From my Favorites – Giorgio Armani Eye Tints

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Giorgio Armani Eye Tints in 11 Rose Ashes (top) and 9 Cold Copper (bottom)

This product really impressed me last year (and still does). These are super easy to use cream to powder shadows that last all day without creasing and come in some really stunning shades. They have a felt doe foot applicator, which makes application super easy. I just swipe some on my lids and blend out with my fingers. I would suggest starting with a little, since these really go a long way. The other great thing is that if you don’t get the color payoff or intensity you are looking for in one application, these layer without getting pilly or crumbly. They also set down quickly, which makes applying liquid liner over them a non-issue. I find when I use powder shadows over them, like to intensify the outer corners, they don’t break apart or cause any trouble.

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Giorgio Armani Eye Tints in 11 Rose Ashes (top) and 9 Cold Copper (bottom) (these swatches really don’t do these justice)

The two shades I have are very much for everyday eye looks. They add a nice sophisticated sheen to the lids that isn’t over the top glittery or too subtle either (perfect for the office or brunch!). Rose Ashes has a bit of a pinky sheen to it while Cold Copper is more taupe. I am looking to add to my collection next year. There are some amazing smokey, dramatic shades in the range that I am itching to get.

I feel like there isn’t too much to say about these because they are just so fantastic. They work beautifully and with no fuss. They work easily and look beautiful, what more could you want?

You can get these amazing cream to powder formula shadows at Giorgio Armani counters, Nordstrom and Sephora for $39.

The rundown: A+

From my Favorites – Urban Decay X Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette

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Urban Decay X Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette

I didn’t originally plan on getting this palette, but I ended up caving with all the hype and after seeing it in store. It really is a beautiful everyday eyeshadow palette if you love a soft eye or enjoy wearing winged liner (which I usually enjoy pairing with a shimmery lid and soft crease).

I find these shadows have an amazing formula (and last year was the year of Urban Decay shadow love for me). The top two rows are all neutrals that vary from cool to warm tones, blend beautifully and are richly pigmented. The bottom row is for fun and events for me, I like to press Pop, which has some glitter in it, onto my lid with my finger to add some extra shimmer. I find if I use my finger I don’t get fallout (whoo!). I love Danger and 1987, both of which are great smokey eye shades. Blackout is great for smoking out liner (of just for adding depth). Really the only shade that isn’t my thing in the palette is Harajuku, pink shadow doesn’t really look good on me. The top two rows are just perfect for everyday/work shades. I do find most of the shades a shimmery champagne/gold color, but I do love that kind of thing (and they are all different, to my crazed beauty blogger mind, lol!). Baby and Steady are more on the taupe and rose gold side, which is some variety. My favorite shades are probably Skimp and Zone, they are so beautiful!

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swatches from the left: Blonde, Bathwater, Skimp, Steady, Punk, Baby, Anaheim, Stark, Zone, Serious, Pop, Harajuku, Danger, 1987 and Blackout

I didn’t think I would love this so much, but I honestly prefer this to any of my Naked palettes (there are more mattes!!). I used this palettes for two months straight after I got it and I honestly can’t stop using it. I’m thinking of getting a backup, but that might be a little crazy.

You can get this palette at Sephora, Ulta and Urban Decay for $58.

The rundown: A+

Burberry Light Glow Blush in Cameo No.2

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Burberry Light Glow Blush in Cameo No.2

I decided to try some products from the Burberry line, so of course I picked up a blush. I chose a neutral, natural pink.

The packaging of these is amazing. This blush comes in a heavy, metallic case with a magnetic closure. The powder and case are patterned with the Burberry Check. I find this powder blush beautifully pigmented, smooth, and easy to blend. I do think this can be a bit on the pigmented side, so I would recommend being careful when you use it for the first time. I like to tap my brush off on the back of my hand before applying to my cheeks.

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Burberry Cameo No. 2 Blush Swatched on my NC/NW20 Skin

This blush lasts all day on me, and the color is perfect for adding a natural flush. I think its a perfect everyday blush. I have always been of the mindset that the best way to spoil yourself is with something you will use everyday.

I think this is a beautiful blush, and I will be trying more of the Burberry blushes (especially Earthy).

You can get this blush for $42 at Sephora, online, and at Burberry counters.

The rundown: A

Drunk Elephant Skin Care or My Current Skin Care Routine

A few months ago I decided to switch up my skincare routine. For reference, I have acne prone, oily skin. I struggled a lot last year with acne, but I’m hoping now that I am settled in Seattle it’ll be easier to manage. I started by picking up the C-Firma Day Serum. I have been using a vitamin C serum in the morning for ages, so I figured I would try out this one to test out the line. I really love this, I don’t find it sticky and I have seen my skin brighten with time. I also grabbed the Umbra Sheer Physical Defense, which is a daily SPF 30. I wanted to incorporate a SPF into my daily routine, and this one is really lovely (plus it has marula oil in it, so its hydrating enough to use alone in the morning, no extra moisturize step). I have oily skin and I get clogged pores easily so I was nervous about using a daily SPF. This one is fabulous, it doesn’t clog my pores (aka cause breakouts) and it sinks in really well so my makeup goes on top beautifully. I find my foundation doesn’t break up with this underneath during the day either, its great. After loving those two, I took the plunge and got all the products in the line. I have actually really enjoyed using bar cleansers. The morning one is called Juju which is exfoliating and lovely. I just wet my face and rub the bar directly on my skin (then I work it in some with my hands). Its a great gentle exfoliator and never leaks!

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Morning Routine From the Left – C Firma Day Serum, Juju Bar Cleanser, Umbra Sheer Physical Defense

The nighttime routine is similar in construct. You start with a cleansing bar then a serum and follow with moisture. The whole line has marula oil in it (Thats the reason the brand is called Drunk Elephant. Story goes that in Africa elephants will eat marula fruit which then ferments in their stomach and they get drunk, irrelevant, but very fun.) which is supposed to be anti-aging and calming for the skin. Anyway, at night after I take off my makeup I start with the Pekee cleansing bar. I lather this up and massage the lather into my skin. Then I use the T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, which is amazing! This is a glycolic and lactic acid serum which exfoliates the skin for brightness, acne treatment and anti-aging. All of which I will take. This works like magic as a spot treatment if you have acne and also brightens and fades acne spots. Its so good. It does leave the skin a bit tacky, but I top it with the Virgin Marula Oil, so the tackiness doesn’t bother me. I usually try to apply this around 30 minutes before I apply the Virgin Marula Oil, I find I get better acne treatment that way. The Virgin Marula Oil is super hydrating and doesn’t clog my pores. Since I started using it, I find my skin more balanced. My forehead and chin aren’t as oily and I don’t have dry patches anymore. It isn’t heavy to me, so I don’t get bothered by the feeling of it sitting on my skin, you only need a few drops to get great hydration.

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Nighttime Routine from the Left – Virgin Marula Oil, Pekee Cleansing Bar, T.L.C. Framoos Glycolic Night Serum

I know this is a lot of information, but I love the results. My skin is breaking out less and my acne scarring is fading. My skin is more balanced and calmer. I have less patchiness and smoother texture to my skin. I would highly recommend any of these products, they’re great! I think its good to incorporate them in slowly to see if they work for you. At first I was just replacing a serum and a month later I owned the whole line (plus its easier on the wallet). Its really slimmed down my skin care routine. I used to have tons of steps, but just three in the morning and night are simple and effective.

You can get Drunk Elephant products at Sephora and online at Drunk Elephant. Some of these products are pricey, but I have never been one to skimp on skin care. I do splurge when I see a benefit to my skin, and these have proved themselves worth the price to me.

The rundown: A+ (Better skin and a simpler routine? Sign me up!)

My Favorite Makeup Products of 2015

Hi guys! I know this took me a while, but I finally rounded up my 2015 makeup favorites. I’m trying not to repeat any from last year, so if I am still loving the same item in a category it won’t be on this list ( like the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, check las years out here).

Foundation – Smashbox Studio Skin Foundation is my favorite from last year. I finished off a bottle of this last year (my new one is currently in my makeup bag). The only other foundation I have finished a bottle of is the Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet+, which I still adore. This foundation is hydrating, but long wearing. It doesn’t break up from oil. Long wear and comfortable wear, is a win in my book (no nasty dry patches or crepey dry skin).

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Smashbox Studio Skin Foundation

Powder – My favorite finishing powder of the year is the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder, which is beautifully finely milled. It sets the makeup with a rose-petal-velvet-soft finish. It perfects pores and controls oil. Its amazing. I’ve gone through three of these. I can’t stop.

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Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder

Bronzers – My top two (I couldn’t pick just one) are NARS Laguna and the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow. Both of the bronzer shades have some sheen to them (I like the dimension and life it gives the skin). I use Laguna when I want more of a tan and the Charlotte Tilbury when I’m pale.

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top – NARS Laguna, bottom – Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow

Blush – Per usual I have a bunch of blushes (who can pick just one!?). This has been the year of the nude blush for me. Well, nude makeup really (but we’ll get to that with eyeshadow and lipstick too). I love the Charlotte Tilbury and Clinique Cheek Pop blushes. Both formulas are stellar and I would recommend any shade from both lines. I have just been all about the nude blush this year. I cannot recommend First Love, Nude Pop, and Sex on Fire enough if you love nude blushes.

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from left – Charlotte Tilbury First Love, Clinique Cheek Pop in Nude Pop, and Charlotte Tilbury Sex on Fire

Eyeshadows – I have been loving simple, clean eyeshadow looks this year. I already did a whole post on my deep love for Urban Decay Beware, but basically its a beautiful shade and great formula. I was surprised by how much I love the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani palette. I used this for two months straight after I got it. Its amazing, the formula of these shadows are great and the shades are perfect for everyday, nude eye looks. Charlotte Tilbury The Sophisticate is my favorite all matte palette from last year. I love the colors and the formula, matte looks aren’t boring to me, I love the definition you can get without it being over the top. The Giorgio Armani Eye Tints are amazing. The formula is easy to use, long wearing, and beautifully shimmery. My favorite shade is 11 Cold Copper, a stunning champagney taupe.

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from the bottom left clockwise – Urban Decay Beware, Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Palette, Charlotte Tilbury The Sophisticate, Giorgio Armani Eye Tint in 11

Mascara – My two favorite mascaras this year are at totally opposite ends of the expense scale, but they are both dramatic and volumizing. I love Maybelline Lash Sensational, I’ve gone through tubes of these in the last year. This gives great big voluminous lashes, which is my jam. Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill is a new love, but man, this stuff is amazing! No wonder everyone has been talking about it. In a few swipes I get huge, amazing lashes. I swear, my lashes look fake. Its amazing, but really only if you like dramatic lashes. This is not for the faint of heart.

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top – Maybelline Lash Sensational, bottom – Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill

Lipstick – I still love lip liner in a big way, but I’m still loving the same shades and formulas I did last year. So this year I’m going to talk about lipsticks (another real love). I spent all of my summer in NARS Rita (after becoming obsessed with 1920s lips), a beautiful true red. Marc Jacobs New Nudes formula is amazing, super comfortable and a nice medium pigment. Its easy to wear and easy to re-apply. Eat Cake is a beautiful muted pink that I have been wearing all the time. Charlotte Tilbury B*tch Perfect is the perfect nude shade in the perfect classic lipstick formula. Creamy, comfortable and pigmented these lipsticks (any color really) are just amazing.

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from the top – NARS Audacious Lipstick in Rita, Marc Jacobs New Nudes Eat Cake, Charlotte Tilbury B*tch Perfect
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swatches from the left – Charlotte Tilbury B*tch Perfect, Marc Jacobs New Nudes in Eat Cake, NARS Audacious Lipstick in Rita

Please let me know what you loved last year in the comments! I need a new shopping list and you always have the best recommendations.  Thank you guys so much for reading this blog and being makeup enabling friends this past year :) .

A Picture Log of Cape Town, South Africa

Over this winter holiday season I spent two weeks in Cape Town, South Africa with my immediate and very extended (about 40 of us) family. My dad grew up in Sea Point, where my grandma still lives. I have been there before, but only when I was quite a lot younger. This time I was able to snap way too many pictures and eat a ton of delicious food (and wine).

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Cape Point Vineyards 
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More Cape Point Vineyard

Our first stop was Cape Point Vineyard for an amazing lunch with 30 fellow family members. Plus the view was stunning.

The next week or so was spent around Devils Peak, Table Mountain and Lions Head, the three mountains that define the Cape Town natural skyline. There is also Signal Hill, and its not really a hill, but I digress.

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Lions Head with some Paragliders
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Devils Peak and Table Mountain from The Waterfront

Table Mountain is the large flat mountain in this picture. Its called Table Mountain since it looks like the top of a table, being all flat and such. Plus, in a very cool phenomenon, clouds will rest on the top of the mountain and look very much like a table cloth billowing over the top and draping down the edges.

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Devils Peak and Table Mountain from Signal Hill

You can drive up Signal Hill and see a beautiful view of Cape Town with basically no effort. It beautiful, and I would also highly suggest going up at night, the view is killer.

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Cape Town at night from Signal Hill

See what I mean?

Another activity I would highly recommend is hiking Lions Head. It is about 45 minutes-an hour up and then the same down (bring tons of water). There are some parts where you actually, as my brother said, have to put your knee next to your face, but overall its pretty manageable (if a nice workout).

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the 12 Apostles Mountain Range, taken while hiking Lions Head
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Devils Peak and Table Mountain from the top of Lions Head
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Cape Town from the top of Lions Head
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Hiking down Lions Head, thats my brother

We also did some driving and general enjoying of how amazingly beautiful Cape Town is.

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The Sentinel (that mountain in the front, as it is the sentinel of the bay) at Hout Bay
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Chapmans Peak drive
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Looking down along Chapmans Peak

Now for a food interlude.

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Grand restaurant on the beach near The Waterfront
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High Tea at 12 Apostles Hotel
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Menu Page #1 at Delair
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Menu Page #2 at Delair
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Feta foam (oh so good) at Delair
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Delair
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more Delair

Okay, back to pictures of not-food. We hit up a market (always fun, if hot in the summer).

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shopping

Then we hit the wine route by visiting Delair (besides food, I took pictures of the actual winery). It was over 100F, about 41C while we were in Stellenbosch (the famous wine town near Cape Town) so we didn’t go winery hopping, but I would highly recommend doing that.

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Delair
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Delair Wine Vineyards
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last one of Delair, promise

Thats my trip, I hope you enjoyed this picture log, after I did the one of Spain and Portugal last year (and I got a request for this one) I’m thinking I might also do one of my trip in Denmark. Let me know if you would like to see that. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and a great New Years! Please let me know what you got up to!

New Year, New Bare Faced Post

In keeping with tradition here on this blog I’m starting the new year with a bare face (and messy hair).

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bare faced and a bit sleepy

This was taken right after I got up on a bit of a cloudy day here in Seattle, so sorry if I look sleepy. This year has been a tough and rewarding one for me. I moved across the country, left a job I loved, gained a job I love and have spent more time on planes than I would ever recommend. I wish I had more time for this blog, and I hope to try and find a better way to balance it with my job this year.

I also struggled a great deal with acne this year, and I’m hoping to improve my skin with a better diet, more exercise and less stress this coming year. I really see a huge difference in my skin when I am less stressed, and working out is a great way to help relieve stress. The picture here was taken at the end of 2015, on a good skin day, thanks to three weeks without traveling and a great skin care routine (more on that soon, promise).

I hope you all had an amazing holidays and a great New Years. I wish you all a happy, healthy and fulfilling 2016!