I'm Kayla. A millennial obsessed with makeup, planner decorating, and board games. Working towards a more organized, simplified life one post at a time. #catlady


Beauty Discoveries of 2014

2014 was a big year for me in the beauty discovery department. It was the year that I really started to explore and dive deeper into beauty products. I discovered a lot of great gems over the past 365 days and I rounding them all up for you.

Tinted Moisturizers: Before 2014 I barely even thought about foundations let alone knew what tinted moisturizers were. I picked up the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer after seeing countless blog posts and YouTube videos gushing over the stuff. Although it wasn't immediately love (I had of course gotten the wrong shade), I slowly began to realize the wonders of tinted moisturizer. I'm fortunate enough to have very good skin so the light coverage is perfect. Tinted moisturizers help to even out my skin tone without me having to use more makeup than necessary. There are a number of different tinted moisturizers I have my eye on that I'll be sure to get a hold of in 2015.

Bumble and Bumble: Another thing blogs introduced me to, I've wanted to try Bumble and Bumble products for almost a year. I finally picked up a set from Sephora a month or so ago and I'm immediately hooked. My hair actually reacts to Bb products which is definitely a rare occurrence. I will be exploring this brand even more in the future. 

Lip Crayons: 2014 was the year of the lip crayon for me. I picked up my first lip crayon from the drugstore after much debate as to whether or not I really needed or even wanted it. At first application I was hooked. They're incredibly simple to use, alarmingly pigmented, and downright spectacular. I have quite a few in my collection after a year's worth of swooning, but I'm sure I'll find a reason to keep buying them next year.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes: Another product I knew oodles about before finally getting my hands on one, these blushes are everything people say about them and more. I'm honestly surprised I only have two after a year of love, but there's always time to add another to my collection. Incredibly long lasting these blushes pack a punch in the pigmentation department. Definitely worth a swatch when you pass them in a store next.

It's amazing to think how far I've come in just one year. My blog has grown exponentially while I'm constantly making new beauty discoveries. Thanks for a fantastic year and I'll see you in 2015!

What beauty discoveries have you made this year?

xoxo Kayla


Christmas Beauty Bits

My family definitely treated me on the beauty front this Christmas. There were a few beauty bits on my wishlist and they delivered in full.

I desperately wanted another Real Techniques Expert Face Brush as I feel like I'm constantly washing the one I previously had. I love this brush for just about everything, but specifically for cream blushes and foundations. Now I can have one just for blushes and one just for foundations! Score.

I've been eyeing the Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in "Melted Fig" for ages now and when I found it in my stocking I just about died. I don't think my parents have ever purchased me makeup before and I was over the moon excited. I'm sure you'll be hearing loads about this beauty for posts to come.

Honestly I had completely forgotten that I had also asked for the Stila Convertible Color in "Rose" so when I unwrapped it I may have squealed a bit. I'm obsessed with this deep mauve pink shade and am curious to see how it looks on both the cheeks and lips. I've welcomed more dark shades into my blush collection and I'm sure this one will be fantastic.

Every year my lovely older sister gets me a gift set from LUSH. This year she kindly got me the Festive Friends set and I've been itching to take a bath ever since. The set included a Butterbear Bath Bomb, The Christmas Penguin Bubble Bar, The Christmas Hedgehog Bubble Bar, and a Dashing Santa Bath Bomb. Bubble bars and bath bombs are my favorites from LUSH so this set is definitely right up my alley. Plus any of LUSH's holiday treats are always a crowd pleaser. 

Did you get any beauty goodies for the holidays this year?

xoxo Kayla



Products I've Used Up (Empties)

As a self-proclaimed beauty addict I find that I don't go through very many products. There are just too many to try and when I finish something up, I feel quite accomplished. With the year coming to an end I thought it best to round up all the products I've managed to finish and share with you a review and whether or not I've repurchased.

What products have you used up lately? Do you find that you don't use up products too often or are you constantly getting to the bottom of things?

xoxo Kayla
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This Week's Most Loved #50

When Christmas is over it always feels like a mad sprint to the end of the year. The beauty product train just keeps on going though and I have a handful of products that I've been loving lately. 

There's a new MAC lipstick love in my life that I purchased when I replaced my lost "Syrup" a week or so ago. MAC's "Nouvelle Vogue" is a matte pink mauve that has a really great look on the lips. It's not drying and is one of those everyday colors that are easy to wear without much fuss.

I've also really been enjoying using the Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray lately. Salt sprays have always concerned me for some reason. I feel like they never work on my hair and leave it feeling weird. This one however has been a pleasant surprise. My hair doesn't get any amazing beachy waves, but it does get a very nice texture and grit to it that I'm on the constant hunt for.

If you watched my vlogmas videos then you will be well informed regarding the NARS Sheer Glow Foundation debacle I went through a couple of weeks ago. After a lot of debate in the store I picked up the shade "Punjab." Once I left the store I swore the shade was too yellow for me, but after a full application at home I wasn't so sure. I decided to keep the shade and after weeks of almost exclusive use I'm positive the shade is a touch too yellow, but still wearable. Personally I've grown to like that it's a smidgen on the yellow side as it helps my skin look more balanced in most lights. The product itself is fantastic and I swear it looks better and better as the day goes on.

Finally I've sworn to myself to get back into wearing nail polish. I've been using Essie's "For the Twill of It" this week and still adore it. It's this multi-dimensional blue/green polish that always looks fantastic on the nails. The site says it's a rich medium brown with reflective green shimmer but it's definitely not brown in my book. 

What products have you been loving this week?

xoxo Kayla


Have a Holly Jolly Christmas

Merry Christmas lovelies! I'm at my parents' house enjoying a relaxing day of games and good food. It's been ages since I've had a day off to do absolutely nothing, so I'm looking forward to lounging on a couch the rest of the afternoon.

I hope everyone has a great holiday and enjoys some quality family time!

xoxo Kayla
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The Edit Archive

As we wind down the rest of the year I've been spending a lot of time digging through Microscope Beauty archives looking at this past year's posts. Edit posts are some of my favorite to do. I get to gather up all the products I have in a category and share the good and the bad while providing recommendations. I've gone all the way back to the start of the year to bring you all the edits thus far on Microscope Beauty.

The Foundation Edit: This post should be renamed the Drugstore Foundation Edit as I've now ventured into the world of high end foundations. I give you the ins and outs of three different foundations I had been working with and still strongly agree with my review.

The Primer Edit: Although there are new primer loves in my life (a post to revisit is definitely in order) this post still does a great job at covering the wide range of primers out there. A must read if you're curious about the primer life.

The Palette Edit: A good'un if you're looking to find which palette to purchase next. I gather up all my guilty pleasures and talk about how many shadows I use in each, pigmentation, and so much more.

The Skincare Edit: Probably my favorite edit of them all, these are the products that I can't get enough of in my skincare routine. You can see a lot of them in action in my recent Evening Skincare Routine video.

The Eye Cream Edit: After realizing just how many eye creams I've managed to accumulate this year, an eye cream edit was definitely in order. No two eye creams are alike and if this post can help you at least weed out some bad options, I'll be a happy camper.

Be sure to leave a comment if there are any edit posts you'll like to see!

xoxo Kayla

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The Best of Microscope Beauty: 2014

It's been one crazy year on Microscope Beauty and I found myself itching to know which posts have gotten the most views over the past months. So I clicked on over to Google Analytics to see what you lovely readers have been enjoying the most.

5. I wrote this Makeup Starter Kit post in February and it is still getting love. A perfect way to start exploring makeup without spending a bunch of money on products you don't know if you'll like. Plus which tools and brushes you'll need starting out.

4. The Makeup Collection Clean Out & Organization post is probably my favorite post of the year for how much work went into making it and the corresponding video. The video is definitely the most viewed video on my channel this year. I had tons of makeup I wasn't using and desperately needed a new organizational system. I'm still using the end result I came up with.

3. The 5 Products Worth Your Money post is definitely one that I plan on doing more in the future. A no fluff post where I share with you products that I definitely think you should spend your precious pennies on. 

2. I'm surprised that the NARS Satin Lip Pencil in "Rikugien" is number two on this list. One of the first posts I actually used my face in, I share my love for a new NARS find. At this point the NARS obsession had just begun, if only past me could see the NARS collection now!

1. The most viewed post on Microscope Beauty this past year was the Tarte Rainforest After Dark Palette and coordinating giveaway. Filled with swatches, an eye look, and a lot of positive adjectives, this post took some time to make. I was super happy to be able to do a giveaway so one of you guys could get a palette as well!

I'm curious to know what your favorite Microscope Beauty post has been this past year so definitely leave your thoughts in the comments below. Also feel free to leave any suggestions on posts you'd like to see in the future.

Thanks for a lovely 2014 and I can't wait to see where this blog goes in 2015!

xoxo Kayla
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The Eye Cream Edit

Dark circles and I know each other far more than I would like. Regardless of the amount of sleep I get (which is usually very little these days), the dark eye circles are there when I wake up. I've tried my fair share of eye creams and I've gathered them all together in one convenient edit.

First up front and center is the VII Code O2C All-Star Oxygen Eye Cream. The newest eye cream to my little collection, this one has become a fast favorite. This thin, milky cream is light yet incredibly hydrating for those super early mornings before work. It sinks into the skin nicely without much wait time and really helps to reduce the all too pesky purple eye circles. Like all eye creams, a little goes a long way with this baby. Plus I love the black packaging as it really stands out in my skin care bin. The biggest turn off is definitely the price. Way too much for an eye cream regardless of how much you get in the full sized pot. My best advice is go for their eye mask set or one of their holiday deals and get a sample of this cream along with it. 

On the far left we have the StriVectin-SD Eye Concentrate for Wrinkles which is my least favorite of eye creams. It's clear and incredibly goopy and running. It takes ages to sink in and feels sticky on the skin once it finally does. Definitely not a wrinkle reducer and just adds attention to my under eye circles rather than concealing them. No thank you.

The Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream has been my favorite eye cream for white a while. It's light, sinks in quickly, and is a pinky shimmery color. The smell is also quite pleasant and definitely helps to wake me up in the morning. This was a deluxe sample I received quite a while ago and I've barely made a dent.

The jury is still out on the Modere Dual Action Eye Gel. At first I liked how thin the clear gel was, but now I'm tired of trying to make sure it stays where I want it to go and doesn't end up all over my fast. It leaves a residue on the skin I'm also not a fan of, and I haven't seen any amazing results from using it.

I've wanted to get Clinique's All About Eyes for quite a while now. I had heard some pretty swell reviews in the past and wanted to give it a go.The pink packaging is by far the prettiest of the group, but where the product comes out is just a little too big. I always end up getting more product than I need and wasting it.The product itself is creamy, sinks in nicely, and incredibly hydrating. It's definitely made a difference with my circles.

The Body Shop's Nutriganics Smoothing Eye Cream was the first eye cream I ever purchased. Based on a recommendation by an incredibly helpful sales guy, this is my go to eye cream in the evenings. It's thicker than the rest of the creams and takes some time to sink in which I like in my products for the evenings. My only qualm is that I can't see how much product I have left, but love the pump for ease of use.

Eye cream definitely comes in all shapes and sizes and I own my fair share. Like all skin care it really depends on your skin type and what problem areas you're trying to fix. Hopefully this edit will point you in the right direction and help you avoid the not-so-good options.

What eye cream do you use?

xoxo Kayla


When Things Get Stressful

I think it's safe to say that I've never been more stressed out in my life. My to do list has definitely caught up with me and with finals here I just don't know how I'll get it all done. Trying to do all the things can lead to weeks like this when you don't think you'll be able to accomplish a single thing. 

What I do when I'm stressed
  • Find everyone annoying. I'm not a fan of small talk to begin with, but when I have stuff to do I really couldn't care less.
  • Spend absurd amounts of time worrying about not getting everything done rather than try and get at least something done.
  • Eat poorly.
  • Get annoyed when people keep asking me if I have something done. I will let you know when I do, so just leave me alone to do it.
  • Sleep less.
  • Find myself wanting to work on other, more interesting and creative projects than research papers.
  • Contemplate the point of graduate school in general.
  • Stop all social interaction until there's an end in sight.

What I should do when I'm stressed

  • Prioritize the work. Some things may not get done and I have to be ok with that. There are things I have to do, while other things I just like to do. 
  • Find time to relax. Nothing makes things worse than working myself to the bone. I have to set aside time for YouTube video watching or blog reading.
  • Understand that I won't be stressed out forever. Eventually the due date for the paper will come (it's tomorrow) and the holidays will pass. 
  • Take a bath or do some yoga.
  • Ask for help. Probably the most difficult thing for me to do, but whenever I do ask my friends are always more than willing to lend a helping hand. 
xoxo Kayla


Winter Beauty Must Haves

Winter in Michigan is usually cold and miserable. I've become almost a professional at winter beauty must haves to make sure my face doesn't fall off from dryness. In today's video I'm sharing with you all the products you'll need to survive the winter.

What products do you always bring out in the colder months?

xoxo Kayla
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The Best of Vlogmas

With vlogmas in full swing, there have been a few days that are definitely my favorite. It's an insane time of year with finals, Christmas prep, and so much more so it's kind of nuts to add vlogmas on top of it! I've had a blast so far though with these days being my favorites. Maybe it's what happened that day or the editing style I chose for the video, but these are some you definitely must see.

Are you doing vlogmas this year? Leave your YouTube links below!

xoxo Kayla
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This Week's Most Loved #49

I've been all over my makeup stash this week digging into products I haven't looked at in a while as well as testing out some new products still. Here's what I've been loving.

Although I don't use the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask that often, when I bring it out again I instantly remember what's so fantastic about it. It's by far one of the greatest mud masks I've ever tried. It gets into my pores and cleans everything up. See it in action in my evening skincare routine video

I'm definitely not one for bronzer despite the fact I love how contouring looks on other people, but I've been giving NYC Bronzer in "Sunny" another go lately. My boyfriend Alex gave me a set of lights for an early Christmas present and I couldn't be happier. These babies are bright, meaning I need to really pay attention to my face so it doesn't look flat and one dimensional on film. A little bit of this helps to bring out some shape to my face while still looking natural.

In attempt to be an equal opportunity primer user, I've foregone my beloved Stila One Step Correct this week and have been using the Benefit's "That Gal" Brightening Face Primer. It's still a great primer, but incredibly different from the Stila offering. By today I started to mix the two together and love the results. 

Finally a new product recently added to my stash on an impulse buy is the NARS Lip Liner in "Mirihi Island Beach". Swoon. It's a lot darker on my lips than it looks in the packaging and it could be just the thing for me to pursue darker plum lips. It's the creamiest lip liner I've used and twists up so no sharpening required. 

What products have you been loving this week?

xoxo Kayla


Un-Stylish But Ok With It

For years I poured over magazines and admired well coordinated outfits. I've been on the hunt for my style for as long as I remember. But recently I've come to a realization that has me more content than I could have ever imagined, I am not stylish. And you know what? That's completely ok with me. Sure I still enjoy putting an outfit together, but there's nothing wrong with rockin' the moccs until they deteriorate on my feet. 

It's really hard these days with so many beautiful, stylish women producing amazing content and videos to understand that just because they've figured out there style, doesn't mean you ever have to. If you have an awfully ugly sweater you just love to death, wear it. I've spent too much energy stressing over keeping up with trends and having the perfect wardrobe that I've made myself feel like I'll never be good enough or stylish enough. That's silly. And I'm no longer interested in keeping up with everyone.

There may or may not be fashion posts on this blog in the future, but they won't be influenced by anything other than what I like regardless of being trendy or on point. So there may be my over worn moccasins in the post because I don't want to kid anyone into thinking I wear heels and fantastically planned out outfits. 

Props to all those that have some serious style, but I'm definitely not among them. And there's nothing wrong with that.

xoxo Kayla
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Holiday Beauty Must Haves

With Christmas right around the corner, my agenda is packed with holiday parties and end of the year events. To survive the party season there are a few holiday beauty must haves to keep close at hand.

Shimmery, festive eye shadows like in the Naked 3 Palette are perfect for this time of year. This palette is great for pumping up a day look for an evening party while not getting overly sparkly. Plus they last all day so they're sure to stay put the entire party.

When I think Christmas I think glowy and shimmery. TheBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer is great to add a lovely helping of highlight to the cheeks. It's a fine line between shimmery and a walking disco and Mary-Lou Manizer toes it expertly. A mauve blush like Revlon's "Wine Not" will give you the perfect rosy look on the cheeks with enough pigmentation to last all night. 

A dark lipstick like MAC's "Captive" is just the thing to add a final seasonal touch to any makeup look this time of year. Lip liners like the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Liner in "Manic" is a must to keep everything in place and lasting through the last piece of pie. Red lips are a given around the holidays, but if you're a red-lip-phob like myself then a deep mauve will do nicely.

To make sure everything looks fresh and lasts a setting spray like the Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray is a beauty lover's best friend. A few spritz of this and you're good to go.

What products are your holiday beauty must haves?

xoxo Kayla


Evening Skincare Routine

Skincare is something I fall in and out of love with on a monthly basis. Sometimes I just rather go to bed, but keeping your skin clean and healthy is incredibly important. Here's what I do in my evening skincare routine to get all the grime of the day off and leave my skin happy and healthy!

xoxo Kayla
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The Unloved #5

Testing out new products and hunting for great new finds can have its drawbacks. There are once beloved products that fall through the cracks and sit in my beauty drawers going unloved like they once were. On occasion I like to have a rifle through my drawers to find out which of my products are going unloved and to remind myself of their awesomeness. 

It's been practically ages since I last used theBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer. It's the most gorgeous of highlights, but in the summer I'm highlighted enough without needing to add more shimmer to the sweaty mess. I find that I save this highlighter for special occasions and fancy evenings when I want to have an added glow. With the holidays coming up I'll have to remember to bring this back out.

For a hot minute I couldn't stop using theBalm's BalmShelter tinted moisturizer. It looked great paired with the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer. When I got the second shade of the NARS offering to help balance out the too-light first shade I purchased, I didn't really have a need for theBalm tinted moisturizer anymore. It's a fantastic product though and I really should keep cracking away at the absurd amount of product in the tube. 

As soon as I saw the Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in "Sultry" I couldn't believe how long it had been since I last used it. This color is fantastic, the pigment is amazing and it lasts ages. Definitely a product I had worn the crap out of in the past. This went immediately into my handbag for future use after taking this photo.

I couldn't stop talking about the Tarte Rainforest After Dark Palette when I got it earlier in the year. Yet now I've gravitated away from the plum shades in favor of my shimmery neutrals. It's such a beautiful palette and I'm sure if I brought it back into my routine just once I'll be hooked all over again.

Strangely enough I can't remember the last time I've painted my nails. What is wrong with me? I used to paint them like a fiend and at the first sign of a chip I'd switch it up and do something different. I have a lot of great winter/festive shades in my collection and I really just need to sit down and apply a few coats. It's been way too long.

What products are going unloved in your makeup stash?

xoxo Kayla 


This Week's Most Loved #48

We're approaching the fiftieth post in this series which just blows my mind. That's nearly a year of weekly most loved posts! I got pink this week to try and dig me out of the dingy grey funk Michigan seems to be in lately.

I was fortunate enough to win But First, Coffee's Naked Palette giveaway and chose the Naked 3 Palette as my prize. It is divine. I take back anything I ever said about not seeing the fuss over it and never wanting it. I was one foolish beauty blogger for ever thinking that. Of course the quality is top notch, but the shade selection...swoon. I've used every single one of these shades in a look already. No palette has been so usable for me. Plus the packaging is seriously on point. Well done Urban Decay.

For blush it was about time I dusted off my beloved theBalm FratBoy blush. A peachy pink that looks great on my cheeks no matter the season, I've put this blush to good use over the years. It's dependable and easy to wear. 

For lips NARS Rickugien has been a treat to wear. I always feel so posh when I pull out this lip pencil in public. NARS can have that effect on a person. It's a beautiful pink mauve that's a true my lips but better shade. The consistency I always find interesting; thick, creamy, but a tad waxy in a good way. It lasts ages and is a snap to reapply.

In an attempt to combat the amount of frizz hanging out in my hair these days I've been using Bb Texture Hair (Un)Dressing Creme to give me hair some grit and texture. It's thick and really gets into the hair. I've only used a little bit of this product at a time, but I'm working my way up to see what a full head of this stuff looks like. 

What products have you been loving this week?

xoxo Kayla


Modere Beauty Box + Giveaway

Since stopping my subscription to Ipsy at the start of the year, I have to admit I've been missing beauty subscription services. So when Modere contacted me asking if I'd be interested in reviewing their unique beauty box, I couldn't be more excited.

The Modere Beauty Box is definitely something new for me. You receive four deluxe samples of the products to try out, plus their full size counterparts and a free gift to keep. If you decide you don't want to keep the box, send it back and keep the samples and the free gift. If you do decide to keep the box, then your card is charged. A risk free way to sample a range of products without having to take the plunge and spend the money upfront? I'm definitely intrigued.

What struck my first was the quality of packing. Everything feels very high end; matte packaging with glossy details and dispensers based on the product. It felt like Christmas when I opened this glorious box up.

The Exfoliant and the Antioxidant Hair Serum are the two products that really stood out for me from the box. The exfoliant has the little gritty bits in it to really help get into your skin and remove all of the dirt and grime built up. Plus the smell is really great. I'm not one for hair serum's usually, but Modere's offering is just the right mix of oils so my hair didn't end up like a greasy mess. It calmed the terrible frizz I deal with in the winter while making my hair shinier. Plus the packaging just makes sense.

I enjoyed using the Anti-Aging Serum and the Dual Action Eye Gel, but I just wasn't blown away by them. These types of products are definitely ones you have to use more than just a couple of weeks to notice any effects. The both sunk into my skin well and didn't cause any irritation so overall I'm pleased. I just need to keep testing them out to really see if they make a noticeable different.

My least favorite of the products was the Antioxidant Gel strictly because I'm weird about gel products. The gel is filled with Vitamin C which is my favorite ingredient in skin care products for my dull boring skin. I'll have to get over the gel aspect because it seemed to make a difference to my skin once I ignored the consistency. 

Overall I'm incredibly impressed with this brand and am glad I got a chance to discover it! One of my lovely readers will get the chance to test out some of the products too! I'm giving away four deluxe samples. The giveaway is open internationally and if you're under 18 you need parental consent. 

Good luck to everyone and as always thanks so much for reading my blog. It's because of you wonderful people that I get opportunities to try out new brands! 

xoxo Kayla


Overview: Revlon

When it comes to drugstore beauty, I always find myself being pulled towards the Revlon section. A brand I started with when I originally began exploring makeup, you can count on Revlon to produce high quality products at lower prices than its high-end counterparts.

I think it's safe to say that Revlon's lipsticks and lip butters are their best products. An incredible range of moisturizing beauties that you're sure to find the color you're looking for without paying an arm and a leg for. Although I'm also clearly infatuated with their blushes, the range could definitely be improved on and they haven't figured out that the little brushes that come with blushes are just pointless. Ditch that nonsense and give me a whole package of blush and you'll have a customer for life.

Revlon eyeliners were the first to really wow me and I still find myself pulling out my entire range of shades every once and a while just for something familiar. Yet their foundations leave something to be desired. Besides being somewhat expensive for drugstore products, the shade range seems limited and I never have a good experience with them. My skin is left looking patchy and unflattering and I find I rather not wear foundation at all then have to try and make Revlon foundations work. 

Overall Revlon is a solid brand that has a lot of great products in their line with a few duds (as to be expected). I routinely have to stop myself from buying every blush and lip butter they have. Here's hoping they have a new release up their sleeve that I can drool and obsess over.

What are your favorite Revlon products? Are there any foundations by them that you love?

xoxo Kayla


November Favorites

I swear I don't even remember November starting and now Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is fast approaching. 2014 is going to be over in a snap and I have to say I'm going to miss it. With all the beauty sales I have a few things I've loved this November, plus the first book I've finished in ages.

Let's start with the novel. Over Thanksgiving break I read We were Liars by E. Lockhart in under a day. I devoured this book. I won't say that it's the greatest book ever, but the plot was easy to follow and the twist at the end was brilliantly horrific. I wish there was a little less setting up and a little more mystery revealing, or just more book in general. It seemed rushed when the ball finally dropped. The writing style was spot on and worth the read.

For makeup the Urban Decay Makeup Setting Spray is really worth the hype. Now that I've figured out how to get it to mist consistently it's been seriously love. It has a scent but it's so faint I barely notice it and will never be able to describe it. I really do believe it helps keep my makeup looking fresh all day.

I've talked about the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask to death by now, but it's that amazing. Winter dry skin cannot compete with the moisture and wonderfulness of this stuff. You need to try it. I know there's a lot of you guys who keep saying that you need to, but the time is now. Scoop up a Christmas deal and get this stuff on your face!

The Bumble and Bumble Bb Thickening Hairspray is now a staple in my morning routine. If I go without it my hair is frizzier and flatter than ever before. It doesn't transform my stick straight hair into a wavy wonderland, but it does add the volume I've been searching for all these years. Pure gold.

Another product I'm sure you're familiar with by now is the Clinique Chubby Stick in "Grandest Grape." I don't see this love affair ending any time soon. The same goes with Revlon's "Wine Not" Blush. I realize now that the blush and lip balm are very similar in shade which is probably why I'm downright obsessed with both of them. A mauve pink that's just dark enough. Swoon.

What products have you been loving this month?

xoxo Kayla

A New Way to Buy Jewelry

Ever since I was little I've always paid attention to people's jewelry. Maybe it's just because it was sparkly and pretty to look at, but I immediately looked at their wedding rings, bracelets, and necklaces. There were always so many different styles, colors, gems. I never thought I'd get to the age where I'd actually start considering buying pieces like I admired growing up. Yet here I am finding myself browsing jewelry sites and reblogging rings (and wedding dresses of course) on Tumblr.

London Jewelers is a company that is doing a lot to better personalize the jewelry buying process. You can go into the store, educate yourself about the jewelry you’re admiring and purchase some of the highest quality jewelry available. The thought of going into a jewelry store and picking something out doesn't seem so frightening to me anymore and I know I'll be able to pick out exactly what I want.

One of these days I'll make my way in and purchase my first big kid jewelry item, but until that day I'll day dream and browse to my heart's content.

xoxo Kayla

This feature was written in partnership with Two by London. Opinions expressed are my own.
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Feeling Reflective

Although this is a post I would usually share on my lifestyle blog, I thought I'd make an exception and put up a non-beauty post today. Over the long weekend I had the opportunity to go with Alex's family down to Virginia for Thanksgiving. We spent four days hiking, wine tasting, and spending time with everyone. It was a great trip that had me getting pretty reflective by the end of it.

I'm a very busy person by nature. I love filling my calendar up with things to do and events to attend. Blogging takes up a lot of my free time along with my Etsy shop. I love these hobbies so incredibly much, but I worry sometimes that I spend too much time on certain things and not enough time on others. 

While I was in Virginia I didn't have internet and had spotty cell reception. Which meant I spent my days not focused on the next post or creating new products for my shop, but with relaxation and spending time with people that are important to me. It was a weird feeling, but I liked how it felt to take a break which I rarely do.

I'm not sure what this means in the grand scheme of things. Maybe I just need to take a couple days off every now and again and not be so strict to schedules. I'm not sure, but what I do know was that the trip to Virginia was a welcome one and I'm excited for the holiday season!

What did you do for Thanksgiving? Do you find that you're a busy beaver like myself and need to be more or less forced into taking a break?

xoxo Kayla
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This Week's Most Loved #47

Another Friday, another favorites post. Let's get into it.

This week I've been all about the Clinique Almost Lipstick in "Black Honey". It's amazing as providing tons of hydration while still having color to it. Kind of the best of both worlds product that will be keeping my lips from drying up this winter.

I've finally got my hands on the Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray and have been really enjoying it. I'm still having trouble getting it to spray out product consistently, but once it does mist out, I've been loving it's results. I feel like my makeup does actually last longer and look fresher throughout the day. 

For some odd reason I haven't been cat eyeing it as much as I used to. I vowed this week to bring the winged eye liner look back, so my Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner is back in my not-so-steady hands working on the perfect flick. I love how dark this baby is while still being easy to use. Plus it stays put.

I've also really been enjoying my new Anastasia Brow Wiz in "Soft Brown." Although I would prefer just a tad darker shade, I really love how this makes my brows look. It's so easy to use and the spoolie really is a nice addition. I can definitely see what the fuss is all about.

What products have you been loving this week?

xoxo Kayla


Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I wanted to do something different this year for Thanksgiving and take a break from beauty blogging for the day. I do desperately love beauty blogging, but it's times like these where it's better to reflect than rave about a new blush I'm loving.

First off, I want to say thank you for being such amazing readers. Every day I see the same wonderful people commenting on my posts and engaging with my content. It's downright amazing. I love my small little community and getting to know all of you more. Thank you so much for being there for me and giving this blog a point to exist.

My family and Alex's family shows me so much support on a daily basis that I almost can't handle all the love. I'm very lucky to have two amazing support groups who are always cheering me on in everything I attempt. Sure they may not always understand the beauty blogging world, but they are proud and can't stop bragging about me. 

Then there's Alex. Who knows more than he would ever want about makeup and beauty. He's my biggest cheerleader and the one to push me to achieve more. I'm so thankful every day to have that goofball in my life to laugh with and try new things. 

I'm also incredibly thankful for my Greek family. I have some amazing littles and a growing family full of wonderful women who are going places. They're my best friends and the craziest group I know. Being in a sorority definitely has its ups and downs, but with them it's only ever the good stuff. 

I hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving filled with delicious food and family. I know I will.

See you tomorrow for your regular beauty programming!!

xoxo Kayla
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Thanksgiving Makeup Bag

This Thanksgiving I'm heading down to Virginia to celebrate with Alex's family. We'll be staying for three days with lots of festivities and adventures in between. My makeup bag selections have to be everyday appropriate with the option for something a little more fancy. I think I've gathered the perfect team.

The Stila One Step Correct primer is a given, as well as my two different shades of the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer to mix for the perfect shade. For concealer I'm bringing my two favorites, the Bobbi Brown Corrector in "Light Bisque" for the under eyes and the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer for everywhere else (specifically my red shining Rudolph nose). My blush choice was an easy one as Revlon's "Wine Not" can be worn lightly for a nice flush or really built up for an evening look. For brows I've been testing out the Anastasia Brow Wiz in "Soft Brown" lately and want to see it in action during travel. 

On to eyes I've brought a lot of different products for any time of look I'll want to create during the trip. I'm bringing my trusty NYX Eye Shadow Base in "Skin Tone" as it's the creamiest and best base I've tried to date. I'm going to be out and about and not having time to worry if my shadows are still there. This base takes all worry away. I'm bringing my trusty Stila in the Light Palette as it has every time of Thanksgiving festive shade I could want. I know I'll be piling on "Kitten" like a fiend during the few days for a perfectly shimmery eye.

Two eye liners are coming with me for day and night looks. MAC's Eye Kohl Pencil in "Teddy" will do nicely for more natural, smudged out day looks with Stila's Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner for cat eyes and bolder lines in the evening. Maybelline's The Rocket Mascara is a fool proof choice for bold, voluminous lashes that hold their curl all day long.

I tend to always overdo it on lip products so I'm trying to keep things minimal this trip by only bringing two. MAC's "Syrup" is a must for a moisturized every day my lips but better look while Clinique's Chubby Stick in "Grandest Grape" is a perfect option for a bold lip while still packing the moisture. 

I'm so excited for the trip but not really looking forward to the long car ride there. I have the books I'm currently reading though so I'll be all set!

xoxo Kayla


The Skincare Edit

My skincare game is back to where it used to be and I've been loving every sudsy minute of it. It's so easy for me to get into a skincare rut so I've been trying to rotate products in and out that I know work well with my skin. 

I can't go without my Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm no matter what condition my skin seems to be in. It's the perfect cleanser to remove everything off my skin. Scent free and great with a little water added to it before rinsing off, I won't be giving this up any time soon. 

I always like to follow up the cleansing balm with another cleanser to make sure every last bit of makeup and grim is off my face. Lately I've been using the REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk as my skin has been a little sensitive with the change of weather. It's gentle on the skin while still feeling like it's cleaning. I could live without the scent, but it isn't unbearable.

After the double cleanse it's toner time. Nothing beats the Body Shop's Vitamin E Hydrating Toner. I've tried a variety of different toners but none are as gentle and effective as this one. If I'm feeling fancy I'll use a serum next. The Body Shop's Vitamin C Facial Radiance Capsules are something I use on very rare occasions as it's not the cheapest of products without a discount. They make my skin feel silky smooth and I always feel cool using them. The little pod is just enough product to cover all the necessary parts of my face. 

Moisturizer is next and is one of the most switched out steps of my skincare routine. There are a lot of different moisturizers I love, the Vitamin C Daily Moisturizer being one of the first I discovered. It's incredibly light and provides a nice helping of hydration without being to thick or taking forever to sink into the skin.

In the evenings I slather on Origins Drink-Up Intensive Overnight Mask. I'm obsessed with this stuff. It provides an insane amount of moisture and I wake up with my skin feeling refreshed and plump. Definitely a must try if you haven't yet!

What's your skincare routine?

xoxo Kayla


Current Lip Loves

I think it's safe to say that my favorite makeup products have to be lip products. They're so pretty to look at, are constantly different from one another, and are just perfect. I try to switch up my lip products as much as I possibly can, but these three have been returning to my lips quite a lot lately.

Maybelline Lipstick in "Mauve Mania" is the most lipstick of these offerings and my least favorite of the group. It has great pigmentation, decent lasting power for a drugstore product, and is my favorite color of lip product. During the work week I definitely reach for the hassle free products that don't require a mirror to apply or maintain. 

You already know my love for the Clinique Chubby Sticks and it's no different with the Clinique Chubby StickMoisturizing Colour Balm in "Super Strawberry". It's more classic pink than I normally go, but it's oh so moisturizing and packs a wallop of color while layering on the moisture. 

Finally I have been surprisingly in love with the Clinique Almost Lipstick in "Black Honey" that I picked up in a Sephora sample bag. It's like a lip balm, but has a very transparent pigmentation despite the color in the tube. I almost didn't even give it a chance because it looked so dark. It applies much more sheer on the lips, but blends with my natural lip color to really give a my lips but a little bit better look. It's so moisturizing and definitely a must have in my purse with the cold winds we've been having.

What lip products have you been obsessed with lately?

xoxo Kayla


This Week's Most Loved #46

I feel like I had to fight through a blizzard of a week to get to today. Not to mention the heaps of snow that keep falling and causing a winter tundra outside. I like snow, but I definitely hate winter. Here are the products I've been loving this week!

Every couple of months I'll rekindle my love for my Urban Decay Naked Palette. It's one of the first big makeup purchases I've ever made and it definitely was a good one. It's also one of the only palettes I've used the entire spectrum of repeatedly. Incredibly pigmentation but with a bit of fallout trouble every now and again that I just can't seem to avoid. It's a good'un that every addict should (and probably already does) own.

I'm still downright obsessed with the Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray. It smells like Smarties, works wonders at giving grit and texture to my hair, and lasts all day. Definitely my most beloved hair care product I've found. It's going to be a long love affair with this one I just know it.

There's something about using the Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-On Eye Pencil in "Plushie" that makes me feel wild and adventurous. Probably because I barely stray from the neutral eye life. This purple liner is great to add a little pizzazz to my look without going too crazy. I like to tight line my eyes with it or put some in the outer corners of my upper lash line. 

Finally I always come back to the Maybelline the Rocket Volum' Express Mascara. It just works. By far the only mascara I can count on no matter what to provide me the volume and separation I'm looking for. My only complaint is that by the end of the day my lashes have definitely lost their curl, but I blame my pesky lashes for not having the strength to stay fabulous more than the mascara. It's affordable and amazing, that's all I'm lookin' for.

What products have you been loving this week? I definitely want to hear!

xoxo Kayla
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Sephora VIB Sale and Other Goodies

It's a scientific fact that no beauty blogger can escape the allure of the Sephora VIB sale. When the mother ship calls I immediately answer and buy way too many things. 

Whenever there's a sale I have to pick up backups of my beloved Stila One Step Correct. By far my favorite primer it's a must have and something I can't go a day without. I also picked up a backup of the Bobbi Brown Corrector in "Light Bisque". I've been working my way through my first pot for a while now and took the plunge to commit to a second container. It's great for days where I don't want terribly heavy coverage under my eyes but still have dark circles that need masking.

I decided it was the perfect time to try the Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray and the Anastasia Brow Wiz Pencil in "Soft Brown". I've been looking at these two products for months and couldn't justify buying them until the sale. So far the Setting Spray is proving difficult as it won't always spray when I push the nozzle. It results in some seriously awkward mornings of me sitting with my eyes closed pushing vigorously on the spray pump. The Brow Wiz has been fun to try out and I picked up a somewhat lighter more natural shade to see how I get on with that look. More to come on these products I'm sure.

I used some of my VIB points to get the Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in "Super Strawberry". As soon as I saw that it was available as a reward I scooped it up immediately. The Clinique Chubby Sticks are my Pokemon and I will catch them all. I also ended up getting the Flawless Refresh Sample Set. I got one of these sets last year and love the bag it comes in. Plus who doesn't love trying out a crapload of new products in one fell swoop?

A few days later I found myself in TJ Maxx in the beauty aisles where I spotted the Elizabeth Arden Perpetual Moisture and Elizabeth Arden Good Morning Skin Serum. I've heard great things about Elizabeth Arden plus they were like a zillion percent off so into the cart they went. The products no longer seem to be on the main website but I found a link to them from amazon. The packaging is so divine but I have yet to dive into testing them out. My to test list is quite lengthy, that's for sure. I'm on an unofficial spending ban until after the holidays. I've been out of control!

Did you pick up anything in the Sephora VIB sale?

xoxo Kayla


Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Lip Colour Balm in "Grandest Grape"

Although it hasn't been in my life long, the Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in "Grandest Grape" is the best thing to happen since sliced bread. It's been quite the love affair already and I had to share it with you.

The packaging is perfect. Lip products in easy to apply packaging is just the cherry on top in my book. Super easy to use and get the product right where I want it. The shade is spot on for a stellar grapey plum shade that's still easy to wear without much fuss. It has just enough purple to make a statement but still steers clear from vampy; a look I have yet to attempt.

The product itself is the creamiest, richest consistency I've used to date. It feels just like a lip balm or other hydrating lip product yet packs some of the highest pigmentation I've seen. After an hour or so the balm dries into more of a stain that I prefer when wearing darker lips. It stays in place and doesn't dry out the lips in the slightest during its stain stage. It's basically just perfect. More of these gems need to get into my collection and fast. 

Have you tried the Clinique Chubby Sticks yet?

xoxo Kayla


Paper Source Gift Guide

I find myself eyeing up Paper Source's website all too often and for good reason. They just kill it in the odds and ends department and is the perfect place to find good gifts. As soon as I saw the Paper Source Fox Glasses I thought of Alex. They're just so cute and a nice little something extra. I love cute glassware and I'm not one for having to have all my glasses look the same.

For the stationery lover in your life the Rifle Journals are a must. I've had this set for about a year now and have yet to write anything in them! I like them for blog photo props and just can't get up the nerve to use them. Hopefully the paper product lover in your life will actually write in them!

I seriously had my mind on Alex when looking at the Paper Source website because when I saw the Gentleman's Wash Bag and the Guide to American Whisky, Bourbon, and Rye I thought, "Oh yes." I find guys incredibly hard to shop for. Women are easy yet guys just stump me. These two items are perfect! I can finally get Alex to stop shoving all his travel stuff into a disastrous mess and have something nice to store his toiletries in!

The 50 Jobs Worse Than Yours book seems perfect for the hard worker in your life who isn't crazy about their occupation. A lot of my friends are graduating college and finding themselves in not-so-desirable filler jobs until they land in their careers, so this would be the perfect little hat tip to that while giving them a good laugh.

Let's talk gifts for kids and parents. Alex has a few nieces and nephews in his life and the Doodles at Dinner or Teepee Kit would be great gifts for their parents. The Doodles at Dinner is a cute way to keep kids busy at restaurants that don't have kids menus to draw in or paper tablecloths to color on. The teepees are just too cute and it would be a really fun craft to do while learning some history.

Stay tuned for more from my Gift Guide Series!

xoxo Kayla
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