Mourning Princess

This morning I had to do the one thing I've been dreading for most of my adult life. The one thing I knew was coming but never knew exactly when it'd be here. I had to say goodbye to my best friend, my baby girl, and it was absolutely devastating. Princess was a month away from her seventeenth birthday, but you would have never guessed it up until a few months ago.

Her health was on the decline, she'd been rapidly losing weight. Sunday night she refused her food and water, and could barely move her precious little head. Her doctor said if we hadn't brought her in, she would have passed on her own within two hours time. As heartbreaking as it all is, I have to stop myself from crying and remember the adorable, rowdy pup my stepfather gave me for Christmas when I was eleven.

She was a mischievous little dog and outlived her littermates by well over a decade. Somehow she survived all of her horrible eating misadventures: a full rack of ribs, a pound of chocolate, Begonias, dozens of my mother-in-law's Christmas biscotti.

She was kind enough to teach Muscles everything he knows about being a dog. She was his constant companion.

I spent over half my life with her by my side and I will miss her always.


NARS Anna, Audrey, Dominique, Vivien Audacious Lipsticks Review + Swatches

Surprise! I'm still alive! It's October which means I've had a birthday and an anniversary to celebrate, which means gifts! And, thus, makeup!

NARS Audacious Lipsticks gif NARS Audacious Lipsticks

NARS celebrated their 20-year anniversary with the launch of 40 brand new, permanent lipsticks last month. NARScosmetics.com describes them as:
"Single-stroke coverage so shamelessly seductive in touch and texture the sensation is audacious. Forty shades of unabashed luxury for unstoppable impact."
I wanted all 40 immediately, but I slowly brought my list down to a more reasonable 14. I'm kidding! I'm the proud owner of 4. The lipsticks retail for $32, so plan accordingly.

NARS Audacious Lipsticks NARS Anna, Audrey, Vivien, Dominique Audacious Lipsticks

NARS Anna, Audrey, Dominique, and Vivien Audacious Lipstick Swatches NARS Anna, Dominique, Audrey, Vivien Audacious Lipstick swatches

NARS Audacious Lipsticks have a creamy satin finish which makes them incredibly comfortable to wear. I didn't experience any feathering with the four shades I own, and each lasted about four hours between eating and drinking. Vivien and Audrey both left a slight wine-colored stain: Vivien's stain was more berry, and Audrey more rosy. They are super pigmented — you can easily overdo it when applying if you're too heavy-handed. I got a little excited so my lip swatches have all been blotted.

NARS Anna Audacious Lipstick
Anna Audacious Lipstick The official NARS color description is "smokey rose" and I'd say that's pretty accurate. It's a muted, slightly purple rose with cool undertones, and it has quickly become one of my favorites! This shade is available at all retailers that carry NARS.

NARS Anna Audacious Lipstick
NARS Anna Audacious Lipstick NARS Anna Audacious Lipstick

NARS Audrey Audacious Lipstick
Audrey Audacious Lipstick The official NARS color description is "red currant" and I find it to be the perfect muted rosy red. It's bold without being too bright, with the slightest touch of cool undertones. It's available at all retailers that carry NARS.

NARS Audrey Audacious Lipstick
NARS Audrey Audacious Lipstick NARS Audrey Audacious Lipstick

NARS Dominique Audacious Lipstick
Dominique Audacious Lipstick The official NARS color description is "pink lilac" but I find it to be a muted, greyed lavender purple. It's awesome and I am 100% OBSESSED. This shade is available exclusively at Barneys and NARS (and is currently sold out on both websites).

NARS Dominique Audacious Lipstick
NARS Dominique Audacious Lipstick NARS Dominique Audacious Lipstick

NARS Vivien Audacious Lipstick
Vivien Audacious Lipstick The official NARS color description is "red plum" with which I completely agree. It's surprisingly dark and vampy in some light. This shade is available exclusively Barneys and NARS (and is currently sold out on both websites).

NARS Vivien Audacious Lipstick
NARS Vivien Audacious Lipstick NARS Vivien Audacious Lipstick

Bottom Line: These lipsticks are absolutely fantastic. They're everything that everyone has said about them, and much, much more! $32 for a lipstick is a high price to pay but the quality is truly there. At least they're not Tom Ford prices! I can't wait to pick up a few more. The range is so large, I can't help but keep looking...

I overcompensated in the hydration department in preparation for these swatches so my lips are a bit prune-y. Sorry? Here are my bare lips for reference:

Bare lips

Just as a note, my skin tone is NC25 in MAC Mineralize Moisture, 2.5 Warm Sand in Bobbi Brown, and Medium Ivory in Laura Mercier.

Are the NARS Audacious Lipsticks on your radar? They should be! I'd love to know what you think and which ones you're considering!


MAC Alluring Aquatic Collection Swatches + Review

This! Collection! OMG! I gladly never get sucked into the hysteria surrounding MAC's limited edition collections but this spring something happened. Three back-to-back collections caught my eye, some for actual product and others for packaging (there's no denying it) but Alluring Aquatic was IT, the perfect combination!
MAC Alluring Aquatic Lipstick, Extra Dimension Bronzer, Bronzing Powder

My original plan was to get one blush and one lipstick. After seeing swatches of the two blushes in the collection, I decided I had something similar enough to pass on the shade I preferred because I'm trying to make smarter makeup decisions and only get what I need ("need").

MAC Alluring Aquatic Lipstick, Extra Dimension Bronzer, Bronzing Powder

I went for the purple lipstick, go figure. Aphrodite's Shell Extra Dimension Bronzer and Golden Bronzing Powder ended up in my cart along with the lipstick somehow? I couldn't help myself! That compact!

MAC Alluring Aquatic Goddess of the Sea Lipstick

Goddess of the Sea Lipstick (Cremesheen) is described as a dark vibrant violet but I'd say it's more of a berry-plum on me. I adore this color! Like other Cremesheens I own, this one was very creamy and comfortable to wear. It applied nicely, a little sheer but totally buildable.

MAC Alluring Aquatic Goddess of the Sea Lipstick, Aphrodite’s Shell Extra Dimension Bronzer swatched/blended, Golden Bronzing Powder swatched/blended

Aphrodite's Shell Extra Dimension Bronzer is a very pretty, sheer but easily buildable, very slightly rosy-peach bronze. It shows up nicely on my skin but I have to be completely honest here, I know the least amount of all when it comes to bronzer! I think it suits me quite well nonetheless, and gives a nice subtle sheen to the skin. MAC description: Golden bronze with a touch of fine shimmer.

Golden Bronzing Powder surprised me given how shimmery and orange its twin in the permanent line is. There are shimmer particles in this one, but it's soft and flattering. It leans pinker on my skin than Aphrodite's Shell which was another surprise given its name. MAC description: Muted golden tan-beige with shimmer.

MAC Alluring Aquatic Aphrodite’s Shell Extra Dimension Bronzer, Golden Bronzing Powder

Now let's have one final round of applause for the gorgeous metallic teal packaging "elegantly accented" (lol) with water droplets...

MAC Alluring Aquatic Goddess of the Sea Lipstick, Aphrodite’s Shell Extra Dimension, Golden Bronzing Powder

Were you lucky enough to get ahold of the collection during MAC's online release last week? Nordstrom and Macy's both launched online yesterday, and it's set to be in stores on Thursday, May 22nd. What will you be getting, if anything?

...I thought I was done but I ordered two more lipsticks and my very first lipglass yesterday. This collection left me with so little willpower!


Vacation, All I Ever Wanted?

I skipped out on my blog and social media spaces, and before I knew it, it was May! Time totally got away from me but look who's back from their well over a month-long break from the internet! It's me...
Had I planned better (or planned anything at all) there would have been a scheduled post here and there, but I guess my mind decided it was time for a break and immediately switched to vacation mode. My mom and step dad also visited from Maryland and, as should be expected, she and I gravitated to our natural habitat:

ULTA, swiftly followed by Sephora.

I love seeing and reading about what other people are buying even though I'm not one for posting hauls myself. But it's literally all I can talk about right now! I've been a model US consumer thanks to my hoarding of any and all gift cards I'm lucky enough to receive from my loved ones. The same gift cards I obsess over while trying to find that perfect something worthy of their use.

Sephora's Chic Week sale got the best of me (who could resist 15% off?). Beyond that, I finally cashed in a three-year-old Caron's gift card at a Lancôme counter during a loaded free gift with purchase promotion. Plus, I had some credit on HauteLook and MAC released two new collections that made my eyes turn into actual hearts. I couldn't even fit any more makeup in/on/around my vanity (entire apartment) if I wanted to! Because of all that there will probably be some upcoming mini reviews.

Things will be back to normal shortly. I just didn't want to pretend I wasn't gone for forever. If you're reading this, thanks for sticking around!


Spring Has Sprung...?

Spring officially started yesterday and Chicago welcomed its arrival in classic Chicago fashion, with snow. I'm totally envious of everyone exclaiming "spring is finally here!" but I know it'll warm up soon enough. Actually, what I'm most excited about is the cleaning and organizing coming my way. Shocking, I know.

Spring Cleaning Graphic
I have been dying to finish my vanity and makeup storage since my last post about it in November, which truly feels like eons ago. Once it's spray-paint safe outside, I'm going to wrap up that project and get my room in shape.

In anticipation yesterday, I picked up some goodies to go along with my IKEA fira mini chests and writing-desk-turned-vanity from Target. I always feel so weird going to The Container Store, or buying any storage for that matter because it's just more stuff for my other stuff (I can't be alone on this!). Here's what I purchased:

4-DRAWER DESKTOP PAPER ORGANIZER(Hat tip to Ckey Beauty for this find)

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I also made a run to Ulta. Ulta's having their 21 Days of Beauty Steals event right now and I've been pretty good. I mean it! I wanted to try out Tarte Lights, Cameras Lashes! mascara, which was on sale for $10 (reg $19) but I didn't make it in time on Tuesday. It just wasn't meant to be.

Yesterday I took advantage of Butter London polishes being 2 for $15 (reg $15 each) and picked up two beauties. Have you been keeping up with the calendar and running out daily? I want to, but like I said, I've been good. My next purchase is going to be one, or two, of those adorable Too Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blushes which will be 50% OFF (reg $30) on April 4th! I'll definitely be making that purchase online at 12AM to be safe (lol).

What are you looking forward to the most this spring? I'm excited to not have the all of the moisture sucked out of my skin, and to actually wear clothes again. My 2013/14 winter uniform hasn't been cute so I welcome the opportunity to wake up in that department.


Stila's Latest Trend for Spring: Tri-Lined Eyes

Last weekend I went to a great event at Sephora for a mini Stila makeover and introduction to their expanded collection of eyeliner new for Spring 2014. I have to be completely honest here, I got suckered in by the promise of a free Smudge Stick but the three beautiful looks on the invitation didn't hurt!

Stila Tri-Lined Eyes Tutorial

I walked out with a fresh face, samples of their One Step Correct Primer and new CC Cream, and obviously a few new eyeliners. As soon as I got home I dug into my four In the... Palettes to see what colors I already owned, and now I've got quite a little collection growing.

There will be a few more of these events this month so check their events page to see if any are being held in your city.

Stila Tri-Lined Eyes Tutorial Stila Tri-Lined Eyes Tutorial
Stila Tri-Lined Eyes Tutorial eye open Stila Tri-Lined Eyes Tutorial eye closed

This is such a quick and fun look to do. I knew I had to recreate it and show you how to do it yourselves. It's as easy as smudging some liner, applying a bit of thick liner, then another finer flick of liner on top. Done! At Sephora the defining line was made using brown but I'm more a black liner kinda gal. It's a little Halloween-y now, right? Oh well! On my lips I'm wearing Bite Beauty's Luminous Crème Lipstick in Cin Cin.

Products Used:
L'Oréal Infallible Eyeshadow in Iced Latte
Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner in Gilded
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Amber
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Intense Black
Covergirl Clump Crusher Mascara
e.l.f. Eyebrow Kit in Medium

Products used for Stila Tri-Lined Eyes Tutorial

Stila Tri-Lined Eyes Tutorial

Step 1: Pat base (Iced Latte) onto eyelid with finger and blend.
Step 2: Apply bronze (Gilded) to eyelid and smudge with finger to crease.
Step 3: Line upper lash line with orange (Amber) — make it thick.
Step 4: Apply brown (Eyebrow Powder) to crease for soft definition.
Step 5: Line center of lower lash line with bronze eyeliner (Gilded), smudge edges.
Step 6: Give yourself wings (Intense Black) following the edge of the orange line!

I'm definitely going to try the look with Emerald winged out and Melon on the lips. I just need to get myself some more of these liners and a Vinyl Lip Gloss or two! Have you tried any Stila Smudge Sticks or Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliners?

P.S. There's still time to take advantage of Stila's online sale going on now through tomorrow (3/14). Just use code "SPRING25" for 25% off plus free shipping with no minimum. Don't miss out!


Keeping Succulents Alive

Quite some time has passed since my last succulent update! Winter came in full force with such unbearable cold that my poor plants have been removed from the window sills almost completely. Their new home is atop an IKEA EXPEDIT (RIP) and they periodically visit my one sun-soaked sill whenever the sun is actually shining.

Bears Paws

All of the beautiful tight rosettes forming from my leaf cuttings are long gone... They've continued to grow leggier and leggier reaching for the sun, which is a little sad yet totally adorable.

propagating succulent leaf cuttings in large porcelain dish
close up outstretched succulents in porcelain dish
propagating succulent leaf cuttings in porcelain dish

Some plants have been relocated, like these three which used to share a room (a cup). Their growth rate has slowed but it's still a lot more than I expected in this weather! I'm sure they appreciate the extra room to breathe.

propagating succulent leaf cuttings in glass cup
leaf cutting growth in glass cup

One huge surprise did pop up, though. Two to be exact! The lithops I was so worried about becoming overly wrinkly birthed two new plants! I'd given up all hope that it'd survive and left it alone on my bookshelf for about a month completely untouched. Then, miraculously, this happened!


My Mezoo 'Trailing Red' needs to be pruned soon. It's almost taken over the entire pot at this point. I think I'll just wait till spring to do anything about it even though I feel bad for the little guys it's crowding.

potted succulents lithops living stone
close up outstretched succulentsclose up outstretched succulents

I've cut back on watering across the board. My large pots get watered once a week and everyone else gets spritzed 2-3 times a week. The lithops and living stone get no water. Hopefully they all pull through and make it to spring—myself included. This endless winter has been awful. Over 75" of snow has fallen since December!

Succulent leaf cuttings in porcelain dish
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