essence has done it again, people! Their products never cease to amaze me. They’re as affordable as it gets, yet they can compete with the super duper expensive brands. How do they do it?!
I always see Thrive mascara ads on Facebook (thanks, Facebook ad people, but you’re not getting me this time!) and wonder if it is REALLY that great. I have friends who have tried it and didn’t really care for it all that much, although they said the results were great-long, thicker lashes. So, I went on the hunt for a dupe. I found one… for $5. Actually, less than $5! I was able to score this mascara for $3.75 on Prime Day, BUT… it’s only $4.99 regularly, so win-win.
I couldn’t add to cart fast enough on this one. essence’s Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara adds insane length to lashes, but doesn’t feel stiff or brittle. I would compare it to Benefit’s Roller Lash mascara (yes… one of my favorites!). One of my all time favorite drugstore brand mascaras is Lash Paradise and I honestly think essence’s formula blows it out of the water… especially because of the price! It’s also gluten and cruelty free, you know, in case you’re overly concerned about the gluten in your mascara…
The only complaint I have is that because the formula is a little waxy like Benefit’s Roller Lash you have to bake under the eye like crazy so it won’t transfer and give you that raccoon look. They do have a waterproof version, but I honestly think it’s a little stiff and brittle for my liking. It does stay put a little better and is hard to remove even with eye makeup remover. It’s vegan and cruelty free, which is also great. For $4, you CANNOT beat it!
The weather is starting to change and we’re sprinting towards the winter months. This means dry skin, dry hair, dry nails. Ok, you can only moisturize so much and cuticle or nail oil is great… when you actually remember it. I don’t know about you, but things around here are extra crazy this time of year and 2020 has not been kind to anyone, so I definitely don’t have time for 500 steps in my skincare routine right now.
My nails keep splitting and breaking way, way, WAY back. If I paint them this won’t help with the breaking, so I thought maybe I’d go get them done soon with a gel manicure. Ok, that might help some, but it still won’t stop them from splitting or breaking too far back. I suddenly remembered seeing a Facebook ad for dip manicures. Hmm… ok, but are they sturdy enough to withstand the cracking, splitting, and breaking nails?
Like all of my posts, I’m sure you know where I headed. Time for some hardcore Amazon research. I found many kits, but I always opt for the ones with the best price and best reviews. Bingo… I found a starter kit that contained colors I love and there was a coupon with a lightning deal. I looked at all of the photos, read the reviews, and this seemed like the real deal, so I went for it.
What I liked about this particular set is it seemed like there were only a few steps, the kit came with everything already included, and the colors were perfect! I chose the kit with a gray and pink color scheme. This particular kit had a two different color options, so if I did fall in love with it, I could order a second set in a different color scheme.
The directions were simple and there wasn’t too much to read through. I was able to apply the dip powder easily and quickly. I completed my entire manicure in about half an hour. The manicure looked great for a first attempt. I know the second attempt will be even better now that I know what I’m doing. Next time I will make sure I don’t get sloppy with the base coat as it can go outside the nail line fairly easily. Once you go outside of your nail line it adheres to your skin and it’s a little difficult to correct. When applying regular polish I’ve always gone very far outside of my nail line and cleaned it up later, but this forces me to be a little bit neater.
My nails are now strong, sturdy, and aren’t tearing, breaking, or chipping like they have been the last few weeks. I think this is a great solution to help me grow my nails out without them continually breaking. The colors are great in this kit, it is quick and easy to apply, and I found it to be very forgiving for a dip manicure newbie. For the price of one manicure I will now be able to keep up with them myself at home whenever I have time. I believe I will be purchasing an electric nail file to sand down the manicures when I need to fill in in a few weeks. Otherwise I think they’ll become a little too thick after fill-ins.
If you like a little more length than what you currently have, Amazon has a lot of options for tips. The directions in this kit even tell you how to apply the nail tips, then apply the dip manicure for a great finish.
After being stuck in the Victoria’s Secret conundrum for over a decade, I finally embraced the fact that it MIGHT NOT BE the only good intimates option *gasp* I know, I know… it’s kind of like Clinique. Abercrombie & Fitch. Lulu Lemon. There ARE other brands and yes… they can be comparable, if not better.
Yes, I have always gotten amazing deals from Victoria’s Secret in the past, but like every other brand name, those deals seem to be becoming few and far between lately. So, I did what any great shopper does and hit up my Amazon Prime for other options. I’ve had great luck lately just typing in whatever I’m searching for then BAM! An item with thousands of glowing reviews pops up as “Best Seller”. So, today I have two alternatives for you-Body by Victoria underwire bras and cotton bikini underwear.
Body by Victoria Underwire Bra Dupe
So, the best option that came up on Amazon was Maidenform’s Comfort Devotion Embellished Bra. Reviewers even posted photos comparing their Victoria’s Secret version to the Maidenform version. They are so similar that you can hardly tell the difference. Here are some pros and cons that I found with this dupe:
The fit and cut is nearly identical to the Victoria’s Secret version. In fact, reviewers posted photos of the Body by Victoria bra with the Maidenform version and they looked nearly identical. Maidenform’s version has a three hook and eye closure, while the Victoria’s Secret version has only two. I definitely prefer the three hook version as it helps everything stay in place and be much more secure. Maidenform’s version even seems softer than Victoria’s Secret’s. This could mean it won’t hold up as well as the Victoria’s Secret version, but I’ll keep you posted on how they wear!
I don’t really know that there are many cons to this one. The straps seem a little stretchier, which could mean a little less support and the Maidenform version is definitely thinner. The Amazon selection of Maidenform also mostly have lace, which might not be the best style under tighter fitting t-shirts. Other than these minor cons, the bras are definitely comparable.
Victoria’s Secret Cotton Bikini Panties Dupe
Amazon Essentials has the best dupe for Victoria’s Secret cotton panties. You know, the ones you always get free when you have a VS credit card? Who doesn’t love those?! In fact, I’m not even giving you a pro/con list for this one (yeah… I know your inner Rory Gilmore just died a little…). They’re that good. I even grab these before I grab any of my Victoria’s Secret versions. They wash well, they hold up well, and they’re just plain comfortable. These are just plain great. The cut is also comparable to Victoria’s Secret Cotton Bikini Panties. The price? $2.25 per pair. Seriously. Buy some.
I’ve been setting my alarm earlier and earlier lately (I know… it’s quarantine… I should be sleeping in…). When I finally get out of bed I have very little time to get ready, but I NEED to look awake since I’ll be on camera teaching students. My tricks? Eye brightener, highlighter, and my trusty eye cream that even graced the list of Best Eye Creams from ConsumersAdvocate.org. So quick and easy! The three products I always use are also affordable AND on Amazon. Win-win!
I’ve written about this eye cream before and it seems to have a cult following. It has great ingredients, is never greasy, is affordable, and is convenient since it’s on Amazon. The awesome people at ConsumersAdvocate.org have placed this eye cream at number 2 on their Best Eye Cream Based on In-Depth Reviews list!
I’m a firm believer in concealer because… kids. I’ve always loved Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind‘s concealer, but lately I haven’t even had time for that. The TONYMOLY Panda’s Dream Brightening Eye Base is so easy to use that it’s fool-proof! Since it’s not really a concealer, but an eye base, you don’t have to match shades of skin tone, you can swipe it on, smooth it, and GO! I usually finish the under eye area off with powder, otherwise my mascara does stick to the base after a few hours and no one likes the raccoon look.
This base does a wonderful job of neutralizing dark circles and when paired with a little powder almost works as good as a concealer.
I keep seeing Facebook ads for Thrive Cosmetics highlighters. I can’t tell you how many freaking times I’ve clicked on those things! I just don’t want to become addicted to a product that I have to order from a company directly. Amazon, Target, and Ulta are my go-tos, so I figured they had to have something similar. Of course Amazon came though for me. The jane iredale Highlighter Pencil does everything the Thrive pencil does, has two different shades in one pencil, and came with a great sharpener. I use the pink toned color under the brow as a highlighter, under the lower lash line, and along the inner portion of the lid. The white color is great in the lower lash line and inner corner of the eye to open up the eyes. It makes my eyes appear so much more awake and open.
Alright… go open your eyes! Moms, I know you can identify with the lack of time and dark circles. You’re welcome!
We seriously must live on the most fertile plot of land in our entire city… maybe even state. We’ve had problems with weeds since we moved into this house. Yeah, I know… everyone has weeds. But weeds taller than you in a few weeks? I’ve used Preen, mulch, Round Up (uh huh… *gasp*… I used the poison… judge away), rocks in the flowerbed (don’t do it… it’s a bad idea), and anything else I could think of. It turns out the “natural” recipe I found (thanks again, Google…) actually works as well or better than Round Up. And the minstrels rejoiced (yaaaaaaaay).
I always hated using Round Up because of its ingredients, but I REALLY hated using it after getting a furry friend and now that we have kids. They love being outside and I hate cringing after spraying Round Up everywhere. This recipe is much, MUCH safer, works well, and lasts about as long as Round Up. So, spray the heck out of those weeds without getting dirty looks for using chemicals. This one actually works… promise!
1 gallon Distilled White Vinegar
2 cups table salt (iodized or not-both work!)
1 Tbsp Dawn dish soap (original blue works great)
Add all ingredients to a spray dispenser and mix well.
I buy the same produce over, and over, and… over. I never really try anything new and even though I do cook a variety of vegetables (that neither of my children will EVER eat) and I typically buy whatever fruit is on sale because if I get what looks good I end up with the entire produce department in my cart, which ends up rotting on our countertop. Scrolling through Facebook (stop judging… you know that’s all there is to do right now!) I noticed a friend’s post about her Misfits Market box. Hmmm… that’s an idea! The picture she posted had a wide variety of produce with a few pieces of each item. That’s PERFECT. I surely wouldn’t pick most of these things in the produce section and let’s be honest… when am I actually in a store lately? Um, never.
She posted her coupon code for referrals (25% your first order-woohoo! Use coupon code COOKWME-UD0VIL), so I checked out their website. It was easy enough to set up and just as easy to cancel or change your delivery schedule. They offer a smaller box for $22 or a larger box for $35.
I opted for the smaller box delivered every other week to see how it goes before going crazy with the larger box.
My first box arrived and I was like a kid receiving a Christmas gift on the doorstep. Since we’ve all been quarantined until the end of time, small things excite me, ok? I loved the surprise element of the box and that I could make something different for a change!
The produce was in an insulated box with a reusable ice pack (bonus!). Most of the produce was in pretty good shape except for an orange that was pretty worse for wear and had to be thrown out.
I’ve never really used radishes for much, but a great suggestion sheet was included in the package for buttered bread with sliced radish and sea salt. The mango and pears were not yet ripe, but were probably the best mango and pear I’ve ever eaten! The cucumber was great, but the celery was a little banged up and unfortunately didn’t last all that long in the refrigerator. I was able to use the base of the celery to propagate it in water, so we’ll call it a win. The potatoes and onions are still hanging in there, but I haven’t used them yet. Unfortunately the squash and zucchini only lasted a few days and had to be thrown away. I haven’t cooked the delicata squash yet, but I have found a few recipes that sound pretty good, so I’ll be making that next. I did find an awesome recipe for roasted rutabaga, which I’ve never even thought about buying before. The recipe is definitely worth a try!
The second box I received seemed to be a little less banged up as all of the produce survived. This box was left on the porch right-side-up, unlike the first box that was left upside down.
This box included a larger stalk of celery (that was in great shape this time and should last much longer than the last stalk), a head of broccoli, 3 oranges, 3 apples, a medium-sized yellow squash, a medium-sized zucchini, curly leaf parsley (which smelled AMAZING), 3 small jalapeno peppers, 3 salad cucumbers, an onion, two small sweet potatoes, and a small butternut squash.
This produce seemed to be in much better shape than the first box, but again, the first box was sitting on our front porch upside-down, so there’s that. After your first box you’re able to customize your box a little more or add items (for additional fees) to your next box. I chose not to since I just wanted to see what would come in boxes to be able to make new and different recipes. Hopefully more recipes will be coming your way thanks to these boxes!
I definitely think these boxes are worth it. They have saved me a visit to the store just for produce and have allowed me to try new recipes. If the next few boxes are as good as the first two I’ll be changing my subscription to the larger box. I don’t think you’ll regret checking out Misfits Market!
You read that right-Shape Tape concealer is HALF PRICE! Holla!!! Ok, I’ll stop saying holla now. But, really-it’s on sale! Treat yo self, people!
I still haven’t tried Shape Tape since it’s blown up as the best selling concealer, but I have found a pretty good dupe. Not having tried shape tape, the reviews for this dupe compare to those of Shape Tape, so Ill take their word for it.
I’m talking about NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop concealer. It is full coverage and lasts all day. It doesn’t get cakey or settle in lines. It does dry down pretty quickly, so if you plan on baking with this concealer have your loose powder on hand. This is probably my favorite full coverage concealer.
My other go to concealer doesn’t really compare to Shape Tape or Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, but I use it almost daily. I typically wear a BB cream, so since it’s not full coverage, full coverage concealer looks a little crazy. I use Maybelline Instant Age Rewind for everyday use. It blends well, covers dark circles, and stays put with a little light powder.
Check out these concealers-you won’t be disappointed!
My sister-in-law asked what foundation I’ve been using lately and it hit me: I have SO many foundations and I have so many that I love for many different reasons. I call foundation a love/hate relationship because while it can make a look awesome, it can also look plastered on if you don’t use a good primer or if your skin is too dry. I figured I’d share a few of my favorite full, medium, and light coverage options I use often and some tips that help get the most wear time out of each of them. I’d love to know some of your favorites!
After applying these foundations with a beauty blender, I follow up with a loose powder (I use Coty Airspun) and a setting spray (NYX Matte Finish is my go to) to get the most wear time out of any foundations I use.
I’m starting with this one because it conceals EVERYTHING and doesn’t look very cakey. Make sure to use a great moisturizer before applying and maybe a light primer. It looks pretty natural considering how well the coverage is. I also always follow up immediately with a loose powder and setting spray to make it last as long as possible.
This is probably my favorite and most used foundation. It goes on smoothly, covers very well without looking like you’ve caked 10 lbs of concealer on your face, and wears ALL day. It’s also easy to build up if you need more coverage. A little primer before applying goes a long way and finishing with loose powder and setting spray will get you an entire day of wear easily.
This is a great foundation if you’re looking for high coverage with an SPF. It goes on pretty well, but I chose a horrible shade for my skin tone. I’m sure if I get the right shade for my skin it will look A LOT better. It’s still a great foundation and I’m able to make it work with some blending when I want a good SPF foundation.
You guys… this foundation doesn’t even cost $5 and it’s one of my FAVORITES of all time. It really could be considered full coverage because it’s easily buildable. The color match is awesome, the formula is pretty thin, so it’s easy to apply, and it looks SO good on. You can’t go wrong with this one!
I love this foundation for something different. It kind of gives my skin a dewey look without looking like I have an oily face. Paired with a little loose powder it goes a long way. The only down side to this foundation is that since it is a cushion foundation, I feel like there is a lot less product in the container.
Last, but definitely not least, Burt’s Bees BB Cream. I use this nearly every day, so I don’t have to be careful when I apply it. It goes on smoothly and is practically a tinted moisturizer. It doesn’t break out my face and usually doesn’t look super oily by the end of the day if I use loose powder after applying. I don’t usually use a beauty blender with this and it blends great. Don’t bother with a primer because it lasts FOREVER. Primer usually makes this foundation settle in lines and look a little thicker than it should. A little goes a long way and as long as I have a great under eye concealer, this is great for everyday wear.
I have what I would consider normal lashes, but I always ask people what type of mascara they’re wearing when their lashes look great and they always tell me they’re wearing false lashes. Fail. I’m not a false lashes person. Don’t get me wrong… I love makeup and think it’s fun to play with and try new products, but years of dance has practically landed me in false lash trauma therapy. I HATED false lashes during competition season. They were easy enough to apply, but they were just a pain if they came loose, the glue dried up before the bottle was even opened, a pair ripped, whatever the reason was, they were a pain.
I found magnetic Ardell lashes and thought, “Hmmm… maybe?”. That was a big ole nope. They stuck to each other in the middle of my real lashes. Not attractive. Not to mention since they’re two pairs of lashes that stick to one another just picture what three layers of lashes look like. Like a caterpillar is attacking both of your eyelashes. Not a good look, just take it from me.
Now, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about Silly George magnetic lashes. A magnetic eyeliner is applied and the lashes are attracted to the eyeliner. The lashes never seem to look too fluffy, full, or fake, so I thought I’d check this option out. Uhhhh… $40 for fake lashes I might hardly or never wear? Next!
The only logical solution to my search was… AMAZON. Amazon solves all of life’s problems, right? Behold… the solution to all of your false lash needs. I basically found Silly George lashes on a budget, you guys! You should read the reviews. It made it sound like my 2 year old could apply them and wear them for a night out. Where would a 2 year old wear false lashes? Why would he wear falsies period? I don’t know… back to the lashes…
The eyeliner is easy to apply and the directions say to apply 2 coats. I HATE liquid liner and this liner was the easiest liquid liner I’ve ever applied. Once fully dry the lashes simply follow the liner and stay put. THAT IS IT. Seriously, it’s that easy. The awesome part about this kit is there are two sets of lashes for a full, fluffy look and a set that I would consider a “daily wear” set. They are SO good. You can’t beat the price (it seems to fluctuate, but it’s typically around $15-20) and they’re so easy to apply. Try them-I guarantee you’ll love them!
These makeup dupes were inspired (ok, ok… flat out stolen…) by Tati‘s FULL FACE OF DUPES | Drugstore vs. Highend YouTube video. In her video, Tati completes a full face of drugstore makeup on one side and matches it flawlessly with high end makeup on the other side. When I watched the video I was shocked at how closely she was able to match the high end side and I loved the look, so naturally, I had to try it myself.
So, for this post I’ll be reviewing all of the dupe products I tried from Tati’s video and a few other drugstore brand suggestions Tati makes in various other video tutorials. I won’t be comparing them to high end makeup, but reviewing them in general. I have to hand it to Tati on this one, some of my new favorite products are in this list and… most of them are at a price point of around $5.99… what?! Yes… $5.99. I didn’t add the price of most of these items because they fluctuate so much between drugstores and Amazon. Before I purchase anything I usually compare the prices (and availability) between Meijer (I have one close by), Target, Ulta, and Amazon. So… here we go!
Alright, we’ll start off with a primer. I love Smashbox primer, but it’s SO EXPENSIVE. It seriously works miracles, but I’ve never broken down and bought a tube because I don’t wear full coverage foundation enough to shell out the extra cash for a tube. NYX Studio Perfect Primer is very similar to Smashbox, but at a much more wallet-friendly price point. I was pretty pleased with the formula and I’m happy to use it instead of the pricier option.
Yes, I know, I know… I had a Wet n Wild nail polish in EVERY color of the rainbow as a kid and I used a different color on every finger, too, but Wet n Wild really has come a long way since then. This foundation is $4.68 on Amazon. Bam! Ok, really, though… my new favorite foundation. This formula goes on great with a Beauty Blender or brush and looks great all day. I do tend to get a little oily toward the end of the day, but it holds up well especially for the price. There are a variety of shade ranges (I think I might have chosen a shade a little too light for me, but for the price I can afford to get a few darker shades for the summer as well) and I think anyone can find a good match. I’m curious to see how L’Oreal Infallible 24 HR holds up compared to this formula. The L’Oreal is 3X the price of this one, so for a daily foundation, this is a great option.
I’m on the fence on this one. The coverage is great, but I was pretty dewy at the end of the day. It’s cheap, it covers well, it blends well, it sets well with a setting powder, and it looks pretty natural. For the price I would probably buy this one again as well. The only downside with this one is that it contains coconut, which might break a lot of people out. I’ll have to see if it breaks me out after wearing it all day today. It does have SPF 15, which is also a little added bonus. The other problem I have with this is the “cushion” container. I feel like there is hardly any product in there. For the same price (actually less…) I can get a whole bottle of the Photofocus. Yes, it is a little different coverage and a bit of a different look and I get that, but I neither love nor hate this one.
Yep-my grandma had this on her vanity, too. This is hands down the best loose powder I’ve ever used. You can bake with it (no, not bake as in bread… bake your makeup…), use it as a finishing powder, and it’s buildable and works great with bronzers and blush. I don’t think I’ll give any of my other loose powders a second chance after this one. You get a ton of product in the container and it’s so affordable.
I wanted to love this one. The packaging is great, it’s relatively inexpensive, and bronzers are always fun to work with. This particular formula has some pretty large chunks of glitter. Yeah… not always the look you want. On me it looked a little patchy, but that might have been operator error-for some reason I used a fairly densely packed and smaller brush than normal, so I’ll give this one another try and probably only use it when I want to feel more… tropical.
I find this bronzer much easier to work with than the Bronze Booster. It has a finer powder formula and blends much more easily. I will give you a word of caution-if you’re fair-skinned and purchase the shade “light” it is basically a pressed powder… bummer. Make sure you purchase the “bronzer” shade if you want an actual bronzer. Yes… I found out the hard way.
I love this blush! $2.99? Yes, please! I hate trying to figure out what blush color to choose. In Tati’s video she used Pearlescent Pink and I was like, “Yes!!!! That’s it!”. Although this is called pink, it does have hints of coral, which usually works well with any color combinations. I’m glad I added this one to my collection.
This blush isn’t in this video, but Tati uses it frequently in her tutorials. This blush is my absolute favorite. The color is soft (Romantic Rose), it’s matte, and it has such pretty packaging. You can’t go wrong with this one!
Now, I’m not a huge fan of highlighters to begin with because they just enhance every large pore on my face and make my skin look oily, but Wet n Wild hit a home run on this one. The shade in Tati’s video is Precious Petals. It’s such a soft, subtle shade and the shimmer is very fine. Highly recommend this one!
Since I loved the single highlighting powder so much, I figured I needed more options, right? Luckily Wet n Wild makes an entire palette. I’m torn on this one-I love the shades and there is a variety that will go with any makeup look, but several of these have fairly chunky glitter in them. I’m not 12… I can no longer dump glitter on myself and not be judged. Overall, though this still isn’t too terrible for the price to give you a few more options.