I love the holiday season for so many reasons, and one of my favorite things is shopping for that perfect gift for my friends and family! Nowadays, there are so many products shoved in our faces that sometimes it’s tough to figure out what the best gifts really are. I put together a gift guide of some of my favorite things to get for Christmas, so maybe it will help you figure out what to buy that special someone (or to ask Santa for!)


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping Season to all, and to all a good night! 

Shop the gift guide

1- Mou Eskimo Sheepskin Winter Boot

I am slightly obsessed with these boots! The only thing I don’t love is the price point, so I’m working to find dupes on Amazon or a gently used pair on eBay. But, in a perfect world, I would have ordered these babies yesterday. A great gift for any woman is always a good pair of fuzzy slippers or comfy boots!

2- InkJoy Pens & Cambridge Notebooks
There is nothing I need more in life, or love, more than pens and a cute notebook to write in! Both my day job and this blog require lots of writing, and I am a person that would much rather write things down on paper than electronically.

3- Apple Watch

Truth, I asked my daddy for a gold Apple Watch with a pink band… I have a problem. But, everyone and their mother has an iWatch these days! I know, because my mom has one.

4- Nike Pro Warm Dri-FIT Leggings

Most of my days consist of going to work, to the gym, and home. If its not work clothes or gym clothes, I don’t need it! I have several pairs of exercise shorts, but I only have a few pairs of leggings that I rotate during the winter months for my workouts. I’m sure my trainers and my workout friends would really appreciate a few new, clean leggings.

5- Target’s Animal Print Design Faux Fur Throw

Every year I ask for a fuzzy blanket. I have never regretted it, and she won’t either.

6- Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette

I have fought the crowd so hard on this palette, but I’m close to breaking. It is just SO gorgeous! And, word on the street is, the colors are beautifully pigmented and have minimal fallout. Every beauty guru either wants this product, or already has it. Ya’ll know I love a good bargain though, and I have heard this Wet N Wild version in “Rose in the Air” is a complete dupe!

7- Copper Measuring Spoons

I have copper pots, an ice bucket, measuring cups, pans, you name it. They look beautiful hanging on my kitchen wall, and they’re useful too! The only thing I’m missing is copper measuring spoons… meaning I may have to buy these for myself.

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own. Some links may be affiliate links, meaning I could earn a percentage from your purchase.


I have been meaning to try the new-ish Wet N Wild Photo Focus Foundation for a few months, but it wasn’t carried at my Walgreens. Recently, I found it at another Walgreens not too far from me, and I knew I had to try it.

I got 2 colors: Porcelain (the lightest shade) and Shell Ivory. Word to the wise- buy lighter/ warmer, than you think you need! I swatched Shell Ivory at the store and thought it looked great. After I purchased it and got in the car, I looked at my hand and it had turned PINK. Like, straight pink. I like my foundations to have a pink undertone- because that’s what my skin looks like naturally- but this was on another level.

I went back and bought Porcelain, which looked way too light but oxidized to a decent match. In the end, I used mostly Porcelain on my face with a few drops of Shell Ivory. The funny thing is, it turned out to be the perfect match.

According to Wet N Wild’s website, the product is tested in 7 lighting conditions to make sure it doesn’t give your face a white cast in flash photos. It says, “Your skin, only better. Our new high-performing, skin-perfecting foundation underwent major road testing under seven different photo lighting conditions to deliver flawless camera-ready makeup every time. Specially made with a matte, light-diffusing complex to give your skin #nofilter perfection.”

Applying the PhotoFocus Foundation

I took pictures of my face right after I finished my makeup, so you can see what the finished look is like immediately. For reference, I applied with a sponge.  No, my pictures didn’t have flash because I’m dumb and didn’t think about that until right now.

Southern Style Diaries, Ivana Hrynkiw, Photo Focus foundation Photo Focus foundation

My first impression was that I LOVED the Photo Focus foundation. It has a beautiful, satin finish and blends so easily with my concealer and other powders. While it was work to find the perfect shade, I ended up with probably the best foundation match I have ever had.

(Yes, my neck looks darker in these pictures, but I went a little hard with the self tanner the night before!)

Photo Focus foundation Photo Focus foundation

Throughout the day, my skin looked amazing. I didn’t use a shine sheet or any powders because I wanted to show ya’ll a true wear test, and honestly I never really felt like I needed to! I would have liked to around 2 p.m., but it wasn’t a dire situation or anything.

12.5 hours later…

I had a crazy day, which made for a really good test for the foundation’s staying power. I went to work, had several interviews, ate three meals, went to the grocery store, and tidied up my house… and at 7 p.m. (approximately 12.5 hours after applying in the morning) it still looked pretty good.

While I wouldn’t say my foundation didn’t budge, it was probably only something I would notice or you would have to be close to see. It settled into lines around my mouth and nose, which ended up moving around and rubbing off a little– but 90 percent of my makeup was still in place.

To be fair, I applied this with a sponge– I usually prefer applying my foundations with a brush, but I wanted to try a sponge for my first impression here. I find if it looks good with a sponge, it will look even better with a brush! Most foundations on my skin tend to have a better staying power with a brush.

Overall, the Photo Focus foundation did amazing things for me. It is a medium coverage, matte but not spackle on your face, insanely affordable product… I’m sold. I could go on about how much I loved it, but I’m trying to be brief here. I will say, I think the website’s description is spot on.

Basically, I’m in love with Wet N Wild’s Photo Focus Foundation and I think it has already made its way into my every day rotation. The foundation is $5.99 online and in Walgreens stores, so it won’t break your break… and you may just fall in love like I did.

Buy it here on Amazon

This post was not sponsored; all opinions are my own


Makeup Revolution isn’t the most talked-about brand. It’s not super easily accessible in the U.S. (it’s only available at Ulta here) and not many beauty YouTubers rave about their new products like they do with NYX or Maybelline.

All of that said, Makeup Revolution is a goldmine. It’s super affordable– with large eyeshadow palettes for $15 and lipsticks for $5– and the quality is great. I have used a few of their products in the past, but I have really been loving them since I discovered some of their most coveted products.

These are a few things from the line that I’m really looking forward to this fall and had seen online. I recently bought these from Ulta when there was a gift promo, for a free highlighter and blush palette with any Makeup Revolution purchase… safe to say, I was sold.

So far, of what I’ve used from this haul, I have really enjoyed the products! If you’re interested, I will certainly follow up with a review or a video.

Makeup Revolution

  1. Rose Gold Lipstick (Chauffeur)

Rumor is these lipsticks are dupes for the Charlotte Tilbury ones, even down to the packaging. I have never tried those, but I am in if they’re anything like the MR version!

2. Vivid Baked Highlighters (Radiant Lights)

This swatch is so beautiful, I had to resist buying all the colors. I haven’t used on my face yet, but just testing it made me excited.

3.  Flawless 3 Resurrection Palette 

Total disclaimer: I went to the store to buy this, and walked out with the Flawless 2 palette on accident. That one’s awesome too, but I am probably returning that to buy this one because those are the colors I’m more interested in. Flawless 3 looks so similar to Naked Heat, I want to find out if its a dupe! Flawless 2 is great though, especially if you’re looking for more cool tones and a range of browns. Thumbs up on both palettes!

4. Vivid Shimmer Brick (Radiant) 

This product totally reminds me of a bronzer I had in high school, that me and my friend Marissa used until it was in pieces. We used it as a bronzer, eyeshadow, and probably whatever else we thought was trendy at the time. So, this was partly a nostalgic purchase but also partly because I’m a sucker for sparkly gold eyeshadow.

5. Retro Luxe Matte Lip Kit (Reign)

Kylie lip kit, anyone? My future mother-in-law got me hooked on the Kylie kits, so I had to check this out.

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own


If you haven’t heard about Rihanna’s new Fenty Beauty collection, you’re living under a rock.

I got a sample of the brand’s Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation–one of the most talked about products– to test out and see if it’s really worth the hype… and the $34 price tag.

Watch to see my first impressions of the Fenty Beauty foundation!

Color is 170, for reference. All products worn in the video can be found in the YouTube description here. All Fenty Beauty products can be found online or at Sephora stores! If you want an update after I wear this product for several days, let me know in the comments.

(PS  I am still trying my hand at YouTube and video editing, so thanks for being patient!)

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own.


I love makeup. I love the process of doing my makeup, and I love how seeing the final result too. But, even I’ll admit, I hardly ever wear eyeshadow to work. I barely have time in the mornings to put on my foundation and concealer, let alone eyeshadow and liner.

There is an exception though— when I know I have plans after work, I try to up my face game a little. Whether it be dinner with my mom or drinks with my girlfriends, I like to be ready to go straight from work, because if I go home to redo my face, there’s a solid chance I won’t be leaving again!

Here’s where Naked 3 comes in. The warm, pink tones are so flattering and can create so many soft looks that are perfect for transitioning from the office to the dinner table.

This is one of my favorite looks to create from the palette! I hope you enjoy the look and make it your own. All products are linked!

Naked 3

Yes, I put on eyeliner BEFORE  shadow. I put it on before to give the effect of smoky, soft liner, because I’m not really good with pencil liner (I know that sounds ridiculous). You can also line your lids with the darkest color in the palette, Blackheart, after you finish your eyeshadow for the same effect. I do that often too, but I find that Blackheart has REALLY bad fallout for me and I’m not about that life. Maybe I just got a dud though, so feel free to try that!

Use Strange as base. I use a big, fluffy brush to spread it across my lid and brow bone to cover the whole area. I also like to go in with Reserve Your Cabana  (a “bronzer” form Wet & Wild) over Strange to give it a little more shimmer.

Then, use Burnout with a little Limit mixed in as your transition color. This just means you sweep it into your crease, and a tiny bit above, to define your eye shape and to make the darker colors blend in easier. I use a 99 cent Wet & Wild crease brush that I personally think is the best on the market!

Go in with Nooner on the outer crease if you want to darken the look a little. I have pretty big eyelids, so I like to make my crease really defined with this color! I also just love Nooner in general.

Finally, use Factory as your outer V color— this is just another fancy makeup term that means to sweep the color in a sideways “V” shape, from the outer corner of your lash line and in the very outer part of your crease. You can even stretch it out a bit and make it just past your crease, towards your temple, to widen your eyes!

And you’re done! The look is a great way to up your makeup game for work, and take it into the night without feeling like you just came from, you know…. work.

P.S.- If you don’t have Naked 3 and are looking for a drugstore option, I think NYC’s Demi Lovato palette is definitely comparable! I love that palette, and you can’t beat the price tag. 

I hope you enjoy this look and let me know what you want to see next!

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own. Some links may be affiliates. 


Sigma, I’m disappointed in you. I had heard great things about the Sigma F-80 flat top kabuki brush, and decided to try it after not being able to order one from Zoeva (has anyone else had problems ordering from there?) So, I splurged at my local department store on a set that came with the brush and the brush cleaning mat.

The Review

Every beauty guru might hate me for saying this, but I am not impressed with the F-80.

Sigma, makeup, makeup brushes

The bristles are SO dense that I feel like they don’t even move when I’m trying to buff in my foundation. Sometimes I feel like the brush is actually taking off more makeup than its actually putting on.

I also don’t feel like I get an even layer of foundation when using this brush. It seems splotchy, and doesn’t wear well– and I know it isn’t the foundation!

I’ve tried several methods of using the Sigma brush and I’ve played around with it until I’m blue in the face. I just can’t make it something I love. I need something softer, or more flexible so I can buff in my makeup.  I’ve even washed it to see if maybe it was just a first time thing, and it didn’t seem to make a difference.

Now, I could totally be wrong. Maybe there’s a trick I just haven’t figured out, or maybe I don’t know how to properly use it. If you have tried this brush and liked it, let me know what I am doing wrong and help me fix it!

I so wanted to like this brush. I so wanted to… but it’s just not for me. I’m going to stick with my Bliss buffing foundation brush and my tried-and-true Max Studio flat top kabuki (both purchased at TJ Maxx).

I will say, I LOVE the cleaning mat. It suctions onto the sink, so you can scrub your brushes without worrying about the mat slipping and sliding. It also has different ridges for different types of brushes and a place to refine your bristles after rinsing.  I pour a little baby shampoo on it and go to town! Coming from someone who used to never wash her brushes, this makes it fun and makes you want to do it more often. Who knew being sanitary could be so easy?

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own.


I could be called a face mask junkie. I love the idea that you can slather something on your face and literally feel it cleaning your skin, and see results instantly. Enter, Cupcake by Lush.

Now, I’ve tried a lot of masks. And, a lot of them just don’t work– at least for my skin. I have never tried a Lush face mask, but my fiancé and I use several Lush products that we absolutely adore. The store has a constant promo that if you bring back 5 clean black Lush pots, you get a free face mask. So, I hoarded our trash for a while and did just that.

Lush has several masks that are scooped out in cute little dishes and sit on ice in the store. The saleswoman who helped me was incredible and really helped me choose a mask for my skin and  one that did what I wanted. For reference, I have combo/oily skin that is prone to breakouts.

first use with Cupcake

Cupcake, and all of the fresh masks, need to stay refrigerated. You can get several uses out of a jar– for example, I’ve gotten about four masks out of mine, and I can probably get another one or two!

This totally vegan mask did wonders for my face. I applied a pretty thick layer, and let it sit for about 10 minutes before washing it off. Word to the wise— I washed it off one time in the sink, but I found that it kind of crumbles off and can make a mess. The next time, I washed it off in the shower and that was a much better/ less messy idea.

After washing it off, my skin instantly looked great. My pores around my nose are normally huge (a typical problem I want masks to fix) and Cupcake literally blurred them. My pores were nonexistent! After sleeping and a day of makeup, they weren’t quite as invisible, but definitely were smaller.

My face overall was radiant. I am hesitant to say “glowing,” but there was definitely a fresh radiance showing through. My face felt so clean, much cleaner than I do after washing my face or even using my trusty Clarisonic (the one I use is pictured below–click for the link to learn more!)

I did use my normal moisturizer after washing off the mask, but my skin did not feel incredibly tight or dried out. If I don’t use moisturizer before bed, I’m going to have problems.


Overall, I definitely, 100 times over, would recommend Cupcake to a friend who has skin like mine or has similar issues. Its about $10 if you don’t bring in 5 pots, but totally free if you do! And it smells like chocolate….so this is a win-win situation. (Available only in stores, because of the whole refrigeration thing)

Lush, cupcake, face mask

I have already used this several times (like I mentioned earlier) and I know I’m going to get another pot when mine is empty. Run to your nearest Lush right now!

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own. Affiliate links are included, meaning I could make a commission from products purchased through those links.


Drugstore mascaras are everything. There are definitely beauty products I think are worth spending money on— i.e. eyeshadow, a good curling iron, brow products. With that being said, mascara is not one of them.

I have tried lots of mascaras and let me tell you, Better than Sex by Too Faced is awesome but it isn’t THAT much different than Maybelline. I will venture to say several drugstore mascaras are even better than high-end brands, and that’s what we’re talking about today.

Great lashes are a necessity in my world. I can wear no makeup in the summer, but I need a little lash going to make my face look acceptable to walk into brunch.

I hope this post helps you find your new favorite mascara, and let me know which one it is! Links to buy each product are available in bold following each review.

Maybelline The Rocket Waterproof Mascara

This mascara is really hyped on YouTube, and for good reason. It is amazing! It gives great volume and length, and really keeps my lashes curled all day. The Rocket also stays on all day and dosent crumble across my face, which is always a plus. I’ve been through several tubes of this, and I don’t doubt I’ll go through dozens more in my lifetime. This is ALWAYS the first step in my mascara routine, no matter what goes on top of it!



(PS even though this one is waterproof, it isn’t especially hard to take off!)

Buy it by clicking below

Covergirl the Super Sizer

If you want lashes that look fake, this is the mascara for you. I love this product for when I want super dramatic, black lashes. If you like really clean, separated lashes… I would pass on this. But if you don’t really care too much (like me) then this is your guy! Covergirl mascaras usually aren’t my favorite they seem to flake off my lashes, but the Super Sizer is an exception.

This is a really wet mascara and takes a while to dry, so be careful when applying  not to mess up your shadow or liner.

Buy it here

MaxFactor Masterpiece Max

An oldie but a goody, the MaxFactor did not disappoint when bringing back their line to Walgreens. While I know I’m not supposed to put mascara on my eyelash extensions, I sometimes cheat and use this on the ends! I like this product because it’s kind of dry– and I love when my mascaras dry up a little! This isn’t still available at my Walgreens, but it’s worth taking a look at your local store. Otherwise, it’s still available on Amazon!

Buy it by clicking below

Revlon Ultimate All in One

I never thought I would be the girl who had a special mascara for my bottom lashes, but that’s who I’ve become. I only bought this mascara because I had a coupon at Target, and there were so many different versions I got intimidated and just bought the one that said “ultimate.” When I opened it and saw how tiny the brush was, I was like “oh I’ll never use this.” WRONG. I use it nearly everyday when I have eyelash extensions to give my bottom lashies some color, and sometimes I use it on the corners of my eyes to get those wayward, crooked lashes. The small brush is super easy to control, and you don’t end up with mascara all over your under eye. I love this product and I want to try the other versions too!

Buy it here

Milani Length in Seconds

Okay I’m cheating a little here– this isn’t exactly a mascara, but fiber extensions you use to make your lashes look longer and thicker. If you’ve never used one of these babies before, it’s simple. Put on one coat of whatever mascara you want, and then quickly do a coat of fibers while the mascara is still wet. Then, do another layer of mascara. Basically you want to sandwich the fibers between mascara layers! The cotton-like fibers stick on to each lash and give the illusion of eyelash extensions (for a whole lot less cash!). While this is not an everyday step for me, I love using it for when I want a more dramatic look and my extensions have fallen out.

Buy it here

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own. Some links may be affiliates, meaning I could make commission from your purchase.


I don’t know about ya’ll, but the summer can make me lazy with my makeup. When it’s so hot that I know my foundation will melt off anyway, what’s the point of wearing it? That’s when my love of tinted moisturizer comes in handy.

Tinted moisturizer, BB creams, CC creams, whatever you want to call it (some hard-core foundation guru is rolling over in her grave), I love a light layer of SPF that can give a little coverage too. Yes, SPF! It’s hot and sunny out there, and you can’t skip on sun protection for your face just because you’ve heard it gives a white cast in photos. Plus, these creams are so light that I hardly believe that would happen here.

Keep reading to read about my favorite tinted moisturizers to use on those days where you just want to throw on your bathing suit and go! Each product has a link to purchase and my complete thoughts.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer: SPF 20

Some people refer to this cream as their holy grail product. While I’m not sure I’m quite there yet, I do love this stuff. The coverage is very sheer, so don’t expect any scars or spots to be fully invisible. The finish is definitely on the dewy side, and can look slick throughout the day if you have oily skin. I still love it though, because this cream minimizes the look of my pores and tones down the red spots in my face.

Buy it here: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 Blush

 tinted moisturizer

 tinted moisturizer

Almay Smart Shade CC Cream: SPF 35

I’m not sure how long this product has been out, but it’s new to me! I recently purchased this CC cream at Walgreens on sale, and I’m so glad I did. I bought light-medium, although I could have gotten away with light. This cream blurs fine lines on my face but isn’t heavy enough to cover my freckles. It also helps with my pores, which is always a plus! And, the good side to buying the darker color is that I don’t even have to add bronzer… yes, I know I am the worst.

Buy it here: Almay Smart Shade CC Cream, Light/Medium

 tinted moisturizer

 tinted moisturizer

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint: No SPF

This is my personal favorite product on the list. I bought this new Neutrogena cream at Ulta in April and immediately had to try it out. I absolutely love this! I have even used it as my foundation when I add my full face makeup (under-eye concealer, powder, blush, etc.) and it still looks great! The coverage is slightly heavier than the other tinted moisturizers on my list, but it can be sheered out by applying with a wet sponge. I literally have nothing bad to say about this “tint.” It’s part of the brand’s new Hydro Boost campaign and all the products contain hyaluronic acid, which is basically a water fountain for your skin.

Buy it here: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint, 1.0 Fl. Oz. 40 / Nude

 tinted moisturizer


Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream: SPF 30

Maybelline is a repeat on my blog, for good reasons. I actually have listed this BB cream on my favorite foundations list, but it’s definitely lighter than a true foundation. This oil-free baby is hydrating, but doesn’t leave my face looking slick… basically unheard of with tinted moisturizers! I have repurchased this product several times, and I’ve never regretted it.

Buy it: Click link above

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own. Some links may be affiliates, meaning I could make commission from your purchase.


I swear, I’m not dead.

Its been more nearly 2 weeks since my last post and I feel so bad! Things have gotten a little crazy in life, but I’m back. And, I brought the coveted Tarte Shape Tape with me!


This concealer has taken the makeup world by storm and is SO hard to find. I believe its exclusive to Ulta (if you aren’t buying through Tarte) so your store options are limited. I totally recommend calling before you go and seeing which colors they have in stock, or when their next shipment will be. Tarte’s website has a really accurate description of the color range… see that here.

Ulta also has an option in the app to see if any stores near you have the item you’re looking for. That can be helpful, but store employees have told me it isn’t always accurate.

While the Ulta employee (who was awesome) matched me with fair neutral, I bought fair beige because it had a little more pink in it, which I like. That means I don’t have to use my normal Maybelline dark circle eraser underneath! The Shape Tape cost me about $25.


Below is a video of my first impressions of the product, which I have been using daily ever since! Here is the brush I used and mentioned in the video.

PS- There were a few technical difficulties in this video… including but not limited to a noisy camera lens, Grant barking, and a cell ringing. Please excuse my life.