4.23.2014

This or That: Concealers for Dark Circles (NYX, Bare Minerals, It Cosmetics)

One of my favorite series (and yours too I hear) is back! I'm talking about This or That--where I compare similar products and share which one I like the best. Today I'm sharing some relatively new (new to me and maybe new to you?) concealers for dark circles. I've shared these here in some of my haul posts/videos (purchased at Ulta), and so many of you have asked for reviews. Enjoy This or That (I think for today I need to add These or Those!).



I have the worst dark circles (that aren't hereditary, but are worse from waking up at 5am to comment on blogs) so I'm on a forever quest to find THE product for correcting concealers. And while I have a routine in place (sharing soon), I can't help but to try out new products. I reviewed these specifically for under eye circles. So which one did I like the best? Read on:

  • It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Corrector--$29--"This creamy, highly pigmented yet lightweight peach-based concealer is designed to effectively neutralize, erase the look of and brighten under eye darkness, dark circles and even age spots. Infused with green coffee extract, cucumber, avacado and aloe plus anti-aging peptides, niacin, hyaluronic acid and hydrolyzed collagen." 3 shades
    • It is certainly very nice and creamy, and didn't crease. But my circles? Still there, but I really liked this.
  • Bare Minerals Correcting Concealer Broad Spectrum SPF 20--$20--"This creamy formula combines SPF protection with superior, lightweight coverage that blends seamlessly to conceal blemishes, dark under-eye circles and other skin imperfections all day long. More than a concealer, it also works to decrease the appearance of dark spots and discolorations for a radiant, even-toned complexion." Formulated without parabens, synthetic fragrances and artificial oils. 8 shades
    • Definitely med-full coverage, and it didn't crease on my dry skin. This was my favorite of the ones shared here.
  • NYX  Dark Circle Concealer--$6--"Coconut oil provides intensive moisture and ensures no caking. The subtle hint of orange counteracts the appearance of dark circles, while natural skin-toned pigments work in unison to provide the ultimate coverage." 4 shades
    • I got this in light and medium since I'm usually between shades. This gives very light coverage and I feel their Full Coverage concealer is much better. It is creamy and while I use a corrector and then a concealer, I felt it didn't work that well on correcting my dark circles. I wouldn't repurchase.
  • Overall: I really liked the Bare Minerals Correcting Concealer, followed by It Cosmetics.

What correctors or concealers do you love?


Current Giveaways:

4.22.2014

Body Glow for Spring


I have been LOVING the weather in Atlanta lately. I'm talking finding-any-excuse-to-go-outside kinda weather. Let's go outside and check the mail...again! or I need to get something out of my car. Any excuse. And Charlie is LOVING it of course. I have to spell "walk" or "out" because he's pretty much a genius (biased much?) and leaps into position if he hears those words.

But now that the weather has been mostly nice, I've been looking to these products to get a glow all over. I'm not talking a Bronzed Goddess here--that comes later in summer--I'm talking a nice, healthy-looking glow that gets rid of the winter dryness. I was sent these products to try, but liked them so much and think you might too!


EXFOLIATE:
  • Step one--It's time to slough off all of dry winter skin, allowing that natural glow to shine through. Now y'all know I love me a good DIY scrub, but sometimes I just want to grab and go. And I know some of you are the same. 
  • Enter Frank. Frank is a coffee scrub with brown sugar and sea salt, with cold-pressed almond oil. I love to use this before I shave, moisturize, or apply self-tanner.
  • I like how this comes in a resealable bag and how well it works. It's a drier scrub, so it's less goopy (gloopy?) and really smooths skin. They have a coconut+ grapeseed version too. $14.95 and full of good-for-you stuff. I love this scrub!

  • I take a couple of small handfuls and apply it to my damp skin, scrubbing it in, and then leaving it for a few minutes before rinsing away. Use once or twice a week. Stores 6 months.


ADD SOME COLOR

  • Now that we're all scrubbed up, let's add some color! A must for all of those cute spring dresses, right? Karora Skinwear just launched in the US (get it at Ulta) and has a variety of products for self-tanning and instant color needs. They believe in "botanical bronzing" by being formulae-free from nasties!
  • I tried the Karora Express Bronzing Mousse. Using the mitt, I was able to easily apply color to my legs. Color showed in about an hour. It looked natural and I really liked this product!

  • I also received some samples, starting with the Karora Instant Tan. It's water-resistant and gives instant color and glow. I loved how nourishing my skin felt. 
  • Next, is the Karora Gradual Tan--for those looking for subtle color, and again with hydrating ingredients, give this a try. It smells good too.
  • Finally, is the CC Cream Skin Sensation--this starts off a grainy grey, but easily blends into color, and can be used on face or body.
  • I highly suggest checking out these different options (there are more products, too). Prices: $25-$40

GLOW
  • If color on your face isn't your thing, and you just want a natural glow, you've GOT to check out this product. I've been slightly obsessed with Lupita Nyong'o's glowing skin (yes, I had to Google how to spell her last name). She said she uses oils. Since I don't have her amazing skin, I've been faking it with the M Steves Ultra-Nourishing Boost. If you want that natural glow-from-within, get this! Now!
  • Pure, cold-pressed RHSO (Rose Hip Seed Oil) intensely hydrates and nourishes skin while a concentrated, naturally-derived extract called GATULINE® IN-TENSE, proven to make skin look of firmer, works to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Leaves skin more even and brighter with a luminous glow.
  • Dermatologist Tested. 96.7% Natural. 100% Vegan. No Parabens. No petrochemicals. No GMOs. No Phthalates. Wheat & Gluten Free. No Synthetic Dyes or Fragrance. No Animal Testing. Recyclable
  • Price: $64 but SO worth it. Trust me.




PROTECT
  • Regardless of whether you want to glow or not, you're gonna need some protection out there. I have been loving using Australian Gold (I just realized three of these brands are Australian! G'day! PS: I can totally do an Australian accent and have "passed" as a native Australian. But I think they were just being nice. Back to the products!)
  • I admit I can't stand the way lotion feels on my palms, and sunscreen feels the worst! Anyway, I like having the option for sprays, like these. These are Sheer Coverage Continuous Spray Broad Spectrum Protection. If your current sunscreen isn't broad spectrum, throw it out now, because it isn't protecting you from all of the UV rays out there. This comes in 30 and 50. It doesn't smell like alcohol-hairspray like some sprays I've tried. It isn't sticky, it absorbs quickly, and is oil-free. Plus, it's water-resistant up to 80 minutes. Check these out! $11.99
  • I also wanted to give a mention to Australia Gold's Self-Tanning Lotion. I know not everyone is into looking tan, but they want just a little color. If you want very subtle color, try this. It's very light, moisturizing, and easy to apply. $8.99
What products have you been loving lately for glow?

4.21.2014

On the Go with Reebok Skyscape (Giveaway!)


So since y'all enjoyed a peek into my day, here's a little bit more:
A typical day for me is a busy but extremely fun one! Some days, I nanny for an adorable, precocious four-year-old. And we are always on the go, heading from one activity to another. I can't believe how jam-packed her day is at four years! When I was four, I was playing with dolls and "inventing" beauty products, and there was that one time when I was four when I tried to give my little sister a perm... moving on...

coffee+ pup+ comfortable shoes= my essentials but missing sunglasses

Other days I'm off running errands, grabbing lunch with a friend, hitting stores for the latest beauty products, doing blog stuff, or best of all, hanging out with my sidekick, Charlie. He sometimes accompanies me on my outings, as he's very social. And adorable. Anyway, I feel like the running around has increased since the weather has been so awesome lately (crosses fingers it stays!). Does that happen for you, too?


All of these activities do a number on my already-sensitive feet. Believe it or not, most shoes just aren't comfortable on my feet! And I have a list of requirements for an awesome shoe: comfortable, good quality, and cute. Usually I can get one or two out of the three, but luckily I've found one that fits the bill--the Reebok Skyscape. If you're always on-the-go like I am, you'll want these!!

And y'all--I have already purchased a SECOND PAIR (this time in pink)! I think it's official to say I'm obsessed. But let me back up a sec and tell you some of the details that make these shoes worthy:
  • They come in a variety of colors--purple not your thing? Try pink, grey, black (with white, pink or mint outersole) or design your own. They're super cute and are perfect for spring and summer. And the colors make me think of Easter eggs! ;)
  • Reebok Skycape weighs 5 ounces! They're so lightweight, soft, and comfortable, I forget they're on!!
  • Supports the foot while giving all-day comfort (via Skyspring technology)
  • Machine washable (this makes clean up so easy, especially if you're around kids and pups)
  • easily packable, portable, and perfect for travel
  • Random fact I thought was interesting: Reebok Skyscape is crafted borrowing materials and the soft molding process used to create lingerie--no wonder they're really comfortable!
Speaking of travel, I took these with me when I visited my FAVORITE amusement park--you know the one. They passed the test of ultimate comfort and that's when I decided I had to share them with you! You can get them online here. Or via in store via this store locator--I know Reebok FitHub and Kohl's has them.


Charlie-approved!

So if that cutie above doesn't convince you to get a pair, then how about a GIVEAWAY? 
Reebok is giving away a YourReebok Custom Card where the winner can create his/her own pair of Reebok Skyscapes! Create your OWN PAIR? What color would you pick? I totally played around with the designer and you can do solid colors or patterns! You gotta enter! And here's how to do it:
Leave a comment answering: Where you would wear your Reebok Skyscapes?
Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 4/21/2014-5/18/2014.
Be sure to visit the Reebok Skyscape brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

4.20.2014

Rants, Raves, & 90 Facts About Me!


Happy Easter! To celebrate the end of my Blogiversary Week (hey, I'm dragging this sucker out as long as possible) I'm sharing a video giving you 90 FACTS ABOUT ME! You want a personal post about me? Here ya go! But first, a quick recap of life lately:

Rants
  • My neighbors have a domestic disturbance that started about 2:30 this morning and then proceeded to go on and off for 8 hours. I called and reported it, but nothing happened. They finally settled down.
  • Having a sinus infection and not being able to visit blogs--my apologies for not coming by. I'm working on that. 
Raves
  • My blog is 4, Charlie is 4, and my Youtube channel turns 1! Things just keep getting better with age around here. I've got an awesome giveaway you'll want to check out. See at the end. Thank you for supporting ElleSees.
  • I spent way too much at Target--doesn't this happen to everyone? One of my best purchases would be Bubble Blaster--totally a kid at heart.
  • I bought an at-home laser hair removal system. I'll be sharing updates, if there are any!
  • I celebrated Rex Manning Day--tell me you love Empire Records as much as I do!
  • In honor of my 4th Blogiversary, I did a video of 90 Facts--I thought I had 50 until I counted!! I hope you watch and learn a bit more about me. Enjoy.
Can't see the video? Click here.


THREE GIVEAWAYS!
$75 Sephora Gift Card + 2 more prizes

PS: For this month's Chit Chat video, I'm doing a Q&A. I only do these annually, so if there's a question you have about me, ask away. And you'll get a shout out in the video!!

4.18.2014

Elle's All Day Beauty Tools With Neutrogena (Giveaway)

These products were provided to me by Neutrogena® . Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Think about all of your activities in a typical day--what if you had an all day beauty kit that could take you from one activity to the next? Neutrogena® and ABC’s hit show Nashville created an exclusive 3-part digital series, Nashville All Day Beauty, featuring Hayden Panettiere. Whether she’s performing, enjoying a night out, or just kicking back with friends, this series gives us a glimpse inside Hayden’s daily life in Music City and the Neutrogena® products that help her maintain her flawless glow. Check it out here.


Inspired by the products that Hayden uses to look and feel beautiful during her days, I wanted to let you in on one of my days--from day to night! Check out my All Day Beauty Tools Kit from Neutrogena that I use for every part of my day:

Two facts about this pic: I love mint and here I am with no makeup, wearing a shirt that's 20 years old. Um.

Check out that snazzy blog! Charlie is over the sun and is hiding out!

Morning: 
  • I start my day with a cup of coffee, endless emails, and commenting on blogs.
  • After an hour or two of this, Charlie wakes up, and taps me three times, signaling it's time for our morning walk. It's his 4th birthday today, by the way!
  • Since it's daylight in the mornings when we walk, I make sure to put on my Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sunscreen (don't forget the hands, too!) before heading out. It's perfect for dry skin, but check out other formulas for your skin type. I know the walk is over when Charlie heads for the shade. ;)
  • But it's time to get ready for work! I take a shower using the classic Rainbath Refreshing Bath & Shower Gel. I debate washing my hair--the Triple Moisture line is awesome--but decide to do it later. 



My All Day Beauty Tools from Neutrogena, me and this amazing bubble blaster, and the 4 year old's rainbow

Noon:
  • I'm so lucky that I get to dress super casual for work. I'm a nanny to an awesome 4 year old and 1 month old. We are always running around from activity to activity, so my beauty routine varies. Today, I knew we were going to be outside--a lot--after an unpredictable winter, we grab every opportunity we can. I kept my makeup very simple today, with the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Primer--it has SPF 15 and can be worn with or without makeup. I added foundation, mascara, and finished the look with one of my FAVORITE lip crayons, the MoistureSmooth Color Stick, in Bright Berry. Then I threw my hair into a quick fishtail braid. If you'd like a tutorial, let me know!
  • Here's a peek into my busy day: We headed to the park for a picnic (baby sis is at home with her parents) and play. I added more of the Oil-Free Moisture Sunscreen before our bubble popping adventures. Bubble popping is the 4 year old's specialty. She was not into the picnic on the blanket nor taking pics, but she thought it was hilarious I was using the timer and trying to smile AND not look awkward. Fun day.

Waiting on dinner (turkey burger and fries) and then The Grand Budapest Hotel--I loved it!

Night:
  • I head home, walk Charlie, and start getting ready before dinner and a movie. Before applying foundation I again used the Healthy Skin Primer, but for my eyes I used the Neutrogena Crease Proof Shadow, which instantly brightens my eyes. Next, I took the Nourishing Eyeliner in the outer corner in a sideways V, then blended it with the smudge tip, giving my eyes that almond shape. Thanks to celeb makeup artist Amy Oresman for the tip! Once again, I used the MoistureSmooth Color Stick. I'm making it my mission to get one of every color.
  • I walk Charlie one last time and then it's time for wind down. Before showering, I remove my makeup with the Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover--it even gets rid of waterproof mascara with no oily residue. I like it because I have super sensitive eyes and it doesn't irritate them.
  • Shower time! Rainbath again and this time I wash my hair with the Triple Moisture Cream Lather Shampoo, skipping the conditioner but instead I use the Deep Recovery Hair Mask. I agree with celeb hair stylist Sam Leonardi's suggestion of using plastic wrap around your mask-covered hair to further intensify the moisture. I've done that for years and it works. What I find so crazy is how much my natural wave is enhanced and how much frizz is gone. Try this!
  • I end the night at midnight after finishing the next day's post. A sleepy Charlie is passed out on my pillow and he sighs when I move him. Does your dog sleep on your pillow, too? 
  • All in all, a fun and busy day!

So that's just a peek into my day, and how I use tools from Neutrogena for all day beauty.
And now FIVE of you will get All Day Beauty Kits similar to mine!

Simply leave a comment telling me a Neutrogena product you love or want to try.
Also, leave me a valid email to contact you! You may enter twice if desired.
The winner will be chosen May 18, 2014.
Open to US only. Good luck!

4.17.2014

Video: My 4 Biggest Blogging Mistakes


Hey you!  I've been dealing with some computer issues (yay) so this post is way later than usual. Yesterday on my Instagram I asked what personal post you wanted to see, and this had the most votes! I still can't believe I started my blog 4 years ago and my Youtube channel a year ago. Of course so much has changed (how could it not) but mostly importantly, I've changed. I've made a ton of blogging mistakes, but today I'm sharing 4 of them (for 4 years) and I'm sharing them in video, too!


1: Blog About What YOU Want
I started my blog because I wanted to show everyone how easy having a beauty routine can be. I wanted beauty to be accessible for everyone, and I wanted to dispel those beauty myths that I see every.single.week. Example: Preparation H won't do a thing for puffy eyes, ladies.

But did I start out doing a mostly-beauty blog? No. I thought no one but beauty fans would read it, so I blogged about everything else. It was a mess and kind of unpredictable as to what content I'd post. When I finally did move to mostly beauty, I lost readers who wanted just outfit collages or just my personal life, but this blog isn't about them. It's about what I like, so blog what makes you happy!

2: Bigger & Better Pictures
Cameras and Photoshop have now become a part of everyday lexicon, and of course, we are visual people. One of the biggest mistakes I made was my using my camera phone (all I had) for the first two years of pics on the blog. The pics were horrible and small, as Blogger automatically uploads in medium, and I never thought to make them larger. I know!

I don't have anyone to take or edit my pics, nor do I own a professional camera, but I can tell I have improved. I still have a long ways to go with learning pics and graphics, but I am truly proud at how much better they are now. You can have great content, but without great pics, the chances your post will get read decrease. I would also add a good blog design helps too with visuals.

3: Put Yourself Out There
Quick question: What's the difference between a magazine article and a blog? Short answer: with a blog, you feel you know the person, and maybe even trust her opinions. I've talked about this a few times before, but for the first year or so, you didn't see me on my blog. I wanted my blog to be a resource of information on all things beauty, but I didn't want "me" to be on here. It felt so self-centered. Ha!

Despite having a name for a blog title and blog address, there was no "Elle." Why? Since 5th grade on, people have felt the need to point out my physical flaws. Even to this day, it happens. If I have to deal with that in real life, why would I put myself out there to the world to be judged? Who would take beauty advice from an ugly girl? Look at the "big" bloggers--they are all gorgeous. Would anyone read what I had to say or just judge me first? I wasn't strong enough for that online ridicule yet.

I am so proud to say that I have worked so hard on this in the past year, and have certainly come a long way. I share more of myself on here (it is hard to marry beauty with your life in a post that isn't a mile long), started a Youtube (I was so nervous about my Southern accent. I would break out in hives after each video!), and I finally started accepting invites for blogging events.

Does it suck when I lost half my viewers after my first Youtube video last year when I was 40 pounds heavier? Yes. Do it suck when a pic of my coffee on Instagram gets twice the likes as a pic of myself? Yes. But at the end of the day, I love myself. And that's all that matters, which leads me into my last mistake:

4: You Can't Please Everyone
Hello, my name is Elle and I have been on a life-long mission to have everyone like me. But guess what? It is impossible. Impossible! No matter what I do, not everyone likes me, and that hurts. And that is just a part of life. To put it in a much, much bigger picture: name one celebrity everyone likes. You can't! Name a food everyone likes--you can't!

Things I tried: people wanted more reviews, so I did more of those, but then I got the same amount of people who don't like reviews. People wanted less drugstore, more high-end, and then I got complaints on that. People wanted videos so I started a Youtube last year, but it is my lowest-viewed content. I'm too conservative because I don't cuss or talk about my period. I'm too liberal because I posted pics of wine or because I accept everyone. Unfollow! I post too many pics of myself. I post too few. I talk too much about myself. I talk too little. You just can't win.

I know I'm a nice person, have great content, am knowledgeable, etc, but there are some people who will never like me or my blog. I don't get it. But what I do get is once you accept that you can't please everyone, you won't feel that stress of having to please people. To repeat #2, blog about what you want and what makes you happy.

What are your biggest blogging mistakes?

GIVEAWAYS for you!

4.16.2014

Shakeup Your Makeup for Spring with Vincent Longo

How has your week been? Mine has been speeding by, which is always a good thing, I think. The weather (minus yesterday) has been wonderful and everything is in bloom. Since it's spring (even if it's cold where you are) it's time to shakeup your makeup. Be gone, dark colors and paleness! Let's add some spring color with these easy steps, using products I was sent from Vincent Longo.















In case you aren't familiar with this amazing cosmetic line, here are some quick facts:

  • Vincent Longo earned a reputation for being a talented makeup artist during the Supermodel period--no wonder he developed a cult following!
  • He created his line, full of rich, vibrant colors in 1994 and is the CEO and Creative Director of Vincent Longo Cosmetics.
  • Vincent continues to collaborate with leading fashion magazines, creates makeup designs for the New York runway shows, shoots all of his company's beauty imagery and provides ongoing beauty commentary for shows including Live with Regis and Kelly, Good Morning America and The Early Show.
  • Vincent Longo has worked with celebs such as Senator Hillary Clinton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Claire Danes, Courtney Cox, Michelle Williams, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mena Suvari, Molly Sims, Paris Hilton, Jennifer Lopez, Jewel, Catherine Deneuve, Elizabeth Hurley, Monica Bellucci, Paulina Rubio and Lisa Marie Presley, among others.



Here is my spring look featuring Vincent Longo cosmetics--no Photoshop or editing, I promise! And since you all enjoyed my GIFS last time, here's a super quick tutorial to update your makeup for spring (and how I got that dewy glow):

I did apply foundation and eye makeup before starting this tutorial, so use whatever you'd like.
The first product I used is the infamous Lip & Cheek Gel Stain in My Sunshine. 
There's a reason this is a #1 seller--it's a paraben and gluten-free, water and kiss-proof gel.
I added some to my lips and my cheeks and blended it in--my shade is a dusty coral.
For those of you who love a really natural look, this is all you will need. 
It comes in 7 colors, is oil-free, buildable, and I want them ALL!



I wanted to add some more color for spring, and I used the Vincent Longo Slanted Blush Brush (made from 100% goat hair) and the Dew Drop Radiant Blush in Sandalwood.  Dew drops of subtle pearl in a demi-matte powder base layer a personal touch of color and delicate glimmer with every brush stroke. The dew drops release their tint and texture providing a kiss of light to the skin resulting in a lasting radiant color and finish. Comes in 6 colors. So pretty.



To warm up my skin, I used La Rivera Sun Bronzer in Golden Glow
These bronzers come in 4 shades and give a natural, healthy, luminous glow. I usually shy away from bronzers that glow, but the glow this one gives is so gorgeous and natural! 


I completed the look with this gorgeous Original Perfect Shine Lip Gloss in Cherros
Does this color make you think spring or what?? Look at it below:
 It features Aloe Vera and Vitamin E to moisturize and condition the lips,
 plus it smells like Vanilla!
It's a shiny, but not sticky gloss.

Aren't these colors beautiful?
This is just a sampling of the many products in the Vincent Longo line. 
I highly recommend checking them out for any time of year!

Products were sent to try and I loved them so much, I shared them here, with my honest-as-always-reviews. 

GIVEAWAYS for you!

Disclaimer:

All products mentioned are purchased by me unless stated.
All pics, thoughts, etc, are mine unless otherwise noted. Publishing or redistributing any content from this blog is strictly prohibited. Please seek permission first. Thank you.




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