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Posted on Feb 11, 2014 in Dear Diary, Fashion | 6 comments

Beauty Products I’m Digging

You know, there really are a lot of things I’ve missed about blogging. Reconnecting with my fantastic readers, sure. Having the accountability to stay (relatively) on track with my health, obviously. The catharsis that comes with whining nonstop baring my soul on the interwebs, naturally. And, of course, we can’t forget the whole thing where blogging totally feeds my maniacally huge ego — and let’s face it, the fact that I’ve been writing about myself consistently for the past 3.5 years is a pretty good indication that my ego wasn’t really all that small to begin with, hahaha.

Aaaanywho, since I’m back on the regular blogging bandwagon, I once again have the opportunity to operate under the assumption that you guys actually care what I think, and so I thought it might be fun to update my list of beauty products that I’m currently vibing on!

After many years of devoted Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner pencil usage, I have to admit that I am almost 100% a liquid liner girl now. I currently alternate between three, depending on the day, what look I’m going for, and how late I’m already running.


Left to right: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liner in Jet Black, Eyeko Skinny Liquid Liner in Black, Urban Decay’s 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Liner in Perversion

First we have Stila. This is a fantastic, marker-style liquid liner with a very fine tip. This is what I use on any average day, as the pigment isn’t SUPER black (so mess ups are a little easier to fix) and it’s easy to maneuver. As mentioned, the brush tip is quite fine so it’s also super easy to get a very thin line using this product, which I never bother doing because my eyes are weird and Whasian and if my liner isn’t a certain thickness I might as well not be wearing any at all, haha.

In the middle is Eyeko, which I have in several colors. Somewhat ironically, given its name (“Skinny Liquid Liner”), this actually gives me the thickest line. Therefore, it’s what I go for when I’m just looking for some fast liner action. Zip-zip straight across each eyelid and, voila! I probably wouldn’t recommend this liner for someone who likes a really thin line though, because I find that very difficult to achieve with this product.

Finally, we have Urban Decay, which is wand style. For the uninitiated, using wand-style liquid liner is basically like playing through Halo in Legendary mode — it’s hard, yo! The pigment of this liner is amazing (it has almost like a sheen to it when it dries, so it really pops on top of my eyeshadow) but application takes like twice as much time and 10 times as much effort to get it A) straight and B) semi-even on both eyes.

I’ve also moved on from my previous obsession with Covergirl’s Lashblast Luxe mascara (the one with the sparkles in it) and am now toooootally into Covergirl’s Flamed Out Mascara… and while I may or may not have only heard about this product initially because it’s part of Covergirl’s Catching Fire collection, it really has become my legit mascara of choice. I love the brush, even for my tiny, super straight lashes, the formula is thick but doesn’t clump AT ALL, and best of all? OKAY FINE, yes, I love the fact that it is even loosely Hunger Games-related, but that isn’t what I was going to say. I was going to say that the best part is that it’s Covergirl so it’s totally inexpensive. Duh.

Next up is a makeup product that I have been having a LOT of fun experimenting with this year: liquid lipstick! Especially in bright, bold colors. I’ve always been partial to a nice red lip, but I had no idea what I was missing by staying away having other fun colors surround my piehole!


Left to right: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso and Carina, Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in Forever Fuschia and Cute Pink

Back in March, when some of my Yelp coworkers came and gathered for a regional conference here in DC, I found myself awkwardly staring at my coworker Rachel’s amazing lip color — it was bright, bold, vibrant, and despite the many meals we all shared together, it never budged! Not wanting to totally creep her out in person, I waited until after we all dispersed back to our various locations before emailing her and demanding an explanation for her magical lip color. And so I am forever grateful to her for introducing me to Stila liquid lipstick.

The staying power is seriously impressive — I’ve made it through entire wedding reception dinners without ever needing to reapply! They do have a matte finish (how else are they supposed to stay in place?) so just be aware of that if you tend to have very try lips. You can of course apply gloss or balm on top, but then it comes off much faster. Beso and Carina are the colors I’m wearing in the photos above.

At $22 a pop, though, and knowing that bright lipsticks are very much still an “experimental” thing, I was looking for a more cost-effective way for me to play. So I also picked up a couple of Sephora Collection lip stains. They are currently priced at $13 (pretty sure they were $12 when I bought mine though!) and offer a nice collection of colors in both mattes and shimmers. Admittedly the quality isn’t quiiiite the same as the Stila ones (they don’t stay nearly as long), but they have good pigment and aren’t too drying.

Since I’ve already talked about what dry shampoo products I like, let’s move right onto skiiiiin. I am still — yes, still! — shopping around for the perfect facial cleanser and moisturizer (luckily, Birchbox helps out with this product hunt a lot), but at least I’ve got a pretty good handle on the body lotion part of things!


Left to right: St. Ive’s Naturally Indulgent Body Lotion, Fresh Brown Sugar Hand Cream, O’Keeffe’s for Healthy Feet

I used to be obsessed with this Caldrea lotion that I once received a sample of in a Birchbox loooong ago. I loved it so much that I bought an 8 oz. bottle for $22… and then promptly went through the entire thing in like 3 weeks. Which I should have known ahead of time, really. I mean, I have a LOT of real estate to cover here! #moretolove

Rather than driving myself into debt for the sake of freaking body lotion, I realized that while, yes, the lotion itself was very nice, what I really was obsessed with was its coconut & fig leaf scent. After much trial and testing, which included one lotion that made me smell like I was actually MADE out of coconut and one lotion that smelled so weird that I had to immediately wash it off in the shower, I finally found an amazing smelling, epically affordable lotion replacement, made by none other than St. Ive’s (yep, the apricot scrub people!).

St. Ive’s Naturally Indulgent Body Lotion has the fantastic scent of Coconut Milk and Orchid Extract (well, I’m not actually sure how accurate-smelling the scents are, but I do know it smells good!), is creamy and thick but absorbs quickly, and goes for like $4 for a huuuuuge pump-top bottle! Win-win-win.

Being so economical with my body lotion lets me be a little more indulgent in other ways, including with my haaaand cream. I’ve mentioned the fact that I get this terrible dry skin affliction every winter where my hands and feet get incredibly dry and flaky and eventually erupt into painful bumps (sorry for the visual, haha), so it’s actually pretty necessary for me to have a variety of lotions and treatments to ward off this particular winter woe as long as possible. My hand cream of choice is part of the Fresh Brown Sugar collection, and it smells divine — like lemon and sugar and happiness. It’s expensive, but since I only use it for my hands, it lasts forever. The same 2.5 oz bottle has lasted me almost a year!

As for my tootsies, I recently discovered O’Keefe’s foot cream and it has seriously — no joke — changed my life. It comes in a little container and almost has the consistency of solid coconut oil at first (so it’s not really a cream, per se), but it does amazing things to heal my broked out, busted up feet. It’s totally odorless and I picked it up for like $6 or $7 on Amazon.

Well, whaddya know, I was right! That was fun! I’ll cut myself off for now since I’m sure I hit the tl;dr limit like 1000 words ago, but hopefully the above list will prove helpful or interesting to at least a few of you! Obviously there is an even bigger array of products that I use on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis currently splayed out on my vanity, so if you’re ever curious about anything else not mentioned — BB creams, highlighter, perfume, conditioner, or even toothpaste (spoiler alert: it’s Colgate Optic White) — feel free to ask!

And I know I’ve asked it before, but I’ll ask it again: what is your current go-to or must-have beauty product?

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Posted on Dec 7, 2012 in Fashion | 16 comments

Fashion Friday: Snow Queen

In yet another misleading blog title, this is a makeup post hiding under the guise of Fashion Friday. Because, even though I still haven’t really figured out if makeup falls under the full “fashion” headline, “Makeup Friday” just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. So, here we are. 🙂

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I actually had a pretty interesting (and hilarious) conversation with Sean the other night regarding winter makeup looks. It went something like this:

Me: I’m thinking about doing a winter makeup post on Friday. So basically I’m thinking it’ll just be like, glitter.
Sean: Makeup provides neither warmth nor coolness, so why is winter makeup different from summer makeup? Do you wear depressing makeup in the winter because winter is depressing?
Me: You are such a boy.
Sean: I just don’t understand women.

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Now, Sean’s unfortunate lack of knowledge regarding the intimate workings of makeup aside, he does make an interesting point. I mean, there’s no physical reason to sport different makeup looks just because of the weather. But I do it anyway, because I doubt I’m the only person who feels like there’s a shift in the air (and not just the temperature) when a new season rolls around. So over the next couple of months, as the weather continually gets colder and colder, expect to see more makeup looks on here that are winter appropro. Which, as stated above, essentially just means we’ll be diving further and further into the land of shimmer and glitter.

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Digression: I got contact lenses in the 6th grade, which means I was 10 years old (I skipped 2nd grade, so I’ve always been young for my year in school). I had to sit through this little class thing at the optometrist’s office where they instruct you on what not to do with your contacts. One of their rules was to be very careful when applying eye makeup (a rule that I obviously disregard wholeheartedly these days, hahaha). Well, little 10-year-old me had only one question throughout the entire training session (which, it should be said, was a group of people, all the rest of whom were adults). That question: Can I still wear eye glitter? I then proceeded to pull out my grape-scented purple glitter rollerball and show it to the technician. I am really serious about glitter.

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Anyway, this look is actually not very glittertastic (somewhat ironically, given that ridiculous story I just told, hahaha). But, it is super WINTERtastic. I used to think that light, shimmery makeup was retired back in high school, along with the light lipstick + dark lipliner trend (I’m looking at you, Jen Powell Robinson!), lest it conjure unfortunately dated looks like this one:

Yes, that is Katherine Heigl in the 1996 Disney Channel Original Movie, Wish Upon a Star, which was like Freaky Friday except totally awesomer. ANYWAY. As long as you’re not too heavy-handed, I’ve recently come to reappreciate the light, shimmery makeup look. And if you can look past the terrible lighting and bags under my eyes in these pics, since I took them at like, 11 PM last night, I think you might possibly be able to see why. It gives me this whole ethereal, winter-faerie-like look that I can totally vibe on.

And when paired with a subtle, shimmery lip, pink cheeks, and an icy blue eyeliner? It’s like a winter wonderland on your face, in a completely wearable, everyday way.

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Eyeshadow(s): Sephora Collection Colorful Mono Eyeshadow in Aspen Summit (23), all the way from my lash line to my brow bone. Then Urban Decay eyeshadow in Toasted along the outer half of my lid and in the crease (courtesy of my Naked palette, but they’re also sold individually).

Eyeliner: Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner in Electric, on both top and bottom lids.

Mascara: CoverGirl Lash Blast Luxe (it has glitter IN THE MASCARA!) in Black Platinum.

Brow Pencil: Too Faced Brownies

Lipgloss: I got it for free when I was trying out BeautyMint (a subscription skincare thing), but any light-colored, shimmery gloss would do.

Blush and highlighter: NARS blush in Orgasm and Smashbox Halo Highlighting Wand in Gold, as always.

Are you drawn to different makeup looks in the winter?

PS: Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for two cans of Blue Diamond Almonds’ exclusive seasonal flavors!

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Posted on Nov 16, 2012 in Fashion | 11 comments

Fashion Friday: Au Naturale

Do makeup posts really belong under the Fashion Friday header? Ah well, I’m still rolling with it. We can revise later. So today, I am doing something marginally daring inspiring awkward. As someone who constantly proclaims how much she loves to put stuff all over her face, I am about to show you my makeup-less mug. I know.

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BAM! This is me, completely fresh-faced, just after washing my makeup off.

Now, why am I doing this? Well, I’m really not someone who feels I NEED to wear makeup. I’m actually (shockingly?) quite happy with the face God gave me, and I know how lucky I am to have relatively clear skin and all that jazz. I don’t feel hideous when I leave the house without makeup, I just feel kind of… naked. So really, when it comes to wearing daily makeup, it’s a preference thing for me.

Which is why, on those days when I don’t feel like doing anything bright or bold or colorful or crazy (and I don’t want to spend a lot of TIME on my makeup), I go for a very simplistic, natural look. I know it sounds redundant, but I want to look like I’m not really wearing makeup, while still wearing makeup. I want the extra confidence that comes from knowing my skin’s a little more even, my eyelashes are a little fuller, and I don’t think there’s a single thing wrong with that.

Enter, my natural look kit:

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My ever-lovin’ Urban Decay Naked Palette (fitting, no?), pressed powder (picture shows Makeup Forever), a brow pencil (picture shows Too Faced), mascara, and lip balm. Easy as (pumpkin/pecan/apple) pie. (Can you tell my mind is on Thanksgiving much?)

Natural Look

To me, natural means no shine, no shimmer, no glitter. First, I did a once-over with the pressed powder (no blush, since my face’s natural redness shines through powder). Then, I used the two matte colors in the palette, Naked (a neutral beige) and Buck (a medium brown). Naked went over my entire eyelid, and then I shaded some Buck into the crease/outer corner. After that, I fill in my brows a bit, then add mascara and some chapstick, and done!

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Pre-makeup on the left, post-makeup on the right:

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Voila! It doesn’t make a TREMENDOUS difference, but it’s enough to help even things out, boost my confidence, and make me feel just a little more put together. The brow shading is admittedly a new thing for me. I’ve been blessed with relatively full (and dark) eyebrows naturally, but I recently started filling them in just slightly more and I really dig the look. It gives me this whole Camilla Bell/Brooke Shields vibe that I dig. Eyebrows. So hot right now. Eyebrows.

Anyway, so that’s it! Done in 5 minutes or less. Like I said, easy.

What does your “natural” makeup routine consist of? Or do you really prefer just to not bother with makeup at all if you’re going to be wearing so little?

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Posted on Nov 5, 2012 in Dear Diary | 30 comments

Favorite: Beauty Products

Hi friends!

So I have a really fun, fashion-themed sponsored post coming your way at the end of the week (involving leggings and tights, the staples of my winter wardrobe), so as a precursor to that, I thought I would spend a little time this week posting about other girly things that I love. The few times that I’ve posted about makeup in the past, a few of you have requested a post about what my favorite beauty products are. Well, ask and ye shall receive!

Makeup looks

Male readers, feel free to X out of your browsers now. I think you’re done. 😉

Doing makeup

So, as you all know by now, I’m kind of obsessed with putting crap on my face. In the best possible way, of course. And I’ve posted about certain products that I like, as well as my Sephora obsession, but never really broken it down beyond that. To be fair, it’s because I really am not the kind of person who has one everyday, go-to look. I really enjoy playing around with my makeup and having lots of options. But, if I were forced to whittle down my ridiculous makeup collection into the basics, these would be it.

Now, it should be noted that this list is of predominantly higher-end makeup brands, so if you’re shocked at the sticker prices… well, yeah. Believe me, I know. But, they really are amazing! And I do use drugstore brands too (you might even see one below…!) it’s just that, well, these are supposed to be my favorites, right? Right. heh. (Oh, and sidebar: none of the links below contain affiliate links.)

IT BEGINS!

 

Foundation

 
I don’t wear foundation on a daily basis, but when I do, it’s Makeup Forever’s HD Invisible Cover Foundation ($42). I wear color #125. Though I know I’m lucky because I have pretty clear skin naturally, I suffer from a LOT of redness. This stuff really does cover my redness, and gives me a blank canvas to work with. It is fantastically lightweight, and doesn’t get cakey on me, which is a problem I’ve had in the past. It is definitely expensive, but for me, since I don’t wear it daily, one bottle lasts a looooooong time.

 

Blush

 
I’ve mentioned NARS Blush in Orgasm ($28) on this blog before, and it’s because it’s the miracle blush. I have yet to find a single person that this blush does not look amazing on. It’s a subtle, shimmery, peachy-pink, and it really is just gorgeous. As I mentioned above, my cheeks are naturally very red, so I really only wear blush if I’m wearing foundation. That said, this is the only blush I can ever imagine needing again. I threw out my other ones. True story.

 

Eyeshadow

 
Hands-down, the most-used product in my makeup box… tray… shelf… thing (…) is the Naked Palette from Urban Decay ($50). This single palette has 12 colors, almost all of which are neutral, and all of which look AWESOME. I use it for almost all of my daytime looks, and Creep + Gunmetal (the black and silver on the end) make an awesome nighttime smokey eye. The palette comes with a brush (that I don’t really use, haha) and a mini bottle of Primer Potion, which IMO, is absolutely the best eyeshadow primer out there.

Sin, the second shadow from the left, is an amazing, shimmery pink color, and Buck, 5th from the left, is a matte brown. They look awesome together (Sin on interior half of lid, Buck on outside and in crease). If you didn’t want to fork over the cash for the entire palette, but would like a couple shadows for a great daily look, I’d suggest getting those two colors individually. The individual shadows sell for $18 each.

Eyeliner

 
Confession: I have this eyeliner in six–yes, SIX–different shades. I love it. I love it, I love it, I love it. Yep, Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner ($19) glides on smoothly, stays on forever, and comes in the bessssst colors. I have it in Zero (black), Gunmetal (silver), Covet (green), Flipside (teal), Lust (purple), and Woodstock (pink). It is, quite simply the best, and I will fight you over it.

I will admit, however, that I have also been using UD’s 24/7 liquid liner, and I’m not 100% sold on it. So I’m looking for suggestions for your favorite liquid liner–feel free to pass ’em forward if you use the stuff! I’m especially interested in trying out the marker-style liquid liner, as opposed to the bottle-and-brush kind, which is what UD’s is.

 

Lipstick

 
I don’t wear a ton of “real” lipstick, since, like 83% of the day I have something in my mouth (I’m talking about food, you gutter minds!) and it never really lasts long enough to make it worth it. In fact, one of the only times I wear lipstick-lipstick, is when I feel the occasional need to rock the red lip that I love so dearly. My color of choice? Makeup Forever Rouge Artist Intense in #42 ($19). Highly pigmented and pretty long-lasting, when I do the whole fill-in-lips-with-lip-liner-and-use-multiple-coats-thing.
 

 

Lip Gloss

 
Now, gloss on the other hand… gloss, I love. I have a lot of them. And they’re sticky, and they’re shimmery, and Sean hates them. 😀 And my favorite of the bunch is NARS Lip Gloss in Orgasm ($24). This gloss is actually pretty UNsticky, and the shimmer is subtle and beautiful. Along with the Orgasm blush, this is the product I used on each one of Anne’s bridesmaids when I did their makeup for her wedding, lending credence to my theory that this color just looks good on errrrrybody.

Highlighter

 
I’m kind of funny when it comes to my makeup. I don’t use (or even own!) concealer, but I’ll tout highlighter as a must-have from here to kingdom come. See, highlighter is one of those products that is generally overlooked. Not a ton of people use it, and it does seem a little superfluous on the surface. But to me, there’s nothing that brightens my face more than just a tiny touch of a shimmery sheen here and there. Smashbox’s Halo Highlighting Wand ($32) is my current fave, although I haven’t tried TOO many different brands yet.

I dab it under my eyebrows, along the inner corner of my eye, over the tops of my cheekbones (above my blush-line), and in my cupid’s bow (the little dip at the tip of my upper lip). It lets my face catch the light in really flattering ways, and looks great in photos.
 

Mascara

 
Hokay. So. Had you asked me like, a week ago, what mascara I would recommend, I would have proclaimed from the rooftops Diorshow Blackout ($25), no question. J’adore Dior. It is a thick formula that actually clings to my tiny, weak Asian lashes (seriously, if you catch me at the wrong angle sometimes it doesn’t even look like I HAVE lashes) and is a real, true BLACK, which is what I love. And I still love it, don’t get me wrong.

However.

SOMEBODY just HAD to have dinner with me whilst sporting the most incredible lashes in existence, to the point that I could not stop staring into her eyes during dinner. So, yes, Aileen, I am a total creeper, but thank you for introducing me to this magic.
 

 
CoverGirl LashBlast Luxe in Black Platinum ($7.50, I got it at Target) is the bomb-diggity. And yes, I’m bringing that back. It is thick, and amazing, and a third of the price of Diorshow and… it has SPARKLES. Yes, this mascara actually glitters. The bomb. It comes in a range of subtle tints, too, but I went with basic black. And I’m not sure if I’m going back. Stay tuned.

So! There you have it! Whew. Obviously, the basic lesson of this post is that I spent entirely too much money on makeup, so that I could report back to you with my faves. The things I do for you people, I tell ya. 😉

I know I’ve basically asked this question before, but considering the topic of this post, I think it bears repeating: What are your makeup faves?

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Posted on Oct 11, 2012 in Dear Diary, Fashion | 24 comments

Don’t Make Me Over

Just kidding. Please make me over. Always.

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As you guys already know, I love makeup. I am totally that girl. I don’t wear foundation on a daily basis or anything, but I just love the possibilities that makeup provides. With a few dabs here and there, you can hide that zit that’s been plaguing you. You can play up your eyes, or show off your smile, with just a few minutes of work. It boosts confidence, it makes us feel beautiful, and, yes, makeup ALWAYS fits. Regardless of whether all you like to do is brush on a single coat of mascara in the AM, or you’re putting on the whole kit-n-caboodle before work, I am a total makeup advocate.

Which is (part of) the reason I am 100% incapable of not spending money when I walk into Sephora. Anne is getting married this weekend (!!) and I ran over to the mall yesterday after my haircut for what was intended to be a super quick trip. I’m doing the makeup for bridesmaids (including her MOH, my older sister, in case you weren’t aware of that connection) and had to pick up a couple of things. Important things, like waterproof mascara. Because wedding + bridesmaids + non-waterproof mascara = looking like Alice Cooper.

Well, despite having the intention of only walking out of there with 1) Diorshow Waterproof Mascara and 2) a new color-matched foundation for myself now that I’m no longer tan (cry!) I think we all know that didn’t happen.

Sephora is like Target. I can’t walk out of there having spent less than $100.

I blame the fact that you can try pretty much every product out in-store. I can play with a look I wouldn’t normally be able to do myself because it includes ridiculous and impractical colors that normal people don’t just own. And then when I find out that look is totally freaking awesome, of COURSE I have to buy the stuff to recreate it!

Par example:

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Let’s take a closer look.

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This is a peacock-inspired makeup look that utilized Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Creme shadows (#20, #21, and #23). [Sidenote: none of these links are affiliate links or anything, I just wanted to make sure you knew what products I was referring to.]

I obviously couldn’t take step-by-step photos in store (just taking the one self-portrait made me feel awkward enough, haha) but if you’re interested in trying to recreate something similar, its really simple.

Step 1: Turquoise-color over entire lid.
Step 2: Dark blue color in crease, outer corner, and along bottom lash line.
Step 3: Green in interior corner.
Step 4: Blend your little heart out.

I also used a little gold eyeliner on my bottom lash line, but I don’t think it’s super necessary. I put a taupe/neutral color under my brow as well, but that’s something most people probably already have? Also, mascara duhhhhhh.

You guys should be really proud of me though. Even though those are the products I used to create the look IN-store, since EACH pot of creme shadow is $23, I actually walked OUT of the store with Sephora Brand Jumbo Waterproof Liners instead (#10, #11, and #27). They’re half the price and twice as versatile for me, since sticks are easy peasy to use (and I’m not really that familiar with using creme pots anyway). The cremes had wonderful, deep pigment, but I just couldn’t envision being able to make my entire way through an entire pot of electric green in my lifetime.

Lips: NARS Orgasm lip gloss, cheeks: NARS Orgasm blush. (I already own the blush… I bought the gloss. Bad Gretchen!)

Anyway, so that was my Sephorical adventure! A zillion dollars later. Oh, and just as one last note for anyone who IS considering getting the creme pot shadows: their wear-length is outstanding. I didn’t take off my eye makeup before bed last night (but I did wash my face and everything) and the shadow was still basically perfect when I woke up. This is some serious ish.

Fellow makeup fiends, come out of the woodwork! What’s your favorite look? Product? Right now my absolute favorite product I own is Urban Decay’s Naked Palette. I do at least 80% of my eye-looks with it.

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