Yearly Archives: 2013

Makeup Geek Eyeshadows — Review, Swatches

Hello my dears!! I know it has been almost a month since my last post! I thought I would give you a little update before getting into my review. As some of you may know, I have a one year old son. What you may not know about is my struggle over the past year to shed the weight I gained during my pregnancy. I put on a staggering 70 pounds total!! Of that 70 I have lost about 53 pounds. This past month I have gotten very serious about changing my lifestyle and going to the gym religiously. I have been counting calories and weighing all my food on a digital scale and I’m proud to say that in the last three weeks I have lost 13 pounds! Long story short, I haven’t had the time to blog because my workouts and diet have been my number one priority. If you are struggling with your weight, I highly suggest logging everything you eat into an online calorie counter like My Fitness Pal!

Anywho, on to the review!!

(top to bottom clockwise) Homecoming, Hipster, Moondust
(l-r) Hipster, Homecoming, Moondust
There is A LOT of hype surrounding MUG eyeshadows, especially on YouTube. I think you all know by now that I am 100% honest in my reviews, the good, the bad, the ugly… and unfortunately I don’t think they live up to the hype. MUG shadows (at least the few that I have) are perfect examples of those that swatch better than they appear on the eye. They seem very pigmented especially in the swatch, but when applied or blended they appear muddy, much like drugstore eyeshadows. Like many super soft eyeshadows, I find these to be quite powdery. Despite how powdery they are, there isn’t as much fall out as I had originally expected.
Hipster is a medium golden brown with a slight sheen. Decent payoff, but very dupable. Similar to MAC Patina.
Homecoming is a metallic warm brown. I want to love this eyeshadow, but unfortunately it becomes very muddy when blended.
Moondust is a warm silver with golden shimmer. I love the color of Moondust but it just doesn’t translate to the eye.
I have had these shadows for at least two weeks and I wanted to give them a chance to grow on me, but unfortunately they didn’t. Much like Sigma brushes, MUG eyeshadows are said to be MAC dupes. The reality is they are NOT. They are good quality for the price ($5.99) but they are not high end eyeshadows. This is my opinion based on the three that I own. Perhaps there are others that are better in quality.
All Makeup Geek cosmetics are available HERE. They ship worldwide.
Have you tried Makeup Geek eyeshadows?


Opening this box today was one of the most exciting moments of my adult life. I seriously felt like I was five years old on Christmas morning. I’ve read about swaps from makeupalley and other blogs, along with seeing them on YouTube and desperately wanted to participate in one, at least once. A couple months ago I was contacted by a reader of my blog and we have been emailing back and forth since. I consider her a dear friend and can’t wait to meet her one day!
In case ya didn’t know: A swap is when two people agree on a budget and purchase each other makeup/cosmetic items or trade items that may not work for them.
I wanted to share with y’all the lovely items Azza sent me all the way from Malaysia! 🙂
Isn’t this the cutest box ever?
An adorable note written by one of her children 🙂
All makeup items from Malaysia! I’m so excited to try them all!!! There is a list below of everything that she got me 🙂
A swap wouldn’t be complete without MAC 🙂
Azza sent me some AMAZING items!
Dame Blush
Raspberry Swirl Lipstick (LE)
Embrace Me Lip Pencil (LE)
Picture Pink Lipglass (LE)
Gold Mode Pigment (LE)
Reflects Bronze Glitter
She’s Got Class Crushed Metallic Pigment
Rebecca Moses Makeup Bag (LE)
She also sent nine eyeshadows by a brand called Elianto. I glued magnets on the back and placed them in an empty MAC palette I had laying around. They are so buttery and pigmented!!
A present for Mason’s first birthday! This touched my heart… so sweet of her to think of my little one 🙂
I don’t know why, but I’m obsessed with the packaging on this headband!
My gorgeous new MAC makeup bag 🙂
A couple swatches of the eyeshadows that she sent.
Drugstore Makeup Items:
  • Silkygirl BB Cream
  • Ronasutra Mineral Makeup
  • Elianto Eyeshadows in: Fallen Purple, Coral Rose, Mustard Brown, Silky Brown, Green Spirit, Sunlight Copper, Misty Purple, Henna Brown, Burgundy Purple
  • Elianto Blush in Tangerine
  • Elianto Lipgloss in 04
  • Elianto Shine Ups in Earthy Brown and Dusty Rose
  • Two Elianto Nail Polishes (no colors shown)
  • In2It Lipsticks in Loud Pink and Orange Fizz
  • In2It Lipgloss
  • Nail Accessories 
  • Lashes
  • Beauty Headband
THANK YOU AGAIN AZZA! I love it all! 🙂
 I hope you enjoyed seeing my swap and have a great weekend my dears!! 

Top 10 MAC Eyeshadows for Fall

Hello my darlings!

It’s been kind of a crazy week so I haven’t been able to update my blog much, and to make matters worse the weather has been total crap today so my pictures aren’t the best. I rely on natural light for true to color swatch pictures, but these are the best I could do under the conditions. I hope you understand 😉
I think of jewel tones, berries, and orangey tones when I envision Fall makeup. Although I typically wear neutrals on a day to day basis, I will always reach for one or more of the beauties shown below when I want to step it up.
On with  the eyeshadows!!!


(l-r) Coppering, Cranberry, Humid, Plumage, Twinks
Texture, Sketch, Club, Contrast, Nocturnelle
Coppering (Veluxe Pearl) — orange copper with shimmer
Cranberry (Frost) — red plum with pink shimmer
Humid (Frost) — intense green with shimmer
Plumage (Matte) — dusky peacock
Twinks (Veluxe Pearl) — deep plum with pearl
Texture (Velvet) — peachy brown with shimmer
Sketch (Velvet) — burgundy with red shimmer
Club (Satin) — red brown with green pearl
Contrast (Velvet) — purplish blue with blue pearl
Nocturnelle (Frost) — pinked up chrome purple

(l-r) Coppering, Cranberry, Humid, Plumage, Twinks

(l-r) Texture, Sketch, Club, Contrast, Nocturnelle

I hope you liked my picks for Fall! What are your favorites?

Top 5 MAC Lipsticks — Fall Edition!

Hello my dears! Today I wanted to do a quick post about my favorite MAC lipsticks for Fall!

Typically I associate Fall with berry, red, or vampy lips. Because I don’t have the fullest lips in the world I try to stick to a lighter lipsticks in that color palette. The darker the lipstick, the smaller your lips appear!

(l-r) Syrup, Plumful, Craving, Rebel, Viva Glam I

Syrup (Lustre) — Syrup is definitely a “my lips but better” lipstick with a plummy twist. Because it is relatively sheer, I find this one to be the easiest to wear and most flattering on a variety of different skin tones. Syrup has a permanent home in my handbag and I consider it a must have item, especially for Fall!

Plumful (Lustre) — Plumful is Syrup’s racier, sexier older sister. They are similar in color but Plumful is just slightly darker and more purple/plum. I love to wear this with cool toned eye looks and every time I wear this lippy I get a compliment. That has to mean something, right?!

Craving (Amplified) — Craving is a gorgeous mid tone pinky plum with outstanding pigmentation and staying power. Because of it’s Amplified finish, Craving isn’t a throw it on and go kind of lipstick. You definitely need a mirror and perhaps a brush, but totally worth it!

Rebel (Satin) — One of the newest additions to my collection and I am in love. Rebel is described as a berry red by MAC. This lipstick can be swiped on for full opacity, or patted on the lips for more of a stained effect. Rebel is bright yet dark at the same time… quite an interesting color if you ask me! I think this is one of those lipsticks that will look good on just about anyone, regardless of how fair or deep their skin tone is.

Viva Glam I (Matte) — I already have a full review up on Viva Glam I so please check that out for lip swatches, etc. VGI is a burgundy red that I think is well suited for Fall. Because it is slightly deeper and richer than your typical red it borders on vampy while still remaining wearable.

Have you tried any of my favorites? What are your favorite lipsticks for Fall?


NARS Albatross Highlighting Blush — Review, Pictures, Swatches

I decided to treat myself to a high end highlighter and went to Sephora this past weekend to purchase Dior Amber Diamond. I had a $20 store credit so I figured it would soften the blow of the hefty price tag. Much to my dismay, they were sold out. Rather than sulking, I quickly set my sights on NARS Albatross ($29) and we’ve been besties ever since.
Albatross is not your mother’s highlighter. This baby packs a punch! It has a white base color with golden sheen. I am quite fair with a strong yellow undertone and I think it works nicely on my complexion. As long as Albatross is used over a blush I don’t think the white base will appear ashy on deeper skin tones. It lasts about 7 hours before fading. I have been applying it with a MAC 188 stippling brush to the tops of my cheek bones. It is quite shimmery so I have to be careful not to over apply.
The highlighting blush is housed in typical NARS packaging — a rubberized compact. Even though it does get a little grubby with fingerprints and the like, I happen to love NARS packaging. It looks sleek and the rubber helps protect the product if you happen to drop it. At least that’s what I tell myself! 🙂
Overall I am very pleased with my purchase! I still plan on getting Amber Diamond, but there’s no rush now. Unfortunately, Albatross has fueled my NARS obsession and now I’m looking to purchase Deep Throat, Madly, and Sin.


Have you tried Albatross? What is your favorite highlighter?

MAC Viva Glam I Lipstick Review and Swatches


Hello my dears! It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted but I’m going to try to get back into the swing of things with this beaut — MAC Viva Glam I!

Currently MAC is repromoting VGI with the original spokeswoman… the one, the only, Ru Paul!!! I’ve been meaning to review it for quite some time but after seeing the promotional images I decided to get on it!

Viva Glam I is a matte burgundy red. It has the slightest amount of brown which makes it a bit more vampy, yet wearable at the same time. I find the formula very creamy for a matte, but I have no issues with bleeding or feathering. The wear time is superb at around 6 hours without eating. I typically wear it without a lip liner, but MAC Brick pairs beautifully with VGI, while MAC Burgundy Lip Pencil will create a more vampy look.

100% of the purchase price of all Viva Glam lip products go to the MAC Aids Fund!

(l-r) Viva Glam I, Ruby Woo

Have you tried Viva Glam I or any of the other Viva Glam products?

A Guide to MAC Eye Brushes

Hello my dears!! I thought I would put together a guide to MAC’s eye brushes after my recent acquisition of the 226 and the 214. I wanted to write this because there is a lot of hype around MAC brushes, and while many of them are absolutely amazing brushes, quite a few I could do without. I’d like to help you ladies save some money where you can and point you in the direction of their stand out brushes! I wouldn’t really call these little snippets “full reviews”, more like my overall opinion on each brush. Hope this helps!!

* denotes brushes that I recommend and would repurchase
**denotes MUST HAVE brushes… in my opinion, of course!

MAC 208 — Angled Brow Brush ($20)*

Synthetic/natural hair blend. I really like this brush and use it daily. It is very dense and small. I think it works best with powder products, but you can use it with gel/cream liners. I typically use it on my brows or when applying eyeshadow to the lash lines.

MAC 210 — Precise Eye Liner Brush ($20)*

Synthetic. This is a super fine liner brush that is perfect for applying gel liner. I really love this brush, but you can find cheaper alternatives at the art store if you are on a budget. If you purchase the 210, make sure to keep the clear plastic bristle protector that comes with it! I’ve had mine for over a year and it is still in perfect condition.

MAC 212 — Flat Definer Brush ($24)

Synthetic. Also called a push liner brush; I use the 212 to apply eyeshadow to the lash lines.  I have a love/hate relationship with this brush. The bristles are very soft, which I love, but it is very wide which makes it awkward when you try to follow the natural curve of your eye. I probably wouldn’t repurchase.

MAC 213 — Fluff Brush ($25)

Natural hair. I have had this baby for over ten years and it was my first MAC brush. The 213 is a very basic eyeshadow brush that I don’t reach for often. If someone were just starting out and wanted a brush to apply shadow to the lid softly, then this would be a great choice. I’m glad that I have it, but I wouldn’t consider this a must have.

MAC 214 — Short Shader Brush ($25)

Natural hair. I recently purchased this at the CCO and I think it is a decent brush. Typically this brush would be used for smudging or applying eyeshadow along the lash lines. The bristles aren’t as soft as I like and Revlon does a better version of this brush for a third of the price.

MAC 217 — Blending Brush ($24)**

White goat hair. I absolutely love this brush and cannot recommend it enough! Many companies try to duplicate its majesty, but none compare to the 217. This brush can apply color softly and blend like no other. MUST HAVE.

MAC 219 — Pencil Brush ($25)**

White goat hair. There a plenty of pencil brushes in the world but few are as soft or as pointed as the MAC 219. You can use this to apply/blend shadow on the lash lines or do precise crease work. Definitely a brush that I recommend and use on a daily basis.

MAC 224 — Tapered Blending Brush ($30)*

Goat hair. The 224 is a brush that I use daily but not one without its faults. It sheds more than I’d like, is somewhat scratchy and I wish it were more densely packed. I use this to apply my transition shade or for overall blending. This brush may be a bit too big for ladies with small eyes. I have tried to find a better alternative but have yet to find a replacement.

MAC 225 — Large Tapered Blending Brush ($36)*

Pony hair. The 225 is a larger, softer version of the 224. I use it for overall blending and it can be used on the face as well. While it is discontinued, you may still be able to find this at a CCO.

MAC 226 — Small Tapered Blending Brush ($25)
[limited edition]

Goat hair. The 226 brush came out with a few different collections and I recently found mine at the CCO. This brush is used for defined crease work. Sigma (E45) does one that is somewhat similar as does Louise Young (LY38). I find the 226 precise but slightly scratchy.

MAC 227 — Large Fluff Brush ($30)

Goat hair. This brush is HUGE. Honestly the only thing the 227 is good for is applying a wash of color and there is no reason to spend $30 on a brush for that purpose alone. EcoTools makes a great dupe for this brush that is much, much softer.

MAC 239 — Eye Shader Brush ($25)**

White goat hair. The 239 is used to pack on color. Although that is its only purpose, I consider this brush a must have! It has the perfect width, density, and its bristles grab and deposit shadows perfectly. Because it is natural hair the 239 works best with powder products.

MAC 242 — Shader Brush ($25)

Synthetic. The 242 is similar to the 239 in that it is used to pack on color but it is slightly more versatile. You can use it with powder, cream or liquid products. While I like the 242, I much prefer the 239.

MAC 266 — Small Angled Brush ($20)*
Natural hair. This brush is similar to the 208 but the bristles are slightly longer and it is thinner. Like the 208, the 266 can be used on the brows or to apply liner/shadows to the lash lines. Overall I think it is a great brush and would definitely recommend.


(l-r) 227, 239

(l-r) 212, 214, 266, 208
(t-b) 225, 224, 217, 226

(l-r) 239, 242

Do you have any MAC brushes? Which are your favorite?

CCO/CCS Haul — MAC, Bobbi Brown

Hello my dears!!

I’ve been wanting to go to the CCO for ages but the closest one is an hour and a half away. Yesterday I drove my mom to the airport in Charlotte, and decided that this was finally my opportunity! I can’t say it’s the best CCO I’ve ever been to, but I found some great items.

CCO stands for Cosmetic Company Outlet/Store, and in this magical little place you can find overflow cosmetic items from brands owned by Estee Lauder — which includes MAC, Clinique, and Bobbi Brown! At a 30% discount!!!

Because you can’t be sure how long the makeup have been there I like to purchase items that don’t go bad… like brushes, eyeshadows, blushes, etc.


Brushes (l-r) MAC 116, 129, 226, 214

All but one of the brushes I purchased are part of the permanent line. I’m not sure why, but I also received an additional 10% off. The 226 was limited edition and is not currently available at counters/stores. I can’t believe I found one!!!

I have been wanting all of these brushes for quite some time and I never imagined I would find them all at the CCO! There was a 188 there that I really wish I would have bought… I have to pick mom up on Wednesday, so we’ll see what happens! 🙂


MAC 214 — $15.75  (Reg $25)
MAC 226 — $17.77  (Reg $27)
MAC 116 — $22.85  (Reg $35) 
MAC 129 — $22.85  (Reg $35)
Bobbi Brown Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow in Stone — $13.95  (Reg $21)
TOTAL SPENT (before taxes) — $91.57
TOTAL SAVED — $52!!!!
Bobbi Brown Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow in Stone
Sorry about the picture quality… I rely on natural sunlight and there hasn’t been any lately!
Done any hauls lately?

Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow Waterproof Eyebrow Corrector Review

I have been wanting to try this product for so long but I didn’t think it would work for me because of my “special needs” eyebrows. I have blonde hair and extremely sparse eyebrows so I have to be careful which products I use… things can get ugly in a heart beat.
I purchased shade 10, which is the lightest shade available. It is an ashy taupe, but has the tiniest bit of warmth to it once applied. It’s very minimal, so not a deal breaker.
The texture is that of a sticky gel/cream and the best way to apply Aqua Brow is with a synthetic angled brush, like the Sigma E65. You need the tiniest amount! The product does take a little while to set, so you have plenty of play time. After applying, you can brush a spoolie through your brows to make it look more natural.


That little dot is more than enough for both brows! If you look at the edges of the swatch you can see that once dried the product does appear slightly darker and warmer than when wet (center of the swatch).




After 6 hours

I think what surprised me the most was how easy it is to apply, and how natural it looks!

One downside to Aqua Brow is that you can’t get a super sharp edge unless you use another product, i.e. concealer or a brow pencil. Considering that I use up to 3 products on my brows on any given day, this doesn’t bother me.  In the pictures shown above, I only used Aqua Brow!

It’s waterproof and sweatproof, but how about the “grease test”? How does it stand up to oily skin? I’d say pretty damn good! I have oily skin, with super oily eyebrows and it stayed fabulous for 8 hours. I’m impressed!!!

Have you tried Aqua Brow??

NARS Orgasm/Laguna Duo and Elf Comparison

(l-r) NARS, ELF
NARS Orgasm — a bright peachy pink with gold shimmer.  Orgasm is a beautiful color with amazing pigmentation, but the gold shimmer is just way too much for my taste. It highlights every pore and imperfection. I have never really liked blushes that had shimmer in them so I’m not quite sure why I thought I’d like this one. I can understand why many people love this blush, but it is definitely not for me.
NARS Laguna – A medium toned golden bronze with shimmer. I really enjoy the color of this bronzer, but again with the shimmer! I read quite a few reviews online that stated the shimmer was undetectable when applied to the face. Uhhhh… WRONG! It did blend nicely and I do think the color would look lovely on a variety of different skintones but the shimmer was a turn off for me.
Aside from the obvious packaging similarities, I don’t think these two are dupes at all. That’s not to say I don’t like the Elf Duo. The bronzer is much darker than the NARS version and more matte. It also has a ruddiness to it that I quite like. Bronzers that have a little red to them can be more natural looking on fair skin than ones with golden tones. It reminded me of a darker version of MAC’s Harmony. Because it is quite pigmented, I recommend using a light hand! The Elf blush is good, but nothing to write home about. It is a light pinky peach with shimmer. I don’t find the shimmer to be as overpowering as Orgasm and I think this blush is much easier to wear.
Overall the NARS duo just didn’t work for me… I think if it had Laguna and a matte blush I would have been more pleased with the purchase. Unfortunately I will be returning it tomorrow… I know it is taboo for a blogger to return an item after reviewing, but a few people left comments on my haul wanting to see a comparison so I really wanted to write it for you guys!


(l-r) NARS, ELF

(l-r) NARS, ELF

Have you tried Laguna, Orgasm, or the Elf Duo? Any matte NARS blushes you can recommend?