beauty blog

Beauty: Basic BB Contour

I’ll be frank: I’m not a make-up artist. I’m not even halfway there at all, but I adore my newfound love and interest of it that I discovered so late in life. In the process, I’ve kinda figured out what works for me and what doesn’t.

I’ve been experimenting with different contouring than usual lately. Sometimes it turns out weird, but other times it turns out awesome. For the most part, this Dr. Jart+ BB Kit has been so on point, because it contours without leaving my face looking like it’s covered in Carolina mud.

Step 1: Highlight. Left pic is rubbed in, right pic is how it all starts.Step 2: Shade. Left pic is a profile of how I normally shade both side of my face, but this can change depending on the occasion, right pic is blended into the skin (with slight edging into the highlight).Step 3: Neutralize. This is something I always did, but never knew what to call before Dr.J labeled it for me. It’s perfect for all the spots you need to fill in, as well as for areas where you need to blend a bit. Left picture is before, right is after of course.Step 4: Blend ERRYTHANG. Now, this particular set of photos captures how dehydrated my skin was that day after a long, loooooong night before, so this isn’t optimal quality at all. However, it at least shows how the contour can be toned down using whatever you want. I should have gone with a BB cream, but went with my BareMinerals. After I set it all and added the rest of the makeup (not pictured) it looked slightly more normal.Makeup is kinda my jam these days. And no, I’m not perfect, but damn if it isn’t fun using my face as an experimental canvas for all these awesome products we have at our disposal. Hope this helps any of you beginners out there like me! A basic contour can change YO’ LIFE.




Beauty: Younique

A couple of months ago, I started noticing a few people posting (and inviting me to) Younique parties on social media. I was always interested, but in the world of ALL THE THINGS ALL THE TIME, I found myself kind of distracted from looking further into the products. When my friend A had a party though, I finally had some time (HELLO SPRING BREAK!) to sit down and look at the products.

I was sorta hesitant because, well, the realist in me ALWAYS is when it comes to these types of products. You know, the ones sold via parties or a not-so-hidden pyramid. And for the most part, that gut instinct is right: I find myself let down and broke.

But once in a while, I find myself pleasantly surprised (thx, Jamberry), and so was the case (mostly) for my new AU NATURAL products.

That’s not to say I don’t have a huge learning curve when it comes to these products–I do–but these are easy to learn with because they layer well. Since they’re all natural, they apply and feel different from normal cosmetics, but not in a bad way. The very first time I had my eye pigments and fiber lashes to play with, the look came out pretty decent for zero experience on my end.

Not bad for a first timer…….. but I went out and bought a lash brush the next day.

When all my Younique babies finaallllllly arrived, I came home and threw all of my products on in a sort of “Let’s just see where the hell this goes without a trial run” tornado. I ended up looking a little extra purple than I would have normally, but since that’s user error, I figured I’d share what I did, what I learned, and how I feel about the products.

Yeah, that’s not a giant lip feather… that’s a ZIT ON MY LIP.

First things first: I have horrible-ass lighting in my house. I had to run each photo through like, 5 filters, just to get either pic to look REMOTELY close to true-to-color. That being said, I took one in blue light and one in orange so you folks could see that the makeup catches the light it’s exposed to because it’s made from real things. That could be a cursing or a blessing depending on how you look at it, but so long as you’ve got on the right colors for your skin, you should be shouting from the rooftops that it won’t look crazy outside if it looked good inside and vice versa.

Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes: 10 outta 10. 5 stars. ON POINT! While I’ve seen the dreaded spider eye roll out on some users, I haven’t really had that issue. Of course, I could have done a better job at brushing out the lashes on my left eye, but who cares? I just got off of 8 hours of work. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FO’ DAT, especially if it looks good anyway. I only used one coat of mascara on my top lashes, bee-tee-dubs.

Moodstruck Minerals Pigment Powder: The purple (Regal) seen here is banging. I’ve used another I could barely see (Innocent), but again, user error. I’ve since looked up some tips and when I used them today, the pigments worked fine. I still need more time with these to get a 100% grasp on how I feel about them, but I did like that I could use my green pigment (Famous) as a SUPER FINE eyeliner. You can’t see it in these pics, but just trust that it looked SWEET with the complementary purp. I applied with an eyeshadow brush and a Q-tip (for the liner).

Beachfront Bronzer (in Sunset): It’s almost offensive how blendable this shit is. I’m kind of mad about it, and by mad, I mean I didn’t look orange, I could contour so easily with it, and I can tell it will take me decades to run out. I applied with a Q-tip because I still had makeup on, but would normally used a contour brush!

Stiff Upper Lip Lip Stain (in Savvy): Ehhhhh, I don’t know. I just don’t. And I just don’t know because it’s a lip stain. I’m really weird about lip stains because my lip skin doesn’t like them. This is actually the first one that’s STUCK, so kudos to the product there. The color is off the chain, but I had to layer it 3 times, put some purple pigment on it, and then put ONE MORE layer on it to get rid of the always-present lip show-through I get with stains. Maybe it’s just a product my skin can’t or doesn’t want to tolerate. You can see below that even with all that, there’s still this GIANT space in my inner lip that’s like “OH, YOU WANT THIS PART OF YOUR LIPS TO BE PURPLE, TOO? SORRY, BYE FELICIA!”

Refreshed Pure & Natural Rose Water: This is the best thing ever. Of all the things, this is THE thing. It smells like heaven and feels so good. It set my makeup, but I actually put it on because I’m having a horrible breakout right now and I knew it would calm down my skin.

Shine Eye Makeup Remover Cloths: A MAKEUP REMOVER CLOTH THAT IS OIL-BASED?! Shuuuut the front door. As y’all know, most of my face cleansing is done with oils. When I saw this had both sunflower AND jojoba oil in it, I was not hesitant to use these wipes on the entirety of my face, not just my eyes. And it worked without that weird red, shiny, burning thing you get with other cloths.

Overall, Younique is offering some awesome things: natural, earth and animal friendly products sold by ladies, supporting other ladies. I can’t argue with that, nor the customer service!



  • 8 out of 10 overall; 10 out of 10 for the rose water and mascara!


  • Light-Medium. These products are probably for ladies who have naturally better skin/don’t mind letting imperfections show because you do have to layer everything if you want heavy coverage. (I’ll check back in after I try their BB creams, primers, and moisturizers, though! That could make all the difference…)


  • Listen to the directions with the mascara, lest you want spidey-eye!
  • I have naturally “line-y” lips, and I like them, but that’s probably why lip stain doesn’t. Believe it or not, I use a lip mask on these things once a week! But if you try to put this stain on lips that aren’t smooth, YOU’RE GONNA HAVE A BAD TIME! Also, it really doesn’t budge. I had to use my MK lip mask to get the color off, and I’m still rocking slightly purple lips. This last thing, however, is not bad. It’s like a naturally-tinted balm; I might use it this way from now on!
  • Consult with your Younique presenter. If she has the same skin tone as you, she’ll know what you need. If she doesn’t, she still might know. If she doesn’t know, she’ll direct you to another presenter who does. PRETTY COOL, EH?!

Style + Beauty: Wedding Season

Pump the breaks, y’all. This little lady is no where close to getting married. However, as a style and beauty obsessed human from, like, BIRTH (baby Dior is a thing), I often obsess over the perfect pairing for that day, even if that day is 50 years from now. I’m not in any rush 😉 Besides, I get to look over the gorgeous wedding dresses at Loverly for longer, so I’m sure I’ll find the perfect one when I need it!

Since wedding season is basically here (or right around the corner depending on your locale), I thought I’d throw out some style + beauty looks for any brides-to-be who may need some inspiration.

Look 1 // Open Back Blues:

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 2.11.23 PM

My favorite type of ANY dress is one with an awesome back design, cutout, or no back at all. You won’t be surprised, then, to see that my first pick is an open-backed dress by Lea-Ann Belter. Go to her site to see the delish open back! I thought this lovely dress would be so, so complimented by shades of blue.

Open Back Blues
Open Back Blues by ranoel featuring a maybelline mascara
{Click the photo to find links for all products on Polyvore}

Look 2 // Trendy:

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 2.41.53 PM

As a woman who will probably only get married in white if EVERYONE is wearing white (yeah, I wanna white-out my wedding, WHAT OF IT?!), this more trendy and updated dress is more in my zone. There were {literally} one, two, three, four, … FIVE others I wanted to pick, but the Temperley London gown won due to its fierceness factor. Due to the sheer force of this dress, I went way, way down with the beauty to the basics.

Trendy by ranoel featuring an eyebrow kit
{Click the photo to find links to any products on Polyvore}

Look 3 // Classic Beaut:

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 1.04.51 PM

This Monique Lhullier dress is simple and chic from top to bottom, and there would be no other way than to pair it with the classics beauty-wise!

Classic Beaut
Classic Beaut by ranoel featuring nars cosmetics
{Click the photo to find links for all products on Polyvore}

Thanks to my partner, Loverly, for inspiring this post. For someone who does this for a living on Pinterest all day long, you gave a girl an outlet. All thoughts and opinions on fashion, as usual, are my own… and always will be 😉

Finally Comfortable

It’s weird. I’ve always been a little ahead, and not in a braggy way… just a “noticable to others” way that’s been commented on since I was, like, 8. I stopped giving in to peer pressure pretty early. I’ve always been independent, able to go places alone without fear. I made my own choices about my education and career. I have landed every job since graduation myself. I have been through every serious, sad adult situation you can think of, all before I turned 22. I’ve just been this way since birth, and I believe I always will.

But I worried constantly, and always have, thanks to those before-my-years moments. Though I know I can’t change the chronic GAD I live with, I try to manage it and know innately that it’s okay to have anxiety. However, I’ve always been incredibly bothered by my back-and-forth of worrisome thoughts about one thing: me. Myself. My body.

I believed, and still believe, it’s a sickness to worry so much about your body, which is why I was always so incredibly focused on deleting that worry from my life. I was DETERMINED to knock it BEFORE 30, because I remembered so many quotes about “Why were we so self-conscious in our 20s? We were at our physical peak!” I took those words to heart because I knew how true they were. And while I KNOW I’m going to keep on rollin’ out the peaks over the next 3 decades, I didn’t want to miss out on this, the 20-something peak.

Honestly, I didn’t worry about my body until I was in college, so I consider myself pretty lucky. Hell, it wasn’t even until LATE college that I really started to see flaws with myself physically. It started with my battle with adult acne, but when I knocked that out, I again was lucky to not see the flaws in myself……………… until after I lost weight, became a new, strong woman. And then I looked back–sometimes the opposite of wise–and I thought…. wait. WAIT! That was ME?! I was that confident in myself at THAT weight, with THAT hair?!!? NEVER AGAIN!

And that “never again” spawned this new sort of worry I had never had: never go back to that size, never go back to that hair, never go back to those clothes, never go back. And while it started as a “KEEP MOVING FORWARD AND BE YOUR BEST SELF!”, I quickly realized that it was an obsession. An unhealthy one.

Within that obsession, I never deprived myself of anything or overexercised. I like to think this is because of the highly logical side of my brain I inherited from my dad; if it’s not healthy, I don’t do it. He was very conscious of the fact he was raising two girls, and somehow, he knew never to pick our appearance apart. Maybe it’s because he was the big brother to a great sister, but he just… he never made us feel judged for our bodies, and I believe that’s why I never felt body shame until the opposite kind of men started to come into my life.

Yet, I still knew the obsessive body-based thoughts themselves were not something my supportive parents would find healthy, even if I wasn’t binging or denying or whatever else there is. I’m so glad I HAVE that foundation of support, because I can see how this worry over returning to my “ugly ‘before'” body could have turned into a plague-ish obsession that left me sick, sick, sick. But the fact that I now THOUGHT about my body image all day, even if I wasn’t doing anything “sick” to change it? That was not okay with me, and it wouldn’t be okay with my parents. Though I tried to stop them, the thoughts continued to be pretty intense.

I can’t pinpoint the moment when I realized it was taking up too much thought in my head, but I do know several things that made me start to realize I could be better to myself, could change the way I thought by focusing on these positive and productive things instead: when my friend S started clean-eating and sharing her tips with me; when I started stress eating and didn’t gain the weight back (or freak out when I teetered on gaining it); when I realized that I needed to focus more on my internal health than the external; when I realized that I can weigh 120 pounds with muscle OR fat. They all bungled together to start changing what I would tell myself every day.

I don’t know precisely when it happened. Maybe I just beat the thought into myself for so many days that it finally stuck. I woke up one morning and felt okay. Felt cozy. Felt like giving a giant middle finger to anybody who dare try to question my new mind-set: YOU ARE A HOT 20-SOMETHING, EVEN IF ONLY IN YOUR OWN EYES. CHILL THE SHIT OUT!

And I did. I mean, I still look down and see softness where my abs were, but instead of freaking out, I just think “I’m still hot. I’ll get those abbies back when I feel strong enough to exercise again.” I still don’t like when a pimple appears, but I simply say “Hey, hormones go away. That’ll be gone in two days!” If something doesn’t fit me the way it did before, despite my parking at the same weight for 2 years, I remind myself “It will fit to your liking again soon, but look. It fits now, too!”

So here I am, still not 30, and finally comfortable. I am aware of what I need to be healthy, and what steps I need to take to get there, but I have coping skills to talk myself down from worry’s edge if I backtrack or have a weak moment or feel unworthy. I don’t linger in front of the mirror as long as I did, and when I do, I make sure to find something I like before I leave.

Like, when I took this to prove my abs were gone, I was like "BUT LOOK WHOSE BOOBS ARE BACK!" Then I turned around and checked out my nice rear while I was at it.

Like, when I took this to prove my abs were gone, I was like “BUT LOOK WHOSE BOOBS ARE BACK!” Then I turned around and checked out my nice rear while I was at it.

I’m not perfect, but I am comfortable in my 20-something skin. And after all, that is ALL I ever wanted, and all I still want: to enjoy my 20’s appearance without guilt before I hit another decade, looking back and regretting that I didn’t appreciate what I had when I had it.

I found peace and ways to get back to that peace when I lose it. I’d say that’s another point for the ahead-of-the-game’ness I’m so used to, and I hope it helps anyone else who feels stuck. There’s still time. There’s always time.

Lust List: For the Bod

Other than a major thirst for beauty products lately, I’ve been on a binge for bettering my body. Of course, I have to up my water intake and shake off the SAD and exercise, but in the mean time, these are the things I’m lusting after to “fake it ’til I make it.”

1. Extreme Waist Trainer by Primadonna


2. Embrocation cream for bare, yet warm, winter legs!


3. ALL the bralettes! To feel sexay, YAKNO?!


4. A Fitbit Charge, mostly to track my sleep, and hopefully up my movement daily until it’s swim time again!




5. Major skin revamp, via Fraxel or something, erry’where. This winter has seriously done some damage, even with constant moisturizing!

6. Commando half-slip for keeping my little puffs hidden ’til they’re gone.


7. My tried and true Saka Fitness DVD. This will get me back on track faster than any of the above. Let’s dance the winter off!


Must-Have: All-In-One Makeup


Smith’s Rosebud Salve.

We’ve all heard of it. Less of us have tried it, but those of us who have, LOVE IT! It’s, like, $7-8 bucks at Sephora? I don’t remember. It’s CHEAP, though, because I bought this tin in August/September and am SO far away from having to get another. BONUS: It’s as natural as purchased makeup gets.

This salve adds instant moisture and shine (with a bit of a natural, pink tint) to your lips. The pro to this is it makes them POP aka look bigger. Loves it. BUT THAT’S NOT EVEN THE BEST PART! When you’re done applying the smelly-good gel of the gods, you can rub in the leftover parts into your hands; I always aim for my cuticle of whatever finger I used to apply that morning. Bam, instant two-in-one!

But after a while, I was like “Hey, I can totally put this on my eyelids, too, right? To make them shine a bit, pop ’em out so I look more awake?” And though I was worried my lids would start sticking to my brow, of course, Rosebud delivered again. It was the perfect amount of shine and moisture without supergluing two separate parts of my face together.

Another morning, I forgot the highlight step in my on-the-reg contour job. I will skip steps here and there to save time, but that’s one I NEVER miss because it makes me look less like a homeless Rip Van Winkle. So I just glossed on the salve where I would have used my highlighter, and while it wasn’t as bright, it definitely made me look more awake. It caught the light as it was supposed to, and again, all without clogging pores or sticking facial parts together that don’t belong.

I bet there are a million other ways to use this gem of a makeup, and I haven’t found them all, but isn’t that the fun part? An $8 tin and the journey. Mm.

P.S. I used Rosebud to tame my flyaways one afternoon. Try iiiitttttt!

Lust List: For the Face

I’ve been really into beauty products lately as the winter months finally delve into their most frigid temps. Here’s what I’m truly lusting after for my visage this month!

1. Brazened Honey Mask // Lush

2. Supermud Mask // Glamglow

3. Liquid Lipstick // Anastasia Beverly Hills {ANY/ALL SHADES!}

4. Foaming Skin Polish Cleanser // Yu-Be

5. Facial Massage Brush // Shiseido

6. SkinCool Ice Roller // Hansderma

7. Soothe Night Cream // Colbert MD

8. Skin Cream // Egyptian Magic


Must-Have: Makeup Setter


I have long stated my distaste for waterproof makeup, as well as a non-matte finish on my face. I think the strain WP makeup puts on your skin when you scrub hastily to remove it isn’t worth it in the long-run, and anything that isn’t matte in life – liquid leggings excluded – just seems tacky. NO GLOSSY FACE FOR ME!

But, as all makeup wearers can testify to feeling the same, I got really damn tired of my eyeliner running down past my cheekbones and my mascara flaking off like some kind of evil face dandruff, so one day when I wandered into Sephora to re-up on my usual foundation, I grabbed some makeup setter in a travel size. I hadn’t done any prior research, so I just went with my own experience to pick out what brand I’d start off with;Make Up Forever has had some misses for me, but for the most part, they’re a hit brand for my face, so I started there, expecting not to be too impressed. I mean, I felt like the idea of spraying something WET onto something DRY to set it is bizarre. (I think I forgot about hairspray in my always-present cynicism.)

However, from the MOMENT I tried it, I fell so, so in love. Now I can wear my non-damaging, natural (sort-of) make up all day long AND keep it matte and moisturized thanks to this granddaddy of makeup setters. It smells good (to me; J hates it) and dries quickly. It’s also light on the face, and the cool mist is refreshing no matter what time of year or day.

I now have a massive bottle AND a travel bottle I never let leave my side. We’ll probably be together forever, just like the brand says.

Must-Have: Mascara


I feel like I’m definitely not the first, nor will I be the last, lifestyle blogger to endorse the hell out of this mascara. It’s a true-blue for a reason.

Recently (perhaps a year or so ago?) Maybelline changed the style of wand. Needless to say, it made me nervous, but the new tapered end is MAGICAL and ensures you get those li’l baby lashes in the corners of your eyes. You know, the ones that always manage to get away from all the other mascara wands.

Sure, sure, sure. It’s offered in an array of colors, but we all know which one is the real deal, the million-dollar color: blackest black. It’s 20x’s darker than any other “black” mascara on the market with one coat. By the way, this rave review is coming from a one-coater kinda girl. Imagine the results multi-coat ladies get from Great Lash. (Guess I know what’s next on my beauty experiment check-list.)

Oh, and as an added bonus, you don’t even have to get the waterproof version of Great Lash to get stellar all-day results. I steer clear from makeup that takes more than a face wash to get off, but this sucker not only washes right off, but sticks all day. HOW DO THEY DO IT?! Maybe it’s science, maybe it’s Maybelline.

What’s your go-to mascara? Let me know! I always love suggestions 🙂

Reyonce’s Makeup 101 {No-Makeup Look}

I never used to be a daily make-up wearer. Most of this came from some stubborn determination that I could go without, that perhaps I’d be less awesome if I had to slather my face in makeup. This, of course, is the most absurd notion a person could have, as you should put whatever the hell you want on your face to make you feel like a boss-ass bitch.

When I segued into finally wearing makeup everyday, which took finding good products and a job to motivate me to slap it on, I quickly found that what I want everyday is much more minimal that what I want on, say, a femme fatale photo shoot.

I like to go with an easy contour, dark lashes, bright eyes, and a moisturized pout. Of course, to look like I barely have anything on, it takes all of these products:



As per usual, I try to keep things natural or at least beneficial to my face, which is why you’ll see more skin-friendly and/or natural and/or expensive brands on my shelf. The investment means not having to dump out 34 foundations that sort of worked, but made me break out in the middle of my forehead like an 11-year-old. The cheapest thing pictured is my $1 neutral palette I’ve since replaced with the bangin’ NAKED2 palette.

Steps to this look:
1. Moisturize. As you know from this entry, I normally use an oil or a cream.
2. Spot treat. Cover up any super obvi imperfections with my salicylic acid foundation to tag-team the situation, and occasionally zap the circles under my eyes, too.
3. LIGHT overall powder coverage.
4. Somewhat intense contouring with my bronzer. Depending on the look, I’ll add more or less, or leave it blended or unblended. It’s all subjective, baby.
5. HEAVY overall finishing powder.
6. Highlight with my highlighter stick. If I can’t find it, I use the lightest color in my neutral palette, normally a white!
7. Set the hell out of that shit with the world’s best makeup setter on the planet!


At this point, your face will be done. It’ll look like the above photo, only probably more put together since I just did this for y’all on a whim. I know, you’re moved. I feel the tears, too.

8. Line lip with extremely close-to-lip-color lipstick.
9. Line eyes with gray liner to keep them shiners poppin’.
10. Mascara all the lashes! Well, except the bottom ones. Don’t ever touch those unless you’re doing something the MOST hardcore.
11. Finish with a light glossing of salve on the lips and VOILA!