Thursday, November 29, 2012

How I Clean & Dry My Makeup Brushes! ♥

Cleaning your makeup brushes can seem like a daunting task. There they are, dirty brushes calling your name. "Alli....Clean Me!" After hours of procrastination you finally give in. Well, that's how it goes for me anyway.  So it may not be the most fun thing but it is definitely very important. Aside from the major issue of sanitation (dirty brushes = dirty skin), clean brushes are just so much more enjoyable and easy to work with.  It keeps them soft and ensures that they hold pigment evenly in the bristles, making for an even layer of application and easier blending. Clean brushes are like a breath of fresh air.  Besides listing all of the reasons why you should take care of your brushes, in the video below I'll show you how I keep my most precious beauty tools squeaky clean.  All you need is a good brush cleaner (I love my MAC Brush Cleanser), some towels and well... a sink! 

*BTW dont mind the weird tan lines in this video.  I self tan and usually it wears off a bit more around my wrists cause I wear bracelets and stuff but the lighting makes it REALLY obvious in this video for some reason lol!  Oh well...enjoy!!

My Must-Have Winter Accessories

I thought I'd spread the fashion love today by talking about the accessories I've been wearing non-stop so far this season. I think these particular pieces have gotten so much use because they seem to coordinate with a LOT of different looks while still being fashionable and fun. Accessories do a lot to enhance an outfit and, depending on which ones you choose, can totally change the look and feel of what you're wearing. I like to invest in trendy accessories from season to season and pair them with the staple pieces in my wardrobe to create a look that is on-trend without breaking the bank on larger, pricier items. The best part? Most of these accessories came from a recent trip to .... can you guess? TARGET! That place is so dangerous for me....

Burgundy beret, Target - I've been loving rich, wine-hued faux fur vests and pants this season. But, again you don't have to invest a ton of money to rock the oxblood trend. This chunky knit beret incorporates a pop of burgundy and it's one of those no-brainer items that you can grab and go. I also have an infinity scarf in the same color. A piece like this is very doable and commitment-free... not to mention it keeps you warm and toasty ;)

Faux Fur Infinity scarf, Target - This is so versatile and I love how it gives that bohemian feel, just a little more luxurious ;) This scarf is the perfect wintertime accent to any top, sweater or jacket. It can immediately add that "glam factor" to an otherwise run-of-the-mill ensemble.

Metallic Python Envelope Bag, you guessed it, Target! - anytime I wanna dress up an outfit I leave my daytime purse at home and grab a clutch-style bag.  But that doesn't mean they have to be tiny. This oversized metallic python bag is still sleek making it easy to tote around with you. It also adds texture and shine to any outfit and the neutral color means it matches pretty much anything.

*JustFab "Keena" sneaker wedges (October Lookbook) - I've been eyeing the Isabel Marant sneaker wedges for a while but I'm not gonna lie, the price tag makes me cringe. This pair from JustFab is a much more affordable option and a dead-ringer for their high-fashion counterpart. I know this is more of an urban trend and it might not be for everyone. However, I ADORE these because I've been able to pair these babies with so many looks. Jeans, skirts, leopard print, flowey blouses, motorcycle jackets, military jackets... the list goes on and on. They also help to elongate your legs while still keeping your overall look casual and sporty.

 H&M studded belt - Just because, well... I love studs. A trendy belt always comes in handy. Wear it with a dress to add a metallic accent or belt an oversized shirt or sweater to take it from slouchy to structured with one little accessory.

Rhinestone spike earrings, Charming Charlie (I have a blog post all about this magical place) - I've always been drawn to gold jewelry and geometric accents so naturally these earrings have been my go-to. I just love how over-the-top and fierce they are.

Mint Green watch, Target - There's nothing wrong with incorporating some color into your look, any time of the year! Especially since winter clothes can get sooo serious sometimes. This candy-colored watch by the "Xhilaration" brand makes me happy when I look at it and for $15 it totally works within any budget.

Here's a look at how I recently paired some of these items together:

Thanks for checking out this post and pardon my somewhat amateur-ish photographs. I'm relatively new to fashion blogging ;P You can expect another beauty-related post from me later today!

Monday, November 26, 2012

I ♥ Perfume Tag + Collection Overview

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. A few days and a couple bowls of green bean casserole later, I'm back with another tag/collection video! This time it's all about my perfumes and fragrances.  I only started really getting into experimenting with different scents a few years ago so I don't have an extravagant collection but the ones that I do have I love...a lot!  Choosing the perfect scent can represent the same kind of self expression as applying different makeup looks, and we all know I'm more than a little fond of that...Fragrances can change your mood, make you feel empowered and ultra-feminine, youthful or more grown-up.

Recently I was tagged by Tracy and Stefanie of EleventhGorgeous to do the I Love Perfume Tag that they created!  I could really go on all day about my favorite perfumes but I thought these tag questions would be much more interesting ;)

::Tag Questions::

 1. What was your first perfume you ever purchased?

2. What's your signature perfume?
Miss Dior Cherie. Now just called "Miss Dior" but the same fragrance for the most part

3. What's your most recent perfume purchase?
Coach Poppy

4. What perfume would you wear at nighttime/date night?
Chanel Coco Mademoiselle

5. What's your favorite spring/summer perfume?
Kenzo Flower Tag and Kenzo Amour

6. What's your favorite fall/winter perfume?
Jimmy Choo

7. What's your favorite scent category? (fruity, floral, fresh, oriental, woody)

8. What perfume are you currently lusting after?
Dot Marc Jacobs

9. What fragrance/cologne do you like on your significant other?
Gucci by Gucci, Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio Pour Home

Let me know, what are your answers to the tag questions? Your favorite perfumes?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sigma Performance Eyes Kit *First Impressions*

This post was originally meant to be a "beauty wish list" blog post, but I was finally able to try out the *Sigma Performance Eyes Kit and give a mini-review and my first impressions! This kit is made up of eight brushes specifically designed for precise application of cream and powder products, and as always the packaging was as beautiful as the brushes themselves.

I've been testing them out for about a week and I've already noticed how convenient they are when doing colorful looks. You can easily pack on color in precise areas without them all blending together and looking muddy, which can happen when using a "clunkier" brush. I immediately thought of all the holiday looks I could do with these babies... the possibilites are endless!

 Although I thought all of the brushes were pretty genius, of course I had a few immediate favorites...

Left to Right:

E46 - Shader - Inner Corner: Apply highlight shades onto the inner corner of the eye. 

E56 - Shader - Lid: Controlled application of  color onto precise areas of the lid.  I'm loving this one for applying color or highlight shades into the inner corner :)

E47 - Shader - Crease: Application of deep shades onto the crease. This one was my favorite in the kit. It makes applying any dark or black eyeshadow completely effortless. I've always loved using my pencil brushes to apply black shadow in the "tiny V" area of the crease but always had to go back with a fluffier brush if I had any harsh lines. The E47 is tiny AND fluffy so it blends as it places the color (magic!) and is perfect for dramatic looks.  I love it!

E36 - Blending: Precise blending of powder products onto small areas of the eye. I've been using this one to apply a glowy, fresh-faced highlight into the inner corner of the eye. I always find that applying a highlight shade with a fluffy brush allows the light to reflect through the pigments in the shadow and the result is instant bright eyes! This one is smaller and a little more "agile" than the brushes I usually use for that which is a nice change.

L to R:

E17 - Waterline Liner: Apply cream or gel liners onto the lower waterline. 

E16 - Tightline Liner: Press gel, cream or liquid products onto the upper lash line.  Fill in the space between lashes.  I haven't been using a lot of cream gel eyeliners lately but I've just purchased a few of the Maybelline Gel Liners in various colors and I can't wait to dip in with these! I used the E16 to tightline my eyes with a powder eyeshadow and it seemed to have a nice reach since it's a bit longer than the waterline liner brush.

L to R:

E11 Eye Liner: Use with gel or cream liner to create detailed and artistic effects. So far I haven't needed the precision of the E11 (this guy is TINY). I could see it being perfect for a dramatic double winged liner look and adding color to the lower lashline.

E21 Smudge: Precise application and smudging of color onto the upper and lower lash lines.  I feel like the E21 is the new and improved version of the E20.  Although I still love that little smudge brush, the one that comes with the Performance Eyes Kit seems to be easier to work with due the the bristles that are a touch longer and more flexible than the E20.  It helps to be able to smoke out the lower lash line to perfection without getting that scratchy feeling that can result from more tightly-packed, natural bristles. My old smudge brush was great for stamping color but I feel the E21 is more ideal for actual smudging. It works beautifully.

I've been pretty excited about trying this set for a while. I just thought it was such a brilliant idea to create specialized brushes geared towards more elaborate looks. However, a bunch of these (like the E21, E56, E47 and E36) have been coming in handy in my every day makeup routine and I've pretty much made them go-to's. And I'm always a fan of any beauty tool that makes my life easier. A few of the more precision-geared eyeliner brushes seem to be more useful if you are doing fairly detailed looks on a regular basis. My first thought was obviously a professional makeup artist or someone who just really, REALLY loves their eyeliner looks ;) Also, I think this kit would be extremely beneficial to someone with smaller eyes or hooded lids and the smaller sizes make them perfect for sultry, smokey eyes!

I'm headed off to visit some friends and family for the infamous Thanksgiving Eve ;) 

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and enjoyed my first impressions of the latest brushes to be added to my beauty collection!

Monday, November 19, 2012

My Favorite Eyeliners: Drugstore & High End

Today I thought I would cross a video off my to-do list and do a round-up of my favorite eyeliners in a range of different colors and price points.  I realized towards the end of filming this video that I included a lot of products, but you should see all of the pencils and little gel liner pots that didn't make the cut!  

For me an excellent eyeliner must possess two main qualities: it should be easy to work with and have great color payoff, regardless of the color. Throw in some decent staying-power and you have yourself a winner!  I'm happy to be able to include a bunch of affordable options from the drugstore, as well as some of my guilty pleasures from more high-end brands. 

Products Mentioned:

-MAC Blacktrack Fluidline

-Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Liner in Eggplant

-Maybelline Line Stiletto

-Maybelline Master Precise

-Loreal Carbon Black Extra-Intense Liquid Pencil Eyeliner

-Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal eyeliner

-Covergirl Silver Spark Liquiline Blast

-Maybelline Master Drama in Saphire Strength

-Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On eyeliners in Perversion, Demolition and Bourbon

*To see how I apply my ultimate fave, my Maybelline Master Precise Eyeliner, refer to my Everyday Eyeliner tutorial.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Week in Instagram Photos

This week was spent trying to catch up on work and makeup-y goodness before the craziness of the Thanksgiving holiday ensues. One of my most successful ventures was a little trip to Target, which I might add is a very, very dangerous place for me.  A few weeks back I donated three huge garbage bags of old clothes, some items I had shamefully been hiding in the back of my dresser drawers since high school. It was time. It felt like a huge weight was lifted after I dropped off the donated clothing and what was even better, I now had a scarily significant amount of space for new stuff in my half-empty closet! Check out the Outfit of the Day Instagram pic below to see the the great accessories I found on my little shopping trip...

Found this old pic of me getting my art on.

A screencap of me filming my latest Ulta Haul (I got some good stuff, have you seen it?)

Just because I love dog noses.  My Dad sent me this epic photo of my parent's dog, Edie.

Look who snuck into this picture! That's my cat, Biscuit, by the way ;)  Here is a look at some of those Target finds: a faux fur infinity scar, metallic envelope clutch and my beloved mint-green watch ($15!).

This is a peak at the tutorial I currently have in the works,  I think I might actually re-film this one to get the colors just right. It needs a bit more holiday "pizazz".  But hey, at least its a nice close up of my new favorite watch! lol.

My blog wasn't very busy this week so I think this weekly post is a great way to keep you guys updated on what is going on with me. Thanks for checking back and hope your Monday isn't too manic ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ulta Beauty HAUL!

Not many things can make me school-girl giddy like shopping for makeup and beauty products during pre-holiday time. I have a very certain idea of what I'm looking for and usually it's glittery and jewel-toned. On a recent trip to Ulta I purchased a few things that fit this description and some others that are a little out of the ordinary for me. So I thought I'd film a little video and show you all what I found while cashing in my coupons and rewards points.  Chances are you'll be seeing a few of these products in the near future!  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Week in Instagram Pics

Hi everyone!  Sundays are always a day for me to relax, unwind and of course catch up on some of my favorite shows on DVR ;)  It's also a day to reflect on the past week and look forward to the days ahead. Tonight I felt like doing some late-night blogging (it's technically Monday morning), and I thought I might start a tradition here on my blog. Every Sunday, or as close as I can get, I'll be sharing some highlights of my recent activities through the eyes of my Instagram snapshots.  IG is a fun place for me to keep you updated on my random activities and give sneak peeks to upcoming videos.  If you don't already follow me there and on Twitter I'm easy to find: @MakeupByAlli

Earlier this week I made a trip back home to visit my parents. It's always nice to get out of the city and be back home in the cozy comfort of the small town I grew up in. While I was there I was able to visit with some of my close, long-time friends and surprise, surprise.. also did a little impromptu makeup and beauty shopping during a quick trip to Wal-Mart. I shared some of my drugstore beauty finds in the photo below, but I also stocked up on some new, sparkly makeup for holiday tutorials earlier today. It's safe to say you can be expecting a few hauls in the near future!

A comfy Outfit of the Day for my car trip back to my hometown. I love to wear my graphic tees all year round and pairing them with a faux fur vest and chunky statement necklace remixes those kinds of tops for fall.

I can always count on my mom to stock the fridge with pumpkin roll this time of year - a Pennsylvania staple and my favorite fall dessert! The cream cheese filling is to die for :)

I headed to Wal-Mart for some drugstore makeup goodness, so far I've been loving the Maybelline Lasting Drama eyeliner in Eggplant!

My first Sephora catalog arrived in the mail. It was aptly named "A Beautiful Blizzard", since it arrived during the first snowfall of the year.

I broke out my Sleek "Oh So Special" palette this week, it has a pretty and unexpected color assortment for fall. Stay tuned for a holiday tutorial ;)

A pic from dinner at a local sushi spot. Josh landed the big job he interviewed for so we had to pop some champagne to celebrate :)

I always admire the care that goes into Sigma product packaging. I'm so looking forward to test-driving these precise little brushes from the Performance Eyes Kit.

 Taking a break while filming my Mascara Routine video.

I made an effort to use up some of my skin care samples I've been accumulating after cashing in my Sephora points. I'll be saving a select few to throw in my makeup bag during my holiday travels in the coming weeks :)

I hope you enjoyed these little photographic tidbits from my week.  I love sharing the world through my eyes on my blog and it seems to have cured my insomnia ;)  Thanks for stopping by and I'll be back with more posts later in the week!

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My Mascara Routine + Tips!

It's been awhile since I've gone into a lot of detail about how I apply my mascara. Usually I don't have a lot of time to show that step in great detail during my regular makeup tutorials and it seems that application would be pretty standard, right??

*Wiggle the mascara from the roots to the ends of your lashes* We've all heard that one a few times.

Actually, I got to thinking about it and there's a lot more to enhancing your lashes than meets the eye.... sorry for the shameless pun, couldn't help myself.   

There are different ways to flare out your lashes for a fluttery, flirtacious look and there are places NOT to apply it to keep your eyes looking brighter. Not to mention the fact that I apply my mascara completely backwards to begin with (ends to roots). I know, I know... such a rebel ;) Who would've thought there could be so much to a seemingly simple step in your makeup routine.  In the accompanying video I'll show you some of my favorite tricks to getting long, full lashes without using falsies, just a trusty drugstore mascara. If you're interest in checking out some of my must-have mascaras, refer to my favorite mascara post.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

October 2012 Beauty Favorites!

Today we had our very first snowfall of the year! I always get a little giddy when I see flurries. It takes me back to snow days as a kid and it means that the holidays are on their way - and that means holiday tutorials are soon to follow :)  Okay I'll try not to get too far ahead of myself. There will be many of those to come but this post is all about my favorite beauty products of October 2012!  This month was all about the drugstore lip products.  I was super excited to try the new Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Suede lipsticks and even more excited to finally track down "Backstage", the coveted burgundy that was sold out almost everywhere!  I've been loving the wearable colors and comfortable formula of this new long-wear lip color collection. Get a peek at those and my other monthly faves in the video below!

October Favorites:

-Jimmy Choo perfume

-Josie Maran Argan Illuminizer

-NYX "In The Woods" eyeshadow trio

-Urban Decay Secret Service eyeshadow

-Maybelline Expert Wear eyeshadow in Linen

-Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Suede lipsticks in Socialite and Backstage

-Maybelline Blissful Berry lipstick
(My Bold Berry lip tutorial using this lipstick)

-Elf Nail Polishes

-Feather necklace & Studded bracelet from Charming Charlie

Thanks for checking back and I hope you're having a wonderful week!! 

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Favorite Highlighting Products.. and a quick update!

Hi everyone!

Wow, has it been a long couple of days! I hope that you all stayed safe during the craziness of Hurricane Sandy. Here in Philadelphia we only lost power for about a day and the worst of the storm definitely came by way of the loudest howling winds I've ever heard in my life. I feel so lucky though, since many others on the East coast didn't fare as well. There are hundreds of uprooted trees all over my neighborhood and I can only imagine what it looks like in places where the storm hit the hardest. I was definitely counting my blessings this week.


Adding to the insanity were my technical difficulties. Some of you may know I use natural daylight to film my videos. Since we haven't even so much as seen a glimpse of the sun in well over a week, I was motivated to finally run out and purchase a new camera that performs better in cloudy conditions - as soon as the storm passed of course. That brings it's own new set of challenges ;)  I'm trying my best to learn my way around this new contraption - it has many more buttons than my last one.  But today I thought I would film a quick video on a bright and radiant topic, my favorite highlighting products! Check out the full list of my faves below and the video, too!  As you may have noticed I've been filming close-ups a bit differently until I figure out the focus on this thing. Hope you enjoy!

Photo from my Instagram - @MakeupByAlli

Products Mentioned:
-MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Lightscapade
-NARS The Multiple in "Copacabana"
-Lorac Perfectly Lit Spotlight
-Josie Maran Argan Illuminizer
-Hard Candy Blush Crush Baked Blush 125 "Living Doll"
-Hard Candy Glow All The Way "Doll Face" face and body luminizer

What are your favorite ways to get glowing this fall/winter season?

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