Saturday, October 3, 2015

Palette of the Week: Too Faced Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar ~ Review & Swatches

Part 1 - Review and Swatches

It has been a "hot minute" (to use the vernacular of the younger generation, meaning "a long time" :-) since I've posted a blog!  Between accompanying a choir for a patriotic concert, an emergency trip home to Colorado, several funerals and a fun visit from my BFF and several Colorado friends, my summer break was over before I knew it.  I'm sure many of you can relate to that!  Anyway, once September rolled around it was time for piano lessons to resume and choir practice with the group that I'm accompanying...I've felt like time is speeding by and here it is October already!  I thought I'd get back in the blogging groove with a review of a palette that makes a really great case any of you want to get a jump start on that Christmas shopping ;-)

So here we go!
 Such cute packaging...even the outer box is adorable!

Favorite Colors:  Coconut Creme, Nougat, Truffled, Hot Fudge, Peanut Butter, Bon Bon and Butter Pecan  

What's To Love:
*Buttery soft texture
*Highly pigmented colors (except the color "Pink Sugar" and "Blueberry Swirl")
*Great neutral color selection with one bright color
*Super slim, metal packaging (thinner than the first Chocolate Bar palette), which makes it super travel friendly
*The names of the shadows are imprinted on the palette (as opposed to being on a separate clear sheet inserted in the first Chocolate Bar palette)
*The delicious scent of real cocoa every time you open this palette!

What's Not To Love:
 *Because the shadows are so soft, there can be some fallout when applying - just be sure to tap off the excess before applying to your eyes.
*The soft texture of the shadows also can lead to looks getting a little "muddy" - the key is start with a little product and build color slowly, blending as you go.
*"Pink Sugar" was disappointing....there is no base color, just silvery-pink glitter that only shows up if you put it over a sticky base.

Cost:  $49
Where to Buy:  Ulta, Sephora,

Summary:  Overall, exceptional quality at a good price!  If you already own a bunch of neutral eyeshadows and/or palettes, you may want to skip this one.  However, if you love neutrals and want to be able to do complete looks from just one palette, this is a great palette. It has many matte shades which are perfect on their own or for blending out some of the deeper shadows in the crease.  I'd have to say the first Chocolate Bar palette is still my favorite of the two because I like the collection of colors overall a little better. But I've really enjoyed some of the warmer colors in this palette....will be great for many fall eye-looks!
*Note:  These were photographed in natural daylight and swatched over primer 

Licorice ~ matte black

Coconut Creme ~ matte off-white
Favorite Use:  browbone highlight

Nougat ~ matte pale cool-toned pink
Favorite Use:  transition shade above the crease but below the browbone

Truffled ~ matte medium cool-toned brown
Favorite Use:  deepening the crease and outer corner

Hot Fudge ~ deep shimmery charcoal with a hint of purple
Favorite Use:  deepen outer corner

Cocoa Chili ~ dark matte brown with flecks of gold glitter
Pink Sugar ~ nothing but bits of pink and silver glitter
Puddin' ~ matte brown with a hint of gray

Blueberry Swirl ~ turquoise blue with a pearlized finish

Peanut Butter ~ matte terra cotta
Favorite Use:  love this as a blending shade in the crease
Frosting ~ medium shimmery bronzy brown
Rum Raisin ~ shimmery taupe

Mousse ~ light, cool-toned matte brown
Caramel ~ light, shimmery bronze-gold

Bon Bon ~ soft shimmery peachy gold
Favorite Use:  all-over lid color

Butter Pecan ~ soft shimmery pale gold
Favorite Uses:  inner corner highlight or all over the lid

***Up Next is part 2 in this series....favorite makeup looks using this palette.  Stay tuned!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Coconut Cream Italian Soda

It's 110 degrees outside....yikes!  I decided it was time for a cold, refreshing beverage to help take my mind off this extreme heat.  

One Coconut Cream Italian Soda coming right up!
Italian Sodas sound so sophisticated but they are super easy to make! The great thing is you can tailor them to fit your tastebuds by adjusting the flavor, level of sweetness and choosing cream or no cream.

Coconut Cream is my current favorite and here's how to recreate this delectable drink...

Here's what you'll need:
12 ounce can La Croix Coconut Sparkling Water
Coconut Flavor Syrup
French Vanilla Flavor Syrup (optional)
Half and Half
20-24 ounce glass

4 steps to deliciousness:
1. Pour in sparkling water
2. Add flavor syrups (1-2 Tablespoons of Coconut; 1 Tablespoon of French Vanilla)
3. Add a splash of Half and Half (2 Tablespoons or so). It will foam like crazy so that's why you need a large glass for this.
4. Gently stir and enjoy!

Here's to hoping it's a lot cooler where you live! Cheers :-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dye Your Eyebrows at Home - Refectocil Review

If you read my blog of 30 Random Facts About Me, you will know that my least favorite part of my makeup routine is filling in my eyebrows.  But I do it because I have several "bald" spots and my eyebrows are naturally a really pale blonde.

Something that has really helped with my eyebrow routine is dying my eyebrows.  This is something that can be done by an esthetician.  However, most charge $30+ and for me it only lasted about 2 weeks. 

After doing some research, I found a DIY kit by Roux for $35 at my local Sally's Beauty Supply and decided to try dying them myself at home.  While this kit did work, the color faded rather quickly and I had to be super careful when applying not to get it on my skin because it will stain it in a hot minute!
After more research, I came across rave reviews for a brand called Refectocil.  After finding a kit on Amazon for around $25, I decided it was worth trying.
There's no beating around the bush....this stuff is AWESOME!
*Super easy to apply
*Color does not fade and lasts until the brows grow out
*Depth of color can be adjusted based on length of time left on brows and number of successive applications
*Kit will last a really long time so it makes it very affordable
*Does not stain skin as easily as Roux
*Variety of colors available

*It can be a bit unclear when ordering on Amazon if you need the Oxidant or DO need it.
*It doesn't take very much color to do your brows, even if you apply it twice. Start with no more than a pea-size amount of the color cream and just a few drops of Oxidant and go from there.
*Try a shade lighter than you think you might need....Light Brown is my shade and after 2 successive applications it's plenty dark.
*Don't be deterred by the warning on the box that says it's not to be used for dying your eyebrows.  The instructions inside the box tell you how to use it for dying your eyebrows....go figure ;-)

Where to Buy:  4-piece kit on Amazon (items sold individually as well but the best value is in the kit)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Quick Tip Tuesday: Perfect Winged Liner

You want to achieve a crisp, winged eyeshadow or liner-look but the scotch tape method tugs too much on the delicate skin around your eye.

Use 1" sticky tabs by 3M or the Target store brand.  I saw this mentioned on a YouTube video by Mayratouchofglam and thought it was brilliant so I had to try it out.  Works like a charm!
After applying your eyelid primer, simply line up the sticky edge of the tab with the edge of the lower lash line, extending up toward the brow.
Apply eyeshadow and liner...

Remove the tabs and voila, perfect winged liner with no excess tugging on the eye area!
Clean up any fallout from your eyeshadow, apply your mascara and you are done!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

30 Random Facts About Me

Years ago, I remember emails circulating among friends that had a list of questions you were suppose to answer and send on to a group of friends.  Anyone remember those?  I loved them because it gave me an opportunity to see how well I really knew my friends and pick up a few more tidbits about them that I may not have known before.  So today, I thought it'd be fun to share 30 random facts about me that many of you may not know.  Ready?  Let's go!
  1. I could eat a whole can of black or California green olives in one sitting.
  2. My favorite Starbucks drink in the summer is a white chocolate frapuccino
  3. When I order a hot drink at Starbucks, I order it "extra hot".
  4. I was home-schooled in Kindergarten and First Grade
  5. Favorite all-time classical piece of music is Clair de Lune.
  6. I have zero tattoos and plan to keep it that way :-)
  7. However, I'd consider having my eyebrows or eye liner tattoo'd.
  8. My least favorite part of my makeup routine is filling in my eyebrows.
  9. I'm allergic to cats.
  10. In addition to the piano, I also played the flute in junior high and high school
  11. I always wanted to work for the CIA or FBI as an undercover agent....think Jennifer Garner's character in the show "Alias".
  12. I am petrified of snakes!
  13. For my last meal, I'd want crispy chile rellenos from Benny's Restaurant in Denver, Colorado.
  14. I despise brussel sprouts!
  15. And, I don't like pickles on my Chick-fil-a sandwiches.
  16. Viva La Juicy perfume by Juicy Couture is what I'd consider my "signature" fragrance.
  17. I am a germ-a-phobe.
  18. Favorite sport to play is volleyball.
  19. Favorite sport to watch live or on TV is football.
  20. I love Hallmark movies!
  21. Most annoying thing to me is someone chomping on their gum with their mouth fingernails on a chalkboard to most people.
  22. Actually, fingernails on a chalkboard don't bother me in the slightest.
  23. I always said I would never live in California....never say "never", right? ;-)
  24. I once peeled logs and helped replace a grass roof in Alaska.
  25. I've been to a Red Sox vs. Yankees game at Fenway park.
  26. I've been in the crown of the Statue of Liberty.
  27. I no longer have my appendix.
  28. Fall and Winter are my most favorite seasons of the year!
  29. I love all things cinnamon...and in candy, the hotter the cinnamon the better!
  30. My current dream vacation is to go on a Viking River cruise. 
I hope that was fun for you and you learned a little more about me.  Feel free to share in the comments below a random fact or two about yourself!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun - Review

I love a good tan.  But when my dermatologist starting cutting spots out of my skin, I decided my days of baking in the sun or going to tanning beds were done!  So what's a girl to do when it's shorts weather and her legs are a blinding shade of white?  Turn to sunless tanning, that's what :-)

Over the years, I've tried a number of sunless tanners but always go back to Faux Tan by bareMinerals.  Recently, however, I tried this new Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun and it's FANTASTIC!
Jergens Instant Sun - Deep Bronze
What's so great about this sunless tanner?
  • For starters, the price!  It retails for around $12.  While it's a little more pricey than other formulas from the drugstore, it's a whole lot cheaper than Faux Tan from bareMinerals and other high-end formulas.
  • Foam formula blends easily onto skin.
  • Dries fairly quickly (not 60 seconds like it says on the bottle but within 20-30 minutes). Once dry, there is very little transfer to clothes or sheets.
  • Guide color of the foam gives skin an immediate dose of color and helps ensure even distribution of the product so you don't end up with streaks later.
Jergens Instant Sun has a great "guide" color!
  • Provides a long lasting tan - looks great for 4-5 days without reapplying.
  • Wears off crocodile looking skin ;-)
  • Light, clean scent (don't worry, it's not that typical offensive sunless tanner smell and I find it does fade completely after about 2 hours)
  • Available in 2 shades ~ Light Bronze and Deep Bronze
  • Although this is not a "green-based" tan, it does not look orange on me at all.  Those with fairer skintones might want to test it on a small patch of skin before applying all over just to be sure.
Tips for successful application:
  • Exfoliate skin really well before applying
  • Apply a light weight moisturizer to skin first before applying sunless tanner. St. Ives spray lotion is perfect for this.  It's quick to apply and soaks into the skin almost immediately.
  • Use a tanning mitt to apply sunless tanner (several brands make these tanning mitts...I usually buy mine at Ulta or Sephora)
  • Wait as long as possible before dressing.  I like to put on a swimsuit coverup while doing my makeup and hair to allow the sunless tanner extra drying time.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes or a tank and shorts on the day you are tanning to help the tan to develop undisturbed.
  • Try to avoid splashing water or getting arms/legs wet for at least 4 hours.
  • Apply 2-3 days in a row to achieve the desired amount of color (after just 2 applications of the Deep Bronze shade, I have a very nice, deep tan).
Hopefully that was helpful and encourages you to give sunless tanning a try!

Happy Tanning :-)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Browse My Stash: bareMinerals Loose Blushes & All-Over Face Colors

As I was doing a little Spring Cleaning a few weeks ago, I noticed my massive collection of bareMinerals blushes and thought it might be time for another "Browse My Stash" blog!

Today, you'll be browsing my stash of
bareMinerals Loose Blushes and All-Over-Face Colors
Now, I know what you're thinking....."why on earth would anyone need that many blushes?" Well, before you think I've gone completely mad, let me explain :-)  Most of these came in a kit of some kind.  If you are a fan of bareMinerals, you know that the most economical way to buy their products is by purchasing a kit.  And, when they have their "Beauty Rush" sales, there are even more amazing deals!  Many times when I need mascara or Mineral Veil, I can find a kit in their clearance section that usually includes several products, including a blush for less than the cost of the mascara or mineral veil by itself.  Here's just an example of one of those great deals....full-size mascara, eye-primer, eyeliner, lip-tint and blush for $10.50! Thus, the plethora of blushes you see pictured above :-)

So what's the difference between a Blush and an All-Over Face Color?  The idea behind the all-over face colors is that you can use them "all over your face" to warm up or change the tone of your complexion.  Since most of them contain some shimmer, however, I tend to use them as a blush or a highlight on my cheeks (except Faux Tan which I do use all over the face).

bareMinerals Loose Blushes and All-Over Face Colors - Review:
*High quality ingredients, without all of the bad stuff :-) 
*Great pigmentation/color payoff
*Wide variety of colors and finishes
*Great staying power throughout the day
*Don't be stymied by the loose form!  While it does make them a little messy to work with (see tips for applying below), it also makes them super easy to blend and gives them a longer "shelf-life" as they don't have any "binder ingredients". 
*Can also be applied as an eyeshadow or mixed with a lip balm/gloss and worn on the lips!
Glee is the perfect rosy transition color in the crease of the eye and also gives the lips that ever popular "90s" lipstick shade when combined with chapstick.
0.03 oz = full size (referred to as "medium" on BE website)/0.1 oz = jumbo all-over-face-colors.  Many times in various kits, blushes will be offered in a "small" size and that is .02 oz/.57g.
$20 each (if purchased individually). As I mentioned previously, you can save a TON of money by purchasing blushes in kits, especially if you shop the "Beauty Rush" sales on the Bare Escentuals website.
How To Apply (and avoid a mess :-):
If the blush does not have the locking sifter in the top, dip the tip of a brush into the blush and swirl it in the lid of the blush; tap off the excess and apply.  If there is a locking sifter, open and just tap a small amount of blush into the lid; then swirl, tap and apply! For some of the more vibrant shades, you may want to tap the top of your brush on a tissue or the back of your hand before applying to the cheek to be sure you don't apply too much.
Where To Buy:
Best selection ~ Bare Escentuals' Boutiques or online at  Also available at Sephora, Ulta, and
Favorite, Most Worn Colors:
Applause, Faux Tan, Flowers, Glee, Haute Pink, Morning, Rose Radiance, Velvet (see * color swatches below) 

Swatches (in alphabetical order)
(Scroll to the bottom for side-by-side swatches, grouped by shade)
 bareMinerals Loose Blush - Applause*  
Description:  Matte nude tan with a slightly peachy undertone
Why I Love It: This is my go-to blush to wear with a dark smoky eye.  Perfect neutral shade!
  bareMinerals Loose Blush - Avant-garden  
Description:  Matte pink - slightly more yellow undertone than Peek-a-boo

 bareMinerals Loose Blush - Beauty  
Description:  Matte pink with cool/blue-based undertones
 bareMinerals Loose Blush - Cheerful 
Description:  Matte, light pink with a neutral undertone
 bareMinerals Loose Blush - Chuckle 
Description:  Matte, light yellow-based pink with sporadic flecks of gold glitter (glitter really doesn't transfer to the cheeks)
 bareMinerals All-Over Face Color - Faux Tan*
Description:  Mid-tone neutral tan with a slight satin finish
Why I Love It:  For a number of years this was my go-to bronzer.  I've repurchased this a couple of times :-)  It's perfect for warming up the complexion and giving the face a healthy glow.
 bareMinerals Loose Blush - First Class 
Description:  Rosy nude with tiny silver flecks
 bareMinerals Loose Blush - Flowers*
Description:  Matte, mid-tone bright coral pink
Why I Love It: The perfect summer blush for me.  Pairs well with just about any eye look and is what I reach for when I can't decide if I want to go with a pink or peach cheek.
 bareMinerals Loose Blush - Frisky
Description:  Matte, mid-toned peach
 bareMinerals All-Over Face Color - Glee* 
Description:  Matte, mid-tone brownish plum
Why I Love It:  I love using this in the winter as a blush or anytime of the year as an eyeshadow.  Reminds me a lot of Exposed by Tarte. 
 bareMinerals Loose Blush - Haute Pink* 
Description:  Matte, bright pink with slight purple undertones
Why I Love It: This looks scary but when applied very lightly, it gives the cheeks a healthy pink "glow".  Love to pair this with a pink or purple eye look.
 bareMinerals Loose Blush - Hint of Truth 
Description:  Shimmery rosy nude
  bareMinerals All-Over Face Color - Love Radiance 
Description:  Pale peach with a fine shimmery glow
  bareMinerals Loose Blush - Miracle 
Description:  Matte, medium cool-toned pink
  bareMinerals Loose Blush - Morning* 
Description:  Matte, light peachy nude
Why I Love It: This looks like it wouldn't do anything for the cheeks, but it looks great on my pale winter cheeks, paired with a dark smoky eye.
bareMinerals Loose Blush - Naughty, Naughty 
Description:  Rosy nude with a pearlized finish
 bareMinerals Loose Blush - Peek-a-boo 
Description:  Matte, neutral light pink
 bareMinerals Loose Blush - Pink Ribbon 
Description:  Matte lilac pink
 bareMinerals Loose Blush - Rose Diamond 
Description:  Mid-toned warm rose with a satin finish
 bareMinerals All-Over Face Color - Rose Gold Radiance* 
Description:  Pale, dusty pink with a golden pearl finish
Why I Love It: This gives my pale winter cheeks a hint of color and glow but also looks great on top of other blushes.  Normally, I prefer a matte blush but somehow this one manages to gives a slight glow without highlighting my pores.
 bareMinerals Loose Blush - Rose Quartz 
Description:  Peachy tan with a pearl glow
 bareMinerals Loose Blush - Tulip 
Description:  Matte dark coral (more pink than Frisky)
bareMinerals Loose Blush - Velvet* 
Description:  Matte burnt red with an orange undertone
Why I Love It:  Another blush that looks very scary but when applied with a super light hand, it can look like a very natural flush.

Side-by-side Color Comparisons

Hopefully that was fun and helpful to those of you that are shopping online or in a store that won't let you "try before you buy".

Lots of blogs coming soon, including reviews of new products, "Palette of the Week" and 30+ Random Facts About Me.....Stay tuned!