It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

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The Ulta 21 Days of Beauty Sale! It’s like Christmas! But with more makeup and less…well, anything redeeming except makeup. Like the Incarnation. So…not like Christmas at all.

But it’s an amazing sale! It started a few days ago, and I’ve snapped up a few things already that’s I’m really excited about. I’ll do a recap of all my favorite products that I got during the sale when it’s over, but for now, here are some of the best deals for the rest of the sale.

Thursday, March 23rd: Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliners for $11 (50% off.) My holy grail liner is Smashbox Always Sharp, but these are almost as good and a lot more fun colors if you’re into that. Also, Eyeko eyeliners are on sale online, and they’re easily the best liquid eyeliners I’ve found.

Saturday,  March 25th: tarte Cosmetics Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara for $10 (50%) off.

Sunday, March 26th: Urban Decay Afterglow Blush, $13 (50% off)

Monday, March 27th: IT Brushes for Ulta, Airbrush Foundation Brush, $11- SOOOO looking forward to this one!

Wednesday, March 29th: Laura Geller Blush-and-Brighten Blush, $14 (50% off)

Monday, April 3rd: Mally Beauty Blush and Highlighter Set, $17.50 (50% off) I love mally and her stuff is never on sale!

Wednesday, April 5th: Butter London Plush Rush Lip Collection, $10 (reg $18 to $22.) Butter London’s lipliners are so creamy and amazing that you can use them on their own.

Friday, April 7th: Tarte Cosmetics Amazonian Clay blush, $14 (50% off.)

Saturday, April 8th: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Pencil, $10.50 (50% off.) HOLY GRAIL BROW PRODUCT HERE YOU GUYS. FOR TEN DOLLARS.

There’s tons more stuff too, so check out their website. And remember that shipping is free for Platinum Perks members throughout the sale- you don’t even have to get out of your pajamas! Happy shopping!

February ipsy- Meh.

Ugh, guys. I was not impressed this month with my ipsy. Ipsy consistently knocks it out of the park and gives me stuff I LOOOVE and wouldn’t get to try otherwise. Not this month. This month it’s like here, have a bunch of stuff that will destroy your face and a $3 lipstick.

Even the bag kind of sucks- it’s all soft and denim “like your favorite pair of jeans,” according to the website. Problem number one. Jeans are not soft and comfy. Leggings are soft and comfy. Give me an ipsy bag that doesn’t give me muffin top and then we’ll talk.

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The products were underwhelming. The NYX butter lipstick is awesome. I’ve worn it every day this week and it can a light wash of color or you can build the coverage. But it’s an NYX lipstick. Those are not that expensive and available at Walgreens. Not impressed.

The Trust Fund Beauty nail color is good, too, but nail polish is kind of inherently underwhelming.

The Marsk Mineral Eyeshadow in You’re Toast is cute, I guess, but I’ve literally gotten almost exactly the same shade in shimmery, fall-out-y eyeshadow in these bags the last few months. Meh.

The other two products I couldn’t even use. The Briogeo Rosarco Blow Dry Perfector was made with argan oil, and I tried the VENeffect Skin Care Anti-Aging Lip Treatment which is supposed to plump without stinging. Not true. It stings. A lot. And I really don’t like plumping products because anything that inherently causes an allergic reaction bugs me.

So yeah. Meh.

REDEEM YOURSELF IN MARCH, IPSY. HEED MY WORDS.

Ride or Die

Okay imma be honest. I don’t really understand the name of this challenge or tag or whatever. I ride horses and there’s very little makeup in that. And die? Geez. I love my ABH palette as much as the next girl, but it’s not like I’d die without it.

Anyway, they’re basically the one product in every category that you (in theory) couldn’t live without.

(You know, if we’re going to totally ignore the fact that there are starving children in the world and MAAAAYBE our choice of setting powder isn’t the most important thing.)

(I’m bumming myself out.)

(On with the list.)


Tool: Original Beauty Blender, from sephora.com. Absolutely the best for blending foundations and liquid products.

Primer: Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Primer. Corrects my redness and fills my pores.

Foundation: L’Oreal Infallible Pro Matte. At around $8 a tube, amazing deal and holds up suuuper well. Combine with the Pro-Glow foundation for a satin finish.

Concealer: tarte ShapeTape Contour Concealer. Heavy duty highlighting and contouring concealor and works better than anything else for undereye circles. Also the biggest container of concealer on the market for the price.

Setting Powder: Laura Mercier Translucent setting powder. Because I’m a follower.

Finishing Powder: Smashbox Halo finishing Powder. Expensive but lasts FOREVER.

Blush: Urban Decay Afterglow Blush, in Fetish. Great rose neutral for everyday. As soon as you get over asking the salesperson for fetish.

Contour Palette: Fiona Stiles Sheer Sculpting Palette. It’s a close one with the ABH palette but I love this one because it’s so light and blendable. I can do a real contour or just a little dimension.

Highlighter: essence PureNude in Be My Highlight. Light, natural, but can be built up. And $4.49. 

Lip Product: Bare Minerals Natural lipgloss in Sangria. They don’t make this anymore and I’m so so so sad. It’s perfect.

Eye Primer: Smashbox 24 Hour Primer. I can put my eyeshadow on at 7 am and it’s perfect at 11pm. 

Eye Palette: Kat Von D Shade and Light Eye Palette. I reach for this almost every day. Best quality matte shadows I’ve found, and the only one I’ve hit pan on in years.

Eyeliner: Smashbox Always Sharp eyeliner in Raven. DOES. NOT. MOVE.

Mascara: TooFaced Better Than Sex. Makes my lashes look false.

Lashes: Ardell Demi Wispies in black. 

Brows: Maybelline Brow Precise Micro Pencil in Auburn or soft brown. 

So there you go. My picks for the best products if you happen to be a pasty Irish chick concerned with aging who’s on a budget.

THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.*

*Okay maybe not change so much as save you a little money. **

**Okay and maybe not everybody, but just people who use a beauty blender sponge.***

***And really only people who are too cheap/poor to replace them as frequently as you’re supposed to.

FINE. This will be a moderate convenience to cheap women who use beauty blender sponges.

THERE. It’s not like we’re talking about the Blessed Sacrament here.

Anyway. My point. 

So I have a beauty blender from Sephora and I use it every day. It gets really gross and nasty and stained, even though I’m super pale. I imagine women with deeper skin tones have even more trouble. 

I tried washing it with soap and water, and with my Purity which I use for my brushes. Nothing. Then I tried the official Blender Cleanser, which does admittedly work amazingly. 

But it’s $30 for the 10 oz container. It’s almost cheaper to replace the $20 sponge more frequently. 

Last weekend I was bopping around YouTube and I found a bunch of videos suggesting and alternative way of cleaning and making your sponge like new again. Pssh. Whatever. My sponge is destroyed.

But it was a Sunday night, I had all the ingredients, and needed a makeup post for the blog this week, so I tried it out.

GUYS.

IT WORKS.

I KNOW.

So here’s the super secret combo of speciality ingredients for this Blender Cleanser dupe.

Dollar store antibacterial dish soap and extra virgin olive oil.

Yeah. Try to stay with me.

Put a small amount of the dish soap on a surface. (The video I copied said to use aluminum foil, but it’s not a chemical reaction at all. Next time I’ll just do it on a plate or bowl.) Put about half that amount of olive oil in the center.


Mix them together with your finger, and then rub all over your blender. Massage it it in wnd really scrub and then rinse out THOROUGHLY.

(This takes a while. Do it until the water runs clear out of the blender.)


Look!!! It’s totally clean. The dish soap cleans and kills bacteria (which you don’t want on something you’re literally rubbing all over your face.) The olive oil helps break up makeup products in the sponge and also conditions the sponge.

So there you go. You can do this as frequently as you need to and stop buying $30 soap to wash your $20 sponge.

(If you listen hard, you can already hear my husband go, “YOU SPENT HOW MUCH ON A SPONGE???” 

Full Face using only Bare Minerals!

I’m a Bare Minerals girl. I’ve always been into makeup, but Bare Minerals is probably the first high end brand I got into and IT CHANGED ME. My mom gave me a little sampler kit for Christmas seven years ago and TAKE MY OFFSPRING I AM YOURS NOW BARE MINERALS!

I even wrote about it here. And guys. I had no idea what 2011 would have in store. 

I used their stuff exclusively for a bunch of years (including for my wedding) and while I have branched out, I still can’t pass up their products. I use a lot of the bareskin stuff now, but for this look I went old school.


Today I did a neutral light face and a gray smokey eye with my bare Minerals products.


First, moisturizer and prime. I use the BB skin primer and it’s amazing. Basically light coverage and a primer together. 

I use the correcting concealer in the little pot, so I like to pat it on before applying powder foundation. I use it under my eyes, andon any blemishes I can find. (Like that volcano on my chin.) 

Then I build coverage using a densely packed brush and the Orginal mineral foundation (I use the color light. Shocker.) 

Instead of using a setting powder, I go over the whole face with the Perfecting Veil. I don’t have a great contour product from them, so I stuck to blush (tropical  sunset) and highlighter (Ready Luminizer in That Magic Moment. 

Lips are a combo of Moxie lipstick in Be Brilliant and Be a Star 


My eyes are a fairly traditional look using the Nudes palette from a few years ago. I used Tranquil as the base, highlight; sonnet as the crease color; and priceless to deepen the outer v. 

Finally finished with my lashes- Flawless Definition mascara and my brows, which is cheating a little bit. For awhile they discontinued the powder brow product and so I found a perfect dupe on Amazon. It’s a super unknown brand and probably all chemicals that will kill me but it worked really well for me.

IT Cosmetics All in One Review!

One of my absolutely favorite Christmas gifts this year was the IT Cosmetics All-in-One Palette from QVC. It’s not available right now, but hopefully they’ll rerelease it.

This is an amazing product. It’s small- about five inches square. But the number of products- oh my gosh.

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18 eyeshadows, a combination of matte and shimmer All are really nice quality and such a good combination of neutral colors with some pops (the lavender on the right and the bronze on the right.) The top pans are highlighter- one cream and one liquid. I’m not a huge fan of creme highlighter, but oh my gosh this one is amazing. I usually layer it under my powder and finish it with the powder highlighter, which has more of a gold tinge.

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That opens up to reveal four cream concealer pans. I use the two light shades for concealing blemishes almost every day. My go to concealer is Tarte Shape Tape, but that works better for me as a highlighting concealer. These are amazing for covering spots. I haven’t used the darker two shades yet, but I want to try using them as a cream contour.

The larger pans are the Pressed and Poreless translucent powder which is AMAZING. I am seriously going to order a full size when I use this up. The bronzer is a nice, warm brown that blends easily. I don’t use bronzer a ton, and I usually contour with a cool tone. But I was so impressed with this palette that I decided to try contouring with it and yeah, it’s awesome. The blendability is key here- even though it’s a warmer tone than I’m used to it blends into my skin so nicely.

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But we’re not done! There’s a separate drawer underneath with three blushes, and six lip colors. The blushes are the same quality as the rest of the powders- really nice and blendable. The lipsticks are also fantastic- I love the selection of colors, all deeper except one pink that I layer over others.

So really, this is an insane deal. The amount of product you’re getting is unbelievable and everything I’ve used has been IT Cosmetics quality- not mass-produced holiday release crappy like they can be.

If I have any complaints, it’s that the concealers should have a cover or something over them, since I pretty constantly have to dig eyeshadow out of there that’s fallen in. And the lipsticks are so nice that I wish I was better about remember to bring the palette with me. But I’m not and that’s not really their fault.

There’s so much in this palette that you can do a face pretty much entirely composed from it. Here’s one I did last weekend.

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Foundation is Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Water foundation, eyeliner is Smashbox Always Sharp in Raven, Mascara is TooFaced Better Than Sex, and eyebrows are Maybelline micro precise something.

Other than that, everything is from this palette. I layered the cream highlighter under the translucent powder and finished it with the powder after setting my makeup. I blended together the two pink blushes, contoured with the bronzer, and layered three of the lip colors.

The eyes are a soft but pigmented look. I wanted to smoke it out a little, but wasn’t going for drama this Sunday morning. (I’m rarely going for drama in ANYTHING on Sunday morning. There’s enough drama trying to get kids to church.) I used mostly the bottom line of shadows, highlighting with some of the top shades.

Overall, 5/5 for this palette. Unbelievable value, so much fun using the different products, and you’re able to do literally any neutral or soft look you can think of with this.

Holiday Makeup Looks, Part 1: Easy Glam!

Look One: Easy, Everyday Holiday Look

(Chapel veil not required. The light outside Church was just the best for getting pictures of my eyeshadow.)

(I’m a mom okay? I work with what I have. There’s no fancy youtube studio here. Just a bunch of people needing crap from me.)

This is a pretty, sparkly every day look that you can wear basically anywhere. Church (obvs), shopping, even parties with friends.

To get this look, I used the following products:

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Some drugstore, some high end, but really any incarnations of these will work fine.

Begin with a clean, moisturized face.

  • I prepped my face with Laura Geller Spackle, applied with a beauty blender. I’ve been really into that method lately because it smooths out my pores, and stops foundation from getting sucked into the sponge.
  • I used a medium coverage long wear foundation, in this case, Rimmel ┬áLasting Finish 25 hour, applied all over with a beauty blender. I definitely wanted to look finished, but wasn’t overly concerned with having a full full coverage, so I didn’t build it up too much
  • Concealer under the eyes and on highlight points (Tarte Shape Tape works amazingly well.)
  • Use setting powder where needed (I use it on my nose, undereyes, and forehead to lock in the foundation over my infuriating wrinkle.)
  • Use a cool bronze shade in a contour palette to add dimension to the cheekbones, forehead, and chin. I was NOT going for a full-on contour here, and I didn’t even set it with powder or anything. Just enough to make my face look less like a dough ball.
  • Sweep Urban Decay Fetish (or any nude rose blush) across your cheekbones and blend it well.
  • Use a warm champagne color highlighter on the high points of the face.
  • Lips are done with a dusty rose lipliner (Mary Kay), a cool pink (Rimmel Kate 104) and a light neutral pink gloss (L’Oreal Brilliant Gloss 101.)

For the eyes, I used a combination of palettes and singles.

  • Prep the lid with an eyelid primer (I used Ulta’s primer here.) I swept a neutral white color across my entire lid to the browbone (Kat von D Luteus, but any would work.)
  • I used a matte transition shade in light taupe (also from Kat von D) in my crease, and blended it out to almost nothing, just a shadow.
  • Using a wet shadow brush, pat Urban Decay Moondust (or a champagne color) all over the lid, into the inner corner.
  • Using a different, dry brush, sweet a dark brown shade in the outer v and into the crease a LITTLE bit. In this case, I used the Laura Geller in Chocolate.
  • Highlight the browbone with a light shade, like Laura Geller almond.
  • Tightline with a brown shade (I used Smashbox always sharp in Sumatra.)
  • Curl lashes and layer two coats of TooFaced Better than Sex Mascara. This is my favorite mascara for not wearing falsies. It’s really dramatic, but not clumpy.
  • Finally, because I’m the one person who likes to do my brows last so they don’t get ruined with powder, I shaped and set my brows with Maybelline Eye Studio Brow Precise in Soft Brown. I LOVE this eyebrow pencil. It has a super small pencil and such natural results.

A spritz or two of setting spray (pretty sure I used NYX Matte here, but I didn’t take a pic) and you’re good to go all day!

Look Two: Pretty and Pink

This is also a fairly tame look, but dewy and based in the pink/plum color family.

(Also sorry I didn’t comb my hair before doing the pictures.) (Again, mother.)

I used these products to achieve this look:

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For the face, again, clean and moisturized to start.

  • Prime face with any moisturizing or luminizing primer. I used Smashbox light.
  • Apply a light, luminous foundation over the entire face. I used Tarte’s Rainforest of the Sea Water Foundation, which is relatively new but I am in love with. It’s medium-full coverage, but it looks like skin on me. Very nice finish.
  • Apply concealer to highlight areas.
  • Before applying powder, use a beauty blender to apply an illuminating blush product. I love Nars Illuminator in Orgasm.
  • Set all the liquid makeup with translucent powder.
  • With a fluffy brush, finish with a brightening powder (in this case, BareMinerals luminizing face powder.)
  • Since I was more concerned with the soft look, I didn’t contour at all. I did sweep a brightening bronzer over my forehead and under my cheekbones for a little dimesion.
  • Sweep a soft pink blush on to the apples of the cheeks. I used Maybelline’s Fit Me in Rose first, but the color payoff wasn’t great. So I layered Smashbox in the lightest shade shown (I don’t remember the name,) and blended well.
  • Using a stipple brush, sweep liquid highlighter over the cheekbones and highlight areas. This is BECCA Cosmetics Liquid Shimmering Skin Perfecter in Opal.
  • Lips were lined with a netural liner (Mary Kay again) and a bright pink gloss (toned down by the neutral liner.)
  • Spray lightly with Mac Fix+ Spray to meld makeup and give it a totally natural finish

For eyes, I went with a rosey look using Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette.

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  • I primed with Smashbox eyeshadow primer, and swept tempura all over my lid.
  • I used Buon Fresco as a crease/transition shade, and blended well.
  • Taking a fluffy brush, I swept a little bit of Venetian Red into my outer lid and into the v. I deepened it with a tiny bit of love letter on a densely packed brush, and blended the ish out of it.
  • I used Vermeer on the inner corner of my eye and brow bone.
  • Finally, I took a little bit of antique bronze on a fluffy brush and blended the pinks together to tone them down a little.
  • I used a nude liner on my waterline, and smudged a combination of Venetian Red and Antique Bronze under my lower lash line.
  • Curled lashes (no falsies) and used two coats of Tarte’s Lights Camera Lashes mascara on the upper and lower lashes.
  • Brows were done lightly (I wasn’t interested in being dramatic) with the Chella Eyebrow pencil in Taupe.

Abandoning Recipe weekends tomorrow in favor of more holiday looks. This time, more dramatic! Stay tuned!