Sorry for the long absence – current favorite products

Hi Beauties,

As it’s been now three months (I think) since I last posted, I figured it’s time to get back into trying to post at least once a month if I can swing that!!

It’s been an very overwhelming and extremely busy past three months and I’ll explain why. Three months ago this next week, my second decided to make an early entrace into this world at 6 weeks early! He was born a mere 4 hours after my water broke on January 31st, 2017. He’s done nothing but surpass everyone’s expectations for him and he is thriving despite having been 6 weeks early and with his spina bifida.

Alright, anyway, life’s been hectic to say the least, but I’m hoping things are starting to calm down. In the meantime, I thought I’d list some of my current favorite products as I’ve done a lot of shifting in my makeup/hair routine recently including chopping off my waist length hair into an a-line mix of a bob/lob (long bob). I think I want to start up my youtube channel again, but we’ll see if that’s too ambitious for right now!

Okay, let’s start with hair!

With the shorter hair I’m finding I only need to conditioner it mmmaybe once a week. I need to get another bottle of co-wash, but for now I’m liking L’Oreal’s new clay shampoo.

L’Oreal Extraordinary Clay Rebalancing Shampoo

I’ve been using this for a few weeks now and I feel like it’s actually cleaning my hair. I haven’t noticed any build up yet, but I’ve also been (when I use conditioner) putting conditioner first then shampooing. This seems to help my hair actually get clean without stripping good oils. I find the scent refreshing and while I’m not entirely sure the “clay” is actually doing anything, I like to think that it is.

In trying to figure out my new styling needs with my new haircut, I accidentally stumbled upon what I’m using right now. Ironically it’s a product I’ve NEVER liked before with my longer hair and yet it’s the absolutely best product I’ve found so far with my shorter hair.

MOUSSE

I never liked how mousse would dry in my hair when it was to my waist. I liked cream/gels, but one of the things I specifically asked my hair stylist to do was give me as many layers as she could. I wanted, no CRAVED volume. I also knew that as soon as postpartum hair loss struck, I wanted a hair style I could get the absolute most volume I could. One day I decided to pull out my Garnier Fructis mousse and just give it a whirl. Holy cow, I got INCREDIBLE volume and my hair was SO soft. Check out the picture above, that was freshly washed and volumized hair.

Garnier Fructis Style Curl Construct Creation Mousse

The the last hair product I’ve been using this past week especially is a dry texturizing spray. I had found one by Garnier Fructis called Texture Tease last year at some point but with longer hair it was not a good product for my hair. I must have used enough of it last year because it only lasted a week! When trying to find the spray to replace my now empty bottle, I discovered that it appears to be yet another product that I’ve snatched up that is now discontinued! I then turned to the shelves of Target’s beauty section and stumbled upon a dry texturizing spray that I think is my new favorite product.

Umberto Dry Texture Spray 

I spritzed some of this on my hair after I got home this afternoon, and oh my goodness, instant revival of volume and without any crunchiness! I think I’m going to be reaching for this spray a lot.

Okay! Moving on to face products!

With having two kids now, one being an almost three month old who requires more doctors appointments than my first has had in his 3 years of life, my makeup routine has had to become very minimal. Honestly, all I’m doing right now most days is applying a BB cream after I put toner and moisturizer on my face after showering in the mornings, a little bit of eyebrow pencil, eyeliner, and mascara, and that’s my beauty routine.

Let’s start from the skin out –

Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner 

I’ve started using Witch Hazel two times a day and I’m really pleased with how my skin is starting to look! Especially with my body still full of pregnancy hormones and everything still settling after my little one’s intense arrival, my skin has been a bit unhappy with me. I don’t mind the slightly alcoholic smell of this witch hazel, it goes away as soon as it dries which is about 2 seconds. I just apply it with a cottonball around around my face, neck, and chest.

Olay Fresh Effects Long Live Moisture Satin Finish Lotion

I used to use this lotion several years ago but I didn’t really know how to take care of my face so it didn’t work all that great. However, I started using it again and I really love it. It’s silky but doesn’t dry oily. I don’t break out from it and one bottle lasts for months.

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream – Light/Medium 

OMG, this stuff is amazing! I put this on after the lotion above and break one of my makeup rules; I apply it with my hands! I found this works best for this cream because the heat of my hands helps the cream blend into my skin a lot smoother than if I used a sponge or brush. Also, it’s quicker. I apply the witch hazel, moisturizer, and the bb cream in all less than 3 minutes.

But, when I want to do a fuller face of makeup, I found another new favorite –

NYX BB Cream in Natural 

I ran out of my Rimmel bb cream and decided to try something a little different for my minimal makeup routine. I haven’t always liked NYX products, but have been very pleased with this cream. It blends almost matte once it warms up to my skin. And it goes on really smoothly with or without primer under it. Ha, yet another makeup rule of mine I’ve broken recently! I’ll tell you what, having two kids really makes you figure out how quickly you can do something in as little steps as possible!

So those are my current favorite products! Thanks for sticking around during my absence. Life’s been really hard and busy and intense lately, but I haven’t dropped makeup as it’s become a significant self-care thing for me. Hopefully I’ll be able to start posting with a little more regularity soon!

 

Product Review – Devera Naturals

Hi Beauties!

Life’s been crazy as usual, but I wanted to share with you two products I was sent to review! They’re from Devera Naturals, and I’ll have to say I’m pretty pleased with them. You can read their story here, but I love that their products are based off of old family Swiss recipes! I don’t know about you, but that adds a little more intrigue and respect for a product when I know there’s a family backstory.

The two products I have been using are the Snow Flower Creme ($43.00) and the Miracle Eyes eye cream ($37.00). I haven’t noticed much of a scent from the Miracle Eyes, but I love the fresh botanical scent from the Snow Flower Creme. I’ve been using the Snow Flower Creme for just over a week now, and I feel like my face in general feels a lot less “inflamed.” Thanks to pregnancy hormones, my skin is in a constant flux and with help from the Snow Flower Creme (and an addition of lavender and eucalyptus oils on the side), my face isn’t as red and my forehead and around my nose especially feels tighter and smoother. I haven’t used the Miracle Eyes as much, just using it when my eyes feel like I’ve been awake for three days. However, when I have used the eye cream, it feels refreshing and brightens my eyes within minutes of applying it!

So how about some pros and cons?

Pros:

  • I really enjoy the scent and the consistency of the Snow Flower Creme
  • I love that the ingredients are natural ingredients!
  • My face feels refreshed and brightened after using it
  • in regards to the Miracle Eyes cream, you only need a little bit, but I feel like my eyes are refreshed and don’t look as tired after applying it
  • I love that both containers for each creams are small but you don’t need much product so I can see them lasting for a good while!
  • I feel like the prices are worth the quality of these products!

Cons:

  • I am assuming it is because the bottles were so cold when I got them, but I’ve had a little bit of trouble with the pump for the Snow Flower Creme (not really a con, but the creme is thicker so maybe it’s just harder to get out of the bottle?)
  • the Miracle Eyes cream sometimes stings a little bit especially if I just cleaned makeup off my face, but the stinging feeling goes away within a few seconds
  • The prices for these product may be more than someone would want to spend (see above though! I do think the cost is worth it!)

Other than those thoughts, I really don’t have much else to add! I really appreciate Devera Naturals sending me products to try and I’d highly recommend them to anyone who’s looking for a new (natural) face cream! I know I’m going to pumping every last drop from the Snow Flower Creme myself!

 

Welcoming 2017 & Goals

Hi Beauties!

Welcome to 2017! It feels weird that it’s January. 2016 was a rough year for me, but it also felt like the year flew by! Lashes & Rouge has been around for almost a year and a half now, and I’m trying to decide where I want to take the blog in the coming year. I know I have to step back because of baby #2 coming at the end of next month, but how much I’ll be stepping back is still up in the air. I haven’t stopped wearing makeup, haha, I don’t think I could now, but my focus can’t be so narrowed in on this blog.

So, what are some of the things I do want to do?

  • I want to post at least twice a month, and I have a lot of ideas, it’s merely going to be a matter of finding time and energy to put posts up.
  • I’m going to split posts up between three categories (at least for now); Fashion, Makeup/Hair, and Reviews.

I’m still trying to find my niche with being a beauty blogger, and because of that, I’m hesitant to really stick with only one or two things! I recently picked up this planner and I want to try planning out my blogging schedule instead of just doing it whenever I have a few minutes. I’ll also be using this planner to keep track of baby #2’s drs appointments and surgeries and such too because yeah, lots of information going to be coming my way soon!

I left the company I was with last September and since then have been experimenting a lot with skin care and face care. So hopefully I can get my reviews of my new favorites with skin care routines up soon! Being halfway through the third trimester means I’m struggling to keep up with day to day things, never mind about blogging with any consistency!

I hope the first week of this new year has been good for you already, and thank you for following along as I shift and adjust this blog!

Mascara Recommendations & Comparision – product reviews

So I have noticed that roughly once a year, I get a new full sized mascara. The rest of the year, I live off of making my favorites last or I use travel/sample sizes that I get from a variety of places. A year ago, I was introduced to Stila’s HUGE Extreme Lash mascara via Ipsy and fell in love with how it made my lashes look! But, when I went to Ulta to get my own full sized tube for Christmas, they had sold out completely! And that is when I found my next favorite from Too Faced. I bought a tube of the Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara and found that I liked it almost better than the Stila mascara!

img_3551
Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara and Milk Cosmetics Ubame Mascara

This year, thanks to a gift card to Sephora, I picked up a brand new tube of Better Than Sex Mascara and have been thoroughly enjoying having a fresh new mascara to add to my makeup routine. However, as I have kept an eye on major brands’ Christmas sales, I stumbled across a deal at Stila that included a full sized tube of HUGE Extreme Lash mascara, eyeliner, blush/lip cream, and lip gloss all for $15! I was shocked and quickly snatched it up. I went back later that day and it had sold out completely.

img_3577

The crazy thing is that now I have both of my favorite mascaras in front of me, I have a clear preference for one over the other. One of the thing that makes me like both of these mascaras is the hour glass shaped brush. I feels like it exaggerates and draws out and up the lashes in a way other mascaras I’ve tried don’t. I already have dark and mostly full eyelashes, so I don’t need a LOT of help when it comes to emphasizing my eyelashes, but I do love the way these mascaras do darken my lashes more. Anyway, after having almost two kids, my lashes have changed a good bit (mainly gotten thinner). Another reason I do like both of these mascaras is you really don’t need more than one coat for each eye and that’s with wiping the excess mascara off the brush!

Alright so now which is my preferable mascara?? I’d have to say it’s the Better Than Sex one! They are both really good, and I do really like Stila’s mascara, but the Too Faced mascara’s brush has a more defined hour glass shape and it does go on a teensy bit smoother than the Stila mascara! I do highly recommend both mascaras still. For their price and the fact that they really do last for quite awhile, I’d say these are still my top top favorites out of all of the mascara I’ve tried. And I’ve tried both high end mascara and the low end mascara (low end = low cost).

If you’re looking for a new mascara to try or to replace an old tube, check out Stila’s HUGE Extreme Lash mascara or Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara!

Product Reviews – Birchbox, 2 boxes

Hi Beauties,

It’s a dreary slightly snowy day, so it feels like a good day to spit out a blog post. However, to brighten up my day, and hopefully yours, I snatched a Birchbox deal at the end of October where I got two boxes for the price of one. Now with this kind of deal (I have managed to get this one other time a year and a half ago) you never know what the second box is going to be! I was so pleasantly surprised when I opened up the big box from Birchbox and discovered the bonus box was their Rifle Paper Co. box! I am not going to be renewing my subscription to Birchbox at the present time, but I am glad I got it this past month. The samples were a really nice mix of eh not so sure about this to wow I really like this.

Okay, so to start of with, let’s talk about the November box. The theme of November was The Finishing Touch – all about those extra, just-because details that make all the difference. When I glanced at the list of samples I was getting, I was excited to see an Amika product was included. At first I thought it was my favorite dry shampoo, but upon further inspection, it is their dry conditioner. I didn’t even know such a product existed, but I was willing to give it a shot. The second product was the Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil from Bumble and Bumble. I have gotten this product in the past and found it to be too heavy for my hair. So this was one of the eh not so sure products.

Next down the line was a teaser from Coastal Scents’ new Blush & Bronzer palette. This sample included a blush and what looks like either a dark highlighter or a very light bronzer. I haven’t tried this one out yet since I am currently loving on my Pixi by Petra contour palette right now. A Dr. Jart+ product was included called Ceramidin Cream and while I haven’t tried it yet either, I am planning on giving it a shot once my current night cream product runs out.

Now, on to my favorite product from this box. I have heard of Milk Makeup off and on over the past two years, but had yet to try one of their products. I was really excited to see this Ubame Mascara included and couldn’t wait to try it. I just picked up a replacement for my favorite Better Than Sex Too Faced mascara, but have recently had to get rid of all my other mascaras because they had either dried up or run out. I was curious to see how the triple-ball applicator would compare to the hourglass applicator on the Better Than Sex mascara. Honestly, I really like the Milk mascara. It goes on super smooth, doesn’t flake, and I rather like the rich dark color.

When I opened the Rifle Paper Co. box, I was so excited to see a lip crayon and another Amika product! This product was their touchable hairspray and it seems to be holding up to the Amika standard I’ve come to know.

I have heard of Derma e products before but had never tried them, and for the other three products, those were new brands as well. I tried the derma e 2-in-1 charcoal mask the first night and really liked it. It dried fairly quickly, but it didn’t make my skin feel uncomfortably tight and it washed off easily which was a bit of a surprise.

img_3467

^ there’s the charcoal mask partially dried.

img_3532I received two RMS Beauty ultimate makeup remover wipes and have yet to use them. I’m going to save them for when I’m in the hospital after my son is born! I’m excited to see that the wipes contain coconut oil as that’s something I’ve used many times to remove eye makeup in particular. The Beauty Crop PBJ Smoothie Stick in Guava Nice Day is a beautiful mauve lipstick color and what I like most about it is that it lasts for a long time on your lips, is easy to apply, and the color seriously is really nice! It also doesn’t feel dehydrating to my lips and almost feels like a lip balm instead of lip color.

The TOCCA Crema da Mano (hand cream) didn’t even register with me that it was a hand cream until this morning! My hands get painfully dry during the winter and I have already been having trouble finding lotion to keep my hands from getting irritated. This hand cream has a delicate scent and while it felt a little oily as I was putting it on my hands, it has dried with a  soft finish. I like it and I may just end up picking up a full sized container of it!

So there you have it; my reviews of Birchbox products for the month of November. I can’t believe December starts in just a few short days and I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Our Little Bear and the World We are Walking Into – life post

— content note: I apologize if this post is a little all over the place. I’m currently running on very little sleep and while my brain is going a million miles a minute, my body is kinda having trouble functioning. Thanks for understanding! —

Hi Beauties,

Some of you may have seen that my current pregnancy has been had its really rough spots so far, and while I just passed the 20 week mark, life just got a heck of a lot more difficult. My little bear has been diagnosed with Spina Bifida, and while this is devastating as a parent to hear this, we are surrounded with so many people caring for us, coming alongside us, and we also have access to one of the top Spina Bifida medical centers in the country. That being said, before I full jump into this post, please know I’m not entirely sure how much I’ll be able to post on this blog for the time being. Our lives are being completely and thoroughly shaken up, and who knows, I may need this spot of some normality among the chaos of drs appointments, tests, and as we prepare to bring our little bear into the world.

First off, here are two very important things I feel the need to emphasis.

  1. What is helpful? Hearing how many people are praying for, thinking about, and just supporting us through us has been immensely helpful in just easing the burden this diagnosis and the future is putting on my husband and I.

  2. What is NOT helpful? Hearing how your friend so n so has SB and they’re _____ (fill in the blank). Spina Bifida is really a one case at a time situation. There are no guarantees with this condition and each case is so specific and unique we really won’t have answers with how mobile or not our little bear will be until he is in our arms.

Alright, so last Wednesday, the 26th, I went in for what I thought would be a fairly normal prenatal appointment. I was scheduled for my 20 week ultrasound, and was hoping to see that the placenta previa they saw a month ago had resolved itself. (<– which btw, it has) I wasn’t worried about little bear, because this kid moves like there is no tomorrow. He has regular dance parties, sometimes to the chagrin of mommy’s upset stomach. But as I watched the ultrasound tech go over all of his measurements and try to get him to stay still for the important ones, a sense of something not quite being right started to come over me. Before I get too far, I want to share something I wrote the day after that appointment.

~~~~~~

Yesterday morning I woke up, said goodbye to Phil, got the day started by taking a shower, got Ender up, made up breakfast. We filled the morning with books and movies and trains and waited until I could go to my 20 week prenatal appointment and ultrasound.  This morning I woke up to a traumatizing nightmare about my dad, feeling like the ground missing from under my feet, and have felt that overwhelming sense of utter helplessness.

I will never forget the look on the midwife’s face when she walked into my appointment. Her eyes were slightly red, and she looked very somber. My heart sank then, I knew then for sure something hadn’t been right on the ultrasound. I had watched the ultrasound tech pretty closely, and had noticed that she kept going over two areas in particular. She kept measuring little bear’s brain, or trying to. My little bear was so active as usual that he made her job a little harder with trying to get the measurements she needed. She kept measuring his spine and trying to get him to cooperate with trying to check blood flow. I even asked her, “do you see anything concerning?” To which she answered, “I can’t technically diagnosis anything.”

What I saw was a healthy baby boy, a very active little boy who measured exactly with my due date, even a few days to almost a week ahead on some measurements.

“We saw two areas of big concern on the ultrasound.”

The words no mother to be wants to hear. I felt everything stop around me as she explained what the tech had showed her. She flipped over the crisp white sheet of paper she had brought in and explained they were referring me to a specialist. There is extra fluid around little bear’s brain and the most concerning part was the appearance of a cystic tumor close to his tailbone. It hit me then, something was wrong with my baby. Not just something, she said the biggest concern is possible spina bifida. I asked her point blank just how concerning this was to them, “on a scale of 1-10.” She told me that if I was her sister then she would be very concerned, but as a medical professional, she would probably put level of concern between 7-10. Not the numbers I wanted to hear. I repeated this question three times, “but his legs are very strong and active, that’s a good thing right?” She had mentioned that a big concern would be nerve damage. And yes, she told me that the fact that he’s so active and growing at the rate he should, those are good signs. She said a lot of babies who present these signs don’t often even make it to 20 weeks. So that’s also in mine and little bear’s favor.

But the terror. The bewilderment. Is this really happening to my seemingly healthy active baby I just saw on the ultrasound 15 minutes ago? This can’t be happening, right?

The nurse walked me out the back exit so I didn’t have to walk through the waiting area sobbing. She gave me a box of kleenex and kept saying “I’m so sorry you had to get this news today.” I was in so much shock I really couldn’t respond. I sat in my car and just sobbed. Phil couldn’t be with me, he left Wednesday morning, 4 hours before my appointments, and wouldn’t be back until Saturday. I called him and tried to explain what the midwife had seen. I don’t think it really sunk in until several hours later when he began to realize just how big the unknowns are. I finally got home with Ender and tried to function. Thankfully the family who had watched him for my appointment had worn him out pretty efficiently. He went to bed, and I all of a sudden had an absolutely heart wrenching thought. I had forgotten, or it hadn’t even crossed my mind, to ask if little bear was suddenly at a much higher risk of miscarriage. I managed to get in touch with the on-call midwife and choked out my question through more tears. She immediately reassured me that no, there was absolutely no higher risk of miscarriage, this just means I need to go see the perinatal specialist and by seeing them I will get a lot of questions answered. I felt better after hanging up. I talked with Phil some more and we both tried to comfort each other over the phone and voiced the questions and concerns and just the HUGE unknowns we simply don’t have answers to.

The questions that just keep circling in my head seem to only be gaining momentum. To put them all into words is so very difficult. I woke up this morning to find that my entire mindset has shifted. I am no longer eagerly counting down the days to my due date, I begging that those 137 days left are enough. Are they enough to carry my child to a safe delivery? Are they enough, or will they be the last days we have with him? The practical side of me is desperate for the mental lists that have disappeared. You know, those lists where you have a running list of everything you need when preparing for the birth of a child? The lists where you mark down the preferred stroller, car seat, clothes, essential child care items? Yeah, those, will I even need those? Will I need to get that new car seat? Will we even need that new double stroller that will accommodate having two little boys?

Will my baby be okay? Will he live to be in my arms and live a healthy life?

Those are the questions that are ringing the loudest. We are facing a parent’s worst nightmare. We are sitting in the dark unsure of what’s going to happen. The range of unknowns and possible situations are too great for the mind’s comprehension. Even as I sit here and write this, I feel my little bear’s strong movements and my heart breaks all over again, “will he be okay?” All of my hopes, dreams, and plans for the rest of this pregnancy have been shot out the window. I don’t even know anymore if having a natural birth is an option. I’m afraid to look anything up, I’m scared stiff of researching. I am in limbo. I have no direction, I have no idea where things are going to go, it’s simply dark; pitch black and I’m afraid to feel my baby because I don’t want to lose him, I don’t want to have my heart ripped to absolute shreds. I don’t want to keep getting attached only to have him ripped away from us. But I can’t help but love him, cherish him, long to hold him safe in my arms. My heart is already broken, it is already being ripped to shreds. I’m afraid to hope for things to be on the lighter end of the possibilities, I’m afraid to hope.

There’s a certain amount of isolation I’m already feeling as we wait to find out what’s going on. This is a parent’s worse nightmare, this is OUR worst nightmare. This is what no parent wants to hear. This is the thing that no one knows how to respond to. How do you say to the parents struggling with this “I’m so glad it isn’t my kid?” It has meant so much to have those in my personal circle just standing by me and us as we try to process this extremely scary situation.

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Yesterday, October 31st 2016, we saw the specialist and I’ll have to say we both really really liked him. The ultrasound tech who did the ultrasound before we saw the actual specialist was amazing too. She definitely knew more about what she was doing and explained things as she went along. Of course, little bear made things difficult with his active little self, but she was able to get all of the important pictures and measurements she needed. As soon as the specialist came in, he very candidly explained everything they saw on the ultrasound, what that means, and what the next steps are. He seemed slightly surprised at the questions my husband and I were asking, and even said that we’re on the right track, we’re asking ALL the right questions. Which is reassuring still because it helps me feel like I can, maybe somehow, better understand and process what’s coming. The next steps are to see an entire team of specialists at Children’s here in Denver and along with that, I will have an entire day of tests, MRI’s, blood work, ultrasounds, and who knows what else. At the end of that day, we will sit down and have what they called a family session with all of the specialists and go over everything that day brings up. It is overwhelming, it is mind boggling to try to even take in the little bit we know now, but I am grateful we have so many specialists available to us and little bear, and for so many people who are standing up alongside us.

My words feel feel fuzzy today after yesterday’s appointment, and at the same time, I know the amount of information we’re going to be exposed to over the next 6-12 months is going to be even more overwhelming. As my hubby put it, we’re preparing for a fire hose of information and let’s hope we actually retain some. For the practical side of things, my entire birth plan preferences (I never expect things would go to plan) has completely shifted. I will be having a scheduled c-section between 37-38 weeks as long as nothing else comes up or changes over the next 15 weeks. Little bear will be having surgery 24-72 hours after being born, will be in the NICU, and we just won’t know how long or how any of that will go until he’s here. Meanwhile, we’ve got the answers we needed after Wednesday’s appointment, but those answers have only brought up more questions. I feel like those first two days after getting the news that something was wrong with my baby were the days I spent grieving. I cried my tears, I allowed myself the time to feel the fear and worry and acknowledge that everything was changing. And during the 5 days between the first ultrasound and our appointment yesterday, both my husband and I mentally prepared for worst case scenario. The scenario we were given is a best worst case scenario and it’s something we are approaching with a logical and calm mindset.

This is hard, please don’t get me wrong, but I know we’ll be okay, we’re going to make it, and without a doubt in my mind, both of our children matter with equal importance and we love them with all that we are.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers and support. I will not be putting blogging at the top of my list of priorities, so thank you for understanding if I disappear for awhile.

Brows – the trend that is no longer a trend

**This post contains affiliate links! This merely means should you click on a link and choose to purchase a product through that link, I get a tiny bit of a profit**

Hi Beauties,

I’ve been slowly collecting eyebrow products awhile so here’s my take on the here-to-stay-not-a-trend makeup look!

Brows 

Let’s talk about that!

Brows have been an on again off again trend for quite a few years (decades even?). But over the past maybe two years, possibly longer, bold and/or defined brows have not only been making a big come back, but a lot of fashion/makeup gurus are saying they’re here to stay. Now, of course, we all have eyebrows of some sort, but what they mean is defining your brows. Whether it’s filling them in just enough so they don’t look too sparse, or going full blown bold “make-a-statement” brows. With my heritage including Italian, I inherited my mom’s darker hair, but my dad’s bushy eyebrows. I have taken great pains to contain and control my sometimes, or what used to be, wiry eyebrows, and now, I feel like I have a decent grip on how to fill them in, contain the odd kinky hair that sticks straight up, and I like the shape. I believe one of the most important aspects of your face are your eyebrows. The eyebrows add definition to your face, they define your face shape, and when your eyebrows are defined, it balances out the rest of your features.

So what I want to do now is show you some of the brow products I’ve used and either have hated or loved, or felt something in between.

Here’s a run down of the many different types of brow products out there!

Powders – this are good for doing a gentle, subtle fill in of patchy areas

Gel – you can get clear brow gel (good for holding shape when you’ve combed your brows and keeping product in place) or colored that matches your natural color

Pencils – once again, a product that can be used for a subtle defining/filling in of your brows – or you can use a pencil to completely fill in your brow and you’re good to go

Cream – same as powder, but it’s cream, and depending on the quality and texture of the cream, it is easy (or hard) to fill in and define your brows with this kind of product

Markers – I don’t have any experience with this kind of brow product, but I know Benefit Cosmetics has one or two in their new brow collection

Okay, I have used the first four types of products, but have never used brow markers. Those kind of scare me, and I am not that thrilled of the idea of making my already bold brows even more in-your-face! The two kinds of powdered brow products that I have used were from Pixi by Petra and NYX cosmetics.

The NYX brow kit was the first eyebrow specific product I’ve ever gotten. Because I was so new to doing my brows when I first got that kit, I was pretty tentative about going “bold.” So I used the powder to carefully and subtly fill in my brows, but I didn’t know how to or want to create too much definition. I would recommend this to someone who wants a product with a brow pomade (basically the same as a gel…you can mix the powder with a pomade and create more of a cream product instead of just powder) and two different colors.

 NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder

The second powder product in the picture above is a little Pixi palette I accidentally stumbled upon last Christmas. I have since discovered it at Target and have notices that it tends to show up a lot during the Christmas season (which is coming up rather quickly!). I like the shades and powder consistency of this product better than the NYX eyebrow kit, but I think now I would honestly recommend either of them.

Pixi by Petra Mini Brow Trio

Moving on to…Gels!

The black tube in the picture above is actually a brow cream/gel kind of product from Julep. It was one of the free products I earned through a promotion Julep had a while back. I wasn’t so sure about using it when I first got it, but it has become one of the few brow products I will reach for when I want to do something different with my eyebrows. I don’t have a link for this product because to be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t really recommend it.

Let’s talk about Essence really quick. Essence is one of those brands that I would consider the AFFORDABLE side of makeup products. A caveat here though is that cheap does not mean bad quality. I have tried several of their products and have been impressed with the level of quality for such a low cost. I would put Essence products in the same category as e.l.f. cosmetics – well made, affordable, good quality makeup products.

Essence make me brow eyebrow gel mascara is supposed to be a dupe for Benefit Cosmetics gimme brow (however, I do not know if Benefit’s updated formulas have changed their gimme brow so that the Essence product is no longer a reliable dupe). This product is an awesome product to carry around when you’re on the go and want just a little extra oomph to your brows. It is not a heavily brow defining product, in fact I’m not even sure if you could build it up to get a more defined brow. I do like this product, the way the gel is formulated makes it look like it has little fiber in it. I don’t know if that is how the product actually functions, but I don’t mind at all.

Essence make me brow

 

Pencils – I received several different eyebrow pencil products in my ipsy, birchbox, and boxycharm last year and none of them I really liked. I can’t remember the brands now, they were all brands I had never heard of and have never seen again. I didn’t think pencils were for me because with those different pencils I had gotten, none of them seemed able to create the fine lines I was looking for. And then I found this pencil from Eylure.

As you can see, my Eylure pencil is not quite the length it once was. I love pencils that come with the brush already attached and this pencil is my #1 go to eyebrow product. I am constantly sharpening it and it does give me the fine lines I want when trying to define my brows. It is also the closest to a perfect shade for my natural eyebrow color out of any other product I’ve ever tried or have currently.

Eylure Defining and Shading Firm Pencil

I’m not sure if it’s because any Benefit product I’ve tried hasn’t been the right shade for me, but the eyebrow pencil above is too light and to be blunt, I hate it. It doesn’t go on smoothly, I feel like I have to apply so much pressure to get any color to show up, and because it’s not the right color, I just don’t use it. I did want to show it as an example of another pencil brow product that has great reviews and comes highly recommended.

I recently picked up NYX’s Tame and Frame brow pomade and have begun using that. It is a slightly different shade than the Eylure pencil, but it still compliments and matches my hair color. This product is actually one of the top dupes for Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade. I have never tried any Anastasia products, but I plan to take a trip to Sephora shortly and get a sample so I can compare the two products. The NYX product takes a little bit to get the hang of, but I am definitely not against it. I use this brush from e.l.f. cosmetics and next time I use the brow pomade, I’m going to try using the pencil to line my brows first before filling it in.

 NYX Tame & Frame brow pomade

So there you have it! My recommendations and suggestions for eyebrow products! What are your favorite products to use for your eyebrows? Have you had a difficult time figuring out what works best for you? Hopefully this post will help you if that’s you!

Fall/Winter Fashion – Maternity Edition

Hi Beauties,

Okay, I apologize for being so MIA recently. The last half of September was B R U T A L and I finally feel like I can breathe again. Combination of what I now know to be high altitude influenced pregnancy complications and then getting a nasty, nasty stomach bug a week later. Good gawd almighty, I do not recommend getting the stomach flu when pregnant. However, now that I am feeling more like myself, have caught up mostly on sleep, I am getting back into the swing of keeping up with life.

As our Colorado weather starts to get cooler (we’ve had two frost warnings already!), I am turning to my fall wardrobe and this year, it makes me especially excited because most of the maternity clothes I have gathered are more suited for fall/winter. I know a surprisingly large number of friends who are currently pregnant right now, both ahead and behind me, and I feel like maternity fashion is quite applicable. I am just shy of the grand HALFWAY mark with this pregnancy and I am so happy to be almost there! First off, let me walk through my list of what I consider maternity essentials (speaking specifically as a second time mom and how I have done things differently fashion-wise this time around). Please keep in mind that were this a summer maternity fashion post, my recommended essentials would be quite different!

**Note: With this being my second (and last) pregnancy, I have found I do have definite preferences regarding maternity clothes this time around. I prefer low rise maternity pants to full panel, or even low banded pant tops. I very much prefer more fitted tops/dresses this time around instead of loose and flowy. I know women who preferred the full panel pants, but for me, as I’m short-waisted already, always felt claustrophobic in those types of pants! So all of my recommendations are going to go off these preferences, but I will include alternatives for those who like the full belly, low band maternity pants!**

~ [Fall/Winter] Maternity Essentials ~

  • Tees/Tanks/Fashion tops – When I was pregnant with Ender, I only had maybe two actual maternity tops. We were pretty tight financially with my husband finishing his degree and I had stopped working. So I made do with what I had. This method works, but I regret not having three or four staple maternity tops. I prefer short sleeve maternity tops to full length sleeves because it’s easier to layer and not overheat when I have a base of a short sleeve shirt. My favorite go to top right now is from Old Navy and I have this one in black (which I found at the thrift store!). I got a two pack of short sleeve shirts from H&M but I can’t find them online anymore! Basically this top but in white and black. I honestly prefer the Old Navy top to the H&M tops because the Old Navy top gives me a lot of room and it’s got a lot of give. The H&M tops, not to much. I don’t think I’ll be able to wear those tops full term. So when it comes to tops, I definitely recommend Old Navy OVER H&M.Tanks – Again, Old Navy. Like I said above, I am sticking with a lot more form fitted tops this time around, and am finding I highly prefer shirred tops. This (black) tank top from Old Navy (again, a thrift store find, but I will be getting at least one more shortly) is my preferred tank. It is long, stretchy, and so very comfortable. A great layering piece as well.

    Fashion Tops – I have several plaid maternity tops, and while they’re not fully fitted, they are tunics and fitted around my shoulders and bust line. These tops (and I forgot to get a picture of the third top I have which I would pair with my gray leggings and tall boots) are comfortable, loose when I don’t feel like having something tight(er) across my belly, and they have a multitude of options for dressing up/down as well as adding a lot of accessories.

    tip: Liz Lange Maternity from Target is another great source for affordable maternity clothes. Their clothes are very comfortable, and I wore them a lot with my first pregnancy. I haven’t gotten very many pieces from them this time around because the style is a lot looser and not quite as fitted. I do have one short sleeve top I found at the thrift store from Liz Lange, and this long sleeve sweatshirt kind of top that I pair with a black tank top and leggings. 

  • Dresses – I have one actual maternity dress, but have two other maxi dresses I can wear for quite a while longer. The maternity dress I have is a brand I don’t recognize and can’t find online, so it must no longer exist. But yet again, it’s fitted and shirred. The reason I prefer fitted/shirred maternity clothes is because the more my belly grows, the more I need to be aware of balancing the lines of my body. This has nothing to do with hating how I look or trying to hide, this is all about being comfortable with your body and loving it as it shifts and changes while carrying your child. So while I prefer fitted looks because I believe it’s more flattering for my body type, it is 100% okay if you don’t and like looser more flowy clothes. Here are some examples of the three dresses I have, and some of the ways I’ll style them.
  • Leggings – After I had my first, almost two and a half years ago, I viciously got rid of all of my maternity clothes. I had a lot of prodromal labor before finally delivering him, and I absolutely HATED everything maternity. That being said, I have spent the past year kicking myself about getting rid of my maternity leggings! My absolute favorite maternity leggings are from Old Navy. I am not terribly fond of other maternity pants from Old Navy, but their low rise leggings! Omg, so amazingly comfortable and I don’t spend a lot of time pulling them up like other leggings (or feeling like I have droopy crotch)– low rise leggings in Gray
    low rise leggings in Black 

    I recently purchased a pair of the black leggings and then found the gray pair at the thrift store this morning for $2!!! Score! Leggings are one of the big essentials I consider worth getting, especially for a pregnancy that takes part mostly in the fall and winter. There are some fashion rules are wearing leggings though! 1. Make sure they fit comfortably, no skin tight unless you want to be tugging at them all day and having them cut off circulation
    2. Preferably wear leggings with a tunic top or longer t-shirt (this is personal preference, so this is completely up to you!)
    3. Think Balanced when it comes to pairing tops, jackets, and such with leggings. Do not do super super flowy top with leggings as this creates a top heavy kind of look that with a growing belly makes you look unbalanced. If you’re wearing leggings, have a looser top, but still with definition in the shoulders or around the rib-cage.

    tip: along with leggings, I consider yoga pants to be an absolute must. Especially on those colder fall and winter days when you don’t have to go anywhere! I have two pairs of non-maternity yoga pants, and they’re a definite staple for me. I also have a pair of these workout pants from Be Maternity by Liz Lange. I love the crossover back panel, and they are thicker and just all around super comfortable. 

  • Pants – Like I said above, all of my maternity pants/leggings are very low rise. Both pairs of my actual pants/jeans are low rise, have no panel whatsoever, and have belt loops. For some reason, my hips shrink during pregnancy, so with the low rise and with belt loops, I can actually keep my pants up this time! I have three pairs of maternity pants (one of those is not an actual maternity pant but they work very well despite that) 1. Dark Wash Low Rise Jeans from Liz Lange Maternity 2. Black Low Rise soft cotton stretch pants from Gap Maternity 3. No Boundaries Gypsy pants (I call these my crazy pants). Gap no longer carries the black pants I have which kind of sucks because they are so so comfortable and I will definitely be wearing them after I deliver as well. The Liz Lange pants are a little bit iffy, I need to break them in a lot, but they fit me overall (which is a difficult feat for me and jeans) and I have the skill set to alter them if I decide I need to (I’d need to take two tiny darts along the back waistband so they lie flat against my back). I have heard very good things about both Gap and Old Navy Maternity pants/jeans, and I’d highly recommend them as an affordable option. I would also recommend Liz Lange at Target for maternity jeans as well. The nice thing about Target, is those pants/jeans are on sale a lot.

    tip: just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean your wardrobe has to become boring or bland! I have several what I call crazy wild pieces (those gypsy pants for example) and I love mixing them into my day to day outfits. Granted, I do have mostly black and gray wardrobe staples, but those are base pieces and can be built upon for some awesome looks! 

  • Accessories – This is my favorite category and the one area of fashion you can go as big as you want or as minimal. Accessories are also the things that you don’t have to have as specifically maternity. These are good at all times, not just when you’re pregnant! I love using accessories (jackets, shoes, jewelry, belts, scarves, etc.) to up the game of a favorite outfit. I am all about comfortable, especially being pregnant, so any accessory I add has to be comfortable and match the comfort level of the base outfit. I have 4 [fashion] jackets and one specifically maternity jacket for wearing on top of layers. The fashion jackets are all pieces I’ve carefully spent time collecting over the past two years. I have two green jackets (I know, I know, a little redundant), one is a cargo/army type jacket and the second is the green jacket I am wearing above in the multiple pictures. I have a tan faux leather jacket, as well as a navy blue cargo type jacket as well. Two of the things I didn’t have were sweaters, which I found two of them at our local thrift store. One is the gray and black striped sweater above. I have a handful of scarves that I only wear when it’s freezing outside, but that make amazing fashion statements for outfits that just need a little something else. I jumped on a deal from H&M for this maternity MAMA Parka and I really like it. It’s not very thick, but there’s enough room to layer sweaters and whatnot under it. The green is not as bright as the picture (think an almost black teal green).Let’s talk about shoes. As this is specifically winter, I’m going to talk about my winter shoes, which include quite a very more shoes than my summer wear (literally sandals and maybe a pair of flats). I have collected over the past two years three pairs of booties. A dark tan pair, gray blue pair, and a black pair. I have three pairs of flats – a black and cream spotted pair, dark forest green, and black with a gold chain around the ankle. I also have two pairs of tall boots – a brown pair and a black pair. Then, I have my winter boots. I carefully looked for the boots I wanted and ended up finding a pair last winter at TJ Maxx of all places! These snow boots can take the place in any fall/winter outfit I would normally wear booties or tall boots with. If you’ll notice, every single pair of flats, booties, winter boots, and tall boots, can be worn with almost any outfit I have. This was done on purpose and these are all pairs of shoes that will [hopefully] last me a very long time. I will need to replace my black and cream pair of flats soon, but I have worn those religiously every fall and winter for the past 4 years.

    tip: I have mixed feelings about their boots, but JustFab has a deal right now where your first pair of boots is just $10 ($15 something when shipped) and that includes booties or tall boots. I just got my black pair of boots from them and they are stiff (they’re brand new and I think just need to be broken in, and they are wearable/comfortable) and after I got the boots, knew I liked them and would wear them, I canceled my subscription to JustFab and that was the end of that. They also carry wide calf boots that are legitimately wide calf.

    Alright, so those are all of my tips for Maternity Essentials! I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful! Enjoy the rest of your weekend and thanks for stopping by. ❤

Beauties On Fire – Fall!!!!

Go visit Elisabeth's blog for all of our linkup posts! http://www.everythingandnothin.com/2016/09/29/fall-beauty-beautiesonfire-link/
Go visit Elisabeth’s blog for all of our linkup posts! http://www.everythingandnothin.com/2016/09/29/fall-beauty-beautiesonfire-link/

Hi Beauties,

Welcome officially to fall! I am sorry for those of you still stuck in 90 degree weather, because that just downright sucks. It’s been gradually getting cooler here in Colorado, and I am so happy about that because not only do I always feel more comfortable in cooler weather, but the majority of my maternity clothes are fall/winter. So there’s that. Oh, and guess what! I’m actually posting on the Beauties on Fire collab day!! It’s been a rough week, but then that’s not terribly new as of late. My little monkey was sick two days ago, we’re thinking possibly just a fluke? But he’s been fine since and has kept everything down so that’s very good for this tired mama.

Alright, fall. Oh, glorious fall! Seriously, this is my favorite time of the year. I love the changing leaves (we’ve actually got several trees around our complex currently changing into reds among the vibrant yellows! I love the rust browns, maroons, the warmer colors that I don’t always look good in but tend to gravitate towards. I especially love fall inspired makeup. My fashion look today, as it did get to almost 80 (a balmy 80 though) today, was a tunic maternity top in a plum color, my black maternity capris, and then my olive green army jacket. For my makeup, I chose to use my Almay topaz eyeliner, and my Shadow Box Urban Decay Palette. The two colors I used for my eyes were Smog and Lost. I used my blush stick I had gotten from a birchbox a long time ago as the blush. For fall colors, I like to go a little darker with the blush and a little more contour because I like creating more shadows and angles. Where spring makeup is fresh and light and bright, fall makeup to me is a little darker, more warm toned, and plays to the angles of your face more sharply.

Besides liking to warm up or darken my blush for the fall, I love bringing warmer tones for my eyes and some darker/warmer tones for lips. I have two go to lip colors for the fall, and I’d like to get another one, but am trying to decide on the shade and which brand. By the way, I do not recommend Revlon lipsticks. Every single one I have ends up going on the lips almost watery, very thinly, and I find it hard to get a smooth finish. Maybelline, on the other hand, is A M A Z I N G when it comes to their matte lipsticks. And thus where my two favorites come from!

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Maybelline Touch of Spice

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Maybelline Warm Me Up

Now, the Warm Me Up shade is actually my nude lip color that I use regularly. But because my natural lip color is a little darker than normal, this still works for fall as it’s a slightly warmer pinkish brown shade so I find that it accents a fall look quite nicely. Touch of Spice is an all time favorite of mine but I’ve found that over the past year, I wore it most in the fall and winter. It has more brown undertones, still pink, but it’s definitely on the warmer end of cool spectrum of colors.

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Enjoy and Happy Fall!

*belated* Beauties on Fire – Retro!

Go visit Elisabeth's blog for all of our linkup posts! http://www.everythingandnothin.com/2016/09/22/nineties-beauty-retro/
Go visit Elisabeth’s blog for all of our linkup posts! http://www.everythingandnothin.com/2016/09/22/nineties-beauty-retro/

Hi Beauties,

So I had my look all done Thursday evening, went out with a friend, then woke up Friday at 3:30am soaked with blood. There went my post for this past week as I then spent the next four days in and out of doctors appointments, making sure my little guy was okay and then trying to figure out why I had been bleeding! Needless to say, the past week has been quite full of drama and a lot of couching potatoeing to make sure my body can rest and recuperate.

Now, here’s my look for last week’s Beauties on Fire. The theme was Retro and as I looked through “retro” themed tags on Pinterest, the 1940’s kept popping out at me. It’s a very clean, but dramatic look, and I knew I could pull it off. Yes, I was a 90’s child, but where’s the fun in that? (kidding, kidding…) I chose this picture to emulate and kind of sort was able to pin my [waist length] hair up underneath to make it look like I had shorter hair.

image1-5
PC: http://vintagedancer.com/1940s/1940s-makeup-guide/

The small bit I did of research about 40’s makeup was that the foundation was usually slightly darker than your actual skin tone. Cat eyes were being made popular by glamorous Hollywood stars, and orange red lipstick was really in. The brows were not very well defined, but they also weren’t paper thin like several other decades’ trends. The brows were natural, eyeshadow was fairly neutral with a focus on high cheekbones and bright lips. This look was fairly easy to pull off. I think I need to get some lighter foundation as I got into the fall/winter, because I was noticing that my full coverage foundation seemed a touch dark. Of course this worked perfectly for this look, but maybe not so much for other events! I used some highlighter powder from a hightlight/contour kit I have from Wet n Wild, as I found several diagrams from the 1940’s talking about creating a triangle of light on the cheeks, sweeping up towards the outside corners of your eyes. Then blush is placed roughly on the apple, but pulled towards your hair line, and in a slightly larger patch than modern blush wear today.

 

And guess what! For the first time EVER, I managed to create perfect cat eyes without having to go back and “edit” with eye makeup remover and q-tips! I was so excited and used my liquid eyeliner and then cream/gel eyeliner. I used the liquid eyeliner to create the dots that I then filled in with a small, precise angled brush and my cream/gel eyeliner. Maybe I’ve done cat eyes enough over the past year that I now know exactly where I need to place the lines? Whatever it was, I was so proud of myself for not having to redo any of it.

And now for some silly 1930-1940’s makeup tips!