Studio Makeup On the Go Cool Down Palette

As of late, I’ve been obsessed with cranberry-colored eyeshadow. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s just so beautiful to me! I received this Studio Makeup On the Go Cool Down palette in my November Boxycharm subscription box, and I am obsessed! I can’t seem to find it on their website, but here is its counterpart.

These eyeshadows are highly pigmented, especially the shimmery shades. They’re very powdery, however, so I do experience some fallout. This is mostly noticeable in the shimmery shades because they have glitter in them, so you will probably get a little glitter on your face if you use them. I personally don’t see the harm, but I know a lot of people don’t like glitter! They blend really well, and the assortment of colors allows you to create both day and nighttime looks.

The packaging is great. It has a magnetic closure and it feels like a solid, sturdy palette. There is no mirror included, so you will have find one elsewhere. The eyeshadow pans themselves are pretty big so I see this lasting for a long time. You can see just by looking at the swatches that all the colors complement one another, so it’s a really fun palette to play with.

This palette was by far the best part of the November Boxycharm because these cranberry shades are perfect for the holidays! I’ve been incorporating them into my makeup routine ever since I got it. I already received my December Boxycharm so I will be making a post about that soon.

What palette/colors have you been reaching for lately? Let me know in the comments!

Pale Skin Beauty Tips

Ahh, I can hear it clear as day. “Why don’t you just get a tan?” was a question I was asked by my friends all too often growing up. When I responded, “I physically can’t…no, seriously. I can’t,” they would look at me like I had two heads. If you have pale skin like me, this probably sounds all too familiar.

I grew up and still live in a very warm, sunshine-y area where everyone around me has beautiful tan-to-dark skin. I stick out like a sore thumb (well, more like flourescent lightbulb), and it took me until recently to finally accept that this skin is who I am and there’s nothing that can be done to change that. It seems like a wider diversity of skin tones is being accepted in the media now than they were several years ago (thank goodness!), but it’s still easy to feel insecure from time to time when you feel like you’re the odd one out. Luckily, I’ve learned that instead of trying to hide your pale skin, you should be accentuating it. Here are some beauty tips I’ve picked up over the years about pale skin:

  1. Blush will always be your best friend. I went to a Catholic school for 9 years, and the nuns would always tell me that I looked sick and pale. They also liked to call me Laura (my name is Alison…), so I didn’t really take it to heart. I knew they meant well; it’s just a side effect of having pale skin! Simply applying some blush will add life to your face, so hopefully people will stop asking you if you’re feeling okay.
  2. Pick the right shade of foundation. One of the hardest things to find for pale skin is a foundation that matches your skin tone straight out of the bottle! The last thing you want is a face that’s darker than your body. I’ve done some grunt work and found 5 drugstore foundations that are pretty much an exact match for pale skin. You can read about them here.
  3. Find a high coverage concealer. If there’s one area where pale skin falls short (aside from getting some serious sunburn), it’s having a natural “imperfection” camoflauge. Tan skin hides dark circles, scars, and acne much better than pale skin, so it’s good to invest in a decent concealer. Personally, I like the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind concealer in ‘Fair’, but there are tons of great options out there.
  4. Calm reddness. If I could go back in time and tell my high school self anything, it would be to stop using such harsh acne products (and to stop sleeping with makeup on…sheesh!) I used to use benzoyl peroxide like it was no one’s business, and I’m convinced I tried every acne product under the sun. The consequence of this was that my face was constantly red and irritated. My skin did not like being washed, smothered in toner/alcohol, and then being doused in a benzoyl peroxide lotion. As soon as I simplified my skin care routine and stuck to more natural products, my reddness calmed down immensely. I just stick to washing my face with a gentle cleanser and applying a moisturizer, and I can feel my skin thanking me!
  5. Use SPF. This is a no brainer, but you should be using SPF everyday. We are very much the most prone to skin cancer! To make things easier, just make sure you have a day moisturizer that has SPF in it. I apply moisturizer morning and night so it’s a good way to make SPF a part of your routine!
  6. Apply colorful makeup. A lot of beauty experts will tell you to avoid neutral makeup, especially beige, because it will make you look washed out. Though I personally don’t see anything wrong with beautiful chocolatey browns, you could try adding a dash of color to your eyes to really make your features pop. Reds and oranges are a good place to start if you’re weary about colorful makeup since they’re similar to brown, but do try a purple, blue, or green someday and you may be pleasantly surprised with how it turns out!
  7. EMBRACE IT. All skin tones are beautiful, pale skin included. With all the different societal standards around the world, it’s pretty obvious that beauty is subjective. There are people that find fair skin attractive, and there are people that don’t. And who the *bleep* really cares anyway? What helped my confidence was following people on Instagram, blogs, YouTube, etc. that have the same skin tone as me. They offer great pale skin beauty advice, and it’s also nice to have that mutual connection!

What are some of your pale skin beauty tips? Let me know in the comments!

holiday-makeup-2016-4

December has arrived, and that means it’s time to break out the bright red lips and gold eyeshadows and put together some fun holiday makeup looks! I love a look that only takes one eyeshadow palette to complete, and that’s exactly what I’m sharing with you today: something super simple, neutral, and festive.

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The Too Faced Natural Eyes palette is totally underrated. It’s a handy little makeup tin that holds nine beautiful neutral eyeshadows. Its small size is deceiving; you can totally create several different looks with this palette for both day and night. It’s one of my OG high-end eyeshadow palettes, so it holds a special place in my heart.

Here is how I created this look:

Eye Primer
First I primed my eyes with the Prestige Primed & Ready Eye Primer ($9). I originally bought this primer at Ulta, but it seems they have stopped selling it. You can still get it on Amazon. It’s a trusty, affordable primer that I’ve been using for years.

Eye Shadow
From the Too Faced Natural Eyes palette ($36), I first applied the shades “Nudie” and “Cashmere Bunny” to my crease. “Nudie” went on first as a transition shade, and I used “Cashmere Bunny” to add a little more depth to my crease.

I then took the shade “Honey Pot” and applied it all over the lid. I also used this color generously along my lower lash line. I really wanted this shade to be the most prominent because I love the color gold.

For the outer corners, I used “Chocolate Martini.” This creates an elongating effect to the eye. I also took a small amount of this color and applied it to the outer corners of my lower lash lines to tie everything together.

Lastly, – a step I regrettably forget to include sometimes – I applied the shade “Silk Teddy” to my brow bone and inner corners to highlight.

Liner
I’ve been loving brown eyeliner in place of black for the waterline. I use the L’Oreal Paris Infallible Never Fail eyeliner in Brown ($9). For the top lash line (to add a guide for the falsies), I used the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper ($20).

Lashes
For lashes (and this is totally optional by the way), I used the Ardell Demi Wispies ($4). These are great lashes. Since my eyebrows are set close to my eyes, it’s real easy for me to look like Snuffaluffagus if I wear eyelashes that are too thick and/or too long. These are the perfect amount of thickness and length to add a little volume to your lashes without being too dramatic.

Lips
Now it’s time for the red lipstick. I used ColourPop’s Lippie Stix in “Frenchie” ($5). It is the perfect holiday red. Not to mention I absolutely adore the Lippie Stix formula from ColourPop! It’s very pigmented and comfortable to wear. Even though it says matte finish, you can see that it’s not %100 matte. There is a tiny bit of shine, but I personally like that.

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And that’s all there is to it! See? So simple. I may try to come up with a more dramatic/colorful holiday look later on in the month, but for now I’m enjoying keeping things simple.

What are your favorite holiday looks to rock? Do you like going more simple or more dramatic? Let me know in the comments!

Gifts for Him

Men can be pretty hard to shop for. I’ve tried and failed to do the ‘surprise-gift’ thing a few times before just deciding to stick with specific lists and save the headache. However, that can suck the fun out of the Christmas spirit real quick, so I decided to consult with someone who knows a thing or two about what a man likes to receive as gifts: my husband. Here are some husband-approved gift ideas that the men in your life are sure to love.

Gifts for Him

  1. Flannel, $23 – If the guy in mind is pretty low maintenance (or even if not), flannels are a great pick! They’re casual, comfortable, and they make a great winter gift.
  2. Nike Free RN Men’s Running Shoes, $100 – Shoes are universally liked by both men and women (and around these parts they’re a little necessary). Though some guys may not care what their shoes look like, a fresh pair of sneakers can spark confidence in anyone. This pair is a great neutral pick for guys with either flashy or subdued tastes.
  3. Beanie, $10 – My husband LOVES beanies; he can never have enough. Hello stocking stuffer!
  4. Watch, $115 – With the introduction of new technology, classic watches may seem obsolete. However, there is still an allure about the antique analog watch. They are a timeless accessory, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling a little classy now and then.
  5. Jaybird Earbuds, $74 – Two words: bluetooth headphones. The music-fanatic in your life will love you for it.
  6. Bose Bluetooth Speaker, $117 – Speaking of music, this bluetooth speaker has great reviews and will take blasting Christmas music to a whole new level. (Even if it’s heavy metal Christmas music. Yes, it exists.)
  7. Funny Socks, $4 – Target has an amazing array of funny printed socks. My husband has an entire collection, and I really think they showcase his sense of humor. If you have a funny guy in your life, he’s sure to appreciate a pair of funny socks.
  8. Beard Balm and/or Beard Oil, this particular set is $30 – Men love having a great beard just as much as women love having great eyebrows. My husband is EXTREMELY low-maintenance, so to see him actually spend money on grooming products was a shock! He really loves the way this balm and oil make his beard feel, and they come in a variety of delicious scents! He also recommends the brand Grave Before Shave.
  9. Eelskin Wallet, $12 – My husband swears that eelskin wallets are better than leather ones. I can’t personally say, but I’ll take his word for it! He’s had his for several years, and they are very inexpensive!
  10. Giant Coffee Mug, $40 – An 18 oz mug for a coffee lover is basically heaven. The bigger the better! (This particular mug is sold out, but this one and this one are 16 oz for $26 each!)
  11. Winter Gloves, $50 – Gone are the days where you have to sacrifice warmth just to use your phone. These gloves have special fibers on all five fingers that allow you to use your phone while wearing them. Winter gloves are often overlooked and taken for granted but much appreciated when received! Perfect for the practical guy in your life.

That wraps up my Guy Gift Guide for 2016. Do you have any suggestions for great guy gifts? Let me know in the comments!

Favorite Holiday Traditions

I love the holidays because they always leave me feeling nostalgic. Around this time of year I can always faintly hear the Christmas albums we played on repeat humming in my head (Muppets Christmas anyone?), smell the chocolate chip cookies my dad makes for us every year (his secret recipe, of course), and, admittedly, still get a little giddy any time I see a strand of twinkling lights.

Most everyone has their own little traditions, and they vary from family to family. Sometimes these traditions are ones you’ve held on to since you were a kid, and some are new traditions that you pick up over time as your family and life evolve. Getting married this year has meant starting new traditions along with keeping the old, so today I’m sharing with you some of my favorite old and new holiday traditions.

  1. Baking Cookies – I’m convinced my dad makes the most delicious ‘from scratch’ chocolate chip cookies in the world. They are the absolute best when they’re fresh out of the oven and still gooey and warm…oh, I’m salivating right now just thinking about them! He uses a tasty combination of ingredients that you can’t buy in the store. Since I don’t have his recipe and no longer live at home where I had access to them 24/7, we picked up a pack of Pillsbury sugar cookies instead. Much easier to make and still delicious, but nothing will top my dad’s homemade cookies.
  2. Christmas Music – This one is pretty universal, but for me it means the same three albums we would play every year around this time. We had the classic John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together, a beautiful instrumental album, and one of those collaboration albums that featured a different artist for every song. These tunes would always be playing in the background during the weeks leading up to Christmas, and hearing them always sparks some very fond memories.
  3. Dinner with the Family – Again, another universal Christmas tradition, but it’s definitely a fool-proof way to get all of the family together in one place at the same time. It helps that my mom makes an amazing prime rib roast that no one can turn down.
  4. Gift Shopping – Sometimes this part can be stressful, but I rather enjoy picking out gifts for my loved ones! Especially now that I have a sweet niece in my life, I get to rummage around in the kids section, which is something I haven’t done in ages! Getting my husband to NOT open his gifts before Christmas is definitely the most challenging part of this whole ordeal since 99% of the time, he already knows what I got him. We’ve made an agreement to pick out at least one small gift for each other that’s a surprise, and this helps keep it a little more fun the day of.
  5. Going to the Black Friday sales and not actually buying anything – This is a new tradition, and a very interesting one at that. It’s crazy seeing all of the full parking lots, stores looking much more crowded than usual, and retail employees directing line traffic. The sales are never really THAT great, but it’s a sight to see when there are a fleet of police cars outside of your local Target that are normally not there. Not sure how long we’ll keep this one up, but it’s definitely something to experience at least once!
  6.  The Christmas Pickle – This one may seem kind of strange, but it’s actually quite fun! This is a relatively new tradition that my sister introduced us to a few years back. Basically, you take a pickle ornament (like this one from Target) and hide it inside of the Christmas tree. Whoever is the first to find it receives an extra gift! It’s lightly competitive and it’s something to laugh about.

Hide the Pickle in the Tree

They don’t seem like much, but these traditions hold so many delightful memories and I know that they’ll continue to make more. I look forward to Christmas every year because of these annual activities even though they may change over time. Whether old or new, tradition is still tradition and it’s what makes holidays so special.

What are your favorite holiday traditions? Any new traditions you’ve started recently? Let me know in the comments!

Favorite Holiday Traditions