Neroli Salon in Milwaukee: My Lash and Nail Experience

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Disclosure: I received complimentary service in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.

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Let’s admit, we all need some pampering and time to ourselves, away from work, family, even our significant others. And what better place to go to in times like these than a beauty salon, especially an Aveda one?

It’s been two weeks since I received the services at the salon. Yes, a part of me procrastinated, but another part of me wanted to actually see how long the nails and lashes are going to last. And I have to tell you, I am more than impressed! I only lost a few lashes, and my nails are not chipped at all. Grown out, but no one is really looking that closely.

I will start with lashes! I had lash extensions once before (you can read about it here), so I knew what to expect. My esthetician Elise was the sweetest! She is the one who actually made this whole experience happen! Turns out she knows one of my blogger friends Kaitlyn and she sent her my way! Lesson 1: Make friends and stay in touch with people! 

I spent 2 hours relaxing and chatting with Elise while she was doing my lashes, and the 2 hours flew by in no time. I shared with her how stressed out I’ve been lately, and how much I was looking forward to the service. We both agreed that her job is not just about making someone’s lashes longer, but rather making that person happy.

Hands down my lashes make me feel prettier, happier, and more confident than ever. Additional bonus – when you cry – your mascara won’t run, because you don’t have to wear any. Lesson 2: It’s okay to be emotional (especially when Mercury is in retrograde! Anyone else feel my pain?)

Since having my lashes done 2 weeks ago, I’ve only started touching up with mascara in the outer corners of my eyes this week. I think one of the most popular questions I get asked about lash extensions is how long they last me. And it honestly depends on the person. I know this is a cop-out answer, but everyone’s lash cycle is different. It’s like hair. Lashes fall out. And if you don’t make a wish and blow them away, then you are not keeping track of them. Lesson 3: Dream often. But if you are seriously thinking about getting lash extensions, try to pay attention to how often you lose your natural lashes, that should be an indicator of how long the extensions will last you.

I love my extensions for a few reasons: I wake up looking ready. There is absolutely no mascara that can help me achieve the same (or even a similar) result. I can still sleep on my stomach and somehow get away with it!

If you are thinking about getting extensions, I highly recommend doing it at Neroli in Third Ward with Elise! From effortless casual conversation to fanning the fumes out of your eyes, she is your girl and she will make sure you leave looking and feeling like a million bucks!

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My manicure experience was as amazing as my lashes. And I think a big part of it was really hitting it off with my estheticians. Lisa did my nails, and that girl is a riot. We talked for 2 hours as she was doing my nails and even after, as she was walking me through some of her favorite Aveda skincare while making me samples. How thoughtful is that? There are a few products I definitely have to go back for, like the Tulasāra Wedding Overnight Masque.

Lisa was very helpful when it came to picking out the design. I wanted something simple that would go well with everything. So when she suggested a reverse french manicure that included a nude, I was all in!

I have never gotten this many compliments on my nails before.

And to make it all better for you my Milwaukee friends, Lisa has been working on some unique Milwaukee nail art that I can’t wait to get done! The amount of effort and drive this girl puts into her work combined with the creativity is so inspiring, it’s literally helping me write this post!

Thanks to Lisa, I am not only loving my nails, but have a few beauty products to write reviews on for you!

Thank you so much to Neroli Salon and Spa for providing me with these complimentary services! I will definitely be coming back. Please follow Elise and Lisa on Instagram, the preferred choice of social media these days.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you may have! I will gladly answer those 🙂

 

Luminess Air Airbrush Essentials

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Testing out and reviewing new beauty products is probably one of the main reasons why I love blogging so much. Today I wanted to share my review of the Airbrush Essentials from Luminess Air.

I started using Luminess Air products about a year or so ago, and quickly fell in love with the ease of application, ability to determine the coverage, and the long lasting effect of it.

This fall I’ve partnered up with Luminess Air again to bring you a series of reviews that I will be sharing over the course of the next few months.

I started with the Airbrush Essentials. A set of 3 products aimed to target different skin concerns. The set includes:

  1. Porcelain – helps create the smoothest, most flawless skin.
  2. Eraser – erases uneven skin texture and large pores.
  3. X-out – conceals dark circles under eyes.

All of these products are meant to be used pre-foundation. Porcelain is a primer, Eraser is a serum, and X-out is a concealer. So you are getting a variety of products in this set.

Now when it comes to using them, I definitely prefer Porcelain most days, with a little X-out thrown in as needed.

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Now if you’ve never used airbrush makeup, I would recommend starting out with as little as possible and gradually layer up. When applying multiple layers of product, like I have here, don’t over-do it. Less is more, and a little goes a long ways are the two rules that are definitely applied to airbrush cosmetics. My other tip, always use finishing powder. I’ve been trying out Luminess Translucent powder, however I am not impressed with the brush and how the dispenser is set up. So I would definitely not recommend that.

Overall Airbrush Essentials set impressed me with the performance, color (that was a concern, because I thought it wouldn’t match or layer with the foundation well) and ease of use. I do appreciate Airbrush Cosmetics for eliminating the need to touch my face, and its ability to conceal almost everything.

Have you tried Airbrush Cosmetics? What did you think?

Get a discount off your next Luminess Air order with code: Beingzhenya25

Beauty Favorites // May

Beauty Favorites May

It’s finally time to round up some of my May beauty favorites, and yes, I am fully aware it’s June 😉

1. NYX Liquid Suede cream lipstick in Sandstorm ($6.99) provides soft light brown matte finish on your lips and lasts through a few cups of coffee.

2. NYX Lip Lingerie in Baby Doll ($6.99) a light and brighter creamier nude that once again provides a matte finish for your lips.

3. It Cosmetics Sunshine in a Compact Vitality Anti-Aging Matte Bronzer in Warmth ($34) a soft lighter bronzer that makes contouring a breeze and comes with anti-aging ingredients including hydrolyzed collagen, peptides, and vitamins A, C & E.

4. Matrix Oil Wonders Volume Rose pre-shampoo treatment for fine hair ($24) is an oil that you use before shampoo and conditioner and leave on for 3-5 minutes. It changed my hair washing routine and my hair for the best. In addition to volume, shine and light rose fragrance is a bonus perk.

5. Sigma 3DHD Kabuki brush ($24) designed for all areas of the face to apply liquid, cream and powder products, this brush has been perfect for blush this spring, and I can’t wait to use it with bronzer this summer!

6. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant ($55) is a rice-based enzyme powder that activates upon contact with water, releasing Papain, Salicylic Acid and Rice Enzymes to smooth the skin and accelerate cell renewal. Perfect for every day use, I prefer to use it in the shower.

7. It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+ ($38) a full coverage product that improves skin texture, brightness and increases skin hydration. I stopped using a day cream when I started using it. I am stepping up from the light to medium shade for the summer as well.

8. It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream Transforming Moisturizing Super Cream ($48) works for all skin types, even the most sensitive (worked for me when I had my semi-annual finals stress rash breakout). This product deeply hydrates, restores radiance and reduces the look of pores, uneven texture and discoloration with collagen, hyaluronic acid, peptides, ceramides, antioxidants and colloidal oatmeal. It also smells amazing!

9. NYX Wonder Pencil ($4.49) A concealer, eye brightener and reverse lip liner all in one, it’s a must-have for everyone! I use medium shade for the summer.

10. It Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eye Brow Pencil ($24) when it comes to eyebrows, I’ve done it all – gel, dye, eyeshadow, numerous pencils, but this has been my favorite out of all! This universal (yes, one color does fit all + covers gray!) and long-lasting eyebrow pencil has an oval shaped tip which makes it perfect for both thin and thick brows. The spooly end brush gives a natural polished look.

11. NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Prague ($5.99) one of the few bright colors that I have been wearing after I switched to the nude side. Being a lipstick junkie is hard, but this raspberry color makes it easy and fun. And, of course, once again I am a fan of the matte finish.

12. NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator in Sunbeam ($7.49) perfect for face and body and for when I get tired of all the matte finishes.

13. It Cosmetics You Sculpted! ($40) foolproof contouring, hands down! So far I’ve been using soft contour, matte and radiance highlight the most, and it doesn’t take more than 2 minutes every day. Make up is really not that hard when you think about it.

14. Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Foaming Mask ($56) brightens, detoxifies and refreshes skin, because that’s exactly what I needed after stressful days and sleepless nights during the finals. It’s like an instant miniature face lift! On the side note, I still can’t believe I pulled 23 credits off.

15. It Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush # 7 ($48) a foundation and concealer brush that I’ve been using with powder and only powder. I still think nothing is better for applying foundation than your own fingertips. The concealer brush is perfect for applying powder in the eye area, I specifically use it to blend out any eye shadow imperfections that I’ve created (because you know, I am almost 30 years old, I have yet to learn how to do a good crease blend 😉 )

16. Eco. Refresh Cleansing Lotion ($12) an odd one out of this whole review, random product I came across, which actually got the job done. Made in Australia specifically to care for sensitive, dehydrated or combination skin. This lotion contains Papaya, Vitamin E and Oat Extract to easily remove makeup while calming and nourishing the skin and repairing damaged tissue. For someone who constantly suffers from stress rash breakouts, this product was perfect.

17. Heavenly Luxe Angled Radiance Brush #10 ($38) a brush that I use with the You Sculpted! palette, works so well, because I, for once, followed directions 😉

18. Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Two Day Extender ($20 for a full size, $10 for travel) That meme that’s going around telling everyone that by the end of the week my hair is 92% dry shampoo is true, and I can’t tell you how many times this product has saved me time this past month. Texture is an added bonus.

Well here you have it, my May favorites! Let me know if you’ve tried any of these, and what your thoughts are. Also, was this too long of a list? Not long enough? Do share! And finally here is a fun little Periscope video by yours truly! Enjoy!

Luminess AirSupremacy

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Hello friends,

How have you been? After two weeks of not posting anything, and evaluating and reevaluating my existing blog space, I came to a conclusion that it’s better for all of us if I post more reviews and tutorials (especially the DIY kind), and if you want to see my outfits, there is Instagram for that!

A couple months ago I got the opportunity to try Luminess AirBrush System, and when I was offered to try the new Mist Airbrush Foundation, I couldn’t resist. The less I touch my face the better my skin looks, it’s an easy rule I’ve been following since I was 13 and started using makeup. I must admit following is a strong word though, because when I am stressed, I am stressed and I start touching my face, picking at anything that may be healing, and then having to deal with all the consequences. Even makeup brushes cause breakouts when the midterms and finals hit.

That’s why airbrushing is my saving grace. Not only do I not touch my face with my hands, I have also eliminated the step of having to touch it with the brushes.

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Now the Luminess AirSupremacy boasts

  • superior build-able, yet breathable coverage;
  • ideal for sensitive skin;
  • dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested;
  • paraben, fragrance and oil free;
  • never tested on animals;
  • no mess application;
  • minimizes fine lines, wrinkles and texture.

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The starter kit comes with 5 products and 2 brushes. I got the shade fair, I think that’s the shade I received last time, and I was very happy to see that Luminess Air remembered my preference. The 5 products that come in the kit are:

  • Refreshing and Moisturizing Mist Face Primer (2 oz.)
  • Ultimate Flawless Mist Airbrush Foundation Shade 2 Bloom (2 oz.)
  • Ultimate Flawless Mist Airbrush Foundation Shade 3 Golden Beige (2 oz.)
  • Natural Finish Mist Airbrush Blush (2 oz.)
  • 18 hour long-wear mist makeup sealant ( .5 oz.)

The kit includes two brushes, a small blush/powder brush and a Pro-Air blender sponge brush, which I haven’t used yet. The purpose of the Pro-Air Blender is to help get rid of the over-spray or blotchiness, and remove any excess makeup. The brush is an alternative method of applying foundation if you don’t want to spray it directly on your face.

Every product needs to be shaken for about 5 seconds before you apply it. And as far as the word “mist” goes, the only one that’s truly a mist in my opinion is the primer. The other products are more of aerosols, which explains why there is a brush included in the set – the alternative method of applying foundation.

What I like about the kit the most is it includes everything that you need. I stopped using eyeshadow primer, because the foundation covers the eyelids. The line has a nice fragrance to it. The product is a little drying, so definitely layer up on that moisturizer in the morning and definitely at night. Airbrushing creates an even tone, and helps correct all the discolorations that I have on my face, including the redness caused by breakouts. Here are some before and after photos for you.

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Sorry about those, didn’t mean to scare you!

Overall, the system definitely wins over the current Air Brush System I own, even though they are the same brand. It’s the ease of use and no need to clean the dispenser afterwards that has me sold on this one over the existing one. One major advantage of this line and the brand overall is a little really goes a long way here. And the less I use, personally, the better my skin looks.

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The product is available on the website AirSupremacy.com and on QVC. And if you have any more questions, don’t hesitate and reach out to me on social media and through the comments.

Disclosure: the product was complimentary. All opinions are my own. 

Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat Review

  
Cleaning makeup brushes is an important and necessary task, but if you are like me, it takes a while. The amount of brushes that I have, plus the amount of brushes that are tucked away, still in their packaging is seriously scary. It used to take me at least 20 minutes to wash the entire collection. Until I got the Sigma Brush Mat. 

Sigma, if you didn’t know, is a Minnesota based company, and a YouTube sensation. Their brushes are known for incredible quality and ease of use, and the constantly changing makeup collection keeps surprising the customers with new colors. Anything to help us be more creative and bold when it comes to our makeup. 

  
The brush mat has suction cups on the bottom, and attaches to your sink. The right side is for face brushes, while the left one is for eyes. There are seven different sections (textures) for cleaning, refining and rinsing the brushes. And it’s incredibly time saving. I was done washing all my brushes in under 10 minutes. My life has never been easier! 

  
The Spa Brush Mat is $32 and is available on Sigmabeauty.com or at their Mall of America location. 

  

One last thing, don’t clean your beauty blender using the mat, it will be destroyed! 

College Student Winter Makeup and Skincare Must Haves

I was compensated for this shop by Collective Bias, Inc. on behalf of Neutrogena for this #NewNeutrogena campaign #AD #Collectivebias. All opinions are mine alone.

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Winters in Minnesota are brutal, and since I am also trying to stay on a budget with my tuition due any day, I headed to Target to pick up some new and more winter appropriate skin care products to add to my beauty routine. The products I picked up were conveniently located on the end cap in the beauty/skincare section, which made them super easy to find. Gotta love Target!

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Of course the number one step when it comes to fighting dry skin is hydration. I’ve been drinking a lot of water, but this winter it just wasn’t enough. So I picked up a Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel and Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Eye to give my skin the extra oomph.

I always start my beauty routine with moisturizer. And I apply eye gel first. Is that weird? What do you apply first: facial moisturizer or eye moisturizer?

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I am in front of my computer a lot now that my semester has started and my eyes get tired and puffy, especially if I stay up late studying, so a good eye moisturizer is a must. Sometimes I even carry it with me to the U and reapply throughout the day. That’s been working really well for me, you should try it too. And don’t forget to apply your eye gel using pinkie or ring finger, they are the weakest fingers and won’t pull on the skin as much as the other ones.

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I also prefer a facial moisturizer that is a gel, as opposed to the cream. I think my skin absorbs the gel better, and I like the light texture and the cooling effect. The fast absorbency also helps my foundation application.

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Lately, I have been going for the single eye shadow look. I love mixing and blending colors, but when I have a bus to catch, I can’t afford that. So a great solution is to just apply one color all over the lid. And this is what I am doing here.

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Mascara comes next and I am using Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara here (Neutrogena has great cosmetic products in general in my opinion). My eyes have recently become sensitive, and this mascara has been a life saver. I had to throw away some of my other mascaras, because I couldn’t use them anymore. Also in the winter my eyes usually water, especially when I leave the house and the cold winter wind blows in my face. I noticed that this mascara, even though it’s not waterproof doesn’t run as much as the other ones. It’s also really helpful when I am rubbing my eyes. As bad of a habit as it is, sometimes I do it automatically, without realizing what’s going on. In situations like this it’s great to have a mascara that doesn’t smudge easily.

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And finally I touch up with some blush. I like to accentuate my cheekbones, and this Neutrogena blush is wonderful. I prefer blushes that are made of several different colors. That way the blend is more natural and flattering.

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So here you have it, my winter skincare/fast makeup routine with a couple helpful tips along the way. I’d love to hear about your winter skincare and makeup routine! Leave a comment sharing how you do it in the winter.

Like Neutrogena and Target on Facebook!

Gerard’s USA Natural Beauty Products Review and Giveaway

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My trip to Chicago was an absolute blast. I had such an amazing time reconnecting with my old friends and meeting new ones. And since traveling by car is so much easier than by air, because I can bring and pack as many beauty products as I want, I packed my Gerard’s USA Caviar Cream and Top Base Face Primer first.

 

Gerard’s is the first skin and body care company to use flower and plant extract, natural organic and active ingredients to protect, maintain and improve the skin. Founded in the Italian Alps region of Italy, where the soil is rich in minerals, they pride themselves in producing the finest products for each skin type and need, using pure extracts. Gerard’s on-site laboratories use cutting edge manufacturing methods to produce non irritating, dermatology tested, results oriented therapeutic face and body products. Gerard’s philosophy is to enrich people’s lives through face and body treatments and products using pure natural active ingredients.

Gerard’s is the world’s only skin care brand which uses refill containers as a way to reduce the ecological burden on our beautiful earth <- How awesome is that?

So let’s talk about the Caviar Cream, because I am obsessed. The packaging is so creative and amazing, that when you see it, you think caviar right away! You just can’t think anything else! This rich and luxurious cream is a deep restoring treatment that helps renew and protect your skin from all sorts of damage. It contains Caviar and marine Collagen, created for skins that need vital nourishment, energy and deep moisturization. It reactivates the cell’s regeneration, reduces wrinkles and expression lines, while protecting from UV rays. Skin will look vital, supple, toned and deeply renewed.

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Active ingredients: Hydroglicolic extract of Caviar, marine Collagen, Oak Extract, Allantoin, Solar Filter.

Use: Apply it in the morning or at night onto a perfectly clean and tonic skin.

When I first started using it, I noticed slight tingling in my skin, that quickly went away. But every time I apply it now, it leaves my skin feeling soft, nourished and pampered. Needless to say, I get complimented on it a lot.

Face Primer Top Base is something that I’ve really wanted to try. My only other experience with face primers came from a drug store, and I remember not exactly enjoying it. So this was a great opportunity to rewrite my beauty history. This primer covers imperfections, removes redness and creates a flawless finish for the skin. Apply a small amount all over the skin, let dry for one minute. Top base brings an incredible luminosity and firmness to the skin. May be used as foundation when skin tone matches. And guess what? It matches pretty well, so I am skipping out on foundation for a while.

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I have been greatly impressed with the products, from packaging to quality to scent. And am extremely happy to have them in my beauty arsenal.

And now for the giveaway! You can win $150 to Gerard’s USA online store and pick the products that you like! How amazing is that?
Please read the following rules and conditions before entering
– Open to US mailing addresses only.
– All entries will be verified.
– The winner has 48 hours to reply to our email announcement of the winner; otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

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The Inverted Smokey Eye

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Have you ever been stuck in a makeup rut? Stuck so deep, that you didn’t want to wear eye makeup anymore?
If you know anything about my makeup preferences, you may know that I am an eyeshadow freak, palettes, singles, special editions – I am there. Lipstick is the second favorite on my list, but it’s nowhere near eyeshadow.

I have been using less makeup over the summer, but by less I mean I cut out eyeshadow, and that didn’t make sense to me. So when one of my friends on Twitter suggested I do an inverted smokey eye, I thought to myself – why not?

The inverted trend has always been on my radar, but for some reason I’ve never tried it. It was time for a change. And Macy’s Glamorama was the perfect occasion.

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I naturally reached for my Naked palette for this look. Since Glamorama I have experimented with a few inverted smokey eye combos and if you are familiar with the palette, here are the combos that I’ve tried and loved (from the inner corner out):

Dark Horse -> Smog -> Half Baked

Hustle -> Toasted -> Sin

Creep -> Gunmetal

Sidecar -> Sin

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And this is the rest of my beauty arsenal 😉 Haha

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Before (sometime no makeup is great too!) Remember, we are all beautiful!

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And the afters! I have finally been able to create the perfect cat eye. Well, it’s perfect in my world, because I haven’t been able to (and been lazy) do a good cat eye. It’s all in the brush, and I have been in love with my Sigma E06!

Happy Tuesday! How is your week going?
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Beauty Brunch: What’s In My Travel Makeup Bag?

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What do you bring with you when you are on vacation? Do you pack all the necessary skincare, makeup and hair products? Or do you bring the bare minimum?

Road tripping is definitely different from air travel, I don’t have any restrictions on size and number of products, but I didn’t want to overpack! So here is everything I packed on my trip to Colorado.

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To be honest a few of the things were packed in hopes of finally using them up, which actually did happen with a couple of the products.

Do you think I overpacked or didn’t pack enough? What’s in your travel makeup bag?

Beauty Brunch: Mail Call

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Having spent 2 summers working at a camp, I am very familiar with mail call. Were I at camp this week, I would’ve had to sing once a day every day, if not twice a day for all my packages. I do love getting mail, but you don’t want to hear my singing voice, trust me.

From makeup to nail polish, to hair removal products, I got a lot of new stuff to try in the mail. I don’t really know where to begin, so let’s start with Sigma Standout Eyes collection of 6 gel eyeliners.

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Just in case you didn’t know, Sigma is a local company that first became known for their makeup brushes (at least to me, via YouTube). Now that they have added lines of well-pigmented and high-quality makeup, I like them even more. Last week I received this amazing set of gel liners in the mail. And let me tell you, the cat eye challenge is on! The set included liners in: Wicked (blackest black), Liberally Toasted (toasty warm brown), Stunningly Ladylike (dark brown-black), Standout Peacock (deep indigo blue), Royally Striking (true purple), and Unexpected (neutral stony grey). The colors are long-wearing, opaque, and saturated. All gel liners are versatile, yet unique and unexpected with intense pigmentation and a smooth, fluid-like finish. It also included two brushes: E06 Winged Liner Brush, which creates the perfect winged liner, and E68 Line Perfector Brush, for controlled liner application with powder products. I can’t wait to show you the makeup looks I’ll be creating with these liners and my other Sigma products. Use the hashtag – #standouteyes on social media for inspiration.

Next let’s talk about Luuux Makeup Brushes. I got 3 sets of those (yes, THREE!) and will be giving 2 of those away! One in today’s post, one on Instagram. So if you need makeup brushes, make sure to enter and get your hands on a pretty cool set, which includes: L150 Large Powder Brush, L187 Stippling Brush, L116 Blush Brush, L190 Foundation Brush, L224 Eyeshadow Blending Brush, L195 Concealer Brush, L239 Blending Brush, L242 Eyeshadow Brush, L219 The Pencil Brush, L217 Eyeshadow and blending brush, L208 angled brush, L316 Lip Brush.

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Since I will be quitting my job in the next month or so, I knew I wanted to order hand made all natural soaps from one of the teachers. She’s given me a couple before to try, and I loved them. When she brought me a box of 10 different scents on Wednesday, I knew I wanted them all. Connie started making soaps several years ago as a necessity, not a hobby. She had several health issues caused by chemicals found in every day beauty products. And that’s how her soaps came to be. To learn more about Connie’s soaps email her at conniejwelch@hotmail.com

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I am also excited to try these Completely Bare products that I got through Klout. I am always looking for alternative hair removal ways, as I seem to cut myself every time I shave with a razor. I am especially interested in the Body Moisturizer & Hair Inhibitor, it’s Lemon Grass and Green Tea scented, and promises to help reduce hair density by as much as 50%, reduce hair length by as much as 30%, reduce hair growth by as much as 55% in 28 days. I remember using a product like this before (about 5-6 years ago), and I really liked it. I’ll definitely keep you posted on this one.

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And, finally, I received some products from Gerard’s to try out, and I will write a separate post on those. But how cool does Caviar cream sound? So stay tuned!

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