Friday, December 30, 2016

Makeup Revolution New-Trals vs Neutrals Palette Review

Makeup Revolution New-Trals vs. Neutrals Palette
*Affiliate Links used

Friends, this review has been a long time coming. This palette has been sitting on my Ulta wishlist for months, and by an act of sheer willpower I've held out on buying it until now. Yes my makeup collection is totally OTT, but I do honestly try to exercise some restraint when it comes to shopping for new beauty products. And while I've got an especially weak spot for eyeshadow palettes, I'm actually pretty good about not going out and splurging on every single one that catches my eye.

So for the better part of 2016 I've hemmed and hawed about buying this bad boy. Did I really need it? Probably not. But the colors were SO gorgeous and the price was SO great that eventually I gave in to my undying curiosity. So what is this magical little beauty? The Makeup Revolution New-Trals vs. Neutrals Eyeshadow Palette, of course!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Best of Beauty 2016: Skin, Hair, Nails & More

*Affiliate links/PR samples used

Hey friends! This week we're saying goodbye to 2016 by taking a look back at some of the best beauty launches and discoveries from the past year. We've already covered the best of the best in makeup, and today we're chatting skincare, haircare, bath, body and more! Curious to find out what products made the cut? Keep on reading!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Best of Beauty 2016: Must-Have Makeup

I don't know about you, but I am SO ready to wrap up 2016. It's not that this was a bad year (although there were definitely some less than spectacular moments), it's just that I'm excited to wipe the slate clean and make 2017 my best blogging year to date. Looking back at where things were at this time in 2015 I honestly had no idea how much I would grow in 365 days, how many new friends I would make, or how many opportunities would come knocking on my door. This year I took my first swing at fashion blogging and got featured on the Stitch Fix website. I was accepted into Ipsy Open Studios and got to network with some fantastic ladies. I experienced my first Generation Beauty and was able to connect with so many amazing brands. I honestly feel so humbled by all of the love I received in 2016 and am so proud of myself for all the work I've put in to make my content better than ever. So with the prospect of a new year ahead I find myself totally geared up and ready to take on even more new adventures.

Of course, I shouldn't get too ahead of myself. 2016 deserves a proper send off with a final look back at all of my favorite beauty launches and discoveries of the past year. Since there were so many great products to talk about, I've decided to break things down into two posts. Today we're chatting all things makeup related - from beautifully blinding highlights, to the dreamiest of lipsticks. I've got my top picks for every category ready to go, and I can't wait to show you which ones came out on top!

Friday, December 23, 2016

#treatyoself for the Holidays at The Red Door Spa

As much as I love December and all of its holiday cheer, I'm not going to lie and pretend its not  flippin' stressful. The days are shorter, the traffic is heavier, and the lines at every store are ridiculously long. Then you add in the occasional family drama, the lack of coverage at work, and the ever-growing mountain of unwrapped presents staring at you from the living room, and before you know it you're in full-on panic mode trying to decide whether to make Snickerdoodles or Peanut Butter Kisses for your neighborhood cookie swap.

Maybe I should just buy whatever I can find at Costco and put it on a fancy plate...No one will know the difference, right?


Honestly, the pressure we put on ourselves at this time of year is maddening. Sure there is much fun to be had, but all the preparations can be downright exhausting. And this is exactly why I think it's important to take a breath amidst the crazy and remember to practice some self care. Anyone who's been around these parts before knows I am a big supporter of pampering yourself, be it taking 10 minutes to throw on a face mask, or half an hour to soak in the tub.

As for me, life is already bananas before you throw the holidays on top of things. And while I do my best to try and find some semblance of work-life-Christmas balance, I can still end up pretty run down. Fortunately, this year the Universe threw me a line. A few weeks ago The Red Door Spa reached out to me with an invitation to have a complimentary service at one of their locations. Founded by Elizabeth Arden, The Red Door has been performing award-winning spa services for over 100 years and currently has 30 different locations nationwide. When it comes to pampering there's very little that can top an actual spa day, so I (of course) graciously accepted their offer.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Golden Glam Holiday Makeup Tutorial

It may be hard to believe, but New Year's Eve is almost upon us! It's time to find a LBD, stock up on champagne, and prepare a killer makeup look to rock for the evening. Seriously, though. If there is one day in the year that full-on glam is entirely appropriate, it's NYE. As your makeup BFF, I of course had to come up with something to help you get inspired. This tutorial is actually in collaboration with the lovely Anisa from Whisk & Heels, who I've actually been following for years and is now a fellow Ipsy OS member! We each have put a unique twist on a classic silver or gold holiday makeup look that should help you feel super fierce at your next party. Once you've had a chance to check out my tutorial make sure you also head on over to Anisa's channel to see hers. She seriously did an amazing job (#blendinggoals) and I think you're going to love it!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Classic Holiday Glam at Bloomingdale's

There are a lot of things I love about the holidays - baking sugar cookies, seeing Christmas lights,  shopping ridiculous online sales (but really poor wallet). In all seriousness, there's something inherently magical about the month of December. Even though we're all grumpy about the cold and dealing with crazy traffic and lines at stores, there's still an excitement in the air that makes everyone seem at least a little bit festive. In true beauty blogger fashion, I channel a good chunk of my holiday spirit into my makeup game. It's not that I won't occasionally rock a glam look year round, it just that as soon as the Christmas decor is up I find myself busting out the glitter and lashes pretty much every weekend.

Recently I received this beautiful PR package from Bloomingdale's with a selection of products that are perfect for creating a classic glam holiday look. From a bold red lip, to fluttery lashes, to a signature scent, and a killer 'do, you've got everything you need to channel your inner old Hollywood starlet.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Winter 2016 Empties

*Affiliate links/PR Samples used

Hello beauties! It's time yet again to take out the trash. I've got a boat load of empty products that I need to say goodbye to, and we're going to chat a little bit about each one. Perhaps its just the die hard beauty enthusiast in me, but I love watching and filming empties videos. Sure it's a lot of fun to hear about what's new and trendy, but sometimes I wonder how much of a person's enthusiasm for a product is based on the hype. And that's why empties are awesome. By the time you're ready to throw something away, your opinion is much less likely to be biased by newness. If someone finishes an entire bottle of something and loved it so much that they already have a backup on standby, I'm going to take that recommendation pretty seriously.

In the end, we all work hard for our money, and if we're going to invest some of it into beauty products, we don't want them to suck. And that's why I'm here doing what I'm doing. I'm willing to take one for the team, to risk the occasional fail so that you don't have to. What kind of friend would I be if I wasn't? So if you want to find out my most honest, tried-and-true opinions on some beauty goodness, keep on reading!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Too Faced White Chocolate Chip Palette Review

Too Faced White Chocolate Chip Palette
*Affiliate Links Used

If you're a die hard beauty lover, you probably have an understanding of the insanity that revolves around super limited edition releases. Some collections sell out within a matter of minutes, which means that if you want in, you've got to commit to hitting that checkout button the second it goes live. Depending on where you live, that might require staying up until 3 am (or some other ridiculous time) because waiting until the morning will likely mean missing out on whatever product you've got your eye on.

Now, I personally am way too lazy and laid back to find myself being one of these people. Don't get me wrong, my love for beauty is strong, but I think there are SO many great products out there that I just don't get that emotionally attached to any one particular release. If I miss out on this one, there will always be something else to get excited about.

So where am I going with all of this? Somehow, with very little stress or effort, I managed to snag a super hot ticket item over Thanksgiving weekend. I honestly almost feel guilty about how nonchalant the whole process was when I know how much drama this little palette stirred up. If you're confused, here's the quick recap.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

November 2016 Favorites

Every time I sit down to write a monthly favorites post, I feel like a broken record. "This month went by so fast!", "Where did the year go?", "What am I doing with my life?!"

Okay, so maybe not so much the last one, but it's certainly also been on the brain.

Time does have a sneaky way of disappearing. I'm sitting here looking over all of the beauty I've been using in the last couple of months, and realize that I'm still backlogged on a ton of reviews that I want to write for you guys. AND there's still new stuff coming in. Basically, if you want to be a beauty blogger, you have to be willing to hustle hard. Getting to play with makeup and skincare and whatnot is awesome, but I can totally appreciate how some people do this as a full time job. It takes work, man, and most days 24 hours do not seem like enough.

ANYWAY, I'm distracting myself. Let's get back to the matter at hand - all of the beauty I was loving on last month. As the winter starts to creep ever closer I've been all about products that will keep me soft and smooth from head to toe. Curious to find out more? Keep on reading!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Holiday 2016: Cyber Monday Beauty Deals

Does anyone else remember when Cyber Monday was just about tech deals? Like, unless you needed a laptop or the newest gaming console, Black Friday was really where the sales were at. And if you wanted to shop Black Friday, you had best be prepared to stand in line for hours in the middle of the night, whilst freezing your butt off in the cold. Fast forward to 2016, where internet shopping reigns supreme, and Cyber Monday deals put Black Friday to shame. Granted, now people sit perched in front of their computers, impatiently refreshing websites so they can click "checkout" the moment a sale goes live.

But they can at least avoid the cold.

Now, we all know Mondays are enough of a struggle without trying to make sure you don't miss out an epic deal. So I've got your back! I'm compiling a list of the best beauty and fashion Cyber Monday deals I can find so they'll all be accessible in one easy place. I'm going to try and update this list as much as possible over the next 24 hours as I'm able to discover new offerings, so make sure you bookmark this page and check back later for new info!

Friday, November 25, 2016

What I'm Thankful For: Beauty Edition

So, this post comes along with a bit of a funny story. Maybe funny not funny in the "ha ha" sense, but funny in the "I see what you're doing there, universe" kind of way. I woke up yesterday morning feeling energized and productive, which was fortunate because my to-do list for the day was pretty ambitious. I had hoped to get my Thursday video done earlier this week, but between life and sheer exhaustion, it just never happened. That left me Thanksgiving morning to shop a few sales, beautify myself, film, edit, and make Deviled eggs all in time to meet my parents at 1:00. I was a little nervous that I would end up scrambling around at the last second, but I actually was making great time all day. There I am, feeling like a boss, putting on my eyeshadow with hours to spare and BAM.

The power goes out.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Channel Those Summer Vibes With the Sol de Janiero Brazilian Body Boom

If there's one thing a beauty blogger is proud to be, it's an enabler. If we stumble across something amazing, we can't help but shout it from our internet rooftops. We get excited about beauty, and the energy can be pretty contagious. And this is why things like the "YouTube Made Me Buy It" tag exist. Word travels fast, and when the entire beauty community is buzzing about a specific product, its hard to resist giving in to the hype. Now, I personally haven't gotten around to sharing my take on this tag, but when I do you can rest assured that these two products will be a part of it.

The Sol de Janiero Brazillian Bum Bum Cream and its silly yet intriguing name piqued the curiosity of beauty gurus from near and far this past summer, and before long it felt like everyone and their mom was talking about it on their channel. Even though the purpose of this lotion is to make your bum (bum) appear more toned and firm, the biggest selling point seemed to be its intoxicating pistachio caramel scent.

15 videos later, all I knew was that I needed to go to Sephora, and I needed to smell this stuff for myself.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Subscription Showdown | November 2016

Hey friends! It's time for another Subscription Showdown. For those of you not already familiar with this series on my YouTube channel, every month I sit down and unbox my Ipsy Glambag and Sephora Play box so I can show you how they stack up against one another. Each subscription is only $10 a month and contains 5 deluxe beauty samples, so I'm always curious to see whether one outshines the other. Want to see how these two beauty subs threw down this month? Keep on reading!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Holiday 2016: Black Friday Beauty Deals at Ulta & Sephora

Friends, prepare your wallets. Black Friday is almost upon us.

As someone who can never pass up a good bargain, its hard to not go a little crazy with the beauty shopping at this time of year. There are just so many amazing little sets and great deals to be had, and it's tempting to buy...just about everything.

For the sake of my bank account, I'm trying to be extra choosy about what I put in my shopping cart this year. Black Friday is one of the worst times for impulse purchases, what with the pressure of the time crunch and fear of things selling out, so I'm making an effort to try and plan as much of my shopping ahead of time as possible. Fortunately I've got my hands on some sneak peeks of beauty deals that are going live this Thursday at Sephora and Ulta, which gives me a few days of deliberation before I have to hit that checkout button. Curious to see what this year's offerings look like? I'm more than happy to share!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

E.L.F. Vox Box Unboxing

Guys, I'm not going to lie. This week was pretty rough. From about 6:45 Monday morning onward I felt like I was fighting an uphill battle against the universe. When we get to today's video I explain a little bit more of what happened, but let's just say I felt like I was non-stop riding the strugglebus.

Fortunately, my week did have one seriously bright spot in it. My E.L.F. Vox Box arrived! For those of you who haven't seen my previous unboxing videos, Vox Boxes come from an online community called Influenster. Influenster works with different brands to help spread the word about their products and provides freebies to different influencers to test and review. Anyone can join, so don't worry if you aren't a blogger! All you need is to be willing to try cool stuff and share your opinions on social media and such. Over the past two years I've been part of some pretty amazing campaigns, and feel really lucky for all the opportunities they've given me.

This time around I've been sent a bunch of goodies from budget-friendly beauty brand E.L.F. Cosmetics. Prior to 2016 I don't think I had given E.L.F. enough attention. They have a massive line of insanely affordable makeup and skincare that I'm always hearing great things about. It's been on my to-do list to get more familiar with their products, so I welcomed this Vox Box with open arms!

Friday, November 18, 2016

L'Oreal Pure Clay Mask Review

When it comes to skincare, nothing excites me more than a good face mask. Whether they're to hydrate, brighten, or detox your skin, I think a good mask is just as essential as a cleanser or moisturizer in any skincare routine. Having invested years of trying out different skincare regimens, I've come to realize that in the weeks I've skipped out on using a mask my skin always ends up noticeably more dull and congested.

Needless to say, I was totally pumped when I found out BzzAgent was sending me all three of L'Oreal's new Pure Clay Masks to try. I've seen these masks popping up all over Pinterest and my Bloglovin' feed, and have been incredibly curious to try them out for myself! Using a mixture of three different clays infused with other powerhouse ingredients, each of these masks is formulated to target specific skincare issues and help you put your best face forward. Let's take a closer look!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Fall Haul First Impressions

If you guys saw my recent fall beauty haul, then you're already well aware that I've acquired a boat load of new makeup to review. Between a trip to the new NYX store in Union Square, goodies sent from a friend in the UK, and my own inability to restrain myself, I've ended up with a whole lotta loot. Life has been a little crazy lately, which ultimately translated to the majority of my new beauty ending up in a pile waiting to be loved. This weekend finally afforded me the opportunity to get some blogging hours in, and I stared at said pile feeling a little overwhelmed with my options. Where the heck should I even begin? And then I had a brilliant idea. Why not try it all and let you in on the process? I'm all about being real with you guys and sharing my honest thoughts on beauty. So why not capture my completely unscripted, entirely unpredictable first impressions on camera? Not gonna lie, filming this video was a whole lot of fun, and I don't think the look I created in the end was too shabby. So if you're curious to see how these new goodies worked out for me, keep on reading!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Makeup Revolution Iconic Nudes Brush Collection

Friends, let's take a moment for the appreciation of pretty.

I have been head-over-heels in love with this new Limited Edition brush set from Makeup Revolution since the moment I laid eyes on it. And really, how could I not? The combination of cream, pink, and rose gold speaks to my girlie-girl heart. Honestly, the only thing that's better than a beautiful set of makeup brushes is a beautiful set of makeup brushes that wont cost me an arm and a leg, and this one meets both qualifications.

Now, if you've been reading my blog for any length of time you're already well aware that my love for Makeup Revolution is strong. As far as affordable cosmetics go, they're consistently on point in terms of both packaging and quality, and have become one of my top recommendations for anyone shopping on a budget. Unfortunately Makeup Revolution originated over in the UK, and only a limited selection of their line is available at Ulta stores here in the states. While I can't complain that I can at least get my hands on some of their products, the one thing I've been dying to try are their brushes. They've got some incredible looking dupes for the Artis and Real Techniques Bold Metals brushes that are constantly calling my name.

I don't know what my problem is with paying for shipping, but it kind of kills me to tack on an extra $15 or $20 in fees to a beauty order. Alas, its almost a given when ordering internationally, which means that I figured I'd have to add shopping MR brushes to my London bucket list. But then, a miracle happened! One of my lovely beauty enthusiast friends studying abroad overseas was kind enough to scope out this set and send it my way! Seriously guys, I was overjoyed. It was even prettier than some of the permanent collection sets I had my eye on. Let tell you more about it!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Fall Beauty Haul

I'm not going to lie. I'm ever so slightly embarrassed to have a haul to share before the holiday shopping season has even ramped up.

Back in September I acquired a massive amount of new beauty to play with from my trip to Generation Beauty. That haul alone had more than enough newness to keep me occupied for the rest of the year. But as any beauty blogger will tell you, between PR samples, promotions, and an unwavering curiosity about all things new in beauty, it always seems like its only a matter of time before you've ended up with another pile of product to test out.

So, as unnecessary as it all may be, I've got a ton of fun new stuff to show you guys that I'll be testing and reviewing in the next couple of weeks. Curious to find out what? Keep on reading!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Holiday 2016: Wish-List Worthy Eyeshadow Palettes

Now that Halloween has officially past, I think it's safe to admit that the holiday shopping season is in full swing! If the rest of the year is any indication, the weeks between now and Christmas are going to absolutely fly by, which means you have way less time to get everything on your shopping list checked off than you think. If you're feeling a little lost and uninspired, don't you worry. I'm going to be posting tons of awesome beauty-related (and maybe some non-beauty related) gift ideas over the coming weeks to help get you started.

In true Lauren fashion, I'm kicking things off with perhaps my greatest weakness among makeup products - the eyeshadow palette. There have been SO many incredible launches this year it was hard to narrow down my list of recommendations. But after having spent a slightly embarrassing amount of time researching what's new, what's hyped, and what might be a hidden gem I think I've got a pretty solid list for you to check out!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Holiday 2016: DavidsTea 24 Days of Tea Advent Calendar

If there is one thing outside of the beauty realm that I am head over heels obsessed with, it's tea. Ask anyone from my office, but there isn't a day (maybe even not an hour) when you'll find me without a cup at my desk. I've got an entire cabinet in my kitchen devoted just to the goods, as well as most of the cabinet in my cubicle.

What can I say, it's basically my lifeblood.

From a spicy chai, to an earthy oolong, to a fruity herbal, I'm definitely not picky when it comes to flavors, and am on a bit of a personal quest to try as many different teas as I can. But (much like my obsession with makeup) being a tea enthusiast can get a little pricey, which usually means being extra selective about which ones I want to buy. Fortunately, DavidsTea rolled in to my local mall a couple of years ago, and they have THE BEST tea sampler sets. They're constantly releasing new seasonal collections, and have a ton of different ways for you to sample multiple flavors without breaking the bank.

Perhaps the ultimate of all of these sets is the 24 Days of Tea advent calendar. I honestly can't think of a better way to ring in the holidays than by getting to try a different tea every day (you know, without spending hundreds of dollars). Last year was the first time I picked one of these bad boys up, and I enjoyed it so much that I couldn't help but put the beauty on pause for a day so I could share the 2016 version with you guys. Come take a look!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

October 2016 Favorites

Is it just me, or is 2016 passing by at an alarmingly fast rate? Even though fall is almost two months underway, I'm still very much in denial that it's not still summer. I need to wear gloves now? Like, what? Thanksgiving is three weeks away? I...I don't understand what is happening here.

In all seriousness, these past couple of months have been a whirlwind, albeit an exciting one. I've been working extra hard in the last month to keep to my consistent Sunday and Thursday YouTube schedule, and my channel is growing beyond my expectations. In mid-October I finally hit my 500 subscriber goal, and by the 31st I'd grown to over 700. I am SO appreciative of every single person that reads my posts and watches my videos. In case you haven't noticed, I am a giant nerd for all things beauty, and knowing there are people out there who find all of my random musings and tips and tricks helpful is kind of the best feeling. So THANK YOU for being here, and for sharing my passion with me. If we want to talk about favorites, you all are really at the top of my list.

I know, I know. I'm getting all mushy on you guys. I can't help myself from being a big ol' softie. But before I derail myself completely, let's get back to the subject at hand. There were a TON of products that I fell in love with in October (several of which will probably come as no surprise) and I can't wait to share them with you!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Lazy-girl Approved Products from Eva NYC

I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. As a person who gets up every day at 6 am and still has minimal time to get myself together before work, I love that I can do the bare minimum and still have it look all right. Most days I'll just comb it out with some leave-in conditioner, throw in a little sea salt spray, and let it air dry. I know that if I put in 20 minutes of effort with a blow dryer and a round brush I could give my style a little oomph, but most days I am supremely lazy before the sun comes up.

While my hair certainly fits my low-maintenance lifestyle, it seems to be even lazier than I am. It's the friend that doesn't want to take their sweatpants off and get dressed when everyone is going out on Friday night. It refuses to hold any kind of a curl, slips out of braids, and falls flat after an hour. Forget the party, my hair just wants to Netflix and chill 24/7. Every time I see a picture of a girl with long hair styled into big, beautiful curls I just want to yell at my head, "can't you just...try? Just a little?"

The struggle is real, guys. The struggle is real.

In the end, I'm always on the hunt for hair products that strike a happy medium for me - something that will help my hair look great while still being realistic for my hectic, ain't-no-body-got-time-for-that lifestyle. Recently I got sent a package of goodies from Eva NYC to try out, and I'm happy to report they're right up my no-fuss alley. I've sampled a few products from this brand through Ipsy before, but this is the first time I'm giving their brand a proper review. So if you're on the hunt for some great, lazy-girl friendly hair products, keep on reading!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Halloween Makeup Tutorial: Whimsical Blue Fairy

Are you ready for Halloween? CAUSE I'M SO READY FOR HALLOWEEN!

It's been a long time since I've really busted out my makeup skills for a Halloween look (holla back to this deer look I created when I first started my blog), and with so many amazing bloggers and MUAs going ham this year, I decided I wanted in on the action! It's probably no surprise that super creepy and/or gory costumes are not really my jam, although I totally respect the amazing artistry that goes into them. I've just always been a girly girl. Maybe I've been spending too much time Snapchatting with the butterfly crown filter, but my almost immediate instinct was that I needed to be a fairy.

I lucked out big time by finding this prom dress for $10 at a local consignment shop, and then scouted out a wig and wings at a Halloween store. When it came to makeup I was totally inspired by my new Kat Von D MetalMatte Eyeshadow Palette, which had the perfect shades for my blue fairy transformation. I had way too much fun filming this tutorial, and I think the end look I came up with is whimsical without being OTT. Hopefully it'll give you a little inspiration for your own Halloween look!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Shop the Stash: Brows

Has anyone else noticed that I am SUPER overdue for my next installment of Shop the Stash?! I've been a little bit distracted with all the new goodies I took home from Gen Beauty (can you blame me?), which means my quest for rediscovery got temporarily put on pause. But now that I've had plenty of time to play I'm ready to get back to business!

For those of you who might have missed out on my first couple of posts from this series, we're going through my makeup stash one category at a time in the hopes of rediscovering amazing products I've been neglecting. As we "shop the stash" I'll be giving you mini reviews of each product and tips on how I like to use them. So far we've covered my collection of eye primers, concealers, and bronzers, and today we're going to be chatting all things brow-related!

For the longest time I never considered eyebrows a necessary step of my makeup routine, but now I feel naked if I leave the house without them done! As a result I've ended up with quite an arsenal of products to fill, define, and highlight those bad boys. So let's take a look at everything and see which of these brow goodies are my absolute faves!

Monday, October 17, 2016

500 Subscriber Giveaway!

Are you guys ready to do a happy dance? 'Cause I'm ready to do a happy dance.

I finally hit the 500 subscriber mark over on my YouTube channel! My YouTube journey thus far has been quite the learning process. Even though I've been blogging here for years, I only started posting videos to my channel at the end of last summer. I had no lighting, no backdrop, no editing software, and pretty much no idea of what I was doing. All I knew was that I wanted to be able to bring some of my content to life, and to give you guys a chance to get to know the face behind the makeup.

Over the course of the last year I feel like my videos have come a long way (those first ones...those first ones are pretty rough). I've worked my butt off trying to learn from my mistakes, and am always pushing myself to make every video just a teeny bit better than the last.

So yes, 500 may seem like a comparatively tiny number, but to me that's 500 more people that are supporting me doing something I love than I had a year ago. And I think that's flippin amazing. I really can't thank you guys enough for all the love that you've given me here and on my channel, but as a small gesture of appreciation, I want to give you all a chance to win some sweet beauty loot!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Kat Von D Beauty MetalMatte Eyeshadow Palette Review

With the holidays fast approaching, the beauty world has completely exploded with exciting new releases. Gift sets, limited edition palettes, and blinged-out packaging can be found just about everywhere you turn. And while its tempting to want to run out and review everything for you guys, I'm a firm believer in being selective about my purchases. Even though my passion for product is pretty intense, I'm also not one to buy into hype. I always consider my current stash, my style, and the feedback of my fellow beauty addicts before I invest in something. Sure, once in a while I'll take a gamble and try something out on a whim. But for the most part, I like to do my homework.

Sometimes when I'm researching what's new and interesting and I'll come across a product that totally blows me away and realize no one is talking about it. Maybe it's a personal preference thing, or maybe its just that certain brands are more likely to get attention, but either way, it never fails to surprise me.

This palette is one of those products.

Guys, when I say this palette is unbelievably good. I mean, this is like a "if I could only use one palette for the rest of my life I would probably pick this one" good. I want to profess my love for its buttery, beautiful, shimmering goodness from the rooftops. Just...just wait until you see the pictures. And then you will understand.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fall 2016 Stitch Fix Unboxing & Review

Guys, I am SO PUMPED my next fix has arrived! Fall fashion is hands down my favorite of the entire year. Cozy sweaters, plaid button-downs, scarves, boots - the obsession is real. Having learned from my first couple of fixes, I decided to be extra proactive this time around and create a Stitch Fix specific Pinterest board to share my favorite trends with my stylist. I can tell that she totally used some of the outfit pictures I posted for inspiration when she put together this fix for me, which meant that I ended up with some pieces I really loved!

Of course, I had to film an unboxing video to show you guys my first impressions of everything I got. And now that I've had a few days to think it over, I've finally made my decisions about what I'm purchasing and what I'm sending back. Curious to see what made the cut? Keep reading to find out!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Warm, Cozy Fragrances for Fall

One of the things I undoubtedly love most about fall are its smells. Crisp leaves crunching beneath your feet, wood fires burning in the evening, pumpkin pie in the oven, hot cider brewing. Even just thinking about them now immediately transports me to a magically warm, cozy place.

Much like I swap out my sandals and dresses for sweaters and boots come autumn, I also like to switch out my fragrances for scents that capture the feeling of the season. Warm, spicy notes, woodsy undertones, and a little bit of sweetness immediately put me in a fall mindset.

Today I thought I'd share three autumn-appropriate perfumes I've been obsessing over in the last couple of weeks, all of which are in super travel friendly sizes!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Final Farewells: My Fall 2016 Empties

Friends, it's time yet again to go through my beauty trash. I love filming empties videos, but I also totally can see how strange the whole concept probably is to someone who isn't as immersed in the beauty world as my crazy self. Because really, who else hoards expired makeup and empty bottles?

In all seriousness, the reason I think empties posts are so awesome is that when you've used a product to the very last drop, you really know how you feel about it. It's like a relationship. In the beginning its all excitement and newness, and you're probably willing to overlook the little flaws and annoyances. But time goes on, and when the honeymoon phase is over you've either found yourself a beautiful partnership, or end up realizing that that't as awesome as you originally thought.

It's been a couple of months since my last empties round up, so I've got A TON of products to share with you guys. Did I find true love? Or was I already checked out of our relationship? If you want to know, grab yourself a snack, cozy up, and get ready for some real talk (beauty style).

Friday, October 7, 2016

$5 Makeup Challenge!

Guys, this post was the definition of a labor of love. I've been planning this challenge for months, and was so excited to finally go out, shop, film and put it all together for you. If the title hasn't already given it away, today I'm going to be showing you how to create a beautiful smokey eyed makeup look using all products (AND tools) that cost $5 or less. I love incorporating budget-friendly makeup into my everyday routine, and I thought it would be fun to challenge myself to find really great, super-affordable products that I could recommend to you all.

So I plan, I set everything up, I film last weekend, edit my photographs...I was feeling pretty on top of my A-game. I knew I was going into New York on Wednesday and decided I could use my 2 hour ride each way to edit my footage. Everything seems to be going swimmingly until I'm on the train, on my way to Manhattan when I realize that a 10 minute chunk of my footage is missing. Just GONE. My memory cards are both wiped clean, and I am an unhappy panda.

Needless to say I had to wait until after work last night to come home and refilm the missing footage so I could finish editing my video and still get it posted (albeit very late) on Thursday night. Posting consistently has been one of my blog goals, and I was DETERMINED to stick to my schedule, even if that meant losing a few more hours of sleep.

So, after much frustration, but a lot of love and hard work, I'm finally able to actually show you all some really great, budget-friendly makeup that you can add to your collection! Let's get this challenge started.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

All That Glitters: IT Cosmetics for Ulta Brush Set Review

I know what you're thinking.

"Really, Lauren? You're busting out the Christmas decorations already?" Trust me, I get it. It's a little crazy to start talking about the holidays when we haven't even gotten to Halloween yet, but before you give me the side-eye, I PROMISE you'll be happy to have the heads up on this one!

A few weeks ago when I was at Gen Beauty the awesome people over at IT Cosmetics gave me this new Ulta Exclusive brush set to check out before it launched online. Truth be told, I've been lusting after their brushes for years, and the only thing that's kept me from splurging on a set is sheer willpower. My rational brain knows I already own enough makeup brushes, but my beauty-brain is never satisfied. I want to try them all...ALL THE BRUSHES ARE BELONG TO ME (#nerdreference).

ANYWAY, this stunning set is finally available for purchase on the Ulta website, so I wanted to give you guys my thoughts in case you'd like to add it to your holiday shopping list (or wish know I won't judge).

Sunday, October 2, 2016

September Favorites

September, where the heck did you go?? Last month was a bit of a whirlwind for me, but it was honestly one of the best I've had in a long time. I got to go on my first international vacation, got to attend my first Generation Beauty event, and have been feeling better about my content here at Little Blushing Birdie than ever. I feel like my brain is bursting with inspiration and I'm truly so excited to share all of my ideas and opinions with you guys.

But before I get ahead of myself, let's give September a proper send-off by recapping some of my favorite beauty discoveries from the last month. Many of these were products I scored at Gen Beauty and haven't been able to put down since. So, get yourself nice and cozy, grab your cup of tea, and let's chat September faves.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Revlon PhotoReady Eye Art Review

As a beauty blogger there's seriously nothing more exciting than stumbling upon a product you've literally heard nothing about, taking it home, and discovering its a total gem. It's like getting to play beauty archeologist. You know, instead of uncovering the bones of what could be a new species of dinosaur you're scouting out products that might be the next big craze.

A few weeks ago I was perusing the makeup aisles at CVS, struggling to decide what I wanted to spend my Extrabucks on. It's funny because earlier this year I had the opposite problem. There were so many new launches hitting the shelves, and I had to seriously restrain myself from buying everything. But by now I'm sort of over the hype, and most trips to the drugstore have me feeling uninspired. I was on the verge of giving up and buying some toothpaste or whatever else I might need around the house when something glittery caught my eye. At first glance I assumed these duos were nail polish, which I wasn't all that interested in, but then I noticed that the picture next to them was of an eye.

An eye? I did a double take and walked over to further investigate. No, these weren't nail polishes at all. Before me was a rainbow of cream eyeshadow duos called the Revlon PhotoReady Eye Art. I was in serious disbelief that I had no idea these things existed. With glitter and metallic shadows being so in right now, how was it possible that people weren't talking about them? Was I just late to the party? Or had I stumbled upon one of those amazing underground bars only the locals know about? Either way, I was intrigued and after a long debate about which shades to buy, I picked two to take home.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Surprise Giveaway: Win an Awesome Beauty Goodie Bag!

Happy Friday, friends! I can't believe it's the last day of September. I know, I know. I say this every month. But September was especially short for me. Between traveling to Iceland and hitting up Gen Beauty my entire perception of time has been thrown out of whack. I've started to notice the leaves around these parts are starting to turn and it's just like...what the heck? When did this happen? As fast as it was, September has been a pretty great month, and I wanted to send some of the good vibes your way!

I've put together two little goodie bags filled with products I took home from Generation Beauty (as well as a few other fun things I've picked up along the way) for you to win. Want to know how to enter? Just keep on reading!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The 8 Polishes You Need to Kick Off Autumn

Friends, it's officially that time again. Get ready to bust out your boots, your scarves, and your pumpkin spiced everything. Even though I'm a summer baby through and through, fall beauty and fashion is by far my favorite to indulge in. Give me the plaid button downs, the big blanket scarves, the soft, chunky sweaters. Give me matte lips, gold shadows, and vampy nail polishes. I want all of it, and I want it on my body right now.

In the spirit of all things autumn, I thought it would be fun to dive through my nail polish collection and pull out a few of the shades I'm most excited to return to my everyday rotation. It's time to retire those pinks and corals and get a little more moody in manicure country. From sultry oxbloods, to edgy navys I'm all about going extra dark and extra chic when the leaves start to turn.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

NYX Lip Lustre Try-On and Review

Fellow beauty junkies, let me know if you understand this struggle. Life lately has been kind of bananas. After being in Iceland for a week and spending last weekend at Gen Beauty, I feel pretty behind on life stuff and have had tons of errands and such to run. Needless to say, the giant bag of beauty loot I took home with me last Sunday (or should I say, bags) has been sitting neglected in my bedroom, waiting patiently for me to come and play. It reminds me of when I was a kid, and my parents made my brother and I wait until AFTER church AND breakfast to open our presents on Christmas morning.


Thankfully though, I finally got some time this weekend to stay home and dive full-on into all things blog related. One of the things I was most excited about was sitting down to film a lip swatch video of the new NYX Cosmetics Lip Lustre Glossy Lip Tints ($7). I've never done something like this before on my channel, but it actually ended up being a lot of fun! So if you want to see what the deal is with this fun new launch, just keep reading!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Skin Saviors: The Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner

I've never been one to know what it's like to have perfectly clear skin. Over the years I've battled with acne, large pores, hyperpigmentation, and scarring. My face is incredibly oily year-round, although in the dead of winter I've been known to also suffer dryness around my cheeks. Basically, since the ripe old age of 11 I've been fighting the good fight, trying to banish breakouts and helps keep my oiliness under control. My younger self was much more apt to fall for marketing ploys ("yes, you need oil-controlling everything!!"), and as a result my teenage years were pretty miserable skin-wise. I used cleansers and acne treatments that were way too harsh, skipped moisturizer, and hardly ever wore sunscreen.

Truly, it was atrocious.

Eventually, though, I woke up to the damage I was doing, and decided to put serious effort into understanding my skin and what it needed. Flash forward 10 years and my face is better than its ever been. Sure, its not as baby-smooth and flawless as my pre-pubescent self, but its finally free of constant, active breakouts. All-in-all taking a more gentle and mindful approach to my skincare has worked wonders. Which brings me to the latest addition to the Little Blushing Birdie lineup.

Sunday Riley is one of those luxury skincare brands that's piqued my interest for months. Other bloggers constantly rave about how amazing their products are, but the hefty price tags often hold me back. So when Sephora was offering a promo code to redeem for a deluxe sample of the Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner, you can bet I was all over it. From the first use I knew this was a special product, and before my sample got low I found myself running out to Sephora to pick up the full size.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Generation Beauty NY 2016: My Experience & an EPIC Haul!

You know that surreal feeling you get when you realize something you've been anticipating for months and months is finally coming to fruition? That was all of this past weekend for me. I headed out at the crack of dawn on Friday morning (legit, it was 5 am) to New York City for Ipsy's Generation Beauty event. I'd been planning this trip since March and as I was sitting on the train I almost couldn't believe it was actually finally happening.

If you aren't familiar with Generation Beauty, it's a large beauty expo hosted by Ipsy, and has grown to be a bit of a phenomenon in the last couple of years. The first Gen Beauty event was held in LA near the Ipsy headquarters, and now they've expanded to NY, Toronto, and San Francisco. Anyone can attend these events, and they usually draw in crowds of more than 4000 people. As someone who's goes day-to-day surrounded by people who aren't on my wavelength about beauty, it was kind of incredible to be in a room full of others who share my same passion.

This weekend was exhausting, exhilarating, and incredibly fun. I finally got to meet so many of the blogger friends I've made over the years in person, I got to connect with a ton of amazing brands, and I took home a stupid amount of swag. Curious to see more of my Gen Beauty experience? Keep reading!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Trending Now: Glittering, Metallic Eyes

Trying to mentally prepare myself for fall is never an easy task. Don't get me wrong. I'm all about everything pumpkin spice, plaid shirts, and being able to dig my beloved boots out of hiding. But the change of seasons is always bittersweet. Winters here in New England are brutal, and fall sometimes feels like a pretty little distraction from the impending dark and cold. But, before I get myself too depressed thinking about Connecticut mid-February, let's put the focus back on what we've got to look forward to in the coming weeks.

Fall makeup might just be my all-time favorite of the entire year. Vampy reds, lush berries, rich chocolate's basically the season for extra sultry glam. While blindingly bright highlighters were all the rage this summer, the sparkle factor appears to have transferred to the eyes for fall. Whether you're just adding a bit of shimmer to the lid, or incorporating serious metallic shine into a full-on smokey eye, there are tons of options popping up at every price point to unleash your inner MUA.

As someone who's always had a soft spot for glitter, I'm welcoming this trend with open arms. The combination of a warm, inviting fall color palette with intense sparkling shine is especially gorgeous, and has me totally inspired to create some killer eye looks. If you're as into this trend as I am, here are some product recommendations to get you started!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Kat Von D Lock-It Vox Box Review

Friends, when you're a beauty junkie like myself, there's nothing quite like the promise of new makeup to lift your spirits. A few weeks back I was having one of those epically frustrating, overly-stressed work days that can send even the most chipper of individuals into an existential crisis. Every minute closer to 5:00 seems longer than the last, until the span of time between 3:00 and 3:07 feels like an hour. Suddenly, my phone makes a little ping. An e-mail! Even if its nothing interesting, it's still a welcome distraction from the time-torture inside my cubicle. So I reach over and check, half expecting my electric bill, only to find out that it's Influenster telling me I've qualified for a new campaign!

I'm pretty sure in that moment I took the phrase "doing a happy dance" literally and immediately jumped out of my chair to share the news with my equally beauty-obsessed coworker. This wasn't just any Vox Box. I was being sent 5 (five!!) products from Kat Von D's new Lock-It range to test and review. Truth be told, I've read way more about Kat's products than I've actually experienced them first hand. Many of her products are constantly being raved about by the beauty community at large (Lolita Liquid Lipstick, anyone?), but I'd yet to take the plunge and purchase something myself.

Fast forward to a month later and I've finally got my own thoughts to contribute to masses. Did Kat's products live up to the hype? Read more to find out!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

August 2016 Faves & Updates

Hello lovelies! I woke up this morning with the sudden realization that it's significantly darker out when my alarm goes off at 6 am. The long, sunny days of summer are mostly behind us, and while I'm all about fall, I'm also pretty unhappy about feeling like a zombie before work every day. Maybe I need one of those alarm clock lights that mimic the rising sun...'re here to chat beauty (not just to hear me lament the end of my favorite season)! I tried to reel in my shopping in August, knowing that I'm going to Generation Beauty in New York later this month. Words cannot express how excited I am to spend an entire weekend reveling in all things beauty (really though, I feel like a kid waiting for Christimas). So, in the spirit of trying to keep things under control and to make room for lots of epic GenBeauty swag, I've kept things pretty minimal in the last month. Curious to see what made the cut? Keep reading to find out!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Skincare Trends: Sheet Masks

*Affiliate links used

Show of hands, who else has fallen in love with sheet masks?

Not gonna lie, it's gotten to a point where I now I keep tiny stockpile on hand at all times. And I've got no shame about it. It's not that I use them every day, I just like to have options when the mood to pamper strikes. To me, sheet masks are like the bath bombs of the skincare world. Yes, it's a single use product, but you're paying as much for the experience as you are for the end results. And as the crazy beauty junkie that I am, I can't help but to hoard them both.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Sephora End of Summer Sale 2016

It's that time of year again, people! Sephora is cleaning house for the summer and there are TONS of amazing deals to be had. A lot of these products are being discontinued or repackaged, meaning that you can score some amazing products from brands you love at a huge discount. Much like summer, the opportunity to snag these products is sure to be short lived, so make sure that you don't miss out while you have the chance!

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Ride or Die Makeup Tag: Holy Grail Favorite Products

So today's post is a bit of an impromptu one. I'm not normally one to get sucked into the hype of YouTube challenges and tags, but considering how much I a. love Jaclyn Hill, and b. love talking about makeup, I really couldn't resist. Her energy is so infectious, and pretty much immediately after watching her video I found myself planning to film my own take on the tag.

If you're feeling a little lost, Jaclyn posted a video last week creating a "Ride-or-Die" makeup tag, encouraging everyone out there to share their holy grail, tried-and-true, all-time favorite makeup products of life. A ton of other beauty gurus have joined in on the fun (you can see Tati's video here) and it's been really interesting to see how different (or in some cases similar) everyone's responses have been.

As a word of warning, today's video is a particularly chatty one. With so many products to talk about, and so much love to be shared, I think I got a little carried away. But, if you're still curious to find out what my ride-or-die favorites are, and don't mind hanging out with me for a little bit, keep on reading!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

NYX Avant Pop Eyeshadow Palette | Surreal My Heart

Confession. I'm a total eyeshadow palette junkie. If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you're probably already well aware of my obsession with sparkly metallics, matte neutrals, and everything in between. Even if most days I keep things fairly simple, I love having the option to go colorful or full-on glam at a moments notice. And like any true beauty enthusiast, even though I've already got a pretty bangin' collection of palettes at home, that doesn't stop me from wanting to try and discover new ones to recommend to you guys.

Enter, my latest find: the NYX Cosmetics Avant Pop Shadow Palette in Surreal My Heart. Inspired by the bold, colorful feel of Pop Art paintings, the Avant Pop Palettes are designed to help you unleash that inner Makeup Artist! Each palette contains a selection of vibrant, unique shades while also providing you a few softer, more subtle options if you'd prefer to tone things down. Ever since these palettes launched last summer I've heard nothing but good things, and I've been dying to give one of them a try. My general pragmatism has held me back so far (" you REALLY need more eyeshadow?") but a 5X points offer for NYX from Ulta gave me that final push to say "No...BUT I'M GONNA DO IT ANYWAY!"

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Product Fails | More Things That Disappointed Me

Anyone who's been around these parts for a while knows I enjoy spreading the love and positivity. I get somewhat irrationally excited about new beauty products I've discovered and can't wait to share them with you guys. Unfortunately, one of the consequences of trying a whole lotta makeup is that you're bound to encounter a few duds. And, as your resident beauty enthusiast, I feel that its my civic duty to give you guys a heads up to the things that I wasn't a huge fan of. I want you to be better informed before you head to the store, and avoid the tragedy that is buyers remorse. And while I understand that throwing some shade at much loved products may offend a few, hopefully you can still at least appreciate my honest feedback.

So, if you're not already cozy, I recommend getting yourself a snack, maybe a cup of tea, and snuggling up for another epic beauty rant session with yours truly.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Shop the Stash | Eye Primers

Hey guys! It's time for another round of Shop the Stash. If you're new to this series here on my blog, it's all about taking stock of my current makeup collection and rediscovering old flames as an alternative to going out and hauling new products. I'm going to pull out everything I own of a particular category, show you guys a side-by-side comparison, and see if I've been neglecting any hidden gems. So far we've already sorted through my bronzer collection and my concealers, both of which ended up being incredibly helpful for me. I've been loving my Cargo Water Resistant Bronzer this summer, which had previously been buried in the back of a drawer somewhere, and I was able to say goodbye to a few tubes of concealer that were either old or mostly used up.

This time around I've gathered together all of my eye primers to see how they stack up against one another. Primer is a must-have for me if I'm going to create any kind of intensive eyeshadow look. However, I've definitely realized that not all formulas are created equal. Let's see how these ones compare!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Little Birdie Told Me...Vol. 5 | Insta-Obsessed

Every time I run into someone who says they aren't a fan of Instagram, I can't help but wonder "HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!". Twitter can be a little OTT for sure, and I get that Snapchat is silly, but to not like Instagram?! My brain has trouble wrapping itself around the concept.

As a blogger I feel like I'm constantly trying to boost all of my social media efforts, but hands down my favorite platform to invest time and energy into is Instagram. It's one of the easiest places to discover other people who share your hobbies and to support their efforts, it isn't overly spammy (my biggest gripe with Twitter), and most of all, it's a place filled with oh-so-much pretty. As someone who follows almost exclusively MUAs, fashionistas, and my fellow beauty bloggers there are a lot of gorgeous pictures to be had. After a few minutes I'm almost always feeling inspired - be it to experiment with a new look, write a new blog post, or add a new product to my wish list.

I've been thinking a lot recently about how I kind of let my A Little Birdie Told Me... feature fall through the cracks, and that it's totally a shame. There are so many other amazing people out there in the blogging and YouTube world, and for all of the support and positivity I've gotten, I think I'm long overdue to give some back. And so, what a more perfect way to bring back this series than by cluing you in to nine amazing ladies you seriously need to start following on Instagram. And if you're one of those aforementioned people who don't see what the insta-fuss is about, perhaps they'll be able to sway you better than I can!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Makeup Must-Haves for Oily Skin

Fellow oily skinned friends. Tis the seasons of our greatest struggles. It's funny, because after another long New England winter I was starting to believe that I could call my skin combination.

LOL...yeah no.

As soon as I start needing the AC my oil glands kick it into hyper drive, and all of my winter and spring makeup routines leave me looking like the greasiest of greaseballs. Fortunately, my years of testing and trying various beauty products have led me to a few wondrous shine-controlling bits that I always rely on come summertime. If you've ever watched your foundation separate or break up right on your face, seen your eyeshadow crease into oblivion, or notice your t-zone turn into an oil slick, these five products ARE LIFE. Even just incorporating one or two into my makeup routine makes a huge difference. So if you're ready to be enlightened in the ways of matte-ness, let's take a closer look.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Summer Collab Giveaway Featuring the Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Face Palette

You know what your hump day needs? Coffee? (Almost certainly) Chocolate? (Always) A nap? (Not entirely out of the question) How about a chance to win a stunningly gorgeous limited edition face palette, plus a whole bunch of other amazing prizes? The first three are entirely on you, but that last one I can deliver! I was invited by my beautiful blogger friend Steffanie over at Brighter, Darling to join a bunch of other ridiculously talented ladies in hosting a giant collaborative giveaway for our audiences. A huge kudos goes out to Hey There, Chelsie for curating such a fabulous prize, and for doing a fantastic job at organizing everything! Curious as to what you'll win? Let me give you a moment to let the excitement build...