Sunday, December 22, 2013

Apple Crumble Baked Oatmeal

I love oatmeal. I eat it for breakfast almost every morning. What I don't love is standing at the stove stirring for ages and scrubbing scalded milk off the bottom of a pan. This is where baked oatmeal comes into play. It requires about 5 minutes of prep work, and then it's hands off. You can pop it in the oven then hop in the shower or go about doing whatever it is you do in the morning. I try to eat "real" breakfasts every morning, so hands-off, quick recipes are essential.

I mean, just look at that beauty. It's gorgeous. The top is crispy and crunchy, like an apple crumble, and the bottom is ooey-gooey with baked apples and oatmeal and cinnamon. I make some versions of my baked oatmeal the night before to save time in the morning, but I probably wouldn't do that with this version. Nobody likes brown apples! You could, however, mix all the ingredients together EXCEPT the apple the night before and then chop the apples and put it in the ramekin in the morning. This oatmeal could make anyone a believer in a nice, hot breakfast on a weekday morning. Just try it, and you'll be a believer too.

Apple Crumble Baked Oatmeal 

Serves 1 
Calories: 255, if you eat the rest of the apple while the oatmeal is baking. (Highly recommended, as apples go brown quickly and this recipe doesn't use the whole apple. Can't be wasteful!)

1/2 c. old fashioned oatmeal
1/4 c. + a tiny splash more unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 tbsp REAL maple syrup (don't go using any of that fake stuff here!)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract (again, none of that imitation stuff)
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt

About 1/2 of a small apple, diced into cm sized pieces
tsp brown sugar

1-2 tbsp milled flax seed

  1. Preheat oven to 380 degrees. 
  2. Spray the inside of a small ramekin with non-stick spray. 
  3. In a small bowl, combine oats, milk, maple syrup, spices, salt, and vanilla. (If you're looking for a little more fiber in your world, go ahead and add some flax here. If you add flax, you may want to add a splash more of almond milk.) 
  4. Add the diced apple and combine. 
  5. Pour the oatmeal mixture into the ramekin. If you want to, try to get most of the apples on the bottom and more of the oats on top. This will aid in a crunchy, oat-y top that will make you think you're eating a crumble dessert, not a healthy breakfast. 
  6. Using your hands, sprinkle the brown sugar over the top of the oatmeal. This will make the top extra crunchy and pretty. 
  7. Pop the oatmeal in the oven for 20 minutes. After it's done cooking, turn on the broiler and let it sit under the broiler for 3-4 minutes until the top is crunchy and golden. 
  8. Remove from oven. You're going to want to let this sit for a few minutes before digging in. It will be difficult, but I promise you'll be better for waiting.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Where Have I Gone? A Story Told in Instagrams.

Grad school.

For any of you lovely readers out there who've been there and done that, you know exactly why I've been MIA for the past few months. I am doing a two year program in one year, which means I have very little free time. I am glad to say my first semester was a swimming success: no mental breakdowns & my first 4.0 semester since high school!

I really miss writing about makeup and beauty and lifestyle sorts of things, so I am going to try to post a few things whilst I am on break.

Firstly, I have been absolutely in love with baked oatmeal. I make an individual ramekin of it almost every morning for breakfast and nothing makes me happier. I Instagram my breakfasts far too often. It may be problematic.

I would really like to do more food posts on this blog, and I think I'll start with different baked oatmeal recipes. Stay tuned!

My second love? My new apartment. I moved in back in August, but it's just now starting to feel like home. I had so much fun decorating for Christmas... I didn't have much to work with, but a mini-tree and some fairy lights go a long way in my book.

My bedroom came with those awful plastic blinds that keep people from looking in but do very little to keep light out. Sleeping in past 7 am had become quite the challenge, and the blanket that inevitably ended up hung over the window each night wasn't all that attractive. I went to Target and found some pretty lined curtains that matched my room. I'm not a huge fan of the curtain rod (I probably should have gotten the longer one), but I love the overall look. I have struggled with insomnia in the past, so I tried to turn my bedroom here into the most restive, peaceful place I could. My room is soft blues, mossy greens, and grays - the curtains match my vanity chair almost exactly.

My makeup world has been dreary the past few months. I have been going barefaced more often than not, which makes me a little sad. Nothing like some winged liner and a bold lip to make the day brighter! The only makeup purchases I've made (thanks to some credit card points and a gift card) were Vice 2 and Ocho Loco 2. I haven't played with them too much, but they are both beautiful products.

So I hope I have time to pop in more often.  like making and sharing happy, pretty things, and that's still what I want to do here. I hope you'll stick around!

XOXO Samantha

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Products I've Used Up (September 2013)

As I've mentioned before, I'm sort of doing a Project 10 Pan at the moment. Except, you know, I'm in grad school now and have no disposable income of which to speak. Which means no makeup, period, unless I run out of an essential like mascara or my Maybelline Dream Matte Powder. Except Urban Decay just announced that they are releasing Vice 2 and that Ocho Loco pencil set looks dreamy... and I will totally be using my credit card points to buy these babies. It will be my first makeup purchase since my high end haul back in May. Guys, I'm pretty sure this is the longest I've ever gone without buying makeup and beauty stuff. I'm using things up left and right and it actually feels good.

I'd been collecting my empties for a while (most of these were finished earlier in the summer), but decided it was silly to move a bunch of what is essentially trash with me to my new apartment. I snapped a quick picture as I was packing up my room and tossed the lot into the garbage.

I finished a couple of mascaras, CG Volume Blast and CG Clump Crusher. I liked the Volume Blast, but I loveloveloved Clump Crusher. I think I've mentioned that once. Or twice

I also finished one of my go-to highlight shades, MAC Shroom, which I talked about in my favorite shadow highlights post. I have to be honest here: this is the first MAC shadow I've ever finished. I've hit pan on one other one (Mylar), but I do not go through MAC shadows very quickly. Quite honestly, I think I would use them more if they were depotted, and buying a few palettes may be my graduation gift to myself next year.

I went through my Lingering brow pencil by MAC as well as another Maybelline Dream Matte Powder and a Bobbi Brown Corrector. All 3 of these are staples in my makeup collection and have been replaced.

I tossed my Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner in espresso because it was totally dried up even though it was only about 1/2 empty. I went through a phase where I wasn't using gel eyeliner all that much, opting for quicker pencil liner or my L'Oreal Lineur Intense. As I mentioned in my last post, I've been using gel liner a lot more recently and I replaced this guy with a Laura Mercier gel liner that I had in my stash of unopened products. 

I also finished my deluxe sample of the Tarte BB Cream, which I adored so much I picked up a full size months ago at Ulta during a 20% off.

Rounding out the empties is my beloved Market Peach candle. I did pick up another one of these with a few fall-y scents during a sale at B&BW in July - I think I got each for $7 or $8, which was great since I've forbidden myself to buy candles now that grad school has started.

I thought I'd also mention the candles I've used up since I moved into my apartment. If I'm home, I pretty much always have a candle burning. After only burning 3 wick candles in my bedroom for the past 3 years, it's nice to have a larger space to burn them in. They can be a bit overwhelming in a small closed space after a few hours!

Kitchen Spice is DELICIOUS! I am seriously a sucker for warm, spicy scents and this one did the trick. Spices with a hint of creamy hazelnut? Um, YES PLEASE! I don't think I've ever been so sad that a candle is gone. Except maybe Market Peach. Or that lilac one I was burning a bunch this spring. Okay, I have a problem.
I also finished up my Cider Lane that I had laying around from last year. I had burnt maybe 1/4 of it sometime last fall, but I finished it up in the past few weeks. My packaging looked different (and the wax was cider colored, not red), but I'm glad to see they have it back out again for fall! I'd highly recommend this one - smells like caramel cider. MMMMMMHHHH :) Luckily I have a "Caramel Apple" candle in my closet which I am thinking is the same scent in different packaging. They smell identical to me. 
I made the executive decision that I needed to burn through one more "summer" candle before I could move on to my huge stockpile of fall and winter scents. I settled on Watermelon Lemonade, which smells exactly like tart watermelon Jolly Ranchers. It's definitely an "out there" scent for me, but I like it a lot more than I thought I would. I'm almost done with it, so I'll include it here and call it close enough!

What products have you guys finished lately? And for all you candle lovers out there, what fall scents are you most excited about?

I hope to be posting a little more regularly in the next few weeks and months now that everything is settled here - let me know what kind of stuff you want to see, and I'll talk to y'all soon!

XOXO Samantha

Friday, August 23, 2013

Inspiration, or How I Got Out of my Makeup Rut

For the past few months, I haven't had much inspiration for this blog. Quite frankly, I didn't have much inspiration to do anything except get up, put on my ugly uniform, and trudge into work. I pretty much stopped wearing makeup to work, and the only thing gracing my face on the daily was SPF and my Baby Lips in Cherry. Moving has given me the boost I needed to get out of my makeup rut. I'm excited to get up and get ready in the mornings again, and it shows on my face. I wanted to share some of the products that have gotten me out of my rut and back into doing fun daily makeup, because let's face it, we all could use a little pick-me-up now and then. Hopefully you can be inspired too!

1. The Naked Palettes 

I know, I know. Everyone has them. But there's a reason! Seriously, I forgot how much I love these things. You can do everything from a sweep of light color across the whole lid and brow to a heavy smokey look out of one palette, and I find that having the darker colors right in front of me encourages me to have a bit more fun with my day to day makeup. If I'm just grabbing individual pots I'm more likely to play it safe and stay with light-to-medium colors. 

2. Laura Mercier Creme Liner in Espresso 

I've been a Bobbi Brown Gel Liner fangirl for over a decade now - I actually remember wearing the violet color for the first time to a high school football game when I was 13 (nightlife for a middle schooler) and my friends complementing my liner. Since then I've been smitten, but I think there might be some competition in town. LM's formula seems a bit creamier and smoother. Regardless, I forgot how much I love drawing on the thinnest line of liner and flicking out a tiny wing - so much more flattering than a thick smudgy line of pencil on me! I have a jar of Bobbi Brown in my drawer in black that hasn't been opened yet, and I may have to do a comparison post to settle the matter on the differences once and for all! 

3. MAC Brow Pencil in Lingering 

My brows have fallen by the wayside the past few months. Every once in a while I would get close enough to a mirror to see my brows and be ashamed that they had gotten into such bad condition. I normally pluck a few stray hairs each morning before my makeup, but no makeup meant I had forgotten about plucking! I've started using a brow pencil every day and it adds so much more definition than tinted brow gel on its own. Plus defined brows make me feel fierce, and you can't go wrong with that! 

4. MAC Pearlmatte Powders from the Baking Beauties Collection 

I told y'all you'd be hearing about them. I love 'em. They're beautiful to look at and gorgeous on the skin - how could you not love them? These 2 are enough of a reason to get out of bed in the morning and sit down at my vanity.  I am particularly fond of the pink one - it is very similar in color to my favorite MAC blush, Well Dressed, and I've been pairing them together almost every day.

I'm curious to know how you guys have gotten out of makeup ruts in the past - has there been a product that's inspired you to change up your look or that has made makeup fun again?

XOXO Samantha

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Other Love

I like to say I have three passions in life: Books, makeup, and food.

My career choice, which I've mentioned before, shows the first. This blog is more than enough proof that I love makeup. But I don't know that I've really talked about food on here.

I love food. There. I said it. I don't love food in the "I'm going to eat my feelings and shovel as much in my mouth as I can at once" kind of way that so many Americans these days seem to be guilty of. I love food as art. I savor the way flavors meld together in my mouth, delight in making something with the perfect texture, and drool over pictures of delectable morsels. I make almost everything from scratch, and I get a satisfaction from this kind of food that I can never get from even the tastiest frozen or takeout foods.

I've only been in my apartment for 3 days, and I've already taken the kitchen by storm. I missed having a kitchen that was just mine, after the past year of stepping on my mom's toes whenever I was in the kitchen. (I will say she was quite gracious about having to share with me!) I wanted to share with you a few of the things I've made so far:

1. Homemade Spaghetti Sauce - the addition of a bit of brown sugar over white plus a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end really make this sauce special.

2. "Mexican" Scrambled Eggs and Bacon - I mix salsa right into the beaten egg mixture, and then sprinkle in some Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese when the eggs are about 75% set. This is one of my go-to breakfasts, but I did breakfast for dinner for me and CDBP the night I moved in.

3. Baked Oatmeal with Strawberries and Bananas - This is absolutely DIVINE. I use cinnamon instead of the Chinese 5 Spice and replace the normal milk with unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I also left out the nuts and the orange zest since I didn't have those on hand, but this is the kind of recipe that is soooo flexible. You could totally use dried fruit in the winter or other fresh fruits (peaches would be AMAZING).

4. Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes - These are a longtime favorite of mine, and CDBP requested them as a (belated) birthday dessert. I used to make them practically every other week when I was in college. I didn't have a single friend that didn't love them, and I'm pretty sure these babies were what made the guys I lived with a few summers ago put up with me so well!

5. Corn Chowder - Oh my what. This stuff was SO. FREAKING. GOOD. Topped with crispy bacon and sprinkling of cheddar cheese? DROOL. It's super easy to make but does require a decent amount of chopping (and grating a potato). I chopped all the veggies in the early afternoon that way when I went to make it that evening everything was ready for me. CDBP ate like 3 bowls of this stuff last night, and when I asked him what he thought of it all I got was a muffled "Mmmmmm" between shoveling spoonfuls into his mouth. I think he might have liked it ;)

Are any of you fellow foodies? Share your favorite recipes and blogs down below!!

XOXO Samantha

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I Swear I Didn't Die and How I Came to Hate my HG Mascara

Oh my.

I swear I didn't mean to stop posting. Really. I thought about this blog a lot, usually in the middle of the night during panic attacks about all the things I had to do that I wasn't doing. I realize that all of 10 people read this, but this has developed a special little place in my heart, and I felt like I'd let myself down by not writing.

I'm moving in exactly 2 days. Terrifying, huh? This past year at home has been a blessing and a curse, and as much as I love my family there is a reason 20-somethings shouldn't live at home! I have my shiny new apartment and a shiny new library job and a shiny new MLIS program and a shiny new graduate assistantship and not-shiny-or-new-but-still-awesome Captain Doctor Boyfriend Person waiting for me. I'm pretty sure the last time I was this excited about something was before I started college, which is a long time to go without giddy levels of excitement. I'm liking all these happy endorphines; they make my insomnia more pleasant, at least.

In other infinitely more important news, I am devastated to announce that I no longer adore DiorShow Blackout. I used this mascara - alternating with plain ol' DiorShow - for YEARS, and I loved it. It was better than any other mascara I'd ever used, and I swore that all the money I shoveled out (even with my discount) was worth it. I had decided earlier this year to play around with some drugstore mascaras to see if I could find something more affordable to tide me over during my broke grad student years. After a few that I didn't hate but didn't love, I bought CoverGirl Clump Crusher. At first, I was highly disappointed - why were people raving all over the internet about this? And then I found the magic trick: this mo'fo' takes two coats to unlock all the wondrous rainbow unicorn magic contained in that green tube. I've always stuck to one coat of mascara, so this discovery was a shocker to me. Absolutely no clumps on a second coat, which I've never been able to do with a mascara before. This stuff is magic makeup crack, guys.

Ooooh, aaaahhh, mascara magic!!!
In my mind, I still held DiorShow as my top contender - the mascara that nothing could live up to. CC was awesome, but the tube of DiorShow from my latest haul would totally still knock it out of the park. Right? RIGHT? Unfortunately, Clump Crusher finally died last week after I had broken my only hard and fast makeup rule about only using mascara for 3 months so that I could milk an extra 3 weeks out of it. I was only consoled by the waiting tube of DiorShow Blackout in my vanity. I was actually prepared to hate CC after reusing DiorShow. Ha. Haha. HAHAHAHA.

And so I used it... aaaaand I was disappointed. It was way wetter than I remembered it being, so maybe things will get better in a couple of weeks as it naturally dries out a bit. I can't remember the last time a mascara smudged on me, but every day this week I've had faint grey smears under my eyes from this stuff. It is clumpier and less defining, lengthening, and volumizing than Clump Crusher, and even at half off DiorShow was still over double the price of CC. I honestly don't know what happened, but I can tell you right now I am never shelling out the money to buy DiorShow Blackout again. I may try another tube of the normal formula of DiorShow down the line (maybe I'm insane, but I swear this stuff was awesome all the years I used it before), but I cannot wait until the 3 months are up and I can go back to using Clump Crusher. (For what I paid, I'm not tossing it.)

Let me know what your HG mascaras are down below and if you have ever been this sorely let down after returning to an old favorite product before!! I can't be the only one who's realized their old HG now sucks!

Hopefully you'll be hearing from me soon. If not, know I'm hiding in a box fort in my shiny new living room having a mental breakdown over assembling Ikea furniture.

XOXO Samantha

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A High End Haul: Breaking Project 10 Pan

I'm a bad girl guys. A really bad girl.

So I'm trying to do a Project 10 Pan, right? Well I got a once-in-a-lifetime chance last weekend. One moment while I flog myself.

I got the opportunity to shop a high end cosmetics department half-off. I don't want to go into details (privacy and such), but OH. EMM. GHEEE. I'm sorry, but my Project 10 Pan had to be put on hold. If you can find fault in my decision making, clearly you are a more rational (and less makeup addicted) person than yours truly. I've actually really enjoyed doing the Project 10 Pan, and I'm going to continue it. Just think of this as a giant speed bump on the road to buying less makeup, no?

Before I jump into the haul, I do want to remind y'all that this was ALL at a half-priced discount. I love me some makeup, but I could have never afforded all of this at one time otherwise. I did repurchase some backup stuff that I'm not out of yet because it was such a good deal and they are things I buy multiple times a year anyways, so why not spend upfront and get half off? RIGHT??

MAC Baking Beauties Pearlmatte Face Powders in Pink Buttercream and In For a Treat
I haven't been really excited about a MAC collection in a while, but I was literally dreaming about these two powders. They are so beautiful both in the pan and on the skin. I'm sure you guys will be hearing lots about these from me!
In For a Treat
Pink Buttercream (Used once... sorry, I just couldn't wait!)
MAC Brushes 130, 239, 228
I really didn't need or want any makeup from MAC besides the aforementioned Pearlmatte Powders, but I've been craving expanding my brush collection. 130 is to apply cream blush and highlighter, 239 is a basic brush that I can't believe I've never bought, and 228 is the cutest little brush that's great for applying shadow to the lower lash line and smoking out or softening eyeliner.

From top to bottom: MAC 130, MAC 239, MAC 228
Chanel Emerveille Illusion D'Ombre Eyeshadow 
This is something that has been on my wishlist for a long time, and I finally purchased it. Let it suffice to say that it is gorgeous and that I'll be doing a full review of it later.

Chanel Emerveille Eyeshadow

Chanel Lip Gloss in Jalousie 
This is such a beautiful lip gloss. I honestly feel like I'm getting what I paid for with this: the pigmentation is amazing; the staying power is hours longer than any of the drugstore or high end glosses I own; it doesn't feel sticky, tacky, or have slippage on my lips.

Chanel Lip Gloss in Jalousie
Chanel Nail Polish in Ballerina
This is a repurchase for me. I recently used my existing bottle for my glitter French manicure. My old bottle is probably 2-3 years old and the color has definitely turned a bit odd. This is probably the 4th or 5th bottle of it I've owned and it used to be one of only 2 nail polishes I'd ever wear before I started getting more adventurous. I know there are other pale pinks like this for less money, but it holds a special place in my heart. Plus the formula is dreamy and it wears like a polish that costs this much should.
Chanel Nail Polish in Ballerina
YSL Rouge Volupte 27 - Rose Paris
I knew I wanted to get a YSL lip product, but I went in with an open mind. I played with a bunch of different colors but ended up walking out with this. Again, I can totally tell the difference between this and lower end products. It's super creamy, highly pigmented, and wears well. I have worn this almost every day this week and I am in love. Siiiiigh.

YSL Rouge Volupte Lipstick 27 - Rose Paris

The Repurchases
I stocked up on another bottle of my MAC brush cleaner, which I mainly use for spot cleaning eye brushes and really getting my foundation brushes clean. I also bought my umpteenth tube of DiorShow Blackout - this is hands down my favorite mascara of all time and as much as I've been trying to love drugstore mascaras, nothing quite works for me like this does. I picked up a backup of both my Bobbi Brown corrector and creamy concealer since I burn through these pretty quickly. I mentioned the Chanel polish above.

What I'm Burning: B&BW Lilac Blossom
This is so spot-on to actual lilacs that it's scary. I'm usually not one for floral candles, but this is very simple and not overwhelming at all. A nice mix-up from the fruity candles I've been burning the past couple months!

I hope you are all enjoying your weekend and I'll talk to you guys soon!

XOXO Samantha

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ridiculously Late April Favorites!!

I am a huge failure. I actually took the pictures for this on March 31st and then proceeded to never have time to write any posts, ever.

I actually had a ton of April favorites, and that is why I'm going to post this quickly now because I found some goodies I can't help but want to share.

My April Favorites!!!

I'll start with hair. I've absolutely been loving my MoroccanOil the past month. It makes my hair so soft and shiny, and I don't know why I stopped using it daily. I can be pretty lazy about hair products, which makes it weird that there are two this month. I've also been loving Alterna's volumizing mousse. I don't even think they make this anymore, but I've loved the huge difference it makes in the volume/look of my blowouts. Even if I let my hair airdry, I get so much more body at my roots, which I love.

For body, I found this sample of a Victoria's Secret body lotion in Vanilla Coconut Passion in my linen closet and decided to use it up. It smells so good, and it has this super fine shimmer/gleam to it that I love on my skin in the sunlight.

Now let's jump into makeup. This month I pretty much just threw my Cover Girl Jumbo Gloss Balm in Watermelon Twist and my Baby Lips in Cherry in my purse and used them 80% of the time. Both give nice, sheer color that pretty much can go with any neutral makeup look. I also found myself reaching for my Naked palette almost every day. I go through phases where I favor one Naked palette over the other, and this month I was all about the first one. I used naked or buck through my crease with a 224 brush almost every day, and Sidecar was on my lid a lot.

Apparently this month was the month of cheek color, because I was all about my blush. I love MAC's Well Dressed blush, a light cool pink that I've raved about on here before. I love that I don't have to be super careful about where I place this blush since it's not so dark, which is awesome for mornings where I am rushing to get my makeup done. I've also been ravenously attacking my deluxe sample of the Benefit Bella Bamba blush. It's no secret that I dislike NARS Orgasm, and I feel like this blush is what I wanted Orgasm to be. It's a pinky-coral with some shimmer and it just looks awesome on my skin. Plus it smells really good. What's not to like? Last, but certainly not least, I've been OBSESSED with my NARS Albatross highlighter this month. I've used it almost every day along the tops of my cheekbones. I don't know why it took me so long to love it, but now I'm hooked.

It'll come as no surprise to you that I finished my Market Peach candle. I've never burned through a candle so quickly, and I'm still not sick of this stuff. I actually bought another one because the thought of going a really long time without it made me super sad.

I promise that there are more posts coming soon - check back soon!

XOXO Samantha

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Glitter French Manicure!!!

I was craving doing something different with my nails, and the fancy struck me to finally try a glitter French manicure... it was a total success!! It looks so pretty and girly, and a nice mix-up from the stark white lines of normal French manicures.

I used Chanel Ballerina as a base, but any light pink would do. The tips are OPI Goldeneye from the James Bond collection. What makes this perfect? It was sooooo easy - with glitter, the line is much more forgiving, and mistakes don't show up as much. I'm definitely going to be trying out some different color combos of this for summer!

What are you guys wearing on your nails right now? Let me know in the comments below! :)

XOXO Samantha 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Nail of the Day: Essie Mod Square

Good evening ladies (and gents)!! What better way to start off a week than with a fresh manicure? I can't think of one!
Essie Nail Polish in Mod Square
So I mentioned in my last nail post that I have a love-hate relationship with Essie polishes. However, I do own several because I went to college in a very small town that was about 45 minutes away from the closest OPI vendor. The Walmart 5 minutes away started selling Essie, which was much more accessible

My beloved favorite OPI pink, Feelin' Hot-Hot-Hot! exploded all over my nail polish drawer one day and I found myself needing a bright pink in a bad way. I picked up Mod Square, a cool, bright, pink cream shade with a touch of neon. It's not a dupe for Feelin' Hot-Hot-Hot! (which is warmer), but it gives a similar vibe. I've have issues with the opacity of Essie polishes - I find a lot of them to be streaky and they usually require 3 coats, something I hate doing for a color that isn't "spectacular" or unique.

My hilariously tiny child hands with a very pretty polish.
However, this color is better than others I've used in the line. It is still a bit streaky on the first coat, and can be uneven on the second, but I find that using it with my Revlon base makes it stick better and I can get nearly-opaque coverage in 2 coats. It's a super fun bright color for spring, and it's one of those colors that just makes my hands look tanner, ya know? And sorry for the iPhone pictures - my normal camera sometimes makes things look super yellow in artificial light (not quite sure how to fix this), and it was especially bad tonight.

Bonus Candle-Of-The-Night

B&BW Lemon Mint Leaf Candle
I think this would definitely be a love-or-hate candle, depending on whether you think it smells clean, or just like bathroom cleaner. To me, it smells like what I imagine a squeaky clean room should smell like, and it's growing on me. It's not something I'd want to leave burning for hours on end, but letting it burn for an hour or so makes my room smell refreshed even for hours after I've blown it out.

What color polish are you wearing right now? Let me know down below!!

XOXO Samantha

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Few of my Favorite Things... Brown Shadow

Time for a few more of my favorite things!!!

It's been almost a month since I did my last installment in my Favorite Things series. I'm mixing it up from the last time I did a set of favorite shadows and including both a cream shadow and individual colors from a palette (which could be a favorite all on its own). Some of these shadows are new favorites, while others are colors I've owned and loved for years, but rest assured that all of these colors are ones I reach for several times a week.

From Left to Right: Patina, Mulch, Satin Taupe
MAC Patina - This may be my favorite MAC shadow. The camera doesn't do this one justice, folks. I was struggling for words to describe this shade, and keep coming up blank. MAC's site describes it as a "taupe brown with golden pearl" and I guess that's accurate, but it leaves out the magic of this shade. It's fairly light, much lighter than a color like Satin Taupe. It never quite looks like one color (much like actual patina) and that shift is really neat. JUST GO SWATCH IT! I promise you won't regret it. I like using this as an all-over lid color, or for a very subtle eye running a bit of this through the crease for just a touch of definition.

MAC Mulch - A red-brown with a nice sheen to it. I love this brown because it's warm without being orange - and definitely the reason I almost always reach for this over MAC's Bronze. If "red-brown" makes you cringe, I promise this doesn't come off as red on the eyes. It's a great, easy to work with crease color - I particularly love pairing this with Shroom all over the lid and brow.

MAC Satin Taupe - A cool taupe with silvery sparkle. It's a good staple cool brown to have at your disposal. And the formulation is dreamy - I wish all MAC shadows were as lovely as this one.

CoverGirl Single Eye Shadow in Tapestry Taupe: I think I've ranted and raved enough about this shadow over the past couple of months. It's a great light taupe color, and I love wearing it on my lids. I use this and Sidecar the most for lid color.

Urban Decay Naked Palette - This palette could be a favorite all on its own. It's funny, because by looks I'd think I'd like Naked 2 much more, but I find myself reaching for this much more. This was a Christmas present from CDBP, and could possibly be why it holds such a special place in my heart. However, there are 2 shades I use much more than the rest:
From Left to Right: Tapestry Taupe (CG), Sidecar, Naked
- Naked: There isn't anything special about this shade... and that's why I love it. It's a matte light brown that is perfect to run through my crease to warm it up a bit and aid in blending out other darker shadows. And it doesn't show up as orange on my skin, a huge problem I have with warm browns. I use this mostly with my 224 to warm up my crease after applying a midtone brown (like Sidecar, Tapestry Taupe, or Patina) to my lid.
- Sidecar: I like to think of this as the warm and slightly lighter version of Satin Taupe. It's cooler than other shades in the Naked Palette, but it definitely has gold sparkle to it. This shade is versatile and it's light enough to be worn on the lid for an everyday look or can be used in the crease.

Maybelline 24 Hour Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze: A cream shadow! I've honestly never understood why this is called "bronze" because it wears a lot like Satin Taupe on my skin. I guess it's more like a cooler brown with bronzey sparkle? Or maybe most of the "bronze" shades I have run orange and this doesn't. Regardless of my issues with the name, I love this color. I wear it both on its own and as a base for other shadows. I'm particularly fond of Stila's Kitten over this!

I'd love to talk about your favorite brown shadows down below - leave me a comment telling me what you reach for the most!!

XOXO Samantha

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

*REVIEW* - CoverGirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 Foundation

I showed the CoverGirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 Foundation in a recent haul, and thought I'd share my thoughts on this relatively new foundation with all of you. I have to admit, as far as foundations go, I was pretty excited to give this a whirl. I was really curious about the product. A full coverage drugstore foundation? That promises to stay on all day? And replace concealer? What??? I know, right? The marketing totally got me too.

Of course I was burning Market Peach. What else do you expect?
I purchased it in the lightest shade, Ivory, and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't too dark for me. I was also beyond thrilled that a drugstore brand finally decided to put a pump on a foundation. SOMEONE SEND A MEMO TO REVLON - QUICK!!! Seriously -- why do so few drugstore foundations have pumps that I have to get this excited about the ones that do? It's not rocket science - even my cheap-o hand soap has this pump business down.


I have to say I was really pleased by this foundation. It's a full coverage foundation, but it felt light on the skin and never looked mask-like. The product itself is a pretty thin liquid, which gives it really nice blendability, and you don't have to worry about it drying before you have time to work with it. I have normal-to-dry skin that is prone to flaking, so I was worried that this foundation would emphasize minor flaking or dryness. On my first attempt, I applied with my RealTechniques Expert Face Brush, which didn't work out well. The buffing brush plus a more matte foundation did emphasize the minimal dryness of my skin and made me look like I was wearing foundation.

I'm so glad I gave this foundation a second chance, because when applied with my MAC 190 foundation brush, this stuff is absolute perfection. While I still needed to use concealer on my undereye circles and one or two red scars, this totally covered up any smaller spots and all the redness around my nose and chin. It has a more natural-to-matte finish, which I LOVE. There is nothing I hate more than being halfway through a day only to have my foundation start to feel greasy and slimy on my face (my main beef with the Nearly Naked foundation). While my arm is lighter than my face so the shades don't quite match up, you can see the nice, soft matte finish the foundation gives in the picture below. There is no shine or dewiness, which is the kind of finish I love. This stuff lasted ALL DAY - I went from a full day of work to a benefit dinner and my face looked flawless from start to finish. No weird spots where my foundation had worn or melted off!! It's also worth mentioning that this didn't oxidize on me, which has been a problem for me with other drugstore foundations.

Left: Liquid foundation; Right: Blended out
Overall, I really liked this foundation. My last few skin makeup choices have left me disappointed, so it was refreshing to go into a drugstore product with low expectations and be really impressed. It'll be nice to have a long-lasting full-coverage foundation on my side going into the melt-y summer months.

What foundations have you been wearing into spring? Does your routine change at all as it warms up, or do you stick to the same base day in and day out? Let me know down below!

XOXO Samantha

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Skincare Routine (and hello, SPRING!!!)

Happy spring, y'all!!

CDBP bought me pretty spring flowers!!!!

It's 70 and sunny here today, and I'm listening to the birds chirp and the neighbor kids play as I type this. I started a new and exciting job today, it smells gorgeous outside, and I'm in the best mood I've been in in a while. What a day!!

I thought I'd take some time today to share my skincare routine with you guys. I had very oily skin all the way until the end of college, when my face suddenly started freaking out and became dry, flaky, and super sensitive. It took me about 3-6 months to really figure out what my skin had become and how to deal with it. I have found that if I use products that are too heavy I'll still break out, but oil-free moisture no longer cuts it in my world. It was a balancing act, but I'll show you guys what I use after the jump!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Project 10 Pan

As evidenced by my last blog entry, I've been spending waaaay too much money on makeup. I'm drawing a line right here: no new makeup until I finish 10 items in my collection.*

*Okay, okay, there are exceptions. I only keep 2 mascaras around at once, and toss them after 3 months. So I can still buy mascara. And I also only use one concealer/corrector and powder, so I can rebuy those if need be. But no eye makeup, no liner, no foundation, no blush, no lipstick or lipgloss... NOTHING ELSE.

I also declare that I'm going to do my darndest to actually finish a Bobbi Brown Gel Liner. I've never finished one before it started cracking and drying up before, and I'd love to say I've done it. We'll see how this goes.

XOXO Samantha

Monday, April 8, 2013

Excuses and a Haul

My car broke down.

It's not much, but it explains why this post is going up so late. I have SERIOUSLY been trying to get this posted since Thursday, but have had a lot to deal with the past few days. I even fell asleep for a few minutes in the middle of typing this. Yeeeeaaaaaah, it was that kind of weekend.

You wouldn't be able to tell from this blog, but I swear I don't normally buy this much makeup. I just feel like there have been so many new and exciting products at the drugstore this spring that I can't help myself. Plus up until this year I've really only been "into" buying eye products - and now I'm really into face and lips. I am constantly craving trying out new foundations and lip colors... and I have terrible self-control.

There was a 20% off everything coupon. I mean, COME ON.

Tarte BB Cream
I've raved about how much I love this product here before. It's amazing - and I decided to take the plunge and buy a full sized tube of this. I know that going into summer I'm not going to want the feel of a heavy foundation, and this is super light weight, long lasting, and not at all greasy -- so basically everything I want in a base. It has light coverage, but it evens out the redness in my skin and makes the texture/tone look 100 times better. I'm sure you'll be hearing a lot about this in the next few months.

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush
Can I just tell you how excited I am to do my foundation with this brush tomorrow? Because I am so flippin' excited you'd think it was Christmas Eve. This brush is soft and dense, and will be perfect for buffing foundation into my skin. I also really wanted to pick up the stippling brush, but my Ulta was out of them. Sad Pandas :(

China Glaze For Audrey
Fact: I am obsessed with Audrey Hepburn. My mom raised me on classic movies; when I was in 2nd grade I told my class my favorite movie was Sabrina, and they all thought I was talking about a teenage witch. Silly kids. I had a "display-only" Barbie of Audrey in the white ball gown from My Fair Lady. I had three posters of her in my dorm room. The fact that they named a Tiffany box blue color after her just means I wanted it more. I'm currently wearing this on my nails and I love it.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Stain in Rendezvous
I've had this lip stain on my mind since I picked up Sweetheart/Valentine about a month ago. It's a pretty tangerine orange and it totally fits the bill on the bright lip trend I've been digging this year.

I also used coupons, which I highly recommend for drugstore makeup - you'll save a ton of money that way!

CoverGirl Clump Crusher
I'm OCD about throwing out my mascara after 3 months - I even make an entry on my calendar for the day it's supposed to get tossed!! Anyways, my LashBlash Volume is about up and I needed a new mascara. I'm feeling adventurous, so I decided to try Clump Crusher, as people have been raving about it everywhere from r/MakeupAddiction to YouTube for months. I'll let you guys know how I like it!

CoverGirl 3 in 1 Foundation
I mentioned this on my wishlist and decided to try it out... I haven't opened it yet, but I'm sure I'll be doing a review on it!

CoverGirl Jumbo Gloss Balm in Watermelon Twist
Another wishlist item. I couldn't help myself. I have a problem.

Bonus: Swatches of Watermelon Twist and Rendezvous 

What makeup have you guys been picking up for spring? Anyone else feel like something bigger and better keeps coming out? I feel like the majority of the releases are out now and that I might be able to curtail my spending for the next few months. We'll see!

XOXO Samantha

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My Makeup Wish List

I keep an actual list of makeup I want. No really. Obviously there are the products that I can't ever forget about (hello, Sigma brushes!) but I often see products I'd really like to try and then promptly forget about them. So I write them down. It's problematic, to say the least. Today I thought I'd give you peak into my makeup wish list!

This thing gets me into so much trouble.

1. Real Techniques Brushes
I've heard some really fabulous things about these brushes. I have been wanting to expand my brush collection, and I think I'm going to start by picking up a couple of face brushes. I really want to try the stippling brush for foundation and cream blush. I have also been dying to get my hands on the expert face brush which looks exactly like the kind of foundation brush I've been wanting to try out.

2. Sigma Kabuki Kit - 5 Brushes
I'm really on a face brush kick. I've been eyeing these brushes for months and months and can't make myself take the plunge and buy them. Maybe one day!

3. Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush
I can't believe I don't own any of these!! I'm particularly interested in Exposed, Dollface, and Tipsy (though let's be honest - I'm interested in all of them). 

4. Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil Liner in Chaos
Chaos was 90% of the reason that I bought the Vice Palette the week it came out. And now they're making it in a pencil, which would be totally wearable on the bottom lash line with a bronzey summer eye - right? RIGHT? I don't care if I'll only use it 3 times a year. It's gorgeous. I have to have it.

5. Maybelline Color Vivids Lipsticks
I have been loving the bright lip trend this spring (particularly since lipstick can be safely applied in the car 30 seconds before sprinting into work). It's a great way to mix up my makeup looks and make me not feel like such a bore. These have gotten great reviews and are totally affordable - I see a couple of these ending up in my Walmart cart the next time I'm there!
6. CoverGirl 3-in-1 Foundation
I'm the most intrigued by this. I've heard mostly good reviews about it, and several vloggers I watch seem to have picked it up recently. I don't really have any full coverage foundations, so finding a decent one at the drugstore would be cool!

7. CoverGirl Lip Perfection Jumbo Gloss Balm in Watermelon Twist
This shade just looks so pretty. And it's a balm. In a twisty pencil thingy. I've really been on CG kick after they impressed me with both the LashBlast Volume and their eyeshadow in Tapestry Taupe. (Previously, I avoided them like the plague due to horrific middle school experiences with the brand and chalky blue eye shadow.)

8. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Rendezvous
I almost picked this pretty orangey coral shade up when I got Sweetheart/Valentine, but I put it back since I didn't know how much I'd love the formulation. But I want this. I want it so badly. And it will be mine. 

What's been sitting on your makeup wishlist this spring? Let me know down below!

XOXO Samantha

Sunday, March 31, 2013

My Makeup Collection and Storage - Spring 2013

Hey guys!

So I finally decided that today was the day to dip my toes in the pool of video making! Storage and collection videos are some of my favorite things to watch on YouTube - they're what got me into the beauty community 3 or 4 years ago - and I wanted to try my hand at it. I am super OCD about organizing, especially when it comes to my beauty products. The rest of my life can be a mess, but it's rare to find anything out of place on my vanity. I will sit and move things around until they feel "right" - I want the things I reach for the most to be easy to access!

Makeup Collection and Storage - Spring 2013

I realized after I made the video that I forgot to talk about where I got my storage stuff! My vanity is the Hemnes Dressing Table from Ikea, and I got it on sale this summer which was awesome. The tray holding my nail polish, as well as the similar trays inside the large drawer are from the office section at Target. The rolling cart is Sterilite, also purchased at Target. The three drawer container with my MAC shadows is also Sterilite, though I can't remember where it was purchased.

If you have a makeup collection video (or blog post!), please leave a link to it in the comments below - I'd love to watch it!!

XOXO Samantha

Saturday, March 30, 2013

March 2013 Favorites

Bleurg. March.

This month has dragged. On. Forever.

This time last year it was warm enough to wear shorts. I realize that 80 in March isn't normal... I'm just saying I could be okay with it. This year it's been miserably cold. Did I mention it's been cold? I am so sick of seeing snow I could practically scream!! Luckily the last two days have been warmer and sunny, so I haven't gone out of my ever-lovin' mind. Yet. I'm just warning you - I don't have too many favorites this month. It's been pretty boring all up in my vanity.

CoverGirl Eye Shadow in Tapestry Taupe
I purchased this in the middle of the month and pretty much have worn it every day since. I just pat it on my lid, sweep a little into my crease with the same brush (see MAC 213 below) and all the work is done for me. All I need is a little highlight, and if I'm feeling fancy a matte brown in my crease with my 222 for some extra definition.

MAC 213
My mom "handed down" this brush to me (she barely used it after owning it for 7 years) and I'm in love. I've always used my 242 to pat color on the lid, but I love this brush as an all-in-one. I can pat color on the lid, but it has enough fluff to it that I can also pull that color up into the crease and blend it out. I've been using this pretty exclusively with Tapestry Taupe this month.

Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil in Smog
Okay. PSA here. SMOG IS NOW PART OF THE PERMANENT COLLECTION AND AVAILABLE IN FULL SIZE. I got Smog as part of the Smoked set for Christmas, and it's basically the only color I use on a regular basis. It's such a pretty, soft, bronzy-shimmery-brown and unlike any other brown liner I own. I have been using this as a quick alternative to my normal liquid or gel liner when I'm running late for work. It adds a bit of definition and the color's light enough that I don't have to be super careful about application. If it's messy... it's forgiving.

MAC Blush in Well Dressed
This is an old favorite and I found myself reaching for it day after day this month. It's great for when I'm running out the door - I can swirl the brush in it and pop it on the cheek. I never have to worry about clown face or having to blend the color out.

Revlon Kissable Balm Stain in Valentine/Sweetheart
I may not be able to get myself into full spring mode yet, but I am really loving super bright lips right now. This is so great for the workday. I can apply it in the morning and the color stays for hours - no touch-ups necessary. I love the formula, and I'm hoping to pick up a few more shades soon!

Essie Nail Polish in Bikini so Teeny
I did a whole post raving about the only Essie Polish I've ever liked. I have had this on my nails for the entire second half of the month, so I suppose this has to be a favorite!

Maybelline The Flash Clean Makeup Removing Lotion
This stuff is absolutely lovely. It really dissolves my makeup and leaves my skin soft. I apply this either to dry or damp skin, rub it in (even over my eyes) and then wipe it off with a damp wash cloth. I then cleanse my skin with my Ultrabland cleanser from Lush. It allows me to use much less Ultrabland as I'm not rubbing more and more product on my eyes trying to get rid of my mascara. So it's saving me money in the long run? That's my theory, at least. Ultrabland didn't seem to take off all my face makeup - and I think that this does a better job at makeup removal. I'm not going to say that this gets rid of all my mascara - it doesn't - but it does a decent enough job that all I have to do is run a Q-tip dipped in eye makeup remover along the base of my lashes to clean things up.

So that's it for March. I'm so glad that I've only got one day left in this month - I need spring! I honestly had much more interesting non-beauty favorites this month - would anyone be interested in seeing a post about those?

Who doesn't want to read about chocolate frozen Greek yogurt?

Let me know what some of your favorites were this month down in the comments, and I'll talk to you guys later!
XOXO Samantha 

*REVIEW* New Spring/Summer 2013 Revlon Lip Butters

So after going into at least 7 different stores looking for them, I finally found the new Revlon Lip Butters in Target. Unfortunately they were out of Juicy Papaya, but I wasn't deterred from picking up the other 3 new shades.

Sorbet, Pink Lemonade, Wild Watermelon

I love Revlon's Lip Butters - they have (depending on the shade) the pigmentation of a lipstick without the fuss, they're moisturizing but never goopy or sticky, and I get pretty good wear out of them (especially the brighter colors). This trio brought my total number owned up to 10, which I don't feel bad about at all. (Justification, how I love thee.) This post was a trial in photography and lighting for me. I was bound and determined to get this post done last night - so determined, in fact, that I fell asleep at my laptop in the middle of writing this. Whoops! I took pictures in the evening, but ended up retaking almost all of them the next morning. I'm so glad I waited! I think the pictures turned out much prettier with the natural sunlight.

First, we have Sorbet. I have been loving bright pink lips this "spring." (I use this term loosely as it has barely gotten into the 40s yet this year where I live.) Sorbet is a bright, cool fuchsia pink. The pictures of this on my lips doesn't do it justice. The light is reflecting off of it in the picture and not quite showing how bold the color is. Against my fair skin, it's very bright. 

Next is Pink Lemonade. It's a very light nude pink and I am in LOVE with this. It gives the nude lip look without making you look dead since this has a nice gloss to it. It's a much more wearable look for me than other nude lip products I've tried. 

The final color I picked up was Wild Watermelon. I am ridiculously excited about this shade, so I'm glad I saved the best for last. My favorite lip butter by far is Candy Apple, but sometimes I want to wear a bright, warm red that isn't so orange. Guys... this is it. It's such a pretty pinky red, and I'm so excited to trade in my blue-red and orange-red lipsticks for Wild Watermelon this spring. There's also a sheerness to it that I like for the warmer months - I get nice, bright color without looking like I'm cake-faced. 


Pink Lemonade

Wild Watermelon

I also decided to swatch Sorbet and Wild Watermelon against similar shades in my collection for comparison.

Left: Sweet Tart; Right: Sorbet

These shades are very, very similar. Sweet Tart is just a bit warmer and lighter than Sorbet. I'd also say that Sweet Tart's consistency/finish is a little more creamy while Sorbet's has more "juiciness" and sheerness to it. There were some swatch pictures that I took during photo shoot #1 where I couldn't tell which swatch was which product. The differences show up more on the list, but if you aren't a fervent collector I would recommend picking only one of these. 

Left: Candy Apple; Center: Wild Watermelon; Right: Cherry Tart

As you can tell from the swatches, Wild Watermelon is much pinker and sheerer than Candy Apple. It's also lighter and warmer than Cherry Tart. Like Sorbet, there is a "juiciness" to Wild Watermelon that makes it perfect for warmer weather. 

Extra: Candle-of-the-Night
I had this burning the whole time I was working on this post last night. I'm trying to finish up my small Spiced Apple Toddy candle from B&BW while the weather is still cool. This smells like musky spiced cider, if that makes any sense at all (I'm sure it doesn't). This candle smells very similar to Leaves, a personal favorite (I think I've burned through 7 of them in the last year and a half). The one thing that annoys me about this candle: the wick isn't centered!!! It's super annoying because unless I burn it for several hours, the wax to one side of it won't melt! I'm OCD about burning my candles evenly, so I can only light this one if I know I'm going to be home for a while. You can even see a bit of wax still clinging to the glass on the back of the candle in the picture below... ARRRRGGGHHH!! 

If you've picked up any of the new Lip Butter shades, let me know what you think about them down below! What other lip products are you picking up for spring? I've heard good things about the new Maybelline Color Whispers and Color Vivids Lipsticks. I'm not sure I'd pick up a Color Whisper unless there was a color I HAD to have because I already own so many lip butters (I've heard they have similar consistencies?). However, I own very few "true" lipsticks, and as I've been easing myself into bright and bold lips, I'm thinking I should pick up a Color Vivid or two. Everyone from high school aged beauty vloggers to Temptalia seems to be raving about those, so I don't think I'd hate them. I've also been interested in picking up the CoverGirl Jumbo Gloss Pencils, particularly Watermelon Twist. Let me know if you own any of these and what you think down below!

XOXO Samantha