A Lovely You – Makeup Tips for Every Woman

Exude Lipstick – named as the top lipstick of 2012 by InStyle Magazine – has made its storefront debut at Beauty Bar! Previously, this lipstick was only available at the company’s website.

Says Diane Breidenbach, Founder of Exude Lipstick:

We are excited to bring Exude into a retail store and Beauty Bar is such a great fit for the brand. We look forward to enhancing the customer experience by allowing them to see our technology and amazing color palette first-hand.
Enhanced with a light mint scent and amazing formula, the Exude lip creme is available in 9 colors while the Exude lip gloss is available in 5 colors. Both the lipstick and the gloss retail for $29 each, and can now be found at BeautyBar.com. What makes this lip product so unique is that the applicator dispenses the perfect amount of color with a simple twist, meaning your days of applying too much product are OVER.
For more information, please visit exudelipstick.com.



This week, I’d like to highlight a few of my favorite Maybelline products for this Brand Spotlight. I know that a lot of women seem to have a love/hate (sometimes just hate) relationship with the brand, and while I have definitely encountered some duds there are a few products that continue to impress me every time I use them.

Shade Pictured: Bad to the Bronze

1. Eye Studio Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Shadow

I was hooked on these shadows the moment I tried them, so I’m glad I bought into all the hype and decided to give these a go. I have a few shades, and all of them are not only gorgeously pigmented but seriously long lasting, too. Do they last 24 hours? Heck if I know since I’m long past my “partying all night” days (mostly…), but I can tell you they last a good 8+ hours with very little to no fading or creasing.

Shade Pictured: Candy Coral

2. Dream Bouncy Blush

There were a lot of mixed reviews on these when they first came out, but I’m glad I decided to give them a try. I love how light and airy they are – there’s something so fun about the sponge-like texture. Plus, the color is buildable – you can opt for a sheer flush of color or build it up for a more eye popping shade. Plus, it lasts a decent amount of time on my finicky skin.

3. Shine Sensational Lip Gloss

If it were up to me, I’d have ALL of the flavors available from this line – the few I do have are simply delectable. They add a gorgeous color and a high-gloss shine, but they’re not as sticky as you’d think. Yes, there is definitely SOME stickiness, but that kind of thing has never bothered me. My favorite? Crazy for Caramel – it tastes and smells so heavenly, you have to try it to believe it!

Shade Pictured: Disco Pink

4. Color Sensational High Shine Lipstick

These are soooo pigmented and make my lips look super shiny, like I have gloss on – but I don’t. Since I normally like to apply gloss over my lipstick, these are great to have on hand when I just want to swipe and go. Honestly, if you haven’t tried these yet, do so – it doesn’t feel drying like other lipsticks can and it really does what it claims to do.

Shade Pictured: Pink Punch

5. Baby Lips Lip Balm

You can see the review I wrote on these here, and all these months later I still like to have a couple of these balms on hand. I prefer the minty varieties (like Peppermint) more than the colored ones, because I feel they’re more moisturizing. Plus, the colored ones make chapped lips REALLY noticeable, I’ve discovered – I keep those for when my lips are in good condition. Overall, though, these are great balms for the price and I love the fun, colorful packaging.

There you have it – my homage to Maybelline. What are your favorite Maybelline products? Any that stand out to you over all others?

I’ll admit, I’m pretty lax when it comes to my pedicures… a little trimming/filing if needed, a coat of polish and then I’m over it. However, it’s sandal season and I’d like to take more time with my pedicures than a quick paint and go. For that reason, I’ve found several must-have pedicure products that (hopefully) help whip my feet into shape!

1. Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Foot Creme

This may be a little TMI, but my feet are seriously gross. I have calluses and they’re just overly rough and dry. I’ve only used this foot cream a couple of times, but I really have high hopes for it. My feet feel much softer the moment I smooth it on and with continued use I should see a dramatic improvement in the overall condition of my feet. I would definitely recommend it!

($4.39, Drugstore.com)

2. Foot File

I use a cheapo one I purchased at Ulta for $2 because I don’t feel the need to spend a lot on these types of tools. However, you can look around to find one that works for you. Any type of foot file, pumice stone, or something like the Ped-Egg will work. Just make sure to read the directions for whichever tool you buy – some require you to wet your feet, while others (like the Ped-Egg) are used on dry skin only.

3. Nail Clippers/File

This sounds self explanatory, but it’s absolutely essential to a good pedicure. Whether you prefer glass files or standard emery boards, find one you like and stick with it. A good pair of toenail clippers will come in handy as well. I prefer to use a separate clipper for my fingernails and my toenails, because regular fingernail clippers just don’t seem to work as well when I’m giving myself a pedicure. When clipping, just make sure to clip straight across and file to the desired shape.

4. Base Coat & Top Coat

I’ll admit, I tend to be lazy with this step when I’m doing my toenails. However, after an annoying staining incident I realize that I need to be using a base coat every time I paint my toes. You should also use a top coat as well to help protect the polish and give it a finished, glossy look. You can also reapply top coat every couple of days or so to help extend the life of your polish as well as perk it up when the polish has dulled but you don’t feel like a complete polish change.

The base/top coats I use: Zoya Anchor (base) and CND Super Shiny Top Coat.

These are my recommended pedicure essentials. I am sure a lot of people have a different list than I do (like a cuticle remover, cuticle oil, orange stick, etc,) but I just don’t see the reason for some of those tools when I am doing an at-home pedicure. What products do you find absolutely essential when doing an at-home pedi?

I’ve been toying around with the idea of doing a weekly (or thereabouts) feature on a brand I know and love. To start things off, I’ve decided to pay homage to one of my favorite budget beauty brands: NYX. I haven’t been a fan for very long, but since discovering several of their products I am a devotee of NYX now.

Below, you’ll find 5 of my favorite NYX brand products and why they’ve made it onto this list. If you’ve never used NYX products before, the following picks are a great introduction to a must-have brand.

1. NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils

My first NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil – Rocky Mountain Green – caused me to fall in love, and since then I’ve been on a quest to pick up every color (eventually.) Every pencil in my stash hasn’t disappointed me. Fan-favorite Milk (white) is a great eyeshadow base and will make any color you put on last longer and be WAY more vibrant. With 28 shades to choose from, you are guaranteed to find at least one to bring home with you. They’re super creamy and great to wear on its own or combined with other shadows to form your unique eye look.


2. NYX Powder Blush

Normally, I’m a cream blush girl but NYX’s Powder Blush (specifically the color Angel) has made me sing a different tune – at least a little bit! Angel is such a flattering color, I can’t imagine it not working for EVERY skin tone. It looks pretty boring in the compact, to be honest, but on skin it gives you the perfect amount of warmth and color that really brightens up your face. You get a decent amount of product as well. I can’t wait to add more colors to my stash!


3. NYX Xtreme Lip Cream

When they say Xtreme, they really mean it! I have two shades – Dolly Girl and Bonfire – and love both of them. These creams are seriously pigmented and don’t dry out my lips due to their unique ability to combine lipstick, lip stain and gloss in one. Super rich and creamy, these lip creams are a must-have in any woman’s makeup stash and are two lip colors I turn to on a very regular basis.


Shade Pictured: Cherrry

4. NYX Single Eyeshadow

They have such an enormous color selection (160, to be exact) that I could spend months trying to collect them all – but I think it’d be worth it. The several shades I do own are gorgeous, pigmented and very blendable and they apply like a dream. I’ve tried a lot of budget eyeshadows, but these ones are my go-to favorite. Plus, they have a wide selection of finishes including shimmer, sheer, frosty, matte, glitter and metallic so there’s truly no limit to the amount of looks you can create.


Shade Pictured: Haute Melon

5. NYX Round Lipstick

If you’re at all familiar with this brand, you likely know that NYX’s Round Lipstick are highly praised in the beauty blogging community. With 144 shades to choose from and the amazing price point, it’s no wonder these are so popular. To be honest, I was skeptical at first – a lot of lipsticks tend to dry out my lips, which is why I prefer a gloss or gloss/lipstick hybrid. However, after purchasing one on a whim I am now eager to get my hands on several other colors. They’re creamy, fairly long lasting and have a huge variety of shades to suit any skin tone.


There you have it – my tribute to NYX! All products are available for purchase at nyxcosmetics.com Are you an NYX junkie like I am? What are your favorite products/shades?

I realize I’ve been pretty much off the radar lately (minus a post or two,) so I apologize for that. Things have been crazy busy! In any case, here are my picks for favorite beauty products this month. One of them ended up being a surprise favorite and I am so glad I took the plunge and purchased it on a whim.

Without further ado, here are my June Beauty Favorites (in no particular order.)

1. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain

This is a new product from Revlon and when I FINALLY found it, I was stoked. While they didn’t have the color I initially wanted, I picked up Rendezvous (an orange-y coral) on a whim. I’m so glad I did! Even though I’m fair skinned, the shade didn’t look garish on me. It felt super creamy going on and actually lasted a respectable amount of time. I applied a complimentary gloss on top (Essence’s XXXL Shine Lipgloss in Sparkling Papaya) and it looked fab. I can’t wait to get some more colors!

($7.99, Target)

2. Victoria’s Secret Tropic Breeze Body Mist & Cream

For some reason, I can’t find this on the VS website, but I was at a retail store last week and purchased the fragrance mist and body cream. They were having a crazy awesome sale (5 for $20, mix and match) so I picked up a few things for myself and treated my sister, as well. Yay for girl’s shopping days! Anyway, I immediately fell in love with this scent – it’s so tropical and juicy and summery. I especially love layering the cream and the fragrance spray so the scent lingers. If you happen to be near a retail VS location, you should definitely stop in and see if this is still available – it’s really yummy!

3. Maybelline ShineSensational Lip Gloss in Crazy for Caramel

Oh my GOODNESS does this smell fantastic. It smells exactly like a yummy, chewy caramel candy and it makes your lips this gorgeous, sheer shade of bronze that’s really flattering. My sister fell in love with it, too. I am a big fan of Maybelline’s ShineSensational glosses, but you may want to steer clear if you don’t like sticky lip gloss – these are definitely sticky. However, the caramel scent is divine so if you are a sucker for caramel… you may want this in your stash, anyway!

($5.99, Drugstores)

There you have it – my favorites for the month. What products are you currently obsessed with?

Fair warning, ladies – this month’s Bloom Ambassador Box was PACKED with products, so be prepared for a long post. I will try to make it as reader-friendly as possible. I’m choosing to write one mega review rather than a ton of individual ones because I don’t want to flood y’all with a ton of posts right out of the gate!


I had the opportunity to review several Pacifica products, including two body butters, two lip tints, a roll-on perfume and a luminizer. Some products I liked better than others.

  • Pacifica Color Quench All-Natural Lip Tint – I received two shades of these lip tints: Blood Orange and Coconut Nectar. Blood Orange left a nice hint of color on my lips, but Coconut Nectar was way too white and shimmery for my tastes. I already have fair skin, so putting on this lip tint made me look ghastly and washed out. Both tints are fairly moisturizing, however, so at least they have that in their favor.
  • Pacifica Indian Coconut Body Butter -Normally, I am a sucker for all things coconut scented. This body butter, however, was significantly lacking in the “pleasant scent” category. I was so bummed! I can’t quite put my finger on what was off about this scent, but it just wasn’t coco-nutty enough for me. The formula was great, though – super creamy, absorbed easily and didn’t leave my skin feeling greasy.
  • Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange Body Butter – A CLEAR winner in my book! Unlike the Coconut body butter, this one smells divine – almost good enough to eat! The formula was the same as with the previous butter – smooth, creamy and left my skin feeling touch-ably soft for a long time. I also happen to have the Blood Orange roll-on, so layering these two leaves me deliciously scented for hours. 5 stars for this one!
  • Pacifica Coconut & Pearls Luminizing Body Butter – This is a great luminizing lotion – it’s not too glittery or shimmery, but rather imparts a nice and subtle sheen that really helps enhance skin tone. A little bit goes a LONG way, though, so if you buy this be warned that less is more. It also has a very light and pleasant scent that doesn’t overpower any other fragrance you may be wearing. Another definite favorite from this month’s box!
  • Pacifica Island Vanilla Roll-On Perfume -Just like my love affair with coconut scents, I adore vanilla fragrance and Pacifica’s roll-on perfume really hit the right notes with me. It smells creamy, dreamy and all-around delicious but isn’t sickeningly sweet or cloying like some vanilla perfumes can tend to be. While the scent doesn’t last very long, I love it so much that frequent re-application doesn’t bother me! It’s also portable, so you can tote it around with you for touch-ups on the go.

Out of all of these Pacifica products, my favorite scent was definitely the Blood Orange body butter – it makes me smell like a tropical vacation! I also really loved the Island Vanilla roll-on perfume.

Next up:


This month, we had the opportunity to try Stila’s new palettes in the form of shadow sample cards. We were tasked with creating different looks using these shadows, but unfortunately I don’t have any photos to show you. My descriptions will have to do!

  • In The Moment Eye Shadow Palette – This shadow card was a nice mix of neutral shades with one funky blue thrown in for good measure. I’m not entirely sure I’ll ever get any use out of that particular shade, but the rest of the colors are very nice and glide on effortlessly. There’s also some shimmer to them, so be warned if you are averse to shimmery shadows. As for fall-out, I didn’t have any issues with that particular concern.
  • In The Garden Eyeshadow Palette – This was definitely my favorite shadow card of the two we received. It’s got plenty of neutrals and a few fun shades (bright pink, anyone?) that I loved playing around with. This is definitely a great palette for more of a natural eye look, or a “natural eye with a twist.” The quality was very good and again, no fall-out issues that were of any major concern.

Overall, I was really impressed with these shadow cards. Despite their sample size, there is plenty of shadow for several applications so it gave me a good indication of whether or not I’d buy the full palettes. They are more pricy than some shadows, but each palette comes with 10 shades so if you plan to use them regularly I’d consider them a great value.

Finally, we have:

Booty Parlor

Aside from its cheeky name, I’ve always wanted to try Booty Parlor products. Unfortunately, my first experience with the brand fell far short of my expectations. We were tasked with reviewing the Flirty Little Secret Firming Bronzer with Pheromones, and I was less than impressed.

I am way too fair skinned for this bronzer to look anything but an orange mess on me, so for women with darker skin tones, this may work better for you. As for noticing any “extra” attention, I’m sad to say I didn’t notice any. There didn’t seem to be any real firming benefits, either, which I was disappointed with. This doesn’t turn me off from trying other Booty Parlor products in the future, but I was definitely unhappy with my first experience. However, the quality of this product does seem to be more on the high end – it’s creamy and it did apply nicely, it just isn’t for me.

Overall, I was decently pleased with my June Ambassador Box. I was able to try out a lot of different products, and while I didn’t like all of them, I definitely came away with a few new must-have’s! If you’re interested in purchasing any of the products reviewed here or would like to learn more about Bloom, please sign up for an account here.

Have you tried any of these products before? What were your impressions?

Disclaimer: All products mentioned here were provided free of charge for testing and review purposes. All opinions mentioned herein are entirely my own, honest assessment and are not influenced by any type of compensation.

As a Bloom Ambassador, I am sent products each month to rest and give my 100% honest feedback on. This month, we received a TON of goodies – so be prepared for a slew of review posts over the next week or so! Today, I am reviewing the Kaia Bamboo Cleansing Cloths, which are 100% biodegradable and ideal for all skin types.

Before I get to my review, here is the official product information, including an ingredients list and benefits:

Who It’s For: Ideal for all skin types, including sensitive or rosacea-prone skin.

How It Works:

  • Bamboo is naturally able to eliminate bacteria, stays fresher and odor-free for longer and is more hygienic and healthier than any other fiber. In China, bamboo fiber is used to make medical gowns, as it is naturally antimicrobial and perfect for a sterile environment. The bamboo used in Kaia Cleansing Cloths is unbleached to keep it free from chemicals.
  • Grapefruit oil tightens puffy skin, reduces enlarged pores and removes impurities.
  • Lemon oil is a powerful astringent and antiseptic.
  • Lime oil has astringent and antiseptic properties and boosts skin circulation and clears congested skin
  • Bergamot oil has antiseptic and antibiotic properties.
  • Mandarin oil has good antiseptic and cell rejuvenating properties.
  • Orange oil nourishes skin and improves skin tone for a healthy, smooth look.
  • Spearmint oil is has antiseptic properties and can prevent pimples and acne.
  • Tangerine oil increase circulation to the skin.
  • Canadian organic honey is an emollient and nutrient with antioxidant and anti-microbial properties with the ability to absorb and retain moisture.
  • Sunflower seed oil is a rich emollient high in linoleic and oleic essential fatty acids and vitamin E.
  • Sodium lauroyl oat amino acids, derived from oats, is an extremely mild cleansing agent.
  • Panthenol is a moisturizer, derived from vitamin B5, with humectant-like properties that aid in skin absorption.
  • Salicylic acid gently exfoliates the skin, reducing sebum build-up.
  • Acacia gum, derived from the acacia tree, is soothing to the skin.

Suggested Use: Getting the most from your cleansing cloth is important as the cloths are packaged to last you an entire month: Use both sides of the cloth.

  • Step 1: Remove your facial makeup first.
  • Step 2: Then flip the cloth over and remove lipstick and eye makeup last.

For this review, I started with a full makeup face – foundation, concealer, eyeshadow/liner/mascara, blush and lipstick. I was tasked with cleaning one side of my face with a cheap cleansing cloth or washcloth and the other side with the Kaia Bamboo cloth. Unfortunately, I do not have a working camera at the moment so I am unable to show you before and after pics – but I can assure you, the results were very different!

On the right side of my face, I used a Biore cleansing cloth. These work okay, but they don’t take off my stubborn gel eyeliner and they leave my skin feeling a little tight. On the left side of my face, I used the Kaia cloth and it took off EVERYTHING – and I do mean everything! The Kaia cloths are unbelievably soft on my skin, and I don’t feel that I have to really work at getting the makeup off. It slides right off easily with no tugging or pulling. The bamboo really does help take off my eye makeup too, especially my mascara – usually, I have leftover mascara on my lashes and I have to scrub to get it off. Not so with the Kaia cloths! Plus, the scent is light and not very noticeable, unlike my Biore cloths which have a very perfume-y scent to them. PLUS, it didn’t irritate my eyes. My eyes are really sensitive, so I have to be careful about what I use near/on them – but these cloths took off every stitch of makeup I had on without making my eyes red, sting or burn.

While I am super impressed with the performance of these cloths, the price – $17.99 for 30 – is a little steep for every day use. However, I would definitely purchase these when I had a little extra cash, and would ration these puppies out so they last.

If you are interested in purchasing these for yourself, sign up for a Bloom account here. They truly do work, and I can easily say they are the best facial cleansing cloths I’ve tried! You will not be disappointed.

Disclaimer: The product(s) mentioned in this review were provided to me free of charge for the purpose of providing honest feedback. My opinions are 100% honest and my own, and are not influenced by free product, compensation or any type of monetary gain.


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