Like any other beauty lover I get a little nosy and wonder what products people like to travel with…you know, those essential pieces that make time away from home easy. Well, at least in terms of makeup application 😉

As I prepare to travel for a few days I thought I’d give you a look inside my travel makeup bag and the items that made the cut for the trip.

Travel Makeup Base

My makeup bag itself is slightly pictured above. It was given to me as part of an entire travel set for toiletries, etc and has my initials monogrammed on the front.  It’s roomy and has pockets for smaller items. I’ve used this exclusively for any travel I’ve done in the last 2 years.


Primers are essential for me, especially when I’m traveling for business and meetings. I need to know my makeup won’t be budging. Right now I’m favoring MAC’s Prep+Prime Natural Radiance for face and for eyes I’ve been loving the Smashbox Photofinish. It’s got a beige tone to it so it cancels out any discoloration and it really helps lock my shadows into place. MAC Face & Body has been my go-to foundation for a few months and is a welcome travel companion. It’s buildable, natural coverage and doesn’t break down on my combination/oily skin. All of my concealing needs will be met with Maybelline’s Eraser for dark circles (the illuminating shade) and MAC’s Pro longwear concealer. To set it all into place I’ll be using MAC’s Studio Careblend Pressed. Notice a theme? Mostly MAC, right? MAC makes amazing base makeup. Although their color line and collections grab most of the attention you shouldn’t overlook some of the amazing face products they offer.

Travel Makeup Blush Bronzer


My favorite bronzer of all time has to tag along for my journey, Laura Mercier Ritual. This needs to be permanent. Yesterday. I’ve also got two highlighting options, the RMS Living Luminizer for a more subtle look and Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal for a bit more oomph. I always like to have a few blush options. This time I’m taking some newbies. Lorac Baked Blush in Exposed (a bright coral/peach) and Dior Mimi Bronze (a natural nude– thanks to gorgeous Andie over at Techno Cupcake for the push to get this beauty). I’m excited about giving these two some testing!

Travel Makeup Eyes


This was the hardest category. For brows I’ve got my trusty Anastasia brow gel and Stila Stay All Day brow in medium. I opted for the original Naked Palette because it’s treated me so well on many travels in the past and I know I can count on it for daytime and nighttime looks that can be as business appropriate or dramatic as the occasion calls. I’ve also brought 3 of my go-to shades of Laura Mercier caviar sticks: Sugar Frost, Sandglow and Cocoa. These provide excellent glow and added drama when used as base shadows. For liner I’m bringing MAC Blacktrack Fluidline, Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner in black and tucked inside the Naked Palette I’ve got my number one black liner of all time- Bare Minerals Round the Clock Liner in Midnight (I have three backups I love it *that* much). I will be attending a dressy cocktail party one of the evenings so I’ve brought false lashes and all the gear I need to apply them. I’ve gotten better at this over time, but I definitely could use more practice.

(not pictured is the regular mascara I’m taking- L’oreal Butterfly)

Travel Makeup Lips


I’ve not yet decided what my makeup looks are going to be so I wanted plenty of color options in the lip department. I’ve got a nice balm, Fresh Sugar Rose to keep things smooth. I’ve also brought along two of MAC’s new Huggable lip colors in Touche and Out For Passion (this formula is really nice!) for nude and rosy pink options with Marc Jacobs gloss in Kissability and NARS Gold Digger to top should I feel like taking it up a notch. And of course I couldn’t forget my favorite lip color- coral. I’ve brought two Becca items (thanks to beautiful Jenny from My Funny Valentine for the inspiration on these); their Lip and Cheek tint in Guava and their amazing Ultimate Colour Gloss in Pink Lotus (seriously, this gloss is awesome!). I’ve also added in Givenchy’s newest lipstick Le Rouge in Rose Dressing which is a dainty but slightly intense coral.

That’s it! It all fits in the bag! I’ve also got my favorite brushes tucked away and ready to go. One of the tips I picked up over the years is to pack my travel makeup bag a few days in advance and use only the makeup out of that bag. It will help me decide if there is something I’m missing or need to add.

I’m going to start off this post with a few thoughts and then we will dive into the good stuff (you know the pictures and swatches). Firstly, I know. I get it. There have been videos and posts about this palette for weeks. But, I have my own perspective and felt (in my humble opinion ;)) it was worth sharing. Secondly, I know. I get it. Enough with the “Naked” thing already. Can we be a little more creative….inventive….sure. But hey, it’s been a major best-seller for the brand so can you blame them for milking it for all it’s worth? Lastly, I know. I get it. Another “neutral” palette. Then again, I’ve featured and purchased many more neutral palettes and it’s unlikely that will ever change. So, let’s take things as they are and realize that beautiful makeup is beautiful makeup, regardless of publicity, color choice or name selection.

Right. So, Naked 3.

Urban Decay Naked Palettes

Let’s talk packaging. I briefly thought I liked the packaging of Naked 2 better than the original Naked. I now rescind my original statement and declare the the original Naked has the most convenient and sturdy packaging of the group. It’s magnetic closure is much easier than the “snap shut, pry open” case Naked 2 and 3 feature.

Also, what’s with the wrinkles/waves? The OCD in me comes out in full force just looking at. I want to iron it flat. Seriously. Am I alone here???

Additionally, I got WAY more use out of the double sided pencil included in the original Naked than I did and will get from the eye brushes included in 2 and 3. Urban Decay: can we pretty please have the pencils back in whatever palette you do next….pretty pretty please?! As far as eyeshadows go I generally find that natural hair brushes work better than synthetic. Especially for all over lid colors.

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette

Naked 3 is decidedly rosy toned. This concerned me initially because I really dislike pink eyeshadows on my skintone. They just don’t do my complexion any justice. Actually, they make my eyes look tired and give an overall, “I’m suffering from a cold.” appearance to my face. Not good.

However, there are only two shades here that are mostly pink in tone, but they still somehow manage to look alright on me. The rest of the shades are a neutral lover’s dream. Day, night, office and party- everything is covered here (the same held true for 1 and 2, by the way so we aren’t breaking new ground).

Also, there are NO repeat shades from the other palettes. Whoo-hoo! Apparently these are all brand new shades. I’m stoked about that.

Urban Decay Naked 3 Swatches

Swatches L-R (in direct sun, no primer): Blackheart, Darkside, Mugshot, Factory, Liar, Nooner, Trick, Buzz, Limit, Burnout, Dust, Strange

I’ll start with the bad. Dust is appropriately named because it kicked up hella dust when I swatched it. It’s chunky- like those old Urban Decay shadows (think Midnight Cowboy or Maui Wowie). Buzz also caused some problems. It’s highly pigmented but I suspect it’s going to have a lot of fall out. It’s also the most pink or rosy shade of the group. I can’t dock it points on that alone because it may suit your skin tone, but it won’t be a shade I reach for often.

The other 10 shades performed like champs. No chunky glitter and smooth application with plenty of pigment to spare. My favorites include Blackheart, Mugshot, Darkside and Nooner- though the 6 last shades in the palette are all just fantastic! I also think Naked 3 has it right including 2 mid-tone matte shades (the previous versions only have 1).

Urban Decay Naked Palette Comparison

The big question…how does it compare with the previous two? Well, it doesn’t really. I have some comparison swatches below of the various shades I thought might be similar but the overall tone and feel of Naked 3 is as different from 1 and 2 as they are from each other.

Urban Decay Naked 3 Dupes

Swatches L-R (in direct sun, no primer): Darkside (N3), Busted (N2), Hustle(N), Liar (N3), Toasted (N), Mugshot (N3), YDK (N2), Sidecar (N), Nooner (N3), Tease (N2), Limit (N3), Strange (N3), Foxy (N2)

Darkside doesn’t really compare to Busted and Hustle although those two are quite similar. Liar is more rosy and Toasted is more brown- but the two are pretty close. Mugshot is darker than it’s predecessors YDK and sidecar, and again those two are more similar. Tease is much more brown than Limit and Nooner. Strange has a clear pink undertone while Foxy is definitely yellow.

Urban Decay Naked 3 Comparison Swatches

L-R: Burnout (N3), Trick (N3), Chopper (N2)

At the last second the similarity between these three shades caught my eye. Chopper is more gold and Trick is clearly rose gold. Burnout is much lighter than both, and more pink than Chopper.

So do you need Naked 3? Need is such a relative term and if we were honest we don’t need any of this. I guess the better prose would be, is it different enough from the first two versions to warrant a purchase? The answer to that should be obvious: Yes! Keeping in mind the theme of the palette is rosy and if that’s not your bailiwick, then you’d be better served buying something else. Now that they’ve covered warm, cool and mid tones I don’t know how they’ll do another Naked palette…but, when there’s a will there’s a way! 😉

Naked 3 is now available at Sephora and ULTA online and in stores soon. It retails for $52.

A continuation of the last few posts, another perfect gift item for the makeup lover in your life (or, errmm, you). Sephora comes out with a Glitz and Glam set every year. The very first one I bought was when I was in Las Vegas a few years ago and I fell in love with the idea of the kit.

It comes with pretty, sparkly things usually geared towards holiday functions or going out. This year’s version is no exception and when it comes to holiday sparkle, this set will have you covered.

*press sample*

Sephora Glitz and Glam Set

The set includes:

– Full Size Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadow in Space Cowboy
– 0.11 oz Nars Lip Gloss in Gold Digger
– 0.17 oz Nails Inc™ Kensington Caviar Gel Effect Plumping Top Coat
– Full Size Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelèe
– 0.135 oz Lancôme Hypnôse Star in Noir Midnight
– 0.34 oz Stila Stay All Day 10-In-One HD Illuminating Beauty Balm with Broad Spectrum SPF 30
– 1 x Sephora Collection False Eye Lashes in Celebrity
– Full Size Too Faced 3 Way Lash Lining Tool

The set retails for $45 at Sephora. The price is amazing for what you are getting here. The liner and cheek color alone cost as much as the set! The bag is one of the best I’ve seen included in a set like this before.

I have not yet tried the gel top coat or the lashes but once I do I will update with my thoughts on those.

Josie Maran Pink Escape

Josie Maran Pink Escape

I already have one of the Josie Maran Watercolor Cheek Gelee’s so I knew I would like this. It’s a punchy-pink shade that adds a “came in from the cold” flush to cheeks. It’s a gel formula that is sheer or buildable depending on your preference.

Urban Decay Space Cowboy

Urban Decay Space Cowboy

Space Cowboy is a full-on creamy glitter shadow that I use over the top of another shadow look to glam it up for night wear. I pat this onto my eyelid with my fingertips to avoid excess fallout.

Sephora Glitz and Glam Swatches

Swatches L-R: Urban Decay Space Cowboy, Josie Maran Pink Escape, NARS Gold Digger, Too Faced Liner

I’ve been wanting to try the Too Faced liner for some time. It’s an interesting concept. It has 3 individual prongs that help get in between your lashes for a more complete liner look. It’s a deep black and holds up nicely throughout the day.

I love the original version of NARS lipgloss but had not yet purchased the Larger then Life version. It’s sticky, but not overwhelmingly so. Gold Digger is a great nude shade chock-full of gold shimmer.

I love Lancome Hypnose Drama mascara (have gone through several tubes) so it’s no surprise that I like the Hypnose Star mascara that’s included here. It is, however, not as a good as my trusty Drama version.

Marc Jacobs SHowstopper Look 4

(Wearing the Josie Maran Blush, Stila HD Beauty Balm and Lancome Mascara)

The surprise hit for me was the Stila Illuminating HD Beauty Balm. Wow. That stuff is amazing. I ordered a full size tube of it already. I like it *that* much. It provides a nice, smooth canvas for the rest of my makeup, evens out my skin tone and just gives a brightened look to my complexion. I had never heard of it before but I’m totally sold on it!

This set was a lot of fun and will add a nice touch of glam to any holiday look you’ll be sporting this season.

*The item(s) in this post were sent by PR for review. No compensation of affiliate links*
29. 07. 2013

I called this post July Favorites but really, this is more like “Mid-Summer” Favorites. I’ve been steadily using all or most of these products throughout June and July.

July 2013 Face Favorites

Tarte BB Tinted Primer*- I’ve been using this on and off since getting it earlier this year. It’s a thicker consistency and incredibly pigmented. It wears all day on me and I don’t need to powder when I do. Amazing! A word of warning- the shade I have is called “Light” but it is more like a medium shade in most other lines. I’m about NC35 and it suits me just right.

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation*- This foundation isn’t new to me but Hourglass recently released more shades (hooray!) and I have been using new shade Natural on days when my self-tan has slightly faded (Ivory is a nice match when I’m more tanned). It wears all day on me and it really does feel like a liquid to powder. This is by far my most favorite foundation. Oily-skinned gals- this one’s for you!

NARS Cactus Flower- Get your hands on this while you can! NARS is discontinuing their cream blush line. No word as to whether or not they are reformulating (my guess would be that they are). Cactus Flower is the perfect pinky-coral (Watermelon??) with a slight sheen. The sheen looks more intense in the pan and swatch then on the face. It’s drier and not tacky, more cream-to-powder which I think adds to the longevity. Gorgeous!

Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow in Rose Gold- I’ve post about this magical product before and have been reaching for it everyday. It’s not packed with shimmer but somehow adds the most ethereal glow and isn’t at all greasy.

Laura Mercier Ritual- I have been using this almost every single day since buying it months ago. I can’t get enough. It might just be my most favorite bronzer ever! I apply it with a MAC 138 for the perfect mix between contour and sunkissed cheeks. If you can still find it I highly, highly recommend this! Don’t let the shimmer in the pan or swatch fool you- there is no shimmer visible on the face.

July 2013 Face Favorites Swatches

L-R: Tarte BB Tinted Primer Light, Hourglass Immaculate in Nude and Ivory, Laura Mercier Ritual, NARS Cactus Flower, Jemma Kidd Rose Gold

July 2013 Eye Favorites

For eyes I have been going for golds and browns in matching creams and powders- perfect pairing for the hot summer weather. I find that pairing a cream under the powder shadows helps the look wear longer and intensifies the colors. I have done this every day in July- the hottest month for us this year so far!

Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer- My favorite eye primer at the moment. Much better than Urban Decay and cancels out discoloration. It’s drier and less greasy feeling than Urban Decay’s offering. If you had poor luck with that I would definitely give this a try.

Lancome Hypnose Drama- A staple. My favorite mascara of all time. I even convinced mymom’s best friend to buy it on a recent trip to Sephora. 🙂

Tarte SmoulderEyes in Brown*- I have had this for a long time but have been getting a lot more use out of it after discovering it was the perfect base for a bronzey smokey eye. It pairs wonderfully with my next shadow…

NARS Galapagos- Another product I’ve neglected too much. I’ve been wearing Galapagos every day for a few weeks in various forms. It’s great as a liner or buffed in as a shadow and is great layered over the brown from Tarte.

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Sugar Frost- These sticks have received a lot of praise, and for good reason. They are easy to use and wear until you take them off. Perfect on their own or layered.

Smashbox Limitless 15 Hour Cream Shadow Quartz- I met with a Smashbox makeup artist at ULTA one day. I went in for a new sunless tanner and came out with a huge new stock of Smashbox thanks to the beautiful Vanessa. For some reason I have always overlooked this line, but not any more! This shadow is fabulous (and their best selling shade). It wears all day and is perfect for bridal looks.

Urban Decay Easy Baked- This shade was released earlier this year. It’s gorgeous and might be my favorite shadow they have ever released! I use it all the time. It’s the perfect gold-almost tan. Maybe I’d describe it has honey? Either way it’s delicious and has a place in everyone’s collection.

July 2013 Eye Favorites Swatches

L-R: Urban Decay Easy Baked (over Smashbox Primer), Galapagos (over Smashbox Primer), Smashbox Primer, NARS Galapagos, Urban Decay Easy Baked, Smashbox 15 Hour Limitless Quartz, Laura Mercier Sugar Frost, Tarte SmoulderEyes Brown

July 2013 Lip Favorites

For lips I have been favoring glossy lip products that have a creamy or lightweight feel. In the summer I always gravitate towards corals and peaches but lately I’ve been adding pinks and rose tones to the mix.

MAC Pink Pearl Pop- This shiny pink lipstick caught my attention in May. It was sold out at two different stores I went to and after falling in love with how it looked in store I knew I had to order it. This is definitely a hidden gem in MAC’s line! I think it came out last year but it does add a beautiful pop of glossy pink to the lips- swoon!

Too Faced La Creme in I Want Candy- I am pretty sure I saw Michele1218 wearing this in a video somewhat recently. I was already a fan of the line and was happy to add this beautiful rosy pink to my collection.

Dior Addict Extreme in Spring Ball- This is probably my favorite line of lipstick ever! I have 4 shades and definitely need more. Spring Ball was released earlier this year. I think I got the matching gloss first and was convinced I need the lipstick. I was right….I definitely needed it. Creamy, pigmented and glossy these lipsticks are worth every penny!

Pur Lip Gloss Stick in Coraline- An impulse buy at the cash register of ULTA. I needed my purchase to be a higher dollar amount to use my coupon and I saw these and quickly added it to my bag. I’m glad I did. It’s a beautiful coral-orange shade that has great wear time and feels like a balm.

Lancome Gloss in Love Peach Show- I had to get this after LisaLisaD1 raved about it on Youtube. I LOVE the color. I think my boyfriend would choose this as his favorite color in my collection. It’s a peachy-nude color that is face-brightening, but in a subtle way. The only problem is the formula is not my favorite. It’s one of those glosses that starts out creamy and turns kind of tacky as it wears on. I don’t think I will get any more shades in the line based on my experience with this one. The color is just too lovely to pass it up and if anyone knows of a dupe in another line I’d love to hear about it!

Dior Lip Polish (02)- This is by far the best lipgloss I have ever used. It even topped my Clarins Lip Perfectors, which I didn’t think could be done. It adds just a touch of pink glow and the formula is not tacky, sticky or scented. It glides on smoothly, wears well and goes with everything and nothing. Go, buy this RIGHT NOW.

Dior Addict Glosses in Venus and Diablotine- Again, Dior nailed this formula. It’s the best! Venus is perfect shimmering nude to wear layered over anything and looks equally good on it’s own. Diablotine is a nice shimmering coral-red. Perfect for summer and I do really need to get the matching lipstick.

July 2013 Lip Favorites Swatches

L-R: Dior Diablotine, Dior Venus, Dior Lip Polish, Lancome Peach Show, Pur Coraline, Dior Spring Ball, Too Faced I Want Candy, MAC Pink Pearl Pop

Whew. That was longer than I anticipated! That’s what I get for not doing favorites every month! Do you have any recommendations? What have you been loving lately?

Here in the Chicago area the season of summer has made its presence known. The sun is hot, the air is humid and the flowers are in bloom. Although it’s been a little cooler this week, warm temperatures are again on the horizon-indefinitely.

Bronze Goddess Products 1

That’s fine though, because I’ve got my self-tanner on and have picked out some of my favorite new (new releases and new to me) products to look the summer part. I was actually inspired to write this post by the most quintessential summer perfume I have ever tried- Estée Lauder’s Bronze Goddess Eau Fraîche Skinscent.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess

I picked this up a couple of months ago at my local CCO (the Estée Lauder Companies Outlet store- a true treasure if you’ve never been to one). The bottle is whimsical and chic- much like the scent contained therein. I had read many reviews about the various Bronze Goddess scents available- it seems each year brings something different. Determined to find out exactly which one smelled like the beach, I went to the CCO and gave several a whiff. Turns out this one is the exact one I was looking for (the 2011 version). It smells delightfully of suntan lotion, the warmth of the sun, and a hint of coconut. In other words- a day at the beach. The actual notes are as follows: Top notes: mandarin and bergamot. Heart: magnolia, orange blossom, tiare flower, jasmine, myrrh. Base: coconut, caramel, sandalwood, amber, vetiver

Each year the notes either change or they bring back a version from the past. I highly recommend the one you see above, from 2011. It was around $40 for 3.4oz/100mL at the CCO. A word of caution, the perfume has an average wear time of about 3-4 hours on me. It does not last the whole day. It does last longer if I spritz a little in my hair, but put this on knowing that you may need to reapply if it has to last longer than 4 hours.

Bronze Goddess Products 3

Laura Mercier certainly knows how to do bronze the right way. Her new Ritual bronzer that was released in her summer collection has been practically the only cheek product I’ve been using since getting it almost two months ago. It’s had some pretty stiff competition with the new Dior blush/bronzer duo and Clarins Splendours bronzer I purchased around the same time. Ritual tops both of the others. I have Lisa of LisaLisaD1 (wonderful Youtuber) to thank because when I first swatched this in store I was frightened by the pigmentation and color. Turns out it’s perfect.

The shadow is another Youtube beauty find- the lovely Vanessa of TheBombshellSuite recommended this shade awhile ago and I finally picked it up. Turns out it’s as incredible as she said it was. It’s Laura Mercier Baroque and I think every girl needs this shade in her arsenal.

MAC released a new verion of their Strobe Liquid Lotion called Golden Elixir. I thought it would be a nice way to add a subtle glow to my complexion and I was right. It’s fabulous. I believe the MAC website sold out, but try your local store/counter. Give it a swatch and see what you think. It’s thin enough to be mixed with foundation but can be built up enough to use as a highlighter on cheeks.

Bronze Goddess Products 2

MAC released their Temperature Rising collection a few weeks ago, and although I hauled a number of things, this eyeshadow quad turned out to be my favorite. The textures, colors and pigmentation are all top notch. One of the best quads they’ve ever released I’d say. On that same note- Urban Decay released a handful of new shades of their buttery shadows this spring. I picked up two of them, the one shown here is Easy Baked and it’s perfect for the summer.

For liners, MAC and Urban Decay stun again with two amazing products. Demolition is a deep, matte brown that works well with most every shadow I’ve paired it with. It looks great smudged too. MAC’s Rich Ground fluidline was actually the very first MAC Eyeliner I ever purchased. It was used on me by one of their MUA’s at Saks (incidentally- I have several favorite products because of that one very talented artist, including their prolongwear concealer and #33 lashes). I probably would never have picked it out for myself, but once I had it on I was convinced I needed it. It’s a gorgeous luminescent bronze and the formula is flawless.

Bronze Goddess Swatches 1

Swatches L-R: MAC Rich Ground, Urban Decay Demolition, Laura Mercier Baroque, Urban Decay Easy Baked, MAC Bare My Soul Quad- When in Rio, Friendly, Romantico, Bare My Soul

Side Note: How gorgeous is When in Rio?!?!

Bronze Goddess Swatches 2

Swatches L-R: Laura Mercier Ritual, MAC Golden Elixir

Below is a picture I posted to my Instagram using a few of the products mentioned above (Rich Ground, Baroque, Ritual). By the way, I update Instagram WAY more than I update here (unfortunately). If you’re wondering what I’m hauling, loving, eating or wearing- that’s the best place to find me.

Laura Mercier Ritual FOTD

Subtle, but glowy- my favorite kind of summer look!

I’ve been testing a number of self-tanners over the past few months and I’m working on a comprehensive breakdown of the ones I like, love or loathe. Expect to see that soon.

In the meantime, what are your bronzey favorites? What is your go-to summer look?