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I'm Kayla. A 20-something obsessed with makeup, planner decorating, and board games. Working towards a more organized, simplified life one post at a time.


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7.31.2014

Review: June Ipsy Glam Bag


Another banner month for Ipsy, but also a few hiccups in this month's bag...

Be A Bombshell Lash Out Mascara
I mentioned when I first opened this mascara that I thought it had a funny smell. Turns out a lot of the mascaras ended up being recalled for contamination. I'm not sure if mine is in fact contaminated, but I made a point not to use it. It wasn't much to write home about anyway.

Marc Anthony Dream Waves Beach Spray
Sadly this beach spray couldn't do anything to my hair. I don't blame it though as many have tried and failed before. It's a very nice sized sample and I'm going to hand it off to someone whose hair will appreciate it more than mine.

NYX Butter Gloss in "Crème Brulee"
I love the NYX Butter Glosses and was pleased to see that this was a shade I didn't already own. They're quite heavy on the lips, but aren't sticky and act sort of like a balm. They color range is spectacular and the names are adorable. I don't plan on buying any more since I now have three, but they're definitely worth looking at if you haven't tried them yet.

OFRA Universal Eyebrow Pencil
A fairly decent pencil that matches my eyebrows well, it's still not my favorite. I prefer using crayon pencils more than actual pencils anyway, but it's a nice product. I'm going to keep using it and develop my opinions a little more fully.

Realtree for Her
Although I love the size of the sample and that it comes in a good travel size container, I'm not crazy about the scent. It isn't terrible, just not something I see myself wearing. It's quite sweet with pomegranate and orchid notes but has traces of amber and mahogany wood as well. It's a weird mix of musky and sweet that I just don't get on with. The full size bottle of this is stunning though!

ispyPoints Reward: bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in "Light It Up"
When this bag arrived in the mail I was definitely most excited for the ipsyPoints reward that I knew was coming in this month's bag. I didn't know exactly the shade I was getting until it arrived and I was like, "Woah, that's orange." It's definitely a more orange colored lipstick but with a light hand I completely love how this looks. It's leaps and bounds away from my comfort zone and I'm lovin' it.

Overall I really liked this bag despite not getting along with a few of the products. Ipsy impressed me with it regardless and I know I'll be able to give away the items I'm not crazy about to friends.
4 comments

7.30.2014

Maybelline Volum'Express Pumped Up! Colossal Mascara




I'm just going to get right into it and say that I'm not a fan of the Maybelline Volum'Express Pumped Up! Colossal Mascara ($5.99). I won't go as far to say that I hate it, but it just doesn't work for me. It doesn't add any volume to my lashes, can't hold a curl, and isn't all that great in separating my lashes to get a bit of length. It was more or less just black color for my lashes. 

As far as packaging I completely love the pink/coral tube and the yellow writing. It's adorable. The brush is big and fluffy and I oddly like the bobbly affect of the wand. I didn't buy the mascara just because it looks nice though. It's a major let down and another mascara that pushes me further into the arms of my beloved L'Oréal Voluminous Volume Building Mascara which is an absolute fuss free dream.

There are a lot of really positive reviews out there surrounding this mascara so I don't know what the deal is with mine or my lashes, but I have to actively convince myself to use this occasionally so as to not completely waste my money. However it may work for you. I just wouldn't recommend it.

Have you tried this mascara? How do you get on with it?

xoxo Kayla
3 comments

7.29.2014

Should Your Blog Have a Facebook Fan Page


I recently decided that I wanted to delete my blog's Facebook Fan Page for a number of reasons. I had been pondering the deletion for quite a while and ultimately decided that neither you nor I were really getting anything out of it. In the process I really starting to think about successful Facebook Fan Pages and what to consider if you're trying to decide if your blog should have one. So here are some things to think about:

  • Is your audience on Facebook? If so are they in the beauty/lifestyle/whatever your blog is mindset when they're on Facebook? This is one of the main factors why I deleted my page. My audience just isn't willing to engage with my page on Facebook like they are when they're on Instagram.
  • Will you be providing new content or just sharing blog post links? If you don't have plans to share content that you can only find on your Facebook page, then it may not be worth creating one.
  • How many other social media platforms are you on? If you're on every single social media platform there is and are feeling spread thin, it may be a good idea to cut back to just the ones you're actively engaged in and see the most feedback from.
  • What is your goal with your Facebook page? Do you just want more views on your blog? Do you want to host Facebook only giveaways? Do you want to have more casual conversations with followers? If you just want a page because other bloggers have one, try to figure out more concrete goals to make it worthwhile.
I know many bloggers and YouTubers who excel at using Facebook to build a stronger sense of community, but it wasn't for me. I couldn't devote the time and energy to make my blog's Facebook page worth engaging with and my readership just didn't seem to care about it. Everyone's situation is different, but make sure you're extending your blog's brand into platforms it will thrive on.

Do you have a Facebook page for your blog? If so, what do you post on it. If not, why not?

xoxo Kayla



2 comments

7.28.2014

Everyday Makeup


Although I have to be at work every morning by 8 a.m., I still manage to get some makeup on my face each morning. I've nearly perfected the 10 minute hair and makeup routine and wanted to share what products I tend to reach for on a given morning.

The Stila One Step Correct ($36) gives my dry morning skin a healthy kick of moisture while prepping my skin for the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($42). I have the shades "Finland" and "St. Moritz". I take a glob of "Finland" and a smaller amount of "St. Moritz" and blend them together on the back of my hand to get the perfect shade to match whatever level of tan I'm currently rocking. I cover my always apparent dark circles with my trusty NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($29). If I'm feeling particularly pale I'll brush a little of N.Y.C's Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder in "Sunny" ($2.79) for a bit more color. My blush of choice as of late is the Kiko Rock Attraction Blush in "06 Visionary Sienna" (€6). A light brushing of this on the cheeks adds an amazing wash of color that looks incredibly flattering with a slight tan.

For eyes I tend to keep things a bit simple and use my Stila in the Light Palette ($39). It's so easy to create a really flattering neutral eye while still having definition to it. I like to tight line with the Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in "Damsel" ($20) which came with the palette. If I have a little bit more time during a particular morning I'll do a little something with the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner ($20). More often than not this step ends up being skipped though. I curl my lashes and apply a generous amount of L'Oréal's Voluminous Volume Building Mascara ($7.99). Then I apply a my-lips-but-better lipstick like Urban Decay's Revolution Lipstick in "Rush" ($22) before flying out the door.

What's your everyday makeup routine?

xoxo Kayla
5 comments

7.27.2014

Sunday Stuff #9


It's been ages since my last Sunday Stuff post. Sundays are usually my days to just relax, try to catch up on the mountain of blog posts in my drafts that I took photos for during the week, and prepare for the week ahead. So Sunday Stuff posts have fallen to the wayside in favor of my to-do list.

This Sunday I, of course, am nose deep in my planner. I've changed up my blog scheduling system once again and am working on finalizing this new approach. Once I'm happy with it I'll definitely share! I've got my sticky notes, my pens, and a bowl of M&Ms to keep me going.

I also have my sights set on painting my nails at some point today. I've been obsessed with Essie's "Splash of Grenadine" ($8.50). I'm not necessarily a pink person, but this polish is the perfect blend of pink and purple. It's gorgeous. You need it. I'm also toying with the idea of painting an accent nail with the Catrice Ultimate Nail Lacquer in "GaLILACxy". More on the purple side with silver metallic details it would be the perfect companion. 

How do you spend your Sundays? Do you relax or are you tackling a to-do list?

xoxo Kayla
1 comment

7.26.2014

This Week's Most Loved #33



What? A nail polish hand selfie? I know, very not Kayla. I'm downright awful at painting my nails so I tend to avoid documenting them, but I thought I did a fairly good job this go around. I've been obsessed with Essie's "Tart Deco" ($8.50) as of late. It's a lovely tangerine color that makes me look way tanner than I actually am. Always a perk for someone who has an indoor job without a window in her office. 

I forget how downright wonderful the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette ($28) actually is. Poor thing. Doesn't get the attention it deserves. I'm back to loving it full force though. It's so easy to create a perfect neutral look without any fuss or a lot of product switching. It's also fairly reasonable in price considering all the other naked palettes are getting so expensive we're going to have to give a kidney to pay for them soon. 

I never really enjoyed the Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush (from $18 Starter Set) until recently. I'm not quite sure what it was about it, but I found it difficult to really target where I want shadows. Lately though I've been using it to place a darker shadow on my outside corner and then blend a bit with my fingers. It holds pigmentation really well and reduces fall out. 

What products have you been loving this week?

xoxo Kayla
4 comments

7.25.2014

Nail Polish Drawer





Phew. We've made it to the last day of a week's worth of makeup collection posts. Does anyone else feel like they've ran a marathon with all these posts? Just me? If you've caught the tail end be sure to check out the rest of the collection posts: the base drawer, the eye and cheek drawer, the eye drawer part II, and the lip product drawer.

It's pretty obvious that I tend to only purchase Essie ($8.50 each) or China Glaze polishes. Their color ranges are fantastic and their formulas are almost always spot on. I'm not one for trying a lot of different nail polish brands because you never know what formula or consistency you're going to get. I have however branched out occasionally and have a few polishes from the Rimmel Lasting Finish Pro Nail Lacquer line, some Zoya polishes ($9 each) from Ipsy bags, a few Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure polishes*, and a couple other stragglers. 

The back left corner of the drawer houses my nail polish removers (with tightly screwed tops since they lay on their sides) and nail wheels to use in blog photos to better show the color of polishes. I admire bloggers who have perfectly painted nails and can do nail polish photos of their actual hands, but I'm kind of a mess when it comes to painting my nails. These nail wheels have saved me a lot of headaches and embarrassment.  
How do you store your nail polish? Are their any specific nail polish brands you like to purchase?

xoxo Kayla

3 comments

7.24.2014

Makeup Collection: Lip Product Drawer





Ah lipsticks. My love. My addiction. And one of the messiest drawers in my makeup collection. Anyone else just have the hardest time organizing lipsticks? I've been sharing my makeup collection all week so if you're just tuning in be sure to check out the base drawer (for details about the storage bins), eye and cheek drawer, and eye drawer part II too!

The drawer is fairly simple with just a few bins and the rest storage for my makeup towels, travel size makeup remover wipes, and a few odds and ends. The first bin on the right holds the newest lipstick additions (a lot of which came back with me from Italy) and my MAC lipsticks (would anyone be interested in a collection post?). It's fairly empty with plenty more room for sneaky lipstick purchases.

The middle bin is a beautiful, yet messy sight to behold. I personally hate that I an't stand all my lipsticks up straight on their tops so I can see the labels. I get the desire for different tube designs, but at least make the tops flat for hoarders' sakes. My collection of Revlon lip butters, two Urban Decay Revolution Lipsticks in "Rush" and "Rapture" ($22 each), some minis from Ipsy bags or Sephora birthday gifts, and a handful of others. 

The large bin on the left holds every other lip product. Any recommendations on better storage and organization are welcome because I think by the time I get to this drawer I just give up. This is home to lip liners, lip crayons, lip glosses (that I never wear), and the random lip balm. Some notables are the NYX Butter Glosses ($5 each), the Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in "Sultry" ($9.49), and the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil in "Manic" ($20). Everything else just kind of sits there.

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I share my nail polish drawer! The last of a week long makeup collection fest!

How do you organize your lipsticks/lip products?

xoxo Kayla

6 comments

7.23.2014

Makeup Collection: Eye Drawer Part II





It's day three of this week-long exploration through my makeup drawers! If you're just tuning in be sure to check out the posts on the base drawer and the eye and cheek drawer too! It wasn't until I moved into my second eye drawer that it really hit me just how much eye shadow I own. Will this realization stop me from buying more? Probably not.

This drawer contains all of my larger palettes including the Stila In the Light Palette ($39), the Urban Decay Naked Palette ($54), the LORAC Pro Palette ($42), theBalm's NUDE'tude Palette ($36), and the Sleek i-Divine Palette in "Vintage Romance" ($11.99). The smaller bin on the left has a few quads and smaller palettes that couldn't fit in the other drawer. I'm sure more palettes will be joining the Wet n Wild Comfort Zone Palette ($4.99), the Annabelle Quad Eyeshadow in "Java Jive" ($10.95) and the Catrice Absolute Eye Colour Palette in "040 Never Let Me Go!".

The front right bin contains all the open mascaras I'm working with at any given moment. There are usually a handful of samples and two full size mascaras. Right now I'm using my beloved L'Oréal Voluminous Volume Building Mascara ($7.99) and a not-so enjoyable Maybelline Volum' Express Pumped Up Colossal Mascara ($5.99). 

The back right bin is where my organization goes out the window. I just can't seem to find a good way of organizing eyeliners! They're all just thrown together doing their own thing with the ones I use most often gravitating towards the top of the heap. It's a jungle in there, but if you want me to sort it out and give you a more in depth look, just leave a comment!

This drawer definitely has the most room for growth but after this week's series it's obvious to me that I don't need to worry about filling it any time soon. Be sure to stick around for the next two days to see my lip product drawer and nail polish drawer!

How do you store your larger palettes?

xoxo Kayla
4 comments

7.22.2014

Makeup Collection: Eye & Cheek Drawer






All week I'm sharing with you what's in my makeup drawers. Yesterday was the base drawer and today we enter my eyes and cheek drawer. If you're interested in what containers I use, pop over to the base drawer post for all the details. The eye and cheek drawer is probably my favorite drawer out of my entire makeup collection. It contains the majority of my makeup and it just looks so darn pretty.

Starting at the front right of the drawer is my somewhat embarrassing collection of Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoos ($6.99 each). I love a lot of the permanent collection, but my little stash grew quite a lot during the quest for the limited edition Dare to Go Nude collection. A collection of all neutrals in one of my favorite formulas for eye shadows? Done. I also keep my eye shadow bases here including deluxe samples of the Urban Decay Primer Potion (full size $20) and the LORAC Behind the Scenes Primer (full size $21). My favorite primer has to be the NYX Eye Shadow Base in "Skin Tone" ($5).

The left front bin is a new addition to my organizational system after the arrival of fivKiko Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadows (€6,90). There are also a few shadow "stick" like products in this bin as well that I got from past Ipsy bags or beauty swaps.

The back right is home to the smaller eye shadow palettes and all of my single eye shadows. I have a few NYX palettes, one fantastic Almay offering, and a few other drugstore quads or duos. If you're interested in a more in depth look just let me know. I worry listing everything here will start to bore. The back slender bin houses a lot of LiSi single shadows, some NYX ones, and a few from Kiko.

Finally the back left bin sees the most new additions as I've been on a bit of a blush kick lately. Home to lovely blushes like theBalm's FratBoy ($21), Benefit's CORALista ($28), Tarte's "Peaceful" ($26), and a slew of drugstore blushes from e.l.f., NYX, Revlon, and more. Blush has become one of my favorite parts of my makeup routine and it's so easy to switch colors out without changing up a look too drastically.

Stay tuned the rest of the week to see the last few drawers of my makeup collection. If you want me to go into more detail about any of the bins in this drawer just leave a comment and I'll post a more in depth look!

What does your eye/cheek collection look like? What are some of your favorite blushes?

xoxo Kayla 
6 comments

7.21.2014

Makeup Collection: Base Drawer





Welcome to a week's worth of posts showing you my makeup collection! With Alex and I moving out of our apartment in the next few weeks I wanted to document my current makeup organization while sharing with all of you my collection. I've never done a collection post before so we'll see how this goes...

Up first is what I refer to as the "base drawer" of my IKEA Alex 9 Drawer ($119). I use varying sizes of the Like-It Brick Organizers that I get from Meijer. You can find them on Amazon but they're at least double the price. I keep all of my primers, foundations, concealers, and powders in this drawer. 

On the far right of the drawer is face primers. No surprise that the Stila One Step Correct ($36) is on top, but beneath it are large samples of Benefit's "That Gal" (full size $29), Benefit's the POREfessional (full size $31), and Almay's Smart Shade Perfect Correct Primer ($12.99) which I despise.

Next to it is my container for concealers. Although I primarily only use the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($29), I do mix it up with the Bobbi Brown Corrector ($25), Essence Match 2 Cover! Cream Concealer ($3.49) which is incredibly good if you are shopping on a budget, and a few random samples from past Ipsy Glambags.

On the far front left is where I keep my BB creams, tinted moisturizers, and mineral foundations. My most reached for our obviously my NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizers ($42), but I also really like theBalm's BalmShelter ($25). I'm still trying out the deluxe sample of the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (full size $43) and kind of hope I don't like it as I don't think I can justify buying more tinted moisturizers at such a high price tag. There's also the Mary Kay Mineral Powder Foundation ($18) which I'm almost positive is a touch too light for me and I'm not a fan of how it looks on my skin. I have fairly dry skin and it brings that out a bit too much for my liking. On top of that is a deluxe sample of the Bare Minerals ORIGINAL Foundation (full size $27) that I have yet to get into.

The back right bin contains all of my liquid foundations. I talked about the majority of them in this post, but I didn't mention the Maybelline Fit Me Foundation ($7.99) that I just don't get along with. It was one of the first foundations I purchased at the tail end of last year when I was starting to get into foundation and I'm pretty sure I went too light.

The back left bin is where things get a bit cluttered and I should probably separate the products into two containers. This is home to all my pressed powders, bronzers, and highlighters. The bin contains products like the Bourjois Java Rice Powder ($19.05), theBalm's Mary-Lou Mainzer ($25), Rimmel's Stay Matte Pressed Powder ($3.99), a deluxe sample of Benefit's Watt's Up (full size $30), and others.

So that's it! Stay tuned the rest of the week for posts about what's in my other makeup drawers!

How do you organize your makeup?

xoxo Kayla
4 comments

7.20.2014

We're Moving


I usually save lifestyle posts like this for my separate lifestyle blog, but with something as life-changing as this I thought I'd give it a spot on my beauty blog and do more detailed posts about the process on Microscope Life. Alex and I are moving at the end of the month. We've been in this apartment for year and when the lease started getting closer to being over we decided not to renew it. We made the very adult, scary decision to start looking for a house rather than rent.

We've found one that we love and have placed a bid on it, but its quite old with a few glaring issues and if our bid is accepted an inspection may show that it's not a wise choice to get the house. But we're excited. It's crazy that we're more nervous about getting the house and if we can fix it up more than the prospect of buying a home together. It's not scary or weird, it's just time. 

We'll find out in the next few days if the bid has been accepted (fingers crossed) and then things will really start moving. However in the meantime my parents have been kind enough to offer us the upstairs of their house (it's kind of like a small apartment) when our lease is up while we pursue the house or in a worst case scenario look for another apartment.

Any words of advice or encouragement are always appreciated. Send us good vibes that we can get the house and the inspection goes well!

xoxo Kayla
2 comments

7.19.2014

This Week's Most Loved #32


Italy feels like a distant memory now but at least I have some beauty products I brought back that can remind me of the adventures abroad. And boy are they good'uns. The Kiko Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadows (€6,90) are downright amazing, but I've been loving shades "06 Marrone Dorato" and "35 Rosa Calypso Perlato" specifically. "06" looks very bronze/gold and glittery in the stick but one wash on the lid gives you the perfect amount of color without looking like you've gold leaved yourself. "35" is perfect for the days I don't want to wear a neutral shade, but still looks natural. They last all day on the lids and make getting ready in the morning a breeze.

For liner the Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in "Damsel" ($20) has climbed to the top of the heap for being amazing at tight lining. I love that it's a dark brown so it's a lot more natural while still being noticeable. It's one of the most pigmented liners I've used that doesn't tug or disappear after a few hours. I feel ashamed that I hadn't tried it out sooner as it came with my Stila in the Light Palette. I always just assume the products in the palettes (brushes, etc.) aren't going to be the greatest. Silly, silly Kayla.

When I first got MAC's "Chatterbox" ($16) I was a bit worried that I had made a grievous mistake in getting something that was much brighter than I usually go, but it's been nothing but roses! "Chatterbox" is one of MAC's amplified lipsticks so the pinky coral really pops on the lips. It's still the brightest lipstick in my collection, but it looks oh so good on the lips. I've been loving wearing this with a more subtle eye to give a bit of color to my makeup. I love MAC's lipstick formulas and it lasts quite a while without looking patchy or weird. It's a win in my book.

What products have you been loving this week?

xoxo Kayla
1 comment

7.18.2014

Weekend Makeup


I'm definitely the type of person that lives for the weekend. Working an 8 to 5 job during the week doesn't leave much room for anything else, so the weekends are my saviors. It's when I do all my blogging, get to spend time exploring with Alex, and get to relax. From time to time I do like to wear a full face of makeup on the weekends, but more often than not I just keep things simple with these five products.

For base it has to be the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($42). It's just so easy and looks oh so good. Plus the built in SPF always helps. By the end of the week my dark circles are at full force so I can't be without the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($29) no matter how minimal my makeup is. Just as a note, this tube has last me way longer than I expected it would. I purchased a backup tube a month or so ago thinking I had to be near the end of this one, but there's still no end in sight. Definitely worth the price tag for product amount alone.

For eyes I've been loving the Kiko Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadows (€6,90). I use "06" the most often. They're so easy to quickly apply color to the lids and blend out with a finger. They're lasting power is also incredibly impressive. For mascara I have yet to find anything that tops the L'Oréal Voluminous Volume Building Mascara ($7.99). It separates the lashes while making them look fuller. The brush isn't weird and there are no gimmicks with this. It's just a good ol' mascara. 

To add a little color to my simple weekend looks I have been reaching for MAC's "See Sheer" ($16). It's a downright stunning orangey pink shade that doesn't look too out of place on the lids while still adding something extra. It's definitely become my go-to summer shade.

What makeup do you wear on the weekends? Is your routine simplified, do you wear the same amount, or do you go makeup free?

xoxo Kayla
5 comments

7.17.2014

Top 3 Foundations


After last week's Week of Foundations it became alarmingly clear which foundations are my favorites. I've compiled them into one convenient post to rave all about them.

Every time I use the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation ($16.20) I'm surprised at how uniquely wonderful it is. It's the only gel foundation I've ever used and it applies like a dream. I tend to apply my foundations with my fingers as I like a sheer, well blended finish. The coverage is on the medium side of things and it has some serious lasting power. You know my feelings about the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($42), and now that I have a darker shade a few steps up to mix with my too light shade, it's been nothing but rainbows and sunshine. I love having the ability to add a little more dark to my blend if I've gotten a lot of sun lately. I'll never have to worry if I have the right shade; I can make it. Finally, the Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation ($17.13) is a medium coverage offering that reminds me a lot of the Bourjois offering, but even closer to my skin tone. Another easily blend-able foundation that lasts ages and looks like I'm not wearing anything. Perfection.

What are you favorite foundations?

xoxo Kayla
12 comments

7.16.2014

Birchbox Man + Details


My boyfriend Alex received his second Birchbox Man box recently and I have a hoot reading his reviews on the products. So let's get into it!

Baxter of California Oil Free Moisturizer (Full size $22)
He used this after using Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash and it was a solid product. It did not make his face too oily nor did it leave it too dry. It had like an earthy plant based scent that wore away after a few minutes. Overall nothing fantastic, but also decent to use

COOLA Environmental Repair Plus Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion (Full size $32)
He was sun burnt from the 4th of July weekend and on the 5th he thought this would be a perfect time to try this lotion. It did not immediately cool the burn like aloe from the fridge but it did give long lasting moisture. He would use this over aloe because of how long it kept the burn under control without having to reapply it.

Odin 02 OWARI (Full size $145)
This was definitely a unique smell. You can almost guarantee that no one else will be wearing this smell. Not that it is bad but just very different. It had a spicy tone to it like a cayenne pepper but also a grapefruit citrus smell. So it made it a musky, spicy, fruity smell. He actually would use this again but just on special occasions like a club or maybe a first night out with a girl if he wants her to remember him the next day. (Oh yeah hun? Gonna go on a lot of dates!?? hahah)

Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash (Full size $26)
Second favorite thing that came in this box. You need to use about three or four pea size drops to get a solid lather built up. The scent it a minty/spearmint which before he used it thought he would not want on my face all day. He was wrong, the smell not only wakes you the f up and cleans your face like a momma lion licking its cub. The smell doesn't last and that was really nice.

Bread & Boxers Boxer Briefs ($18)
Number one item in the box right here. Apparently he's not allowed to get to "weird" but these are amazing. They just feel quality and he loves them. These fit awesome. He only wish they were not white because tidy-whites are just no bueno. 

So there you have it. Alex has quite a way of describing things...

Would you  buy a Birchbox subscription for a guy in your life?

xoxo Kayla
No comments

7.15.2014

A Week of Foundations


Last week around Wednesday while I was putting on my makeup it hit me. I hadn't used the same foundation twice this week. Thus started a brief yet noble quest to use a different foundation each day last week. I'm reporting back on my discoveries.

Monday: My go to base is almost 90% always the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($42). It's light but still covers up the redness that creeps its way onto my cheeks every now and again. It lasts all day and is just so easy. Why fuss with a good thing? But my foundation collection keeps growing regardless of the fact that I'm a happy camper with my NARS offering. #makeupaddictproblems

Tuesday: It was a weird transition Tuesday from the NARS Tinted Moisturizer to the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation ($16.20). I wore nothing but the Tinted Moisturizer in Italy and this was my first time back to wearing a foundation. The difference was noticeable, but not over the top. The Bourjois foundation is nearly as light as the NARS option, but its gel properties make it a touch different feeling on the skin. The healthy mix foundation is also a bit too light for my slightly tanned summer skin, but nothing some bronzer couldn't fix.

Wednesday: The Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation ($17.13) is the surprise of this week's experiment. As I said in my most recent This Week's Most Loved post, I had liked it when I first purchased it, but it didn't leave a lasting impression. As soon as I started applying this to my skin Wednesday it was like the heaven's opened up and shone a light on this baby. It's incredibly similar to the NARS Tinted Moisturizer but has a thicker coverage. It blends well into the skin (I use my fingers) and lasts ages. You'll definitely be hearing more about this soon.

Thursday: I used to rant and rave about my love for the L'Oréal True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup ($12.99), but this go around I was disappointed. The foundation didn't blend very well into the skin and left it looking off. It just didn't look all that natural regardless of how much I blended. The shade still matched my skin tone somewhat well, but all the love I felt for this foundation just evaporated. This is a new bottle so maybe that has something to do with it, but I'm bummed.

Friday: I wasn't too excited about today's foundation, but seeing as it was the only one I had left besides my oddly large collection of BB Creams and a Maybelline foundation I really should just give away to someone, I had to give it a try. The Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation ($10.49) just doesn't do it for me. It's not bad necessarily, I just have so many others I rather use before it. The coverage is alright, but like the L'Oréal foundation it just sits weird on the skin regardless of how much I blend it. Plus there isn't a pump which doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

It was fun mixing up my foundations and discovering some gems, ones that I just don't care for, and confirming my love for others. I highly recommend doing a little foundation week yourself, you never know what you have in your stash!

xoxo Kayla
5 comments

7.14.2014

Bad Beauty Habits


  • Not washing my brushes as much as I should
  • Not taking my makeup off at the end of the day
  • Not using up samples from the ever growing stash
  • Hording a bunch of the same color lipstick insisting that they're slightly different
  • Touching my face
  • Not moisturizing my body
  • Letting my eyebrows run amok and do their own thing
  • Favoring certain products over others and not sharing the love
What are your bad beauty habits?

xoxo Kayla
8 comments

7.13.2014

Bourjois Java Rice Powder



When I first started thinking about writing this review and taking the photos, I thought I had figured this product out and my feelings about it. Let me tell ya I didn't like it. This post got pushed back a bit on my editorial calendar and in the time I've kept trying to work with this product. Now I don't know how I feel about it.

At first the Bourjois Java Rice Powder ($19.03) was just too damn glittery. I've never used a product that made me feel like my face was a disco ball. Which really upset me as I had been coveting this product for months and kept seeing such amazingly positive reviews of it. Plus the vintage inspiring packaging always sends my heart a flutter. I just wasn't getting on with this product at all using the Real Techniques Buffing Brush ($18 core collection) to apply it.

However I switched to the Real Techniques Blush Brush ($9) and started to apply it with a much lighter hand and now I can see what all the fuss is about. Less is definitely more with this product, but a light coating of it to set my base left wonderful shimmery skin behind. It's tricky to use in my opinion, but if you're having a good makeup application day it can really add a little something extra to your final look.

The jury's still out on this product for me, but I'm beyond happy to finally have it in my possession. I'm going to keep working with it and hopefully find a fool proof way of making it work.

What are your thoughts on the Java Rice Powder? How do you apply it?

xoxo Kayla
5 comments

7.12.2014

This Week's Most Loved #31


Although I've only been back from Italy for a week, it feels like so much longer! I'm back into the swing of things at work, getting really into a project that's a personal dream of mine, and doing a lot of organizing. This week I pushed myself to try a lot of different products in my stash and have been incredibly happy with the results.

I found myself in a weird "wearing a different foundation every day" thing this week (more on this to come) and fell in love with the Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation ($11.98). I had enjoyed it back when I first picked it up during a trip to Canada, but it didn't "wow" me. This go around though and I'm definitely hooked. I like to blend foundations in with my fingers for a more sheer, natural look and this baby looks fantastic on the skin. Just enough coverage to smooth out any redness without looking cakey or heavy.

Another product I've had but haven't really gotten on with until now is the N.Y.C. Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder in "Sunny" ($2.79). Honestly, bronzers tend to freak me out. Too many images of awkward brown patches and looking like a clown come to mind. Yet this bronzer is light enough that it's nearly foolproof for someone as bronzer challenged as I am. It's really helped add a little extra to my foundations that are a bit too light for this time of year as well. Plus it's incredibly cheap which is always a bonus.


Finally I've really been loving my new Kiko Ultra Glossy Stylo SPF 15 in "Rosa Lampone" (€4,90) out of all the lipsticks I picked up while in Italy. It's unbelievably hydrating and the color payoff is insane. The shade is a bit more red than I would normally go, but I'm loving it to mix things up and try something new.

What products have you been loving this week?

xoxo Kayla
2 comments

7.11.2014

Rings & Tings Giveaway


The lovely people over at Rings & Tings just keep the beautiful jewelry coming! Rings & Tings has some really cute jewelry at reasonable prices and whenever I browse their website I fall in love with so many different items!

They send me products every month to review and I want to share the love and give some goodies away! I'm excited to be doing another giveaway this month as a thank you for supporting my blog and helping this little community grow! This month I'm giving away this double finger mustache ring, this cross ring similar to the one in this set, and this love necklace.

The giveaway is open internationally and will run for one week. If you're under 18 just make sure you have parental consent!


Thanks again for supporting this blog!

xoxo Kayla
2 comments

7.10.2014

The Souvenirs





So I may have gone a little heavy on the souvenir front this trip to Europe, but I couldn't be more thrilled to bring all these goodies back home with me. Transporting them over an ocean on a handful of different modes of transportation was definitely interesting, that's for sure.

The only thing I got while in Reggio came into my possession on our last day. We took a winding bus ride up a hill/mountain to Cavazzone, a restaurant and balsamic vinegar producer. We had a tour of how the balsamic vinegar was made and it was incredibly impressive and complex. Mom and I ended up picking up a few bottles for Alex, my dad, and Alex's parents. 

When we arrived in Venice the spending picked up exponentially. There were just so many beautiful shops with lovely things calling my name. The first things I picked up were glass candies from Murano. You could find glass pieces everywhere, but the candies were the only thing that really called to me. I ended up getting a dozen or so and then bought the glass bowl to put them all in. Then came the masks. I first bought the cat mask and thought I would be satisfied with just that, but then I decided I wanted to get Alex one. One thing led to the other and I ended up getting him the green long-nosed mask as well as the other two matching his and hers masks. I figured the his and hers ones would make for good decorations while the other two were for more "everyday use." Any excuse to buy more masks am I right?

This trip was amazing and I find it hard to believe it's actually over. I'm very happy to be home with Alex and my cat Tardis though. I'm sure I'll be itching to go on another adventure soon, but this time Alex is coming with me.

What kinds of souvenirs do you buy when on vacation or travelling?

xoxo Kayla

1 comment

7.09.2014

Eyeshadow Stick Haul



When I asked all of you what the one beauty product I had to get while in Italy was, I heard almost nothing but the Kiko Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadows (€6,90). So naturally I bought four of them, and one from the brand Deborah Milano for good measure.

Shade "05 Marrone Rosato" was on the top of my list after I saw a post by Life, Set Sail. The pigmentation, the color. Swoon. It's a lovely dark brown that will definitely see its fair share of use in the future. I also couldn't help but scoop up shade "06 Marrone Dorato" which looks like its sister but with more gold. 

I then gravitated towards the pinks, picking up two shades "35 Rosa Calypso Perlato" and "36 Malva Dorato". I love using pink shades to mix up my looks without going too far into the realm of color and these two are perfect together. One lighter for all over the lid and the other darker with some mauve tones to define. It's love.

Being the equal makeup opportunist that I am, I also picked up the Deborah Milano Extra Pearly Stick Eyeshadow in "01 Majestic Gold". Light tan shades are my favorite on days where I want a no makeup makeup look and I ended up wearing this quite a lot during the end of my Italy trip.

These sticks are so unbelievably creamy and easy to use. I won't go into proclaiming my love for them too much as I'm sure they'll be repeat visitors to Microscope Beauty.

Have you tried the Kiko Stick Eyeshadows before? What's your favorite brand for eyeshadow sticks?

xoxo Kayla
1 comment

7.08.2014

Italian Makeup Haul





I definitely made out like a bandit on the Italian beauty front. Two trips to Kiko, a stop into Coin, and a short look in a stand-alone Deborah store and I flew home with quite a lot of new products. 

Starting with Kiko as I bought the most items from their stand-alone stores in Florence and Venice, I couldn't avoid their limited edition summer line and got myself the Kiko Rock Attraction Blush in "06 Visionary Sienna" (€6) and the Kiko Glow Touch Lips and Cheeks in "105 Analogic Nude" (€3). "Visionary Sienna" is the darkest blush I own, but it comes off incredibly well on the skin without looking out of place. I love the denim looking design in the product. I'm excited to play around with the Lips and Cheeks tin as I haven't had a product clearly marketed for two different uses. It's a lovely coral shade that leans more on the darker side which is something I don't have in my ever growing blush collection either.

I picked up two eyeshadows from Kiko as well and a handful of eyeshadow sticks (which will be featured in another post). I gravitated towards "137" (€2,90) and "133" (€2,90) immediately for crease and outer corner colors. "137" is a reddish brown tone that will add a nice twist to my everyday neutral eye look. "133" is just your run-of-the-mill perfect dark brown shade. I haven't really played with these two yet so I'll report back with my thoughts once I do. At the last minute I put the Mat Base Corrector Primer (€8,90) in my cart curious to see how this primer compares to my beloved Stila One Step Correct. I used it for the first time today and must say I'm not crazy about it. I'll use it a few more times to form a full opinion, but it's definitely not the greatest.

For lips I purchased the Kiko Smart Lipstick in "Rosa Palissandro" (€3,90), the Kiko Ultra Glossy Stylo SPF 15 in "Rosa Lampone" (€4,90) and the Kiko Ultra Glossy Lip Pencil in "603" (€1). When I got back to the hotel I realized how similar the two lipsticks actually were (I'm too good at picking mauve rose shades), but they're different enough that I convinced myself I still needed them. I really like both of their consistencies and they seem to last quite a while. I haven't given the lip pencil a go yet.

Taking a step away from Kiko I purchased a few other brands that I know aren't readily accessible in the states. The Pupa Vamp! Cream Eyeshadow in "Iced Coffee" (€11,70) is the creamiest cream eyeshadow I've tried to date. I also like that although it's a bronzey shade, it's on the cooler side which I usually don't gravitate towards. The packaging is heavy duty and lovely. I'm excited to play with this more. Another product that sucked me in was the Pupa Like a Doll Cream Blush in "Doll Pink" (€13, 60). I worry this is going to end up being too sheer on the cheeks, but the texture and consistency is amazing and if it can be built up it's going to be a really lovely product.

The Catrice Absolute Eye Colour Palette in "040 Never Let Me Go!" caught my eye primarily for the packaging. I loved the clear hard plastic case and the shades persuaded me to add it to my basket. These shades are definitely on the cooler side of things as well. I also couldn't escape without one nail polish. The Catrice Ultimate Nail Lacquer in "GaLILACxy" is stunning and was on my nails the remainder of the trip. It seems quite sheer when inside, but when natural light hits it this baby glimmers and shines purples, pinks, and silvers.

Finally I got another rose mauve lipstick (I apparently can't have too many) from Deborah Milano. The Il Rossetto in "800" ended up coming home with me and I'm quite on the fence about it. The color is more red than pink and it sits dry on the lips. I may have a dud with this one.

Stay tuned tomorrow for when I share the eyeshadow sticks I picked up. Overall I'm really satisfied with my loot! Have you picked up any new beauty bits lately? 

xoxo Kayla
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