theBalm Cyber Monday 2016 haul

I know, it’s February. Cyber Monday was in late November. *shrugs*

Everything on was 50% off on Cyber Monday. I’ve always had my eye on these guys gals, so I took advantage of the sale and nabbed them.

I recently realized that I have A LOT of cheek products from theBalm, way more than any other brand. theBalm tends to show up on Hautelook at 50% off a few times a year, which is where I’ve purchased most of products. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a product from theBalm at full price, actually.

The Manizer Sisters

thebalm the manizer sisters mary lou manizer cindy lou manizer betty lou manizer

Ah, The Manizer Sisters. These cult-classics barely need an introduction nor explanation; Mary-Lou Manizer in particular has been hyped and raved about on many a beauty blog. In fact, it was my very first highlighter, which I bought after reading all the aforementioned hype and raves. I used it almost exclusively for a few years… until highlighters became the next *it* thing and suddenly I ended up with scores of them. #truestory

Mary-Lou Manizer languished in my drawer for awhile, and when I decided to use it again, I discovered that it had developed a distinct crayon-like smell. It had turned rancid. D: I have NEVER had a powder product turn rancid, but it definitely did not smell like crayons when I first bought it! Stubbornly, I continued to use it for a few months until common sense took over and I got rid of it.

I had bought Cindy-Lou Manizer as well, also from Hautelook. Unfortunately, it arrived shattered. They refunded me, and I tried to re-press the powder with alcohol. It worked, sorta. But I subconsciously avoided it, probably because it was no longer pristine. I know, I’m neurotic. Eventually, it cracked again and I threw it out.

Despite having owned full sizes of both Mary-Lou and Cindy-Lou, then throwing them both away, they each made enough of an impression on me that I wanted to repurchase them one day. When I saw that this palette contained all three of them, albeit in smaller sizes (3g each vs. 8.5g for the full size), I knew I’d pick it up if I ever saw it on sale. Who says Christmas wishes don’t come true??


thebalm the manizer sisters mary lou manizer cindy lou manizer betty lou manizer swatches

Mary-Lou is an intensely reflective yellow-gold highlight. You definitely need a light hand with this to prevent it from looking stripe-y and makeup-y (unless that’s the look you’re going for. In which case, pile it on!). I loved it when it was the only highlighter I owned, but nowadays I look for a more subdued finish. Mary-Lou is quite blingy, and I find it too much for most day-time looks. It can be toned down, of course, with lots of blending.

Cindy-Lou is a peachy pink highlight/blush topper. Unlike Mary-Lou, the finish is not nearly as frosty. On my skin tone, it’s too light to use as a blush, but a touch too dark to use as a traditional highlighter. Honestly, I haven’t used it much because I don’t what to pair it with. I’ll experiment with it a bit more and post a FOTD if I manage to find a good use for it.

Betty-Lou is a bronzer. To be honest, I’m a little intimidated by Betty-Lou. I’ve used it exactly once so far. It just looks so orange and frosty; not exactly the type of color I’d go for on my face. Don’t get me wrong: I’d happily use it as an eyeshadow. But it scares me a little bit as a bronzer.

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My first (and probably last) ColourPop haul

After a few years of resisting, I finally made a ColourPop haul.

The L.A. brand ColourPop is well known on Instagram and the beauty blogosphere. They’re trendy, cutesy, and cool. I love their ad campaigns and I appreciate their diversity when it comes to their models.

However, I do find that their whole vibe is bit too precious for me. I’m in the mid-to-older end of the millennials; maybe I’m just too old to “get it.” Maybe I’m just not cool enough, honestly. Womp womp.

Thinly veiled self-pity aside, here’s a look at what I picked up:

colourpop haul

The Jenn Ne Sais Quoi collab is no longer available, so I don’t know why I’m even bothering to show you swatches of it. But lookit, it literally has my name on it! Maybe I am a cool kid after all! :D

Also, I always appreciate a little extra effort in the packaging and shipping process. Look at this adorable thank-you note they sent with my order:

colourpop haul booklet

It’s an elephant butt! Cute!

They also sent a brochure explaining their different products and how best to use them. Again, love the promo shots. The makeup looks effortless and achievable, which is very important to me!

colourpop jenn ne sais quad

Here’s the Jenn Ne Sais Quad, the item I was most excited about. These four colors are right up my alley. Warm, rusty browns with a shimmery metallic accent. Yes, please.

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We arrived back in Hawaii on Friday night. As usual, my plans to either schedule posts while I was gone, or work on posts while in London didn’t happen. I am probably the laziest blogger in the world. Sigh.

Anyway, I thought I’d do a quick and dirty post of the beauty things I brought back. It’s always fun to look at the stuff we can’t get easily in the States!


Stopped by KIKO and picked up a clear lip liner to replace the Urban Decay one that dried out. Also bought two more of their Long-lasting Eyeshadow sticks, in a matte black and a matte greige taupe.

My friend wanted the gorgeous TopShop Chameleon eyeshadow in Shuffle the Cards, and who can blame her? I swatched another Chameleon color called Changeling, and it had to come home with me. It’s the prettiest purple-green-pink shift!!

My mom and I both bought a Bourjois foundation. I picked up the Healthy Mix in the shade 53, to mix with the Healthy Mix Serum I have in 52, which is currently too light for me. Since we spent over £12 on Bourjois, Superdrug was having a promotion and gave me a free GWP. I don’t normally wear gray smoky shades, but I’ll give it a try anyway.

As you can see, I kept the number of items to a minimum. However, that doesn’t mean I kept the spending to a minimum, because…


Yep. I bought the unicorn Suqqu Cheek Brush. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s the brush Lisa Eldridge uses in practically every single video. It’s stupid expensive and hard to get a hold of. I can’t even really afford it right now. I was content to put it on my wish list and buy it eventually, one day… But since the pound is so weak (sorry guys), and I’m still eligible to claim back the VAT, I took the plunge. I almost bought two, but told myself I was being crazy (still not entirely convinced that was the right decision).

I’ve used it a few times, unwashed, and it is so wonderfully soft. It picks up and blends color effortlessly. I washed it tonight, and put a brush guard on it, so I’m hoping it’ll fluff out a bit, but not too much. Much excite!

Last, but not least, something rather exciting happened on the plane ride back from London. I spotted one of my favorite beauty bloggers, Linda Hallberg, on the same flight! I had read on her blog and her Instagram that she was heading to Hawaii, but imagine my surprise when I saw her walk by on the plane during boarding!

I thought at most she’d post pictures of places I’d recognize in Honolulu and Oahu, but instead, at baggage claim, after two very long flights, I went up to say hi to her. She was very humble and sweet and agreed to take a quick selfie with me.

If you don’t already follow Linda, check out her blog, her YouTube channel, and her Instagram page. There is no limit to her creativity and talent; she’s so inspiring!

So anyway. Now I’m home, and it’s time to try to shuffle my life into some sort of productive order. Hello, December.

Korean Beauty Haul 2016


I realized recently that I still haven’t showed you my tiny little Korean beauty haul!

The hotel we stayed at in Seoul was smack dab in the middle of famed shopping district, Myeong-dong. Every street I walked down, every corner I turned was full of well-known Korean beauty brands: Missha, Laneige, Club Clio, Etude House, Holika Holika, etc. Sometimes there were three or four of the same brand on a single street!

However, since I’ve been unemployed for over a year, I had to put on my big-girl pants and exercise restraint. Despite my desire to haul everything in sight, here’s what I settled on.

Innisfree No-Sebum Mineral Powder – This gets glowing reviews as a translucent powder good for oil control. I’m not particularly oily, but my T-zone could use some help. It was quite cheap, probably less than the $7 on the webshop I linked. It smells faintly of mint. I’ve used it a few times, and I like it. However, I am the worst when it comes to checking in and touching up my makeup, so I don’t find it to control oil any better than my current translucent powder, Make Up For Ever’s HD Microfinish. It does give a lovely, soft finish, though.

Etude House Bling Bling Eye Stick in #12 Sunset Star – I’m slowly rebuilding my shadow stick collection. This is a peachy rose-gold color, with glitter. I noticed it went on a bit patchy, and when I blend out, it left glitter particles. I’ve only used it once so far, so I need to play around with it a bit more.


It’s a twist-up stick, which is nice because I’m loathe to sharpen my pencils. I’m just lazy, okay?


Etude House My Lash Serum – I only just started using this. It’s been about two weeks. I don’t expect to see results, if any, for at least a month. The serum doesn’t sting if you accidentally poke yourself in the eye with the brush. Thumbs up for that. :P

Holika Holika nail polish in Grass’s Dream –  Wore this once so far. It’s not as flattering on my skin tone as I’d thought it’d be when I bought it. Oh well, it was ridiculously cheap. The next time I wear it, I’ll snap a pic. Side note: What do grass dream about? Do they dream of electric sheep, too??

Holika Holika Transformer Mascara – The concept of a changing mascara brush wand is quite novel! Have yet to try it, since I’m trying to use only one mascara at a time. Link goes to the Canadian site.

There were so many other brands I wish I could have tried. Do you have any experience with Asian/Korean beauty brands? Any recommendations on what to buy, if ever I go back to Seoul?

None of these links are affiliates, by the way. Feel free to click safely. ;)

Swatches: Makeup Geek eyeshadows – Peach Smoothie, Vanilla Bean, Prom Night, Cocoa Bear, Barcelona Beach

makeup geek eyeshadows peach smoothie vanilla bean prom night cocoa bear barcelona beach

Makeup Geek eyeshadows have been around for a few years now. The only reason why I hadn’t tried anything prior to these is because I’m stingy as hell and hate paying for shipping. Since Beauty Bay now stocks Makeup Geek, and they offer free shipping over £15, I decided to try a few of these cult favorite eyeshadows.

makeup geek eyeshadows pans

Makeup Geek eyeshadows offers a pan-only option, which I really appreciate, because I hate having tons of eyeshadow singles with bulky packaging. I usually end up de-potting my singles, so it’s nice to have them ready to go into a Z-palette right from the start.

However, the number of eyeshadow colors is overwhelming. I had a hard time narrowing my choices down! However, I finally settled on these five; four mattes, and one shimmer. Since Makeup Geek eyeshadows are so popular, you can find tons of good swatches by better bloggers! Here is my attempt anyway:

makeup geek eyeshadows peach smoothie vanilla bean prom night cocoa bear barcelona beach swatches

Peach Smoothie is a matte, peachy-beige. It works well as a transition color on my skin tone. It kicks up a bit of powder and applies a tiny bit chalky, but I don’t find it too bothersome.

Vanilla Bean is a pale beige, pretty much the same color as my skin. I bought this to replace my beloved Smashbox eyeshadow which I used as a subtle brow bone highlight and to blend other eyeshadows out. Vanilla Bean has a similar subtle satin-y sheen which makes it a perfect replacement.

Prom Night is a gorgeous shimmery, purple-y taupe. It’s one of those shades that can be worn alone and look like you’ve used more than one color; it’s wonderfully multi-dimensional. I’m rather partial to these types of colors, so it’s become a fast favorite.

Cocoa Bear is a warm, reddish brown. It plays surprisingly well with a lot of different colors. It is a bit harder to blend out evenly, though.

Barcelona Beach is a cool, mid-toned grayish taupe, quite unassuming. It has a hint of sheen which makes it more interesting than the thousands of other mid-toned grayish taupes out there. I like this one as a transition shade, as well as on the lower lash line to add subtle definition. (I also love the name, as Barcelona holds a special place in my heart.)

I’ve used these eyeshadows in my recent FOTDs and so far, I really enjoy them. I definitely want to add to my collection, especially these delicious duo-chromes. However, I first need to sort out the size and storage of my stash: I find that I don’t reach for my Z-Palettes very often because they’re hidden behind my Muji drawers. Also, I’m not very creative on my own and I find pre-made palettes easier to work with. When confronted with a bunch of non-coordinating singles, I get a little lost. D’oh.

Have you tried Makeup Geek eyeshadows? Which ones are your favorites?