Get glowing: highlighting favorites

I was never one to be overly crazy about highlighting, I already have an oily T-zone and was always afraid it would just enhance it. But with all the craze over strobing, liquid highlighters, etc., I’ve started to fall prey to the lure of glowing skin. Especially since winter is here and I’m just not into having super matte skin like I usually do this time of year, I’ve been using what I’ve got to bring more light to my face. Although I really want to try out the Becca liquid highlighter, I am staying strong and resisting.

Here are some of my faves.

Benefit Watts Up Cream-to-Powder Highlighter. I got this as a point perk from Sephora, but only used it a few times since because I felt like my powder ones were enough. Since I needed to fulfill my need for a liquid highlighter I pulled this out as the next best thing and have been using it almost daily as a base to my powder highlights. It’s a shimmery light champagne shade that is really beautiful. It’s nice on its own too, I’m just in this phase where I want my highlight to be stronger.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal. I’ve mentioned this in a favorites over the past couple of months, and it’s still a favorite. It’s pretty much THE favorite. It’s a soft golden shimmer that is just so perfect. I think it suits my skintone well since its on the warmer side.

The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer. This is a cult favorite and was actually my number one until I started using the Becca highlighter. It’s still just as beautiful, giving a nice pale yellow, champagne sheen to the skin.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Incandescent Light. I use this powder when I want to bring light to my skin, but in a little less obvious way. It’s a soft pearl color that has a sheen, but not a strong shimmer like the others. I use it mostly for times when I’m doing ‘no makeup’ makeup.

MAC eyeshadow in Ricepaper. My favorite inner corner highlight ever. It’s a frost, but not overly so and the buttery golden shade makes it perfect as a highlight that draws attention, but isn’t too much. Just looking at it in the pan, it doesn’t seem like anything to write home about, but really it is.

I swatched them all here, but honestly this picture doesn’t do them justice. They way they catch the light is just beautiful.

Here I’m wearing Ricepaper on my inner corners, along with Watts Up and Opal on the bridge of my nose, cheekbones, and Cupid’s bow. It’s really hard to capture how a highlight looks in reality in a picture, but this was as good as it gets.

BTW, I got my haircut and went darker!

Anyway, please share your favorite highlighters you can’t live without!


Review x 2: MAC Matte Lipstick in Whirl + Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Lovecraft

I’d gotten the Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Lovecraft as a sample a couple of months ago and fell in love. So when I went to Sephora to pick up a new blender cleanser solid, I couldn’t resist picking it up in the the full-size. I started swatching some of the other lipsticks that caught my eye and ended up falling in love with Cathedral, which is described as a ‘matte coco rose’. Unfortunately it was out of stock in store and online. I was so obsessed with the color that I kept the swatch on my forearm and walked over to my nearest MAC counter to look for a dupe. Which is how I found their matte lipstick in Whirl and ended up taking that home too.

I’m not going to do my usual more formal rated review of these lipsticks. I’ll just say right now I’m a fan of both and if you like these kinds of colors then I fully recommended them. Since I’m talking about both I didn’t want to make this too complicated.

The packaging I like on both of these, although the KVD is slightly bulkier because of the ‘studded’ look of the tube. Nothing crazy though. MAC is always classic with its smooth black matte bullet.

I do give KVD brownie points for the extra details of her initials in raised lettering on top of the cap and imprinted into the actual lipstick.

Since Lovecraft is the original reason for this post I’ll start with it. It’s described as a ‘pink mauve nude’ and it’s exactly that. It’s such a beautiful nude for fall, it has kind of a cooler, dusty rose feel to it. Whirl is described as a ‘dirty rose’, it has a lot more brown to it with a little mauve. Although both are a matte finish, neither are too drying on the lips. You still want to put on a lip balm before applying. I think the KVD is slightly less drying. They both have great color payoff and wear well even with eating and drinking. They fade pretty evenly an despite some transfer I don’t feel the need to reapply right away.

I’ve worn them both already and am loving them so far. Most days I’m wearing Lovecraft because it’s just an easy wearable color with good lasting power. If I feel like something darker, I go for Whirl. It definitely gives me the 90’s feels, so if you’re into that you need to pick this up.

I wore Whirl on a night out for a friend’s big 30th birthday celebration with a dark red liner underneath to give it a more brick red look and really liked the effect. Sorry for the lighting, I didn’t get to take the picture until late, but you get the idea. 

It was a fun ‘prom’ themed party, so of course we took had to take a picture in the typical prom pose.

She even had a photobooth, which we took full advantage of. Okay, by ‘we’ I mean me. M humored my relentless hounding to jump in there. Oh yah, this is M by the way. I’m pretty sure I’ve really had him in a post.

It was fun getting all dressed up for a night, since those opportunities are fewer and far between these days. We were up waaay later than usual, but it was so much fun to celebrate our friend and spend time with everyone all at once.

What new fall lipsticks have you picked up recently?

MAC Amplified Lipstick in Vegas Volt Review

I’ve wanted to get Vegas Volt for the past 2 months and while I was on vacation in the Bahamas, this was the other ‘souvenir’ I ended up getting at the resort’s free-standing MAC store. It was between this and Lady Danger, another longtime want, but I felt like I would be more likely to wear this more. I love a good red, but I just don’t wear them as much in the daytime. Vegas Volt is described as a ‘full power coral’ by MAC, and it’s definitely more of the coral that I’m into that’s not so pink and much more on the orange side. I normally like to take pictures of anything I review before I wear it, but I couldn’t wait to slap this stuff on my lips that night. And I’ve been using it since I’ve been home, so here are my thoughts.

MAC lipstick packaging is good in my book, no complaints in functionality and it looks simple and sleek. The formula is actually an ‘Amplified Crème’-it’s very pigmented and has a crème finish. The formula glides on easily, however I do find that it can cling to dry patches, so I’d recommend exfoliating before wearing. It does feel nice on the lips and it’s not drying at all. It’s definitely well pigmented and you can get very opaque coverage over your lips. I actually prefer to wear it more sheer during the daytime because at full force it’s super strong and for me more ‘night out’. I am in love with the color, again, I can’t get enough of these more orangey corals. Unfortunately the lasting power isn’t as great because it’s a crème formula, but I can get a good 3 hours when I use a lip liner underneath.

I’ve been rotating through this along with my other more peachy/nude/coral lip colors since getting a tan and I’m guessing I’ll be putting a good dent in this one during the rest of the summer. The weather is still being ambivalent as of late, but I did notice that we’ll be hitting the 80’s for a few days next week. As long as it’s not too humid, that makes me happy.

Have you tried Vegas Volt? What do you think of it?

MAC Mineralize Blush in Warm Soul Review

I don’t usually buy makeup as a vacation souvenir, but since the Atlantis Resort has a freestanding MAC store in their Marina Village area I figured, why not? May as well pick up something useful as a souvenir instead of something that will likely collect dust. I originally wanted to get the MAC powder blush in Melba, but it was out of stock. Another blush I’ve wanted for a while is their Mineralize Blush in Warm Soul. I’ve heard about it often, but it’s always been pushed back on my list.

In terms of packaging, the blush comes in a typical round compact with a window to see the color through the lid. I don’t mind that there is no mirror since it would be too small to use anyway. For some reason, the packaging does have a slightly cheap feel to me. I’ve never owned a Mineralize Blush before, but in comparison to the regular powder blushes it just felt a little flimsy. The shade is described by MAC to be a ‘mid tone beige with gold pearl’. It’s the kind of shade that looks gorgeous in the summer, especially since I have a little more color now. The sheen it gives is really beautiful if you have a tan. It’s easily buildable depending on the intensity of color you want.

I’m glad I finally picked this up, I haven’t stopped wearing it since I got it. It was pretty much the only blush I used while I was there, I only used Luminoso once the day before I got Warm Soul. And every time I wear it, it will remind me of our Bahamian vacation.

I actually picked up one more thing at the MAC store while I was there, another item that definitely screams summer to me. I’ll have that up soon!

A match made in eye shadow heaven: MAC Satin Taupe + Naked Lunch

Project ‘Fill MAC Palette’ is more than halfway complete with the additions of Satin Taupe and Naked Lunch. I got these when I went to a freestanding MAC store several weeks ago, and finally got a chance to start using them last week. I didn’t have much time to browse when I was there because it was towards the end of our little mall excursion and Ava was starting to get tired. I already knew I wanted Satin Taupe (thank you again to stash matters for the recommendation, you can see the rest of her top 10 MAC eye shadows here) and a lipstick in Brave (more about that here). I wanted to get just one more eye shadow and just started swatching any other shadows that caught my attention next to Satin Taupe. That’s how I found Naked Lunch. After seeing the two shades next to each other, it sealed the deal and I brought them home to add to my palette.


MAC Satin Taupe & Naked Lunch

Satin Taupe has a frost finish and is described by MAC to be a “taupe with silver shimmer”. It looks great on it’s own as a smokier lid shade and to define the crease or outer V area. It’s one of those easy, go-to neutral shades that can go with anything because of it’s mix of brown and grey. Naked Lunch is also a frost and is described as a “minimal pink with shimmer”. It brings beautiful light to the lids and really brightens them. Both are well pigmented and blend together beautifully. These shadows pair together so beautifully, it’s my newest favorite pairing, I really just love the way pink looks with greys and browns.

I used dune as a brow bone highlight and wit in the crease from the Stila Nouveau Natural Palette (review here) before going in with Naked Lunch on the inner 3/4 of my lid. Then I went in with Satin Taupe on the outer V and lower 3/4 of my lash line. I used a little Soft Brown to add more warmth to my crease and Rice Paper on the inner 1/3 of my lower lash line. I tightlined my upper waterline with the MUFE Aqua Eyes pencil liner in black and applied a few coats of the L’Oreal Telescopic Waterproof Mascara. I used the Milani Rose Powder Blush in Romantic Rose on my cheeks and the MAC Lipstick in Viva Glam V on my lips.

Satin Taupe and Naked Lunch make for two everyday eye shadows that I know will be go-to’s for when I don’t want to worry about figuring out what’s going to work. I especially love the duo with Soft Brown in the crease, the effect is just beautiful! Definitely check them out next time you’re a the MAC counter!

I have six slots left in my palette, what should I pick up next? I want to add a black shadow, so likely Carbon (although I’ve heard mixed feelings on it) or Typographic. If anyone has experiences with these two, please share your thoughts on which is a better choice. I still need to look at Patina (another rec from stash matters) and Amber Lights, as well. I want to round it out as a solid neutral palette that I can use alone without having to pull from other palettes.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Have you tried Satin Taupe and Naked Lunch?

Also, Happy Easter!

A beauty mini quickie: MAC False Lashes Mascara

I’m not that into buying high-end mascaras anymore because I’ve never been amazed enough to repurchase any that I’ve owned. But, whenever I get the chance I love trying all the sample size mascaras just incase there is that magical one out there that I’m missing. I got the MAC False Lashes mascara the last time I placed an order from Nordstrom and wanted to share my thoughts in a mini review.

From the MAC website:

Fashionably false in look, but honestly real, this mascara’s key benefits of volume and curl are matched by a dramatic end look. The unique edge: the ultra-thickening formula in combo with the plush-’em-up action of its unique double-lush brush.

This mascara has the typical bristle style brush that I haven’t used in quite some time, all of the drugstore mascaras I’ve used lately have plastic bristles. The brush head is quite large and tapers towards the end and the bristles are definitely dense. The formula is thick and on the drier side and did not smudge too much, surprisingly, for not being waterproof. I actually think the brush was a little too dense, I had a hard time combing the brush through my lashes, especially when adding more coats. I did like that the brush tapered at the end, making it easier to reach the smaller lashes at the inner corners. I liked the formula as well, I felt like it did add good volume after two coats. I didn’t see any significant difference in length. This sample was also not waterproof so my lashes did start to droop after awhile.

Top to bottom: lashes curled; one coat; two coats

But, do I think it gives a ‘false lash’ effect? I’m going to have to say no on this one. While the volume is nice, it’s not enough to give that ‘wow’ factor for me. I much prefer the Maybelline Lash Sensational.


  • adds volume to lashes
  • the formula is nice, not too wet and didn’t smudge much for a non-waterproof formula


  • does not add length
  • doesn’t hold a curl
  • the dense brush made it hard to comb through lashes
  • although the volume was nice, I feel like calling it ‘False Lashes’ is an overstatement


I’m not going to be purchasing the full size of this, especially since it doesn’t hold a curl. It was also just a little annoying trying to maneuver the brush through my lashes, I think I’m finding I do prefer the short plastic bristle mascara brushes. The drugstore mascaras I have work just as well as this one, actually better, and this sample wasn’t enough to convince me to try the waterproof version. I think this would be a good option for someone with naturally long lashes with a curl, it just doesn’t work with my straighter, slightly shorter lashes.

If you have tried the MAC False Lashes, please share what you thought! 🙂

Worth the hype?: MAC Satin Lipstick in Brave

Every time I browse through Pinterest, I see pins of ‘Kylie Jenner lips’. Her pout has become quite the phenomenon and I wasn’t really into the hype. But, I kept seeing this one pin of MAC Brave lipstick + Soar being her combo of choice (I’ve also read that Velvet Teddy & Twig are the lipsticks and Whirl is the lip liner, really who knows?). I was really just attracted to Brave because it looks like one of those rosy pink nudes that I love. Every time I’d see the pin, I’d stop and stare at Brave. When I went to the MAC store two weeks ago I looked at it and decided yes, I can tell I’m going to love it, I didn’t even bother to swatch it and bought it.

MAC Satin Lipstick in Brave

Brave is a definite ‘MLBB’ coor and glides on super smooth. It has a satin finish and looks just beautiful on the lips. The pigmentation is also good. It’s one of those everyday colors that I don’t even have to think about, it’s just so pretty. A lip liner will definitely extend it’s lasting power (about 3 hours on it’s own), but it also an easy color to touch up with, no mirror required.

After swatching it and putting it on, I realized I had something similar to it, but wasn’t sure what. I started swatching some other lipsticks next to it for comparison. Then I figured out why I like it so much. My favorite lipstick, Maybelline’s Warm Me Up, is pretty close dupe for Brave!

Top swatches: Maybelline Warm Me Up, Nars Anita, MAC Brave, Rimmel by Kate 14; Bottom swatches: Warm Me Up & Brave

Brave is more pigmented than Warm Me Up, but they look quite similar. Maybe Brave is slightly rosier, but if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, try Warm Me Up.

Brave is definitely giving Velvet Teddy some strong competition as my favorite MAC lipstick! I recommend it if you’re looking for a great pinky nude. So yes, this one is worth the hype, even if you’re not looking for the ‘Kylie’ lip look.

Current favorite makeup brushes.

Since I washed my makeup brushes last night, I thought I’d quickly share which ones are in heavy rotation as of late. This is by no means comprehensive, but these are the brushes I use for the most part on a daily basis and have more of a preference for as of late.


Foundation & concealer picks

For my foundation, it’s either my beautyblender or the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. I use the beautyblender with liquid foundations and the RT brush for tinted moisturizer or CC creams. I don’t think I need to say much about the beautyblender, you all know how great it is for a flawless finish. And I’ve recently fallen for the RT brush, I just like how it’s more narrow than my Sigma flat top kabuki brush and I like how it fits around my nose and in the corners of my eyes when applying foundation. For concealer, honestly I use my fingers most of the times. But, if I’m already using my beautyblender for foundation then I continue using it with my concealer. Or I’ll use this Sonia Kashuk pointed foundation brush, especially for my undereye concealer, as the shape works well for that area.


Setting powder, blush, bronzer, & highlight picks.

For setting my foundation, I go for my Bobbi Brown sheer powder brush. I have the smaller one, there is also a larger size. This does the job, but I have to admit that it’s not as soft as I’d like for a brush that was on the pricey side. My favorite blush brush is also from Bobbi Brown and that brush feels super soft and I’ve never been happy with my blush application until I go this. Worth every penny to me. When I’m going for a more contoured effect, I’ll use the Nars Ita brush, but if I’m just trying to warm up my skin I use the Real Techniques Blush Brush. It’s a little too large for blush for me, but it works fine for an overall bronzing. I either use the Real Techniques Contour Brush or a Crown duo fiber brush to apply highlighter.


Eye shadow & eyebrow picks.

I use a Sigma tapered blending brush for applying a more diffuse crease color and a MAC 217 for applying anything more concentrated in my crease or outer V. I use the MAC 239 to pack on my lid color and the Sigma pencil brush for applying shadows to my lower lash line. The double ended eyebrow brush is also from Crown. If I’m using a powder to fill in my brows I’ll use the angled side and I use the spoolie to brush through my brows everyday. Any brush favorites to recommend?

BTW, did the beautyblender get better? The one pictured is my old one, but I just opened my new one and it’s a bit smaller and it feels smoother than my old one. Not complaining, just pleasantly surprised. 🙂

Down to earth with a little drama.


I was going for a very earth-toned, muted browns and taupes kind of look today. I had actually done it last week and really liked it, but it was so basic I didn’t really want to post about it. Until today when I tried to recreate it and realized I forgot what eyeshadows I had used and it just didn’t look the same. I still like this, but something about the original from last week I just liked more. I’m pretty sure I used MAC’s Soft Brown and Wedge in my crease instead of the Naked and Buck from the Naked palette-I’ll do this again sometime to find out if that’s what I did wrong. The next time anyone asks me why I need so much eyeshadow, it’s because it actually makes a difference in how a look turns out, no matter how subtle. And I decided to post about it in case I forget again, I’ll have something to look back on. Note to self: if you like a look, post about it even if just for your own reference.


Top to bottom: MAC Velvet Teddy lipstick, Rimmel Scandaleyes in Trespassing Taupe, Naked & Buck from the Naked palette

All I did was use Rimmel Scandaleyes Shadow Stick in Trespassing Taupe on my lid, Naked more diffusely on my crease, and Buck a little more concentrated closer to the fold in my eyelid. I used MAC’s Velvet Teddy on my lips-one of my favorite nudes. Nothing crazy.


Although I was going for this almost monotone, but very natural look, I couldn’t stop there. I needed a little extra something.


I’m having a little love affair with individual lashes lately, and because I’m not big on wearing liquid liner lately they blend better with my actual lashes and look more ‘natural’ than using a lash strip. It reminds me of when I got married almost three years ago and I got eyelash extensions. Sometimes I think of doing them again, but the upkeep (and cost!) is just too much and I don’t want to damage my natural lashes again. Lemme tell you, it takes awhile to get them back to their normal fullness. And it’s easy to just add a few in at the ends and call it a day. I used a mix of medium and short Ardell individuals like I would if I were wearing liner, but I think next time I’ll just use the short. I think the mediums lend themselves better to winged out liner.

Anyway, hope you’re nice and warm where you are, after getting hit last week by Juno, we got even more snow yesterday! I’m really starting to look forward to spring.

That must-have red: MAC Ruby Woo Lipstick Review

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/174/76608865/files/2015/01/img_7682.jpg I’ve finally tried MAC Ruby Woo and I do think it lives up to the hype. I don’t know what took me so long to get this color, but I’m sure I’ll be making up for lost time by wearing it often.


L to R: Ruby Woo in the tube, swatched, on the lips

Ruby Woo is a blue toned red and very matte, MAC classifies is as Retro Matte versus their regular matte lipsticks. The formula does seem to be drier in comparison. I read that it can be hard to apply and drag on the lips, so I did exfoliate and moisturize with my Tony Moly lip balm before application. I actually didn’t think it was difficult to apply at all after doing so. I used a lip brush to keep the edges neat and filled in straight from the tube. The finish is a velvety matte and the color is just gorgeous. I think it would look good on anyone and everyone should own it. It does wear down nicely, even after having lunch, the color was still even enough where I didn’t really have to touch it up. Four hours later, I still thought it looked pretty good.


After 4 hours of wear

I did touch up a little at that point and it did start to drag more and it was starting to feel drier on my lips. Not a big deal though, at least not to me. I’m happy to have another great red in my collection.


A ‘no makeup’ makeup day, minus the red lip.

BTW, Happy New Year everyone!