remind me of those color tattoo pots, but are way better and worth the extra cash (in my opinion). I kind of hate the color tattoo’s, even though I have 3…I just wish they were better at their job. This is the color Let Me Pop! (8.), it’s a frosty, glittery, copper color. It’s warm and shimmery and the easiest way for me to get a fun eye look with minimal effort. I love to go for a super coppery/bronzed eye look in the summer, so I pair it with a smudged-out gold-flecked eyeliner (I like Pixie in Cafe Gold, mentioned here).

I have only JUST started wearing bronzer regularly, and this is by far the best one I have tried. I fear bronzer because it’s so easy to make you look like an orange monster or like there are dirt smudges in your face. This one from Tarte is called Park Ave. Princess (9.) and I love that it isn’t too dark, muddy, or orange. It’s pearly and golden and lovely. That unfocused compact up there is Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Transparent (10.) It’s my everyday powder when I don’t feel like using my UD Razor Sharp (which I waxed poetic about here, I still use it regularly).

OMGeeez, guys. This Lorac Pro Palette (11.) is the palette of my dreams. I know everyone is crazy-nuts for the Naked palettes from Urban Decay and I agree that they are pretty damn fabulous…but this one is better. That’s just my opinion, but it totally is. The shadows are a silken dream and that whole top row is matte. It’s the only palette I have found that has colors I love and an equal amount of matte-to-shimmer. I wear the cream/taupe and light pink/mauve matte colors a lot. I also love, love, love the gold, champagne, and lt. bronze shimmers. The darker colors I mostly use to set my eyeliner, or just as a liner alone, or for some drama in the outer-v/crease for date nights and the like. Any day that I’m not wearing a MAC Paint Pot, I am wearing a combination of shades from this palette. I almost bought 2, so I’d never run out…and at $42, it’s a steal. That may not seem like a steal but for the quality of the shadow and the wearable shades, it really is. I am SUPER serious about this one, guys. SUPER CEREAL.

You know I can’t do a beauty post and not include any nail polishes. I have A LOT of favorites right now and it may be because it’s officially pedi-season…or maybe because I went a little crazy in the last few months, but regardless…these are all good ones. I don’t know if you are all familiar with the web comic, Natalie Dee (hilarious), but the creator of the same name also makes nail polishes now. Natalie creates Super Black Nail Lacquers in her home, in small batches (that means hot colors sell out…and swiftly)! I have a few of these polishes now, but my very favorites are the glitters and holos. Wishful Thinking (12.) is a holo top-coat absolutely packed with glitter. It’s AMAZING and goes nearly opaque after 3 coats. There is no way to capture how intensely holographic and sparkly this top coat is, in the sunshine it’s basically a diamond rainbow. I feel like a unicorn might leap from my fingertips whenever I wear it. Needless to say, I love it. The Bends (15.) marine-blue with white/black/holo glitters (on my nails here) and Drunk Dial (18.) magenta with red/orange/yellow glitter (a teensy glimpse here), are also great and are of the much-coveted jelly variety. The base for both are translucent and juicy with lots of different glitters that makes for a really fun jelly-look with suspended glitter between the layers. Not only are the colors theshit and like nothing you’ll see at the drug store, the formula is top-notch. No streaking, pooling, or general weirdness. The packaging is super nice on these too, with a screen printed square bottle. If you buy any sets they come is a sharp black box with silver letter pressing…class act. I want them all.

I have a Julep Maven subscription, you know…to feed my obsession…and I got this glitter Paris (13.) in last months box (I acutally ordered the ENTIRE Jazz collection b/c I’m cray like that). It’s a mix of pink/silver/yellow-toned large hex glitters with some tiny glitter sprinkled throughout. I am wearing it on my ring nail here. Another contributor to my influx of nail color was due to Zoya’s Earth Day promo — where you get 50% off and they dispose of all of your more toxic polishes. I have yet to send mine out, but they are in the box, waiting! These are 2 of the 15 (yes, FIFTEEN) polishes I ordered through the promo. FeiFei (14.) is a weird, interesting, lovely, steel blue shimmer with lots of coppery glitter (see it here). It was totally unexpected and I love how different it is. Kylie2 (17.) is a bold, bright coral-pink cream. It’s bold and pretty and the perfect shade for a bright pedi. I am wearing it here with Essie Under Where? (19.) and Floss Gloss Bikini Coral (16.)  Under Wear? is my favorite light purple of forever…it’s part of the new collection and it’s so unexpected  It’s pastel without being gray, it basically glows and looks good on everyone. Bikini Coral is really neon and really exciting. Without a top-coat it dries to a semi-matte finish, which is fun, but with a glossy top-coat it’s incredibly vibrant. Finally, I have a Revlon color that I picked up on a whim. This creamy, pale pink-purple is appropriately named Girly (20.) and is another jelly finish, but less juicy and more creamy, with lots of multi glitter. It’s a good time and a total bargain (see it here).

In my last beauty faves someone asked if I could share my skincare routine, so here it is! I use these two Cetaphil products (cleanser (21.) and cream (25.)) and my Clarisonic (22.), religiously. Those 3 products are my constants and everything else is basically a revolving door. I’ve been using the StriVectin (23.) fine-line reducing eye cream lately, and I like it just fine. It’s not my favorite, but I don’t have one yet…so this is it. I use the Cetaphil moisturing cream at night, as it’s thick and doesn’t have SPF, for day I’ve been using a Boot’s Botanics SPF (24.) day cream lately that is nice, not greasy, and has SPF… I don’t love the initial fragrance, but it subsides quickly. I will probably move on to whatever catches my eye next (suggestions are welcome!). I saw some mentions of L’oreal Youth Code (26.) on several blogs around the internets and gave this sample size a whirl. I think (or imagined) that it is evening out some of my skin tone and minimizing the dark spots I have from being a crazy-person-face-picker. I can’t help myself, so I love a product that evens that biz out.**


I have been collecting and selecting these items for months…but, I am finally pleased with what treasures I’ve hoarded away for you and now it’s time to share! Included are my favorite candle mini, a roll of golden glitter tape, strawberry grocery bag, tinted Burt’s Bees Balm, Color Whisper in Pin-Up Peach, mini Band.Do heart, chevron striped paper straws, a fresh pack of notebooks, nail polish and nail apps, and my favorite tea towel! These are all things that I have/use and love.*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This giveaway is open to all! I will try my best to get everything to you in the case that you live outside of North America. I’m not sure what kind of special voodoo I will have to do to get the nail lacquers out, but I will do my best! 

**Just a note on the links and products, the companies mentioned do not know or work with me. I was not paid for my opinion — links are provided for reference. All items were purchased by me and are on this list because I have used them on my own face/nails, etc, and loved ’em. As always, all opinions are my own.

Cindy’s {current} Beauty Favorites

Hey, gals (and guys)! Remember when I promised you that beauty-faves post 2 weeks ago? Well…it’s here! I have to apologize for getting majorly distracted by family/friend time while I was away in the wild West. Toddler and baby nieces, man, they get me EVERYTIME!

But really, let’s talk about this make-up sitch…cause I love it and love talking about it…so bear with me! These are just 15 (fifteen!) of my current favorites — products I use, have used, or just discovered and love.

1. I picked up this Sonia Kashuk Hidden Agenda concealer palette several weeks ago and I am loving it. It contains 3 cream concealers (light, medium, and a green-tinted one for covering redness), as well as a setting powder (which I NEVER use, I’d honestly rather have another cream concealer shade for blending). I mostly use the green tinted and light concealers the most, though I appreciate the darker shade for blending and I think it will definitely come in handy this summer.

2. Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder. GUYS! THIS POWDER is amazing, despite it’s super long name. I am so-super-obsessed. It’s an HD-style (as in HDTV) finishing powder, claiming that it creates an optical illusion that hides flaws…and, I totally drank the kool-aid. Since using this, I have totally given up on foundation primers, it has a similar effect with out the weird end-of-the-day foundation slide that sometimes happens with primers.  It has a weirdo-applicator that I was okay with at first, but grew to hate, so I just popped off the top and use it as a loose powder with a brush. I use this powder on my whole face after I apply my foundation and concealer. It’s super silky, smooth, and does not leave a cakey-powder finish. It’s also great over a little BB cream to smooth things out and amp up the coverage. I will definitely be re-purchasing.

3. Again, another overwrought name, but really, Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen WOW Brightening Makeup is my current go-to and has been for several months now (I have re-purchased it a few times). It has medium coverage and a super lightweaight feel on the skin. I love the silken texture of the liquid and it’s smooth application. As with everyone, I struggle with matching my skin tone. As an Asian/Caucasian I have yellowish undertones, some redness, some hyper-pigmentation, and I go from medium-light to bronzed depending on the season. The shade Honey…I’m so money is one of the best matches for my skin tone I have found, and it blends like a dream. Paired with the UD Razor Sharp powder and I feel pretty much as flawless as possible when I leave the house. Also, the pump-style package makes for very little waste.

4. These DreamLumi Touch Highlighting Concealers have been all over the internets recently, and I have totally jumped onto that bandwagon. I use these (I have them in Nude and Buff) exclusively around my eye area. If you have dark under eyes, these are a dream — they brighten with just a bit of highlight, without making you look crazed. PLUS they are a drugstore find and at Ulta you can often get them (and mix/match) for their Buy1Get1 50% deal they always seem to run on drugstore brands.

5. This Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen in Cafe Gold is SO PRETTY! It’s a gold-flecked brown eye pencil that glides perfectly AND is waterproof. They are a lot like the Urban Decay 24/7 pencils (which I also use and love), but a bit cheaper and I think the colors are a bit more restrained. I have weepy outer-eye corners, so waterproof liners are my jam and this one is definitely a keeper.

6. Another Sonia Kashuk palette, this Arch Alert Brow Kit is pretty great. Though I have super dark eyebrows, they are sparse in areas, and ladies (gents, too) your eyebrows make your face. Non-eyebrowed folks are just creepy. For an example, check out this creepshow. There are 4 shades that have a bit of a waxy texture–eliminating the need (in my opinion) for brow gel. The darkest and medium brown shades both work for me–the medium is a more everyday look, while I use the dark one for nighttime. There is also a reddish shade and a fair one for our redheaded and blonde friends. I use this palette with a short, compact bristled brush.

7. I just picked up this Smashbox Halo Highlighting wand a few weeks ago, hoping that I would get the most product from it possible, and I am loving it. I am a big fan of liquid highlighters and was using one for Stila for a while, but the packaging frustrated me — the brush doesn’t reach the bottom of the bottle, so the remaining contents get dry and goopy…not cute. This wand has a click/pump that pushes from the bottom up, lessening the waste…which I love! I have the wand in the gold color — because I LOVE gold things — though I think the pink is just as pretty. I have only been using highlighter religiously in the last 6 months or so, but I feel like it really brings something extra to the make-up party. I use it to highlight the tops of my cheeks, the bridge of my nose, my brow bones, and the cupid’s bow of my upper lip. You could use the brush on the wand, but I just use to to dot the product on my face where I want highlight and brush it out with a stiff bristled, short haired, flat brush (like the white handled one pictured above).

8. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush has been making huge waves on the internets and I couldn’t resist trying it out. I am a big fan of Tarte cosmetics and this blush does not disappoint. I purchased it in the color Natural Beauty, which is a matte rosy-red color. I call it the perfect Snow-White-Princess blush–it’s really red and rosy and pigmented and PERFECT. I love a doll-face, fairy-tale cheek on anyone and this product delivers. The color pay-off is huge — a little goes a long way and a light hand OR blending is absolutely necessary. I am a big fan of blending, so I pile it on, blend, and repeat until I like what I see. I have tried this blush in other colors and love them all just as much, but this is my absolute fave for my skin tone. My BFF has the color Blissful which is coral-y and beautiful too, and may just be next in my collection.

9. I am a huge fan of the glossy, balmy, lipsticks that are popping up all over drugstores these days. This one by Maybelline Color Whisper in Pin-Up Peach may just be my EVER-FAVE lipcolor for any and everyone. It’s creamy and light on the lip, glides on easily, and leaves behind just enough color. This particular color looks good on pretty much everyone, I could not possibly love it more. It’s the perfect sweet and vintage-y peach-pink color at a great price point.

10. & 11. Revlon’s Colorburst Lip Butters are really similar to Color Whisper, but waxier. The color pay-off is similar, sheer color with a bit of pop. These shades in Sweet Tart (10.) and Cherry Tart (11.) are my favorite shades of the bunch. Sweet Tart is a sheer, creamy, bright pink — think barbie toned down a bit. Cherry Tart is a great red — my other red lipsticks are from MAC and super pigmented and opaque — this one is more sheer and you can build the color allowing you to go for a cherry-stained look or a more bold red lip.

12. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable BalmStain in Rendezvous is the first (and only?) tangerine-y color I own. I like this one because it’s definitely part of the orange lip trend, but not overly so and is a nice intro into a more bold lip look. I like the chunky crayon style and the smooth balmy texture, not to mention the sheer, fun color. I woud say that if your natural lip is fairly dark, this may not apply evenly color-wise, since it is a sheer-stain product.

13. I recently dropped my Birchbox subscription and took up with Julep Maven. I’m liking this subscription because no matter what  I get at least 2 new polishes a month…which, for me, makes it totally worth it. Plus, if I’m not feeling the boxes, I can skip that month. This Julep color in Teri is such a perfect coral cream. I love a cream polish and I am loving coral this year, so this is perfect. In the bottle, it appears a little more drab and muddy than it does on the nail, and online is seems REALLY orange. I assure you, it’s definitely a coral and definitely one that I will use all summer.

14. I got this FLO Atomizer in a Birhcbox before I cancelled and it was hands-down the best thing I got from them all year. Even though it totally looks like a vibrator (oh, I went there… because it totally does) it’s the PERFECT size to decant a sample-size of perfume and fits perfectly in any purse, plus you can clean it and fill it again with something else. I thought I actually lost this and immediately purchased a new one (Sephora brand that seems to be pretty comparable).

15. While dry shampoo is hardly a new thing, I couldn’t resist sharing this travel-size bottle of cherry scented Batiste. I find this brand to be well priced (compared to Rockaholic, which was what I used to buy), and while the scent is hardly cherry-like, I love the throw-back look of the packaging and that it’s travel sized. I have not tried any tinted dry shampoo’s, but I do have super-dark brown hair and yeah, I do get the white residue, but I just let it set/absorb for a few minutes (I usually tweeze my brows or something while I wait) and then just rub it in super fast. As someone who NEVER washes her hair consecutive days in a row (I can’t even imagine how dry my ends would be), dry shampoo is worth minimal the effort. It’s easy enough and FAR less time consuming than washing, blow-drying, flat-ironing my hair on the daily.

**HEY! Just a little disclaimer to say that none of these opinions are sponsored–I purchased all of these products with my own dollars and tested them out on my own face and head and nails, etc. Links are provided for my readers by me and are un-sponsored, so that the products mentioned are easy to find and check out. All opinions are my own. 


3 Pink Polishes for Valentine’s Day

I’m not ashamed to say that I love the color pink…a lot.*

Truthfully though, I pretty much love some shade of all the colors of the rainbow. There are so many great hues out there, and my favorites are constantly shifting. BUT! it’s almost Cupid’s Birthday and there really isn’t another time of the year when pink is more appropriate…plus, you can mix it with red, which is always a winning combo with me. Below are just 3 of my favorite pink polishes. These have been in heavy rotation the last few weeks and I know I love ’em because I keep putting them back on and just staaaaring at my nails. Keep reading for where to find them and why I love them.

This color makes me think of cherry-cream soda-fountain drinks and sweet, sweet love. It’s a bright, medium pink cream that is more on the red side. I love this color and turn to it all year, but I especially love to sport it during the weeks leading up to Valentine’s day. I also like the brush and the formula is pretty nice and doesn’t streak as much as a lot of cream polishes. {Venique-Brighten Your Day! (3 coats) the link has the worst photo ever and doesn’t do the color justice, fair warning}.

Oh, this color, it really does make me crazy. I’ve had it for a few years and bought it as a summer color, but have never managed to actually wear it before now. It’s a really shimmery, purple-pink magenta that kind of comes across malibu-barbie-esque most of the year. BUT! recently, I’ve been loving it. It totally fulfills all of my girly, valentine’s days demands of bright jewel tones and glitter and shimmer, PLUS it brings a nice spot of excitement and boldness in the late winter months. {ESSIE-Jamaica Me Crazy (2 coats),  I love it paired with the ESSIE color Splash of Grenadine

This fruit-punchy pink cream is another all-year fave. It was actually a gift from my good friend and fellow pink-polish aficionado, Megan. It’s a favorite for sandal-clad toes in the summer, but makes equal sense for Valentine’s Day. This color is super bright and super pink. It screams it and I love it…even if the AA bottles are awkward and the brush kind of sucks, the formula is nice and some even claim it’s a one-coater, but I always do 3 coats with creams to achieve maximum opacity. This color looks even better, almost juicy, with a super shiny, quality top coat (I like Seche Vite or Out the Door). {American Apparel-Angeline (3 coats)}**

*In the first photo, I am wearing AA-Angeline,  Venique-Brighten Your Day! on my ring and pointer fingers with AA-Meteor Shower on top, and Seche Vite top coat over everything.

**This is not a promotional post. All products were purchased by myself or (as noted above) friends.  All opinions above are my own and born from my crazy-nuts love of nail polish and home manicures.