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

Primer/Moisturizer

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. 

Concealer

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.

Powder

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.

Blush

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. 

Brows

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.

Mascara

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.

Lips

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. 🙂

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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.

 

Wealth

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!

Feeling a chill coming on this winter? Warm up with toasty shades of bronze, magenta, and gold. Yep, these are my top 5 warm-toned eyeshadow palettes.

I tend to reach for warmer eyeshadow shades any time of year, but the bronze smoky eye is definitely having “a moment” right now. So many brands from drugstore to high-end are releasing eyeshadow palettes with exclusively warm tones. I’m not complaining.

Regardless of eye color or skin tone, these warm neutral shadows are universally flattering. I find that during this time of year, when my skin is at its most pale and lifeless, these shades really add warmth and sparkle. I particularly love pairing cool-toned vampy lips with warm-toned bronzey eyes from one of my favorite warm-toned palettes:

  1. Urban Decay Naked Heat
    $54 Sephora

    Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette

    I have all the Urban Decay Naked palettes and this one is, without a doubt, my favorite of the bunch. It was released during the summer but most reviews tout this as a fall/winter eyeshadow palette. I think I’ll be using it year-round as it goes with just about every lipstick I own.

  2. Tarte Tartelette Toasted
    $46 Sephora

    Tarte Toasted Palette

    This baby is a newer addition to my collection but it’s already a favorite. I love the leopard print packaging (meow) and the name is fitting. It’s slightly more wearable than the Urban Decay Naked Heat so I find myself reaching for this one more for everyday wear.

  3. Too Faced Just Peachy Matte
    $45 Sephora

    Too Faced Just Peachy Matte

    Okay, I’ll admit it. I don’t like the Too Faced Peach collection. I just never felt like it was meant for me – cool-toned skin, black hair, dark eyes. It just always seemed like a shade range for blonde-haired babes or tanned-skin lovelies. I swatched the original Sweet Peach palette and was just never that into it.

    Until this palette came along. The warm browns and matte plums spoke to me. They said, “buy me, Anna.” I’m still not a massive fan of the packaging but can attest to the formula and shade range of this palette.

  4. Anastasia Modern Rennaisance
    $42 Sephora

    Anastasia Modern Renaissance

    This has got to be one of my favorite palettes of all time. It has plenty to offer in the “warm neutrals” category but also houses some more interesting shades like burgundy and gold.

    I’m not the biggest fan of the suede packaging – it looks nice at first but starts to look cruddy looking after just a couple weeks on the vanity.

  5. Kylie Cosmetics Bronze
    $42 Kylie Cosmetics

    Kylie Cosmetics Bronze
    I tried so hard to avoid the Kylie Cosmetics hype but was able to pick these babies up for half off on Black Friday. I must admit – I’m impressed. The formula is so smooth and blendable and actually LASTS on my super greasy eyelids. The shades aren’t the most unique and could probably be duped in other palettes but I find the collection to be very cohesive. If you’re a fan of Kylie’s signature bronze eye, this palette will definitely help you achieve that look.

And that’s a wrap! There are tons of great bronzey eyeshadow palettes out there right now so these are just a few of my favorites. I’ve recently been impressed with NYX eyeshadow formulas so I may be trying out this bad boy soon:

NYX Ultimate Warm Neutrals Eyeshadow Palette
$17.99 Ulta

NYX Ultimate Warm Neutrals

 

What are your favorite warm-toned shadows? Also…should I break out of my comfort zone and do a similar post for cool-toned palettes? Let me know in the comments! <3

 

 

I first started hearing about the Lancome Matte Shakers from one of my favorite YouTubers (Allana Davison). It must have been like a subliminal message because it took several months before I really wanted to try one.

Liquid lipsticks are hit or miss for me (Kat Von D = hit, Anastasia = miss) so I initially passed these babies over for more standard lipstick formulas. But when Bloomingdale’s had a 10% off discount, I decided to give them a try.

Lancome Matte Shakers

I first purchased the shades “Kiss Me Cherie” and “Beige Vintage.” Unfortunately, Bloomingdale’s ran out of the “Beige Vintage” shade before they could ship it and that particular order was canceled. That shade is still on my wishlist so stay tuned for an update!

Formula + Application

The formula is so unique. It’s not drying or sticky like a standard liquid lipstick but instead, feels very sheer and lightweight. It looks shiny when you first apply it and like most liquid lipsticks, it dries to a matte finish. It lasts fairly well without touchups and fades evenly so if you forget to reapply you’ll be left with just a sheer wash of color. True to the name, these liquid lippies need to be shaken before application to get any real color payoff.

I was nervous that the bulky sponge applicator would make it impossible to apply neatly (an issue I’ve had with most liquid lipsticks). But because the formula is so sheer, this type of applicator helps spread the color on easily. The pointed tip helps with precision but it should be noted, that if you want a super bold, clean, precise lip – this product may not be for you. It gives a more sheer, blurred effect, ideal for natural makeup looks.

Lancome Matte Shaker Applicator

Once I realized I loved the formula and applicator, I decided to purchase three more shades with an Ulta 20% off coupon last month. I’m such a smart shopper – I know.

The shades I purchased, in addition to “Kiss Me Cherie,” were: “Abrickadabra,” “Berry n’ Clyde,” and “Red’y in 5.” I found the formula to be consistent across all 4 shades. Check out my shade review and try-on below.

Shades

Kiss Me Cherie

“Kiss Me Cherie” is described as a “deep brick red” but on me, it’s really more of a bright pinky red. I’m not too mad about it…it’s red enough for the festive holiday season and pink enough to take me through Spring.

Lancome Matte Shaker Kiss Me Cherie

Abrickadabra

Described as “pumpkin spice,” this shade feels true to its description. I love this shade! Warm, neutral, and a little spicy – it’s just right for the season. Not to mention, I love the name. I’m not sure if it has any “brick” tones but the “pumpkin spice” description is on the money. I’m not sure why but it’s coming off slightly shiny in this picture but rest assured, this shade dries matte just like the others.

Lancome Matte Shaker Abrickadabra

Berry n’ Clyde

This was the only one that I was slightly disappointed with. Given that it has “berry” in the name, I was expecting it to be…ya know…berry colored. It could just be my skintone, but as you can see, this is nowhere near a berry tone. It’s more like a hot pink and to be honest, I’m seriously considering exchanging it for a true berry shade. Maybe I’ll have better luck with “The Grape Escape” or “Plum Girl.”

Lancome Matte Shaker Berry n' Clyde

 

Red’y in 5

This shade is described as a “warm fiery red” and it’s just that. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be flattering on my pink undertones but after swiping it on, it might just be my favorite of the bunch!  I think I’ll get way more wear out of it come spring/summer.

Lancome Matte Shaker Red'y in 5

Lancome Matte Shaker Red'y in 5

Price

Regarding price, these liquid lipsticks clock in at $22 a pop. Definitely more expensive than your standard drugstore lippie but the formula and application of these are so unique that you really can’t dupe it. Not yet, anyway. It will be interesting to see if L’Oreal (Lancome’s parent company) releases something similar for the drugstore.

I collect lipsticks from drugstore to luxury brands and I’ve never tried anything like these. I’m not sure how long a bottle will last if you use it every day, but I’d say they’re worth the price tag.

Overall

Like I said, the formula of these lipsticks is truly unique. However, I do think the shade names and descriptions are off. So do as I say and not as I do – visit a Lancome counter in person if you can to try the shades on.

What do you all think? Will you be giving these matte lip shakers a go? Comment below with your favorite shade. 🙂

 

Note: I know the holidays are probably the worst time to publish a fitness post but I started this whole calorie-counting/lifestyle change around this time last year.

Hopefully, my story and experience can help anyone else trying to stay healthy during the holidays. Look at this way…if you can do it in December, think what you can accomplish in January!

It’s been a little over a year since I officially started eating healthier and exercising. I thought it might be helpful to share what’s worked for me and how it’s going now that I’m in maintenance mode.

First off, a little about my attitude towards food…

I love food. I’m an epic snacker and my eating style most resembles that of Belle in “Beauty & the Beast” a la “Be Our Guest.”

I don’t tend to eat a lot in one sitting but can eat quite a bit over the course of a few hours. So if eating was like running – I suppose you could say I’m built for endurance. Which funnily enough, is the exact opposite of my ACTUAL running abilities.

How It All Began…

Anyway, I can’t watch tv without something to eat and I am far from gym-rat status. That was the case a year ago and it’s still the case today. But the day after Thanksgiving last year (11/25/16 #neverforget), I weighed myself.  I was shocked by how much I had gained. Although I didn’t even own a scale until a few months before, I knew it was the heaviest I’d ever been.

It’s a funny thing, body image. Because I’m naturally on the more slender side, I never worried about my weight. And unfortunately, that meant I also never cared about eating healthy either. I started gradually gaining weight after starting my first full-time office job. But gaining 5 or 10 pounds didn’t change the way I felt about myself. Overall, I felt pretty great and saw no reason to change.

Nonetheless, I could tell by how my clothes fit that I was obviously gaining weight. It was happening very slowly, but it WAS happening. By November of last year, I could barely fit into my largest pair of skinny jeans, which by Poshmark’s standards were already “plus size.” I had just gone through some major life changes and was eating and drinking whatever the heck I felt like. It didn’t really hit me until that morning.

Granted, I was on my period and it WAS the day after Thanksgiving, (the unofficial fattest day of the year), but still. I was surprised by how much I had gained. I decided then and there to do something about it.

Baby Steps

My boyfriend had been using MyFitnessPal for a few months so I decided to give that a try. I had no idea if it was going to work or if I was going to stick with it but I was determined to at least try.

I set small goals for myself at first, just 5 pounds, but it was still soooo hard to stick to the daily calorie counts. I was used to eating well over 2200 calories a day so cutting back to 1600 felt like I was depriving myself. Plus, I had never tried to restrict myself before so I really had no idea how to do it.

But I bought myself a Fitbit and committed to getting exercise. The calories burned in the Fitbit app were added as exercise points to MyFitnessPal, allowing me a few extra snacks. Every little bit counts. I took the stairs, I went for walks at work, I ran in place during commercial breaks on tv at night.

Makin’ It Work

FINALLY, in the first week of January, I lost a pound. Encouraged by my success, I lowered my daily count to 1400 a day and increased the intensity of my workouts. I bought some workout clothes and started doing a free Bootcamp that my apartment gym was offering. I learned which low-calorie meals were satisfying (tacos, rice bowls, avocado on toast) and which were not (anything without spice, sauce, or cheese).

Although you can (theoretically) eat whatever you want on a low-calorie diet, it’s almost impossible if you eat a lot of junk food or fast food. French fries, Doritos, and candy bars could never fill me up enough to be worth their respective calorie counts. In order to stay under my daily count and still eat foods I found delicious and filling – I had to be very sneaky.

Results

Calorie Counting Results

Finally, 5-6 months later, I had lost 18 pounds. And I’ve maintained that weight since, entering my calories every day on MFP. (Trust me, it gets easier once you get used to it.) As I’ve switched into maintenance mode, my motivation to work out and exercise has gone way down. I don’t wear a Fitbit anymore and I usually only work out once or twice a week. I’m trying to get better with my workouts but it’s always a struggle. 

However, I have become a pro at tracking it all and maintaining a healthy weight. I’ve learned to balance restraint with total gluttony and still enjoy life. I’m naturally a very analytical person so I feel like calorie counting works for me. I’ll probably always use it as a way to track my general nutrition.

However, if you’re someone who tends to obsess or have body image issues, calorie-counting probably is not for you. 

Weighing the Pros and Cons…

I definitely feel more confident in my body now than I did before but sometimes I miss mindless eating. Ignorance is bliss. Now, I’m just so aware of how many calories I’m consuming.  Maybe that’s just part of a healthy lifestyle and mindset but sometimes I wonder, is this living?

But overall, that con aside, it’s definitely been a positive change in my life and taught me real restraint. I still have days where I let myself eat whatever I want (holidays, birthdays, weekends). But I’ve just learned to make up for it during the week. Everything is a balance.

I’m curious to know what works for everyone else. How do you find the motivation to exercise/work out and how do you maintain and/or lose weight? I’m still relatively new to all of it so I’d love to hear what works for everyone else.