My Favorite Make Up Products of 2011

27 Jan

Long time no write (well…read for you, but write for me). I missed you guys! Sorry but things got crazy because school started up again (my last semester as an undergrad *commence panic NOW*) and life was kind of crazy for a bit with that but I’m going to be better from now on. I’m aiming for one post per week at a minimum but I’m going to shoot for two. Ambitions– I know. Anyway, for this post I thought I would share with you my top make up products from 2011! These are all products that I started using in 2011 and can’t see myself living without for 2012. If you know me personally, you should know (or else you don’t deserve to call yourself my friend), that I’m a make up and product junkie. Any chance I have to get my hands on a new make up or beauty item and I’m all over it. Thank god I’m on a college student budget currently or else the only way people would be able to get in contact with me would be to come into my room, find me hidden in a massive pile of products, and literally dig me out. Sad but true. Whatever- I’m in denial.

Moving on, I’m going to outline my favorite products which include a lipstick, mascara, bronzer, setting powder, primer, foundation, eye liner, concealer, and blush. Geez, you don’t realize how much you wear every day until you type it out. Yeesh.

Lipstick

Let me just give one disclaimer: I have never been that into lipsticks. They always kind of annoyed me and I never really felt the need to add more color to my lips. Well, all my previous thoughts have now flown out the window and I have developed a new fascination with lipsticks. I don’t feel like my lips can handle dark colors so I went on the hunt for a color that was different, but not extreme. When I was in Sephora I settled on NARS sheer lipstick in Barbarella and am absolutely in love with this. It’s awesome that it’s sheer because it doesn’t make me look like I’m trying too hard (ehh who am I kidding), but it still adds noticeable depth and the perfect peach color. It also complements my pale complexion well and has a little bit of shine which I love.

Mascara

I usually purchase my mascaras at the drugstore because I honestly don’t think there is that big of a difference between drugstore formulas and high higher-end formulas. The main difference between any two mascaras is going to be the shape and design of the wand. I’ve tried quite a few drugstore mascaras throughout the years and Lash Blast Fusion is by far the best one that I have ever used. It is the perfect combination of curling, volumizing, and lengthening. Best mascara ever–end of story.

Bronzer

Everyone raves about the NARS Laguna bronzer and with good reason. I initially bought Laguna but felt that it was too intense for my skin tone, so I went back to Sephora and exchanged it for the NARS Irrestiblement bronzer which is their “lightest” bronzer. I still find that it isn’t orange but instead gives my skin a golden glow without being overly shimmery. I’ve already hit major pan on it and am dreading when it starts to crack and I have to go get a new one. It works wondering during the pale-skinned winter months and for everyday contouring. So if Laguna is too dark for you, check out Irrestiblement.

Setting Powder

I got this Make Up Forever HD Powder when I bought my foundation because my man at Sephora (Jose, I miss you dearly…where did you GOOOO), told me that this was the best setting powder that I could ever find and that he uses it every day. He said that not only does it set your make up beautifully and smoothly, but it makes your skin incredible soft. I wasn’t an instant believer of that notion and he sensed that I was doubting him so he put it on my face and then told me to touch my face and I have to say, I was amazed because it was actually so much softer than it had been before. Ahhhhmazing product. I got the bigger one and it’s worth every penny because it lasts forever.

Primer

Okay, so I followed the herd a little bit on this one, but now I’m a complete believer in this cult classic: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. I have the original clear one and use it every day after my moisturizer and sunscreen and find that it provides the perfect base for my foundation and concealer. When I don’t use it, my foundation is streaky, doesn’t spread very easily, and my pores look massive. Ew. However, when I use the primer, it magically conceals my pores and makes my foundation slide on incredibly easily.

Foundation

I got the Make Up Forever HD Foundation in shade 110 (told you I was pale) at the same time that I got the HD Powder (what can I say, Jose got me hooked) and now I will literally never change foundations. I have oily-combination skin that get’s a bit dry or flaky in the winter or if I’m using too many exfoliating products and this foundation stays on all day and never looks cakey or artificial. It’s the perfect color and the perfect consistency. It also has a great level of coverage. I would classify this as a medium-full coverage foundation, but don’t worry that it will look fake because I can assure you that it won’t. Most days I don’t even need concealer afterwards. Another things that’s cool about this foundation is that it’s buildable; you can put one layer on and then once that layer is dry, go back and put another layer on wherever you think you need a little more coverage. Magical.

Eyeliner

I have spent about 6 years searching for the perfect eye liner and I have finally found it. I have never gotten more compliments on an eye liner that I do with this one. The liner that I’m talking about is the Bobbi Brown Long-wear Gel Liner in Black Ink. It is insanely pigmented, has an amazing consistency, and lasts all day. It is literally a miracle products and for that, I am eternally grateful to my girl Bobbi. I’ve tried pencil liners and liquid liners and while they always got the job done, I never loved them. While I still have pencils and liquids, I lovelovelovelove this gel liner.

Concealer

I had been using my foundation as a concealer for most of the year (because of it’s magical buildable qualities), but started to get some breakouts last semester and felt that I needed a legitimate concealer. So I ran to Sephora and swatched some on my hand and ended up with the NARS concealer stick in Chantilly. What I love about this concealer is the packaging. The fact that it’s in a roll-up stick makes it so incredibly easy to apply. Normally stick concealers are thick and difficult to blend out, but not this one! It is smooth, almost powdery (I can’t describe it but it’s cool), and applies like a dream.

Blush

Last up is blush! For most of the year I had been using the NARS Orgasm blush which I still completely love and use a few times a week. However, I recently got a 100 point beauty insider perk from Sephora that I have really started liking. That product was the Benefit Coralista blush. It’s an amazingly perfect shade of coral and it looks amazing on most skin tones that I have seen. I love it on me because it blends together well with my bronzer and gives me an amazing, glowy complexion. It has a bit of shimmer too, but not as much as Orgasm.

That’s it! Those are my top staple make up products of 2011! Hope you liked my reviews! All of these products are available at Sephora except for the Lash Blast Fusion which you can find at any drugstore! Let me know what you think in the comments below or tell me what your favorite make up products are lately!

xo

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Making Macarons

10 Jan

assorted macarons

(Photo cred)

First things first, a macaron is NOT a macaroon. A traditional macaroon is comprised mostly of coconut while a traditional french macaron is comprised of two meringue cookies and a filling all sandwiched together. Big difference here people—so get your lingo straight! Now that that’s out of the way….A couple of weeks ago we were invited to a family friend New Years Day Party and instead of running out and buying something to bring, I decided that I would conquer the ever-daunting task of making macarons for the party.

So, first steps first, I Googled macaron making techniques for days before actually trying it on my own. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no novice in the kitchen baking or cooking wise, but these babies are in a league of their own. Research was definitely necessary. After all my research, I went out to buy my supplies! There’s a great cooking and baking supply store in the next town over so I hit them up first to get my parchment paper (works better than Silpats for this purpose), pastry bags, and 1/2” tip for my pastry bag. Sidenote: it was SO hard to get myself out of that store without buying more things—it was like kitchen heaven. Then, I went to Trader Joes and Stop and Shop to get my fillings and other ingredients. Since it was my first time in the ring, I decided that it was best to stick to fresh, pre-made fillings and focus my energy on perfecting the actual cookie part of the macaron. So, I ended up buying lemon curd (I could probably just eat that with a spoon, no lie) and organic raspberry preserves. Done deal. Then I grabbed some confectioner’s sugar, granulated sugar, almond meal, eggs, and gel food coloring (not liquid!). I think that’s it.

Whew. The next step was assembling my ingredients and making the cookies! Once I had the batter finished, I piped it onto my cookie sheet on parchment with a template (I’ll like to it at the end). Now it was time to wait. According to the macaron bible, it is necessary to let the cookies sit out for a period of time before baking. I waited impatiently for an hour and then popped them in. Then all I could do was wait. I brought a chair and literally sat in front of the oven watching them and praying they would have feet (a key characteristic). Guess what? THEY DID! WOOOOO *commence dancing and jumping around my kitchen*.

After I finished jumping up and down the cookies cooled and all my batches were done, I began to pipe on the fillings and assemble the cookies. I had pink ones with lemon curd, and green ones with raspberry preserves. Sadly, the next step is more waiting. Seriously, keep a book in your kitchen. Anyway, macarons need to be in the fridge, all assembled, for about 24 hours so that they can reach their full potential. Let me tell you, this is no joke. I tried fresh made ones and then one after they had been in the fridge and it made a WORLD of a difference. They were sooooo much better after the fridge. Don’t get antsy and doubt me and eat them. Trust me—wait.

I was seriously so happy that I pulled these off. I packaged them in gift boxes and brought them to the party and I’m glad to say that they were a huge hit!!!! No one could believe I actually made them (yeah, I couldn’t either haha). Now, they’re going to be my go-to party accessory and I can’t wait to make them again with different fillings and flavored cookies.

This is the website that proved to be my bible for this process:

http://foodnouveau.com/macarons/

She also recorded a video on Youtube that shows you the entire process in 5 minutes (don’t be fooled though, in real life, it is quite a bit longer)!

Go try to make some of your own and let me know how they turn out!

xo