My Favorite Drugstore and Designer Makeup

My oh my how this is turning into a week about makeup. Makeup and food. This week’s Friend Friday questions focus on one of my favorite topics: Makeup! My oh my how this is turning into a week about makeup. Keep reading to find out which products I can’t live without!

What’s your favorite drug store makeup product and your favorite higher-end product?

Prestige Liquid Eyeliner, E.L.F. Clear Mascara and Brow Gel

Next week I’ve been given an awesome opportunity to lead an alternative spring break (ASB) group in service next week. ASBs take place in lieu of typical spring break activities for college kids like eating Cheetos or going to the beach or indulging in adult beverages when of legal drinking age. Students give up all this fun to help others. Doesn’t it warm your heart?

I’m going to work my hardest to write posts this weekend that will go up next week. Expect at least two posts if not more from me. This, however, means I won’t be commenting. I still have a phone that flips and refuse to be dragged into the smart phone era (c). So if I don’t respond right away, fear not, I will the following week!

How I Gave Up Cheese and Milk

Over a month ago I eliminated direct dairy products from my diet and gained awareness of what I was consuming. I can’t call myself a vegan because I didn’t cut out all dairy products found in items like pizza crust and baked goods.

The biggest factor in sustaining my dairy-free diet was admitting my addiction to cheese. In realizing that, I let go of my long love for cheese. And that’s hard for an Italian to do!

Though a friend told me I would have more energy by cutting out dairy, I found that wasn’t true for me. That could be because I’ve had healthy vegetarian diet on a continuous basis for over a year.

While my energy hasn’t improved, my health definitely has. Virtually all symptoms of my lactose intolerance have disappeared and my stomach aches have ceased. The times when I have eaten dairy either accidentally or in brownies, I’ve gotten rather ill with stomach cramps.

Most people assume cutting out dairy leads to weight loss, which may be true but not necessarily for me as my weight has remained stable. When I first started taking steps to cut out dairy three years ago, I lost about ten pounds right away.

At first, avoiding dairy was downright annoying. Most vegetarian options at my work’s cafeteria had copious amounts of cheese and it was hard to find non-dairy creamer for coffee. Let’s not even start on my beloved cream cheese! After a few weeks, it became easier to make non-dairy choices and hold out for soy milk.

Would I recommend cutting out dairy for everyone? Probably not. If you’re lactose intolerant (or even suspect you may be), I would say give it a try. The only way you can find out if you are lactose intolerant is to determine if you have symptoms. The health benefits from that alone make the sacrifice worth it.

I think if I took on this diet solely to lose weight, I wouldn’t have stuck with it this long. I view it more as a lifestyle change than a diet necessarily.

So what do you think? Will you be giving up dairy any time soon?

Quick Natural Makeup Guide

Lately I’ve had little time to get ready for work, which is certainly a familiar story to many of us. I find myself reaching for products to create a natural look I can pull together in ten minutes or less. I do miss my winged eyeliner, but I love my thirty extra minutes of sleep.

Here’s my picks for quick, pretty and neutral looks. Keep reading to find out my favorite correctors, blush, brushes and more.


Skincare is essential and no amount of of makeup can repair poorly cared for skin. The key to good skincare is understanding and treating your current skin, not the skin you had last month or four years ago. Do your research on what products work best with your specific skin type. And don’t forget sunscreen for your face and body exposed to sunlight.

I use mostly Neutrogena products (though it goes against my anti-animal testing stance) because it is difficult to find high quality skincare products at drugstore prices that is not tested on animals. Each product costs between $5-$12.


A multi-colored green and white corrector can cancel out redness on the face. You can use this product two ways: by applying it to spots or by sweeping a mix of the colors over your face with a powder brush. Before applying other products, I use Physicians Formula Multi-Colored Green Palette to tone down redness on my cheeks. And, no, your face will not look green! This product retails for $9-$12. (I snagged it for $8!)

Apply this cream corrector before foundation to cancel out darkness under the eyes. Then cover the corrector with concealer because skipping concealer creates a raccoon-type look. Retails for $22. (I snagged it for $12!)

Mineral Foundation

Mineral foundation is usually an easy-to-apply light weight product when you’re trying to hurry. It blends well and is forgiving if the color isn’t exactly the right shade. These products retail for $17 to $25.

Natural Blush

On top of mineral foundation, I use a natural toned pink blush. Depending on your skin tone, what pink looks “natural” on your skin will differ from what looks natural on others. This NYX blush blends very well and gives me a natural glow without looking too much like blush. Retails for $14-$16.50. (FTC Disclosure: I was given this blush for review by NYX Cosmetics.)

Clear Mascara

Clear mascara–I don’t know why more people don’t use it! You can apply this product quickly and without worry about clumping. I especially recommend this products for people with light blonde eyelashes as it will make your lashes look darker without looking like you’re wearing mascara. My favorite clear mascara is by E.L.F. The great news? It only costs only $1. Bad news? It runs out fast.

Neutral Eyeshadows

Having a palette of natural toned eyeshadows you can rely on is essential in a pinch. If you’re not one for neutrals, find a palette that includes colors you feel comfortable using daily. Any basic eyeshadow look won’t incorporate more than three colors, if that many. Retails for $48, which is a steep price so make sure you’re willing to make the investment. (I snagged it for $14 with a giftcard.)

Eyeshadow Brushes

For a basic shadow look, you’ll need a flat eyeshadow brush for patting on your basic shadow that will serve as the foundation for other colors. Using a medium sized brush will give you control over how much shadow you end up applying. If you’re applying only one color, you still want to use a blending brush to prevent sharp edges. You can also use your blending brush to apply highlight colors to your brow bone.

My personal favorite brushes are Eco Tools, which retail for $9 to $12 for a set of four to five brushes. You may also want to look into using paint brushes as makeup brushes.

These three main brushes will help you achieve a natural look. You can use a powder brush to apply foundation and powder. You can then use the kabuki brush to blend out any harsh lines or potential caking. Always use a separate brush for blush and avoid using the powder brush so you don’t end up with blush all over your face. Again, my favorite brushes are Eco Tools Mineral Makeup Brushes, which retails for around $10.

That’s my list of favorite products and tools! I hope these give you some idea of how to create a really simple, easy and natural look that doesn’t require much time to pull off.

Lately: Here and There

In typical fashion, life has become overwhelming. Long days at the office, upcoming trips and dogs to walk. I took these photos last week when it was finally beginning to warm up outside.

Looks like I’ve got a move back up the East coast (potentially) to a city I’ve always wanted to live in. I’m working on upcoming posts for this week so keep your eye out for interesting comment to come. For now, enjoy the sunny Southern weather.

Blogger Awards

When the Bloglovin’ award nominations were released, I had a moment of, “Hey, where’s all the blogs I read?!” Shortly followed by, “Where’s the diversity?”

Faye of Fuyume started a conversation on Twitter about the above questions and I eventually emailed Katy of Modly Chic and suggested we host awards for a Friend Fridaytopic. And so here we are.

Before I jump in, I want to preface this listing with “This is not the be all, end all of bloggers!” I often hesitate to point out different bloggers I like because I’m from Generation Everyone Gets an Award. I’ll try my hardest to be inclusive of all types of bloggers.

Creative Juices (Most Creative)
Chelsea of Dear Winnie. Chelsea’s blog is setup as an open letter to Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue. I love Chelsea’s Blogging for Daters series.

Bella of The Citizen Rosebud always surprises me with her her anti-rules layout. Whatever you thought you knew about blog layouts, Bella’s site just blows them all out of the water and in a good way. I also love her series highlighting over 40 bloggers.

The Real Deal (Authenticity)
B of Beautifully Invisible is one of the most authentic anonymous bloggers around. Her posts are continuously engaging, well written and, most importantly, community-promoting.

Spark Notes (Most Helpful)
You can’t go far in the world of independent fashion blogging without hearing about Vahni of Grit and Glamour. She provides up-to-date pertinent information on topics bloggers want to know about from Copyright law to how to build a better blog.

Newbie (Best Blogger Less Than a Year Old)
I seriously don’t know how Collette of Statements in Fashion does it. She really is a super blogger “newbie” blogger who has worked to build community through providing continuous support to other bloggers through social media and features on her site.

Can You Hear Me Now (Most Connected)
You know? I really don’t know who to put for this one! I think if you are a blogger who uses Twitter more than ten times a day and responds to every comment you get, you are connected!

If I had a Hammer (Best DIY)
Whenever I read Leia’s Delight’s, I’m always transported into Leia’s world. I love it! It feels like an adventure every time I visit (and that’s what a blog should be like!). From nails to cooking, this girl’s got it goin’ on!

Tribe Leader (Blogger Who Leads Others and Brings Bloggers Together)
When I started writing about being a feminist, I quickly found out other women were hungry for this topic. I emailed a few bloggers and saw the idea take hold and be lead by Franca of Oranges and Apples as well as Mrs. B. of Mrs. Bossa Does the Do. They really took the idea and ran with it.

Practically Perfect (Most Fashionable)
Erika of The Style Activist repeatedly blows me away with her fashionable outfits coupled with personable entries. Also MJ of Fierce Beauty and Fashion. I love her use of colors and also her willingness to let me bounce crazy ideas off her!

Paint by Numbers (Best Beauty Blogger)
I originally started following Anna Saccone on YouTube. Unlike other YouTube Gurus who their their blog as an extension of their channel, Anna really makes an effort to provide unique and one of a kind advice to her readers on topics from diet to beauty.

Renaissance Blogger (Best all around blogger, fashion, beauty, lifestyle)
This can definitely be anyone I mentioned above. I admire these bloggers so much. And many more!

Update and Thanks
Thanks for reading this week! I was very proud of the two articles I put out. I know race is a hard thing to talk about, but I encourage you all to take up questions and arguments of race in your everyday lives. Thanks for sticking with me through these tough subjects!

I think I finally got wireless back at my house. If you haven’t noticed, my online activity has been slowed down due to lack of internet at my house, which is fine, but I like blogging, reading and commenting. So look out for me to be back at full force next week.