Palette Wars: Urban Decay vs. Tarte

Palette Wars: Urban Decay vs. Tarte

*Sigh*  I hate to go here, but there is a clear winner when it comes to eyeshadow palettes in my makeup arsenal.  I know… you guys probably think you already have it figured out.  Well, after trying and TRYING to love a certain cult favorite eyeshadow palette, I just can’t do it.  Urban Decay, you are not for me.  Could it be the particular palettes I happen to have?  Maybe. I took a chance on Tarte and it paid off.  Big time.

Over the holidays I purchased Naked Smoky, Naked Heat, and Naked 3.  My typical daily look consisted of primarily matte shades from the Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics palette.  They are very pigmented, complemented my skin tone, and were great for a daily look.  I’ve always wanted to branch out and try bolder colors and since Urban Decay Naked palettes seem to be everywhere, I assumed this was a great place to start.  UD Naked Smoky was the first palette I purchased during the holiday season.  I was so excited to open the palette, was pumped to find a small tutorial insert in the package, and quickly went to work after ripping the package apart.  Unfortunately I had to send the palette back after realizing one of the shades was misspelled (read about the epic fail here).  After going through the tutorial, I quickly decided the smoky eye is not for me.  For some reason, no matter what brushes I use it looks like I grabbed charcoal and smeared it all over my eyes.  Could be my fair skin, could be my eye shape, I could just be an epic fail at eyeshadow application, who knows… all I know is it doesn’t work for me.

Next, I purchased the UD Naked Heat palette.  Well, just like I couldn’t rock the smoky colors, the “heat” colors made me look like I had pink eye or a serious lack of sleep.  Not exactly attractive.

Enter UD Naked 3.  Ok… this one got a little better, but there were still more cool tones in this palette.  There are some pink and purple toned shades, but they’re on the cooler side.  The entire reason I love my Naked 2 Basics palette is that it is full of warm colors that compliment my fair skin so well.  Urban Decay Naked 3 = Fail #3.

Right about the time I purchased the Naked Heat palette I decided to take a chance on another palette.  This was really more of a “collection” than a palette.  I kept seeing ads from Sephora and Ulta for Tarte’s Pineapple of My Eye Collector’s Set.

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Photo Credit: Sephora

Well, I felt like I couldn’t justify a giant set like this.  It didn’t all fit in the container (organizational me couldn’t deal…), I don’t need green eyeshadow (I’m not a 5-year-old playing with Barbie makeup, guys…), and… it’s expensive.  Of course the interwebs had to read my mind and suggest a different collector’s set that DID fit in the packaging, still had an adorable little pineapple (stand tall, wear a crown, people) and sequined packaging, and it was, wait for it… ON SALE!  Done and done.

 

 

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Photo Credit: Ulta

 

What I love about the Sweet Escape Collector’s Set is… everything.  Literally everything.  I decided on this set because of the awesome packaging and  now have found my favorite liquid eyeliner, blush, and SEVERAL eye makeup looks that I never would’ve attempted before.

I’m typically a matte eyeshadow type of girl, but this set has changed my mind.  The shimmer shades are so pigmented and so full coverage that very little goes such a long way and looks great on.  The blush colors are awesome-a great pink and a more rose option, and a bronzer and highlighter to complete the look.  I’m now completely in love with the liquid eyeliner (I don’t do liquid eyeliner… I have to do my makeup with midgets yelling for me in the background, people).  I ordered this set directly from Tarte when they had a 25% off sale during the holidays.  Since ordering this set Tarte has mailed 20% off coupons.  I will definitely be purchasing another Tarte shadow palette using their coupons.

So, for pigmentation, value, ease of use, and packaging… Tarte wins.  Sorry Urban Decay, but I’m just not that impressed.  I purchased an entire set of all of these shades of shadow, blushes, bronzers, mascara, eyeliner, and lip color for less than the price of an Urban Decay palette.  Maybe I’ve just purchased the gimicky palettes and will feel differently with a full palette from the Naked line.  For now, I’m not forking over the $54 to find out.

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Give Me Lip: A Few of My Favorite Lip Products

Give Me Lip: A Few of My Favorite Lip Products

Winter is a horrible time to try new matte lipsticks, but… here I am, testing every brand and color ever produced.  I’m always up for a challenge, so why not?  I also figured if I’m going to review some new matte lipsticks I’ve tried, I might as well throw a few of my favorite lip crayons and a gloss or two in while I’m at it.  Since I’m doing the near impossible feat of wearing matte lipsticks in the dry winter months, I’ll also provide a few tricks I’ve found to keep my lips from looking like dried little raisins.  You’re welcome.  Pucker up and enjoy!

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream

img_5919This one is a bit of a mixed review.  NYX is the first TRUE matte lipstick I tried and although I guess I liked the formula (I really didn’t have it on long enough to give it a fair shot), the colors I chose couldn’t have been more terrible for my complexion.  Seriously.  Absolutely horrible.  All I see are nude matte lips.  Well, let me tell you, this is not a look for this girl whose skin hasn’t seen the sun in quite some time.  Sadly, it went into the drawer and I went back to my trusty stand-by lip crayons (they’re way more forgiving around the lip line anyway…).

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

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You guys.  These are AMAZING.  Every color in this set is perfection (which is hard to do with my skin tone), the consistency of the actual lipstick is great, and it stays all. day. long.  No joke.  I applied it at 6:30 am and took it off with micellar water that night at 8:45 pm and it still liked great before I removed it.  I bought this set on Amazon as a set of minis so I could avoid my previous failure of a nude NYX set.  I couldn’t be happier with these and now the only down side is that I want every single one of them in a full size.  The good news?  Amazon carries them! Woohoo!

Lip Crayons

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I use several different kinds of lip crayons.  They’re so forgiving when applying, give you a hint of color or a lot (depending on how you apply), and aren’t overly harsh on your lips in dry months.  My go to that I carry every day is a Burt’s Bees Lip Crayon in Redwood Forest.  It goes with pretty much any look.

I also love Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Sticks in Fresh Papaya and Pink Grapefruit.  I never would have tried either of these colors, but of course Ulta got me… like always.  Free samples.  Sure… the samples may have been free, but now I’m hooked!  These go on smoothly, are moisturizing, and give a great matte finish.

And last, but definitely not least, another Ulta sample.  Their very own Matte Lip Crayon in Soiree.  These are great.  In fact, I might like this lip crayon better than any of the others I use.  I receive a lot of compliments, it has great pigment, and overall the color goes with anything.  I also find these lip crayons are much more reasonably priced.

Lip Glosses

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I have to give a shout out to a few glosses.  It’s only fair… I’m a 90s child.  I glossed with the best of them back then and I’m not ashamed.  My current favorites are… you guessed it!  Ulta samples.  Darn you, Ulta, you sneaky little jerk.  I love NYX Butter Gloss in Peach Cobbler and BareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Plumping Gloss in Rebel.  These two colors couldn’t be more different and I love them both!  BareMinerals is my favorite because of its cooling mint and plumping as well as the great shade.  I do believe it is now discontinued, but Ulta still caries it online… for now.

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm

img_5918No lip collection would be complete without a tinted balm and no one does it better than Burt.  You have moisture, color… what more could you ask for?!

e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 10.40.24 PMThe secret to great looking matte lips is to… well, not have dry lips.  Unfortunately for me winter zaps my skin.  I always use my trusty Burt’s Bees, but this winter I’ve needed a little extra help.  Enter the exfoliator.  No, not the terminator, but that could be handy sometimes I guess. Yes, I know I could get all Pinterest-y and make my own lip scrub, but ain’t nobody got time for that.

e.l.f makes a lip exfoliator that is in a convenient lipstick tube.  Rock on, matte lipstick wearers.  This is the holy grail of matte lipstick tricks.  This stuff works and is… wait for it… THREE DOLLARS.  Yes.  Three American dollars.  Holla!!!!!  Go get you some, girl!

Urban Decay Naked Palettes More Than Half Off? Yes way!

Urban Decay Naked Palettes More Than Half Off? Yes way!

Sound the alarm!!!!!  Urban Decay Naked Smoky and Heat palettes are 50% off!  Actually, Naked Smoky is LESS than 50% off right now.  Get them while they’re still in stock!  You can only get them online, but what a deal-two for the price of one.  Naked Heat is only available online at Ulta for two days and Naked Smoky is available online at Sephora while supplies last.

The Dos and Don’ts of Online Shopping

The Dos and Don’ts of Online Shopping

 I. Love. Shopping.  I don’t like how much time it takes now that I’m a working mom.  I have become a GREAT online shopper.  Great deals and even greater products in a fraction of the time.

The key to a great online experience is to find what works for you.  Once you nail down what you’re really looking for don’t get distracted by a “great deal”.  I’ve been there… so that funky shirt was only $5.  Doesn’t really matter when you don’t wear it!  $5 down the drain.  Here are some tips to help you avoid the pitfalls of online shopping.

Clothes. Clothes.  More Clothes.

Where to Go

What type of clothes are your favorite?  Chances are you have that go-to store that you absolutely love.  You know how all of their clothes fit and can pretty much pull an item off of the rack and know immediately if it will look good on you.  Well, there are online stores that have the same safe and familiar feel.Two of my favorites happen to be Gap and Old Navy.  I know how their clothes fit, what cuts flatter my body type, and I know the price range I have to work with.

Once you have your go-to sites, keep your cart full at all times-you never know when there may be a pop-up sale… you’ll be ready!  The clothes aren’t going anywhere, so it’s time to have a spending strategy…

Price Tag

I usually have an idea of how much I want to pay for certain items in my mind.  I never pay much for clothes because I tend to favor trendy pieces over traditional lately because I can find great deals.  When I start to feel like I’m starting to be not-so-trendy, I ditch them for some new trends at minimal cost.

Always look for promo codes.  Always.  There are usually great promo codes out there and I rarely settle for anything less than a 30% promo code in addition to items being on sale.  This is when having your cart full comes in handy-once you see a sale and have promo codes, you can decide what items are worth purchasing and which items are still a little too pricey and you can purchase them later.

Shipping

There are very few sites I will pay for shipping.  Most of the time if you purchase $50 or more in merchandise or have their credit card (Gap/Old Navy, Victoria’s Secret, Target).  Sometimes being able to have items shipped directly to your door outweighs the cost of taking the time to drive to the store to purchase items.

Cosmetics/Beauty Products

Promo codes. Promo codes. Promo codes.  There are frequently promo codes or free item promotions for cosmetics from Ulta and Sephora.  Target also frequently has gift card promotions for purchasing a dollar amount of beauty products.  I normally don’t purchase beauty products online unless there is a large giveaway in addition to a coupon.

Although some higher priced products such as Too Faced or Benefit at Ulta are excluded in coupons, they frequently have free item promotions for those product lines.

Amazon

Amazon is one of my favorite go-to online shopping options.  However, I have found that sometimes deals aren’t so great for some items.  Always do a quick Google search on the item you’re considering to make sure there isn’t a high markup.  You never know… another site just may beat Amazon’s prices.

Credit Cards

I’m normally not an advocate of store/company credit cards, HOWEVER, they can be extremely beneficial for online shoppers.  Here are some of the perks they provide:

  • Free shipping
  • Cardholder exclusive sales, promotions, and coupons
  • Loyalty rewards

I never carry a balance on any of my credit cards, so these benefits really help me out when finding the best online deals.  Here are some of the cards that have great benefits to online shoppers:

  • Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic
    • Free shipping
    • Bonus promotions/sales
    • Loyalty rewards
  • Amazon
    • Free Shipping (with Amazon Prime)
    • Credit applied after application
    • Rewards points on purchases on Amazon.com and anywhere Visa is accepted
  • Kohl’s
    • Bonus promotions/sales
  • Victoria’s Secret
    • Cardholder promotions/sales
    • Rewards for purchases
A Makeup Routine Even the Busiest Moms Have Time For

A Makeup Routine Even the Busiest Moms Have Time For

 

 Makeup-we have a love/hate relationship.  I love makeup and I hate that I have hardly any time for it in the morning.  With a few amazing products, I have refined a routine in the morning that even the busiest moms will have time for and still look put-together.

First, the basics.  If you’re a new mom (you know who you are… yes, you… the one with spit-up in your hair who hasn’t showered in a week-I’ve been there), you may only have time to hit the basics.  If this is the case, here are a few awesome products for you:

The Beauty Balm is a great foundation that blends well and doubles as a moisturizer.  Moms get the shaft when it comes to catching Z’s-fortunately bareMinerals Stroke of Light Eye Brightener helps keep the dark under eye circles down to a minimum. Follow up with shadow insurance that is used as an eyeshadow.  It’s easy to apply, very forgiving with no blending needed, and lasts all day.  The Too Faced Lash Injection Mascara and Benefit Roller Lash Mascara both curl lashes-forget those eyelash curlers… these products have you covered!  The Lash Injection mascara acts as a tubing mascara and extends lashes.  The Roller Lash mascara has a similar concept, but doesn’t have quite the tubing effect the Too Faced mascara has.  I’ll also note that sometimes the Benefit mascara leaves a black shadow below my lower lashes, where the Too Faced mascara does not.  Burt’s Bees Lip Crayons add subtle color to lips to finish off the look.

Sometimes getting little sleep creates dark under eye circles and , let’s face it, sometimes you have to choose between actually washing your face or getting a little more sleep.  I’m always in favor of sleep!  These products have helped me save time, but still look a little more well rested by eliminating puffy eyes, dry or oily skin, and remove makeup, dirt, and oil quickly:

If you’re the mom with a little more time, there are a few other products that save time, but provide a little more coverage:

All of these products provide great coverage and enhance features.  The greatest part of most of these products?  Ultra frequently has free gifts with Benefit and Too Faced cosmetics.  They also have gift bags frequently-the best time to purchase these items is when there is a free gift bag and free gift with Benefit or Too Faced cosmetics.