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Updated Makeup Storage – taking suggestions!

When I lived with my parents, 99% of my makeup lived in an IKEA Alex drawer unit. It was beautiful, but I decided to leave it in my old closet because I knew it would stick out like a sore thumb next to my all-white living room furniture. In my infinite wisdom (sarcasm), I instead chose to take a Sterilite drawer unit I used for accessories and repurpose it for my makeup collection. It’s not exactly the most attractive thing in the world:

Makeup Storage

I had every intention of replacing it with something nicer once I’d moved, but here we are months later and it’s still sitting next to my desk. I just haven’t found something that’s to my taste and within budget.

I did a little reorganization this week in honor of a new nail polish rack and I thought I’d share the current state of my makeup storage. I hope it gives you guys some inspiration and that maybe you can give me some inspiration of my own! I could use ideas.

As you can see above, my makeup brushes live on top of the unit in an acrylic container with 4 compartments. Next to that is my spot cleaner for brushes and the body lotion I use frequently. Speaking of frequent, I want to note that I keep my everyday makeup in a separate cosmetics bag and rotate out the products every week or two. This works best for me since I pack up often to visit my boyfriend.

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A few photos from my sister’s wedding…

We got some photos from the lovely photographer, Lauren Wright, and my sister gave me the OK to use them on the blog now that she’s back from her honeymoon. I’m only in one picture in this preliminary batch and of course I look like a total goon, but that’s ok because my sister looks beautiful and, more importantly, happy :)

In case anyone’s interested, I’ll include info about her makeup at the bottom of the post.

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Tasty Tomatoes with Beauty Benefits

This weekend I was struck with the urge to make a snack that would utilize the wonderful fresh produce available this time of year. Since it’s high tomato season, I went with bruschetta, an Italian appetizer.

Along with being tasty, the tomatoes in this dish provide many health and beauty benefits. Raw tomatoes have an especially high lycopene content, which helps prevent cancer. Vitamins A & C (both antioxidants) are linked to healthy skin and hair cells. Bon appetit!

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How To: Apply Cream Foundation

So, you’ve got this cream foundation and you don’t know how to apply it. We can fix that! You’ll need:

Moisturizing spray, a white goat hair brush, and a cream foundation of your choice

I chose MAC Fix+ ($19)because it’s what I have, but you could also try The Body Shop Vitamin E Spray ($16) or e.l.f. Makeup Mist & Set ($3). I also tried a number of brushes including the MAC 109 and several duo fibre brushes. All left black bristles behind. I settled on the soft white goat hair MAC 168 brush ($32) – you might find a decent substitute from Sigma. For this tutorial I used Becca Stick Foundation in Praline (reviewed here). Ok, on with the show!

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Beauty Blogger Tip: Storage Drawers

Most of my cosmetics live in an IKEA Alex drawer unit ($119), which I absolutely love. Thing is, I have to keep items to-be-reviewed in a separate place if there’s any hope of actually getting to them, and I don’t have enough space or cash to justify another Alex unit. I’d been tossing products into a horrible fabric bin for months, so when I saw sale signs at Container Store last week I decided to take a look.

I found these cute, stackable translucent drawers that are tall enough for even my tallest nail polishes. Best part? $7.99 each. I’ve seen cheaper drawer sets, but none were the right size or style. I like that these are translucent because I think clear drawers look cluttered.

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How To: Get Free MAC Products with Back2MAC

Back2MAC (B2M) is a recycling program where you exchange 6 used or empty MAC products for 1 new one. Items eligible for exchange are any full-sized MAC product in metal, glass, or plastic packaging. This includes eyeshadows, lipsticks, gel liners, skincare… I’ve even heard of people turning in their empty packs of MAC Wipes.

Eligible products will also have the logo somewhere on their packaging (perhaps the cardboard box they came in). If the item was sold as a set (like the holiday mini pigment sets), the entire set counts as 1 item, and all parts of the set must be turned in together.

Here’s where it gets tricky. Many people like to depot their powders for easy palette storage. I’ve never had a problem turning in plastic pots without the metal pan, however I’ve heard that some stores and counters will refuse them. Call ahead and ask what the store policy is so you don’t waste a trip.

If you want to depot your shadows anyway, try Stars Makeup Haven for metal pans. Buy 26mm pans for eyeshadow and 44mm pans for blush, then just pop them into the plastic pot.

MAC counters (inside department stores) will only let you exchange 6 empties for a Lipstick of your choice. MAC retail stores let you choose from Lipstick, Lipglass, or Eyeshadow, but only the regular types (no Mineralize Eyeshadows, Pro Longwear Lipsticks, Cremesheen Glasses…) You can choose from permanent or limited edition shades as long as they’re not in special packaging (like the Disney or Wonder Woman collections).

Policy Recap

  • Eligible items include full-sized MAC products with metal, glass, or plastic packaging
  • Items sold as a set must be turned in together, and the set counts as 1 item
  • If you depotted your powder products, call ahead to find out if you need the metal pans
  • At MAC counters, you exchange your 6 empties for a Lipstick
  • At MAC retail stores, you can exchange your 6 empties for a Lipstick, Lipglass, or Eyeshadow
  • You can also participate through the MAC website, however I’ve heard it’s incredibly tedious

Do you participate in the B2M program? If so, does your store or counter require metal pans?

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Travel Talk: Packing an Overnight Carry-On

I started planning my London trip way back in November and I can’t believe it’s only 13 days away! I’ve put a lot of thought into packing, but I don’t feel totally confident in my choices and there are still plenty of things left to decide on. I’m so glad to have an audience of savvy travelers to ask for advice! Hopefully this discussion will be useful to anyone else planning a summer trip :) (P.S. Where are you going?!)

As much as I want to pick a pretty bag first, I think I need to start with what’s going inside and work my way out. So far the list includes…
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Kate Middleton’s Royal Wedding Makeup Breakdown

The press has been buzzing over the fact that Kate did her own makeup for this morning’s wedding. Although I thought it was a bit strange at first, I have to say that she knocked it out of the park. And the fact that she was able to apply such stunning makeup on her own just shows what nerves of steel she must have. Well done, Kate!

Since wedding season is coming up, I thought you guys might like a product breakdown for this look. Please note that this is how I would achieve this look, not necessarily including the products she herself used. I don’t think that information has been released.


The one thing I do know is that Kate was spotted yesterday buying Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer ($42). I think she may have used that today, or possibly the Oil-Free Foundation ($42) from the same line. I would have polished the skin using Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer ($28) and Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($34). The flawless finish suggests that she pressed her foundation and powder into the skin rather than brushing it on. Good girl :)

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How To: Tell When Your Cosmetics Are Expired

This is a question I get frequently, and have been procrastinating on for quite some time. Fortunately Aleya, who works with the Long Island Beauty School, offered to write a guest post on the topic. I also included a few of my own tips at the bottom of the post. To read more by Aleya, visit the school’s blog.

Photo Credit: tatianeps.net

Most cosmetics manufacturers do not print the expiration date on the packages of beauty products and are not required to do so by the FDA. Unfortunately using old makeup can lead to a variety of problems such as eye infections and itchiness , so it’s best to use newer cosmetics rather than old ones. But without expiration dates on the packaging, how can you tell if your cosmetics are expired? Here are some tips:

  • If your beauty product is watery chances are it has gone bad. This can occur with almost any type of beauty product, from hand cream to face powder.  If this happens to one of your products you should dispose of it immediately.
  • If your beauty product smells bad, then it’s expired and should not be used. Remember that if the product simply smells less fragrant, it has not necessarily expired yet, but use it sooner rather than later because it is likely to expire soon.
  • If there’s mold or fungus growing on the product and it looks like a science experiment, then it’s obviously bad.
  • If there is oil on the product that was not there previously, it has gone bad. Oil can be found on creamy products such as lipstick or creamy eye shadows.
  • If the product was stored in a very warm place for a long period of time then chances are it has gone bad, most probably before it would have if stored properly.

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Celebrating Feminism with a Good Bra?

Today is International Women’s Day! I wanted to highlight IWD by discussing something exclusive to women (yes, more exclusive than cosmetics). So while half of New Orleans is busy flashing their ta-tas for Mardi Gras, let’s chat about bras. Yeah, I know, most people think feminists are man-hating bra burners, but that’s just not true. The original bra burning incident was actually orchestrated by a reporter. So yes, I’m a feminist who wears a good bra, and I’m dang proud of it.

Most women struggle to find a good bra because most stores stock a limited range of sizes, something like 34A – 36D, and those sizes don’t even come close to fitting everyone. Of course, salespeople won’t tell you that because it means losing a sale, so they stuff you into an ill-fitting bra and send you on your way. Meanwhile you’re left with slipping straps, sliding bands, underwires that poke, and a sneaking feeling that something is wrong with you for not fitting the mold.

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