With so many big, successful brands out there, it can be extremely daunting and challenging to take the leap and start your own. I absolutely love to support new, up and coming brands, especially when they are run by incredible makeup artists who know the industry and pay attention to what we need. I look up to brand owners like this in hopes that maybe one day I could be one too.
Alamar Cosmetics was founded by Gabriela Trujillo, a Miami based makeup artist. Long before Gaby started Alamar, I knew her as a close friend to Kathleen Lights (one of my favorite YouTubers) and the makeup artist behind all of the KL Polish marketing campaigns. Just scrolling through Gaby’s Instagram feed you will find gorgeous bridal makeup, Boxycharm tutorials, and tons of colorful and textured looks–all of which give inspiration to other artists!
When she announced that she was creating her own brand, I was so excited! I knew I would support whatever she came out with, but then when she tied it so closely to her culture and what was important to her, I thought that was such a genuine and passionate thing to do. Alamar means “stay close to the sea”, which roots her brand in the idea that she wants to always remain tied to her native Cuban culture. So if you are interested in supporting another woman in the makeup industry who is working hard to make it, who shares her experiences of staying up late hand packing her shipment orders in her kitchen, who invested in herself and her future, check out Alamar Cosmetics. As I am about to show you, you won’t be disappointed!
So far, Alamar has released an eyeshadow palette and a brush trio. I own the palette–Reina Del Caribe Vol. 1, and I was honestly blown away the first time I swatched this. First, the packaging is some of the cutest I have seen. The tropical flowers and colors just make you instantly happy, I absolutely love the design and the size of the palette is perfect–not to bulky but not too tiny either.
The quality and pigmentation of these eyeshadows are insane. I have eyeshadows in my collection that are considered “high end” or “luxury” that swatch the same as these. What I love the most about this is that is isn’t something I have seen before. We have all seen a “neutral warm tone” palette from literally every single brand. Sometimes I feel like “new” releases of makeup are nothing completely “new” or innovative. These colors are like nothing else that I own. Sure, I have a dark brown like “cafecito”, but “el malecon”, “celia”, even “”tropico” are colors that are incredibly unique! You have to include colors like “coco-taxi” and “cafecito” in order to create a palette that people can use for their entire eye look. This palette is warm for fall, it’s summery, it really is a year-round gem.
I am extremely passionate about makeup. It’s just something I love and I never get tired of it. With that, I take a lot of time and do a ton of research into the products, brands, and influencers that I choose to follow and support. That is why I really wanted to take the time to highlight a brand and its’ owner who I think deserves to thrive in an industry that can make it extremely difficult for any smaller company to survive. I can’t wait to see what is coming next from Alamar!
Let me know if you have tried anything from this brand!
Like most makeup-lovers out there, I try to get as much makeup I can, for as little a price as possible. So while I have wanted to try a coveted Pat McGrath lipstick for quite some time now, I could never bring myself to spend the $38 for just one. But then, the trendsetting makeup queen released the PERFECT mini MatteTrance lipstick trio–giving us the chance to try not one, but three of her products for only $25! The amazing part is that if I were to pick her top three colors I have wanted to try, these are it! They are universally flattering, and can be paired with so many makeup looks.
This formula of lipstick is the creamiest, must buttery formula that I own. It is matte, but it is not one bit drying. The pigmentation is perfection, and it lasts for a pretty long time on the lips!
As with all of her other products, the packaging is amazing and so unique. The black and gold is stunning, and even the way they send it to you with the gold sequins is beautiful!
Overall, this $25 purchase was SO worth it. These have quickly become my new favorite lipsticks, especially the color “Flesh 3” for fall! This trio has been going in and out of stock since its release, but keep your eye out on Sephora’s website and snag yours when you can! Now that I know how good Pat McGrath’s products are, I hope that one day I can try her eyeshadows and see if they live up to the hype.
I have said time and time again that Colourpop is one of my FAVORITE brands for so many reasons! They combine affordability and quality and provide new and exciting products that I can’t help but love. They recently announced a new collection called “Sol y Mar” which gives incredible summer vacation vibes as soon as you see it. I was so inspired by the colors in the palettes, I ordered the two palettes and 1 lip color the day it was released. If you are looking for products to help you create a fun and colorful spiced up look, then look no further!
First up is the Sol Palette! This palette fulfills all of my orangey, peachy, warm toned dreams. This palette screams summer time! The thing I love about this palette is that there is not a color in here that I won’t use. All of these shades are very wearable, and you can easily go from day-to-day to full glam with this!
The Mar Palette gives me all of the mermaid beauty that I need. The blues mixed with warm tones in this palette are so different and outside the box, it inspires me to create new and unique looks. You also get incredible bronze/gold shades to create a more everyday look as well! With this palette, you really get the best of both worlds.
The Ultra Blotted Lip in the shade Vitamin Sea is the perfect compliment to these eyeshadow palettes. I love this formula because the blotted lip is meant to be a “wash” of color. It’s perfect for summer when you don’t want a full liquid lip, but just a little “barely there” color. It dries matte and stays ALL DAY long! It’s a great warm, orangey mauve that looks good on so many skin tones.
The entire Sol y Mar collection contains two eyeshadow palettes, three ultra blotted lips, and four highlighters. I chose to pick up the two palettes and one lip, and I am so glad that I did! Each palette is $12 and the lip is $6, you just can’t beat that price! That makes each eyeshadow $1.33–insane. I think this is one of my favorite Colourpop collections so far, and I can’t wait to see what they come out with next!
Let me know what you think of this collection and what your favorite shades are!
I have been SO EXCITED for this launch!!! My excitement stemmed from the fact that I follow and support Mario Dedivanovic because he is an extremely talented and inspiring makeup artist. I have followed Mario’s work for years now, and he is constantly at the forefront of makeup trends, always trying new things and making us look at makeup in a whole new way. Mario is most well-known for being Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist. While you can have any opinion of Kim that you want, there is no denying that she has been a makeup icon for going on 10 years now. The looks that Mario has created on Kim over the years have become the industry standard that everyone looks to duplicate. Heard of contouring? Probably because of Mario. The huge nude lip trend? Oh yeah, that was Mario and Kim. Baking your undereye? Once again, Mario. I’m not saying that Mario “created” these techniques, as many of them originated in the Drag community, but he did hone his skills and show us how to use these techniques in our every day makeup routines.
Another reason that I look up to Mario as an artist is because he started just like any of us, and rose to success by taking chances. He started working at Sephora–not even in the makeup department!! He was in fragrances, but kept giving makeup advice until he was able to switch departments. Now Mario is one of the biggest makeup artists in the world, giving Master Classes around the globe every year to thousands of people hoping to learn from him. I will insert one of his recent posts on Instagram that I absolutely love.
It gives me goosebumps every time!! That “swipe left to see how that turned out” shows 6 of Mario and Kim’s Vogue covers together. Mario is an inspiration, and it just goes to show you that you HAVE to trust your gut. If Mario would have listened to all of the people who told him that doing Kim’s makeup would ruin his career, just image how different things would be. Sometimes, you have to do the “unpopular” thing if it feels right to you and just see where it takes you. Especially in a creative industry such as this, there are no right or wrong answers. Trends don’t start by doing the same makeup look over and over. Try something new. Get out of your comfort zone. Follow your passion. I hope that one day I get to attend a Master Class by Mario and see him work in person! Now, let’s get into the collection and see what it’s all about!
This collection consists of one eyeshadow palette ($45), 2 lipglosses ($18 each), and 1 lipstick ($20). The whole bundle together is priced at $85. One of the reasons that I was so excited about the lip products they released is because Mario created them to be worn on ANY skin tone. He created this entire collection with makeup artists in mind. As someone who is trying to build their own kit and have something for everyone when I am on set or at a wedding, I was so excited to hear that with this collection, Mario said you could do anyone’s makeup and have it look amazing. It is extremely difficult to have lip colors and eyeshadows that suit everyone, so this was amazing news! And let me just say that I completely agree with Mario, these colors look good on so many people with so many different skin tones.
My favorite part of this bundle is the eyeshadow palette! These colors are SO creamy and pigmented, and I expected nothing less from Mario. I honestly have used at least one shade from this palette every single day since I received it. I am the most excited (like everyone else on social media) about the blue he created. It is the most perfect royal blue I have ever used. The very first look I created on myself with this palette was using the blue, and I was so happy with it! Are the warm tones similar to other colors you may own? Probably, but I would be willing to bet that the quality of these are better. I have been so impressed with this palette, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a completely versatile, one stop eyeshadow palette. Whether you are a beginner or not, you can do so many different looks with just this one palette. Plus, I get SO excited when I see Mario take this on set to do photo shoots with celebrities like Ariana Grande and Bebe Rexha, I immediately try and recreate his looks!
All of these lip products are extremely opaque and pigmented. I have been wearing the “Classic K” lipstick a lot, because it really does go with everything. My favorite gloss is “Juicy”, because it has just enough peachy-ness to it and it makes your lips look so glossy. “Super nude” is a little too fair for me, but I love that I can have it in my kit and it looks great on other skin tones. “Classic K” also pairs well with so many lip liners! It takes me one swipe to completely cover my lips in color, and I love how creamy and non-drying it is.
Overall, this is my favorite new makeup collection that I have purchased this year (and probably ever, but we will see). The collection sold out the first time in 12 minutes, so I was thrilled to be one of the lucky ones who was able to grab it! I highly recommend this to anyone looking for something extremely versatile! This can easily take you from day to night, from casual to glam, and everything in between. I hope to see more from Mario in the future! In 2008 Mario did Kim’s makeup for the first time, and now he has launched a collection with her on the SAME DAY 10 years later!!! Dreams do come true. Let me know what you thought of this collection!
Everyone wants to feel beautiful on their wedding day! I wanted to share a few things that you can do to try and get yourself wedding-day ready and feeling your best for your big day! These are all of the things that I am personally going to do leading up to my wedding. Just remember that the truth is, even if you have a pesky pimple the day of or your hair just won’t cooperate, you still get to marry the love of your life and THAT is what it’s all about!
It’s all about the A.H.A’s!!! Alpha Hydroxy Acids are known for their exfoliating abilities. I will go more into detail about these later, but they are a true skincare game changer. I LOVE this body soap from Mario Badescu because it really gets rid of any little bumps you may have on your arms or legs and brightens your overall complexion. It also smells amazing!
I picked this pack up during the Ulta 21 days of beauty for half off–I just couldn’t pass it up! I wanted something stronger to add to my skincare regimen before the wedding, and with over 400 amazing reviews I knew I had to try this.
Once again, we have an AHA product. The word “peel” might scare a lot of people, because who wants to actually peel!? But most peels do not make your skin peel off. They just exfoliate the top layer of your skin using chemicals instead of physical beads. For myself, I notice a BIG difference using chemical exfoliators versus physical. This box is a 6 week supply of 2 step pads that you swipe all over your face, neck, and I go over my arms too. It is said to smooth texture, shrink pores, even skin tone, create brightness, and diminish wrinkles. I have definitely noticed that my dark spots are lightening and my texture is pretty much gone! So far I am really glad I have this! It’s the perfect pre-wedding boost!
Surprise, more AHAs! Honestly, when I was introduced to AHAs it changed my skin. When I would try new products, the oiliness and texture would come right back, and I would get out my AHA gel, and my skin would go back to normal! I have had so many estheticians recommend AHA products to me, so I finally decided to give it a try and I have been so happy with my skin ever since! Everyone is different, but for me–I am no longer oily, I rarely breakout like I used to, my skin tone is finally becoming more even, my skin is brighter, and my makeup goes on so smooth. Every single night I use these 3 products, and that’s it! This is my holy grail combination!
I’ve said it once in a previous post (Sephora & Ulta Haul!) and I will say it again, this “water” is amazing and I don’t see myself ever being without it. After I wash my face or use a makeup wipe, I put some of this on a cotton round and swipe it over my entire face and I get SO MUCH DIRT that I didn’t even see on my skin! It’s amazing! I really think that just properly cleaning my skin with this has led to my skin texture clearing up because my pores do not get as clogged.
Ole Henrikson makes my favorite skincare products. I think the brand is a little underrated, because I haven’t tried a single thing that I did not like! These two products from the invigorating night transformation line work together like a DREAM. Yes, this is the old packaging, but that’s because I find these at TJ Maxx for about 1/3 of the price!!! Even if I had to pay full price for these, I would do it in a heartbeat because they work for me so well. You put the gel serum on first, and you will experience some tingling. Wait for that to dry down, and follow with the cream! Whenever I wake up my skin is noticeably brighter and any potential bumps I had coming up are either diminished or gone. My fiancé has even made comments about my skin glowing!
For your daytime skincare, be sure to follow up with SPF! AHA products can make you more sensitive to the sun, so be sure you are protecting yourself during the day!
The slogan of the popular hydrafacial sounds like wedding-ready skin to me! I have watched as so many of my favorite YouTubers receive hydrafacials before big events, and their skin is always glowing! They rave about the results, and I have always wanted to try one. The thing is that for a facial, they are very pricey. But, what better time to splurge than for your wedding!? I finally booked one for myself for a week before the wedding and I am soooo excited to see what it’s all about! The website says it is for all skin types and will help with congested skin, fine lines, skin texture, vibrancy, elasticity, and pores. They use what is called a “vortex” tool to suction everything out of your pores and leave your skin silky smooth. At the end, they even show you your skin’s “waste”! (Ew, but cool?). I can’t wait to share my results! The average cost of a hydrafacial is around $150.
Lastly for skincare, I always recommend doing 1 sheet mask a week! Not only do they benefit your skin, they are so relaxing!!! I always look forward to sitting down with my face mask and some wine and just unwinding for 20 minutes! I still suggest My Top 5 Sheet Masks because these are really the ones I use all of the time! Depending on what your skin needs, these can offer hydration, clarity, brightness, you name it!
I want whiter teeth for the wedding, but my teeth are so sensitive! Any time that I use the regular white strips, my teeth hurt for days. I have found that using the gentle routine strips for just 10 minutes a day is perfect for me! This pack has 28 treatments, so for the month before the wedding, it’s perfect to pop these on every night while you get ready for bed!
This is one of my absolute favorite pre-wedding “beauty” things to share. I really love the idea of having a wedding day scent. Smells have the ability to bring back memories and take you back to certain times in your life, and I wanted to choose a special perfume to do that for our wedding. My plan is to only wear it on our anniversary so that it can remind us of our special day! So, we went together to Neiman Marcus to start smelling perfumes and decide on the perfect one, and we ended up finding scents for both of us! Everyone is very different when it comes to perfumes and colognes, so what smells good on my skin might smell totally different on the next person. I ended up choosing the Armani Prive Pivione Suzhou which has a raspberry and rose scent. For my fiancé, we picked the Armani Prive Vetiver D’Hiver which lists its fragrance notes as woodsy and raw. What made this so special was that the woman who helped us at the counter was SO nice and told us that we could get a special wooden box to showcase our fragrances along with free engraving! This is a pricey item for sure, but I am so happy that we have scents that we can wear on special occasions that will always remind us of our wedding. This is the first item we had engraved with our joint last name, and I’m so happy we did this! Also, she gave us an atomizer to fill with our fragrances so that we do not have to travel with these glass bottles! So helpful!
Don’t forget to pack your favorite pair of sunglasses! For us with a destination wedding, this was a must. When one of my favorite YouTubers, Desi Perkins, came out with her new Quay X Desi sunnies in white, I thought they were perfect! I’m so excited to wear these on our wedding vacation!
Hair and Makeup
Don’t forget to plan out your hair and makeup for the big day! Get on Pinterest and see what you are drawn to. You will want to send pictures to your hairstylist and makeup artist before hand so they have a good idea of what you want. Also, keep in mind what you want your hair to be like for the wedding. Do you picture it long? A different color? Prepare accordingly and make appointments to help get your hair exactly how you want it before you go to your hair trials.
Nails and Eyebrows
Make your appointments ahead of time! When my eyebrows are trimmed and cleaned up, it makes everything look so much better. I get them threaded about once a month and I love it! As for nails, going with something white will always look nice! Just make sure you get the appointment close to your wedding day so that it all stays nice and perfect with no chips!
We don’t want to look pale next to our white wedding dress! It’s controversial, but I personally think that tanning in a bed for a week is the best way to get a good solid base color and glow. I have very rarely seen a spray tan that looks good, and even if parts of it look good, the hands ALWAYS get rubbed off and look splotchy. I don’t want a picture of my holding my bouquet with patchy hands! So plan accordingly and get a couple day pass to a tanning salon right before your wedding to get some healthy looking color!
Yes, “shedding for the wedding” is a popular thing and we all want to look our best. Personally, I think it is more important to go to the gym before the wedding in order to help you manage your stress! Exercising can be a huge part in stress relief, and with all of the planning, you will need something to help you unwind! Go to the gym to be healthy both physically and mentally!
There you have it! My beauty and wellness tips to help you get ready for the wedding! Please let me know if there are any tips that helped you get ready for your wedding!
April is here!!! I can barely believe it because exactly 1 month from today I will be boarding a plane to head to my WEDDING in Italy! I have been planning this wedding for about a year now, and I am beyond excited that it’s almost time for it to happen! With that being said, I want to start a 4 part weekly series of wedding blog posts to share some of my planning efforts! Let the wedding countdown and month of posts begin!
Planning an International Wedding
Choosing your Destination
Soooo many people (and I mean almost everyone) ask us “why/how did you choose Italy to get married?” We had been engaged for 3 years when we starting seriously planning and our choice was made pretty simply. We toured several venues, all of which were gorgeous and located on Amelia Island in Florida. Not only were the locations beautiful, they were extremely expensive. I could see us getting married there, but I wasn’t necessarily “in love” with the venues because it just seemed overpriced and over the top. Here’s how I saw it: a 4 hour, $150 per person dinner party that will cost you at least $20,000. My fiance and I met in high school, and one of the places we had always said we wanted to visit together was Italy. Specifically, I’ve seen pictures of the Amalfi Coast and dreamed about going for years now. After talking with my parents about my venue dilemma, they asked me: if you could get married anywhere, where would you do it? Without hesitation I said the Amalfi Coast of Italy and whipped out my Pinterest board filled with pictures of my dream vacation. They responded by reminding me of the absolute truth–that life is short. If we wanted to get married in Italy, why not do it?
So we decided we would do it, we would get married in Italy (still crazy to say)! That was our perfect location! What you have to keep in mind when choosing your destination is how this will effect your potential guest list. For us, we never wanted a “big” wedding, so we were totally fine with it. I always pictured myself with an intimate wedding and maybe a party later, but I knew I just wanted my very closest friends and family to actually be there when I got married. There are a lot of people who will not be able to come to a destination wedding, and that’s okay! At the end of the day, the wedding is about you and your significant other, and that is it. After we told everyone what we were doing, we started planning away!
Finding a Place to Stay
After choosing your date and deciding on the amount of time you want to spend at your destination, step 1 is to make sure you can find good lodging! We knew we wanted to go in May because the weather would be perfect, and after looking at dates for school and work, we settled on our trip lasting from May 4th to the 15th with our wedding day on the 10th pretty much because we liked the number and we could have the ceremony whenever we wanted.
Next, we started researching places to stay and I highly suggest using VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner). We thought it would be best if our group could all stay together to make everything easier, so we narrowed our searches to having the right amount of bedrooms. Pretty quickly we came across a 10 bedroom/10 bathroom Villa overlooking the Amalfi Coast and I fell in love. It had amazing reviews left from several people who got married in Italy–which was so perfect! We contacted the owner and it couldn’t have been better because he introduced us to his in-Villa event coordinator and a wedding planner, how lucky were we!?
Find a Wedding Planner
Planning an international wedding is not easy. The hardest part is trying to figure out all of the legal documents needed to have an actual wedding–most of which are in Italian. You need to visit the U.S Consulate here with several forms filled out, bring a translator with you, have your birth certificates translated into Italian and printed out, bring all of that with you to Italy, and then follow another long series of appointments at the Italian Consulate so receive the proper paperwork. If one thing is wrong, the wedding isn’t happening. So for me, I knew I wanted to hire someone in Italy that could help me make sure I had everything in order and make that process a smoother one. The owner of the Villa introduced me to the Book of Dreams owner, Alessandra, and she quickly began helping me plan everything I had been envisioning. If you choose this route, make sure you know what they offer as far as helping you with legal paperwork. Alessandra makes appointments in Italy for you, fills out forms, and offers to go with you to appointments in Italy so that you have someone who speaks Italian with you.
There is no way we could have planned this wedding without a professional planner based out of Italy. She knew the area, gave advice on locations, contacted every vendor and made all arrangements, and has been making sure everything will be in order for our big day.
Start Planning Wedding Day Details
Your planner will most likely have a list of vendors lined up that they generally work with. First, we chose the venue. I knew I wanted to get married somewhere outside and by the water, which is why she suggested Villa Fondi and I immediately agreed.
Keep in mind that in order to legally get married in Italy, you have to get married at a town hall location. Italian town halls are clearly not like what we are used to, because most of them have gorgeous balconies or gardens for a beautiful wedding!
After the venue comes transportation to and from the wedding (I will talk more about transportation later, but I highly suggest having someone drive you everywhere and not driving yourself), flowers, photography, decorations, makeup and hair, music, and your reception. All of this is just whatever package you prefer! Think about what colors you want, what flowers will be in season, what hair would go best with your dress, it’s time to break out your Pinterest board and go to work!!!
Things to Consider
Are you going to rent a car? I suggest not, just because several people who have been to Italy have told me that they were constantly lost, the roads are windy, they got pulled over, and they overall wished they would have just had someone drive them who knew where to go.
Do you want to take a separate car the day of the wedding than your significant other? I personally don’t want him to see me! So I made sure to arrange for 2 vehicles.
What colors do you want for your wedding theme? I’ll be honest, you won’t have too many options because these venues only offer so much. I went with red and white because I thought it would look beautiful next to the blue water. From here, I just Pinterest searched bouquets and sent what I found to my planner!
Do you want just pictures or picture and video? We decided to just go with photos because I couldn’t see us ever really watching a video again, plus it’s a big expense!
What pictures are must-haves for you? This will help you choose the right package. I knew I wanted some pictures of us getting ready at the Villa, pictures at the ceremony, and pictures of us cutting our cake (we aren’t having a traditional reception–it’s just our group of 12 adults and 1 child!). I relayed what I was looking for, and this fit in a half-day package!
Make sure you ask how you will be getting your photos after everything is done. It is common for them to mail you a USB drive once you leave Italy.
Stick with your color theme! You probably will get to choose the aisle color, chair color, and if you want to add any sashes to your chairs. I wanted to add more color than just the flowers so I chose a red aisle to walk down, white chairs, and red sashes.
Makeup and Hair
My suggestion is to pick what looks best with your dress style. Some dresses have so much detail and you want your hair mostly up to show it off.
Yes, I am a professional makeup artist. No, I do not want to do my own makeup for my wedding. I do other people’s makeup all of the time! I want to relax on my wedding day and let someone else do mine. Choose whatever works the best for you!
You will also be able to choose if you want a trial or just hair and makeup the day of the event. I personally did not care enough to take a day out of my Italy vacation to go to a salon for a trial run, so whatever happens, happens!
What do you want to hear when you walk down the aisle? After a few hours of listening to YouTube wedding music played on various instruments, we chose a guitar player. For the songs we wanted, it sounded so beautiful.
You get to choose songs for various parts of the ceremony. We wanted to pick songs that we loved and that meant something to us. Here is what we chose:
Arrival of the bride: Canon in D (Pachelbel)
Exchange of the rings: A Thousand Years (Christina Perri)
Signing of the register: Say You Won’t Let Go (James Arthur)
Exit of the couple: All of Me (John Legend)
How far are you willing to travel after your ceremony? We did not want to have to go far, I wanted to keep that special feeling going right into the reception! The venue we chose has a beach right below it that leads out to a restaurant on a jetty. We wanted to have a really fun family dinner here on the water! The restaurant had wedding dinner menus, cake options, and they play music, so this was perfect for us! All within walking distance!
What type of atmosphere do you want? Maybe you really want to dance! It would be nice to choose a location with a dance floor and music. Keep in mind the size of your group because renting an entire space for a small group might not have that “party” vibe to it.
Make a Binder
One of my biggest pieces of advice–STAY ORGANIZED. As soon as we started planning, I started my huge binder. Here are my binder sections:
Print out every email between you and your planner for future reference. You will forget things she told you over this process and through all of your threads it gets hard to find in your inbox, trust me! Highlight all of the important parts.
Keep all of your receipts together! You never know when you will need something.
Print out Pinterest ideas! Keep a list of things you see in magazines or random thoughts that come to you so that you can run them by your planner.
Make a document that has all of your potential spending points such as the venue, flowers, cost of the planner, etc. and fill in the quoted price as you go. Mark what you have paid for when you send money! This will help you keep track of your budget and make sure you know what prices to expect for your total bill.
Keep track of your reservation for the Villa along with your check-in and check-out times.
I like to print out all of the package options and then highlight what I want to pick, that way I can look back and see what choices there were.
I will talk a lot more about this, but this trip is more than just a wedding! It’s a vacation! Here you can start planning all of the things you want to do while you are in Italy!
Start looking way in advance! The farther out you book, the better chance of getting the best deal! Also, keep in mind that there are certain times of the year where airlines offer specials! Don’t forget to coordinate with the group you are traveling with. I knew I wanted us to sit together for the long part of the flight, so we all bought our tickets at the same time and picked seats together.
Get All Important Documents
You will need to make sure that everyone has a valid passport! You and your significant other also need your birth certificates, so don’t wait until the last minute to find all of your necessary paperwork!
Set savings goals for each month! It will add up quickly and then you won’t be stressed as you get closer to your wedding date! Almost everything will require that you pay cash in Euros once you get to Italy, so you really have the entire planning process to save money which makes it nice. Don’t forget that on top of the wedding day essentials, you are on vacation and you will need daily food, money for excursions, etc. Also, it is important to keep in mind that all of the prices you are quoted are usually in Euros!! You need to convert the Euro to the Dollar and make sure you save accordingly.
Start Planning Itinerary
I will be making this part an entire separate post! Just be sure that you start making a list of things you want to do while in Italy! Do research, ask around, read blogs, get all of the ideas you can! There are so many options and so little time, so make sure you pick things that are at the top of your list! The hardest part will be deciding which day to do which thing, which takes a lot of time and patience to properly plan. I will be sharing how I created our 10 day Italy itinerary in my next post!
Make a Wedding Website
This is an incredibly fun and easy way to stay organized, while also letting your destination wedding group know the plan! It’s hard to always update people individually, especially when your head is in a million different places between planning an international wedding and real life in general. I found that updating the website when I received new information from our wedding planner or our event coordinator was the best way to let everyone know what was going on. I was sure to include prices, locations, and most importantly our itinerary. It’s been so nice to refer back to now that I started to pack my clothes and organize our budget, you just pull up your site and you have prices of each excursion, transport, and dinner! I thought that The Knot was a great way to make a website–plus it’s free!
Find Your Dress and Get the Tux
Dress shopping is FUN! You basically get to feel like a princess the entire day! I can’t wait to share the dress that I picked after our wedding and we get our pictures back! I’ve been keeping it a secret from most people! Give yourself plenty of time for alterations and to pick accessories. You will learn a lot at the alteration appointment–such as if you want a veil, if you want to add cups, if you want a crinoline slip, etc. Bring your shoes to check your height and just enjoy it!
Make sure that you go look at tuxes with enough time to get alterations done to it as well. I must say, the tux shopping is much more simple and laid back than the dress! Here you do have the chance to add in your wedding colors and see your future hubby in his wedding day attire (heart face emoji for sure).
Get Wedding Accessories
Don’t forget to pick out jewelry and shoes! Also, decide on a veil or hair piece! There are so many options, so don’t get overwhelmed and just try and think what you can picture for yourself in your dress. My parents surprised me with the most gorgeous necklace, earrings, and bracelet set of pearls for my wedding day. Pearls are timeless, classic, and very bridal, which makes them perfect! I wanted cute heels for our pictures, but I also bought a pair of rose gold sparkly Toms for the reception! Keep your comfort in mind, it is likely to be a long night and I knew I wouldn’t last in heels!
Order Wedding Favors & Gifts
Etsy is a magical, wonderful place filled with so many creative things! I ordered our wedding gifts and favors from different vendors on here, and I am thrilled with each purchase. I can’t talk about the gifts just yet, but I can’t wait to share them after the wedding! They turned out so good! For wedding favors, I know our group is small, but I really wanted something with our date on it so we could all have a keepsake. I found the cutest shop that had Italy themed favors and she worked with me to make can coolers and wine glasses! Check out String Bird Bridal for some awesome wedding ideas.
Don’t Forget the Pets
You will need to arrange for petsitting/boarding for your trip! Do this in advance, you never know how quickly people can book up! We have one cat and one dog, so we had to do something different for each one. For the cat, she is most comfortable at home and would be too upset to be boarded for that long. We bought a security camera from Amazon that allows us to both hear what’s going on and talk through the camera. This way we can see our baby while we are gone! It also gives peace of mind when having someone come into your home to check on your pet. I can make sure her food bowl gets filled and that she is safe and happy. For the dog, I suggest checking out doggy day care centers that also board! During the day, she gets to run around, swim, and have play time. At night, she gets a room to herself with a bed and a video camera so we can see her! I’m already nervous to leave our girls, but knowing they are safe will help ease the worry of traveling so far.
Extra Things to Keep in Mind
Don’t forget to call your credit card companies and let them know you are traveling internationally.
Check out what international plans your phone company offers. Don’t turn on phones that you don’t have to use while you are over there, because you will rack up bills just by receiving texts and using data to get notifications. Choose a designated phone to use as the calling and texting phone and add the international plan to that one!
Start thinking about what you will be doing during the day on your trip and planning accordingly! I will have a separate post on packing, but grab items here and there that you know you will want on your trip. For example, I personally wanted a few cute “bride to be” things to wear leading up to the big day! Just keep your eye out over the course of wedding planning so you are not stressed at the end trying to desperately find cute outfits!
A post on this will be coming soon! Start thinking of things you want to do to get ready for your big day in the realm of skincare and makeup! I can’t wait to share what I have been doing and my suggestions!
Almost everything you reserve will need to be paid for with cash Euros when you arrive in Italy. Make sure you head to your bank and order the correct amount of Euros that you need ahead of time to save A LOT of money in conversion fees at the airport.
There it is! My list of everything I can think of that I have been working on for the past 11 months or so. It’s surreal that my day is almost here, so I hope that this list helps other future brides who are thinking about doing a destination wedding! All I can say so far is if you have been thinking about it, do it. I am so incredibly excited that we are doing our wedding this way! Yes, it is very different and there are sacrifices you have to make in order to travel to another country for your wedding, but so far I think it is worth it. Your money goes A LOT farther, and you get an entire vacation out of it rather than just a one night party! Let me know any questions you might have and I look forward to sharing 3 more wedding posts with you soon!
I’m always very intrigued by skin care, so I love learning about new trends and what to try next to get radiant, smooth skin! Especially with my wedding just 6 weeks away (!!!!), I am on the hunt for that bride-to-be glow! I have been hearing a lot about egg products being a skincare wonder, so I wanted to try this out and see what all of the hype was about.
I started researching what eggs can do for your skin, and here is a general list of what I found:
Albumin in egg whites can help tighten pores and clear blackheads
Egg yolk has hydrating properties
Egg whites contain collagen that can help fight wrinkles
Due to the skin tightening properties of eggs whites, it can reduce oil production and help those with oily skin
Not a bad list, right!?
I came across two egg products at Ulta, and decided to give them a try and see what results I could get!
First up, the very highly rated and talked about Too Cool For School Egg Cream Mask (Price: $6). The claims of this mask are that it provides you with hydration and brightening effects. I also picked up the Egg White Perfect Nose Kit (Price: $4). I was really drawn to this because of the fact that unlike any blackhead clearing strip I have used before, this came in 3 different steps (and the picture of the egg going from dirty to completely white really got me).
I actually loved the Egg Cream sheet mask! It made my skin feel SO hydrated and didn’t leave me feeling sticky. I did think my skin was a little brighter, and any redness I had was soothed. This was a win for me! Especially for $6, I would want to pick this up again. As for the nose kit, I wasn’t overly impressed. I have used the Biore Nose Strips for years, and I really like them! The issue I have is that I don’t feel like they ever “fix” my blackhead situation on my nose, they just help a little and I have to continually use them, yet I never see that my nose is completely clear. This is why I wanted to try a 3 step process, just in case I needed a little extra strength to see more results! Unfortunately, I couldn’t really tell a difference between these and my Biore strips. The process is really different though–the first strip is like a sheet mask that sits on your nose, then its a sticky strip that hardens and pulls off, then the third strip is a sheet mask again. It was a fun process, but also a lot of work to keep track of the time and keep changing steps. For $4 I would suggest giving it a try, but for me personally I don’t think I will repurchase.
Overall, the egg trend is still really interesting to me! I will continue to check it out, and maybe even try making my own DIY egg white mask at home! Let me know what your favorite skin care ingredients are!
The most recent makeup trend has been the holographic/galaxy inspired looks, which I think is so fun! It’s different and unique and I love trying new things. I received both of these products as gifts over the holidays so that I could achieve this type of look! I also wanted to have these in my on set kit just in case I would need to create a character that was “out of this world”!
First up is the highly anticipated Fenty Beauty Galaxy Palette. The first thing about this eyeshadow palette is the insanely cool packaging. Inside, there are 14 glitter eyeshadows that will add a pop to any eye look. Some of these are more sheer topcoat colors that just add a little something to existing shadows, and others are more opaque shimmers. Overall, this palette is so fun to play with! The colors are really different from anything I owned and they kinda force you to go outside of your usual comfort zone. They make me want to create an Effie Trinket inspired character look! I would say the quality of the shadows is also really good. There is fallout, but I feel like most glitter shadows have this as well. Definitely use these on your eyes before you put on your foundation, but then you are good to go!
The next perfect “stellar” makeup product is the Huda Beauty Winter Solstice Lip Strobe Set. These lip glosses layer perfectly on top of any color or you can wear them by themselves. They are extremely iridescent and often look like different colors in different lighting environments. In the packaging, they all look to be a white color, but when you swatch them, they have colorful undertones with duochrome glitters. These make for the perfect festival look! They are branded as a “winter” collection, but to me these are great for a party, a costume, or just to add an intriguing little flare to a lip look.
Both of these products are limited addition according to the Sephora website. I think they are fun additions to any collection! For me, you never know what you might need on a film set or what your next job could be, so I love having options! It’s also fun to just play around and create new looks!
What’s pretty cool is that just this concealer alone would be the cost of the whole Ipsy bag! I have heard so many rave reviews about this concealer, I was so happy to receive it in the bag! I love trying new concealers because I feel like you need different ones for different days. This one is definitely a full coverage concealer. It also says that it is anti-aging and waterproof, both big pluses! Overall I really like this! It is pretty thick, so it wouldn’t be good if you have dry under eyes, but on a normal day or if you have dark circles I think you would really like this.
I have been sooo dry recently with the change in temperature, so I was happy to get a lip scrub that could help my chapped lips! This smells really good, it has a vanilla scent. It’s just like most lip scrubs, it gently buffs away dry, dead skin and then you can apply a lip balm and quench your lips! I don’t know that I would repurchase this because I have lip scrubs that are similar, but I always enjoy trying new ones!
I mentioned that I have been extremely dry recently, so I was very excited to see this in the bag! Plus, I LOVE face sprays, they are so relaxing and refreshing I can never get enough. This is probably my favorite item in the bag. This smells and feels amazing! I really think this made a difference in my dry skin! This brand is made with all natural ingredients which I love. This product hydrates and tones, and it says that it will reduce dark spots over time–which I was very intrigued by! I have been using this every morning and night and I definitely enjoy having this in my routine.
Ofra cosmetics has amazing liquid lipsticks! So many YouTubers have collaborated with Ofra to create their favorite shades, and they rave about the quality. These liquid lipsticks are so comfortable, pigmented, and they last for a long time on the lips! This shade is really nice, it’s a flattering berry pink. You can never have too many lip colors in your collection!
I am pretty much drawn to anything that says “rose gold”. I think it’s so gorgeous and always looks pretty! This blush fit that category perfectly! It is another natural product, with lychee and chamomile extracts in the blush to give more luminosity and hydration. It says it is a healthy glow blush, and it gives you just that! It isn’t an extreme amount of color, but I feel like it’s just enough for a natural looking day.
Another month of new products and a successful Ipsy bag! I am still loving this subscription, and I can’t wait to see what March brings! Let me know what you received in your February bag!
Recently my Ulta changed their layout and added more brands to the store! Which was super exciting to me, especially because I usually don’t try “online only” brands since I can’t swatch or color match and I hate to pay for shipping when I don’t know if I will love it. But when I saw all of these new displays, I decided to pick 2 brands I have never tried before and check them out!
First up is Models Own! This is a British makeup brand, but it’s now available in the US. I was immediately drawn to this brand because of the packaging, I mean how cute is this!? The ombre colorful effect is so modern and pretty I had to pick it up. I wanted to try something a little different, and I was really intrigued by the Colour Chrome eyeshadow kit (Price: $14.99).
The kit comes with an eyeshadow color, a mixing pan, and intensifying eye primer drops. You take a little product on your brush, wipe it into the pan, add the drops, and mix it up! It’s really easy and super fun! The color after is AMAZING. I picked up my kit in the shade Copper Lustre and it has been my go-to for the last week. It looks almost wet on your eyelid it’s so shiny and shimmery. You just need a simple transition shade in the crease with this on the lid and you are ready to go!
I love how different this product is and how cute the kit is. I didn’t own anything like this, and so far this brand is a great find!
I really wanted to try a liquid lipstick product from this brand as well, mostly because I fell in love with this color! I got the Lix Liquid Matte Lipstick in the shade Naked (Price: $7.99) and it’s my perfect nude! Finally!!! It matches everything and it doesn’t make my lips look too pale, too pink, it’s my perfect match.
Of course I loved the packaging–so sleek and modern. I also thought it was really interesting that this liquid lip offered a minty scent. Such a good idea! I mean, I love minty lip glosses and chapsticks, so why not a liquid lipstick? I wore this out to dinner and it stayed through my whole meal! Definitely happy about this purchase.
The next new brand is Flower Beauty! This brand was created by Drew Barrymore, and it is all so affordable! Once again, the packaging is too cute. I picked up this HydraSilk Ultimate Lip Butter in the shade Rose Petal (Price: $9.99).
This is one of those products that you keep with you in your purse because you can never go wrong putting this on. It is SO creamy and hydrating, which is why I wanted it! It gives just a flush of color with a shine. I’ve heard great things about this cosmetic line, and now I see why! I can’t wait to try more!
I’m so excited to have a few new brands that I can experiment with! So far, I love the new additions to Ulta! I look forward to continuing to branch out and try new things and let you know what I think! Let me know what other brands I need to check out next!
I’m a huge fan of Desi and Katy, and guess what, so is my bestie!!! So as soon as I heard about the Bestie Bundle launch, I knew what I was getting my friend for her birthday! Desi and Katy did a Master Class with Maybelline in New York City, and in collaboration they picked out some of their favorite products to include in this bundle. The package is so cute and whether you plan to give it as a gift or keep it to add to your collection, I think it’s so fun and very worth it!
The Bestie Bundle is available on Amazon for $25.97 and includes 3 full size products along with a Desi X Katy sticker sheet!
This palette is $11.99 by itself at Ulta. It has really good reviews and the tones are perfect! I love all of these shades, they are perfect for every day and it also includes some smokey colors to transition for a night out. Overall, 12 shades for $12 is a great deal!
This sells for $9.99 at Ulta. I have seen so many YouTubers rave about this highlight! Specifically in the shade shown here, Molten Gold, I have heard it referred to as a “must-have”. It gives the skin almost a wet look as it glides on, and provides an intense glow! I also feel like the gold is complimentary on so many skin tones!
The retail price for this is $9.49 at Ulta. I have this liquid lipstick in another shade (which I talked about in my recent Liquid Lipstick Dupe post) and these liquid lips are no joke. They stay on for so long! The color is very intense and does not budge, but it also isn’t drying on the lips which is perfect. As Desi and Katy say, everyone needs a good red lip! This color in Pioneer has a blue undertone, which actually makes your teeth look whiter! You can never go wrong with a bold red lipstick!
In total, this bag is worth over $30 and you get all of this, plus a cute Maybelline makeup bag and stickers for close to $25! I can’t wait to give this to my bestie, and I’m always excited to see what else my favorite YouTubers come out with! Let me know what you thought of this collaboration bundle!
I’ve always thought about signing up for one of these monthly makeup delivery programs, but I just couldn’t decide if it was worth it. Would I get enough products that I like to make it worth it? Or should I just put the $10 towards something that I know that I want? Lucky for me, Christy Classified posted on her Instagram stories that she had 5 free Ipsy bag codes for the first 5 people to DM her, and I got one! So here is my very first Ispy bag and my thought on it!
For $10 a month, Ipsy will send you 5 mini size products based on the preferences that you fill out online. It is a really good way to test new things and find products you might not have bought! Here are the products I received in my January Ipsy bag! Purlisse Blue Lotus Seed Face Mask
Full size price: $48
We all know how I feel about face masks–I’m obsessed. So I was very excited to receive a new one in my Ipsy bag! Online, this mask has great reviews. I have never tried this brand before, so I am excited to see how I like it and see if I have found a new favorite face mask! This mask says that it will exfoliate, detox, brighten, smooth, and tighten all in just 10 minutes!
I believe that this product is full size! I really love the color, this is the range that I always gravitate towards when choosing a liquid lip! It’s not too dark, but still gives off a bold statement. I think the formula feels nice and comfortable, and it wouldn’t be too expensive to restock on this item, which is a plus!
I also believe that this is a full size single of this eyeshadow! I love this shade, especially for this time of year! It is the prettiest shimmery pink, and it was extremely creamy and pigmented. I will definitely be using this as an all over lid shade!
I am definitely intrigued by this product, but I’m not sure if this will be a hit or a miss for me. I am pretty picky when it comes to eyebrow products, and I am generally not a gel person, I prefer pencils. But, I am actually glad I got this in the Ipsy bag because I would probably never buy a gel product to try! This is a good opportunity to see if I like it!
This was the product I was the most excited about receiving! This highlighter was all over YouTube a few years ago, I swear everyone was talking about it! It is still gorgeous, it’s such a natural highlight that gives a great glow to the skin. It would be an amazing bridal highlight! It’s a “lit from within” type of glow, and who doesn’t want that? Having this mini size to travel with is going to be amazing!
Overall, I really enjoyed my Ipsy bag! The Verdict: I signed up for 3 more months. We will see if I continue to like it! I just really liked the fact that most of these products were new to me, and this gives me a way to branch out to different brands for just $10 a month! Plus, the little makeup bag is so cute! I use so many of these in my large kit that I take to events and films, so having more is never a bad thing! I’m excited to see what comes in my next Ipsy bag!
What are your favorite monthly subscriptions? What one should I check out next? Let me know in the comments!
I wanted to share a lip color that I think is so perfect for a pretty Valentine’s Day look, just in case anyone is still trying to plan their makeup look for tonight! Or for anyone who just wants to check out a new lipstick!
I was recently at Ulta when I swatched the Dose of Colors liquid lipstick in the shade Los Anjealous and fell in love. I continued to look at the swatch on my hand as I walked around and then I started swatching the new Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink liquid lipsticks.
Voila! I couldn’t believe how similar the two swatches on my hand were!
I was so excited that I found a potential dupe for the $18 Dose of Colors liquid lipstick! The colors are extremely similar, and so is the wear! The Maybelline Liquid Lipstick STAYS PUT. You actually need to have a really good makeup remover to completely get the color off of your lips. Both the Dose of Colors and Maybelline liquid lips are very comfortable and not overly drying. Overall, if you are looking for a gorgeous new color for $9.49, check out the new Maybelline line! The shade shown above is “Ruler”.
I wanted to share this dupe, I know we all love saving money and getting beautiful new makeup! If you are on the hunt for a “muted ruby red”, then look no further! Let me know what some of your favorite dupes are!
As soon as Ulta sends me a coupon in the mail, I just know that I am in trouble. This time, I received one of the best ones they offer–the 20% including prestige brands!!! This is what prompted this shopping trip! I had been making a “wish list” of sorts, so I knew what I was hoping to pick up with my coupon. Then of course when I was at Ulta, I was so close to Sephora, I couldn’t just neglect it…(what every makeup addict tells themselves). So here we are, 10 new products later!
This was the main item that I knew I wanted to buy. I finally gave in when all of my favorite YouTubers included this concealer in their yearly favorites videos TWO years in a row!!! It blows my mind that this concealer has remained the go-to for so many people for so long, so I just had to see what the hype was about. I’ve only used it twice since I bought it, but wow, now I understand. I have used my Maybelline Fit Me Concealer ($7) for years at this point, and I still love it! But I think now I can see the difference between a drugstore concealer and a higher end product as far as coverage. The Shape Tape covers everything with barely any product. It is thick, but not drying. It really blends right into the skin and just makes everything brighter. The Fit Me does require more product, but still gets the job done! I’m glad I have this in my collection now to use when I want that extra flawless makeup! Dose of Colors Sassy Siennas Eyeshadow Palette
Here’s the thing: did I need another eyeshadow palette? Absolutely not. But here I am, and it’s just so pretty! Basically I saw Katy (LustreLux on YouTube) use this palette in her video and I thought her eye makeup looked incredible, so I wanted to try it out! I thought this was the perfect time to check it out since I had a coupon! My first impression is that the shadows are insanely pigmented, so I can’t wait to play around with this some more!
So why did I purchase this? Because 2 YouTubers I love were currently on the trip to Amangiri where Benefit was unveiling this new product and everyone looked amazing and they were having so much fun! So you can say the advertising Benefit was hoping for worked on me! This might be the best thing I picked up at Ulta though. I have been in a committed relationship with my Lancome Monsieur Big Mascara (reviewed in my recent Brand Spotlight: Lancome post) and while I still think the Lancome one is amazing, this new Benefit mascara is completely different. This is my “are those her real lashes?” mascara. My fiancé actually asked me if I was wearing individual false lashes when I wore this for the first time! It’s hard to explain, there is zero clumping, and the brush is so small it grabs each lash individually. It’s amazing, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a natural glam!
As soon as I saw these, I knew I would love them, which is why I picked two colors! These are lipsticks, but they are “shiny” or “glossy”, it’s so interesting. Sometimes my lips just can’t do something completely matte, but I am not in the mood for a gloss either, and that’s where I knew these would come in handy. They feel like a chapstick, super moisturizing, yet they have such a great color payoff! I knew I could leave these in my purse and throw them on at any time.
I actually picked up the Beauty Water by Son & Park in my last Sephora Sale Haul! post, and it is safe to say it is a holy grail product for me! I have never had so many people comment on my how good my skin looks in my entire life, and I am attributing it to this product. I use it twice a day, every single day, and it keeps my skin so incredibly clean. It tones and exfoliates your skin, which I think is the main reason why my skin has been so smooth. It literally picks up all of the dead skin that could clog your pores and leaves your skin glowing. I had to refill on this because I think it has changed my skin!
In addition to my refill on Beauty Water, when I saw that Son & Park was bringing another product to Sephora, I immediately wanted to try it since I have had such good results with their last product. This Beauty Filter Cream Glow is meant to be the next step after Beauty Water, right before makeup application. It adds in immediate glow to the skin, it controls oil like a primer, and it adds a “filter” to the skin with a light layer of coverage. I have only used it once, but I think I’m going to love it!
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I LOVE face masks. They are my favorite part of my skincare routine and I can never have too many! They are relaxing, they give me great results, and I just love to do one at the end of a long day. When I saw this new Dr. Jart face mask in Sephora, I had to try it, how cute is that packaging!? This is a DIY mask that you mix up in this adorable cup and apply to your skin, wait, and then peel it right off. I was drawn to the brightening mask specifically because I love products with vitamin C to brighten and tighten the complexion. I can’t wait to use this!
I finally did it, I finally took everyones suggestions to try out this foundation and I am SO glad I did! I love experimenting with new foundations and using different ones to get different effects. This foundation is probably the most “flawless” one that I now own. It goes on so creamy and blends like a dream. You barely need any product to cover your entire face, so it’s super buildable to the coverage you want! I’m not sure what it is about this foundation stick, but it just makes your skin look airbrushed. This will be my go-to event foundation and I am already thinking this will be my wedding foundation as well! Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle Lipstick
Every time a new Fenty product comes out, I get so tempted to buy it. Between the incredible packaging and the high quality product itself, it can be so hard to resist! I gave in to this one once I found this color: S1ngle. I have been on the hunt for this exact color!! I wanted something like Lolita II but not so matte and more peachy: and here it is! The formula is buttery and perfect, not drying on the lips at all. The packaging is so cool too! I wore this lipstick to an overnight film shoot and it stayed almost the entire night, and you could barely even feel it on the lips!
There you have it! Another makeup haul from my two favorite places! Let me know if you love any of the products I just picked up, or what I need to keep my eye out for on my next haul!
I found these under eye strips at TJ Maxx in their beauty/skincare section and I absolutely love them! The thing about TJ Maxx is that you never know what they will have in stock or what you might find. It’s not that I think these are the best strips out there and you have to have these exact ones, but what I love about them is that you do not have to adhere them to your skin. Some strips have a sticky backing that has to be stuck down on your delicate under eye skin. These ones are so saturated with product that they just stay on! The best way to use these is to put them in the fridge! Cold under eye strips feel amazing after a long day!
I recently found this product at my local Origins store when the salesperson suggested it to me. I had mentioned how I get a lot of headaches and can get very tense with anxiety, and he said that he keeps this little bottle with him everywhere he goes. He said all you do is take a tiny dab and place it on your temples, the back of your neck, and your wrists and you will quickly start to feel better. I was intrigued! It has a peppermint scent to it, which is great for headaches. I keep this with me and I have noticed a big difference! I use it the most on my temples, and the cooling sensation immediately gives me a little relief. The scent and feel just calm you down and make you feel more relaxed, so I do think it helps with tension headaches! I love having this bottle around!
I picked up this mini sample size of this product the last time that I went to Sephora with some of my points because I had been wanting to try this. As soon as I finish up this mini, I will be buying the full size! This clear brow gel is like hairspray for your brows, with added benefits. It makes every single hair stay in place exactly where you want them to. The gel consistency even adds a little bit of volume and fullness to your hairs! The best part is that it stays the entire day without a problem. I have had this in my brows for 12 hour work shifts and it hasn’t budged! If you are looking for something to tame your brow hairs, look no further.
I have actually had this lip mask for a while, but with the colder months I have just now started using it consistently. This is an amazing lip mask for dry or cracked lips! I use it every night before bed, but I also use it during the day because while it is thick, it actually gives a nice shine to the lips and looks almost like a gloss with the benefit of extreme moisture. I can tell a difference when I don’t use this at night! I would say that in comparison to my Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask (which I reviewed in a previous post) I use the Bite Beauty one daily and almost every evening, and I use the Laneige one when I need an extra boost of hydration at night if my lips are especially chapped.
Since I took these photos, I have already bought the full size of this one! I received this in a goody bag of samples from Ulta, and I pretty much instantly fell in love with it. I was so interested in the idea that I could shower and put on my lotion and then be done! Sounded like a good time saver to me! What I really love about this is that it makes your skin super soft, but also adds the tiniest glow to your skin. In the winter months, I get so pale! It’s nice to still have a little bit of color so I don’t feel too much like a ghost! This adds just the right amount of color to your skin while making your skin so touchably soft, I just love using it. I also love that it is quick and easy!
There you have it, these are the products I was loving this month! These mostly fell into the skincare category, when it’s cold I always change up my routine a little bit to make sure I don’t get too dry! Let me know what products you enjoyed this month, and here’s to an amazing February!
I was recently getting my Special Effects kit together for a film I will be working on, and I thought that it could be really helpful to share my essentials I make sure to have ready before I go on set. When you are first starting out, it can be hard to know what all you need! Each film will be different, but these are the items that I have with me no matter what. Keep in mind that this kit is specifically for any Special Effects makeup I may be doing–I keep my beauty makeup in a separate (larger) kit and I also keep my gear for blood squibs and rigs separate as well.
These Skin Illustrator palettes by PPI will change your Effects makeup game. These palettes are alcohol based–meaning that they need 99% alcohol to both apply and remove them. Your actors can go swimming, sweat, you name it and this paint will not move. These palettes were used to film Pirates of the Caribbean! They are pricey, but worth it. I am so excited that I own two of them now! The main one I would suggest that everyone have is the On Set FX palette. This one is smaller than the full size version, but it was perfect for me to have in my kit. It has all 10 colors of the full size, and the primary colors are perfect for mixing or using in combination with other palettes. My most-used part of the palette is probably the “Blood Tone” and “Aged Blood” because they are perfect for painting cuts! The Grunge palette is a must-have for doing any “dead” or dirt effects. You can easily use “Dark Brun” and “Soot” to create a messy character. Since these palettes are alcohol based, they are super pigmented but also thin so that the color is buildable. This is why these palettes are ideal for creating realistic veins or dirt because they are not just globs of color on the skin.
One of my favorite things in my kit is my Mehron Bruise Wheel. These are so useful and I find myself reaching for it for a lot of different injury simulations. The wheel conveniently goes in order of the life cycle of a bruise/injury–red (inflammation), brown (darkens), blue (blood vessels rise), green (bruise lightening), yellow (fading). I also always have cream foundation in my kit so that I can start with an even base. Keep in mind that cream makeup is generally for stage or costumes and alcohol based makeup is the standard for film and TV.
I took my Special Effects courses at AEO Studios in Orlando and these classes really solidified my love of effects makeup, I highly recommend for anyone interested in this type of work to go there!! I bought most of my kit at this studio as well, so all of my adhesives and removers have their label.
Spirit Gum is a resin based adhesive which is mostly used to apply any type of hair. It works the best on an area that has no movement because it is not super strong, and it also can become itchy!
Pros-Aide is an extremely strong adhesive used specifically for attaching prosthetics to the skin–this stuff can actually stay on for days!
I included liquid latex in this category because it can be used to apply hair and prosthetics as well. It also can be used to create different skin textures–which is what I like using it for the most! Once you apply the latex to the skin, you can mold it, put cotton on top, add tissue, anything you want before it dries. You can create great effects with this! From rotting flesh to a deep gash, liquid latex is always a go-to! To remove this, simply peel it right off. I also keep a hairdryer with my so that I can make the latex dry down quicker!
The Super-Solv Remover is the best thing to remove Pros-Aide or any glue. It also easily removes the alcohol-based paints from the skin. You want to make sure you have this with you so that you can help the actors get out of their costumes and not be stuck like zombies forever.
First up, I always keep face powders of various colors in my kit to set down any makeup work that I do.
The Mehron 3D Gel is the best tool for creating any kind of burn look. You heat up the tub, and then you can start making it ooze over the skin and you can really mold it into any form you like. Once it dries, you can paint it and make it look very realistic.
The Graftobian Soot Powder is a new addition for me. I wanted something to give more texture to my dirt effects on top of just the paint, and I thought this would be perfect. Now, I will have a paint base to make someone dirty, and then I can spatter them with this actual soot powder to make it even more believable.
Kryolan Collodion is used to make scabs. You paint a little of this clear liquid on the skin, and it dries very quickly. It starts to shrivel up and pull the skin together–add some paint and it looks exactly like a nasty scab.
Mehron Modeling Wax/Putty is one of my most used items. I use this to make cuts and gashes because it is so easy to mold. You just heat it up between your fingers and start pressing it to your skin. I use toothpicks to carve out the cut I want and then I just smooth out the edges. You can also use this to make changes to someones face or add other wounds. To remove the wax, you just peel it off.
Blood is an important part of Special Effects makeup, and a very fun part at that! My Mehron Coagulated Blood Gel is what I use to create any scabbing or clotting effects. It is a really good darker blood color, so you can tell it isn’t “fresh” blood and it is the perfect thickness as well. The Magic Blood Powder is something I just like to play with in general. I keep the mini in my kit just in case! It’s really cool because you sprinkle the powder onto the skin, and then you could take a fake knife, wet the blade, and as soon as water touches the powder, the powder turns into dripping blood. It definitely makes for a nice gag or live-action skit effect!
These are just a few extra things I like to have with me just in case! You never know when you will ned fake vomit. I find it much easier to have this tub on hand than to have to sit and mix random things together until it looks like puke. The silver tube is my Kryolan Tear Stick which is basically menthol that you rub under someones eyes to instantly make them tear up. You might have an emotional scene where the actor needs a little assistance! As for the coffee, you can pretty much always use a caffeine boost…just kidding! I like to use coffee grounds mixed with water to create sweaty/dirty effects on clothes. Rub some coffee under the arm pits and wah-lah, you now have fantastic pit stains.
In addition to all of the things I mentioned above, I always keep the following in my kit as well:
An assortment of brushes (natural and synthetic hair)
spray bottle filled with water
Toothbrush (I use this to create spatter effects with blood and dirt by flicking the bristles)
These are all of the items that I keep in my Special Effects kit at all times! Depending on the film, I may add more if I know that the characters need something else, but I believe that this is a very good starting base for anyone looking to build their kit.
Also be sure to check out my IMDB page to keep up with my latest film projects! http://www.imdb.com/name/nm9487781/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Recently I went on a trip to Ulta with my mom (which was sooo fun!) and we used our 20% off coupon to try out some Lancome products! I had never really owned any luxury/high-end makeup brands before this, so I was very curious to see if the price was worth it. Here are all of the Lancome makeup products that I have in my collection along with my review!
First up, my number one foundation that I can’t imagine being without now that I own it. This foundation literally makes my skin look flawless AND it stays all day. It doesn’t matter if I’m sweating in the Florida heat or going to an event, this foundation will not budge. It is medium to full coverage, but it is never cakey. A little goes a long way and I love to mix this with liquid highlighters for that extra glow!
I usually go for hydrating primers, but when I felt this on the back of my hand at Ulta, I had to try it under my makeup. It has a silicon type of texture, it’s very velvety and smooth. It glides across the skin and I really do think it makes my foundation go on so seamlessly! It creates such a soft base for your makeup. I’m not sure if I would say it makes my makeup last any longer, but it does make it go on like a dream. It basically fills your pores as you put it on so that you have no fine lines or anything for the makeup to settle into. I can’t say I am 100% positive I would repurchase this pricey primer, but I am loving using it for now!
I think it is safe to say that this little eyebrow pencil has changed my makeup game. I really never did anything with my brows before (weird, I know). I just didn’t really put that much effort into them and I didn’t want the “drawn on” look so I stayed away. Then a sales associate showed me this pencil and I did one brow and wow…what a difference just a little filling in can make! This pencil looks so natural, it’s just a little bit of color, nothing intense. The spoolie is great, and the color stays on for a long time! I can’t do my makeup without this now.
I actually added this to my collection when Sephora had it on sale for $15. I always thought the concept was pretty cool, you can just click the pen and dab the highlighter right on the high points of your face. I picked up the shade 03 Pearlescent Pink and I am loving it! This one is a very natural highlight, and goes great with a dewy skin look. I usually end up adding a powder highlight on top for that extra pop, but I’m glad I have this to play with now!
I’m a little picky when it comes to mascara, but I really like this one. It makes my lashes so thick and voluminous! It does have some clumping, but if you don’t apply too much then it looks perfect. This is my current favorite, and I know I would repurchase this, but I am always trying new mascaras so we will see if it remains the champion!
Those are all of my Lancome products, and while I do think they are pricey…now I can see that they do live up to the hype. I think that if you have certain products that work great for you, then they are worth that extra splurge money! I still try and wait out for coupons or sales to snag them though! Let me know what Lancome products you love!
One of my favorite YouTubers and one of my favorite cosmetics companies have teamed up (yet again) for what I think is one of the best new collections! Kathleen Lights released her video describing her “Dream Collection” about 1 month ago, and I was so excited! Unfortunately, the first round of eyeshadow palettes sold out (everyone must have been as excited as me!) so I had to wait for round 2. Now that it’s here, I can’t stop using it!
Of course I was immediately drawn to the eyeshadows–new palettes are my weakness. What I love about this palette is that you can create a daytime look, night time look, colorful creative look, there is just so much variety! I feel like she went outside of the box with this, and I didn’t own colors like the ones in this palette. There are neutrals, highlights, pops of color, pretty much everything I am looking for! Plus, Colourpop is so affordable! The Dream St. Palette is only $16!!! That’s 12 shadows for $16…you just can’t beat it. If you haven’t tried Colourpop before, I highly recommend it. You can always get coupons ($5 off your first purchase and free shipping with $30), and their products are great quality. I own eyeshadows (pressed pots and powder pans), lip sticks, lip glosses, liquid lips, brushes, and blush from them and I have yet to be disappointed.
The quality of the shadows are great. They are blendable, pigmented, buildable, and they do not have too much fallout. I usually spray my brush with Mac Fix Plus when using metallic eyeshadows, and it makes these ones look amazing–my favorite is “Twinkle”!
Next up, the incredible lip trio Kathleen created! Once I saw her swatch these in her video, I thought they were the perfect shades. You get 2 Ultra Satin lips and 1 Ultra Glossy lip if you buy the Dream Team lip bundle for $16.50.
“Rever” is the perfect red-orange bold lip. It compliments so many skin tones! The Ultra Satin formula is one of my favorites because it is super comfortable to wear and not too drying on the lips. I’ve never tried a bold color like this before, but this one is so easy to wear! “Dreamy” is my go-to every day nudey-pink lip. I wear this one to work all the time when I want my color to stay longer than a regular lipstick, and I get compliments on it often! “Moonchild” has quickly become one of my favorite glosses that I own. It has tiny gold reflects that just make your lips look juicy, while it also has a nude undertone that matches everything. I love to put this one on top of “Dreamy” or wear it by itself! I also love that these lip colors can go with any look you create using the eyeshadow palette! With just one collection, you can create so many different eye-lip combinations.
I followed Desi Perkins’ Rose Gold New Years Eve makeup tutorial using Kathleen’s new palette and created the look above. It was so fun and easy to do this, and these are my favorite colors to wear! I absolutely love warm, rose gold tones, so I was excited to recreate her look! Next up, I want to try to do Kathleen Lights’ Matte Blue-Teal Smokey Eye look using this palette–much more out of my comfort zone, but I think it could be fun!
Overall, I love this collection! I have used the eyeshadows and all 3 lip colors multiple times now and I can easily suggest them to everyone. I’m so happy for Kathleen! If you don’t subscribe to her yet, definitely check her out. I think she did amazing on the rose gold packaging, and I love the idea of this collaboration being her “dream” makeup! Let me know what you think of these products!
For my first blog post of 2018, I wanted to share something that could not only help you to have a great year, but it could change your outlook on life. I was told to read The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz for my yoga teacher training, and once I started it, I could not put it down. As you can see above, my copy is covered with post it notes because there were so many good parts to mark and go back to! As soon as I finished it, I started telling everyone to read it! I have given this book as a gift several times and everyone who has read it has said the same thing–it is nothing short of amazing. The premise is pretty simple: if you practice 4 principles in your every day life, you will always have happiness and love.
The First Agreement: Be Impeccable with your Word
The Second Agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally
The Third Agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions
The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best
Sounds pretty easy, right? Understanding them is easy, but living by these principles is a daily challenge. While it will be hard to change patterns and think about things in a different way, these agreements will change your life–all in only 138 pages!
This book is based on Toltec wisdom that Miguel Ruiz learned from his family. The first question you might ask is why are these called “agreements”? The book explains that when you are a child, you always “agree” with what adults tell you. If an adult tells you that you are bad, you believe them. If they tell you that you are smart, you believe them. Everything children know to be true was formed through “agreements” that they did not know any better than to make with the adults. As we grow older, we can begin to question these agreements and make our own new ones: hence the idea of the four agreements that we need to make to live our best life.
Be Impeccable with your Word
This means that whatever you say, mean it. Speak clearly and truthfully, and most importantly, do not speak against yourself. Be positive towards yourself and others and be aware of the power of words. If you tell yourself “I’m not good enough, I won’t succeed at that”, then the chances are you won’t. One of the examples in the book that gets me every time is a story about a mother who just got home from work, exhausted and with a pounding headache. Her daughter is in a good mood, dancing and singing around the room. With very little patience left, the mom snaps at her daughter, and tells her “be quiet! No one wants to hear you sing!”. That little girl hears those words, and takes them to heart. She no longer sings in her school chorus, she stops sharing her voice, and she grows up thinking that she shouldn’t sing because no one wants to hear her. I’m sure the mom didn’t mean it–she was just tired and irritable–but because she was not impeccable with her word, in that instant she changed her daughter’s outlook on herself. Always remember how your words can effect yourself and others.
Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing that someone else does is because of you. This goes for both positive and negative things. If someone says “you are great!”, don’t take it personally. If someone says “you are terrible!”, don’t take it personally. Once you stop succumbing to the opinions or actions of other people, you can be really free and form your own reality, not theirs. How others act is often a reflection of themselves, not of you, so do not let others project themselves onto you.
Don’t Make Assumptions
Making assumptions can be one of the most detrimental things we do in relationships with others. When you think about it, you begin to realize how many fights or arguments were started all because of an assumption. We often times think we know what someone is thinking or what they mean. If we stopped assuming and started speaking clearly and asking questions to clarify, we would avoid a lot of unnecessary drama and frustration.
Always Do Your Best
No matter what you are doing, do your best, not less and not more. Do not try and do better than your best by pushing yourself too hard. Do not do less than your best and open yourself up to be disappointed and judge yourself harshly. Also keep in mind that your “best” will change over time as life circumstances change. As long as you are trying to be your best self, you can never regret it and you will always be proud of your decisions. When you come to a crossroads and need to make a choice–ask yourself, “am I doing the best that I can here?” Living life this way will never be a negative thing.
So there you have it, with just four agreements you can change your life! Reading this book will be one of the best things you do! There are so many eye-opening examples and each one has a different lesson to be learned. Whether you are a newlywed looking to communicate with your partner, someone going through new stages of life, or just a person who wants to feel better, this one is for you.
Here’s to an amazing 2018 filled with health and happiness!
Too Faced is known for their super cute and themed collection launches. They always make their products smell amazing to match the theme–have you smelled the Chocolate Soleil Bronzer!? They infused it with 100% real cocoa powder, and what’s better than doing your makeup while smelling chocolate? That’s a girls’ dream right there. So this time, they launched the Peaches and Cream Collection which featured an eyeshadow palette, a primer, a blurring powder, foundation, setting powder, lipstick, blush, bronzer, highlight, and a setting spray–so basically one of everything! If you like the smell of peaches, you will absolutely love these products! The other thing about this collection is that everything is matte. The foundation, the blurring powder, the eyeshadow, they created an entire line of matte products to help you get that clean, sophisticated look.
Lucky for me, I received the Just Peachy Velvet Matte Eyeshadow Palette for my birthday this year! While I admittedly love a good shimmery eyeshadow, mattes have a special place in my makeup heart. I feel like a matte eye can look so good and clean and it can go with anything. On top of it being a completely matte palette–which I love–the colors speak to me. These warm peaches, cranberries, and browns are perfect for everyday or for a night out, you can really do anything with this palette! Plus it doesn’t hurt that as soon as you open the palette all you can smell is peaches.
You get 12 eyeshadows for $45, which makes then a little less than $4 per shadow. I think this is a great deal specifically for this palette because there isn’t a shadow in here that I don’t like or use. You also get a fantastic mirror, so this palette is great to travel with.
As far as pigmentation and blendability, I would give this palette an A. You get such a good range of transition/crease shades, outer corner shades, lid shades, and 2 great brow bone highlights. When using this palette, I don’t need to dip into anything else to finish a look, which is a huge plus for me.
After using both this palette and the Boss Lady Beauty Agenda Palette (which I reviewed in a Previous Post) I would have to say I am becoming a big fan of Too Faced eyeshadows. While I am currently using darker, more “wintery” shades, I can tell that this will be my go-to palette for this Spring and Summer!
Face masks are by far my favorite form of skincare! They are relaxing, they usually smell good, and they work! I previously did a post on my top 5 favorite sheet masks, but now I wanted to share my top 5 regular masks! While sheet masks do provide more convenience, regular masks come with their own benefits and I love to go back and forth between sheet masks and regular masks to gain all of the masking goodness that I can!
This was one of the very first face masks that I started using and fell in love with. This mask is honestly crazy because it truly works and it is so budget friendly. I remember watching so many YouTube videos where people raved about this, and I wanted to see what all the hype was about and I’m so glad that I did. You get a pound of clay for less than $10 on Amazon! This is a clay mask, so it dries until it is completely hardened. When this mask says it is the most powerful facial, they are not kidding. You may feel some tingling, but that means it’s working! The best way to use this mask is to mix the clay with apple cider vinegar and then apply it evenly to your face. This mask is amazing for breakouts, blackheads, and for drawing impurities out of the skin. I specifically use this when I feel that my skin is congested, and it leaves your skin feeling so fresh. For the price, I think everyone should keep this mask in their collection just in case! You get so many uses out of this tub, a little goes a long way. I recommend this to people all of the time!
If I had to pick one mask as my absolute favorite, it would be this one. I will continue to repurchase this for a long time! It just so happens that this mask smells like pumpkins–my favorite thing! The reason I am obsessed with this mask is because I see results immediately. You only leave this mask on for 3-7 minutes, but that’s all it takes for this mask to do its magic. This mask uses AHAs to resurface the skin, and when you rinse it off, the pumpkin is a physical exfoliator as well. This mask really brightens your face, helps with dark spots, and makes everything so smooth! What more could you ask for?
I feel like this mask is what I reach for when my face is just in a “hangover” type of situation. When you are just dull, dry, tired, and your skin isn’t looking it’s best, this mask is so soothing it instantly refreshes you. It smells like lavender and it’s cooling, this mask is like a spa in a jar. Whenever I just need something that is calming or my skin is irritated, I know this mask will help with the redness and to get it back to normal.
This mask is one of the best brightening masks I have used! My favorite part is that it is a peel off mask, so no rinsing required! It is very sticky to apply, but then it dries, and you can peel the whole thing right off and throw it away! It is so easy to wear around the house because it won’t drip or move. I love to use this during the day before I put on makeup because I feel like it pulls off dead skin with it! They also have a mini size for around $3 at Target, so I highly suggest giving this mask a try.
I am a huge fan of K-beauty products (Korean Skincare) because I feel like they work so well and are so worth the money. This brand has quickly become one of my new favorites! I previously reviewed the Laneige Lip Mask (Recent Sephora Purchase: New Products!) and talked about how hydrating it was. This face mask takes that hydration to a new level. It feels as if my skin literally took a huge drink of water after I apply this. This is by far the most hydrating item I have in my skin care collection. After cleansing, you apply an even layer of this all over your face, leave it on while you sleep, and wake up to plump and dewy skin! Especially during the winter months when I get very dry, this mask is a life saver. At first I wasn’t sure how I would feel wearing a mask overnight–would it get on my pillow? Would I make a mess? But really this is like a very intense lotion, and it doesn’t get on anything when I sleep. It is cold when you put it on, making it even more refreshing. It really sinks in, and any dry spots you had are gone! I tell all of my dry skin friends about this, it is definitely a must-have!
These were my top 5 face masks that I use on a regular basis! Let me know what your favorites are and which masks I should check out next!
*Some of the above links are affiliate links and I will earn a portion of the sale if you purchase the product using my link*
During my undergrad at Florida State, I was able to work in a hair salon as a receptionist. This job allowed me to learn so much about different brands and what exactly my hair needed as I was surrounded by talented stylists all day long! In general, I have curly hair with oily roots. I used to have very dry hair (probably due to having access to free hair color all of the time!), but I have a few products that truly saved my hair and brought it back to life again. These products are my must-haves in order to keep my hair soft, healthy, and clean!
It might seem pretty counterintuitive to put oils on oily hair, but just like oils for the face, these work magic. My two favorite oils are the Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil and the Verb Ghost Oil. I love to do one pump of each, mix them together, and apply the oils to my wet hair from the middle of my head by my ears down to my ends. To me, these oils are similar but different enough that I like to have both. The Invisible Oil is a thinner, more liquid consistency than the Ghost Oil. There is a pretty big price difference between these two ($40 for Bumble and Bumble VS $16 for Verb), so if you are just picking one I would go with the Ghost Oil. I never dry my hair without one of these! They leave your hair silky soft, and protect your hair from heat! When my hair was at its driest point, I think that these oils were the key ingredient to restoring shine and softness.
Styling Products for Damp Hair
After I use my oils, I always spray the Living Proof Restore Perfecting Spray all over my damp hair. I have always had really tangled hair–no matter what I do, brushing it is just a struggle sometimes! This spray is the best detangler I have used. Not only does it get rid of any and all knots with a few sprays, it gives strength to damaged hair, provides shine, and it is a heat protectant up to 400 degrees! I first received this in a sample size, and after I used up the entire little bottle, I knew it was a new holy grail product for me!
Next, I decide whether I am planning to wear my hair curly or straight. If I want curls, I use a dime sized amount of my Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer and scrunch my hair all over. I love this stuff! All of Aveda’s products smell amazing, and this one really gives my curls definition without making them crunchy or letting them be frizzy. If I’m wanting straight hair, I apply Aveda Smooth Infusion Style Prep Smoother. The main reason I use this product is because it provides 12 hours of defense against humidity–I live in Florida, so this is very essential!
Styling Product for Dry Hair
Whether I am wearing my hair curly or straight, I use this bad boy every day. If the smell of this product doesn’t sell you right away, then the results will! This gives you amazing volume with just one spray. It is an aerosol spray that leaves no cast or residue. If you want an instant lift at the roots, the Living Proof Dry Volume Blast is the product for you.
If I had to pick my “desert island” hair product, without a doubt it would be dry shampoo. I depend on this stuff and use it every single day. I personally use dry shampoo to get rid of oil at my roots, not really to add any texture. I want dry shampoo to clean my hair and keep it that way throughout my day. Are these three options pricey? Yes. Are they worth it? Absolutely. The first one I started using was the Bumble and Bumble Pret a Powder in the small bottle. The salon I worked at was a Bumble and Bumble salon, so I was able to test out almost all of their products over my time there. This was the one product I was obsessed with! It is an actual powder form, and you just sprinkle it in the roots and rub in. Watch your oil disappear and the volume begin! Once I started using the newer aerosol dry shampoos, I transitioned this one into my kit that I use on clients and on film sets. This is still a must-have for me because it works on every hair type and everyone loves it!
Next up is the sister to my beloved Pret a Powder–the Pret a Powder Tres Invisible Dry Shampoo. This is a fairly new product, but my love for the original brought me to immediately buy this new one. I love this so much! What makes this product different is that it is a completely clear dry shampoo. A lot of people are put off by the white cast that most dry shampoos leave, so this product eliminates that problem. It really takes away oil and also lifts the roots–a win for me!
The Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo is one of the top rated dry shampoo products for a reason. Once again, this Living Proof product smells amazing! I get compliments when I use this! This does come out as white, but it is easily worked into the hair and the white cast fades away. What I love about this product is that it actually cleans my hair. It literally feels like I just washed it! You wouldn’t even know I had used dry shampoo! So many of these products can leave your hair feeling very gritty and you can no longer run your fingers through your hair–but not this one. This dry shampoo takes away oil and leaves no trace!
My favorite way to style my hair is to do the “beachy waves” look with my short hair. I have tried many different curling irons, and this Bed Head Curlipops 1 1/4 inch Styling Iron is by far the absolute best if you are wanting that messy curly look! A wand takes getting used to, but I prefer it over a curling iron. I even used this to do big loose curls on a bride recently!
These are my favorite hair products that I can’t be without! Let me know if you’ve tried any of these or what some of your must-haves are!
Gift set season is upon us! All over Sephora and Ulta, brands are creating seasonal sets at great prices to lure us beauty lovers in. I recently got one set that I think is really worth the money and I can’t wait to start using it! I think this gift set would be perfect to give to anyone who loves makeup and organization!
This Too Faced Boss Lady Beauty Agenda gift set caught my eye right away. On Sephora, it says this set is worth $336, but priced at $58–sounds good to me! This set comes with a planner, a leather zippered case, a mini Better Than Sex mascara, a mini Melted Matte lipstick in “Sell Out”, and a palette that contains 24 eyeshadow shades, 1 highlighter, 1 bronzer, and 1 blush. What more could you ask for?
I was initially really intrigued that the picture on Sephora’s website showed that the kit included a planner. I have been loyal to my Erin Condren Life Planner for years now, so I knew this would not replace that for my daily use. What I immediately thought about was that it would make the cutest blog planner. It might just be me, but I like to keep my day-to-day appointments and school activities separate from my makeup work and blog ideas/plans. Plus, it comes with this awesome leather planner case! “Don’t let today be a waste of makeup”–I mean how cute is that. I am excited to carry this around with me as I jot down new ideas! The planner also comes with stickers!
First 12 shades
Second 12 shades plus the highlight, blush, bronzer, and lipstick
As for the palette itself, I love these shades for the holiday season. There is a good mixture of shimmers that make me think of a Christmas party, mattes for transition shades, and bright pops of color. Of course with shade names such as “Spiked Cider” and “Santa’s Helper”, you can’t help but get into the holiday spirit! I love it when palettes include highlighters, blushes, and bronzers with the eyeshadows because then I automatically look at this palette as ideal for traveling. The less I have to pack–the better! This palette is definitely what I will be taking home with me for Christmas!
I am also a big fan of their liquid lipsticks, and I love the shade that they include! You can see it swatched in the photo above next to the eyeshadows. I have used the Better Than Sex mascara many times before, and I know that I love it, so it’s always nice to have a mini one of those as well.
Do I think that this is an everyday palette that you will reach for a lot? No, probably not. But I do think this is a go-to palette for the holiday season and for upcoming New Year’s parties! Plus, I think the planner that comes with it is a major bonus and I plan to get a lot of use out of mine. Let me know what gift sets you are loving!
As we begin the transition from the fall months into the winter months (although Florida has barely entered fall) I wanted to share the eyeshadow palette that I have been obsessed with for all of my fall looks! It’s so nice to have that one go-to palette that can give you several different warm-toned looks all season long. If I had to pick just one palette for the fall season–it would be the Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette!
Basically, these shades just speak to my soul. They are my absolute favorite colors to wear, and I found myself reaching for this palette almost every day since I got it! You can create a bronze eye that goes with almost anything, a warm red/orange eye, a deep smokey eye, you name it! Like the other Naked palettes, this comes with a pretty nice Urban Decay dual-ended brush. I think that I liked the brush that came with the original Naked Palette a little more, but this one is still nice to have!
This palette contains 12 shades, 5 of which are more metallic/shimmery and the other 7 are matte. To me, this is the perfect combination of transition shades and lid colors! You get a little bit of everything with this palette. This sells for $54, making each shade around $4.50. I think the quality of these shadows definitely makes them worth the price, along with the versatility of the palette.
If you have been debating getting this palette, get it! There have been palettes similar to this that also recently launched, such as the Tartelette Toasted Eyeshadow Palette, but I think the Naked Heat takes the cake. Yes, the Toasted Palette is cheaper ($46), but I think the Naked Heat palette has more unique shades. You also get a brush with the Urban Decay palette! I also find the Urban Decay shadows to be higher quality, so I think it is worth the extra $8.
I’m so glad I have this palette in my collection! One of my favorite looks uses Scorched and Low Blow in the crease, Cayenne in the low crease and outer corner, En Fuego in the outer V/lash line of the upper lid to deepen the look, and Scorched all over the lid. Spray your brush with some MAC Fix Plus to really make that metallic shadow pop. I also smoke out the lower lash line with Scorched. It’s the perfect burnt orange/rose gold eye look and I always get compliments on it!
Let me know what your favorite eyeshadow palette has been this season!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…..the Sephora sale has arrived!!! I love a good sale, especially one at one of my favorite stores! I wanted to share the items I picked up this time and why while there is still time for you to shop! VIB and VIB Rouge members get 20% off their purchase through the 15th by using code 20FORVIB. Don’t worry if you forget something…the coupon has unlimited uses! I know, as if we needed another reason to spend money at Sephora–this is just dangerous.
I had been wanting to try a clear brow gel just to keep my brow hairs in place after using my brow pencil to fill them in. I looked at several different ones including the Anastasia Beverly Hills brow gel and the Benefit Cosmetics brow gel, both at much higher price points of $22 and $24, but more “well known” to me. I decided to give the Sephora Collection one a try after I had such good luck with my Sephora Collection concealer (reviewed in my previous post Recent Sephora Purchase: New Products!) It’s simple and clear and you can barely tell you have it in your brows, which is exactly what I wanted! I just wanted something to keep my hairs from having a mind of their own, and so far this does exactly that!
I have looked at this product in Sephora so many times, but I could never bring myself to spend $30 on something labeled as a “water”, it just seemed so weird! Once again, I was looking at this bottle with my friend and we were trying to decide if it was worth it, and the sales lady on the floor told us it was one of her favorite products ever. I should probably add that her skin was amazing and she said she used it twice a day, so we were sold! This is a toner that claims to cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize all in one. As much as I love skin care, I have not used a toner before, so I’m excited to add one to my regimen and see how it goes!
I am all over the “Weekly Wow” page on my Sephora app, they have such good deals on there! This week, I saw this cleanser from Lancome with amazing reviews. I am admittedly on a Lancome kick and I think their skin care is one of the best out there. I was really interested in trying this cleanser! Would I have bought it for $42? Probably not. But for $25 plus an extra 20% off of that? Count me in! I hear people rave about oil cleansers, and I know they are supposed to be amazing at removing a full face of makeup, so I’m ready to try this out!
This product really intrigued me when I first saw it, and then the reviews kept me hooked. The cream is green, but once you apply it to the skin it turns beige or flesh-colored. The purpose behind this cream is to color correct, but the description says so much more. This little cream has SPF 30, it restores the strength of skin, improves moisture, and protects skin from the environment. I wanted this cream to spot conceal and correct, but other reviewers said they even use it all over the face almost like a foundation. I’m excited to see how well this works! I purchased the mini size to try it out and see how I liked it, but it is also available in a much larger 1.7 oz size!
I am SO excited that I now own these Marc Jacobs highlighting drops!!! I have had my eye on this expensive liquid highlight for quite some time, but when I saw Desi Perkins’ Glow Products Video and I saw how amazing this bottle was, I had to try it. This has the most perfect golden-peach glow to it, and looks incredible on so many skin tones. It is infused with coconut water, so it also hydrates the skin. This can be used under foundation, mixed in with it, on the high points of the face, you name it! This gives such a gorgeous glow to the skin, it immediately makes you look vibrant and healthy. Put some of this on and channel your inner J Lo!
I feel like Huda Beauty has recently been blowing up and becoming more and more popular. Huda Beauty has some amazing lip colors, and now their eyeshadows have been stealing the show. I have never owned anything from this brand, but I see it all over Instagram, and really wanted to give it a try! I must say, from the swatches I am impressed! The consistency is similar to my Natasha Denona shadows (Reviewed in my Recent Sephora Purchase: New Products!). These shadows feel almost wet they are so smooth, and the color pigmentation is amazing. I really loved this mauve palette because I don’t have anything like it! The palette comes with 3 shimmers and 6 matte shades, so 9 eyeshadows for $27 seemed like a great deal and the perfect way to try out a new brand. I can’t wait to play around with these, but so far I think I will be very pleased! This small palette also comes in Warm Brown, Smokey, and Electric.
For spending too much money I also got this cute little Sephora holiday tote bag. Overall, I am so excited about my haul and I am really looking forward to seeing how I like these new products! Let me know what you picked up at the sale, or hurry in before Wednesday to pick up some goodies!
It’s becoming more and more apparent that YouTube is the future of our entertainment industry. You can get on YouTube and learn pretty much anything, watch original shows and movies, and even catch up on the news. Honestly, I watch more YouTube than I do cable! I have always been drawn towards makeup, but in high school when I started watching tutorials, it really fueled the fire for me and several of my favorite beauty YouTubers truly inspire me. Desi Perkins and Katy DeGroot (known as LustreLux on YouTube and Katy on Instagram) are two of those YouTubers that I look up to. You have probably seen Desi on the trending page of YouTube around Halloween each year, as she is one of the best Special FX tutorial artists I have seen (I will never forget last years melting skull tutorial !!!). Both Desi and Katy are so creative and they make you laugh in every video. You get to know them and their families through their channels, and they have such a strong friendship, you know they are true besties! They both taught themselves everything they know and decided to leave their jobs and give YouTube a try, and now they have around 2 million subscribers each. They are 2 of my top 5 favorite YouTubers, and when they announced their first ever collaboration with a brand, I knew right away I wanted to support them and own something from their collection.
Dose of Colors has been growing at a rapid rate for a few years now. I remember when YouTubers first started talking about it and I always thought “their packaging is gorgeous”. I actually have never owned anything from them because 1) it is only available online and it’s harder for me to purchase something that I can’t swatch and 2) while I would like to purchase all of the makeup I see (Hi my name is Lex and I have an addiction), I have to pick and choose and display some type of self control. I was so happy to hear this was the brand Desi and Katy would be collaborating with! The amazing thing about this collaboration is that they didn’t just create 1 or 2 products for their first time, they created an entire collection consisting of 5 lip products, 2 highlighters, and 1 eyeshadow palette. It was such a tough decision for me to pick one product, but when I kept seeing swatches and tutorials using “The Girls” eyeshadow quad, I couldn’t stop thinking about the colors!
They named the palette “The Girls” after their dogs (which are all so cute just FYI) and each shadow is named for a dog’s nickname–how adorable is that. 2 shadows are meant to be used wet, and 2 are regular dry formulas. All of the shadows have INSANE pigmentation and the colors are extremely unique. Yes, one is a bronze shade (“Noli”) and you’re probably wondering, “how is that unique?” but this bronze is different. The shade is the perfect bronze color, it glides on and looks metallic, and can be used in so many different eye looks you want to create. “Harpoon” and “Turbosan” are unlike any shadows I have in my collection, these colors are gorgeous and I constantly get compliments when I wear them. “Suz” is the best inner corner highlight I have used in a while. This palette is amazing and ever since I received this, I can’t stop using it!
Packaging is just one part that makes up a great product. Sometimes, the packaging may be cheap but the product inside is what counts and that stuff is bomb. But I have to say that I know they took a lot of time designing and choosing the packaging for their collection and they absolutely NAILED it. This sparkly gold/nude sequin packaging is the prettiest thing in my makeup collection!
I love supporting YouTubers when they get to do a collaboration and make their dreams come true. I will be honest and also say that while I love to support them, not all collaborations live up to the hype. This one–it lives up to it and surpasses it. I can only speak for the eyeshadows, but I give them a 10/10! This is the LAST RESTOCK of this collection! If you want to get something, get it now or forever hold your peace! The Girls palette is still available ($28), so get it while you can. My main piece of advice with these shadows would be to apply them before your foundation because there is some fallout. Personally, I don’t mind fallout at all when the shadows are this pigmented. Also, I think these work the best when applied with your finger versus a brush just because it really packs product on that way.
So there you have it, 2 of my favorite YouTubers created an eyeshadow palette and I can’t recommend it enough! Let me know if you picked up anything from this collection! I can’t wait to see what these two start working on next.
Tomorrow is the last day of October and I can barely believe it! I feel like this month flew by, but honestly this whole year has flown by! Monthly favorites are some of my absolute favorite YouTube videos to watch, and when I started this blog I knew I wanted to include my own version. While most of these favorites may fall under the “beauty” category, I also wanted to include just my general favorite products that I have been loving this month!
My first favorite for the month has to go to this foundation. I picked this up when I was doing my friend’s makeup for her wedding and then I started loving it myself! It is my go-to foundation specifically for a night out or for an event. It is waterproof, sweat proof, basically bullet proof. The reason I love this for events is also because it has no SPF in it, therefore there is no flashback if anyone is taking photos. I think this foundation glides right on, and the “nourishing” aspect doesn’t make it too drying for me. You can also use this as a foundation or as a concealer, and as a previous fan of the Pro Longwear Concealer , I actually prefer this new version more. I pick this as my must-have for any brides as well!
Price: $6.50 regularly but they constantly have sales for $3.50
Now for a non “makeup” favorite item! October is my favorite month of the year. Yes, my birthday is in October (which is fun I can’t lie), but I love October because it finally starts to feel like fall! I am one of those people who loves pumpkin EVERYTHING and I think fall scents are by far the best. So when October rolls around it is totally acceptable for me to decorate my house and make everything smell like fall and I take full advantage! Every year I can’t wait for the release of the Bath and Body Works fall candles and wallflowers, and this year I discovered what I think is my favorite scent of all: Marshmallow Fireside. I can’t even describe how delicious and warm this smell is! I have been obsessed and buying more of these all month so I just had to include it here.
I have seen these little liquid eyeshadows all over YouTube, and I always wanted one! I finally decided to pick one up from Ulta, and basically now I want them all. These are amazing!! If you want to add a little something to an eye look for a night out, these are perfect. The sparkle and glitter is so pretty! I picked mine up in the shade “Smoldering Satin” and I think the undertone of this is great. It’s like a taupey/brown with silver and I specifically thought I would use it with my Natasha Denona 2 palette which I reviewed in my last post. I wore this shadow when I met Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper (also in a previous post) and I received complements on it all night long. Also, the staying power is impressive! Once you apply this to your lid and it dries, it isn’t going anywhere. I do suggest doing your eye makeup first with this because when initially blending, there will be fallout. But once it’s set, you are good to go!
If you love makeup, you have probably heard of this up and coming company Colourpop that offers insanely good products for an extremely low price. They are taking the makeup world by storm, and the fact that they launch in Sephora this week just proves that. I started buying from Colourpop around 3 years ago when the only thing they sold was eyeshadow pots! They have grown a lot, and actually one of my favorite products they have now are their liquid lipsticks and glosses. When I start transitioning into “fall” makeup, I always reach for those deeper, richer colors. I also am a big fan of the metallic looking lip to pop on with a cozy sweater (might as well hand me a PSL). These lip products hit all of that for me! They are not drying, they have the perfect amount of metallic (not too much at all), and they stay put. What more could you ask for?
Did I mention that I love the scent of marshmallows and pumpkin? This line from Bath and Body Works is my favorite! The thing that I love about Bath and Body Works is the COUPONS. They have probably some of the best coupons out there because I almost always end up getting free items. So in order to pick up the entire line, I had to strategize and stack coupons. Basically they almost always offer “spend $10 get a free item up to $13.50”. Then I use my 20% off coupon, and on top of that they usually do “buy 2 body care items, get 1 free”. All of these combine for such a good deal! This was my first time using the shower body scrub, and I have to say I think it is such a nice touch. Exfoliating feels so nice and leaves you so soft! Then I like to use the matching lotion and body spray and voila! I match my house and smell like a marshmallow pumpkin fall-obsessed person :).
There you have it, my favorite items during the month of October! Let me know what your favorite products were this month!
It is no secret that I love to browse the “New & Now” section of the Sephora app in my down time. It is also no secret that makeup is EXPENSIVE! So as both a makeup lover and a student, I am always trying to make sure that I get the best deals possible and make my money go the farthest, at the same time as getting the highest quality products I can. This leads me to the motivating game I occasionally like to play called “If you pick up extra shifts at work this week, you can go to Sephora!”. Recently I just had a craving to swatch everything in sight and of course check out the new Fenty Beauty line in person, so I decided that if I picked up 2 shifts, whatever money I made I would take with me to shop till I drop. In the end, I made $150 and I wanted to share what I (carefully) decided to buy with that money because I think I found some awesome products!
Let’s start with the less exciting refill item. Yes, this is just a coconut lip balm, but it is sooo good! I love this one and this is the second time I have purchased it. I have a thing about matching my product “flavors” so I specifically like this because I have the Elf Lip Exfoliator in Coconut (which I talked about in my Elf Cosmetics Haul & Review) that I use before I put this balm on and the combination is like a tropical vacation that makes your lips so soft! So while this product isn’t really “new” I knew I had to pick up a new one and I see myself continuing to buy this!
Sticking with the lip product theme, I had been eyeing this product ever since the brand recently became available at Sephora. I already own the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask (which I plan to talk about soon in a future post) and I think it is amazing if you have dry skin. After seeing how good that face mask was, I really wanted to try the lip mask! I have really dry and sensitive skin in general, but my lips get so cracked that they hurt. I knew I needed to start looking into something thicker and more moisturizing than just a balm to leave on over night, and when I tried this on in store, I was sold. It has a delicious berry smell and is so thick and hydrating without being sticky. It has 4.9 stars with 554 reviews for a reason! If you have dry lips or just want that extra pillowy softness, I highly recommend this product. I make sure to use it the night before I plan on wearing a liquid lipstick!
Next up I purchased the new Sephora collection concealer and let me start by saying this stuff is no joke. When they say high coverage, they are not kidding! I really wanted to grab this after seeing several youtubers rave about it. It is more than I usually pay for a concealer (Maybelline Fit Me Concealer is only $6.99 at Ulta and they always have coupons you can use on it) but everyone was saying how you barely need any product and that this will last you a while–and they were so right. You need the tiniest amount ever to cover up any under-eye dark circles, blemishes, basically anything. I have mine in the shade 04 Ginger and I use my beauty blender to buff it out when I am doing a more full coverage look. I don’t think it settles into fine lines if you set it with a powder, and I also don’t find it to be drying! This is for sure a win.
I had been wanting this for SO LONG, I am so excited I finally have this baby!!! I recently did my best friend’s makeup for her wedding and when I used her contour powder I was a little blown away at how much easier it blended than my drugstore contour powders that I had been using on myself. I decided it was time to invest in a quality kit, and Anastasia is known for her contour kit so I knew it was the one I wanted. I got mine in Light to Medium and I think it is the perfect kit for anyone looking to practice their own contour and also to use for freelancing. There are several things that I love about this, the first of course being the range of shades. You have cool tones, warm tones, two highlight shades, and the yellow powder which is amazing to set under-eye concealer. You could easily find a shade to match a client of different undertones with this. In addition, you can use these shades on yourself for a warmer bronzed look or a cooler structured contour. I find this to be so versatile and when I am going to spend $40 on something, I need to have several uses for it! Another major pro to this kit that I appreciate is that each pan can be removed and a new one can be added. So say you just love the yellow powder and you use it everyday and you run out of that one first–you don’t need to buy a whole new kit! You can buy a single pan of the yellow and just pop the old one out and slide the new one right in. I’m so happy to be adding this to my collection!
This product was really twofold as to why I purchased it. First, I had just grabbed the Contour Kit and I was thinking to myself “I don’t have a contour brush that I actually like and now I have a really nice contour kit”. Second, I was loving the Fenty Beauty display and wanting to add one of Rihanna’s products to my collection. And thus, the purchase of the expensive brush was born. But honestly, I love this little brush! It is compact and portable, the packaging is so sleek and gorgeous, and it’s magnetic (in case you purchase any of her other items then they all click together). I personally find contouring to be so much easier with a small, dense brush like this. As soon as I felt it I knew I would like it, it’s the exact size of a contour line and blends like a dream. It was the perfect compliment to my Anastasia kit!
Now for the grand finale…..I now own a Natasha Denona palette!!! These 5 colors were…wait for it…$48. Which makes them almost $10 per shade and I kept thinking–could it be worth it? Well, if you have been debating about these shadows, debate no more. They are absolutely worth it. I have seen youtubers rave about Natasha Denona shadows for so long, and considering one of her larger palettes is usually $129-$169, I knew the only way I would personally try these is by getting the small one. It’s hard to explain how these shadows are so good, but they are extremely creamy and it literally takes one swatch to get this pigment payoff. They glide on so smoothly that they actually feel wet. Not only is the color payoff insane, but the colors in general are just perfection to me. This taupey-neutral-shimmery goodness is everything I want. I wanted to choose a palette of hers that I could see myself wearing a lot, and this one was it! You can do a neutral bronzy eye, you can spray your brush with MAC Fix Plus to get an ultra metallic and shimmery look, or you can play with the pop of color and make a beautiful burgundy smokey eye. This was a big splurge item, but I have been using this palette almost every day and I haven’t regretted it once! To me, it’s worth the hype!
There we have it–6 items for $152. Is that expensive? Absolutely! But when you love makeup and have a passion for it, every now and then you have to treat yourself to some high-end items! I always do my research before splurging, and all of the reviews were spot on with these products. That’s my “ballin’ on a budget” Sephora haul! I had a blast taking my day off and picking out new items and just being surrounded by makeup, it’s like being a kid in a candy store! Let me know what new products I should look out for next!
*Some of the links in this article are affiliates and I receive a portion of the sales if you purchase the product using my link*
I am seriously still pinching myself to make sure this past weekend was real–it felt like a dream!!!
My fiancé planned out a surprise weekend in Tampa for us, and it was COMPLETELY AMAZING. I still can’t get over it. I wanted to share what we did not only because I am still so excited about it, but also because I thought it might give some people ideas about what to do for their next date weekend!
We arrived in Tampa on Saturday and it was our first time ever visiting this city, and it was beautiful! Almost everywhere we drove we could see the water, which I loved. We checked into the hotel, got all ready, and that is when the fun began! We headed to dinner at the Capital Grille and had one of the best dinners, I highly recommend the lobster mac ‘n’ cheese! Then, I was told we had an event to get to! When we arrived at the Straz Center, I knew what was happening. I was here to see AC2!!!! I had been dying to see this event ever since I first heard about it way back in February. To say I am a big fan of Andy Cohen is an understatement. I have watched his shows and all of the shows that he produces for years and they are some of my absolute favorites. From “Watch What Happens Live” to “Flipping Out” to “The Real Housewives of Everywhere” to “Love Connection”, Andy Cohen is a TV genius. Not only do I think he makes amazing television, I have always thought he seemed hilarious, genuine, and kind. Plus, we are both from St. Louis! As much as I am all about Andy, I also think that Anderson Cooper is an amazing human. His stories of loss (his brother’s suicide and his father’s passing when he was young) and how that shaped him are inspiring. He is dedicated and incredibly passionate about his job, and he is also Andy’s best friend for over 20 years! So basically, seeing them both in an event was all I could ask for.
As for the event itself, I won’t say too much other than if you have the chance to see it, DO IT. I don’t think I stopped laughing once. Both Andy and Anderson asked the audience to please not post anything about the event or the stories about their lives or other celebrities that they shared; it truly was a night of them talking to the audience like we were all old friends. I learned so much about both of them and I kept wishing it wouldn’t end!
Now we get to the BEST PART EVER. The show ends and we get VIP passes to go backstage and get autographs and pictures with Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper. I. Am. Freaking. Out. As soon as I get in line, I realize that standing right in front of us is Kate Chastain from Below Deck! As I mentioned before, Bravo is my favorite channel, so I love all of the shows and I immediately motion to my fiancé—Look who it is!!! She was super nice and took a picture with me, this night is just on a roll.
When I get up to meet Andy and Anderson I am full blown shaking with excitement! They asked me my name, shook my hand and gave me a hug, they asked me about my wedding, and we took pictures! It was insane. They were even nicer than I thought they would be. I remember Anderson introducing himself, “Hey! I’m Anderson, what’s your name?” and I’m like YOU’RE ANDERSON COOPER YOU DON’T HAVE TO INTRODUCE YOURSELF OMG! But that is just the type of person he is, extremely humble and kind. After pictures I was handed autographed copies of both of their books, and I couldn’t believe what had just happened! What a night. It is safe to say that I did not sleep on Saturday.
We get up on Sunday and my face is pretty much frozen in a smile. We head out for the next surprise and I have no idea what to expect. We arrive at the Big Cat Rescue Sanctuary to go on a tour and I am so excited!!! I am a crazy cat lady, so that includes cats of all sizes of course. If you get the chance to come here, do the Keeper Tour! You will not regret it! You get to make toys and treats for the cats and go with the Keeper as she gives them out and teaches you about the species. The key part of this tour is that the cats know that the Keeper gives them the good stuff, so they come right up to her! You get to see tigers, lions, bobcats, servals, and more right in front of you. She even works with them on commands and you get to watch the whole thing.
This sanctuary is pretty amazing. They are completely non-profit, and the keepers are all volunteers. The money from your tour buys a meal for the cats, as does anything from the gift shop. They work so hard to rescue and provide care for these cats, most of which were horribly mistreated and it makes your blood boil just thinking about it. At the end of the tour, our keeper informed us of the best way that we can help these animals, and I encourage you to check it out as well. She explained that they have a bill they are trying to get passed called the Big Cat Public Safety Act. If passed, this will restrict anyone from breeding or possessing exotic wildlife species. It will also make amendments that will enhance the quality of life for big cats if someone does currently own one. Currently, the minimum requirements for a cage for a big cat barely allows them to move. They could stay in this cage for their entire life. This bill aims to make new requirements that ensure they are properly cared for. She handed out cards to us that will help get this law in place, and I am happy to share it!
You would think that the surprises would stop there–how much more can my heart handle!? We ended the trip with a surprise lunch at….drum roll please…Portillo’s!!! If anyone has had an original Portillo’s Chicago dog in Chicago and then searched for them other places, you would know that they are not all created equal. I had no idea that they had a location in Tampa, so I was pumped! It was the perfect ending to a perfect weekend.
All in all, it was a weekend I will never forget!!! Please let me know in the comments what other Tampa things I need to check out next time I’m there!
There’s nothing better than coming home from a long day of school or work, getting a glass of wine, putting on a sheet mask, and watching your favorite show. It is sooo relaxing and feels amazing! I do a sheet mask at least once a week–every Thursday when Grey’s Anatomy comes on is a must! The best thing about sheet masks is that there is zero mess and when you are done, you just take it off and throw it away. No scrubbing your face, no rinsing, just pat that glorious serum into your skin and be on your way.
Pretty much every time that I go to the store I pick up a new sheet mask, I love trying them out and finding the best ones! Of course Sephora has a ton to choose from, but don’t forget to keep your eyes out at stores like TJ Maxx, Walmart, and Target. TJ Maxx carries top of the line skincare at a fraction of the price, so I ALWAYS walk through the skincare section because you never know what they might get in that day!
Now, I decided to pick my current top 5 favorite sheet masks! These 5 are staples in my regimen, and I highly recommend them to anyone looking for high quality masks with great results.
This. Mask. Is. Everything. I have ordered so many of these, and I don’t think I will ever stop. It is that good! This mask is good for all skin types: normal, oily, dry, combination, sensitive. The main goal of this sheet mask is to target dullness, texture, fine lines, and wrinkles. It brightens the skin and smooths it all at once. The really unique thing about this mask is that you do it in 2 steps–First, you use the cotton swab and swipe it all over your face, focusing on areas you may have breakouts or areas of concern. Then, you apply the sheet mask and let the magic begin. The cotton swap is soaked in AHA and gets rid of all of your dead skin cells, and leaves behind a fresh layer of skin. The sheet mask is soothing and hydrating and sinks right into your freshly exfoliated face. This mask always leaves my skin brighter and tighter! I love to use it before I have an event where I want to do my makeup and make sure my canvas is extra smooth.
Next up is the priciest sheet mask I have used. To me, $12 for a one time use mask is a lot, and it better be worth it. Now I will say that I was super lucky and I found a 6 pack of these masks at the Orlando Premium Outlet Mall for $25 (Jackpot!!!), but now that I’ve tried them, I can easily recommend them to anyone looking for a high-end luxury sheet mask. The hydration from this mask is INTENSE. The mask is completely saturated with product, and the sheet itself feels so thick and high-quality. I use this mask specifically when I want hydration with a glow, so say goodbye to dry skin after this baby!
I always make sure to have one of these masks on hand because you just never know when you might experience some unwanted visitors–if you catch my drift. As soon as I feel something coming on, I throw this mask on, and bam, all clear! This mask is really great for just keeping the skin clear, and then I suggest following it up with a moisturizer!
This mask might be my number one favorite of all time. I love everything about it!!! First of all, you actually put on 2 sheet masks at once. The firming mask goes on first, with the moisture mask layered on top, and the two combine to make the ultimate sheet mask! Now for the best part–the second layer of this mask has holes that go around your ears from the sides to hold it centered, and a strip that goes from your chin to your ears like a helmet strap. This mask does not move! If you are an avid sheet mask user, you know what I mean when I say they can slip and slide and make it super hard to talk. Well, this mask eliminates all of that, making it easier to talk, move around, and drink wine :). Plus, I feel like the chin strap is giving your face a nice lift from the bottom, further enhancing that firming property. Overall, I am so glad that Target started carrying this line, and I am excited to try more from this brand!
I first picked this up at the Origins store near me. I was drawn to the packaging, and the sales person told me it was one of his favorites, so I had to give it a try! The whole Flower Fusion line is a win for me. They have a mask for pretty much any concern: brightening, hydrating, softening, soothing, refreshing, and nourishing. I always love hydration, so the rose one is a top choice, but the soothing lavender one literally smells like a spa and lulls me into relaxation. Origins is one of my favorite brands, and their sheet masks do not disappoint! Another tip I have is that Nordstrom Rack sells all of these sheet masks for half the price! So when I need to restock, I always do it there.
So there you have it, my top sheet masks! Get comfy, read your favorite book, put on that sheet mask, and enter relaxation mode! You won’t regret it! I know I will be indulging next Thursday, as I watch the doctors of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital do their thing.
Let me know what your favorite sheet masks are and what ones I need to try next!
Taking the plunge and signing up for yoga teacher training has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only have I learned so much about one of my passions, but I have been able to be a part of such an incredible group of people who encourage and support each other every step of the way. If you are even considering becoming a yoga instructor…DO IT. In the words of Baron Baptiste, “you are ready NOW”.
Every weekend that I leave training I feel like I am totally floating on a cloud. I just spent 16-18 hours with awesome people all working towards the same goal. I laughed, I cried, I listened, and I was heard. But then you step back into the real world and not everyone is making eye contact, sharing their feelings, or telling you “you got this!” with every step you take. This particular weekend we did an exercise that really stuck with me as I went back to my day to day routine and we called it the “Glowing Ball of Love and Light.”
For this exercise, our instructor had us stand in a circle and practice being glowing balls of love and light. Sounds super weird, right? Well that’s what yoga teacher training does, it pushes you out of your comfort zone again and again, and makes you do things that you never even thought of. So there I am, standing there trying to be a glowing ball of love and light (whatever that is) with my eyes closed and palms out when my instructor starts explaining what this glowing ball is all about.
She tells us that each of us is radiating love and positive energy to the world. That we have the power to always choose to do this, no matter where we are, no matter who we encounter. And then things got even more interesting. We paired up, one of us was to be the glowing ball, and the other was to guide themselves through a silent yoga sequence doing whatever moves called to them for however long felt right. I went first as the one practicing yoga and my partner began as the glowing ball. The goal here was to make your partner who was practicing FEEL your love and light, without a single word being spoken.
At first, I felt pretty dumb actually. Am I doing this right? What pose should I do next? But then, I just starting “being”. I transitioned into whatever pose felt right in that exact moment, whatever my body felt like doing, I did it.
My instructor started walking around the room giving words of advice/wisdom. She told us that we were whole and complete human beings, that exactly how we are right now is perfect and nothing needs to change.
Think about that. How you are RIGHT NOW is perfect and complete. It really hit me and stuck with me.
She told the people practicing to allow ourselves to love and be loved. I felt myself opening up, and I felt warm and happy all at once. How many of us are blocking ourselves from being loved with our own negative thoughts?
Eventually I stopped my asanas (yoga poses) and faced my partner, who was still radiating love and light onto me. I felt amazing, all of the awkwardness had faded away and I felt peaceful. I could feel that she was truly trying to give me the gift of feeling complete, and I appreciated that.
All week I have been thinking about this. What if we went around and pictured each other as being perfect the way we are? What if we were glowing balls of love and light, ready to give that gift to the next person we meet? What if next time someone cuts me off in traffic, I thought about them as whole and special, and gave them warmth and happiness for the rest of their day? Would this be hard? Absolutely. Would it be worth it? I have a feeling it would be.
The light in me sees the light within you, namaste.
One thing you will quickly learn from this blog is that I love a good deal! I am always on the hunt for sales, coupons, and anything to help me get a bargain, especially when it comes to makeup. So when I saw that Elf Cosmetics was having a 50% off sale plus free shipping if you spent $35, I was all over it.
I feel like recently Elf has really been stepping up their game. I have been a fan of their products from the very beginning, and actually they were some of the first makeup brushes I ever purchased (The $1 brushes are actually pretty awesome!). They have been staying up on all the trends, updating packaging, and basically I was very excited to get my hands on some of their newer items along with restocking on my absolute favorites. My haul consisted of a good variety of makeup and their newer skincare items, and now that it has been a few weeks, I thought I would share my review of these products as well!
This was a refill purchase for me because I truly love this powder. I use it every day to set my undereye area and I love the brightening effect it gives! I personally think this is a crazy affordable dupe for the Kat Von D Lock-It Brightening Powder.
Another refill! I use this powder for so much: “baking”, setting my undereye area for a more matte look, making a clean line for eyeshadow to follow, setting my entire face, pretty much everything. I have had the Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder and I have had this, and this one always wins out for me.
The last refill powder! I am devoted to this powder for setting my entire face. It never gets cakey, it is such a light dusting to set down any tacky foundations, and I think it gives such a pretty sheen to the skin to keep the luminance of the foundation showing through.
I personally am not someone who wears falsies very often, really I only do for special events. But when I do want to give my lashes that extra “va va voom” I love these inexpensive ones from Elf! It comes with glue, the band is comfortable, and I think the style gives a “my lashes but better” appearance. I always keep a pair of these in my vanity.
And now for my favorite makeup products of this haul…the lip products! I feel like I hit the jackpot on these. First up is the liquid lipstick in Praline. I already know that this color will be my fall staple. It is the perfect darker shade with warmth to it. I already owned Praline in the Matte Lip Color version ($3) and I have gone through several tubes of this. For me, it is seriously the perfect matte lipstick with just the right amount of color, and it is very buildable depending on how dark I want it.
Comparing the two, I would say that the Matte Lip Color is great for a wash of a deep matte, or for wearing underneath the liquid matte lipstick version. The lip color does not feel drying on my lips, but I do find that it will fade throughout the day and I need to reapply. As for the liquid matte lip, that $h!t STAYS. I could barely even remove this swatch. I love both of these so much, and will be wearing them both constantly!
This is probably one of my top 5 all time lip glosses at this point. The color is perfection, and the plumping effect is an added bonus. If you do not like tingling lip products, then this is not for you. This gloss does have a pretty powerful tingle, but I love it. In comparison to the Buxom Full-On Lip Polishes I would say this Elf one tingles more, but they both have similar effects as far as looks. The Elf one is a little more sheer, but I really do love them both!
I pretty much wear this every single day now. This is probably the most moisturizing lip gloss that I own, and the color is a perfect pinky-nude. It goes with everything and I especially love this on a no-makeup day when I am running to class just to give my lips that moisture and shine.
Last but not least for my makeup items, the lip exfoliator! I used to have this in their original flavorless formula, but when I saw they now had a coconut version, I was sold because I love that scent! I use this followed by my favorite everyday Sephora Collection lip balm in coconut–I’m a sucker for matching scents/flavors. I think this is a must have item if you wear any liquid lipsticks, or if you just have dry lips. I always use this before applying a matte lip product.
Hello, my name is Lex, and I am a mask-a-holic. I LOVE masks, literally all kinds of them and they are my biggest splurge item. I think this was my number one item I wanted to try when I saw the sale. This kit was perfect to me because it came with the Hydrating Bubble Mask, and the Pore Refining Brush and Mask Tool! This mask is extremely unique. You press down on the top and the liquid mask begins to come out. I have seen mixed reviews on the packaging, but I personally am obsessed with this idea. It is so hygienic and you don’t have to stick your fingers into a tub to get the mask! So then you take the Mask Tool and swipe it all over your face in a thin layer. Right away, it is so refreshing! But then the magic happens: let the bubbles begin! The mask slowly starts to bubble until (in about 10 minutes time) you look like you were just in the bath tub with bubbles overflowing! I will be honest, this mask tickles, like a lot. Maybe I’m weird, but I love it. I think it feels like it’s cleaning my skin! It “bubbles” out the dirt! After about 10 minutes (if you can handle the tickles for that long) you rinse with warm water and the mask instantly transforms into a sort of clay-like texture which feels extremely moisturizing. When it’s all done, you have a squeaky clean and hydrated face! I use this mask about twice a week now, and I love it! It isn’t the “most” hydrating mask in my collection, but I mostly love it for the cleansing properties along with the fun of using it.
As far as the Mask Tool, I wanted this to use with all of my other masks that come in a tub that need scooped out. I am obsessed with this little tool and plus it adds that boujee feeling to any masking experience. I don’t really use the little round brush side, but the silicon portion is perfect and so easy to keep clean.
Admittedly I was on the lookout for this product after hearing Kathleen Lights rave about it, and I must say she was so right! This little balm is crazy refreshing. My number one tip is to keep this in your refrigerator! It takes the cooling sensation to the next level! After a long day of work or studying, I come home, swipe this over my face, and I swear my skin just took a drink of water. As a primer, do I think it extends the wear of my makeup? Not really, but it seems to sink into fine lines and just really hydrates my skin to prepare the canvas.
This is the only product from this haul that I could take it or leave it. I was excited to try this because of all of the great reviews, and because I had been struggling with dry skin that I was hoping to exfoliate right off. It’s an interesting product, when you apply it to the face it immediately appears that skin is just balling up and sloughing off. But after I rinsed my face, I couldn’t say that I noticed a “huge” difference. I have used it about twice a week, but I just don’t think it has made a noticeable difference. I have other exfoliators in my collection that I am much more committed too (*cough cough* Ole Henriksen Transforming Walnut Scrub I’m looking at you baby).
Introducing what I believe to be hands down some of the best skincare packaging EVER. This bottle will remain in my skincare collection forever, even long after this bottle is empty because of those beloved rollerballs on the bottom of it. I love the whole idea of Elf’s Beauty Shield collection! Fighting environmental aggressors is what we all want, right? Speaking about the cream product itself, I am obsessed. It is definitely a nighttime only product because of how thick it is, but it is awesome. I am always drawn to Vitamin C products, and this one does not disappoint. I think it is extremely hydrating, and I swear my skin is always glowing the next day.
Now about this packaging…perfection. It has an “on” and “off” feature for the dispensing of the product, which is essential. I use this in the “off” position and literally rub every product I have in with these roller balls. When I have a headache, I use this roller balls all over my temples and it is soooo relaxing. These do not necessarily blend products into your skin, but it dispenses it all over in the most relaxing way possible. I can’t really rave about this enough because I personally think it feels like you are always giving yourself a spa-like facial at home, and you can use it with any product you have!
For the price, you really can’t beat this. What I love about it is that it goes on completely clear, and it contains aloe which is great for healing a breakout. If I feel a little something coming on, I just apply this under my makeup and I really think it helps!
So there you have it, my Elf Cosmetics Haul and Review! Not only did I restock on some of my holy grail products, but I found some new loves as well! In the end, this entire haul cost me $63.39 with tax (new items were not included in the 50% off) and I was thrilled with this purchase!
What are some of your favorite Elf products? Let me know what I need to pick up next time!
*Some of the above links are affiliate links and I will earn a portion of the sale if you purchase the product using my link*
We all want to make the most out of our time when on vacation, especially when traveling abroad. There are so many things to do and you have to fit it all into a limited window of time! This can be the hardest part of planning a trip, and for us, we were also including a wedding! I wanted to share our itinerary so that anyone looking to plan a wedding or vacation in Italy can get some ideas as to what we found worked the best!
Our trip gives us 10 full days to make the most of our time in Italy. Here is a full breakdown of what we have planned!
Goodbye U.S.–Hello Italy! We will be departing Florida and heading to Europe! We will be flying overnight.
Ciao! We will be landing in Rome at around 10 am. We will be taking a private transfer from the Rome airport to our Villa in the Amalfi Coast. This journey is expected to take around 4 hours.
We will all check into our Villa around 4 pm. As our welcome to Italy, a Chef will host a pizza making party for us!
We will be embarking on a private boat tour to the island of Capri and 3 grottos! We will leave at 10 am and return to the Villa at 6 pm. The marina is a 10 minute walk from the Villa. We will have our own sailor and will be able to swim, walk around on the island, or whatever we wish to do.
For the evening, we will have the Chef prepare a dinner for us in the Villa for when we return. The menu for tonight is pasta with zucchini, dessert, and wine.
Today we will be hiking the Athena Loop Trail with a private guide. The hike can be strenuous, but the views are spectacular. We will be transported from the Villa with a pickup time of 8:40 am to the starting point at the square of Termini for a starting time of 9:00 am. We will also be having a picnic lunch along the way. The tour will last around 3 hours and we will be taken back to the Villa around 12:00 pm.
For the evening, the Chef will prepare us dinner in the Villa. The menu tonight is grilled chicken, a mixed salad, dessert, and wine.
Today we will tour Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius! We will leave the Villa at 9:30 am and spend 2 hours visiting Pompeii and then 2 hours at Vesuvius. This is an 8 hour trip with a minibus for 13 people and a private driver along with a private guide for 2 hours in Pompeii.
During our trip, we will also have a lunch and wine tour at the Mount Vesuvius area! This will include homemade bruschetta, salami, cheese, bread and olive oil, 3 different types of wines, pasta with red sauce, and cake for dessert.
The evening will consist of another dinner prepared by the Chef and the menu will be ravioli with ricotta and mozzarella cheese, dessert, and wine.
It’s the day before the wedding! Today we will be taking it easy! You can leave the Villa to explore, or hang out by the pool! There will be 2 masseuses coming to the Villa and providing massages.
We will be having the rehearsal dinner at La Tagliata in Positano. This restaurant is about 1 hour from the Villa, with a drive consisting of gorgeous coastline views the entire time.
It’s Wedding Day!!!
We will spend the day getting ready at the Villa!
4:00 pm- The transportation will arrive at the Villa to take us to the ceremony.
5:00 pm- The ceremony will take place at Villa Fondi.
6:00 pm- We will head to the reception to celebrate!
For our “day after” celebration, we will be going on a Mozzarella and Limoncello tasting/making tour! We will leave the villa at 9:15 am and travel to the farm where we will taste 8 different types of cheeses and learn how to make mozzarella ourselves. Next, we will taste limoncello and learn the Italian secrets to producing it. We will return to the Villa around 2:15.
Our final evening will be spent with the Chef preparing us a dinner in the Villa. The menu will be caprese salad, grilled eggplant, bruschetta, dessert, and wine.
10:00 am- We will check out of the Villa and head to Rome! Private transportation will take us the 4 hour journey to Rome.
The rest of the adventure in Rome will begin!
Today we will check into our new Villa, explore the area, and find a good spot for dinner!
We will be exploring Rome on foot! We will take in all of the sites and enjoy the city!
We will be touring Vatican City! We will have a private guide to show us the history and help us steer clear of long lines.
We will be heading to the airport and going back home, but this time as husband and wife!
Things to Consider
Remember transportation! Most people will tell you not to drive in Italy or rent a car there. It isn’t worth the stress or potential fines that most people say they receive for some type of driving infraction. The good thing is that private transportation is readily available! You have to make sure you set it up for each place you go! If you want to go to dinner, you need to get there and back. If you do on a tour, you need to get to the starting point and back to your Villa, etc.
Our Villa had an in-house Event Coordinator who I worked with to plan all of our excursions and dinners, which was AMAZING. Check and see if this is an option for you! It makes a world of a difference having someone who knows the area and good times to go see certain sites.
If you do have an event coordinator, keep these emails in your binder that I mentioned in the last wedding post. You will want to stay organized and make sure you have confirmations on everything!
Having dinners out with a big group is very challenging if not impossible at times. The restaurants in Italy are not big, so trying to find a place to accommodate a large party will be a headache each time you try to go get a meal. This is why we opted for in-Villa dinners with a chef. We all get to relax and be together with no worries about finding a table! In the end, the price evens out because we do not have to pay for transportation to a restaurant, so it’s totally worth it!
Another tip I have is to see if someone who works for the Villa will get your group groceries before you arrive. This way, you all have something you like when you get there and you don’t have to go out to find breakfast or lunch!
Take all of your plans into consideration when packing!! Good walking shoes are a must! Check the weather before hand and make sure you are prepared!
I hope this post helps other people organize their trip! It is a lot of work, but SO worth it! Let me know other places you visited on your Amalfi Coast, Italy trip!