BEST OF BEAUTY | 2016

Here it is folks, my last post of the year!  This is also my most favorite post of the year, because I get to talk about all of the great products I used and loved.

Some of these products are my ol ride or die standby’s, and some are new products that I discovered this year that have become STAPLES.

Let’s talk hair.

The It’s A Ten Miracle Leave in Plus Keratin is a product that I have been using for YEARS and it is the best thing I’ve found to detangle.  It also protects against heat, controls frizz, etc. It does 10  different things for your hair all in one spray.  It smells amazing, and I love it.  I also use it on my two girls every time I wash their hair.

I discovered the Ouai Wave Spray earlier in the year, and I have been using it nonstop.  The smell is amazing-sometimes I just use it for that, but it really does create really nice beachy waves without being sticky.  I spray this in dry hair scrunch a little.  It adds some nice texture and volume.  Love it.

Another product that I discovered this year is the Living Proof Perfect  Hair Day Dry Shampoo.  This dry shampoo smells so good (like everything Living Proof), it adds so much volume, removes oil, and doesn’t seem to leave any sticky residue.  It really does make my hair feel nice and clean.

On to nails.

I feel like throwing out all of my other nail polish after finding this system.  This is the Essie Gel Couture System.  I have a full review for these here, and lemme tell ya, they are really good.  They are so shiny.  SO SHINY.  The polish lasts so long.  Unbelievably long.  It is a must to purchase the color and the topcoat.  They don’t work on their own, unfortunately.  I want them in every color!

Skincare + Face

The NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is the only product here that isn’t new to me this year.  This concealer is one of the only ones that doesn’t crease on my undereyes.  It conceals my dark circles without looking cakey.  Concealer of life.

I’ve been using the Philosophy Help Me Retinol Treatment at night, and it has really improved my dark circles and has given a more even tone to my skin.  It is a bit drying, but I use a teeny amount and it really works.

Another thing that really helps my skin is this Too Faced HangoveRx Replenishing Face Primer.  This really hydrates and plumps up my dry skin.  It adds a bit of something to brighten the skin and just makes my makeup go on so smoothly.  It also smells like coconut!  Love.

This year was the year for drugstore foundation!  Out of all of my high end foundations, I found myself reaching for these two gems throughout this year.  The L’Oréal Infallible Pro Glow gives such a beautiful dewy finish, and the Elf Moisturizing Foundation Stick is the perfect no fuss, quick foundation that is so good and hydrating for dry skin.  Review for Pro Glow here , and ELF here.

Let’s talk about those cheeks.

Of course, it wouldn’t be any sort of favorites if I didn’t mention Benefit Hervana.  This blush is just the perfect everyday pink with a tiny bit of sheen to it.  I have to force myself to use other blushes because I just love this one so much!  

For bronzer, I tried out the Too Faced Matte Milk Chocolate Soleil, and I love it.  Not as pigmented as Benefit Hoola, but I think that’s why I like it so much.  It’s light enough for me to build it up, and it never looks streaky or orange.  It also smells like chocolate! 

Now, for highlight.  My ride or die Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl in Gilded Honey had some competition this year with Becca Rose Quartz (similar here)They are totally different colors, but both give a beautiful, pigmented, liquid metallic look and lemme tell ya- HIGHLIGHT ON FLEEK.  The tops of my cheekbones have never looked so good!

Onto the eyes.

I discovered a new mascara this year, the Tarte Maneater Mascara.  This mascara has a huge wand, short rubber bristles, and it gives volume and length like no other!  

I also have been loving the Estee Edit Pencils this year.  These may have replaced my beloved UD 24/7 pencils if you can believe that!  These double ended pencils are so creamy and just glide right on.  They stay on all day, even in the water line!

I still have been loving my Urban Decay Shadows, Especially Solstice and Lounge.  These are so pretty; they are metallic duochrome colors that are amazing on the lid.

Lippies!

Still loving my favorite lipgloss, the Dior Lip Maximizer.  This gloss plumps, it isn’t sticky, and I love the brush applicator.  I discovered the Kat Von D Liquid Lipsticks this year, and Lovesick in particular has been my JAM.  This is the perfect pink neutral color for me, and these really last all day without being drying.  Also discovered the Huda Beauty Liquid Lipsticks- Bombshell is my favorite of the bunch.  More warm toned than Lovesick, and still neutral.  These are also non drying, and last forever.  These feel so silky when they go on, and I love the smell!

What were your favorite products this year?

Happy New Year! 🙂

xx amy

5 Neutral Liquid Lipsticks

I am a mauve lipstick lover.  Day to day, I’m wearing a neutral lip.   While I love hot pinks and reds, I just don’t reach for them on a daily basis.  I like something that looks natural and not too done up…for the parent pick up line, library, and play dates. Haha.


I like to apply my lipstick in the morning, and not have to reapply for awhile, so matte liquid lipsticks are my favorite right now.  It seems like every brand is coming out with their version, and it’s hard to choose!

I have 5 of my favorite MLBB (my lips but better) matte colors that are pretty neutral and will work on just about anyone!  All of the brands and formulas I have here are non-drying, and they LAST.  If you need advice on how to apply, click here for my tips.


If you’re looking for a pinkier mauve, Kat Von D’s Lovesick is a really nice neutral without being too brightly pink.  It has a bit of purple to it, but is still considered nude to me.  A color that is very similar to it is Colourpop Clueless. This is one is a tad bit darker; not as bright.  A darker mauve color is Marvelous Mauve by Sephora Collection.  This almost matches my lip color exactly.  This is the most long wearing one out of the bunch on me.


The Huda Beauty Liquid Matte in Bombshell is a more warmer, brown-y toned color, and more liquid in consistency than the others.  I also love the smell of these!  If you are looking for a true mauve with some grayish purple to it, Too Faced Queen B is so so so pretty.

Here are some swatches with no filter:

From L to R :  Marvelous Mauve, Bombshell, Lovesick, Queen B, Clueless

 What is your favorite neutral liquid lipstick? …because I need more! Haha

Thanks for reading! xx

EAT | Quick and Easy Banana Bread

Having a quick breakfast for on the go is essential for my family.  Now that my oldest daughter is in kindergarten, we have to leave the house every morning super early, and so she eats breakfast before we go.  One of her favorite things to eat for breakfast is banana bread, so I thought I could make up a batch and freeze some in little individual size portions, perfect to grab and go.  I believe I got this recipe from my Dad a long time ago, who always use to make this for us.

I also added some ingredient substitutions for vegan diets!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup shortening (Crisco)
  • 2 eggs (or 1/2 cup applesauce)
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup milk (dairy-free is ok)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups flour

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray any pan you are using with some non-stick cooking spray.  I like to use this one, because it smells and tastes sweet, and it has flour in it.  NOTHING sticks when I use this.


You can use a standard loaf pan, a muffin pan, or any pan you like to make these.  I am using this mini loaf pan today.


Let’s get started!

In a mixer, combine sugar and shortening until it forms coarse crumbles.


Add in your eggs (or applesauce) and mix.


Add in mashed bananas (I just mash them with a fork, it’s ok if they’re chunky), milk, and salt.


Add baking soda and baking powder, and mix.


Add flour, and mix.


Batter should look like this, kind of like cake batter, but chunky.

I would recommend filling your pan less than halfway full.  This bread rises A LOT!


Bake for about 20-25 minutes, depending on what type of pan you’re using.  Wait for the tops to be brown, and then insert a toothpick in.  If the toothpick comes out clean, they’re ready!


I like to transfer them to a cooling rack after they’ve rested for about 5 minutes.




I store about half of them in a Tupperware in my fridge, and the other half I individually wrap up and put in my freezer.

This banana bread and a hot cup of coffee is the best breakfast!

I hope you like this recipe, let me know if you try it out 🙂

xx Amy 

NEW | Too Faced White Chocolate Chip Palette | Review/Swatches

Too Faced has just released a few new mini palettes for Spring ’17, the Chocolate Chip Palette, and the White Chocolate Chip Palette.   The Chocolate Chip palette was available on the Too Faced website, but is an all matte palette, so I passed on that one.  As soon as I saw that this White Chocolate Chip palette was released early at Sephora for VIB rouge, I knew I had to get it.  It is just beautiful.

Now, this palette is considerably cheaper than the regular Chocolate Palettes, which retail for  $49…so I knew this palette would be smaller…but I wasn’t really expecting it to be smaller than my cell phone.

Immediately upon opening the package, I gasped.  This looks like a little girl’s play makeup.  The case is plastic, and the shadows inside are the size of a fingernail.  TINY.  I really couldn’t believe how small this was.

Even so, the colors do look very pretty, so I was willing to overlook the size!

The names of the shadows are printed right on the back of the palette.  They are all named after desserts, which I love, and the shadows do have the same cocoa smell as the other palettes.

Here is the palette in comparison to one of the Chocolate Bar palettes.  Teeny tiny and very thin.  This palette fits in the palm of my hand.

After both swatching and applying to my eyes, I found these shades to be very chalky, unpigmented, and just very patchy.  This is very disappointing and unlike anything else I’ve tried from Too Faced.  The colors are all very light, most didn’t even show up on me, and I have very light skin.

Horrible.


Tried to build them up (went over them about 5 times each)

I am seriously considering putting this palette in my 5 year old daughter’s stocking.  At least she would be happy with it!

This was a fail you guys.  I’m really disappointed in the quality here.  I could have spent $6 on a Wet N Wild palette from the drugstore and would have been happier.  

If you are thinking of purchasing this palette, I would say pass on it and go for one of the other awesome palettes they have to offer.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Current Beauty Faves

I don’t usually do monthly faves, but I have been using some different things lately that I haven’t blogged about, so I thought I would share them today!



A couple of beauty tools that I have been loving is this Bare Minerals Precision Face Brush and this teeny little Micro Mini Beauty Blender.  I recently decided to part with my 8 year old Bare Minerals Flawless Face Brush (it was so scratchy and the handle was coming off) – and try out this new brush.  I like this brush so much more than the other one.  This is a flat top, angled foundation brush. It’s softer, the bristles are dense, and my powder foundation glides on so smoothly and evenly.  

I have also been loving this tiny beauty blender!  It is PERFECT for blending out undereye concealer.  Unlike the original beauty blender, I do not dampen this because I don’t want to sheer out my concealer.  I use it dry and gently pounce it underneath my eyes, and it effortlessly blends out the product.  Love this.


I’m not that big into perfume- I usually stick with Nirvana White or Coco Mademoiselle, but I have been loving this Tory Burch scent.  It is very floral with a hint of citrus.  It lasts all day and I just love the look of the bottle.  This is a mini size that I got in a set.  I would love to purchase the full size!
I have also been wearing the Natural Beauty Lipstick by Essence almost every day.  I just talked about this in my Fall Lippies post.  This lipstick is so hydrating, like tinted balm, and it is so pretty.  It is the perfect neutral thing to throw on with anything.  These lipsticks are bomb, and super affordable ($3)!

Here’s an oldie but a goodie- this Aussie 5 Minute Miracle Moist Conditioning Treatment. I used to love this way back when- and I still love to use it! It leaves my hair soft and moisturized, I love the smell, and it’s cheap! Under $5 for a two pack.


Lastly is this Becca Blushed With Light Palette.  This is a cute little palette with three blush colors – Wisteria (light matte rose), Songbird (peach shimmer), and Snapdragon (coral with golden shimmer).  I love everything I’ve ever tried from Becca, and this palette is no exception.  These colors are beautiful and so blendable.  The colors are so different from each other, and that’s why I love this so much.  I think I paid $17 for this?  It was a steal.  Hopefully Sephora puts it back in stock soon!

Here are some swatches of the blush palette and the lipstick:

From L to R:  Wisteria, Songbird, Snapdragon blushes, Essence Natural Beauty Lipstick

What products have you been loving?

xx amy