lips, Makeup

The World’s BEST Lip Balm

Recently, I was going through my lip products to see what I wanted to keep, what I wanted to give away, and what was just too old and needed to be tossed. As I was going through my (very hefty) lip bag, I came across this gem that I had somehow completely forgotten about: Minted Rose Lip Balm from Rosebud Perfume Co. 

minted rose lip balm

This balm, available from Sephora, is only $7. I have purchased so many of these tins over the years, but I guess I’ve been using so many from L’Occitane this past year that it got shoved aside for far too long.

This minted rose balm has such a light, beautiful rose scent. It tints my lips ever so subtly. A teeny bit can go a very long way – when I used this every single day at least once a day, I only had to repurchase yearly. I don’t believe there is a case of lip chapping severe enough that this product can’t cure it. It’s just the best, and the moisturizing effect is long-lasting. When I apply this in the morning in lieu of other lip products, I won’t have to reapply until after I’ve eaten a meal, and even then, my lips are still feeling softer and more moisturized. When I apply a thicker coat before bed, my lips still feel great in the morning.

So, should you but it?

Pros: $7 for a lip balm that will last you a year is actually a great deal. This balm delivers all the moisture anyone could desire. The rose scent is so light and refreshing that even people who dislike rose scents probably wouldn’t be bothered by it because it is so subtle.

Cons: Some may not the cool, tingly feeling that accompanies this product. Also, some people are averse to products that come in tins instead of tubes. There is a tube version of this balm, but I have used it and I did not find the texture to be the same and the results seemed a bit less moisturizing and long-lasting.

Overall, I can’t say enough good things about this product. Now that I’ve rediscovered this product, I essentially want to give away all my other lip balms and salves. This is the holy grail of lip balms!

Beauty, nails

Pink Gel Coat – Perfect Formula

I have been on what seems like an eternal quest for the perfect sheer pink nail color. I wanted something that was just a wash of a pink tint. I did not want something light but pastel or anything remotely opaque. So, the other day, I was at my local Sephora (yes, they do know me by name at this point) and I saw that they had an intriguing product available for 100 beauty insider points. For those who don’t know, beauty insider points are like Sephora’s reward system. So, I decided to cash in some of my points for a bottle of Perfect Formula’s Pink Gel Coat.

I put two coats on my nails, and I got exactly what I wanted: a sheer, natural look with a subtle pink tint. It’s looks so shiny, and my nails felt instantly harder and stronger. I tend to go in phases where I want lots of bold colors and then I get tired of the maintenance and want something that’s pretty but easy.

So, should you buy it?

Pros: It has a great natural tint, and it really does make the nails harder. You could even use this as a base coat if you’d rather get the hardening benefits with a bolder color.

Cons: The price! After trying this product, I was so excited that I immediately wanted to buy a full-sized bottle. So, I looked it up on the Sephora mobile app, and this is $30 a bottle! I love luxury products, and I spend way too much on products (hello, VIB Rouge!) but even I cannot justify that price for a sheer nail treatment.

A few days after picking up this sample, I did stop by Sephora again (yes, I know I have a problem) and I redeemed more points to get another sample bottle because I really do love this look, but I won’t be purchasing this item. It’s a great product, but I’d rather spend $30 on something else – like lipstick or foundation. It’s just a lot of money to spend on a nail product that’s nearly invisible. Still, if you are intrigued by this product, there is a dupe that you can try – Sally Hansen’s Nail Treatment Natural Tint is only about $2.50 and it also gives a sheer wash of pink tint. I don’t think the tint is as noticeable/pretty, and I don’t think it makes my nails feel as hard, but you can buy TWELVE bottles for the price of ONE bottle of the Perfect Formula Pink Gel Coat.

Beauty, Makeup

Too Faced Melted Lipstick

The absolute worst thing about long-wearing lipsticks is that they are overly drying. Currently, I’m embarking on a quest to find lasting products that do not dry my lips and make me look like a wrinkled glamorous zombie. Right now, I’ve been wearing and enjoying the Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick. I’m not certain if this product has won an award for having the longest possible name, but it very well might.

too faced melted lipstick
So pretty, but this color was discontinued 😦

The product squeezes out like a gloss, but it is definitely a lipstick in texture. It is pretty matte and it really only takes one swipe for you to get an intense amount of color. It’s priced at $21 a tube, which isn’t bad if you’re used to buying lip products at Sephora. And, honestly, this blows away every long-wearing lipstick I’ve ever tried at a drugstore, and those can often be $14-$16 dollars anyway. So, I do think it is worth the Sephora splurge.

So, should you buy it?

Pros: While it is a little drying, it is not nearly as drying as most long-wear lipsticks. It does last for many hours. I have worn this to work and have sipped lots of water with minimal product transfer on my cup. I did have to reapply after eating lunch, but there was still a hint of color before I reapplied. Also, the coverage was incredible. I loved that it was so easy to apply evenly and it dried really quickly. I did not use a lip liner, but it never did migrate away from my lip line.

Cons: I love a bold a lip, and this product delivers! However, this will definitely scare some people aware because it is not buildable and cannot be applied lightly with a light hand. When you apply this product, it is intense and bold. If you’re looking for a more demure, muted look, this product is not for you. Also, I noticed that as it wore away, the color did not fade evenly. There was a patch of more concentrated color on the inner portion of my lower lip which looked a little weird although I’m not sure it was all that noticeable to others. I probably could have prevented this by reapplying more than just once throughout the day, but that would have defeated the purpose of having a long-wear lipstick which is supposed to last all day!

Overall, I really like this product, and since they’ve discontinued the one color I own and love, I think I’ll have to purchase some more shades. I’m thinking about buying the shade “Melted Jelly Donut” because I think that is the closest to the one I own (see picture above). If you love a bold lip, give this product a try!

Update: I went to Sephora’s Play! Date at the Kenwood mall on Wednesday night. It was so much fun! I got to meet some cool fellow beauty junkies and some really nice employees (shout out to Christoper, Greg, and Lacey – you guys were great!)


Jamberry Nail Wraps

Are you looking for a nail look with zero dry time? You might be interested in Jamberry nail wraps. About a year and a half ago, a friend invited me to a Jamberry party. I was intrigued, and I ended up buying several sheets of this product. Essentially Jamberry nail wraps are stickers that you can heat with a blow dryer and then stick on to your nails. They are supposed to last for up to two weeks before chipping.

Please, focus on the cute nails and not my chubby toes!

There are literally hundreds of colors and patterns. The selection is really great. The wraps are usually $15, although some of the limited-edition ones may be more expensive. This price gets you two sets of stickers in one package. This equals either one manicure and one pedicure or two manicures or two pedicures.

So, should you buy it? 

Pros: These stickers do last quite a while. I can go two (or sometimes three) weeks before changing my pedicure. Also, the various patterns that are available are just awesome. I know that inevitably someone will notice an admire these! Also, since you get two sets per package, it’s only about $7.50 for a pedicure that can last me nearly three weeks. I don’t think this is too bad for the price, although I don’t think it would be worth the expense to do this all the time.

Cons: While this product does have many sizes per sheet, these just do not work for my fingernails. My fingernails are too small, so I have only been able to use these for my toe nails. Also, while these don’t have any dry time because they’re stickers, these are still not a quick fix because it takes time to apply them correctly. You have to trim the stickers, heat and smooth them several times, and then file them down to the perfect length. I honestly think that painting my nails with a quick-drying polish would be faster, although it may not last for as many weeks as these do in the end.

Overall, I think this is a fun product. However, if you are someone who likes to change up your look weekly or more often, this product is probably not a cost-effective choice for you.

Well, that concludes this post. Tonight, I’m going to my local Sephora because I subscribe to their Play! Beauty Box and they are having a “Play! Date” event for their subscribers. I’m really curious about what will happen, so stay tuned for an update later this week about that event!

Beauty, Health, Skincare

Health Hack: Spa Water

My boyfriend Josh is always getting on my case about drinking water. As much as I resist admitting that he is right, it is true that hydration is really important for both health and beauty. I know that when I drink a lot of water, I can tell that I’m getting many benefits, such as: fewer headaches, more radiant skin, less hunger, less fatigue. The problem is …

I HATE THE TASTE OF WATER! It’s just so boring.

Refreshing cold pure water

For a while, I tried to trick myself into drinking water by putting lots of crystal light (and other similar products from other brands) into my water. I have a really sensitive stomach and the artificial sugar just didn’t sit well with me. I noticed that I would feel slightly queasy for an hour or so every time I drank a glass. This is not only irritating but also a bit worrying. So, in order to get the fruity flavor without the artificial sugar, I decided to make my own spa water! Spas often have really refreshing pitchers of water mixed with chunks of some sort of fruit or veggies. I wondered if it would be worth the effort to do this myself (I know it’s not actually difficult to cut up fruit and toss it in water, so you may be wondering about my use of the word “effort” right about now. Let me assure you, I can be very lazy when it comes to  my health, hence why I’ve used the free gym at my apartment complex a grand total of one time).

Halved and whole fresh limes

I’ve been really enjoying this experiment! I feel a lot better sipping the spa water throughout my day at work instead of multiple cups of coffee. I especially appreciate having clearer skin and fewer headaches. My two favorite blends to put in the water bottle are lime with raspberries and grapefruit with cucumber. For a thriftier option, you could also use frozen fruit and then the water will stay chilled longer as well. The only downside? I have to pee more often which is sometimes inconvenient.

Beauty, Makeup

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation

I was so excited to hear that the acclaimed Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation is finally available in the United States! So many magazines, including my very favorite Allure, have touted this as one of the best new foundations for covering up flaws, especially acne-prone skin. I just had to try it! But there was a problem … this product was not available in any store near Cincinnati, so I had to guess at which shade I am. I do not advise this. However, Charlotte Tilbury’s website does include excellent descriptions of each shade and which skin tone and undertone it should go with. There are also pictures of people wearing each shade, which was very helpful.

magic 1
Beautiful packaging 

I chose shade number 3 because I have fair/light skin with cool undertones. And then I waited for a week for it to be shipped to my apartment. While I waited, I’m certain that I irritated my boyfriend, friends, family members, coworkers, and a few kind-looking strangers with my anxiety. I really wanted this $44 foundation to be perfect and the right shade for my skin. I could not stop talking about it. Finally, it arrived and I raced to put a swatch on my hand. I was struck with instant disappointment (see image below) because it had a weird thick texture and looked orangey … but then I blended and the magic happened.

magic 2
Before blending! The magic hasn’t started yet! 

I have no idea how this foundation does it, but the texture even seems to change with the color as it blends into the skin. It covers and smooths EVERYTHING! My skin looks luminous and poreless with this foundation. It actually covers all my acne without looking cakey, and it doesn’t flake off or rub off during the day. This foundation was worth every single penny and the week of increased anxiety!

magic 3
After blending! Where did my hand pores go???

So, should you buy it?

Cons: While I think it is worth the cost and is superior to every cheaper foundation I’ve tried, some people are not able or willing to pay $44 for a foundation. Also, the coverage is medium to full, so this is not the foundation for you if you are looking for something sheer or light.

Pros: This foundation really does cover up flaws and lasts all day. It blends well and looks incredibly natural. Also, this comes in 15 different shades, so there is a perfect shade for everyone (although, as always, I do recommend testing the shades before purchasing). After wearing this foundation every day for over a week, my skin actually feels softer and my acne has cleared up a bit. I haven’t had any other changes to my skincare or makeup routine, so I’m hoping I can contribute this to the foundation! Finally, this product has SPF 15, which is always an important factor no matter the season.

Overall, I am incredibly impressed with this foundation, and I plan on repurchasing this one again and again!



Wet ‘n Wild 1 Step Wonder Gel

Gel nail polish is still all the rage, but consumers have made it clear that the vast majority want gel polishes that do not require expensive UV light to set the polish. Many drugstore and prestige brands have responded!

Today, I want to highlight a new product: Wet ‘n Wild 1 Step Wonder Gel

1 step wonder gel
Shade: 723A It’s Sher-Bert Day!

These new gel nail polishes do not require a UV light to set the polish. The price is $4.99, which isn’t bad for nail polish, but it is a lot higher than I’m used to paying for a product by Wet ‘n Wild. The allure of gel nail polish is that it is supposed to last much longer than traditional nail polish without chipping. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see much difference between this nail polish and traditional nail polish.

The first manicure I did was just this nail polish with no base coat or top coat. It took two coats of the polish to get the right coverage. It went on a bit streaky, but it dried quickly and looked better once it was dry. With just this gel polish, my nails chipped the next day. I do work in a library, so the atmosphere is dry and I work with my hands a lot, but I was still disappointed.

finished wonder gel
Two coats plus a top coat! 

I used the nail polish again, but this time I included a base coat and a layer of top coat. This manicure lasted about three days before I noticed any chips. That’s better than the first manicure, but it isn’t really any better than using a traditional nail polish with a base coat and top coat.

Is it worth buying? I guess that depends on what you’re looking for. These polishes are inexpensive and there is a fun range of colors. They remove easily with standard nail polish remover. If you aren’t looking for lasting power because you change up your polish multiple times a week, then these are a nice option.


Runway Roundup: Valentino

Paris fashion week is still going strong! While I was waiting for an appointment with my eye doctor and then for my new glasses to be made, I spent some time browsing Snapchat and Instagram to see if any of the day’s runway shows stood out to me. I must say, I was kind of disappointed with Chanel’s showing, but I absolutely loved some of the Valentino looks! There were so many looks that seemed ballerina-inspired, which I just love (maybe because I feel like I would have made an amazing ballerina, if I only I was like 100 pounds thinner and didn’t run into things constantly!)

Anyway, here are my top three looks from the Valentino show!

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /
View the full collection on Vogue Runway! 


Runway Roundup: Giambattista Valli

It’s Paris Fashion Week! That means, we’re getting a glimpse of what is going to be hot next Fall!

I’ve been most impressed with Italian designer Giambattista Valli’s collection so far. It’s a great combination of really structured pieces mixed with very romantic pieces. There’s a lot of emphasis on black and white, but there are a few pops of colors thrown in as well. I love how feminine the collection is, and for haute couture, it’s surprisingly wearable!

Top 3 Looks:

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /
Photo: Yannis Vlamos /
Photo: Yannis Vlamos /

View the full collection on Vogue Runway!