Review: Tartelette Palette

After a short break from the wee ol’ blog here (life got in the way!) I’m back!

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A few weeks ago I picked up the new Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Eyeshadow Palette from Sephora. And I’m happy to report back that I absolutely love it!

I’ll be honest though – when it was first released I wasn’t interested in it at all. I had picked up a holiday set from Tarte last year and ended up being pretty disappointed with the eye shadows. They were very dry and patchy & they didn’t go on my eyelids smoothly. Overall they were pretty much duds! Sad, right?

Back to this new release, I had no intention of buying it, but secretly admitted that shadows looked lovely and I really liked that it was an all matte palette. I use matte shadows for my crease in almost all my looks, so the palette would come in handy, but again, I still felt a bit burned by the holiday palette I bought.

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Well I was in Sephora picking up a few other items and I decided to give the palette a little swatch and get a feel for the shadows in person. And oh my! They felt lovely and swatched great. Color me intrigued! I tucked that baby in my Sephora bag right that second.

(Side note: I always prefer to check out eyeshadows in person versus ordering blindly online, you just never know what you’re gonna get when you only have a picture online to make a decision.)

I’ve been happily using this palette almost every day since I bought it. The first row of shadows are perfect brow bone highlight shades, and the second row is perfect for building up my crease. The third and fourth row are going to be super fun when I want a more dramatic look! I don’t do those very often though. I would have to say that my favorite shades are Natural Beauty and Best Friend.

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I think my favorite part of the palette is the fact that it’s really reasonably priced! It’s $44 for 12 matte shades that all work really well together. And the setup of the shadows within the palette make it really easy to create simple but beautiful eye looks. This palette will be very loved in 2015, I just know it!

Swatches below the cut!

Have you tried this palette? Do you love it as much as I do?

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Mac Haul for a Mac Newbie

I have to admit that I’m fairly new to Mac cosmetics – I know, I know. Crazy, right? I went shopping a few weekends ago specifically to pick up some new items. I only own one Mac lipstick (Plumful!), the 217 blending brush, some of their holiday pigments, and their Fix+ spray.

I really wanted to introduce myself to their eyeshadows. So I swatched quite a few and then settled on the four below! I have plans to pick out more soon as I’m really happy with them so far.

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(Left to right: Coppering, Mythology, Satin Taupe, and All That Glitters)

I also decided that I wanted to try one of their paint pots in Soft Ochre since it matches my skin tone perfectly and I think it’ll work great as an eyeshadow base (and a week into using it and so far, so good!)

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I did buy some Mac pigments in their holiday sets back in November, the pinky, rose tones; and I was really happy with those so I decided to buy Mac’s Blue/Brown pigment which I had seen swatches of online and I thought they were stunning.

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All in all I’m really happy with my purchases and you better believe I’ll be back for some more Mac.

What are some of your all-time favorite Mac shadows? I’d love some more suggestions on what to pick up next!

Swatches of the eyeshadows and pigment below the cut!

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Favorite Winter (Budget Friendly) Lip Balm

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I use a lot of lip balm – which means I try a lot of lip balm. But I always go back to my favorite during the dry winter months. Smith’s Rosebud Salve ($6 for .8oz) is simply the best at keeping my lip moisturized and soft. It’s also pretty budget friendly, unlike the much talked about Dior Creme de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm that rings in at $28 for .25oz of product, so I like to have multiples that I tuck away in my purse, my desk at work, and my nightstand.

I personally think that the Rosebud Salve is just as good (if not better) than the Dior Creme de Rose. Bold statement, I know! (If you’re feeling spendy though, I wouldn’t say no to picking up the Creme de Rose. It’s a great product.)

I also like to use this salve in the summer on sunburned lips. It’s cooling, smooth and hydrating in all the right ways. It has a soft scent of roses which I absolutely love, it’s not for everyone but it’s subtle enough that it wouldn’t bother most people.

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Have you ever tried Smith’s Rosebud Salve? Do you have any other must-have lip balms that I should try?

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide | For Him

valenbloghimAnd I’m back with a Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Him! I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s guide, and if you did, here’s a good list for those who need a little help for the opposite gender.

  1. Handmade 15-Inch Leather Messenger Bag, $109 – A sophisticated, vintage-looking messenger bag for the leather lover
  2. Native Union CLIC Wood iPhone 6 Case, $40 – A wooden inlay brings a natural element to this handcrafted Native Union iPhone case
  3. Kryptonite KryptoLok, $38.99 – A high security lock for the bike lover
  4. Converse Jack Purcell Split Tongue Jack Sneakers, $90 – These sneakers get an upgrade with a nubuck upper and smooth leather trim
  5. Baxter of California Pocket Comb, $16 – A pocket-sized comb handcrafted of polished, tortoiseshell-print acetate
  6. Tea Tree Beard Oil, $25 – An oil blend for those who prefer crisp and clean scents that uses peppermint and vanilla oils to help tame the power of the tea tree
  7. Jawbone UP, $48 – A sleep and activity tracker to help gauge your movements for a healthier lifestyle
  8. H&M Hooded Jacket, $29.95 – A hooded sweatshirt jacket with contrasting yoke, quite stylish
  9. Reclaimed Circut Board Money Clip, $18 – Upcylced and repurposed for the geeky, eco-concious man in your life
  10. Highland Green Ribbed Socks, $12.50 – Who doesn’t need a nice pair of socks?
  11. Michael Kors ‘Gage’ Chronograph Leather Strap Watch, $225 – An investment piece with a classic look
  12. Philosykos Eau de Parfum, $140 – A luxurious woody scent with fig leaves and white cedar
  13. Malin + Goetz Essentials Travel Kit, $30 – A colour-coded set of miniature bottles with two products each for his face, body and hair
  14. Bamboo Charcoal Facial Soap, $10 – Activated Bamboo Charcoal draws out impurities and toxins which is perfect for oily/congested skin while also being very gentle

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide | For Her

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Valentine’s Day is coming up fast and if you’re struggling to find your love (or yourself, or even your BFFs! Galentine’s Day is a thing, you know.) I’ve got a list of great buys with a price point for everyone. A Valentine’s Day gift guide for him is coming up tomorrow – so be sure to check back!

  1. Stella by Stella McCartney Eau de Parfum Travel Spray, $22 – A fragrance based on the contrast between the fresh, soft rose and the dark, sensual amber
  2. Aromatherapy Associates Ultimate Bath Jewels, $93 – An indulgent gift for the bath lover
  3. The Kiss Lip Scrub by Lush Cosmetics, $9.95 – A perfect way to prep lips for an extended smooch session
  4. Hourglass Opague Rouge Liquid Lipstick Mini in Canvas, $10 – A luxurious mini liquid lipstick, great for hiding in a clutch
  5. Art of Instruction Botanical Journals, $12.95 – Lovely vintage looking journals to keep handy for list making
  6. The New York Times: 36 Hours 125 Weekends in Europe, $39.99 – Dream weekends with practical itineraries for someone with a case of wanderlust
  7.  KeepCup 12-Ounce Brew Glass Reusable Coffee Cup, $24 – Perfectly sized cup for an on the go coffee or tea (usually tea for me)
  8. Hario Chaor 4-Cup Tea Maker, $59.95 – A high-tech Japenese tea maker that brews both loose leaf and tea bags for the ultimate tea lover
  9. Moon & Lola I Woke Up Like This Coffee Mug, $28 – A perfect gift for that flawless person (or Beyonce fanatic) in your life
  10. Wildflowers Boxes from West Elm, $79 – A home for all those pretty baubles she wears
  11. Foiled Heart Sweatshirt, $49.95 – Who doesn’t want to be comfy and cute?
  12. Half Circle Studs by tiro tiro, $75 – Modern and minimal, so pretty
  13. Prince Charming Shower Gel by Lush Cosmetics, $9.95 – 29.95 – An intoxicating fruity perfume, skin-softening oils and a gentle touch
  14. Cashmere Matte Essie Nail Polish in Coat Couture (found in most drugstores), $8.50  – A deep purple shimmer over compelling greige tops off any look with an air of mystery

Marc Jacobs’ Little Black Box

A few months ago I picked up the Marc Jacobs The Sky-Liner Seven Piece Petite Highliner Collection ($45available at Sephora) because I had received a deluxe sample of the liner in Brown(out) and I was quite impressed with it. I had been on the hunt for an eyeliner that I could use on my tight line without smudging or transferring and the sample was working out really well for me!

As I was searching for the full size in both brown and black I found the petite set. I was excited about that because I don’t usually go through my eyeliner very quickly, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to try out some other colors. Gotta love those pops of color, right?

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The packaging is to die for! But that’s to be expected from Marc Jacobs. Sleek, modern and timeless.

So how did the liners fair in the long run? The liners come in a Gel-like formula, very creamy and pigmented — super easy to smudge out, if that’s the look you want. But once the product sets, it is set! I think that makes the eyeliners so versatile.  With the exception of the black, they all come with a bit of a metallic sheen to them. Some may not like that but it’s something that I really like.

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I still love Brown(out) the most for tight lining. I found that Blacquer was a bit too creamy at times but workable. I use it the most at the base of my lashes and then smudge it out a little. The other colors are just really fun to play with! I really like Sunset (golden bronze shimmer) when I’m working with warm toned shadows.

One downside? The black was almost a bit too creamy and I had difficulty with the product wanting to break off of the packaging. I have to use a gentle hand when applying. However, I did not have this issue with any of the other colors.

Have you tried the Marc Jacobs Highliners? If not, what are some of your favorite liners? 

Swatches below!

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Perfect Palette: Work Edition

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Do you work 40 hours a week at an office job like me? Do you struggle in the morning looking at all your eyeshadow options, perhaps it’s overwhelming? (It certainly is for me. I have quite the collection, and I can really only see it growing.) Or maybe you’re someone that prefers to have only a handful of go-to beauty products to keep things simplified. Well, regardless of your situation, the Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette is a must for any makeup lover.

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Seriously. As you can see from my well-loved palette above, I use this sucker almost everyday. I just find it so work appropriate and you can do so much with it. A neutral matte eye, a more rosy colored satin eye shadow look, or you can gold it up and really smoke out each trio for an evening look on the go.

I would say on first application to just use a light hand. These shadows really go a long way and last a long time. As you can see with my palette, I use it almost every day  and there’s barely a dent in the shadows.

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I cannot say enough good things about this palette. The price is right (just $36!) and the shadows themselves are perfection – soft, great pigmentation, and smooth upon application. They also blend so easily that it’s rather hard to mess up! Might I also say that this palette is perfect for travel? It’s compact and the matte shadows can double up as a way to fill in your brows.

Swatches below!

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NARS Audacious Lipsticks

What can I say about these lipsticks that hasn’t already been said? Not much, that’s for sure! But I had to throw my own praises in with the rest. These pricey (yikes $32!) lipsticks are one hundred and ten percent worth the money.

NARS has hit it out of the park with these lipsticks.

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As you can see, I went with three very different shades. I don’t have the money (nor the time) to purchase and wear the full range of shades. I mulled over each and every color for several weeks to decide which shades I should get.

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I knew I wanted a classic red so I set my sights on Marlene. It’s described as a brick red with a satin finish and a warm undertone. It leans slightly more towards the orange side of red. I liked the vintage-y vibe I was getting from it and I knew the warm undertone would work well with my pale, warm undertone skin.

Janet was the first shade I picked up! I wanted something bold that would be make me feel excited, and Janet is right up that alley. She’s a fuchsia with a pearl finish and cool undertones. I love wearing this shade with a neutral eye and basic black outfit. It really stands out.

Everyone needs a nude, everyday kinda shade, right? That’s where Anna fit right in. I wanted something I could wear on a regular basis at my day job and something that would match most looks. Anna is a pinky nude with a semi-matte finish and a neutral undertone. Simply gorgeous and probably my favorite of the trio.

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Have you picked up any of the NARS Audacious Lipsticks? What shades are your favorite?

Swatches are below the cut!

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FIRST IMPRESSION: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette

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Ahh, such a beauty, right? I had been eyeing this stunning palette for several months now. I kept putting it in my shopping cart and then taking it back out. I finally bit the bullet last week when I stopped in Sephora to pick up another item.

This is what Sephora.com has to say about the palette:

Evoke a luminous glow with this soft-focus cheek palette. Hourglass has fused Ambient Lighting Powder, its cutting-edge collection of finishing powders, with an array of vivid cheek colors, creating a hybrid product that is unique, contemporary, and revolutionary. Infused with Photoluminescent Technology to create depth and dimension, this blush does not fall flat and is lightweight, amplifying the colors to a multidimensional level, and leaving the entire complexion with an otherworldly glow.

I have been using the palette for just over a week now and I’m a little disappointed at this point. Let me explain though! I simply expected a bit more out the blush if I’m being completely honest. It does offer a subtle glow but the pigmentation is lacking a little bit which may be due to the intentional soft-focus formula. Pigmentation happens to be an important feature for me when it comes to blushes.

However! I do think this is the kind of product that will grow on me and I will end up head over heels in love with it. I have very fair skin so typically I have to use a light hand with my blushes because color shows up very easily on my cheeks. I did have to go back for two or three more swirls with my blush brush with this product than I normally do.

Favorite color so far, you ask? Hands down Luminous Flush (champagne rose) is MY color! I tend towards the rosier shades anyways – it’s just what looks best with my skin tone. Today while doing my makeup I mixed Luminous Flush with Incandescent Electra (cool peach), which is the limited edition blush that only comes in this palette, and it turned out beautifully. But again, the pigmentation left a little to be desired for me. I look forward to using Mood Exposure (soft plum) more with some darker looks, perhaps with a smokey eye? I think that’s where the subtly of the blush will shine best.

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The packaging is spectacular and of course, it should be!

Overall, I think the blushes are natural looking and sit beautifully on the cheeks — they are also long wearing, lasting 6-8 hours on me while fading softly throughout the work day. I do think the product was hyped up more than it should have been but I do find that they are worth the money and I would buy again.

Have you picked up this blush palette? If so, what are your thoughts?