What’s In My Travel Bag?

Every time I travel I play the how-much-stuff-can-I-bring-in-my-carryon bag game. Since I’ve been traveling throughout Southeast Asia, I haven’t been checking any luggage. I try to only bring essentials and multi-purpose products to save space for goodies I pick up on my travels. This little bag doesn’t include my skincare or hair items, but I usually only bring a travel size face wash and moisturizer (from this Murad kit), Simple Skin Care cleansing wipes (a lifesaver on the go), a detangling hair brush and travel size shampoo/body wash. I find that more often than not, I end up with my hair in a messy bun or half-pulled back in a hair clip. Depending on where I’m traveling, I may switch out (or add) powder or foundation to match the climate of my destination. For example, when I went to Taiwan, it was extremely humid so I brought Estee Lauder Double Wear because I knew it would hold up. But, the items below are staples that I bring along no matter the destination.

BASE //

FACE //

EYES //

LIPS //

TOOLS //

I’ve found that this is the perfect combination of versatile face products to give me a fresh-faced, but not overdone look on the go. The Complexion Rescue makes for a hydrating, healthy looking base, and it’s perfect for balancing your skin on dry flights. I spot conceal and highlight my undereyes with the concealer, and use the bronzer and shimmer palette for both my face and eyes. Depending on the size of the bottle, I’d also recommend tossing a setting spray in your bag just to keep it long-lasting. Lately, I’ve been loving the Smashbox Primer Water and Milani Make It Last Setting Spray.

You’ve probably noticed that a lot of these products are from the drugstore. Not only are these all really great products in terms of performance, they’re also affordable, which is a pro when you’re traveling and don’t want to risk losing your baggage or breaking something expensive. The makeup bag I’m using is from Vera Bradley, part of the Travel Cosmetic Set, which I highly recommend–it’s a 4-piece set that works great together for longer trips and separated for short getaways.

What’s in your travel bag? Anything I need to add to my own? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Disclaimer: this blog contains Amazon affiliate links.

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Fall Look + Full Acne Coverage

  It is finally starting to feel like fall outside, and I couldn’t be happier! I’ve officially packed away my short and sandals and brought out my tights, boots, and jewel colored tops and dresses. This is my favorite time of year for three reasons: weather, holidays, and fashion. Mid to low 50s, a crisp breeze, and swirling leaves + family and friends gathered together for a meal to share their thankfulness and culinary skills + sweaters and boots = everything I love about fall!

One thing I don’t love is having acne. I’ve struggled with it since I was around 12 years old, and I’m now 22. I saw a dermatologist for almost 6 years and have taken more antibiotics than I can count on two hands. Creams, lotions, cleansers galore and not one thing made it go away! My derm had always suggested two possible solutions: hormonal birth control and Accutane. My parents and I were not keen on the risks and side effects of Accutane, some of which I was more at risk for than others, so I never tried it. I have been using hormonal birth control for 5 years now and have seen such an amazing difference in the condition of my skin – which is saying something, considering I obviously still have acne in the photos above. For the most part, my birth control helps to keep the cystic acne along my jawline at bay, but I still get inflammatory acne mostly everywhere except for my forehead. I am strict about skincare routine and never, ever, ever go to sleep without taking my makeup off and cleansing my skin. I used to use many more products to cover up my acne than I do now, but I find that the two products I use for coverage provide exactly what I need without a heavy layer.

The very first thing I do is cleanse, moisturize, and prime my skin.

  1. LUSH Herbalism // $15-ish
  2. Clinique Dramatically Different Gel // $26
  3. Arbonne Makeup Primer // $40

Once I’ve prepped my skin, I move on to concealer and foundation.

  1. It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Concealer // $24 / in the shade Light
  2. It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation Illumination // $35 / in the shade Light

I apply the concealer with my fingers (after I’ve washed my hands, of course!) because I find that I get the best coverage while using the least amount of product. I have applied this product with both a sponge and brush before and still prefer my trusty old phalanges. It’s extremely pigmented, so I use a pinhead-sized drop under each of my eyes in a triangle shape – #KimKwannabe – and then continue to use other teensy pinhead drops on my blemishes and redness on the rest of my face. It’s a thick, creamy, consistency and blends flawlessly into my skin’s natural texture. I have quite a few (who am I kidding, I have a lot) of freckles, so I use the concealer extremely sparingly on my forehead to let them show through.

Once my concealer is nicely blended, I move on to foundation. The It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation Illumination, as contrasted to the original Celebration Foundation, which comes in a black compact and is matte, is an illuminating pressed powder foundation. The concealer is matte, and I like that the foundation has illuminating qualities to give off a lit-from-within glow. I buff the foundation into my skin with a Sigma F80 brush in circular motions. It offers medium-buildable coverage, and despite the fact that I have extremely oily skin, I do not experience any shininess for several hours, and no separation all day. It’s a great foundation for all skin types that I think works very well in conjunction with the concealer. In the following four photos, the one in the top left shows how my skin looks with the foundation + concealer combo.
Those two products conclude the acne coverage portion of this blog, and I highly encourage you to give them a try! They are quite pricey, but I anticipate the concealer lasting me at least a year, and I’ve used the foundation daily for two months and have yet to notice any obvious usage in the pan.

For alternatives, I recommend

  1. Dermablend Cover Creme // $38 / this product is very expensive, and I don’t think it offers as good of coverage as the Bye Bye Undereye. If you have the time to really work with this product (which I think is best applied with sponge or fingers) it might be worth it, but I think there are better alternatives. It is a cream texture in a pot, rather than a tube, which I also do not like for sanitary reasons. Everyone has different preferences, so it may work for you! 
  2. Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer // $6 / the consistency is similar to that of the Bye Bye Undereye and gives full coverage, but it appears more oily and the shades can edge into Oompa Loompa territory. I will not repurchase this, but it is a great product if your budget only allows you to stick with drugstore products.
  3. Aveda Inner Light Dual Foundation // $25 / very similar in coverage + concept to the Celebration Foundation, but does not come in a compact. You must purchase the compact separately, which I consider a huge disadvantage and just plain annoying, so I don’t use this anymore in protest. The product itself is wonderful though, and if the compact isn’t important to you, you can keep it in the plastic packaging and use it that way.

To complete the rest of the look, I used Tarte Park Ave Princess bronzer, Clinique blush in New Clover, Anastasia Beverly Hills DipBrow pomade in Blonde, Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner, Urban Decay Perversion mascara, Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette, and Lancome L’Absolu Rouge lipstick in Creme de Marron.

IMG_0908What are your favorite fall looks? Share with me in the comments below!

September Favorites

How in the world is it October already?! September is one of my favorite months. The weather starts to cool down and leaves begin to change colors…and fall comes! My favorite season of the year   I may not be into PSLs, but I am into a great fall lip, and those are the forerunners of my September faves:

  1. MAC Rebel – $17 at MAC – This color is just downright gorgeous and deserves all the attention it gets! This is a bold, medium-plum satin finish lipstick. I do find it slightly drying, so I always try to layer some lip balm on top of it, but the staying power is great. This is my go-to fall shade.
  2. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in Vintage – $18 at Amazon – I could not find this anywhere online that wasn’t sold out for you guys except for Amazon. This product is pretty difficult to use, so it’s not one that I frequently reach for. That being said, it is a beautiful brick-red + burgundy shade and extremely long-wearing. It’s pretty much impossible to apply this without a lip brush, and it does bleed, so use lipliner accordingly!
  3. NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen – $6 at Ulta – This is a cult favorite for a reason. While I personally dislike the formula, Copenhagen is the most killer fall lip shade I own. I feel so powerful and cool when I wear this! My dislikes are that it’s difficult to apply and takes quite a long time to set, making it prone to bleeding and smears. I would reach for this over Rebel if it weren’t so hard to apply!
  4. Essie Nail Lacquer in Material Girl – $8.50 at Essie – Keeping with the theme of burgundy and red, this is a fingertip favorite of mine for fall! It’s semi-sheer for the first coat, and opaque with the second. I get compliments on this polish all the time!
  5. Tarte Park Avenue Princess Contour Kit v2 – $34 at Sephora – I featured this in my last post about products I used for my wedding. I’ve been using the bronzer and highlight almost every day! The bronzer is pretty natural looking, although I’m still undecided on whether I prefer it to Benefit Hoola or not. The highlighter is a gorgeous, pigmented, champagne color, and the blush is a shimmery peach. I don’t think peach is particularly flattering on my skin tone, so I tend to avoid it, although I don’t think this particular blush is unflattering on me. Still, it will never compete with my beloved Benefit Dallas!
  6. IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye concealer – $24 at IT Cosmetics – This concealer is amazing. Like, it’s actually really freaking amazing. First of all, I use it all over my face, not just under my eyes. To use this exclusively under one’s eyes would be to ignore it’s crazy camouflaging capabilities. I would say the consistency is similar to the Hard Candy Glamolauge, but less oily, less orange, and with better coverage/staying power. It’s pretty pricey, but it’ll last you probably forever, and the fact that it comes in a tube instead of a pot is great if you have acne-prone skin. I prefer to apply this with my fingers for maximum coverage, but it can also be buffed on with a buki brush!
  7. Stila Stay All Day waterproof liquid eyeliner – $22 at Sephora – High-end eyeliner is something I never thought I’d spend my money on, but I knew the drugstore stuff I was using wouldn’t hold up to the inevitable outpouring of tears on my wedding day, so I splurged! I love how precise and pigmented this liner is. It’s really easy to get a clean cat eye with, and it held up quite well to tears on my wedding day. I have naturally watery eyes, so on a daily basis, this is awesome. No more smeary eyeliner wings for this girl!
  8. LUSH Herbalism – $13.95-33.95 at Lush – I am obsessed with this cleanser. If you have oily, acne-prone skin and you haven’t found an exfoliating cleanser that doesn’t dry/irritate your skin into oblivion, you need to try this. It is messy. It smells like rice vinegar. It will also leave your skin soft, clean, and not completely stripped of natural oils. I can put up with 15 seconds of vinegar smell and the slight inconvenience of mixing it with water in my palms for the end result of beautiful skin. I got 4oz for around $15 and it’ll easily last me 6 months or longer with daily use, so in the end it isn’t that much more expensive (or more expensive at all)  than the drugstore cleansers I’ve used in the past.

That’s a wrap for September faves! Any suggestions for this lovely month of October? Let me know in the comments!

Why I Did My Own Wedding Makeup & What I Used To Do It

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I think most brides have dreamed about their wedding day since they were little girls. They build Pinterest boards and watch entire seasons of Say Yes to the Dress and take 13 months to plan their wedding and it. will. be. perfect. Most brides aren’t me, though, so I planned my wedding in three months, DIYed almost every part of it, never dreamed of my wedding as a child, and ~ spoiler alert ~ did my own makeup. I also may have waited until the week before my wedding to try and find a makeup artist, so that was working against me. I had originally figured that my wedding day would bring imminent floods to my eyes, so I wanted airbrush makeup. Well here’s two things about airbrush makeup: 1. it’s freakin’ expensive and 2. it’s not a very popular trade where I live. I made the executive decision that $200 spent on getting my makeup done would be better spent on an adventure with Alex instead.

I didn’t practice my makeup at all before my wedding day (because clearly that would mean I’d have to prepare in advance for something, and we all know I don’t do that), so, as with most aspects of my life, I kind of just winged it and hoped for the best. I picked up the BareMinerals I Do kit at Ulta for $50, which is actually a pretty great deal for everything that you get, and it was a hookup to have at the chapel for touchups. The only photo I have of my makeup is this really awkward selfie below (you’re welcome and I give you permission to laugh), and I took it after the floodgates had already broken, so it’s a little less than perfect in the eye area. *sniffle* But quite frankly, I felt beautiful, it saved me money, and I find applying makeup to be therapeutic, so it may have also saved me from having a few extra bridezilla breakdowns. (My mom would probably say otherwise. Sorry, Mom.)

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I used a lot of makeup, so I won’t go too into detail on the ins and outs of each product like I usually do, but below is a list of the products I used to create this look. Almost everything can be found at Ulta (which is where I primarily shop), and some of these products will actually be featured in more detail in upcoming blogs. If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below or send me an email and I’d be happy to help!

Products used:

  1. Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place makeup in 2W1 Dawn – $38 at Nordstrom
    • If you never want your foundation to come off, buy this (exaggeration).
  2. it Cosmetics Celebration Illumination powder foundation in Medium – $35 at Ulta
    • This made my skin look flawless, and added a healthy glow since the Double Wear is so matte – this is especially beneficial if you don’t want to look flat in photos.
    • Note: this foundation is medium/full buildable coverage, so if you are one of those magical fairies with already beautiful skin, I recommend using this alone, rather than on top of a liquid foundation like I did.
  3. Benefit Hoola bronzer – $28 at Ulta
    • Y’all already know I love this stuff.
  4. Tarte Parke Ave Princess Contour Palette v2 – $34 at Ulta
    • This is a recent purchase and I dig it – I only used the highlighter on my wedding day. More to come on this in the future!
  5. BareMinerals Ready blush in I Do (from the I Do kit – $50)
    • If you have fair/light to medium skin, this pink flush will look universally gorgeous on you.
  6. Urban Decay Naked 3 palette – $54 at Sephora & Naked 2, also $54 at Sephora
    • From Naked 3 I used: Nooner, Liar, & Darkside
    • From Naked 2 I used: Booty Call, Tease, Busted
  7. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Soft Brown – $21 at Sephora
    • My personal favorite brow product.
  8. Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara – $23 at Ulta
    • I used this pre-falsies to darken my natural lashes.
  9. BareMinerals Lasting Line eyeliner in Absolute Black – $16 at Ulta
    • I used this on my tightline and outer 2/3 of my bottom lashline.
  10. Stila Stay all Day liquid liner in Intense Black – $22 at Sephora
    • This is amazing, and if you plan on crying, you need to buy it. Now.
  11. L’Oreal Collection Privee lipstick in Julianne’s Nude – $8 at Ulta
    • My holy grail nude-pink! I topped this with Urban Decay Naked lip gloss in Nooner, $20 at Sephora (borrowed that from a friend, but I really liked it!)
  12. Benefit Porefessional primer – $31 at Ulta
    • Not my favorite primer, but I think it held up well throughout the day!
  13. BareMinerals Flawless Definition waterproof mascara in Black (from the I Do kit – $50)
    • I used this to blend my falsies and natural lashes together, and on my bottom lashes. It’s definitely waterproof! It lasted through more tears than I think I’ve ever cried before.
  14. Ardell Natural Lash 110 – $3.99 @ Ulta
    • These are gorgeous and definitely more natural looking than other false lashes. They were also pretty comfortable. I didn’t feel like I had wings on my eyelids, so that was a positive.

I think that concludes the long list of products that I used for the day! I also used the Fake Bake Flawless Darker self tanner (per usual), which you can learn more about here. All in all, I am pleased with my handiwork, and it photographed beautifully! DIYing your wedding makeup isn’t for everyone, but it worked out well for me and allowed me to take control over something on my wedding day. I love makeup, and as much as I would have enjoyed getting it done professionally, it was something unique and special that I did for myself. To all of my brides-to-be, congratulations, and to all of my readers, have a fantasmical day!

Photography courtesy of Jordan Snyder Photography
Photography courtesy of our dear friend and talented photographer Jordan Snyder. Check out Jordan here and on Facebook!