Products Worth The Hype #2

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In this second installment of Products Worth The Hype, I’ll share with you three products I believe deserve the hype and raves that they receive. For this post, I chose base products, a concealer, a powder, and a foundation.

+ Concealer- Bobbi Brown Corrector in Bisque 

I  love Bobbi Brown makeup. I used it for my wedding, and love almost all of her beautiful products. The blushes are amazing, the foundation is good but it tends to break me out quite a bit. But I think her concealers are a stand out product for me. Especially the corrector. It’s a tiny little concealer, specifically made to cover dark under eye circles.I don’t have particularly bad under eye circles, but my under eye area is definitely lacking in luster and is a bit darker than the rest of my face. Just a little dab of this under each eye and they become noticeably brighter, smoother, and less-tired looking. I usually apply a bit of my favorite concealer (like the Maybelline Fit Me concealer) over the top of it and my under eyes are good to go.

+ Foundation- Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation in Medium Sand 

When I went to repurchase this foundation, the girl in Sephora came over and said “best foundation you’ll ever purchase.” And I honestly agree with her. This foundation has been a favorite of mine for quite some time. It’s my everyday, I-need-something-that-works-right-now, go-to foundation. It’s perfect for anyone who has acne-prone or sensitive skin. It’s quite a full coverage foundation, but the texture of it is so light and almost a whipped formula. It’s not heavy or cakey, and really makes the skin look so healthy, glow-y and dewey.  Tarte makes amazing natural makeup, and this foundation is no exception.

+ Powder- Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light 

You can’t go on any blog or watch any beauty video without hearing this product (or the Ambient Lighting Blushes) mentioned at some point. And now I know why. These Ambient Lighting Powders are gorgeous. They’re light, translucent powders, mixed with a beautiful glimmer/highlighter. It’s just adds the slightest pick me up to a regular powder, lightly dusting the skin with a bit more radiance. Light, fine, and just beautiful! Using this always makes me feel like I’m using a luxurious little product. I chose Dim Light, which is a neutral peach/beige shade and a perfect compliment to my skin tone.

So there you are, a few products that I believe really are worth the hype. Keep checking back for the next PWTH post where I’ll run through a lipstick, a bronzer, and a highlighter.

Steffanie xo

The Terrific Three

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You guys, I am never faithful to one skincare product. Ever. I always do a post over how much I love this cleanser, that toner, this moisturizer (although I haven’t changed that in like 4 months!) and swear it’s what I’ll keep using for forever and ever.

Not.

So here it is, my review of three products I’ve been using recently that will probably change but I’ll pretend like I will use them forever and ever. And ever.

+ The cleanser: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser. This stuff cleared up my skin so well, and also made it super soft in just a couple days. I only use this once a day, at night, preferring a milder cleanser for the morning. It’s formulated with a 2% salicylic acid and 0.05% micro-exfoliating LHA, so along with fighting acne, this product leaves your skin soft and bright. It’s been such a nice change for my face, and I’ve not had a big break out on my skin in a good while. Thank you French skincare.

+The oil cleanser: Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Brighten Skin Renew Cleansing Oil. Let me start by saying that you can only buy Una Brennan in the UK. Boo. But, as I have mentioned a thousand times, Marshall’s and TJ Maxx tends to sell a lot of British brand products in their stores, which is why I tend to pop in their everyday  so often to check out their stock. I spotted this oil when I was stalking the aisles for a new makeup remover, and I ran to the check out. It was the only one, that I could see, and I was not about to pass up the chance to try this out.

This smells absolutely amazing. Like you are rubbing your face into the inside of an orange. Seriously. It’s such a lovely cleanser to use in the morning, because it really wakes up your face. It”s a very gentle cleanser, and it is an oil, so if you aren’t a fan of cleansing oils, you may want to steer clear. I apply a few drops of this to dry skin, massage it in and use my Dew Puff (spoiler! new post to come soon!) to cleanse my face. Out of all the oil cleansers I have used, this one is my favorite. Hopefully Una Brennan comes to the US soon. Or I may have to move house to Marshalls.

 +The sunscreen:  Kiehls Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+

Sunscreen or SPF is one of those products I feel that everyone skips. Which is so weird to me, because it is actually one of the most beneficial steps to keeping your skin healthy and youthful. I used to skip sunscreen, because it was such a mess to find a good one. I used a few different ones for a while, but never stuck with them. Some were too oily, or they broke me out, or they hardly had any SPF in them so what’s the point?

Kiehl’s has changed sunscreen for me, forever. If you haven’t heard of Kiehl’s, it’s a skincare brand that has some of the best products out there, in my opinion. They are expensive, but I promise you, you pay for what you get. This sunscreen is no exception. At $60 a bottle, you pay for the most moisturizing, weightless, lightweight formula of sunscreen. I literally cannot even tell I have it on. One of the things I made sure of when I bought this was that 1. it was lightweight and 2. that I wouldn’t break out. I’ve been using this for a few weeks, and I have not had a single break out with this. It’s been wonderful. I know my skin is protected, but I don’t have to sacrifice clear skin or excess oil to achieve that. I’ve been told this bottle will last for a year from the day you buy it, so I should be good on the SPF front until next December. $60 doesn’t look that bad when it’s for a product that lasts a whole year.

There you have it! A few new items that I am forever in love with. Look for a review post of the Dew Puff to come soon.

Steffanie xo

A Lush Haul

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A good bath can cure so many things: a bad day, sore muscles, sickness. Or it can just be enjoyed for the sheer pleasure of it. With a good book and a good cup of tea. But no bath is complete without the magic that is Lush Cosmetics.

Almost every beauty blogger will at some point mention how much they adore Lush. And I am now jumping on that wagon, because LUSH makes some of the best (if not THE BEST) body products I’ve ever tried.

First up, let’s talk about The Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner.  I dedicated a whole blog post to this beauty, if you want to hear about it in a bit more detail,but it is THE greatest. If I could win the lottery in my choice of an endless supply of one item, it would be this product. A lotion that you apply in the shower, only it is the consistency of a hair conditioner. Scoop a little bit out, rub all over your bod, and rinse. Voila! You have super soft, moisturized skin. And you’ll smell like a dream. A rose-scented dream.

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Next, a shower gel that is as warming, and as spicy as the name suggests. The Hot Toddy Shower Gel is a warm infusion of cinnamon and ginger, combining to make a perfectly lovely, yummy, Christmas-y scented bath. Although I don’t think any whiskey was involved in the making of this lovely soap, it makes not only for a great shower gel, but also for a very suds-y bubble bath.

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Perhaps one of LUSH’s most famous products is their bath bomb. I picked up five (only four are pictured because I couldn’t wait!) Christmas ones to get myself in the Christmas spirit. Butterbear (not pictured) and Butterball  are both vanilla scented, lovely and super creamy. Dashing Santa is the cutest one I picked up, a little snowman bomb that smells like citrus, bergamot, and satsuma. I’m saving him for Christmas Day. Cinders is one of the coolest bath bombs, a cinnamon scented one, with vegan popping candies mixed in to give the sensation of a crackling fire. And last but not least, Golden Wonder. I’m told this one has a sneaky something inside of it that appears when the bomb is in the bath. A champagne bath bomb, adorned in shimmery gold glitter, smelling of sweet citrus.

Let’s just all assume my bath tub is going to be my favorite spot this holiday season. Let me know in the comments if you love LUSH as much as I do!

Steffanie xo

NARS Digital World Lip Pencil Coffret

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Let me start by saying this: lip product lovers, you need the NARS Digital World Lip Pencil Coffret in your life. Coming in at just under the price of two full-sized NARS lip pencils, this set comes with five pencils in a variety of gorgeous colors. The set comes with three satin lip pencils, in the shades Yu ( bright fushcia-pink), Descanso (a rosey pink), Torres Del Paine (a peachy-coral). It also comes with two matte pencils, in the shades Cruella (full on deep red) and New Iberico (an orange-red). These shades are very pigmented, and the satin lip pencils are so moisturizing. The matte pencils are beautiful mattes, and I don’t find them to be drying at all. Descanso and Passionate are perhaps my two favorite, being two of the most wearable ones for everyday. Yu and New Iberico will be great for summer I think, although I did pop Yu on the other day, and it is gorgeous.

Here is a pic of it swatched:

Loving this lip shade! NARS 'Yu' Satin Lip Pencil. From the Digital World Coffret. Review and swatches coming soon! ❤️💋 #beautyblog

A photo posted by Steffanie Ballinger (@steffanieballinger) on

See what I mean?

This little set is the best. Pick it up for a girlfriend, best friend, mom, or fellow beauty lover and I promise you, they’ll love you forever.

Happy swatching!

Steffanie xo

Products Worth The Hype #1: LUSH Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner

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It’s not often I love a product so much that I will devote a whole blog post to it. But such is the case for this body product from LUSH. LUSH is a brand of body care, makeup, and hygiene products that makes beauty bloggers go starry-eyed, and I’ve known about it for a while, but never brought myself to drive up to my local mall to try anything out. I was at the mall last week and finally decided to run in and pick up a few things that I’ve heard raved about. I’m so glad I did.

The Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner has convinced me that LUSH makes the best body products. Ever. In the history of body care, LUSH is it for me. I mean, who comes up with the brilliance of a “lotion” that you apply in the shower, eliminating the need for a lotion to be applied after the shower?! It’s the best idea, and I am so thankful someone thought of it!

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On to the product description. Smelling of sweet, delicious, roses, this product makes applying lotion the most enjoyable thing about my morning and night time routine. It smells like jam, heaven, and cream. And the scent lasts through the day. To use, all you do is rub the loveliness all over your body, and rinse. That’s it! When applied, it’s very silky and smooth, but once the water hits it, it turns into like a lotion-y type substance that does. not. budge. Tip: when towel drying, be sure to pat dry, that way you don’t rub all the product off. My skin has stayed hydrated all day, and since I’ve been using it, looks brighter and smoother.

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I may be a tiny bit obsessed with this product. Definitely worth all the hype and craze it receives. I am officially a LUSH convert. If you are in need of a good moisturizing body product, I highly recommend LUSH!

P.S. Keep a lookout for a LUSH Haul post, coming soon!

Steffanie xo

Drugstore Haulin’

If you are a not-so-closet product junkie like myself, you’ll understand the excitement that comes when a brand launches something new, or when you discover a new product in the drugstore.  I mean, it’s like Christmas! I picked up a few bits that were either recently launched or newly added to my local drugstore. Some not so new, some I’ve never seen before. Let’s get to it!

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Skincare:

+Garnier Clean Nourishing Cleansing Oil

This caught my eye because cleansing oils are such a hyped up product right now. This one is great for removing kind of the first layer of makeup and dirt, and cleaning all that off of the face. I don’t use this as my only cleanser, but if you have dry skin and are looking for a nice, affordable oil cleanser, I recommend this one.

Makeup:

+Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation in 150 Nude

I tried this foundation out about 2-3 years ago and absolutely hated it. It was around the time that I was completely convinced that I could not wear drugstore foundations. It didn’t help that it was like 3 shades too dark as well. But while I was browsing the aisles, I saw this was on sale 50% off, so I just decided, what the hey, give it another go. I’ll report back when I’ve given it a try.

+Nyx Rouge Cream Blush in Natural CB02 Natural.

I remember when Fleur, from FleurdeForce, talked about this in one of her 10 under 10 beauty videos. I remember thinking how beautifully natural and pretty the blush looked and somehow, I forgot about. Luckily, I noticed that this was also on 50% off so I threw it in with my stash. I tried this on when I got home because I was that excited, and I can already tell you, I love this little blush. Such a pretty, barely there pink, and the formula is creamy but not too sticky or oily. big yes!

+L’Oreal Infallible Eye Shadow in Smoldering Plum (see in action above)

These little pressed pigments are so great. They pack a serious punch of color, and make a great one product smokey eye. This is a deep, shimmery plum-purple, which I love wearing as eyeliner or as a smokey, sparkly eye with tons of mascara. I have my eye on a few of the other shades as well.

+Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Striking

I love these matte balms. So much. I wear Sultry almost everyday, but decided to pick up a brighter one. While I think this is a beautiful color, I think it is more suited to spring-ish seasons, so I’ll be saving this for then.

+Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquers in Stellar

Another lip product that I love and am saving for summer/spring is this little beauty. This is my fourth Show Off Lip Lacquer and I am still such a massive fan! Lipstick, stain, and gloss all in one. Very-opaque and bright.

Hair:

+L’Oreal Boost It High Lift Creation Spray

For the girls (and guys) who need a little more lift and volume to your roots, I suggest giving this a try. It is a bit tricky at first, because it comes out like a hair spray, so it is possible to use way too much and thus create the “a-bird-just-landed-in-my-hair-and-now-I-have-twelve-million-knots” look which is painful and not cute. A little goes a long, long way. Just a light spray at the roots, a little shake and the messy look is there.

+L’Oreal Lock It Bold Control Hair Spray

My husband is a big fan of the Tresemme hair spray for his comb-over, but I recently bought him this to try instead. He likes a sturdy hold for his hair spray, being that he is out in all elements for his job. So far, I think he’s a fan. I’ve only tried this a few times, and I’m not a huge fan of how sticky it can be, but brushed through once, it gives a great hold.

So that’s a round up of a few product newbies that have found themselves at home with me. Have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments!

Steffanie xo

Get Ready With Me: Everyday Autumn Makeup Look

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Hey guys! I am so excited to show you my first beauty video! It’s a very rough one, and I use about three different types of concealer, and my hair had a mind of it’s own…. but nonetheless, it’s here. Nothing fancy. I filmed it on an iPhone 5, and used natural light. All the products I used are listed in the description box of the video. I so hope you enjoy it!

Steffanie xo

Recent Reads #2

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It’s no secret that I love a good book. It’s been a good while since I’ve done a book post on here, so I thought I’d share of my favorite recently read books. I must say, this one is quite the line-up.

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Nonfiction:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler: I have to start off with Amy Poehler. It must be done. I heard from several people over on the Faceboom, that this book was pure genius. So, naturally, I powered up my Nook, downloaded the free sample, laughed out loud for a solid thirty minutes, and bought the book the next day. Her book is called Yes Please and it’s the funniest, most honest, quirky book. I am reading it slowly, because I don’t want it to end. In this book she talks about her life so far, acting, divorce, babies, Tina Fey, and her childhood. I highly recommend anyone in the mood for a good laugh and maybe a tear to pick this up. Yes please, indeed.

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg: Molly is the author of Orangette, the most beautiful food/lifestyle blog I’ve ever seen. Her photography is straight gorgeous. A Homemade Life, her memoir, is what I believe encouraged my kick for cooking more meals at home. For a while, I felt I was in a serious rut when it came to cooking. Her book, though I haven’t made a single recipe from it, inspired me to crack out the ol’ cookbooks, and create some stories with my meals. It also really made me want to go to Paris, and induced a Nutella-baguette craving that I couldn’t ignore. She has another book out called Delancey that I am still on the hunt for.

YA/Fiction:

Where She Went by Gayle Forman: This book is the sequel to If I Stay, which I read about three-ish years ago. I can’t explain why I waited so long to read this one, other than that I didn’t want to really know what happened next. Mia and Adam are so all over the place, and maybe my heart wasn’t ready. I won’t go into any spoilers, but this book is so good. And I’m so glad I finally read it. I think I gobbled it up in about 3 days.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman: Um, Gayle is a freakin’ genius. A genius! She writes the most beautiful, heart-wrenching, addicting books. This one, set in Paris, the States, and Amsterdam, is a twisty, bittersweet, slightly confusing story between a girl and a boy. You may think “such is life” and that’s true, but this story had me hooked from start to finish. There is a sequel (squeeeeee!) and methinks I’ll pick it up this weekend.

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider: Hello, John Green in a woman’s body. This book made me angry for a while. I won’t tell you why, but if you tend to get emotionally involved in books, tears may be shed. You may feel like throwing the book, you may even do it, and realize you’ve thrown your Nook, which will cause slight amount of panic. It’s a great book, but it does not have a happy ending. Sigh.

We Were Liars by e. lockhart: I’m starting to see a theme here….I promise I don’t always read sad books so close together. But this one, oh my. Hands down, one of the best I’ve read this year. This one left a tiny hole in my heart for a few days. It’s one of those books that gives you that “something is not right now” feelings, all the way through. I haven’t re-read it, although I did love it, because it’s that good and that sad. I’m warning you now. Huge twist at the end.

Panic by Lauren Oliver: This one wasn’t great but wasn’t bad, and definitely got better towards the end. It’s centered around this game, this illegal, secretive game, that these students play to win money. Whoever survives, and completes all the challenges, wins a huge sum of money. Each character has a motive for the money, and each one has something to lose. Tigers are involved.

Mystery:

The Secret Place by Tana French: I am convinced she will never write a bad book. I own every book she has written in the Dublin Murder Squad Series. I really liked her first two books, The Likeness and In the Woods and every one since then has been definitely on par and well-written. Her books are the kind that incorporate personal stories into her characters, victims and suspects. They’re incredible. Great books for mystery-lovers.

Let me know in the comments if you have read any of these! I’d love your recommendations as well!

happy reading!

Steffanie xo

Autumnal Lip Shades

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From left: Makeup For Ever Rouge Natural Lipstick in N9, Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquer in Big Bang, MAC Plumful (top right), Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick in Petunia (middle right), Revlon Matte Lacquer Balm in Sultry (bottom right).

Hello everyone! I hope you are enjoying your week. Today’s post is all about lippies, specifically, autumnal lips. I love a good berry lipstick, always have, always will. I find it to be very flattering on my olive toned skin. For a berry that is almost universally flattering on anyone, I chose the MAC Lustre Lipstick in Plumful. This lipstick has probably been mentioned on almost every beauty site out there. It’s a beautiful plummy shade,  and the formula is a creamy, almost sheer consistency. This is my go to lip shade for autumn, when I am unable to decided on my color for the day. Another product that has received alot of attention lately is the Revlon Matte Lacquer Balm in Sultry (to see this in action, click here). I posted a picture of myself wearing this the other day, and so many people told me that they have the exact same one and love it. And we are all very different skin tones. Sultry is a deep rose, slightly brown-toned matte lip color. I love the formula of these because they are very long-lasting and highly pigmented. And matte, which is a nice change to sheeny lip colors. I do find that these are the slightest bit drying, so a good lip balm is necessary. Another drugstore color that I recently picked up is the Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick in Petunia (see picture below). This is another berry-toned one, but slightly brighter than Plumful. I saw these for the first time a couple weeks ago in my local drugstore, and I think they are a new release. The packaging is beautiful, however I wish it was a little easier to keep clean. The lipstick seems to get all over the clear case. This lipstick is very opaque. Highly-pigmented creamy, and did I mention it smells like watermelon bubblegum? I really like this one, and I want to try some more of the shades. For a more neutral shade, I have been pleasantly surprised by the Makeup For Ever Rouge Natural Lipstick in N9-Copper Pink. It’s a gorgeous, lovely, perfect neutral pink/rose shade. I received this mini as a birthday gift from Sephora. Usually, when I receive a lipstick, I end up with something way dark or way too light. However, this shade was so perfect, I almost ran back into the store and bought the full size. But I didn’t, figuring I’d give the mini a try for a while. It’s safe to say, I’ll be going back to Sephora soon to pick up the full size version. Last but not least, a product I’ve mentioned before is the Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquers in Big Bang. This is the most perfect red, in the most perfect formula. A lip stain, lipstick, and gloss combined in one beautiful package. Big Bang is your standard, middle of the road, red. Not too orange, not too purple-toned, just pretty, classic, Hollywood red. I love this color so much, and I am not usually a red-lip girl.

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                                  Wearing the Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick in Petunia.

And that’s a wrap! Autumn is such a good month for makeup. Let me know if you have tried any of these out!

Happy Tuesday!

Steffanie xo

basic fall outfit.

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I’ve been absolutely loving the weather we have at the moment, which has been a beautiful 60 to 70  degrees, windy, and sunny, so I’ve been popping outside quite often to read, drink tea, and play with the pup. And, to take pictures for the blog. Fall is the best season, so I’m  making the most of this gorgeous weather and the beautiful background it brings.

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I went outside to take pictures for some upcoming posts, and enjoyed a nice coffee and a sweet treat as well. My husband came out with me, and took some pics (thanks honey!) of me in my typical autumn uniform. A basic, black, top, this one being a thin sweater from H&M, Topshop Vintage Pansy Leigh jeans, and Topshop Mont2 cutout boots. I also grabbed my Whistles Rivington Chain Clutch, (which I know is not the most autumnal shade, but it is so beautiful) and my favorite jacket, a faux-leather number that my husband bought me a few years ago from Express. I’ve been mostly writing blog posts all day, and doing some much needed laundry, so it was nice to get outside for a bit.

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Keep an eye out for some upcoming posts, in which I share the products for my everyday makeup for autumn, autumnal lip shades, and a cookie recipe (above) that almost all chocolate lovers are sure to like.

Happy weekend!

Steffanie xo