Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My Top 10 Health Tips!

We all have setback.  Yes, ALL of us!!  Whether you are getting back to it, or have never gotten on it and don't know where to start, here are my top ten tips.

1.  Water, water, and MORE water!

We all know that we are supposed to drink water everyday to hydrate our bodies, yet most of us live in a dehydrated state.  Not only do we need water for our organs and bodies to work at optimal levels, but our brains actually can't tell the difference between hunger and thirst.  So, many times we eat when we are actually just thirsty.  We end up consuming extra calories every day.  Next time you are feeling hungry or are going to eat a meal, drink a glass of water first, and see if that makes a difference in your hunger.  The minimum amount of water you should have daily is eight 8 ounce glasses.  Another good gauge is to determine how much water you need by your body weight.  Take what you way in pounds, change it to ounces, and divide by 2.  Example:  If you weigh 150 pounds:  150 divided by 2 = 75 oz.

2.  Workout 5 days a week!

I know it is a challenge to get 5 workouts in a week, but it is possible.  Even if you only do 20 - 30 minutes, it is better than nothing!  Find little ways to incorporate more exercise during your day also. Take the stairs, instead of the elevator.  Park further away in parking lots.  If it is possible to walk or bike instead of drive, do it!  Play outside with your kids.  Walk your dog.  Brushing your teeth or doing the dishes, do calf raises or squats.  Just be a little creative.  You could easily burn an extra 100 calories a day!!

3.  Eat small meals, and eat them often!

I do my best to eat every 3 hours.  Notice I say my best, because it is a challenge.  Especially on my super busy days when I am running errands all day.  I eat smaller meals 3 times a day, with 3 snacks.  I eat as many clean foods as possible, and I always have something with me when I leave.  I usually have a bottle water, apple, and/or fiber one bar.  I don't want to get to the point where I am so hungry that I will eat anything, because for me, that anything will always be a cheeseburger!! :)  So, take a few minutes to throw a few healthy snacks in your bag.  You will maintain healthy blood sugar levels, which will also keep you from crashing and getting mean!

4.  Do NOT drink your calories!

We live in a culture that is obsessed with drinks, especially coffee drinks!!  Not only are we ending up completely addicted to caffeine, which can damage your body in all sorts of ways, but we are also consuming a TON of calories and sugar.  Everyone wants a mocha frappe latte whatever, with whipped cream, chocolate, and/or carmel.  One drink is easily 400-500 calories.  And here's the are hungry AFTER consuming 500 calories!  As a hungry girl who wants her food, I just can't justify drinking my calories.  Next time you are tempted, find a healthier version or a bottled water.  You don't need to be a slave to caffeine and sugar.

The same also holds true for alcohol.  Not only will you be consuming extra calories and sugar, but you will also lower your inhibitions, and will be more likely to binge on unhealthy food.  If you are going to have a drink, make it skinny and limit yourself to two.  Remember, moderation not deprivation.  Living a healthy life doesn't mean you never get to enjoy yourself.

5.  Limit processed foods & sugars!

If you have read any of my health blogs in the past, you may know that I used to be overweight (over 200 pounds).  There are a lot of diets and gimmicks, and I didn't know where to start.  To make a long story short, I lost a significant amount of weight and maintained it without counting a single calorie!  I ate as many clean (unprocessed) foods as possible, and watched my sugar intake.  So many people are scared of fat, and I'm not saying go drink some bacon grease, but what they should really be scared of is the sugar.  It will put weight on you quicker than anything, disrupt your hormones, and wreak havoc on your entire body!  Processed foods are loaded with them, so make sure you are reading your labels.

6.  Lift weights!

I started lifting weights in high school.  Just small weights around 3 pounds to videos that I did in my living room.  That is where my love for weight training first started.  Once I got to college, I got into it even more, and now most of my home gym is weights.  Most of my workouts revolve around weight training in various ways.  I won't get too complicated or into too much detail, but know that the more lean muscle mass you have on your body, the faster your metabolism will be.  This means you will even burn more calories while you are sleeping!  If you are new to weights, start out slow with light weights, or just use your own body weight.  Body weight alone is enough resistance to build and lean out muscle tissue.  Think about squats, lunges, pushups, pull ups, tricep dips, etc.  Doing nothing but cardio, would never give me the body I desire.  I would have a completely different shape to my body, and a metabolism that burns at a slower rate.

7.  Get 7 - 9 hours of sleep a night!

This is a hard one for so many of us, including me!  If I get six hours, I feel a sense of accomplishment.  I have battled insomnia for 12 years now though.  I have a routine that I do my best to follow.  It took a lot of trial and error to figure out what works best for me.  The biggest help for me is preparing for sleep.  It takes some time at the end of my evening, but it is worth it.  A hot bath, lavender essential oils, hot tea, music, and a few supplements definitely help me.  A lack of sleep can mess up your hormones, which throws your metabolism and moods completely off.  It is a vicious cycle that you want no part of.  Plus, if your are exhausted you will never have the energy for your workouts, and healthy meal preparations.  If possible, I do take a nap, which can really help to reenergize you.

8.  Allow yourself one cheat meal a week!

Yes, I believe in having a cheat meal.  I believe in moderation, not deprivation.  Honestly, I don't want to live the kind of life that doesn't allow me to enjoy some of the simple pleasures.  I don't want a life that forbids cheeseburgers.  That doesn't sound like such a good life to me!  So, once a week I decide on what my cheat meal will be, and have it on friday evening. It gives me something to look forward to, and keeps me eating well knowing that a higher calorie meal is coming.  And I can honestly say that I enjoy and savor those meals in a way that I never did before when I was eating bad on a regular basis.  *Caution* when you eat clean and healthy the majority of the time, many meals that you used to love and crave will not taste very good anymore.

9.  Set small goals!

Focusing on your ultimate goal can be very overwhelming to the point that you start to think why bother??  Instead, set smaller goals that are easier to obtain.  Reaching those small goals will eventually bring you to accomplishing your main goal, without feeling so defeated by it.  Small changes lead to big results!!

10.  Reward yourself when you reach your goals!

I have a goal for myself right now, and a reward for that goal.  Honestly, I never stop making goals for myself.  I always believe that I can do better in every aspect of my life.  I always want to improve.  I always want to be a better mom, wife, daughter, woman, athlete, caretaker, etc.  I want to be able to look back on my life and honestly say that I did my best.  When you reach your goals, big or small, acknowledge them.  Look back on the changes and choices you made to reach that goal, and build upon it.  Take the time to reward yourself (not with food, of course).  It may be something small, like buying a book or meeting a friend for coffee.  It could be a big reward for when you reach your ultimate goal, like a vacation.  Give yourself something to work towards, it helps to keep you motivated and on track.

I hope you can incorporate some of these tips into your life, to improve the quality of your life.  Honestly, life is far to short to be unhealthy, overweight, sick, and uncomfortable in your own skin.  If you would like to ready my journey, Click Here!  If you have any questions, please leave them below or message me on Facebook.  Have a healthy and happy week!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

How To: Put Together An Easy 10 Minute Makeup Routine!

I am a busy wife, mom, and caregiver.  I struggle everyday to accomplish two-thirds of my to do list. Between my responsibilities, housework, workouts, eating healthy, taking care of my skin, spending time with my family, and having some down time, there just isn't enough time in my day!  I don't wear makeup everyday.  Usually 2-3 days a week.  I find that either I wear no makeup or I wear EVERYTHING!.  I start out telling my family that I'll be 10 mins on my makeup, but 45 mins and a winged eyeliner later, I'm finally ready!  My husband has never complained.  I don't even know how that is possible!  Anyways, I decided to get a makeup bag together with only my essential.  Things I really feel I need to wear, and can get a polished look from in 10 minutes.  Of course, there are some items that I eliminated.  I eliminated the steps that I don't feel are really necessary for me.  That is going to be different for everyone, but for me I don't NEED face primer, eye primer, eyeliner, contour, highlight, and lipliner.  I definitely need foundation, concealer, brows, blush, and mascara.

Here are all the items in my makeup bag for my quick everyday look....

Mac Strobe Cream

Maybelline Dream Wonder Foundation - 80 Medium Buff

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser Concealer - Brightener

Maybelline Dream Lumi Concealer - Light

Revlon Nearly Naked - 30 Medium

Hard Candy Blush Crush Baked Blush - 127 Honeymoon

Urban Decay Naked Basics 2

Tarte Eyelash Curler

Tarte Lights Camera Lashes Mascara - Black (One Coat)

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick - Smoked Peach

I didn't want a look that was too heavy, but I did want a look that would work no matter where my day takes me.  Picking products that can multitask is another time saver.  For example, I filled my brows in with the darkest color in my Naked Basics 2 palette.  The Hard Candy blush has a beautiful glow to it, so I don't feel the need for a highlighter.  Another great highlighting blush is the Maybelline Master Hi-Light Blush.  I also use concealers a shade lighter than my skin tone to add to the highlighted look.  I moisturize everyday, so I use my Mac Strobe Cream which is a moisturizer and illuminating cream in one for a great dewy finish.  If you start the application of your mascara at the very base of your top lashes, you will get a more defined look, that resembles eyeliner.  A few well selected products and techniques, make all the difference!

With having everything at my fingertips, I can quickly go from one step to the next without searching for what I need.  Plus, I'm not tempted to add more products, which means more steps.  I decided to use a neutral palette for the eyes, nothing too fancy, and giving the lips more of a punch.  A simple change in lip color can completely transform a look.  I plan on changing out my products every week or every other week.  I will make most of my changes with cheek and lip color, just so I don't get bored wearing the same look everyday.  You can rotate your eye and cheek looks by using pinks, peaches, or plums.  You could also use a neutral blush with a dark vampy lip, if you are looking for a quick evening look.

I used the same makeup for this look, but swapped out the peach blush for Physicians Formula Happy Booster Blush in Rose, and the peach lip for Wet N Wild Mega Slick Balm Stain in Lady and the Vamp.

I have done this look for several days now, and I'm loving that I can quickly get out the door.  If you are used to using primers that prolong your makeup, try a setting spray.  Just spray in an X motion when your makeup is finished.  It's a quick and easy step.  I have been trying out L'Oreal's Infallible Pro Spray & Set, and it seems to be working well.  You can find it at your local drug or discount store.

I hope this post was helpful, and gives you some ideas to shorten your makeup routine.  If you have any questions, please leave them below.  Have a great week!

Friday, February 13, 2015

My January Favorites (Beauty & Lifestlye)!

I have a lot of favorites this month!  Some are beauty and some are lifestyle favorites.  I have recently found some really great things, and wanted to make sure I included them, so this post will probably be longer than most.  Let's get started.......

Tarte Lights Camera Lashes Mascara - I got a sample of this mascara in my Ipsy bag, I believe.  I had heard good things about it in the past, but every high end mascara I have tried, I haven't been super impressed with.  This one definitely impressed me!  I have been applying 3 coats on my top lashes, and two on my bottom.  It gives excellent volume and length without getting clumpy.  After using my sample for a few days,  I bought the full size.  I think this is the only item that I have received in my Ipsy Bag that I went and purchased on my own.  It retails for $20, which is a great price for such a good mascara!

Gerard Cosmetics Lipstick - Buttercup:  I saw this lipstick featured on a youtube beauty favorites video, and loved the color, so I ended up purchasing it.  It is a soft pink nude, with a very comfortable formula.  This is my first beauty product from Gerard Cosmetics.  It shipped quickly, and I am loving the color.  It is a very versatile color that will work on so many different people,  and great for so many different looks.  If any of you are familiar with Jacklyn Hill, this is a color from her line.

Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Mousse - I have been using this product for awhile now.  I apply it directly to my roots, rub it in, and blow dry.  It gives good volume and texture.  Plus, it doesn't itch my scalp or cause me to get greasy.  I think this line has so many great hair products to choose from.

Mac Mineralized Skin Finish - Soft & Gentle:  Most of us have heard of Mac's Soft & Gentle, because it is a cult favorite.  This is my very first MSF.  I wanted a powdered product that gives a luminous, highlighted finish.  This highlighter isn't the strongest I have ever used, but it isn't the lightest either.   It is somewhere in between.  I just dust this on the high points of my face....nose, forehead, tops of cheek bones, and cupid's bow.  It is nicely pigmented and a little goes a long way.  I wear this highlight during the day, and don't find that it is too much for me.  I really love this product and want to try more of the MSF's.  Soft & Gentle retails for $32, and you get a good size, 0.35 ounces.  This highlight will last forever!

Mac Mineralized Blush - Warm Soul:  This is my first mineralized Mac blush, and it is Beautiful!!  It is a warm peach with a luminous finish.  It is nicely pigmented, and builds great without looking cakey, harsh, or glittery.  I think this blush will go with pretty much any makeup look, and is universally flattering.  It gives a youthful, fresh faced glow, and lasts well throughout the day on me.  It retails for $27.  It is worth the price for me, because it is unlike any other blush I own, looks beautiful, and will last me soooo long.  I have to say this is my favorite blush that I have EVER owned!!  If you are wanting to try a Mac product for the first time, I suggest picking this up.  I can't imagine anyone being disappointed, unless you only wear matte finishes.  My mom used this blush once, and later that day went to the Mac counter to purchase it.  So, it even looks great on more mature skin.

Mac Strobe Cream - I love me a luminous finish foundation, and this moisturizer does just that!  It is a moisturizer packed with vitamins and good ingredients for your skin.  I apply mine under my makeup.  It feels great on the skin, and gives a healthy youthful glow to the face.  It can also be worn on it's own.  If you use this, you really don't need a highlighting product.  I have never used a product of it's kind before.  I ordered mine from  They have free shipping everyday, along with free returns.  They have two sizes....the 1.0 oz. for $10, or the 1.7 0z for $30.  I ordered the smaller size, because it is a much better deal.  You could get almost twice as much for $3 cheaper, if you bought 3 smaller sizes, as opposed to the full size.  When buying products, always check the quantity and price when they have different sizes.  You may not always be getting the better deal on the larger size.  Make sure you are getting your money's worth!

NYX Eye Shadow Base - This product was recommended by one of my youtube beauty girls.  She said that she likes this one better than a Mac paint pot, so I thought I would give it a try.  What I like about this product is that not only does it keep your shadow from creasing and makes it last longer, but it also conceals any veining or redness on your lids.  I haven't used a Mac paint pot, but this product works great.  I found this at my local target.

Forever Red Eau de Parfume - I found this perfume at Bath & Body works during their popular semi-annual sale.  I rarely ever go into the store, and went for their big candle sale.  I love this scent!!  Their website describes it as their most luxurious fragrance with a blend of pomegranate and red osmanthus with a sexy surprise of vanilla rum.  This is a muskier scent, but still with a sweetness that isn't overpowering.  It does not smell florally though.  I am not into sweet scents.  I like more of a musk/cologne scent or a very light, clean scent.  I wear this fragrance all the time, but it is more of an evening scent that would be great for a date night.  It definitely has a sensuality about it.  I bought the travel size just to see how much I would actually where it, but I know that I will be purchasing the full size.  They also offer this scent in a shower gel, lotion, body soufflĂ©, body cream and fragrance mist.  The travel size retails for $10, but has been on sale for $6 lately.

Boxycharm Subscription - This is my newest and favorite beauty subscription box.  I did an unboxing.  If you would like to see my review of December's box, Click Here!

Amazon Prime - I started Amazon Prime in December.  You get a month free, so I had time to decide how I liked the service.  I originally thought it meant you got 2 free day shipping for a year, but it is so much more than that!  For $99 a year, you get prime movies, prime music, photo storage, a lending library for kindle, and free 2 day shipping on all amazon prime products.  The only service I haven't used yet is the photo storage.  For less than 10 dollars a month, you can't beat it, and I'm really enjoying it!

Pretty Little Killers  by Daleen Berry and Geoffrey C. Fuller - I love going to my local library!  I place my requests online, and once a week pick them up.  I have been studying serial killers since I was in high school.  I love anything that is true crime.....books, podcasts, 48 hours, and dateline.  It's the psychology that really intrigues me.  I had followed this story since it happened a few years ago in West Virginia.  It is about 3 16 year old girls who are all best friends, and two murder the other.  We all remember how nasty high school and junior high could be.  But who ever thinks something like that could ever happen?  It is a tragic story, but interesting at the same time.  If nothing else, I think it reminds you not to make light of certain situations, and signs to look for.

Criminal Minds - This show has been on for 10 seasons now, and I have watched it since the very beginning.  I was very sick for a very long time, and around Christmas I decided to start the show from the very beginning and watch it all the way through.  Watching the episodes back to back, made me fall in love with it even more!  It chronicles FBI Agents who are in the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit).  Essentially, they are proffers who catch serial killers.  Again, this show really goes into the psychology behind the behaviors.  Such a great show!!

Netti Pot - I started using a netti pot many years ago, and just kind of got away from it.  I started using it because I have horrible allergies.  At the end of October, I got very sick.  I was sick for 2 1/2 months, minus two weeks where I felt semi-human and thought I was getting better).  I first was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection.  Did antibiotics for 10 days, and waited to feel better.  Only got worse.  Went back to the doctor, was diagnosed with sinusitis, got put on an extremely strong antibiotic, and almost a week of a very strong steroid.  Still I was not better.  So, I decided to start using my netti pot twice a day, along with essential oils and I got well again!!  Using the pot is a very odd feeling to get used to put it helps so much!  All you do is put a saline packet in the pot with warm water, and run the water into one nostril and out the other.  It sounds kind of yuck, but it works!

Essential Oils - Until this month, I had never used essential oils in my life.  I had heard of them, but really didn't know anything about them, and of course I was skeptical.  I ordered a blended oil from Doterra called Breathe.  Breathe is a blend of certified pure organic grade essential oils including laurel leaf, peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, ravensara, and lemon.  It is a respiratory blend that opens airways, helps congestions, and alleviates bacteria and viruses.  If you would have told me that my netti pot and essential oils would cure my illness, when two antibiotics and a steroid couldn't, I would have told you that you were CrAzY!  But it is true.  It worked, and I am amazed by that, because I had never been sick that long in my entire life!

Essential Oil Diffuser - If you are going to use essential oils, you need a diffuser.  I found mine on amazon.  It is an oil diffuser and humidifier.  I keep mine on my night stand next to my bed.  It has a wood grain look, and takes up only a small space.  You can put it on a constant flow or have it come off and on on a delay.  It also has settings for different colors, it can change from one color to the next or you can turn the color completely off.  I use mine every single day, and love it.  I also suffer from insomnia, so I use it all night long.  No batteries are needed, just plug it in.  If you would like to order this diffuser, Click Here!

Michael Kors Jet Set Tote - My birthday was at the beginning of December, and my mom got me this bag as a gift.  I really love it!  It is a classic black and white tote design with silver hardware.  It has one inside zipper pocket and two slide pockets.  It is a large size and fits everything I need and more in it.  It goes with most everything I wear, and just makes a classy accessory to any look.  Of course this is a splurge, but if you are in the market for a designer bag, this one is definitely worth a look!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Boxycharm Subscription Unboxing!!

Boxycharm is the newest subscription service that I signed up for.  I have a few monthly beauty subscription.....Ipsy, Wal-Mart, and Esalon.

After watching December's unboxing on youtube, I was sold!!  So, let me give you a little information about this subscription service.  In each box, you will get 4 FULL SIZE items, and 1 luxury size item.  It is 21 dollars a month with FREE SHIPPING.  Unlike Ipsy, there is no wait list!  I actually signed up December 30th or 31st, and they sent me December's box out immediately.  I also got my January box on the 16th.  There is no contract with this subscription, so you can cancel anytime if you aren't happy.  You will get an email when your box ships, along with a tracking number.  They feature many brands, from drugstore to high end.  They also include beauty, nail, and haircare products.  Once you have tried out the items in your box, you can login to their website and review the products.  These reviews will give you charms, that you can redeem for full size products.  So, let's take a look at my first box, my December box.....

I knew what I would be getting with this box, because I saw it on youtube, which is why I subscribed.  I couldn't believe what all was included!!

This is exactly how my box was packed.  On top, they have a card telling what the theme is for that month's box.  On the back, you will find a list of the products, their description, and their retail value.

Underneath the card, everything was neatly packed on top of hot pink confetti.  I like this packaging better than Ipsy, because the products are more secure in the box, yet this box will still fit inside of a regular sized mail box.  It ships from USPS, so they will place it in your mailbox, which I think is nice, so you don't have to worry about them being exposed and maybe taken.

Here are all the items!  I got a beautiful pair of mink lashes (my very first pair), a travel kabuki brush, hair oil, lip gloss, and a 20 shadow full size palette!  The only item that was not full size is the hair oil, which I have used and really like.

Next on the list are the Eyelashi Mink Lashes.  I have always wanted to try mink lashes, but never have before.  They are definitely more expensive than your drugstore Ardell or Kiss lashes, but they are supposed to last up to 40 wears if you care for them properly.  I have not worn these yet.  I have a date night with my husband this weekend, so I am planning on trying them on Saturday.  They look full, dramatic, and beautiful.  This is a style I would pick out myself, so I am excited to see how they perform.  I really love the packaging for these.  The box is very sturdy and the lashes easily slide out on the one side.  You just pull the pink ribbon.  This case will be great for storing them after each use.

I don't get many brushes in my subscription boxes, so this was nice to receive!  Since this is a travel brush,  I have been keeping it in my bag.  I don't typically do touch ups throughout the day, but I like having it just in case.  Blush seems to be one of the first makeup products that fade throughout the day, so this brush would work well for reapplying.  The synthetic bristles are soft and I haven't had any fall out so far.

I have received Be A Bombshell products in my Ipsy bag before, though I haven't had this exact product.  I haven't worn this gloss yet, but I have never been a fan of their products.  I have always found it to be lower quality and the packaging feels so cheap.  I have only used the gloss applicator to swatch the color on my hand and the cap came off the tip.  The color is fine, though I can't comment on the wear and formula.  I suspect I'll be less than impressed with it, but we'll see!

And now for the main attraction!  This Revealed palette is really what convinced me to subscribe to the box.  You get 20 shadows in total.  Some are matte, some are satin, and some are shimmer finishes.  Oh My Goodness..... I love this palette!!  So much so, that this is the only thing I have worn on my eyes since I got it!!  There are so many colors, and you can easily come up with a plethora of or night, natural or dramatic, it's all there.  The shades in this palette are supposed to basically be the Urban Decay Naked 1 and 2 palettes together.  I can't say that for sure, because I don't own either of those palettes (I have naked 3), but they do look quite similar.  You may think because this palette has 20 shadows in it, and that it isn't a high end brand, that it in some way must be substandard.  You would be wrong!  This is a great palette that not only has beautiful colors, but it also has high quality shadows.  They blend out beautifully and have little fall out.  This palette is thin and light, so it stores and travels easily.  The only thing this palette doesn't have that many high end palettes have is a mirror and brush.  Even if you don't have a boxycharm subscription, I would recommend picking up this palette from Coastal Scents!

There you have it!  My first Boxycharm Subscription box.  After receiving two boxes I can tell you that I will not be canceling my subscription anytime soon.  I think they offer higher quality products (most of which are full size) for a great price, and both boxes that I have received have had a retail value of around or over $100.  I love getting these beauty boxes delivered to my home.  I do my best on most months, to not find out what I am getting, because I love the surprise of it.  Both of my monthly subscriptions come mid month, and it's a nice pick me up.  I do think that BoxyCharm is a big step up from Ipsy, but it really just depends on how much you are willing to spend on a subscription box.  I will not be canceling my Ipsy, and I think it is a great starter box for those looking to try a monthly beauty subscription.

I hope you found this unboxing helpful.  If you have any questions, you can leave them below or send me a message.  I answer all questions ASAP.  If you are interested in Boxycharm, you can Click Here!  Hope everyone is having a great week!

                                                                                                                -XOXO Monique

Saturday, January 17, 2015

My 2014 Best In Beauty Favorites!

These are my very favorites, the best of the best!  Whether you are a beauty junkie/veteran with loads of makeup, or a newbie just starting out looking for the basics, this is what you need in your collection, in my opinion.

Favorite Primer:  Smashbox Photo Finish:  I started using this a few years ago, and I have to say, I have yet to find a better primer.  They have a large variety, depending on what you want your primer to do.  It does have a very silicone feel to it.  It smooths out your texture, diffuses imperfections, and prolongs your foundation....everything a primer should do!

Favorite Foundation:  L'Oreal True Match Lumi, Maybelline Dream Wonder, and Mac Pro Long Wear

Foundation, like mascara, is one of those tricky products to recommend, because there are so many variables.  It all depends on your skin type, what type of coverage you like, and what finish you prefer.  I used to be very oily, but this year my skin has been very normal.  I prefer a medium to full coverage, with a luminous to satin finish.

The L"Oreal True Match Lumi I wore a lot in the summer.  It gives a medium, buildable coverage, and a luminous finish.  If you like that J LO glow, like me, you will really love this foundation.  True Match is very affordable, but performs like a high end foundation.  They also have soooo many colors to choose from that you will definitely find your match.  If you would like to see a full review, Click Here!

Maybelline Dream Wonder is new to the drugstore this year.  It has a satin/natural finish, is lightweight, and is great for a lighter makeup/everyday look.  It has a light to medium coverage, and can be built upon a little, but in no way is going to be full coverage.  It has a very liquidy consistency, so make sure you shake well.  It blends into the skin seamlessly.

Until this year, I never work Mac Pro Long Wear.  This one is just a great all around foundation.  It has a medium buildable coverage with a natural finish.  It is super long wearing, so it will last your hectic 12 hour work day, and even through your workout.  Whether you want a an everyday look or a more coverage look for a special night out, this one does the job!  It is more expensive than the drugstore foundations, but is well worth the price difference, in my opinion.

Favorite Concelear:  Mac Pro Long Wear Concealer & Maybelline Dark Circle Eraser- Brightener

Mac Pro Long Wear is also new to me this year.  It has a very thin, lightweight formula, but covers impeccably.  It doesn't crease, and stays ALL day.  I use mine under my eyes, and to highlight, so I get a shade lighter than my foundation.  I don't know anyone who doesn't love this concealer.

The Maybelline Dark Circle Eraser has been my favorite since I first bought it two years ago.  I recommend it to EVERYONE!!  If you like the extra brightening look under the eyes, go for the brightener.  It is a light pink color, and gives the under eye that extra lightening affect and lift.  This also is a thin formula that blends into the skin beautifully.  A real drugstore gem!  I couldn't live without it!!

Favorite Powder:  ELF HD Powder & NYX Radiant Powder - Brighten

These are both products that I found this year, and truly love!  The ELF powder is a finely milled, loose powder that perfects the skin and sets your makeup, but doesn't provide any additional coverage.  Once I set my face in the morning, I don't need to reapply any powder for the rest of the day. I use this powder on the areas of my face that I do not highlight.

I found the NYX Radiant Powder later in the year.  I haven't used any other setting powder for under my eyes, and the areas that I highlight.  It sets everything and keeps my under eye concealer from creasing.  It has such a brightening affect, that I have not found in any other powders.  You swirl all the colors together with your brush, and it's like magic!  Such a great find at such a great price.

Favoriter Blush:  Mac Blush:  Prism (matte) & Milani Baked Blush- Luminoso

Mac blushes are great.  I think most people would agree.  They are long wearing and blend beautifully into the skin.  They also have so many colors to choose from that you will definitely find a color you love.  I chose prism, because it is such a versatile color that I believe will look great on everyone!  I have used this color alone, or with other blushes.  Whether my other blush is more pink, coral, or mauve, it works!  If I use it with another color, I apply the darker color towards the back of my cheeks and prism on the apples.  It a great look that gives your face more dimension.

I think I listed Milani blushes as one of my 2013 favorites, and I still love them!  I chose luminoso, because not only is it a beautiful coral color with gold flecks, but it is flattering on everyone!  Most of their baked blushes do have some shimmer in them, but they don't look too sparkly on the face, just a nice glow.  This year they came out with two matte baked blushes, though I think they are more satin.  I have almost every color they have, and they are all beautiful.  They perform like a higher end blush, and are truly one of the best products from the drugstore.

Honorable Mention:  Maybelline Master Hi-Light Blush

I have four colors....mauve, deep bronze, pink rose, and coral.  They have six all together.  Now, if you don't like a glowy, highlighting blush, this isn't for you.  If you do, you will love this!  It is glowy, but not sparkly.  It gives a beautiful color and highlight.  It is really a two in one product that is great for a quick every day look.  I love these and am so glad I picked them up.  If you love the highlighted J Lo glow, you will love these!!

Favorite Contour:  Too Faced Chocolate Soleil

I actually got a sample size of this from Sephora this year.  Since I got it, it is pretty much the only bronzer/contour that I use.  Even with having a small size, I still haven't hit pan (though I don't wear makeup everyday).  It is just the perfect shade....not too orangey and not too ashy.  Of course if you are paler, just use a lighter hand when applying.  I apply this on the hollows of my cheeks, sides of nose, forehead, and jaw line.  It can give a more natural look or a more sculpted look depending on how you apply.

Favorite Single shadows:  L'Oreal Infallible Single Eyeshadows

These have been a favorite of mine for a long time now.  I believe I have almost every color, if not every color.  They are definitely a drugstore gem!  They are actually a pressed pigment.  Pigments can be very messy, but these being a pressed pigment that are much easier to work with.  They have excellent staying power, and such vivid, beautiful colors.  They have everything from neutrals to BAM in your face color, and everything in between.  They are a little pricier for a single shadow, but  you get so much product in each single, and it is truly like nothing else you will find in the drugstore.  If you do have some, make sure you keep the flat insert in it.  It keeps the color from separating and drying out.  Also, make sure that the lid is sealed tightly.  They are beautiful, and you want to keep them that way.  Some of my favorite colors are Amber Rush, Iced Latte, and Continuous Cocoa.  Many of these are great for a quick one shadow look also.  Just pack the color onto your lid with a flat brush, then use a blending brush (with no product) to blend out the color.  Great for when you are short on time!  Amber Rush is one of my favorites to use for a one shadow look.

* From top to bottom - Amber Rush (dupe for Mac Tan Pigment), Iced Latte (dupe for Stila Kitten), and Continuous Cocoa

Favorite Eye Palette:  Lorac Pro Palette

I love this palette!  Half of the shadows are matte and half are shimmer.  It has warm neutrals, along with some deeper, smokey shadows.  If you are only going to buy one palette, this is it!  The shadows are creamy, very blendable, and long wearing.  I have nothing bad to say about this palette.  It is thin and sleek, so it is easy to store and great to travel.  It also comes with a full size mirror, which comes in handy when traveling as well.  If you would like to see a review along with looks, Click Here!

Favorite Eye Liner:  Rimmel Scandal Eyes and L'Oreal Infallible Gel Liner

These two liners have been my favorite for at least two years now.  Both of them are super long wearing, affordable, and easy to find at any drug or discount store.

Rimmel Scandal Eyes comes in several colors, glides on smooth, blends out well for a smokey look, and is long wearing.  I can wear this one in my water line and it stays really well.

L'Oreal Infallible Gel Liner is such a drugstore gem.  It performs great, has a smooth consistency, and is super long wearing.  It does everything you want a gel liner to do.  No complaints!

Favorite Brow Product:  Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade

This product came out at the beginning of the year.  I bought mine during the second half, and fell in love with it!  It has made the biggest difference in my brows.  Many people use several different brow products....brow powder, brow pencil, and a wax or gel.  This product is truly an all in one!  It is water and sweat resistant, keeps your brows in place all day, and can give you a more dramatic or more natural look, depending on your technique.  I love it, and I can't imagine ever leaving this product.  If you would like to see a full review, Click Here!

Favorite Mascara:  Cover Girl Clump Crusher, L'Oreal Million Lashes & L'Oreal Million Lashes Excess

As a whole, L'Oreal has my favorite mascaras.  Some are better than others, but all are good.  I have pretty good lashes.....good length and fullness.  They hold a curl very well.  I rarely deal with transfer, unless I get a mascara that has a wetter formula.

L'Oreal Million Lashes and Million Lashes Excess are quite similar in formula.  They give great length and volume without getting clumpy or spidery.  The Million Lashes Excess' wand is smaller, which I find is a little easier to get into the inner corners of my lashes.  I have no transfer or flaking, and they look just as good at the end of the day, as they do the beginning.  I have been using these for over a year now.

Cover Girl Clump Crusher is a great mascara, that I love to pair with one of my favorite.  Like the name suggests, there is absolutely no clumping!  Because I try out many mascara's, if I find that one tends to get a little thick or clumpy a coat of clump crusher will take care of that.  I rarely use it on it's own, unless I am wearing very light makeup, but I almost always use it as my second mascara.  It really separates every lash.  I have never found a mascara hat separates better, and it does not get hard and crunchy or flakey.

*I typically wear two different mascaras.....2 -3 coats of the first, and 1 -2 coats of the second.

Favorite Lip Balm/Lip Treatment:  Nivea Lip Butter - Raspberry Kiss, Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Nourishing Lip Balm (SPF 20) & Elizabeth Arden Lip Protectant Stick (SPF 15)

Nivea Lip Butter has been a long time favorite of mine.  It is kind of in the middle as far as lip balms go.  Not too thick/heavy and not too sheer.  I wear this during the day, but also before bed at night.  This does give shine and a hint of color, so it also looks nice on minimal makeup days.

These two Elizabeth Arden products were new to me this year.  I have fuller lips, and need some sort of protectant year around.  In the warm months, I always have to wear a lipstick or balm with SPF, because the sun will give me fever blisters very quickly.  In the colder months, my lips chap very quickly, and we all know how uncomfortable that can be.  The Cream Nourishing Lip Balm is heavier and more emollient.  I wear this more in the colder months and overnight to really hydrate.  It is also great to use after a lip scrub before bed.  When I wake, my lips feel so much better and hydrated.  During the day, the Lip Protectant is great.  You can wear it alone or under your lipstick.  Neither product has any color, but does have shine.  These are pricier products, but if you have the type of lip problems that I do, it is well worth it.  Also, a little goes a long way, so they will last you a very long time.

Favorite Lip Liner:  Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner - East End Snob & Mac Lip Liner: Whirl

Rimmel Exaggerate was a favorite of mine for 2013 as well.  These liners come in many colors, are creamy with great staying power, and don't require a sharpener.  It is the retractable kind that seems to always have a pointed tip.  They are also very affordable and last a good amount of time.  While I have yet to find a color that I don't like, I wear East End Snob the most.  A lot of other people must love it as well, because it is always the first of the colors to sell out.  It is a medium pink, but it is so versatile.  I wear it with pinks, berries, and nudes.  It just works so well with most of what I have (and I have a TON of lippies)!

Mac has great lip pencils in a variety of shades.  These are different from the Rimmel in the sense that it is an actual pencil that requires sharpening.  You get so much product with these though that it would take forever to use an entire pencil.  I purchased the color Whirl this year.  It became hugely popular, because it was reported that this is what Kylie Jenner used to get her infamous lip color that everyone was gaga for.  This shade is more of a brown/neutral, but not too brown.  Like East End Snob, it is extremely versatile.  I pair it with browns, nudes, and browny pinks.  It has great staying power, and I have yet to be disappointed with any Mac Lip Pencil that I have purchased.

Favorite Lip Gloss:  NYX LIp Butter

I have to say, I'm not a big lip gloss girl.  I think they look nice, but I'm not a fan of many formulas.  Plus, now that my hair is longer, it can get stuck in my gloss.  I hate a thick, sticky texture, and I have had some that just leave a horrible taste in my mouth.  I do find that they tend to be a higher maintenance lip product for me.  Having said that, I really do like the NYX Butter Glosses!  They have a creamy, moisturizing formula that has beautiful colors and high shine.  They are a slippery formula, so they aren't long wearing, but I don't mind as long as they aren't thick and sticky.  They look great with alone, paired with a liner, or over a lipstick.  They also have a great smell that most people love.  They are very affordable, and now NYX is more widely available.  You can now find them at Target, CVS, and Meijer.

Favorite Lipstick:  Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick & Mac Lipstick

I have to say when it comes to drugstore lipsticks, there are quite a few good ones, but I think Maybelline really stood out for me this year.  The color sensational line has such an array of colors and lines within the Color Sensational line.  They have the vivid, which are as the name implies, have vivid, hot colors.  They have a nudes line, which has a great selection of nudes, no matter your skin color, and along with a few others, they also came out with a matte line this year.  The matte lip really took over this year.  It was everywhere!!  If you lean towards matte lippies, you will notice that many end up being quite drying and uncomfortable on the lips.  That is not true with these mattes!  They came out with some really beautiful colors, and this line is just as creamy and moisturizing as all the others.  They are an affordable drugstore product that does not disappoint.

One of my favorite things. if not my very favorite thing from Mac is their lipsticks.  So many people love them, and rightfully so.  They have an enormous amount of colors, as well as finishes.  They smell great, and they are great quality.  The color I grabbed for most this year is Fast Play.  It is a rosy brown that just really went well with whatever makeup look I was wearing.  I haven't heard many beauty bloggers mention this color, but I think many people would like it, especially seeing how popular the Kylie Jenner/90's lip was this year.

*In the above pic, I am wearing Mac Whirl Lip Pencil & Mac Fast Play Lipstick.  I am also wearing L'Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation, Elf Radiant Powder, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer, Anastasia Brow Pomade, Both Maybelline and Mac concealers, and Maybelline Master Hi-Light Blush in Mauve.

So, that is my favorites of 2014.  I tried a lot of products this year.  I found many I like, some I didn't, and some new favorites.  I hope this list is helpful, and helps you make some makeup choices that will end up being some of your favorites as well.  If you found any great products this year, please list them below.  Us beauty lovers love hearing about anything that is working for you, because it could end up being our next holy grail product!  Thank you to everyone who has been following and reading my blog this year.  It means a lot to me!  I hope you had a great 2014, and have an even better 2015!!

                                                                                                              -XOXO Monique

Friday, January 16, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

Quote Of The Week

We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.  The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. - Joseph Campbell