2014 Make Up For Ever Birthday Gift from Sephora Review


I couldn’t wait to get my hands on my free birthday gift from Sephora!  Make Up For Ever is a brand that I’ve been wanting to trying for quite some time, so being able to try one of their mascaras and lipsticks was awesome!

Here are the goodies I received:


Smoky Extravagant Mascara


If I were have chosen a mascara sample myself, it wouldn’t have been this one (I would have chosen the Smoky Lash mascara, personally).  I’m usually not a fan of oddly shaped brushes as they usually are very ineffective for my lashes.  But it’s a free sample, so I’ll take it!

The applicator brush is actually quite large – about the size of my eye!  I found application to be fairly easy despite the brush size and shape, but I do need an extra q-tip as I accidentally get a few mascara blobs on my eye lids (this is why I prefer smaller, slimmer brushes).

I didn’t think the overall effects were anything game changing.  It added some length and fullness, but it wasn’t anything that any other mascara hasn’t done for me.

Otherwise, I’ve had no issues with smudging or flaking, and it washes off easily with soap and water.

The full-size version of this mascara retails for $24.00.


Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in Copper Pink (N9)


I really liked this lipstick!  I thought to color was really pretty and fairly universal.

The formula was fairly moisturizing (but definitely not the most moisturizing lipstick I’ve ever tried), and the pigmentation is exactly my preference – moderate color with just a hint of sheerness.

It has a gentle sheen finish which is very common in cream lipsticks.  The color is not terribly long lasting, though.  I generally need to reapply around the 3 hour mark as the color has faded significantly.

There are literally dozens of other shades that this lipstick comes in, and I plan on checking a couple of them out!  Yay lipstick!

The full-sized version of this lipstick retails for $20.00.


I thought the lipstick shade was a really nice color for Fall, so I pulled together a light autumnal/ transitional makeup look featuring my Make Up For Ever samples.


Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Sandstorm

Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant Mascara

Almay Eye Liner in Black Brown

Coast Scents Forever Blush in Fresh

Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in Copper Pink


Have you tried any Make Up For Ever products?  Which ones are your favorites?


Jouer Luminizing Cheek Tint Review


I have to start out by telling you guys how much it truly pains me to write this review.  It’s not good. The reason it pains me so much is because this product is from a brand that I’m very fond of – Jouer.  *sigh*

I had a bunch of Birchbox points that were burning a hole in my pocket and I knew I really wanted to spend them on a few Jouer products so I could further explore their line (as I have only so far tried their lip glosses).

And then I stumbled upon the Jouer Luminizing Cheek Tint in Rosy Glow and I knew I had to have it.


The packaging was different from Jouer’s usual dark packaging.  This was a shiny gold compact that was surprisingly teeny-tiny.

I opened the compact to find the most beautiful shimmery rosy product.  Then I swatched it on my hand to discover absolutely no color pay off at all.

And then I remembered that this product is self-adjusting (according to your body’s ph levels) and the rosy color would slowly start to develop color over 20 minutes.

Well, that never really happened…



Putting the product on my cheeks was unpleasant.  I hated the texture.  It has a texture similar to Vaseline, but thicker.  :/  It felt very wet and sticky when applied..  And it never really became one with my skin, instead, it just sort of rested on top like a sticky mess.

And it made my face look super, super shiny.  As a girl with oily skin, that is not the look I’m going for.



On my lips, it was much of the same.  It was moisturizing, but I never felt like it absorbed into my lips.

The feeling of the product on my lips lasted for several hours.  Normally that would be great, but since there was virtually no color added from the lip product, it might as well not have been there.

It made my lips shiny, and that’s about it.


So here’s the final result.  After 20 minutes of waiting, this was the most color development I got.

You can see a tiny bit of rosiness, but I may as well not be wearing makeup at all, in my opinion.


I wish I had previously tried Jouer’s regular cheek tint as I feel it would be a better product, and of course, to see how it compares to this one.

For those who may have wanted to try a Jouer product and now feel a bit nervous about it, let me just say that my bad experience with this one product has not deterred my desire to try more products from Jouer.  I know they are a great cosmetic company, and it’s not uncommon for great companies to have the occasional product that just doesn’t work well.

I still love you, Jouer.  :)

So, the Luminizing Cheek Tint retails for $24.00.  I say skip it and buy one of their lip glosses instead!  You’ll be much happier!

What are your favorite products from Jouer?



Benefit Hello Flawless Powder Cover-Up Review


As a general rule, I’m truly very happy with my skin.  I feel extremely lucky that I have very few skin problems.

That being said, I do have a couple of flaws that need attention from time to time.  One of those issues is redness due to sun damage.

I don’t always feel like putting liquid makeup on my face, like bb cream, foundation, or tinted moisturizer, however, I noticed many powders are often too sheer to really cover up problem areas.

So I was officially on the hunt to find a powder that would be strong enough to cover up my redness.

My first thought was to trying Bare Minerals Original Foundation Powder since it works great for my mom.  However, after trying it out at Ulta, I quickly realized it was not the right product for me.

But then the rep from Ulta recommended I try Benefit’s Hello Flawless Powder Cover-Up.  And I was very pleased with the results!

I have the shade Honey (I’m Cute As A Bunny), which is a nearly perfect color match for me!


I adore the packaging of this compact.  It’s white and black with a cute polka-dot frame on the top.

It comes with an attached mirror, which is great for touch ups on the go.

Also, you can lift up the pan to expose a small storage space where the applicator sponge and brush live.

But we warned, the included “brush” is worthless.  Don’t use it.

The sponge is use for more concentrated coverage in problem areas.  Which is great, but we all know a sponge can be difficult to clean, so I expect to replace it in the near future.  However, since I’ve been using this powder compact fairly regularly, I find I don’t really use the sponge very often.


In my opinion, I think this powder gives fantastic coverage!  It really covers up the majority of the redness in my face.

Most of the time, I apply the powder with my E.L.F. Studio Complexion Brush and only use the sponge if I really need extra coverage for a problem area.  But most days, I just use my brush to apply a little extra powder in those areas, and I’m truly good to go.

I think it applies and blends really easily, and I’ve really not have any problems with it clinging to dry patches.  And it doesn’t look cakey, either, even when I apply it heavily to certain areas.

The only thing I don’t care for with application is that I’ll have huge clouds of makeup puff up as I push my brush into the powder compact.  Like, so much so, you would think I was using a loose powder.  It’s kind of crazy.  It makes me cough.

And I don’t think it’s the brush I’m using – I can use the same brush with my Rimmel Stay Matte powder and not have that problem.

Speaking of which, I wouldn’t say this Benefit powder keeps my skin looking matte.  Unlike when I use Rimmel Stay Matte, I find I’m looking really shiny about 4-5 hours later.


Here’s the before and after shot:


In the “After” shot, I used the sponge applicator on my cheek area, and used my E.L.F. Studio Complexion Brush to apply the powder everywhere else.


Overall, I’m generally very pleased with this powder cover-up, and I find myself reaching for it often.

It retails for $34.00, which is a pretty expensive for a powder compact.  However, if you’re really struggling to find a powder that can cover up problem areas, you may find this product is worth it.

Also, for any Birchbox subscribers, it’s available in the Birchbox shop, so it’s a great item to have points and discounts applied to!

Have you tried the Benefit Hello Flawless Powder Cover-Up?  What did you think?




Clinique High Lengths Mascara Review


I have found new joy in trying out different mascaras!

10 years ago, I had to be really careful about which mascaras I used because my eyes were so sensitive and most mascaras made my eyes itch like crazy.  But I think so many brands are now trying to remove some of the nastier ingredients often found in cosmetics, and so I’m finding so many more mascaras that I’m actually able to use!

I recently tried out a mascara that caught my eye quite a while back – Clinique’s High Lengths Mascara.

As you can probably tell by the name, it’s a lengthening mascara.  It promises to add a crazy amount of length and grab onto even the tiniest little lashes.

And it has a crazy little curved comb applicator thing.  Just look at it!  :)



So here are my lashes without mascara.  All I’ve done at this point is curl them.



And here are my lashes using two coats of Clinique High Lengths mascara.


Meh.  This mascara is just okay in my opinion.

The formula is fairly wet, but it dries really fast.  Therefore, I tend to have some problems with clumping when I apply my second coat.

The applicator comb is interesting and takes a few tries to get used to.  It does separate the lashes pretty well (at least on the first coat, anyway…), but the biggest struggle for me is using it on my bottom lashes.  To get the right angle, the stick sometimes gets a big glob of mascara right on the bridge of my nose….   (I’m aware I could use a different mascara on my bottom lashes, but whatever).

While this mascara does provide some lengthening of my lashes, I didn’t think it was anything ground-breaking.  And for my personal preference, I need more fullness and volume as well.  You know, a bit more drama.  ;)


I have had no issues with smudging or flaking, however, I have noticed some very slight discomfort while wearing this mascara.

And please take that last part with a grain of salt, as I have mentioned before, I have sensitive eyes.  My discomfort seems to be that my lashes feel a little bit crunchy and, for me, it gets a slightly uncomfortable toward the end of the day.


So overall, for me, this mascara is not something I would purchase again.  I don’t think it’s a bad mascara, but it just didn’t work out well for me personally.

Also worth noting, I have tried other Clinique mascaras that I do enjoy, so it must just be this particular formula that I don’t care for.

Have you tried the Clinique High Lengths mascara?  What did you think?


In other news, I feel like my poor little blog is being neglected.  :(

I’ll tell you, this wedding planning stuff is no joke.  And I’ve only just begun!

I think at the moment the biggest challenge is just finding the venue – WHERE the heck are we going to get married?  I truly believe things will calm down a little bit once we determine the location and venue, and things will fall into place a little more easily.

For those who may be interested, I have no intention of turning this into a “wedding blog”, but I do anticipate doing some blog posts related to wedding beauty, hair, and fashion on occasion.

So I hope you’ll bear with me as I may be posting a little less than normal, but I still intend to post at least twice a week, if not more.

Anyway, I hope you guys all have a fantastic weekend!

Tarte: True Love


As I mentioned when I reviewed a couple of Tarte products in the shade Tipsy, I got into a little bit of trouble during the 30% off Friends & Family sale at Tarte…. ;)

True Love, a neutral-toned watermelon pink, is unlike most of the other colors in my cheek and lip collection.  Most of my cheek and lip colors have peach or even orange mixed in with the pink because my skin tone leans slightly warm.  But True Love is a cooler, more neutral shade that I actually think works with my skin tone (or any skin tone, really).

I bought the Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush (I can’t help myself – these blushes are awesome) and the LipSurgence Lip Gloss, both in the shade True Love.



Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in True Love – $26.00


Dang, I love these blushes!  They’re so darn pretty!  Look at that embossed Amazon River print!  Love it!

Applying this blush if effortless.  It’s easy to build up the color and it’s easy to blend out.

True Love looks gives my cheeks a “just pinched” look.  It’s quite natural looking.  I love it!

And the color is completely matte – no glitter up in here!  :)


LipSurgence Lip Gloss in True Love – $19.00


I was happy to discover this lip gloss was moderately sheer, as I was worried the shade would be a bit too intense for my preferences.

It has just the perfect amount of pigmentation that I look for in a lip gloss (it sort of reminds me of the same color pay off as the Revlon Colorburst lip glosses).

The applicator shape is interesting.  Instead of a standard doe foot applicator, a large chunk has been removed from the applicator sponge.  I think the idea here is that this applicator will “hug” the shape of your lips for easier and faster application.  Personally, I thought the lip gloss applied just as quickly and easily as any applicator sponge.

I get about 4-5 hours of wear time with this lip gloss.  The color fades a bit around hour 3, but it’s still visible on my lips overall.

And I’m sorry to report that this lip gloss is a little bit sticky.  Not crazy sticky, but a little bit.


Overall, I am happy with my True Love purchases.  I think the color works well for me, and it different from the rest of the colors in my collection.  Tarte items can be a bit spendy, so I’m very thankful that I had that 30% off discount at the time.

I think True Love is a shade that can be worn year round – I don’t think it falls into a specific season.


If you’re a fan of the shade True Love, but pressed powder blushes and lip glosses just aren’t your thing, that’s okay!  True Love is also available in a cheek stain and a lip crayon!

What do you think of True Love?  Are you a fan of Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes and LipSurgence Lip Glosses?



Birthday Reflections – The Big 30

Yesterday was my birthday.  And it’s so weird to say that I’m 30 now.

I had been quietly freaking out a little bit for the last few months, however, in the last couple of weeks, I was suddenly okay with it.  Still feels weird, but I’ve realized that all the stupid stuff I did in my 20’s would be behind me (not that I won’t do stupid stuff in my 30’s too, but you get the idea).

So here I am.  30.

Man that’s weird to say.


But do you know what’s even weirder to say??  I’m engaged. 


When I got home from work yesterday, I found Chad on bended knee and he asked me to marry him.

He had created a beach scene in our living room (there was SAND and everything!) and it was a very sweet and magical moment.

I waited a long time for Chad to pop the question and it’s so surreal now that it actually happened!


I think my 30’s are off to a pretty good start so far!


As far as goals for myself, I want to make health and fitness a higher priority.  I was disappointed with my body and overall fitness level all throughout my 20’s, and I don’t want to have another decade of “Big Michelle”.  Things have to change.

Also, I’m hoping for more growth in my career.  While I’ve changed industries a few times (Travel, TeleComm, and Higher Education) my job description has pretty much stayed the same (Customer Service).  I’m hopeful that I can grow into bigger and better things at the University I’m currently working for.

And, of course, I hope that Chad and I will continue to be ridiculously happy together and that our lives will be filled with love and joy.



Okay, this is a beauty blog, so I’ll talk a little bit about beauty.  :)

This past Saturday, we went out to dinner (fondue!) to celebrate my mom’s and my birthdays (my mom’s birthday is just 3 days before mine).

And for the occasion, I created a really simple and fairly neutral makeup look that I was really pleased with.

Michelle Pic 2-5

These are the items I used to create the look:


Smashbox Photo Op Light Primer

Benefit Hello Flawless Custom Pressed Powder in Honey, I’m Cute As A Bunny (full review on this product coming soon!)

Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes

Stila Smudgestick in Graphite

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Tipsy

Mark. Lip Gloss in Honey



On a side note, I stumbled across this video on Facebook just days before my birthday, and it made me chuckle.  Enjoy.  :)

Garfunkel & Oats 29/31



Ipsy Glam Bag August 2014 Review


Guys, I gotta be honest and tell you that this is my final Ipsy bag, as I have officially cancelled my subscription.

Don’t get me wrong, this is still a good subscription service, but I’ve noticed that I’m not actually using the majority of the makeup and products Ipsy is sending me.  It’s not that I dislike the product, but rather the color is generally not my favorite.  So most of my Ipsy goodies are just sitting at the bottom of my makeup drawer, completely untouched because I’d rather wear the colors and products I like and picked for myself.

And I’ve also noticed a big decline in the amount of full sized products that Ipsy is sending out over the past few months.  My bags used to come packed with around 3 full sized items, and now it’s usually just one.  Not the end of the world, but we tend to have certain expectations after a while….

So anyway, those are the reasons that I’m cancelling.  As I said, it’s still a good and FUN subscription to have, it’s just no longer a great fit for me, personally.

** Ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription that sends you a combination of deluxe-sized samples and full-size products that are personalized for you based on the results of your beauty quiz. Along with the beauty products, you also receive a monthly (super cute) make-up bag! The cost of an Ipsy subscription is $10/month. **

I thought this month’s bag was pretty cute.  A round pencil bag style with adorable orange polka-dots.  The only thing I don’t care for is the plastic-y material.  If they had chosen another material, it could have been better.

Goodies received:


Dr. Brandt Pores No More Primer

Full size = $45.00

Crap – I totally forgot to add my photo of this primer into this post!  Sorry!

This is a beige, flesh-y colored primer that makes my skin feel really soft and matte.

I’m not sure if it really blurred my fine lines and pores, but I was happy with the overall effects.

I don’t know if I like it quite as much as the Smashbox Photo Op Light primer, but I definitely do like it and will continue to use my sample until it’s gone.


Urban Decay Perversion Mascara

Full size = $22.00


I get excited every time I see an Urban Decay product in a sub box.  However, I’m usually let down by the product in some way.  And this mascara is no exception. This mascara promises “Bigger, Blacker, Badder” lashes, and I just didn’t feel like it completely delivered.

I didn’t have any problems with flaking or smudging, but I just wasn’t wow’d by the results.  I noticed a bit of lengthen and added fullness, but not nearly enough for me to purchase a full size and pay $22.00 for it.  Just not enough lash drama for my preferences.

It seems that Urban Decay is just not my brand.  :(


Lord & Berry Silk Kajal Kohl Eye Pencil in Black

Full size = $16.00


You guys know I love me a black eye liner!  I was really excited to try this one by Lord & Berry, a brand I’ve heard of many times, but never tried before.

The pencil felt very luxurious as it glided across my lash line, and created a nice dark line.  Application was very smooth, but the pencil still had nice grip so I felt completely in control during application.

Sadly, I did have some smudging by mid-day.  The line was still there, but I had black smudges all over my eye lid.  That was pretty disappointing.


Absolute Lip Balm, Grape flavor

Full size = $5.99


I was surprised to discover these Absolute lip balm are from the Nicka K brand.  Who knew?

I thought the packaging on this lip balm was nice.  It’s a little tin pot that looks really cute.  But I REALLY don’t like applying lip products, especially balms, from a pot.  It’s just unnecessarily messy.  Especially when the formula is super soft like this one.

I did find this lip balm to be very moisturizing, and it made my lips really glossy.  However, upon closer inspection, I noticed that there was GLITTER in the balm!  WHY?????

And while I don’t care for the grape flavor, the scent wasn’t too strong, thankfully.

For those who might be interested in purchasing this lip balm tin, it’s worthwhile to note that the full size is a two-pack with two different flavors.


Coastal Scents Forever Blush Duo in Elegant and Fresh

Full size = $7.95


Coastal Scents is one of those brands that is hit or miss with me.  And I was really happy to discover that these blushes are lovely!

I received Elegant, a soft warm pink with a hint of shimmer (also the color on my cheeks in the photo above) and Fresh, a deep apricot which looks very natural and beach-y when applied.

This blush isn’t super pigmented, so you do need to build it up a bit, but the overall results are lovely.  And at $7.95 for a full size, I would absolutely pick up a few colors.  And even if I didn’t have an Ipsy discount code, Coastal Scent runs promotions all. the. time.


Overall, this was a pretty good Ipsy bag.  It had lots of fun items to experiment with, even if they didn’t all work out for me, personally.  Part of me will miss my Ipsy subscription, just because it’s fun, but I think overall, cancelling was the right call for me right now.

Did you get anything awesome in your Ipsy bag this month?