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


June Favorites

I don't know about you, but June was a fantastic month of beauty for me. From finding a wonderful lip liner that actually works to perfecting a winged liner look for the liner impaired, June kept coming up roses.

I've ranted my fair share about the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil in "Manic" ($20) that I no longer need to look up its full name or the price. That definitely says something. I've had to sharpen this a few times already I use it so often and I can't imagine when I'm down to a stump. I've also posted a full review with lip swatches if you're looking for a little more detail. The Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner ($20) is honestly just as good as everyone says. It makes lining the lids so easy and I can actually accomplish a quick and successful winged liner look without having to redo an entire eye of makeup because of mistakes. Expect a full review and face photos at the end of this week.

For blush I've rekindled my love of Benefit's CORALista ($28). It's the best blush for a quick wash of color and to give skin life without looking like you're wearing blush. I've also been really enjoying MAC's "Plumful" ($16). It took a backseat to "Syrup" for quite a while but it's really shining lately when I want more of a statement lip that's still incredibly easy to wear. It goes great with a winged liner eye too. Bold but not over the top or creating tension between the eyes and lips.

I definitely can conclude that my NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in "Finland" ($42) is just too dang light for me. I'm honestly not sure if even in the winter I get that light. What a makeup noob picking the wrong shade and taking forever to confirm it *face palm*. However I've been mixing it with some sample packets I have of the "St Moritz" shade and I'm smitten with my face immediately after applying my blended concoction. I definitely plan on getting a full size of "St Moritz" after I've used up some bases in my collection because then no matter what shade I am I can mix the perfect color.

Although I've only had the Stila In The Light Palette ($39) or a week or so this is for sure the product of the month. It's unbelievable how fabulous this palette is and I'm kicking myself for not getting it month's ago when I first put it on my wishlist. Almost daily I thank Alex for getting it for me for my birthday. That man is wise in the ways of makeup and he doesn't even know.

What products have you been loving this month? Keep an eye out for my June lifestyle favorites post that'll be up on my lifestyle blog tomorrow!

xoxo Kayla


The Novel Coffee Guest Post: Makeup for Non-Makeup Lovers

Hey, guys! I'm Meghan from The Novel Coffee and I am really glad to be guest posting over here on Microscope Beauty! I will have to admit that I have just recently started getting more and more into makeup, so I wouldn't consider myself an expert by any means, but I am definitely excited to share some of my favorite products with you!

1. Instant Age Rewind by Maybelline: I love love love this stuff! I don't normally wear any concealers or foundations, so it is nice to have something to attack those pesky dark circles! It is so easy to apply and it blends flawlessly!

2. Color Tattoos by Maybelline: How did I even survive before I knew that these gems existed? The two that are my favorites are "Bad to the Bronze" and "Barely Branded." They go on so easily and it does not take a lot on the lid to look fantastic!

3. Clump Crusher Mascara by Covergirl: I really like this mascara! The brush is nice and like the name suggests, my lashes don't clump at all! It's perfect to use on those days when I am in a hurry to get out the door and can't take as much time on my mascara as I would like!

4. NYC Waterproof Eyeliner Pencils: Words simply cannot express how much I love this eyeliner. I own "Moody Blue", "Smokey Plum", and "Teal" and I love all three! They glide on very easily and the color is great! I would have to say that the blue is my top of the three because it really brings out my eyes!

In all, these are great products, especially for someone who is either just starting to get into makeup or who just isn't crazy about makeup! They are all easy to use, pretty inexpensive, and all about convenience while still looking great!

Have you used any of these products? What did you think?

Je t'embrasse,

The Novel Coffee

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Travel Tech

Even if I'm only going away for the weekend, I'm always equipped with quite the arsenal of technology. It's definitely a side effect of being a content creator. For Italy I really didn't want to over pack, so I took a lot of care in selecting what electronics I'm bringing with myself.

Of course I'm bringing my phone with my Doctor Who case to snap quick photos, instagram, and send texts when I find myself with some free internet out and about. I'm also bringing my vlogging camera which is an Canon SX280 HS. It's actually Alex's, but I've kind of adopted it as my own since I do the majority of the vlogging in our household. For higher quality photos and nicer video it's all about the Canon T4i. I'm probably going to bring a different lens then the one in the photo as that's just the kit lens. I'm also bringing a laptop to edit videos and photos, but I haven't quite decided which one I'm going to take.

Of course I need plug adapters, and since a lot of technology will convert the watts for you, these work great to just attach to the end of the unit and plug straight into the wall. Chargers are obviously a must to make sure all the batteries stay going strong! I'm also in love with this Quirky Wrapster to keep my ear buds from getting tangled. It such a simple design, but it works so well!

What technology do you bring on trips?

xoxo Kayla


Makeup for Italy

I have trouble picking what makeup goes with me on a weekend trip so you can only imagine the struggle I faced when deciding what makeup to bring with me Italy. I decided to just stick with the products that I know and love and leave the experimentation to the products I pick up while in Italy.

For base I sought at the tinted moisturizers with SPF and packed the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($42) and the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (full size $43). I may take a foundation along with me as well. No shocker that my concealer of choice is the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($29). It's just the best for my under eyes. The Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in "Peaceful" ($26) is the only blush I'm going to need to give a healthy glow to my skin.

For eyes I'm keeping things simple and only bringing my theBalm NUDE'tude Palette ($36). It has any shadow color I could possibly want and I'm still completely obsessed with it. For liner I'm covering all my bases by bringing the Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Eye Liner Pencil in "Black Velvet" (full size $20) and the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner ($20). Winged looks? Check. Tight lining? Check. Two product and no fuss. Mascara is covered with L'Oréal's Voluminous Original Mascara ($7.29).

To help keep my lips looking good all day I'm bringing the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil in "Manic" ($20). These pencils are just so dang creamy. For lipsticks I'm keeping it simple with two my lips but better shades, MAC's "Syrup" ($16) and Urban Decay's Revolution Lipstick in "Rush" ($22).

I'm excited to pick up products while I'm in Italy and start playing with them alongside a lot of my favorite products!

What makeup do you bring when you travel?

xoxo Kayla


Upbeat Uplifts Guest Post: Makeup for a Night Out

Hi all! I'm Nichole from Upbeat Uplifts and I'm very excited to be guest posting for Kayla today! I started up my corner of the internet back in February and I can't see my life without it now. Before I dive into today's post I wanted to take a moment to tell a little about me, the face behind the screen. I have always carried pride in looking for the good in life. Not every day, week, month or maybe even year is going to be okay, but it's all what we make of it.  A couple years ago I faced a serious health condition (read more on that here) and instead of letting it dictate me I decided to learn from it. I gained a new outlook on life through it all and am forever grateful for that. It also led me to starting up this blog in hopes to share my passion for living life with a positive spin. Last month I graduated from college and closed out my rookie season as a member of The Pistons dance team, the pro basketball team in our area. It was an incredible opportunity. That's my life as of recent!

I never have been was the type of girl to wear heavy makeup, except for the occasional school dance or dance competition. I was always afraid of not looking "natural," but being on the team this past year helped me learn how to create a heavier look that worked on and off the court. 

Onto the products! :)

Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation in Sun Beige ($7.99):: I love the light to medium coverage this foundation offers. I don't feel caked on when I wear it. It also blends wonderfully to your natural tone.

Maybelline Fit Me! Pressed Foundation in Toffee Caramel ($7.99):: I use this to give more of a matte finish to my foundation. To apply I use a powder brush to ensure that I am just adding a light amount. I don't want to take away from the natural feel the liquid foundation leaves on my skin. 

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Dark ($32):: While technically a bronzer, works great as a cheek highlight. I tend to have rosy cheeks when I get hot so I'd stick to applying a bronzer to add glow. 

Maybelline Fit Me! Blush in Deep Rose ($5.99):: Some days I need little face pick me up and blush can do the trick! This is when I add in some color to my cheeks - still applying bronzer too. *not pictured*

MAC Pro Color X 4 Compact in Shroom, Saddle, Embark, & Carbon ($48):: These shadows are amazing! I have never had a shadow that last so long until this palette was in my possession. I definitely would love to get a lighter combination for everyday wear. 

MAC Fluidline Eye-Line Gel in Blacktrack ($16):: I had never attempted to use anything but a pencil for my eye liner before the season. Now, I have purchased one of these for daily use too! I love the versatility of this eyeliner. You can apply it thicker for a more dramatic look and lighter for a subtle addition to your eyes - the choice is yours! 

Maybelline Eye Studio Color Pearls in Bronze Blowout ($6.99):: One word can sum this one up…GLITTER! I love using this to add sparkle to my shadow.

Maybelline Volum' Express - The Falsies (washable) in Very Black ($9.49):: The thing I love best about this mascara is that it has two different brushes. One for your top lashes and the other designed for the hard to get bottom lashes! I also find myself using the smaller brush to even out my top lashes. 

Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes (washable) in Very Black ($6.40):: I usually use this mascara after I have applied my false lashes. It works really well to blend the false and real together. 

Ardel Fashion Lashes #105 or #110 ($ varies):: I'm very fortunate to have naturally long lashes so I only use falsies for game days. They definitely do a great job of making your eyes stand out. The only thing I would say is if you have sensitive eyes to be careful. They can irritate at times.

I use a wide variety of lips throughout time. I would pick and choose which one based on what outfits we would be wearing throughout the game. A few of my favorites were:

Last Minute Additions:
Wet n Wild Coverall Pressed Powder in Medium ($2.99):: I quickly blend under my eyes to create a more dramatic look/difference between foundation and blush.

Benefit Watt's Up Soft Focus Highlighter ($30):: I apply a thin line (using the edge of the stick) underneath my eyebrows for a simple highlight.

Are there any products on here you have used before?
What do you like to wear for a night out on the town?

Thank you Kayla for having me! 

Be sure to stop by my blog, I'd love for you to say hi! :)


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What's in My Carry On

Plane rides are so boring. Especially ones that are international as you're stuck in a tube in the sky for hours. My carry on becomes my best friend as I fill it with all sorts of goodies to keep myself entertained and the boredom at bay.

I picked up this tote on sale from Old Navy recently and can't wait to travel with it. It's light, but sturdy. The two things you need in travel bags. It's also going to double as my everyday bag on outings.

Of course it's important to have the usual necessities in your carry on like a wallet (mine is the Vera Bradley Clip Zip ID but I think it's a discontinued pattern) that's small but holds all your essentials, and your passport. I also have my phone and ear buds to play games or watch in-flight movies. Like I said before in my travelling international post, bringing a power strip will make you the hit of the airport when people are looking for outlets.

One of the best things about being trapped on a plane without internet is the ample brainstorming time. I'm bringing my Vera Bradley ideas book and my M by Staples Arc notebook that works as my blog planner to have an intense ideas session. When I'm tired of brainstorming I have the third book in The Maze Runner series The Death Cure by James Dashner. If planes are good for anything, it's giving you a lot of reading opportunity.

I hate checking my cameras and technology in a suitcase that I'm sure gets thrown around and beat up, so I keep everything with me. That way if I want to vlog or snap a quick photo I have my cameras on hand and I know I can keep them safe. If my laptop can fit without being too heavy I'll stash that in my carry on too just to be safe.

I always bring a bit of hand cream as my hands always get so dry on planes. That airplane air is like a dessert. I also plan on bringing a compact change of clothes and a few toiletries just in case something terrible happens to my suitcase and I need to survive without it for a little bit.

What kind of things do you keep in your carry on?

xoxo Kayla


The Florence Vlogs

Florence has been phenomenal for the short time we've been here. I've seen so much and eaten things I would have never imagined I'd be putting anywhere near my mouth. And they were good too. But now we're off on the second leg of our journey to Reggio Emilia and I thought it best to compile all the Florence vlogs in one easy to view place. So enjoy. I know I did.

xoxo Kayla
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First Impressions: June Ipsy Glam Bag

My theory is definitely standing strong that Ipsy bags are fantastic every other month. I must say that I'm oddly satisfied that my birthday month happens to be one of the "on" months. All of the samples are products I'm actually interested in trying out. Plus I was able to redeem my ipsyPoints to get a full size of the bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipsticks in "Light It Up" ($18). It's such a lovely orangey red that still seems very easy to wear.

As for the bag itself, I'm excited to get a shade I don't have of the NYX Butter Glosses. I received the shade "Crème Brulee". I'm also excited to give the OFRA Brow Pencil a go as it looks to be a pretty close match to my natural eyebrow color. The Be a Bombshell mascara had an interesting smell when I first opened the tube, but we'll see what happens with that. The Realtree perfume smells nice enough but I can never tell with perfumes until I wear them for a few days to really get a sense of them. The beach spray has me optimistic but doubtful that it'll do anything to my hair, but I'm always excited to try.

It's been ages since I've been excited for an Ipsy bag like I am with this one. Usually good months result in me excited about three of the five products, but this month I love the entire thing! If you're interested in Ipsy definitely be sure to sign up! I've had a blast this past year getting products and being introduced to new brands. It's definitely worth the $10 a month.

What do you think of this month's bag?

xoxo Kayla

Review: May Ipsy Glam Bag

After such a great bag last month my hopes were high when I received May's bag, but I just wasn't feeling it.

Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask
I'm really particular when it comes to my hair and what I put on it because I have incredibly fine hair that gets weighed down easily. So I tend to avoid products like hair masks because of how they always seem to weigh everything down. This stuff also had a pretty strong scent that I wasn't too keen about putting in my hair. I can't comment on the quality of the product as I didn't end up trying it.

Pacifica Mineral Eyeshadow Duo 
I felt like I was back in elementary with this one playing with cheap, chalky makeup. It had no color pay off and seemed to disappear on my hand as soon as I swatched it. Apparently a lot of people received shattered ones so I'm lucky mine was intact when I got it, but I'm definitely not a fan of it.

Avène Thermal Spring Water
If you saw last month's video then you'll know I didn't have a clue what this was when I first opened the bag. Turns out it's a fairly fancy toner water that can also be used to soothe diaper rash or set your makeup to help it look fresher for longer. It was alright to use, but nothing life changing or worth writing home about. Plus the rest of the bag kind of brought this down for me too. If it was paired with a bunch of other awesome products I'd probably be more hyped over it.

Calvin Klein Endless Euphoria Perfume
Probably the only thing I would routinely use from this month's bag, this perfume is very summery and light. It's definitely a scent I'd consider wearing and I love the fact that I didn't just get a tiny sample of it but an actual roller-ball size. There's plenty of perfume in here to really give me a sense of what the product's like.

Sans Tan Anti-Aging Sunscreen
I get that we're heading into summer and Ipsy is trying to tailor the bags to reflect the season, but I sure do hate getting sunscreen samples. To me there's nothing fancy about sunscreen. It blocks out harmful sun rays. Bam. Easy. Sometimes I'll buy one specifically for my face to avoid clogging my pores, but I'm definitely not interested in exploring the world of sunscreen. Also since I spend the majority of my time indoors and at work, the only sunscreen I ever really apply is found in my makeup.

This was definitely not one of Ipsy's best bags. They're definitely in a routine of being on one month and off the next. Here's hoping the "on" month is good! 

Interested in Ipsy? Sign up here!
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Travelling Internationally

Although I'm currently enjoying myself in Italy on my 22nd birthday, I thought I would share with you some of the tips, tricks, and things I did to prepare for travelling internationally. I've traveled overseas a number of times, but I'm still constantly learning helpful hints along the way.

Adapters: I always seem to forget that other countries don't necessarily have the same outlets as we have in the United States. Luckily I remember with enough time to make sure I have the necessary converters and adapters so I can use my technology overseas. Make sure you do some research to see what sort of converter or adapter you're going to need. It can get a bit tricky and even when I'm prepared I'm still constantly worried that I'm going to fry my blow dryer or something.

Call Your Bank: Whenever I go overseas I like to withdraw cash from an ATM with my debit card right when I get there and take out enough money for the trip (or at least what I think I'll need). There are fees involved, but I don't think they're nearly as bad as what you'll pay if you go to a currency exchange. Be sure to let your bank know that you're going to be overseas so they won't freeze your card when you need to use it.

Power Strips: I've only recently started to bring a power strip with me because you never know what the outlet situation is going to be at wherever you're staying. I always travel with a lot of cameras and don't want to use up precious outlets to charge my batteries. Plus you're going to become the hit of the airport with everyone trying to charge their cell phones and only having two plugs to fight over. 

Whatsapp: This is a free app that uses the internet to let you text other people with the app. It's downright fantastic. I used it for the first time during the weekend trip to Canada and I was able to communicate with my family without using any data or getting charged for things. It's nice just to be able to shoot a quick text to people back home to say hi when you find yourself in a Starbucks with some free internet.

Schedule Content: Like this post for example, be sure to schedule content for while you're away if you don't think you'll be able to keep up with posting. It's perfectly ok to take a break from blogging while you're travelling or on vacation, but if you're like me you don't want to. Scheduling is the only way to go when you aren't sure about the internet situation or blogging time you'll have.

Like I said, I'm constantly learning tips and tricks to travelling internationally. If you have any, definitely leave them in the comments below!

xoxo Kayla


This Week's Most Loved #30

As you're reading this I should have just arrived in Italy! Don't fret though as there will still be daily posts for your reading pleasure (plus some updates and vlogs while I'm in Italy!). This week I've had my mind on packing and getting ready for the trip, but I still played with a couple new products that I got and shared with you in my birthday beauty haul. First up is the Stila In The Light Palette ($39). I just can't fault it. Every shade I've used is so incredibly pigmented and stays on the lid all day. I dare say this beats out my Naked palette for pigmentation, lack of fallout, and lasting power. It's fantastic.

I've also really been loving my new MAC lipstick in "See Sheer" ($16). It's such an easy, flattering, wearable color that I can just throw on my lips with no fuss or mess. It's definitely packed and ready to come with me to Italy. Something this easy needs to be in my arsenal during long days and a lot of adventuring.

This week I've been pretty stressed making sure my blog can run without me for two weeks and getting everything packed and my skin is showing it. The Perlier Honey Miel Royal Gold Elixir ($99)* always makes my skin feel so much better and pampered after I use it. It's definitely a luxury product so I try to use it sparingly, but it always does wonders at picking my skin back up.

What products have you been loving this week?

xoxo Kayla


Empties #2

I don't know about anyone else, but it takes me ages to collect enough empties to warrant a post. Some bloggers and YouTubers seem to have empties coming out of their ears while I'm over here still working on the same shampoo. But I think I've finally gathered enough products to make a post worthwhile, so let's get into it.

For hair products I've reached the end of the OGX Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Shampoo ($7.99). I really enjoy using this stuff and it seems to have really helped my hair be less greasy and flat. It's a really thick purple consistency and a little goes a long way to create a nice lather. I've used a few bottles of this stuff and have already repurchased another container. I've also used up large samples of the Living Proof Shampoo and Conditioner (full size $24 each). They were alright, but definitely not worth the full price and not something I've missed once I finished these bottles up. I'll be spending my money elsewhere.

Quite a while ago I finished up the last a the Brazened Honey LUSH Fresh Face Mask ($6.95). This is a really good mask for anyone who has pretty problem free skin but wants to use a nice face mask to brighten things up and keep things clean. LUSH face masks are probably my favorite to use, but I don't have a LUSH nearby so I don't get the opportunity too often to pick them up since they have to be kept refrigerated. I've also found myself at the bottom of what felt like a never ending tub of Origins GinZing Energy Boosting Moisturizer ($26.50). I've loved how long this container has lasted me since this my go-to moisturizer. I've already purchased a larger tub and have cracked into it. I've also gotten to the end of my REN Invisible Pores Detox Mask ($34) and haven't missed it. By the end of using it I actually had to break it apart because the pump stopped working. It's a decent mask, but I found it rather harsh on my skin and prefer using something like LUSH's face masks rather over this.

I always hate when I reach the end of candles. Mostly because by the time I do and want to buy another, it's no longer in season or being sold at Bath & Body Works. So is the case with "Kitchen Spice" ($22.50) and "Spiced Wreath" ($22.50), two scents I loved burning. They were both rice in cinnamon and other delicious scents and I'm definitely going to get them both again once the holidays roll around.

As for makeup I've used up two containers of L'Oréal's Original Voluminous Mascara ($7.99). I love this stuff to death. I had to toss an almost empty container because a bunch of girls used it at a wedding I was not interested in getting an eye infection. It was on its way out anyway plus it's not an expensive mascara. I've probably used ten of these in my makeup lifetime and I'll keep buying them. The e.l.f. Essentials Waterproof Eyeliner Pen ($2) dried up really fast and honestly I don't mind. It was quite the terribly liquid liner that pulled at my lids and the liner was never wet enough to make using it easy. I've also reached the end of yet another sample of the Benefit "That Gal" Brightening Face Primer (full size $29). I only ever by the samples because I hate the full size applicator. I used to be obsessed with this primer but since I got the Stila One Step Correct I haven't used it. It's a fantastic primer, I just like the Stila one better.

I also made the executive decision to toss my Revlon Photo Ready BB Cream ($10.99). There was barely any product left, but I know for certain I've had this container way too long. I enjoyed it back in the day when I first purchased it, but it has since found its way to the bottom of my base container. Another product I've held on to for way too long is the L'Oréal De-Crease Eye Shadow Primer ($8.99). I purchased this probably two years ago if not more. Back when eye shadow primers weren't really a thing at the drugstore. I remember having to really work hard at finding a primer and when I found this I scooped it up. I haven't used it in quite a while which probably saved my eyes from an infection, but when I used to use it I remember it was fairly good.

Phew. That was a doozy. Maybe I shouldn't wait as long as I do to post empties if the write-up is going to be a mile long! Let me know your suggestions. Have you used up any products recently? What did you think of them?

xoxo Kayla

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Birthday Beauty Haul

Birthdays and beauty go hand in hand for a blogger don't they? Be it birthday goodies from Sephora (like the Make Up For Ever lipstick and mascara), personal gifts to myself, or gifts from friends, birthdays are a swell time to add lovely new gems to a collection.

After a lot of wishlist browsing I decided to treat myself to a few MAC lipsticks I had been wanting. I ordered Chatterbox ($16), See Sheer ($16), and Pink Plaid ($16). I'm eager to give them a go and report back on how I like them considering I tried to pick colors that were a tad out of my comfort zone. Not crazy out of my comfort zone though, just a tad!

As for gifts from friends I got incredibly fortunate this year! Alex got me the Stila In The Light Palette which I've been coveting for ages but have just never bought it for myself. I've used it since I got it and it's love. What a downright beautiful palette that I'm sure I'll be talking about a lot in upcoming posts. Two of my friends got me some Essie polishes which I'm over the moon excited about. The dark glittery purple shades is Essie's "The Lace is On", the pinky orange shade is "Tart Deco", and I finally got "Splash of Grenadine" which I've also been interested in for quite a while but it just kept slipping off the shopping list. So excited to get these colors on my nails.

Finally another girl friend gave me a Avon Glazewear Intense Lip Gloss in "Sweet Maple". I love getting products from her in particular because she always makes sure to get me colors and products that I wouldn't otherwise try myself. 

I'm so excited to break into all my new products! My birthday was just so fantastic!

xoxo Kayla
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International Beauty List

When it became a sure thing that I would be going to Italy (tomorrow to be exact), the first thing that popped into my head was Italian beauty brands and everything I'll get to purchase while overseas. Finding Italian beauty brands proved to be more difficult than I expected, but I did my fair share of research and came up with a few brands that I'm definitely going to check out. I also asked on Twitter and everyone said Kiko was the brand to check out.

I'm excited to see what the "drugstores" in Italy are like and to explore the beauty scene there. If you have any suggestions of beauty brands I should check out while I'm there I eagerly welcome the recommendations. Even brands that may not be just Italian brands but European brands since we can't get quite a lot of the good European brands in the US. 

xoxo Kayla


Birchbox Man

I'm mixing things up today and sharing something on the masculine side of life. I recently purchased my boyfriend Alex a three month subscription to Birchbox Man and thought it'd be a fun change of pace to share his thoughts and reviews on products. His daily life is filled with me rambling on about how two lipsticks aren't the same color but just similar that it's his turn to share! He's been telling me his thoughts on the products for a couple of weeks so I'm paraphrasing, but he's what he thought! 

Atelier Cologne - Vetiver Fatal Cologne Absolute (Full size $75-$185)
The cologne smells nice and fades to a lite citrus smell after a while but is not anything to write home about. It's just your run of the mill cologne. He wouldn't spend more than 35 bucks on it, 50 at most as it's crazy how expensive it actually is.

Davines Naturaltech Energizing Shampoo (Full size $25.50)
The energizing shampoo IS AMAZING. Let it sit in the scalp for a few minutes and then it starts to tingle and he just love it. He will most likely purchase the product depending on the size of the full size bottle. This is definitely his favorite product.

English Laundry 3-in-1 Shampoo, Conditioner & Body Wash (Full size $20)
The 3 in 1 is great! It has cologne built into it. He like it because you do not have to deal with different smelling hair compared to your body wash. It's super easy and works great.

Hanz de Fucko Claymation (Full size $18.50)
The Claymation stuff is kinda gooey like troll snot. It holds well without needing a lot of product but I haven't given it a go out and about so I don't know if sweat and life ruins it or not.

Quirky Cordies ($9.99)
The quirky cordies is great for when people come over and ask if we have charging cords. It's kind of like a hub of sorts to keep everything in one place.

Quirky Wrapster ($6.99)
I'm going to bring this with me to Italy and I really like it a lot so far. It works really well at keeping your ear bud cords from not becoming an awful mess that's impossible to undo. It's nothing something I would have thought to buy for myself, but it's fantastic.

Birchbox for women is only $10 a month, but for men it's $20. I attribute this large price jump to the fact that they have to get a bit more creative with the guys' boxes. There are a lot more lifestyle things involved. The Quirky items alone totaled around $15 so the box almost pays for itself with those two pieces.

I'm excited to see what the next boxes have in them and Alex seems to be really enjoying himself! I'm still trying to decide if it's worth getting the women's Birchbox. Let me know what you think in the comments!

xoxo Kayla


In Your Own Skin

**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Everyone always tells you that you should feel comfortable in your own skin, regardless of what other people think. It's easier said than done though and I for one have struggled for years in order to feel confident and comfortable about myself. Growing up I had very prominent ears. They weren't necessarily larger than other people my age, but they stuck out from my head enough that kids noticed. I spent the years of middle school trying to get my hair voluminous enough to cover them and still getting made fun of and called really unoriginal names like Dumbo. It wasn't until near the end of high school and entering college that I was fed up with it and decided the problem wasn't the bullies (although they really should look at their life and choices), but myself. I needed to feel confident in my own skin. Here are some things I did.

  • Found something that I was passionate about and put all my energy into it (like blogging)
  • Reminded myself of five things I was good at every day
  • Paid closer attention to the little things or details that I did like about myself (like my blue eyes)
  • Stopped blaming myself for my ears. I didn't pick them.
  • Surrounded myself with kind, non-superficial people
  • I took control of things I could change (like working out more)
  • I talked to my friends and realized that everyone has their "something"

I think we all struggle in one way or another be it weight, acne, or other confidence defeaters. That's the beauty of life though, the struggles and the triumphs. We all have things we're self conscious about, and the media and portrayal of "the perfect woman" don't help with this. Luckily companies like ModCloth, Dove, and Aerie are embracing that women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes and we don't need to be Photoshopped into perfection. My ears are fine just the way they are. 

ModCloth is celebrating a very exciting milestone this week. It's their one-year anniversary of officially launching plus-size clothing on their site! In just one year, they’ve expanded their product catalog with more items that fit all body types. Check out the full-range fashion page in their Style Gallery, which showcases community-uploaded photos featuring ModCloth items that are available in a full size range. I love the community-uploaded photos. Everyone looks so beautiful and confident in their own skin and if I'm ever feeling down I head over there for a confidence boost. It makes me unbelievably happy that companies like ModCloth are launching lines like this one.

How do you feel confident in your own skin?

xoxo Kayla

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil in "Manic"

Anyone else remember growing up and seeing all those older women with clearly defined lines around their lips? It never made sense to me why someone would do that and as I've gotten more and more into the beauty world I've just naturally avoided lip liners. No way did I want my lips to have clearly defined lines like a coloring book page. Little did I know that you're supposed to shade your lips in too. I've since been on a quest to find a quality lip liner that doesn't dry out my lips, tug at them, or make them look crazy weird.

Enter Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil in "Manic" ($20) It's creamy, glides on easily, and lasts all day. Plus it's the perfect shade for my lips so I can fill them in and put whatever my-lips-but-better lipstick on top without any worry of it looking strange. I want more of these babies, that's for sure. The color range is decent, but I feel like it's missing a lot of shades that I'd be more likely to purchase. I'll have so start venturing into other brands to see their lip liner offerings.

I'm saying goodbye to the days where I thought lip liners were only for out of touch old birds. Send your recommendations my way!

xoxo Kayla


5 Things to Buy this Summer

I recently had the opportunity to guest post on Class & Glitter and wanted to share my post with you!

Summer makeup is all about minimalism in my opinion. Keeping things simple during hot days means your makeup will stay on and you can get outside to enjoy the weather faster. The Stila One Step Correct ($36) does wonders at evening out your skin tone and brightening things up. If you're looking for a really natural look, this stuff is perfect to smooth over your face and call it good. It's also amazing under foundations and tinted moisturizers. 

If you want a bit more coverage than just a primer, the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($42) is the perfect light base for the warmer months. Plus it has SPF 30 to help protect your skin from the sun. It provides a nice dewy finish to the skin without making you look oily or sweaty. It's as good as everyone says.

For a nice flush glow you're going to need to get the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in "Peaceful" ($26). I've never had a blush look so natural and provide the perfect wash of color. I love using this on days where I'm going for a "no makeup" makeup look. It also can be built up for a more noticeable look. It also lasts for ages so you don't have to worry about it disappearing when you're out and about exploring.

For lips it's nothing but the Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayon in "Peach on the Beach" (£7.99). These lip crayons are the most moisturizing crayons I've ever used (and I've tried my fair share). "Peach on the Beach" is a lovely light pink shade that is incredibly pigmented and lasts well on the lips. 

For nails you're going to need to pick up Essie's "Mojito Madness" ($8.50). I call this my "grass green" polish and it's the perfect eye-catching shade for summer. It's opaque and has a lot of dimension to it. I'm not one for green polishes, but this one is just lime enough to avoid making your fingers look like green beans.

xoxo Kayla


A My Little Pony Birthday

My 22nd birthday yesterday was My Little Pony themed! I'm sharing more photos and writing all about the day on my lifestyle blog so if you want to hear more definitely head over there! I had such a blast and really appreciate everyone who came out to celebrate my birthday a little early since I'll be in Italy during my actual birthday. It was an unforgettably fun party!

xoxo Kayla

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Minimal & Beats

It's all about the minimal jewelry this month with Rings & Tings and I have to say I'm loving it. I find myself wearing more simple pieces during the week when I'm just too tired in the morning to get overly fancy with my jewelry. These pieces are perfect to throw on for a little something extra without much effort.

The Minimal Chain Bracelet (£3.50)* is incredibly nice quality and weighty. The smallest size of its extension chain is perfect for my scrawny wrists. I always have issues with bracelets being too big regardless of the extension chain making them adjustable, but this fits so nicely. I'm considering removing the extension chain since I won't need it. I'm in love with how simple this is and it'll work great mixed in with some other bracelets if I ever want to do some stacking.

For the longest time I thought the Heart Beat Ring (£3.50)* was actually something tribal themed, but when I looked up the jewelry on the Rings & Tings site I realized it was a heartbeat! How cool!?! Regardless of what it is, this ring is seriously cool looking. It has an adjustable section so it'll fit your finger perfectly if you happen to be a half size like I am. 

My favorite of the trio has to be the Chain Ring (£3.50)*. It's so dainty looking, but is one of the most sturdy rings I've ever had. I like how it's a chain, yet still girly looking. It's definitely a ring I can see myself wearing on a daily basis.

What jewelry trends have you been loving lately? Do you go for a more minimal look or make a statement?

xoxo Kayla


This Week's Most Loved #29

This week seemed to drag on forever. Maybe it was because my birthday party was at the end of it so the powers the be decided to make it go really slow as I anticipated the My Little Pony themed party at the end of the week (my birthday is actually on the 22nd but I'll be in Italy). It's thankfully over and I'm just hours away from party time!!

I've been feeling very good this week about my makeup and how it looks. I've determined that my NARS Pure Raidiant Tinted Moisturizer in "Finland" ($42) is just too light for me, but I have some samples of "St. Moritz" and I've been blending them together to create the perfect shade. Eventually I want to pick up a full size of the "St. Moritz" shade because then no matter what level of tan I am I'll be able to blend the perfect shade. Now that I have the perfect color for my skin tone I've fallen even more in love with this stuff. It gives the most beautiful glow to the skin while still looking natural and as if I'm not wearing anything. Superb.

I've been stepping up my winged eyeliner game lately thanks to the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner ($20). I've been perfecting the everyday cat eye as I used to be pretty heavy handed and only felt comfortable wearing my "creations" out at night. This liner makes it super easy to make a really thin line that isn't over the top. Plus it lasts all day long and doesn't budge.

Benefit's CORALista ($28) is back out on my cheeks these days as its the perfect coral blush to give just the right amount of flush to the skin without looking to done up. It looks amazing paired with the NARS tinted moisturizer, creating a lovely sun-kissed glow. Considering I spend the bulk of my days in an office with no windows, I can use all the sun-kissed help I can get.

While I've been keeping the rest of my face fairly neutral and natural, I've been making my lips a bit bolder. When I say a "bit" I really mean only a little as MAC's "Plumful" ($16)  isn't too far off my natural lip color still. It's definitely brighter though and I've really been enjoying how it helps give definition to my lips without giving them too much attention. Just the perfect amount of attention. I'm MAC lipstick obsessed lately and even picked up a few as a birthday gift to myself. Stay tuned to see which ones I got!

What products have you been loving this week?

xoxo Kayla


The Lip Product Addict Tag

I've had this video filmed for quite a while but with my Monday/Friday posting schedule I haven't seen a good time to upload it until now! I always love a good tag video! I hope you enjoy!!

What are your favorite lip products? I tag all of you!

xoxo Kayla
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How I Edit My Photos

I often get a lot of compliments and questions regarding the photography on this blog so I thought it was time to share with you on how I edit my photos! I use either a Canon 50D or a Canon t4i with the Canon Speedlite 580EX II flash to take my photographs. My apartment is incredibly dark and I usually don't have the opportunity to take my photos during the day so an external flash has been my savior. If anyone is interested in hearing more about what equipment I use or how I set up and take photos, leave a comment below. This post is all about the editing process though!

I exclusively use Lightroom to edit all of my photos unless I am making a wishlist post or putting text on a photo. I'll use Photoshop for any of those needs but I prefer using Lightroom as editing is way faster for me. I can pull in all of my photos, rate the ones I like, then edit only those photos. 

When it comes to actual editing I tend to do very little to my photos. I like to keep them as true to the initial shot so I keep things simple. I always crop my images though (the top arrow). I tend to take the photo with a lot of background included to make sure everything is in the shot and the lighting is bright (the camera body will sometimes block the external flash light and cause the photo to be dark). I also use this tool to adjust the photo so everything is straight if I'm doing a shot where I'm going for straight lines like in this post. It's nearly impossible for me to take a perfectly straight photo with the camera, so adjusting it a bit makes it look perfect.

If I need to lighten up the photo I'll only increase exposure slightly. You run the risk of not having colors be exact if you mess with exposure too much and in beauty blogging it's all about having the colors be correct. I tend to increase the blacks and bump up the clarity (bottom two arrows) to make objects and colors stand out more on the white background. Using an external flash you run the risk of washing things out a bit, so making sure the blacks are bold and things are clear helps eliminate any flash issues you may find.

The only problem I find with using Lightroom is the grey and black program background. It tends to mess with my eyes and when I think I have a nice, bright white photo it looks darker when I pull it over to Blogger where the background is white. To correct that I adjust colors a bit brighter than I think is perfect so when I transfer the photos over they're exactly what I had in mind.

I'd love to hear how you edit your photos as I'm always looking for better ways! Let me know if there are any other posts like this you'd be interested in reading!

xoxo Kayla


The Spring/Summer Base

I never need an excuse for wearing a dewy base, but for spring and summer it's just a given. I've found myself wearing the same base on most days and thought I'd share with you my go-to products lately. 

Starting everything is Stila One Step Correct ($36). I have nothing but great things to say about this stuff. It's light on the skin and sinks in quickly. My face is left feeling like I'm wearing nothing but looking way better. Plus it's such a cool bottle with the three color ribbons. I sort of feel like a mad scientist using it and blending the colors together. I follow that up with the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation ($20.94) as it provides the perfect dewy finish on my skin while keeping up with looking like I'm not wearing anything. I've noticed that I really have to make sure this stuff is blended in though as it can sometimes look weird on the skin if I'm in a hurry or don't pay attention while I'm blending. 

I cover up my always prevalent dark circles with my NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($29) and any other blemishes that I may have. I've been reaching a lot for the Marcelle Blush in "Coral" ($15.99) and using my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush ($9) to apply the cream blush. It's a really lovely, soft coral shade that provides a nice wash of color without making me look too done up. In just a few steps my face is dewy and ready for the day.

What's your everyday base for spring and summer?

xoxo Kayla


When It's Love, It's Love

So I was just minding my own business putsin' around the internet looking for items to add to my birthday lifestyle wishlist when I saw this baby. Just. Look. At. It. I've always been this weird obsessive fan with Vera Bradley regardless of the fact that Alex calls them quilt bags or old lady bags. I tend to fall in and out of love with Vera on a monthly basis. Sometimes I'm over it, sometimes I want to buy everything. It's been quite a while since I've been entranced by anything Vera, but this Grand Traveler in "Bittersweet" ($84 on sale) is just too much to ignore.

I wish I would have stumbled upon her earlier as I would have scooped her up to take with me to Italy in a heartbeat. Now I worry it's too close to departure and I still can't justify spending $84 on a bag even though it is on discount. It's just so lovely though. It looks super roomy and the perfect carry-on bag to pack in everything I could possibly need. I'm trying to travel light this trip so my suitcase is quite small. This would be beyond perfect. But it's pricey. And I leave in a week. However I may have a birthday voucher laying around somewhere that can take a little more off the price. Purchases like these I like to sit on and think over for a couple of weeks before taking out my debit card. I just can't rush this purchase no matter how in love with it I am in.

I can't make up my mind. What do you all think? Should I just do it for the sake of my Italian adventure?

xoxo Kayla


Blogging Made Me Buy It

We are all victims to blogger enabling. Hell I'm sure I do it all the time to my lovely readers. I know we often curse fellow bloggers for being the reason we buy products, but we all know we secretly love it. If we didn't want to try the product we wouldn't buy it, bloggers just give us a little push. Some of my favorite products I've purchased because of one too many rave reviews that convince me it's worth it and I won't be disappointed. I do my research, but if my most trusted bloggers can't stop talking about it, I'm way more likely to spend my hard-earned cash on it.

One of the first products I ever purchased because bloggers were raving about it is the Bobbi Brown Corrector ($24). Now more or less replaced by my NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, this was the first high end purchase I ever made. It helped me realize that I could actually cover up my ugly looking dark circles. That there were actually products out there that could do what I hoped the cheaper options from the drugstore could do but were failing.

The NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($42), the Stila One Step Correct ($36), Urban Decay Revolution Lipsticks ($22), the Bourjois Bronzing Powder ($13.32) and the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush ($26) are all fairly recent purchases that I had been humming and hawing over for a couple of months until blogs finally pushed me over the edge and the products into my baskets. They're fantastic, as I'm sure you're aware by my constant ramblings over them on this blog. I was introduced to them because of the blogging community and I get all bummed out thinking about a Kayla in a parallel universe who never got to try these awesome products. The things I think about, right?

I'm not advocating blind purchases just because other bloggers like the products though. I learned my lesson about that with the Maybelline Color Elixirs ($8.99 each). I'm not sure how I got it into my head that I would like these despite the fact that I don't enjoy lip glosses, but all the blogger hype made me get them anyway. They aren't terrible products in the slightest, just ones that I never use and am not sure why I got them. So always make sure you're going to use the product...which is a no brainer, but it happens to all of us.

Reading blogs is one of my favorite pastimes and I can't wait to see what products are raved about next.

What products did you buy because of blogging?

xoxo Kayla
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