Tools for Flawless Makeup

I spend a lot of money at Sephora on “designer” makeup.  However, I’m learning the magic is in the tools, not the makeup.  This is what you should invest in, you won’t regret it.

tools for makeup application

Here’s the basics of what you’ll need for a flawless application.

1. Beauty Blender This is essential.  Don’t let the imitations deceive you. They’re a lot denser, don’t blend the same way, and get dirty quickly.  You must get the Beauty Blender brand.  A few tips for using the Beauty Bledner

  • Wet the sponge to reduce the amount of makeup needed per application (you’ll save money!)
  • Roll the Beauty Blender right into the hairline to blend
  • Use the pointy end for under your eyes

2. Bdellium Kabuki Airbrushed Effect 957 When I don’t have my Beauty Blender handy, I use this.  It’s affordable and cleans easily.  It’s best used for blending in foundation.  I like to use it to really blend in the neckline.  It also works great for powder foundation like Bare Esentuals.  Because it is more compact, you’ll get heavier coverage.

3.  Sephora Pro Bronzer Brush Highly compact, this brush deposits the color exactly where you want it for a flawless application.  I use it with my Too Faced Poreless Bronzer.

4.  Tarte Eyelash Curler  This is one of my favorite brands of makeup, but they also make fabulous tools.  I went into Sephora looking for the Shu Ueumura eyelash curler, but tried this instead based on the employee’s recommendations.  I love it.  The results are immediately obvious. It grips the eyelashes perfectly and results in a natural curl.


Lichtenstein Comic Book Woman Costume

I was too cheap to buy a Halloween costume this year, so I relied solely on makeup to transform myself into a comic book woman.

Out of curiosity (and questioning my ability to actually do it) I did a trial run the night before.  I ended up looking like a clown as opposed to a super hero.  Actually I grabbed a slice of pizza looking like that, and the guy behind the counter stared at me awkwardly before he finally said “I’m trying to figure out who you are”. He then asked if I was some creepy woman from a scary movie.  Hopefully the below doesn’t give you nightmares…

Here’s what I botched and learned:

Do’s and Don’ts for Lichtenstein Comic Book Makeup:

botchUsing eye shadow for white dots.  This lightened up and was virtually non-existent after an hour. What a waste.

Drawing in eyelashes.  These came out atrocious.  Unless you’re an artist, just don’t.

Using liquid eyeliner for black lines.  It just doesn’t have the stamina to create thick long lines… umm that sounds a little dirty (or is that just me)

Draw in the face you wish you had.  I wish my face was a little narrower so I drew it that way.  While it looked fine head on, any tilt of the head looked ridiculous.

learnUse face paint.  Don’t apply with a Qtip either.  Use something hard so it doesn’t absorb all the paint.

Apply false eyelashes.  They’ll make you look more attractive and comic book like.

Use wet eyeshadow and an eyeliner brush to draw lines.  The lines come out bolder and crisper.

Outline the face as close to the hairline as possible.  This will help you avoid any gaps.

Spray paint your hair with colored hair spray.  I only bought one can and it was not enough, get 2.  Also – you can curl it!!! woo

PS – sorry for the boings in the video.

lichtenstein makeup

Affordable Makeup

Affordable Makeup


While I love Sephora, the majority of my makeup staples are drug store and Avon!  Because they’re so cheap, I’ve gotten to experiment with dozens and here’s the handful that pass the Botch and Learn test.  They’re high quality at low prices!

1.  Mark On The Edge Liquid Eye Liner – I have this in blackest black and it is the bomb.  It’s waterproof and doesn’t smudge.  Plus the applicator is thin and firm so it’s so easy to apply!  If you’re a liquid eye liner newbie I recommend starting with this one.  The application is easy!

2.  Avon Mineral Foundation in Bronze – I use this as my regular bronzer.  The container is mess proof. While that’s a huge plus and convenience the real win is the actual color.  It’s highly pigmented.  The texture is light and it’s just phenomenal.

3.  Avon Glimmerstick Eyeliner – I used to always avoid putting eyeliner on my lower lash line since it would bleed into my under eye circles and enhance them.  Not anymore!  I like this retractable pencil.  It stays exactly where I put it.

4.  Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush – Gotta love anything with the word bouncy in it’s name.  This is a mousse blush with a fun consistency.  They have a great color palette.  I like that it leaves the cheeks a little dewy and livens up the face.

5.  Neutrogena Healthy Skin Pressed Powder – Your welcome Neutrogena for this free advertising.  This stuff is a MUST have.  It’s the only product I’ve stuck to religiously for years.  It’s affordable, sets my makeup, removes shine and is just A-mazing.  Get it!!!


Foundation Reviews

Foundation is perhaps one of the most difficult makeup products to buy. Once you find one that actually matches your skintone, stays on all day, and doesn’t settle in your creases it becomes an eternal piece of your beauty arsenal. But the makeup addict always loves to explore and find the next best thing. Yes, my name is Katie… and I am a makeup addict.

I’m currently rotating between dozens of foundations. Here’s what I’ve found:

PS – if you like my hair in the video I did it with the Perfector. Tune in next week to find out what exactly the Perfector is, and how to use it.

Sephora Haul – Softer Makeup Look

As a treat to myself, I got a makeover at Sephora.  I had gotten in a rut with my makeup, relying on bright lips and winged liquid eyeliner to carry me through everyday.  I needed a softer and more sophisticated look that was appropriate in an office setting.  My makeup artist Dina recommended some fabulous products and tips to accompany them.

Here’s what I got, seriously a kid in a candy store.

Sephora Haul



  • Smashbox Double Exposure Eyeshadow Kit
    • Can be used wet or dry
    • Has a range of colors, not just traditional neutrals
  • Smashbox Blush in Chiffon
    • Soft pink shade with flecks of gold
  • Bite Butter Cream Lipstick in Heather
    • Creamy consistency
    • Try pairing this Makeup Forever lip liner in shade 14C
  • Cover FX Contour Kit in Light
    • All the shades you’ll possibly need for contouring
    • Cream contour kit as opposed to shadow
  • Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Taupe
    • Mix the two shades for a more natural look
    • Use the darker shader on the outer corners and the lighter shade on the inner

What You Need to Know About Beauty Boxes

Who doesn’t want a new present delivered to their door monthly?  For a low fee, companies like Birchbox and Ipsy will fulfill these wishes.  While it sounds ideal, there are mixed reviews from actual subscribers.  Plus, there’s enough choices out there to make your head spin.

In full disclosure, I’ve never subscribed to any of these services, but am seriously considering it.  But, I can’t make a decision of this stature (#dramatic) without consulting friends and doing research.  I HAVE gifted it before though.  It’s the best cop out gift.  You know the fall back when you don’t know what to get your friends or coworkers.  It sure beats the typical go-to presents like Bath and Body Works lotions or bottles of wine.  Well the latter is arguable.  Anyway…

Mommy Splurge is the best resource I’ve found to help you navigate the insanely stupid amount of offerings out there.  It breaks these offerings down by category like beauty, DIY, fitness, food, etc.  Then there’s brief summaries of what you’ll get with a subscription and a myriad of reviews.  For this post’s sake, we’re taking about beauty boxes!!

To summarize, here’s the basics of the most popular monthly subscription services.

beauty box

BIRCHBOX ($10/month)

Birchbox is obviously one of the more popular beauty subscriptions.  In the beginning, you’ll fill out a survey.  Then they’ll send you 5 samples or full sized products each month that supposedly fit your needs and wishes.

Here’s what my friends are saying about Birchbox:

“It’s just alright … I’m not loving it as much as I should… I feel like I wish it was a bit more customized”

“I had Birchbox and canceled after 3 months. I was getting too many samples I didn’t know what to do with them and most of them I never used or wanted to use.”

“I have had a Birchbox subscription for prob a year.  I’m obsessed with it”

The overall consensus about Birchbox is that it’s fun for a little.  It certainly makes a decent gift.  However, the samples aren’t always tailored appropriately.  Everyone I know who subscribed has received a red bottle of detangler despite what they said in their survey…

IPSY ($10/month)

Ipsy was founded by famed You Tube beauty vlogger Michelle Phan. You’ll take a quick quiz which helps them determine what goes in your Glam Bag each month.  That’s right, in additions to beauty products,  you’ll get a new makeup bag each month!  Then you can watch product tutorials from their stylists.

“I have Ipsy, I’m so in love with it every month!”

“I cancelled Ipsy-I barely used the products. Had it for 6 months.”

“Ipsy is much better than Birchbox, plus you get a cute makeup bag each month.”

“I used to subscribe to Ipsy. Was charged twice and sent order and shipment confirmations but never received the packages. I had to fight the charges through Amex.”

Based on my friend’s reviews, Ipsy is better than Birchbox. It seems like it’s tailored to each individual better.  However, there are some gripes with the billing process.

JULEP MAVEN ($24.99/month)

Julep started as a nail parlor and has expanded to a cosmetic company.  They don’t use toxins or test on animals.  Each month you are given a limited selection of products to choose from, therefore you customize the box yourself.  You’ll only receive items from the Julep brand though.

If you love nail polish, you’ll likely enjoy Julep Maven.  You’ll get exactly what you wanted delivered to your door each month.  If you’re thinking of giving it as a gift, you don’t have to worry about it auto renewing.  However, those who subscribe on their own beware… the subscription does automatically renew!

BARE BLISS BOX ($16.99/month)

I don’t know anyone who subscribes to Bare Bliss Box, nor have I heard about it before today.  However, I like the spin it has.  Rather than commercial products, it appeals to a niche audience.  I’m sure all of you have a friend or two who only uses organic products or refuses to use products that are tested on animals.  This is the box for them!

There you have it kids.  The verdict is still out about these boxes.  Some people jump for joy you every time they come home to their beauty treats.  Others find it a total waste of $$$

Bright Lips & Bold Brows

Bright lipstick and bold brows go together like beaches and bikinis.  This is a look that celebrities like Cara Delevingne, Rita Ora, and Olivia Munn rock often.  Wear it with your hair down, or throw it up for an instantly polished look.


The secret to fabulous eyebrows is using a spoolie brush then filling them in.  First, brush your eyebrows with the spoolie in the direction the brow hairs are growing.

Rather than a pencil, try Tarte’s brow mousse.  You can do no wrong with any Tarte product.  It will give you more control and blends well with the brows.  Line the top of the brow using an angled brush.  Make sure to define the arch, you might need to create it with the product if your eyebrows are straight.  Then do the same to the bottom of the brows.  After you’ve defined the shape, go in and fill in any skimpy areas with light tiny brush strokes.  Once you’re done, brush the brows again to blend and remove excess mousse with a tissue.

Bright Lipstick

Start by exfoliating your lips.  Nothing draws attention to flaky lips like bright and red lipstick.  Next step, moisturize those chaps. Prime your lips or line them.  Brights and reds tend to run so this will prevent feathering.  Finally fill in your lips with the lipstick paying extra attention to the sides of the lips.  You’re now ready to blot and go.

Products Used:

  • Tarte Brow Mousse in Taupe
  • Maybelline Lipstick in Faint for Fuschia

Must Have Drug Store Makeup

must have drug store makeup1.  Physician’s Formula Bronzer – Been using this since high school

2.  Maybelline Pumped Up Colossal Mascara in black – Received this as a free gift at a conference and was wowed by it

3.  Neutragena Healthy Skin Brighening Eye Perfector – Compare this to YSL highlighting concealers for a fraction of the cost

4.  Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Skin Perfector – My friends all swear by this, I have the acne version

5.  Neutrogena Healthy Skin Pressed Powder – Just as good as the expensive stuff

6.  Maybelline Whisper Lipstick in Petal Rebel – This color looks great on everyone I’ve seen it on


Girly Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

Girly Gift Guide

Batiste Dry Shampoo – Find it at most drug stores.  Highly recommended after a sweat at the gym when there’s no time to shower.  A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!

Lauren Conrad Earrings – She has the cutest earring line at Kohls.  Most studs are $12 and under and Kohls always has super fab sales, so I scored a bunch of them for $8 each #steal

Beauty Blender – If you’re going to invest in any beauty tool, make it this!

Anthropologie Candles – Pretty much every scent is heavenly and the containers are stylish.  I want them all for my office and home.  Only problem is they’re so great I want to save them instead of burn them.

Selfie Remote – Amazon has dozens of these at affordable prices.  It’s not really called the selfie remote, but let’s be real – that’s what we’re using it for.  They’re bluetooth enabled so snap that selfie without your arm in it!

Journal – Marshalls and TJ Maxx have dozens of versions of the cutest notebooks!  They’re all $5 too.  You have no idea how many compliments I get on these.

Elf Lip Exfoliator – Banish flaky lips with this affordable must have.

Anne Taintor Flask – Her iconic artwork is on flasks, mugs, makeup bags, travel tags etc.  They all feature olden day women with sassy quotes for the independent, witty, and fun female.

* Did I use enough ! ! ! ! ! in the above?!?! I’m obviously very excited about these products… and my job has brainwashed me to use them in everything.

Tutorial: Face Makeup

Here are the steps for applying face makeup.  While the key to curling hair is away, the secret to a flawless face is BLENDING.

Order for Applying Face Makeup:

  • Primer
  • Foundation
  • Concealer
  • Bronzer
  • Blush
  • Highlighter
  • Powder


  • Dot foundation on your face with fingertips before you blend.
  • Use liquid concealer under the eyes (I ran out so had to make do with the stick).
  • I forgot to cover my pimples, but use a thicker concealer to cover the pimples.  When you blend, concentrate on blending around the area of the pimple as opposed to on the actual pimple itself.  Then, set it with powder.
  • Go directly into the hairline and down your neck with bronzer.
  • Apply bronzer with a compact brush.
  • Apply highlighter only to your cheekbones, bridge of nose, under eyebrows, and on your cupid’s bow (above lips).
  • Use a powder brush instead of the poof it comes with.  This will provide a lighter application.