Three Must-Have Brushes

I honestly do not have an amazing brush collection, like most bloggers and gurus.  I've always stuck to drugstore and ELF brushes.  I've finally realized good brushes really do the work for you.  I thought it was just lies that spoiled gurus and sales assistants sold to you. Some brushes are a little pricey but I'm beginning to see you get what you pay for.

I'm only willing to pay about $25 for a brush (there's plenty of MAC ones I want for $50-$70 each.) Unless you're a makeup artist, I really don't think those are practical prices.  Luckily, there's Sigma that makes dupes of most MAC brushes.

Over the past month (maybe a little more), I've discovered three new brushes that have made a difference.

MAC #217 Tapered Blending Brush $22.50
(Sigma has multiple similar blending brushes at $9 each.)- This has been on my wish list forever, I finally picked it up with some Christmas money. This is my fourth MAC brush; it really should have been my first.  It makes applying crease color so easy.  It's great for blending out all the eyeshadow once your eye color is complete, too.  I have been using the ELF Blending Brush forever, I assumed it was similar enough but I was completely wrong.  I got rid of my ELF brush a few days after I purchased the MAC one.

Sonia Kashuk Synthetic Concealer Brush $9.99
I was on the hunt for a brush to apply Paint Pots and other cream and liquid products.  Obviously, authentic hair brushes are out of the question (massive buildup and bacteria.) So I ended up doing some research.  This brush was the size I wanted, if it could apply creamy concealer it can apply Paint Pots. I was right. No more using my finger or other brushes definitely not made for cream products. I also love the shape of the handle, the curves are exactly were your hand grip goes, it's a lot more comfortable to hold than regular brushes.

Sigma Tapered Highlight F35 $16
A lot of brands don't offer a highlight brush, just because any brush can easily apply loose powder for a highlight.  I used to use a regular face brush but hold it awkwardly to get the right shape/angle for a highlight. After reading this post, I immediately had to purchase it.  It makes applying highlight powders so easy and looks absolutely flawless.

FOTD using all three brushes:

Sonia Kashuk Concealer Brush to apply MAC Chilled on Ice Paint Pot, MAC 217 Brush to apply Bronze Eye shadow in the crease and outer V. Sigma F35 Brush to apply NYX Nude Pearl Pigment. (Also used MAC Lingering Brow Pencil, L'Oreal Telescopic Mascara, & Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Pencil in Zero.)

Sigma F35 Brush ro apply NYX Nude Pearl Pigment and MAC Well Dressed Blush

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Review: Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strips

I saw these in a magazine ad a few months ago. I thought stick-on nail polish sounded really cool, plus an easy, fast application, mess-free and smell-free. -- wrong.

I picked a box up at Wal*Mart a few weeks ago. I was a little annoyed and shocked at the price - $8.50 My immediate thought was that's a bottle of OPI that will last forever. (Other bloggers have stated they paid as high as $13.) This was just one manicure. Being curious, I still purchased one.

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips in Frock Star

I followed all instructions but the application process was still annoying - I have long, skinny nails. I used 3/4 (length) of each sticker.  But I still had to cut and file down the sides because it completely flooded my nails. - On some nails, it ended up chipping (one ripped) immediately from so much tugging and filing for the perfect fit. Then by that time, the sticker was barely sticky - I ended up using some brush-on nail glue beneath the polish on a few nails to make it stay. - Overall, not worth the time and effort and still looked somewhat chipped. - Only my thumbnail actually looked decent, the sticker was smaller than my nail, so it stretched and fit properly (how instructions say it should.)

I thought this would be easy, fast, nail art. (With skinny nails, wrong, it takes too much effort for the perfect fit.) and great for people who travel or people in the office space - no smell, no mess. again, wrong.  The smell was almost as bad as an original nail polish bottle itself. Plus, it made a mess (paper wise) each sticker has 5 parts - tip, top cover, bottom cover, and the actual sticker itself,  and then the excess polish after you fit it properly. (See below for the mess.)

"Last up to 10 days."  Was another reason why I purchased these.  Most nail polishes only have a flawless look for three days, I thought with an actual sticker there may be hope -  10 days? no way... It already chipped immediately after application.  On the third day of wear, two nails completely peeled off. - Since there was no way to fix those two nails, I just easily peeled the remaining 8 nails off.

I really liked the idea of these, but for skinny nails, it's just not practical. It's not cost effective either. One manicure and then 6 leftover strips, the biggest nail sticker was the size of my toenail. - I would recommend these to people with shorter, wider nails (cut the strips in half and you could have two manicures, plus it will stretch properly and hopefully make a perfect fit.

-no drying time
-glitter was completely smooth (not the flaky kind you get in bottles.)

-too much effort for a perfect fit
-too much chipping and ripping.
-made for larger, wider nails
-messy (paper)
 -last only 3 days

Overall: Stick to nail polish bottles...

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January Favorites

"Favorites" posts/videos discuss the products (and other misc things) you loved for that month. The products can either be purchased that month or (old) "rediscovered" items. Favorites are published at the end of the current month or at the beginning of the following month."

My favorites are pretty overwhelming this month.  Between Christmas gifts, buying items I've just been wanting for awhile with Christmas money, and Makeupalley swaps, I accumulated a lot.  Plus, I had to make a few repurchasing.  Some products I'll do a separate review in the weeks to come.

(New Products)
LUSH Sea Vegetable Soap
I've tried multiple soaps but I have never just loved any of them, I could never more than about a 1oz piece, the thought of repurchasing never crossed my mind. - Finally, I've found one I love.  Mid-month my local LUSH counter had all older soaps 50% this was the best smelling out of the bunch so I got a huge chunk for only $7.  It's just a nice clean smell, citrus meets the ocean. (The description says lavender, but I don't pick that up.) It's somewhat masculine. It has seaweed on the top to get rid of dry spots on your skin.  The only con: Seaweed chunks left in your drain.

LUSH Seanik Shampoo Bar
My hair is amazingly soft; a separate review to come.

MAC 217
I now own 4 MAC brushes, I wish this was the first one I purchased, it's the only one that's really worth it.  Separate review to come.

MAC Beiging Shade Stick
I saw this on someone's blog (can't remember who...) stating they repurchased over and over again, someone else requested a swap with me and had this on their list so I thought I'd try it out.  I have worn it every day since (with Patina in the crease.) I prefer Paint Pots, but when I'm in a hurry, or just lazy, this is my new go-to. It's a great champagne/nude base.

MAC Dangerous Cuvee Paint Pot
Great for smokey eyes, full review a few posts back.

MAC Patina
A soft frosty brown (great for paler skin tones)

Makeup Forever Aqua Eyes 0L
I received the mini set for Christmas, I always wanted to try these but didn't know if they were worth it, this has amazing staying power, it's my new favorite pencil liner.

OPI Black Shatter*
I know this is sold out almost everywhere, I love it, I wear it over every shade and receive so many compliments.  Again, separate review to come.

OPI Fiji Weejee Fawn 
a Champagne/metallic very light nude.

OPI Tickle my France-y
the perfect nude.

Origins VitaZing Moisturizer 
So many people just raved about this, I wanted to try it but didn't want to pay the $40.  Luckily, I ended up arranging a swap for it.  I really wish Origins made a smaller cheaper size to attract more consumers, but this is worth it.  I hate foundation, I never wear any. In the winter I'm faced with splotches and redness, this has little beads that even out your school tone.  I'm not sure how it works exactly I always thought the beads that match your skin tone was a scam, but this one works! I haven't noticed it being amazingly moisturizing (but I don't really have dry skin) but others have said it is.

Sigma Tapered Face Highlighter F35
A highlighter brush was the only thing missing from my brush collection, this was an impulse/she-made-me-do-it after watching a youtube video, buy. but it makes all the difference in the world.  separate review to come.

All of these have been favorites for a long time, but I ran out and had to repurchase this month so I feel like they're worth mentioning again to state I'm still sticking with them.  I've already raved about them enough and still stand by everything I have said.
L'Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black
LUSH Ocean Salt
MAC Viva Glam V 
 Urban Decay Potion Primer - (Professional Size) If you're a normal UDPP user or haven't tried it out, I recommend the professional size (squeeze tube) it's so much easier to apply than the wand, and no more cutting open the wand package to get all the product out.

Osfoora for iPhone
(Twitter Application) There's one for blackberry, too.  I was upset with this app at first, it worked for a week then crashed every time I opened it, I'm not sure if there's a new developer or the old one finally decided to fix the problem, but anyway it's been up and running since.  The standard Twitter for iPhone (previously Tweetie) is good, but it's just missing some features. Osfoora offers: customization, more search options, nearby tweets (pretty creepy), follow Friday, more on the profile view, and easier navigation.  The only con: no push notifications. (I still have to keep the official twitter app to get notified of something.) If you constantly tweet from your phone, the extra features are worth the $2.99 investment.

Papermate Flare Colored Pens
5 bright colored pens, felt/marker-like tip so they write really smoothly. I've been on a hunt for some good (cheap) ones and finally found these.

Vera Bradley Laptop Skin
I always wanted one of these but couldn't justify paying $18 on a sticker.  I guess I finally got annoyed by all the fingerprints and the ugly logo on my computer so I finally purchased it.  It makes my netbook and my laptop look a lot nicer.  Plus, I had a little rectangle left over that could've easily covered any type of phone or iPod.

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