Tuesday, March 15, 2011

a setup of sorts

i am restarting this blog - hooray! lately i've had such an itch to write about products and trends, and i don't feel like my personal blog is really the place for it anymore. lately i have to really motivate myself to blog, and i think that coming back here is the perfect start.

what i'm really excited about right now is my brand new vanity setup. well, it isn't set up yet - at least, not in real life. right now, it's all in my head! in a few weeks i'm moving into a bigger room in my house, which will allow me to really spread out and set up a fun and unique space.

right now, my area looks like this (apologies for the awful centering):

though some things have changed - like a cool organizer for all of my brushes - it's still a really weird space, because the wall cuts out in strange measurements, and the radiator is not fun to work around. but, i've made it work for the past year.

in my new room, my desk will become my vanity area. because really - does a 24 year old really need a desk? right now it just holds my computer and a bunch of crap. not anymore!

first step - i'm going to get a much bigger mirror. ikea has this cute one for only $10!
second step - drawers. i'm thinking a skinny sterilite ditty from target or something, to store my various hair dryers, flat irons, and curling irons, and some larger products that i don't reach for every day. i also want to get some desktop organizers to store smaller cosmetics and products i use every day, but still keeping clutter to a minimum. LUCKILY the container store is having a huge sale, AND i just found a coupon for 15% off my the new issue of real simple! love when good things like that happen.

third step - inspiration! the wall around where the vanidesk will be is completely bare, and needs some new life. i think it's time to go through my old magazines and tear out tips, looks, and other helpful hints to have whenever i need.

i am so excited to set this all up, and best of all, it probably won't cost too much. i know it will make my life so much easier - and not like it is now, with things constantly falling over (my room is a little tilted), and just generally being so cramped. of course, i'll post pictures when it's all done.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

june favorites

(this is a repost from my personal blog, from 6/23/10. all opinions still apply!)

i've recently become addicted to frequenting makeup "guru" videos on youtube to find out new tips and tricks and reviews of products i'm interested in buying in the future. i love youtube for this reason -- i can search anything i'm looking to purchase and find real live reviews of it, see how well it works, etc. it's amazing and has actually saved me a lot of time, effort and money by finding out products are not all that great, and deciding not to purchase them. if i were braver or more photogenic, i would think of getting in on this trend myself. but i can't even keep up a blog, how would i make a little video channel survive!?

so for now, i'll use my blog as my platform for this. i've got 3 products right now that i'm in LOVE with. however, i'm still getting used to this new blogger in draft thing, so my pictures aren't working out or formatting properly. i'm including links to the products, so click through to see what they look like!so it's not a toss/try/buy, just a sampling of my favorite products right now. got any suggestions? let me know!

i bought this last summer after seeing a good review of it on youtube. it says it's a primer, but i HATED it and stopped using it after a while because it wasn't working. but a few weeks ago, i found it in my mess of half-used-makeup-i-hope-to-use-again-at-some-point and decided to give it a try, but in a different way. it has been sooo hot and humid in philly, which makes my makeup run like whoa. i decided to use this product OVER my makeup (which it says to do on the directions, anyway) and let me tell you...it's amazing. not only does it minimize pores and smooth skin, it sets makeup like nothing else, mattefies, and basically blocks the humidity all together. 

i'm so glad i picked it up again. personally, i use it before it put on my BM mineral veil, so it's like double whammy of protection and perfection. just so you know how well it works...embarrassing but true story...i accidentally slept in my makeup last weekend and had to wake up early for work. when i woke up, my face looked as fresh as the moment i put it on the previous morning. so i went to work like that, and nobody could tell. PROOF.

i've always been a fan of cover girl mascara's especially the lash blast line. since i'm on a budget, i'm saving my stash of diorshow and using this instead, and i'm really happy with it. the fusion combines the best of the best when it comes to mascara -- length + volume + curl. it's no diorshow, but it's a very good alternative that i highly reccommend.

i'm constantly on the search for the perfect style creme that will give me everything i want:
              • no greasiness -- a MUST
              • tames the frizzies and flyaways
              • smells good
              • lasts a while
              • inexpensive
              • protects my hair
              • moisturizing
so when i saw a commercial for this stuff, i had to try it. and it does everything i want, and lives up to its name! i use this on and off with my john fredia heat protecting spray, and it's good mix. the creme smells delightful, covers well, and leaves my hair feeling soft, silky smooth, and not weighed down. plus, the naturalness of it makes me feel like i'm doing something good, idk.

let me know if you try any of these out...i'm interested to know what other people think!

toss/try/buy vol. 3

(this is repost from my personal blog, from 11/15/09. all opinions still apply!)

i've been frequenting sephora lately because i'm now a VIB, and with that special privilage comes 10% off and this past weekend's 20% off preview night. needless to say, i've been surrounded by beauty products. i got some new stuff for myself (just stocking up -- much easier when you have that discount) and some christmas gifts that i'm really excited about. so as an ode to my beauty filled weekend, i'm doing another toss/try/buy. (have anything you're excited about product wise? let me know! i love trying new things).

Revlon Double Twist Mascara

i was excited about this because the special brush offered the best of both worlds, and looked pretty cool, too. LET DOWN ALERT -- it does not deliver on its promises. the moment i took the wand out of the tube, i could tell it would be messy. it was basically a heap of goop, and i ended up using eye makeup remover to take it off before i was even done. there was no saving this stuff. from other reviews i've read, others have been having the same experiences. don't believe jessica alba, people, this stuff sucks. luckily, right around the time i tried it, sephora was having a special "bring in your old makeup" event, and i brought in 5 old items to get $10 off my next purchase.

Ojon Rub-Out Dry Cleanser

i've been trying to find a new trick for making my every-other-day hair non-washed hair look less gross, and baby powder worked wonders when i was blonder. now that i've gone dark again, it shows up, big time. my old dry shampoo, an awful powder that smelled like lysol and mr. clean, made me want to gag whenever i used it. so i finally picked up the ojon project, and from the first time i've used it, i've been hooked. it goes on clear, smells great, and actually makes my hair look decent. highly suggested.

L'oreal Telescopic Explosion Mascara

yes, another mascara. I'm still loyal to Diorshow and always will be, but I've been using this in conjunction with it. For some reason, no matter how much i curl and separate my lashes, i can't get the outer and inner corner lashes to look right. this brush does wonders and makes them look amazing. i can get in the littlest places, and also use it to separate clumps from my main mascara application. what's also great about it is there isn't a ton of product on the little brush, so it doesn't make it clump again. it's a great little tool. i know givenchy makes a similar mascara, but i didn't want to pay a bajillion dollars for something that wasn't a main necessity. sometimes drugstore brands disappoint, and sometimes they amaze!

toss/try/buy vol. 2

(this is a repost from my personal blog, from 8/18/09. all opinions still apply!)

it's that time again! i've been testing the waters with some new products and am here to weigh in on my findings. if you haven't read the first installment, i highly suggest it. it's a must read! i try to keep myself knowledgeable with the latest and greatest trends in beauty, even if i don't own them all. so here's my little bit of knowledge (and opinion) for you, i hope it helps in some way.


now girls, i am brand-loyal to gillette's venus line (and not because the G's were my favorite high school teachers :-]), if only because i know i'll get a great shave with very, very few cuts. i've tried the intuition and still have the scars to show for it. so i was pumped when i found a coupon for the venus breeze at a very low price (i usually use the venus embrace but thought i'd give this a shot). however, i was not pleased with this razor. maybe it's because it's only 3 blades and i'm used to 5, or because the soap/moisture strip is sticky and comes off after a few uses. it's not really suitable for the underarms, either. with an embrace i can get a cartridge to last a month; with this, only 2 weeks MAX. so there's my $.02 on that! NEXT!


i saw an ad for the new dove ultimate visibly smooth deodorant and just HAD TO TRY IT. i mean, something that promises to make it possible to shave less! i wanted it more than veruca salt wanted an oompa loompa. i've been using it for a few weeks now, and i haven't seen a MAJOR improvement, but i can tell it is working. i have the nature fresh scent, but the wild rose smells good as well. they go on clear--always a plus, and work pretty well throughout the day. secret makes a similar product, and hopefully degree will soon as well (i usually use degree). if you hate shaving as much as i do, give this a shot and let me know if it makes a difference for you.


i got a small sample of this ojon product from sephora a few months ago and didn't really give it a try for a while. however, i wish i'd started using it right away! this is the ojon lightweight revitalizing mist/leave in conditioner. not only does is smell delicious, it makes your hair silky smooth, shiny and radiant. the biggest perk for me is that it doesn't leave my hair greasy the next day, which is a big problem i have with my fine (but for some reason, very thick) hair. i've recommended this to almost everyone i know. while it is on the pricy side, i believe it is a good investment. it's also very fun to use! it's got 2 layers, and you have to shake to activate them and mix together. nothing like getting a little groove on during an otherwise mundane morning routine!

toss/try/buy vol. 1

(this is a repost from my personal blog, from 7/23/09. all opinions still apply!)

i was reading my newest marie claire today and saw the feature "toss, try, buy." i was planning on doing a makeup/product review soon, so i thought, why not now?! here is my own little version...if you have any additions, let me know for future posts!

(sephora tinted moisturizer)

i got it because i wanted to try something new after using the cover girl stuff for so long, and when i sampled it at the store it seemed pretty good. i was so wrong! this stuff makes your skin super oily and basically just sits on the surface of the skin instead of actually being absorbed and, oh, i don't know, MOISTURIZING. after using it for a month, i'm really fed up and plan on going back to the cheapo cover girl stuff, which never gave me problems. i guess change isn't always good.

(l'oreal everpure)

i picked up this shampoo because it finally gave me what i was looking for: color protection and moisture. it's hard to find a system that does both, and does it well, that isn't too expensive (well, at least for me). i was pleasantly surprised with it, and it kept my highlights bright for a really long time, and moisturized well. it's great because it doesn't contain sulfates, which is one of the worst things for your hair, especially colored hair. it also smells wonderful! if you're in the market for something new, i suggest you give this a try.


(dior diorshow mascara in black)

BUY!!! buy now!! there is a reason this mascara is voted #1 every year. its been a bestseller at sephora for years, and is just overall amazing. it doesn't clump, doesn't come off and flake during the day (something i struggle with), and comes off very easily. i'm so glad i was finally able to get it and will NEVER go back to anything else!!

must-have spotlight: bare minerals

if you've ever watched TV, chances are you've seen the bare minerals informercial at least once. you may be skeptical, or you may already use the product and love it. if you're in the former group, i'm here to convince you otherwise.

i think bare minerals is quite possibly the best makeup i've ever used. after years of dealing with liquid foundations that broke me out, then mixing and matching different drugstore formulas, i finally broke down and spent the money for the good stuff - and i've never looked back.

not only has this makeup helped clear up my face, which has in turn built my confidence, it has actually cut DOWN on the amount of makeup i buy. despite being a bit pricey, it actually lasts longer than most products out there. i purchased the starter kit in october 2009. the two shades that came with the kit lasted me until february 2010, with everyday application. i bought a full sized color, and that lasted me until mid-august. a full 6 months! i'm still using the starter bronzer (warmth) and have plenty left. the mineral veil gets used a little faster, but is well worth its price and the amount used. when used with the prime time foundation primer, the kit really makes your skin flawless. not to mention the full-sized brushes that come in the kit - great quality tools that maximize coverage and add value to your investment.

i haven't tried the other products in the BM line, like the eyeshadows and blushes, because i have plenty of other stuff i'm trying out first, but i'm sure it's just as good. if you haven't jumped on the BM bandwagon yet, i highly urge you to head to your nearest sephora (or bare minerals store!) and get color matched. it only takes a few seconds, and you're on your way to changing your skin for the better!

(ftc disclaimer: these are my honest opinions, i am not being paid or sponsored by a company for this review)


welcome to my new beauty blog! my name is tara, and my biggest hobby is makeup and all things beauty related. i've been sharing my tips, tricks, and knowledge with my friends for years, and am ready to bring everything to a wider audience.

since entering the "real world," i've been experiencing a blogging slump. in order to get myself back into a posting routine, i'm launching this blog to not only keep and hold my interest, but yours as well.

i have a lot of fun things planned out for this blog, and am hoping the word will spread quickly! i plan to start off with a bang - an awesome giveaway that will be announced shortly.

again, thanks for stopping by! i'm still working out the design and template of this space, so bear with me as it undergoes some major construction.
please spread the word about my blog!