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A wonder-ful value!

Oh dear, I’ve caught it.  I’ve caught new bling-itis!  It’s a terrible illness, where one has to have all the pretty sparkles.

My most recent haul included the Smashbox Wondervision mega palette.  When I first saw this gem, I thought, wow that’s pretty but it looks like many of the colors that I have in the Photo Op Mega Palette that I still have (and sadly, rarely use), so I didn’t jump up and buy it at full retail ($49).  I wanted to see what others were saying, and how the quality was.  Have you noticed, like I have, that so many of the holiday palettes tend to be inferior quality to the regular line?  I continuously am disappointing by sets from other manufacturers that just aren’t up to par.

Smashbox Wonder VisionSo, time passed, and I kept looking at the pretty sparkles.  Then one day, the ULTA flyer came in the mail offering the palate at a sale price of $39.  Well, that made me think. Then a beauty sister offered me her coupon code.  That made it $32.  Well, I could no longer resist the pull of the gorgeous set, which comes with 30 shadows, 3 blushes and a bronzer as well as clear plastic look cards that can be placed over the colors of your choice for easy gorgeousness.

With everything from matte neutral, glimmer neutral, purple, pink, green and blue hues, there is something fro everyone here.  I have been experimenting with the looks and the colors, and going outside of my matte neutral zone with some awesome results.  The Wonder Vision line is Smashbox’s limited edition Holiday 2013 product line, and the mega palette includes

These colors are in Smashbox’s creamy, richly pigmented formula that glides on like a dream.  I was a bit worried about these being the same delicious formula as the Photo Op Mega Palette, and fortunately they are.  They are easy to work with, and can be light and sheer, or deep and rich depending on how you apply them.  What I really love about this palette is that the look cards lay over 4 colors at a time, so you have infinite possibilities and ideas to get you started.  While giant palates can be a bit scary, which WONDERVISION MEGA PALETTEfrankly is why I don’t use the Photo Op one much, these cards make it easy to create looks and play.

I won’t swatch the colors here since I know you all can google.  While this is sold out at ULTA, it is still available at for the $39 price, and if you get a chance to get your hands on this gorgeous palate do it!  You won’t be sorry!



Put your best face forward!

Hello Beauties!  I’m back from under the rock I have been hiding under.
I know I’ve been promising this for a long time, but here are my foundation holy grails!

These are in order of my favorites, and I’m doing the top 5, to be followed by my concealer and primer holy grails.  Have a fave?  Let me know!

  • Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation (Light/Medium) – This is the product I reach for every day.  The long wearing perfecting foundation promises long wear, and I get a full out of out it to be sure.  The foundation is the consistency of a mousse, and it isn’t quite a liquid.  Using the airbrush brush that came with the foundation originally, this foundation provides a medium to full coverage that is very natural.  You can layer the product more coverage, and it looks flawless on.  I love the way it absorbs the oil on my nose but isn’t drying at all, and that it includes SFP 15, which is very important.  Like all Tarte products, it’s full of good for you ingredients, and doesn’t break me out.  I use about a quarter sized amount, on my hand, and then pick it up with the brush.   Apply it a little bit at a time, and use the brush to buff it in.  $38 for 1.7 oz.
  • Next up my new favorite, the Urban Decay Naked Skin (3.5) – I LOVE this foundation!  It’s a liquid, but it’s fairly thick so it doesn’t run all over the place.  The package is in a pump format which makes it a no muss no fuss way to apply.  This weightless liquid feels invisible but really packs a punch and covers amazingly well.  I felt like I was glowing when I wore it!  $38 for 1 oz.  There is no SPF in this foundation however there are also no parabens or other ickies, yay!

  • IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye (medium) – technically this is a concealer, but it provides amazing coverage all over the face.  A little bit goes a long way and when I need fuller coverage days, this is my go to item.  A rich, creamy concealer that is packed full of anti aging ingredients like vitamins A, C, and K.  It is also packed with collagen that reduces discoloration.  I love this product, and use it every day as concealer!  The dual ended airbursh brush that IT makes is amazing for applying this product.  The small end fits under your eyes, and the corners of your nose, while the larger end is great for all over application.  $24 for .28 oz.
  • IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation (light) - This powder foundation took a little getting used it, but now I love it.  It’s light to medium coverage, and is great for on the go applications.  Like all IT products, it’s full of great ingredients, like peptides, hydrolyzed collagen, vitamins.  This foundation actually helps make your skin appear younger.  The includes flathead foundation brush blurs pores and fine lines and makes you look great.  Read my full review here.  $40 for .30 oz (brush included)
  • Smashbox BB Cream (light) – So much more than a foundation  the Smashbox BB cream provides a combination of moisturizer, primer, foundation and treatment in one.  I like this for lighter coverage days but it feels great on the skin while providing nice coverage.  Read my full review here  $39 for 1 oz.



Feeling Inspired!

I’ve been in a rut lately.  Running three blogs, a full time job, a full time job that’s not paid writing about wine, and life just have a way of bogging you down.  But I’m back!  And I’m feeling inspired.  After reading a friend’s blog post about how she creates a weekly beauty basket, I am following suit.  I am still working on my Project Ten 10, but I’ve changed it up a bit.

Typically, the night before or in the morning before I pop in the shower, I pull some things that I haven’t used in a while and put them out.   If I’m very good, I’ll have a bunch of stuff lined up for the week.  Mindy does a better job of this and I’m going to make a special effort to get my Beauty Box ready every Sunday night.  What will be in it?

  • Project 10 pan items
  • New items
  • neglected items

So this week, what I’m going to put in my box:

  • MAC BB Cream.  Now I LOVE my Smashbox BB cream, and have been using it most days, but I found the MAC BB Cream at CCO for a lower price so I nabbed it.  For those that don’t know, CCO is Cosmetics Company Store and they stock items from Estee Lauder owned companies.  This includes Bobbi Brown (whooo!), MAC, Clinique, Estee of course, and now Smashbox – as well as a few other brands.  The best part is that my CCO has recently started carrying the Smashbox, and typically there are QVC kits that sold out or went to final quantities.  In retail, if you have less than minimum stock (often 100 kits or so) then you job them off to mass retails and discount stores.  You see this with the BE outlet stores a lot.  There are several CCOs around the country, and you can find them by looking at your local Premium Outlet mall.
  • Shadows sticks – I have a ton of shadow sticks and I really don’t use them.  Right now, I have 3-4 from Mally, all the Tarte sticksf rom the holiday kit, as well as the Mally, Tarte and Smashbox shadow liners.  I want to play with these more.
  • Mally Face Defender blushes & highlighters – I just got a new kit, and need to use these more.

What is in your weekly Beauty Box?
Special thanks to Mindy Smith for her inspiration from Health, Beauty, and Sunshiune!

BB Creams: Smashbox

Here we go again!  Another BB cream hits the market.  The Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream has been around for a few months now, first as a QVC exclusive, and now available at Sephora.  

BB creams are super hot right now.  First developed to help surgery patients heal faster (read more here), they are now a hot commodity.  There are dozens of Asian brands, some of which you can get in the US, but now, they are getting a run for thier money with US manufacturers.

I have to say, of the many that I have tried, Smashbox is rapidly becoming my fave.  Keep in mind that I specifically am only going to purchase BB creams that do not contain parabens.  There are several more that i will tell you about, but will not buy so please make your buying decisions with that in mind.

This multi tasking formula claims that it will give your skin a glowing, ethereal look, while providing a hydrating veil for the complexion.  It also helps to retail moisturize on your skin and provides and ultra smooth finish, which helps to retexturize your skin and create a smooth canvas.

Ideally, I look for a BB cream to replace and/or enhance the following items:

  • Moisturizer
  • Primer
  • Concealer
  • Foundation
  • Skin Care

Most BB creams are light to medium coverage, and this falls in between those two.  It feels natural on your skin and also helps control oil.  I do still use a concealer for spot coverage, but the Smashbox BB cream does a great job of providing natural coverage, while helping to control oil.

I also wear a powder over the BB cream to set it, and find that the Smashbox works best with the Smashbox Halo Hydrating Powder.  These two products together provide a medium, natural looking foundation and coverage.  I have been using the Smashbox BB cream for about 2 weeks now, and I find that it has helped to smooth my skin, even out the skin tone, and provide great moisture during the day.  I still start off with a moisturizer, but I find I use a lighter hand now.

I suggest using a stippling or patting motion to press this in to your skin, as opposed to rubbing it in  as you would a foundation.  This seems to give you better coverage, with a more flawless finish.

At  $39 for 1 oz, it’s a bit pricy, but if you consider that you are replacing multiple products, it’s not too bad.  Smashbox tends to run dark, so I use LIGHT but could probably do with FAIR in the winter.  

My verdict:  A-.  Why the minus?  It’s a bit confusing; while they claim you can replace foundation, the coverage level isn’t such that it’s a true replacement.  I do like the way it performs and enjoy it, but I wish the coverage where a little more.

I’m ready for my close up!


So much makeup so little time!  The month of December was a hard one for me, with some personal challenges that made it very difficult to keep up with blogging, and life in general.  Not only was it difficult for me to get motivated to write, but it was a challenge to even put my face on in the morning.  Have you ever had days, weeks, months like that?So, I decided that I”d pick myself up a bit and splurge on a Christmas present that I had had my eye on for quite a while.

Originally a TSV, The Smashbox Photo Op Mega Palette is a gorgeous red leather(ette) book, filled to the brim with tons of product.  It caught my eye when it was presented because Holly Mordini is such a creative genius, and because I have not really played with Smashbox a lot.  I wanted to find something that was easy to carry with me, but also offered a lot of choices.

After consulting with some of my beauty loving friends and reading many reviews, I still decided to wait it out.  At almost $100, it was certainly a splurge; it’s not like i NEEDED more makeup right?  But, finally I caved.  I am SO very glad I did!

This huge book of color contains 56 different eye shadows, thought I believe Vanilla is in there twice.  That’s ok by me actually, because it’s a perfect all over color.  Included in these 56 shadows are every one of the 16 unique Photo Op Trios, as well as select shadows from the Smokebox and Softbox eyeshadow collections.

In addition, you get 8 cream liners, 5 Brow Tech waxes, 2 blushes, 3 Softlight highlighters and 4 lipglosses.  WOW!

Today, I used one of the cream eyeliners, which I was a little worried about.  My past experience is that they are messy, and smudge too easily.  But I found that if I use a very thin layer, and close tot he lash line, I get a gorgeous pop of color.  I also used four colors to create a soft but defined eye.  I was not quite awake when I started doing my eyes, and so I completely forgot primer.  That being said, my color actually lasted almost all day.  The staying power on these shadows is amazing!

My favorite thing about this palette is that the shadows are grouped together for you in the Photo Op trios, so it’s easy to keep organized.  Additionally, there is an acrylic film overlay that names the trios and the shadow colors so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for if you’re trying to create a look you’ve seen on the web or in a video.  Genius!  These overlays are sturdy and attached, so you don’t have to worry about losing them in the future, sometime I’ve done with other products.  Ahem True Blood palette.

Admittedly the only downside I see for these shadows at  present is that while they are very richly pigmented and creamy, they are very dusty.  I have a love hate affair with powder shadows for this reason.  A very light sweep over the color and there is fall out ALL over the palette.  What a mess!  When you’re working with several lighter shades and somewhat sticky glosses, I don’t really want my darker shadows shedding over them.

I am pleased to report that there are no parabens in any of the products in this palette.  If you are concern

ed about the cosmetics dirty dozen, you’re safe here!Performance:  B+ because of the immense fall out from the shadows

Value:  A the price for each trio is $28, making the shadows alone $448 to collect them all.  Let’s see…yep!  STEAL!

Design:  A  I appreciate the opportunity to try additional products in this book, and that it has the acrylic overlays to both protect each leaf, as well as explain them.

Verdict:  Don’t delay!  Go out and haul this today!  I’m very impressed with the Smashbox offerings and expect that I will be purchasing more inf the future.  I am verklempt that I missed out on some of the other QVC deals this year since I didn’t know anything about Smashbox, but I don’t intend to miss that opportunity again.  Available now from QVC for $93.48 + S&H (Easy Pay available as well)


Coming up:  I’ll review the Smashbox Halo Finishing Powder.  Hint:  LOVE!


Fall in to this!

Get your selves ready beauties!  August and September are going to be busy months for makeup newness.

You already saw the Bare Escentuals shows this past weekend.  Well hold on to your hats!  Today is the pre-sale of the Smashbox TSV.  If you’re a Smashbox fan, I’ve been told you shouldn’t miss it!  I’m still on the fence, what do YOU think?

Smashbox Ready For Your Close Up

  • Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder – I haven’t tried the Halo yet, but people that have seem to love it.
  • Eye shadow quad in On Stage.  A similar trio pictured at right

  • Red Carpet Radiance Palette (MatteFlushShimmerFlushMatteRaspberryShimmerRaspberryShimmerQuartz)

  • Lip glosses in Hot Shot, a shimmery pink, and Idol, a rosy plum
  • Waterproof Shadow Liner to Go chubby pencil in Luminous Fig, a chocolate plum that looks more brown than the tarte Fig EmphaEyes that came in a recent TSV.
  • Halo Baby Buki Brush

It is a bit of a pricy TSV at $74.94 and I’m still on the fence,  But when you look at the retail cost for Halo ($59) and the Red Carpet palette $42, you are already beyond hte TSV.  Add in the other pieces and the retail value is well over $100.  I”ve seen and read many reviews by other beauty bloggers, and it seems that if you are in to Smashox, these TSVs are not to be missed!

September 9th Laura Gellar is having a TSV but she’s keeping it pretty hush hush for now.  The Insider says it’s a 6 piece Bake Sale Collection, so I might have to skip it with my other collections but we’ll see as soon as we get pictures!  I have been falling in love with my Laura Gellar Vanilla Nudes kits, and the eyeshadows are to die for!  They are the most pigmented, beautiful things I’ve seen n a while.

The big news comes with a Mally TSV later in September.  The Mally Defend Your Beauty Collection brings back the travel size Poreless Face Defender (YAY!) my favorite anti shine weapon.

Also included:

  • **NEW** Face Defender Blushin Pink Perfection.
  • **NEW** Face Defender Highlighter in Gorgois Glow
  • Volumizing Mascara in Black
  • Volumizing Lip Gloss in Flirty
  • Evercolor Automatic Eyeliner in Black Cherry
  • Evercolor Shadow Stick in Violet – I can’t wait to try the shadow stick!  I’ve been eyeing them for a while, and they seem like a fantastic way to get a waterproof eyeshadow in a great to go format.
  • Preorder: 1 time shipment | Auto Delivery in January & May I actually cancelled my last Share the Love AD so I could get this.
  • September 23rd:  A220348

More pictures as soon as I get them!  I look forward to sharing the goodies once I get them.

Don’t forget to use Ebates (affiliate link) to save 2.5% off your orders!


Happy glossing!


Once again, Smashbox leads the way.  This time, the studio makeup line has entered social buying in a new way – with the Smashbox mashup, which allows you to comment, share, and like items or sets on Facebook – directly from their website.

By creating an account on and linking it to your facebook profile, you can see what your Facebook friends “Like” and what they are saying about the products. Additionally, you can created a Lieks & Wants list, effectively creating a global wish list that you can share via Facebook.

Additionally, with a Twitter widget embedded on the Social Shop page, you can see what’s going on in one stop.  This is a great way to become involved in the brand’s community, and I applaud Smashbox for thinking out of the box and incorporating social media is an active way, not just the passive tweet or Facebook post.
Don’t forget, like Smashbox on Facebook and be entered to win a goody bag!


The Making of a VIB – part 1

The past year, no really, the past six or seven months, I’ve become something of a makeup hoarder.  It all started with a small collection of mini Bare Escentuals eyeshadows I purchased about 7 years ago, but still own.  Those things are next to IMPOSSIBLE to use up!

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I have struggled with makeup my entire life; it wasn’t until recently that I realized that there are tools out there that actually work for me, and could work for you too.

So – using that as a backdrop, I’m about to embark ona series of posts about my mounting makeup collection in 2011.

What is a VIB you ask?  A Very Important Beauty of course!  That is the term that Sephora uses to categorize its frequesnt shoppers who exceed a ridiculous certain level of purchases in any calendar year.  IN this case, it’s $350.  Given that it’s only May, and that I’m telling you I’m a VIB, you can imagine how much product I’ve gone gaga over.  But that’s another story.

So here is part 1:

Dateline, November 2010.  Sephora was having a deal that if I purchased  a certain amount, I’d get a free Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil.  Ok so since I’m a sucker for a steal, deal, or sale, I bought just the bare minimum that was on my watch list:

Stila Smudge Pot in Brown.  There is a story behind this purchase like many others but…

Smashbox Wish for the Perfect Pencil  - a holiday set of 4 mini waterproof eyeliner pencils

Detect a pattern?  well my biggest struggle with makeup my entire life was getting it to STAY ON MY FACE!  Primarily, I have a serious issue with eyeliner.  For me, personally, if I don’t use the right eyeliner, I end up looking like which is just NOT attractive in any way.  So i sort of gave up, because by noon, my makeup would be smudged, budged and otherwise bothered.  Who knew why, it just way.  I also struggled to find a an eye primer that didn’t irritate my crazy allergy sensitive eyes.  So I didn’t use one.
I did a bit of research, and found that there were RAVE reviews on the Smudge Pots as well as the Smashbox liners.  So off I went to click and buy.
These two products were GREAT!  They really were the foray in to a happy makeup life for me, because for ONCE when I wore them, FINALLY they didn’t budge.  They stayed put.  They didn’t move.  I could put eyeshadow on top of them and it )mostly) looked good an hour later.
I still use the Smashbox pencils from time to time, and they are great, small, and travel friendly.
I have abandoned the smudge pot – thought I”m not sure why, so I’ll need to revist that to review it.  Stay tuned!