My Super Awesome Birthday Haul!

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A couple weeks ago I celebrated a birthday, but not just any birthday..my 30th. Yikes. Luckily the blow of a new decade was softened by the sweet, sweet cushion of birthday perks! I’ve never been the person who asked for gifts and ever expected to receive them so I can honestly say I’m always surprised. Now a little fact about me is that I love perks, and birthday time is the absolute best time to cash in on them. I’m on way too many beauty mailing lists to count but I always look forward to the flood of birthday offers in my inbox every year. So let me start off with the awesome free birthday extras I received this year!

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My first little gem was a totally whimsical and adorable, my family and I after a long day of shopping we stopped by Trader Joe’s where my son proudly announced to anyone who would listen that it was birthday so a very lovely employee had him pick out a glorious bouquet of flowers for me which did get me a little choked up!
Next were my birthday extras from Ulta Beauty. Ulta has a great rewards program that gives you points for purchases and also slips you goodies on your birthday. This year I received a huge handful of samples. First I received an amazing gift trio from Laura Geller that included a baked powder foundation, some berry lip gloss and their signature “spackle” makeup primer. My favorite of the trio is most definitely the foundation, while it doesn’t give me enough coverage I find it perfect for setting my concealer. The other perks I got were a very rich pomegranate hand cream and a small sample of Smashbox primer (I already have a few of these samples, but I love the product so bring it on.). Ulta did not disappoint this year!
Lastly we have Sephora. Sephora also has an amazing beauty rewards program and what I got this year literally made me squeal. I am a Benefit girl through and through, I think their products are amazing and I have yet to find a dud in their incredible line so color me over the moon when I saw that their birthday perk was a little benefit kit including a travel size of “they’re real’ mascara (check out my previous review on this mascara) and a travel size tube of “watts up” highlighter which are two of my favorite Benefit products. While I was there I figured I’d go ahead and cash in my beauty points because right now they are offering Lancôme eye serum as a beauty reward and I couldn’t pass it up!
I also did take advantage of Benefit brow bar birthday service where you get a free eyebrow service for your birthday and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Saying that my friends and family are amazing is a great understatement. I honestly owe everything to them, so to receive gifts from them after all they have given me already is surprising. That being said, these are the incredible things I got.

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First I got some incredible handmade jewelry from my bestie, She is an amazing girl with a awesome art background and I swear everything she touches turns beautiful. My favorite part about these pieces she made me were the personal touches, the evil eyes. Some of our best memories together is the summers we spent at the Greek festival.
And then there’s my dad, to say he goes over board does not cover it. He gave me an iPad. He is one if those men who has worked his ass off for 40 years just to do things like this, and I love him.

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Lastly we come to my dreamy husband and kids. If you were to ask him he would tell you that he is simply “feeding my addiction” because it is no surprise that I am a beauty product hound. How did he know what to get me? He listens! Every time I gush about a new product I want to try he takes mental notes. This year was quite the shocker, the Urban Decay Naked pallet is something that I’ve wanted in my makeup collection forever now and that fact that I actually get to touch it, and use it is incredible to me, and I have to say I was not let down ( I will be giving you my full opinion plus some looks from the pallet in the future so stay tuned for that!) Next he got me three of the  OPI for Sephora collection nail polishes which I’m obsessed with, and last he got me The Balm Stainiac which is such an incredible cheek and lip stain which I always wanted to try, and I’ve had so much fun playing with it.

So that is all for my birthday bonanza run down. Full disclosure I am absolutely not bragging, I am genuinely surprised, touched and amazed by all of the birthday love I received so I only found it fitting to pass the love onto you.
Here’s to the next year!
Kate

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Benefit – They’re Real

Let me start off by saying hello. It has been an insane amount of time since my last post but I have been trying out other blogging outlets, moving cross state and having another baby. So I’ve been a touch busy. Don’t you fear though in my time off I have greatly increased my knowledge and collection and am super excited to pick up where I left off.

I am a sucker for mascara, if I was to say I haven’t tried it all then I would be lying. So during my most recent Sephora haul I came upon Benefit Cosmetics ‘They’re Real’ mascara and I had yet to try it which is odd because I am a totally Benefit girl and here is my review:
While the brush initially threw me off because I’m not the biggest fan of far apart bristles, I have to say I was impressed! The gel like formula did some serious coating to my lashes but didn’t clump once. It didn’t look like falsies which can be a problem for me because I have what is known as “crazy eyes”.
My lashes felt soft and just super luxurious so this was another big win for Benefit and a small loss for my bank account (sorry hunny!)
This mascara retails for around $20 a tube for the full size product. So go forth and purchase and happy blending!

Date Night Red Lips

If you’re like me, you get scared of red lipstick because the last thing we wanna look like on a date is a clown.  That is why I have perfected the perfect date night lip routine to keep your lips soft and kissable.

To start you should buff your lips.  We buff our skin and rid it of dry, dead skin so why not do the same where it really counts?    What I do is I apply naturals chap-stick liberly all over my lips as a base, then in a small jar I mix 1TBS of honey with 1TSP of sugar.  I coat my lips with this sweet mixture and rub in.  After I let it sit and absorb the dead skin for about 2 minutes I take a washcloth and dampen it with warm water and buff my lips until the mixture and the dead skin is gone!

Next it’s time to choose your products.  I have very thin dry lips so two key parts of my date night lips are a good chap base and lip liner.   Lips are always the last thing I do in my makeup routine, especially with red lipstick because it can be a big mess!  So after my face is done up and perfect I base my lips with a all natural lip balm, this time I used Neutrogena all natural lip balm.  Then I lined my lips with Sephora cream lip liner in base which is a nude color.  I try not to use dark lip liners because those can often look tacky even with red lips so I stay as nude as I can, I don’t use lip liner for color but to just define my lips.  I prefer to use a lip brush when it comes to red lipstick because it is such a high pigmented color that any little bump and mistake will show without the right precision.  For the lipstick I chose my Maybelline Red Revival in the brightest red I could find, which is number 645.  Using the lip brush I start at the bottom lip and sweep up to the corners, but make sure not apply in the corners because that is how you get clown mouth.  I usually put a lot of focus into the top of my lip so I can really define the arch giving it a plump look.  To top it all over and glossed my lips with a clear sparkle Sephora lip gloss in pearl.  After my lips are done I blot them with some tissue and pull my finger through my mouth to take off any excess.

I have red hair so sometimes red lips can be a bit too much for a date so I try to make it whimsicle.  Here I added my Makeup Forever gel liner in teal and one of my handmade hair pieces.  This is my version of a 20’s girl in the city!

So remember, the key to perfect date night lips is for them to be kissable and soft, so always keep your lip balm and gloss on hand for touch-ups and the best way to pull off a bright red lip is confidence!  Happy kissing.

Sephora Smoky Cream Liner

I was walking around NYC not too long ago and decided to free my mind at the local Sephora, I consider these trips special because I can never enter a Sephora store without blowing my bank account.  Spring was just in bloom and I was inspired by the bright blue skies and the flowers and the breeze so I made an impulse purchase of electric blue gel liner.  The official product name is Sephora Smoky Cream Liner in Electric Teal.    I grew out of the electric blue shades phase in my late teens and I’m still not sure why I wanted to give it another go, but here it is!


To create this look I used a pink palette…like I said I was inspired by spring.  As always I primed my eyes with an under eye concealer and the lid with a shadow primer.  For the base color I used Avon true color eyeshadow quad,aquadelic and I used the coral crush color.  To add the smoke effect I used bright pigment shadow from Cupcake Cult in electric pink and to highlight I used Sephora highlighter shimmer in Aspen Summit.   Finished my look with the Sephora Electric Teal liner and L’oreal million lashes mascara.

There really is no reasonable place for me to wear this color unless I’m out at a club but nonetheless I thought it was wild and fun and a good mix for spring.  Coming in at a modest $12 I expected a lot more.  While the color was bright and lived up to it’s electric name the application itself was a tricky one, not to pat myself on the back but I can put on liquid liner in the dark.  It is indeed a gel base and I’ve had difficulties with them in the past.  I expected it to glide on a lot smoother then it did, it was almost bumpy and I kept getting those skip marks which isn’t a deal breaker, just adds more work.  It was easy to build up more drama with each new stroke but after a while I noticed it started to crumble as some gel liners do.  At first I thought maybe I was pressing too hard but on a softer application it still crumbled.    Overall I did achieve the look I wanted, bright springy, young and a little wild but it took more work then I think it was worth.  With the product alone I wasn’t 100% pleased but I did love the color and the dramatic effect and would continue using this product until it’s finished..whether or not I buy another one is yet to be seen. Happy blending!