Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Top 3 Favorite Makeup Brushes!

Finding the perfect makeup brush is hard with so many on the market.  Around here, we keep things cheap and simple.  I don't believe that you need 5 different brushes simply for highlighting your face in different ways. I think that when companies have so many brushes for the same purpose, it's a bit gimmick-y.  In my opinion, you only need one brush for each purpose.  Sometimes, a brush might even be better suited for something it's not even designed for!  And, brushes can even serve two or even three purposes.  Below are the three brushes I would probably buy repeatedly for the rest of time, and the products I love to use them with.
1. Sigma F80
I use the Sigma F80 to apply my liquid foundation.  This is an absolute must have for me, and is my favorite brush that I've come across.  By stippling the foundation onto your face, it gives you an airbrushed look, and is really easy to clean.  I've been using it with my Boots Beautifully Matte Foundation.

2. Bare Minerals Angled Blush Brush
I have been using this brush for a  very long time! It holds up beautifully.  The reason I love this blush brush over others is that it picks up a perfect amount of product.  It is easy to get a natural look with your brush when using this brush.  I have been loving my Milani baked blushes lately paired with this brush.

3. Laura Geller Double ended Blush & Highligher Applicator:
The reason I love this brush is not for the blush brush, but for the rounded sponge on the bottom.  This is a very lightweight highlighter applicator.  It is the perfect way to get a luminous glow, especially when highlighters tend to be very sparkly.  You can pack on a lot of product or a little with this handy tool.  I love this highlighter from TheBalm.


Let me know below what your must have makeup brushes are!

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Good Things.

This week there's been too much negativity in my life.  I feel as if I have been such a downer to be around (my poor boyfriend), but my wine glass has felt mighty comforting!  Lately I've had that feeling of dissatisfaction.  You know when you can't seem to be happy no matter is happening? Yep, that's me this week. That needs to stop.  I don't want to carry that negativity over into next week, especially when I have job hunting to do and lessons to plan (theoretically, let's see if those things actually get done). 
So, here's a list of the good things to start my weekend off right:
Digest - Things you didn't know about happiness: - Barking up the wrong tree
Image here.
1. This week is AIMS testing for my 7th/ 8th graders so I've had A LOT of time to catch up with things and get on top of my game.
2. That being said, we were able to play outside in the sunshine when we didn't have testing, and soak up the last minutes of spring here in Phoenix.
3. I applied for 3 jobs! Three! Applying for one is usually torture for me, so I'm quite proud.
4. I put out 2 good posts on the blog this week (if I do say so myself). Here and here. One of those is a spontaneous giveaway that I decided to do.  Because, you know, I like you ;)
5. I worked out everyday Monday- Thursday at Orange Theory Fitness.
6. I got two Klout Perks! One is from Stitchfix, which I'm particularly excited about.
7. I get to write my very first article that will post on Polished!

8. Back that azz up with I Wore Yoga Pants. YEP! I'm jumping on board this week with Whitney and I couldn't be more excited.

My Tune for the week:
Red Lights- Tiesto
This is a sing-in-the-car-poppy-guilty pleasure kind of song. I give you permission to roll those windows down and belt it out. Even at the stop lights.
Comment down below one thing that made you happy this week :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Flawless Spring and Summer Makeup + Giveaway

When it starts to heat up here in Phoenix, I'm always looking for ways to make my makeup last longer.  Sweat is inevitable when you live in the desert, and sometimes it may feel as if my makeup is sliding right off my face. Since I try to avoid making the melting face look a "thing," I have some product suggestions that will keep your makeup in tact for those sweaty days. 
1. Benefit Stay Flawless 24-hour Primer- I have a love hate relationship with this primer.  It's an amazing product and works like a dream to keep foundation in place. But, I'm not in love with the packaging.  It's a stick, so that means you are putting the stick directly on your face over and over again unless you're using a brush.  And, my stick broke. So, the product works like a dream for keeping summer makeup in place, but I would love to see a package redesign.
 2. Boots Beautifully Matte Foundation- This is probably my favorite foundation ever.  Nothing has worked so good as this before.  It honestly stays in place all day, and I can say that with complete confidence.  Even after a workout (and I know, I know it's bad to work out with your makeup on, so don't start with me), but it stays in place. This is medium- full coverage, and if you're looking for something a bit lighter, I also like the Boots Tinted Moisturizer.
3. Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded- It seems like I've talked about this product a lot on my blog.  I usually use a primer on the lid, and then will swipe this over for some color.  In the summer, I get a bit lazy with eye shadow, so this is perfect for a quick eye look that is still glam.  It has the perfect amount of sheen, and I don't have any problems with it creasing on the lid, even on the hottest of days.
4. Maybelline Rocket Mascara- This is the best dupe I've found for the Benefit They're Real mascara.  If you have problems with smudgy eye makeup, I would definitely recommend the waterproof version, but I use the regular and it stays put just fine.  It gives a nice effortless look to the lashes, which is perfect for summer.
5. Boots Hydrating Mineral Spray- This, my friends, is a skin life saver. You can use it as a makeup setting spray, or just as a refresher throughout the day.  It is like a lotion in a spray, but without any grease or oils.  It hydrates the skin when you need it most.*
6. Too Faced Melted Liquefied Long Wear Lipstick- This is new to me, but this liquid lipstick boasts to last a long time.  I don't love the feeling that lipstick gives my lips, especially in the summer, so this is a great product.  Many lipsticks dry out my lips, but this is super moisturizing and long lasting.  A nice alternative for the regular lipstick.
7. Color Caresse Wet Shine Stain- This stain is one of my favorites. It feels a little odd at first, and the texture takes some getting used to.  But, the wash of color it gives the lips is so nice.  It lasts quite a while for me, and needs only minimal touch ups.  
 Because I love the brands mentioned above and (most) are available at Target, I thought I'd include a quick giveaway!  You can win $25 to Target and one month of large Ad space on my blog :)


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

True Life: The Morning of a 23-year-old (and her cat)

A lot of mommy bloggers talk about their infamous routines for the day with their little ones.  I admire their schedules, procedures, and organized pinterest-inspired planners, but I'm also consistently grateful for being 23 and unmarried.  Because, let's face it, I can barely take care of my cat.
Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect.  It means you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.
1. The morning begins with a scratching at the door and the faint call/ screech of a "Mowwwwww." We (as in my boyfriend and I, who live together) don't let the cat sleep in our bedroom, due to a series of ill-fated toe-attacks.

2. I hit snooze 18 times until I can't ignore the cat's calls any longer and stumble out of bed. I'm already 15 minutes behind "schedule."  Usually, I trip on various items on my way to the bathroom: piles of clothes, cat toys, etc.

3. Bathroom. Light burns eyes.  Turn on shower (if there's time), and quickly wash hair, face, and body. I've successfully drowned out the "Mowwwww." Brush teeth in shower.

4. Find something to wear.  In reality this means: dig through a pile of clothes on floor/ in the laundry basket because I didn't do laundry on the weekend like I should have done (for the past 3 weeks).

5. Put together some semblance of an outfit and try to convince myself that "It looks okay," and "those colors really do match."

6. Slightly more awake, I prepare myself to open the bedroom door.  Open door.  Cat flies into the room.  Assess the damage of the edge of the carpet, and get annoyed that the hole in the carpet is getting bigger from the cat's scratching.  Find the cat some food, and get more annoyed that it's stinky, and when you open the can, some inevitably gets on your hands and/or face.

7. Assess the fridge and cupboard. Oh right, there's no food in there! No magical food fairies filled the fridge last night.  Much like the laundry, I didn't go grocery shopping either on the weekend. So, "I'll grab Starbucks."

8. Now that there's cat food stink and no breakfast/lunch prepared, imagine me at my most vulnerable. I step into the bathroom to try and put some makeup on/ do something with my hair. It's usually then that I realize I only have 15 minutes left, and I start to do what I like to call the "Freak out Shuffle." You know you're running late, but can't decide what is most important to do, so you shuffle between activities and half-ass things until you have to go. I slap some foundation on my face, some beach spray in my hair, and call it good.

9. Grab purse (and perfume, if I'm lucky), and get myself to my car.  Even though I really don't have the time, I convince myself that there's enough time to get a coffee and a (most likely sugary) breakfast.

10. The Starbucks drive-thru is wrapped around the parking lot, so I run inside. Pound cake, you say?  Why yes, I'll take one! (with my skinny vanilla latte)

11. Try to maneuver the car with one hand, while stuffing pound cake in my face. Thank the stars that the traffic is "light." Yell at some idiots.

12.  Get to school with 20 minutes to spare, but with an hours worth of work to do.  Look down and realize I forgot to get the cat hair off my pants.

In reality, I'd like to say that my life is perfectly organized, and I'm an accountable, responsible adult.  But, I'm not.  I'm 23 years old in my first career and I'm still working on the "balancing act."  Before you get annoyed at yourself for not having everything in your life perfectly pinterested, take a step back and get some perspective.  Whoever you are, you are allowed to be messy and unorganized.  It's realistic, it's life.  Sometimes I think we focus so much on making life perfect, that we forget that imperfection is okay and natural.

The reality of my life is that I don't do a full face of makeup everyday, and I don't always have the perfect outfit on.  I sometimes forget to feed the cat, and rarely ever have my office perfectly organized.  Although I get frustrated with myself from time to time, and I try to at least do my laundry every once in a while, I'm going to stop putting so much pressure on myself to be perfect, and to have everything figured out.  It's okay, I'm okay, and hopefully my cat will be okay.

All sarcasm aside, I love my little Lilly.


Monday, March 31, 2014

The constant struggle.

A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. #lovingreminder

About a year ago, I wrote a post and saved it as a draft.

I didn't publish it, it just sat waiting to be read.  It's funny how I picked today to go back and trash some of my old drafts that were never posted.  Apparently, the universe wanted me to read this post today, so I'm sharing it with you.  The funny thing is, is that I don't feel much different today, as I did a year ago, and this has really struck a chord with me. I'll explain afterwards. This is what I had saved as a draft almost a year ago to the day:


Sometimes I read other people's posts on Facebook and I see all of these glorious and wonderful life changing things that they're doing, and I think to myself- what am I doing? 

At the current point in time I am stuck in limbo-land.  I am on "Summer Vacation," which in other words means, an unemployed, soon-to-be teacher with mountains of planning to do.  Next year I will enter my first year of teaching after having been in school for 18 years. Uh, what?

I am leaving the comfort of my education to enter a different realm of education- one that is wildly less comforting, as I have come to learn.  One that is daunting, full of mystery, and often, has very little help. I actually contemplated going back to school for another master's degree, and getting further in depth just to stay in this comfort a little bit longer.  But, alas, the clock is ticking, and the "real world" has arrived. 

When I envision what my first year of school will look like, I picture my future 7th grade students loving me, and as the teacher, creating an atmosphere of love, positivity, and creativity.  But, I'm not setting my standards to high.  I know it will be tough, tiresome, and intense.  

I have to keep my eyes on why I'm doing this: for the kids, for the kids.  Any help, advice, or positive thoughts you have would really be welcome here, as I start to plan my school year.

However, my motivation to start that planning, to upload videos, to be a real human being, actually, seems nowhere to be found. I think to myself- where do these people find the motivation to do things?  I spent all day yesterday watching How I Met Your Mother, and the day before that watching Doctor Who (So on and so forth). 

I need to start with baby steps because whatever I'm doing is not making me a happy person, and it sucks.  I feel down about myself, the direction I'm going in, and feel like I'm a miserable person sometimes.

Have any advice on motivation, 7th graders, or the curriculum?  Send me an email: francesadixon@gmail.com

On another note: 

I'm taking the direction of my blog in a more personal direction, and hope that you will come on this journey with me.  I will still be posting videos and reviewing products, but hope to also document my daily occurrences as a limbo-land resident, teacher, girlfriend, daughter, and other roles that I play"

A Year ago I wrote that post.
And today, I feel the same way.  I feel unmotivated, and like I'm still a resident of limbo-land.  A year later, my job is being eliminated from the school I work at, and a year later I still feel like an 18 year old in a 23 year olds body.

I feel like I'm more unhappy than I was a year ago and constantly question why I'm doing what I'm doing.  I need more direction and more strength. However, unlike a year ago, I feel more ready to change my ways and be more proactive about my own life. Unlike a year ago, I'm finishing my first year with a real teaching job, instead of just starting one.  At least I have experience, and a little bit more perspective now.  Hopefully this will help me as I try to fix these things in my life.

Any suggestions? Let me know below how you cope with being unhappy or lack of motivation.

Monday, March 24, 2014

March: Ipsy vs. Birchbox

Hello my lovelies!

March has almost come and gone, and it's that special time of the month where I unbox my lovely subscriptions. I'm really interested in sampling another subscription box. What do you think I should subscribe to? Leave it down in the comments!