real techniques

January 2014 Favorites

januaryfave2In most parts of the USA January has been cruel, smacking us with record snowfall and arctic vortexes that have brought screaming winds and sub-zero temperatures. With that mess going on outside, January has also been a good month to cozy up indoors and try out some new beauty items. Before the next  blizzard hits, let’s get started with my January 2014 favorites:

Alien by Thierry Mugler – I discovered Alien via my pretend internet best friend LeighAnnSays and after running through a tiny Sephora sample I knew I had to splurge on the full size. Luckily some Christmas cash came my way and gave me the perfect opportunity to pick up this gorgeous fragrance. It has notes of solar accord, jasmine sambac, cashmeran, vanilla, and transparent amber (truth: I don’t know what half of those words even mean, but Sephora tells me it’s so). Overall I’d describe it as a deep, spicy scent perfect for a winter date night. If you’re looking for something that veers from run of the mill flowery/sweet/girly scents, Alien will probably be right up your alley.



Maybelline Master Hi-Light Hi-Lighting Bronzer (50 Light Bronze) –  Long, silly names aside, Maybelline has had some impressive Spring 2014 launches, and the Master Hi-Light range is no exception. Serving triple-duty as a blush, bronzer, and highlighter, Light Bronze is a mosaic of champagne, rose, taupe, and chocolate colored powders that when swirled together produce a lovely shimmery peachy bronze. Pretend internet BFF #2, ChelseaWears, recently raved about wearing bronzer all over her cheeks as a kind of blush/contour combo, and I figured if my pale sister can pull that off I could give it a try as well. Dusting Light Bronze all over the apples and hollows of my cheeks does a great job of warming up my face and giving it a little extra dimension, especially during these blah January days. Next time Maybelline goes on sale at the drugstore I will definitely be picking up another shade or two from this range.



Real Techniques Buffing Brush – In the interest of pampering my skin a bit (or at least not torturing it) during this frigid winter I’ve stuck to a pretty strict BB Cream-only regimen for the past month. (I miss you, Revlon Colorstay, but I’m sure we’ll meet again when humid springtime rolls around.) At first I was applying my various BBs/tinted moisturizers with my hands, which got the job done, but still felt a little messy and unsanitary to me. Then I gave the Real Techniques Buffing Brush a shot at the job, and I haven’t looked back since. It seems to blend product seemlessly without irritating my dry skin, and is the perfect size and shape to cover large areas and get into small spots near the nose and eyes. It’s no secret that the Real Techniques line is a major hit, but I’d have to say the Buffing Brush earns top honors in my book.




Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner (001 Black) – At a Sephora makeup class a few months back I discovered the beauty and pain of tightlining. (For those of you unaware, tightlining is the cringe-inducing practice of adding eyeliner to your upper inner lashline.) While I couldn’t deny that my tightlined  eyes looked great, the idea of sticking an eyeliner pencil so close to my eyeball made me seriously squirm. In the end it seems like this just takes patience and practice, but the key to a good tightline is also the right eyeliner. It should be fairly creamy so you’re not dragging and pulling at your delicate eyelid (typing that sentence just made me shiver), but also a product that will set to a waterproof finish so all your hard work doesn’t get blinked away in three seconds. So far I’ve found the Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl eyeliner to be the best at getting the tightline job done and sticking around for hours. I prefer liquid or gel eyeliner on my upper lashline, so this really only gets used on my upper and lower waterline, but for that purpose it’s perfect.


NYC Quick Dry Nail Polish (Grand Central Station 202) – After a glowing recommendation on Nouveau Cheap I knew I had to give NYC’s Grand Central Station a try when my Seche Vite topcoat finally devolved into goopy obsolescence. For only $1.99 this is an affordable top coat that dries almost instantly and helps my nails stay chip-free for days on end. I find it works best to reapply a top coat every 2-3 days to keep your color locked in. Of course, top coats work differently for everyone, but with Grand Central Station’s low price and availability at most drugstores, you really can’t lose by giving it a shot.


I hope you enjoyed this roundup of the products I’ve been loving in January. Please leave a comment and let me know what have been some of your favorites from the past month! Stay warm…

-LMC ♥

October Favorites

Welcome back to another Monday! Instead of doing a Weekend Wrap-Up today I wanted to get in an October Favorites post before we get too far into November (and I head out of town tomorrow). You can tell that the cold has definitely hit NYC, as the majority of these products are dedicated to achieving vampy fall makeup looks or keeping my skin smooth and hydrated. Here are my must have products for the month of October–

october favorites

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain (Crush) – The original drugstore chubby lip crayon, you really can’t beat the Revlon Balm Stains. They’ve come out with Lacquer and Matte versions recently (see the shades I picked up here), but I have to say the original Balm Stains are still #1 in my heart. This particular shade creates the perfect wine colored lip for fall, plus it stays put for hours and leaves behind a beautiful stain when it begins to wear away. My boyfriend even commented that he loves all the fall lip colors I’ve been wearing lately… the truth is it’s pretty much just been this one!

L’Occitane Lavender Hand Cream – I picked this up earlier in the month after my Sephora Skincare Basics course (actually more of a spa day– check out my post here). It’s a rich cream that I’ve been applying nightly before bed, and so far my hands have stayed soft and moisturized despite the chilly air. I’ve also sampled the Rose scent, which was great, but I’m really loving the Lavender best– it definitely has some soothing aromatherapy properties that help to totally relax me!

Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush – This brush comes as a part of the Real Techniques Your Eyes Enhanced Starter Set, and as far as I know cannot be purchased on its own. That’s really a shame, since I’d love about 10 of them in my collection. At the risk of inciting a beauty community war, I’d say that this fluffy blending brush does the job of a MAC 217– only better. An essential tool for packing color on the lid or blending out the crease, if I had to live with just one eyeshadow brush forever more, this would be it.

Milani Easybrow (Natural Taupe) – Let’s start by saying, my eyebrows are kind of crazy. I lust after the thick arches that Lily Collins is famous for, but instead I’m left with brows that are somehow both thick (the hairs themselves) and sparse (they’re few and far between). I’ve been on a quest for the perfect product to give them a little extra oomph, and would appreciate not draining my bank account in the process (Benefit and Anastasia, I’m looking at you). While the Miliani Easybrow pencil isn’t perfect (the tip is a little too wide for my taste and the packaging breaks easily), the color and texture of the product are the best I’ve come across. A cool taupe that seems to unite my naturally dark brows with my bleached blonde hair, the pencil has a slightly waxy consistency that holds my hairs in place and fills in gaps without being too noticeable. I wouldn’t give this one holy grail status, but I have reached for it most days this month, so I thought it deserved a mention.

Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask – It seems that charcoal based detoxifying masks have been quite the rage lately, so I was excited to see Freeman’s came out with their version that allowed me to jump on the bandwagon at a drugstore price. The mask features activated charcoal to absorb oil and impurities and black sugar to exfoliate dead skin cells. This mask is fairly gentle and leaves my skin feeling smooth and clear after each use. It can be a little messy to apply and remove so I like to put on my bathrobe, apply the mask and relax on the couch for 5-10 minutes, and then jump in the shower to rinse it away.

The Body Shop Moringa Beautifying Oil – This all-purpose oil (they recommend it for face, body, and hair) has become a staple in my quest to keep winter dry skin at bay. It contains a blend of moringa seed, kukui, sweet almond, and marula oils, and I must admit I was first draw to it hoping it would contain the same skin benefits as the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm. A few times a week I like to massage a couple of drops of this oil on to my face before bed and I wake up the next morning looking radiant.

I’d love to hear about any new discoveries or old favorites that you’ve been reaching for on the daily. Leave a comment and tell me about it!

-LMC ♥

What’s In My Travel Makeup Bag

I left bright and early Saturday morning for a week-long business trip, so sadly there isn’t much excitement to share in a Weekend Wrap-up this week. Rather, since I’m traveling, I thought I’d share the items that made it into my travel makeup bag. I’d say there’s a good mix of old favorites and new products I’m trying out. Most were selected because they’re either easy to travel with, good for natural (work day) makeup looks, or because I couldn’t go seven whole days without them– or a combination of all three. If you’d like to hear my thoughts on any of these products I’d be happy to do an in-depth review, just leave me a comment and let me know!


Face: NYX Dewy Finish Setting Spray, Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Concealer (Light), Revlon ColorStay foundation (110 Ivory), Maybelline Dream Lumi highlighting concealer (Radiant), Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Primer, NXY blush (Taupe), & Revlon Photoready cream blush (Coral Reef)

Eyes: Maybelline The Rocket mascara (Black waterproof), Maybelline Great Lash mascara (Clear), Maybelline Color Tattoo eyeshadow (Nude Pink- limited edition), Lorac Unzipped eyeshadow palette, Jordana Fabuliner eyeliner (Black), & Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal eyeliner (Black)

Lips: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain (Honey) & L’oreal Le Matte lipcolor (Matte For Me- limited edition)

Tools: Real Techniques Stippling Brush, Sigma Large Angled Contour Brush (F40), Sigma Large Powder Brush (F30), Sigma Tapered Blending Brush (E40), Rite Aid Renewal Eyeshadow Brush, Sigma Small Angle Brush (E65), Eyelash curler (not sure the brand, but it’s from the drugstore) & a Beauty Blender

I hope you enjoyed taking a peek into my travel makeup bag and that your week is off to a great start!

-LMC ♥