THE BODY SHOP: VITAMIN E OVErNIGHT SERUM

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I have an ongoing infatuation with serums and oils. Hair oils, body oils, face oils – I love ‘em all. There is something so comforting about applying an oil to your skin. As we approach summer it would seem it’s time for the oily skinned of us to put them away, but I’ve found myself reaching for them just as often. There is nothing like an oil or serum that instantly hydrates and gives skin that soft, nourished look and feel.

vitaminE.1 THE BODY SHOP: VITAMIN E OVErNIGHT SERUM

One of my favorites from winter that has carried over into spring and summer is the Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil from The Body Shop. This oil can be applied as light or heavy handed as you like. The scent is a soft, slightly powdery fragrance but it’s not at all overpowering. Just one tiny drop, warmed between your palms is enough to press into your face for immediate results.

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If you are looking for an affordable, easy-to-use serum, this may be the perfect choice.

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This Week in Polarizing Fashion

spring 2014 shoes

There is something so interesting to me about fashion that separates people into vehement camps. Not that I like division, conversely (see what I did there?), I think it’s amazing that otherwise sensible human beings can get so divisive over FOOTWEAR. It’s just fashion, people.

Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite pairs of shoes for spring…these are the ones I’ve gone back to over and over since the days have warmed. The funny thing with each of these styles is that people have either gone nuts over them (in a really good way) or have practically shunned me with their gagging noises and glaring side-eye. Either way, here are my current footwear faves for spring!

The Birkenstocks (I got mine on Poshmark) have been in the back of my mind for some time now, but I finally took the plunge. Funnily enough, the “fake” white asos Birkis (#4) are infinitely more comfortable than the real deal (#2) – plus they have really cute gold studs on the sides. I love the 90s feel of the black New Look sandal  with white heels(#1; on sale right now at asos!). The python slip on sneaker (#3; similar here) is both snazzy and comfy all at the same time.

14htbf SpringShoes This Week in Polarizing FashionWhat articles of clothing do you have that people love to hate?

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L’Oreal Extraordinaire Liquid Lipstick

l'oreal extraordinaire lipstick

These new Extraordinaire lip colors from L’Oreal Color Riche are absolutely magical. And this is coming from a girl who isn’t overly fond of lipgloss. The texture on these is by far one of my favorite glossy formulas. Not to mention that the color options are absolutely stunning. Magic in a little gold tube, I tell ya.

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As far as formula goes, the I would compare them to the YSL Rouge Pur Couture liquid lipsticks. They’re one part lipstick one part gloss but they manage to be more moisturizing than sticky. My favrorite part of the L’Oreal Extraordinaire lipsticks is the way they wear. They have a slight staining quality that keeps you from getting the infamous “ring around the mouth” and I’ve not had any problems with them bleeding into lip lines. They also leave plenty of moisture on the lips like a balm long after the color has worn off.

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I would have a hard time choosing just one favorite from the five that I have. Ruby Opera is a deep cherry red that is perfect for an evening look. Orange Tempo is my favorite for a mod daytime look. Rose Symphony and Molto Mauve are the go-to colors for tossing in my handbag everyday and Nude Ballet is a gorgeous nude to wear with a dark smokey eye.

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URBAN DECAY ELECTRIC PALETTE

Electric

I had absolutely no intentions of purchasing this latest Electric palette from Urban Decay. And then I walked into Ulta and there it was, all bright and innocent, just sitting there looking like a 1990′s rockstar. So, of course I couldn’t leave it there all alone.

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As much as I thought I wouldn’t get much use out of this ultra neon palette, I have to say, I’ve found myself reaching for it multiple times a week since I found it. It is perfect to use along with your neutrals to add a little color or you could go full on Jem and the Holograms if you’d like. I personally love mixing a little of the shadow with water or my elf seal and lock and use it as a liquid liner. I’ve even popped a little over lip balm as a lip color! Needless to say, it’s come into play much more that I anticipated.

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If you are looking for a high quality colorful palette, I would definitely recommend the Urban Decay Electric Palette. The only shade that was a bit disappointing was Revolt…it has quite a bit of fallout and very little pigmentation. The good thing about that, though, is that it’s perfect for pressing a little over one of the other shadows to get a more high-impact glam look.

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P.S. I posted a few photos on Instagram if you’re interested in how I’ve been using the Electric Palette!

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Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade

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Eyebrows were by far the most intimidating part of my routine when I first began learning how to do makeup. For years, I left my poor overplucked brows alone for fear of looking like Groucho Marx. For a person with light eyes, this often left me looking washed out or sad and tired. About 6 years ago, I discovered the magic that is filling in those brows. That said, I had yet to find a magical product that helped me both add color AND control those pesky little hairs that refuse to lay flat.

I have tried Anastasia products in the past and to be honest, wasn’t really successful with them. My main issue was finding a shade that matched my (then bright auburn) hair. Now that I have an “unnatural” hair color, I thought I would revisit the coveted brand and try out their latest iteration of brow taming – Dipbrow.

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The formula of Dipbrow is somewhat like a cream eyeshadow with a touch more gel-like finish. I purchased the color Chocolate, but they have since added quite a few shades to the range, which is great. Since using this little pot of goodness, I have discovered a whole new level of control over my brows. The little hairs that once only pointed in an unflattering downward direction are now nicely coerced into a more horizontal direction. I also get my preferred retro shape in a much easier process with fewer gaps to fill in with a pencil or powder.

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Overall, if your looking for a fast and easy way to create a strong brow that stays in place, I would HIGHLY recommend Dipbrow. If subtle is more your approach, make sure you purchase a light enough shade and use very little product – or opt for a brow powder instead. For me, this has saved minutes of frustration per day – and extra minutes mean more time for coffee!

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Tarte LipSurgence in Tipsy

I have been on a huge Tarte kick lately. Something about their packaging along with great quality product has me obsessing in a very real way. As much as I fought buying another lip product, I couldn’t resist the new Lip Surgence crayons.

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After quite the search, I settled on the shade Tipsy, which is a warm muted melon. It has a soft brightness to it that just reminds me of Spring. Although these are labeled “Power Pigments” I wouldn’t consider this formula opaque or comparable to a lipstick. It still has quite a bit of sheerness to it but the color manages to show up nicely on lips. The formula is a bit tacky to me – like a lipstick but without the full color. It has a nice minty scent and is easy to use, though, which makes this a great everyday lip product for warmer days.

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HOW TO OVERCOMPLICATE LIFE

IMG 5163 1024x1024 HOW TO OVERCOMPLICATE LIFESimplify.

This is an action that does not come easily to my first-born, perfectionist, afraid to fail self. I have a habit of taking even the easiest of things and making them 10 times more complicated than they need to be. Generally, the over-complication of my life starts with hours of mental angst over a task, a conversation, a grocery list – you name it. I’ve perfected the art of throwing myself into a full-on tizzy (see: perfectionist tendencies).

The only problem with all of this detail loving, OCD living? I fail at it. Every. Single. Time. There is absolutely not a chance in you-know-where that I’ll be able to live up to this ridiculous standard I have set for myself. And I’m learning that that’s okay.

After years of setting myself up for failure (at least in my own eyes), I’ve realized a few things:

1. No one is going to think less of me if I don’t pull out all the bells and whistles. In fact, I’ve found just the opposite can happen. If I take time to just BE in the moment – not worrying about how I look, if that party decoration is placed just right, or whether I’m going to say something stupid – these are the times when I make the deepest connections with people and enjoy life the most. People can smell a fake a mile away; they can tell when we’re putting on our “everything is awesome” face. People also respond in the most amazing ways when we are present and genuine. And they’ll laugh right along with me if, heaven forbid, I burn the cookies or get lipstick on my teeth.

2. The times when I am trying my hardest to FORCE success are the times I am the biggest failure. Even if it looks like a success on the outside, forcing your way through life leads to insurmountable guilt and shame if things don’t turn out just the way you planned. I have heaped so much condemnation on myself in the past because my expectations of what I should be/do/think are completely unrealistic. I’m not talking about setting goals or dreaming dreams. I’m talking about expecting things from yourself that are based on lies. Thoughts like, “If I don’t accomplish this by the time I’m 35 then it’s over,” or “I’m afraid that if I tried that then this (bad thing) would happen and everyone would see what a failure I am.” I am (slowly) learning that I have to give myself some grace even when I feel I’ve failed. I’m still a good person with good intentions and if I just let myself relax I can handle life with more ease and peace than if I force myself to be perfect.

3. I cannot and will not be able to control every aspect of a situation. Ever. I am a card-carrying control freak. I swear one of my hobbies is thinking through a situation or task and planning my response to every possible outcome. This is incredibly tiring and (surprise surprise) has never won me any sort of award. In fact, it can actually keep me from doing the important things because I need to be certain everything is going to go off without a hitch. I overthink an outcome until I’m worn out by even the prospect of a potentially good relationship/opportunity/idea. Do you know what good my control-freakishness has done me? It has made me a tired, cranky, not-so-fun-to-be-around mess. It has forced me to focus on tasks rather than the people I love. It has kept me up at night with fear and worry that I’m forgetting something. Here is what I’ve learned, though: tomorrow takes care of itself. It always arrives – right on time – whether I’ve worried about it sufficiently or not. And you know what? So far, I’ve managed to survive every tomorrow I’ve come up against.

So, I’m learning to let go. I’m learning to calm myself. I’m learning that being busy isn’t as important as just being. I’m learning that it’s okay to not get everything on my to-do list accomplished. I’m learning to just focus on what’s important and let life take care of itself. I’m learning that the more I stop struggling and lean into surrender the more I’m capable of actually doing. I’m learning…I’m not there. And that’s okay.

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Maybelline 24 Hour Color Tattoo Inked in Pink

I love using cream eyeshadows as a base for powder shadows. I know it’s an extra step, but if you really want to get the best wear and most color payoff from your treasured eyeshadow palettes, it really is best to give it something to stick to. Thankfully, you don’t have to buy an expensive cream base or primer these days.

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As far as cream eyeshadows, Maybelline Color Tattoo remains my favorite. It has a fairly blendable consistency but still sets for a long lasting finish. My latest favorite is the color Inked in Pink, which is PERFECT to layer under the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette. It brings out all the lovely rosiness and gives the colors extra lasting power – it’s like a little dream team!

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NYX BB Cream

When it comes to Beauty Balms, BB Creams and the like, I’ve found I am always down for giving them a try. I’m not sure what the draw is – maybe that they come in a tube and seem somewhat effortless. What I’ve discovered is that all BB creams are NOT created equally. They range from gorgeous to acceptable to downright grease in disguise.

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When I discovered the NYX Beauty Balm, of course I had to try it. I know I’ve said it about other bbs on the market but, man, this stuff is GOOD. Maybe even the best out of the dozens I’ve tried. The texture is incredibly smooth – it glides on like a dream. It adds the perfect amount of moisture to the skin, but isn’t overly greasy. It also gives one of the fullest coverages that I’ve seen in a BB cream while still looking totally natural. I’m also a big fan of the color, which leans neutral as opposed to the pinker tones I’ve found in most Western BB creams.

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For me, this is the perfect everyday skin perfecter. It is also my secret weapon in layering foundations to create a natural but still full-on coverage. In fact, I have worn this almost everyday since purchasing it at the first of the year and am now worried about running out of it. This will DEFINITELY be a repurchase (and I rarely make that kind of commitment).

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TARTE COLORED CLAY 7-PC SET

After quite a significant search, I FINALLY located these images of the QVC Tarte Colored Clay collection I picked up last month (don’t worry, it’s still available)! I’m so happy I get to share it with you at last!

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Hold on to your hats…I’m going to run through each piece and give you a little review (since, you know, I’ve now been using this for a month).

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Up first is the Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara. You may remember my recent review of the similarly named Lights, Camera, Flashes Mascara by Tarte. As compared to that, you can see that the wand is much smaller and it’s a bit easier to get into the inner corner and grab the bottom lashes. This formula holds curl much like the gold packaged version, but is MUCH less dramatic. So, if you’re looking for an everyday version, this might be your girl. As for me, I like to do a layer of this and then top it off with a coat of Flashes for the perfect amount of daytime drama!

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One of my surprise favorites in the set has been this blush bronzer in pink bronze (it even made my favorites video). It has just the right amount of bronze, highlight and healthy pink flush to be a fabulous everyday all-in-one cheek product. I hope they eventually bring this one out on it’s own!

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While I’m not the biggest lipgloss fan in the world, I do love the pigmentation and moisture that the LipSurgance Lipgloss in True Love gives. It has a pretty shine and stays put fairly well for a gloss. Still not a huge convert, but lip gloss lovers will like this vanilla scented beauty.

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A nice addition to the collection is the Clay Eyeliner in Black. I’ve never tried a Tarte eyeliner and it’s been a while since I’ve used a retractable liner, so I was pleased to have this in the set. I usually find that retractable liners don’t always stay put in the water line but I found this formula is a bit drier and will stay put. It’s not the blackest black, but it’s a very nice soft black.

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Of course, the thing I was most excited about was the Colored Clay Liquid Foundation. It comes in a really interesting packaging for liquid foundation – a pot with a mesh opening that dispenses the liquid onto your brush. I don’t particularly mind it (I love the beautiful lid and the fact that it’s plastic, not glass) but I’m not sure there’s anything special about the way it applies. The brush that came along with it is lovely – very similar to a Japonesque angled foundation brush I’m obsessing over at the moment. As far as coverage, it gives a light to medium coverage and I think this would be suitable for most skin types – oily skin will want to add a little powder. It wears 6-8 hours well, but after that I noticed quite a bit of fading around my nose and chin (my problem red zones). I got the shade light, which is a tiny bit too dark/yellow for my skin but I was afraid fair would be too ashy/pink. My hope is that when this hits stores, the shade range will widen a bit (usually the case with Tarte items on QVC).

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Finally, the kit came with the Colored Clay CC Primer, a color correcting stick primer. This is probably my least favorite of the collection. I found that once applied, it appeared MUCH darker than the foundation – a problem I attribute to it being in a thicker stick formula. To get an even color, I had to apply all over the face which caused some pilling to happen once I applied foundation. It feels nice on the skin once you’ve warmed it up but I didn’t notice a huge difference in coverage on my pores or longer wear time – which is what I look for if I’m going to add a step to my routine.

Everything comes wrapped up in a bright pink cosmetics bag that is quite nice and roomy – although the quality is nothing to write home about. Just a good freebie to toss your new makeup in!

Items are currently available for purchase at QVC.

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