Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Cover FX custom cover drops N20 - comparison swatches

I'll keep this brief, but I had to share comparison swatches for Cover FX custom cover drops in shade N20. I am late to the custom cover drops hype train, but I really wanted to try them. I went to Sephora to get color matched because I wasn't sure what shade I would be. The guy at Sephora color matched me to N20.

Let me be the first to say that N20 is not my shade and color matching at Sephora is a total crap shoot.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Chanel Poudre Universelle Libre loose powder swatches & review // 20 Clair (translucent 1) on dry pale skin

  • $52 for 1 ounce / 30 grams, which is a pretty good price considering that many loose powders contain less grams of product. If you use up loose powders regularly, it pays to shop in price per gram. 
  • Comes in a huge mouth jar with a puff. The puff isn't great, I only used it a few times. I love the packaging for home use, but I wouldn't recommend traveling with loose powders.
  • This powder is talc, nylon-12, and silica based, making it one of the most finely milled and delicate of the 'traditional' loose powders. The texture is more substantial feeling than the 100% silica powders or corn starch based formulas on the market.
  • Soft matte finish, great for setting foundation. Not as good for touchups.
  • It can be applied to look natural on the skin, but you will have to pay special attention to application to achieve a truly invisible look. If you are heavy handed or tend to sweep powder on with a brush, it could look dry or visible on the skin. 
Can fair skin use 20 Clair?
 One of my concerns was if the shade 20 clair was appropriate for very light or fair skin. I'm neutral and very fair (L'Oreal True Match N1 or Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk 2) and was worried 20 clair would be too dark. As you can see in the swatch below, 20 Clair works for fair skin. I tapped the powder on heavily for a swatch because a sheer swatch is translucent on my skin.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Update: Who owns who? Corporate ownership of global makeup brands

My mega post on the corporate ownership of cosmetics brands is one of the most popular ever on my blog, so with all of the new news lately I thought it was time for an update.

Unsurprisingly, L'Oreal and Estee Lauder have continued with substantial M&A activity, notably with L'Oreal's purchase of It Cosmetics and Estee Lauder's purchase of Too Faced and Becca. Shiseido has also been busy, creating a new prestige makeup division and purchasing Laura Mercier. E.l.f. has gone public under the leadership of TPG Growth.

The post update includes:
  • Updated 2016 information
  • New graphics accounting for 2016 news
  • New information on which makeup brands are not owned by a conglomerate or private equity company
  • Reader requests to include new brands
Click here to read the updated post! If you have any questions or requests for info on a brand you are curious about, please leave me a comment. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Is it a dupe? Urban Decay sin vs Stila kitten eyeshadow

I totally get why Stila Kitten and Urbay Decay Sin are popular eyeshadow shades - both are shimmery champagne nudes that light up the eye. What I don't get is why people online treat them like dupes. I have owned both for a long time and they serve totally different purposes in my collection.

Let's take a look at some swatches and the differences will make themselves clear.

How long does it take for cream products to dry up?

Seriously though, how long do cream products actually last before they are so dry and crusty you can't use them? Makeup packaging has little icons that say when you should toss a product, but I personally ignore those suggestions unless the product changes in smell, texture, or function. In the name of science (ish), let's take a look at some of my super duper old cream products:

Inglot gel eyeliner: Currently 2 years and 2 months after purchase. I saw no changes at all for a year and then product pulling away from the edges and hardening slightly after a year. By the second year anniversary, there was a huge crack down the center of each and the texture is a dense, dry putty instead of a smooth cream. Now, at 26 months, they are basically useless. If you were desperate, you could probably use Inglot duraline to limp along to the 2.5 year mark. Gel eyeliner shelf life is about 2 years.

Maybelline color tattoo cream eyeshadow: Currently about a year and a half after purchase. I like Maybelline color tattoos, but they aren't incredibly long lasting. I have owned several matte and several metallic shades, and the matte shades have a much drier, firmer texture initially and dry up faster. My metallic shades have all been fine for the first 6-9 months but show serious dryness at 9-12 months. Now, a year and a half in, the product has pulled away from the edges of the pot and the texture is incredibly dense and flaky. I can only use this by patting the product on the lid with my finger because it flakes/pills with swiping motions. It's basically dead. I recommend repurchasing annually or finding a formula with better longevity.

Anastasia dipbrow pomade: Currently 2 years and 2 months after purchase. I noticed product pulling away from the edges of the pot after about 6 months (!), serious dryness around 9 months, and then no changes at all in year 2. Oddly, I prefer the dry, stiffer texture because less pomade picks up on my brush. It still works okay for doing natural brows, but its days as a gel eyeliner or serious instagram brow pomade are OVER. Weirdly, I'm loving it more as it dries out. If you love the texture of the brand new product, you will start getting crabby 6 months from purchase.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Swatches - Urban Decay summer 2016 collection // afterglow highlighters, beached bronzer, & 24/7 pencils

Today I have quick swatches to share of the Urban Decay summer 2016 collection. These just came in to my local Ulta store, so I wanted to get swatches up fast. As you can tell by the photos, I decided to swatch before purchasing so I wouldn't be impulsive. FOMO is a real thing with limited edition / seasonal collections, so do your research first to consider if the item really is what you are looking for and if it will work with your skin.

Beached bronzer

Urban Decay's beached bronzer comes in 2 shades - sun kissed and bronzed. Both are matte and feel very silky smooth. The texture in the pan reminds me of the smooth texture of Benefit Hoola, but more silky than buttery. The powders feel harder pressed than Hoola but a looser texture than the Too Faced chocolate line. Sun kissed is more pink, lighter and less pigmented than Bronzed. Bronzed is darker and more yellow and reminds me of a less pigmented and dense Hoola. Both swatches below are several swipes with my finger to show the difference in color between the two.

I love the texture and compact of both bronzers, but I'm not planning to purchase because the tones aren't going to be flattering on my fair, cool-neutral toned skin.

Afterglow highlighter

The Urban Decay afterglow highlighter is in the same packaging as their afterglow blushes and comes in 3 shades - Sin, Fireball, and Aura. Of the three, Sin is the most metallic and Fireball is the least metallic. Each shade felt soft and creamy, and the texture felt on par with other highlighters in the same price bracket.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Decluttering strategies for makeup - How to simplify & trim down your collection

There are so many different ways to declutter and simplify your makeup collection, but today I want to share what has worked for me. Over the past six months I have reduced the size of my makeup collection by half. I realized that my collection was much, much too large for me - I was feeling anxious looking at my makeup, guilty over the amount of money I had spent, and guilty that I owned products I hadn't touched in months. You can read more about my thought process here in my first post of the series if you want more details.

It can be hard to get started on a large organization or decluttering project. Personally, I have an issue with inertia - it is hard for me to get started, but once the ball is rolling it is much easier for me to continue.

So, here are my steps for decluttering your makeup collection!

Step 1: Set goals

This might sound hokey, but think about what your goals are for decluttering. For me, my goal was to regularly use every product in my arsenal. This breaks down into a few different components. First, if I am going to use every product I own often, I can't own a bajillion of everything and still meet that goal. Second, if I want to enjoy using my products, I have to like or love every product in my collection. Third, if I am successfully rotating through my collection on a regular basis and am happy with those products, I need to reduce my shopping to keep my collection a reasonable size going forward.

You might not have the same goal as I do - maybe you live in a small apartment and want a small, minimalist collection. Maybe you are happy with the size of your collection, but it is organized in a way that feels overwhelming to you. Maybe you bought a crap ton of metallic eyeshadow before realizing that mattes are your jam.

Regardless of your goal, think about what you want and set a goal for yourself. It's important to stay positive - don't punish yourself and don't focus on guilt. This is about enjoying and appreciating what you have!

Step 2: Garbage can

Check through your collection for anything that needs to go into the garbage. Do any products have mold? Have any products expired? Has the smell gone rancid or off? Be ruthless and throw them away! Don't risk an infection or bacterial contamination by using a product that has gone bad.

If you want to take it a step further, I tossed every open mascara that was over 3 months old and every open lip gloss that was over a year old. I also did a harsh cull of my samples - I committed to either try the foil sample packet within the week or toss it. Be honest with yourself and don't keep 'backup' foil packet samples you don't actually intend to use soon.

It might feel sad throwing things in the garbage, but there is no using something up if the formula has gone bad and you can't pass expired products along to a friend.

Step 3: Put it all away

I cleared out the bottom drawer of my dresser and put my makeup collection inside. The idea here is to put it all away - maybe you have an Ikea Alex with opaque drawers, maybe you put it in a tote box in the closet, maybe you put it in your travel makeup bag, but put it all away where you can't see it. You have put it away in the right place when it would take intentional effort to take a product back out of storage.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Free makeup birthday gifts 2016 - Sephora, Ulta, Urban Decay

We all love birthday gift freebies, so as someone with an early in the year birthday I wanted to share what I got! Sephora, Ulta, and Urban Decay all have rewards programs that offer birthday perks.

Sephora birthday gift 2016

Sephora offers two choices for your free 2016 birthday gift - a skincare set from Fresh or a makeup set from Marc Jacobs. Normally I choose the Sephora makeup set over the skincare, but this year's Marc Jacobs duo didn't interest me. I prefer thin eyeliner pencils over the thicker gel pencils to get a precise, thin line or to tightline and I prefer tinted lip balm or lip gloss to full on lipstick, so I went for the other option.

I was really excited to try Fresh minis of the rose face mask and soy face cleanser - I have loved everything I have tried from Fresh in the past, especially their lip treatments. I am pleased to report both of these are quite nice and don't irritate my sensitive skin. My favorite of the two is the rose face mask - it smells like real roses! Neither product is a game changer, but I enjoy using them.

I didn't love either one of last year's NARS pencils (Rikugien was fine but nothing special and Cruella was crazy drying on me), so 2016 is a step up.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Dear makeup diary - feeling overwhelmed by my makeup collection

Those of you who follow me on Instagram or chat with me on Reddit may already know this, but the tail end of 2015 to now beauty wise has been all about trimming down my collection and appreciating what I own. I wanted to write a little bit about how I've been feeling about my collection - maybe it will help you refocus on your own collection, declutter, plan purchases more, or something else. Who knows.

I have been thinking about writing this post for a long time, but I decided to go for it after reading or hearing other people say things that really felt like what I was feeling. Notably, Dustin Hunter's YouTube video (his #1 tip for saving money on makeup? Don't buy any.), the subreddit Makeup Rehab, and Kimberly Clark's excellent Anti Haul series.

Where I went wrong 

I wish I could tell you that I arrived at my desire for a smaller, more edited collection in an inspiring, zen way. Or I wish I could tell you that I dialed back on buying makeup and beauty products because I found my holy grail in every category or new releases stopped catching my attention. I wish, but no. I started realizing as I was getting ready in the morning that I had much, much more makeup than I was using. I realized that I had products I forgot about for months. I started feeling overwhelmed looking at my makeup table and then I started feeling guilty about the money I had spent on beauty products. I never spent money that should have gone to bills or something more important, but I realized that they money I spent on beauty products a little at a time could have added up to larger more durable joys - a really nice camera, fancy dates with my husband, the comfort of a larger savings account, and a bunch of other things.

The hype machine

Probably like many people, the items I bought when I first started getting into makeup years ago were the products I saw on blogs, YouTube, and on Instagram, not the products that were thoughtfully purchased with my own preferences in mind. In the beginning, buying items based on internet reviews from strangers felt so rational. By comparison to my impulsive Walgreens eyeliner purchases in junior high, YouTube reviews made me feel like I was being smarter with my money. The problem, of course, is that my makeup collection snowballed. When I was first introduced to the YouTube and Instagram beauty community, I was naive enough to not think about where these people were getting their products, photo blurring and overexposed video lighting, how long they had used the item before giving it a thumbs up, and reading between the lines to infer a negative review from a relentlessly positive 'guru'. 

Not only was I literally buying into the hype machine, I didn't know my own preferences well enough to discern the difference between "this color is perfect for everyone!!!" and a shade I, personally, would use often in my routine. I wish I could have learned what my preferences were another way, but I learned what I didn't care for by buying products, trying them, and then realizing that I didn't like a specific shade or finish on my skin. Combining decades of untapped makeup curiosity, the disposable income from a professional job, and the proliferation of makeup focused beauty communities/channels online in the last five years has brought me to the place of having a large collection.

So, I felt super, duper guilty. I realized that I was spending my precious resources - my hard earned money, my time, my mental energy - on something that wasn't giving me the joy it had before. I still enjoyed my getting ready time in the morning, but I felt like my relationship with the online beauty community and shopping had to change.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Concealer comparison swatches - NARS Radiant Creamy / Urban Decay Naked Skin / Maybelline Instant Age Rewind

Today's post is a quick swatch comparison of the three under eye concealers I have in rotation right now. I have fair, dry skin with blue-purple dark circles, so I am always looking for a concealer that will be pigmented enough to cover discoloration, brightening enough to make me look awake, and not exaggerate dry skin or fine lines.

Urban Decay Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla is my favorite of the three for all purpose use. Especially now that I'm nearing the end of my tube, the drier texture can look cakey on dry skin under my eyes. I find it has the best coverage of the three, especially for post acne pigmentation or blue - purple dark circles. The shade Vanilla is a hair too deep for my face and doesn't provide any brightening under the eyes - I wish they made a shade between Vanilla and Chantilly!

Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Fair Neutral is the newest concealer to my collection. I kept seeing it in 2015 favorites videos on YouTube, so I wanted to give it a try and see if it lives up to the hype. Fair Neutral is quite a bit lighter than I thought it would be, but the next shade deeper is quite a bit deeper and more yellow. Even on my fair skin, Fair Neutral can give me a reverse panda effect if I am heavy handed. I absolutely love the thin texture - it blends into my skin beautifully and brightens well. It is pigmented compared to a standard concealer like Maybelline Fit Me, but it has less coverage than NARS RCC or Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer in Fair is in between textures of the NARS and Urban Decay. It feels a little more creamy than the Urban Decay, but is much more thin than the NARS. This is a great concealer if you are worried about dry skin texture and want a little bit of coverage and brightening. It isn't as high coverage as the NARS and it isn't as brightening as the Urban Decay, but it is a good compromising formula. I'm sure a different shade would be more brightening, but this is the lightest in the range as far as I know. This is my hands down favorite drugstore concealer - I haven't found anything with as nice of a texture around the same price.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Depotting Bare Minerals ready eyeshadow palettes - safely depotting with heat tutorial

I have been wanting to depot my Bare Minerals ready eyeshadow quad in the Comfort Zone for awhile now, but I was apprehensive because I couldn't find many pictures of depotting Bare Minerals ready eyeshadow palettes. I have a full review of the Comfort Zone quad here - I love the Bare Minerals ready eyeshadow formula, but I have only been using two of the four shades in this quad. I don't think Solace or Tranquil are very flattering on me and that was causing me not to reach for the palette, despite loving Ahhh and Enjoy.

Depotting Supplies - What you need to get started
  • A tool to help take apart the eyeshadow casing and get the pans out of the palette. Look for a sturdy tool that has a slim point. I use the Ulta professional cuticle pusher tool because I like the slim, curved tip at the end, but many people use a knife. 
  • Magnetic tape & scissors to magnetize your eyeshadow pans so they can stick to a free form palette. You can also buy adhesive magnetic stickers, but I prefer tape because eyeshadow pans come in all shapes and sizes so it is easier for me to cut magnet tape to size. 
  • A flat iron & heat protective pad to melt the glue. I see people just using a hair straightener on top of a surface, but I think it is much safer to put a heat protective pad underneath. I grabbed this rubber trivet from my kitchen, but you could just as well use a pot holder, oven mitt, or something like that. You can also use wax paper or parchment paper over the heated plates of your flat iron to protect them if you like.
  • A free form palette to put your eyeshadow pans into once they are depotted. I like my MAC one best, but there are lots of options out there. You can also use the empty palette casing and put magnetic tape or sheets in the bottom.
Step 1: It's time to take apart the packaging!

See that little crevice between the molded plastic piece that holds the eyeshadow pans and the outer casing? Stick your tool into that gap and give it a wiggle. Be patient - there is glue under there and they are tightly fitted, but keep on wiggling until you hear a pop.

Ta-da! This is what the back of the Bare Minerals ready eyeshadow palettes looks like! Now you will have two distinct pieces - your palette casing and this molded plastic insert. I kept my original palette casing because it is sturdy and the mirror is nice. I am going to put some magnet tape inside and use it as a travel palette.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

L'Oreal pro matte gloss #316 statement nude - review & lip swatches

Let's start out with what I thought I was buying - a longwear gloss formula with no shimmer. It turns out that "matte gloss" doesn't mean what I thought it meant! The L'Oreal pro matte gloss is a demi matte liquid lipstick formula and is not at all glossy and not really long wearing. I bought mine from Ulta in shade #316, statement nude.

Lip swatches and my thoughts on the formula below:

Friday, February 19, 2016

Review: Wet n Wild take on the day mattifying translucent powder compact

I was shopping at Target a few weeks ago and saw the Wet N Wild Fergie Take On The Day mattifying powder on clearance. Wet N Wild is phasing out the Fergie line and putting the products in different packaging into their regular line, so retailers are clearing out the old packaging. I was almost out of my beloved Essence All About Matt translucent mattifying powder compact, but Target doesn't sell Essence and this one was on clearance for $1.40 so I figured I would try it out instead.

Monday, February 15, 2016

BB and CC cream comparison swatches for fair skin - Purito, Skin79, Missha, It Cosmetics

It can be really hard to color match yourself to a BB or CC cream when you don't have access to to a store or counter with testers, so I have a quick comparison swatch post for you today.

A few words before we begin: I have fair netural-cool toned skin, my skin is dry and sensitive, and I intermittently struggle with eczema and acne. Also, I bought all of these myself with my own money. I got ~5 samples of the Purito BB cream free with eopenmarket orders.

The contestants: 
  1. Purito Snail Cleansing BB Cream - SPF 38 / PA+++, one shade, dewy finish
  2. Skin79 Super+ Beblesh Balm (BB) Hot Pink - SPF 30 / PA++, one shade, virtually identical in color to the Skin79 VIP Gold BB cream, satin-dewy finish
  3. Skin79 Super+ Beblesh Balm (BB) Green - SPF30 / PA++, one shade, natural matte finish
  4. Missha M Signature Real Complete BB Cream in 13 Light Milky Beige - SPF 25 / PA++, 4 shades, satin finish, full review here
  5. It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ in Fair - SPF 50, 5 shades, dewy finish

Missha M Signature Real Complete BB Cream No.13 review & swatches

It's easy to think from instagram, radiant ring light selfies, and flattering YouTube editing that any foundation or BB cream looks perfect on the skin and it's even easier to feel bad about your own skin for not living up to strangers' skin online. This review has up close and personal pictures of my imperfect skin and I hope it helps show if this BB cream is for you.

What I expect from a foundation or BB cream:
I expect my base product to look natural on the skin, even out my complexion, not aggravate dry patches or acne, and last all day long. I always moisturize my skin and apply sunscreen before base makeup, even if the foundation or BB cream has SPF. I also always set my base makeup with a lightweight powder, usually a loose silica based translucent powder. My skin is dry but very shiny, so I prefer a natural finish over a dewy one.

Missha M Signature Real Complete details:
  • I bought my 20 gram tube from eopenmarket for $9.43 (20g is about .7 ounces, which makes the price broadly comparable to many western drugstore foundations, tinted moisturizers, and BB creams)
  • SPF 25 / PA++ sun protection
  • 4 shades available (13, 21, 23, and 27 for those of you familiar with Missha shades)
  • Advertised as a BB cream for sensitive skin - Missha says this BB cream is hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic, and free of parabens, mineral oil, alcohol, GMOs, triclosan, and benzophenone. Most of that sends up a mental red flag for science fear mongering, but alcohols do irritate my skin and cause me to break out in itchy eczema patches so I am very interested to see if this irritates my sensitive skin.
  • Supposed to offer light coverage, be moisturizing, feel lightweight and last for 12 hours
  • Cruelty free

Saturday, February 13, 2016

5 natural shades of pink makeup for Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! In the spirit of the holiday, I have 5 shades of pink makeup to share. Many people are hesitant about pink makeup - no one wants to look like they have pink eye and sometimes bright pink shades can look immature and juvenile on a grown ass adult. The shades I have chosen are each pretty pinks, but are wearable shades for real life.

As a Valentine's bonus, do your makeup with pink brushes! No one will know but you, but I think it's fun. I love the Real Techniques Multi Tasking brush for blush, bronzer, and powder and the Setting Brush for an all over eyelid wash of color and highlight.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

2015 makeup, brush & beauty favorites

I am really excited to share my 2015 makeup, brush, and beauty favorites with you! These were my most used products of 2015 and ones I would confidently travel with. Most of the products shown below will likely be familiar to longtime blog readers - I tend to stick with products I love using. If I have a post about a product listed, I included a link for you.

A note about the type of of products I like - I use quite a few makeup products on a daily basis, but I like my makeup to look invisible on the skin and give a natural, healthy, flattering effect. This group of products are the ones I lean on to consistently give me the impact I'm looking for without looking too much like makeup. I have dry, sensitive skin, so I'm always on the hunt for moisturizing and non irritating formulas.

In addition to specific product favorites, I have a few bigger picture makeup favorites. My top makeup favorite of the year is my getting ready time every morning. Sometimes its only 15 minutes, but I love taking the time to make a cup of coffee and do my makeup in the morning. It helps me wake up, plan for the day, and I appreciate the luxury of quiet morning time. Another 2015 favorite is Japanese brushes, particularly Koyudo and Chikuhodo. I fell in love with Hakuhodo brushes in 2014 which encouraged me to try Koyudo and Chikuhodo. I think Japanese brushes are highly underrated in the beauty community, especially considering that many brushes are cheaper or price competitive to mid range brands like MAC or NARS but much higher quality. My last big picture favorite is a favorite technique - applying powder with a damp beauty sponge. Applying loose setting powder or pressed powder foundation with a damp sponge gives a beautiful natural matte finish and I highly recommend trying it!

  • Favorite foundation/bb cream: It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC cream in Fair. I love applying this with my fingers for a quick, easy base. The It Cosmetics CC cream is not full coverage as advertised, but the medium coverage and dewy finish works well to hide my persistent redness and even out my skin. I also appreciate the SPF 50!
  • Favorite sunscreen: Paula's Choice Barely There Sheer Matte Tint in 1.  I am a big believer in wearing sunscreen everyday, and the Paula's Choice tinted sunscreen blends into the skin easily and sits under makeup well. I have a full review here if you want more details
  • Favorite powder foundation: L'Oreal True Match powder in N1. Finding dry skin friendly powder foundations can be tricky, but the L'Oreal True Match powder gives me light coverage with a natural finish. I love applying this powder with a damp Real Techniques sponge. This powder also works well as a setting powder or for mid day touch-ups.
  • Favorite touch-up powder: Essence All About Matt!. This is an underrated Essence gem. For less than $4, All About Matt is the perfect invisible mattifying touch-up and setting powder. I think I went through 3 of them in 2015!
  • Favorite face brushes: Real Techniques Buffing Brush & Miracle Complexion Sponge. The Real Techniques Core Collection is worth the price for the Buffing Brush alone - the shape and density work so well together to blend foundation. I have many expensive brushes, and the Buffing Brush is my absolute favorite for liquid base products. I also adore the Miracle Complexion Sponge from Real Techniques and prefer it to the Beauty Blender for its density and shape. I love it for applying liquid foundation and powder.  
  • Honorable mentions:  The Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer is a champ for covering up break outs, but the dense, waxy texture doesn't work under the eyes. I love it as a specialty product, but I don't use it daily. I chose not to include the Skin79 hot pink BB cream as a favorite intentionally - I love everything about the formula, coverage, and finish on the skin, but the color is a bit dark and pink for me. In the correct shade, the Skin79 BB cream would be a definite favorite.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hello again!

Sergio Rola - Unsplash
I'm back from my break! I am a bad blogger for taking an (unannounced) break from the online makeup world, so apologies are in order. I have some posts planned that will be up soon - keep posted for my 2015 favorites, a new series on destashing and decluttering, and some reviews.

I took a break for a few reasons. First and foremost, I had lots of family events in December and January and my husband and I took a (long for us) trip to see family around the holidays. I absolutely adore our families and was excited to take time to visit, read books, play board games, and stay far away from my computer and phone. In fact, I didn't even take my laptop with me on my trip! On the positive side, I packed makeup I loved for my trip and many of those items are in my 2015 favorites.

Second, through the tail end of 2015, I have been working on focusing my collection, destashing, and trimming down my beauty spending. I gave a lot of products to my sister, who is an ideal recipient of items that don't work for me - her skin is warmer, a shade deeper, and shares my shade preferences for color products. I was happy to re-home lots of products to her and I also tossed expired products  and sold some on online. I do plan to publish a few blog posts I wrote about strategies for trimming down collections and reducing beauty spending.

Finally, I took a break from the online makeup world because it stopped being interesting to me. I think it is natural to wax and wane in makeup interest, but I felt like the online beauty community began to feel like a pundit echo chamber. I trimmed down my YouTube subscriptions, accounts I follow on Instagram, and blogs I follow. Over 2015, I have learned more about the type of content I value vs. the type I don't and I think it is natural that my media consumption has followed that. My focus now is on people who seem discerning and detailed - I just don't have the time and patience for Trendmood style hype or  Morphe code pushing gurus or I'm So Obsessed Seriously favorites.

Long story short, I'm back and excited to get back to blogging! I've been reading Terry Pratchett's Discworld and watching The Great British Bake Off lately, and for some reason this picture by Sergio Rola felt right for me right now. I hope all of you had a great holiday season!
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