October Favorites

Ack! Sorry I’m so behind this month! The last few weeks have been a tad crazy (in the best way possible) but things have finally slowed down enough for me to do an October favorites post.

So without further delay, here are my favorites for the month of October!

Just a few of my favorite things.

Just a few of my favorite things.

Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer (full size $29.00)

I got this tiny tube in one of Smashbox’s try-it kits at some point within the last year. But for the last few months this under-eye primer has become a staple of my makeup routine. Not so much for the priming aspects, but for the hydration. Recently, the skin under my eyes has been more prone to drying out because of a clinical strength face wash I’ve been using, so this little primer keeps that very tender skin hydrated and smooth throughout the day. I don’t need much, which is why after months of daily use this thing still looks full.

Jet by Julep ($14.00/$11.20 as a Maven)

This is my favorite black nail polish. As a brand, Julep is a tad expensive but they’re also vegan-friendly and 5-free, which I find comforting. I’ve used this creamy black shade in several of my October manicures and it has made its way into being a staple of my collection. Jet is currently out of stock on the Julep website, but hopefully they’ll bring her back soon!

From left to right: Velvet, I Have a Headache, Sequin, and Black Honey

From left to right: Velvet, I Have a Headache, Sequin, and Black Honey

NYX Hot Singles Eyeshadow in Velvet ($4.49)

This milk-chocolate matte shade came in one of my ipsy bags and has been used almost daily since. I would say 90% of my eyeshadow looks have Velvet blended into the crease as either a transition shade or as the prominent color in the crease. The texture of this shadow is a little on the powdery side but it blends beautifully. I can’t seem to stop using this eyeshadow.

NYX Nude Matte Eyeshadow in I Have a Headache ($4.99)

I bought this shade last year because I thought the name was hilarious. It wasn’t until the last few months that I started using this shadow nearly everyday. For my skin tone, I Have a Headache is the perfect brow bone highlight. It’s a very subtle look, and that suits me just fine.

ColourPop Eye Shadow in Sequin ($5.00)

I adore each of my ColourPop shadows, but lately I’ve been drawn to the shiny copper color of Sequin. I think the metallic copper makes my blue eyes really stand out. And this shadow is so easy to swipe over the lids. I’ve used this and Velvet in the crease for a stunning eye look that takes less than five minutes. And for the price tag, this stuff can’t be beat.

Clinique’s Almost Lipstick in Black Honey ($16.00)

When I saw how dark this lipstick appeared in the tube I was a little bit intimidated. But on the lips the color is so sheer that it only slightly darkens your natural lip tone for a flushed look. I think this lipstick would be flattering on a wide variety of skin tones, and the formula is rather moisturizing which should be a crowd pleaser. This has been my go-to lipstick to throw on before leaving the house. It doesn’t last all day but it fades nicely and gives a great natural look.

Just for fun, I decided to add my favorite movie and book from this month too.

Favorite Movie:

Gone Girl. I didn’t write a review on this one because I was gobsmacked by this film in the best possible way.

Favorite Book:

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. For my full review, check here.

That wraps up my favorites for the month of October!

Thanks for popping in!

Rosy Fall Nail

Nail art has always fascinated and intimidated me. Over the past few months I’ve dipped my toes (and fingers) into the proverbial nail art water, but I had not tried anything too complicated. Until now.

My fall rose nail!

My fall rose nail!

Actually this look was not hard or overly complicated. It just has all the benefits of looking hard and overly complicated.

I was inspired by YouTuber cutepolish to give roses a shot, but I chose colors that were more inspired by the warm tones of autumn.

First, I put two coats of the cream colored polish over each nail and let it dry.

Then I cracked open my Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art Tool Kit ($5.99) for the first time since purchasing it months ago. I could not be happier with this little kit!


The kit also comes with stencils, which I have yet to try but should be fun to play with.

The kit also comes with stencils, which I have yet to try but should be fun to play with.

I took the larger end of the dotting tool and made the base of my roses with the mauve shade. For most of my nails, three dots fit beautifully. But a few nails had two or four, so whatever you think looks good!

Then, using the detail brush, I added the pink over the mauve. Typically three brush strokes would do: two along the edges and a soft spiral for the center.

To finish the rose design I took the smaller end of the dotting tool and added two pale green leaves to every rose by lightly spreading the color around.

After one use I am such a fan of the Sally Hansen set! I cleaned the dotting tool and the detail brush with nail polish remover and a paper towel. That being said, you could definitely accomplish this look with a bobby pin and a toothpick or a pencil if you don’t want to spend money on this little set.

These roses were super simple but looked very chic. I couldn’t stop staring at my nails: so proud!

Polishes Used:

Base and Top Coat–Sally Hansen’s Double Duty

Background–OPI’s You’re So Vain-illa

Rose Base— elf’s Moo Mauve

Rose Detail–elf’s Bubble Gum Pink

Leaves–Julep’s Francis

Thanks for popping in!

Mid-Week Manicure

Star Sprinkles!

Star Sprinkles!

Excuse the raggedy edges. I ended up cleaning my nails up more after taking the photo, but was too lazy to retake the picture. I was just excited about how my mid-week manicure turned out and needed to share!

My inspiration for this week’s nail look is one of my favorite TV shows from childhood, Rainbow Brite. If you’re not in the know (and if not, I highly recommend tracking this down on Netflix or some other streaming equivalent) Rainbow Brite details the epic journey of a young girl whose sole purpose is to bring color, light, and happiness to a colorless land, which in turn helps Earth retain its color. There are Color Kids who are responsible for mining Color Crystals, and anal retentive sprite named Twink, and a sassy faintly British horse named Starlite. And the villains who just want everything to be in black and white are called Murky and Lurky. It’s childhood perfection.

Rainbow Brite tossing out her magical Star Crystals like a boss.

Rainbow Brite tossing out her magical Star Sprinkles like a boss.

I seriously believe this show forever effected my sense of style and aesthetics because I’m all about bright colors. So when I found this glitter top coat from Geek Chic Cosmetics I had to have it! The formula has a clear base with small silver glitter pieces, larger multicolored circular glitter pieces, and some multicolored star shaped glitter pieces. Very multidimensional!

The look you see above was achieved with only one coat of Star Sprinkles. I love it over the white base for a more literal interpretation of the Rainbow Brite theme, but I think it would look great over other colors as well.

So for this nail look I used Julep’s Bunny as  a base with two coats. Bunny is a creamy white with subtle hints of golden shimmer. I’ve been using Bunny as a base for many of my designs lately, and it really works for my Rainbow Brite inspired look.  I also used Julep’s Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat and the Oxygen Performance Top Coat, both of which are formulated to allow for more oxygen to reach your nail bed for healthier, stronger nails.

Geek Chic Cosmetics also have great shimmery eye shadow shades inspired by several of fantasies most beloved series. They sell their stock of a particular batch until they run out, so if you love it grab it! They have eye shadow collections based on shows/films like Harry Potter and Doctor Who and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The shadows all have names that we satisfy your inner geek. For example, I have a black shimmery shadow from their Win or Die collection called Brotherhood of Crows. Everything they make is also cruelty free, gluten free, and vegan friendly.

Star Sprinkles is currently on sale on the Geek Chic website for $4.99.

Julep’s Bunny is $14.00 for non-Mavens and $11.20 for Mavens (the name for Julep subscribers). If you’d like to become a Maven click here for a referral link.


Julep Plie Wand First Impressions

I love nail polish. But I’m also a sloppy manicurist. That being said, I don’t like to go get professional manicures because I had a nightmare scenario where my cuticle got ripped open down to the first knuckle. It scarred me for life. Not physically but definitely mentally. So, I’m a dedicated do-your-own-nails kind of gal.

Which is why I also got super pumped for Julep’s plie wand; an ergonomically designed tool that allows you more control with your polishing. I participated in the crowd funding campaign, which also means I prepaid for my May Maven box. Two birds, one very cool stone.

Image above politely borrowed from julep.com

How it works: the base has a magnetic connector, which attaches to a hollow cap. You can easily fit the hollow cap over most julep polishes by wiggling their own cap off, leaving behind what I’m calling the brush-cap. Using your dominant hand, you hold the plie wand like a pen between your thumb and index finger. Brush like normal. For your non-dominant hand the base of the wand gently rotates so it can be held in whatever way feels most natural. You really have to play with it, but that part is customizable to your own comfort level. This may sound slightly confusing but the plie wand is really intuitive.

Image above politely borrowed from julep.com

You can also purchase extra magnetic caps with precision brushes and some creativity tools–a striping tool and a dotter. All at a slightly discounted price, if you’re a Maven of course.

Since receiving my plie wand this month, I’ve used it three times. I’m getting better with every use, but here are my first impressions.


Even after one use my edges are cleaner and more precise, particularly on my non-dominant hand.

Easy to adjust to. Using the wand doesn’t feel like a beauty science project. It just makes sense.

Comfortable weight and easy grip.

Most Julep polishes’ top caps can be wiggled off to reveal a brush cap. Even the ones that came before the plie wand.

An increased sense of confidence in my polishing skills. Woot!



I’m stumped by how to fully clean the additional brushes I purchased for reuse. Even when I soak them in remover, I can’t get it all off.

Getting the interior brush-cap out from the magnetic cap can be very tricky. (Solution: take the narrow end of the wand and push the brush-cap out through the little hole on the top. Still, annoying though.)

Harder but not impossible to use with non-Julep polishes…hence my purchasing extra caps.


For myself, I have quite a budding collection of Julep polishes, so that last one might not be a big deal for me, but could certainly trouble you. Overall, I’m glad I purchased Julep’s plie wand. Since it’s user-friendly, I imagine I will only get better with the wand as time goes by.

Intrigued by the new tech? Get your plie wand here…

Plie Wand Page

Want to be a Maven? Click this link to get your first box…

Julep Maven


A Foray Into Nail Art

A charming and uncomplicated manicure for spring.

A charming and uncomplicated manicure for spring.


My first real attempt at anything more complicated than an accent nail. I dipped a pencil into four different colors to create the dots. Clean up was simple: all I had to do was wipe off the pencil. The base coat is Bunny by Julep. The dots are Sally Henson’s Royal Romance (purple), Sally Henson’s Mint Sprint (teal), O.P.I.’s Clubbing Til Sunrise, and O.P.I.’s  If You Moust You Moust (pink).


$20 and Under: My Top 5 Spring Beauty Buys

My Top 5 Beauty Buys for Spring 2014

My Top 5 Beauty Buys for Spring 2014

Little known fact about me: I’m a makeup addict. More specifically, I’m a drugstore makeup addict. Not that the big name brands aren’t fabulous (big fan on Clinique) but when you’re a student, rewarding yourself with some lipstick or nail polish that’s less than $10 is much more justifiable. When I was working on my B.A. in Ohio, I used small makeup purchases as rewards for good grades. Whatever motivates you, I suppose.

So instead of being secretive about my makeup habit, I’ve decided to share what my favorite beauty buys are for spring. I won’t pretend to be some kind of expert on application or trend predicting, but this is what has drawn me in this season.

1. Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup 

My skin is super sensitive and rather pale, so finding a foundation that is gentle enough but that also matches my skin tone can be tricky. Most foundations clog up my pores, but Neutrogena is always a safe bet for me. The healthy skin line has antioxidants and 20 spf, plus it blends well. When I take my makeup off at night, my skin feels soft and clean. I use the shade classic ivory, and it retails for $12.49.

2. L’Oreal’s Extraordinaire by Colour Riche 

When I was at this year’s Sundance, they had a L’Oreal vending machine that gave you a free lip gloss every time you tweeted about the product. That was some kind of wonderful. I tweeted a lot. I came home from that trip with about seven shades of this stuff, and they’re all amazing. The gloss is silken and very pigmented, which translates to a stain when the gloss gradually wears off. The swatch below is of the color Blushing Harmony 103 and retails for $9.99.

3. Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner

It’s a mouthful of a title for one little liner, but I adore this product. Personally, I prefer cream based liners over pencils or liquids. They tend to apply smooth and are more subtle. A liquid or pencil is a bold statement on the eye and I prefer for my actual eye shadow to be the statement piece. I have three on these particular eyeliners, but for spring I think the nude shade will be more on trend. Apply it on your waterline to have the same effect as a white liner–wider, whiter looking eyes. The nude color is also great for a natural look. I also swatched the silver and deep blue liners so you could see the nude color better. Each eyeliner retails for $4.49.

Product swatches for Neutrogena, L'Oreal, and Rimmel.

Product swatches for Neutrogena, L’Oreal, and Rimmel.

4. Wet N Wild Color Icon Bronzer

I’ve always been intimidated by bronzer. My past adventures with the stuff have yielded an Oompa Loompa look that is just not cute on anyone. But I took a chance with this Wet N Wild brand in Reserve Your Cabana, and I’m glad I gave it a shot. This powder bronzer is well suited for fairer skin and leaves nothing but a healthy glow behind.  It comes in two other colors (Ticket to Brazil and Bikini Contest), so all skin tones can get their glow on before summer begins. Sorry I don’t have a swatch for this, but it’s rather subtle. Retails for $3.99.

5. Julep Nail Color

Julep is a fun website/product for those that love nail color. You can become a Julep Maven and get a customized box of nail color or product for $20 a month, but what is great about this system is that you don’t have to fully commit to buying every box. If the colors of the month don’t move you, you can pass on the box and save your money. My favorite find lately has been the creme finish Libby, which is a delightful teal shade. It’s a vibrant shade that will still go perfectly with your Easter dress. Fun tidbit: Julep names all of its nail polishes after women. Retail is $14.00 or $11.20 for a Maven.

So those are my favorite beauty buys for under $20 each. The Julep nail color is the only one you won’t find in a drugstore, but I couldn’t resist adding it. If my favorites are anything to go off of, I think glowing natural tones with pops of vibrant color is going to be “in” for spring.

What do you think will be “in” for spring at your beauty counter?