Sephora Favorites: Sunkissed Glow

My husband always jokes that Sephora is my happy place. I always laugh along, but who am I kidding? I love going there to play with all of the different products. Between their 100’s of tester products, free mini makeup lessons and awesome return policy, what’s not to love? One of my favorite things to get from Sephora are the Favorites kits. They generally have a theme and include a bunch of different testers from many different brands. Some of the ones I’m currently loving are the Hydration Favorites and the Nude Lip Kit. Although it is not currently available, I have also really been loving the Sunkissed Glow kit. So, I figured why not give a bunch of mini reviews for all the products included?

The first thing that I noticed was the Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Ro (Cocoa). These eye liners have been so hyped on YouTube and I’ve been dying to try them. However, it is hard to convince me to spend $25 on an eye pencil. Thankfully, the one included in this kit was full sized, so I should be set for awhile. Sephora claims it is “a crayon that delivers intense color and 12-hour waterproof wear and amazing glide.” I would agree with all of that except the 12 hour wear. My eyes must be more watery than everyone else’s because I only get a few hours before this wears away. For me, it is super pigmented, but I think I’ll stick to my Ulta gel liners.

Within the kit, there were two highlighters. The first is the Milk Makeup Liquid Strobe in Gleam. This strobing liquid is a true gold color. I find the color is pretty, but i am not a fan of how it applies. It comes with a roller ball applicator. I find that this does not distribute the highlight evenly and I still have to blend it out. So, I usually roll a little on my fingers and tap it in. It is very reflective, though I don’t find that the color suits me. I will continue to use this product, but I would not purchase the full size. I much prefer the CoverFx Custom Enhancer Drops in Celestial.

The second highlight included was the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal. I have to say, I am in love with this one! It is so soft and creamy and it applies like a dream. It is described as a “golden opal pearl” and it just stunning. It is very reflective and a little goes a long way. Plus, this sample size is perfect to keep in your purse or to take when you travel.

Another bronzy product was the Urban Decay Half Baked Eyeshadow Shimmer in Golden Bronze. The one included in this kits is full sized, a value of $19. I really love this eyeshadow color. It is beautiful all over the lid and will make any eye color pop. I like it best when applied with my finger or a damp, flat brush to get the most shine.

Also included is the Radiance Foundation Primer by Laura Mercier. This primer gives your foundation a smooth base while also illuminating the skin. Currently, I tend to prefer more hydrating foundations and primers. I like this primer because it does smooth my skin and adds a beautiful radiance. It is also slightly tacky, which I personally feel like helps to keep my foundation on longer. I love pairing with with my Wet n Wild Photo Focus Foundation.

Now, the this kit included two bronzers but I received a third as a free sample so I decided to include it in this review. The first bronzer is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Luminous Bronze Light. This is another product I was so excited to try because it is so hyped on YouTube. I was also so happy when I found out that it was the lightest shade because I am usually quite fair. This bronzer is more warm toned with a slight shimmer. While I am not convinced it is the right shade for me, it is really beautiful. I love the formula and it looks wonderful on the skin. I am debating trying out the Radiant Bronze Light as it looks a little less orange.

The second bronzer is the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer in Medium/Deep. First, this bronzer smells amazing. It’s just like chocolate. I was so scared this would be too dark for my skin tone. However, I really love it. It is more of a cool tone and if I go in with a light hand, it is perfect. I love this travel size because I can take it with me wherever I go.

The bonus sample I received is the Benefit Hoola Quickie Contour Stick. Hoola is a cult favorite bronzer, but one I have yet to try because of how warm it appears. I love using cream contour, so i was excited to give this cream to powder stick a try. First, I feel like the name is misleading. I would never use this as a contour because of how how warm it is. That being said, I enjoy using it as a bronzer. If used sparingly and really blended out, it is beautiful.

Included in the kit was a Nars Shimmer Lip Gloss in Orgasm. Now, the product included was full sized and at first I really enjoyed this gloss. It is pigmented and the color is beautiful. The formula is also smooth and not too sticky. However, I soon realized that it reminded me of another product that I have: the Covergirl Katy Kat Pearl Lipstick in Apricat. To me, they are so similar that I could never justify spending $26 on the Nars Lip Gloss when the Covergirl Lipstick is around $8.

The final product in the glow bag was the Tarte Brazilliance Plus+ self tanner. When you buy the full size, you also receive a mit. I didn’t do my whole body because of the size of the sample, but I did test it out on my arms. It gave me such a beautiful fake tan. I definitely will be purchasing the full size soon.

Though it doesn’t count as a product, I also really love the bag that was included. It is so pretty and fun for summer. Overall, I loved this Sephora Favorite Collection. Just counting the 3 full sized products, that bag is valued at $75. Considering I received 6 other samples and a bag, all while paying $45. I have to say, these little bags are great deals.

What are some of your favorite products to achieve the perfect summer glow?

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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Monthly Favorites: April 2017

Guys, I can’t believe it is already May! Time flys when you’re insanely busy. Even though it’s been hectic, April is one of my favorite months. The weather is beautiful, flowers are blooming and it’s my birthday month! 

This month, I found a lot of new products as well as fell back in love with some old products.

Farsali Rose Gold Elixir $54
So you may have seen the post where I made a Diy Rose Gold Elixir, and that was based on this product. I love using this in the morning to moisturize before putting on my makeup. It moisturizes my skin without being too heavy. It also leaves my lips so soft. It’s been a savior since starting Accutaine.

It Cosmetics CC+ Cream $38

I’ve tried the Confidence in a Compact, but I’ve been itching to give this CC cream a go. I have to say, it’s amazing! It feels great, stays all day and helps keep my skin from looking too dry. The best part? It has suncreen that actually works so well for me, even with my skin being more sensitive! Definitely going to keep this in my bag all summer.

Ulta Color Correcting Concealer $9

I first tried this in a Review of Ulta brand makeup. I was a little unsure at first, but I really love it. I just use my new Clarisonic foundation brush and it blends it out like a dream. It cancels out all of my redness without making me look green or cakey.

CoverFx Custom Enhancer Drops $42

If you’ve been following me for a while, you will know I love a good Liquid Highlighter. Well, I finally decided to take the plunge and purchased this Cover Fx enhancer drops in moonlight. I’m obsessed! It gives such a beautiful metallic sheen. I love using this as a highlight and even on my eyes as a shadow or base. It’s just so stunning.

Milani Make It Last Setting Spray $10

I first purchased this setting spray a few months back when all the beauty gurus were raving about it. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t work well because I was so oily. So, it’s been sitting on my vanity for when I wanted to use it to wet a shadow brush. However, now that my skin is dryer, it has been amazing! It helps set my makeup and also adds a little moisture. 

These are all the products I have been loving this month and I can’t wait to see what next month will bring. What have been your favorites for April?

Xoxo Sammie

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5 Monthly Favorites: March ’17

Sometimes it’s not about buying tons of new products, but rather falling back in love with things you already own. It seems like March was a month of rediscovery for me, both for me personally and my makeup bag. 

Things got tough this last month. I was feeling pressured between work and school. I was also my husband’s major support as he finished his PhD. I was feeling like the world was my weight to carry. Thankfully, it seems like everything is starting to make a turn for the better. If you’re having a tough time, just remember that things get better and don’t give up.

Now that you’re caught up on my life, let’s get to my March Favorites!

I will start with the only new product this month. I have been loving this KVD Beauty Pastel Goth eye shadow palette! The colors are fun and very pigmented. They are also so easy to work with. The pastels are so much fun for spring and are actually a lot more wearable than you may think. If you would like more info and swatches, you can see my review here.

Though this color may be new to me, I am very familiar with the formula. I am obsessed with the new Gel Coutoure nail polishes by Essie. I only need two coats of polish followed by the top coat and my nails remain unchipped for at least 7 days! Amazing right? So far I have this beautiful sage green, a deep red and a nude pink, but I will definitely be picking up more colors in the future. 10/10 would recommend.

This is an oldie but a goodie: the Tarte Color Wheel. It comes with 10 different shades of their Amazonian Clay blushes with a mix of mattes and shimmers. I am obsessed! I love this for traveling because it is compact with sturdy packaging and it gives me a ton of options with minimal space. I purchased this at the last VIB sale and love it. It doesn’t seem that this particular one is available, but I love these blushes and definitely would pick up another compact if they decide to release one with other shades.

Here is a product that I haven’t discussed on my blog before. It is the Makeup Revolution baked vivid highlight in Golden Lights. This formula is so smooth and pigmented. I get a ton of shine, but can also go in with a lighter hand for something more natural. This has been my go to this month for my cheek bones and to highlight the inner corners of my eyes.

My final favorite for this month is my Beauty Bakerie Lip Whip in Louvre Palace. I just did a full review on these and I love them! They stay all day and are comfortable to wear. I love this color on me because it is my perfect, every day peachy nude.

I am so excited to see what the month of April has in store! What products have you been loving? Are there any new launches you are looking forward to in April?

Xoxo Sammie

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Top 20 Products to Control Oil and Hide Blemishes

I remember all throughout high school, I had fairly good skin. I felt comfortable with using a light mineral powder foundation and rarely broke out. Fast forward 6 years and I have the skin of a teenager. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve been considering starting Accutaine (more on that later).

Although my skin has been driving me crazy, I’ve nailed down a bunch of products to help conceal my acne and control my oils. So here it is, my Top 20 Products to Control Oil and Hide Blemishes.

Just as a disclaimer, these are all products that have worked for me personally. Remember makeup and skincare are very personal items and may work differently for everyone.

So I’m going to start my list with how I apply everything. So first step would be skin care.

These 4 items have worked miraculously for me.

1) Bosica Detoxifying Black Cleanser: this works great for detoxing my skin. I find that it really helps keep my oils and breakouts at bay without overly drying my skin.

2) Clarisonic Mia Fit: now this little brush is expensive and honestly I never considered buying one until I found a promo code. That being said, it had made such a difference. It has really helped clean out my pores and minimize the texture on my cheeks and forehead. I would discuss with a dermatologist first if you are unsure just because this may not be great for all skin types. I also prefer to use this every other day or any day that I wear makeup.

3) Boscia Deep Pore Exfoliating Peel: this is a newer product to me, but it has quickly become a staple in my beauty routine. It is a chemical peel and exfoliant and it works miracles! I only use it once or twice a week and it leaves my skin so soft and smooth. I especially like doing this the night before a special event. Just make sure not to use the clarisonic or other exfoliant the same day.

4) Neutrogena Hydroboost Water Gel: so I actually use this, the eye gel and the one for extra dry skin. I love this because it moisturizes my skin without making it oily or shiny. It’s also light enough to wear under makeup. I like to use the water gel in the morning and the one for extra dry skin at night.

Next we have primers:

5) ELF Blemish Control Primer: I like to use this primer on the perimeter of my face where I break out the most. I find that is just helps to control my breakouts when wearing makeup. It is not 100% necessary, but I find that it helps my skin.

6) Rimmel Stay Matte: this is the primer that I use on the majority of my face. I find it is one of the best at controlling my oils throughout the day. I apply this over my forehead, nose and chin. It keeps my skin matte and also helps my makeup to stay all day.

7) Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Primer: for me, this primer is a must. I use it mostly on my nose and cheek area to help fill and minimize large pores. It works best for pores if you press it in instead of rubbing it in. I also like to use this on dry patches or blemishes to help smooth them out before applying foundation. Just make sure to use sparingly as a little goes a long way.

8) L’Oréal Infallible Color Correcting Kit: this is my final step before foundation. Again, it may not be necessary for everyone but I find it helps immensely when it comes to concealing breakouts. I use the green color and apply to where ever I have breakouts or redness. The biggest thing it to make sure you blend it well. It does not take a lot to really even out your skin tone.

Next, I apply foundation and concealer.

9) Artis Oval 7: I know that this is a brush and not a product, but it has done miracles for my foundation game. This brush helps me to achieve the most full coverage look with a lot of my foundations. It really helps cover up my blemishes the most without making my makeup look cakey.

10) Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation: this stuff is amazing! It is full coverage to the max. I love using this for special occasions or when I will be taking pictures. The only downside it that it can look cakey if not applied properly. For best application, I recommend using either an Artis brush or a beauty sponge.

11) It Cosmetics Confidence in a Compact: I like this foundation for everyday where. It feels light on the skin and has buildable coverage. The best part is that this product has high SPF, skin benefits and doesn’t get overly oily throughout the day. Check out my full review here.

12) Tarte Shape Tape Concealer: after apply my foundation, I go back and spot conceal. This particular product is highly pigmented. Most of the beauty gurus like to use this under their eyes. While it is great for that, I really like to use it to further conceal blemishes.

After foundation and concealer, I would apply powders unless I am using a liquid highlighter. I find liquid highlighters do not emphasis texture as much as powers. My favorite liquid highlights are:

13) Maybelline Master Strobing Liquid: when I have a lot of texture on my skin, I prefer liquid highlights. I love this one because it is so strong, but beautiful. It looks great under powder or foundation and blends beautifully.

14) Milk Makeup Highlighter: this is similar to the Maybelline highlighter, except it is in a stick form. I like this one for a more natural highlight as it is not as metallic as the Maybelline. The best way to apply is to take some on your fingers and blend in.

After using my liquid highlight, I start applying my powder products.

15) Covergirl Outlast Finishing Powder: this is one of my favorite powers to use. I like to use the buffing technique with this powder. It sets all of my makeup, adds a little more coverage and helps mattify and control oils.

16) Kat Von D Lock-It Powder: I like to use this powder to set my whole face. I think it works best with a big, fluffy powder brush. It is also great for baking under the eyes. It helps to lock in my makeup all day.

17) Wet n Wild Photo Focus Pressed Powder: although this is a foundation face powder, I like to use the shade Cocoa as a bronzer. I really like this powder because it does not emphasize any of the texture I have.

18) Tony Moly Cats Wink Powder: this powder is great to carry in your purse. It is similar to a blotting powder so it can be used throughout the day. My favorite way to apply is to first use blotting papers or a paper towel to get rid of excess oils. Then, I use either the included puff applicator or a powder brush to apply to my oily areas. It helps to remattify my face and keep the oil at bay throughout the day.

My final step is to seal my makeup in with a good setting spray.

19) Makeup Revolution Oil Control Fixing Spray: this is my favorite spray. It is perfect for people who prefer a more matte finish. It sets in my makeup and helps to further control my oils. I like using this spray when I am going to have a busy day and be running around a lot.

20) Milani Make It Last Setting Spray: this spray is perfect for people who want a more natural finish. It is not overly dewy and does not make me look shiny; it just does not mattify the skin. What it does do is help all my makeup to melt into my skin and to get rid any powderiness I may have. I prefer using this if I am going to be inside all day.

So that’s it, my top 20 products to help control oil and hide blemishes. I hope you find this helpful!

Do you any products that you swear by? Leave them in the comments below!

Have a great weekend!


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February Favorites

I cannot believe it is already March. I know that February is a shorter month, but I feel like time has been flying! Soon, I am going to be starting my student teaching and the next thing you know, it’ll be May and I’ll have to start packing to move. Crazy huh?

This month I’ve tried so many new products. Some I’ve done full reviews on, so I won’t go too in depth with those but i will link them below.

My first favorite is these Smashbox Covershot palettes. I bought these back in December to take on a trip with me. I recently got into them again this month and I can’t put them down! Between the Ablaze palette and the Matte palette (I also have the Smokey) I’ve been very happy with my eye makeup this month. 

My next favorite is the new It Cosmetics serum compact foundation. I won’t go too in depth, because I already did a full review, but it is safe to say this is one of my new favorite foundations.

I have also been living for this Maybelline Master Strobing Liquid. It is inexpensive and so good! It looks great layered under foundation, for a more natural look. You can also use it as a base for other highlighters if you are wanting something to blind. The only thing is make sure that you put this on before any powder because it doesn’t apply well layered on powder.

As I said in my most recent post, I’m dying for spring and to me this Wet n Wild nail polish  screams spring. It’s a beautiful purply pink color but isn’t too bright or loud. I also love the brush on this polish. It is a wide, paddle like brush that really helps me to achieve a flawless salon manicure. This particular color has been discontinued, but there are so many other amazing shades to choose from.

Another product I’ve been loving is the Ecotools Full Powder brush that I received in my last Influenster Vox Box. Again, I’ve already done a full review, so I won’t go into too much detail other than to say it’s amazing and so soft.

I just realized how much new Wet n Wild came out this month and how so much of it has been great! My last favorite is the new Photo Focus Pressed Powder in Cocoa. I’ve already done a full review on these and the foundation, which I really liked. However, I like to use this particular shade as a bronzer. It is a beautiful powder, and on my skin tone it is perfect for getting that sun kissed glow.

What were your favorite products of the month? Is there anything that you are looking forward to in the month of March? 

Hope y’all have a great weekend!


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