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Friday, January 31, 2014

Top 5 in Under 5: Drugstore Concealers

Products Mentioned:

  1. Hard Candy Glamoflauge $6
  2. Physician's Formula Conceal RX
  3. Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer $7.99
  4. Maybelline FitMe Concealer $6.99
  5. CoverGirl TrueBlend FixStick $7.99


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What's in My Makeup Travel Bag | Brussels

A little-known fact about Mr. Making Up the Midwest is that he works for an airline and, as a result, we get to take the occasional trip. Many times we travel to see family or explore domestic destinations, but occasionally we'll jet off internationally for the weekend. As a result, I've come to pride myself on my ability to pack about three days worth of clothing, makeup, and hair necessities into a large travel tote (check the pics below). Impressive for a girl with half a room designated for makeup, no? I rarely do "what's in my bag"-style blog posts or videos, but I thought if there was ever a time or situation to document, this is it. So hop in my makeup bag and come along to Brussels!

Eyes - In all of the pre-trip research I did, a frequently mentioned feature of Brussels was the amount of rain it typically receives. After confirming with the weather man that it was supposed to pour throughout the weekend, I packed my umbrella and budge-proof makeup:
  • bareMinerals Prime Time Eye Primer - a must for eyeshadow that lasts full-blast all day.
  • em Cosmetics Party Life Palette - I love these palettes for your ability to customize them for any look - or destination, as the case may be.
  • Sleek Makeup Full Volume Mascara - although not marketed as a tubing mascara, I find this mascara is smudge-proof, only budging with warm water and gentle rubbing off the lashes. Perfect for drizzly weather. 
  • Rimmel ScandalEyes Thick & Thin Eyeliner - This was a new purchase and I was using the trip to test it out. Turns out, it's not waterproof, but it provides a beautiful, velvety black line. 
  • it Cosmetics Your Brows But Better - Because a girl's gotta have her brows on-the-go
  • CoverGirl truBlend Liquid Makeup - This is just a current favorite I've been loving for it's buildable coverage. 
  • CoverGirl truBlend FixStick - Packed for it's convenient packaging and ability to not only spot conceal around the face, but also in the unederye area
  • Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Pen in Radiant - Because 8 hour flights can bring on dark circles you never knew you had.
  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette - Rainy weather and 24-48 hours of being on-the-move calls for a brilliant setting powder. I don't care how budge-proof your foundation claims to be. 
  • Bioelements Instant Emollient - Between the salty food on the plane and the plane ride itself, I rarely make it through a weekend without chapped lips. A heavy duty, multi-tasking hydrator is a MUST. 
  • MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Lip in 16C - both the Aqua Lip and Aqua Rouge have stellar lasting power and perfect pigmentation. I typically take bright lip colors when I travel because nothing draws attention away from tired eyes like a bold lip.
  • MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Rouge in 18C & 10C 
With all of the subscription services I've tried, my stockpile of fragrance samples is daunting, so I try to take a new one with me each time I travel. It forces me to really wear it around to see if I like it while also ensuring I don't have to worry about a big bottle breaking in transit. This trip, I packed Folle de Joie - a fragrance with a fresh blend of citrus, woodsy florals, and hints of cognac. Turns out, it's very different than any of the musky, amber-laced scents I typically buy and I like it! I have some Birchbox points to burn and am seriously contemplating splurging on it. 

Scroll on for pictures of everything inside, along with some of the trip!

What's your favorite destination, and what are the sites to see there? Equally as important: what do you take with you in your makeup bag?

See more pictures after the jump!


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tutorial & Giveaway: Rita Ora's 2014 Grammy's Look

Products Used:

  • CoverGirl TruBlend FixStick
  • CoverGirl Bombshell ShineShadow in Platinum Club
  • CoverGirl EyeEnhancers shadow quad in Ice Princess
  • CoverGirl Lineblast 24HR Eyeliner in Black
  • Physician's Formula Shimmer Strips Eye Enhancing Eyeliner Trio
  • Sleek Full Fat Lash Mascara
  • CoverGirl TruBlend Foundation
  • CoverGirl TruMagic The Sunkisser Bronzer
  • CoverGirl Instant Cheekbones in Instant Sable
  • NYX Cosmetics Butter Gloss in Eclair
  • On My Nail: imPress Press on Nails in Shimmer

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Sweet & Sultry V-Day Tutorial & GIVEAWAY!

Products Used:

  • bareMinerals Prime Time Eye Primer:
  • Sleek I-Divine Sunset Palette
  • Sleek Blush By Three in Sweet Cheeks 
  • Sleek Full Fat Lash Mascara
  • Revlon Colorstay Whipped Foundation
  • Physician's Formula Conceal RX Concealer
  • NYX Nude Pink Lip Liner
  • MAKE UP FOR EVER Lip Liner in 2C
  • Stila Lip Glaze in Kaleidescope


Makeup Tips for When You're Winter Weary

I am a member of the #CollectiveBias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

Living in the Midwest, it rarely comes as a surprise just how cold and bleak the winter can get. At first, the wine-stained lips and full, musky scents that mirror winter's cozy atmosphere are a welcome change from the brights of spring and summer. But it's safe to say that consecutive days with negative wind chills and endless snowfalls would leave anyone longing for a spring-hued light at the end of a blustery tunnel. While a beach vacation might be in the cards for some, I need a fix that revives my spirit now, and sometimes there's no better (or easier) way to get instant gratification than making small changes to your everyday beauty routine. Here are 2 quick makeup tips I stumbled on while looking for a solution to my winter blues in the aisles of a drugstore.

Given the nasty weather, I wasn't willing to wander too far for a renewed sense of spring. As luck would have it, a brand new Walgreens opened just a few weeks ago, steps from my front door. With the new Walgreens came a transformed beauty section - instead of walking down the cosmetics aisle, I perused the Look Boutique. Beyond the usual suspects found in a Walgreens beauty section, there's an entirely new area dedicated to lesser-known brands like theBalm, Gosh Cosmetics, and Demeter. I knew there had to be some game-changing gems in the mix. 

Demeter Fragrance Library
I was first drawn to Demeter's fragrance library because of the sheer number of scent possibilities - surely there was something that could breathe new life into my stale winter beauty routine. After discovering I could smell like anything from fresh laundry to pizza, I settled on a scent that was decidedly more springy than anything I was wearing: Wet Garden. Interestingly enough, the bottle has "Pick-Me-Up" printed on the front, it couldn't be more right! Notes of gardenia have me going through the day feeling like spring is just around the corner (when in reality the weather man says tomorrow's high won't get above 0 - bleh).

Gosh Cosmetics Display
Next stop was for an injection of color. While I wasn't ready to hop into bright oranges or candied lilacs just yet, a deviation from the standard nude or holiday reds can mean a world of difference for getting out of a winter slump. Gosh Cosmetics' display looked like it had more than enough color to boost me up, so I decided to go with a coral lip - a far cry from nude, and a springy twist on the classic winter reds. Together, my fragrance and lippie don't make for a complete makeup overhaul, but they serve as essentials to reach for whenever I'm feeling the winter slump.

Have you visited the #WalgreensBeauty Look Boutique yet?

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

NYX Butt Naked Turn The Other Cheek Tutorial

Products Mentioned:

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review & Swatches: bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipglosses in Maverick, Crowd Surfer, Smooth Talker, Fire Cracker, Smarty Pants, and Dreamer

bareMinerals Hot to Trot Marvelous Moxie Lipglosses

bareMinerals Hot to Trot Marvelous Moxie Lipglosses
Over the holidays, ULTA was having a killer sale on their sets - including a collection of bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss minis. Full size glosses typically retail for $18, so $25 (less than, considering the sale) seemed like an incredible deal for permanent shades.

Each gloss contains conditioning ingredients like shea and avocado butters, with a hint of mint to plump the lips. The shades included in the set were:

Crowd Surfer* - Soft baby pink
Smooth Talker - Golden pink
Fire Cracker* - Shimmery berry
Maverick - Rosewood Shimmer
Smarty Pants *- Soft gold shimmer
Dreamer - Golden Sand

Those marked with a (*) denote shades that I initially thought were permanent, but can no longer find on sites that typically retail the brand. Overall wear is sheer with just a hint of tint and a lot of shimmer with each shade. The deeper shades pack a little more punch when worn along, but the sheer shades appear more differentiated when worn as a gloss overcoat to lipsticks or liners. Overall, the lasting power is standard for a gloss - not long at about 2 hours depending on how much you eat or drink. Each gloss provides smooth wear with plenty of slip and minimal stickiness. The only thing I wasn't too fond of with this formula is how shimmer tends to stick around long after the gloss is gone and tends to pile up with reapplication. It makes for lips that resemble a disco ball at the end of the day. Still, not bad for a gloss that doesn't dehydrate the lips!

If you are monogamous with your lip gloss, investing $18 in one of these puppies would be worth it. Personally, I like a new flavor every day, so the travel sizes are perfect for me. Either way, these are must-tries for the sheer, shimmery lipgloss lover!

bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipglosses in Maverick, Crowd Surfer, Smooth Talker, Fire Cracker, Smarty Pants, and Dreamer

See more pictures after the jump!

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review & Swatches: NYC City Proof Twistable Intense Lip Colors in Ballroom Blush & Canal St. Coral

NYC City Proof Twistable Intense Lip Colors in Ballroom Blush & Canal St. Coral

NYC is bringing it this spring with some new drugstore finds! In addition to some new lipsticks, I spotted their City Proof Twistable Intense Lip Colors - automatic crayons that are following the chubby lip pencil trend. Ballroom Blush is a opaque bright berry, while Canal St. Coral is an orange-pink with a sheerer finish. While wear time with both was shockingly good at 3-4 hours, Ballroom Berry lasted noticeably longer and stained the lips even after the balmy finish had long-since worn off. Both shades feel comfortable on the lips with nice slip and no taste - only the light smell of berry. For $3.99, these are worth a look for spring!

Compared to the Jordana Twist & Shine Moisturizing Balm Stain - the closest in price and function to NYC's Twistable Lip Colors - these are $1 more (compared to Jordana's $2.99) and the Twist & Shine tend to have a more opaque cream finish, which can make it more prone to streaking. Jordana's shade range tends toward the lighter, more pink or mauve end of the spectrum while NYC's have a broader range with more diverse variations. Both are great, but with slightly different finishes, $1 difference in price, and varying shade ranges. 

NYC City Proof Twistable Intense Lip Colors in Ballroom Blush & Canal St. Coral

NYC City Proof Twistable Intense Lip Colors in Ballroom Blush & Canal St. Coral

NYC City Proof Twistable Intense Lip Colors in Ballroom Blush & Canal St. Coral

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Makeup Wars: Lip Rescues & Treatments

As we near the dead of winter, dry, chapped lips are the bane of everyone's existence. They crack, they bleed, they are ridiculously uncomfortable, and -most importantly- make it difficult to get an even application of product. Luckily, there's no better place to get lip treatment advice than a group of women who keep their lips in peak condition for regular rounds of close-up lip selfies. This Makeup Wars, we are sharing our go-to lip rescues for the months that leave your lips parched.

My plan of attack for tackling troubled lips starts with a moisturizing treatment. Bioelements Instant Emollient contains moisturizing Bulgarian rose oil and water-binding Vitamin E to sooth lips and lock in moisture. I like to apply it before bed for a full night of treatment, and follow up with an application right before I start doing my makeup in the morning. Typically I save my lips for last, so by the time I'm ready to apply my liner, lipstick, and/or gloss for the day, I have the perfect pout to do so.

Beyond just a lip treatment, Instant Emollient shines as a multi-tasker too. Initially I started using it when I came down with a bad cold mid-November and breathing out my nose was no longer an option. Every day I would wake up with dry, painful lips, a nose chapped from tissue abuse, and a crepey undereye area caused by dehydrating decongestants and lack of sleep. There was nothing pretty about the situation. Using my finger, I regularly applied the treatment to my lips and nose throughout the day, and my undereyes as I slept, to achieve a not-so-sick glow – very in this time of year!

Under normal circumstances, when I'm not battling illness, I stick to my nightly lip routine and rely on moisturizing lipsticks throughout the day – a key play for any practical glam-addict. Here are 3 of my favorites:

1. Mary Kay True Dimension Lip Balm: I first became obsessed with this line of lipsticks when I tried a deep plum shade for fall. I've been hooked every since! With by far the most pigmentation of the following recommendations, these aren't for the faint of heart. For moisture that packs a pigment punch, turn to these.

2. Revlon Lip Butters: These lipstick-balm hybrids took the drugstore by storm a few years ago and they just won't stop. The range has everything from bold, balmy reds for those who love a burst of color, to soft, supple nudes for those that just want a hint of something to pull their look together.

3. em Cosmetics Pillow Plush Lip Balm: Seekers of subtle shades should check these balms out for a quick application of sheer, moisturizing pigment. 

What are your tips and tricks for handling winter lips without losing your glam? Check out the rest of the Makeup Wars picks below!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

January ELF Beauty Bundle Unboxing & Review

Products Mentioned: 

Eyelash Curler
Glam Bam Nail Polish Set


Friday, January 17, 2014

Review: Etude House Lash Perm 3 Step Volumecara

Etude House Lash Perm 3 Step Volumecara


  • Adds volume
  • Separates lashes
  • Lasts all day without smudging or flaking
  • Not impossible to remove


  • Only available online (to my knowledge) at places like KollectionK and Pretty & Cute for varying prices (around $15).

See more pictures after the jump!

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Review & Swatches: MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Lip & Aqua Rouge in 16C, 8C, 2C, 10C, 14C, and 18C

MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultimate Long Lasting Lip

Before the holidays, I took advantage of the 20% off coupon for VIB's and did a big Sephora shop. One of the things that caught my eye was a massive set of lippies MAKE UP FOR EVER made available exclusively for the holidays. Normally, I'm somewhat cautious about buying large holiday sets with limited edition products, knowing that if I love them, I can never get them again. Luckily, MAKE UP FOR EVER's Ultimate Long Lasting Lip Set contains 12 products in 6 shades that are part of the permanent line - making the the perfect way to sample a slew of products and shades from a brand known for their phenomenal lasting power at a bargain price.

MAKE UP FOR EVER's Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencils ($19) promise a long wear time with a buttery smooth texture (made possible with Vitamin E & Jojoba wax). Turns out, they do the job pretty well and manage to line and fill lips without tugging at lips and drying them out. While I wouldn't call them moisturizing, I got 4 hours of smooth wear with these alone!

MAKE UP FOR EVER's Aqua Rouge Liquid Lip Colors ($24) are like liquid lipsticks that apply opaquely and dry thoroughly for ultra-long, smudge-proof wear. With a double-ended applicator, one end contains the colored product, while the other has a high-shine gloss. The lip color wore without fail for over 7 hours - even through eating and drinking. However, my main concern was the gloss. I've had similar products that perform well until the gloss is applied, and then the wear time decreases significantly. Not so with these! While the gloss needed some reapplication, my lip color didn't fade along with it. Again, these lip colors aren't moisturizing per se, but they definitely don't dehydrate lips or leave them feeling uncomfortable.

The shades in this set included 8C (Iconic Red - a true red), 14C (Light Rosewood - a muted dusty rose), 2C (Rosewood - a rosy nude), 10C (Raspberry - deep berry plum), 16C (Fuchsia - a bright fuchsia pink), and 18C (Coral - a bright pink coral). I wouldn't say you need both 14 and 2 as they are very similar when put to use. But whether it's a neutral shade or a bright, all of them are flawless in application.

If you're looking for a smooth, long-wearing lip liner, Aqua Lips are a great way to go. Aqua Rouge, on the other hand, are a must-have no matter who you are. They are by far the most long-wearing, durable lip colors I've ever used and come with a gloss to wear both flat and glossy. WIN! If you can find these in a set, don't think twice before buying it because they can be pricey individually. But if you find one shade that calls your name, it's absolutely worth the luxurious price tag.

What shade is your favorite?

MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultimate Long Lasting Lip
MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultimate Long Lasting Lip

See more pictures after the jump!

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Review & Swatches: Wet n Wild Fergie Vicious Varnish High Shine Stains

Wet n Wild Fergie Vicious Varnish High Shine Stains in Giving Realness and Voguing Madness


  • Affordable ($3.49)
  • Stains for upwards of 5 hours - even through eating and drinking
  • Gloss lasts up to 3 hours
  • Provides comfortable slip to lips


  • Taste & smell
  • Doesn't hydrate/ can be dehydrating
  • Finish can become slightly sticky over time
Wet n Wild's Fergie Collection can be purchased at Walgreens and CVS.

Will you be buying these?

Wet n Wild Fergie Vicious Varnish High Shine Stains in Giving Realness and Voguing Madness

Wet n Wild Fergie Vicious Varnish High Shine Stains in Giving Realness and Voguing Madness

Wet n Wild Fergie Vicious Varnish High Shine Stains in Giving Realness and Voguing Madness

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review: CoverGirl TruBlend FixStick & Foundation

CoverGirl TruBlend FixStick & Foundation

CoverGirl TruBlend FixStick: This concealer crayon has a thicker consistency that provides medium/full coverage and has a brightening effect to cancel out discoloration. My shade (fair) was a little too light to spot conceal blemishes, but worked well to brighten and conceal my undereye area and anywhere else I develop redness, like around my nostrils and chin. Worn unset, it stayed in place nicely with minimal weathering at the 8 hour mark. Despite the thicker consistency, it can easily be layered and touched up throughout the day without appearing caky. Overall, it provides a convenient application with great coverage and lasting power for just $7.99. The only downsides I found were the lack of shade range and distinct "makeup" smell it had - similar to an old foundation.

CoverGirl TruBlend Liquid Makeup: With a smooth, creamy consistency, this foundation blends beautifully and is easily layered to a medium/full coverage. It also provides moderate moisture so that even in the dead of winter, my skin didn't feel deprived. At the 8 hour mark, I was very impressed with the way it stayed in tact without getting patchy or oxidizing. The new line presents a wider range of shades, but the only downside remains a lack of deeper tones. It's definitely an affordable foundation, and one I would recommend at $8.49.

Before Concealer | After Concealer

8 AM | 6PM

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Review & Swatches: Etude House Dear My Blooming Lips-talk, Tear Eye Liner, Bling Bling Eye Stick, and Lovely Cookie Blush

My post-holiday brain can think of nothing but spring, and Etude House is making it a little bit easier with some fantastic pink products! Unlike previous collections I've reviewed from them, all of these products are in their permanent line, and it's a good thing since I could do with a pink-me-up any time of the year!

Etude House Lovely Cookie Blusher in Grapefruit Jelly ($9.50) - This lightly pigmented soft pink blush is very soft and applies evenly. The adorable rounded packaging comes with a powder puff that's actually pretty great to use for application - unlike so many cheap-feeling brushes or sponges that tend to come with powder products. With a drugstore price and high end performance, this blush is one to check out! Check out the tutorial at the bottom of the post to see it in use.

Bling Bling Eye Stick in Pink Supernova ($10.00)- My first experience with these pencils were from the Bling in the Sea Collection, and I loved them them too! The consistency is creamy, and Pink Supernova is pigmented enough to be used as a liner, shadow base, or even as a shadow worn alone. The thickness of the pencil makes it easy to do so as well - no too thick to be cumbersome, but no so thin that it takes forever to apply to the entire eye lid. I have a little issue with this particular stick staying put in my inner corner due to excessively watery eyes, but it performs beautifully worn anywhere else, and for $10, it too is worth looking at.

Tear Eyeliner in #01 ($11.40) - Not one to wear noticeable shimmer on a daily basis, this was a hard product to learn how to wear. With a liquid eyeliner consistency and nearly opaque pearl shimmer, it comes with a thin brush applicator well-suited for applying like liquid liner to the upper lash line. After looking around for application tips, I found the product page recommend the user apply it underneath the lower lash line for the appearance of larger eyes. While it's definitely noticeable, I really like the effect for a night out! For $11.40, it's not a must-have for me. But it is an affordable way to create a fun, different effect on the eyes.

Dear My Lips-Talk in PK 005 ($12.29)- One of the things Etude House does consistently well is their lipsticks. From the Jelly finish to the Etoinette Crystal Shine Lips-Talk, they are always smooth, pigmented, and long-lasting. PK005 is no different! It wears very comfortably on the lips and, while the creamy finish may wear off over the course of an hour or two, the color stains the lips and stays with you for 3+ hours. At $12.29, they are slightly more than a drugstore lipstick, but are made well worth it with the performance and beautiful packaging.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Friday, January 10, 2014

What's New at the Drugstore Tutorial | Bronze Glow

Products Used: 

  • CoverGirl TruBlend Liquid Makeup
  • CoverGirl TruBlend FixStick
  • Revlon Bronze Glow Highlighting Palette
  • Rimmel ScandalEyes Thick & Thin Liner
  • Etude House Lash Perm 3 Step Volumecara
  • Maybelline Master Glaze in Coral Sheen
  • CoverGirl TruMagic The Luminizer
  • NYC CityProof Twistable Intense Lip Color in Ballroom Blush

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Review & Swatches: Revlon Highlighing Palette in Bronze Glow


  • Smooth consistency
  • Even application
  • Pigmented
  • Satin finish, but no chunky shimmer
  • Versatile as both a bronzer, blush/highlight, and eyeshadow palette. 


  • Relatively expensive for a drugstore brand ($10.99 from ULTA)
  • Relatively buildable, although not necessarily for a broad skin tone range. 

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

What's New at the Drugstore Haul

For a tutorial of my eye look, check out my Instagram! For those asking, my nails are press ons from imPRESS.

Products Mentioned:

  • CoverGirl TruBlend Liquid Makeup
  • CoverGirl TruBlend FixStick
  • CoverGirl TruMagic The Sunkisser
  • CoverGirl TruMagic The Luminizer
  • CoverGirl Bombshell Intensity Liner
  • CoverGirl Bombshell Volume Mascara
  • Fergie Vicious Varnish in Voguing Madness & Giving Realness
  • Fergie On Edge Long-Wear Eye Pencils in China White & Ex-Stacey
  • Wet n Wild ColorIcon Palettes in The Naked Truth & Floral Values
  • L'Oréal Extraorinaire by Colour Riche
  • Maybelline Master Glaze Blush Stick in Coral Sheen
  • Revlon Bronze Glow Highlighting Palette


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Kardashian Beauty Touch Tone Palette Tutorial

Kardashian Beauty Touch Tones Gradient Eye Color Set in Echo (Pink) & Mirage (Neutral)

Product Used:

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