My (Whittled Down & Much Safer) Makeup Collection


(Updated to add: Tarte Cosmetics is doing a 30% sitewide discount through December 11th with the code DECFNF.)

Alright, ladies. I did it. I examined and completely overhauled my makeup collection.

If you didn’t see this post from November, this was my makeup collection.




And above is my much improved makeup collection. Yes, that’s all of it. Every last bit. I’m not going to lie – I reeeaaallly wanted to cheat and keep some of my favorites, such as many, many NARS and Chanel products, but I persevered. I got rid of every product that contained an ingredient that scored a 4 or above on the EWG Skin Deep website. (And about 60% of my cosmetics weren’t listed, so I had to painstakingly go through every ingredient of every product. Hello, time consuming.)

Saying goodbye to beloved (toxic) makeup: the struggle is real, yo.

But after bidding adieu, I can’t even tell you how good (not to mention organized and refreshing!) it feels to get rid of all that crap. No more staring down a crazy, cluttered makeup drawer in hopes of using a “new” product that’s been sitting there for months. You all, I highly recommend it.

However, that was only the first step – I had to educate myself on cosmetic ingredients and then experiment with the available options. Some were great and some downright sucked.

If you are wanting to start fresh or just replace a couple of products here and there, I’ve compiled everything I’m (happily) using to help you with the process. None of these cosmetics (except for a few of the MUFE ones) were provided to me by the companies – I paid for them myself. Let’s get started.



From left to right:

Make Up For Ever HD Pressed Powder, $36 – This powder is lightweight and slightly mattifies my skin without looking too powdery. I love it.

Beautycounter Touchup Skin Concealer Pen, $28 – This concealer replaced my beloved Clinique Airbrush Concealer that I’ve used for years. (And, ahem, Clinique is one of the worst companies when it comes to disclosing what is in their products. I spent an entire afternoon trying to track down ingredients – it was crazy. Food for thought.) This product works just as well, and I like the color match better.

Make Up For Ever Kabuki Brush, $52 – Great brush for applying the pressed powder.

Tarte BB Tinted Moisturizer, $36 – I have both this tinted moisturizer and the Beautycounter one to the right. When I originally did the Tinted Moisturizer Face Off, I accidentally sampled the Tarte BB Primer instead of the Moisturizer and promptly hated it. (Thank you to the reader that pointed that out to me. What would I do without you guys?) Anyway, once I got my hands on the moisturizer, I was so much happier. Creamy, moisturizing, good coverage. And it has SPF 20, which is a huge bonus.

Beautycounter Tint Skin, $38 – I have to say, I can’t pick a favorite between the two tinted moisturizers. I love the Tint Skin coverage (it’s more like a lightweight foundation and really covers my redness), and the Linen shade is an almost perfect match on my skin. The only downside? No SPF. BOO HISS. (But I now use Beautycounter’s Protect Face SPF 30 before applying the Tint Skin and I love it. It doesn’t sting my skin AT ALL, which is huge for sunscreens.)



You guys know I love my blush, so this is a huge section for me. From left to right, kind of:

Make Up for Ever HD Blush in Cool Pink (#210), $26 – This is my new go-to cream blush. I love these blushes by MUFE – they apply creamy, but quickly dry down to a powder-like consistency. Great lasting power.

Beautycounter Color Sweep Blush Duo in Bloom/Tulip, $36 – This is what I wear on most days. Such a healthy, natural flush with this duo. I just mix the two shades before applying.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush in Adored, $26 – This color has been discontinued, but I’ve used it for a year or two and love the cool pink shade.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush in Fearless, $26 – This is a newer color and it has a bit more warmth and peachiness to it. Great color for all seasons and most skintones.

Beautycounter Color Contour Matte Bronzer No. 1, $36 – Fantastic bronzer. Not a bit of orange, and great for contouring cheekbones. Gives a lovely warmth to the skin without looking too “tan.”

Beautycounter Powder Brush, $36 – Applies blush without it looking too heavy-handed, and blends well. The individual hairs don’t fall out either, which is a must.



I ditched all my eyeshadows and bought this palette from Tarte, which is part of this limited collection from Sephora. Run, don’t walk. You would never need another color. (It’s out of stock online right now, but I think they are expecting more.) It is FAB. Not gonna lie – this one has caught my eye as well. (I think it’s a Sephora VIB exclusive.)


Sephora Eyelash Curler, $17 – Great curler, lasts forever. Enough said.

Beautycounter Color Shade Eye Duo in Oyster/Amethyst, $30 – I really like these two colors together for an easy daytime look. The amethyst would look great on green, hazel, or brown eyes.

Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara, $20 – I was a little freaked out about my mascara options, considering all the ones I’ve loved score a 7 or higher on EWG. But I want to scream from the mountaintops in regards to this one. I LOVE IT. It is super volumizing, doesn’t clump or flake, and washes off easily. It’s a dream, basically.

Beautycounter Color Outline Eye Pencil in Violet, $20 – I love the shade of this pencil, but I do feel like I have to tug a little bit. However, it is great for tight-lining or wearing in the inner rim.

Tarte Skinny SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Moonstone Brown, $19 – I adore these liners because they are creamy and slide across the eyelid easily. They are great for blending, but probably not the best if you want a precise, super skinny line. I love them though, because they are incredibly easy to apply and blend. This brown is very dark – almost black – but without the harshness of a true black.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Medium Brown, $21 – I finally found a brow pencil for brunettes that doesn’t go too warm or chestnut. Hooray!

Tarte Skinny SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Sunstone Bronze, $19 – Perfect liner for a bronze smoky eye.

Laura Mercier Flat Eye Liner Brush, $22.50 – Great brush when you want to use eye shadow as a liner. (On sale right now.)

MAC 217 Brush, $24 – This is the best brush known to (wo)man. I’ve used it for years and love it more than words can say. Perfect for applying eye shadow to the crease and blending everywhere.

Sonia Kashuk Eyebrow Brush, $2.99 -  Cheap and works. Great for getting mascara clumps out.

Beautycounter All Over Eye Brush, $24 – I use this to apply a neutral shade all over my eyelid.



S.W Basics of Brooklyn Peppermint Lip Balm, $4 – Every family memeber needs one of these balms. I can’t stand the waxy feel of most twist-up lip balms, and this one is super moisturizing. It’s downright creamy compared to other hard, waxy balms. (Look for my upcoming post on this brand – great skincare!)

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask, $26 - Okay, folks. All of this dry, windy weather in Oklahoma has taken its toll on my face, especially my lips and around my mouth (dry! cracky! peely!). This lip mask is THE BOMB. I put it on before bed and it stays on all night. It’s thick, guys. It’s serious. It doesn’t mess around. But if you want soft, moisturized lips, BUY IT. Trust Sarah on this one.

Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tint in Innocent – Most of the Tarte Lip Tints pictured above are from the Kiss and Belle LipSurgence Set. I couldn’t decide on what shade(s) I wanted, so I got the set which was a perfect move. (Also, sets are a great way to go if you are looking to replace many items for less money.) I absolutely love these pencils. Some are matte, some are shiny …but they are all so great. Innocent is my no-fail warm nude shade that goes with me everywhere.

Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tint in Dreamy – From the set – this is a bright and punchy pink.

Tarte Matte Lip Tint in Alluring – Again, from the set – I mean, you guys just need to buy it. A $100 value for $34! You won’t regret it.

Beautycounter Lip Shine, $26 - I wear this on top of my lip color if I’m looking for more shine.

Tarte LipSurgence Lip Gloss in Visionary – A really pretty apricot gloss – great for the warmer months.

Tarte Matte Lip Tint in Fiery, $24 - This one is not included in the set, and it’s a gorgeous strawberry red. This color has replaced my beloved NARS Flamenco. (A moment of silence for Flamenco, please.)

Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tint in Romantic – A lovely, peachy nude. Great for day.

Beautycounter Lip Calendula Lip Conditioner, $18 - This is a good lip balm for warmer months, but in my opinion, doesn’t hack it in the dry winter. Perfect for summer, though.

Beautycounter Lip Sheers in Twig, Petal and Plum, $28 – You know how much I love these sheers. They are so creamy and moisturizing – I tried all 8 shades in this post.

Tarte LipSurgence Lip Gloss in Belle – A raspberry gloss from the lip set. So pretty.

Tarte Amazonian Lip Butter in Plummy Rose, $16 –  Another subtle color for the day. Also perfect with a smoky eye for a night out.

There you have it. As you can see, my collection is very heavy on Tarte and Beautycounter products, as I am extremely impressed with both companies. Word of advice regarding Beautycounter – if you are planning on buying items (there is a 30-day no questions money-back guarantee, awww yeahhhh), you should sign up to be a Band of Beauty member. It costs $25 ($15 of it goes to one of three charities of your choice), and you get great perks. Because, I promise, you will be back for more.

Any questions? Leave ‘em in the comments. Up next? My new skincare regimen. Hot damn.


Get Your Hair Holiday Glam Ready for Under $20


This post is sponsored by Sally Beauty. Thanks for supporting this site!

‘Tis the season for holiday hair, ladies. Updos and braids and sparkles, oh my! Everywhere I turn, I see a new holiday hair tutorial, and of course, want to try them all. (What is it about the braided updo that gets me every year? I must have been a milkmaid in my past life.)

Well, today, I’m not going to present you with yet another holiday hair tutorial…I’m actually going to talk to you about the (possibly less exciting, yet just as important) subject of holiday hair PREP. Because, let’s face it, if you don’t have the proper tools and accessories, you might as well give up already.

So! Without further ado, I present you with 8 hair must-haves for the holiday season. Bonus – they are all under 20 bones.


Black Mesh Chignon – Okay, ladies. You haven’t rocked a true bun until you’ve used a mesh chignon. This nifty little accessory makes a bun look like a perfectly round, full donut.

Assorted Color Mini Headwraps – I don’t use these headwraps in my looks very often, but they are indispensible when it comes to pulling hair off my face while putting my holiday makeup on. (Or off, at the end of the night.)

Mini Tourmaline Flat Iron – This flat iron is amazing for toting around, but more importantly, the iron is so small that you can really get to the roots of the hair to smooth out. Great for bangs.

Wet ‘N Dry Detangler Brush – I love this brush for smoothing out any kinks in hair during updo prep.

Color Snap Clips – Okay, these aren’t for me, but my daughter can’t live without them. They are literally all over my house.

Striped Knotties – Great for pulling hair off of the face while applying makeup, and they don’t leave annoying creases.

Wood Round Brush – This is a godsend for those of us with bangs and cowlicks – I can smooth out any crazy cowlick with the help of this brush and a hair dryer.

Croc Clips – A must-have while blowdrying sections of hair, which is the only way to get it super super smooth.

All of these great items can be found at Sally Beauty and, like I said, they are all under $20. Not to mention, they would be perfect stocking stuffers. (Speaking of, great gifts of all prices can be found here, if you are checking off your Christmas list.) Also, Sally Beauty is hosting a Give Glam & Get Away. You could win a 7-Day Caribbean cruise for two with Princess Cruises®. Not too shabby, my friends.

How to Enter:

1. Buy any product in-store or online using your Sally Beauty Loyalty Card and get an automatic entry
2. Enter online here. (If you refer a friend by sharing online, you’ll receive a bonus entry!)

You can enter between 12/1/14 and 12/31/14, and all the details can be found here. Wouldn’t be such a bad way to start off the year, methinks.

This post is sponsored by Sally Beauty. Thanks for supporting this site!

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Gorgeous Gifts That Give Back



While attending the ONE Girls and Women AYA Summit last month in DC, I was completely floored, well, by lots of smart, fearless, inspiring folks. One woman in that group of dynamos was Jane Mosburger Morris, who runs To The Market, a retailer that supports hundreds of artisans via multiple distribution channels, including pop-up shops, custom sourcing, retail partnerships, and their online marketplace.

TTM showcases handmade goods made exclusively by proud and passionate artisans who have overcome the perils of abuse, conflict, and disease. By assisting local partners around the world in bringing these goods “to the market,” they take an active role in equipping the survivors they employ with economic independence, while raising awareness of the challenges that they face. Additionally, TTM offers a platform for these survivors to share their stories with all of us.

I think one of the things many of us struggle with in regards to incredibly daunting issues such as global poverty and disease is wondering what WE can do, personally. It’s extremely overwhelming, and so easy for us to just shut down and buy another pair of ankle boots. (I know this from personal experience.)

But here’s the deal, guys. We all have the ability to help and empower others. And what I’ve realized is that there is no ONE way to go about it. We all can help while staying true to ourselves. Whether by spreading the word about charitable causes, donating your time and efforts to a beloved cause, educating ourselves and friends on the issues at hand, or choosing to purchase items that support companies and organizations who are creating stable lives for many, many people.

My thing? Well, I’ve always loved to tell you all about cool stuff. And I know most of you enjoy shopping now and again. (Ahem.) So why not shop for items that directly affect lives in an incredibly positive manner? Sounds like a win-win to me. I have some other great organizations to tell you all about soon, but for now, please take some time to check out To The Market.

From top left, left to right:

Anena Uganda Beach Bag, $85

Shea Beige Necklace, $58

Large Fern Hope Basket, $50

Gold Bracelets- Set of 6, $45

Peruvian Pom Pom, $8

Gold Feather Necklace, $65

Oralia Diamond Foldover Clutch, $85

Nicole Necklace, $35

Mustard Deco Clutch, $65


The Perfect Bag for Every Occasion (+ Giveaway!)


Dear Ladies Who Love Handbags,

May I introduce you to Dagne Dover?


top, madewell. pants, gap. shoes, joie.

Yep. Pretty fab.

And if the simple lines, coated canvas, and beautiful color weren’t enough, it’s an organizer’s dream.


This is the brand’s Mini Tote, and the inner compartments are off the hook. Water bottle holder! iPad holder! TWO PEN HOLDERS. (I don’t know about you, but I’m that girl who is constantly digging in her purse for a pen. NO LONGER, I SAY.) Also, can we talk about using this tote as a diaper bag? Thankfully, I am past that lovely phase of my life, but those compartments would be perfection, plus the coated canvas material would be a breeze to clean up.

The lovely ladies at Dagne Dover sent me the Mini Tote, and they are generously giving one to a lucky reader. So! Enter below to win a Mini Tote of your own – I provided 4 chances to enter per person. Also, the coated canvas Mini comes in Turquoise, Dagne Blue (seen above), Onyx, and Linen…you know, so you can start daydreaming about your perfect color.

Also, I’m posting at a perfect time because it’s Cyber Monday, which means 20% off all Dagne Dover bags with the code SHOPDAGNE through the end of the day. (How cute are the colorful clutch wallets?) As Ferris would say, it is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway