I went into work without makeup the other night and I received so many compliments about my skin. Typically, compliments like this make me immediately hide behind thanks but it’s actually blah blah blah. God forbid I simply accept a compliment.

But not this time.

My entire life I’ve struggled with my skin. Like most teenagers, acne was my norm and now I’m plagued by constant stress acne on my chin. Not too mention pores you could drown in. Since starting at Sephora, I’ve learned more about how to actually take care of my skin. Most importantly, I’ve realized my skin can get better.

For the past two months, I’ve tried extra hard to maintain a consistent routine with my skin. Even when I’m tired and don’t feel like going through the whole process, I do, and it shows. With the exception of my lack of eyebrows, I’m confident not wearing makeup.

What does any of this have to do with Philosophy? Nothing, but I really wanted to share something that is making me pretty happy. People tell me my skin looks great, and I say thank you, because it does.

My last adventure in trying a skincare brand was Ren and it was such an unknown line to me. This one, however, is basically an old friend. Philosophy was born from leading dermatologists and plastic surgeons who wanted to change skincare treatments.

The result is the top selling facial cleanser sold at Sephora (and maybe it’s reputation is bigger than that, I don’t know. The Purity Made Simple Cleanser is sold in like 20 sizes and is a favorite for its cleansing and makeup removing abilities.

Maybe you’ve also tried the Amazing Grace or Pure Grace fragrance lines? Both SO BEAUTIFUL. They even come in dry shampoos and they’re just lovely. The formula actually works AND your  hair smells great all day.

Now let’s get into it.


Purity Made Simple Cleanser

Now this is a favorite and that always makes me skeptical (even though Better Than Sex is my favorite mascara ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ). At first I thought this would be a disappointment. I was massaging it into my skin and not seeing my makeup moving at all.

And then I rinsed it off.

As soon as the water touched my face, it was like everything melted off, including my extremely water resistant eyeliner. So I get it.

The Microdelivery Exfoliating Facial Wash

A lot of people love this as their primary cleanser because the granules are gentle enough to use everyday if desired. It felt gentle but effective; it didn’t irritate my face and after my skin felt very smooth. Personally, I don’t prefer exfoliating cleansers but this one wasn’t bad.

Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor Mask

This is a recently launched product with a lot of buzz. It’s an exfoliating mask that you apply by massaging into your skin, leaving on for 5-10 minutes and then massaging it off again. Both of these steps are important to make sure your most stubborn pores are properly cleaned out.

When I was done, I massaged it off in my worst pore zones for about two minutes and felt as if I had completely scrubbed my skin off. Not because it hurt, but because it felt like I exfoliated way too much.

Coworkers told me it was what they considered the best mask for pores in store. People swear by this. After two uses, your pores should be cleaner and smaller. But did mine?

Honestly, it’s hard to tell. They seemed less clogged, especially on the sides of my nose, but it’s hard to be sure if it’s just because I wanted to see results. I had a sample made to try it a second time and I’ll try to pay better attention.

Time In A Bottle 100% In-Control

Full disclosure I’ve used this before and I love the way it makes my skin feel a lot. It’s intended for texture, anti-aging and all the good things you like from a good serum. It’s great.

Ultimate Miracle Worker Night

This hybrid serum cream also targets all of those and more. It helps with pores and radiance. It was a little heavy, but I don’t mind night creams/moisturizers being a little bit more weighty as they work overnight. At first I felt greasy, but when I woke up, my skin looked radiant and I think my pores are definitely getting better.

All in all Philosophy was a success, not that I’m surprised. These products are all great and Philosophy is a great brand. Two thumbs up.

Yves Saint Laurent

Few things in life are more satisfying than learning how to pronounce something that has perplexed you all your life. Yves Saint Laurent was one of those things for me (Yves is pronounced Eeves which isn’t actually that complicated at all). Also as a wee lass I believed Yves Saint Laurent was the same brand as St. Ives (you know that skincare brand with the granules that basically cut your face apart).

Today is a momentous occasion because I have made it through all the color brands in my store. Actually I never gave NARS a full day so I guess this is a farce. Too late we’re rolling with it. Unfortunately, I didn’t start this until I’d been through a few so you guys missed Urban Decay, Bobbi Brown, NARS (but did you), Make Up For Ever and Kat Von D. My next step is compiling the best and worst of what I used so some of those will sneak into those lists. Is any of this relevant? Probably not.

Yves Saint Laurent was a man and with his partner he created his fashion house in 1961, quickly rising in popularity. Many fashion houses follow the cycle of clothes – fragrance – cosmetics, but YSL went straight to cosmetics in 1978, following up with fragrance in the early 1990s. Unfortunately, the iconic brand went through some trouble and different creative directors, causing closures the temporary end of the couture line.

My favorite thing I learned about YSL is he said ‘Chanel freed women, and I empowered them.’ Coco Chanel challenged many norms and created silhouettes that were comfortable and not trapped in corsets and YSL sought to make women feel strong in comfortable, especially in his creation of the iconic Le Smoking suit.

I’ve watched a few YSL brand videos since working at Sephora and I love them all. It’s definitely a house with personality, but let’s find out if the products held up.

(They did)

Product List

The Look

Today I did my makeup while sitting on a pile of stools using a cart as a table with a portable mirror. Our backstage area has been leaking and some very hand men were fixing it while I lunched. It was not the best of environments, yet I persevered.

This was another unique entry because every product, no matter how iconic, was a first use for me. I’ve never tried YSL before today and did my best to experience the brand as fully as possible, even though it was missing some crucial items, like eyebrows.
I started with the basic primer, Instant Moisture Glow (we didn’t have a tester for the Blur Touche Eclat primer, she added bitterly). It’s supposed to make you hydrated and glow (obviously), but it also helps smooth you out. I can’t speak to any of that, but it felt really nice on my skin. I wanted to swim in it.

Next, I went with the favorite Touche Eclat foundation. I’m always ready to skeptical, but today I had no reason. This foundation is worth the hype. I used a 47 foundation brush from Sephora Collection to spread it all over my face and man, was it beautiful. It matched really well and covered without feeling heavy. It was also easy to build, so I could go over where my pores were the most problematic and receive the necessary amounts of coverage. I also used it as an eye primer because I couldn’t find one on the gondola.

To continue to perfect my complexion, I used two more Touche Eclat products, a concealer/highlighter and neutralizer. I’ll preface this by saying I think the Touche Eclat Radiance Pen is beautiful, but for me it just isn’t worth the hype. Neither was the neutralizer (if there is hype there ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ). My dark circles remained even after layering.

I’ve really been struggling to have good brows lately, which is a bummer, but without a YSL product I went to my ride or die Anastasia.

I tried a lot of different products on the eyes, and mostly I was pleased. Starting with the metal shadow, I quickly realized it wasn’t the pigmentation I wanted so I went on top with the Duo pen, placing the blush I used as a crease color. From there, I built up the look with the eyeshadow palette and was pretty pleased with the outcome.

Saying that, I will again complain about the tiny size of eyeshadow palettes for high end brands. Plus, this one for like six colors cost $60. That is more than almost every large palette and I don’t understand anything. Yes, they were nice, I liked the look, but not for that much money.

oh and the mascara was nice.OH! I almost forgot to talk about the eyeliner. It was the worst. Traditionally I used liquid liner in a felt tip but this tip dried out so quickly it barely made the line across my first eye. It felt like using a dried up Sharpie and it was the worst. As a point of reference, it was also a new tester and should not have felt that way.

To finish my face, I went back into my Marc Jacobs blush and bronzer uses from yesterday and still loved both products just the same. I’m also really into this bronzer brush from Sephora Collection I may need to buy.

My last step was, as always, lips. I chose the Vinyl Cream Lip Stain for its alleged wear time and comfortability. It applied beautifully and yes, it was comfortable. It wasn’t the most long lasting lip product I’ve used, but considering the cream, non-matte finish, I was impressed.

Everything stayed on fairly well, even after having to take a shower because my sister dyed my hair. I mostly emerged unscathed, complexion still fierce.

Not a bad day.

Probable Purchase

  • Ugh, the foundation. I want to be stronger. But I know.
  • The cream lip stain. It was nice.

Never Again

  • That eyeliner. I can’t even think about it.

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs is a man and brand that is wildly popular but honestly I don’t know why. I’m not saying that like some fashion snob. I literally don’t know what makes the brand so iconic because I don’t follow fashion houses. But he’s a big deal. Obviously.

Launched almost 15 years ago, Marc Jacobs Beauty came into being while Jacobs was a fashion darling with a successful fragrance line in his back pocket. His youth-meets-sophistication approach was perfect for the cosmetic industry, combing fun pops of color with quality products that will stay on. While the line didn’t officially launch until August, five products were released early and quickly sold out, marking a trend that would continue.

Now he’s pretty much the authority on long-lasting eyeliners, among other notable products. The Highliner Gel Eye Cream is no joke. One morning I was like I can try the under smoke that MJ is currently promoting, but it went horribly wrong and I tried to wipe it off. Only I couldn’t get it off. When clients return it because it wouldn’t stay in my head I’m like, ‘likely story, but I’ve had tattoos fade faster.’

Let’s not forget Velvet Noir, the beloved mascara and recent best seller in the brand. This *might* be my second favorite mascara in store, behind Better Than Sex. I’m also OBSESSED with the coconut bronzer that was limited edition so now I have to cherish it forever.

Enough chit chat. Here we go.

Products Used


I wasn’t actually sure how today was going to go. A coworker suggested the eye palette I used and already I could tell it was going to make my face much more dramatic than I intended. After work I was going swimming and drama eyes don’t really mix, but I went for it anyway.

I love everything coconut, and the fact that Marc Jacobs has an entire line dedicated to fruitnut is incredible. I used the coconut primer for my face and eyes and really enjoyed the application for both. They spread easily and my only real complaint is I wish they smelled MORE like coconuts. Seriously I can’t get enough.

I used Anastasia Beverly Hills for my brows like always moving on.

Because I’ve used the Re(marc)able foundation in the past, I went with the Genius Gel which is medium coverage (compared to full) and helps brighten skin over time. I picked a color that was too light, but it was thin enough I could easily spread it and hide it with bronzer. Saying that, it felt like I had to use a lot of product to get my desired coverage. Like several pumps. It wasn’t like Kat Von D where I can use a drop and Beauty Blender and completely cover my whole face. I know it’s less coverage and buildable, but I like to think one pump should always be enough. The coverage itself was nice, but I wasn’t overly impressed.

The concealers are set up weird and not by palest to darkest, so I was short on time and at a lost. The color I picked wasn’t bad, but it was darker than the foundation. I actually have no opinion it was just there on my face.

To set and prepare for more powder, I used the Featherweight Finish Perfection Powder and this seemed like a real dud. Maybe my brush wasn’t ideal, but it didn’t seem like any of the pressed powder was actually helping to set everything on my face. I couldn’t even tell it was there and when it came time to apply the powders, my face felt sticky.
Strangely before I finished my face, I moved to eyes and dove right into the Edgitorial palette. I like Marc Jacobs shadows in general, but these were incredible. It was a nice mixture of sensible and pop so you could create a complete eye look and also have some fun. The biggest downside of the shadows is a seven-pan palette will set you back $49, about the average price of a palette containing double the amount of shadows. The pigment on these are GREAT, but you could really use your money more wisely and go to Make Up Geek.

Also the green/gold color in this is so good. I put it on and it was like BAM PIGMENT LOOK AT ME.

I debated doing eyeliner because it can really just ruin your whole morning, but by the time I finished the shadow I realized I needed a wing to balance the crazy. A lot of people love the Magic Marc’er and I can see why. Even though it was a little dry from being a tester, it was still really really easy to use. Probably one of my fastest wings in a long time. Plus, it held up swimming and that is saying something.

I love Velvet Noir and I used Velvet Noir because there wasn’t a tester for the other one and that’s all I have to say about that.

Strangely satisfied with the eyes, I moved back to my complexion and began bronzing to help my face match everything else. The contour powder was really nice and just blended out so beautifully, I could’ve cried. I used the yellow powder in the pan to brighten my under eyes a bit as well and noticed a difference.

The blush may have been my favorite product of the day. It went on with enough pigment I could see, but not too much that it was like WHOA BLUSH STOP NOW. It was soft and pretty and sadly didn’t really survive the pool, but I still love it anyway.

Another strange product in the is the glow stick highlighter. Don’t get me wrong – my glow is still going strong more than seven hours later, but the application is so weird. It basically looks like deodorant.

To finish everything I used a liquid lip as nude as I could to not overpower my eyes and set everything with the coconut mist.

All in all, today was a success. I like the way it looked + held up as the day progressed, which is good because for these prices it should.

Probable Purchase

  • the blush but you already knew that
  • Magic Marc’er
  • TBH I’d be happy with anything in this line (except that powder)

Bare Minerals

Ugh. I knew this day had to come and I was prepared to hate it. To really emphasize my dismay, I have really dirty hair and a large wide headband to hold my bangs back and I am not in peak form.

A lot of people love and swear by Bare Minerals which is fine DO YOU but personally it’s not my thing and if you’re like maybe this review taught her to feel differently, you’re wrong. Let’s go.

Products Used

Also I used Anastasia Brow Wiz and gel for my eyebrows and Natural Love by Too Faced on the eyes in case you’re wondering why those important features are done without their products listed.

Prime time BB Primer-Cream Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30, Fair

This was fine. I have nothing else to say. SPF is a nice feature and my skin felt nice after but I wasn’t like sold on it or anything.

Original Foundation, Fairly Light 03

Man  I have no idea how to use loose powder foundation. I did my best. Honestly my skin looked okay kind of, but I think I have too much texture for it to look as good as I would like. But I hated the application. HATED IT.
Blemish Remedy Concealer, Light

Well-Rested Face & Eye Brightener

Broad Spectrum Multi-Tasking Face, Well Rested

So it weird using a combination of creams and powders on top of powders and by the time I was done my face felt like it was minimum five different colors.

Invisible Bronze Powder Bronzer, Fair to Light

Invisible is the key word here.

Blush, Golden Gate

I think I hated this product the most. Don’t get me wrong – you get a lot of color, but you have to be SO CAREFUL. And I’m a girl who loves her blush, but it was still all over the place and so strong. I had to use the foundation on top to tone it down.

Invisible Glow Powder Highlighter, Fair to Light

Again, invisible is the key word.

Prime Time Eyelid Primer

This created a nice base for my eyeshadow so no complaints.

Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara

People have told me they loved this mascara and I thought maybe this will be a redeeming product, but no. I mean I think they look fine, but I just didn’t like the application at all.

Statement Matte Liquid Lipcolor, Fresh & Luxe

I was also excited about these and chose two colors because I couldn’t choose between them, but you can’t really tell on the lips I have two on. They also didn’t last a super longtime which was a bummer.

So yeah, my opinion of Bare Minerals remains the same. It just isn’t for me.


This day started out as kind of a best because I had to work on a Sunday morning which was a huge buzzkill. Not because it was a weekend morning, but missing church is really hard for me because it’s the highlight of my week.

Even so, I plowed through my emotions and used the opportunity to try a new brand in Lancome. While I have used certain products before, most of the line was new for me. In the past, I’ve used the Teint Idole liquid foundation and the Hypnose mascara because I heard it’s what Kim Kardashian uses. This was before I realized that fake lashes are a real phenomenon and I will never look like Kim Kardashian.

Let’s get into it.

Products Used

Visionnaire 1-Minute Blur

I don’t know if my imperfections and pores are just too large to be blurred or if all these products are liars, but I saw no blurring on my skin. Saying that as you can deduce, I never see any blurring effects and it’s sad because I want my pores to disappear. It did, however, feel very nice and create a nice base for my makeup.

Miracle CC Cushion, Yellow 02

Someone used this one me during one of my trainings and I really love it as a color corrector. It does a great job of eliminating minor redness and is lighter and easier to blend than some other formulas.

Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Foundation Stick SPF 21, 110 Ivoire C

Many of my coworkers like this as their favorite foundation, or favorite stick foundation if nothing else. My entire complexion looked nice after Lancome, and while I don’t think it’s my favorite, I liked the blendability and coverage.

Teint Idole Ultra Wear Camouflage Concealer, 090 Ivoire N

I was really tired and sad this morning and this concealer + foundation helped remind my face I was actually alive, which is nice.

Les Sourcils Definis, 106 Dark Brown

The product itself wasn’t bad, but ‘dark brown’ is a stretch.

Star Bronzer Magic Bronzing Brush

Ugh, I didn’t like this at all. It was weird and I ended up putting too much on my forehead and it was very orange.

Blush Subtil, 373 Aplum

This was nice as well. Nothing much more to say.

Click & Glow Highlighting Skin Fluid, Lumieres Roses

I really don’t like liquid highlighters. This one wasn’t bad, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite that I’ve used.

Color Design 5 Shadow & Liner Palette, Taupe Craze

I’ve probably talked about this before, but I hate eyeshadows that aren’t in full palettes or in singles. Five is not enough. I mean I know technically it’s a full eye look BUT I WANT MORE. They were nice and I actually didn’t mind the eye look until I ruined it with the next step.

Drama Liquid-Pencil Longer Eyeliner, Brique & Cote D’Azur

Lancome is known for these nice eyeliners and even though I’m a liquid kind of girl I thought why not. I used a red and blue one because it was so close to the Fourth of July, but it wasn’t good. I won’t blame the product for this because it’s more likely it was my complete inability to use pencil eyeliners.

Cils Booster XL Super-Enhancing Mascara Base

This was a mascara primer ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Definicils High Definiton Mascara

I’ve used a few of the Hypnose mascaras before and tried the Definicils. I have no real complaints about the product, but it didn’t provide as much drama as I like.

Matte Shaker High Pigment Liquid Lipstick, 189 Red’y in 5

This may have been my favorite part of the look. I like this formula a lot. It’s matte, but not complete so it looks really nice on the lips. The applicator is weird and the product itself is flammable when liquid so there are some negatives, but I would definitely try it again.

Ren Clean Skincare

I’m going to apologize at the start and say it’s been crazy recently so I haven’t had a lot of time to dedicate to Brand Beat. Saying that, I still want to publish my reviews, but they will be a different style than before.

In a nutshell, I’ve never used any Ren before and I learned from coworkers it’s good for clients with redness and issues like rosacea, so the more you know.

Products Used

Rosa Centifolia 3-in-1 Cleansing Water

I really liked this cleansing water. It seemed to do a good job of removing all my makeup, but I will say it didn’t seem better than other options at a lower price point.

ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser

This was gentle but when I was done my face felt so so so good. That’s really all I have to say.

Micro Polish Cleanser

So this product technically made me routine a triple cleanse, but my face didn’t feel stripped. It was a very gentle physical exfoliator and after my face felt like baby skin, which is awesome.

Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask

Anti-Redness Serum

V-Cense Revitalizing Night Cream

Firm and Lift Eye Cream

Okay so these last three are lumped together because honestly I did this awhile ago and didn’t take good notes. I didn’t have any reactions and everything, again, felt very nice and gentle. Saying that, I didn’t notice anything stand out from the line that I would highly recommend as needing.

If you do have issues with redness and rosacea, than maybe this is the line for you. Who’s to know.

Mini Bonus! Lolita!

Hey hey hey so today I was feeling very lazy and decided to do a quick look using the new Lolita Eyeshadow & Blush.  Right now monochromatic is IN (according to Sephora) and products like this are basically a dream if you’re looking for a way to look ~*kEwL*~ and not spend a lot of time.

My basic review is that it’s a nice pigment. It’s not my favorite for a blush shade, but it went on nicely. I’ve seen people do some really intense eye looks but I kept it simple (lazy) and just put it in the crease.

I used other products too but I’m really unsure of what they were at this point in time. Some sort of foundation and mascara I guess? And most like Anastasia brows because that’s how I live my life.

I finished the look with the Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita, a shade I’ve never actually tried despite the popularity. I’m a big fan of the formula already, so liking that isn’t a surprise, but I really liked the color too. Part of me was a hipster and sure I would hate it, but alas no. I’m just like everyone else.

I would definitely buy the lip, but personally I don’t think the eye/cheek color is something I’m necessarily missing in my life. If it seems like you’re thing, hop to it! It’s only $19 and limited edition.

Huda Beauty

Today was not a day for Huda Beauty. Some brands are designed to be quick for the girl on the go, and some create textured eyeshadow palettes and glow kits designed to highlight your whole face. You can guess which category Huda falls into.

I was late to work and didn’t pack food so I had to run to Starbucks and choke down a bagel for sustenance. It even makes an appearance in a photo where it looks like I’m pushing out my lips but really I’m just chewing.

Huda is a growing line, and currently the only products are an eyeshadow palette, highlighting palette, lips, lashes and nails. I had to supplement a lot of other brands to get a complete look, but the Huda products are definitely the star.

Brand History

Basically Huda Kattan is living the dream of everyone who likes makeup in the entire world. She was working in finance when her real passion for makeup surfaced and she Googled the top makeup schools and decided to go. You know, as if it’s a completely normal thing to go to famous makeup school and work with major brands and models like it’s nbd.

Wishing to bring her experiences to the masses, she started her beauty blog in 2010 and quickly grew in popularity, becoming one of the most well known influencers in the world. Basically I’m going to follow in her footsteps with Brand Beat and someday I’ll be famous too lol

It was a natural transition into releasing her own products, much to the delight of everyone who followed her. Every product she releases is high quality and as a result, kind of high priced. Follow @hudabeauty on Instagram for a lot of really interesting reposts of hair, nails, makeup and more.

Products Used

The Look

This is another one of those days where I forgot to save the photos I took during the process to share with you, so you’ll have to deal with my words alone.

I’m going to spare you most of the complexion details because you can read about Sephora Collection, Tarte and Laura Mercier in other posts. My eyebrows by Anastasia Beverly Hills were a little more intense than I wanted (although I went for Dipbrow so I should’ve known) but with the complete look they were okay.

Huda called her glow kit ‘3D’ and for good reason. This isn’t your standard kit full of highlighters you can mix or choose between. Oh no. These shades are meant to be used at the same time. You begin by using the top right powder to set the face with a soft, luminous glow. Then you take the next color and highlight the high points of the face. You use the dark shade, a texture that isn’t quite a cream and also not quite a powder, to create depth under the cheeks. Finally, you take the pink shade for a soft flush.

Basically if you ever wished your contour was actually highlighter, this is for you.

It was really beautiful on the skin and if you like glowing, you’ll love this kit. It feels wonderful and is very easy to apply and blend. Obviously you don’t have to use every step every day, but it’s a nice option if you do. My only real issue is the blushes aren’t as dark as I like. The natural, flushed finish is pretty, but I like a little more definition. I tried using the Gold Sand blush to darken it a bit but I still didn’t really get the results I wanted.

Now that I looked like I dipped my face in glow powder, it was time to move to eyes. It’s important to reiterate again I was late to work, untoward and my hair was in a messy bun. But for some reason I chose the darkest lip color and felt I had to match the depth with my eyes.

I used all the reddish matte shades (Bossy, Maneater and Henna) to define my crease and outer corner and then placed Fling on top. To lighten, I used a bit of the Rose Gold textured shadow in the inner corner and then 24K on the center of the lid to lighten it up more.

The look was dramatic.

This eye look combined with Famous, the deep burgundy liquid lip I chose, was much edgier than I intended. I don’t like the shade Trophy Wife on me and the other shades available were almost too nude, so I settled with what was left. It definitely was a darker and edgier look than I envisioned but it wasn’t bad.

The eyeshadows applied nicely and blended out really well. The textured shadows are really pretty, but I’ve heard you can get similar formulas from Make Up Geek for a lot less money. On the whole it’s a beautiful range of colors, but at $65 it’s a little pricey. It’s also very similar to Modern Renaissance, a palette I love, but I believe the formula in the ABH set is a little better than Huda’s. If you’re looking for one and don’t think the textured shadows are appealing, opt for Modern Renaissance. You won’t be disappointed.

Last but not least is the lip, causally mentioned not long ago. I’m a fan of the Huda liquid lip formula. It’s comfortable and long lasting with a nice range of colors (we just don’t have them in store). Famous wore well all day and brought the drama. I went for a walk and it’s honestly why I kept the entire look on because I loved the drama.

Speaking of, I did take quite the extensive walk and the look really held up throughout the day. My lips made it through several meals before looking less put together which is always a plus.

In my opinion, most Huda products are great for makeup lovers who want to spend money and already have everything they need. With the exception of the lips, they’re a little pricey and slightly ridiculous in the best way possible.

Honestly there’s nothing new here I feel like I need to buy, as much as I enjoyed Famous and the Rose Gold Palette. Also everything I read/write Famous I think of the Kanye West song which is less than ideal.

Harry Potter, Always

I’ve been trying to find the most logical way to start this tribute, but I keep stumbling over my words. You see, Harry Potter has been a part of my life for most of my life. In fact, it’s been one of the biggest parts.

While the Philosopher’s Stone first released in the UK June 26, 1997, we had to wait more than a year before it came to the States. Even then, I didn’t immediately read it. I remember my neighbor had it and we would pretend it was a spell book and we were witches because we were vaguely aware it was about magic.

No, I didn’t read the book until I was in third grade. It was then everything for me changed. At this point, the first three books were published and I couldn’t stop. I remember staying up late at my dad’s house, sitting in my grandpap’s chair and reading by lamp to finish the Prisoner of Azkaban. I was trembling at the reveal at the end, completely blown away. To use the language of today, it was the first time I was shook from a book.

Me wearing a Hogwarts shirt and Hedwig coat on the way to watch The Chamber of Secrets in theaters

For two years I anxiously awaited my letter for Hogwarts, sure that a book that felt so real HAD to be real. When the movies were announced, I remember being concerned with getting the details right, and even as a child worried they would screw it up.

When the first movie came out, I dressed up as Hermione Granger and borrowed a snowy owl puppet from my Gifted teacher to make the look authentic. We did an after school week focused on Harry Potter and I kept the wand and felt hat we made for years.

Countless hours were spent online learning everything I could about the world of Harry Potter, including frequenting sites like Mugglenet where I printed a list of spells so I could remember what they did. I even started a fan club at school where I made quizzes and everything for my friends to prove they were real fans.

I remember the excruciating wait between books four and five. The first four were published so close together but we had to wait three more years for the next one. It’s funny – when the Order of the Phoenix came out I was only 12, but it doesn’t feel like it’s been almost 15 years. I don’t think I was that young, but clearly I was.

It would take four more years until the last book was published and I spent the time re-reading the series and re-watching the movies and convincing myself it couldn’t end, not really. They marketed the last book with Snape as friend or foe and I remember being so confident he would turn out to be good. The Deathly Hallows is a masterpiece that is equal parts tragic and triumphant.

I read the final book in 24 hours. A literal 24 hours, through the day and night

When I saw the final movie in theaters, many stood and applauded, but I couldn’t move because I realized I had nothing else to look forward to in the Harry Potter series. But I knew the series would always live on.

Harry Potter is more than just a series of books. For many, it was a way to cope with trauma or assault. Others saw it as an escape into a world so unimaginable but also so real. To me it was always like going home.

Hanging out where I actually should live

I grew up with Harry Potter. The final book came out when I was about to turn 17, the same age as Harry Potter in Deathly Hallows. He was like a constant companion and source of strength. Hermione Granger showed me it was okay to be smart and is a character I appreciate more and more with every re-read.

To this day I can’t pick a favorite and I know I haven’t found all the connections. Every time I read a book, I learn something new. I find something that didn’t make sense until this time. I’m never bored when I watch or read the stories I know so well.

I can quote most of the Sorcerer’s Stone movie mostly because I had a PC game that corresponded with the movie. Just ask me to do the Sorting Hat’s speech. Do it.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of my favorite places because it feels like, if only for a moment, I’ve actually entered the world I grew up longing to see. I can go to Zonko’s and Ollivander’s and drink Butterbeer. I can experience real magic when you enter Diagon Alley through the secret entrance.


I still have a collection of Harry Potter items on display. Some are toys I’ve had since childhood and others were acquired on trips to the theme park. There are photos of me through the ages wearing different types of Harry Potter merchandise, sometimes embarrassingly so. I still own and proudly wear Harry Potter clothing.

But tbh I’m not proud of these Hedwig overalls with the Gryffindor shirt underneath

I have a Harry Potter tattoo.

I even include ‘excellent Harry Potter knowledge’ on my resume.

When people get to know me, a few things become evident. 1) this girl is a Christian (hopefully) 2) she really loves her nieces 3) man is she obsessed with Harry Potter

Let’s be honest, there are worst identifiers.

Happy Anniversary, Harry Potter. Thank you for continuing to bring magic into my life.

After all this time?


Sephora Newness! June 20 Edition

Lancome has been my next brand for like a week but I just haven’t found the energy to take the plunge and do a review. Fortunately, we have a lot of newness in store so I could spend the day distracting myself.

Every month or so, Sephora puts up what is called a new animation. This means I am forced to work a second night during the week (hence two skincare reviews last week). New products are put on the floor to reflect the current trends in the world of skincare, haircare and makeup along with new store displays.

While this current animation is technically ‘Curl Boss,’ designed to reach the more than 60 percent of the population with some type of textured hair, there’s a makeup trend angle as well. Right now, Sephora is all about monochromatic looks.

Several brands released products based on a popular shade in one color so an entire look can be created using the same shade, aka monochromatic. Urban Decay brought back its Gash eyeshadow to match the lipstick and lipliner and Kat Von D introduced a shadow/blush in the shade Lolita to match her most poplar shade of Everlasting Liquid Lipstick.

Other brands just launched new products in store, like Anastasia Beverly Hill’s blushes and Aurora Glow Kit.

Now let’s get into the details of my experience.


Products used:

*indicates first time trying product

The Look

Keeping in line with current trends, I decided to go with a monochromatic look of sorts, inspired by the ABH Blush Trio in Pool Party. I began my experience with Sephora’s new primer targeted toward mattifying. It’s not clear like I anticipated it to be (as a gel) and the consistency was really weird. It’s probably most comparable to the De-Slick primer from Urban Decay. You have to apply it carefully because it gets sticky and doesn’t spread well. Most of my gel-based product glide like an angel on the ice over my skin, but not this one.

Next I added foundation, aka the most disappointing product in the bunch. I had high hopes for the new Tarte stick foundation. I watched one and it felt like butter gliding across my forearm, but it didn’t translate to my face. Maybe the mattifying primer didn’t provide the right base. Maybe I used the wrong tool to spread it. I don’t know. All I know is it got stuck on my face and I basically had to rub it off just to get it to blend. No me gusta.

The rest of the complexion went fairly smoothly. I used the Maracuja concealer from Tarte because it’s thick and I trust it to do its best against the giant chin monster threatening to consumer my face. The new Nars bronzers are so beautiful and create a really natural looking warmth on the skin. They don’t apply too heavily, making them excellent to blend.

Next we have the highlight of the day, and no I’m not referring to one of the many highlighters I used. There are few to no products I’ve tried from Anastasia Beverly Hills and didn’t like/love, and the blushes are no exception. The pigment is so nice. They seem like they might be too bright in the pan, but once they begin their journey in adding flush to your cheeks, they’re so natural and pretty. I am in love. The trio is $30 which isn’t bad considering you get three blushes at that price. I was also worried the thin pans would cause quick contamination and make it hard to focus your brush in the color you wanted, but I faced no trouble at all. Thank God.

I brought several highlighters into this review and decided Aurora was the way to go, meaning I chose one of the colors that wouldn’t make me look crazy. Don’t get me wrong. I love it. But also I don’t want a blue sparkly stripe on my cheekbone. I went with ‘Eclipse’ a really pretty pink shade to match my theme. It was beautiful.

After priming my eyes, I used some of the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea powder to set it (also used on my face but forgot) and then went in with non-eye products like a real rebel. I used all the shades in the blush palette to add dimension and then tried to add a little of the Amethyst/Geode highlighter in the middle, but the pigment wasn’t really there sadly. It added some shimmer, but on the whole it fell flat. I used the other two in my inner corner and my reviews there are similar.

I decided to try the Becca lip gloss (even though gloss isn’t my jam) and swatched all the colors which turned into a sticky mess. I chose Rose Quartz/Seashell because it kept in line with my monochromatic idea, but they were all interesting. I’m not likely to run out and buy any because of my preferences, but they’re interesting nonetheless. Not too sticky but also not very long lasting.

The final touch was the setting spray, or what should more realistically be called a coconut shower. Even though I was warned by a coworker and thought I maintained a safe distance, I got soaked. In order to get it to mist across your face like a good setting spray, it needs to be held at a complete arms distance or else it’s way way too much. Definitely a packaging flaw, but so far the product itself seems to be holding my face up well, which is a plus.

All in all it was a fun day trying some new products. I’ll probably do at least another monochromatic look using some newness, but right now I’m thinking maybe a Huda Beauty day tomorrow since we have the eye palette back in stock and the glow palette just launched. Maybe? Yeah?

Probable Purchase

  • The ABH blush trio. Obviously.

Never Again

  • Maybe everything else? I don’t know I need to try both the primer and foundation again with different counterparts to see if I like them better