PERKing up at Sephora

Want softer, brighter skin? You may want to take advantage of the Sephora PERK facial.

A few months back, I decided to take advantage of the PERK Hydrating Facial at Sephora in Tyson’s Corner. Let me tell you, it was a fantastic experience, especially for it being my first facial ever.

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What it is

In case you haven’t heard about it, Sephora has recently started offering 30-minute facials in select stores. While hydrating your skin, the facial will offer exfoliation and nourishment for your skin. It’s complimentary with a $75 purchase, which makes it a great opportunity to stock up on your skincare. You’re able to go do a walk-in or sign up online, which is super-convenient for anytime your skin needs a “perk.

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My Experience

Before getting into it, a Sephora consultant will measure hydration levels with what they call a “Moisture Meter.” Though I didn’t snap a picture of my exact number, I was informed that I had dehydrated skin. So, while I was oily, my skin was needing some moisture. Good thing I was getting a hydra facial.

To begin, my favorite skincare goddess, Laura Arzate, cleansed my skin. She used the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser – great for all skin types, as it doesn’t strip the skin of moisture, but leaves your skin feeling soft. For lack of a better word, it left me feeling – fresh. I have to be honest, at first, I wasn’t sure about how I felt about it, but eventually, I fell in love with it and it’s become a household favorite. My mom started to use it and she loves it!

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Then it was time for the actual treatment. The machine uses two steps to refresh your skin. First, the Sephora consultant will go in the Nourishing Solution. While nourishing the skin, the pen-shaped tool acts like a vacuum and sucks the impurities from your skin. As scary as that may sound, it’s not painful whatsoever. In fact, there are three different intensities that you can choose from. I decided to stick with the lowest setting as it was my first facial.

Next, we went in with the “Eye Replenishing Serum.” The serum offers hydrating nutrients that not only plumps the skin but moisturizes and replenishes the skin. It runs over your entire face, including your lips, and feels quite nice.

Final Thoughts

No matter how well you take care of your skin or how many scary movies you watch, nothing will prepare you to see what impurities are removed from your skin. After you complete your facial, the consultant will allow you to take a look at your “waste” and it may be a little shocking. Being able to actually see what comes out of your skin, while being completely gross, is very satisfying.

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Overall, I noticed a visible difference in my skin after the treatment was complete. My skin felt and looked fantastic afterward. It was much brighter and smoother than what I’ve ever accomplished by myself at home.

If you need to restock, it’s definitely worth it to take advantage of the Sephora PERK Hydrating Facial. You’ll be able to leave with bright, smooth skin and a bag of your favorite goodies.

A guide to executing a life-cleanse

As a girl that took five months undergoing a life-cleanse, I learned quite a few things about how to execute one. (And it’s SO much more than shutting down Insta.)

This is coming from a girl that has been gone for nearly five months. That’s right, a blogger took 5 months away from her blog. I broke rule number one – stay consistent, and it was all for taking a life-cleanse.

For a while, I felt like I was in a rut in my life. I found myself stuck and lacking creativity. While my writing was where it was most visible, it wasn’t the only part of my life that suffered. I lacked creativity in the way I carried myself, the way my conversations flowed, and in my career. I knew I had to do something to do get back myself, and that meant taking a step back.

While I didn’t mean for it to extend this long, I took five months “off.” Five months spent reexamining my life. Five months figuring out who I was. Five months doing what I needed to do in order to be the best Kat I could be. After five months, I believe I can truthfully say, I’m back to me.

As a girl that took five months undergoing a life-cleanse, I learned quite a few things about how to execute one.

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Take a step back to examine yourself
In marketing, there’s a strategic planning technique, called a SWOT Analysis. The acronym SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You typically conduct this technique when planning a mode of action for a business. If you do decide to take a life-cleanse, it’s so important to give yourself an assessment. Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are. From there, you can ask yourself what’s threatening you. It doesn’t necessarily mean physically, but what about mentally. Are there any opportunities for you to grow? When you’re answering these questions, be honest. I asked myself if I could truly say I was happy or if I enjoyed the person who I was becoming in the recent days. When I looked at myself in the mirror and said no, I knew that there needed to be an immediate change.

Find out what you need to change
After your personalized SWOT Analysis, you’re ready to take your first mode of action – finding out what needs to be changed. If you’re thinking about doing a life-cleanse, there’s undoubtedly something that needs to be changed in your life. Should you start making more time for yourself? Perhaps you need more time with family or friends? Find out what needs to be done for you to be happy. As I came to the realization that I wasn’t happy, I decided I needed to cut my stressors. While I welcome stress because it drives me to want to go harder, I found that I was stressed about everything – friends, family, finances, and my career. I realized that I took a lot of time from my day to agonize over each of these aspects, but never really took time to grab the reigns and take control of the various situations I was going through. I knew I needed to finally speak up and work through everything that was wrong.

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Close down Instagram
This step isn’t limited to Instagram alone. This step refers to anything that you define as a stressor in your life. Whatever it is – you need to shut it down. We all know social media while being such a gift, can also cause a lot of anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. Already being at a point where I wasn’t the most confident in my work, I knew it was unhealthy for me to be exposed to so many people that seemed to have it all together. Because of that, I decided to close the app. As an avid Instagrammer, I thought that not posting for a week (let alone five months) would be the death of me. Surprisingly, I weened myself off and was able to free myself from the constant anxieties of if my feed was aesthetically pleasing or if I remembered to post a story.

Get a change of scenery
It’s been said that traveling makes you feel better and as one that recently traveled to the other side of the world, I can attest to this. According to Forbes, the benefits of travel are endless. While boosting creativity and happiness, it can help you reinvent yourself. I did just that when three friends and I traveled to Tokyo. I let myself forget worries back home and focused on living in the moment. It was such a wonderful experience that I’m so grateful for.

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Come back stronger than ever
Before leaving for Japan, I had some anxiety about coming back. I was worried that more things would pile up and I’d be even more stressed out then I was to start out with. While I have to say, I had a lot of work to come back to, coming back I felt more relaxed than I have in a long time. I came back refreshed and clear-minded. Tasks that worried me prior to leaving felt more attainable and it was all because I gave myself time to breathe. When I began taking care of myself and allowing myself, I felt rejuvenated and more efficient.

A life-cleanse is so much more than shutting down Instagram or doing yoga once a week. It has to do with changing your life from the inside out. It’s about learning and changing yourself from the inside to prepare yourself for outside changes. It can take as little as a week for some or even five months, like me. Either way, if you decide to execute a life-cleanse on your own, remember to be honest with yourself and only make room for growth in your future.

Fun Facts with Bobbi Brown – Plus GIVEAWAY!

ICYMI, last month, I joined the oh so lovely Megan, of Sweet Sauce Blog, and the ultra-fab Christina, of Tiramisu for Breakfast for a fun event with Bobbi Brown in Nordstrom, Tysons Corner.

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I’m going to do something a little different today and start with some fun facts about me.

  1. I’m obsessed with KitKats.
  2. I’m super uncoordinated. (My family doesn’t even flinch anymore when I fall down the stairs.)
  3. Bobbi Brown has quickly become one of my favorite makeup brands.

ICYMI, last month, I joined the oh so lovely Megan, of Sweet Sauce Blog, and the ultra-fab Christina, of Tiramisu for Breakfast for a fun event with Bobbi Brown in Nordstrom, Tysons Corner. We got to learn about the brand from Bobbi Brown reps, which was amazing. (I’m still pinching myself because I’m still in shock.)

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We got a rundown on all things beauty from the amazing Bobbi Brown makeup artist, Tia Hebron. (Who you should totally be following.) With such an amiable personality, I enjoyed getting a mini-master course from her.

Fun fact #1 about Bobbi Brown – You’ll never see a contouring kit. In fact, Bobbi, herself, explained that she doesn’t like the idea of contouring because, “It’s telling people there’s something wrong with their face,” in an interview with The Cut.

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Recently, I’ve been really into the “no-makeup” makeup look, which Bobbi is known for. In fact, that’s one of the reason I’m so drawn to Bobbi Brown. Each product is designed to make the wearer feel three important things: empowered, good and confident. They manage to do this in such a natural way, which I adore.

Skincare was a hot topic during our chat with Tia. We got into what each age group should be focused on in terms of beauty. She explained that while in your 20’s, you should be investing in your skincare, your 30s should be focused on starting your treatments. For the fantabulous forties and up, you should be mindful of color choices.

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Being in my early 20s, with an irrational fear off aging, I’ve gone ahead and started my serum. I’ve been using the Intensive Skin Supplement, which is supposed to help with anti-aging. So far, I’m liking how plump my skin looks.

Fun fact #2 about Bobbi Brown – Bobbi Brown has a motto: Pretty Powerful. This means when you come to a counter, you’re already pretty!

Speaking of going to counters, I had the wonderful opportunity to get my makeup done by the wonderful Dajana at the counter. (If you’re in the area, you need to go see her!) The actual star of the show had to be the Sparkle Eyeshadow “AllSpice.” It’s the perfect everyday sparkle lid color for a natural pop.

Why I really loved my experience at the counter with Dajana is because we made sure there was a constant flow of communication between us. Oftentimes, people that go to the counter are very hesitant to voice their preferences in their makeup. In the words of Tia, “The time when you’re shopping for makeup is not the time to be passive.” Make sure you’re constantly telling the makeup artist what you do and don’t like because if you’re not honest about what you want, you’re not going to get the look you had hoped for.

Fun fact #3 about Bobbi Brown – Bobbi Brown has a very diverse range of shades for their foundations. Their newest release, the Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation SPF 15 has 30 shades.

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Huge thanks to my friend, Chloe for coming and taking some pictures for me! Follow her YouTube Channel.

It’s so important for a brand to diversify their shade range because people come in more than 12 shades. (This may come as a shock to some drugstore brands and select high end brands.) As a woman of color, it’s very important to me for a brand to have a diverse range of shades, which is why I’m so excited about brands like Bobbi Brown, which make it a mission to be as inclusive as possible. Also, the foundation lasted all day, which made me love the entire experience even more.

The Long-Wear Weightless foundation is definitely a must-try for those of you that are looking for something medium to full coverage. Make sure you use a primer for your skin type! (Which, oftentimes is built-in to their moisturizers!)

The Giveaway

Surprise! Christina, Megan and I are hosting a giveaway with Bobbi Brown in Nordstrom Tysons Corner! You’ll have the opportunity to win the makeup used on me, valued at more than $150! (OMG, right?)

In order to win, follow along below. It’s the perfect time to upgrade your makeup drawer and it’s really simple to enter!

  1. Follow me on Instagram and like the photo with this same caption.
  2. Tag two friends in the comments who would love to win, too!
  3. Follow @bobbirbwondmv, @tiramisuforbreakfastblog, @sweetsauceblog, and @beautyandbeyondtiahebron. (We’ll check to make sure!)
  4. BONUS: leave a comment on my post about what you like the most about the makeup look we created!
  5. DOUBLE BONUS: recreate one of our looks and tag us on Instagram this weekend. Just head to a Bobbi Brown makeup counter near you. Use can also use these hashtags:  #KPforBobbiBrown, #SSforBobbiBrown, #TFBforBobbiBrown.
  6. Winner announced Monday, March 12. We’ll announce it over on Instagram.

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What years of battling acne has taught me

As you all may or may not know, I’ve had some struggles with my skin in the past. And when I say some struggles, I mean a lot. I’m grateful for it because I’ve learned a lot.

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As you all may or may not know, I’ve had some struggles with my skin in the past. And when I say some struggles, I mean a lot. I’ve had issues with everything from oiliness and texture to scars and redness. There’s always been one underlying issue that’s been my biggest concern – acne.

If you’ve suffered from acne, you know the anxiety about breakouts right before school pictures and even the physical pain of it. I had a mixture of whiteheads, blackheads and painful, red bumps. The worst thing is that the red bumps weren’t constrained to a particular area of my face. They would appear on my forehead, cheeks and even my chin. All I wanted was clear skin.

I was tired of caking on foundation to hide the angry, red craters. I was tired of the concerned comments from friends and family, telling me that it was because of my makeup. I was tired of waking up from the pain of rolling onto one in the middle of the night. (This was the worst.)

I tried product after product, flooding my skin with every ingredient that magazines told me would “cure” my acne. There was charcoal, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Oh my!

That was my first mistake.

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I didn’t take the time to really get to know my skin and understand what it wanted. Instead, I wanted a quick fix and would put ten products on my skin right after each other. When something was causing bad reactions to my skin, I couldn’t pinpoint the culprit because I was using so many. Similarly, when something was working, I didn’t know if my skin was reacting well to the salicylic acid or the willow bark extract. While I knew this, I couldn’t stop.

I watched all the YouTube videos. I read all the magazines. I was under the impression that I was basically an expert, based on things that worked for other people’s skin.

That was my second mistake.

Everything changed about a couple months ago when I decided I wanted to stop making mistakes. While I did learn some things about my skin, I have to say that I still breakout sometimes. However, I am at a point where I just go out with a bit of concealer, which is something I was never comfortable doing before, which is what prompted me to write this.

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What may work for your favorite beauty guru might not work for you
Lord knows I’m still trying to figure this one out. Let’s face it, if Desi Perkins says something cleared her skin, there’s a 99.9% chance that I’m going to try it. Why? Let’s forget that she has beautiful skin for a moment. She’s someone that I look up to a lot because she knows what ingredients and products work for her. However, me and Desi have very different skin types so what may be a miracle product for her might not do the same for me.

Learn what your skin likes
Does your skin like witch hazel? What about charcoal? The only way to find out is to test it out. Testing out products will help you get a grasp of which ingredients actually work for your skin. From there, you’ll get a better understanding of which products in the store are worth your money. Just make sure you take time in between to know what in particular is working.

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Change your pillowcases
Okay, this is one tip that I’m sure will help everyone on their skin journey. Your pillowcase has so many germs and oils from your face and your hair, which can be causing your breakouts. That’s why you should make it a goal to wash your pillowcases and change them out once a week, especially if you have oily skin.

You don’t have to spend your entire paycheck
For all the girls obsessed with beauty like me, I’m going to reiterate it. You don’t have to spend your entire paycheck to have good skin. Yes, there are a lot of high-end products that work wonders, but there are also some really good items at the drugstore that might work for your skin as well.

Samples are your friends
I am a firm believer that you should always try before you buy! Maybe it’s my unjustifiable aversion to returning skincare, but I always like to ask for a sample of a moisturizer or mask when I can get one. This way if you do end up wanting something that has a higher price tag, you won’t have to worry about having to return it if it doesn’t work for you.

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Do you have any skincare tips? Let’s have a conversation in the comments section below! I’d love to get some tips from you or see if we have anything in common when it comes to taking care of our skin.

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A Date with Caudalie, Tatcha and Fresh

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by this absurd winter weather. *Knocks over my Fenty foundation as I raise both hands.* Yeah. Me too.

I’m not sure where you live, but I’ll give you a brief rundown on Virginia weather. Last week it was snowing one day then nearly 70 degrees the next. And no. I am not exaggerating.

So, with all of this finicky weather, my skin has been having a complete meltdown. That’s why I was so grateful to be invited by the lovely Laura to go visit the Sephora in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City for another skincare event. This time featuring Caudalie, Fresh and Tatcha.

My first stop was with Fresh Beauty, where I got to try out two masks. The first was the Lotus Youth Preserve Rescue Mask, which I might pick up later. It contains lotus seeds, seaweed flakes and red algae. I noticed that it gave my face a beautiful radiance, without a greasy feeling. The best thing–it only takes 5 minutes to work its magic.

The second mask we used was one of my favorites–the Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask. This was another hydrating mask because my skin has been feeling pretty dry recently. The “cool” thing about this mask is the fact that it has a cooling effect to it. (I have to admit that it freaked me out the first time I used it.) I found that I noticed clearer skin after using it as well. That was the case this time around as well!

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Picture taken by Laura Arzate

Next, I got pampered by the wonderful Amanda Lefaive from Tatcha, who taught me all about the brand. Did you know that all the products were inspired by ancient Japanese beauty rituals of geishas? You should know that geishas take much time to maintain the quality of their skin.

They have six steps to achieving their youthful glowing skin. These include purifying, polishing, brightening, nourishing, blotting and drinking Sake. The latter of which is optional, which means, I’ll be grabbing my glass of wine.

This heavily inspired products like the Rice Enzyme Powder. It’s an innovative powder product is actually a cleanser. It’s a powder that is activated by water. When you work it into your skin, it transforms into a beautiful lather that gently exfoliates your skin. After rinsing off, I felt clean and hydrated.

For moisturizing and treatment, I got to sit with the lovely Amy Schaeffer at Caudalie. Before starting, she had me give a brief rundown on some of my skin concerns. After going on and on about how shocked I was to learn that I had combination skin with some dry patches, she was able to give me some recommendations.

We started with the Vinosource S.O.S. Thirst Quenching Serum. It was a perfect choice for my skin. While it contains hydrating ingredients like, Hyaluronic Acid and grape water, I didn’t feel like it left a greasy layer over my skin. My skin just felt plump and hydrated.

Next, we hydrated with the Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet. This is another interesting product from Caudalie. It starts off as a gel and as you work it into your skin, it melts almost into water. The Vinosource line is really amazing because it all really sinks into your skin, without leaving you feel greasy or sticky.

We wrapped everything up with the Premier Cru Eye Cream, which she described as the “crème de la crème” of eye creams. She wasn’t lying. I have dark circles under my eyes, both hereditary and from lack of sleep. When we applied the cream,  I noticed that everything looked a bit brighter. I’ve been using it ever since.

What I love so much about these events is the fact that each of the reps of each brand are so knowledgable about their products. It’s so important to make sure you understand the products and ingredients you’re putting into your skin, which is why these events are so important. I even had some good friends of mine join in on the fun and they said they felt the same.

If you want to join Laura for a Skin Soirée, a little birdie told me she’ll be in Short Pump this Saturday, January 27th.

What are your thoughts on the Skin Soirées? What about your favorite products from these brands? Let me know in the comments!

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Double Up (On Your Mascara, That Is!)

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To this day, most everyone that I’ve come in contact with has commented on how large my eyes are. I’ve gotten everything from “They’re so big and beautiful,” to “Can you close your eyes a little bit? They’re freaking me out.”Middle school was a great time.

Because of this, I wanted to close my eyes off because I thought it would make me better. Cue a thirteen-year-old Kat with black liner smeared all around her eyes. Granted, it did close my eyes up, but let’s just say I won’t be going back to that style of makeup anytime soon.

Fast forward to present day, I rarely line my inner rim with black. In fact, I love accentuating my eyes and drawing more attention to them. And what’s the best way to draw attention? Mascara, of course!

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Everyone has their preference on mascara, but I’m here to give you a simple tip to getting the best lashes of your life! All you’ll need is a lengthening mascara, as well as a volumizing one.

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Start off with your favorite volumizing mascara as usual. My favorite at the moment is the L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise, which I got during my time at Beautycon this summer. You’re going to do one even coat, ensuring all your lashes are coated.

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After allowing them to dry for a bit (Not full dry!), you’re going to follow that with your favorite lengthening mascara. I’m using the Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies Push Up Drama Angel mascara, which is my favorite overall mascara. The wand is everything you need if you want length!

While applying, make sure your wand isn’t heavily coated when applying to your lashes. This is going to help you prevent clumps, while separating the lashes evenly. It’s also going to give you that length that the L’Oreal mascara didn’t!

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After that, you should see that your lashes are defined, but separated. Though it may seem like a lot of work to use two mascaras, but I promise when you do it, once, it’ll be a breeze!

Do you double up on your mascara? Let me know some of your favorite tips on getting your best lashes!

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Everything I’m Ready for This Fall

The fall trends that I’m super excited for.

It’s finally that time of the year again. The temperature is about to drop, PSL have taken over and the leaves are changing. I decided that the best way to jump into the new season was to make a post of all the things I’m so excited for.

Sweater Weather

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If there’s one thing that you should know about me, it’s that I love sweaters. Possibly a little too much if you ask my mother. She’s actually tried to ban me from buying any more sweaters. (Which undoubtedly failed.) I just ended up taking her sweaters, which she has started to hide from me.

Sweaters are an absolute must, especially for fall. There have been thousands of articles published on sweater weather so I won’t delve too deep into it. Just be prepared for several new sweaters to be featured on the blog. (Just don’t tell my mom!)

Fall Makeup Trends

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Recently, I’ve spent a lot more than I probably should have on makeup in Sephora, but it’s only because I’m so excited to get back on trend. I love the look of a smoked out lid, paired with vampy lips, much like I did here. Fall is the time to pull out your metallics and sultry tones, so rest assured to see me rocking these a lot. Some other trends you should look out for are fresh face with bold lips, monochrome looks and burgundy lids.

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To get this look, I used my Huda Beauty Eyeshadow Palette – Rose Gold Edition. “Dubai” is the perfect fall lid color. My lip is the Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Color in “Infatuation.” It’s super creamy and comfortable to wear!

Scarves

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Even though it might not look like it, scarves come in at a close second to my sweater collection. They add a finishing touch to any look, while keeping you warm and cozy during those cool, fall night outings with friends. I’m a big fan of blanket scarves because I can easily drape it around my shoulders for a poncho effect.

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The one I have on here is a blanket scarf from Forever 21 and it’s only nine bucks! Thank goodness for their deals! (Similar)

The Decor

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I know this may seem a little silly, but I’m obsessed with every item that remotely resembles fall. I’m so ready to bring out all my mugs, filling them to the brim with hot chocolate and marshmallows. Believe me when I say, starting today, I’m gearing up to drink at least one cup of cocoa a day. Add a little cinnamon and nutmeg for a touch of spice. Even if I’m actually drinking water in this picture. It’s all smoke and mirrors, guys.

Leather

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It’s now socially acceptable to wear leather jackets and you better believer, I’m so prepared! They add a little edge to every outfit, like this. I tied my shirt and paired it with high waisted pants and cut out ankle booties. Leather and faux-leather jackets are so accessible that you can find them at every price point.

What trends are you excited for this fall? I’d love to know so please leave a comment below.

Continue reading “Everything I’m Ready for This Fall”

Products That’ll Never Get Old

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The month of August has been extremely hectic. With a new freelance writer position at Alloy.com and running back and forth between Richmond and NoVa, it’s been a hectic month. With bouncing around from jobs and interviews, I found that I’ve gravitated towards a couple of products for a classic go-to look. I’m sure I’m not the only when I say that I have my fair share of staple products that never get old.

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Let’s start with the base. The Laura Mercier Silk Crème Moisturizing Photo Edition Foundation has a beautiful finish that leaves my skin looking quite natural, while covering up my imperfections. I was a bit thrown off by the word moisturizing, but I promise it doesn’t leave you looking like an oil-slick.

How to Use:

Before you even think about applying it, make sure you shake the bottle up well to properly It’s a medium-to-full, buildable foundation that is best used with a brush. I wouldn’t suggest using a beauty sponge because it’s a fairly runny foundation, meaning it’ll easily be sucked into your sponge. Opt for a dense kabuki brush to blend it out in circular motions.

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As for the glow everyone loves, I love the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks. They offer you a beautiful dewy look, without looking like you stuck your head in a a bag of glitter. I’m all for a bit of shimmer in my highlighter, but full on glitter isn’t in my everyday routine.

Another oldie but a goodie is the Benefit They’re Real mascara. It’s a cult classic for a reason! Mascara is all about the brush, TBH. The applicator on the They’re Real mascara is great for separating and lengthening, which is what basically everyone looks for in a mascara.

How to Use:

To apply your highlighter, grab a fluffy brush, like the E.L.F. Highlighter Brush, swirl it around your product and dust it on the highest points of your face. (And the brush is only $3!) For a natural-looking glow start towards your temples and sweep it towards the center of your face as opposed to starting on the highest point of your cheeks. It will give you a natural-looking glow.

As for the mascara, apply it as you normally would. I just advise you to never pump the mascara. It will dry out the product quicker.

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The Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper is another cult classic because it’s one of the blackest liners you will ever use. It’s matte as well, so you don’t have to worry about that shine that you get from other liners. A classic wing goes great with any look you may want.

How to Use:

Follow your bottom lash line as you flick the liner up and out towards the tail of your brow. Also never get scared while putting on liner because I am convinced that liner can smell fear. The moment you start holding your breath is when you accidentally hit your lid, making a large, unwarranted stroke.

What are some of your personal cult-classics? Is there anything that you have to have in your makeup kit at all times? I’d love to try it out!

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Monthly Favorites – June 2017

Some beauty favorites from the month of June, along with some tricks to using them.

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The fact that we’re already in July is absolutely crazy to me. I feel like we were just starting the new year, but alas that is not the case. With that being said, the start of a new month means a new monthly favorites!

Last month, it may come as a shock to everyone, but I surprisingly didn’t wear makeup for most of the month. For most of June, I opted for a bit of concealer and highlighter. For that, I used my trusty NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in “Caramel” as well as the Wet ‘n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder in “Precious Petals.”

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Hair

I don’t normally talk about hair because I am absolutely terrible at styling and taking care of my hair. However, I went out of my comfort zone and decided to test out some new products and completely fell in love with the EDEN Coconut Shea shampoo and the Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Soft Waves Sea Salt Spray. I found that the shampoo really made a difference in how smooth my hair was, which I was extremely surprised about.

I’ve also been a fan of really textured waves recently, but never really knew how to achieve it. Being the adventurous person I was, I knew I had to find a way to do it. I decided to curl my hair and then I went in with the spray, but not it the way you would think. Instead of spraying it in my hair directly, I went ahead and sprayed it in my hands and separated the curls by rubbing them in between my hands. I immediately got the look that I was hoping to achieve.

If you’re looking to achieve that Instagram-worthy beach hair, I would highly suggest this method.

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Skin

I was so excited to be part of the Splash Vox Box from Influenster. Inside, I received complimentary products, one being the Exfoliating Mud Mask from Tree Hut. I’d never used any products from Tree Hut, so I was excited to try it out. So far, my skin has really been loving this.

It contains charcoal, which you guys know I love because it helps draw out impurities from your skin also helps keep oils at bay. Also the fact that it’s a mud mask means it’s also perfect for those of you with oily skin. Mud helps suck up the oils from your skin, which I’m always looking for, considering I have extremely oily skin.

The last thing I love about this are the small exfoliants that get that layer of dead skin off. If you have sensitive skin, I wouldn’t suggest using this or possibly using this only once a week or every other week because it could irritate your skin.

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Face

When I did go full-faced glam, I opted for my trusty Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer and the NYX Total Control Drop Foundation for my base.

If you buy one of these, I would highly suggest the NYX Foundation because it’s only $14 and it’s going to last you a long time because a little goes a long way. I find that with four drops, I get a fairly nice amount of coverage. I just suggest using this with a brush because a lot of product will be sucked up by a beauty sponge.

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Lips

I have perpetually dry lips, so when I apply something on my lips, it has to be something moisturizing or I’ll end up taking it off in an hour. I found that I’ve really been loving the Kopari Coconut Lip Love as a lip balm. It’s been super moisturizing and I love the fact that it smells like coconuts. Also, I’ve been loving the Revlon Ultra HD Matte LipColor in “Seduction.” Thought it’s matte, I don’t find that it dries my lips out, which I love.

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Eyes

When I did wear eye makeup, I gravitated towards the Huda Beauty Textured Eyeshadow Palette – Rose Gold Edition. There’s not much I can say about this other than the fact that the shades blend out beautifully and they all are extremely pigmented. When you are using the textured shades at the top of the palette, I would suggest using your fingers because you’ll get the best payoff.

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Brows

I have been talking about these two products for so long, but only because I am so truly in love with this combination. The ColourPop Brow Pencil in “Black ‘n Brown” and the Benefit Gimme Brow in “#3” have been my favorite brow combination for quite a while now. The ColourPop pencil is so nice and easy to use because it’s not too thick and it’s easy to get thin, hair-like strokes. The Benefit Gimme Brow helps define the hairs I already have, making everything look more natural.

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Lashes

Lastly, my mascara is the one thing that I found I’ve changed up a lot. Recently, Ive been loving the Maybeline The Falsies Push Up Angel mascara and the L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise mascara. I’ve been loving combining the two for long, voluminous lashes.

If you like the voluminous mascara you are currently using, but you’re looking for more length, try layering a lengthening mascara over it. If you’re looking for the opposite, then vice versa. Don’t be afraid to layer it up!

With all of that being said, that is everything that I’ve been loving in the month of June. Please let me know if you’ve tried any of these and let me know what you were loving last month.


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Purifying Black Mask Review

My candid thoughts on the Soo Ae Purifying Black Charcoal Mask.

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Last week, while going through some things I got at BeautyCon NYC, I decided to try out a face mask from Soo Ae. The particular one that I tried out was the Purifying Black Charcoal Mask. I was initially drawn to it because  it contains charcoal, which does wonders for purifying and removing toxins from your skin.

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Other than the fact that this mask made me look like an old-school burglar, I think it did everything that it said it would. It gave me a lot of hydration, but since I’m oily, it was a bit too glowy for me. It did draw out some of the impurities in my skin as well. I noticed some bumps on my cheeks the next morning, but I did expect that because of the charcoal.

If you have sensitive skin, I wouldn’t recommend this only due to the fact that I got a pretty intense tingling sensation while I put this on.. then again, I did leave it on for a bit longer than the recommended 15-20 minutes. Afterwards, I sprayed some of my Mario Badescu Facial Spray and my skin felt a bit better.

Overall, it’s not a bad mask, but personally, I don’t think I’m going to use this again, mainly due to the fact that it’s not intended for those with oily skin.  It’s definitely more geared towards those of you with dry skin concerns.

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Another mask that I can definitely recommend is the Dr. Jart Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask. It’s soothing and doesn’t leave me too gloomy. So if you’re looking for something on the other spectrum of things, I’d highly recommend that.

Origins Influenster VoxBox

Thoughts on some Origins products.

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Although people tell me time and time again to take it easy with my skincare, I’m very open to testing out new products. (Don’t do this. You’re skin will hate you!) With that being said, I was very excited to learn that I had been entered to receive the newest Influenster Originis VoxBox.

I was excited to receive this because Origins has products that are not tested on animals, and use natural ingredients that are supposed to do wonders for your skin. Inside, I found five sample skincare products. These included two moisturizers, (day and night) a face wash, mask, as well as an eye cream. The one thing I was disappointed about was the fast that we didn’t get an exfoliant.
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I’ll begin by saying that the stand out product was without a doubt the Origins Purifying Charcoal Mask. I’ve heard some people rave about this and I was excited to try it out, especially being that it’s a charcoal-based mask. It’s a typical mask that you let sit for 15 minutes then rinse off. (Sorry peel lovers!) I use this once a week, at night and find that my skin is much softer the next morning. If you have congested pores, I would look into this because charcoal works well to detoxify your pores and clear out the bacteria. I would definitely purchase a full size of this.
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The Checks and Balances Frothy face wash was pretty interesting. It has a bit of a minty, refreshing scent, but the thing that I really like about this is the fact that it does give me a nice lather. This may be a mental thing, but when soaps and face washes foam up, I feel as though I’m getting a deeper cleanse. I found that I have do go in twice to wash off my makeup, but I don’t have a problem with this, due to the fact that this wasn’t advertised as a makeup remover.
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The GinZing Energy boosting moisturizer is something that I’m not too sure how I feel about. Does it keep me moisturized throughout the day? Yes. Is it energy boosting? The smell definitely wakes me me. This has a very poignant citrus scent, which isn’t something I would recommend for those of you with sensitive skin. When looking through some reviews, I saw that people have explained that this caused them to break out. Fortunately, it did not happen to me, but I just wanted to make sure you all are aware of that. I did like the consistency of this, but I think I will probably back to my Belif Aqua Bomb.
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Sticking to moisturizers, let’s discuss the High-Potency Night-A-Mins Mineral enriched renewal cream. Much like the GinZing energy boosting moisturizer, this has a citrus scent, which concerns me for those that have sensitive skin. This is a thicker cream that contains Vitamin C and E, which is great for brightening your skin. Unfortunately, I’m not the biggest fan of this. Though this is oil-free, I found that my skin did produce a lot of oils throughout the night with this. I generally produce more oils while I sleep, so I’m going to continue to monitor this and just ensure that I’m not just being extremely picky when it comes to this.
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The last thing is the GinZing Refreshing eye cream. Like the moisturizers, this also has citrus scent, so those of you with sensitive skin: proceed with caution. I’ve used this every night for the past two weeks and I haven’t noticed any drastic changes. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t have really bad dark circles, but they are there and I haven’t noticed a lightening effect on it. As for depuffing, I’m probably not the best to discuss this. I have hereditary bags under my eyes, so it’s hard for me to really differentiate puffiness and bags. Overall, I’m going to continue to use this because it does have some good ingredients that I would like to keep in my skincare regimen. Also those of you with deeper skin tones, this is not a clear cream. It does give me a bit of a white cast, looking a bit ashy, so if you do purchase this, I would suggest you keep this in your nightly routine.
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Overall, I’m very grateful for everything I received in the box. I even was invited to an in-store event! Thank you so much Influenster and Origins for sending me this box. I’m definitely going to look into buying full sizes of the charcoal mask and the frothy face wash.
Please let me know your thoughts on Origins and these products. I’d love to get your thoughts on it! Also let me know if you’d want me to dedicate a blog post exclusively to Influenster on what it is and how to use it. I’d love to help you guys score free makeup.

 

April 2017 Favorites

A new month calls for a new monthly favorites and I have a few things that I’ve really been loving.

I can’t believe how fast the days are flying by. We’re already in May! (Cue Justin Timberlake.)

A new month calls for a new monthly favorites and I have a few things that I’ve really been loving.
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In April, I found myself reaching for the Tarte Tartelette in Bloom palette. It’s raved about for a reason. This classic has a variety of colors that are pigmented, easy to blend and smell like chocolate. What more can you ask for?
Though I am late to the game on this primer, I have to say I’m very excited about this discovery. Last month, I picked up the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer and I haven’t put it down ever since. I was genuinely surprised at how much I really love this. I didn’t realize that this was highly rated by people with oily skin when I picked this up. It’s not necessarily going to leave you matte, but it will leave you with a smooth base for your foundation.
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Another eyeshadow palette I’ve been using has been the Too Faced Sweet Peach palette. I’ve captured a lot of pictures of this on my Instagram page, but it’s only because I really do enjoy it. I find that the colors are fairly easy to blend and you can get many uses out of this single palette from everyday to bold looks. The only downside is the smell. Sometimes it’s a bit too potent, making me want to forgo it, but once it’s on the lids, you won’t smell it throughout the day. I struggle to support this palette, especially with all of the controversy going around Too Faced currently, but I have to admit that I did use this palette quite a bit in the month of April.
Back on a lighter note, the Total Control Drop Foundation by NYX Cosmetics. I’ve talked about this on the blog before so I won’t go too in-depth about it. I can layer it up and I don’t find that it gets cakey once I do. I don’t find that I produce more oils throughout the day with this, which is a big plus!
The next product is actually a repurchase. This is the Black N’ Brown Brow Pencil from ColourPop. I ran out of this pencil and I thought I could use something else in its place, but I found myself really missing this pencil and I immediately reordered it once I realized. It’s not too creamy, nor is it too stiff. I find that It’s the perfect size for me to get thin, precise strokes for my brows.
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I’ve briefly touched on the Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Kit here on the blog. I’ve really been loving this. A lot of contour shades for deeper skin come across red on my complexion, which is great for bronzing, but not ideal for contouring. This gives me the best of both worlds and I like to mix the two deeper colors to give me an all over bronze.
Another thing I’ve been loving has been the Wet N’ Wild Megaglo Highlighting Powder in “Precious Petals.” I’m surprised that I don’t hear people raving more about this. It’s a fantastic formula that is very smooth to the touch and you can build it up to an intense glow. (Which is what I normally do.)
The last thing is something that I don’t talk about very often, which is the E.L.F. 19 Piece Brush Set. E.L.F. has really stepped up their game and it really shows with these brushes. They’re extremely soft and apply my makeup with them has been a breeze. I haven’t experienced any shedding since I was given them on Christmas. Though they’re a little pricier for E.L.F., it’s much more affordable than some other brush sets on the market. I highly suggest these.
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That was quite the list! I’m really loving all these products, but I’m excited to try out some new ones in the month of May. Please let me know some of your favorites so I can test them out! I look forward to hearing them!