Thursday, May 8, 2014

My May MUST-Have.

Hello Internet Friends! I'm here to tell you about a brand new ALL TIME fave of mine...

Now, I like to consider myself a concealer connoisseur of sorts. Like I've divulged before, my pores are a prob & in my efforts to remedy that prob I have tried roughly seven hundred & twenty two different concealers, give or take. I'm constantly looking for the most natural looking yet totally perfecting formula out there..and I just may have found it!

Enter, Sonia Kashuk's "Hidden Agenda" concealer palette. 

This stuff is the bee's knees! It blends out like resistance to blending and no weird patchiness - it's the perfect color for my skin! (I use the "light" version of this palette because there wasn't one called "pale as the moon" real color.) And the coverage? GIRL. It covers like some sort of magical eraser of blemishes that you can buy at Target for only $10.49, which honestly feels like you're robbing this poor Sonia Kashuk woman, whoever she is. The poor sap! Does she even know?! I'm happier with the coverage I get from this product than I have been with the last 10 concealers I've tried. 

It comes with 3 different cream concealers & a flesh tone setting powder. The top left concealer is the lightest of the 3; top right is a darker warm tone; bottom left is a darker olive, almost green tone concealer; bottom right is the powder. On an every-day, natural makeup basis the warm tone is even dark enough for me to use as a contour! (Like I said...pale as the moon). I use it every day, sans brush until I get to the powder. I know some people get skeeved out by dipping their fingers into something like a creamy concealer, but I'm not sharing it with the neighborhood here & I feel like the body heat from my fingers actually helps it blend even better than it does on its own. I love the formula, too. Not only does it look natural, but it feels much less cakey & makeupey than most other concealers I've used, from drugstore to high-end. Super smooth! It even does a killer job on covering up my PORES! That's right - those problem pores become much less noticeable under this magic wand product.

Here are some before & after photos for y'all. These pictures were NOT touched up & there is nothing on my skin other than this concealer from before to after. Of course, the iPhone front camera gives a picture quality that sucks, let's be honest, so I look weirdly grainy...but you get the jist! I was working on my own here. This is how the concealer performs solo
Here I applied it on bare skin with only a primer underneath, but it blends just as well over foundation - AKA, how I usually apply it when I'm not trying to take before & after pictures. I used the lightest color under my eyes, around the base of my nose, down the bridge of my nose, & of course, on those annoying blemishes. 

Annnnd, like all product reviews are, this is how it worked for ME & MY skin. :) I do recommend you trying it out, though! Sonia Kashuk is definitely a pricier drugstore line, but so far I'm impressed! MOST importantly, Sonia Kashuk's line is cruelty free! Read their animal testing statement HERE, on their official Facebook page. 

Have you tried this product? What was YOUR experience? What is your must-have concealer? 

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Lions, & tigers, &....KITTENS, OH MY!

Hello Internet Friends! I think this post will be the most unique & undoubtedly the cutest you'll ever see on this blog. 

For a few months now, a cat has been chilling on our back porch. She comes & goes, of course, as most feral cats do, but I've caught her more than once enjoying an afternoon nap on our porch swing. She allows little to no interaction - she stares with HUUUUGE green eyes at the slightest sound of humanity nearby & flees far too quickly when we come outside for us to even think about coming over to her. My biggest victory with her so far has been the little paw prints of dirt that I saw leading up to the bowl of warm milk I'd sat out for her on a cold morning.

But this week, we noticed another victory that had occurred quite clandestinely! Kittens. Yes, kittens! When my dad pulled out the lawnmower and started it up this past weekend it startled one of the four little guys enough to get him to crawl out from under one of the other 2 lawnmowers my dad's got stowed away back there. (He's got a big manly lawn tool problem.) And with that first little one's bravery the rest followed and soon they were crawling all over the porch, dangerously close to escaping & dangerously tiny. I'm talking, they fit perfectly in the palm of my hand!

So we scooped them up and put them in a little box, hoping that mama would be chill with it. And...she was! Not only did she seem to have no problem with it, but the next morning she was in the box with them! We set up a bowl of cat food & water for her and she hung out! She even stayed there when we came onto the porch to sneak a peek! Alright, alright...she definitely hissed a few times, but eventually she got cool enough with us to hop on top of the table & grab some chow while we were outside with her! Talk about a 180 from her pre-mom self!  My mom was even able to pick up one of the kittens without any sort of reaction from her.
Mama keeping watch. 

Tragedy of tragedy, this morning mommy & babies were nowhere to be found - the box was empty. We were beyond bummed, but the internet has assured us that feral moms, and even some domesticated moms, move their kittens numerous times while they're young to ensure safety from predators, like the daddies, and privacy. The food is still out for her, so we're hoping she'll keep coming around but if not, we enjoyed her little family while we got to see them! :)

Yes...we named them! LOL 
It was such a cool experience, but definitely a sneeze-inducer for me & my mom who are both allergic to cats! HAHA! I couldn't be out on the porch for more than 10 minutes without dissolving into sneezes & watery, itchy eyes. Regardless, I will be keeping my eyes peeled for any sign of a striped tail.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

A Gold Medal for Silver Powder...

Hello Internet Friends! Today I'm coming to you with a facial fave!

This is a recommendation I got from JuicyStar07 - I spent about 20 minutes combing the YouTube archives for the video she made on it so I could link it, but it was nowhere to be found. Just trust me, alright? She uses it. Ha ;)

It's called 'Silver Powder' & it's from the Mario Badescu skincare line. (Is that your new favorite last name or what??) I was sold immediately when Blair first described as "pore shrinking" it because for as long as I can remember my pores & blackheads have been a problem. I'm not really counting on it ever getting better since my mom deals with the same thing, but we can always hope, right? Ugh, genetics. ANYway, she'd talked it up enough that I took a trip to my nearest Ulta, (which is dangerously close to me), and picked one up to try. It retails for only $12.00 so it's not too grand of an investment & if it ended up working like crap, I wouldn't be breaking the bank. It's an affordable product that is cruelty free - when asked about animal testing, here's what the company had to say:

We do not test our products on animals. Mario Badescu uses natural botanical ingredients with minimal preservatives to ensure that we deliver the highest quality products to our customers. Our products are tested and developed in a laboratory environment to ensure the highest standards of production.`

Following Blair's lead, I've used it more than a few times over the past few months and I am so head over heels about this product. It's applied by dampening a cotton round, or square, whichever you prefer, dipping it into the powder and applying it to your face. It's super crazy to watch the loose, dusty powder become a paste! And that's how you know it's done - in about 10 minutes, the paste will start to get powdery again right on your face. This product is definitely one that I would recommend staying in the bathroom near the sink for the entirety of your use - you start to flake like crazy when it's near dry!

The instructions tell you to remove the dry mask by dampening another cotton round with your favorite toner or astringent and simply rub it guys, that doesn't happen! HA! I don't know if maybe I use too much or maybe my skin is just weird, but one go around with my astringent takes off like, half the mask. I usually do a quick wipe before washing the rest off with my usual Boots Foaming Cleanser, following up with a moisturizer since the formula is a little bit drying. The cleaning process is a little messy, but the payoff is well worth it.

Afterward & even the next morning, my pores are tiny, my blackheads are less noticeable, my skin is smooth as a baby's bottom, and my tone is even a little bit brighter! I used it last night for the sake of these pictures & the fun date night my boyfriend has planned for tonight :) and this morning I could hardly stand to put makeup on, which is usually my fave part of the morning, worried that I would ruin everything wonderful the Silver Powder did! It's just a fantastic product and I am always over the moon about my skin afterward.

If you're interested in snatching some of this up for yourself, head to your nearest Ulta or click HERE to order online. :)

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PS, am I cute or what? 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

FYI: The Humane Cosmetics Act.

If you're cruelty free savvy, like I'm giving my best efforts to be, you've more than likely heard about HR 4148, more well known as The Humane Cosmetics Act. What a beautiful name, right? It was introduced into the House of Representatives on March 6, 2014 by Rep. Jim Moran out of Virginia and, you guessed it, moves to END cosmetic animal testing! You can read the actual text of the Resolution HERE!

This Resolution would make it "unlawful for any entity, whether private or governmental, to conduct or contract for cosmetic animal testing" in the US (HR 4148)! It defines "cosmetics" by the regulations of the FDA, (read what they define as cosmetic HERE &  scroll down), and even defines animal testing itself - "means the application or exposure of any cosmetic to the skin, eyes, or other body part of a live non-human vertebrate for purposes of evaluating the safety or efficacy of a cosmetic (HR 4148).

You guys. This is MASSIVE.

But here's the hiccup - the same day the legislation was introduced, March 6, it was sent to committee, the Committee on Energy and Commerce to be exact. Now this may seem like no biggie...forward motion, right? The problem, however, is that HR 4148 has been sitting stagnant in the HCEC since, you guessed it again, March 6. Committee may seem like a good place to hang, but the facts are grim - roughly 96% of bills introduced die in committee. And how much would it suck for that to happen here? Talk about anticlimactic, right? :('s what we've gotta do! 
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Exactly! I'm talking phone calls, letters, emails, the works! Contact your Congressman and tell them that they don't get your vote if they don't make a stand to end cosmetic testing! If you don't know who to contact, click HERE! All you need to know is your zip code & you can find out who represents your area. This is especially important if your rep is in the HCEC, the committee in control of our bill now! To find out if your rep is on this committee, click HERE! Let's MAKE SOME NOISE! My Congressman has "Tuesday Talks" - mini town halls where he takes questions about twice a your representative & ask if he/she has any meetings open to the public coming up any time soon and GO!

Representative Moran's bill was an exciting step forward and I know we can keep pushing! I am excited to see what kind of changes we can make by standing up & standing together on behalf of the little guys who can't speak for themselves.

Leave a comment about your thoughts on the bill & how you'll voice your support for it!

(Click HERE to track any progress made on HR 4148.)

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

How to do Easter: Cruelty Free!

Well, internet friends, it's that time of year once more: Easter, la Pascua de Resurrección, Peter Cottontail's fave holiday! Whether you're Catholic, Protesant, or anything in between, chances are you partook in a little bit of good, old fashioned egg coloring. And, if you're cruelty free and hooked up with PETA, chances are you've also seen this year's anti-egg campaign video! I know, I know - PETA has a definitive reputation for being in your face and a little over the top, but  this is a video that was done in such great taste - so subtly heartbreaking yet blatantly truthful. (*If you missed it, you can check it out right HERE.) Was anyone else totally clueless that the egg industry even ran like that?! Talk about a holiday tradition game-changer.

All of the time, my sweet boyfriend is in total support of my choice to live life sans cruelty, even if he is a meat-eating machine, and as such he was totally on board with me wanting to change up tradition once I saw the ad. Tradition or not, we would leave real eggs out of our Easter this year! We brainstormed for would we still have egg-cellent fun without the eggs?! We tossed around plastic eggs and sharpie designs, we thought about simply printing off egg color sheets and having at 'em with some Crayolas, and we really liked the idea of paint & cardboard eggs. It seemed doable, to say the least, and we were pumped - even more pumped when we found THESE:

Plastic, DYE-able eggs for $2.00 from, who else, your friendly neighborhood Walmart.

Plastic eggs that you can put in REAL dye? All of the fun of our normal Easter tradition & none of the ca$h goes support the egg industry?? What a beautiful idea! Of course we were sold and of course just one 12-pack would not suffice! 2 packs plus a 97 cent box of dye tablets brought out grand total to just under $6.00 - a sweet Easter victory for 2 broke students. 

Now, not all was smooth sailing post bargain. Our biggest qualm? The eggs are they float. UGH! We were disappointed, that goes without saying, but once we figured out which tool worked best to keep the egg easily submerged, we pulled it off. BUT not without annoyance. Because we had to hold each egg down it was definitely more slow-going than traditional egg dyeing and my energetic partner quickly abandoned me out of boredom, LOL! He came back, though, once I brought out some crayons to add fun designs. He even wrote our initials on one like a true hopeless romantic! ;) It was a more time consuming process than the traditional, but I unquestionably think it was worth it. Quick Side Note: DON'T poke holes in the eggs in an attempt to make them sink like we did...they WILL fill up with dye. Haha! 

In the end it took a little more effort than we were used to, but we still had a blast! We didn't miss out whatsoever by choosing a more animal-friendly route - I think my boy actually felt pretty fulfilled in his first taste of cruelty free living. ;) We'll definitely remember these next year and every year to come - they're a brand new tradition that is just as near & dear! 

My question for you did you make your Easter cruelty free? 

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To Bargain or To Break the Bank...

THAT is the question.

Okay, not really. When it comes to this broke college student's budget, bargaining is always the way to go! So this featured brand is a no-brainer for me. I mean, I refuse to buy clothes that aren't on clearance, come on! (And no, American Eagle, I do not qualify a $25 dollar skirt as being on clearance. Really? LOL.)

The brand is e.l.f. And I'm positive you've heard of it! e.l.f., (Eyes Lips Face), is a college girl's best friend with it's super low prices and wide range of product. The only place I can buy e.l.f. near me is Target, but they are available online, of course. They are PETA endorsed as cruelty free & won't break your bank account...heck, they won't even break the $10 you found in your pants pocket when you did laundry last week! You can snag a lip crayon, an eyeshadow single, or an eyelid primer for like, a buck! Tell me you're not impressed. You can't? Not a surprise! 

Now, I know what you're all thinking - this stuff has to be the worst quality makeup ever produced, right? WRONG-O! It's actually not half bad! For a dollar, you get an eyelid primer that, in my humble opinion, works on par with the high-end stuff...I've used both and I truly cannot tell a difference in the staying power or color vibrancy. And their 4-color Tone Correcting Powder is a must-have for me. It goes on sheer but evens everything out; I even use a concealer brush to pick up a specific color & pinpoint areas of my face - the green works really well to reduce the redness around the pesky pimples that I always seem to have. (I thought I was supposed to be over that by 22, yeah?) They even offer face original, purple for radiance, and green for anti-redness. I've always been a lover of the original but I recently grabbed the green because, you know, and I'm digging that as well! They've also got a great line of brushes that sell for $1 to $3 and are to die for! Their stubby eyeshadow brush is a staple...I've got two right now & even have a backup that I've yet to open! I may or may not have a serious problem. 

There are, as with all brands, drugstore or Chanel, a few products that fall short. I would not recommend their Tone Correcting Concealer, for instance. It basically does nothing...yet I wasn't totally bummed about it because it smelled SO GOOD. It's kind of a mix between Froot Loops and  Starburst...maybe? No? At any rate, it was useless on its own but I did find myself mixing it in with my other concealers just to get the smell! (Is that embarrassing?) I was less than impressed, but for $1.00, I wasn't too amiss at the buy.

Lastly I have to throw a spotlight on their liquid eyeliner. This stuff retails for $1.00, ONE DOLLAR, and I have absolutely nothing negative to say about it. The formula is smooth and perfectly dark black - everyone's fave liner color. The brush applicator makes it easy to apply and, believe me, even after using liquid liner every day for like...4 years now, I still screw it up on a daily basis. LOL Anyone else? Anyone? And the staying power is totally legitimate! In the past, I used Maybelline's Line Stiletto religiously, but I've given it up for e.l.f.'s goods now - $6 a pop versus $1 is not even an argument here ANNND Maybelline tests. It's an easy and cheap replacement and I am telling you NOW to go give it a shot. ;) 

So there you have it. I'm an e.l.f. fan, times ten, and I know you will probably be too! Of course, all of these ramblings are totally MY opinion and every products works differently for every person. So go ahead and give it a shot...then drop me a line to tell me your  2 cents! I'd love to hear it :)

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Friday, April 18, 2014

The Truth on Tarte.

All the buzz in the cruelty free community is...TARTE!
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For a loonng time now, Tarte has been an animal-friendly star, a high-end makeup brand that uses vegan ingredients and doesn't test on any of our animal friends. And, for all intents & purposes, it will continue to be. 

I know, I know...they sold out. Quite literally! That wasn't a jab at their moral values, they actually were bought by Kose, a Japanese cosmetics company that DOES test. (Click through to read Kose's bulletin on purchasing Tarte.) And a lot of people are bummed out, including my cruelty free beauty BFF Morgan Joyce from CrueltyFreeQTs. She's publically voiced her disapproval & says she'll no longer buy from Tarte...I'm sure there are HEAPS of people who feel the same way and I'm sure there are equally large heaps of people who will continue to support Tarte as a cruelty free entity.  

Here's the rundown: 
Tarte is now owned by a testing company. TRUE.
Tarte now tests on animals. FALSE. 

Although they've been purchased by a company who doesn't share their, and our, cruelty free values, Tarte as its own entity still maintains animal friendly practices in producing their makeup. It seems sketchy, but it's the same exact story as a number of other companies who are famous for being cruelty free. Providers like Burt's Bees, bareMinerals, and NARS are all owned by testing companies. Burt's Bees, perpetually hailed as natural & nice, is actually owned by Clorox! But the Bees themselves don't ever test.'s up to you.

You could look at it this way: if a testing company sees that it's best selling line is the one cruelty free line they put out...shouldn't they make more? The more cruelty free purchases we make, the more motivation these testing giants will have to give us more! Basic supply & demand, si?  You could also look at it this way: when you buy Tarte, or Burt's Bees, or NARS, your ca$h will eventually end up in the hands of their parent's a dilemma, no doubt.

I'll admit, I was super sad over here when I first heard the news! Tarte is so respected & puts out such fab products that I could barely stomach the thought of throwing them out the window! But will I continue to buy their stuff? Well, I haven't quite decided. I usually make it a point to refrain from buying Burt's Bees & NARS...but how realistic is it to ONLY buy independent cruelty free products? In our industrial society where big business rules, how much stuff like that is left?! I'm all for supporting small business entrepreneurs! But I haven't made up my mind whether I'm more of a believer in the supply & demand theory or the latter.

SO drop me a line! What's your opinion on Tarte's new deal? DO you buy from friendly sellers with cruel parent companies? Will you continue to be a Tartelette? 

(*Head on over to Tarte's FB page to read CEO Maureen Kelly's statement on keep Tarte cruelty free.*)