How to Improve Your Blog's Photos for Less than $5

As, beauty bloggers it is essential to have clear photos. Sure, a nice camera will help but if you can't fork over the cash for a DSRL or a light box, there are other ways to help yourself. If you want your photos to be free of noise (background stuff), clear and have better color, grab yourself:

  • a trifold display
  • poster board
  • natural light
I was able to pick up my trifold and poster board for around $3 at the dollar store. 

The trifold serves as a sturdy base for your photos. Plus, you can easily store and prop it up on walls. The poster board creates a seamless background for your product. Be sure to choose white for both because it is the best color for lighting purposes. Natural light from windows or the outdoors is your best friend when it comes to photographs. 

On days when it's a bit cloudy or rainy, I prop my set-up near windows:

Most days, I bring it outside and take advantage of the sun:

These simple changes have helped my photos greatly:

What other blogging secrets would you like to see revealed?



Wantable Accessories Box Review

A little over a week ago, Wantable reached out to see if I would like to try a month of their service. I am going to be honest I thought, oh great, another high priced subscription service has entered the field that doesn't deliver on the price tag. I decided to give it a go, in hopes I would be proved wrong.

Wantable offers you two choices: makeup or accessories. Since I am a little burnt out on makeup (blasphemy!) right now, I went with the accessories box. 

The process begins with a quiz that is quite different from other box companies I have experienced. Wantable's is interactive, shows you photos of products and you choose if you 'love', 'like' or 'dislike' the style. This helps you to never receive items you would otherwise detest. I was quite pleased with this quiz because I am particular about what I wear. 

After the quiz, I was sent a confirmation e-mail, a shipping e-mail and an arrival e-mail. I took the quiz on a Wednesday night and my package arrived Tuesday. I was very pleased with how lightening fast the were.

The packaging with nothing special, pretty run of the mill but the contents were impressive!

I received two necklaces, a pair of earrings and a bracelet. Everything was on point and just my style. I wore everything lastweek because I was dying to show them off. Each of the items were quality made and not even close to flimsy.

If you purchase a box month to month, it will run you $40. If you go ahead with the subscription, you will save $4 and pay $36/mo. My box had $80 worth of jewelry inside.

In all, Wantable definitely proved me wrong. I absolutely love that you can make your choice between makeup or accessories. I saw some of the makeup boxes received and they were getting high marks from bloggers. I'm very happy to report that the accessories are well worth the cost and of high quality. Plus, you actually receive items based on your style quiz. I think any fashionista out there would love Wantable.

Products were sent to me by the company for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

Don't forget to checkout my fashion blog sale!



The Best Drugstore Products for Dry Skin

Now that fall is approaching, it is time to add some moisture rich products to your routine to prevent flaky skin. I have compiled a list of some of my favorite drugstore products to give you soft, supple, well hydrated skin.

Earth Therapeutics Foot Reapir BalmThis travel sized foot cream is equipped with serious moisture. I constantly suffered from dry feet, until this. My skin soaked this up and I haven't seen a flake since.

Eucerin Daily Replenishing: This daily lotion leaves skin soft and supple with results lasting all day. I like it for dryer climates because of the thick, creamy consistency that is easily spreadable.

Aveeno Positively Nourishing Hydrating Body Wash: This body wash is formulated with grains of rice to slough off dead skin. It is a fantastic first step in beginning your moisture rich routine.

CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream: This hand cream locks in moisture all day, even with multiple washings. It also softened up my generally flaky cuticles. 

C.O. Bigelow Rose SalveThis balm has done wonders on my dry lips. The hydration plumped up the skin, causing my lip lines to be less noticeable. The hydration lasts several hours, too. It can also be used on dry patches anywhere on the body.

Eucerin and CeraVe were sent to me by the company for review consideration. All opinions are my own.



DIY Yogurt Face Mask

I mask 1-2 times per week. Usually, I grab my Queen Helen's but sometimes I need something for dry patches or to perk up my skin. 

A while back, I posted my banana and honey mask that helps with dry skin. Now, I'm sharing my yogurt mask which helps to brighten and soften. I could not believe how fresh my skin looked after using this simple combo.

  • 1/2 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tbsp cooked oatmeal (I just pour some hot water on it and strain)
  • splash of olive oil
  • splash of milk 
  • drop of tea tree oil (completely optional but great for acne prone skin)

Start with cleansed and toned skin. Then, mix your ingredients in a bowl. I like to apply the mixture to to my face with the back of the spoon. Allow to set for 15-20 minutes. Wash and voila!


City Lash Lash Growth Enhancer Review and Results

City Lash Lash Growth Enhancer is a cruelty free lash growth serum made by City Cosmetics. The company touts that lashes will be longer, darker and more dramatic in as little as 40 days. They also promise the formula will not cause color changes in eyes or skin. Overall, you should see differences in thickness and length. It runs $80 on their website.

The products comes in a tube with a fine brush to sweep at the base of lashes. It can be applied in the morning or evening. I chose to apply in the morning, before my makeup, so I would be more likely to remember to use it. The product should be applied daily. I swipe a thin line and wait for it to dry for around 5 minutes.

I was thrilled to try out this product because I have short, thin lashes. Right before use, I had a couple of lashes break off and were much shorter than usual. 

I enjoyed the simplicity of application. The downside, is if it gets into your eyes it burns, bad. This happened only a few times. I found that as long as I was conscious to not close my eyes (blinking is fine) for around 5 minutes all was well. I also recommend putting in contacts after the product dries or just apply it at night.

I began to notice changes on week 3. I put on my mascara one morning and my lashes looked much longer than the usual. By week 4, I was very happy with how long my lashes were looking. I did not notice any changes in thickness or darkness, however I still think that will take a few more weeks of trial to have major improvements there. I just finished week 5 and am beginning to see a bit of change in volume. 

In my bare lashes comparison, the results certainly are not dramatic. Where I was able to see the most difference is looking straight on. Instead of me not being able to see my lashes, now I notice some upward curl forming. Also, those lashes that broke off? They were back to correct length by week 3. Results were most impressive after curling and mascara.

Often times, mascaras might add some volume but my lashes still poke straight out. Now, they separate, curl upwards and appear much longer. Before using City Lash, Benefit's They're Real did absolutely nothing for me. Now, it's becoming a favorite mascara

  • My lashes increased in length within 3 weeks
  • Price is much lower than Latisse but gives similar results
  • Easy to apply
  • Improved the look of mascaras on me

  • Burns if it gets into your eyes

I'm very happy with this product. I have been panicking about running out because I'm super cheap and don't want to fork over the dough. However, with what it has done for my sparse lashes, I'm going to have to re-purchase. It's become something I cannot live without. I am looking forward to seeing the long term results in the way of volume. If you have stick straight, fine lashes and I think you will be very pleased with of the results City Lash.

***UPDATE 9/19/13***
At weeks 6-7 the product stopped working. I no longer saw growth and the volume never came. I stopped using the product and will not be picking it up again in the future. For short term improvement, it worked amazingly. The longterm results were lacking. 

Product was sent to me by the company for review consideration. All opinions are my own.


5 Must Have IT Cosmetics Products [video]

Products mentioned:
Vitality Glow Anti-Aging Matte Bronzer
Hello Light Anti-Aging Crème Radiance Illuminator
Bye Bye Pores
Your Skin But Better CC Cream
Vitality Lip Blush Hydrating Gloss Stain


Busy Girl's Summer Nail Art Challenge: Watercolor

It is the last week of Busy Girl Nails summer edition. If you would like to see this again in the fall, please leave me a comment!

I chose to opt out this week, so I'm reposting the watercolor nails I created for the Totally Doable Challenge.

Thank you to everyone who has participated in #BusyGirlNails. I loved seeing how each of you took the prompt and added your own flair to it. Last week, I enjoyed kkrollnails' heart nails.



My Everyday FOTD

I rarely post my makeup looks on BBA because, for the most part, I do something fairly low key everyday. I like to keep things natural and clean. Here is my typical FOTD with some makeup I have been loving the heck out of! Most of these products are what I have been wearing in my past few YouTube videos.

I prime my face with NYC Smooth Skin Perfecting PrimerI love using bareMinerals Original Foundation everyday because it looks like my skin but better. I'm in the shade Fairly Light. I contour with bareMinerals Warmth and sweep a light wash of bareMinerals Blush in Cassis on my cheeks.  I use a bit of Hello Light from IT Cosmetics on my cheekbones to highlight. My brows are filled in thanks to Anastasia Beverly Hills. My eyes are primed with my longtime favorite NYX HD Eye Shadow Base. I pat Naked on my lids and sweep Buck in my crease, both from the original Urban Decay Naked palette. I finish off my eyes with the Blinc Ultrathin Liquid Eyeliner Pen and Physician's Formula Organic Wear Jumbo Lash mascara. My lips are made gorgeous with IT Cosmetics Vitality Lip Blush Gloss Stain in Je Ne Sais Quoi

*linked products go to my reviews



GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment Review, Results, Before and After

A few weeks ago, a friend raved to me about the GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment. I had never heard of GlamGlow, so I obviously had to look into the reviews. From smaller pores, to breakouts be gone, to being an overall miracle worker I became intrigued and somewhat skeptical.

I stopped by Sephora and was hit with the $69 price tag. Ouch! I opted to get a sample to make sure it was worth the splurge.  The woman at my Sephora gave me enough for one mask and a couple of spot treatments. She also carried on to me about how wonderful this mask was and how it was so worth the splurge. After that, I was even more excited to give it a go.

Without further adiu, here is my experience, the results plus before and after. This stuff has a lot of claims, so I suggest checking out the website here.

Upon application I immediately noticed it smelled like licorice. It also tingled and began drying within seconds. 

After 5 minutes the tingling was gone and it burned a bit. It was almost completely dry. At the 10 and 15 minute mark, the mask became very hard. Once it dries, you will see little dots pop up (the darker spots are where it never dried). Supposedly, this is the mask pulling the impurities out of your skin.
most of the spots were on my nose and forehead

After I washed there were slight changes in the size of my pores and redness.  I did not see any other changes. Within a few hours, both were back to their normal appearance.

The next morning, I did feel my skin looked refreshed. Beyond that, I did not see any miracles. My blemishes, redness and blackheads were all the same as before.

You can also use this as a spot treatment on blemishes. At the time I put this to the test, I was suffering from some serious cystic acne. After the 20 minute treatment, I felt as if the spot had actually reduced in size. Unfortunately, this was a fluke. The next morning, it was back to it's normal size. The spot treatment did not do a thing to help with acne spots, even with multiple attempts.

This test did not convince me that I needed to fork out 70 bucks on GlamGlow. I did not feel it lived up to its multiple claims. I was hoping this would be mask to help with my acne and it did very little for it. I would like to believe that with longterm use it performs to the claims, however I'm not willing to make the purchase based on this subpar experience. Especially since I used it as a spot treatment, longterm, and it did very little. 

Have you tried the GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment? What was your experience?



Battle of the Products: Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream v Maybelline Color Tattoo

When Maybelline launched their Color Tattoo in Icy Mint, I knew I had to have it. Soon after, I was sent Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream #53 and thought, wow these are quite similar. I decided to put them to the test to see if Maybelline's was a possible dupe.

At first glance, in the pot, they appear quite different. Swatched, the difference is barely noticeable:

Make Up For Ever's appears slightly more green than Maybelline's. However, on the eye, the difference is minuscule:

Both are equally smooth, creamy and blendable. MUFE builds easier than Maybelline's. I wore the them on each eye, all day, to test each of their durability. They each made it with no fading or creasing. Make Up For Ever's claims to be waterproof (Maybelline's does not) and in the water test, Maybelline outperformed MUFE. 

MUFE will run you $23 while Maybelline is a fraction of the cost at $6.99. You receive more product in MUFE's but the price per ounce works out to $1.09 (MUFE) and 49¢ (Maybelline).

Would I say Maybelline Color Tattoo in Icy Mint is a dupe for Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream #53? Absolutely. I do not think the MUFE performs any better than Maybelline's and I certainly prefer the Color Tattoo price. After testing to two, I believe you will be safe purchasing Color Tattoos over Aqua Cream since they perform precisely the same.

MUFE was sent to me by the company for review consideration. All opinions are my own.


Busy Girl's Summer Nail Art Challenge: Hearts

#BusyGirlNails is almost over for the summer. It went by quickly! 

This week is all about hearts. I think they are a playful addition to nails. I chose an antique gold as the base shade to add some dimension.  I was inspired by pinned, Taeko Yoshioka

Last week, I loved Leeangelonails beach mani. Can't wait to see what you all do with hearts this week!