September 2015 Favorites

DISCLAIMER: Some of the products mentioned in this post were provided for consideration. Please note that all opinions are my own and I have not been monetarily compensated for any product placement, mentions, etc. To see my full Disclosure Policy please click here.

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Heeeeeey! Long time no post right? I took an over extended break for personal reasons. Happy to report that I should be back and ready to lend my voice to all things beauty. It’s been an odd month weather wise here in Chicago because we haven’t really begun to transition to the fall yet. We actually still have some very summer like weather here so I haven’t had to break out my usual “transition to fall” beauty goodies, had a pumpkin spiced anything or put my crock pot stew recipes to the test yet. With our unusual weather I have found that my September 2015 Favorites really reflect what I have been using for most of the summer.

ebblog sept 2015 makeup faves

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Twice Baked – I’ve always been advocate of using “color” (meaning not black!) eyeliner. While Urban Decay’s line of pencil eyeliners boasts an impressive array of shades, it’s Twice Baked that’s been my jam! Twice Baked is the perfect shade of dark brown with just a hint of shimmer and slightly coppery micro glitter. I reeeeeeally wish this wasn’t a limited edition item that is no longer available but there are plenty of brown liners on the market at all price points.

Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow in Saddle – An oldie but goodie! Saddle is my everything: brows, liner, crease, sheer wash of smokey color on my eyes. It’s so important to have a good selection of “basic” shadows that can be used in a variety of ways. Saddle is just my makeup “bae”. I can’t live without it and it’s lasted me FOREVER.

INGLOT YSM Cream Foundation – When I came back from Mexico last month I had actually tanned quite a bit and I found myself needing a foundation that was just a little bit darker. Thankfully I had makeup ESP and brought this little powerhouse with me to Mexico. INGLOT’s YSM Cream Foundation is amazing! The coverage on it’s own is medium to full but what I have been doing with it is mixing it with other products to sheer it out some since I do not need that kind of coverage everyday. YSM wears for hours, looks like skin and just photographs beautifully! It’s also not as expensive as some of it’s higher end cousins.

MAC Cinderella Stroke of Midnight Palette – A MAC Palette full of best selling neutrals and a blackened purple? Toss in really cute packaging and how could this not be a favorite? I’m admittedly not one who buys into the MAC Limited Edition collections that are released weekly (or it seems that way!) but I actually stayed up all night to order this palette because I loved everything about the Stroke of Midnight palette. All of the shades in this palette are perfect: blend well, pigmented and long lasting. . If you missed out on the palette five of the six shades are permanent. Stroke of Midnight is the lone limited edition shade.

Smashbox Photo Filter Creamy Powder Foundation – I use Smashbox Photo Filter Creamy Powder Foundation on the days when I want to head out the door and I only have 5 minutes to get my face together OR to set my foundation/concealer. This powder when applied alone with a powder brush is enough to really just pull my face together. Over a foundation and concealer it works to set everything in place and to slightly color correct. Smashbox Photo Filter Creamy Powder Foundation also adjusted to my recently tanned skin very well. For all my dry skinned ladies out there, this powder does NOT cling to your dry patches. There are a variety of ways to use the Smashbox Photo Filter Creamy Powder Foundation (it comes with a double sided sponge, can be used wet or dry, etc) and several marketing claims I have yet to test so I may do a full review on this product in the future.

Tweetermen Slant Tweezers – Who doesn’t love a hot pink tweezer? Whenever I get asked: What is one beauty routine you do daily? My answer is ALWAYS: brows! Brows can seriously make or break your ENTIRE face. Yes, your brows are THAT serious! To keep your brows in tip top shape I recommend a great pair of tweezers and you can never go wrong with Tweezerman. Free sharpening for life? Yes please! I actually have two pairs so when I do send them away to get sharpened, I always have a spare at home with me.

ebblog sept 2015 hair favorites

Redken Color Extend Magentics Shampoo – I have a love/hate relationship with sulfate free shampoos. I love that they don’t dry my fragile tresses out but I hate that my hair never feels or looks clean after using them. That all changed this past summer when I purchased Redken’s Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo. This sulfate free, color safe shampoo just really, really works! It cleanses my hair, gives my hair body and doesn’t dry my hair out. I would use this shampoo even if I wasn’t coloring my hair that’s how good it is.

Simon & Tom Moroccan Treatment – I don’t know why but my hair cannot handle straight up oil of any kind. Believe me, I have tried them all. It’s almost like my hair needs that dose of silicone to make a difference and I am fine with that. Enter Simon & Tom Moroccan treatment which has seriously saved my ends as of late. Now, I do not use this serum all over my hair. I apply this serum on the ends of my hair before I go to sleep and when I get up in the morning my hair just looks and feel better.

Those were my favorite makeup and hair products for September 2015. What were you enjoying this month and made your September 2015 Favorites? let me know in the comments section below.



DISCLAIMER: Some of the products mentioned in this post were provided for consideration. Please note that all opinions are my own and I have not been monetarily compensated for any product placement, mentions, etc. To see my full Disclosure Policy please click here.

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Spring Hair Care Tips

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(This Post is Brought to you by Macadamia Professional Hair Care and The Beauty Council. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own Please see my disclosure policy here for more details.)

Officially Spring is here and our hair just survived another Winter. It’s time for a Spring hair makeover!!! Lets get our tresses ready for warmer days and outdoor activities. Just like Winter wreaks havoc on your skin, it usually has the same effect on your hair. Dry winter air can cause static, frizziness, dryness, brittleness, breakage and split ends. Now we all know the only sure fire way to rid yourself of split ends is t trim them off. Your other Winter related hair woes can sometimes be solved with the right combination of products and technique, resulting in sleek hair refreshed for the warmer Spring days ahead!

everyday beauty blog macadamia professional lightweight

Macadamia Professional Weightless Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner

SLS Free Shampoo – I swear by SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) free shampoos and to be honest I use them exclusively most of them time. While I find they don’t cleanse as well as shampoos that contain SLS, I do find that my hair responds better to the SLS free shampoos. My hair is much more shiny, manageable and voluminous without the drying effect that shampoos containing SLS  usually leaves.

Conditioning – This covers any type of conditioning you do in the shower: oils, store bought, DIY, etc. Most women should be using conditioner only on the lengths of your hair. Starting with the hair that is at ear level, add conditioner and work it to the ends. Hair closest to your scalp generally doesn’t need to be conditioned as your natural oils will usually take care of that. Conditioning your scalp will make your hair oily sooner which means more washing which leads me to my next tip.

Daily Washing – If you don’t need to do it, I highly suggest washing your hair every other day (or every third day like moi!). I will say this: showering and NOT washing your hair takes some time to get used to. Once your hair gets used to your new shampoo skipping routine (takes about a month!) you’ll find it’s softer, shinier and healthier than it ever was before. Invest in a dry shampoo can also help extend your shampoo free days.

Clarifying Shampoo – SLS free shampoos usually will not cut it once there is an ample amount of product build up so every two weeks you’re going to need to clarify your hair. You can do this a number of ways but the easiest for me is to use a clarifying shampoo. Just make sure your chosen way to clarify is color safe even if you don’t have colored hair. Why you ask? When a hair product is color safe that usually means it’s not as harsh as other products and it won’t overly strip your hair. I always follow up a clarifying shampoo with a hair masque to restore any moisture I might lose as clarifying no matter how gentle it is, can lead to drier hair.

Damp vs Wet – Making sure you that you are applying your products at the correct time greatly impacts their performance. Applying product to wet hair is like dumping it down the toilet. Before applying any leave in, styling products, etc. check the label to see if it reads: apply to damp hair or apply to wet. Damp hair is NOT towel dried hair out of the shower. When hair is damp it’s still has some moisture on it but it’s not completely dry yet.

Heat – I can’t avoid using heat on my hair. I have to blow dry my hair for it to look normal. A flat iron or curling rod are optional for me. ANYTIME I use heat, I use a heat protectant. I concentrate this product on my ends which is the most fragile part of the hair shaft. Want to go heat free? You can achieve very similar results to using heat tools without the damage when wet setting. Wet setting usually involves braiding or sleeping in soft foam rollers.

Hair Oils/Serums – These are optional products that when used correctly can bring your hair to the next level. Finding the right type of hair oil/serum really depends on what hair type you have. Fine/Thin Hair will need a drier, lighter oil/serum. Normal Hair Types will need a oil/serum that absorbs quickly and is not too heavy. Dry/Coarse/Thick hair will all need a heavier oil/serum packed with ingredients that meet their hair care needs. In all cases use the minimal amount of product needed because over saturating your hair with an oil/serum can actually make it dirtier leading to tangles and breakage.

everyday beauty blog spring hair care

My Spring Hair Care picks!

Following these simple hair care tips will make sure your hair is on point all season long. What are some of your favorite hair care tips? Is there anything you change up in the Spring?

X’s & O’s



(This Post is Brought to you by Macadamia Professional Hair Care and The Beauty Council. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own Please see my disclosure policy here for more details.)

Everyday Beauty Blog: Best of Beauty 2014!

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Can you believe that 2014 is ALMOST over? This year really has just gone by super fast for me. Well, I’ll take that back… The last couple of months have gone by fast! I’m not going to lie, the beginning of the year was not the best for me, but I persevered and I am in a much better place now. For me 2014 was filled with beauty busts but the beauty champs reigned supreme for me. In lieu of a “December 2014” favorites, let’s take a look back at some of my absolutely FAVORITE products of 2014. Introducing: Everyday Beauty Blog Best of 2014!

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5.) Too Faced Melted Liquified Lipsticks ($21.00 each) – When I reviewed these fabulous liquid lippies I raved about the wear time, how they felt on my lips, the packaging ,etc. and I ragged about the shade selection. I am happy to report that Too Faced has added quite a few new shades and the line stands at a whopping 18 shades in under a year. That’s how you know a product is great: rapid line expansion. The Too Faced Melted line sports an impressive shade selection that even features a new vampy bluish, purple shade shade: Melted Villain, which is new for their Spring 2015 collection. The Too Faced Melteds are my pick for Best of Beauty 2014 Lippie!

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4.) DermOrganic Shine Spray Therapy ($19.99) – I literally just received this product two weeks ago and this leave in spray is hands down the absolute BEST I have ever tried. It is one of the few products that actually does everything it claims to: seals the cuticle, provides heat protections, adds softness and shine, etc. If you try anything from DermOrganic snag this. My hair is ridiculously shiny, soft and manageable now that I am using it. It also has a very sweet, almost candy like fragrance that I love. The DermOrganic Shin Spray Therapy is a must have, Best of Beauty 2014 Hair Product!

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3.) Make Up For Ever Artist Eyeshadows/Blushes (Price varies starting at $21.00) – 2014 saw a TON of eyeshadow releases but my pick for shadows of the year goes to Make Up For Ever and their relaunched line of powder shadows and blushes. There is an INSANE amount of shades and finishes. The quality is there on 95% of the Artist Shadows/Primer. Can’t commit to a few full sized colors? Nab the Make Up For Ever Artists’ Shadow Palette. It’s a great starting point to get you hooked on the rest of the line! The Make Up For Ever Artist Eyeshadows earned Best of Beauty 2014 Eyeshadows!

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2.) T3 Single Pass Compact Iron ($79.00) – I spent most of 2013 and 3/4’s of 2014 searching high and low, far and wide, for the best flat iron for my tresses. And I finally found it in late August! The T3 Single Pass Compact Iron is everything  need to tame my locks and get them pin straight. Combined with the DermOrganic Shine Spray Therapy, I am flaunting shiny, straight hair for days on days. I use the T3 Single Pass Compact Iron more than any other beauty tool I own earning it Best of Beauty 2014 Beauty Tool.

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1.) Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick ($44.00) – How could this awesome foundation stick not be number one? Reformulated and relaunched for Spring 2014, Bobbi Brown’s Skin Foundation Stick is EVERYTHING you want in a foundation. It wears phenomenally on it’s own, plays well with primers and powders, covers well and it looks like skin. If you have to tried this yet, you have to for 2015. This power house foundation has been a recurring favorite for me since I purchased it. Was there ever any real clear cut winner for me this year? The Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick is definitely Best of Beauty 2014 for me.

I am looking forward to 2015 for SO many reasons: fabulous new beauty products, wonderful opportunities and of course our TWINS! Happy New Year my dear readers. I hope and pray that 2015 is a happy, prosperous and joyous year for all!

X’s & O’s


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Top Beauty Buys for Fall

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Can I tell you that I am SO beyond happy that it is finally, officially, undeniably Fall. The leaves have already begun to change colors, the air is getting drier and my beauty routine can finally change. With Fall being a transitional season for fashion and beauty you might need to start stockpiling some favorites/trends for the season now! Shopping for beauty products is so much fun but it’s even better when you have a friend to shop with. While I can’t be there with you physically, load my beauty buys onto you mobile and take me with you as you seek out your own beauty buys for the Fall!

ebblog fall beauty buys 1.) Make Up For Ever Artist Palette $42 Sephora – The Make Up For Ever Artist Palette has replaced my LORAC Pro2 as my current fall favorite. I love the assortment of colors, the shadows themselves are phenomenal and it’s the perfect size for travel. I reviewed this wonderful palette here and the array of shades and finishes are just beyond perfection for the Fall. Grab the Make Up For Ever Artist Palette before it’s gone.

2 & 3.) Shea Moisture Super Fruit Complex 10 in 1 Renewal System Hair Masque and Shampoo $10.99 each Ulta – My hair just L-O-V-E-S this combo from Shea Moisture. I very rarely use a “daily” conditioner and reach for a masque because I heat style my hair all the time so I need the extra moisture and the Shea Moisture Super Fruit Complex 10 in 1 Renewal System Hair Masque definitely meets my moisture needs. The shampoo companion to the masque cleanses very well for a SLS Free shampoo. It’s hydrating but not so much so that it makes my hair greasy quickly. According to the Ulta site, these are exclusive to their store but I could have sworn I saw this line at Target as well.

4.) Anastasia Brow Wiz $21.00 – Brows to me are the most important part of your face and a good brow can just make you look a million times better. Anastasia’s Brow Wiz has been my go to brow product for as long as I have been doing makeup (close to 4 years now). It’s easy to use, you can go natural or super bold and Anastasia Brow Wiz is available in a wide variety of shades. To stick with Fall trends you can buy two shades and rock the “ombre” brow.

5.)  NYX Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen $6.00 – Wines/Berries are once again hot for the Fall and the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen is your best bet for a beauty bargain that will actually perform well, not kill your lips and look great on a variety of skin tones.

6.) Lancome Nutrix Royale Body $30 – I am not usually one to go bonkers for high end body lotions BUT I got a sample of this as a Lancome gift with purchase and I fell in love with it. The scent is fresh and feminine and it cures even my diabetic dragon scales. I don’t think I will ever go without Nutrix Royale Body ever again making it a year round staple for me.

7.) EOS Lip Balm Coconut Milk $4 – EOS has been my go to balm ever since they “rolled” onto the scene a few years ago. I have yet to find anything that hydrates my lips like my trusty EOS balms. I do prefer the “milk” versions as they are a tad bit more moisturizing and perfect for my beyond chapped lips in the Fall. *Pro Tip*  Always apply lip balm in a sheer layer. Slathering your lips with any lip balm can actually contribute to further drying/chapping.

There you have it. My ABSOLUTE must have Fall Beauty Buys. See anything you plan on picking up? If you enjoyed reading my Fall Beauty Buys, check out the other ladies of The Beauty Council and their picks below.


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T3 Single Pass Compact Iron

ebblog T3 compact iron

The T3 Single Pass Compact Iron is a compact, travel friendly flat iron that promises to deliver “healthy, radiant results in one smooth glide”. It retails for $79.00 and it is a staple of the T3 displays at T3 retailers nationwide. I have been a DIEHARD CHI fan for like ever but I’ve noticed that I’ve had to go over my hair multiple times and I was often left with frizzier results. Did the T3 Single Pass Compact Iron convert me OR did I go back to my beloved CHI? Let’s check out the “official” product description courtesy of T3 via Sephora:

This iron combines T3® Tourmaline-infused, ceramic plates with superior digital heating technology to seal the hair cuticle and reduce frizz, delivering healthy, radiant results in one smooth glide. From straightening to curling, the SinglePass® Compact offers full styling capability in a portable size with the added convenience of a heat-resistant cap for safe storage and travel capability. Just over eight inches (20.3 cm) from end to end, this styling companion can be stored at the office for quick touch-ups or inside your purse, gym bag, or carry-on luggage ensuring your tresses stay perfectly styled no matter where your busy schedule or travels may take you.

This T3® SinglePass™ Compact Iron features:
– T3® Tourmaline-infused 0.8 inch/2cm ceramic plates
– Digital heating 410°F/210°C
– Ceramic heating element
– One-hour auto shut-off
– 8-ft/2.4m professional swivel cord
– Heat resistant cap
– Auto world voltage (100-240V)
– Two-year warranty

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I have to say all I have enjoyed my T3 Single Pass Compact Iron more than ANY CHI I have ever owned.  It heats up super fast, it gets perfect results in one or two passes, I’m relatively frizz free if I take my time and straighten my hair correctly, it’s super lightweight so my arm does not get tired and it’s compact which makes for easy storage. For me personally, the T3 Single Pass Compact Iron has been a lifesaver! I love that it is smaller and it makes straightening my bangs and the layers around my face a breeze. Even though it is smaller than my older CHI it takes me the same amount of time to do my entire head and my hair is very fine and prone to frizz/wave but also long and layered. I ask found that instead of the bone straight look I was able to flip my ends under easier with the T3 Single Pass Compact Iron.

ashley pena ebblog T3 single pass compact iron

All of the goodness aside, the T3 Single Pass Compact Iron is not for everyone. It has one heat setting so if you have fine, fragile hair the 410 degree temp might be too hot for your tresses. The compact size also means that if you have long, mega thick or beyond curly hair than it’s going to take you a while to do your entire head.  A heat protectant is a MUST when using this product. It is also prone to “denting” your hair if you press too firmly with the handle.

Call me a smitten T3 kitten right now! I am not going back to my CHI ever, if anything I am more anxious to try a full sized offering from T3 to see how it compares to their T3 Single Pass Compact Iron and maybe a curling iron or two. I used to love my beachy waves but now that I have my T3  I have been opting for a straighter, sleeker look. Have you tried anything from the T3 line before? Let me know in the comments below.