Best of Summer from Allure: GOLDEN EYES AND CHEEKS Julianne Hough

I was going to jump right into my fall makeup series but when I saw the Best of Summer from Allure online magazine, I had to insert another summer series, this one based on celebrity looks.

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Paula’s Choice Ultralight Resist Antioxidant Serum – a MUST in my book. My skin was freaking out without this. This went all over my face and under my eyes.

Sonia Kashuk Ultra Luxe Lipgloss in Coral.

Tarte Cheek Stain in Loving.

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My base after skincare was Tarte TM Agent 06 and Maracuja Creaseless Concealer, powdered lightly with Paula’s Choice Pressed Powder and the massive Real Techniques powder brush.

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Allure magazine said strong brows were a must to ground a golden look so I used Sonia Kashuk Arch Alert Brow Palette – an incredible tool to both shape and set your brows. Bronzer went on outer temples and outside/top of cheeks.

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My Real Techniques Brushes – so versatile.

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I used two Inglot Eyeshadow for this look, but one was the hero – I even used it as a highlighter (I used the contour brush to use it as a highlighter). The bright angel gold eyeshadow below which is a staple color for me. I put the gold on the inner apple of cheeks, across them middle of my forehead, and all over the lid up to the brow bone, and used a brow brush to apply it to the inner corner of my eyes, including the bottom lid.

The pale champagne pink in the upper left corner, I applied with my finger to the outer above-the-crease-area of my lid – a light blush kind of effect.

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How could I have forgotten to include my favorite mascara? Paula’s Choice Great Big Lashes. I will be reviewing this mascara in the next week along with a lineup of other mascaras. But it missed the photoshoot.

Another staple product that missed the photoshoot was one of my NYX Retractable pencils in bronze. As with many looks, I applied this to the outer half of my top lashline and the outer third of my bottom lash line.

Wouldn’t believe how many products a “simple” look takes!

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Summer Makeup Series III – Soft n Smokey Fuschia

A soft smokey for special days, those who love dramatic looks or summer evening cocktails. The silver smokey eye with a touch of purple plays beautifully with the Fuschia Lip Sheer from the Sonia Kashuk lip sheer collection. I’m back to my versatile Sonia Kashuk Glisten duo (is there anything this blush color can’t be worn with?) blended with the Sonia Kashuk Undetectable Bronzer in Warm Tan. This looks says stunning and glamorous. Again the pop of fuschia on the lips pulls this looks towards a light-hearted cheeriness.

Check out all 3 looks in my Summer Makeup Series. 🙂


sonia kashuk lip sheer fuschia pop portfolio

sonia kashuk lip sheer fuschia pop portfolio paulas choice antioxidant serum

ssonia kashuk lip sheer fuschia pop portfolio paulas choice antioxidant serum

My Real Techniques Brushes – love.

My favorite brushes. Brings me joy every time I wash and use them. There is no bristle fallout and they never stop being their soft usable luxurious selves. I use Mrs. Meyers Clean Day laundry detergent and it works like a charm. Like Rockafeller (or was it Carnegie?), when I ask myself when I will have enough brushes, the answer is – just one more. Now he wasn’t into makeup brushes, but you know what I mean. 🙂

my real techniques brushes sam chapman pixiwoo my real techniques brushes sam chapman pixiwoo
Some of my makeup in my little bathroom. Some good stuff here. Paula’s Choice, Tarte Cheek Stain – things that make me feel comfortable and secure – like an old friend that you can expect to be there for you. Foundation and tinted moisturizer that won’t melt on hot summer days and cheek stain that won’t look fake and powdery.

Attention Real Techniques and Pixiwoo Fans!! Sneak Peak at new tools.

Sam Chapman Real Techniques Sneak Peek
Attention Real Techniques and Pixiwoo Fans!! Sneak Peak at new tools.  Go to their facebook page (links above) and link to their signup for their sneak peek. Can’t wait to see what it will be! 🙂

Confessions of an out of control returner

I just paid my husband to go and take back my loot. He said the girl at the counter didn’t look too happy. I was so glad I wasn’t there. I’m done buying stuff I might have to return. The next eyeliner will be Stila liquid and the next shadow either MAc or Tarte cream shadow. The next foundation will be Tarte TM, and the next blush Tarte cheek stain. The next gloss will be Nuance lipgloss. The next mascara will be Tarte Gifted. Because I cannot stomach one more disappointing product or return.

By the way, total back in my beauty budget: $48.90.

I wrote the above a week ago and I notice two things: there’s a lot of Tarte, and I’ve already changed my mind about some of the products. For example, I had never heard of Inglot. Thanks to my wonderful blogging community, now I have.

Also Nate is obviously not so hard up for money so as to be the reason he made the return for me. He was more likely just trying a fix things for me once more, as he always does. I really need to do more stuff for him. When I sit down and start writing about how many things he actually bails me out on, it fills me with guilt.

But this is not supposed to be about Nate. (Again).

It’s supposed to be about my Obsessive Compulsive Behavior. (I was green with envy when I heard the name Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics because that is exactly what my skincare and beauty product company should be called. If I had one. Which I hope to some day.

I obsess about budget, health, color, performance, and returning.

My throat literally almost constricts like an allergic reaction when I am walking toward the checkout with a product I know I can’t return. Coincidentally, that is the same feeling I have when I actually have to make a return. I hate it. I’ve done it so often I’ve developed an allergic reaction to it. And depending on the reaction I get when I make a return, I will stay out of that store for a long time afterwards (if I feel the person at the checkout was upset or rude), or I will make sure I shop there if their demeanor lives up to their policy.

Speaking of policies, in desperate situations, they have not stopped me. Yes, I have cried at the Target counter begging them to take back a lip pencil that dried out my lips. I try to use words that make it sound like the product was defective without stretching the truth. “I have sensitive skin and this made me break out.” And yes, I have figured out which Targets within a 15 mile radius of my house are lenient with their return policy.

Am I proud of this? No. It is the inevitable outcome of being both an obsessive compulsive beauty product lover and a girl on a tight budget.

My recent return and seeing my beauty budget go up by $48.90 really got me thinking. I was really happy. Much happier to have the money than the products. So I really started thinking about budget products. The problem with most budget products is that they are not worth in happiness units what they cost. You buy them thinking you are not spending much, so it’s a bargain. But after 4 such purchases you would gladly take your money back and say goodbye to the budget products. And then I started thinking of the products that make me truly happy as cosmetics go. The reason my Real Techniques brushes and Nuance lip gloss make me so very happy isn’t because they were inexpensive, it’s because they were inexpensive AND truly high quality products. It’s because they give back so much more in happiness units than they cost. In these two cases, the price was not high, making the distance between what you gave up and what you got back quite long. When you give up hard earned money, it should give more in return than you pay, or you should not give it up. Paying with cash helps you see this more clearly. Add up all the little purchases you’re going to make and hold on to the cash in one hand and imagine holding the products in the other or vice versa if you’ve already bought the product. You might end up thinking, “I’d rather have the cash.”

In the case of one of my other favorite product, Tarte Tinted Moisturizer, the price is a little higher. It definitely could not be considered a bargain price. But when you add up all the factors, that it is both a skincare product and a cosmetic, that it is a considerably large amount of product, that it replaces several products at once, that it is skin clearing and anti-aging, skin brightening and scar-healing, the price begins to make more sense. You could buy several cheaper products and end up spending  more money and not getting the same payoff.

So if you want to buy that one expensive product that you know will help heal your skin, make you look beautiful, last a long time and give you confidence then it could be worth the price. And if it does all that and is also not hard on your budget? Even better. And that’s why I blog. To help myself and everybody reading this find the products that really work, that are really worth it, and that are made with ingredients that enrich your skin’s and overall health instead of robbing from it.

Real Techniques by Sam Chapman of Pixiwoo – my best find of 2012

real techniques brush collection

As some of you may have realized, I am both a budget shopper and a “don’t stop until I find the perfect, healthy and most high quality product” shopper. It’s a difficult task. It’s almost schizo of me.

That’s why when I DO find the “right product” at the “right price,” I value it so much and it gives me so much joy. You understand the kind. The “I got something really beautiful/special/useful/perfect-and-it-won’t-take-my-budget-months-to-recover-kind of happiness we women get about our shopping.”

When I berate myself for making bad purchasing decisions and returning too many things or spending too much, I think of my brushes, and think, “Well, at least I was smart enough to purchase those.”

My best find of 2012 is the Real Techniques Brush line.

Beauty lovers there is no need to pay more! These super soft ultra plush Taklon brushes have the density, the softness, the ability to create any look you need to create. They can be used with creams, loose powders and pressed powders. They create all kinds of finishes, from ultra sheer, to whatever coverage you want. The expert face brush, stippling brush, and buffing brush are all great for foundation application, but can also be used respectively for other purposes, such as cream blushes, powder blushes, highlighting, powdering. They are both stiff and soft, and their density makes it possible to really work products into the skin. And they are a STEAL. The purple eye set cost $18.00 and the gold-colored Core Collection cost the same. I’ve added one eye brush to the purple set and a stippling and expert face brush to the gold set  (both purchased separately, ranging from $6.99 – $9.99).

Other noteworthy things:

I have actually never seen a brush case that lets you add more brushes. But the sets you buy from Real Techniques all include places to hold those extra must have brushes you bought. You would think this would be obvious, right? Well apparently it’s novel, because Real Techniques is the only brush line that I have seen with this feature. After all, brush set sellers assume you are going to use these 4 and only these four brushes, right? This is a huge plus for me.

The versatile cases, used both as closed cases and as stands, really are incredibly practical and a wonderful idea. I use the stand feature every day and close them only for travel.

The brushes are cleverly color-coded AND labeled permanently so you always know the purpose of each one – but really they are multi-purpose so you don’t have to stick with its purpose or color. Color code: Purple for eyes, Gold/bronze for base, and pink for finish.

The line was created by Sam Chapman of the Pixiwoo girls – their website and youtube channel is totally worth checking out! I’m a fan. I love their fun tutorials and their sense of humor. (,

You can find more out about the line here:

The brushes can be purchased at,, and I’ve heard Walmart, but couldn’t find them.

I am planning to do a tutorial soon. But more on why there are no videos as of yet on later. It has something to do with lighting, faces, and spinach. I think I’ll do a whole post on why there are no videos. (And since I couldn’t post a tutorial today, I just got carried away with photography instead).  In the mean time, here is one of the best tutorials using these brushes available, by Sam Chapman herself! There are all kinds more on the website.

I will DEFINITELY be talking more about these brushes in times to come. They are the most amazing brushes out there!