Highlighter Battle

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I own two very raved about highlighters and I definitely have a favorite. The Josie Maran Argan Illuminizing Powder and The Balm’s Mary-Lou Manizer are in the same color family but The Balm is by far more vibrant and blends effortlessly.

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The first swatch is The Balm and the next is Josie Maran. As you can see, both illuminizer are gold, neutral tone.

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Overall, the highlighter from The Balm packs more of a punch and is smoother in application, making it the clear winner.

Wearing Mary-Lou Minizer in this photo:

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Bow tie hair!

Bow tie hair!

Zoya Godiva with China Glaze For Audrey.

Zoya Godiva with China Glaze For Audrey.

Neon Pink Lip Color

The Sephora Luster Matte Long-Wear Lip Color in Magenta is the perfect electric, neon pink shade that applies smoothly, is opaque in one coat and is long lasting without being drying.

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The color does transfer during eating and drinking but it leaves behind an even and slightly more subtle stain that lasts for hours. This scent-less, non-sticky lip shade is perfect for special occasions or for every day wear with the more subtle shades.

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The formula is lightweight and doesn’t accentuate lip lines and the doefoot applicator is soft and flexible making for easy application.

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This isn’t marketed as a natural lippie but the shade is too unique to pass up.

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Have you tried any shades from this line?

~ Elmira

Spa Water

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Making your own spa water is an easy way to keep hydrated and avoid the sugary drinks during the warmer months.

This refreshing blend of cucumber, lemon slices and mint leaves is one of my favorite combinations. I love experimenting with a medley of flavors and will try a berry version next time.

Pink & White Mani

This week’s DIY manicure was inspired by these gorgeous white and pink speckled roses.

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I used a medium sized dotting tool, although the rounded end of a bobby pin will do the trick, to add some interest to this bubble gum pink Deborah Lippmann shade in “I Kissed a Girl.” The white polish by Wild and Crazy in “Montana” works well because it’s opaque in one coat.

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Hope you’re having a happy Sunday.

~ Elmira

Charming Charlie Jewels

I’m a fan of costume jewelry, but won’t pay high-end prices. So, I was pleasantly surprised by the bling stock available at Charming Charlie, both online and in-store.

The jewels are color coordinated and beautifully displayed. They carry everything from bold, neon colored pieces to dainty items. Here are the pieces I purchased.

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This emerald necklace is quite weighty, but beautiful. It’s marked down to $8.99 from $18.

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This $15 clear rhinestone necklace will pair nicely with so many outfits and is also available in silver. It’s very lightweight.

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The filigree earrings are on sale for $3.99!

They also carry a few J.Crew inspired pieces for a fraction of the price, like this crystal bib necklace.

I’ve only worn the items a few items but I think they’ll hold up well, especially since I keep my jewelry away from perfumes, lotions and store them properly.

What’s your favorite store for costume jewelry?

~ Elmira

13 All-Stars of 2013

2013 was filled with new beauty discoveries and old favorites. Here are my most-loved beauty products from the past year.

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1. I’ve raved about Jojoba oil in previous posts, but the one from the Jojoba Company was the only face moisturizer I used in 2013.

2. Bite Beauty’s lipstick in Musk is not only my perfect nude shade, but it applies smoothly, wears well and is very moisturizing. It’s a bit pricy but also a high quality brand.

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3. Kat Von D’s Bellisima blush is a wearable peach-tone shade with a slight sheen. It’s pigmented and blends easily.

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4. At first, I wasn’t a fan of this highlighter by Josie Maran because it’s powdery and was too subtle for my taste. But once I put away my brushes and applied it with my fingers, I saw its true beauty. It’s a neutral shade, not too gold or pink and is appropriate for day and night. It works well as an eyeshadow, too.

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5. The dual-ended creamy pencil by 100% Pure has been a staple in my collection. I’ve used it as eyeliner and an eyeshadow base. I especially love the chocolate shade when doing a smokey eye.

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6. China Glaze Glistening Snow nail polish is a must-have for all glitter lovers. It makes for gorgeous nail art or can be worn solo.

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7. Jane Iredale’s Berry lipliner is smooth enough to be worn as lipstick and has decent lasting power.

8. Everyday Minerals is by far the best mineral powder I’ve used. They offer a wide shade range and various finishes.

9. This favorite is sadly discontinued, but the Josie Maran Argan Blend Concealer is definitely a standout product and I’ll surely miss it once it’s gone. If you have a favorite natural concealer, please let me know.

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10. Alba Botanica’s Unpetroleum Jelly is my favorite lip balm.

11. For most of 2013, I used organic, cold-pressed coconut oil as a body moisturizer. It absorbs quickly and smells delicious. I opt for the 54 oz. tub by Carrington Farms, split it into two containers and use one for beauty and the other for cooking. Here’s a helpful post listing 101 uses for coconut oil.

12. My number one pimple zapper continues to be Sibu’s Seabuckthorn Seed Oil. If you suffer from breakouts, you need this bottle in your life.

13. Finally, the leave-in conditioner by Kinky Curly makes combing through my post-shampooed hair a breeze. And, it smells like a tropical cocktail.

~ Elmira

Glistening Snow by China Glaze pairs beautifully with any nail polish shade and is an easy way to inject a bit of sparkle into your manicure.

Glistening Snow by China Glaze pairs beautifully with any nail polish shade and is an easy way to inject a bit of sparkle into your manicure.

DIY Facial

Hi, friends

I recently came down with the flu and used the steam facial method to help relieve my congestion, and was reminded of its amazing skin benefits.

Although I’m sick and sleep deprived, my skin glowed after a few minutes of breathing in the steam from the boiling water while tucked under a blanket.

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Afterward, I hovered my hands over the steam and they, too, feel silky soft. This ancient method works wonders, and is especially helpful during the colder months.

Quick, natural and free skincare fixes are the best, right?

Hope you’re all having a wonderful Sunday.

~ Elmira