Monday, September 28, 2015

Ways to Maintain a Healthy Summer Glow + Bonus Recipe!

Have you heard of ALOHA yet? I hadn't until last week, but it's been described as "a place to say hello to good health and happiness." They've been featured in some top magazines and you can even sign up for some freebies when you go to their webpage. I got a chance to speak to one of their employees and she asked about my thoughts on how to achieve a healthy "Summer" glow year-round. At first I laughed, especially since I'm lovingly referred to as both a ghost and a vampire by my nearest and dearest, so the idea of ME, the Queen of the Pale, talking about a Summer glow was amusing. BUT! I got to thinking about it and it is all thanks to my recent trip to the Burberry counter that I actually feel like I have something to contribute to ALOHA's quest to "inspire health and beauty throughout every season." 

Keeping up your Summer glow

So, without further ado, my top three steps to keeping up your Summer glow.

1. Exfoliate - I think this is the basis of any and all attempts to look glowy, no matter what the season is. People have their personal preferences as to whether or not this should be done chemically (with an AHA or BHA) or physically (with a washcloth or gritty scrub). I'm more keen on chemical exfoliants for my face, but I'm all about scrubs for my body and my lips. Featured above are two of my favorites for daily use: Paula's Choice RESIST Daily Pore-Refining Treatment with 2% BHA and the E.L.F. Lip Exfoliator. While there's nothing particularly snazzy about the Paula's Choice BHA, it's become a staple in my nighttime cleansing routine and I like to think it's working behind the scenes, so to speak. The lip exfoliator, however, is awesome! For $3, you get a stick of brown sugar that you schmear all over your lips and take away all of the nasty flakes while leaving a pleasant taste behind.

2. Luminous Primer - Being that I don't wear foundation everyday, I feel like primers are mostly pointless to me. Sure, when I actually wear foundation, they serve a purpose and are great, but usually I can't be bothered with them. However, the super duper helpful manager at the Burberry counter nearest me changed my mind. I went in to make a return (and play around) when she asked if she could color-match me to a foundation I was eyeing. So, I said sure. Minutes later, she was coming at me with Burberry's Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base in Golden Radiance. The color in the picture is essentially what it looks like in real life - liquid bronzer. I immediately recoiled, since I assumed she'd be using Nude Radiance, which is a pinky/pearly primer, instead. She noted my reaction and reassured me I wouldn't look like an Oompa Loompa. I trusted her and went with it and was amazed how lively I looked when it was all said and done. I'm not a bronzer fan, if that's any surprise, but Golden Radiance sat so well on my pasty skin that I literally said "Wow" when she turned the mirror toward me. She sent me on my way with a sample of both primers and even using it home, either by itself or mixing it with my existing foundations, I'm amazed at the subtle sheen it gives WITHOUT making me look orange! I actually haven't even tried out Nude Radiance yet, since I've been loving the Golden Radiance.

3. Highlight - When all else fails to give you the healthy glow you're looking for, fake it. My go-to lately has been the new Anastasia Beverly Hills Illuminator in Starlight. Those looking for more of a summery vibe should check out any of their other colors, which are all a variation of warm golds and peaches. If this post had come three weeks ago, I would have wholeheartedly encouraged people to turn to any of the Becca highlighters, but ABH has dethroned them in my book, especially when Starlight lasted 12 hours on me (through talking on a phone and a nap) whereas Becca's pressed Moonstone faded after 8. The phone wasn't even on the Becca side, so you can't use that as an excuse. Apparently my skin just eats it. :o/

Speaking of eating... since ALOHA is a health-food company, I've included a fall recipe that you don't have to feel guilty about eating. This one is all about pumpkin! Being that I live in one of the top pumpkin-producing states in the U.S., it's only fitting that I showcase my love for the giant orange fruit. Well, actually a berry. But let's not get technical. All you need to know is that pumpkins are a great source of potassium and Vitamin A and they taste delicious.

Sadly, not my picture. It's courtesy of Google Images. But don't they look awesome?
3 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

1 box of cake mix (I've used yellow, vanilla, and spice. Any brand. Whatever is handy.)
1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree (Libby is an Illinois company - another fun pumpkin fact.)
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice OR 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp allspice, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg
Optional: Toss in some chocolate chips (not so healthy, I know...), cinnamon chips, walnuts, pecans, cranberries... whatever strikes your fancy.

Mix it all together. Do NOT add any eggs or liquids. The pumpkin puree is all of the moisture that you need. Line a muffin pan, pour in your batter, and bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees. I always double-check with a toothpick to make sure they're set in the middle. And you're good to go! Delicious, easy pumpkin muffins that only set you back 2-3 Weight Watcher points (or so I'm told. I'm not in WW and I have no idea how points translate into calories, but when I made these for work and told the people there, the WW ladies were very happy). If you frost them, you now have pumpkin cupcakes! I personally recommend a cream cheese frosting if you do go that route.

Fun twist for those of you who might ::GASP!:: hate pumpkin - if you use chocolate cake mix, you can't taste the pumpkin at all. I personally love pumpkin any time, any where. But convincing my husband to eat pumpkin muffins in March is a bit of a challenge, so I tried the chocolate version and he was none the wiser. O:o)

If you're curious, you can check out other recipes on ALOHA's site by clicking here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Burberry Haul and Swatches

Oops, I did it again...

Bad songs aside, I may have splurged on a little Burberry haul. I have been wanting Mulberry eyeshadow for forever and a day, so I got that, plus I'm hoping that the Optic White eyeshadow can multitask as both its intended purpose and a cheek highlight. It seems pearlescent enough to accomplish the task. I was also in the market for a new peach lipstick, hence why I ordered the Kisses lipstick in Peach Delight. And I needed to bump myself over the $100 mark (shameful, I know...) to get the Gift With Purchase, so that's why I ordered the First Kiss gloss in Rose Blush. And my freebies were a really nice leather/pleather (can't really tell...) zip up makeup bag that says Burberry on the front (but it's hidden behind the eyeshadows) and a mini Kisses lipstick in Sepia. 

First Kiss Fresh Gloss Lip Balm in Rose Blush, (mini) Kisses Lipstick in Sepia,
Kisses Lipstick in Peach Delight, Wet & Dry Silk Eyeshadow in Mulberry 204,
and Wet & Dry Glow Eyeshadow in Optic White 000

Rose Blush, Sepia, Peach Delight, Mulberry, and Optic White

All in all I'm quite happy with how everything swatched. The initial application of Peach Delight (followed by Rose Blush) leads me to believe that more colors in both formulas are in my future. And really, need I say anything else about Burberry eyeshadows? I'm kind of obsessed.

Monday, September 21, 2015

I finally did it... I depotted all three Naked palettes!

After mulling it over for the better part of a year, I finally took the plunge and depotted all three of my Urban Decay Naked palettes. I came to the conclusion that they would get much more use if I had all of the shades in one spot, reorganized in a way that made sense to me. In the process, I was able to weed out colors that I knew for a fact I hated (you'll notice all of the glitter bombs are missing) or that I had duplicates of and wasn't even sure I liked (ahem, Half Baked). 

Since I've been making my eyeshadows "audition" over the past few weeks, it made sense to have the Naked palettes condensed in a way that I could easily purge colors that just don't suit me. Why should I feel guilty about an unflattering color just languishing in the palette? I shouldn't. That's dumb. So, now that they're all free-form, I can say goodbye to colors that don't make me happy or make me pretty. 

While I was at it, I depotted the rest of my Urban Decay singles too... That is the sadly discontinued Deluxe Eyeshadow in Ruthless in the lower left corner and one of the few eyeshadows I've hit pan on in my life. I love it so much. I had Underground as well, but it cracked when I pried it out of the pan, so I just tossed it. Burberry's Midnight Brown is similar enough that I don't miss it. I also depotted my singles of Virgin and Mushroom and put them in my MAC palette, but I haven't taken a picture of that yet, since I'm still reshuffling the MAC and Lancome shadows that currently reside there. 

All in all, I'm quite happy with my condensed Naked Z Palette. The only singles I have floating around my eyeshadow drawer now are all Burberry. And if I ever travel, I still have my Naked Basics and Naked2 Basics in their original cases, plus Lorac Unzipped and Cargo Vintage Escape. Or, I'll buy a Unii palette or something customizable for the trip. Not that I expect I'll be doing much traveling with a baby.


Did I say baby? 

I suppose now is a good time to mention that I'm pregnant. And on bed rest. Which is why the blog was a) neglected in the first place and b) resurrected spontaneously. I have an inordinate amount of free time on my hands for the next few weeks and then Baby A will make her grand appearance. I think the massive makeup (and household) decluttering has been my form of nesting. I don't necessarily want to decorate and fluff pillows, but I have been neurotic about cleaning things and throwing away all sorts of unnecessary or baggage-laden items. Strangely, sentimentality is kind of gone right now. But I suppose it's a good thing in the long run since I've purged a.l.o.t. of stuff!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Highlighter Comparison: Swatches of Shiseido High Beam WhitevsAnastasia Beverly Hills Starlight vs Becca Moonstone and Pearl

So, I've been on the hunt for the perfect highlighter lately, which is rather difficult when you're super pale. They're usually too gold or too peach or too pink... My ultimate highlighter would be something white, pearly, and super pretty! These are all that I currently own and sadly none are quite HG status. If a pressed version of Becca Pearl is ever available, I'll probably end up getting that one. I just ordered Burberry Optic White eyeshadow in the hopes that it is what I'm looking for, which would negate the need for a pressed Pearl. 

From left to right: Shiseido High Beam White, Anastasia Beverly Hills Starlight, Becca Moonstone, and a mini Becca Pearl on the bottom. 

Indoor, under a lamp. You can barely see Pearl on the bottom. 

Indoor, in overcast (but natural) lighting. Unfortunately Pearl is almost nonexistent in this one because of the angle. 

High Beam White is more matte than satin and is the most subtle of the group. I have mixed feelings about it, honestly. It's still too new to me to know if it'll be amazing for other times of the year. Moment of truth - I would have returned this except for the fact that Shiseido deducts $7 from your refund. Not that $7 is going to kill me, but I think it's crap to say you'll offer a full refund and then say, "Oh, wait...." So, I'm kind of determined to make the best of it. 

Becca Pearl definitely has its place in my collection. It's super easy to use and the color is perfect for me. I prefer powder highlighters, but I'm happy to have this. I don't know if I'd repurchase another one (unless they had this mini size again) but it's not a chore to use it. 

I'm most torn about Starlight and Moonstone. They're so similar that I'm having a hard time justifying keeping Starlight. To me, it looks like the microshimmer in Starlight is pink/pale gold, which gives it more dimension than Moonstone. But you have to really look close to see a difference. On the cheeks both Starlight and Moonstone give me a really pretty pale gold/champagne shimmer/sheen. So, we'll see how they compare as far as formula and wear time before I make any decisions.