Our Can’t Live Without Fall Essentials

As the temps start to drop and the leaves start to fall, we embrace the short window we have to enjoy the season of fall (autumn if you’re fancy.) Grab a cup of something pumpkin spiced and a cozy blanket and take a gander at the things we cannot be without in the season between summer and winter.


Moisturizer! With the air getting more crisp and less humid, my skin is like WHAT. My allergies are also in full force during the autumn months, which makes my skin itchy and raw and sensitive. It’s super fun, let me tell you. Last year, thanks to a recommendation from my doctor, I discovered the best moisturizer. Wait now… you’re going to laugh. It’s Cetaphil cream. I know! It’s so dumb! But it really is the best- it’s thick and creamy without being heavy or greasy. It’s unscented- seriously, why are face products even scented?? I bought a night cream specifically for sensitive/eczema prone skin last year and it smells like a damn cucumber wearing perfume. So gross. Anyway, while initially I was just using the Cetaphil on my body, I realized it’s actually an amazing night cream- seriously, I wake up looking like I at least got most of a good night’s sleep. It’s cheap enough to really slather it on, but you really don’t need much.

Legwarmers! You can take the girl out of the 80’s, but….. I love legwarmers! Fall is the perfect time to bust out your knit accessories- scarves, hats- legwarmers are the first thing I reach for. See, I’ve created a life for myself that includes a career that allows me to wear stretchy pants and sneakers on the daily. When the air starts to become cool and crisp, legwarmers keep you snuggly without weighing you down. I love the line they create on a legging or skinny jeans. Trust me- this is a look you can rock!legwarmers2

Spooky stuff!! Despite my cheery disposition, I love the spooky vibe of autumn. Halloween is my favorite! I love going into any store and poking around the decorative skulls and black cats. I love that makeup gets vampier and color palettes go toward black and grey. I crave moodier music this time of year (going back to my semi-goth youth), and I love that the odds of something spooky or scary being on TV increase by 150% this time of year- what are you watching? I am cautiously optimistic about this season of American Horror Story (I gave up on it last year), Scream Queens is funny enough, and I’m looking forward to checking out The Exorcist (the show) and season 2 of Ash vs Evil Dead. (NOW: what should I be for Halloween???)


Dark lipstick: My red is my signature–but in a recent lipstick declutter–I found that I have more purple/wine lipsticks than any other color. And fall is the perfect time to bust them out. I’m especially excited to revisit my Nars Audacious in Charlotte and Maybelline® Color Sensational® Creamy Mattes Lip Color in Divine Wine. I can also stop feeling guilty about rocking my Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick in Unicorn Blood which I’ve loved so much since got it this summer, I’ve worn it even when the temps called for something brighter. This one sells out constantly–and seems to be available now…

unicorn blood

Jeffree Star – Unicorn Blood

Fall boots: I try to keep my pedicure tight in the summer so I wear open-toed shoes as much as possible. But when temperatures drop, I bring out the cute boots. These are boots that I can’t wear in the winter because I don’t want them to get slopped up with salt and grossness. So my window to wear them is small. Styling in my fashion boots is one of the few things that make me excited–or at least–tolerant of fall. Here are a new pair I’m excited to step in:


Fall concerts: My friend Angie Z coined the term Rocktember because of all the bands that hit the road in the fall. Sadly–all my travel in September really cut into my concert game. But I am hitting the rest of the year with a vengeance! Some shows I’m most excited for: Kanye West’s Saint Pablo tour at United Center, Real Estate at the Majestic, I Love the 90s at Target Center in Minneapolis, and Tegan and Sara at the Riverside in Milwaukee.



Scarves:  I love summer, but I pretty much hate summer fashion due to the inability to wear much of anything at all that I have in my closet. When the temperatures finally drop to the degree when it is no longer comfortable to have all of your skin exposed, I reach first for my scarves. I love throwing a vintage bandanna on with a casual outfit, or a big plaid blanket scarf on with a tee shirt and light jacket. In my opinion fall is the perfect time of year to be a little more fashion forward with accessories and layers of clothing in general, because we all know what’s coming…. and in a couple of short months we will be covered in winter coats, hats and gloves and who cares what you’re wearing because you just need to be warm!


Red wine:  Let’s all take a moment to mourn the passing of rosé season. *sheds a tear*  Moving forward I will be drinking reds. In the cooler, colder months I do love red wine the most. Medium to full bodied reds that compliment the heartier fall harvest foods….. but seriously… who am I kidding….  I drink wine from a box in the fall and winter. While in the summer I can easily polish of a bottle of rosé in one afternoon, I have a harder time in the fall drinking a whole bottle of a red in one night. Summer is for day drinking because, it’s summer and it’s exciting and HOT (thanks btw, summer, for those extra 8 pounds) fall is for drinking a little on a cold, dark evening to warm up and relax. Am I right? Which is why a box of wine is the best, of course, because it lasts so much longer than a bottle after opening. My go to box wine is Bota box Redvolution. People may judge, saying box wine is trashy. I say, haters gonna hate.


Hankies: My nose gets super drippy when it gets colder.  I know, that’s super attractive. If I use kleenex I wind up with a dry, red, flaky nose. Not cute or comfortable. So in the past few years, I’ve taken to carrying hankies with me at all times. I’ll have multiples on me any given moment. One in my bag, one in my coat pocket, one tucked in my bra. I have a bunch of them and they are all vintage, some that were my grandmas and some that I have picked up at thrift stores and antique malls here and there. They are softer on my nose than tissues or TP and I can wash them, which allows me to create less waste and save the money that I would be spending on twenty or thirty boxes of kleenex. I think they are really pretty as well


Pretty good, actually: Axe tobacco and amber deodorant stick

No, that’s not a typo. Yes, Axe.


If you’re like me, you are in a constant state of flux with your deodorant choice. At first I love the smell… then after a while I don’t…. at first it works so well…. wait…. nope…. it sucks. And allow me to share with you how long it actually takes for me to choose a deodorant that sucks: a really, really long time (probably the same total amount of time we are stopped at red lights in a lifetime.) Picking a deodorant seems like something that should be so easy!  Except, it’s not. Now, I admit to having certain standards. I want an actual deodorant, not a deodorant/antiperspirant. It can’t leave any white residue. No flowery or powdery smells. But even given my standards, it STILL seems like it should be easy, especially given that there is most often almost a whole aisle to choose from.

So a couple of weeks ago, fed up with my most current deodorant fail, I decided to switch deodorant teams. After some time in the men’s deodorant aisle (still less time than spent in any women’s deodorant aisle) and smelling a lot of man smelling smells, I discovered the Axe tobacco and amber scented deodorant stick. It’s a slightly sweet yet earthy and smoky scent that’s actually pretty subtle (I know… “subtle” goes against anything I thought I knew about Axe as a brand). It lasts through my work day as well as my workout, and is a clear solid formula that doesn’t leave any white streaks. It only set me back $4.49 and now I have to buy all of it just in case they discontinue it.

Do you share my same deodorant woes? What works for you? We want to know!


Pretty Good, Actually: L’oréal Voluminous Feline Noir Mascara

A few weeks ago, you may have seen my Facebook post regarding a new mascara purchase. Here is an update on that situation!

I have pretty basic criteria for mascara: don’t flake, smudge, or run down my face, make it look like I have some eyelashes, hold a curl, and come off when I ask it to. Also, since mascara needs to be replaced on the regular (and frankly, I can be a bit fair-weather when it comes to what I like), I really look to the drugstore first when I’m in the market for a new tube.

While I’ve had my flings with higher end mascara, my loyalties often call back to the L’oreal Voluminous Million Lashes mascara- it does a fine enough job for every day, and meets most of my criteria. Recently, the Voluminous line expanded to include the Feline Noir collection. The cap is leopard print, and that was enough to make me purchase it instantly.

felinenoirI flipping love this mascara. It’s better than pretty good. Did I mention that I got the waterproof formula? I usually opt for waterproof, as it is high allergy season, and my eyes are hella leaky. Anyway, back to gushing: it adds a nice amount of length, you can layer it up without it getting clumpy, I have not had any problems with it transferring to any other parts of my face, and it looks great all day. Oh, and it comes off easily with regular old face washing! Added bonus: I feel really fancy with that gold leopard print cap!! I know it’s dumb, but it’s the little things, you know??

Here is a horrifying close up picture of my eyeballs- one sided, one coat application:


At $8.99 I am tempted to buy a bunch and hoard this.

I bought this with my own money when I went out to buy cat food. Coincidence?!? Meow. Let us know what you can’t resist buying!!


Is the crazy price of SK-II Facial Treatment Essence worth it?



First of all–who doesn’t want skin like Cate Blanchett? If you put Cate Blanchett in an ad campaign and tell me my skin can look like hers—I’m going to pay attention.

Of course, reality sets in—not in the sense of understanding how genetics, life choices, dermatology appointments, airbrushing, etc. might play a role in skin perfection—in the form of sticker shock.  As much as Cate’s complexion makes me wanna say yes, the price tag makes me say no.

Then last year—I had the good fortune of traveling to Japan for work—the home of Shiseido, Shu Umera and SK-II. The one souvenir I wanted to bring back: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence.


the crown jewel of the SK-II line

This “miracle water” made of 90 percent Pitera–read here to learn more–is the backbone of the SK-II line. I had to have it.

And I did. I ended up buying an SK-II gift pack that included two cleanser samples, a night cream and a 2.5 ounce bottle of the Facial Treatment Essence.  The mask cleansers and cream were fine, but that mysterious water was royal.

On Sephora, the small size is a steep $99. I purchased the entire gift pack for $60. I apply it old school aftershave style, by putting a splash in my hands and then patting it on my face.  It is meant to be used morning and night. I go through streaks when I’m really good at using it and times when I’m just lazy.

Is it worth it? Unfortunately, yes—while no one will mistake me for Queen Elizabeth–I can totally see a difference when it’s a regular part of my skin care routine. I still have about a quarter of the original bottle left, so a bottle can last for a long time.  But a Benjamin is a lot for what is basically a fancy toner.  Luckily, I am on my way to Tokyo this week and I will absolutely be purchasing another supply. Hopefully, at a discount.

Wanna give it a shot? Give a holla and I can see what I can do. Because don’t we all deserve to achieve our skin life goals?

Photos are courtesy of SK-II website. I bought this product with my dollars exchanged for yen. But if SK-II wants to hook a girl up…

My current favorite highlighters

*current favorites because I have sooooo many (otherwise know as “a problem”)

I remember a time in my life (the 90’s) when my goal was to keep my skin as flat looking as I possible. I can even be quoted saying “I don’t want to be shiny, I want to be matte”…. such silly words. These days I’m not happy unless you can see my highlight from outer space and my ultimate goal is to look like this snapchat filter always:



Here are a few highlights that are helping me achieve said goal….

Mary-Lou Manizer by The Balm

You’ve likely heard of this one.  It seems to me that it has been reviewed and used by every beauty blogger/vlogger out there, and everyone loves it.  With good reason – it really is just that good! It’s very pigmented, but still build-able. It’s a pretty nude champagne shimmer, that remains universally flattering for pretty much any skin tone. Perfect for cheekbones, brow bones, inner corner of the eye, cupids bow….. everything. If you don’t already own this one my only question for you is, what are you waiting for?

Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop Shimmering Skin Perfector – pressed

It’s certain that I will by any makeup with “champagne” in it’s name. But you guys, the hype is real.  Whether you love Jaclyn Hill or can’t stand her, or don’t even know who the heck she is…. there is no denying that she developed one of the prettiest highlights out there at the moment. I actually pre-ordered this one when it was first launched, not even seeing it in person first. It definitely does not disappoint. It is the prettiest gold peachy hue and  as the name suggests, it POPS! Since the release of champagne pop, Becca has expanded the Jaclyn Hill line and I look forward to trying more from the Champagne collection in the future.

Haloscope by Glossier

You might all know by now: I love Glossier.  They have amazing skincare products and all of the perfect makeup products to achieve the dewy “no makeup” makeup look most of us desire. This summer they release a highlight stick called Haloscope, a highlighter and moisturizer in one, and I have been using it on the daily since it arrived. The outer ring highlight is enhanced with real crystals, while the inner core is a solid blend of coconut, castor seed and sweet almond oils to moisturize. It is dewy perfection all on it’s own, or it can be layered under other highlights. I have the quartz shade (a pearly simmer) and as I sit here writing this, decided I must at once order the topaz shade (a golden glow). Oh, and here’s a code for 20% your first order!  Go get it.

Laura Mercier Mineral Illuminating Powder

So, this is meant to be an all over powder, which I’ve tried to use it as, and it’s just a little too pink undertoned for me to use on my entire face (you bet I tried it all over.)  Having said that, as a highlight it knocks my socks off! This glow is simply magical. It is highly pigmented and I can only assume that is due to the actual gemstones – diamonds, emeralds and other semi precious stones – in it. That’s what sold me on it, in fact: REAL GEMSTONES! It’s a loose powder, so it’s a little bit messier to use as a highlighter, but you better believe I can deal with it.

In all honesty this post could have been 72 times longer than it is…..so let me know if you want me to share more! Pretty please also share with us! What are your current favorites? How do you use your highlights? Let us know in the comments and feed our (my) obsession!

*These were all purchased with my own hard earned cash money.

I Tried All Of These Liquid Eyeliners For You.

Just before summer started (and before E&N was born), a friend reached out to me- she had suddenly become sensitive or allergic to our beloved Kat Von D Tattoo Liner. A tragedy!! So she was wondering if I had any other liquid liners that I liked. Truth is, I was so devoted to the KVD, I hadn’t even bothered to try anything else. So, since I was about due for a fresh liner anyway, I set out on a quest to discover new liquid eyeliners! I mean, come on, my arm didn’t need to be twisted that hard.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper is ride or die. It is holy grail. It is the best liquid eyeliner to have ever existed. Why is it so great? Two things: the formula is bulletproof, and the unique brush applicator is so easy to use. It gives you a perfect delicate flick on the end of your wing. I’ve heard rumors of dupes out there, but I really believed nothing would live up. This summer, I tried three low end and two high end liners, hoping to find the next best one. The TL;DR version is that all of these liners are fine- great even- and yes! I have a new favorite I’m reaching for daily that might surprise you!!

These have all been on my eyeballs

These have all been on my eyeballs

Here are my thoughts on these puppies, in no particular order:

Milani Eye Tech Extreme Liquid Liner|$8.99

One of my favorite YouTubers, Claire Marshall, swears by this eyeliner so much, I’ve seen her buy several at once just to be sure she is not without it. It’s pretty good! It has a felt tip applicator, which is somewhat (but not too) flexible. It is easy to apply, the color is opaque, and it lasts all day without transferring. The packaging includes a nice little grippy spot so it doesn’t slip out of your hands. I say this is a perfectly fine eyeliner. I don’t reach for it every day, but when I do, I think “this is a perfectly fine eyeliner”. The only challenge I had with it was tracking it down- only one of the CVS stores on my side of town carries it.

Maybelline Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Liner|$7.99

This is a great Monday eyeliner. I know, there’s a meme going around about not applying liquid liner if you’re in a hurry, but I disagree- a liquid line and a bold lip can be a 3 minute face that looks like you actually tried. This liner also has a felt tip, but it’s longer and wigglier. This actually helps it to be super fool-proof and easy to use- you just lay it down on your lid, swipe it to the outside a bit, and boom. Done. The formula is a little thinner and less dramatic, which is great for daytime, but also means it fades a bit as the hours drone on. It does not transfer or flake, though, so again, fine for a Monday. I reached for this one a lot after I first got it, but it started to dry out within about a month of regular use.

Tarteist Double Take Eyeliner|$24

Swatching this liner on my hand in the store, I was instantly enamored- the pigment is SO BLACK! I have had good luck with other Tarte products, so this one came home with me. First of all, this is a dual ended liner- it has liquid on one side, and a mechanical pencil on the other. Handy! But… with all this included, it actually changes the length and weight of the packaging- this thing is super tricky to maneuver! You know how hard it is to write with a comically large pen? Like that. Also, the product is SUPER MOTIVATED to come out of the felt tip applicator. So much so, I’ve even had it blob onto my lower lid. It’s also quite inky, and can really feather. If you use a light hand and hold your breath the whole time you have it near your face, it is really pretty and lasts all day, but I find it so stressful to use, that I don’t go for it too often.

Urban Decay Perversion Waterproof Fine-Point Eye Pen|$22

You all know how much I adore Urban Decay, so when they reformulated and relaunched their Perversion liquid liner this summer, I was all over it- it’s possible I ordered it before I even got out of bed the day it launched. This, I expected, would be my new holy grail. It seemed to be a perfect replica of the KVD- same size, same shakey ink cartridge inside, same size tip. Sadly, though, the tip is a felt tip, not a brush, and a super hard one at that! Like, it can poke you if you’re not careful. Once you get used to the applicator, it goes on ok. It’s not my favorite. It looks great, though, and lasts all day. And the next day. Seriously, this stuff is IMPOSSIBLE to get off. Cleansing oil, makeup remover, facial cleansers… I have almost started crying in the bathroom late at night when I can’t get this off and I just want to go to bed!! Sometimes I will use this on top of one of my easier to apply options, just to add to staying power, but again, it is reserved for long, loooooong days.

Physicians Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum|$10.95

Fact: I had no idea this would even be in the running, much less become my favorite. A casual side-comment about this liner being a KVD clone on a YouTube video perked my ears up, and had me scouring my side of town to find it. They sell it at Ulta, but not in the shade I wanted (Ultra Black). Walgreens and Target seem to have stopped carrying this brand. Ok- side tangent here- did you guys know that some Bed Bath & Beyonds sell MAKEUP?!? Mine does!! And it’s great! Not only did I find this liner in the shade I wanted (and all the other shades), it’s every day price ($8.79) is like $2 cheaper than everywhere else. I also picked up a mascara and some shampoo while I was there. Who knew?!

Aside from the budget-friendly price, the most exciting thing about this liner is that is has the same type of fine brush applicator as the KVD. I felt like running a victory lap around my house when I opened it up. But then… my heart sank as I swatched it on my hand- the formula was really thin and not very opaque. The next morning, I decided to shake it up and give it a go anyway, and much to my shock and delight, found that IT IS THE BEST. I don’t know what changed from my hand to my face, but this eyeliner is ACES. The thin formula and brush applicator make it super easy to get a clean line without much effort. THIS IS THE DUPE I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR. I have been reaching for it daily, on weekends, on no makeup days, fancy dress nights, you name it.

If history has taught me anything, it is that any products I love end up being discontinued, so I should by 72 tubes of it now.

Did I miss one that you love? Let me know in the comments! I bought these all with my own dumb money so I feel obligated to continue rotating through them all. I thought you should know in case you see me in a ball crying with a clean face but that UD eyeliner still looking fly.

Undercover Hero Products: or three things we can’t live without that you might not know exist

Magicians keep their tricks close to the vest. And while we believe our patron saint, Gwen had it right when she sang “magic’s in the makeup” we are more than happy to spill our secrets!

Each of these products serves a specific purpose, but also acts as a secret multi-tasker and makes life easier all-around. But surprisingly–we were each unfamiliar with the others’ selection!

So here are the products we are dubbing our personal “undercover hero”–and perhaps just what Bonnie Tyler’s been holding out for all these years:


Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer SPF 30


I’ve tried lots and lots of primers through the years and have never really seen the benefit of them… in other words, none of them seemed to do anything for me. Until this one. If I had to guess, this is just totally different because of the dual purpose it offers. We all love killing two (or in this case more than a few) skincare jobs with one product.  Dermalogica’s Skinperfect Primer does just that with an SPF30 for sun protection, silicones paired with soy protein to create a smooth “primed” texture to the skin and peptides to improve the firmness of your skin. It also has a neutral tint which helps even out skin tone. In addition to all those awesome properties I feel it is by far the best primer I have used in regards to increasing the longevity of my makeup.  I use this daily, over my moisturizer – sometimes on it’s own for a “no makeup” day, otherwise I wear my foundation or tinted moisturizer over it. Pro tip: Dermalogica loves to sample their products. If you can find a salon/spa that retails their products, swing by and see if you can get a sample!


Urban Decay Ultimate Ozone Multipurpose Primer Pencil


This is seriously one of those products that you look at on the display at Sephora and roll your eyes. What the hell do you need a clear lip pencil for?? Lucky for you, I bought one during a sale where I needed one more thing to get free shipping, and now I’d be pressed to live without it. Here’s why:

As a lip primer, this thing is priceless. It is made with jojoba oil (my favorite!), so it adds some moisture to the lips, which I need-always. The formula, though, is more tacky than slippery, so it really works well to grab onto any pigment (lip color) that you put over it. This little pencil is a godsend underneath drying liquid lip or matte formulas, since it gives you that protective buffer layer and fills in any cracks or bumps in your lips that get magnified with a matte lip. Think of Ozone like double-stick tape for your face- I also like to use it in my waterline to help grab onto eyeliner and prolong the wear, or over a blemish to help concealer grab on.

But that’s not all! If you have issues with feathering, you can line outside your lip line to create a magic “fence” your lipstick won’t cross! If you didn’t do that, and have some feathering, or your lip color went off the rails and you need to clean it up, YOU CAN USE THIS AS AN ERASER. Did I just blow your mind?!?! You can also use it to erase non-lipstick emergencies, like when you sneeze just after putting on your mascara.

Both Sephora and Milani have great dupes for Ozone if you’re interested in giving a clear pencil a try. As we head into fall trends of deep, matte lip colors, I think it’s worth having in your makeup drawer!


First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy: Brighten, Depuff and Smooth


I was born with dark circles under my eyes. And if I get  three minutes less than my requisite eight hours of sleep a night, my bags are packed and ready. Plus I’m always running late in the morning. And by always–I mean–ALWAYS. Thank goodness I found this First Aid Beauty under eye treatment!

I use the light/medium, but it’s also available in medium/deep. As soon as I dry off from my morning shower, I dot a little of this pink cream under my eyes and smooth it across my under eye area with the flat metal applicator. The cool metal helps to settle down any puffiness and the pink cream has a little shimmer that brightens the dark circles and smooths out fine lines.

On low make-up days, I put on a little mascara and lipstick, and I’m done. When I’m going for a more polished look–after I brush my teeth to allow the cream to sink in–I’ll cover the area with my foundation or tinted moisturizer and maybe dot on a concealer. But the great thing is that I really don’t have to use anything else. It’s a fabulous product that accomplishes a bunch of stuff at once–just like the name suggests–and is a huge time saver on days when I need to get moving quickly! I get to moisturize my under eye area, reduce bags, and cover the circles in one sweep. Who doesn’t love a triple threat!

What’s your Undercover Hero? We can’t wait to give it a try! Share in the comments below!

These heroes were purchased with our very own hard earned cash–and are worth it! All photos courtesy of the brand websites.