Monday, January 28, 2013

January Favorites!

This is my first "Favorites" post of the new year! Why does that matter? Well... um... it probably doesn't. No. It definitely doesn't. Just seemed worth mentioning. 

Ok, well anyway, the following products got me through the month of January either by making me actually look presentable while my skin was throwing a bit of a tantrum, or just by allowing me to cut corners and get out the door quicker. I'm all about that by the way. As a gal who loves (and needs) her beauty rest, I have very little time in the morning to make myself look human. So, anytime I can cut something out without compromising the end result, I am quite pleased. 

This month, my beauty routine was all about letting my natural beauty shine through (a.k.a. I am lazy.) 


This much hyped product was recently re-released in the Apres Chic collection after selling out very quickly the last time it came around. This is a corally red MSF with gold veining throughout. The original was slightly different, as it was a bit lighter and pinker according to the reviews I have read. When I first applied this, it looked a little dirty and I didn't love it. Then, I gave it another try and it just warmed up my skin so nicely. The gold sheen gave my lackluster winter skin a bit of a glow and it was just a nice change from my usual bright pink blush.


  So far, in my quest to find the perfect eyeliner, this one tops the list. It has a nice, jet black color, a perfectly pointed tip for a precise line and wing, and it really does last all day. It doesn't smudge or smear, making Amber a satisfied girl. If you are a liquid eyeliner novice, I would recommend trying this, as it really is quite easy to maneuver. 


I am always on the hunt for the perfect bronze anything. This gold shade actually came in a set with like four or five others. This is really the only one from the set that I actually use. Occasionally, in my daily hurry to get ready for work, I just like to swipe a nice bronzey gold eyeliner on and actually have it look nice. well this glides on smoothly and has a really nice, rich color payoff. It has a smudger on one end that I sometimes use to smoke out the color a bit. 


This is another lazy product for me. It's a nice, sort of peachy champagne color that I use all over the lid. When I'm in a hurry, I splotch this on and throw a matte brown color in the crease, and a vanilla shade on the brow bone to highlight. It's just a really pretty, fresh look and this shadow awakens my 6am sleepy eyes. I like to keep my eyes pretty subtle and neutral, especially if I am using my liquid eyeliner. I tend to keep the focus more on the lips.


This eyeshadow is a richly pigmented, gorgeous brown with a bit of gold. I have only tried a few Stila eyeshadows, but from my experience, they are velvety smooth and have a really great color payoff. I can use this all over the lid for a more dramatic look, or in the crease with something like Naked Lunch on the lids. There's not much else to say about this other than to rave about the smoothness and beautiful color. 

This Paint Pot was actually an accident. I had been wanting Constructivist for the longest time, so I put it on my Christmas list for my dad. When he went to Mac, he handed the list over to the Mac employee and asked if she "Knew anything about this stuff," and instead of Constructivist, she tossed this in the bag. At first, I planned on returning it, because it was just, well... brown. However, it's not "just brown." It is a gorgeous sort of taupey brown that applies like a dream. It is super smooth and makes my bronze and taupe eyeshadows pop. It even looks good on its own!

 left to right: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner | Tarte SmolderEyes in Gold 
Top to bottom: Mac Stereo Rose MSF | Stila Golightly Eyeshadow | Mac Naked Lunch Eyeshadow | Mac Groundwork Paint Pot


I got this Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer in a kit with my Sephora points. Now, why oh why would a tinted moisturizer be a favorite for someone who typically requires a lot of coverage on their uneven toned, acne spotted face? Well, quite possibly because that tinted moisturizer helps even out that uneven skin tone and offers a nice, subtle glow to dull, dry skin. Now, do I wear this on its own? Hell to the no! I wear this under my foundation and it really makes my skin pass for mildly attractive!


 Ok, so I don't even think Mermaid's Tears is a permanent color (it's from the Pirate's of the Caribbean Collection), but I had to share it, because it is gorgeous! It is the perfect aqua/green color and OPI probably has the best formula. It goes on smooth, only requires about two (non streaky) coats, and dries fairly quick. Once I apply the Seche Vite topcoat, I have the perfect manicure :)


This hand lotion smells quite lovely and has really made a difference in the appearance of my hands this winter. Whenever my hands feel dry, cracked, hard, and windburned, I rub some of this nice, creamy lotion in and they instantly feel smooth and repaired. 

So this lipstick really lives up to all the hype. It's the perfect dark berry pink color. Many reviews I have read call this a red lipstick, but on me, it leans way more pink (it is a bit more berry looking in real life than in this photo.) It's fairly long lasting and applies like a dream!

 Thanks for getting through this fairly long post! And if you looked at the length of the post, said eff this, and scrolled through to the end, I'll just sum it up for you: This month, I was really into Mac products and brown toned eye products. Also, it's winter and I have dry skin. What are some of your favorite products right now? Any recommendations for a dry skinned, pale faced, curly headed girl with freckles? 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

 Necklace: Anthropologie
Blazer: Anthropologie

 Once upon a time, a girl wandered into an Anthropologie store and (re)discovered her intense love for the unique, boho chic retailer. She stumbled upon many sophisticated, yet adorable pieces, but zeroed in on two in particular. A purple, knit blazer with contrasting inner lining; a fun, happy yellow peeking out with the sleeves rolled up. The other item  being a jeweled statement necklace with hanging beads that matched the blazer lining perfectly. Using this reasoning as an excuse to spring for both items, she handed over her debit card with a smile so big, she received a few uncomfortable glances.

The girl decided these pieces would go perfectly with a blush colored blouse, dark denim, a leopard print belt, and tan colored oxfords. She also decided to have the worst, wind blown hair day EVER! She did, however, discover what all the fuss over Revlon's Cherries in the Snow was about. This bright, raspberry red lipstick looked quite flattering against her very fair skin. 

After deciding she was quite happy with her look (with the exception of the hair), she decided to do a pretty photo heavy blog post about it and hope others enjoyed her look as much as she did. :)

Post submitted to IFB's Project Blazer of Glory

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Stripes at Sundown

Shirt: Madewell | Jeans: Urban Outfitters
Shoes: Similar here | Necklace: Similar here
Coat: J Crew    |   Bag: Lulu's

I just received this Madewell shirt that I blogged about in my Spring Wishlist post! I really love this shirt, not just because I love stripes, and the super adorable bow on the back, but because if its versatility. I think a black and white striped long sleeved shirt is one of those classic pieces every woman needs in her wardrobe. Along with chambray, this is one of those tops that comes to mind anytime "What should I wear with this?" comes into question. It goes with any color, so all of my colored denim from that little phase I went through, now have another match!

Create a Downtown Muse look for a chance to win a Samsung GALAXY Note II!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hair of the Day: Buns Buns, Baby


Being that  my hair is akin to an afro, and 90% of the time I can barely seem to get it through the front door, I have to come up with semi creative ways to make it look presentable. Most days, I really don't feel like taking the time to straighten it, nor do I want to look like young Michael Jackson all the time. So, when I am feeling lazy, but still want to look like I put some effort into making it look decent, this is one of my go to styles. 

The great thing about this style is that if you can manage a ponytail, you can do this. All I do is section my hair into three semi equal parts and twist into buns. Secure with two bobby pins each and ta da. Done. The front, I just finger comb back and leave it kind of loose looking. Most of the time I don't even bother with hairspray, but I do recommend a light misting. I get a lot of compliments on this hairstyle, and the best part is that it takes very little time and effort, which is essential in my lazy girl beauty routine. 

Below, I have added a Nail of the Day photo. This is Essie's Love & Acceptance, a sort of dusty greyish lilac. This is actually good quality Essie. The thing about Essie is that they always rope me in with their beautiful color selection and then often let me down greatly with their formula. This, however, is not streaky, and did not take about 900 hours to dry completely. Plus, I love anything lilac, so I am really happy with this!

I also  used the Seche Vite topcoat for the first time. I really, really dig this. It dried really fast, and left a nice shine. As for lasting power, I can't really say just yet, since I just applied this about an hour ago. I am optimistic, though, since I have heard very positive things about it.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Love at First Cleansing Balm

Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift and Sculpt Professional Cleansing and Exfoliating System - $58.80

 Yay! My package finally arrived from! I had been seeing this Emma Hardie (Natural Lift and Sculpt Moringa) Cleansing Balm on many of my favorite blogger's sites. For me, this was one of those products that kept me up at night. Literally. I couldn't stop thinking about this sexy looking balm. I just wanted to mix it with water and rub it all over my parched face. I debated for a couple of months over which cleansing balm to purchase. The Ren one looked nice and was immediately available, as it is sold in Sephora stores. Then, I heard about the Eve Lom balm and seriously considered that. But, then I realized all the bloggers I frequently read who have the most beautiful skin, have talked about this. So, naturally, I ordered it and waited for it to make its trek all the way here, to the States. 

I inevitably  decided on the set with the rosehip exfoliating seeds and the muslin cloth. The balm  has a pretty oily consistency and looks really thick in the jar, but warms upon contact with the skin and immediately thins out. The rosehip seeds remind me of saw dust. Like sprinkling little saw dust particles on my face.

A little bit of saw dust spillage

I just scoop a little bit of this out, add a few drops of warm water, and rub between my palms. Then I apply all over my face and massage for a few minutes to thoroughly cleanse and remove all traces of dirt and makeup. I then use the enclosed cloth to remove. I either use the soft side or the side intended to exfoliate. I definitely recommend purchasing the cloth with this. It feels so nice and luxurious on my skin. For extra exfoliation, the saw dust particles, a.k.a rosehip seeds, can be sprinkled in the mix to gently remove all those old, dead skin cells.

This mostly oil based cleanser leaves my skin feeling clean, soft, smooth, hydrated, and radiant. It doesn't feel tight or stripped, like after using most other cleansers. I almost don't even feel like I need a moisturizer after cleansing with this. I also kind of enjoy the citrus-y scent. It really just smells like you are putting something nice on your skin. 

Have you ever tried one of these cleansing balms? Leave me a comment! I  love hearing about other peoples' skin care regimens!