Tale of Two False Lashes

For special occasions, I love fake lashes. I don’t know if I’ve watched too many episodes of the Real Housewives or if I am just running out of special occasion makeup ideas, but it really feels like a party when you put your fakes on.

But! They are most certainly not all created equal. Here’s a move I can’t explain: I bought some lashes online from Sephora.com that had very mediocre reviews. Lashes are tough already without buying some that most of the Sephora community didn’t like.

I bought the Urban Decay Flirt style lashes online for $15, they look like this:

They also come with a tube of glue, which is where most of my problems started. The glue never got tacky enough to stick to my eyelid. Most lash glue after 10-15 seconds, gets tacky and if you stick it to your lid, it will easily stay and you can manipulate it into the right spot. Not this glue! It stayed extremely runny for almost 2 minutes.

My second problem is that the base of the lashes (the part where all the fibers attach) is very stiff and isn’t easily bendable. It has to be bendable because you have to curve it to follow your lash line. So with glue that wouldn’t stick and lashes that wouldn’t bend, it was a no-win.

But I don’t want to leave you empty-handed! The lashes I love are actually Sephora brand. I love the Astonish (and cutting it down a little bit so it is only half that size) and Flair.

Sephora Astonish, $10 comes with glue:

Sephora Flair, $10, also comes with glue:

The glue that comes with these lashes is excellent and the lashes last 2-3 wears if you are gentle with them. For $5 cheaper than Urban Decay, they are such winners. What lashes do you love? Have you ever had trouble with false lashes? Let me know!

Comparison of two cheek highlighters

I love cheek highlighters for special occasions. But recently, I’ve decided I also love them in the summer for no occasion at all! When you have been outside and maybe have just a bit of a tan, a subtle little glow or shimmer on your cheek is so pretty. I’ve always had the Smashbox Halo Wand in my makeup drawer and recently got the Benefit Watts Up in a trial size. They are so different but I love them both!

First up: Smashbox Highlighting Halo Wand, $32, Sephora

It comes in two colors: Pearl and Gold. For my skin, gold is the better choice but if you are more fair or have more pink tones in your complexion, pearl might be a better choice for you. I purchased this before my wedding actually because what better time to have glowy, dewy skin than on your wedding day?!

With one push of the bottom button, a perfect amount of highlighter is distributed into the brush to cover all the spots on your face. It gives a subtle golden, iridescent glow and even though it’s a liquid, it doesn’t crease after wear.

Second in line for a review: Benefit Watt’s Up! Highlighter, $30, Sephora

Watt’s Up comes in one color that is more similar to the Smashbox Pearl. Of course the travel size didn’t have it, but the full size product has a

blender sponge on the bottom to help spread out the product. Unnecessary because your fingers work well, but nice touch. I would also guess the sponge would pick up a lot of the color in the process…

It’s a completely different consistency than Smashbox, it’s a solid instead of a cream or liquid. I actually think it’s slightly easier to apply because of this.

Overall, Benefit is a more subtle product and useful for daily wear (if you wear it right) while Smashbox is more of a special occasion highlighter because it creates a more dramatic effect.

The verdict: if I could only have one, since they are nearly the same price, I’d buy Smashbox. It’s a bigger impact and perfect for highlighting your cheeks and brow for a special night out.

Click here to buy Smashbox Cheek Highlighter from Sephora.com and click here to buy Benefit Watt’s up!

Best products to not feel pasty

Is “pasty” officially a word? I think so. We women use it all the time to describe how we look when it is getting close to the season of summer sunshine but we have yet to really get a tan. I’ve heard this word (used interchangeably with “pale” or “ghostly”) at least a dozen times in the past few weeks so I know we’re all on the same schedule when it comes to getting rid of our winter white.

You’ve seen a few of my past posts on tanning products and spray tans, but it was high time a full post was dedicated to getting a little bit of a glow, including on your face. I’m going to the Denver Derby this weekend, a huge downtown Denver Kentucky Derby party, and I’m wearing a white dress. I don’t want my dress to look darker than my skin so I needed to get a little glow before Saturday!

Best face products for a glow:

Hands down, Dior Healthy Glow Sunlight is my favorite face bronzer. It never gives that orange-cheek or over-bronzed look and can be layered on for a darker look or just brushed on your cheeks, nose, forehead and chin for a quick addition of color. Sunset was too dark for me personally, but if you have naturally dark or ethnic skin, it would be a good option. Sunlight is perfect for anyone fair-medium.

If you like shimmer with your bronze or want a bronzer that also acts as a highlighter, look no farther than Bobbi Brown’s bronze shimmer brick. With a fantastic and not-too-crazy sheen and a gradient compact (so you can grab colors from the light end in winter, dark end in summer) it’s one of my top picks.

The Dior Healthy Glow is $55 and the Bobbi Brown is $42, so a nice price difference as well.

Best one-day-only tanning lotions:

My two favorites are Tantalizer Bronzer and St Tropez One Night Only lotion but they are still very different.

Tantalizer: More golden, more shimmer, easily washes off in one shower

St Tropez: More coffee/chocolate, easier to blend, lasts a little longer

Here they are side-by-side. Tantalizer is on the left, St Tropez is on the right. I did a blob and a quick streak test.

tanner 1

tanner 2


Best gradual glow:
This category has options in two price points.

SelfTANtalizer is the gradual bronzing option from Lorac. Find it here at the Beauty Bar for $32.

Jergen’s Natural Glow Graduall tanner for $7 is a classic. It’s been around for ages and is the best drugstore option for an easy, gradual tan. They have options for light/medium and medium/tan skin.

Shellac Manicure Maintenance

I was sitting with a few of my girlfriends a few weeks ago and we all had shellac manicures. When one of them mentioned her shellac always chips within a day or two, the whole table chimed in and said they always have the same experience. I asked if they use the oil on their shellac and was immediately met with blank but interested stares that said a clear “No idea what you’re talking about.”

Moral of the story: if you get shellac and you don’t use Solar oil daily, you’re missing out.

Solar oil is a fabulous and natural blend of almond oils that smells great and literally absorbs into your cuticles and shellac (shellac is porous, the new OPI gel manicures are NOT, which is why they tend to weaken your nails much more than shellac) and keeps your shellac from cracking, chipping or just plain drying out. As you wear shellac, it shrinks and dries, which is why Solar oil is absolutely necessary to keep it looking perfect for the full 10-14 days.

How do you use it? Everyday, brush it across the base of each nail, rub it in and you’re done! I like using it right before bed so it has all night to absorb and moisturize.

And at $7-$8 per bottle, it’s one of the cheapest beauty investments you can make! Enjoy!

Valentine’s Day Makeup: It’s not what you think

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! And whether you’re celebrating Singles Awareness Day, Valentine’s Day with your long-time sweetie or a date with a newer love, it’s all about fun and romance. Of course, it’s time for me to think about makeup!

In my humble opinion, there are three keys to Valentine’s Day makeup:

1. Non-sticky lipstick

2. Glowy skin

3. Guy-friendly makeup

My husband has long-complained about sticky lipgloss. He’s just not a fan of getting a quick kiss and coming away with shiny lips and a nice shade of whatever I was wearing. And who can blame him! He even got me a Sephora giftcard for Christmas and gave it to me under the sole condition that I use it for only non-sticky lip products. 🙂

So on Valentine’s Day, it’s more important than ever to make your makeup a little easier on your man. I see women go wrong all the time on holidays with more makeup. More eyeshadow, more blush, more lipstick. That’s not necessarily the direction you want to go. “More” doesn’t equal dressed up.

Here’s my Valentine’s Day makeup kit:

1. Smashbox highlighting pen in either Gold or Pearl, depending on your look and skin tone

2. NARS matte lipstick (the most non-sticky lipstick I’ve ever tried)

3. An extra swipe or two of Dior Extase mascara

4. And, because it is a sexy holiday, Yves St. Laurent eye palette that does my favorite smokey eye.

Smokey eye + golden glow from the Smashbox = total winner.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Holiday Party Lips

‘Tis the Season to break out the red lipstick, lip glosses and lip stains. On my most recent trip to my local Sephora, one of the makeup specialists was wearing the most gorgeous lip color. I asked her what it was and she directed me to Givenchy Gloss D’Interdit in Tempting Rouge. It’s beautiful! It looks fire engine red in the bottle below but is instead the most flattering, shiny, shimmery shade of red.

The brush is so thin, it’s like a liner. With some careful strokes you get perfect application and the gloss doesn’t run or smear, it stays right on your lips. It’s also hydrating. According to Givency’s description, “Dehydrated hyaluronic microspheres slip into the lips’ fine lines and hold the water naturally present within the skin’s surface. Like small sponges, they soak in the water and increase their volume by up to 50 times for an immediately smoother and plumper effect.” I can’t tell you if there are tiny sponges in the lip gloss, but it does not dry out your lips!

Click here to find it from Sephora for $27.50!

Downside: It’s definitely a gloss and is not long-lasting.

Upside: The color and shine are to die for.

Ultimate Gift List

It’s the holiday season! And I LOVE shopping for, wrapping and (most of all) giving presents. I’ve already been shopping for everyone on my list and since some of those people are likely reading this, I’m not going to give away any hints. However, I have complied some great ideas for the beauty product lover (or anyone!) in your life!

For wine lovers

How gorgeous is this bottle of Bordeaux Lust nail polish? $30 Click here to find it from Neiman Marcus. Combine it with an incredibly classy, vintage-looking wine case. Perfect for parties, picnics or anytime! The case even comes with a stainless steel corkscrew.


For the friend who needs a humorous boost of encouragement

Keep Calm survival kit from Urban Outfitters for only $8! Those band aids are awesome!


Or, for a luxe option, check out the Philosophy Care Package. For $89 it includes their Purity wash (excellent, mild face soap, love that stuff) plus the exfoliating wash, moisturizer (which is great as well) and two peels.


For the scent-obsessed (and the hard-to-buy-for)

If you haven’t tried any of the Fresh Brown Sugar products, you’re missing out. The scent almost has a cult following. It’s crisp, sweet, mild, warm and energizing all at the same time. There’s now a candle that encompasses the amazing scent and it makes the perfect gift for the hard-to-buy-for person. Whether it’s your mother-in-law or some great friends you love to go out to dinner with, they are sure to love this candle. There’s also a trio of mini candles you can find here.


For the beauty product crazy person

This gift is for those who just freaking love beauty products. The basic brush set from Bobbi Brown is available here for $175 and will change the way make-up enthusiasts apply their favorite products. Find the travel brush set here for $125.


3 ideas for stocking stuffers

1. Fresh Sugar Lip Balm for $22.50.

2. Edgy Deborah Lipman nail polish trio for $29.00.

3. And something completely different. These “Love” earrings from Urban Outfitters for only $10.