Wednesday, January 27, 2016

2015 Beauty Favorites

Although we're oh a month into 2016, I wanted to wrap up my favorites for 2015. This was definitely the first year I got super into makeup (I mean, I started this little gem...). All of these products were ones that I rotated through the year and loved throughout each season. They're ones that I purchased - and re-purchased - and felt out-of-sorts when they were missing. Each category is listed below with the products highlighted (if you're someone who wants a quick rundown) and then broken out in routine below (if you want the whole she-bang). So grab a cup of tea/coffee/wine - it's a doozy! Okay, so you may finish at least a bottle of wine if you read the entire thing. Perfect time for an online Sephora order, amiright? Happy shopping!


Primer | Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer or Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Blur Primer
Eyeshadow Primer | Urban Decay Primer Potion, Sin
CC Cream | It Cosmetics Your Skin but Better CC Cream with SPF 50+, Light
Foundation | Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation, Y315 and Y235 mixed
Concealer | NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, Vanilla (pale) or Custard (tan)
Blush | NARS Blush, Orgasm
Highlight | Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfecter, Champagne Pop
Contour | Kat Von D Shade and Light Palette
Bronzer | Too Faced Soleil Matte Bronzer, Milk Chocolate
Powder | Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder, Dim Light

When it comes to my face I go for a semi-matte natural-looking base, lots of flushed color and highlight, and that "sunlit" glow. 

The TooFaced Hangover primer is one that I've been obsessed with all year long. I ran out of it a month ago, and have been loving the YSL Touche Eclat in the meantime, but I already can't wait to go pick it up again. I also always use the UD Primer Potion on my lids to prep for my eye look. It has a bit of shimmer in it so it's great for any foiled look and it keeps my shadows in place all day long. For bases, the It Cosmetics CC Cream is perfect for an easy-to-apply everyday look but I make sure to pull out the MUFE one for night. It doesn't have SPF so it's great for photos. Both products cover all flaws but don't feel the least bit heavy on the skin.

My perfect concealer is one that has coverage, but again, doesn't feel cakey. The creamy concealer from NARS does just that. I'm on my third tube of it and don't see myself putting it down anytime soon. Moving onto blush - it is one of my favorite parts of makeup application and I tend to go for colors that give a nice flushed look (which is why NARS Orgasm is a gem - its pinky-coral color gives the perfect glow). Lastly, I love using the cult-classic Champagne Pop layered on top for highlight. It is seriously the dreamiest golden shade and never looks glittery or over-done. 

To add depth I bring out all of the warm bronzers. The KVD palette is a new addition to my collection but it is absolutely amazing. I use the left two light shades to set my concealer then the left two dark shades to do a light contour. The colors look so natural and the pigmentation is fine enough to blend into the face. If I want a bit extra "just back from the beach" look, I throw in a swipe of the TooFaced chocolate bronzer (that literally smells like chocolate) on my neck, clavicle, and forehead. 

No matter what makeup look I'm doing I always finish my makeup with the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder. It gives the most beautiful airbrushed look and helps my makeup stay in place all day.


Brow | Anastasia Beverly Hills DIPBROW Pomade, Taupe
Brow Pencil | Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, Taupe
Brow Gel | Loreal Brow Stylist Plumper, Light to Medium
Palette | Urban Decay Naked 3
Shadow | MAC Eyeshadow, Brown Script and Coppering
Cream Shadow | Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerize, Bette
Cream Stick | NYX Infinite Shadow Stick, Bronze
Eyeliner | Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, Trooper
Bold Liner | Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Liner, Midnight Cowboy
Mascara | Maybelline Lash Sensational, Blackest Black
Lower Lash Mascara | MAC Extended Play Lash, Endlessly Black

You should all know by now that my favorite eye look is one that is shimmery, warm-toned, and topped off with jet black mascara. 

My brows have always been a big ol' PITA (and no, not the sandwich). They're darker than my natural hair color but are sparse - so the all-too-popular unfinished brow look just doesn't work for me. I tend to need to go for more of a bold look and the Anastasia formulas are just too good! The DipBrow pomade is great for filling in brows and the Brow Wiz cleans things up with its precise nub. I snagged the Loreal brow gel halfway through the year and have used it everyday since to set everything in place. When applied with a light hand it has the greatest consistency for keeping my hairs in place and not sprouting up everywhere.

Some people put all their effort into awesome lip colors but I can't stray away from an eye with impact. The Naked palettes are a godsend and the 3rd edition is an amazing blend of rose-hued neutrals. It has a fantastic selection of colors - from a super soft natural look for day to something dark and smoky for night. When it comes to a 'single' eyeshadow MAC just does it well. Their formulas are so blendable and super pigmented. I also love how you can create your own palette so when we were in NYC I went low-key and got a dual. Can I get more now? Brown Script is an amazing warm-toned matte brown color that works perfectly in the crease. Coppering is the best blend of red/bronze and really brings out blue eyes.

When it comes to cream shadows I tend to love pot shadows for my lid and sticks for my lower lash line. The Eyes to Mesmerize formula is so unbelievably creamy and just covers the lid amazingly. I also was pleasantly surprised by the inexpensive NYX shadow sticks and find that they just fit under my lower lash line - without looking messy.

To finish things off, line. line. line. My perfect liner is a combination of easy-to-apply, long-lasting, and highly pigmented. The Tattoo Liners from KVD are just that. Plus, they have the finest nib for easy application. When I'm looking for a little more oomph I bring out the glitter. Urban Decay wins again with their glitter liners. I have layered the gold color on top of my usual black liner for a more subdued look, and have also loaded it on my lid for an all out glitter party. RSVP to that, always.

Since I have blonde hair my lashes are severely non-existent - unless I apply mascara. Therefore, I usually go for the deepest and darkest color out there. I initially didn't get on with the Lash Sensational mascara but my goodness how the tides have turned. Once I figured out the brush (use the inner curve to get the lower lashes then flip to the outer curve to flare things out) I fell in love. I also joined onto the lower lash bandwagon once I found a mascara that is specific to those little stragglers. MAC's Extended Play is an itty bitty brush that gets in all corners, but doesn't weigh things down. And for both mascaras? Waterproof all the way.


Balm | Rosebud Perfume Co. Minted Rose Lip Balm
Everyday Color | Clinique Chubby Stick, Woppin Watermelon
Gloss | Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss, Pango Peach
Red | Sephora Cream Lip Stain, 01 Always Red
Bold Lip | CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipstick, Spellbound

As I stated above, I tend to go for more bold eye looks than I do lips. So when it comes to formulas and colors I stray for more natural tones that are hydrating and easy to apply on the go. 

The Rosebud balm is a tub that stays next to my bed and is something I apply every single night. It has the best minty scent and just feels so refreshing on my lips. When it comes to a holy-grail/everyday product everyone knows my obsession with Clinique's Woppin Watermelon. I think I've seriously gone through at least five tubes of this so far and don't see myself stopping. I could ramble on this forever but I feel like if you read my blog you've heard enough. 10/10 all around. Same goes for the Revlon Pango Peach gloss. If you like NARS Super Orgasm gloss - but hate the way it makes your bank account feel - pick this up! It's not sticky and stays on your lips for a good amount of time.

When I do decide go bold, red, and matte (which is a rare occasion but happens none the less) the Sephora lip cream is the first thing I grab. The formula smells so good, is super creamy, and so so pigmented. *Cue the million other beauty lovers nodding in agreement* However, more likely if I'm going bold I'm going pink. I just found out that the hot-pink Spellbound shade is discontinued - lets have a moment of silence. That being said, I wouldn't be surprised if you see a NARS Schiap in the mix come this time next year...


Saturday, January 23, 2016

What Sarah Loves // February

What Sarah Loves - February

I'm super excited to be sharing this post as a new monthly piece to Neon Blonde. I've been lacking inspiration lately - blame it on the weather or the holidays. In order to kick the bad habits I picked up a few new mags and have been eyeing my Pinterest and Tumblr feeds (p.s. my links are listed below!). One of my favorite things is seeing what inspires people and i'd love to start sharing more of my own inspiration.

Keep an eye out for more editorial-like pieces, collaboration, and new content --- think: travel, places I love in the city, and product reviews.

For February, it's all about blush tones and feminine touches. My favorite color combination is blush and tone so it's the perfect time to amp those up! Bring on all of the frills, soft makeup, and crisp fabrics.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Bronze Cream Eyeshadow Comparison

Things that are constantly in my beauty rotation: bronze eyeshadows. I feel like the golden/brown color works the best with my complexion, hair, and eye color. Plus I love the idea of a super glowy eye that makes a statement, while still staying relevant for my 9-to-5.

I have a fair collection of powder shadows but recently have been picking up more cream-based options. I find that cream shadows are extremely convenient when you're running out the door. Just one swipe - usually with my finger tips - and I can eliminate all of the fuss. However, I also love using a cream shadow as a base for a shimmery eye look. I tend to dab the color onto my lid, add a matte darker shade to the crease, then layer a shimmery powder with a wet brush. Cue instant glow!

My three go-to bronze cream eyeshadows range in prices and all have their own benefits:

Low: e.l.f. Smudge Pot Cream Eyeshadow, Brownie Points

Middle: H&M Cream Eyeshadow, Sirocco

High: Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerize, Bette

Definitely the Charlotte Tilbury one is my favorite. The formula is so creamy and blends like a dream. The shade is definitely more gold than bronze, but I heard that 'Mona Lisa' is more on the brown side - if you're looking for a deeper color. The H&M shadow is a bit less creamy than CT but has great coloring. I think it is a really great product for its price point. Lastly, the e.l.f. shadow is the least expensive but is an awesome option if you're jumping into things (I believe it's $3, like, yes.). It is a bit more difficult to spread around but does give great color payoff.

Do you have any of these in your collection? Let me know if there's another bronze shadow you love!


Monday, January 11, 2016

Birchbox Unboxed | December

This month's Birchbox felt like a party in a box. With the holidays rolling in, it's main goal was to reset your skin and prep it for a new year. Most of the products focused on brightening and hydrating - two things I can't get enough of around this time of year.

Kate Spade Live Colorfully Perfume Lets get the easy one out of the way, shall we? I actually own a full rollerball of this product so this wasn't a big surprise to me. However for those unfamiliar with the KS scent, it resembles a carefree and beachy fragarance with notes of Hawaiian blooms, coconut water, Tahitian vanilla, and mandarin. This is definitely more of a floral daytime tone, which is great for summer time. I however love to pop these little samples everywhere - in my desk, in my purse - so I can spritz some on the go. Happy hour refresh, here I come!

WEI Bee Venom Anti-Wrinkle Cream Mask Although wrinkles aren't a major skincare concern for me yet, I'll take all the nourishment I can get. With ingredients like honey, royal jelly, and bee-venom (yes you read that right) I was a bit nervous to give this a go. The formula is cream-based and isn't as thick as I had anticipated. I felt like I had to layer a ton of it onto my face with the single-serve package - which made it a pain in the butt to get off. However, it did leave my face feeling softer and smoother (and really the idea of applying venom to your face was the most amusing part).

Coastal Scents styleEYES Shadow Duo, FormalEYES As a huge eyeshadow snob, I feel like I'm not the right person to judge this sample. Although the two shadows were a beautiful rosy combination I felt like they didn't have as much pigmentation as I like. The lighter base color was a bit too light for my complexion, but the second mauve shade gives a beautiful sheen to the lids when applied wet.

COOLA Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face Self admittedly, I'm not a huge moisturizer-before-makeup person. I feel like it can make my skin a bit creasy so I prefer to just use a hydrating primer. However, I did enjoy slathering this SPF-based moisturizer on before I headed out the door this past weekend. It has a super refreshing cucumber scent and felt extremely lightweight. As it was a bit of a warmer day I did feel a tad greasy towards the late afternoon, unfortunately. However I think if you wore this solo then it could be a really great product.

Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow As an exclusive to Birchbox I was hoping for wonders with this product. I'm not a huge BB Cream person - yet I seem to keep getting them in my box. However, I did feel like this formula did a good job at neutralizing my face and getting rid of any redness. Although it doesn't provide much coverage it does even things out a bit, while remaining super natural-looking. I don't think I would ever add this to my collection in the full size but it is nice to have the sample handy for a good skin day!

Most loved product: This is the first box that I feel like I wouldn't necessarily buy anything from. However, if I had to choose a favorite I would say that the COOLA moisturizer felt the most refreshing. 

Most disappointing product: Strictly for the greasy removal, I couldn't get on with the bee venom mask. I've been loving face masks lately so I was a bit bummed that this one didn't step up.

Have you tried any of these products before? I'm always on the lookout for new face masks so let me know if you have any recommendations!


Weekly Favorites (and an Instagram Roundup) | 1.11.15.

This weekend was a perfect blend of relaxation and out enjoying the short burst of warm weather. 50s in January seems a bit absurd, but I'm not complaining! I've been trying to get into a good balance between using my weekends for complete productivity - while also going out and trying new things. Between lazy Saturday mornings with Netflix, apartment cleaning, and brunch post-church, I think this weekend hit the nail on the head. Let's just hope the spirit continues...

In the meantime I wanted to do a quick round-up of all things recently.

Glasses | Fur Throw (link seems a bit wonky, so here and here's another option) | Mug

Here are some other things I've been loving lately...


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thursday's Top Picks: Gold Blush Days

Weekly Favorites 1.6.15.

This color palette gives me life! Maybe it's the Pantone recognition of "Color of the Year", or the softness of winter pastels, but I can't stray away from anything blush. I made a promise to myself to not buy anything in January - including makeup, clothes, and anything unnecessary. Am I crazy? Maybe. But moreso I want to get into a habit of only investing in things I really want or need. 

I've started to create a wishlist for my first purchase in February to keep me in line. Record players have been everywhere lately and this gold one is right up my alley. I feel like records are such a fun thing to collect, and can be really meaningful. I also love the idea of investing in a nice backpack - especially one that is cream/peach colored and can be used year round. And this textured blush jacket? Yes all around!

Is there anything on your wishlist? I'm constantly adding so let me know your favorites!


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