Inspired By: Penny Lane

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Cameron Crowe’s cinematic love letter to one of the greatest eras in rock n’ roll, “Almost Famous”, was released in 2000. I was 14 at the time, and although I grew up with much of the music that comprised the film’s outstanding soundtrack- I didn’t actually see the movie until my early twenties. As endearing as William Miller, the main protagonist played by Patrick Fugit was, and as seductive and sincere as Billy Crudup’s portrayal of Russell Hammond- the lead guitarist in the film’s fictional band, Stillwater, turned out to be- it was Kate Hudson’s character, Penny Lane, who really stole the show.

With a 1970s backdrop (and the fashion to match) Penny is the leader of the “Band Aids,” a group of women who travel with various bands and their crews and in Penny Lane’s own words, “inspire the music.” Although they vehemently deny being groupies- there’s plenty of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll debauchery going on behind the scenes. Penny and Russell are in love with each other, although neither one will admit it to the other- but Russell’s growing ego and on/off again girlfriend back home complicates things. William is a witness to the shows, the fights, the antics, and even some of the tender moments as he grows and matures while on tour with Stillwater- and writes it all for Rolling Stone’s cover story about the band.

In my early twenties, I could relate to Penny. Not just because she had curly hair like me or because she lived in the city I can’t wait to make my home- San Diego- but because she had fallen madly in love with an up and coming musician who was too proud (and maybe a little bit too selfish) to admit that he cared for her as deeply as she cared for him until it was too late and she had jet-set off to Morocco to start a new life on her own. As someone who once got mixed up with my own up and coming musician for a few years- seeing Penny’s struggles, with the highs and the lows of the rocker and touring lifestyle- resonated with me. She was a mix of strength and vulnerability, charm and compassion- and I will always and forever covet her shearling coat.

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Wearing this peasant-style top reminds me of a scene in the movie where Penny is dancing to music no one else can hear in an empty auditorium following a Stillwater show. She’s twirling and gliding across the floor barefoot, and it’s the most serene and peaceful we see her. I paired the top with a comfortable pair of denim capris and sneakers- also inspired by another scene in the movie where Penny is sporting a similar ensemble as she listens to William accidentally confess that Russell (after a moment of hesitation) has traded Penny and the other Band Aids to the band Humble Pie in exchange for $50 and  a case of beer. It’s a sharp contrast to the auditorium scene- and it’s also the first time we see Penny’s confident front crack- if only for a moment.

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Some of you may remember my sunglasses from my Practical Festival Wear post a couple of months ago, and although they’re a bit rounder than Penny’s were in the movie, they make me feel like shouting “it’s all happening!” whenever I put them on, anyway.

My makeup was easy. Penny is effortlessly beautiful. She doesn’t need a sharp cat eye or a bold lip to be alluring. She looks natural and radiant in her simplicity. Although the Polaroid effects make it hard to tell- I wore nothing more than a matte-finish foundation, a light pink shimmer blush on the apples of my cheeks, a bit of highlighter around my brow bone, mascara, and a clear lip balm. Quick and easy!

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And finally, to complete my ensemble(s)- I’ve owned this replica Stillwater t-shirt- complete with out-of-focus goodness ($14.99 HERE)– for quite some time, and occasionally like to wear it out and about on my more casual days. I love when other “Almost Famous” fans recognize it. Although I don’t recall ever seeing Penny sporting the t-shirt of her most beloved band- I’d like to think she owned a couple.

I’d also like to think that Penny and Russell eventually had their happy ending. It didn’t happen for me and my own musician all those years ago- but I want to believe true love exists!

Side note: I’m aware my little white Kia isn’t as fabulous as a tour bus named Doris, but it’s how I get around and “tour” the country!

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xox

New Year’s Sephora Haul!

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ANOTHER makeup/cosmetics post? I know, everyone. Please just bear with me. We’ve reached dangerously low temperatures here in New England (and are currently dipping into the negatives with the wind chill,) which has left me mostly bundled up indoors over the past few days. I’m hoping to brave outside this coming weekend to venture out of the city and take some photos without getting frost bite- and maybe do a little baking in-between- but right now I am all about staying in close proximity to heaters at all times.

When I haven’t been sprinting between my place, my car, and my office in a desperate attempt to avoid the frigid chill- I took a little time to stop at Sephora the other day to pick up some face wash, moisturizer, and eye shadow primer I had recently run out of. I had a little extra cash put aside for splurging purposes, and with it being a new year- I thought I’d treat myself and pick up a couple of extra things, too. It’s been a while since I’ve done a proper haul post- so here’s what I got to start me off for 2015!

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Clinique’s Liquid Facial Soap (Extra Mild Formula): My skin tends to get a little more dry in the colder months, and I’ve found that my usual facial soaps- which contain blemish and blackhead fighting ingredients- can often leave my face feeling uncomfortably tight and looking patchy or flaky. I’ve switched over to this extra mild, milky cleanser- which gently melts away makeup and dirt from my pores and leaves my skin feeling comfortable and soft.

Clinique’s Clarifying Lotion # 2: After I use my soap, I go in with this mild toner on a cotton ball to remove any excess oil or bacteria I may have missed during cleansing and gently exfoliate and polish my skin- evening out my overall tone and texture while ridding the surface of my face of any dry patches.

Clinique’s Dramatically Different Gel: When moisturizing my skin, even in the winter, I like to stick to oil-free gels (since I’m still prone to the occasional breakout.) This lightweight moisturizer has been my go-to for years now. It keeps my skin hydrated, smooth, and clear for hours.

Clinique’s ‘Moisture Surge’ Extended Thirst Relief Gel: To add a boost of hydration to my Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel- especially in these Arctic Tundra-like temperatures, I slather on a little of this pink, soothing, oil-free moisturizer on top. It sinks in so easily and quickly and makes my skin feel AMAZING. I swear by this stuff- and highly recommend it for all skin types!

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NARS Sheer Glow Foundation: I like to have more of a full-coverage foundation in the Winter, but I’m switching things up a little in 2015 and that includes my usual makeup look. I picked up this NARS base, which has a buildable coverage- and I’ve been really liking it so far. It doesn’t have the matte finish I’ve grown used to, but my skin looks luminous and natural- and it feels like I’m not wearing anything at all- which is a big perk.

Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder: Because I’ve switched up my foundation, I thought it was important to switch up my setting powder, too. It didn’t seem practical to continue using a loose, matte powder when my liquid base is now a more sheer finish. I like this Laura Mercier one- which holds my makeup in place all day long but lets my skin breathe and doesn’t make me look like I have a ton of product on my face.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion (Original): This was one of the products I had initially gone into Sephora to replenish. I use this primer nearly every day. It’s the only thing that keeps my eye makeup (shadows, liners, etc.) from creasing, flaking, or fading. It’s another product I swear by!

Sephora Pantone Universe Marsala Metalshine Liquid Liner: 2015’s ‘Color of the Year’ is Marsala, a really lovely wine shade that looks good on everyone and can be mixed and matched in a variety of ways. I am gradually working my way into the color, being careful not to overdo it since my hair is currently a very similar hue- and decided on this liquid liner to give my eyes a bold, metallic pop. The formula is easy to apply, stays in place, and color is lovely against my pale skin and blue eyes. It’s unlike any other eyeliner I’ve ever used. I love it!

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Formula X for Sephora – Base Coat: I’ve heard so many good things about Sephora’s Formula X collections in recent weeks, and finally decided to try them for myself. When it comes to my manicures, chipping is a big concern for me (I do a lot of typing- both at work and when I’m blogging,) so I picked up a bottle of this “sticky” base coat, which is supposed to hold nail polish in place for longer than competitive brands and through the toughest of trials fingernails face throughout the day.

Formula X for Sephora – “Provocative”: I typically wear darker colors in the Winter on my lips, eyes, and nails- but, again- 2015 is all about change and trying new things. I’ve been feeling powder blue shades as of late, and fell in love with this pretty pastel as soon as I laid eyes on it. It just screams “icy Winter air” to me and I’m not quite sure why- but I had to have it.

Formula X for Sephora – “Pedal to the Metal”: Apart from light blues, I’ve also been incorporating touches of deep violets into my wardrobe and makeup here and there. This metallic purple, as eye-catching and as lovely as “Provocative,” was another must-have for me. I think I’ll be alternating between these two for the next couple of months.

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*Birthday Bonus!* NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil & Satin Lip Pencil: My birthday is in January, and as an added bonus to my purchase- Sephora gave me these two free NARS lip pencils to celebrate! I like that one is a more subtle nude (perfect for work,) and the other is a bolder, deeper red (perfect for the weekends, of course-) and I can’t wait to try them both!

So now, with my skincare, makeup, and nail polish refreshed and stocked to get me through the rest of the Winter (hopefully,) I won’t need to splurge again for a few months…

… Although I probably will, and soon- since I was tempted by a lot of other stuff that caught my eye while I was shopping!

Inspired By: Peggy Carter

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One of my favorite female characters from the Marvel universe has got to be Peggy Carter. Smart, strong, brave, and beautiful- Peggy was never the damsel in distress and never tolerated any B.S. from any man (and she had the mean right hook to back herself up.) Portrayed perfectly by the stunning, talented Hayley Atwell in the “Captain America” movies, I was thrilled when I first heard the news that Hayley would once again be reprising the role and that Peggy would be getting her very own mini-series spin-off on ABC this year.

Premiering tonight at 8 P.M. (EST,) “Agent Carter” focuses on Peggy’s life following the events of “Captain America: The First Avenger” and WWII, where she’s attempting to make it in a male dominated, not-so-female-friendly society while working for the SSR and completing missions for Howard Stark. I cannot wait to watch the series- groundbreaking for women in it’s own right- and once again get emotionally invested in a character I find so inspirational.

Of course, Peggy’s no-nonsense, overall badass-ery isn’t the only thing I love about her. Her makeup- simple yet timeless- and her 1940’s fashion is on point, too. Inspired, I took to my own makeup collection in an attempt to re-create Agent Carter’s look. I’m nowhere near as beautiful as Ms. Atwell, but it was fine to try nonetheless!

My tools, consisting mainly of a natural finish foundation, light rose-colored blush, a nude/light brown eye shadow, black eyeliner for my top lids (and a medium brown for a small section of the bottom lid as to not appear too harsh,) was aided by a lightweight moisturizing gel on my face to plump up and smooth my skin, and a primer for my eyes to hold everything in place.

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And for my lips, I turned to Besame Cosmetics– who, according to Hayley Atwell herself, are the masterminds behind Peggy’s signature red shade. I purchased the exact color, “Red Velvet,” after perusing the website and falling in love with nearly everything. Once I received it, I immediately took a liking to the creamy, comfortable texture of the lipstick- and it’s longevity. The color stayed in place for hours without needing touching up or reapplication!

Also- the packaging. Can we stop and appreciate the packaging for just a moment? It’s lovely.

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Perhaps the easiest part of this “Inspired By” look was my hair and wardrobe. With naturally spiral-curled hair, there was no need for curlers or pins. I simply parted my hair on the side and let it flow freely- and since I work at a law firm- mimicking Peggy’s crisp white blouse and navy blazer was a breeze (I have a collection of them in my closet!)

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I had a lot of fun playing around with this look (although I wish I had Peggy’s snazzy red fedora to complete it!) and am hoping to do more “Inspired By” looks in the future- but first- I have to get ready to finally watch “Agent Carter” tonight!

Just For Redheads Beauty Products Review.

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If my pictures (or at least the title of this blog) weren’t enough of an indication, I have bright red hair and very fair skin- and while I love the head-turning combination of the two, it makes buying flattering cosmetics a little tricky at times. It’s easy for some beauty products to wash me out- or worse- make me look orange. It’s even easier for certain colors of eye shadows or lipsticks to cause me to not only stumble, but trip and fall completely over the line between “natural’ and “character out of a Tim Burton movie” with little to no effort at all. I have to tread carefully when trying new cosmetics, as made evident by my beauty box subscription reviews over the months.

I was recently contacted by Just For Redheads Beauty Products, a cosmetics company based out of Arizona that specialize in skincare, hair care, and makeup for- you guessed it- redheads. Founded by Paula Pennypacker in 1993, Just For Redheads, or “JFR” for short, have a wide array of products at reasonable, affordable prices for fiery-haired females like myself to help us achieve both natural, everyday makeup looks, as well as less-harsh dramatic looks, too. Their hair care is col0r-safe, and the nourishing shampoos and conditioners contain sunscreen to help protect sensitive scalps and prevent reds from fading. Not only that, JFR have an assortment of nail polishes, brushes, and beauty tools, too. They’ve been featured in PEOPLE Magazine, the LA Times, and on the Lifetime Network, among other media. Best of all? They ship internationally- so lovely redheads outside of the U.S. can get their hands on these products, too!

I was asked if I’d be interested in trying some of their products, and of course I jumped at the chance! My bundle of stuff arrived quicker than I anticipated, and I was beyond excited to dive right in and use everything. All of the products I received were full-sized, and came with an emery board and two pencil sharpeners (which I’m especially thankful for, because I have a habit of misplacing my sharpeners constantly.)

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Cream Shadow Eye Lighter in “Antique Brass”

First things first- I loved the silky texture of this combination nude/soft gold shadow. It wasn’t too hard or too “crumbly” the way other cream shadows can be on contact. It applied smoothly, and gave me just enough color where I could wear it on it’s own for a subtle hint of shimmer, build it to a slightly more noticeable smoky eye, or use it as a base to create a different look all together. I DO recommend using a primer with this product, as I do with all shadows (even the cream ones.) My eyelids are more on the oily side, so wearing this shadow all by itself with no primer caused it to crease in no time at all. With a primer, however- it stayed in place comfortably for hours without budging or fading.

This particular formula of shadow comes in ten different shades, all of them lovely, but I feel “Antique Brass” would also be most suitable for highlighting he brow bone, too. It’s just a great, versatile color.

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"Baroque"

“Baroque”

"Sienna"

“Sienna”

(*PLEASE NOTE: I’m wearing my green contact lenses in the photos above. The colors of the liners appear similar against the natural blue of my eyes, as well.*)

Ultimate Gel Eye Liners in “Baroque” and “Sienna”

Give me gel eyeliner in a pencil form, and I will give you my money. Like the cream shadow, these pencils were incredibly silky- and not at all irritating on my delicate eyelid (they have Vitamin E and Jojoba Oil in them, which may explain that.) The colors: “Baroque,” a beautiful, shiny pewter shade, and “Sienna,” a less shiny, deep brown- applied without fuss or smudging. If the pigmentation of the shades or mess-free and smooth application weren’t enough to win me over, then the lasting power definitely did it. These liners stayed in place all day without fading, flaking, or running down underneath my eye. I was thrilled.

This type of eyeliner only comes in these two shades right now, but I’m hoping JFR add more selections soon because I love these  so much. Between the two, I’d have to say my favorite shade is “Baroque,” if only because of the shimmer it has and the way it seems to brighten my whole eye area- but I’ve been wearing both colors regularly since I’ve received them.

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Mascara Voyage in “Ginger Auburn”

While I have overall fair features, my eyebrows and eyelashes have always been on the darker side. As such, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to wear dramatic amounts of black mascara and pull it off (at least I’d like to think so.) From past experience, I need quite a few brush strokes of brown or brown/black mascara to get it to show up on me. This mascara, a medium-brown, and with a tapered brush to get to those pesky corner lashes, did require more than a couple swipes- and the result was a very natural, very subtle look I thought would be appropriate for work or for those “au naturale” makeup days.

Application wise, this mascara didn’t clump or flake everywhere, and although I’ve become so accustomed to the dramatic, false-lash look, I can see myself wearing this during the day in the office. This formula comes in four shades, and I think if I were to purchase one in the future- I would probably go one shade darker, just to match my eyelashes a little more closely.

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Brow Tint in “Auburn”

When I first unscrewed the cap of this brow tint, I was a little concerned with how light it appeared on the mascara-style-brush. As I’ve mentioned, my brows and eyelashes are on the darker side, so I was worried that this would make them look strange. Even still, I wanted to try it. I applied the tint gingerly, gradually adding more when I saw how well the color blended with my brows. When I was done, my eyebrows looked fuller, even, and most importantly- natural. There was no weird residue left behind, or stiffness to the touch. I think out of everything I received in my JFR care package, this product was the most pleasantly surprising. At first glance, I never would have guessed the color would have looked so good.

This formula comes in three shades, “Auburn” being the medium between the other two available colors.

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Clockwise from top left: Beachy, Sultry, Chestnut, and Desir.

Clockwise from top left: Beachy, Sultry, Chestnut, and Desir.

Auburn Mineral Lipstick Kit

Finally, to go with my assortment of eye products, JFR sent me this lipstick/balm compact that fits perfectly in my makeup bag. The colors, selected specifically for those with Auburn hair, are universally flattering and range between the light nude “Chestnut,’ to the subtle pink “Beachy,” to the deeper, more dramatic “Desir,” and finally, the bold and bright “Sultry.” The lipsticks, applied with a brush, were hydrating and non-sticky, and lasted for a really long time. I only had to re-apply once or twice throughout the day, and my lips didn’t feel dry or cracked even after the color wore off. These balms didn’t leave behind any kind of stain or ring around the edges of my lips, either- which is always a plus.

There are two types of these compacts: “Auburn” and “Strawberry Blonde” (lighter shades.) From the “Auburn” compact, I think my favorite color by far is “Chestnut.” I love a good nude color, and this one was fantastic.

Overall, I am so, so pleased with everything I received from JFR. This is a great line for women with red hair and/or fair skin who have been searching for alternatives for more natural-looking, quality beauty products that won’t break the bank or give undesirable results. I’m so appreciative for the opportunity to write up this review. I greatly enjoyed trying everything that was sent to me- and look forward to making purchases from the brand in the future. Thanks, JFR!*

*I do not work for Just For Redheads Beauty Products, nor am I being paid by JFR for this review. All opinions in this post are entirely my own.*

xx

My Makeup Collection.

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The other day I was talking to the lovely Imogen about her wanting to go through and organize her cosmetics, which is something I do every couple of months in order to discard expired and empty products, or gift duplicate and unused ones. I’ve drastically narrowed down my excess stuff over time to things I use on a regular basis, as opposed to just frivolously buying and hoarding makeup I only use once in a great while, which has ultimately saved me money and space in my bedroom and bathroom. My beauty box subscriptions (GlossyBox and Ipsy,) have also occasionally added to my collection by sending me full-sized products that I can integrate into my rotation if I like them enough.

Imogen had wanted to know what I had for cosmetics as of late, and I thought I’d show rather than just tell.

So here’s my current makeup collection (sans-makeup brushes and skin care products:)

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Foundations: Covergirl’s Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation, Primer, and Concealer.

Under Eye Concealers: Clinique’s Line Smoothing Concealer.

Bronzers: Pixi’s Beauty Bronzer in “Subtly Suntouched” and Laura Mercier’s Bronzing Pressed Powder in “Golden Bronze” (I alternate between the two.)

Blushes: NARS Cream Blush Stick in “Orgasm” and TIGI’s Baked Glow Blush in “Lovely” (Again, I alternate between the two.)

Finishing Powders: NARS Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder.

EYES

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Primers/Bases: Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion.

Eyeshadows: Benefit’s “Most Glamorous Nudes Ever” palette, Sephora’s The Little Mermaid quad, POP Beauty Bright Up Your Life Eye Shadow Trio in “Smokin’ Hot,” ModelCo Eyeshadow Duo in “Bronzed Goddess,” Urban Decay eyeshadow singles in “Mildew,” “Baked,” and “Psychedelic Sister,” and Emite Makeup Micronized Eye Shadow single in “Dams.”

Eyeliners: ARDENCY INN’s “PUNKER” Eyeliner, Be A Bombshell Eyeliner Pen in “Onyx,” Starlooks Obsidian Kohl Eye Pencil, Starlooks Gem Eye Pencil in “Topaz,” Elite Models Intensity Eye Pencil, and Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in “Psychedelic Sister” and “Mildew.”

Highlighters: Chella “Ivory Lace” Highlighter Pencil.

Mascaras: Tarte “Lights, Camera, Flashes” Statement Mascara.

LIPS

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From Left to Right: The Honest Company Organic Lip Balm, Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in “Anarchy,” Figs & Rouge Cherry Blossom Tinted Lip Balm, Tarte Glamazon Pure Performance 12-Hour Lipstick in “Fierce,” Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipstick in “Wine With Everything,” Be A Bombshell Lip Crayon in “Hot Damn,” Buxom Full-On Lip Polish in “Dolly,” Generic unflavored AVON chapstick, Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in “Fig Jam,” and Tarte Complexion-Enhancing Lipstick.

Not Pictured: Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in “Liar.” I accidentally left it at work yesterday!

AND JUST FOR FUN- MY NAIL POLISH COLLECTION!

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While my makeup collection may be surprisingly small-ish to some, I hoard nail polishes like they’re going out of style. I’ve recently run out of a couple of shades, including a beautiful jade green and a glittery dark brown- but pictured above is what’s left.

Chanel: “Intermezzo,” “Orange Fizz,” and “Vamp.”

OPI: “Bubble Bath,” “Bright Lights – Big Color,” “Absolutely Alice,” and “Can’t Let Go.”

Nails, Inc.: “Victoria” and “Baker Street.”

Misc.: Nailtini Straight Up Color Nail Lacquer in “Champagne,” Zoya Nail Polish in “Mason,” SpaRitual Nail Polish in “Spice of Life,” NAILUV Gel Polish in “Berry Sweetie,” L.A. Colors Color Craze in “Glistening Purple,” and Salley Hansen’s Hard as Nails XTreme Wear in “Mellow Yellow.”

And there you have it! That’s everything. I plan on adding to my collection in the coming weeks (The Naked 3 eyeshadow pallet is calling my name,) but so far, I’ve been getting along quite nicely with what I’ve limited myself to.

Sephora Holiday Haul.

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A few days after Halloween, I was driving to work and scanning through the radio stations since I’d failed to charge my iPod battery during the night, resulting in it dying shortly after I’d left my house. I’d flipped through some top 40, morning talk segments, and some sports analysis shows when I suddenly heard one of the verses to “Frosty The Snowman.” I waited for the song to finish, wondering what was going on the entire time, when it segued into Bing Crosby’s “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas.” Turns out, I had unwittingly stumbled upon a New England station that had started to play non-stop Christmas music, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week- until December 26th. A couple of days after that, I started getting e-mails from the different company/store mailing lists I’m on advertising holiday specials and/or gifts and gift sets for Christmas.

Not to sound like one of those crotchety “when I was your age, I had to walk twelve miles to and from school, barefoot in the snow,” people, but when I was a kid- the actual Christmas and holiday season didn’t kick off until the day after Thanksgiving- at least for my family, anyway- and it was perfect. It was just the right, appropriate amount of time to decorate, listen to lots of Christmas carols without getting sick of them, get whatever shopping, parties, and gatherings done and out of the way- and just enjoy the holiday with friends and loved ones before it was time to take the decorations down and prepare for New Years.

When I entered my teens, and started working retail (going from job to job for a good several years before I began working in law,) and the holiday season was pretty much thrust upon my co-workers and I earlier and earlier each year, I was miserable. Ungodly hours. Rude, shitty customers. Ruder, shittier managers and supervisors. Crummy pay. No time to actually spend with family or friends. Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” on a continuous loop. It was just the worst- and to this day I still have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone who works retail because I know their suffering and struggle first-hand. When I started hearing the music and started receiving the holiday advertisements over the past few days- my heart went out to everyone I know, and even the people I’ve never met, who are working those insane “holiday hours” for the next two months. If anyone reading this works in retail- I’m so, so sorry. Please hang in there. If I ever come into the store where you work, I assure you I will not be an asshole to you or any of your co-workers.

My beloved Sephora was unfortunately one of the stores sucked into the way-too-early-for-Christmas whirlwind, having already put out their seasonal gift sets and started decorating the store to give it a more “festive” feel. I stopped by a location today while out buying groceries and purchasing a couple of new sweaters to take advantage of their V.I.B. sale and pick up some new eye shadow and lipstick in preparation for some pre-Thanksgiving events that are coming up, as well as Thanksgiving itself. I’m well stocked for my everyday skin care regime, but what’s left of my makeup, sans a few samples I’ve received via GlossyBox and Ipsy, is still leftover from my last Sephora Summer Haul in July (CLICK HERE TO VIEW.)

I left with a few more items, including a really cute black & white striped (with a pink hot pink lip mark) tote bag.

Here’s what I purchased (from left to right:)

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1. Philosophy Shampoo, Shower Gel, and Bubble Bath in “Spiced Gingerbread Cookie” and “Peppermint Stick” ($16.50 each): Just because I don’t like starting the holiday season too early doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy smelling like a gingerbread cookie or a candy cane, right? Right?! I love Philosophy’s three-in-one bottles year-round, although I never use them to cleanse my hair, because they smell amazing and nourish my skin whether used as a body wash or as a bubble bath. I saw these two seasonal scents (along with some Christmas sugar cookie-scented gift sets that admittedly caught my eye,) and couldn’t resist. I’ve indulged in “Spiced Gingerbread Cookie” during holidays past, so this bottle was a no-brainer for me, but the “Peppermint Stick” fragrance is so refreshing and invigorating. I can’t use it in the shower in the mornings before work to wake myself up.

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2. Urban Decay Eye Shadow in “Baked,” “Psychedelic Sister,” and “Mildew” ($18 each): I had originally wanted to purchase a highly pigmented and shimmery bronze/copper/gold shade of eye shadow during this trip to Sephora, which I found in Urban Decay’s single shadow in “Baked,” but when I laid eyes on the equally pigmented “Psychedelic Sister,” a deep, shimmery amethyst, and “Mildew,” which despite the unfortunate name, is an absolutely gorgeous moss green with flecks of gold in it- I grabbed those, too. Golds, purples, and greens are my go-to colors for my eyes in the Autumn and Winter, because they compliment my red hair and blue eyes, and I think I hit the jackpot with these three shadows.

SephoraHolidayHaul20134

3. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in “Psychedelic Sister” and “Mildew” ($19 each): I know I’ve mostly dismissed pencil eyeliners in the past after more than one disappointing experience, but while I was in the Urban Decay section of Sephora, these creamy pencil eyeliners (that match the above eye shadows,) piqued my interest. These pencils are soft to the touch (so no sore eyelids,) are highly pigmented, and stay in place all day without budging or smudging. I swatched these with the shadows I purchased in a variety of color combinations and each one looked beautiful. I may have to reconsider my stance on pencil liners. Maybe. All I know is I’m a big fan of these.

4. Sephora Collection Skinny Brush Wrap in Emerald ($36): I’ve had the same makeup brushes for years, and they’re still in good condition- not only because of their quality, but because I clean and store them properly, too. My brushes are on the bulkier side, however, and since I have quite a few different ones- it makes traveling with them a little difficult. My brush pouch often doesn’t fit inside my makeup bag with my cosmetics- even when I take the time to pack everything neatly. I decided to grab this small, sleek brush collection in a pretty green case for when I’m on the go. The set includes:

– Powder brush
– Foundation brush
– Crease brush
– Shadow brush
– Angled liner brush

Those brushes, to me, are the essentials. I’ll be taking this wrap with me when I travel to save some space in my makeup bag.

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5. Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in “Liar” ($22): Back in August, I had received a sample of this lipstick in the shade “Anarchy” in my IPSY bag and fell in love with the formula. I had wanted to go with a more neutral shade in the Fall/Winter as an alternative for my usual wine-colored lip (which I’ve achieved to perfection with Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipstick in the shade “Wine With Everything.”) It was a tough choice, but after swatching the nudes in the collection a few times, I decided to go with “Liar,” which looks like a pink-nude in the tube, but applies as more of a subtle beige without looking too brown on my lips. The formula is still as wonderful as ever, making this the perfect lipstick for work or the days where I want some color without wanting to go with a deep red.

And there it is. Another haul that should last me through the rest of November, the entirety of Winter, and into the Spring. I’m really excited to start playing around with the eye shadow and eyeliner colors, and have a nice long soak with my gingerbread cookie bubble bath, of course- even if it’s not quite Christmastime yet.

Sephora Haul.

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SummerSephoraHaul20131

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SummerSephoraHaul20133

Earlier this week, after running so low on one of my favorite lipsticks that even frantically scraping at the bottom of the tube with a Q-tip didn’t work, I went rummaging through my makeup drawer to see if I had anything that looked similar. What I found was seven years worth of skin care and near-empty makeup containers that I hadn’t realized I’d been absent-mindedly collecting. As most women know, makeup is only considered “good”-meaning safe to use without the risk of causing a reaction or getting any kind of infection-for so long- and the majority of what I found was waaaaaay past it’s prime. I sat down, went through all of my blushes, eye shadows, mascaras, lipsticks, etc., and tossed what was either empty or expired- which, when I was done- left me with the bare minimum and not much else to choose from.

From there, I headed to the cosmetics Promised Land, Sephora, to do a major splurge to replenish and update my products. I shop at Sephora every couple of months, usually to buy more facial cleanser or moisturizer when I run out, but this trip was a full-blown haul. I went all out and really treated myself with products to get me through the end of the Summer and into the beginning of the Fall.

Here’s what I purchased (from left to right):

1. Clinique Superbalanced Makeup in “Breeze” ($23): I love my BB cream. I really do, but lately I feel I need a bit more coverage. I have combination skin in the Summertime, and this foundation, the only one that truly matches my skin type perfectly, gives me the coverage I need without feeling heavy on my skin or clogging my pores. The long-lasting formula is designed to absorb excess oil in my t-zone, while supplying hydration to my drier areas along my cheeks.

2. Too Faced “Better Than Sex” Mascara ($23): I was reaching for a tube of my usual Diorshow Black Out mascara when this sleek pink container with the provocative name caught my eye. One of the two sweetheart saleswomen who assisted me during my trip was wearing it, and her eyelashes looked amazing. I decided to be bold and try something new, and even though I’ve only been using this mascara for a couple of days- and I’m still getting the hang of the larger brush- I love the results so far.  It’s not clumpy, gives a good amount of volume, and is really, really dark- which is the look I love.

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3. Laura Mercier Bronzing Powder in “Golden Bronze” ($32): This is one of the few bronzers I’ve tried over the years that doesn’t make me look orange! This pressed powder bronzer, which has a hint of pink in it, contours nicely with my cheekbones, and gives me a natural sun-kissed glow that doesn’t look overwhelming on my fair complexion.

4. Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté Lipstick in “Extreme Coral” ($34): I love the rich, creamy texture of this lipstick, which applies more like a balm. It hydrates and softens my lips while giving a gorgeous pop of color. All the shades of this particular line were lovely, but I decided to go with this coral, described as being on the reddish side- but looks more pink/peach on me- for the remainder of the Summer.

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5. Benefit World Famous Neutrals – Most Glamorous Nudes Ever Eye Shadow Palette ($30): For the remainder of the Summer, I wanted to keep my makeup as light and natural as possible, and wait until the colder months to start using darker, more dramatic eye shadows and lip colors to better match my Fall/Winter wardrobe which tends to be on the deeper side of the color spectrum. I saw this nude palette, which includes four powders and two cream shadows, and snatched it up. I love the colors- which are light and can be mixed and matched in a variety of ways and still look great. This palette is perfect for the final weeks of the season.

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6. Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray ($25): This product made my Summer essentials list this year. The more I use it, the more I love it. It just softens my curls and gives my hair those effortless, “just back from the beach” waves I covet so much.

7.  Philosophy’s “Hope in a Jar” Moisturizer ($40): When my daily moisturizer, an oil-free, shine-controlling gel, left my skin feeling a little parched, I turned to Philosophy to help give me a moisture boost without causing breakouts. This moisturizer, which feels so light and fluffy and absorbs into the skin quickly, left my skin hydrated, soft, and glowing. So far there hasn’t been any unexpected bumps or blemishes as a result of using it every day- so I think it’s safe to say it’s a keeper!

8. GlamGlow Super-Mud Clearing Treatment Mask ($69): I’ve been in the market for a mask that would help clear out my pores of any deeply-settled makeup, dust, dirt, grime, etc. that my exfoliators and cleansers couldn’t reach, and my prayers were answered with this mud mask. Shortly after I applied this product for the very first time, I could actually see it sinking into my skin. I left it on for a long time, maybe forty minutes or so, and when I finally rinsed it off, small imperfections under my skin had been pulled to the surface where I was able to buff them away with my facial scrub. My face felt cleaner and more refreshed, and my pores looked visibly smaller.

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9. NARS Illuminator Stick in “Orgasm” ($39): I swear by “Orgasm” (which sounds funnier than what I intended.) It’s one of NARS best-selling shades of blush, and for good reason- it’s beautiful. A shimmery peachy/pink color that compliments all skin tones, I love to put a little along my cheekbones and brow bone as a highlighter. This conveniently packaged stick applies like a dream and blends easily. It’s by far one of my favorite products.

10. NARS Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder ($34): To seal in my makeup and give me a nice, polished, matte finish, I turn to this translucent powder from NARS. A little goes a long way, so a light dusting will keep your face looking flawless for hours.

11. COVER FX Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment ($38): After my moisturizer and before my foundation, I needed a primer that would protect my pores from getting clogged but that would also keep my makeup in place. One of the saleswomen who helped me recommended this product from COVER FX for my skin type and concerns. This primer feels sensationally silky, doesn’t leave any sort of greasy residue on my skin, keeps my makeup in place, and helps to both treat active breakouts while preventing future ones with it’s built in acne-fighting medication. It’s been working really well for me so far.

And there it is! Overall, I’m very happy with the products I selected and have been using- some familiar, and some new to me. I think if I hadn’t done the massive clean-out of my makeup drawer, this purchase probably would have seemed frivolous and unnecessary (even to me), but after going through all of my skin care and cosmetics, and assessing what I had and what I needed, I feel each product I picked up will not only be used (instead of stored and forgotten about,) but are also up-to-date with my current skin tone, type, and complexion- and won’t cause any kind of allergic reaction or infection that some of the older products I threw out could have possibly done.