Monday, August 25, 2014


To me!  Welcoming 35 over the weekend with a shindig at the house, celebrating virgoness with my Soul Sistah Carmie.  We wanted to have a fun, family friendly backyard BBQ. A few snaps from the weekend with some of my favorite people.

We spent most of the day setting up & geezus that took a long time! Barely had time to get ready. I kept it simple and airy since it was a hot afternoon. 

Make-up: brows, mascara, blush & lip gloss

Hair: Julep Sea Salt Spray then tied to a low ponytail.

Dress: Free People

Shoes: Havaianas slippahs or none at all!

Mommy & me

This way to the Virgo Party

Some of my fave gals!

Cheers to another year of life! I can now say I am in my mid-thirties. *face palm* Hahaha! "Age ain't nuthin but a number."

Friday, August 22, 2014

Think Dirty

Not what you think!  Haha!  I came across an article linking the Think Dirty app that allows you to check what you have in your stash by scanning the barcode on a product to review in their database of stored items.  I did a post a couple years ago Safe Cosmetics - what we really put on and was happy to see an easy way to check products!  This free app can help you make better choices when shopping for personal and beauty care items on the go.  Sephora has done a great job in listing what a product is without (parabens, sulfates etc) in their product descriptions and on the Ulta website you can filter ingredients.  I do like Sephora's individual product call-out so I can zone in on a specific item.

From the website:


Think Dirty® is committed to helping consumers identify the potential risks associated with the personal care products they use every day. Unlike other ingredient databases, we focus exclusively on the chemical content of the products in question. We have consciously avoided the widely-used practice of “greenwashing”, whereby the environmental or social responsibility of a product’s manufacturer is factored into the assessment allowing a product to receive an artificially low toxicity rating. We are solely concerned about the possible impact of a given product on an individual’s health, and our ratings methodology reflects that singular commitment.
Our ratings are determined based on publicly available data released by non-profit and government agencies in North America regarding the health and safety of the individual components found in your personal care products. A list of our data sources can be found in Appendix A.
We assess the overall risk of a given product based on the potential health impacts of its published ingredients. Each ingredient listed on the product label or manufacturer’s website is evaluated for documented evidence ofCarcinogenicity, Developmental & Reproductive Toxicity and/or Allergenicity & Immunotoxicity, as show in the table below.
Evaluations are performed by Think Dirty’s Founder and Advisory Board, all of whom have extensive experience in relevant fields such as Medicine, Biochemistry, Biology, Physiology, Environmental Toxicology, Environmental Health & Safety and Chemical Engineering, and a track record of working with Health Canada, the US Food & Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency, Environment Canada, the US Environmental Protection Agency and other related government and not-for-profit agencies.
What I like about the scaling is that this is based on their own evaluations with an extensive background.  The scoring also includes suggestions for safer product alternatives which is a bonus. This may or may not reflect in your purchasing habits, but it is helpful to know what is going into the products you put on your face, body and potentially ingest (lip products).  How scary it is to think that while we may be beautifying ourselves, we could be possibly be causing more harm.

I checked some items in my stash and from the most recent FOTD in this post to see where these land.

Julep Blank Canvas Mattifying Primer - No rating

Maybelline Fit Me! in 240 Golden Beige

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Medium/Matte Bronzer

MAC Fleur Power Blush

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Sin - Did not have Sin, so based on the original formula.

Based the following on MAC shadow rating
MAC Shroom Eyeshadow
MAC Unsquare Eyeshadow
MAC Browshader Maple/Soft Charcoal

Physician's Formula Organic Wear Fake Out Mascara in Ultra Black

Maybelline Baby Lips Electro Lip Balm in Strike A Rose

I was sad to see some of the most commonly used items have poor ratings.  Price point did not matter as both higher and lower end items showed up with higher number ratings.  Will this change your mind about products you buy?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lemming: Makeup Storage - Ikea Nordli

This could be a potential addition for make up and beauty storage.  Initially wanted the Alex 9-drawer, but it looks like it is no longer produced.  I will have to head down to Ikea and check this out myself to see how big this actually is and if this will work in the space I'm thinking of putting this in.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Reference Love: Total Beauty - Nails & Review: China Glaze Son Of A Peach

I love the emails from Total Beauty and can always find great articles. This caught my eye and I wanted to give this a try.

Say What? Sloppy Manicures Last the Longest

Let's give test this out. I messily applied polish on my toes and then cleaned up with remover and an angled brush.

This was before. Super messy and it was kind of fun.  What wasn't fun was the clean up.  It took a bit of time to get this cleaned up.  I already do clean up my manicures and pedicures with acetone and an angled brush.

Products used:
Base Coat - Butter Nail Foundation Flawless Base Coat
Color - China Glaze Son Of A Peach
Top Coat - Butter P.D. Quick Top Coat
Drying Drops - Julep Ta Da! Quick Dry Polish Drops
Angled liner brush

This is after 2 weeks.  So far chip free with just grow out at the cuticles, but the tips stayed just fine.  I already seal the free edge with color and top coat when I paint my nails.  I don't think I'll make such an effort to paint sloppily the next pedicure.

Love, love, love this color on my toes!  I haven't tried this color on my hands yet, but I'm sure it will be just as gorgeous.  I found that with most neon polishes, they dry to a matte finish.  It took about 3 coats to level for an even out, then topped off with top coat.

Pros:  -Amazing color
          -Staying power; lasted 2 weeks without any chips

Cons:  -Takes 3 coats to get the opaque color

Cost: $7.50 at Ulta (I picked this up during Bellevue Fashion Focus and paid the show promo price $2.50)

Would I recommend this to a friend?  YES! Tan skin, plus creamy neon polish makes the color pop!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Unboxing: August Ipsy Glam Bag - Beauty Schooled

I didn't peak in my Glam Room again and wanted to be surprised when I got my Glam Bag. Friday afternoon beauty mail is the best!  My mailer pouch looked a bit opened when it arrived, but everything was in tact. *phew!*

This month's theme is "Beauty Schooled," and I have seen some tips on IG that I may try. I love the bright pouch! I would actually use this to hold brushes for travel instead of as a pencil pouch.

What I got:
•Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-On Eye Pencil in Plushie
•Klorane Extra Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk
•Coastal Scents Eyeshadow Sample Ser 1 (Cloud White, Paris Green, Reef Blue, Thunderous)
•Jersey Shore Sun Mongongo Nutrient Dense Anti-Aging Lip Conditioner in Mandarin Green Orange Ginger
•Manna Kadar Sheer Glo Shimmer Lotion

Products I loved: the eye pencil & dry shampoo.

Products that were ok: the eye shadow (such a tiny sample) but the colors are beautiful, the shimmer lotion (would use this as a highlight on special occasions). I saw a tip on IG to add the shimmer to your regular body lotion for a bit of shine.

Products I didn't like: the lip balm (the scent was icky). :( I was hoping it would be yummy, but there was a weird smell.

Overall, still pleased with this month's Glam Bag and glad to be an Ipster!  Are you a Glam Bag subscriber? What did you get this month?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Honest Co - Honest Sunscreen Stick

Sunscreen - an essential that I cannot live without and something I need to be in the habit of utilizing more often.  I do apply sunscreen on my face in the AM, but that's it.  Unless I'm at the pool or beach, I don't reapply.  My daily moisturizer doesn't hold up well to heat and sweat and it will end up running into my eyes during a run.  I tested The Honest Co. Honest Sunscreen Stick before a run in the hot August heat.  I had tried The Honest Co. Sunscreen SPF 30, but did not like the way it felt on my skin.  It felt like I was rubbing grease and looked exactly that, greasy.  I did give it to my Sissy to use on my Nephew during soccer, so that might fare well.  

One swipe on the forehead, each cheek, chin and nose. I also applied on my neck and ears.

What the website says:
  • Natural, unscented, broad-spectrum SPF 30 mineral sunscreen - everything you need, nothing you don't!
  • Non-whitening, non-nano zinc provides safe sun protection for the whole family
  • Easy to apply to faces, ears, and noses - great for kids (big and small!), sports, school, daily sun protection, and outdoor fun
  • Small travel size perfect for diaper bags, backpacks and activities on-the-go
  • Lightweight, non-greasy, natural formula perfect for babies and sensitive skin
  • NO synthetic chemical sunscreens
  • Water resistant (80 minutes)
  • All Natural, Pediatrician Tested, Hypoallergenic, pH Balanced, Non-Whitening, Plan and Mineral Based, Long Lasting, Non-Greasy, Contains Organic Ingredients
  • Free of PABA, phthalates, synthetic chemical sunscreens, fragrances, parabens, dyes & most common allergens

What was the rating on Think Dirty? This product was not found in the database.  Other options from Think Dirty for an SPF 30 sunscreen stick that scored well were California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen Stick and Burt's Bees Baby Bee Natural Sun Care Sunscreen Stick both which can be found at Target.

Pros:  -Portable stick
          -Easy to apply
          -Does not give a whitish cast once   blended in

Cons: -Expensive
          -Small amount for cost, only 0.5 oz

Cost: $9.95

Would I recommend this to a friend?  If you are already an Honest subscriber, add this to your bundle!  You can save a few dollars if you do.  Otherwise, no I would not suggest this item.  While this is a safer option, it isn't as obtainable to everyone and the price is a bit steep for a small amount.  As noted above, the Burt's Bees and California Baby sunscreen sticks can be found at Target and may be a more convenient option.

Friday, August 15, 2014

FOTD: Using New Sonia Kashuk Brushes and Revisiting MAC's Patternmaker Warm Palette

I have been digging in to my make up collection for inspiration and finding new love in what I have in my collection already.  Definitely have enough make up, always inspired by new items and what other bloggers/vloggers review, but I want to curb my consumerism. All of my make up collection is spread out and I will need to do some purging and tossing once I get everything in one spot.

Love how soft the Sonia Kashuk brushes are!  They're also really purrrrrty and look nicely in the Sonia Kashuk Gold Standard Vanity Cup, both have gold accents.  That Hello Kitty mirror has been a part of my makeup routine for the last 7 years.  I picked it up in Canada for $1 CAN on Robson.  Deals!
The essentials for almost everyday.  Keeping the daily face simple, using my MAC Patternmaker Warm palette and trying out my new Sonia Kashuk brushes. 
Julep Blank Canvas Mattifying Primer
Maybelline Fit Me! in 240 Golden Beige
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Medium/Matte Bronzer
MAC Fleur Power Blush
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Sin
MAC Shroom Eyeshadow
MAC Unsquare Eyeshadow
MAC Browshader Maple/Soft Charcoal
Physician's Formula Organic Wear Fake Out Mascara in Ultra Black
Maybelline Baby Lips Electro Lip Balm in Strike A Rose

Prime, prime, prime!  For lasting make up having that base layer.  I'll be trying out a few other products to set my make up.  The end of summer heat has me shiny mid-day, especially if I'm running around.

MAC Shroom
MAC Unsquare

 Using the small shadow brush, I applied Shroom all over the lid, then used the crease brush with Unsquare.

The fave MAC Browshader.  I'll be sad when this is done.  :(  Its the perfect shade and Maple is the softest highlighter that adds just the right sheen.  MAC, please bring this combination back!

Fluffy powder brush
Angled multipurpose brush
The brush applied the bronzer pretty dark. I followed up with the powder brush to diffuse.

Blusher softly applies the Fleur Power
Lastly, putting on a lippy!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sonia Kashuk Limited Edition 15 Piece Professional Brush Set

With my recent purchase of brushes, I saw this set at Target, but passed it up.  Until I started seeing buzz around it and eventually saw it on my lovely gal @ginaism's Instagram and saw that they were on sale and there was a Cartwheel coupon that could be applied.  Umm, yes!  The online stock availability was not showing correct amounts and went to two Targets with no luck.  Third time was the charm and I snagged the last set in the store.

Image from

What the website says:

The ultimate collection in both function and style, this comprehensive set of professional-quality brushes includes the best of the best to create a flawless face.  Deep eggplant purple handles, bright radiant orchid- inspired violet bristles and chic gold trim highlight the refined aesthetic of Sonia's signature style.  The collection features a powder brush, blusher brush, duo fiber buffing brush, synthetic angled multipurpose brush, contour brush, foundation brush, concealer brush, blending brush, crease brush, small eye shadow brush, fluffy eye shadow brush, precision pencil brush, synthetic angled liner brush, smudge brush and a spoolie for flawless and fashionable application and blending for face, eyes and cheeks.

Here are the brushes I would use from this set on the daily: powder, blusher, synthetic angled multipurpose, crease and small shadow.

The others are nice additions, but I wouldn't need to use them everyday since my beauty routine is fairly simple.  I am looking forward to practicing more contour techniques with the contour brush!

Pros:  -Variety of brushes
          -Beautiful color and design
          -Affordable full set of brushes
          -Cruelty free brushes

Cons:  -Bit of a smell.  Hoping it will dissipate after a wash.

Cost: $39.99 - it was on sale for $35.99 and I used a Cartwheel coupon that brought the price down to $32.39, making each brush just about $2.16 each.  What a bargain!

Would I recommend this to a friend?  YES!  If you are lucky and able to get a set at a Target store or online, then get one!  Even at regular price, it is still about $2.67 each brush which is a fantastic deal.  If you're scouring eBay for this set, be aware that sellers are marking up this set to up to $103.  That is is pretty ridiculous.  If you can find a seller that is being reasonable with their price, then purchase.

Monday, August 11, 2014

NOTW: Friday Night Mani - Gelish

There is a lovely nail shop near my house that I have been to several times that does an excellent job with pedicures, Shellac and waxing. I needed to give my nails a break from gel manicures to let them breathe and I am trying to be more mindful of my spending, so I have been doing my own manicures and pedicures at home. I finally got around to using the Gelish Basix Kit I picked up last year and Shake It Till You Samba Pink from the free kit from this post. I already had a lamp from a Gel Haute Polish kit I ordered 2 years ago, a mini LED, that is decent, but does not cure fast.

The Gelish Basix Kit comes with: Mini Gelish Ph Bond, Mini Gelish Foundation, Mini Gelish Top It Off, Mini Gelish Nourish, Mini Gelish Cleanser, Mini Gelish Artificial Nail Remover, Instruction Brochure, Instructional DVD, Mini Wooden File, Orangewood Stick, Plastic Pusher and Prep Tabs.

What the website says: The Gelish Basix Kit a complete package of the essential products necessary to properly apply Gelish from start to finish excluding a light and your choice of Mini Gelish Soak Off Colored Gels.

The routine goes like this:
  • File & shape nails, then buff the surface
  • Clean nails with Cleanser
  • Apply Ph Bond
  • Apply 1 thin coat of Foundation, cure for 1 minute
  • Apply a thin coat of Gelish color and cure for 2 min, repeating for each coat. To achieve the most opaque color, I did 3 coats.
  • Apply 1 coat of Top It Off Sealer and cure for 2 minutes.
Seems easy enough and it was but it is time consuming applying each coat and then curing, totaling about 27 minutes. That is not including the time to paint the nails and clean up around the edges before curing. This process took about an hour and I did this while watching TV, so maybe a little longer as I got distracted. ;). My gel manicures usually last me just over 2 weeks. I am hard on my hands with several hand washings throughout the day and I like to wash the dishes without gloves. A regular polish manicure will last me a little over a week but tip wear can show as early as 3 days. If I could wear gel polish all the time I would, but you have to give your nails a break to maintain good nail health.

When I first bought the Gel Haute Polish kit, I was hoping it would be similar to CND's Shellac or OPI's Axximum, but I was pretty disappointed. The color just wasn't even when applied and cured. I thought it might be from the base and sealer since I did try another brand of color gel polish with it and had the same poor results. Gelish on the other hand applied evenly, without any patchy areas. I was excited to see such great at-home results! I would like a stronger lamp like the Gelish LED 18G Light that they use at the salon and that is a pretty hefty investment. Overall, I am pleased with Gelish and will continue to do my own gel manicures for the most part, but splurging at the salon every now and then. 

Pros: -Same salon results
         -Lasting manicure
         -Cost is cheaper than going to the 
           salon (creating a kit will pay for 
           itself after about 3 uses if the
           salon charges $20+$5 tip)

Cons: -Time consuming
          -The fumes from the chemicals

Cost: Items can be purchased at Sally Beauty with their discount card.
Gelish Basix Kit $44.95
Gelish MINI Soak Off Gel Nail Polish $13.99
Gelish MINI On The Go LED Light $29.49 (this plugs in to any USB port. A separate plug is available for $17.49)
Kit total: $88.43+tax

Would I recommend this to a friend? Yes! If you have the time, patience and means to create your own kit, I would suggest Gelish for great results. It is an investment, so shop around for the best deals. You may find a better price online, but purchase from a reputable seller to ensure that you are getting the right quality product.

On a safety note, as someone who used to get their nails done pretty frequently (acrylics and overlays) I had some growing concerns about the UV curing light used after seeing reports of cancer due to exposure. I made sure to purchase an LED lamp instead of a UV to cut down the risk. It does not fully keep you away from harmful rays, but reduces the amount, making it a safer option. A great blog about the comparison can be found here - UV/LED Nail Lamps: Are They Safe?