Sunday, October 31, 2010


So, please excuse my funky hair... the hubs didn't tell me that a piece wasn't playing nicely. But I thought I would share my Face Of The Day with you guys, since I attended a wedding yesterday and was very happy with how my makeup turned out.

Foundation: Clinique Perfectly Real in 01
Powder: Cover Girl Professional Loose Powder in Translucent Fair 105
Blush: Lancome Miel Glace
Undereye Brightener: Benefit Eye Bright
Undereye Concealer: Lancome Flash Retouche in 01
Undereye Powder: Benefit Powderflage

Primer: Too Faced Shadow Insurance
Lid color: MAC Femme Fi
Inner V: MAC Phloof
Outer V: Lancome The New Black
Eyeliner: Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner Stingray
Mascara: Cover Girl Lash Blast Blackest Black

Lipstick: Maybelline Color Sensational Nearly There

Thursday, October 28, 2010

e.l.f. Natural Eyeshadow Palette

This was my first foray into e.l.f. cosmetics (aside from their super-easy to use/comfortable eyelash curler) and I must say I was quite pleased with the results of my $3.49 eyeshadow palette. First of all, I'm a neutral-eye kind of gal. So when I saw the "Natural Eyeshadow Palette" staring at me from the display in Jewel-Osco I just had to have it. I figured, it's 4 bucks. What's the worse that can happen? I buy it and there's no color pay off or it's just crap and I chuck it. No biggie!

The colors aren't named or numbered, so I'll try to give an accurate description...
From left to right, top to bottom:

  • White shimmer with silver micro-glitter. It is quite chalky, but works well as a highlight. There wasn't too much fallout, but I wouldn't really recommend it as an all-over color.

  • True gold shimmer with gold micro-glitter. Again, there was some fallout, but surprisingly not as much as I expected with all of the glitter.

  • Copper shimmer, no glitter. This eyeshadow was very soft and you really have to tap your brush off before applying it, or it will be fall-out galore. The color is gorgeous, though. It's a true copper that doesn't pull super red on me.

  • Greenish-gold shimmer, no glitter. Kind of olive-y, kind of sage-y, kind of gold-y. It's really pretty and I think it would be awesome with the plummy color in the palette.

  • Muted gold shimmer, no glitter. I think this one, along with the greenish-gold, would be the best all-over lid colors since there's not a ton of fallout and/or glitter.

  • Plummy shimmer, microscopic silver glitter. Not a ton of glitter fallout, but this is another very soft shadow that you have to tap the excess off, unless you want to look like you're sportin' a bruise underneath your eye.

I wore three of the colors today over my MAC Painterly Paint Pot (muted gold on lid, copper in outer-V and white shimmer for highlight) and it's 12+ hours later and it still looks as awesome as it did when I first applied it. I think for the makeup connoisseur, this palette might be a little underwhelming, but for someone just starting out or someone that wants a few versatile-yet-neutral colors to have as their go-to palette for traveling, this is a heck of a steal for under $4.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Eyeshadow Primers

Until my college years, I didn't really need an eyeshadow primer. My lids aren't super oily and I didn't have a problem with creasing. Then... my twenties hit and suddenly I was crease-city. But still dry. It's kind of a conundrum.
The first eyeshadow primer I ever picked up was the infamous Urban Decay Primer Potion. I liked the wand applicator, but I hated the bottle shape. It wastes so much product and unless you feel like taking a jig-saw to your bottle, you won't get all the product inside. I feel like that's cheating you out of your money. It did it's job, however, and kept my eyeshadow on all day without creasing or fading. The drawback? It dried my eyelids out like crazy! Cost: $18
The next primer I went to was Too Faced Shadow Insurance. I like the squeeze bottle, which means you'll get way more out of it than Urban Decay's. On my lids, TF and UD are the same. TF prevents creasing or fading, but it doesn't dry my eyelids out. When I want a colorless primer, this is the one I reach for. Or when I want to absolutely guarantee my eyeshadow doesn't go anywhere, like for a special event... Cost: $18
But usually? Most days, I reach for this one: MAC Paint Pot in Painterly. On it's own, it's like a concealer for my eyelids. It evens everything out and gives me a nice "canvas" to start with. It will crease without having an eyeshadow on top of it, though. But it's fantastic underneath powdered eyeshadows and I love how easy it is to apply. Just smooth some on your finger and smooth it on your eyelid. Done! Cost: $16.50

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Pure DKNY is my latest fragrance obsession. I first smelled it in a magazine and couldn't stop. I even went so far as to rub the "sample" on my wrists and then sniff it continuously for another hour or so until it faded.

Then started the hunt for an actual bottle. Since I live in Po'Dunk, our local Carsons didn't have it in yet. I checked all of the other stores, but to no avail. I finally drove 40 minutes away to my local Ulta before I could sample it live and in person. I sprayed it on generously and then had to wait a few hours until the hubby got home before he could give his stamp of approval.

Initial reviews had me a little worried. They were kind of mixed. Some people said it's your run of the mill, "fresh" vanilla perfume. I am not into wearing "foodie" perfumes. Aquolina? Gag! Smells like cotton candy. Vera Wang Princess? Wretch! I love eating chocolate, not wearing it. But there was something about Pure that was so ... pure! The Pure campaign is all about the peaceful moment, relaxing, and being calm. I want to be calm, damn it!, yeah...

So, hubby sniffed and approved. A week later I purchased the mammoth bottle and have worn it... pretty much every day since. That was a month ago and it's still my favorite perfume of the moment. My concerns about its staying power were unfounded, at least for me. I've been able to spray it on my pulse points in the morning and my husband can still smell it on me by the time we get home from work, 8+ hours later.

My "signature" perfume is still Ralph Lauren Romance, but I love Pure for daily wear. Romance is soft and, well, romantic. You know you're wearing a floral when you wear it. But Pure is soft and feminine and doesn't scream "I'm wearing perfume!" It's how everyone should smell when they get out of the shower, without smelling like the Clean line of fragrances or Philosophy's Grace series.

The notes in the fragrance are: Ugandan vanilla (so named for the CARE project Donna Karan is a part of; some of the proceeds go to help women in the Ugandan village where the vanilla is cultivated), dew-drop petal accord, lotus, rose, transparent jasmine, freesia, orchid, white amber and sandalwood.

The bottles range from $42 - $80, depending on the size, and they are eau de parfums. It's available at department stores, as well as Ulta and Sephora. I haven't seen it trickle down to Kohl's or Wal-Mart yet, but I'm sure it will make its way there, eventually, just like DK's Delicious line.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle

I don't think I've ever tried Aussie products before, but if their 3 Minute Miracle is any indication of the rest of the brand, then I'll definitely have to give it a whirl.
The 3 Minute Miracle is a deep conditioner that really does what it says. It conditions even the driest hair in three minutes and leaves it silky and shiny, but not weighed down at all. My hair has always been on the dry side and this is the first product I've found that really makes it soft (even better than Redken's All Soft Shampoo and Conditioner).

I use it once a week, after I shampoo, and let it sit in my hair while I shower/shave and then rinse it out at the end. First, I rinse it with warm water and then "seal" it in with cooler water. I have skipped the cool water bit and I've found that my hair isn't as soft/shiny as when I do both steps.

So, if you're looking for a deep conditioning treatment and don't want to fork out the big bucks, Aussie's 3 Minute Miracle is really worth every penny, in my book. It's cheap, easily found, and it really works. It doesn't get much better than that.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Liquid Eyeliners

Let me just start off by saying I love black eyeliner. Love, love, love, black eyeliner. I know I'm a redhead and I should stay away from the "harshness" of black, but I can't help it. Brown doesn't make my eyes pop the way black does. For me, eyeliner is a must. Pencils, gels, creams, and liquids - the blacker, the better. But not all liquids are the same and neither are their brushes, which I think is absolutely essential to getting the right look and saving yourself a headache. The following liners are the four I currently have in my rotation and I thought I would point out their pros and cons, in case someone wanted a little more information on them.
Maybelline's Lash Stiletto Liquid Eyeliner in Blackest Black is a very close alternative to L'Oreal's Lineur Intense liquid liner. They have a similar felt-tip brush and ink-well design. When it dries, Maybelline has a slightly "shimmery" (for lack of a better term) look. It has a slight sheen, as opposed to being completely flat black.
Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eyeliner in Blackest Black also has a felt tip brush and ink-well design, but this brush is much stiffer. I think it makes it harder to work with, personally, but I love the formula of the eyeliner itself and this one dries to a completely matte black color. The brush tip is also much shorter than Maybelline (and L'Oreal's), which I think makes it kind of unforgiving, since there's no "bend" to the brush.
Mark's On the Edge Liquid Eyeliner in Cleo first captured my attention because of Lauren Conrad. Unlike the other eyeliners mentioned, this one is has a very skinny bristle-brush that gets you the most incredibly thin line ever. I mostly use it for my "no makeup" look because it fills in the spaces between my eyelashes and blends perfectly with my mascara (also as black as it can be!) and dries to a matte black. The two things I don't like about this one? It's not the best when it comes to doing a heavy line. You have to go over it a couple times because the brush is so skinny. And secondly, I don't really like that you can only order it online or through a representative. I'm kind of weird like that... I like being able to walk into a store and walk out with what I need - not have to "plan ahead" and predict when I'll run out and then have to order it.
Palladio's Eye Ink in Black is my most recent addition to the family of liquids. Marlena from Makeup Geek got me into it after watching her use it in her videos. I love that it's a little pen shape, but it might be too small for some people's liking. I also like that the felt tip brush is forgiving and you can create wings or flicks very easily. Like Maybelline's, Palladio's eyeliner has a sheen to it when it dries, but it's still a super dark black and once it dries it dries. Palladio products can be found at Sally's Beauty and Ulta, as well as online.

In terms of wear, I feel like all of these eyeliners wear the same on me. Nine times out of ten, I don't have oily lids, so I don't get any transfer or smearing. If I use a paint pot or Too Faced Shadow Insurance under my eyeshadow then I know the eyeliner isn't going anywhere. But for as nicely as they wear, removal isn't a huge deal. Oil-based removers or just plenty of soap will do the trick.

The price is all relatively comparable and you get a good amount of product in each item. It all kind of boils down to which store you go to or if you want to order something from online.

I do have three eyeliners I would not recommend, however.
  • Kat Von D's Tattoo Liner in Trooper - it's supposed to be their black shade, but when I swatched it at Sephora, it was a watery gray line. I had to go over it several times to get the blackness to show up and when I did that, it kept undoing the previous lines and leaving streaks. I would definitely save the $18.
  • L'Oreal Lineur Intense in Carbon Black - the original Lineur Intense in Black Mica? Beautiful black color. Never had any problems. The Carbon Black? Terrible! Like Kat Von D's, it's a watery gray that isn't at all what it claims to be. I love the brush and the application, but the color payoff was terrible. If you want to try the L'Oreal one, I suggest sticking with the original and by-passing the overly hyped up Carbon Black series.
  • Urban Decay's Liquid Eyeliners - it's your typical brush and ink-well design, but the one I had didn't seem to have that plastic insert to wipe off the excess liquid. The brush was practically dripping black all over the place and it made for a very messy application. I don't typically have sensitive eyes, but this liquid actually burned my eye! I'm a klutz, I'll admit it. I've poked myself in the eye with other liquid liners and I've never had that kind of reaction before. That being said, if you don't have that kind of reaction, several other makeup gurus have suggested using your own eyeliner brush to apply UD's eyeliners.

So, after all of that... my personal favorite? The Palladio Eye Ink. I love how quick and easy it is to use. You don't have to "double dip" - all of the liquid just flows out, nice and smooth, and I think the pen-like design is really easy to handle and get precise wings, which is something I'm always trying to perfect.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Flirt! Plushious Liquid Velvet Lipcolor

When it comes to lip glosses, people usually fall into one of two camps: sticky or not sticky. I am a part of the latter group. I hate when my hair gets stuck in my lip gloss or when it feels goopy. I want shine, but not so much that it's distracting.

Flirt!'s Plushious Liquid Velvet Lipcolor is really more of a liquid lipstick than a gloss. You get color and shine, but no stickiness. Depending on the color, it even wears down to a faint stain, which is nice. The overall wear isn't as long as a traditional lipstick would be, but without eating/drinking, it lasts as long as any other lip gloss.

Flirt! products are only available at Kohl's or online, and usually retail around $12, but with Kohl's ever-running sales and coupons, you can usually pick them up pretty cheap.

Pictured from left to right, are: Sweetie Pie, a shimmery light pink; Liplock, a shimmery pinkish-nude; She-Devil, a deeper, shimmery pink; and Sexy, a berry-red creme.

There are several other colors available, but these four are my favorites and the only ones I actually own.

If you're a fan of MAC, but hate the stickiness, I'd consider looking at Flirt!. Since Estee Lauder owns both companies, the quality is the same, but Flirt! is a smidgen cheaper and more readily available.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Aveeno Stress Relief Lotion

With winter lurking around the corner, I've noticed my skin has started demanding more moisture. I'll admit, I'm really kind of bad about using body lotion, but when I do use it, I reach for this stuff - Aveeno's Stress Relief Moisturizing Lotion.

It has lavender, chamomile and ylang-ylang in it, claiming to both moisturize and calm you with aromatherapy. I'm a little skeptical about the "stress relief" part, considering my day-job is beyond stressful sometimes, but I love how it smells. Normally I stay away from overly-fragranced products because I don't like when it clashes with my perfume. This stuff, however, works well with the soft/feminine/floral notes I tend to wear. And it doesn't linger for very long, either, which is advantageous, as far as I'm concerned.

It soaks in quickly and doesn't leave you greasy or sticky. But the best part? It actually moisturizes! I can put it on, say after a shower, and not have to apply it again for 24+ hours. It keeps my skin comfortable and happy, not dry and tight, or slimy and shiny.

I've already re-purchased this several times, which is a true testament to how much I love it. It's the only body lotion I use, aside from their "regular" formula with the green packaging (which has zero scent, for the fragrance-wary, but delivers the same moisturizing results). I've even expanded out to their body washes and their Intense Relief Hand Cream, which I would definitely recommend for colder/drier months or for people with chronic dry hands.

The store you go to and the size you get will determine the price, but even their largest bottle (18 fl oz, if I recall) is under $10. At prices like that and a formula that great, it really is little wonder that I have tubes and bottles strategically placed throughout my house. :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

20 Beauty Questions!

1. What is the one product you'd grab if your house was on fire?
Probably my Makeup Forever Full Coverage Concealer.

2. Which blogger would you want to do your makeover?
Marlena from Makeup Geek, Tiffany from Makeup by Tiffany D or Emily from Beauty Broadcast.

3. What celeb do people think you look like?
Nicole Kidman in her red-hair days (think Practical Magic, not Far and Away).

4. What beauty product do you save for date night?
Red lipstick

5. Which of your guy friends takes longer than you to get ready?

6. If you could create your own miracle beauty product, what would it be?
A moisturizer that simultaneously hydrates, firms, evens skin tone, and doesn't break you out or make you look like a grease ball.

7. What's your best beauty tip?
It's not super original, but blend! Blend, blend, blend! I hate when I see foundation "masks" or harsh eyeshadow lines.

8. What beauty products do you love to splurge on?
Skincare. And eyeshadows.

9. Which bloggers would you bring on a shopping spree?
Karla Sugar, Marlena, and Tiffany D.

10. What is your signature scent?
Ralph Lauren Romance and now DKNY Pure.

11. I am on an endless quest for the perfect _________.
Under eye concealer and moisturizer.

12. How many beauty products does it take to get you ready?
Minimum? 4. Concealer, eyebrow powder or pencil, mascara, lip balm. Average? Those four, plus powder, eyeshadow, eye liner, and a lipstick/gloss.

13. What lipstick/lip gloss is in your purse right now?
Korres Lip Butter in Pomegranate and Quince; C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve; and Flirt! Dainty.

14. Who is your celebrity beauty icon?
There's so many... Kate Winslet, Kate Walsh, Stana Katic, Nina Dobrev, Taylor Swift

15. Name the beauty brand you'd most love to be a spokesperson for?
Man... just one? I guess it would be Lancome, then.

16. What’s your current nail polish?
FingerPaints I Pink I Can - the 2010 Breast Cancer color.

17. Fave mascara right now?
Cover Girl Lash Blast!!! It has reached Holy Grail status.

18. The last thing you bought at Sephora?
Umm... mini Tweezerman tweezers, with little bumble bees on it.

19. I try never to be seen without wearing _______.
Concealer and mascara.

20. What’s one beauty product you’d always recommend?
Cover Girl Lash Blast.

An eyeshadow brush for... your nails?!

To get the review section up and running, I thought I would start with my most recent "Eureka!" moment.

Like I said in my previous post, I've recently started with a small nail obsession. I don't have nice nails. I never have. They split and tear quite easily and don't grow very long. I also have short, squarish nail beds that make painting short nails a PITA. Despite all of that, I can't help but be drawn in to the whole new, exciting world of nail polish.

Like any beauty-obsessed girl, I headed to the blogging world and started reading up on reviews and tips. I'm right handed, so my left hand always looks beautiful while my right hand... Well... Not so much. I usually end up with paint slopped all over and then spend the next twenty minutes with a Q-tip soaked in nail polish remover and an orange stick, trying to undo my mess. Vampy Varnish recommended using a craft brush from an art store to clean up messy cuticles.

Eureka! I had just such a brush that's been collecting dust in the "Eh" section of my stash.

Enter, the EcoTools Eye Shading Brush.

I tried using it for eyeshadows, to no avail. It didn't pick up enough color, didn't pack it on, and caused more fallout than I've ever had before. So, for the past few months, it's been shoved to the back and I assumed it would never see the light of day.

Until... I figured out you can use it to clean up nail polish goofs! Now I love this brush! It cleaned everything up better than the Q-tips and it is still Eco-friendly, considering it's reusable!

So, the moral of the story is: Just because something sucks at it's intended purpose, doesn't mean you can't find a better use for it somewhere else in your makeup routine. :)

About Me

So, I thought I would start off by actually introducing myself.

My name is Ashley and I'm twenty-something years old, living in Po'Dunk, Illinois with my husband and our four fur-babies. My career has absolutely no relation to the beauty industry, so this is just the ramblings of a makeup-hobbyist. I love makeup, perfume, and skincare. I've also recently branched out into being obsessed with nails, so my blog will be a reflection of all those things and everything else in between.

I'm planning on focusing on reviews, swatches, and beauty news for the "middle way" cosmetics and the brands that are often overlooked. I know MAC is great and I own various products from them, but I think Clinique and Lancome need just as much love - just to give an example.

For reference, I'm very pale and run on the cool-neutral side. I've been matched with MAC's NW15 and NC15 (depending on the sales associate), Revlon ColorStay in Ivory and Clinique Perfectly Real in Shade 01. I have auburn hair and light blue eyes, with a smattering of freckles across my nose.

My skin used to be combination/oily, but now I'm super dry and dehydrated and currently on the hunt for a moisturizer that will combat the dryness without making my acne/clog-prone skin unhappy. I flush very easily, but my skin isn't as sensitive as it was growing up - it's just super, super picky.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to e-mail me at

Monday, October 18, 2010

Navigating the Via Media of Beauty

The Via Media of Beauty

Ok... So. What is it? "Via Media" is Latin for the "Middle Way" or the "Middle Road."

In the world of makeup, there seems to be a near-constant conflict: high end versus low end. Both sides have voracious advocates that have pointed out the pros and cons of buying in department stores and drugstores. Everything from price to quality to quantity to packaging has been considered. Some people have very, very staunch views on both ends of the makeup-brand spectrum.

But what about the rest of us?

What about the rest of the people that, you know, just kind of hang out in the middle? Where we pick up some drugstore items and then mosey on over to Ulta or Sephora and get some more expensive stuff? What about the people in the middle of the market? Those that don't shun lowly drugstore eyeshadow and that can't justify shelling out the dough for a Chanel blush? What about us?

That's where the Via Media comes in. In a world of HE vs DS, we're just cruising straight down the middle and this blog is for everyone out there that's like me, a fan of the "middle end" products.