Storybook Cosmetics: Rose Makeup Brushes

Rose have been my favorite flowers for as long as I can remember. I use to keep one from each bouquet that was given to me and I would dry them and keep them in a vase on my desk. I have always found them to be so beautiful, unique and romantic. So, when I first saw the draft for the rose makeup brushes from Storybook Cosmetics, I knew I had to have them.

Now, I already gushed about Storybook Cosmetics over my review of the Wizardry and Witchcraft palette. But just in case you are not familiar with them, they first became known from their Harry Potter wand inspired eye makeup brushes. Every since, they have been making our favorite childhood stories come to life with whimsical makeup products. Needless to say, I had very high hopes for the What’s in a Name Rose Brushes.

There are four different face brushes that come in the set, along with an adorable makeup pouch. The set includes a dome top powder brush, flat top powder brush, angled contour/blush brush and a tapered highlighting brush. The site claims that the brushes can be used with liquids or powders, but are more suited for powder formulas due to the density of the bristles.

Overall, I am happy with the brush set and pouch. The only thing I would change is to have the flat top powder brush be more dense to be used for foundation. The bristles are soft and the handles are heavy and well made. They distribute product well and blend it out flawlessly. When you wash the brushes, they do not fade or let loose any red dye. The pouch is also not only adorable but well made and durable.

Honestly, I would have been happy with the brushes even if they didn’t work well because I love the design. However, I am ecstatic that they are not only beautiful but work well too. Even though they were a little expensive at $55 for the set, I am so happy to have them.

Is this a set that you would pick up?

Xoxo Sammie

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KL Polish: Summer ’17

I love painting my nails. Ever since middle school, it has become something that I enjoy. I even use to do my own nail art. Many times, while painting my nails, I get sucked into watching YouTube. This is where I first came across Kathleen Lights. I fell in love with her bubbly, down to earth personality and her amazing makeup skills. When she first released her own nail polish brand, KL Polish, last fall I was so intrigued. So far, all three of her collections have been beautiful. But, I am so particular about my nail polish and was a little hesitant to purchase them online. However, I finally decided to bite the bullet and picked up her whole summer collection for 2017.

This collection includes 6 bright, creme finish polishes that are perfect for summer. Each formula is 5-free and cruelty free as well as being made in the USA. Right now, polishes cannot be shipped by plane, so they are only available in the USA and Canada. This collection is inspired by Kathleen’s home of Miami, Florida.

Here are the first five colors, starting with my thumb. The first color is Magic City which is described as a “poppy red shade will make your nails hot like the summer heat.” I was able to achieve full opacity with 2 thin layers.

On my pointer finger I am wearing MIA. KL Polish describes it as “not your normal hot pink” as it has blue undertones. I really enjoy this color, but it is not as glossy and it took 3 thin layers to make it fully opaque.

The next color, on my middle finger, is South Peach. It is described a “creamy peach” shade and would look beautiful on all skin tones. It is the perfect summer nude, in my opinion. While this shade was beautifully glossy, it did take 3 coats to have it be opaque.

On my ring finger is 305. This is definitely a statement shade and is described as a “true chartreuse.” While this color may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I find it so pretty and very unique. It is bright, bold and a beautiful mix of yellow and great. Again, this took 3 coats to achieve the desired color.

Finally, I have Ocean Drive on my pinkie. This has to be one of my favorite colors because it reminds me of mermaids. KL Polish describes it as “shimmery teal.” It is so beautiful and only took 2 coats. However, without a base coat it did stain my nail.

The final color is Porter Miami. This color is described as a “wearable cobalt blue.” This color reminds me of blue jeans and summer skies. It is so pretty and only took 2 coats.

Honestly, I am very impressed with all of the shades. After taking the initial swatch photos, I decided to continue to wear them all to see how long they would last before chipping. Without any base or top coat, they lasted a full 5 days before showing any major wear. For me, this is basically unheard of. The only other time I have seen such great results is with the Essie Gel Couture polishes. I am so happy for Kathleen and very impressed with these polishes. I will definitely be getting future collections.

What is your favorite nail color?

Xoxo Sammie

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DIY: Whole Foods Face Masks

While everyone knows how important whole foods are for our health, not many realize the benefits that whole foods can have for your skin. Think of it this way, why should you spend extra money to put harsh chemicals and other unknowns on your skin when you can achieve the same results with produce from the local market? Here are some of my favorite foods for your skin:

Customize Natural Face Masks

Honey is a humectant, which promotes the skin to absorb moisture and lock it in. It also is highly antibacterial which can be beneficial for acne-prone skin.

Oatmeal is fantastic to soothe irritated skin and to reduce inflammation. A mix of flavonoids, phenols and avenanthramides act as natural anti-inflammatories. It is best to use oats ground up or in a flour form.

Cocoa is rich in antioxidants which help to protect your skin against free radicals. It also contains caffeine which is great in helping to firm the skin.

Turmeric has antiseptic, astringent, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. When used in a face mask, it works to help fight wrinkles and smooth the skin. It has also been shown to help fade acne scars. Just be sure to dilute with other ingredients as it can stain the skin when used alone.

Avocado and Avocado Oil are rich in healthy fats. They are easily absorbed while moisturizing and helping with skin regeneration. These particularly help dry, sensitive or sun damaged skin.

Green Tea is high in antioxidants and has been shown to help reduce inflammation, soothe damaged skin and calm irritated skin. Tea leaves or brewed tea can be used for rinses or in DIY face masks.

Greek Yogurt is another great moisturizer and soother due to its protein, calcium and probiotic properties. It also works as a chemical exfoliant due to the lactic acid. Mixed with other ingredients, it can be used in a hydrating mask to promote glowing skin.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil not only moisturizes the skin but also cleanses it. It helps to remove makeup and pull out dirt and impurities from the pores. It has also been found to help prevent cell damage due to the sun’s radiation.

All of these ingredients are amazing on their own, but they are even better when combined. Mix two or three of these together to create the perfect face mask. Apply to clean skin and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water and pat your skin dry.

By making your own masks at home, you know exactly what is in them. Even better, each time you make a new mask, you can tailor it to your skin’s needs at the time. No more spending money on large amounts of chemicals or standing in the beauty isle confused by the hundreds of different products. There are so many wonderful foods for you skin, these are just a few of my favorite.

What kind of masks are you planning on making?

Xoxo Sammie


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Boxycharm: June 2017

Just when I feel like I am ready to stop my Boxycharm subscription, they pull me back in with another great box. If you are unfamiliar with Boxycharm, it is a makeup subscription box where you get 5 full sized products every month for only $21! If you’d like more information, you can check out their site here.

I was a little frustrated with Boxycharm at the beginning of this month. I never seem to get my boxes as early as others, plus they sent the first box to my old address even though I had updated it on their website the previous month. That being said, they were very quick to respond to my inquiry and a replacement box was sent to my new address. I actually received it quicker than the box sent to the wrong address (thanks fedex tracking!) Thankfully, this box was so good, it made up for the hassle and the being late.

The first items in the box were 3 sheet masks from Biobelle Cosmetics and they retail for $4.99 a piece. I received one to prime for makeup, one to hydrate the skin and one to enhance the skin’s natural glow. Now, I really love sheet masks so this was super exciting. I decided to start with the hydrating #BeautySecret mask. I put it in the freezer for about 5 minutes so that the coolness would help sooth and depuff. These masks are VERY saturated in serum. Some may be turned off by that, but I love it. Instead of the standard 15 minutes, I like to keep sheet masks on until they start to dry. I just feel that helps me to get the most benefit from the mask. So I left it on for about an hour. When I took it off,  my skin was a little tacky, so I massaged the left over serum in for a minute and then rinsed off the residue. Let me just say, my skin was left feeling so soft and supple. I can’t wait to try the other masks.

The second item was a 9 pan eyeshadow palette from RealHer and it retail for $28.00. There were three different palettes and I received Volume I. This palette is more warm toned and consists of mostly shimmer shadows. I really did enjoy it, but would have preferred if Fine (white shimmer) had been a matte. Strong (matte brown) made a beautiful crease shade and I was really in love with Proud and Creative for all over the lid. Smart (matte black) was also a really nice shade to deepen the crease and smoke things out. We had previously received a RealHer liquid lip that I was not a fan off, but this palette is not bad. I would definitely pick it up if it were on sale for $20.

Boxycharm really likes to give products that go together. This month it was a loose highlighter and a highlighting brush. The brush is the Rose Gold Pro Precision Tapered Face Brush 640 by Luxie Beauty and retails for $24. This brush is so soft and beautiful! However, I think it would be better for setting concealer or to use with a very pigmented blush or bronzer. Also, you can get 20% off your first order from Luxie by signing up with your email.

The highlighter is the Artist Couture Diamond Glow Powder in Illuminati which retails for $26.99. Let me just say, this powder will having you glowing like no other! It has a light silver and champagne iridescence that is so beautiful and flattering. The only thing that I dislike is how glittery it is. You really have to buff it into the skin and even then you will have some fallout. It is so pretty though and would look great on the body or eyes.

One brand that is always being hyped up is Ofra. I was so excited to finally get the chance to try out a product from them. In my box, I received the Ofra Liquid Lipstick in Santa Ana. These retail for $19.90 but you can get 30% off of your purchase with the code Boxy30. The website describes this as “a berry rose and universally flattering pink shade with a hydrating matte finish.” I have to say, I agree with all of that. This formula is definitely a comfortable matte. But don’t be fooled, it is not transfer proof and it doesn’t dry down all the way. That being said, it is long wearing. It fades beautifully and is easy to reapply and layer. The formula is one of my new favorites and I can’t wait to try more.

That’s all that I got in this month’s box. Even though it took a while to get here, I am so happy with what I got. I can’t wait to see what will be coming next month.

What would you like to see included in the next Boxycharm?

Xoxo Sammie

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Storybook Cosmetics: Wizardry and Witchcraft Palette

If you are part of the beauty community on any social platform, chances are you’ve heard about Storybook Cosmetics. They first shot to fame with their Harry Potter Wand inspired eye brushes. Their designs are based off of the stories we loved growing up and still cherish. The company is run by three sisters and is a fairly new indie brand. Their designs are so special and truly fascinating. The only downside? As of right now, items have to be preordered. So, when I saw this palette go on presale back in February, I snagged it.

Fast forward to May and it was finally here! It came wrapped in this beautiful brown bag and their business card is a bookmark. How cute is that?!

The packaging of the actual palette is stunning! It is the same shape and size of a typical book and would look beautiful on any vanity or desk.

Not only is the packaging right up my alley, but the colors all swatched really well! Each is done with just one swipe and without primer. Here are the colors, top to bottom, as described by Storybook Cosmetics:

Broomstick: rusty brown (matte), Sorcerer: ruby red (metallic), Cloak: graphite grey (matte), Potions: emerald green (metallic), Prophecy: pearly white (pearl), Salem: frosted pewter (pearl), Merlin: sapphire blue (metallic), Bewitched: coppery gold (metallic), Cauldron: charcoal black (frost), Spell Book: rich mahogany (pearl), Charms: shell pink (matte) and Jinx: shimmering silver (metallic).

I created two different looks here, so as to show you how pigmented the shades are and how well they blend.

For the first look, I wanted to do something that you could wear every day. I started with using Prophecy as a base. Then, I went in with Charms as my transition shade followed by Sorcerer in the crease and then took a little bit of Broomstick to deepen the crease further. For the lid I used Bewitched and for the lower lashline I went back in with Charms and Sorcerer. The look is finished with a little bit of Jinx on the inner corner.


For the second look, I wanted to go with something fun and smokey. I started, again, with Prophecy as my base. For the crease, I went in with Cloak and then took Cauldron all over the lid and blended it into the crease slightly. Once everything is blended out, I went with Potions all over the lid, right on top of Cauldron. I used Cloak to smoke out the lower lash line and then went in with a little bit of Potions right on lashes. The look is finished off with a little Jinx on the inner corner.

Overall, I was really impressed by this palette. I was a little nervous because I had seen a couple swatches that were not that great. However, I found each shade to be beautiful, blendable and pigmented. I will say, for most people, this is not going to be an everyday palette. It also retails for $52, which isn’t inexpensive. That being said, if you are a makeup junkie who is also a book worm, then this is the perfect palette for you.

Are there any products from Storybook Cosmetics that you have been dying to try?

Let me know!

Xoxo Sammie

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My Skin Diary

This last month has been great! At least it has when its come to my skin. I haven’t noticed any symptoms with taking isotretinoin except for my skin is getting increasingly more dry. However, it isn’t too bad and I think that has to do with my use of oils in my skin care routine. I’ll discuss that more below, but first here is my morning and evening skin care products in order.

AM Face:

  1. Farsali Rose Gold Elixir (DIY Version)
  2. Origins Ginzing Moisturizer 
  3. Origins Ginzing Eye Cream
  4. Hanalei Lip Treatment

AM Body:

  1. DIY Shimmer Body Oil
  2. Sunscreen
  3. Essence of Beauty Hand Cream

PM Face:

  1. Tarte Gel Cleanser
  2. Tarte Maracuja Oil
  3. Origins Night-A-Mins Cream
  4. Origins Plantscription Eye Cream
  5. Lumene Gel Mask

PM Body:

  1. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

I think the oils have really been helping the most. A lot of people are afraid to use them because they think that the oil will worsen their acne. However, I haven’t had any breakouts and I also checked with my dermatologist. She agreed that as long as the oils are noncomedogenic then it should be fine. Here is my progress for the last month:

    They decided to bump up my dose one more time. So for May, I was taking 40mg. Now I am taking 80mg of isotretinoin. The best part has to be that even my dermatologist noticed that my skin was clearing up.

    What are your go to skin care products?

    Xoxo Sammie

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    Monthly Favorites: May 2017

    May has been a month full of packing, studying and a lot of change. I finally finished up my finals and had a short break from classes. All of my free time went to organizing everything in my apartment and at my parents house in order to prepare for our move. It’s been a little crazy to say the least!

    Over the course of the last month, I have definitely found some new products to love. So here they are, my favorites for May:

    In May, I discovered the Tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation. And let me tell you, this stuff has been amazing for my dry skin! I’ve been so empressed. If you’d like to see a full review, you can check it out here.

    This month I randomly received an 10% off coupon for Sephora and I just couldn’t say no. I was browsing the sale section and came across this water free, alcohol free, conditioning daily brush cleanser. This stuff works so well! It cleans all of my brushes and has been amazing to use while traveling and packing. Best part is that it was only $5!

    When I purchased the Tarte foundation, I got it in a promotion that included a makeup bag full of items. One of those items was this Bronze & Glow Contour Brush. I love this brush because it is so soft, applies product like a dream and has multiple uses. I love to use the large end for bronzing, contouring, and even full face powder. The smaller end is amazing for highlighting and baking. I just use my sephora brush cleanser and I am able to use this all over my face. It’s been perfect for traveling.

    The Mario Badescu Facial Sprays has been so overhyped. I wasn’t really interested until my face started to really dry out. It got to the point that I figured, what is there to loose? Well, I am so glad I took a chance on this. It is inexpensive and gives my skin hydration while also soothing and calming. I’m so in love with this and I can’t wait to try the rose one.

    My final favorite product for May has to be the Sephora Outrageous Effect Volume Lip Gloss in XXL Nude. This gloss is pigmented, not sticky and lasts a decent amount of time. I love wearing it over lip liner. I find it to be very similar to the Buxom glosses but almost half the price. It also plumps my lips without being uncomfortable or painful.

    May was a little crazy and I’m excited that we will be done moving soon. June is going to bring a lot of changes and new adventures. I hope that y’all have a relaxing summer!

    Xoxo Sammie

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    DIY: Smoothie Face Mask

    One of the best parts about summer has to be all the fresh fruit. While we can always find apples and oranges, during the summer I love indulging in apricots, cherries and mango. One of my favorite breakfasts during the summer is fruit smoothies. It a quick and yummy way to give your body a lot of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. So, I figured why not make a smoothie face mask?

     What you need:

    1/3 Banana- has many different good skin ingredients. Potassium hydrates the skin, B-vitamins protect against free radicals, Vitamin-A heals scaring and Zinc fights acne.

    ¼ Ripe Mango- has high amounts of Vitamin-A and Vitamin-C. Vitamin-C has been shown to help boost collagen product as well as protecting against UV induced damage from free radicals.

    1 Aloe Vera leaf- soothes and moisturizes skin without clogging pores. It also has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

     First, you will want to peel the skin off the aloe and add it to the bowl. I like to rage the skin and rub the excess on my face to make sure I’m using all of the plant. Then, all you need to do is take a fork and mash all the ingredients together or you can use a blender. You can double the recipe to accommodate multiple people or you can put any leftover mixture into the fridge for 2-3 days to use later. I would recommend keeping any left overs in an airtight container. Cleanse your face and apply the mask in an even, thick layer. I would recommend laying down after applying so that it does not slide off of your face. Let the mask sit for 15-20 minutes. Then just rinse with cool water and pat dry.

    You can leave your skin as is, but I do use a moisturizer since I am taking isotretinoin. I love this mask! It leaves my skin feeling so soft and hydrated. It also gives me such a pretty glow. I like making a double batch and using it twice a week.

    I really enjoy being able to use good, natural whole foods to benefit my skin. What are your favorite summer fruits?

    Xoxo Sammie

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