MAC Marilyn Monroe Collection Lipstick

Quick update! I was in Macy’s today and saw that they had a few products left from the very popular, recently re-released MAC Marilyn Monroe Collection. I think the re-release is exclusively through Macy’s, but it’s been selling out like crazy and the lipstick is no longer available on (although some other products are).

I tried out the in lipstick in Deeply Adored ($16.50, if you can find it). It’s a matte finish, dark, vampy, blue-based red (right up my alley) that comes out a lot brighter than it looks in the tube. Unfortunately, I found it pretty drying on my lips, so I ended up not getting it. Love that color, though.


Excuse the rest of what’s going on here- it was super humid and gross out and my skin was not about to put up with any makeup today. Or put up with much of anything, really.

By the way, this is just a personal opinion that has nothing to do with the product, but does anyone else feel bad for the ghost of Marilyn? I mean, I’m sure she would have enjoyed her enduring posthumous popularity, but I really feel uneasy about how quick so many companies are to slap her face on a product and bank on the fact that almost every female idolizes her. It makes me sad for her, especially since she struggled with being a commodity her whole life. Whatever, I’m just blathering.

All that aside, I really just wanted you to be able to see what Deeply Adored looks like on pale skin. You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been trying to incorporate more swatches into my posts, since my swatch posts have been pretty popular. I know I like to see swatches when I consider buying something, so hopefully this is helpful for a few of you! I have more swatches on the way, too! I have something really exciting coming in the mail today, so hopefully I’ll have another update for you guys tonight or tomorrow. SO PUMPED.


Gothy Summer Makeup – Subtle Smoky Eyes and Dark Lips

Yeah, yeah, I know, I keep posting about dark lips even though it’s May. But whatever, I do what I want. Also it’s been kind of cold in Chicago lately, so I extra don’t care. Summergoth forever!


Today I mixed two of my Nyx Round Case Lipsticks ($3.99). I used Pinto Bean (a frosty brown color that reminds me of one of my favorite 90’s lippies) and Rapture (super dark plummy brown). It was a little harsh at first, so I blotted it down until I was happy with the results.

nyx round case lipstick pinto bean and rapture swatch nyx round lipstick pinto bean and rapture
“Yeah!” Is what that mouth is saying.

I was too lazy to dig out my eye primer today, so I actually smudged my Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil in Underground ($19) all over lids instead. It blended surprisingly well! These pencils are so awesome at everything. Then I patted “Shameless Shana” from TheBalm’s Shady Lady Vol. 1 Palette ($39.50) all over the lid, plus “Caught in the Act Courtney” blended into the outer corner and along lower lashline. I used the highlighter from the Urban Decay Naked Flushed Palette along my browbone and in the inner corners. And of course, I lined the upper lashline and waterline with Urban Decay’s 24/7 Pencil in Zero ($19) and finished with L’Oreal Waterproof Voluminous Volume Building Mascara ($7.99). For some reason, the pictures make the shadow look lighter than it is in real life. Must be the shimmer.
neutral eye with thebalm shameless shana caught in the act courtney

I also used my Urban Decay Naked Flushed kit ($30) for its intended highlighting-and-contouring purpose and am still really happy with it. My chiseled cheeks are Blue Steel-ready.


Urban Decay Naked Flushed Review

My Stila highlighting and contour kit bit the dust and has long been discontinued (I’m sad, it was so good), so I needed a replacement.

I’ve been just using my Benefit Hoola bronzer ($28) to contour, but it’s nice to have an all-in-one kit, you know? I had a really tough time finding one that was matte enough. Shimmery bronzers don’t make a lot of sense to me when you’re going for contour, but whatever. Finally I decided on Urban Decay’s Naked Flushed ($30).

urban decay naked flushed packaging urban decay naked flushed bronzer highlighter blush contour trio
 (Lipstick shown for scale)

I was afraid that the colors would be really intense, so I tried to only use a little bit. They were actually reasonably sheer, even on my complexion! I ended up using a normal amount of each. The texture was really nice, the application was smooth and they blended well. The highlighter is shimmery for sure, but luckily it isn’t super glittery. I can use all of these on my face without looking crazy. I particularly like how they included a blush and mirror all in the one (thin!) compact, making this a great travel option (just remember to bring your own brush). I still wish a matte highlighter was included. Matte highlighter is my secret weapon (guess I’ll have to stick with nude matte eyeshadow in the meantime).

urban decay naked flushed highlight contour swatch

For the sake of experimentation, I also used all three shades as eyeshadow and thought the resulting  natural eye was really nice. Again, good to know for traveling light. I lined with Urban Decay’s 24/7 Pencil in Ransom ($19) and finished with L’Oreal Waterproof Voluminous Volume Building Mascara ($7.99).

urban decay naked flushed review

I wanted a sheer lip, so I used just a touch of OCC Lip Tar in Lydia ($18) and covered with a layer of Tokyo Milk Dark Lip Elixir ($7 alone, or in a set with a perfume and hand cream for $16). This balm is a little waxy, but it provides a unique satin finish that I like. It’s nice to layer over a matte product when you want to moisturize but don’t want too much glossiness. I’ve tried the salted caramel and clove cigarette scents so far and really, really like them.

Pink Friday

Nail time! Now, I’ve mentioned before that I prefer less traditional nail polish colors, BUT when a pink polish gets this cartoonishly bright, I feel like it suddenly gets a little edgy. Maybe it’s just me? It isn’t even a hot pink, which is part of what I think is so cool about it, since hot pink is the go-to bad girl pink. I think something can  become so feminine that it’s suddenly draggy, which is kind of how I feel about this polish. Either way, I am loving this aggressive, bubblegum/pepto bismol pink polish and I don’t care who knows. This is a very ballsy pink! Oh, and it’s by Sinful Colors, who I just learned are not only cheap and awesome, but also made in America and 3-free (AKA free from 3 of the yuckiest nail polish chemicals).

sinful colors pink forever nail polish 713 swatch

This is two coats of Sinful Colors Nail Polish in Pink Forever ($1.99). I couldn’t find it in stock online (maybe it’ll show up again HERE), however, I’ve bought these polishes in-store at Target and Walgreens, and there’s usually a good selection of colors. I’d strongly recommend checking out the display the next time you’re in one of those stores. LOVE.

blue glitter pink holo nails

Because I can’t leave well enough alone, I also layered Wet n’ Wild Fast Dry Nail Color in Bling It On! ($1.99) over to create holo-glitter lavender jelly sandwich easter egg rave nails (take it all in). The Wet n’ Wild is a dupe for OPI’s Last Friday Night ($8.99). Last Friday Night was part of a Katy Perry collaboration and I was obsessed with until it eventually dried out and had to go. I’m so happy to have a cheap replacement! The only swatches I have for the original OPI are these two pictures from 2011 (3 coats of polish on these).

opi last friday night katy perry blue glitter nail polish swatch

I can’t find either of these periwinkle blue glitter polishes online other than ebay, but nail polish is always really hard to get online. If you need to have one of these, I’d see what’s available in stores. Nail polish shopping is old school like that.

Summerize your dark lips with a berry lipstain

It’s spring, which is not my favorite season for beauty, if I’m honest. I love my dark, heavy fall/winter makeup, and spring is a time for me to try and soften them up and try not to look too out of place. I mean, I usually follow my own drummer when it comes to beauty and trends, but every now and then I make an effort to look appropriate.

SO, I swapped my heavy cat eyeliner for a dainty “kitten eye” and my darker lipstick for a sheer berry lip tint.

clinique almost lipstick black honey nyx berry lip tintstila sparkle waterproof liquid eye liner spectrum eyeliner

Eyes: Two Cosmetics Duo Eyeshadow in Heartache ($5.75) – shimmer shade on the lid and matte color in the crease and along lower lashline, Stila Sparkle Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Spectrum ($22) along upper lashline into a upturned kitten eye and a coat of L’Oreal Waterproof Voluminous Volume Building Mascara ($7.99)

A word about the eyeshadow- Two Cosmetics is a really cool company that Ipsy introduced me to, their products are inexpensive but nice and they donate a product to a women’s charity for every product sold. I love a good cause!

Lips: Filled in with Nyx Slim Lip Pencil in Prune ($3.49) to improve longevity, then overlayed with Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey ($15). Here’s the swatch:

clinique almost lipstick black honey nyx slim lip pencil prune swatch

Garden party ready, but still sassy. Cheers!

two cosmetics eyeshadow duo heartache

Ipsy Glam Bag vs. Birchbox Review

So I’ve been a subscriber to both Ipsy and BirchBox for a while now. Since my Stitch Fix reviews have been pretty popular so far, I thought you guys might want to know what I think about some of my other subscription services.

Birchbox and Ipsy both operate the same way: both cost $10/month (or $110 if you pay for 1 year upfront) and you receive 5 surprise products every month. They both involve a personal profile that’s supposed to help determine what you get, although I (like a lot of reviewers) am skeptical about how much that really applies to your picks each month.

Overall, here are the main differences. Some of these could be pros or cons depending on what you’re looking for, so I’ll let you decide:

-More full size products, making the bag way more cost-effective.
-More focus on color cosmetics, which is fun!
-Generally less expensive brands, also a lot of newer, up-and-coming brands.
-Each shipment comes in a makeup bag, which is either handy or just more clutter depending on how you look at it. I re-use mine to organize my makeup, store hair accessories, pack for trips, etc.
-No online store to buy products in, hence no store credit program, unlike Birchbox.
-Less variety. Everyone gets essentially the same bag each month, although sometimes you might get one version/shade of a product while other bags will have a different option.
-A lot of the same brands over and over, so you aren’t exploring new things as much as you would with BB.
-Special offers and discounts for the brands you receive. For example, if your bag included a zoya nail polish, you’ll receive a code for 50% off at zoya’s website or something along those lines.

-A wider variety of products- they often send edible treats, hair-ties, nail files and things like that, so it’s more than just makeup.
-They also stock more high-end brands than ipsy, allowing me to try things that I wouldn’t really be willing to fork out a lot of money for without a test drive. I’ll take a chance on a $4 lipstick, but I would really rather try a $50 face cream before committing to it.
-They usually only send sample sizes. Sometimes the sample is enough (I mean, I can never empty an entire bottle of nail polish anyway) and sometimes they’re kind of lame (do I really need another tester tube of a random perfume when Sephora sends me three with every order?).
-The product selection really varies between members. Everyone is definitely not getting the same box.
-The points program typically makes it worth it- you get $10 in birchbox store credit for every 10 reviews, so you can end up buying a lot of full size things for free if you review everything in your box each month. If you review every single product in every box, you’ll rack up $60 in free products per year!
-BB is particularly good if you want to try out skin and haircare products and not just makeup (as get older, I care more about these things than I used to).

My Birchbox subscription lapsed and I didn’t renew in time for May, so I won’t be reviewing them properly until next month. To give you an idea of what you get from them, here’s what came in my April box:

Caudalie Divine Oil ($49) – Liked it, I’m getting into these facial oils even though they sound scary. $49 is a lot, although it does make my skin feel smooth and absorbs well without feeling greasy.
Hail Merry Macaroons ($5) – Tasty, obvs.
Supergoop! Advanced SPF 37 Anti-Aging Eye Cream ($45)- This stuff was great, although the sample was tiny. I’m thinking about buying it full sized, even though it’s crazy expensive. You’ll see why I need it toward the end of the post.
Mirenesse Glossy Kiss in Quick Kiss ($26.55) So pretty it speaks for itself. See it in action here, or enjoy the swatch below.
Mirenesse Glossy Kiss lip pencil lipstick quick kiss swatch
Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle ($21.95 for 8 oz) – This has been a very nice heat styling spray. I dig it. At this point I don’t buy hair sprays or serums anymore, because I get so many through these boxes. It’s actually quite helpful.

So what did I get in my May Ipsy glam bag?

ipsy glam bag may 2013 spring fling glambag review

A lot! (and how cute is that chevron bag?)

First: Juice Beauty Reflecting Gloss in Fig ($15)

juice beauty organic  reflecting lip gloss fig
This gloss is really lightweight and non-sticky and I love that it’s organic. This shade is a pretty sheer bronze with gold flecks. It’s super flattering and it smells like orange juice. The scent goes away quickly, but it’s really pleasant when applied. The only downside is that it doesn’t last very long, but it’s gloss so what do you expect? Besides, this full size gloss alone is worth the $10 I spent on the bag.

Zoya Nail Polish in Julie ($8)

zoya lavender shimmer lilac julie nail polish

Another “healthy” beauty item, Zoya is a “Big five-free” polish line that doesn’t use formaldehyde and other icky and frighteningly common ingredients. I have several of their polishes and really love them. This color is very pretty, it’s a pale pastel lavender/lilac color with a glass-like glitter. It’s a little pale for me and I’m not sure if I’ll wear it much since I lean towards edgier nail polish, but it’s very nice for spring and a good change of pace.

I also got a St. Tropez One Night Only Instant Glow Body Lotion (full size, 5 oz – $18). This is not full size (only 1.69 oz), but I think it will be good for my upcoming trip to Atlanta. I’m definitely going to be breaking out some dresses to celebrate the warmer weather and I’m excited to try this on my legs. I’ll update this post if/when I do!

Nume Finishing Serum ($29 for full size – 2 oz). This promises to fight frizz and impart shine without being greasy. It was a bit thicker than I expected, so I only used a little bit, but it really did make my hair feel smooth and silky! Since I only need a tiny amount and don’t straighten my hair very often, this little 10 ml bottle should still last me a while.

Finally I got a Yaby Flawless Concealer ($5.06). The concealer covered well, but it really settled into fine lines and pores, making my under eye are look super wrinkly. They can’t all be winners, I guess. I hesitate to show you guys a picture since no one likes showing off their wrinkles, but I’ll do it in the interest in science.

yaby concealer

That’s how much I love you guys.

Parting thoughts:

Generally, I think that ipsy is focused more on a younger, trendy girl, while Birchbox is for someone a little older with a little more money to spend. If I had to cut back to just one service, I would keep ipsy, but as I get closer to my 30’s I might lean more toward BB. As of right now, I get enough out of each of them that I plan to keep them both.

Oh, and if you’re a dog lover like I am, BarkBox is probably the best value out of any of my boxes. Tons of great dog stuff for $16-$20 per month. Way easier than dragging myself to PetSmart, and there are few things sweeter than my happy huskies!

How switching your lipstick shade can change your look

If you’ve glanced through my blog at all, you know I’m obsessed with eye makeup. This year, I’ve started getting more into lip color and I thought it would be fun to showcase how much the rest of your look can change just by switching your lip color. I’m excited.

The eyes are the same in each look. I’m wearing “Cosmic” and “Sand in the Glass” on my eyes, a rose gold and off-white shadow from the Jasmine Edition Disney x Sephora Palette ($55), plus the shimmery brown “Abu” shade along my lower lid. I lined my eyes with the middle shade of the Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Eyeliner Trio Nude Collection ($11.99), which is my go-to liner right now for a quick, more natural look for school, and finished up with L’Oreal Waterproof Voluminous Volume Building Mascara ($7.99)

So here are the results of my experiment. Please also note the sub-experiment of how even different shades of red have a markedly different effects.

Sweet girl: Sheer berry pink gloss Nyx “Mood” lipgloss in Sensual ($4.49)

nyx mood gloss sensual berry pink lip gloss swatch nyx mood gloss sensual berry pink lipgloss closeup

Flirty girl: Matte bubblegum pink Nyx Matte Lipstick in Audrey ($5.99)

nyx matte lipstick audrey bubblegum hot pink nyx matte lipstick audrey bubblegum bright pink swatch closeup

Artsy girl: Blue-based red Nyx Round Case Lipstick in Chic Red ($3.99)
(side note, this is my absolute, hands-down, favorite red lipstick! I like different red shades for different occasions, but this one feels most like “me”)

nyx round case lipstick chic red neutral shimmer eyeshdaow
nyx round case lipstick chic red matte blue based swatch closeup

Tough Girl: Intense, rusty brick red Nyx Round Case Lipstick in Hero ($3.99)

nyx round case lipstick hero red glossy dark brick rust lip

nyx round case lipstick hero red glossy dark brick swatch closeup

Party girl: Fuchsia-red Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick-Kate Moss Collection No. 9 ($5.19)

rimmel london lasting finish lipstick by kate moss berry redrimmel london lasting finish lipstick by kate moss berry red swatch closeup

Laid-back girl: Nude pink Buxom Big and Healthy Lip Stick in Amsterdam ($19)

buxom big and healthy lip stick amsterdam nude lipstickbuxom big and healthy lip stick amsterdam nude lipstick swatch closeup

Trendy girl: Bright orange Mirenesse Glossy Kiss in Quick Kiss ($26.55)

Mirenesse Glossy Kiss quick kiss orange red lipstick Mirenesse Glossy Kiss lip pencil lipstick quick kiss swatch

Dramatic girl: Gothy, deep eggplant lip Nyx Round Lipstick in Almost Black ($3.99)

nyx round lipstick bruised almost black dark plum berry goth lip swatchnyx round lipstick bruised almost black dark purple goth lip swatch

And so on. I could keep going with these, but then I’d be up all night.