SLIDER

New Year, New Empties!

2.28.2017

New year, new empties! At the beginning of January I wrote out a "project pan" list. If you haven't heard of project pan, it's exactly what it sounds like. It's a project to pan (aka finish) your beauty products. I have quite a few new skincare bits that I would love to open, but I know as soon as I do some of my older products will be lost and forgotten. So in an effort to be more responsible about my stash, I've been focusing on using them up first.

I haven't panned everything on my list yet but I figured I had used enough to write a post about them. Last year I got really lazy about writing post and subsequently created trash mountain. In 2017 I would like to avoid resurrecting that beast.



Anti-Haul #1 | Shit I'm Not Gonna Buy

2.25.2017

Like most beauty bloggers, my blog is definitely guilty of supporting a "buy, buy, buy" mentality. I've already tried putting myself on self-imposed spending bans multiple times this year but it never seems to work out. Fortunately I have set a monthly budget for myself and that works for me much, much better.

One thing that's become increasingly popular are anti-hauls. I believe the queen of the movement is youtuber Kimberly Clark (if you don't watch her channel yet, I highly recommend it! Not only does she chat about makeup but she also chats about various social issues.) And since my last post was a rather indulgent haul, I figured what better time to post my first anti-haul!

A little disclaimer, just because I don't like or want a product, doesn't mean I'm hating on you if you do. We've all got different tastes and that's what makes us interesting and unique individuals ✌


Ballin' On A Budget | Cult Beauty Haul + US Shipping Review

2.23.2017

The other week I was innocently browsing Cult Beauty and ended up accidentally placing an order. How can someone accidentally online shop, you may ask. Well it's totally possible if someone is a bit of a dolt and overenthusiastically adds hypothetical shit to her cart and then clicks on over to Paypal to see what the total would be in USD. Nevertheless it happened, I'm rollin' with it and blaming it on kismet.

Since Cult Beauty is an UK retailer, I thought I would share my experience shopping there as an American customer. Overall I am happy with the experience and will order from them in the future!


Cosrx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask Review | Yes it's a mouthful but it tastes fabulous

2.21.2017

I started writing this post late Sunday night so that's why the title is a bit... odd. But when I woke up the next morning I decided to just roll with it. And if you're wondering: THIS MASK IS NOT EDIBLE. It's a result of my trying too hard to be funny.

Weird titles aside, I love this sleeping mask. It's hands down my favorite sleeping mask in my collection at the moment. On the Cosrx site, they say your skin will be like a chewy mochi after you use this mask. I've never heard this comparison before checking out their site but now I'll never forget it. Every morning I wanna wake up with chewy mochi face!

I received it as a PR gift from Mikaela Beauty (a Canadian based K-beauty retailer) and have been using it nonstop over the past 2.5 months! I would definitely recommend subscribing to their email list because they're always running awesome promotions 😉




Photoshop For Bloggers: Flatlays & Cloning

2.17.2017

It seems that I'm starting series left and right these days and damn it, I plan on sticking to them (like I said I would in my blog and beauty resolutions post.)

As the name implies, this series is all about photoshop for bloggers. The other week I asked on Instastories (@sharmtoaster) if anyone would be interested to see how I photoshopped some extra marble into the photo below, and a few people enthusiastically responded yes, they would like to see it! It looks like magic, but it's actually quite a simple process 😎

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To do so, all you really need to do is use photoshop's clone stamp tool! I like to think of it as a fancy, customizable copy and paste option for photos.

I primarily use the clone stamp tool with my flatlays in two instances: 1) when I want to expand the background in my photo and 2) when I want to clean up stains and discolorations in my backgrounds. I'll be sharing a tutorial for instance number 1 but the same tutorial can be used for instance number 2.

What the fudge are occlusives and sleeping packs and masks?

2.15.2017


The other day I was sitting down to write my review of the Cosrx ultimate nourishing rice overnight spa mask and realized I can't really write the review without explaining what the heck a sleeping mask is. And if I'm talking about sleeping masks I need to chat about occlusives. In the end I decided to dedicate a whole 'nother post to the two (aka this post.)

I've been toying with the idea of starting as series on skincare basics but wasn't sure if I had the proper... credentials for the job. I'm not a dermatologist or aesthetician, just a girl who likes spending way too much time reading about beauty things on the internet. Then again, this is a blog not a dermatology journal so I can publish whatever the fudge I want. I may not be an expert but I have spent a considerable amount of time reading about the topic to have a solid enough understanding to share it with y'all. Plus, I remembered my high school history teacher who used to say if you have knowledge but decide not to share it, you're being selfish.

Weekend Edit | Material Girl

2.11.2017

At first today's post was going to be skincare heavy, but that's been pushed to Sunday/ Monday because I'm in the mood for a lazy day post. I haven't done a weekend edit in a while so here are 7 (mostly material) things currently on my mind this weekend!


1. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Baby Facial
This was featured in my "On My Radar | Spring '17 Beauty Releases" post the other week and in the post I said I was gonna buy it... but I haven't (yet.) Everyone on Instagram has been raving about this product, giving me some major FOMO. I'm trying to hold off on purchasing it by telling myself I STILL haven't used the other Drunk Elephant product I bought back in November.

Between PR and new releases, my skincare testing schedule is overwhelmed. I wanna try all the shit, but also fear the inevitable freak out from my skin if I introduce too many things too fast. On top of that, I don't really see the point in blogging about most skin care products if I've only used it a handful of times.

But back to the topic on hand-- I wanna know, have you tried the baby facial out? Do you wanna try it out? Have you read any reviews on it yet? Gimme all the deets, please!

2. Diptyque 'Rosa mundi' Candle
A year or two ago I was aghast at people spending over 30 bucks a pop on a single candle, but now I'm one of those people 🙈. It all started when I was at the mall and I happened to stop at the Space.nk  counter to re-stock on something I can't remember at the moment. Thanks to my need for some retail therapy (it was inauguration day 😭), the beautifully packaged 'Rosa mundi' collection, and a genuinely friendly sales girl, I ended up going home with my first diptyque purchase ever.

I had a bit of buyer's remorse at first, but now I'm totally over it! Not only is the candle beautiful to look at, but I've fallen in love with the scent. It's a very strong rose smell that seems to linger 5ever (aka even more than 4ever.)
photo source: the beautylookbook

3. Capture Your Style aka Song of Style's Book
I mentioned this book in the previous post and I finally placed my Amazon order for it last night! Aimee used to be one of my favorite bloggers (and one of the bloggers who inspired me to start blogging) but I stopped following her blog a few years ago after it became too unrelatable to me. Buuut her book looks really promising and seems to be a sort of blogger guidebook according to some 😉. I can't wait to get my hands on it!
photo source: song of style

4. Zara Embroidered Detail Ankle Boots
I dedicated a post to embroidered boots a few months ago and even went ahead and ordered a Topshop pair I featured in the post. Unfortunately they were very uncomfortable and back to the store they went. Then I got swept up in the world of beauty blogging and embroidered boots sort of fell of my radar.

But while browsing the new spring releases on the Zara, my eyes immediately went to these embroidered boots! Thus my love for the trend is back.

5. The Young Pope
I don't understand this show... yet I keep watching it. I couldn't even tell you if I truly like it or not because it confuses me so much. I've been watching it with my mom and the both of us are just so confused. Is anyone else on the same boat?

The one thing I can say for sure is I love the show's soundtrack.

6. Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Mask
Herbivore Botanicals has been on my "to try" list for months. I'm pumped to have finally get my hands on one of their products. Last weekend they had a promotion where 30% of their proceeds were going towards the ACLU and Standing Rock so it was the perfect opportunity to buy their Blue Tansy resurfacing mask. I haven't tried it yet, but isn't it so pretty to look at? I had a mini photoshoot with it and am honestly just looking for an excuse to share some of the photos.

P.s it's currently 20% off at dermstore thanks to their friends & family sale!

7. SNL
In our current political climate all I can think of is that episode of 30 Rock where the fictional Republican Vice Presidential nominee is a total ass-hat and happens to look exactly like Tracy. Liz swears she won't write any lines for him... and she doesn't need to. The governor's actions are so moronic that all Tracy has to do is repeat them and it's comedy gold. If you've never watched 30 Rock, you're probably very confused. To get un-confused, go watch the episode called "Governor Dunston."

Fast forward a few years and we're in the same exact place. First we had Alec Baldwin as Trump, Beck Bennet as Putin, and the Grim Reaper as Bannon. Now we have Melissa McCarthey as Sean Spicer and I think she's my favorite yet. While reality sucks, comedy is at an all time high! I can't wait to see what they come up with on tonight's show!

If you watched it yet, here's the skit from last week where Melissa does the most dead-on Sean Spicer impression ever. And if you have watched it already, watch it again!


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9 Tips for Growing Your Instagram in 2017

2.08.2017

While I haven't been tackling all of my 2017 resolutions, I've been pretty good at the whole Instagram thing. I've been posting almost daily ever since the 1st of the year and some days I manage to post 2 or even 3 times! As I've gotten more into Instagram, I've picked up a few actionable tips along the way that I'm sharing today!

The reason I didn't title this post "tips for growing your Instagram following" or "how to get more followers on Instagram" is because I believe there's more to being successful on Instagram than having a growing following. Engagement is important too! I used to be terrible at engaging with others on Instagram and I think it caused my growth to get stagnant. If you want growth in followers, you gotta have engagement. The two go hand in hand!

January Beauty Favorites

2.06.2017

Like every monthly favorites post... I'll be starting off by asking where the fudge did the last month go?! I can't believe that January is already over!

Now that I've got that out of the way, here are my favorites for January 2017!

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La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water
I guess my facial mist obsession has come full circle because this is literally just water. But I swear there's something special about this water that makes it worth the price tag. After a little bit of research I found out there actually is a difference between fancy, French thermal water in a can and the water that comes out of my kitchen sink!

I found this relatively recent article (2013) rounding up all the benefits of La Roche-Posay's thermal spring water. While the article is published by an employee of the company, the science sounded solid enough for me (aka an everyday, non-scientist person) to believe there actually are benefits to mineral water. There's also this article from Allure which discusses how the minerals and trace elements present in mineral water are beneficial to the microbiome found on our faces. Sounds promising!

Plus I remember watching an episode of Good Eats where they discussed the history of thermal springs and how they used to be a common remedy for all sorts of illnesses. Of course history isn't the best indicator of medical efficacy but if people have been using mineral water for hundreds of years and we still continue to do so, there must be some benefits, right?

So is it crazy for me to pay $10 for a bottle of water? Maybe. Will I continue to purchase it? Hell yes. Also the mister on this is so damn fine that I can't help but drench myself in it every time I use it 💦.

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CosRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask (PR gift from Mikaela Beauty)
If you read my post on the 5 beauty brands I want to try more of in 2017, you may remember my obsession with CosRX. And it's a justified obsession because almost none of the CosRX products I've tried so far have disappointed me. The ultimate nourishing rice overnight spa mask (boy, that's a mouthful) is possibly my most favorite one yet!

It works great as an occlusive without making my face feel greasy. My face feels so plump and bouncy when I apply it; I automatically go to sleep with a smile on my face afterwards 😌. I'll be doing a full review on it later this month so keep yer eyes peeled 😉.

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Maybelline Dream Cushion Fresh Face Liquid Foundation On-the-Go
Because I did a full review on this guy, I'll direct you to check out that post if you wanna find out why it was one of my favorites this past month 😉.

Algenist Reveal Concentrated Luminizing Drop in Rosé (PR Gift from Algenist Beauty)
I've become such a highlighter aficionado over the past year that I didn't think it was possible for me to find anything unique or new. I'm happy to say that the Algenist luminizing drops in Rosé manage to stand out in a sea of highlighters!

First and foremost is the dropper applicator. There are a few other dropper type highlighters on the market but this is the first one I've ever tried. And I gotta say I like it. A dropper gives you a lot more control (in comparison to a pump) when it comes to the amount of product you're dispensing.

The actual highlighter is a lovely rose gold shade that has the perfect balance of gold and pink. Not too pink that you look like you've got a rash and not too gold that you look like you've got yellow paint on yo face. It's the perfect mesh between the two. Plus the formula is a breeze to work with. It's a lot more subtle than the Becca and CoverFX liquid highlighters and blends out easily. A common issue with the CoverFX liquid highlighters are that they dry down super fast so you need to work quickly when you're using them-- that isn't a problem with this Algenist one (nor is it a concern for the Becca ones.)

Last but certainly not least is its skin-loving ingredient list! When I shared a shot of the highlighter on my Instagram (@sharmtoaster) last month, the people running the Algenist instagram account shared that the highlighters contain microalgae oil which aids in hydrating the skin as well as alguronic acid which are meant to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Makeup that's pretty and has skincare benefits is basically a dream come true for a skincare junkie 😍.


W3LL People Bio Brightener Cream Mini
This little guy came in my November Target Beauty Box and I didn't really think anything of it. To be honest I was going to throw it in my de-stash box without a second thought but decided to quickly swatch it on a whim. And I'm so glad I did.

It's a very, very natural highlighter that takes about 5 seconds to use. I just dip my finger into the jar and draw little stripes on my cheekbones. While I still love the Lancôme glow subtil silky creme highlighter in my December favorites, the W3LL People bio brightener cream is even easier to use since it's subtler. I don't have to worry about blending it in because it has the sheerest, luminous finish (and it's glitter free!) It's all the glow I need for my simple, everyday no-makeup makeup look.

The full sized stick is available via Target, Anthropologie, and Birchbox but you can buy this mini size off the W3LL People website here.

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And those are all my favorites from the past month! What were yours?

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New Favorites

2.02.2017

I've become so out of practice of taking outfit photos that I've forgotten how to pose. I thought I was awkward before but it seems I've somehow managed to regress into greater awkwardness.

But it doesn't matter because this outfit features some of my favorite purchases of the season!

Over the past few months there has been an obvious shift in my content towards more beauty posts and my wallet felt that shift. My clothing budget was decimated while my beauty budget grew and got a bit out of hand. On the bright side, every clothing purchase I made this winter was well thought out and I've gotten tons of wear out of most of the pieces!

First up are the Zara chelsea boots. I placed the order late at night when the sale went live and I'm glad I did because they were sold out by the time I woke up the next morning! They're leather, masculine, and surprisingly comfortable. I love them. I've been looking for a new pair of chelsea boots for two winters now but could never find a pair I liked in my budget. I'm happy to have snagged these for under $100!

I've been trying to stick to buying natural material sweaters (cotton, wool, cashmere, etc.) for the past few winters but this is the first winter I was actually able to uphold that goal! This Madewell classic cable pullover sweater is so soft and cozy (thanks to it being 62% cotton) and I've already worn it at least a half dozen times. Every time I stop by a Madewell I check to see if I can find it in ivory but so far no luck. I might cave and purchase it online because I don't want it to sell out!

Last but certainly not least is my new pink bag. I am not a pink person at all but for some reason I've recently started gravitating towards the color. When I saw this Botkier Murray Hill mini tote on sale at the Barney's outlet, I couldn't resist it. The shape is reminiscent of the Celine Mini Luggage Tote or the Saint Laurent 'Baby Sac Du Jour', but the price is much, much, much more affordable. It goes perfectly with my predominantly black winter wardrobe and I know I'll get even more wear out of it once the warmer weather comes and color starts to sneak back into my clothing choices.

What are your favorite purchases so far this winter?

cable knit sweater: madewell
overalls (worn undone): h&m; similar from urban outfitters, asos
boots: zara; similar from rag & bone (dream pair), loeffler randall, urban outfitters (under $100)
bag: botkier; similar from coach, botkier (different but similar bag-- plus it's on sale too!)










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