I first spotted these NYX In Your Element Eyeshadow Palettes at the NYX store in Tysons Corner, VA. It was my first time at a NYX store and I wasn’t expecting to buy anything, (I normally get my NYX fix at Ulta). I didn’t realize until I was in there that a NYX store has SO MUCH MORE than your typical Ulta or drugstore does.

Case in point – these beauties.

NYX In Your Element Eyeshadow Palettes

NYX In Your Element Eyeshadow Palettes

I knew I had to have them from the second I saw them. My reasons are as follows:

  1. I’m into astrology.

    I was born on September 23rd and am technically a Libra (an air sign) while also on the cusp of Virgo (an earth sign). I find that these two signs combined, fit my personality to a tee. I’m practical, responsible, and analytical like a Virgo – yet talkative, sociable, and indecisive like a Libra. But I digress…NYX says that these palettes are inspired by the earth’s elements. The four astrological elements are – Earth, Fire, Water, and Air. NYX also offers “Metal” (an all-shimmer palette) and “Wind.”You can read more about astrological elements and what yours is here. Coincidentally, Earth (Virgo) and Air (Libra) were the two palettes I was most drawn to for shades and packaging.


    These are not your typical budget-brand eyeshadow palettes. The packaging feels sturdy and heavy – with glossy plastics and gorgeous patterns. On the inside is a full-width mirror – not that I ever apply an eyeshadow look in a compact mirror but ya’ never know. It’s nice to have just in case. I’d also wager that these eyeshadow palettes are resistant to cracking as I dropped the air palette as soon as I opened it and was so relieved to see all the eyeshadows fully intact post-fall.

  3. Color Payoff

    I swatched these babies in the store and could tell the quality was well-above their price point. Now, I’m not one of those people who equates high-pigment with high-quality. For my everyday, “normal person,” (non-working makeup artist) needs, I find that blendability is just as important as pigment. While these shadows have great pigment, they aren’t as blendable or buttery as, say, Anastasia Modern Rennesance. But they’re definitely more blendable than your average drugstore shadow and are definitely comparable to a MAC eyeshadow.
    NYX In Your Element AirNYX In Your Element Earth

  4. Price!

    These palettes were originally priced at $30 which seems steep for NYX, a typically budget cosmetics brand. However, I bought them on sale for $15 and as of the publishing of this post – they are STILL in stock and on sale on the NYX website. I think they’d be worth their price at $30 but I wouldn’t consider them a bargain at that price. For $15, they’re an absolute steal.


Overall, I don’t think these NYX In Your Element eyeshadow palettes will be ones I reach for every day because, to me, they just feel special. Even the neutral tones in the Earth palette are pretty bold and unique in their own way.

Regardless, I love the concept of these palettes and the quality is great for the price. I’m considering picking up the “Wind” palette while they’re half off – although how often am I ever REALLY going to wear those shades of aqua? More Pinterest research is required…

Which of these NYX In Your Element eyeshadow palettes would you want to try? Would you pick based on your astrological element? Let me know in the comments below!

NYX In Your Element Eyeshadow Palettes

Wearing the NYX Air Palette


For those of you who have seen my last post on the Lancome Matte Shakers, you know how obsessed I am. The formula is so unique – it applies like a sheer fluid but dries down to a matte wash of color.

As the name implies, you have to shake these to get real color payoff. The pointed sponge-tip applicator makes them easier to apply than your average liquid lipstick, (even easier than my beloved Kat Von D Liquid Lipstick).

My only gripe is that I don’t think the shade names or descriptions on the Sephora and Ulta websites are very accurate. It’s not a valid complaint about the product itself but if you’re shopping online, it makes picking out the right shade kind of tricky.

Regardless, I took a gamble  and purchased the best-selling “Beige Vintage” and the less popular, “Plum Plum Girl.”

Lancome Matte Shakers in Plum Plum Girl and Beige Vintage

Beige Vintage

Lancome Matte Shaker in Beige Vintage

I can see why this shade is so beloved. Again, this is not even remotely “beige” but rather a very neutral, flattering medium rose.

For me, this is like Tarte Exposed Blush – not alike in its shade, but in its usability. Tarte Exposed is my go-to blush for just about any makeup look. It goes with every kind of lipstick shade and every kind of eyeshadow look.

Similarly, this shade of lipstick works well with smoky eyes of any shade, and blushes in peach or pink undertones. However, my favorite way to wear this color is with a neutral, shimmery eye and glowy pink flush on the cheeks.

Either way, I think I’ll be getting a lot of wear out of this shade as we move into the spring/summer months. (#Arewethereyet?)

Plum Plum Girl
Lancome Matte Shaker in Plum Plum Girl

Freshly applied…

Lancome Matte Shaker in "Plum Plum Girl"

Dries down matte!

I own a lot of berry-toned lipsticks. This one is different – slightly cooler in undertone, yet a true purple in shade. Unlike some of the other shades, I think “plum” accurately describes the color of this lipstick.

Now let’s be honest, if you don’t like cool-toned lipsticks, you WON’T like this lip color. But if you’re like me and love the 90s grunge look with its greyed-out nudes, you may like this lipstick. It’s as if those cool nudes married a dark, vampy lip and gave birth to “Plum Plum Girl.”

If you’d like to see my review of the other shades, click here.

Other Makeup Worn In These Pictures:

NYX In Your Element Eyeshadow Palette – Earth (Row 2, gold and peach shades)
L’Oreal True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation in “Natural Buff”
Becca Apres Ski Highlighter Palette – Shade 1
L’Oreal Telescopic Mascara in Blackest Black

Have any of you tried the Lancome Matte Shakers? What are your favorite shades? Let me know in the comments!

Is it weird that I sort of love grocery shopping? My mom thinks it’s a form of “nesting” but I sincerely enjoy making lists and stocking my pantry and fridge with items I love. This time of year, it’s all about getting back on track with health and fitness. I’ve been using MyFitnessPal to track my calories over the last year and have learned a few tricks in the process. The following low-calorie grocery list is my go-to for filling my kitchen with low-calorie noms.

  1. Guacamole
    Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Guacamole
    (or Homemade Greek Yogurt Guacamole – recipe here)

    Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Guacamole
    I go through about 2 cups of guacamole a week. No kidding. For guacamole grilled cheeses (like this one from Closet Cooking), chicken tacos, or avocado (guacamole) on toast – this greek yogurt and guacamole mix is so satisfying yet remarkably healthy at just 30 calories per 2 tablespoons.

  2. Reduced Fat Shredded Cheese

    If you’re anything like me, you know you can’t commit to any New Year’s Resolution that doesn’t involve cheese. I’ve tried the fat-free cheddah and while it works in a pinch, it’s not quite cheese. Reduced Fat or 2% shredded cheese is the way to go – on tacos, sloppy janes (turkey sloppy joes), quesadillas or chili. The one pictured rings in at just 40 calories an ounce.

  3. Old Thyme 647 Bread

    Old Thyme 647 Bread

    For the aforementioned grilled cheese and guacamole on toast – you’ll need a low-calorie bread. If you can’t find this one (40 calories a slice), the Pepperidge Farm Light Style Bread is a good alternative at just 45 calories a slice.

  4. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast

    An absolute classic. This protein is the basis for most of my low-calorie meals – BBQ Chicken Sliders, Salsa Chicken Tacos, and Sriracha Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

  5. Old El Paso Taco Shells

    Old El Paso Taco Shells
    Did I mention tacos? Okay yes, I’ve already mentioned them 3 times but tacos are a GREAT way to lose weight and still eat a satisfying meal. These taco shells are 3 for 150 calories – a VERY low-cal alternative to flour tortillas or bread.

  6. Sriracha

    I know the rest of the country may have gotten sick of this trendy chile sauce but I’m still in love. I like it in my slow cooker chicken, on eggs, avocado toast and even on popcorn. I mean, have you TRIED sriracha on popcorn? Get on that. Seriously.

  7. Cholula Hot Sauce

    Cholula Hot Sauce
    This is my go-to, standard hot sauce of choice. It’s zero calories and beats out most of the taco sauces I’ve tried in taste.

  8. Shishito Peppers

    Blistered Shishito Peppers
    I first discovered these at my favorite tapas restaurant here in Northern Virginia (Barcelona – TRY IT!) They may be hard to find at some grocery stores but I’ve been able to find them at both Trader Joe’s and Wegmans. At just 15 calories per 7 peppers, these make a delicious salty appetizer or side to any meal.

    I sautee them with a little olive oil and kosher salt (it sticks better than sea salt). Sometimes I’ll throw in some charred cherry or grape tomatoes to mix it up.

  9. Cherry or Grape Tomatoes

    There are a few specific brands I buy, but the ones from your local farmers market are best. These are a standard go-to for me for avocado on toast, omelets, sauteed with shishito peppers, or in a variety of curries or stir-frys.

  10. Bananas

    I’m gonna be honest. Most weekdays, I don’t have time for a full-on breakfast. Bananas are a great way to start your day and are easy to take on-the-go. Plus, they’re all-natural unlike most of the breakfast bars you’ll find in the cereal aisle. Averaging just 100 calories per nanner, these are a great addition to any breakfast.

  11. Calafia Farms Almond Milk

    Califia Farms Almond Milk
    At this point, you’ve probably already heard that dairy causes acne. Given that I can’t sacrifice my cheese, I decided to seek alternatives for my daily coffee. My vegan sisters recommended this brand of almond milk and it does the trick. Plus, it’s great for smoothies and even for homemade hot cocoa (almond milk + chocolate chips). It’s sold at most grocery stores in my area and only 18 calories per 1/2 cup. I find I only need about a tablespoon for my coffee.

  12. Frozen blueberries/strawberries/mixed berries

    I love a good smoothie or yogurt bowl but unfortunately, buying fresh berries every week is really wasteful. There’s no way I can go through them all before they go bad so I go the frozen route. I love these mixed with almond milk for a tasty smoothie or with greek yogurt topped with sliced almonds, banana, and honey for a powerhouse breakfast.

  13. Chobani or Fage non-fat greek yogurt

    Chobani Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
    Some people don’t like plain greek yogurt but I personally love it. It’s not too different from sour cream and can be mixed into a lot of recipes. It’s chock full of probiotics and only 60 calories per 1/2 cup. I like to mix it with avocado for a lower calorie spread, with frozen berries and bananas for a smoothie bowl, or sriracha for a zesty sauce on rice bowls (got that idea from Cava).

  14. Baby carrots + garlic hummus

    This is another great recommendation from my sister, Beth. It’s healthy, salty and low-calorie at just 4 calories per carrot and 50 calories per serving of hummus.

  15. Baked Tostitos Scoops + Fresh Salsa

    Baked Tostitos Scoops
    When the carrots and hummus just don’t cut it, I need to satisfy my chip cravings. These baked scoops are some of the lowest-calorie (yet still satisfying) chips I’ve found. At 120 calories per 16 chips, they’re still not great. But I’ve found that just putting a handful in a bowl with a side of salsa is enough to satisfy my savory cravings at snack time. And really…there’s worse snacks out there.

I wanted to refrain from putting too many sweets on here but if you have a Trader Joe’s near you – these little gems are perfect to satisfy your mid-afternoon candy cravings.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Almonds

I used to keep these at my desk at work. Although almonds aren’t a low-calorie food, they’re quite filling. Snack on 5-10 of these babies for just under 100 calories. Overall, they’re a great way to satisfy your sweet cravings without going overboard.

That’s it folks – 15 items/ pairings for your weekly grocery list. I’m not trying to pretend I’m a nutritionist or that these things are all amazing for you – but if you’re trying to cut calories in 2018, this may be a good way to start. These are literally my go-to items that I’ve bought over and over again.

What are your favorite healthy or low-calorie items to pick up at the store?

Ah, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! When the weather outside is frightful and all you really want to do is hide under the covers with your cat. If I’m having a chill day, I like to give my skin a break and skip the foundation (#skincaredetox). This is my basic, no foundation makeup look – great for staying home, going to the gym or running errands. Basically – any occasion where you don’t mind looking a little more natural.

No Foundation Makeup

From pajamas to my favorite comfy day sweater (H&M).

Products Used

No-Foundation Makeup Products


MAC Strobe Cream or Becca Backlight Priming Filter

When you’re going without foundation, the primer or moisturizer you use matters. I like to use one with light reflecting particles to give my skin a natural glow. Plus this one is packed with antioxidants that are good for your skin anyway so it’s a win-win. 


NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla

On any red areas like sides of the nose, chin, and any spots or blemishes.

NARS Soft Matte Concealer in Vanilla

This is my current fave for under eye concealing. A little smudge of this blended in under the eye will go a long way.


MAC Mineralized Skinfinish Natural in Natural Light or MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation in NC20

Some folks might consider this cheating, but depending on what kind of coverage I want, I’ll use either MAC Mineralized Skinfinish for sheer coverage, or dip a fluffy powder brush into MAC Studio Fix Powder for a buildable light coverage.

If you have dry skin, you can probably skip this step. I tend to look a little shiny and find that powder helps blend in the concealed spots with the rest of my face.


Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed

You can skip this step if you already have natural color to your face, but for my pale, lifeless skin, blush is both a joy and a necessity in my daily makeup routine. I switch up my blush shades all the time but usually go for pale pinks, mauves or nudes. Tarte blush in Exposed is a classic pinky nude that works well on most skin tones.

Bronzer, Contour, Highlighter
(optional, just pick one!)

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Luminous Bronze Light
Kat Von D Shade & Light Contour Palette or Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Light
Glossier Haloscope in Quartz or Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal

This step is totally optional and just depends on what makes you feel most pulled together. I don’t wear bronzer at all but I know some view it as an absolute essential. I occasionally wear contour but only for date nights or special occasions. I have a very oval face so I don’t find contour to be a daily necessity.

I am, however, a highlighter junkie and tend to wear it on even my laziest makeup days. It’s hard to pick a favorite but the balmy texture of Glossier Haloscope in Quartz makes it totally goof-proof and understated enough to go with a natural look.

And yes, I do apply this over powder. You usually can’t apply a cream product over a powder but the Glossier Haloscope can be patted in without disturbing the powder underneath.

If stick highlighters aren’t your deal, you simply CAN’T go wrong with Becca Opal. It’s a powerful highlighter to be sure, but applied with a light hand, this shade can look very natural and glowy. Plus, who wants to be fussing around with products that require building on a lazy, no-foundation makeup day?

Honorable mention goes to the sheer Hourglass Ambient Highlighters. These are really quite sheer and understated. I do use them from time to time but if I’m having a lazy day, I’ll usually just reach for Glossier Haloscope or Becca Opal. 


Glossier Boy Brow or Anastasia Clear Brow Gel 

Depending on the state of your brows, you may need to add a pencil or powder to this. But personally, if I’m having a lazy makeup day, I usually don’t put much effort into a no-fun area of the face like eyebrows. Mine are quite full, despite a couple missing spots so I usually just use a tinted or clear gel to hold them in place.


L’Oreal Telescopic Mascara in Blackest Black

There’s not much I can say about this step…mascara makes everyone look more awake. I love this one for its glossy definition and separation of my lashes – perfect for a natural makeup look.


Glossier Balm DotCom in Rose
Glossier Generation G in Crush

You guys know I just love a red matte lip, so sometimes I’ll still wear something like L’Oreal Blake’s Red just to perk myself up. (I’m pretty sure it’s been proven that red lipstick has magical mood-boosting properties). But if we’re truly going for a natural look here, you can’t mess up Glossier Generation G in Crush. It’s a sheer pop of rosy pink that works very well as a “my lips but better” color on me.

Honorable mentions to Lancome Matte Shaker in Beige Vintage and YSL Rose Perfecto for equally natural looking matte but “comfortable” shades.


And that’s it! It seems like a lot when it’s written out but I can slap this look on in less than a minute. Sometimes I’ll pat in a bit of L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Amber Rush with my fingers to add some quick sparkle to my eyes but it just depends on the day. I wear glasses on most of my chill days so eye makeup is pretty minimal.

What makeup do you wear on your chill days? Do you go without foundation? Let’s talk about it in the comments below. 🙂

As of tonight at midnight, it will officially be 2018. According to the Chinese Zodiac, it’s soon to be the year of the dog. Apparently, for rabbits like myself, this means a year of better fortune than 2017, the year of the rooster. Whether or not you put stock in such things, the new year always brings to mind a “fresh start.” A chance to start over and resolve to be better this year. When deciding on my own New Year’s Resolutions, I found that I could break them up into 3 distinctive categories – health, wealth and personal development.

Without further ado, here are my 2018 New Year’s Resolutions.

(See my 2018 Beauty Resolutions here)

Health + Fitness

1. Sign up for weekly Pilates and Yoga classes.

I’ve always heard how great these are for staying in shape and I know I respond well to fitness classes. I’ve taken Yoga in the past and found that while the beginners’ class wasn’t doing anything for my physical health, it did wonders for my mental health. So hopefully, I can advance past the beginners’ stage and benefit from the physical benefits of yoga. And in the meantime, I’ll receive some nice relief from my anxiety through the benefits of meditation.

2. Enjoy the outdoors more.

This is a hard one to reckon with right now as it’s currently 10 degrees out. But I always find the outdoors to be so rejuvenating for my spirit. From snow day sledding to spring days hiking and everything in between. It doesn’t even have to be exercise; I just want to spend more time appreciating the outdoors this year. I got the only apartment I could find with a balcony and a view – I should appreciate it!

3. Snack Less / Snack Smarter

I’m such a sucker for snacks. From chips to cookies, they are 100% my caloric downfall. While I don’t think I can truly fight my nature, this year, I’d like to just improve on these habits. In 2018, I’m only going to allow myself to purchase 1 sweet snack and 1 salty snack for my pantry per month. Additionally, I’m going to stop snacking past 10:00 pm.



4. Contribute more to your 401k.

I’ve had a 401k for a few years now but I’ve always only contributed the bare minimum. This year, I really want to invest the maximum amount to have a little security for my eventual retirement. (I’ll probably never fully stop working, but it’d be nice to know that I can one day).

5. Invest for things before retirement / Learn about investing

I’m not sure if buying a house is in the cards for me. At least not for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, it’d be good to take that money that would have gone towards fixing the roof or replacing the washing machine and put it into a different kind of investment. That way, I’ll be ready for whatever life throws at me. And if I do decide to buy a house one day, I’ll have a nice nest egg for a down payment.

6. Stay debt-free and always have AT LEAST 2 months’ worth of rent in savings.

Most financial experts would advise you to have more than 2 months’ saved up but I live alone in an expensive area so I have to be realistic. I recently paid off my credit cards at the end of 2017 and want to make sure they stay paid off. Plus, having been laid off from 2 jobs in 3 years, having that extra couple months’ rent in the bank would really help ease my financial anxiety.

Personal Development

7. Continue to post on this blog!

I’ve really enjoyed this hobby over the last few months and have found it to be really therapeutic. When work is hectic or stressful, it’s nice to know that I have this little space online to talk about the things I love. Even better, I get to connect with others who like the same stuff as me! That being said, like all things that are good for us, it takes diligence. I want to make a point of posting at least once a week. 

8. Buy a camera and learn photography.

So far, all of the photos on this blog have been taken with my iPhone 6. While I suppose it does the job, I’d love to take better pictures. Ideally, I’d like to take an actual college course in photography. Besides being helpful with the blog, I think it would really satisfy my creative yearnings to learn a new skill like that.

This may not be something I accomplish early on in the year, given my financial goals above and the cost of a good camera and photography classes, but I do hope to achieve this by the end of 2018.

9. Try new recipes and experiment more in the kitchen.

One of the biggest changes I’ve made over the last few years is learning how to cook for myself. That being said, I’m still a beginner in the kitchen and tend to fall into “cooking ruts.” In 2018, I’d like to try 1 new recipe once a month – preferably a healthy one. It’s good to try new things. 🙂

10. Watch less TV and read more!

I used to read a lot when I was in high school and college. But as soon as I started a full-time office job after college, my free-time hobby of reading went down the tubes. I seem to have replaced it with television. It’s almost constantly on and was actually a source of arguments when I lived with my bookworm sister.

For a copywriter, marketer, and blogger such as myself to read so little is, quite frankly, a little embarrassing. In 2018, I’d like to read at least 1 book a month and turn off the TV every night at 10 pm. And that includes watching Netflix on my iPad before bed! It’s bad for my sleep cycles and is probably rotting my brain. This is the area in which I need to make the biggest improvement in my life.


So that’s it, folks. 10 New Year’s Resolutions in all to make me a better me next year. Cheers to the year of the dog! (Cheers using hot apple cider because #dryjanuary).

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Comment below!