Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush | Review

Spring had sprung, and I wanted something new. Specifically, something new for my cheeks. The hunt for a new blush began on a chilly spring day. I tirelessly searched through blushes, checking out recommendations from YouTube beauty gurus, Sephora reviews, and both high-end and drugstore brands. After much deliberation, many bookmarked web pages, and a few restless nights of sleep (I take my makeup purchases seriously), I decided on the one: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in the shade Blushing Bride.

One of the things I like best about this blush is the packaging. I ordered the blush online, and when I opened the Sephora package, I thought for a moment that I had stepped back in time, because the packaging reminds me of Polly Pocket. The pink, the gold lettering, the small compact-- it felt like 1994 all over again. Another important aspect of the packaging is the mirror on the inside. Usually, I don't use mirrors included in makeup compacts. I rarely apply makeup on the go, so the mirrors aren't a necessity for me. With this compact, I find myself using the mirror because of its superior quality. It is gorgeous and offers a pristine reflection to the user.

Back to the star of the show:  the product. Tarte claims that this blush is "infused with Amazonian clay harvested from the banks of the Amazon River and baked by the sun." This claim is graphically depicted in the blush itself. Visually, this blush is stunning, both inside and outside the package. The product wears just as beautifully on the cheeks, and truly lasts the full, advertised 12 hours. A little bit of blush goes a long way. I would recommend putting less product on your brush than usual, and building the color up as desired with a small amount on your brush each time. Blending this blush is a dream, and harsh lines are a rarity, unless too much product is applied. A light hand is the best bet.

I have been using this blush daily for three months now, and I have barely made a dent in it. For $26, it is an excellent value and well worth the investment. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush is available in 15 different shades. Let me know if you have tried any other shades and what you thought of them!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Belle Epoque | Book Review

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross is a 2014 Morris Award finalist. The Morris Award honors books written by debut authors in young adult literature. The Morris Award nominees and winners are some of the first books I add to my summer reading list, because I like the thrill of reading work from authors new to the YA scene. Elizabeth Ross did not disappoint.

Set in the late 1880s, Belle Epoque follows 16-year-old Maude from a small town in northwest Brittany to Paris, France. After a string of unsuccessful jobs and failed attempts to support herself, Maude begrudgingly becomes a repoussoir (foil) to an aristocrat named Isabelle Dubern. Isabelle is in her debutante season with the goal of becoming engaged, and Maude is hired by the Duberns as an ugly friend to make Isabelle look more beautiful.

Maude and Isabelle become friends, and we are swept away into a world of privilege and connections, which is contrasted with Maude's own world of Paris explorations and her group of bohemian friends. These two worlds cannot exist separately forever, and they inevitably collide. As the two worlds become more tangled, you might find yourself reading this book way past your bedtime.

Perhaps the most refreshing part of this book is Belle Epoque itself.  Belle epoque translates to "beautiful age" and is significant because of the story's setting and its theme. In the late 1880s, France was still recovering from drastic changes in terms of social classes. France would unveil its new social order on the stage of the World's Fair, with the newly constructed Eiffel Tower as its centerpiece. In the same way, Maude learns that her own belle epoque is now, regardless of personal appearance or social class.

Belle Epoque is the most innovative book I've read this summer. I am looking forward to reading more books by Elizabeth Ross.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mascara Madness

Somehow, I have managed to acquire three mascaras since the beginning of 2014. Miraculously, all three mascaras have remained in my daily makeup bag. This is a point of interest, because I have three different makeup storage bags-- a daily use bag, and two for less used but still loved products.

Three mascaras in my daily makeup bag may seem excessive. Surprisingly, I found myself reaching for each one often enough that it made sense to keep them all together. They're all that good.

Here's the rundown:

1. Lancome Definicils Mascara in Black
My description:  Basic, everyday mascara.
Lancome's description:  "Natural but noticeable lashes."
Price:  $27.50, the most expensive in my roundup.
Best suited for:  Daily wear for work, errands, casual events.
One coat:  Gotta run, already running late, clump-free lashes with definition and length.
Two coats:  Guaranteed compliments, zero clumps, eyelashes reaching eyebrows.

This is my go-to mascara. I have been purchasing it consistently since 2004. That's a decade of commitment, making my opinion of this mascara tried and true.

The wand itself is thin and easy to maneuver across the lashes. I appreciate the square-shaped end of the wand, as this allows me to achieve a precise and consistent application with each use.

With a classic Christmas tree shape, this mascara is perfect for anyone:  makeup beginners, makeup devotees, and occasional makeup users alike.  The formula rarely clumps. It applies with ease and yields excellent results.  This mascara will always hold a special place in my makeup bag (and my heart).

2.  Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara in Jet Black. 
My description:  When basic just won't cut it.
Smashbox's description:  "Volumizing and lengthening."
Price:  $19.50, the median-priced mascara in my roundup.
Best suited for:  Some time on your hands, a desire to have standout lashes, and somewhere to go.
One coat:  Lash definition, possible clumping maintenance required, eyelashes reach eyebrows.
Two coats:  Total lash definition, definite clumping maintenance required, zero flaking, lashes will look fanned out and flashy.

I reach for this mascara when I have a little extra time on my hands and if I choose to emphasize my eyes in my overall makeup look for the day.  This is not to say that I wouldn't pair this mascara with a bold lip-- if I use a single coat of it, I can have the best of both worlds, emphasized eyes and a bold lip.

As you can see, the wand of this mascara is huge. This is why I allow myself some extra time when I use it. A bigger wand means a higher chance of making mistakes, like mascara clumps or getting the formula on your skin instead of on your lashes. 

Overall, I am impressed with this mascara. I love the results I get from it, and I like that even though this is a mascara I use for a statement eye, I can still use it for everyday wear by reducing the amount I apply. There is something to be said for its versatility. However, this mascara will definitely require clumping maintenance, as the wand is roughly the size of a toothbrush. Also, the formula tends to gather at the base of the wand. I frequently wipe off the base of the wand to avoid clumping, but this wastes product. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make, but it's also a deterrent in terms of the likelihood that I will repurchase this mascara.

3.  Benefit They're Real! Mascara in Jet-Black
My description:  Fake lashes from an actual mascara. Heavenly, beautiful, statement lashes.
Benefit's description:  "Jet-black mascara that lengthens, curls, volumizes, lifts, and separates lashes for a spectacular 'out-to-here' look."
Price:  0.14 ounces, $10, the cheapest in my roundup; 0.3 ounces, $23, second most expensive.
Best suited for:  Formal events, statement eyes, impressing everyone with your majestic lashes.
One coat:  Long, full lashes that truly look like false eyelashes, black as the darkest night sky.
Two coats:  You're going to be asking yourself if your lashes are real. Clumping maintenance may be required at first, but not as you get used to the formulation of the mascara and the uniqueness of the wand.

When I use They're Real, I know it's a special day. If I want my eyes to be the primary focus of my makeup look, this is the mascara I use. It is absolutely stunning. I could write pages of praises for this mascara. It is the mascara I use the least often, but it is my favorite of the three. I purchase it in the smaller size, and two tubes of it will last me the entire year.

The wand is unique because the bristles are spaced out more than other mascaras and made of plastic instead of synthetic fibers. The top of the wand has bristles as well, which is wonderful for reaching the inner and bottom lashes.

They're Real should be in every woman's makeup bag. The small sized tube is comparable to the pricing of drugstore brands, but the high-end formulation is superior to any mascara I have ever used. One coat of this mascara is all you need to give the appearance of false eyelashes. Amazingly, one coat of They're Real will rarely clump if you are taking your time when applying it. Two coats will likely clump, and I have had some disasters when attempting two coats. One coat is plenty for dramatic, statement, perfect eyelashes.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Smashbox Be Legendary Lip Gloss | Review

Summer is in full swing! With the rise in temperatures, the need arises for a long-lasting lip color for the many festivities and occasions that summer brings. In the springtime, I noticed that lip glosses were making their way back to my favorite beauty brands' shelves. I resisted the urge to buy one for a long time, because I associated lip gloss with middle school dances and general awkwardness. When I finally caved and bought a new lip gloss, I discovered that my awkward lip gloss wearing days were gone.

In other words, this isn't your seventh grade lip gloss. Lip gloss has grown up! Allow me to present my summer beauty staple, Smashbox Be Legendary Lip Gloss in Disco Rose:

The packaging is chunky but sleek. The color itself is pigmented and unusual. Although it is described as a rich rose shade, it's not the red rose of Valentine's Day that this lip gloss has captured; rather, the deep pink roses found in the lush summer gardens cared for by passionate pruners.

Unlike the lip glosses of my adolescence, this lip gloss is smooth and wears much like a balm. I often forget that I am wearing it once I have applied it, and as I carry on with daily activities, the gloss carries on along with me. I usually get at least five hours of wear out of one application. Once the gloss wears off, a nice color remains on my lips until I wash it off or reapply.

This gloss wears beautifully on its own, but it also complements lip stains nicely in that it prevents dryness when combined with a stain. That is to say, another benefit of this lip gloss is that it is incredibly moisturizing. This is my favorite unexpected twist and added benefit to my summer staple.

Reasonably priced at $20, a bargain for high-end lip products, Smashbox Be Legendary lip gloss is well worth the investment for pretty, worry-free summer lips.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Break Treats

Greetings! Almost a month has passed since my last blog post. Apologies to my faithful readers! I have some pretty good excuses for not being on the ball. First, I passed my Master's defense and will be graduating in May, and second, I started a new job in mid-March. Big milestones for which I am thankful, and I hope you can forgive me for not keeping my blog up to date.

Now that the formalities are out of the way, let's get to the goods.

I'm on a Spring Break staycation, and since I live in a state that likely won't warm up until mid-May, I have been shopping for my very favorite thing: makeup! Below is a list of what I got this week, followed by some short descriptions. None of the products are reviewed, because you get to pick my next review. Be sure to let me know in the comments which of the following products you'd like me to review next!

1. Rosebud Perfume Co. Rosebud Salve
Out with the old, in with the new! I switched from C.O. Bigelow Rosebud Salve to this new brand from Sephora. I had the old Bigelow salve for an embarrassingly long time and should have replaced it much sooner. Rosebud salves are a good investment because they last a long time; a little goes a long way and provides all you need for smooth lips.

2. Maybelline New York Baby Lips in Peppermint
Word of mouth encouraged me to try Baby Lips! The SPF 20 sunscreen is a nice touch and will be useful in the spring and summer. 

3. Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Fresh & Foamy Body Wash
Soap & Glory is a British brand that was formerly sold at Target, but is now only available at Sephora. How I wish I had known of its existence back in its Target days, because now that it's at Sephora, it's a little on the pricey side. However, there are 16.2 sudsy ounces of lemon, lime, vanilla, and coconut foam goodness, so it's a price I'm willing to pay for a tropical escape every time I shower.

4.  Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub
This mixture of lime, brown sugar, lemon, vanilla, almond oil, brown sugar, and macadamia oil smells good enough to eat! It's a similar smell to its sister body wash (#3 above), but more intense. It is, in a word, delightful.

5.  Essie Nail Polish in Imported Champagne
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I am an OPI girl. Lately, though, my friend Han has inspired me to branch out after seeing the beautiful Essie colors she features on her blog, Haneybee. The color she featured that really got me curious was Cocktail Bling, which you can see here for yourself. I decided to try out the color Imported Champagne, which is a big change for me as I usually stick to pinks, my signature reds, and purples.

6.  Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Smitten and Sweetheart
These bad boys are worthy of their own review. I have yet to try Smitten, pictured on the top, but I am obsessed with Sweetheart, pictured on the bottom.

7.  Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Mushroom
Again, another product worthy of its own review. The color is unusual but appropriate for professional or evening wear.

Which of these products would you like me to review? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Review | e.l.f. Studio HD Blush

Recently, I visited my best friend in Florida. It was lovely to spend time with her and her family, and an added benefit that she lives in a warmer state. Unaccustomed to warmer temperatures after five months of cold, I wrestled with myself over which items to pack in my makeup bag. One product I decided to take with me was e.l.f.'s HD Blush:
HD makeup was created in response to high-definition cameras, which focus in greater detail. HD makeup is designed to blend in perfectly to the skin, creating a result that looks more natural on camera. e.l.f.'s Studio HD Blush retails for a bargain price of $3, as opposed to luxury brands like Make Up For Ever's HD Blush, which retails for $26. e.l.f.'s HD Blush comes with a pump, which makes it easy to dispense a small amount.
A little bit goes a long way with this product, as it is extremely pigmented. I use the lightest shade, called Headliner. As you can see, one pump dispenses more than enough for both cheeks:
I dispense one small pump onto the back of my hand, then use the stippling technique to apply the product to the apples of my cheeks. After picking up the product on a blush brush, I stipple the brush on the back of my hand to get rid of some excess color, then use the same stippling technique as I apply it on my cheeks. If I'm in a hurry, I'll sometimes use half a pump and apply the product onto my fingers, then directly onto my cheeks.
This is one pump, blended onto the back of my hand. I spread the product out before stippling it onto my brush and my cheeks, and the result is a lighter, less harsh version of this color that lasts all day, regardless of climate. If you're new to HD makeup or cream blush, I would recommend trying this product out before you wash your face at night, so you can get used to the technique needed to apply it.

Yet another impressive product from e.l.f.!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Review | e.l.f. Essential Nail Polish

As you know, I am a huge fan of e.l.f. Cosmetics. 99% of the time, I am impressed and satisfied with their products. One product I am not impressed with is their nail polish.

I bought e.l.f. Essential Nail Polish in Party Peach:

I started with two coats of polish on my nails, per my usual nail routine. However, the nail polish was so thin that I ended up using three coats. The nail polish applicator is square shaped, and this was extremely difficult to maneuver in my hand as I painted the polish onto my nails. It took about 10 minutes for my nails to set, and about 30 before I felt like they were completely dry.

What a fun color! It's a little slice of summer in the middle of a harsh winter.

After the polish dried, I noticed that one set of nails was nice and shiny, and the other set was painted, but I could still see my actual nail through the color. This was disappointing, especially since I used three coats of polish. Perhaps the biggest disappointment was the longevity-- or lack thereof-- of this product. I painted my nails on a Friday; by Sunday, they had chipped to the point where I couldn't stand to look at them and had to remove the nail polish.

Even though this nail polish is a great deal at only $2, I'll stick with my O.P.I. I would recommend e.l.f. Essential Nail Polish to anyone who's looking to try a new, trendy nail polish color. If you don't like the color you're experimenting with, don't worry! It'll be gone in three days, anyway.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Review | Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Creme

My feet are dry and cracked, partially due to genetics, but mostly because of my preference to be barefoot as much as possible. Combine these factors with a job that keeps me on my feet all day, and the odds are stacked against me. The summer of 2013 was my wake up call to be more attentive to my poor, neglected feet. As I settled in for a pedicure, I apologized to the pedicurist in advance, joking that she had her work cut out for her. She actually gasped when she saw my feet, and after she had restored them to normal foot condition, I promised her I would take better care of them.

Since then, I have been searching for a product that could heal the cracks and blisters on my feet. Body lotion wasn't successful. Pumice stones weren't successful. Even pedicure boards were unsuccessful. My parents had recently decided they disliked one of their foot creams because of its fragrance and consistency, so, in a last ditch effort, I decided to give it a try. The old adage is true:  One person's trash is another person's treasure.

Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Creme is a miracle product. It works miracles, everyone, and this is not an exaggeration. Here is the miracle product:
Miracle foot cream.
According to Burt's Bees, this product is 99.4% natural, which is always a bonus. Ingredients include olive oil, oat flour, coconut oil, oat oil, rosemary leaf oil, and vitamin E. The .6% unnatural ingredient is peppermint fragrance. Being formulated with oil, the product is quite thick:
A little bit goes a long way!
Another shot, taken seconds later, shows that the product is runny, despite its thickness:
Quickly sliding off my finger.
The product directions instruct you to "apply liberally," but I think that less is more, in this instance. Put the cream where you need it, directly on the dry, cracked parts of your feet. Spread the cream into a thin layer so that the entire dry area is covered. The cream soaks in within seconds, but your feet will be oily (remember that ingredients list?); I recommend having socks at the ready so that you can slip them on immediately after application. Leave your socks on for an hour or two, then remove them and prepare to be amazed at your newly rejuvenated feet.

Immediately upon application, you will see an improvement in the condition of your feet. The cream feels like a warm, luxurious oil treatment. Its scent is unique-- think tropical meets mint-- but not unpleasant. The results are unparalleled.

I have seen a marked improvement in my feet after using this product. Between uses of this foot cream, my feet stay soft and smooth for about three to four days. I highly recommend this foot cream to those of you who suffer from dry, cracked feet-- there is finally a solution! Best of all, it's only $9!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

DIY | Deep Conditioner

Last Friday, I ventured into uncharted beauty territory: DIY, or "do it yourself," beauty treatments. DIY beauty recipes have always been around, but I stayed away from experimentation for years. I blame my recent foray into DIY beauty on Pinterest.

While poking around on Pinterest, I pinned a recipe for DIY deep conditioner especially for curly hair. I followed the recipe to create a deep conditioning mixture with ingredients found right in my kitchen:  two raw eggs and a cup of mayonnaise. Allegedly, these ingredients add shine and moisture to your hair. Who doesn't want shiny, moisturized hair? And with that thought, I ventured up to my bathtub.

What happened next is undocumented footage. As you can imagine, the whole process was messy. I set the bowl with my DIY conditioner in my bathtub and applied it to my hair in small handfuls, hanging my hair over my head so the mixture didn't drip all over me. Surprisingly, my hair absorbed the mixture like a sponge. I was able to apply the mixture with little residue sliding off my hair. Once all the mixture was in my hair, I used a Turbie Towel to wrap my hair on top of my head, then I ran a bath and let the DIY conditioner do its work while I read some magazines.

This is where things got ugly.

I drained the bathtub and ran a shower, taking the Turbie Towel off so I could wash my hair. My hair was stiff as a board, and washing this DIY conditioner out was a long, smelly process that smelled like, you guessed it, raw eggs and mayo. It was nauseating, slimy, and unpleasant. Once all the mixture was washed out, I conditioned my hair with my usual conditioner and dried it, expecting fantastic results after the ordeal I endured.

My hair did look more shiny, but that's about it. It took a full week for my hair to return to its normal state.

After my experience, I stand firm on my DIY beauty avoidance-- unless, of course, you have tried and true beauty recipes to share with me, which I would love to hear about in the comments!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Truths About Mondays

Happy Monday! As I was having my morning coffee, I came up with this list of truths about Mondays:

1. The alarm clock rings earlier.
You took a little longer to fall asleep last night because you were worrying about Monday, and now you're paying the price. That Monday morning alarm always comes a little too soon.

2. Everything moves in slow motion.
Getting dressed takes ages. Making breakfast becomes a twilight zone. Traffic is backed up on a road that's usually deserted. Your day is stuck in slow motion.

3. Rushing around only makes things worse.
You hit snooze one too many times. You lingered over breakfast because you got sucked in by the Today Show. Regardless of what's set you behind schedule, rushing around to catch up is only going to make things worse, which brings us to number 4...

4. You will forget something.
Try as you might, something will be forgotten. A lunch? A grocery list? An umbrella? It's a fun, cruel game.

5. You will make a mess.
At some point on Monday, you're going to make a mess. Whether it's spilling something on your clothes, knocking something over, or dropping something on the floor, it's inevitable that a mess will happen as you get back into your weekly routine. If I'm going to screw up my eye makeup, it's going to happen on a Monday morning.

6. You will wish it was still the weekend.
Face it-- even if you're a live in the moment type of person, we all like our Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays. On Mondays, we will long for them to arrive once more.

7. You will remember a happy weekend memory.
You just wrapped up another glorious weekend-- hopefully you have something to smile about from spending time with loved ones.

8. You need to have something to look forward to.
This is crucial. To get through Monday, you need to have something fun planned for Monday evening. Meeting up with friends, dinner with family, watching a favorite TV show (The Bachelor, anyone?), or reading a good book are just a few suggestions. Do what makes you happy. Nothing gets me out of bed faster on a Monday than a new beauty product to try!

9. Your attitude sets the tone for the week.
Yes, Mondays are a little rough, but a negative attitude isn't going to help anything. Make up your mind that Monday is a fresh start to a new week, and don't wish your time away.

10. You will be relieved.
As you crawl into bed Monday night, you will be relieved and thankful that you made it through Monday. Now, you have a whole six days before you have to get to endure it all over again.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Review | e.l.f. Studio Lip Exfoliator

Trapped in your house this snowy, cold weekend? Do yourself (and your lips) a favor and check out this simple remedy for under $10.

Let's face it:  Dry, chapped lips happen. The good news is, there's a solution for ladies and gentlemen alike.

e.l.f. Studio Lip Exfoliator.

Even typing its name makes me happy. Behold it in all its glory:

e.l.f. Studio Lip Exfoliator ($3)
Bask in its exfoliating powers as you appreciate key ingredients, including avocado oil, jojoba, and shea butter:

Just imagine this on your lips!
One more look, because I had a feeling you'd want a close up:

You're welcome.
The best part about this lip exfoliator is that it takes 60 seconds or less to use. All you do is wet your lips with warm water, then apply the exfoliator in small, swirling motions to your upper and lower lip. Dab off any excess scrub with a tissue, and then apply a heavy duty lip balm to moisturize and condition your lips. I like to use C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries Rose Salve No. 012:

$5.50 and it lasts for years. Good investment for a great product with multiple uses.
You'll notice that your lips are free from chapped, dry skin after this quick process. As a bonus, your lips will tingle for several minutes, which I find to be quite pleasant. I have noticed a drastic difference in the appearance and feel of my lips since incorporating this exfoliator into my routine.

One small caveat in regard to the lip exfoliator is one of its ingredients, aspartame. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that has been approved and upheld for use by the FDA. As a rule, I avoid artificial sweeteners in my diet because I dislike how I feel after consuming them. When using this exfoliator, I avoid eating or drinking for several hours to minimize the amount of aspartame that I could potentially consume. I know this sounds excessive, but it's a precaution I like to take.

Overall, a worthwhile product that saves my lips in the harsh winter months.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review | e.l.f. Cosmetics

First beauty review: e.l.f. Cosmetics. If you have spoken with me over the past month, you know that I tried my hardest to work this brand into the conversation-- I think everyone needs to know about this affordable, quality makeup.

Eyes, Lips, Face, abbreviated as e.l.f., is a cruelty-free (meaning they do not test their products on animals) line that primarily uses natural ingredients like fruit extract and oils. They have three makeup lines: Essential, Studio, and Mineral. Products in the Essential line range from $1-$2, while products in the Studio and Mineral products range from $3-$6.

My mom discovered e.l.f. as she participated in her church's Christmas gift drive for needy families, choosing to buy for a teenage girl who wanted makeup for Christmas. The gift drive had a $25 giving limit, and it is difficult to put together a thorough makeup starter kit for $25. After doing her research, she discovered e.l.f. and recruited me, her makeup loving daughter, to go shopping with her to assemble the makeup kit.

As we shopped, I couldn't resist purchasing some items to try the brand out for myself. After testing some of the products, I knew that this girl was going to have a great Christmas-- e.l.f. is comparable to much more expensive luxury brands!

Several weeks later, I ordered some more e.l.f. products online:

About 3 items are missing from this order!

At the time I purchased these items, e.l.f. had an online sale for 50% off all products. e.l.f. features free standard shipping for orders over $35. Since everything was half off, it was difficult for me to reach $35!

As you can see, I stocked up on the e.l.f. Studio Lip Exfoliator:
e.l.f. Studio Lip Exfoliator-- review coming soon! ($3)

Another great product is the e.l.f. Studio Baked Highlighter:
e.l.f. Studio Baked Highlighter ($3)

In my opinion, e.l.f. is a standout drugstore brand that gives luxury brands a run for their money. The products are inexpensive but high quality. More e.l.f. reviews to come!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Taking The Plunge

Sometimes, you have to take the plunge. I learned this lesson at the age of 19 in one of my best friend’s bathrooms.

We stood at her bathroom counter, doing our makeup together. My friend reached for her favorite eyeliner, the one that made her green eyes even more magnificent. Somehow, through a cruel twist of fate, her eyeliner ended up in the toilet. I knew there was only one thing I could do to help her.

If you’ve ever spent a little time with me, you would probably describe me as clean. If you’ve known me for years or lived with me, you know I am a clean freak. I knew I needed to take the plunge in order to help my friend.

With great urgency, I walked over to the toilet and reached my hand into the water. I quickly retrieved the lost eyeliner and threw it into the sink. What happened after that was a mixture of shock, disgust, and a solid fifteen minutes of hand washing in scalding hot water.

What’s the lesson here? Some makeup products are worthy of sticking your hand into the toilet.  We are uncomfortable more often than we’d like, but it’s worth it to be uncomfortable. The beauty of life is the growth that results from uncomfortable moments. An added benefit is the laughter that accompanies our stories, because each time we laugh and remember our uncomfortable moments, we remember how much we have grown.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What Is Beauty?

Beauty is a complex idea that means something different to everyone.

Growing up, I always knew that going to my grandma’s house meant playing with makeup. My grandma would allow me to do her makeup (with great patience on her part), and then she would do my makeup. I loved the way blush highlighted my cheekbones, how the mascara made my eyelashes brush against my glasses, and how the right eyeshadow could brighten my blue eyes. In those afternoons we shared at her vanity, my grandma cultivated my lifelong interest in makeup.

But beauty is more than makeup. The most beautiful parts of life are learned in moments that develop our character.

I believe that women are made to be beautiful in character and in appearance. Perhaps the greatest example of this is in the Book of Esther. One of the first things we learn about Esther is that she is beautiful. Then, we learn that Esther is a wonderfully smart, powerful woman who is an advocate of peace and a voice for an oppressed people. She’s basically like a modern day Miss America contestant who blew the competition away in the Q+A portion and won the crown. Esther’s character is what made her beautiful. Her outward beauty is an added bonus.

As this blog grows, I hope everyone will keep in mind that, while I love reviewing beauty products and using makeup, I value my mind and my character most of all. I hope this blog inspires you and challenges you as we discover The Beauty of Life.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Beauty of Life: A Beginning

Welcome to The Beauty of Life!

I started this blog as a 2014 New Year's resolution.

Before you give up on me, let me tell you that I have a good track record with keeping my resolutions. In 2012, I resolved to read my Bible every day, and I followed through by completing a 365 day devotional. In 2013, I resolved to work out five times a week. Again, I followed through with my goal, and I continue to maintain this workout schedule.

Now, here I am, at the beginning of 2014 with a new blog and some fun ideas.

The Beauty of Life is a lifestyle blog. It will feature my life interests, from reading to makeup to professional pieces. All opinions are my own.

I hope that you will join me in 2014 as we discover The Beauty of Life.