A New Day

Taking a look at all of the things I've been missing

Weekly Favorites – part 23

Once again, the weeks have gotten away from me. What the heck?? Again, I won’t even apologize… it seems to be a chronic problem. I refuse to change this to a monthly favorites because it is a goal to get back on track!

As I mentioned in a previous post, May is a no-buy month for me. Believe it or not, I’ve done very well. I had a slight mishap at the Guerlain counter (stay tuned for more on that…), but in my defense, I did use some gift cards. Does that make it better? Probably not. The other “purchase” was utilizing my credits from a Pink Panel study – I got a $75 credit to use on the Patchology website and I didn’t go above $50. Someone please give me some credit for the self-control!

So what is on my favorites list right now? Here we go!

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Blushed Copper (Limited Edition) – I always feel bad posting things that are limited edition, however there are so many options in the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector line that I don’t feel THAT badly. This particular shade is an absolute beautiful warm, copper hue – it has some dark tones to it, but with the lightest hand, can be used on any skin tone. I was a little scared about using this on my NW10-15 skin and tested along with the Rose Gold, Opal and Topaz in both the Pressed and Poured formulas. Because the Copper does have a bit of the Rose Gold as well, this really warmed up my cheeks and gave a beautiful sun-kissed look. I use this as a blush and start applying from the hairline, just below the cheekbone and blending down the cheekbone and then lightly up the temple. Before making the leap on this particular shade, I would suggest going to Sephora and test out each formula to see what works best for your skin type. And remember, a little bit goes a VERY long way. Available at Sephora for $38 (0.28oz).

I could not capture the right hues in my lighting, so this photo is borrowed from Sephora.com

 – Call Your Girlfriend – if you are my friend IRL, you know that I’m obsessed with this podcast. Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman are long-distance besties and I feel like they have become my personal besties over the last few weeks. I keep trying to stalk them on Instagram and it doesn’t seem to be working… please? Besties? If you like smart, funny women with an edge, go download this from iTunes or listen online at callyourgirlfriend.com

That is it this week. I am seriously trying to get back to real weekly posts – bear with me!

Have a great week!

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April Le Métier de Beauté VIP Vault

Hello everyone!

I won’t get super wordy in my intro.. I already have my May vault shipment and a pile of boxes to sort through..

This month I received a very odd shipment – 2 nail polishes and a spring eye shadow. The lightest shade of polish is called Tinsel Town… a sickly, green holiday shade? Wait, what? The other shade is Made in the Jade, a lovely creamy navy-grey shade, which I will put on the shelf until fall. The shadow is labeled with the ambiguous VIP sticker, but I recalled seeing a similar shade a few months back in some LMdB press photos. In digging through their Instagram, I found a similar shade called Lapis featured around the holidays.

Left: indoor lighting; middle: indoors with flash; right: natural light

WTF?

I did learn that Tinsel Town can be worn over a darker shade.

I think this was a way for the company to unload some old items. What a disappointment. I will use the shadow for summer and dark polish later this year, but I think this month was a bust. Some of the subscribers on Makeup Talk received a duplicate brown polish from year one, a red polish and a taupe shadow.

True Color Eye Shadow: $30

Nail color (0.4oz) $15 x2= $30

Total: $60

Previous months:

– August – After Dark Total Kaleidoscope valued at $95

– September – Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Complexe valued at $175

– October – Goldfinger Kaleidoscope Palette valued at $95

– November – Lip liner set valued at $135.50

– December – two limited edition VIP eye shadows valued at $60

– January – blush and kabuki brush valued at $115

– February – The Romeo and Juliet, Blushing Bronzed Duet valued at $65

– March – Glow Your Own Way lip gloss duo valued at $68

Total VIP program value to date: $868.50

What is the LMdB VIP Vault?

“It is Here the 2014 VIP Program! Consider yourself a VIP.

Become a member of the LMdB Beauty Vault VIP Program. Gift it to yourself or gift it to a friend. We promise: you won’t be disappointed. Liberate your inner Beauté and share the discovery of something beautiful every month.

How it works:

For a one-time fee of $348 ($29 dollars a month, for 12 months), become a Beauty Vault VIP. At the beginning of each month, our Le Métier de Beauté experts will send you a carefully curated full-sized product or assortment of products shipped right to your door. As an added bonus, Vault VIP Subscription shipping is free. All you have to do is sign up and anticipate 12 exciting months of LMdB surprises. Savor the perks of insider access, and start discovering beauty with us.

  • One full-sized item or an assortment of items shipped to you at the beginning of every month
  • Curated mix of our favorite Color, Skincare, Pre-release Sneak Peaks, Lab Previews, and Vault Exclusives
  • Shipping is free
  • Share your feedback, we want to get to know you better”

I’m glad to finish this review and move on to May. Did you receive this same shipment? What are your thoughts?

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Project Pan Round 1 – May Update

Happy May everyone!

When I started my project pan, I didn’t anticipate immediate gratification. I did think that it would be moving along a bit faster though. I am using the four remaining products fairly regularly and have some decent progress, I guess.. in my efforts to keep myself on track and motivated, I decided to take a look at my starting point and where I am now. Perhaps we can call this my quarterly report?

Benefit The Big Easy in 01-Fair – amount left – 10%

MAC PowerPoint Eye Pencil in Stubborn Brown – amount left – 25%

MAC Lipgelee in Moistly (40% left) and Moon-something (10% left)

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow in Beach Honey – COMPLETE
I thought about adding in a couple of new things, but wanted to really tackle the remaining products before derailing.. or those of you who have successfully completed a multi-product project pan, how do you stay motivated?

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Use It – April 2015

Happy May, everyone!!

This was a somewhat dismal month as far as using things up – so if you are looking for a long post with lots of products, look through some of the archives. ;)

If you follow me on Instagram (@lvp8779), you know that I’m participating in the #sampledout challenge. While there is no way I will be sample free by 2016, I hope to make a significant dent. This is my declaration before you read through this post and ask “why so many samples?” I’m tracking on Instagram, but reviewing here. I feel like I can give a more thorough review and list the prices and where to find, should you care to track it down.

In keeping with the last several months, everything is broken down into one of the following categories: skincare, makeup, body, hair and lifestyle.

SKINCARE

Giorgio Armani Regenessence Youth Generator – it was okay the first time I used it and the second time, it burned and itched… I just wanted it off of my face. Just no. This received 4.5 stars on the Saks website – interesting. If you are feeling adventurous, you can purchase for $155 (1.01oz).

Julep Luxe Repair Skin Serum – I can’t believe I finished this.. it is a pretty big tube. This was just okay – it felt like it took forever to sink into my skin. I did like using this in the winter, as it added a bit of extra hydration, but I would not repurchase. Available on the Julep website – $28 for 0.6oz.

Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment (affiliate link) – I have always been a bit scared of this… I hate avocado. That doesn’t mean it isn’t good for your skin! This little packet is deceiving – there was about a weeks worth of product (used 2x daily) in this one. A small amount went a very long way. I would definitely purchase. Available at Nordstrom and Kiehl’s stores and website – $28.50 for 0.5oz.

Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate (affiliate link) – I didn’t find this to be plumping, however thought it was incredibly hydrating. I didn’t notice my skin getting greasy, as it sometimes gets with serums/oils. This foil packet had about a week and half of use (1x daily) and I would like to test it out for about a month before giving it the true pass or fail. Available at Nordstrom and Kiehl’s stores and website – $58 for 1.7oz.

Patchology – I was so excited to finally be selected for one of The Pink Panel for some product feedback! Three of the four items in the study were sheet masks designed to illuminate, exfoliated and hydrate. My favorite of the three was the hydrating mask. After 5 minutes, my skin felt smooth, soft and incredibly hydrated. I hadn’t heard of this brand previously, but a quick Google search informed me that the products were available on HSN and at Neiman’s and run about $50 for eight masks. If you are interested in joining or learning more about testing out products, visit The Pink Panel.

Sheet Masks – oh look… more sheet masks! Missha Pomegranate and Lioele Aloe sheet masks. I know I have talked about them before.. I loooovvvvveee the pomegranate products that Missha puts out and I want them all! These are available through Memebox for $2-4 each.

MAKEUP

NONE

BODY

NONE

HAIR

Biolage Deep Smoothing Leave-in Cream – I’ve been trying to limit my heat-styling right now and have been letting my hair do it’s wavy, natural thing. This did a fantastic job of defining the curls as well as minimizing the frizz. I have a couple packets of this and will be using regularly… I would definitely consider purchasing. I found this on Drugstore.com as the SmoothProof Leave-in Cream and available for $17 for 5.1oz.

Brazilian Tech Keratin De-Frizz Wand – I have talked about this so many times.. like here and here. This thing is magic. Seriously magic. One quick swipe tames all of the little flyaways as well as manages the humidity frizz. When I got to about halfway, I went in search of more and ended up purchasing two. Available at Sally Beauty Supply for $8 (0.5oz).

Garnier Nourishing Avocado, Olive & Shea Oil Conditioner – this truly is the most nourishing combination of oils out there and together have really helped preserve the color on my currently very damaged hair. My hair is not having a good moment, but this really helped smooth and hydrate my brittle strands. I’m using a few other products right now that I do like a bit better, so probably would not purchase. I believe this is actually sold as the Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Conditioner.  I found the latter on Amazon for $4.97 for 25.4oz.

LIFESTYLE

NONE

TOSS

Saying goodbye to two things that have been in my closet for way too long. Farewell, Botanical Nutrients Yucca Aloe Shampoo. Bath and Body Works sold this line years ago. Years. Why do we still have this aging on a shelf? Also, the True Blue Spa Handy Work Liquid Hand Soap… I don’t know which is older, but I bought them both when I was still working for Bath and Body Works. I left there in 2007. Goodbye.

And so long, St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse. We just weren’t compatible – too dark and appeared streaky. I would much rather use a gradual tanning lotion.

So there you have it, folks. Another month, another review of my trash.

I hope you have a wonderful May!

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Weekly Favorites – part 22

Happy Monday everyone

This post kept getting pushed further and further back… I’m not sure why, but there were a few other things blog-wise and personally that kept me from getting to this…

Without any further BS, here are my current favorites:

MAC Eye Kohl in I Get No Kick – this pencil is part of the MAC is Beauty collection and is running out quickly! This gorgeous champagne shade is described as a “metallic nude” – the ideal pencil for the gal who loves a good neutral. I’ve been using this on my lower waterline – this pencil is super soft and applies like a dream. Get it while you can… in fact, get 2. Available online and all MAC counters for a limited time for $16.

benefit Dallas – why am I so late to the party on this one? This is a warm, plummy-tan blush that works well on so many skin tones. Rumor on the street is that Dallas has been discontinued… can anyone confirm or deny this? It is still available on the benefit website and there are plenty at my local Ulta for $28.

Top: I Get No Kick; bottom: Dallas 

Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Repair Eye Serum – ugh – wrinkles. Maybe I’m smiling more these days or maybe I’m just getting old… these crows feet have been really stressing me out recently, so I started looking for some new solutions. In talking to a Laura Mercier pro, I learned a few things about the skincare line and she swore by this product. She applied it with the corrector and concealer and I noticed an immediate difference – my eye area looked firmer and brighter. After using twice a day for 2 days, the lines were less noticeable and after a month, my lines are significantly less prominent. One of the biggest changes is that my under eye area does not crease throughout the day and my concealer stays put. This little miracle worker is absolutely worth $83 for 0.5oz.

What have you recently discovered in the store or in your stash?

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March Le Métier de Beauté VIP Vault

Happy… March?

Hmm… I’m obviously behind on my subscription services these days. I’ve been resisting temptation to use until I could get around to swatching and photos. That is quite a feat for me!

This month’s Le Métier de Beauté VIP Vault featured 2 gorgeous lip gloss in colors exclusive to the VIP program (for now, at least…) one is a beautiful, light sparkling pink, the other is a rich, creamy pink-brown.

Left: indoor lighting; Right: indoor with flash

There wasn’t a full description of the products, the packaging just indicated this was the Glow Your Own Way VIP 2015 set. After a bit of digging on the interwebz, I believe the shade on the left is the Sheer Brilliance Lip Gloss (retail $32) and on the right is the Lip Crème Lip Gloss (retail $36).

The gloss swatches a bit sheer, but has a lovely, light tint with a bit of shimmer. This can be worn on its own or over another shade to brighten it up.

Left: indoor lighting; middle: indoors with flash; right: outdoors, direct sun

The crème formula is much thicker, and feels more like a liquid lipstick. I actually prefer a stickier product, so this is kind of my dream formula. I read several posts about this shade not working for a lot of people, but this is a perfect nude shade for me. If anyone out there dislikes it, feel free to send my way! ;)

I wanted to show a side by side comparison of another shade in my collection, MAC On the Scene (top), a Cremesheen Glass. It isn’t a perfect dupe, but this color family is clearly a favorite!

March was a total win for me. As a lip product junkie, this is a little slice of  heaven!

Previous months:

– August – After Dark Total Kaleidoscope valued at $95

– September – Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Complexe valued at $175

– October – Goldfinger Kaleidoscope Palette valued at $95

– November – Lip liner set valued at $135.50

– December – two limited edition VIP eye shadows valued at $60

– January – blush and kabuki brush valued at $115

– February – The Romeo and Juliet, Blushing Bronzed Duet valued at $65

Total VIP program value to date: $808.50

What is the LMdB VIP Vault?

“It is Here the 2014 VIP Program! Consider yourself a VIP.

Become a member of the LMdB Beauty Vault VIP Program. Gift it to yourself or gift it to a friend. We promise: you won’t be disappointed. Liberate your inner Beauté and share the discovery of something beautiful every month.

How it works:

For a one-time fee of $348 ($29 dollars a month, for 12 months), become a Beauty Vault VIP. At the beginning of each month, our Le Métier de Beauté experts will send you a carefully curated full-sized product or assortment of products shipped right to your door. As an added bonus, Vault VIP Subscription shipping is free. All you have to do is sign up and anticipate 12 exciting months of LMdB surprises. Savor the perks of insider access, and start discovering beauty with us.

  • One full-sized item or an assortment of items shipped to you at the beginning of every month
  • Curated mix of our favorite Color, Skincare, Pre-release Sneak Peaks, Lab Previews, and Vault Exclusives
  • Shipping is free
  • Share your feedback, we want to get to know you better”

Are you a VIP? Are you considering signing up next year?


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What’s in my travel bag?

Hi there everyone!

I was thinking that it was time for another look at what is in my travel bag… Since travel is what I spend about 30% of my time doing, finding the right travel items are somewhat of a necessity. I tend to look for a lot of hydrating products to combat the dry, recycled air in planes and constantly changing environments of hotels.

In addition to the products, I’ve tried to narrow down my makeup items to a couple key pallets, including Urban Decay Naked on the Run ($54) and the Laura Mercier Flawless Face Book. I’m still learning how to best use the concealer/correctors in the Face Book (not to be confused with Facebook…), but I feel like I have Naked on the Run down pat. If you are a UD fan, you know all about this kit, but if not, it is a great neutral pallet with 5 eye neutral colors, bronzer, blush and highlighter built in. There are separate compartments for some lip and eye products, which I actually switch out. I’m currently using a different UD black liner and a Bobbi Brown mascara. I haven’t even opened the lip gloss yet – not sure how I have resisted that temptation…

If you read my blog regularly, you know that Kiehl’s makes me swoon. I think they make some of the best skincare products for sensitive skin – no heavy perfumes or dyes. When I find a mini in something I like, I snatch it up. It took me a while, but I was able to track down a mini Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate (full size $46 for 1oz) and travel size Close Shavers Squadron (full size $14 for 5oz to $21.60 for 10oz). I prefer the sensitive skin version, but this is not too harsh.

Every season Sephora puts out some great sample sizes of some of their best selling products. A while back, I visited the Sephora inside of a JCPenney and discovered that they carry their own sets that vary from the stand alone stores… who knew? The fall/winter skincare set had some wonderful stuff in there, including the Murad Renewing Cleansing Cream (full size $36 for 6.75oz). I really like this because it is a really gentle, hydrating face wash, but strong enough to take off makeup, setting spray and city grime.

Since we are on the subject of brands I talk about constantly, how about one more? Yes, the Batiste Dry Shampoo (full size $8.99 for 5oz) strikes again. I haven’t used this in a while and managed to get ahold of a couple smaller cans recently – I think in some subscription boxes (?).  This particular version is the Blush and the scent is a bit strong, but is the same old Batiste formula that I know and love. I hate when my hair gets the slightest bit greasy and will use this after a flight or on day 2-3 of a trip, especially if I get a blowout before I leave.

Sunscreen is an absolute must. Ohio is not sunny, however most of the locations I travel to are. I always have some sun block tucked away somewhere. My travel size of the moment is the Supergoop SPF30 (full size $19 for 2.4oz) oil-free sunscreen. Anything less than SPF30 doesn’t do a thing for me – I call BS on all of the articles that say otherwise… I need a minimum of 30-50 to prevent a burn.

I know I mentioned this line recently in a Use It post, but I really like to have familiar scents with me when traveling. My go-to scent for helping me get to sleep home or away is the Bath and Body Works Eucalyptus and Spearmint Aromatherapy line. The lotion and linen spray are pretty much staples in my travel bag. The 1oz travel size is usually available for $3 each.

Let’s be honest, flying sucks. I’ve started pacing a sheet mask to use post-flight and I feel like it has really made a difference with feeling hydrated on day 2 of a trip. One of my current favorites is the Missha Pomegranate Sheet Mask – its super hydrating and full of antioxidants. I’ve also been experimenting a bit with facial mists for longer trips.. what I love about sheet masks is the convenience for the cost – for $1-$3, you can find a great mask.

So there you go. What are some of your travel must haves?

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Use It – March 2015

Hello everyone!

I hope you had a great start to your Spring and have started to defrost a bit! I spotted flowers in my yard the other day and nearly fell down my front steps rushing to take a photo. So yeah.. I’m happy to see Spring has sprung!

If you follow me on Instagram (@lvp8779), you know that I’m participating in the #sampledout challenge. While there is no way I will be sample free by 2016, I hope to make a significant dent. This is my declaration before you read through this post and ask “why so many samples?” I’m tracking on Instagram, but reviewing here. I feel like I can give a more thorough review and list the prices and where to find, should you care to track it down.

In keeping with the last several months, everything is broken down into one of the following categories: skincare, makeup, body, hair and lifestyle. So here we go:

SKINCARE

EcoTools Pure Complexion Facial Sponge – I go through so many of these.. The recommendation is to change every 3 months, but can only go 1-2 before being kind of gross (in my opinion). This can be found at Ulta for $5.99 – keep an eye out for the buy 1, get 50% off deals!

Murad Pore Reform Balancing Moisturizer – this has been my go-to moisturizer for years… YEARS, I tell you! Originally posted in My Favorite Things Part 2, this has been a life saver so many times. I have tried other products and just keep coming back to this time and time again. Would I repurchase? Of course. This comes in a 1.7oz tube and runs about $35 at Sephora and the Murad website.

Murad Acne Clearing Solution – I’ve already reviewed this like 5 times… I love this and have a ton of samples. If I ever run out, I would buy it! Available at Sephora and the Murad website for $39 for 1.7 oz.

StriVectin Intensive Illuminating Serum – this is a repeat from last month. Thank you, Allure for sending this out twice! I really liked this, but unsure if I would make the splurge. Available on the StriVectin website for $89.

Sheet MasksPureSmile Pearl and Vitamin, When Present Perfect – the When mask kind of burned (would not purchase), however the PureSmile were really nice (would purchase). The pearl was one of the best sheet masks I’ve ever used. All are available for $2-$4 each.

MAKEUP

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow in Beach Honey – so this is probably cheating, but this is included in my Project Pan. I DID finish it this month though! I would not repurchase – the color payoff was disappointing, which is why it sat in my drawer forever. The cream shadows are available in 18 shades and cost $26 at any Bobbi Brown counter or online.

BODY

Joie Folle de Joie Eau de Parfum – this was a sample from Birchbox – they love, love, love this perfume over there. I think this is the second time I have received this. It’s a floral-y citrus scent – I guess. I wouldn’t purchase, but it was a great travel scent. Available at Birchbox for $98 for 3.4oz.

LUSH Whoosh Shower Jelly – this has been happily residing in my travel bag for the last few months. I was incredibly sad to see this go! This Jell-O looking soap has a bright, clean citrus scent. It is kind of difficult to use, as you have to either use as a giant blob, or try to break off some small, slippery chunks. I tried both and it worked just fine… I ended up laughing frequently about my inability to hold onto it in the shower. This appeared in one of my Weekly Favorites, and I would venture to say this might become a future staple. It comes in 2 sizes – a travel(ish) 3.5 oz for $6.95 and 8.4 oz for $11.95. And don’t forget to save your pots – when you return 5 pots you get a free mask!

Philosophy Happy Birthday, Beautiful! – this was a birthday gift from Sephora a couple years back. I wasn’t a huge fan of the scent, so it sat in a drawer forever. I finally decided to use as a hand soap and that worked out much better. It lathered well and was very gentle, I’m just really picky about my vanilla scents. I wouldn’t purchase.

The Body Shop Bath & Shower Gel in Cranberry Joy – if you have been reading for a while, you know this is one of my favorite cold weather scents. I go through a couple products every year. And yes, it is old packaging. I hoard it when it goes on sale after the holidays! I will purchase again and again. This will be available again round mid-October and is like $10-$15 for 8.4oz… might be off on that price.. sorry.

Whish Shave Cream in Acai Grapefruit – I used the blueberry version before and found it to be clumpy and somewhat ineffective. This formula was much better – it went on smooth and left my skin soft. My feelings on this had changed until on the last use, I got really horrible razor burn. Not cool, Whish. That is strike 2 and I will never purchase. If you want to buy it, the full size is available exclusively on Birchbox for $20 for 150ml.

HAIR

Julep Dry Clean Invisible Dry Shampoo – this was one of the items in my September Maven box. My initial feedback was that it lasted about 8 hours and I would agree with that still. This is by far not my favorite dry shampoo and I definitely would not seek it out to purchase. This is available on the Julep website for $22 ($17.60 for Mavens).

Klorane Conditioning Cream – I think they could have just called this a conditioner. After cleansing, the instructions suggest to leave in for 5-10 minutes to hydrate and detangle hair. I have to say, I really have mixed feelings on Klorane products. The scent was really nice, but this isn’t a product I would purchase. One more for #sampledout

LIFESTYLE

Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy Pillow Mist in Eucalyptus Spearmint – I absolutely believe in the power of aromatherapy. This is guaranteed to put me to sleep anywhere and any time. The pillow mist and lotion are essentials in my travel bag! Available in full and travel sizes – 1oz is available for about $3.

Bath and Body Works Antibacterial Hand Gel in Ghoul Friend – I love a good play on words. I have a ton of these and stock up when they are $1.

There you have it. Another month in the books. I hope you have a  wonderful March!


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Project Pan Round 1 – April Update

Happy April, everyone!

If you have been following along with my Project Pan updates, you know that I have been focusing on 5 key items in my stash:

Benefit The Big Easy in 01-Fair 

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow in Beach Honey

MAC PowerPoint Eye Pencil in Stubborn Brown

MAC Lipgelee in Moistly and Moon-something

Last month, I shared progress with the cream shadow and the lip products and I felt like I hadn’t really made a dent. Well today, I am happy to share that I have finished my first product! Say goodbye to the Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow in Beach Honey! This ended up just sort of crumbling at the end and was completely unusable… fortunately it was just a small amount.

Ta-da!!

While it is hard to really tell the progress with the foundation, the tube has gotten noticeably thinner… I would like to finish this before spring, as it really is more of a winter foundation for me. The Moon LipGelee is slowly moving down also – just a small change over last month though.

I also wanted to show a little bit of the eyeliner progress – months 2 and 3 are almost the same line. However the line finally moved a bit over the last few weeks. I haven’t been using this as much as I hoped.

So that is just a quick update… hopefully more finished items next month!

Are you working on a Project Pan this year? How are you able to stay motivated and on track? What advice do you have for others?

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My Quick Makeup Recommendations

There are so many titles I could give this post… 5 minute face, beauty hacks, etc. etc. etc. I had a friend ask if I could give my suggestions for doing a quick routine for the non-morning person. As a non-morning person myself, I thought this would be a fun challenge. I really enjoy the process of doing my makeup and matching colors and selecting specific shades to compliment my outfit, which by the way is typically navy or black. My options are pretty much endless and it definitely takes me more than 5 minutes…

I did some serious planning ahead for this challenge… I tried narrow it down to 5 products, but it just wasn’t going to happen. Instead, I tried to put together a few key things, like what could I recommend that is multi-purpose or appropriate for any season? Also, what might be a good suggestion for someone who wants to build up a small collection of staples?

So here we go:

 – Benefit Big Easy in 01 Fair – you may recognize this from my recent Project Pan posts. While I had some mixed feelings at first, it turns out this was a great foundation for the winter months. This foundation can easily be applied with your fingers. The Big Easy runs about $36 for 1.18oz, and comes in 6 shades.

 – MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter in Radiant Rose – originally featured in my MAC Prep + Prime CC review. This is perfect for the under eye area and any other area that needs brightening – cheeks, bridge of the nose or forehead. This is $26, and so worth it. I would buy this again and again!

 – MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder – even if your foundation/BB cream is a cream to powder formula, use a setting powder to finish the look and set your makeup. This particular powder runs about $26, but there are many other (and cheaper) options from L’Oreal, Maybelline, NYX, etc.

 – Sephora Professional Powder brush – get a decent brush. I really like the Sephora Pro and Real Techniques ($15 and under) brushes. You don’t need a $100 brush… but they are nice sometimes! This one was probably $20-$30.. can’t find it on the website.. You can have the most expensive products, but they won’t do a darn thing with crappy tools.

Le Métier de Beauté blush – there isn’t an actual shade listed since this was January’s featured product ($30) in the LMdB VIP program. But this is a great neutral – find a shade that that works well with your skin tone. You can get matched by a Sephora Pro, ask for help at your local drugstore or even Google “blush color for (blank) skin tone.” Also featured in the January shipment was a realllly nice kabuki brush ($85). Remember how I just said brushes don’t need to be expensive? Oops.. ;)

 – NARS St-Paul-de-Vence eye duo – this is a limited edition, spring release from NARS. Find a multidimensional neutral color that can be used on the entire lid, or a duo/quad that will give you some coverage and depth. This is a nectarine and brown duo that brightens my eyes and is really easy to apply and blend. This duo is $35 and it will last you FOREVER.

 – MAC 217 – this is the most versatile brush you will ever own. I can’t believe I only added this to my collection just recently… if the idea of using lots of brushes has you overwhelmed, then get one all-purpose brush that will help you achieve an easy and flawless look. Available at all MAC stores, counters and website for $24.

 – Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner in Oscar Fish – again, another easy to use neutral. Do you have to have a liner? No. But it will give you a more polished eye look and open up your eyes even on the worst Monday. I’m a big fan of the Urban Decay 24/7Velvet Glide-On Pencil and the Stila Smudge Stick. They are both easy to use, fix if smudged unintentionally or to intentionally smudge. To transition to a night look, thicken the line and define some of the lower lash line. Both are about $20 and come in a broad range of colors.

 – Benefit Roller Lash – I had to buy this to see if it lived up to the hype. Answer: sort of. But again, you don’t need a $24 mascara… I love, love, love the Maybelline Great Lash (big brush). While you don’t need an expensive mascara, you should use a mascara. If nothing else, for the same reasons as the liner – it brightens and opens your eyes. If you’re unsure how to use, go to a makeup counter and ask. There is nothing wrong with asking for a little help!

 – Tarte LipSurgence Lip Luster in Glitzy – Tarte makes beautiful, hydrating lip products. The LipSurgence is like a big pepperminty balm, crayon-like stick. This particular shade is a neutral with some shimmer and looks great on a range of skin tones, but there is an amazing range of tints and creams in this line. They are easy to use and are long lasting. Each stick is $24. My second recommendation would be the L’Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire in Nude Ballet ($8-10) featured here. There are lots of other options, but I don’t feel that they are not as hydrating or long lasting.

I promise this can all be accomplished in 5 minutes! I think I actually did it 4 and some change.

What are some of your go-to products for a quick look?

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