2013 Makeup Favorites

Ever since I started my blog, I've been typing away at the keyboard about all of my skincare favorites, but my blog has been a bit sparse when it comes to makeup postings. Now that 2014 is just around the corner and beauty bloggers everywhere are compiling their lists of makeup favorites, I'd call this the perfect opportunity to give you a glimpse into some of my most used and loved makeup staples.

Stila Kitten Smudge Pot Review

I don't like to write negative reviews, but Stila's Smudge Pot in Kitten is definitely not my favorite cream eyeshadow. All of the positive reviews about this product that exist and the fact that it does swatch pretty well in store led me to buy this, so to prevent some future disappointments, I thought I'd give anyone researching this product a heads up about its pitfalls.

Easy New Year's Eye Look

The holidays are always an extremely busy time of the year. When my family is all together again, I don't want to miss spending any time with them, and that includes the time that I'd normally spend getting ready. On Christmas Eve, I had less than an hour to get ready for dinner, so I sped through the normal steps of makeup application and opted for this easy cranberry eye look. I think that this one pairs well with all of the black, gold, and silver sequined apparel that is in rotation for New Year's gatherings. Best of all, you can slap this eye look on in 15 minutes and look like you spent at least double the time getting your peepers primed and ready for 2014.

Ren Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask Review

After seeing this mask for the first time in a video, I instantly knew that it wasn't right for me. If someone without sensitive skin had said that it 'tingled,' how was my sensitive skin going to react to a potent chemical peel? I knew that I definitely wanted to try chemical exfoliation, so I opted for the gentler Papaya Enzyme Peel from Elemis. While that peel was pleasant and left my skin soft, I didn't really know what the fuss over chemical exfoliation was until I finally decided to take the plunge and purchase Ren's Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask.

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette

When Sephora's $20 gift card for members who spend $50 or more was released, I knew exactly what I was getting. This promotion had been perfectly timed with the arrival of the highly anticipated Naked 3 palette. Although I didn't buy into the hype of the Naked 2, the rosy hues of the new Naked palette were right up my alley, and the gift card gave me that extra push to snag this palette for $32 instead of $52.

Bedside Beauty

There's no better way to tell what everyday skincare products a girl really likes and uses than taking a snapshot of the products that live on her bedside table. So for today's post, that's exactly what I decided to do. Because there's so much that I keep on my makeshift trays (or rather, hard cover books!), I'll only tell you what I use every single night and morning consistently. I will occasionally switch it up, and in those instances I'll share that information with you. My rambling is done, so let's get into it!

Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque Review

I didn't need another deep cleansing mask, but when Black Friday rolled around and various sites started giving 15%, 20%, and even 30% off of their cosmetics and skincare items, I found myself surfing the Web for deals on Aesop's Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque. The packaging, a light beige and black striped tube with a black screw on cap, made the product feel natural, sleek, and just a bit indulgent. It's price of $39 makes it teeter on the edges of 'almost justifiable' and 'just a bit ridiculous' for one product. Bear in mind, though, that this is a treatment mask that's probably not going to be touched more than once a week (unless you're like me, in which case you'll have the urge to use it every other day, but might let yourself pick it up twice or three times a week), so it will last you a long time. Regardless of my reservations, I placed an order with Barney's, which had the best deal that I could find, which happened to be free shipping. Better than nothing, right?

The Cult Favorite that Wasn't #2: Caudalie Beauty Elixir

Caudalie Beauty Elixir, $18-$48, available here at

I didn't intend to write another 'The Cult Favorite that Wasn't' post (the first one, about my EOS Lip Balm in Strawberry Sorbet, can be found here), but I just couldn't resist using the header for this post about the regularly hyped up Caudalie Beauty Elixir. I love Caudalie's line of skincare and have loved every other product that I've tried, but this toner just didn't float my boat, and here's why.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tars Review

Left to Right: Grandma, Lydia, Iced, Pretty Boy, Kava Kava, NSFW, Super NSFW, and Hoochie

Once you rub a tubed lipstick all over your lips, it's been marked as your own. You can't (and don't want to) share it with any of your friends or family. Lip glosses, stains, and tinted lip balms all have applicators that you either stick back in the tube after using them on your lips or a stick of product that gets applied directly onto your lips. Sure, you can use a lip brush or a disposable applicator in all of these cases to avoid the hygiene issues, but how practical is that for everyday use?

Origins Out of Trouble Mask Review

Over the past few months, I've become a big fan of Origin's masks and have slowly built up my collection of them. I've tested out and very much liked the Drink Up 10 Minute Mask and the Clear Improvements Active Charcoal Mask, and I just got the overnight version of the Drink Up Mask in the mail. If I keep this up, I think that half of my skincare products will be Origins!

Ren Invisible Pores Detox Mask Review

One thing about the beauty industry that I've learned since I've started blogging is that you can almost never take a product's promises at face value. A mascara promises me 100% the volume? I subtract 90% for a more accurate estimate. A dark spot corrector promises that I'll notice a dramatic difference in 3 weeks? I add six weeks to that promise. I've found that most products do serve their intended purpose, they just don't give you the radical results that you'd expect from their claims.

So when I heard good things about Ren's Invisible Pores Detox Mask, I knew that I would get a good pore cleanse because of the mask's French clay, but I would still wake up the next morning with visible pores and blackheads on my nose. I know that we all hate our large pores and blackheads, but no matter what miracle product we slather on, we're never going to be completely rid of them. With that said, I do think that clay masks like this one from Ren that tone the skin and take away all of the excess oils on our faces can help to even our skin tones and improve the skin's overall texture.

Let's get on with the review!

Ren Micro Polish Cleanser Review

I have an over the toilet cabinet that houses most of my skincare products, bar the ones that hang out on my bedside table. I'm not good at remembering to put down my toilet's lid, so most of the time, it stays up. Every time that I take out products from that cabinet, though, I try to shut the lid in anticipation that one day, something would fall into it. Last night, something did take a dive... and unfortunately, it was Ren's Micro Polish Cleanser. When I told my father about this little mishap, he said, "That gives a whole new meaning to the word toiletries!"

Mac and Sephora Haul ft. Marc Jacobs Starlet Palette

Since my older sister Teri is home for Thanksgiving break, we decided to head to our local mall. We had some beauty products to return, so we visited all of my favorite beauty destinations. Of course, being the addict that I am, I can't pass a Mac counter without buying some lipsticks or leave Sephora without a black and white striped bag filled with some goodies. Since I can't contain my excitement about this Marc Jacobs palette and it's much too soon to review it, I decided to throw in the lipsticks I purchased at Mac and make a haul/first impressions post out of it.