My Ulta’s “21 Days of Beauty” picks

I get weirdly excited when I get an Ulta catalog in the mail–which is funny–because I’m notoriously terrible at going through my mail! I’m seriously going to miss jury duty and be jailed. I’m sure of it.

But there’s something about getting that pink catalog with all the pictures of makeup and skin care that has to be what it was like for straight boys in 1981 to get their magazine in the black wrapper. I shouldn’t even look, but of course, I’m going to. The objects are unattainable for anyone pretending to be on a budget. And it’s possibly all fantasy anyway.

It didn’t stop them, and it’s not stopping me.

So let’s manage our excitement for spring colors, new palette launches and BOGO50s together, shall we?

These are my picks for the “21 Days of Beauty” sale that starts on Sunday, March 18th–our own version of March Madness–if you will.

(and reminder–i’m still trying to go cruelty-free–so my picks reflect this ethic.)

March 23: Urban Decay, Eye Shadow singles (Was $20/Now $10) $10 is a great price for these shadows. They are super pigmented, there are tons of color options, and they last and last.  And loading up a palette customizes your favorite shades and looks without wasting money on shadows you never use. My recommendations are Sin (an E&N classic), Mushroom (warm gray shimmer)and Spike (a super wearable orange matte).

I’ve got my eyes on picking up X (peach shimmer w/gold shift), Rockstar (deep aubergine shimmer) and Fireball (peach w/pink shift).

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Cheap Thrills: Two New Ulta Finds!

You know how you’re just going to pop into Ulta quick to buy one thing that YouTube convinced you that you need and then end up grabbing a few more things even though your husband is (patiently!) waiting in the car? Here’s what happened a few days ago- I’m happy to report that it was, at least, successful!

One impulse buy was shampoo and conditioner- I didn’t need it, but the kind I like was on crazy sale so I grabbed liters. Spending money on shampoo is no fun, so I embrace the sales!!

Then, while on my way to the area of the store that had the aforementioned YouTuber recommendation (more on that later), I noticed these new Powder Puff lippies from NYX:

Nyx Powder Puff Lippie (photo via

Intrigued, I swatched the shade “Moody” on my hand and then thought it was dumb to be buying (more) lip stuff so I moved on. But then I couldn’t stop looking at it. Continue reading

My Ulta 20% off purchases reviewed

Yesterday, I ventured into the west side Ulta to make some returns I’d been sitting on since their 20% off sale. I had been holding out because 1) I was still trying some things 2) I was afraid of holiday crowds 3) I’m a horrible procrastinator.

But I finally got it all together and went to make the return–only to find I was 2 days past the 60 day deadline. They still let me do it, but it was an ordeal. So note to self–and to you–get on those returns!

So what made the cut and what didn’t? Here you go!

NYX Lid Lingerie Eye Tint in Rose Pearl

First off–these are $6.99 without the 20% off–so it’s not a big investment. I just wish I liked it more. I might try other color and see if it’s better but I don’t really like the Rose Pearl and I kinda forgot I even had it until just now.

NYX The Skinny Mascara

Yeah–this is good. I use it on my lower lashes and it’s the right size. And it’s cheap. A good buy.

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Makeup for when you’re sick but still need to leave the house

I’ve been sick (which is also why this post is going up so late.) Not lay in bed and don’t go out for a week sick, just annoying, lingering, winter is the worst sick. And it’s an insult to injury situation because I rarely get sick. I have a tried and true arsenal I employ when I feel the first hint of sickness coming on that works. But because—LIFE—I wasn’t on my game and bam. Sickness.

And as much as I want to be in my favorite pink pajamas cuddling with my pups, drinking tea and watching Netflix (I fantasize a life where getting sick is like a vacation) life—and work—goes on. Sometimes work means being seen in public and trying to not look on the outside like the hot mess I feel on the inside.

Last week, I had to present at the Minnesota Governor’s Conference on Tourism, a pretty nice professional accomplishment.  Not only was the event stressful on its own, but it was made worse due to my major fear I would just sit on the panel coughing the entire time. (I didn’t—thank goodness!)

But it made me up my makeup game to create a look that would somewhat mask the signs of sickness, be easy to wear, and not take too many products since I also had to travel. And I think it worked!

Hopefully, you can avoid this nastiness that is going around—but if it strikes and you still need to be presentable—here’s what I did to try and make myself look better than I feel.

Skin: When I’m sick, I feel like I have a weird shine to my skin. Like a special glow that alerts the world to stand back and save themselves. So I definitely wanted to go for more of a matte finish. Plus, my nose is red and dry, I’m wicked tired so my dark circles are even worse than normal—which I didn’t think was possible—and I have stupid pimple that I need to hide. Awesome.

Sadly—the full size is a jar—so I won’t be purchasing it. I don’t do jars or pots. #weird

So the first step was moisturizing. I used a sample of the Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream which was really nice. It wasn’t heavy or greasy and sunk into my skin quickly without leaving a shine.

Next was putting the first layer under my eyes. I stuck with my favorite morning eye cream, First Aid Beauty, Eye Duty Triple Remedy: Brighten, Depuff and Smooth.

I just got a 10% off code from Sephora so I ordered this in “Light”. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Risky move—but I tried a sample of the IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better™ CC+™ Cream with SPF 50+–and I’m so glad I did. YouTubers have been singing its praises—and I agree—it was very moisturizing but had great coverage for a CC cream. It’s also very easy to spread and blend, so I applied it with my fingers. The sample I received was in “Medium” which I think was slightly too dark, but it definitely warmed up my dead looking skin. Using a lighter concealer color helped even out the overall skin tone.

I generally go with a very light coverage formula like Glossier Stretch Concealer or Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer. But speaking of YouTube favorites—a while ago I bought the Tarte Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Contour Concealer based on nearly every makeup gurus’ recommendation—but I’ve only worn it a few times. I find it’s a very heavy duty concealer, not what I normally go for, but exactly what I needed to get the job done. Using my trusty Beauty Blender, I applied it under my eyes, around my nose, on my pimple and in between my brows. I have the color “Light/Medium” and it had nice brightening to it in addition to coverage. It blended great and definitely covered up the redness. It’s also creamy enough that it didn’t hang onto the dryness around my nose and instead made it feel and look better. It’s still too full coverage for me to use daily, but I’m glad I have it on hand for times like these.

I’m always on the pale side, but with this cold, I feel splotchy but also ghost like. So I didn’t go with a highlighter because I really don’t want to be seen from outer space right now, but I did apply a little blush, The Estée Edit,The Barest Blush in First Lover. This one has been my favorite since I got it during the Sephora 20% off sale—and although I have a million blushes—it’s really all I use.

This line of brushes is so good– you can get them almost anywhere–and usually on sale.

I applied it using my Real Techniques, Blush Brush.

Finally, I set the concealer using  NYX Cosmetics HD Finishing Powder in Bananaanother old favorite.

(e.l.f brushes are great, BTW!)

I applied it using my $3 e.l.f. Studio Blush Brush.

No seriously–we all love these things!

Eyes: My goal was to keep my eyes looking polished but not a danger zone if they started watering. I also wanted to minimize any redness, so my Modern Renaissance palette had to take a seat.  Instead, I kept if very simple. I just used the Maybelline® Eye Studio® Color Tattoo® Leather 24HR Eyeshadow in Chocolate Suedeanother E&N favorite—and applied it with a Sigma Beauty, E58 – Cream Color Brush. You can easily apply these colors with your finger, but I went the brush route. And yes—these shadows are a life saver—I think I have them in almost every color.

A random visit to the Mall of America resulted in impulse Sigma brush purchases.

I didn’t apply eye liner, I just used the edge of the brush to apply product close to the lash line. I also used my finger a little to smudge the crease and do a cleanup.

After curling my lashes, I applied the CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Waterproof Mascara. It provides a nice curl, separates lashes and stays put. I think it’s hard to find a good waterproof mascara and I like this one lots.

Lips: I love a bold lip but adding additional redness to my face didn’t seem like a good idea. I also felt like I needed a lipstick that wouldn’t smear all over my face with my constant nose blowing. So I went very basic with a neutral color but one that wasn’t too nude so I didn’t look dead. I’ve really been into this NYX Lip Lingerie Lipstick in Exotic. It has a warm tone, lasts longer than a cream lipstick but isn’t as matte as a proper liquid lipstick and creates a bit of a stain. Plus I didn’t want to dry out my poor lips anymore than they already were and even the best liquid lipsticks are a bit drying. This formula stayed on and only required one update before I spoke.

I slept a ton this weekend and I feel like I’m on the other end of this thing. *fingers crossed* But I’ve basically been replicating this look daily since I’ve been sick. Hopefully, you’re all feeling great and can just use this as a basic makeup look. But if sickness sadly does strike, you can use this look for inspiration.

Here’s to your health! *cheers with OJ and tea*

I acquired these products with my money or through samples received spending my money. Photos were obtained through product websites.