December Favorites

Happy 2015 y’all! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday (including those that celebrated Orthodox Christmas last night!) and have enjoyed the new year so far. It’s business as usual for me, and with a new year I’d like to start a new tradition on the blog: sharing my monthly favorites! I know, right, so original, no other blogger has done this before…

December is the perfect month to begin with because I did a lot of product purchasing Black Friday onward, as you saw well in my haul post. I’m still getting through all of those products but that means plenty for me to cover for at least a few months! Without further ado, here are my favorite products from the month of December:

Tartelette Palette: When it doubt for a look, this has been my go-to palette to start if not complete an entire look with. I’ve loved it since I got it. I have no trouble complementing my other palettes with this one, and I love using it in combination as well as all on its own! If you haven’t seen my review yet, click here.

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream: It took a while for winter to truly rear its ugly head but eventually it did here in Wisconsin and my skin has been in turmoil ever since. This lotion is my saving grace and I don’t know what I would do without it. It’s a nice, thick cream that dries to a matte finish in relatively little time. I use it during the day underneath my moisturizer with sunscreen, and certainly before bed either on its own or under a thin later of Vaseline when I feel that my skin is particularly dehydrated. I personally get the 16oz tub which will last you forever but it also comes in a 12oz pump version if you’re worried about keeping it sanitary.

IT Brushes for Ulta: Remember how I mentioned that I skipped out on Sigma’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale? These were the reason why. It started simple, with their Airbrush Blending Crease Brush #105, and that’s all it took to get me hooked. In total I now own the You’re Easy On The Eyes Dual-Ended Eye Shadow Brush set, the Live Beauty Fully All Over Powder Brush #211, the Velvet Luxe Soft Focus Sculpting Brush #315, the Velvet Luxe Buffing Foundation Brush #301 and the Velvet Luxe Plush Powder Brush #313. I’m planning on making a separate post about these soon but I just have to say that all these brushes are just so incredibly soft. I mean, the Velvet Luxe part of the line is just divine. I encourage each and every one of you to go to Ulta and just feel these up, I mean it.

theBalm Overshadow in No Money, No Honey. Swatched over bare skin.

theBalm Overshadow in No Money, No Honey: I received this as a “glam” prize on r/RandomActsofMakeup and it really lives up to the hype. It’s a beautiful shimmering gold color that I love using as an inner corner highlight as well as a face highlight. It’s my first product from theBalm and I’m already itching for more!

Swatch of NARS Audacious Lipstick in Audrey.

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Audrey: I had to have this color as soon as I saw it because a) it’s named Audrey, like Audrey Hepburn, so duh, and b) the color is gorgeous and unlike any red I had yet in collection. The shade is described as “red currant”, and is a muted red-plum color that I just fell in love with. It was an easy choice for my Christmas lip color pick. I’ll also be doing another post on this one later, along with the NARS Audacious Lipstick in Grace.

As far as food favorites, I gotta give some shoutouts to…

Seroogy’s Chocolates: Straight out of De Pere, WI, these are some of my favorite chocolates, and they hold a special place in my heart because they too are from Wisconsin but also because one of my fundraisers in elementary school was selling their chocolate bars. At the time, my family lived in an apartment building where my parents worked as maintenance managers, and I made serious bank selling these candy bars to all the elderly people in the building. My boyfriend got me a whole box of assorted truffles for Christmas as well as a package of their chocolate dipped potato chips. I just… he knows me so well, you guys. They’re giving my comfort while he’s all the way out in San Francisco for the next couple of months.

Anything packed with protein: I slacked a lot on my diet over the holidays (shocking, I mean who does that?!) but have thankfully kept up with my new weight lifting regimen. At the end of November, I started the program from The New Rules of Lifting for Women and just recently started Stage 2. After having done so much cardio for so long, it is so nice to fall in love with lifting, and I’m slowly seeing results! The biggest thing that’s going to help, along with maintaining a clean diet, is packing my diet with protein. Whey protein, things like Quest bars, chicken and eggs are some of my besties right now, and peanut butter is my one and only, forever and ever. I’m sure I will slowly gather plenty of protein-enriched recipes that will make their way here to the blog. If you have any to share, please do!

What are some of your favorites from the month? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful xx

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Tarte Cosmetics Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Palette Review

Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Palette

Since I gained my serious interest in makeup beginning earlier this year, I’ve learned a lot about myself, primarily from a beauty standpoint. A couple of the finer points were that I have neutral-leaning-cool toned skin and semi-hooded eyes. While I do love my shimmer shades, I find myself, because of my semi-hoodedness, reaching more for matte shades, and ones on the more cool side of things. That’s why when Tarte Cosmetics introduced their Tartelette palette, I could not resist.

The Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Palette ($44.00 USD) was released for a special week-long “presale” of sorts and will be rereleased to the public in Spring 2015 (the exact date has not been announced, but Temptalia has said January 2015, which I don’t consider spring, but that may be my Wisconsin bias). It is an all matte palette that remains rather neutral, with some shades leaning warm and some leaning cool. Some may see this as being in the same vein as the Be MATTEnificent palette (which is back in stock at that link, in case you missed out on it last year!). When I found out about that palette, that was the all-matte palette I really wanted but had been too late to the game to get, which is why I grabbed the Tartelette immediately. I can’t confirm whether the shades in the Be MATTEnificent appear exactly in this palette but looking at them side-by-side I’d say at the very least there are dupe shades in the Tartelette, and obviously no blush.

The Be MATTEnificent and Tartelette appear to be similar in size though, and the size is one of the things I like about this palette. It just feels a little more compact than my rectangular palettes. Plus it’s slim in thickness too, which I also like because then it doesn’t feel bulky, a total plus. I mean, don’t even get me started on the original packaging of Too Faced’s Chocolate Bar palette…

L to R – free spirit, force of nature, dreamer, multi-tasker, caregiver, natural beauty

L to R – free spirit, force of nature, dreamer, multi-tasker, caregiver, natural beauty

L to R – best friend, bombshell, super mom, wanderer, power player, fashionista

L to R – best friend, bombshell, super mom, wanderer, power player, fashionista

Now to the shadows themselves. I took a risk purchasing a palette that no one else had gotten their hands on yet and while I was excited for the prospect of this palette, I was also equally terrified that I may have made a mistake. I had also never used Tarte shadows or any of their products up to this point so I was making quite an investment in a new brand for me. I did not come out disappointed. The shadows are soft to the touch and for the most part feel buttery or silky with a few that are perhaps a bit more powdery.

All the swatches you see above were done on bare skin, no primer/base to them. I’ll just get it out of the way now: fashionista is superrrrr pigmented and I love it. The rest have good pigmentation as well. free spirit, caregiver, super mom, wanderer and power player were all shades that I did have to go in for a second swipe just because they are on the lighter side, but these are shades that I would be using as a base shadow on the lid, highlights and/or transition shades, so they perform as I would expect and do not disappoint. The rest speak for themselves, though sadly I feel my this-is-the-last-light-I’ll-get-for-the-day-because-it’s-winter post-work photos don’t do them enough justice. When it gets dark by 5pm these days, there’s only so much you can do.

There’s also this handy little guide that is included with the palette.

Sadly my experience wearing the palette has been limited due to a hectic holiday, but I did create two simple neutral looks for Thanksgiving with my family and the day after. Both looks held up well through the eight hours that I wore them, even as I was getting increasingly sleepy at the end of both nights, which is when my eyes start to water and everything generally becomes a mess on my face! There wasn’t any creasing that I could notice, and perhaps the worse thing to happen was the colors beginning to fade. Bottomline, if you use a primer or some other base underneath, these should play nice for you.

I know many people are bored to death with neutrals at this point but I still feel that this is a welcome player to the game, especially as an all-matte palette. There are of course other options out there that are less expensive, for example the Sonia Kashuk Eye On Neutral Matte palette for $19.99 USD or theBalm’s Meet Matt(e) Nude which is $42.00 USD but can often be found on sale for half off, just to name two. However, most all-matte palettes I’ve seen up to now have always felt a bit more warm-leaning on the whole than I’d like, and I embrace my cool side more often (oh girrrlll, give me all the silver jewelry!). With the Tartelette having such a nice variety that works for both cool and warm tones, I have that flexibility to choose which way I want to lean with a look on a particular day. I get the feeling I’ll be reaching for this palette quite a bit on its own or in combination with my other palettes and shadows as it is a great complement to my current collection.

What are your thoughts on this palette? Did you pick it up during the limited pre-release? Will you pick it up in the spring during the general sale? Let me know! Feel free to ask questions about the palette as well.

I’ve got some Black Friday-Cyber Monday haul fun coming your way so be sure to stay tuned! 😀 Until then, stay well, stay beautiful! xx

Update 12/9/14: If you’re a VIB or VIB Rouge at Sephora, you can now pick up this palette at the link here! I will add another link when this palette becomes available to non-VIB customers.