Sunday, April 27, 2014

Surprise!!! :)

Hi! It's meee!! Wait, you have no clue who I am...I'm not Danielle, obviously. So, hello to Danielle's beautiful readers, my name is Alana. I'm 21, pre-nursing student,  coffee addict, and makeup and skincare lover. Anyway, I wanted to talk about something a little different, and that's getting ready for your day! My getting ready routine is geared toward being ready for long school days, but it can easily be for work, or being a stay at home Mom, or anything life brings to you. :) 

My day to day skincare routine is pretty simple, I use the Mary Kay Botanicals Effects skin care line for normal skin. I wash my face in the shower, then use toner and moisturizer after. I'm RELIGIOUS about sunscreen though, I've been wearing Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch sunscreen in SPF 45 on my face daily for five years. Sunscreen is the single best anti-aging product there is! I adore this Neutrogena one because I can reapply it over foundation, it doesn't make my skin greasy, it's only very lightly scented (although I love the smell of sunscreen, it reminds me of summer and the beach!), it's hydrating, and you can use it on all parts of your body. 

My philosophy towards everyday makeup is that it should be fifteen minutes or less, it should make you feel beautiful, and it shouldn't be overly fussy. There's nothing I hate more than having to touch up my makeup five times in a day. I gravitate toward a lot of long wearing makeup and natural finish skin products because they last! Having your foundation broken down and mascara smudged under your eyes at 2 in the afternoon is just no fun. I took a risk with my makeup, for me. I usually wear lots of softly smoked shadows and nude lipglosses, but I decided to make my lips the focus of my makeup! I also used all drugstore products and I tried to really limit the amount of things I used, since I wanted this look to be easy to recreate, if you so desire. Makeup risks feel a little weird at first, much like all changes we endure, but I felt really comfortable, confident, and happy , so I'll definitely be wearing this again and again! :) 

Today I used my Revlon Colorstay (for normal/dry skin) foundation mixed with my sunscreen (to sheer it out, I wanted a "my skin but smoother" look, I wanted my freckles to show through but not sacrifiace the long wear of my foundation!) all over my face and I blended it down my neck with my Real Techniques Buffing Brush; then I used my Rimmel Wake Me Up concealer under my eyes, around my nose, and on my chin (I wanted to cover some old acne scarring)  then set everything with my Rimmel Stay Matte powder (which I didnt put in the picture because the lid broke yesterday!) in Translucent. I always use translucent powder because then I never have to match it to my skin tone, and it it keeps me from looking over powdered! As for eyebrows, I didn't touch them, aside form running a spoolie (you could also clean off a used up mascara wand!) through them with a little bit of Vaseline to tame them a bit, and make them all go in one direction! However, I've always been a fan of using a matte eyeshadow slightly lighter than your brow hairs (especially if you gave dark eyebrows, but if you're a blonde, a shade darker looks lovely) on an angled brush to shape and define them. I do this only when I'm wearing a dark smoky look, so they stay strongly defined, since I like them that way! 

I wanted my lips to be the focus, so I kept my eyes and cheeks very simple, but still defined. On my cheeks I used my favorite e.l.f. Blush/Bronzer duo! I just used my blush brush and dipped it into both sides of the pan to create a custom bronzed pink shade that looks really natural! It's probably my favorite wear to wear both blush and bronzer and be really quick. I also used whatever was left on my brush after I applied it on my cheeks and blended it on my temples, just to warm them up a tiny bit! For my eyes, I used a beautiful Mary Kay bronze eyeliner and blended it into my lashline, since I just wanted my lashline to look thicker naturally! Then for mascara, I used two or three coats of my Revlon mascara! Lips, lips, lips!! I've always loved red lips (really, who doesn't?!) but never wore them day to day because they didn't stay on for me, I was always snacking and drinking water and they'd just smudge and smudge. I wore the Rimmel Show Off lip lacquer in Big Bang, and I LOVE it. It doesn't get flaky or patchy at ALL, and lasts for at least four hours! It does fade, but it fades evenly to a strawberry pink color that is still really pretty, so it didn't bother me. I wore this makeup for over ten hours and I only had to adjust my lips once after eating! 

That's all beautiful souls! Have a beautiful, wonderful, magical day, you deserve it. 

xoxo, Alana

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Top 5 Under $5 Spring Nail Polishes

For spring, I really love pastels and vivid bright colors. I try to steer away from anything too dark, as I prefer to keep my nails short, especially during the warmer months, because I feel like it's less maintenance that way, and dark colors can make short nails look stubby! To be honest, I'm not very good at applying nail polish. I usually make a huge mess all over my cuticles, and I often say that I spend more time with nail polish remover and cotton swabs than I do with the actual polish itself.

So now, let's jump right into my Top 5 Under $5 Spring Nail Polishes!

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Nail Color -- Coral Reef. Coral Reef is such an incredible, vivid coral color that screams springtime! This is definitely a sunny weather color that is super on trend for spring and summer, but I find that this color really picks me up during the dreary winter months (and let me tell you, I wore it a lot toward the end of this winter because I was dying for the warm seasons!). It is a very bright coral, without being too over-the-top. I get compliments every time I wear this!

L'Oreal Color Riche Nail Lacquer -- I Pink I'm In Love. This is such a pretty baby pink color, and it's on my nails right now! I love the formula of the L'Oreal Color Riche polishes because they apply beautifully and opaquely, and are very true to color. This is such a girly color, but you could easily add a bit of an edge to it by adding a slate gray accent.

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Nail Color -- Lacey Lilac. This lilac color is absolutely stunning on any skin tone. I love that it is a dusty lilac color as opposed to a full on bright lilac, because it keeps it very chic yet girly. When I'm going for something a little more toned-down, but I still want a pretty color on my nails, this is the polish I reach for, especially as the seasons are changing.

Revlon Nail Enamel -- Dreamer. Dreamer is very similar to my beloved Essie Bikini So Teeny. It's not quite as periwinkle, and leans more toward a sky blue color, but it still has just a touch of purple in it that gives your nails a really unique look! It applies beautifully, as most of the Revlon polishes do, and is a great option if you are like me and cringe at the thought of spending $8 on a tiny bottle of polish. 

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Nail Color -- Mint Sorbet. I absolutely love mint green, and this nail color is the most perfect mint green polish I've ever owned. It is definitely much more of a grassy green color than, say, the ever-popular Essie Mint Candy Apple (which I tend to consider more of a Tiffany baby blue, although it's a beautiful color in its own right). If anything, I'd say it's more of a dupe for Essie Fashion Playground, but for less than half the cost!

You may notice I really love the Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Nail Color! It is probably my most favorite brand of drugstore nail polish, simply because it's so inexpensive, long-wearing, and it applies like a dream! They have a great selection of colors, and according to their website, they sell it in a lot of countries.

What's your most worn nail color this spring?

- d.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Casual Spring/Summer Fashion

Recently I had the idea to step a little bit out of my comfort zone, and into the world of fashion. I'm a costume designer, not a fashion designer, so I'm not always comfortable talking about my style (or lack thereof). Most days, I'm a jeans and an easy top kind of girl. But lately I've been trying to step out of comfort zone and play with my wardrobe a little bit more! I have a closet full of clothes, and I'm constantly buying new things, so I thought I would have a little fun and see what I could put together that I thought would be great for spring and summer.


I think this first outfit would be really great for a day in the sun. It was pretty warm when these photos were taken, but I was at a marina (as you may be able to tell by all the boats), so it did get a bit chilly when the wind came in. This outfit is perfect for layering, and you could add some tights for a cool night on the beach! I kept everything pretty neutral, and this outfit would look great with a bright lip. Since I went a bit natural with the makeup, though, I added a pop of color with my red Keds!
Crop top: Bethany Mota for Aeropostale
Cardigan: Hand-me-down from my mom (and it's become a staple piece in my wardrobe year-round!)
Belt: Aeropostale - This isn't the exact same belt, as I've had it for years! Aero has some great high quality belts that last a long time.
High-rise shorts: Forever21 - These shorts are no longer available. I purchased them last year, mid-summer. If you would like to get a similar look though, I'd check out H&M, which has an incredible selection of high-rise and high-waisted shorts!
Shoes: Keds
Bandana: Walmart

This next outfit is really easy and carefree. It's definitely for great those warm days where you want to look put together, without putting in a ton of effort. That's the beauty of dresses, right? I love that I'm seeing denim just about everywhere this year, and I feel like it's just a great way to take an ordinary dress from simple to stylish! For shoes, I think this would look great with white Converse, but I only had my black ones, which I think looked great as well. It would also look great with a cute pair of wedges!
Dress: Target
Denim Vest: Target - yes, it's a child's size. I'm a fairly small person and can fit into some large and extra large children's tops. However, I've seen some really great denim vests in just about every trendy clothing store.
Mini Affirmation Bracelets: BCBGeneration - Fearless and Tough - They no longer have the "Tough" affirmation bracelet in the color that I purchased it in, but they still have it in a cute pastel blush color!
Shoes: Converse

And just in case you're wondering, my sunglasses are from Target! I love Target for sunglasses, because it's so inexpensive and they have a ton of different styles. I'm very picky about sunglasses, but I absolutely love the slightly-oversized wayfarer shape mixed with the very subtle cat eye angle. On my nails, I'm wearing Essie Bikini So Teeny, which I mentioned in my February favorites, and I'm still absolutely loving!

Which of these two outfits do you like best? 

- d. 

ps. enjoy a picture of the adorable baby ducks we saw while at the marina!

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Essential Makeup Brushes

Let me tell you right now, this is a post that has been a long time in the works. It's definitely going to be a long one, so get a snack and some strawberry lemonade, and prepare for some reading!

This is something that was requested by my dear friend Sarah (who writes the awesome blog Diary of a Beauty Padawan). She is fairly new to makeup (hence the title "Beauty Padawan") and asked me to write a blog post about makeup brushes -- what to look for, what some of my favorites are, what I use each type of brush for, etc. 

The topic of makeup brushes is vast, and I could go on and on about different types of brushes. So instead of talking about a ton of different types, I'm going to talk about my must-haves for the face and for the eyes, as well as examples in different price ranges. 

Jump to...

For the face:

Large Powder/Blush Brushes: I always like to have a large powder brush when doing my makeup. For large powder brushes, I prefer to go for the classic flat domed style brush. I prefer it to be more of a medium density, so that it applies a solid amount of product without packing it on and creating a cakey appearance. I find that this kind of brush is great for setting makeup, blending out blush, and rolling on powder. I often use this kind of brush for a soft application of blush as well.

Budget: e.l.f. Studio Complexion Brush - $3; EcoTools Large Powder Brush - $7.99; Morphe C110 Tapered Powder - $9.99; Real Techniques Powder Brush - $10
Mid-range: Sigma F20 Large Powder Brush - $29; Crown C140 Chisel Deluxe Dome - $20.93
High-end: MAC 134 Large Powder Brush - $53; Wayne Goss Brush 11 - $48; Hakuhodo K002 Powder Brush Round and Flat - $82

Duo-fibre Brushes: Another great brush for setting powder is a duo-fibre face brush, sometimes known as stippling brushes. Because of the duo-fibre, it applies product very lightly. If you have a blush that is too dark for your skin, I would definitely recommend using a duo-fibre brush to apply it, as it will apply the blush more lightly than a standard blush brush. You can also use this type of brush to apply foundation, although personally it's not my favorite method of application.

Budget: e.l.f. Studio Stipple Brush - $3; EcoTools Sheer Finish Kabuki Brush - $6.99; Real Techniques Duo Fibre Collection - $20 (comes with three brushes); Crown C406 Duo Fibre Face - $8.49
Mid-range: Sigma F15 Duo Fibre Powder/Blush Brush - $23
High-end: MAC 187 Duo Fibre Face Brush - $42; Sephora Pro Stippling Brush - $35; Hakuhodo Duo Fibre Powder Brush C - $54

Flat Foundation Brushes: While flat foundation brushes aren't exactly my favorite for applying foundation, I definitely do believe they should have a place in everyone's brush collection. I prefer very dense, synthetic fiber brushes for foundation, as they are much easier to clean.

Budget: e.l.f. Studio Angled Foundation Brush - $3; Real Techniques Foundation Brush - $8; EcoTools Flat Foundation Brush - $5.99; Sonia Kashuk Core Tools Large Foundation Brush - $10.99; Crown Deluxe Jumbo Foundation - $13.13
Mid-range: Sigma F60 Foundation - $18; Sephora Pro Foundation Brush - $28
High-end: MAC 190 Foundation Brush - $34; Bobbi Brown Foundation Brush - $40; Hakuhodo G519 Foundation Brush 20 - $48

Buffing Brushes: Buffing brushes are my preference for applying foundation, as it really buffs the product in as opposed to painting it on the skin. Like regular foundation brushes, I prefer very dense, synthetic fibers. The density and shape of buffing brushes really allows for even, streak-free application. They are also perfect for blending out any blush or contouring that you may have gone overboard on.

Budget: Real Techniques Expert Face Brush - $9; Morphe C439 Deluxe Buffer - $13.95
Mid-range: Sigma Sigmax Kabuki Kit - $84 (available individually for $21 each); Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blending Brush - $25
High-end: Marc Jacobs The Face II Sculpting Foundation Brush #2 - $48; Sephora Pro Airbrush - $34

Domed Contour Brushes: Most people I know prefer angled blush brushes for contouring. I actually prefer a small domed brush for contouring, because I feel like it really gets under the cheekbones and helps to define your bone structure.

Budget: e.l.f. Studio Small Tapered Brush - $3; Real Techniques Setting Brush - $8; Mophe C437 Pro Blender/Contour - $6.99; Sigma E50 Large Fluff - $14; Crown C437 Pro Domed Blender - $6.99
Mid-range: OCC Small Blush/Powder Brush #011 - $24
High-end: MAC 109 Small Contour Brush - $39; Sephora Pro Contour Brush - $30; Hakuhodo J210 Blush Brush Round - $44

For the eyes:

Flat Shader Brushes: To apply shadow all over the lid, I like to use a flat shader brush, or a paddle-style brush. I prefer when these brushes are stiff and dense, to ensure a solid application of color, and they are also great for under the eyes when used with a careful hand.

Budget: e.l.f. Studio Eyeshadow "C" Brush - $3; e.l.f. Studio Concealer Brush - $3; Morphe C124 Firm Shadow - $3.75; Sigma E55 Eye Shading - $12
Mid-range: MAC 139 Eye Shader Brush - $25
High-end: Hourglass All Over Shadow Brush - $30; Bobbi Brown Eye Sweep Brush - $33; Hakuhodo S126 Eyeshadow Brush Round and Flat - $52

Blending Brushes: Personally, I think blending brushes are my #1 must-have brush. I find that you can do just about anything with a blending brush -- from blending out and setting concealer, to sweeping color all over the lid. The most well-known use for a blending brush is, of course, blending out shadows. For this you need something that is small enough to fit into the crease, but large enough to blend without creating a harsh wall of color.

Budget: EcoTools Eye Enhancing Duo Set - $5.99; Morphe C330 Blending Crease - $4.29; Sigma E25 Blending - $12; Sonia Kashuk Core Tools Pointed Blending Brush - $3.99
Mid-range: Wayne Goss Brush 06 - $25; MAC 217 Blending Brush - $24; OCC Tapered Blending Brush #004 - $22
High-end: Bobbi Brown Eye Blender Brush - $33; MAC 224 Tapered Blending Brush - $32

Pencil Brushes: Pencil brushes are great for creating a sultry, smokey look. Typically very dense, they are ideal for blending out creamy pencils or smudging shadows along the lashline. They are also fantastic for creating a cut crease eye look, because they are precise and defined.

Budget: Makeup Geek Pencil Brush - $7.99; Morphe C431 Precision Pencil Crease - $3.95; Sigma E30 Pencil - $12; EcoTools Sharpen and Smudge Duo Brush - $3.99
Mid-range: Make Up For Ever 212 Medium Precision Smudger Brush - $25; MAC 219 Pencil Brush - $25
High-end: Bobbi Brown Eye Smudge Brush - $30

Fine Liner Brushes: Fine liner brushes are great for creating a very thin line or a defined winged liner. You can also use a fine artist's brush for this. I prefer short, fine tapered tips for fine liner brushes, as well as synthetic fibers for easy clean up. The great thing about fine liner brushes is that they are, in general, extremely affordable!

Budget: Real Techniques Fine Liner Brush - $6; Real Techniques Silicone Liner Brush - $6; Makeup Geek Bent Liner Brush - $6.99; Crown M4 Eyeliner Brush - $2.45, Sigma E05 Liner - $12; Sephora Classic Precision Liner Brush - $12
Mid-range: MAC 209 Eye Liner Brush - $20; Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Liner Brush - $27

Angled/Push Liner Brushes: Angled and push liner brushes are great for both lining your eyes and filling in your brows. My personal preference, again, are synthetic bristles, as it creates for easier cleanup. These brushes are super versatile and are perfect for those who are just starting out with liner.

Budget: e.l.f. Studio Small Angled Brush - $3, e.l.f. Studio Flat Eyeliner Brush - $3; Sigma E65 Small Angle - $12; Sigma E15 Flat Definer - $12; Sephora Pro Brow Brush - $15
Mid-range: MAC 208 Angled Brow Brush - $20; MAC 266 Small Angle Brush - $20; MAC 212 Flat Definer Brush - $24; Becca Brow/Liner Brush - $24; Laura Mercier Flat Eyeliner Brush - $25; Hakuhodo G521 Eyeliner Brush - $20
High-end: Bobbi Brown Eye Definer Brush - $30

Now the next question is, what's better, natural hair or synthetic

Well the answer isn't black and white; it all depends on what you want out of your brushes. Personally, if I am using a liquid or cream product, I will choose a synthetic fiber brush, as it is much easier to clean wet products from synthetic fibers. The synthetic fibers will also absorb less of the product than a natural hair brush. Synthetic fibers are most suitable for vegans.

On the other hand, natural hair brushes will pick up and disperse pigment more effectively than synthetic, meaning that you will get a stronger application of color with a natural hair brush. That is due to the porous nature of the hair that make up the brushes. Natural hair brushes also dry a lot more quickly than synthetic brushes, but are not vegan or cruelty-free.

And that's it for today's post! If you stuck through this wall-of-text, I applaud you! I know my back sure hurts from sitting here typing this up ;)

What are your must-have brushes?

- d.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bronzed and Smokey with the Too Faced A La Mode Eyes Palette

I originally wanted to do this look as like a super easy wash of color type of look. But as I started getting into it, I found the look getting smokey and dramatic, and I decided I really liked it that way! +Andrew and I were playing with lighting and angles in a lot of these photos, so the quality of the photos may not be the best, but hopefully they're good enough that you can tell what I did!

I started out with the skin. I wanted to go pretty light in coverage, so I used the Rimmel Matte BB Cream all over my face. Something I've recently been trying out is using the Maybelline Fit Me Shine Free Foundation Stick in "Cappuccino" as a contour/bronzer. What I learned after the first time trying is, though, is to use a light hand when applying this as it can get out of control pretty easily. I applied it straight from the stick in small lines -- along the hairline, jawline, and under my cheekbones -- then blended it out with my fingertips. This product is very buildable, so like I said, use a light hand. So far I think I'm liking it. I got this idea after seeing the new Nars Matte Multiples in "Altai" and "Vientaine." From here, I let my skin sit while moving onto the brows.

For my brows, I took the color "Triple Fudge" from the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette and filled in my brows, starting at the arch to give it a really defined appearance. Then I set it with my Anastasia Clear Brow Gel. I find that "Triple Fudge" is kind of like the powder version of my Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in "Dark Brown," but applies more lightly for a more natural-looking brow. I then applied my MAC Studio Finish Concealer with an angled brush under the brow to help give some extra definition. I also applied this concealer in a very thin layer all over my lid to help get rid of any discoloration, before applying a light dusting of my Revlon Photo Ready Translucent Finisher

From here, I moved onto the eyes. The first thing I did was take "Salted Caramel" from the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette and rocked it in the crease, just to help everything blend a bit more easily. Then, with a pencil brush, I took "Soleil" from the A La Mode Palette and carefully placed this color in my crease and along the upper lashline, connecting the two with a C-shape in the outer v. I then took a clean blending brush and blended the product in the crease to get rid of the harsh line. I then took "Cannes" on a flat stiff brush and very deliberately applied it on the bare section of the C, as well as the center of the lid. Then I took the same blending brush I used in the crease and blended "Soleil" and "Cannes" together. Something I noticed about these two shades is that they do blend together extremely well, but they are also easily overblended. Since I didn't want this look to be overblended, I went back in a few times and reapplied the colors to make them appear more intense.

After I felt that my two bronzier colors were intense enough for my liking, I took my NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in "Milk" and highlighted my inner corner. Since this is a very thick product, you only need a little bit. I took it from my inner corner and blended it through the inner third of the lid. I applied this only to make the next shades pop a bit more. On the inner third of the eye, I mixed "St. Tropez" and "Riviera" together to make a natural yet shimmery highlight shade. I also applied this mix under my brow. Then on the very inner corner, I lightly applied "La Croisette," just to add even more brightness. 

For the liner, I took "De La Mer" on an angled liner brush and pressed this into the lashline, creating a subtle wing. On the outer corner, I flicked the angled brush upward, to blend the navy blue with the bronze shades while still creating a defined wing. I also took "De La Mer" on a pencil brush and made sure that it all blended well while still adding a smokey effect. I also applied this to the lower lashline, blending inward and stopping about halfway. 

Once I got to this point in the look, I had planned on using false lashes, as it just kept becoming more and more dramatic, so I applied a very, very thin line of black liner using my Maybelline Line Stiletto Liquid Liner in "Blackest Black." Then I applied a few generous coats of mascara with the Maybelline Volum' Express The Rocket mascara, on both my top and bottom lashes. Interestingly enough, I actually really liked using this mascara for this look, even though in my last favorites post I said I hated it. It seems to me that this is a good mascara for more dramatic looks, where you want super black dramatic lashes. At the very least, I will use up this tube. Then I tightlighted using Milani Liquid Eye Eyeliner Pencil to add extra drama. 

Now that the eyes were done, I moved back to the skin. To conceal any imperfections and darkness under my eyes, I took my trusty Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer and applied it with my clean fingers to really melt it into the skin. From here, I lightly powdered with my Revlon Photo Ready Translucent Finisher, and took my Physician's Formula Happy Booster Glow and Mood Boosting Translucent Powder on a small fluffy brush just on top of the cheekbones for an added glow. For blush, I used Milani Baked Blush in "Bella Rosa," which is INSANELY pigmented. I used a duofibre brush to very lightly apply it, and I still had to really blend it out with a kabuki brush, to keep from looking like a clown! To finish it all off, I applied Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquer in "Nude Eclipse." 

And that's it! For a full review on the Too Faced A La Mode Palette, you can click here. Are you planning on buying this palette? 

Where would you wear this look? 

- d. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March Favorites! + Un-Favorite?

Alright so I think this month's favorites kind of makes up for last month's lack of favorites. I'm actually having trouble narrowing things down this month! Also, at this end of this post, I've decided to add on one un-favorite, since I did discover something I wasn't the biggest fan of this month as well. All of my favorites for this month are available in a collection on Luvocracy, so you can view and purchase them all in one place!

Rimmel London BB Cream Matte -- Light. I honestly expected to hate this product when I first got it. It's an interesting consistency, for one. It starts out incredibly thin. So thin that you have to be careful when opening the tube, because it can get pretty messy. However, as you begin to apply it to your skin, it gets very thick and sticky, and you almost wonder if it will blend in at all. But then, it starts to warm up, and it melts into your skin. It definitely gives a very light coverage, but on no-makeup makeup days, I like to mix this in with my moisturizer to even out my skintone just a bit, while also adding SPF. I wouldn't say it's completely matte, but I can confidently walk out the door without powdering and not feel like an oily mess.

Maybelline Line Stiletto Ultimate Precision Liquid Liner -- Blackest Black. It's not secret that I love my L'Oreal Carbon Black Lineur Intense Felt Tip Liquid Liner, which was featured in one of my earliest favorites posts. I often feel like I run out of this liner so quickly, though, that I almost couldn't justify the $8 price tag -- not when I'm repurchasing once a month. Okay, so I could totally justify it. I can justify anything when it comes to beauty products. But I do like to get a great deal on products as well. This Maybelline Line Stiletto Ultimate Precision Liquid Liner uses the same type of applicator (which is the #1 reason I loved my Lineur Intense for so long), applies just as smoothly, wears the same, and the best part? It's a few dollars cheaper. Which makes Maybelline Line Stiletto Ultimate Precision Liquid Liner my new go-to black liquid liner!

Milani Baked Blush -- Luminoso. I purchased this blush earlier this month, and talked about it a bit in a haul post. I have totally fallen in love with this blush. Not only is it incredibly pigmented, but it is a beautiful, natural-looking color. It's great for those days where you don't want to fuss with contouring and highlighting because it adds a natural highlight just from the shimmering appearance of the product. It's definitely going to be a favorite all through spring and probably summer!

Real Techniques Silicone Liner Brush. This brush was so hard to find that I eventually ended up purchasing it on the Ulta website, along with my Too Faced A La Mode palette. After using it a few times, I realized why it was so hard to find. This "brush" features a silicone nib as opposed to bristles, which means that it's super easy to clean and glides smoothly on the sensitive eye area. The silicone tip doesn't pick up a ton of product, which means that you'll never get an excessive amount of product on your brush. Not only does that make application cleaner, but it means you'll never waste product!

Hello Kitty Cosmetic Spa Headband. This seems like such a silly thing to add to my favorites, doesn't it? However, this thing has made my daily skin care routine immensely easier. I'm a total sucker for anything Sanrio, so when I saw this in Bed Bath & Beyond, I had to have it! It's a simple, super plush elastic headband that pulls all your hair back without tugging. I also noticed that it's great for use in the shower to keep your hair out of your face on days you aren't planning to wash your hair!

Bath and Body Works 3-Wick Candle -- Coconut Leaves. Earlier this month, I commented about how I hate spring. I have the most horrible allergies that cause these terrible sinus headaches, and the springtime brings out the worst in my allergies. However, this candle reminds me of summer and relaxes me, even when the sinus pressure is getting unbearable. The description says "Transport your senses to the tropics with this fusion of juicy tangerine and papaya that gives way to soothing coconut and vanilla notes." Coconut and vanilla are two of my favorite scents (despite the fact that I hate eating coconut), and the fruity scents in this candle liven it up to really make you feel like you're on a beach! It reminds me a lot of my high school summer vacations, back when I lived on the beach and loved using tanning oils!

Blender Bottle Classic. This seems like such a random and silly thing to have on my favorites this month. But while I was at Bed Bath & Beyond with +Andrew earlier this month, I saw this on sale and decided it was time to finally cave and purchase one. I am a sucker for a fresh smoothie in the morning. Most days, smoothies are my breakfast. However, sometimes I simply don't have time in the morning to make myself one. And smoothies settle so quickly, how could I ever pre-make smoothies for myself!? Well, the Blender Bottle is my perfect solution. For example, this morning I was up bright and early. But I got to get a few minutes of extra sleep because I made my smoothie last night. When I woke up this morning, my smoothie had settled, but with a few good shakes of my Blender Bottle, it was smooth and tasted (almost) fresh! This bottle is such a great way to keep yourself eating healthy, even on the go.

Now moving on to my one un-favorite of the month...

Maybelline Volum' Express The Rocket Mascara. I really wanted to like this mascara. I heard so many good things about it, so much hype, and sadly, I was very let down. It is such a sticky and wet mascara that I couldn't apply it without it getting everywhere. And it was so hard to apply more than a single coat without it clumping together and become a smeary black mess. I also found that it flakes and smudges under my eyes really badly, a problem I've never had with a mascara before. As much as everyone raves about this mascara, I just can't get on board! Then again, I'm so funny with mascara, as I didn't like Benefit's They're Real either.

That's it for this month's favorites! Don't forget that I have all of these products listed in a collection on my Luvocracy page for easy access.

Anything you want to see me talk about? Let me know in the comments below!

- d.