Tips and Tricks from Benefit and Birchbox!

Hey Loves!

So, in the midst of all the craziness, I was beyond thrilled to learn that I was chosen by Birchbox and Benefit Cosmetics to host a #BeautyBash for #WingWomenWeekend.

Basically, Benefit and Birchbox shipped me a box of samples, decorations, goodie bags, tissue paper, and a few full sized products to share with 5 of my closest (and most fan) ladies! Some of the hostesses even had the opportunity to win EVERY Benefit Cosmetics product in the Birchbox shop! I didn’t win, but I was still stoked regardless, because it was a super awesome opportunity to try some great products!

I got my box over the weekend, and I’ve been loving the products and experimenting with different looks to show the girls ever since.

Actually, I got my hair trimmed and straightened recently, and instead of going home and napping like I was supposed to (I literally have been off ONE day the last 2.5 weeks, and I’ve been working for the last 72 hours or so with minimal time for “horizontal life pauses, aka naps), I decided to do a 5/10 minute face.

Oh heyyyyy!

Oh heyyyyy!

This is obviously not a widely recognized method. I’m actually telling myself I’m a genius and made it up… even though it’s the equivalent of every Cosmo and Seventeen “Take Your Day Look to Night!” feature.

Basically, I did a really simple, polished 5 minute face. And then the 10 minutes comes in when you get to extras I almost never partake of, like actual eyebrow shaping and such. For the record, I used Benefit’s Gimme Brow, and the first comment on the photo I posted was about how great my brows looked (Love you, Starcie!). So, there’s that.

I obviously used some of my own makeup essentials and faces that I had on hand, but the big bang was definitely due to some of these awesome products that Birchbox and Benefit were kind enough to provide me with! My hostess side is SO excited to create a luxe, and fun party for my girls!

And so, here’s what you need for the classic 5 minute face:

Benefit PoreFessional

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Bare Minerals BareSkin Foundation

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Benefit Hoola Bronzer

Photo Credit:Birch

Photo Credit:Birch

Benefit They’re Real! Mascara

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TooFaced Natural Eyes Palette

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Benefit They’re Real! Push Up Eyeliner

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Step One: Wash that pretty face! An artist doesn’t typically start with a dirty canvas, now do they?! Cleanse, tone, moisturize. I try to wait 2-3 mins between steps personally to reap the benefits of each product. What’s the point of that super expensive Philosophy cleanser I raved about in my Gym Essentials post and such, otherwise?

Step Two: Apply Benefit’s PoreFessional (or whichever pore minimized/primer you like) as directed.

Step 3:Apply your foundation of choice (I rather like the BareSkin formula…2-3 drops goes a long way, and I can always build my coverage if I’m having one of those annoying chin breakouts.

Step 4: Apply your Hoola Bronze (or whichever bronze you have/prefer. I love Hoopla because it’s got the perfect brush for following the “3” model I use to apply bringing products on my face, it’s non shimmery, and it’s pretty much perfect for any skin tone).*”3″ Model: Use brush starting in the center of your forehead and make a “3” on either side sweeping from forehead, down and around to your nose, and then to chin. Repeat “3” on other side… now you’ve applied it where the sun would naturally hit your face!* I also use this product to contour a little. Suck your cheeks in, and brush from the apple of your cheek up to your hairline/base of ear for a little extra definition. That’s my trick for contouring these chubby cheeks!

Step 5: Apply your mascara. I LOVE Benefit’s They’re Real! Formula, because it seriously brings every lash I have into the spotlight. I promise I felt this way before they sent me a free one… I’ve been living off of deluxe samples from sets at Sephora and Ulta since Christmas! I like to apply my mascara first, because without fail, I usually get some on my eyelids, and I can fix it pretty seamlessly with a q-tip before applying eyeshadow, rather than messing up my eyeshadow after!

Step 6: Apply eyeshadow. I received the Too Faced Natural Eyes palette in a PopSugar Must Have Box, and I am so glad I did, because it’s got the perfect shades, in the perfect sized compact! This is easy to throw in your purse, and then kick your 5 minute eyes up a notch from work to Happy Hour! It’s got great shades for an understated “brown smokey eye” and awesome nudes and a great dark shade to be more dramatic too! I just applied the shade closest to my skin tone to my lids, and then highlighted with a lighter, shimmery color in the crease. BAM! Done.

Step 7: Apply They’re Real! eyeliner. I was so excited to pre-order this thanks to Birchbox! I was literally like, smiling, giggling, giddy, I-can’t-wait-until-it’s-here! Excited! Then it got here, and I was like, “How do I use this thing?” Thank goodness for the internet, because both Birchbox and Benefit have videos for you to learn how to master the PERFECT cat eye look with this liner, and YouTube Beauty Geniuses are always there to help too! I use it when I’m feeling fancy for a cat eye, but the smooth formula and awesome ease of use make it great for any look, even the simple ones.

Step 8: Apply Gimme Brow. Confesson: I never used a brow pencil or any of that before I received this product in my Beauty Bash kit from Birchbox and Benefit. I’ve always just groomed with a little clear mascara and been done. So, when I saw this, I figured I’d give it a shot, and I’m in LOVE! It’s got a super teensy, weensy little brush applicator that you just lightly brush over your brows, and then I used a little eyebrow brush and “groomed” them as usual to make sure it distributed around my actual brow(s). HOLY CANNOLI! If you thought I was proud of my brows after a fresh wax, you should see me 3 days later with this stuff!

Step 9: Apply a pretty lipgloss. THe whole point of this look is to be as no fuss as possible, but still look polished. I had just purchased a new Bare Minerals shade of lipgloss at Ulta that day with my UltaMate Rewards, so I used that. Use what makes you feel pretty.

Quite simply, the whole point of this look is to make you feel pretty. As in, make you feel as pretty as you ARE.

Lately, I’ve been skipping makeup, but I see a big difference in myself when and I love that a few extra minutes can put that spring in my step!

If you’re not familiar with Birchbox, it’s a monthly subscription for $10 a month that gets you the cutest box with 5-7 deluxe samples (and sometimes even full sized products) to your door! You get 10 points per month for the cost of the box, plus 10 points for reviewing each sample, each month. You can cash in your points for any item on the site… like these awesome Benefit products! 100 points=$10! Interested in joining? Click this link, and use the code “BBJETBLUE” for $10 in bonus points when you subscribe! You can cancel it anytime, and they have awesome promos and  bonus shop where you can see all the Gifts with Purchase and promo codes available with your purchase! Can’t beat it! I’ve been saving my points up to use for some Christmas shopping!

Speaking of shopping, Sean’s parents got me the most beautiful and SUPER BRIGHT Nikes and NorthFace  hoodie recently, and I  wore them to work tonight (work can be a real ice box), and I AM IN LOVE! So, if you follow me on Instagram, you have seen it already. If not, here you go!


Can you tell I like to be comfortable for 12 hour graveyard shifts?

Can you tell I like to be comfortable for 12 hour graveyard shifts?

What are your favorite tips and tricks for a fast, easy and classic makeup look? If you do tutorials/videos, post links in the comments!


Product Review:Chapstick Dual-Ended Hydration Lock!

Confession: I have a serious lip product addiction.

I had one seriously gross case of chapped lips as a pre-teen. You know, the kind where you have to go to the doctor and get a cream because it’s spread around your lips and flakes and burns, and all that other gloriously awesome stuff?

So, ever since, you’d be hard pressed to find me without anything ON my lips, and I always have at least 3 lip products in my bag at all times! My favorite lip balms are EOS Lip Spheres and Smith’s Rosebud Salve. I think maybe I was under the impression that I “graduated” from Chapstick, so it was good to get back to them for this review.

As a #birchblogger (a program through, one of my top subscription boxes), I was given the opportunity to try both formulas of one of the latest Chapstick products absolutely free, and I wanted to share my experience with you!

I actually really enjoyed both formulas. This product comes in a Renew/Moisturize formula, as well as a Day/Night formula!

I have been keeping the Day/Night formula on my nightstand, and using it before bed and pre-makeup in the mornings.


Here are some of the highlights of this one:

*Day Formula is ultra conditioning, with SPF to protect your lips during the day

*Night formula is formulated with tamanu oil and natural butters to replenish your lips at night

The Renew/Moisturize has been a staple in my crossbody bag that I take to work. At my dispatch job, I’ve been working 12 hour graveyard shifts, so it’s imperative to try to stay hydrated, and I try to be sure I’m taking extra care of my skin, and lips, with the whacky hours and their impact on my sleep schedule!


Some highlights:

*Moisturize formula is formulated to smooth and reduce the appearance of fine lines, and also has CoQ10 and hylauronic spheres for moisture.

*Renew formula has shea butter to condition and instantly soften lips

Overall? I am REALLY happy with both formulas! I seem to gravitate towards the moisturize side of the Renew/Moisturize formula, but if I sense any extra dryness, I use the renew side!

These products are affordable, and great for purses, gym bags, and even keeping one in the car.

But again, I am absolutely obsessed with always having something on hand for my lips. It’s a lifestyle for me!

Thanks again to Birchbox and Chapstick for giving me a chance to try these awesome products, absolutely FREE! Learn more about these products, from ingredients to benefits, at!

What are some of your favorite lip products to keep on hand?


The Lust List: October aka My Grown Up Christmas List

Ah….it’s Fall! Granted, in San Diego, that doesn’t really count for anything just yet. I mean, I’m going to the beach tomorrow, and we still struggle trying to sleep without the AC.

Once daylight savings kicks in, we will go through a few days of depression, knowing our extended Summer nights are actually over until Spring rolls around;but on the other hand #YayScarves! Also, this means we have a reason to drive all the way to Julian for a slice of pie with cinnamon ice cream. If it’s not super sunny outside, I wear rain boots and cross my fingers…which would probably make a super cute Instagram photo with the super cute ensemble planned around my super cute scarf. Lol.

As new seasons kick in, I get really focused on improving my wardrobe and adding things to my various collections. Like more scarves (notice a theme, here?)!

I was BEYOND excited the other day when Sean’s parents totally spoiled me with new Uggs and new Nikes (my old black Nikes have died, RIP)!

My gorgeous new Nikes!

My gorgeous new Nikes!

Meet my new besties for the "cold" weather!

Meet my new besties for the “cold” weather!

I have already been planning my outfits for our Christmas Disneyland trip, as well as our Mammoth trip, all involving super cute scarves I own (thanks to awesome sales in the Spring and Subscription Boxes, duh), and beanies I have been lusting after on Etsy.

Also, with a new season comes the desire for things like a new fragrance, a new lipstick shade, etc.

As a matter of fact, I went to MAC the other day and got the matte wine colored shade I’ve been searching for. It’s called “Sin,” and while I’m not thrilled about the name, the shade is gorgeous, and I have a $125 scarf I got in my Pop Sugar Must Have box that is beautiful shades of grey and maroon that it will look awesome with!


And so, here are a few things I am lusting after this month/season:

Maison Martin Margiela :REPLICA Eau de Toilette in Flower Market


I am HUGE on floral scents. Spicy, musky….not so much. This scent is impeccable: it incorporates beautiful floral notes with a depth that feels so grown up and sexy! I MUST HAVE IT!

Maison Martin Margiela REPLICA Eau de Toilette in Beach Day

maison martin beach

This scent is heavenly. I sprayed this on my other arm at Sephora, and it also lasted over 8 hours! And on top of that it’s subtle enough to not be too summery, and yet has all of the nostalgia of Summer days mixed with the sophistication of a light scent that can be really universally applied and used.

Canon D3200 Bundle


I was researching the best DSLR cameras for beginners/bloggers, and this camera is a model below the recommended D3300, with barely noticeable differences, and a lower price point. I am aiming to get it after the holidays, so I can learn to use it (Hello, photography classes I always see on Groupon) and be well versed in it’s features before we head to Europe next year! This bundle is EXACTLY the same price on Amazon as the newer model, but comes with an extra lens!

I also trolled and found my future Camera Strap and bag(duh!):

Roses Camera Strap on Etsy


It makes me so happy with the pretty floral print, and leather work that matches the pretty bag I have in mind….

Shutterbags Crossbody DSLR Camera Bag on Etsy

camera bag

 Absolutely the most chic, handmade bag I’ve seen! LOVE!

 And so, I just felt like sharing some of the awesome stuff I’ve had my eye on!

What are your favorite things about Fall? What are your essential Fall upgrades on your 2014 list?! I want to know!


Aviva Hair Supplement

*This product was provided to me free of charge for review from Aviva and All views and opinions are strictly my own.*


I was offered the opportunity to try this product as a BuluBox Ambassador.

Bulu Box is a monthly subscription service that offers amazing product samples (sometimes even full sized items, like workout DVD’s accessories and such!) for $10 a month. There is a box for Weight Loss, or overall Fitness. You can choose, and switch back and forth anytime. Get 50% off your subscription using the code “BULUGAN342” at checkout!

Here is how they describe their subscription: Bulu Box is the first health, nutrition and weight loss discovery box designed to help you feel your best. Each month, you’ll get a custom box filled with a new mix of 4 to 5 premium samples from top brands to try. Every sample is sufficient enough to decide if the product is right for you. Of course, shipping is always free and you can cancel anytime. Share your thoughts about each product in our sample surveys and you can earn 50+ Rewards Points (that’s $5!) each month! Use your points to purchase your new favorites in full size at! Here you’ll also get expert tips, tricks and a supportive community of Bulugans just like you! Join the discovery and find a healthier you!

I was really interested in Aviva’s product claim, and because it is all natural, gluten free, and fish free, I figured I don’t have much to lose if it doesn’t work super well…at least I’m not “poisoning” myself! In an effort to eat cleaner, it’s nice to know supplements are relatively “clean” as well!

Check out the ingredients:


You can check out everything Aviva offers on their official website. Also, they have a pop up when you first enter their site, and you can get 10% off your order if you sign up for their email newsletter!

You can also sign up for a free two-week trial! Click here to head over and get yours! There is a $3.95 shipping charge, but based on the results I’ve seen so far, it’s worth it.

I was given a 60 day supply of Aviva to sample, and so far I have been taking it twice a day, with food, as directed. I’m pretty excited, based on some of these reviews. Anyone else notice how angry some people can get on Amazon?!

I don’t have ANY issues with hair thickness, but I am hoping for more length. If my hair was as long curly as straight, I wouldn’t have to stress over getting it straightened so much, to make it more manageable,  and less poufy/frizzy!

I’ll be posting some photos at the 30 and 60 day mark, so we can all see if there’s a significant difference!

What have YOU tried for longer, healthier, stronger hair?  Is Aviva something you might try? Let me know if you do!




The New Keurig 2.0 K550 #HelloKeurig

This product was provided to me at no cost by Keurig and Influenster for testing purposes. All ideas and opinions expressed are solely my own, and I am NOT being paid for this post.

Now that we got THAT out of the way…


Obviously, I had to post it on my Instagram account ASAP.

Fresh outta' the box!

Fresh outta’ the box!

Then two weeks later, I actually set it up. I’m told that’s the most effective way to use it, and all. LOL.

New home on my counter!

New home on my counter!

This machine is pretty amazing. It’s got a larger water reserve, and not only does it make that one perfect cup of coffee… this one makes a CARAFE with a 4 cup capacity!

So, when you have friends over and wanna make them coffee? No more taking turns at the fancy coffee machine station on the counter.

Fire this baby up with a K Carafe pack, and boom! Steaming hot carafe of your favorite flavor, and everyone is happy!

I went on a coffee hiatus for a long while, but given the fact that I’ve been working varied 12 hour shifts between Fire and General Transport dispatch, plus a second job on the side, sometimes I need caffeine! I can still brew tea in this machine, and I can even use the touch screen display to set it so that I wake up to my beverage already hot and ready!

No waiting for the machine to prime and heat up before I can get it and go! TOO COOL!

Also, it comes with a few K-Cups and K Carafe cups for you to try when you get it! I haven’t seen the K Carafe packs in many stores yet, but I suppose it’s still early.

Want to know more? Check out the Keurig Website for more info about the design and features, and where you can buy.

I think I saw one of the models at Costco, Walt-Mart, and on QVC (for easy pay, too!).

Want an invite to join Influenster, and get awesome products to try for yourself and share with your friends and family? Email me at, or leave a comment. I’d be happy to send you one!

What are your favorite K Cup flavors?

If you’ll excuse me…I have a cup of green tea waiting for me!