Beauty: April Favorites

Well as you all know by now, I moved to the USA in April so I have a LOT to get through this week. I mean, check this out:

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Just a small selection!

I’m going to transfer over, slowly, from linking both USA and Australian links to just the US links, but I’ll try to at least figure out whether things are available in Australia for you lovely people. I’m also trying very hard to switch over to American spelling though I assume that will take some time to happen automatically, forgive me if this is a mixture of both!

Let’s get on with it.

Sigma F88 Flat Angled Kabuki Brush

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I got this in my Sigma brush order and honestly it’s the only one I’ve given a red hot go for right now, I’ve been living out of a small amount of makeup brushes so as not to have to clean a lot of brushes all the time. And can I tell you, it is frickin amazing. It feels like a kitten’s paw. It’s so soft but very, very dense. It just seems to smooth on and blend out foundations and BB creams so fast and efficiently. I love it. I probably would not use this for sheer applications of a base – it’s better for medium to full coverage. You can get Sigma brushes from a bunch of different places (including online in Australia), I shopped straight from sigmabeauty.com and this was $28. Well worth it, IMO!

IT Cosmetics Tightline Mascara

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When I was at Ulta Beauty in Keene, NH this month I overheard one of the makeup salespeople gushing about this mascara to another customer. I thought it sounded really interesting so when I saw a sample size at the counter I had to grab it and try it out (you know how I feel about full size/price high end mascaras). I was not disappointed, this is actually REALLY cool. The brush is teeny tiny, the bristles are barely there. But this enables you to get right up to the root of the lashes and it does indeed create a “tightline” effect (ie, it makes you look like you have lined your inner, upper lashline which is a thing that really sucks to do if you’re not well practiced!). I sometimes go over the top of this with another coat of something a little more volumizing but as a basic, everyday mascara I think this is absolutely great and will probably buy the full size.  I can’t see that it’s available in Australia but if you’re in the USA you can grab it at Ulta Beauty for $24.

Kat von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks

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As you can see, I like these a lot. I want all of them, they are great. They last forever and don’t go chunky on the lips. I think they are wonderful! I got Berlin, Outlaw and Bachelorette, in that order from left:

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Not the best picture ever, sigh. Berlin is a kind of watermelon pinky-red, Outlaw is a scarlet, bright red and Bachelorette is a bright, deep pink-red. I find them incredibly easy to apply, they dry really fast to a very matte finish and they stay put. They just do. I ate a burger wearing Outlaw. I ate wings wearing Bachelorette. I’m not joking. Here’s a couple of pictures of it on (left is Berlin, right is Outlaw – sorry I don’t have one of Bachelorette on!):

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I don’t know what else to say. I love these. I think I’ll buy the very orange-red one next time, but it’s SUPER orange so I haven’t yet got the balls. SOON. Sidenote: I also tried a sample of the KvD Lock-It Tattoo Foundation and it owns, coverage is fantastic but not cakey, it will be my next foundation purchase. You can get these lipsticks from Sephora in Australia if you have a mate in Sydney, otherwise you’re SOL. But in the USA they’re obviously available from Sephora in-store and online, and are $20.

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask

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This is like lip balm on steroids. It was an absolute lifesaver for me when I got to the USA. The sudden change from hot humidity to cold dry weather was hell on my skin and this stuff really saved my lips from cracking. I smeared it on obsessively. I think it’s meant to be an overnight thing but I just treated it like lip balm.

One thing that annoys me about this product is that it’s kinda hard to squeeze out of the tube, and doesn’t come with an applicator tip it’s just a plain tube opening. No biggie it’s still worth it. It smells and tastes delicious and is an all-round all-star product that I think will be joining my holy grail collection. It’s another Sephora Australia product or you can get it for nearly $32 at ry.com.au but in the USA it’s $26 from Sephora.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer

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This. Stuff. ROCKS. It’s super creamy, super blendable and comes in a decent, though not extensive, range of shades. It has great coverage (I’d call it on the high side of medium to full) and has a handy doe-foot applicator. It is totally matte so doesn’t have a brightening effect like the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, but otherwise I would call them quite comparable. I love Urban Decay so I was excited to try this product and it really did not disappoint. Even without the brightening effect I still wear this under my eyes and I think it does a great job of evening out the tone in that area. I find that highlighting concealers can draw attention to blemishes so it doesn’t bother me so much that this one doesn’t have that, since blemishes are more of a concern to me than dark under-eye circles. Errybody got those u know?! Anyway you can get it at Mecca (Maxima) now in Australia or from Sephora or Ulta in the USA for $28.

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

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Guys, it does what it says on the box. It dries SO FAST, to such a hard, glossy finish. I will probably never use another top coat ever again. I am constantly surprised, every time I use this (and I’ve done my nails A LOT this month) at how fast it dries and how unbreakable the finish is, for quite a few days. It’s like having hard glass on top of your nails, it’s bloody fabulous I don’t know what else to tell you. You can get it at Crush Cosmetics in Australia for about $15 or in the USA you can get it at CVS and probably other drugstores, or even on Amazon for like $8 it’s great. You won’t be disappointed with this product, I promise!

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask

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I had heard good things about the masks from PTR so I grabbed the little three-pack from the beauty to go section of Sephora. It’s kind of a rip because the box looks like the products will be bigger than they are – they have a corner section of the box, so the products themselves are pretty tiny (see above). The Rose Stem Cell and Cucumber of these, I could take or leave. Maybe it’s just my skin type but I didn’t think they did much for me really. The Pumpkin one though, holy CRAP you guys it’s PHENOMENAL. Honestly, after I took it off (you only need 3-7 minutes for this baby, depending on your sensitivity) I exclaimed out loud and made Ray look at and touch my newly glowing, soft, smooth, bright skin. I can’t even tell you guys how impressed I am with this product.

A small flaw: I did find that it stung a little bit for the first say 30-45 seconds of wear then it went away. It has some pretty potent stuff in it so I was prepared but if you do try it, don’t be alarmed. It stops, and as said above you don’t have to have it on for very long anyway. As with all the things I recommend though, be sure to make decisions based on your own skin type and patch test if you are worried. Sephora will give you a sample for no cost so you could try that first if you wanted.

Unfortunately this one is not available in Australia. Booo! Any Aussies want to try it, you can PayPal me and I’ll send it over to you (in fact this goes for any of these things, anything that helps me add to my VIB points or Ulta rewards is ok with me!). In the USA you can get the full size from Sephora for $58 or the Mini Mask Set for $20.

Matrix Biolage ExquisiteOil Range

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I got this on recommendation from the ladies at the JCPenney salon when I described the damaged, dry condition of my hair. It was 3 for the price of 2 so I thought why not? I’ve had good luck with Matrix Biolage products before. And let me tell you, this range has been a revelation. Even Ray has commented on how much healthier, shinier and “less crunchy” my hair has been since I started using it. I do love a hair oil and the Moringa oil in this range really does the job. I’m super impressed and recommend it to anyone who’s looking to give their damaged, treated, dry hair some love for awhile. I got the shampoo, conditioner and the leave-in oil. They said I could use the oil either before or after drying my hair. I often put it in before, and then use a little bit of my beloved Kevin.Murphy Immortelle Oil just before straightening. Americans can get this fantastic range at a bunch of places and salons including Ulta for $17 per bottle and Aussies can get it from their Matrix Biolage carrying salon or from myhaircare.com.au for pretty dece prices actually! Hairhouse Warehouse also has the 1L bottles for 50% off right now, if you’re already a fan.

Phew! That was a huge amount of stuff to get through. I even cut some things out! There are some things I’ve purchased that I want to give a bit more of a go before I call them favorites, or don’t.

As I mentioned, I’m happy to be a re-shipper for my Aussie friends if needs be. I’m going to be starting work next week but only part time and any perks I can get like points / rewards are well worth it to me. Hook me up with some PayPal dough and I’ll help you out as speedily as possible.

Let me know what you guys think if you’ve tried these products, or what your April Favourites are – I’d love to hear! Also I would love to know if you guys think there’s a way I can improve these posts and make them more helpful/useful to you.

Next month might have quite a lot of non-makeup in it as I am moving this weekend, Ray and I are finally moving into our very own apartment and we’re going to IKEA tomorrow to do some furniture shopping!

Love+++

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Tips and Tricks: Stress-less Winged Eyeliner

You guys know I’m always looking for ways to make this particular process easier. I’ve researched all kinds of ways, and previously was using the stickytape or page-marker flag method but I think I found a way that’s even easier and doesn’t involve sticking tape on your face. Score!

The biggest obstacle I face when doing this is getting both of the angles looking similar (remember, they’re sisters, not twins!) on both eyes. If they’re TOO different, you can look a bit strange!

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Bioderma micellar water, pointy q-tip, Sephora matte black shadow, Kat Von D Ink Liner in “Trooper”, Real Techniques angled liner brush

All you’ll need for this trick is some matte black eyeshadow (a lot of palettes will have one of these, or you can buy an extremely cheap one), a slanted or flat eyeliner brush (not a pointed one) and your choice of either gel or liquid liner. It’d also be handy to have some makeup remover or micellar water and a cotton bud (q-tip – gotta get used to the US words!). If you have those sharp/pointy-ended q-tips that’s even better!

The best way I have found to get the angles looking “right” is to basically continue the line of your lower lashline. Just pretend it keeps on going up towards the tail of your eyebrow.

So for this trick, what we are basically doing is drawing a “guide-line” in the most literal sense of the word.

It’s up to you if you want to do this before or after your foundation routine. Sometimes when I know I’m gonna be wearing a tonne of eye makeup that will have a lot of fallout, I will do my eye makeup first. Again, totally up to you.

Pop some primer or concealer on your eyelids first if that’s a thing you do. Give it a bit to dry, then grab your slanted or straight brush (doesn’t really matter I just find slanted ones a bit easier to use) and lightly press the very ends of the bristles into the black eyeshadow.

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Like so.

Tap off the excess and press it off a bit too, either onto your hand or on a tissue etc. I just pressed it off onto my background paper. You don’t want your brush to be too loaded.

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Now, with your eyes open (important) and without pulling your eye skin around, use the flat bristle-end of the brush to draw a line from the very outer corner of your eyelid towards your brow, ensuring you “continue” the line of your lower lid. I have found the easiest way to do this is to do a “stamping” motion. Stamp the shadow on and then, if you want the line a little longer, drag it lightly up and out continuing that same line.

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It’s true, I’m not wearing a skerrick of other makeup. SOZ NOT SOZ

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Close up! You can see the line basically follows my lower lashline.

Put the brush down and check your line. If you are happy with it, hooray! That’s the hard part over. If you’re not, dip the end of your q-tip into your makeup remover and remove the line you made, or part of it if you just made it too thick (this is where those pointy ones come in handy). Easy peasy – it’s just eyeshadow, not waterproof liner, it won’t make a mess. No biggie at all! This is the true genius of this method. It’s so easy to fix.

Note: If you want, you can actually draw in the entire eyeliner path – not just the wing line. I just do this bit, because it’s the part I really struggle with.

Repeat for the other eye.Once this is done, you can use your actual eyeliner to go over the line you drew. Start with the wing line, then keeping nice and close to the upper lashline and starting from the midpoint(ish, personal preference), use small strokes of eyeliner to meet the wing line.

As mentioned earlier, I really feel that it’s quite important to not pull your eyelid around or squint hard while you’re doing this. At some point you will probably have to at least partially close your eye to line the upper lashline but if you squint too much or pull your eyelid around, you will really warp the line that you’re trying to make. This might seem like stating the obvious, but it was a huge realisation for me, I’ve always pulled my eye around like a crazyperson, trying to make the skin tight so the line is straight. ??? Anyway..

I found this amazing graphic on J’Adore Glitz‘s blog (whether she made the diagram or not is unclear) which explains what I mean quite well. These are the lines you want to draw in.

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In the above graphic, she draws in the upper line of the wing immediately after the lower line. That’s fine of course, and a lot of people do it that way. I just don’t because I like to make it gradually thicker rather than committing myself to a wing that might be “too much”. I also think that bringing the liner all the way to the inner corner like she has can make one look a bit intense, and doesn’t really suit that many people. Unless you have quite wide set eyes, in which case go nuts! Do you, boo!

That’s pretty much it! I hope this was helpful and my bare-faced, hair-not-even-combed visage did not alarm you too much.

Next blog will be my April favourites and I am really excited about it! Lots to talk about. Stay tuned!

Love+++

Moving to the USA: Some Stuff I’ve Done!

Well, those of you who know me personally will know that the last section of my visa process did not go smoothly. I’m not going to go into detail here, suffice to say that it was absolutely no fault of our own and related purely to the lack of knowledge (regarding the department’s own processes) had by the person who interviewed me.

I still managed to leave on time, JUST, and the port of entry experience at LAX was actually delightful. Thank goodness. My official greencard has not yet arrived but my social security number has so that’s a really great thing, it opens a lot of doors in terms of things I can do and apply for etc.

Since I got here, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my husband and his parents obviously but we’ve also done some travelling in the local area, shopping, eating and all that fun stuff.

We went for a drive to Nashua, where I dropped into Old Navy and got some very ugly and comfortable fleecy trackpants for hanging around the house (I have barely taken them off to be honest). On the way there were all these awesome cliff mini glacier things which I thought were super cool looking, check them out:

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Frozen waterfall?!

I also went to Sephora (I swear to god I can’t help myself but they had some things I wanted, and a very knowledgeable salesperson who talked to me about contour in a very sensible manner which I enjoyed) and picked up a few things, then to Lush which is why I was really there. I needed some Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner – I swear by this stuff as I have previously stated. It’s wonderful for those of us who are super slack with putting on body lotion when getting out of the shower. I mean, who really has time!? Not I.

After that we drove to Keene where I went to Ulta. Ohhhh my god, that place is HUGE and magical! It’s like a massive explosion of beauty, there’s high end and drugstore brands all in the one place. I loved it, and the staff there seems a little bit less snooty than the Sephora team. Sorry Sephora! But Ulta won out so far for me. A lovely lady helped match me with the new Urban Decay concealer (wait for my April faves for a full report on this one) and I definitely wouldn’t have picked the one she matched me with so that was a relief. Anyway, here’s a picture of my haul from that day:

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Combined Sephora, Lush & Ulta haul

A couple of the above will also be featured in April favourites. I was particularly excited to see the Real Techniques bold metals range of brushes, I was proud of myself for choosing just one. The hype is right: it’s great and the handle is so well balanced. As you can see, I also grabbed another couple of the Kat von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks and the IT Cosmetics Tightline mascara sample which is SURPRISINGLY awesome, you guys! I heard the team member who ended up helping me raving about it to another customer so I had to pick up the mini version to try it out. I’m a sucker for a teeny little brush and this one is so small you can hardly see the “bristles”. Full review in April favourites for that one too.

After that we went to a for-realsies American diner, called Lindy’s. It was great, I mean, look at this!

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Oh Lindy’s. You’re adorable.

We got incredible mocha java concoctions, which we are still talking about, and I got a delicious breakfast including pancakes (it was 4pm). Ray got oyster chowder and macaroni and cheese.

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Hnggg

The next day was WINGS NIGHT at the local pub (we also went there for trivia on Sunday night and games night on Monday!) so I decided to go with a very smokey eye because hell it’s still basically winter here!

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Also featuring L’Oreal True Match foundation, it’s good shit.

And speaking of winter it snowed out the WAZOO Wednesday afternoon / evening, well it was like 3 inches of snow which isn’t anything that amazing to New Englanders but I was totally fucking enchanted you guys! It was amazing and beautiful! On the way home Ray was pretty nervous about driving and we had to stop halfway so he could brush some snow off the back window. Wowsers it was serious business. I took some pictures the next day of the yard:

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Snow! Icicles! Magical!

Unfortunately I still had to take this monster outside to wee:

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… but I only went as far as needed for her to make a lil patch of yellow in the snow.

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Yesterday we went to Rutland, where we are actually going to live. It was a gorgeous drive along the Ottauqueechee River. We checked out a few apartments, some better than others, and we checked out an amazing gym. That was the find of the day. It has a Crossfit box but allows use of it by non-Crossfitters which is kinda rare so we were so thrilled. It’s a small but well equipped box, the best kind. The Crossfit box we went to earlier in the week was huge and well equipped as well but a lot more serious. One of Ray’s friends is a coach there and is actually going to Regionals so that’s super exciting! I PRed my front squat at 90.7kg (200lb wiew) there but the price for a short membership or even a casual visit was cost-prohibitive so we probably won’t go back.

Today at the co-op we grabbed some coffee and eggs and stuff so I can start eating a real adult breakfast (Ray insists on eating Lucky Charms ugh!) and I found some Vegemite – check out this price, I nearly DIED:

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Pls don’t call it yeast extract ugh it’s so much more than that!

Tonight we are going to a supposedly-amazing burger bar and I think I’m going to try out the new Urban Decay palette I bought in LA. I will report back if it’s not a total disaster – I’m sure it won’t be. Burger pictures will also be forthcoming. Yay!

Thanks for reading.

Love+++

Moving to the USA: Haul #1 (of many)

I made it! I’m here with my husband it is awesome. Stressful times but all worth it to be here.

I thought I’d post a quick haul post. My friends Sara and Nate entertained me all day on my layover in LA so we went to South Coast Plaza, a fancy mall with lots of high end brands including Jo Malone which is why I went there!

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The salesman at Jo Malone was phenomenal and so helpful, and not pushy. I bought a large bottle of my beloved Wood Sage & Sea Salt (think a deserted, windswept beach with a driftwood fire in the distance) perfume, and he gave me tonnes of samples as well as a sample of the matching body lotion which I may buy, because holy CRAP my skin is dry as HECK right now and I only have a little bottle of Soap & Glory’s Body Butter. So far I’ve given the Blackberry and Bay sample a sniff and it’s gorgeous. That one might be my next purchase but that won’t be for awhile.

We then went to look for a passport holder for me, though I’ve decided what I’ll do is buy myself a really pretty one when I become a citizen in 3 years because I’ll have two passports! So it’s kinda lucky I didn’t find one. I did however find the Urban Decay Ammo palette which was hard to get in Australia so I grabbed that, it was $25 what a bargain!

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Plastic is a bit scuffed. Came with an eye primer! Wiew

Excited to try this out, the colours are amazing and I think I can show it a hell of a good time.

So when I got to Boston and was reunited with my beloved husbo, we went to Sephora. It was awesome! I wanted a hairdryer and some shampoo and conditioner and the guy who helped us actually wasn’t that helpful. He tried to talk me into a sulfate free shampoo which I don’t normally like, but I bought small deluxe samples of it anyway and wow surprise surprise I used it this morning and I hate it. My scalp is flaking like crazy and my hair is horribly dry even after drying naturally and not applying any heat. I didn’t take any pictures, but it’s this one: Alterna CAVIAR Anti-Ageing Replenishing Shampoo. So that’s not pictured because I’m taking it back and will probably try out a Bumble & Bumble one, as that’s a brand I trust, or the Living Proof range is tempting as well. I don’t know. My hair just needs to get through this stage of still having the yucky ends from being bleached. Anyway, instead of the $200 hairdryer the guy wanted me to get, I ended up going online and buying another Parlux exactly like my last one. So the rest of the haul was the Kat Von D liquid lipstick in “Outlaw”, Bite Beauty Agave Lip Balm which is apparently amazing for winter-dry lips which I am definitely suffering from, and I think that’s it! When I got to Ray’s home town we went to CVS to buy lots of things like cotton pads, qtips, nail polish remover, razors and all that normal stuff then we wandered down to the Sephora inside JCPenney. It was pretty comprehensive really, only a few niche lines missing (Sunday Riley, unfortunately, as well as L’Occitane which sucked because I really want to buy a large container of the Almond Shower Oil. It’s so good! I have found my skin to be SUPER dry since I got here and this stuff is definitely helping. Anyway, I grabbed some of the UD Setting Spray in Oil Control and they gave me a sample of the Peter Thomas Roth pumpkin enzyme mask which I’m super keen on trying… anyway here’s the haul:

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No biggie!

I also unwrapped my Sigma package! Look at these beauties! I’m so excited to try these brushes and review them for you guys.

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The little baby one on the left is a travel size shadow brush gift :3

I’m ESPECIALLY excited about the flat topped kabuki brush for applying foundation! Can’t wait to tell you guys about them.

So at the moment things are a bit crazy because we’re not living in a place where I can organise all my products and have them in front of me. As such I probably won’t be wearing a lot of makeup for awhile because it’s just overwhelming, lol. Anyway, that’s my haul! I’ll probably pop into Sephora again today to grab some more shampoo samples or whatever. Ok bye!

Love+++