When doesn’t Ulta Beauty drain my bank account?. . a memoir

I will start off this post by saying that technically I didn’t go into Ulta to shop for myself. However, some of the deals on Black Friday were a teensy bit too good for me to pass up and naturally, I had to make a purchase.

It is no secret to anyone on this blog that I have a new-found love for makeup. While I rarely wear makeup Monday thru Friday thanks to my often increased levels of sweat at my job, I am no stranger to it on the weekends, or even to evening events, dates, whenever I want to feel good about myself, etc.

Fast forward to the information that actually matters.. my Ulta shopping haul. I will make it known right here and now that until I got to the cashwrap and saw the massive display of Morphe Cosmetics, I only had one thing in my shopping bag. But, thanks to some peer pressure from my boyfriend to “treat myself on your first Black Friday,” here we are with enough makeup to do a mini-store haul.

Item #1: Smashbox Studio to Go Eyes 

This $10 bundle was way too good to pass up, mostly because never in my life have I tried anything from Smashbox, but also because getting a $27 value for $10 is incredible. In this mini bundle, you receive a 0.06oz Photo Op Eye Shadow Single in the shade Nude, as well as a 0.02oz Deluxe Size Always on Gel Liner in Fishnet (black). Since I bought this bundle, I have worn this on my eyes every single day. The shadow goes on so smoothly and is so pigmented, and the liner is absolutely to die for – they weren’t kidding when they said it was weightless. I am looking forward to purchasing, for sure, the gel liner in full-size once this mini runs out!

Item #2 : NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream 3 Piece Set

NYX SOFT MATTE LIP CREAM IS MY FAVORITE LIP PRODUCT TO DATE. Did I need the unnecessary caps lock? Yes, yes I did because I need to get the point across to you that not only is this product super affordable, but it stays on all day, feels weightless as ever, and the colors are so pigmented that you feel as if you are wearing a high-end lip product. This bundle was $12, saving $6 from its’ $18 value. Ulta had a wide array of trios available, but my eye went directly to the one I purchased as every single shade of these 0.27oz lippies were new! Austin (a pink shade), Los Angeles (a brown shade), and Warsaw (a purple shade), are all everyday-appropriate and products that I will for sure grab for when I go to complete my look.

Item #3 and #4: Morphe 25A Copper Spice and 25B Bronzed Mocha Eyeshadow Palettes 

I combined these two items together solely for the fact that what I say about one will directly mimic the other. The Jaclyn Hill Eyeshadow Palette was the first product I’ve ever purchased from this brand and, I swear to you on my life, that I have never reached for another eyeshadow palette ever again. Every other palette I own has been pushed aside or tucked away in makeup storage due to their sub-par quality as compared to Morphe’s pigment, bendability, and creamy color. So, much to my [pleasant] surprise, when I saw Morphe at the cashwrap, it all went down. I picked up these two eyeshadow palettes for a discounted price of $12 a piece. I fell head-over-heels in love with these palettes. The 25A Copper Spice Eyeshadow Palette (top photo) ranges from deep browns and spicy cream shades to fiery metallic and shimmery taupe shades. This palette is perfect for either an extremely neutral to an all out smoky look. The 25B Bronzed Mocha Eyeshadow Palette (bottom photo) ranges from glimmering bronze shades to rich mocha and burgundy shades while having the perfect balance of matte and shimmer. This wide range allows for looks that fit perfectly for any occasion or any lifestyle.

What are some of your most-recent makeup finds? xoxo.

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Find the products mentioned below:

  • Smashbox Studio to Go Eyes: http://www.ulta.com/studio-go-eyes?productId=xlsImpprod17191209
  • NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream 3 Piece Set: http://www.ulta.com/soft-matte-lip-cream-set?productId=xlsImpprod17031155#
  • Morphe 25A Copper Spice Eyeshadow Palette: http://www.ulta.com/25a-copper-spice-eyeshadow-palette?productId=xlsImpprod17081137
  • Morphe 25B Bronzed Mocha Eyeshadow Palette: http://www.ulta.com/25b-bronzed-mocha-eyeshadow-palette?productId=xlsImpprod17081139

 

What’s in my bag? | Volume II

All bag carriers, unite!

I know, I know. You’re probably all thinking, *really, another bag haul.. didn’t she just do this?* The answer: a month ago, yes. But a lot changes in a month [bag included], and I figured it was time for you to see the unnecessary crap I am carrying in my bag this month! So stick around – it’s gonna be a great time!

The bag:

YALUXE Women’s Vintage Style Soft Leather Work Tote Large Shoulder Bag | I got this handbag as a gift from my honey on our anniversary. I told him I had wanted a larger bag to carry all my things in for work that looked a little more professional, but wasn’t too expensive, as it gets shoved in a locker everyday. Low and behold, this bag has become the best thing ever. It holds everything I need, it’s stylish, comfortable. It’s great. Find it here.

What’s in it:

  • Kate Spade Cameron Street Lacey wallet | A repeat from last month, but this wallet is my ride or die.
  • Vera Bradley Breakaway Lanyard | Again, a repeat from last month, but how would I get myself into work without it?!
  •  Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy Body Lotion in the scent Comfort | Hand creams are my absolute best friend when the weather gets cold and my hands get dry. I had a coupon for a free item *score* and was able to pick up this hand lotion a few weeks ago. Let me tell you, the name does not lie. The vanilla and patchouli mashup makes you feel as if you are wearing a giant sweater and getting the biggest hug. And your hands are left feeling so soft. Totally a 10/10 recommendation.
  • Kiehl’s Facial Fuel No-Shine Moisturizing Lip Balm | Shoutout to my Nana for this one, because she bought me two of these and they are my new obsession. For the last few weeks I have been battling a horrendous sinus/cold sickness, leaving my lips extra chapped due to not being able to breathe through my nose. This has been my lifesaver. Especially at night before I go to bed, it gives me that extra protection.
  • Gloves | For when the cold weather is really too much for me to handle at 8:45am when I am getting students off the bus.
  • Dayquil/Nyquil Combo Tablets | To assist with my aforementioned germiness.
  • e.l.f. Mattifying Setting Powder in the shade Translucent | A repeat from last month, this product has become my ride or die and has helped make me get some life back into my face mid-day.
  • Belvita Breakfast Biscuits | These have been my go-to when I don’t have enough time to make myself breakfast in the morning. I kid you not, literally every single flavor is so good that I never have a consistent one. But, also come in handy when I am left wishing I had an afternoon snack. A little snap of the fingers and *poof* my prayers are answered.
  •  Vaseline | To help with my super-chapped, red nose. Thanks, Kleenex.
  • A pen | For those moments I really need one.
  • Checkbook | To make me feel like I am a functioning adult.
  • Orbit gum | I should really buy stock with them.
  • Vera Bradley Soft Eyeglasses Case | To, you know, hold those things that make me able to see.
  • Asthma inhaler | For those moments that you take my breath away.
  • Keys | To be able to go into my house and lay in my bed, or go into my car and get the heck away.
  • iPhone | Duh.

What are some things you can’t leave the house with? xoxo.

Things I’m currently obsessed with | October Edition


I know, I know. First thing on your mind has to be, ‘but Gab, it’s November!” My response to this is quite simple – it’s three days into the new month, so how could I possibly have a favorites list for the month of November already?! Again, simply stated, I can’t!

With that being said, let’s dive into the things I couldn’t get enough of throughout the month of October!

  1. IKEA KIVIK series. Guys, I LOVE MY NEW COUCH. You don’t really realize how much a cozy, comfortable couch matters until you’ve been sitting on a shitty futon from Walmart for well over a year! This bad boy [pictured above] was purchased at IKEA in St. Catherines, Ontario. The road to picking a couch was a long one [especially that day when we made it all the way to the basement of IKEA to get our stock only to realize the boxes were way to big to fit into the Jeep]. But this long road was totally and completely worth it. I love sitting in the living room to watch Netflix or Hulu  now. And, I’ve gone into crazy-redecoration mode ever since this couch has made it into our living room, which can be either good or bad, depending on how you look at it [and yes, those are Christmas decorations starting to trickle in already..oops].
  2. Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm in the shade Healthy Blush. Let me shout it from the rooftops, I LOVE THIS LIP BALM. It moisturizes your lips while adding a healthy tint of color to them. It is totally everyday-wearable, is infused with SPF 20 and comes in four different shades. I got mine at Target for $6.49.
  3. hopeless fountain kingdom. God bless Halsey. God bless her talent. God bless this album. I’ve loved this girl from the start [well, really all thanks to my brother’s girlfriend for introducing me to her years ago], and I continue to love her through today. From “100 Letters” to “Walls Could Talk” this album can’t be beat. Plus it includes hits “Bad at Love” and “Now or Never,” songs you basically can’t turn on the radio without hearing. 10/10 recommend.
  4. Peace Love World. Surprisingly enough, my grandmother introduced me to this clothing brand all thanks to her slight obsession with QVC. She bought two shirts for me off air that she thought I would love and, boy, was she right! The material is so beyond soft and comfortable, yet when you wear them you look like you are right on trend with today’s fashion. I’ve gotten many compliments on these tops ever since they’ve been added to my wardrobe. And, added bonus, they have the little thumb holes in the sleeves for even more cozy comfort! Check it out here.

What are some things you couldn’t live without last month? xoxo.

The day I tried to do my makeup like Jaclyn Hill!

As previously documented on my blog, I was one of the lucky ones to get my hands on the Jaclyn Hill palette. Sure, I’ve done some playing around myself with this palette, totally pretending that I am a makeup guru on YouTube and a total professional at this art. But the reality is, I’m just a girl in front of a dirty mirror with bad lighting who pokes herself in the eye with her mascara every. single. day. 

Naturally, my inner fangirl was reeling when my girl Jaclyn posted a makeup tutorial on her YouTube channel using her palette that she considered her go-to, so I figured, hey, must be easy to have a go-to label! If you’re not feeling watching the video, the look can be seen below –

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Granted, it was my first try at this look so I know there was absolutely no way in hell I would come anything close to looking like the queen herself. Let’s just say I am happy I carved out a chunk of my time to work on this and take my time! To achieve one look, this girl used nine colors from her palette.

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The shades used were: silk cream, butter, pukey, buns, mocha, pooter, central park, enlight, and abyss. That is literally one fourth of her palette – today I was overwhelmed is a gross under-exaggeration.

Did my final look resemble that of Jaclyn’s? Truthfully, not really. Mine came out more orange-y than hers, but I still think I did pretty damn good for how hard I tried [and my first try at that]! My final result can be seen below –

I paired this look with the e.l.f. Day to Night lipstick duo in the shade Need it Nudes. I layered both ends of the lipstick duo together!

What I ended up getting out of this video was even more respect for these ladies and men out here putting on faces full of makeup in front of a camera day in and day out because, damn. Not only is it time consuming, but it is sheer talent to be able to achieve some of the looks they do.

What are some of your favorite go-to looks? xoxo.

Jaclyn Hill can do no wrong.

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Guys, I did it.

I got my hands on the Jaclyn Hill x Morphe palette.

It took until the third restock to get my hands on this beauty, but you know what they say, third time’s the charm!

For those of you unfamiliar with the goddess that is Jaclyn Hill, she is a beauty blogger/vlogger/YouTuber who is not only drop dead gorgeous, but has the kindest heart and sweetest personality. Also ton be added to her ‘”resume,” she is basically the sole reason that I somewhat know how to apply makeup to my face.

When she announced the creation/launch of her eyeshadow palette collaboration with Morphe cosmetics, it only made sense to me that I had to add this to my ever-growing makeup collection. As stated before, it took me three times to get my hands on this palette, three.

On the morning of restock number three, I literally was so much of a lame-o that I sat by my phone/computer waiting for the clock to strike 11:00am. I kid you not, the second the clock turned to the golden hour, my hands moved quicker than I had ever seen them move before. And I did it. I got it.

I got my palette in the mail on Saturday, almost a week ago, and after playing around with it, I can now see why this is in such high demand. For $38, you get 35 colors, making that a super-affordable $0.92 per pan. I have reached for this palette every single day since I received it – the amount of looks that you can create are endless due to the wide variety of colors. The formula is so creamy, easily bendable, and the colors are gorgeous to a whole new degree.

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[You can see Jaclyn go into detail about her palette here.]

It is my only wish for everyone to be able to get their hands on this palette one day or another, and for everyone to be able to work with this on their own and create their own unique makeup looks. Totally worth the wait, totally a deal, totally perfect. Makeup lovers or not, this is a staple. xoxo.

Things I’m currently obsessed with, 7.0


  1. Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. In terms of shows on Netflix, when I start a new one I tend to binge and binge until I am completely through the entire series [or at least what is on Netflix]. This show, let me tell you, is absolutely hilarious all while leaving you on the edge of your seat. It revolves around self-help author Abby McCarthy who finds new friends, new adventures, and a new life after her impending divorce. Basically, her figuring out how to live life again after 17 years of marriage. It’s a hit, and I can’t wait for more.
  2. It’s Not Yet Dark by Simon Fitzmaurice. I made it my mission over this “vacation” to look at the list of top-selling books, to buy one, and to complete it either before vacation ends, or before school begins again. At the rate it is going, this book will be done in no time, as I can’t seem to put it down. A memoir about Mr. Fitzmaurice, who after being diagnosed and struggling with ALS, has gotten an entirely new outlook on life. You will go through every emotion throughout this book, as you learn about this young husband and father of five small children. I’ll be sure to write an overall review as soon as I’ve completed it.
  3. Aveeno Ultra Calming Daily Moisturizer. I will scream it from the rooftops, THIS. MOISTURIZER. HAS. SAVED. MY. LIFE. Well, my face, but you know what I mean. Back in the day, I used to have flawless skin. I know it sounds like I am tooting my own horn when I say that, but compared to now, you would think that we weren’t even the same person. I tried, and tried to find a facial moisturizer that will help with the dryness and the redness on my skin and finally, I found one. I checked out my nearest Target to find this moisturizer, sold for around $12. I’ve been using it in the morning and before night everyday for the past two weeks, and I have seen a complete change in the color and complexion of my skin. I am not scamming you. It works. It really fricken’ works.
  4. Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo. It wasn’t until the other day when my boyfriend said “you haven’t stopped using that since you bought it” that I realized how obsessed I was with this product. I just became a dry shampoo user within the last six months after buying a travel size bottle to being with me to Long Island for my brothers State hockey tournament. This bad boy saves me multiple mornings a week when my hair is clean enough to go to work without a full wash, but still needs that extra oomph in the morning. This brand runs for just under $5 at Target and comes in multiple scent variations. I haven’t had any problems with any residue and my hair looks great all day after use! 

Maybe she’s born with it.. never mind, it’s probably another post about makeup.

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First off, hey guys! I have three days vacation from work and I am taking these three days to type my little fingers off and get some new blog posts rollin’.

First post of the many ahead are focused on my most-recent trip to Ulta. I went in to purchase some of my trusty Maybelline Fit Me! Matte + Poreless foundation, as I had waited too long to pick up a new bottle, and I found myself to be completely bone dry. Much to my surprise, my local Ulta was sold out of my shade *cries* but did that stop me from continuing to shop around? Of course not.

I didn’t quite know what I was looking for, but it had been over a month and a half *gasps* since I had been in there, so I figured, why not? I had some free time to kill to myself, although I really should have been at Wegmans picking up the ingredients for the dessert I was planning to make for my family reunion [more on that later].

If you know me, you know I am a drugstore cosmetic girl. I can never seem to justify spending a lot of money on makeup. Yes, the higher the price the higher the quality, but I could never seem to take the plunge [minus one Tarte liquid lipstick, but that’s only because they had the exact shade I was looking for to match an outfit], mostly because I always had a feeling that once I started on the high-end makeup trail, I would never want to go back.

But, thanks to the show Parks & Recreation, I went into full “treat yo’ self” mode and took a very small plunge.

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My first high-end purchase was the Dream Big palette from Tarte Cosmetics.

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This limited-edition eyeshadow palette has 8 shades destined to motivate and inspire your inner glam-getter [as per Tarte’s website]. The palette contains two matte and six shimmer shades ranging from dark to light, essentially making it a palette that I would reach for on a daily basis due to the unlimited amount of makeup looks you can create.

When I watched the shades in-store, I appreciated the creamy texture of the formula, but it wasn’t until I got home and actually used the palette on my eyes that I appreciated this formula. The eyeshadow shades are super pigmented and super easy to blend out, making me appreciate the difference between high-end and drugstore products. I always thought what I had was incredible, until I tried this, and I haven’t reached for anything else since! This palette runs for $30.

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I also picked up an Ulta brand lipstick on my way out in the shade 254 Rosey Glow, a light rosy pink with slight shimmer. I love Ulta’s lipsticks, and their nude line is absolutely to die for. The shades are soft and neutral and they go with anything or any skin tone. This lipstick runs for $8.50, but since I also picked up a new beauty blender, I was able to use my store coupon!

What are some new makeup items you’ve tried recently? I’d love to know! xoxo.

Fri-yay!

Did anyone else’s week completely drag so far that they feel like they have completed an entire year? No? Just me? Well, alrighty then.

This week, while exciting, lasted forever. I don’t know if it was my lack of sleep from this weekend and roadtripping or being overwhelmed by school and new job things, but let me tell you, I am absolutely ecstatic that today is Friday and tomorrow I get a break.

So many good things have happened between Sunday and now; my brother’s team won states, I started my new job, I passed my certifications, etc. etc. I won’t bore you with the details. But I also cannot shake this exponential tired feeling. I have fallen asleep so early that I am wondering how it is even remotely possible that I even have one ounce of exhaustion left in me.

Hopefully, I can catch up on some relaxation tomorrow. All I really have going for me is getting an oil change in my car. And figuring out whether or not I want to chop all my hair off *like the pics below*. [SIDENOTE: What do you think?? Should I do it??]

I hope your Friday and your weekend is filled with good times, good music, good food, and good moods. Now, time to relax. xoxo.

 

Softer than a baby’s bottom.

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So, as we all now know, yesterday was my birthday. With a birthday, comes the free birthday perks from different retailers and restaurants. So yesterday, I “treated” myself to a [free] venti chai latte from Starbucks, a [free] pastry from Panera, and some free little perks from Ulta.

I just recently became more aware of the wonderful world of makeup. Up until about a year or so ago, I couldn’t give a crap about any of it. The entirety of my makeup routine consisted of $5 mascara from Target and maybe some Chapstick. *cringes* I am still shaky when it comes to achieving the perfect makeup look, but I can surely pat myself on the back for my liquid winged eyeliner abilities.

Anywho, yesterday little ol’ me goes bopping into Ulta with my boyfriend ready to spend some money. I was running low on a few things, and I had my birthday coupon in tow. I desperately needed a face cream, as my face has been so dry lately, I’m patiently waiting for a camel to waltz across it.

I had been reading up on various face moisturizers to try on different websites, so I had a couple in mind that I wanted to look at. When I got into the store, I asked one of the girls working there what she would recommend. One of these items was the Total Moisture Facial Cream by Benefit. I had read great things about this cream online, so when this was also suggested to me in person, I figured I’d try it. And let me tell youpurchasing this is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I have always wanted to try Benefit products, but could never justify spending the money on them. This cream is retailed at $42 for a 1.7oz tub, which is way more than I would ever pay for a skin care product. But, all Benefit products are 25% off this week and after my coupon, I walked out paying $20 for this item!

So far, I used it last night and this morning and my skin feels light and airy and is so extremely soft, I keep wanting to touch my face! It hasn’t been more than 24 hours and I already feel a huge difference in my skin. I would highly recommend this moisturizer to anyone who, like me, is struggling with extremely dry winter skin.

I hope this helps at least one person. xoxo.