Benefit Roller Lash Mascara Review

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NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

I’m always on the hunt for a good mascara. It is the one makeup item which is completely essential as it frames the eyes, the one part of the face that other people see first and most often.

Although I adore my Maybelline Lash Stiletto mascara, I believe I may have found a new favorite!

I recently picked up Benefit’s Roller Lash mascara.

It comes in an adorable black and pink tube – very feminine! The packaging is sturdy and compact, which is always good for tucking it into your purse.

The wand is curved, a shape I personally prefer as it helps to more evenly and deeply distribute the mascara to the lashes.

Now for the before and after:

As you can see – this mascara coats the lashes evenly and fully, leading to beautiful long lashes. I was pleased with the result. I did not notice any flaking throughout the day, and the lashes looked as good in the evening as when I applied it in the morning.

I enthusiastically recommend this product – a fantastic addition to your mascara collection!

You can purchase this mascara here for $27.

How to Create a Fall Capsule Wardrobe in 2022

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NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

When I travelled to Paris almost ten years ago, I was captivated by the French way of selecting and purchasing clothes.

Because most citizens of Paris live in apartments, their closets are small. They focus on buying a few quality pieces (such as Chanel, etc.) which they can then mix and match, creating a variety of outfits.

This has always inspired me and establishes the concept for “THE CAPSULE WARDROBE.”

In this post, I’m going to show you, step-by-step, how to create a capsule wardrobe in Fall 2022.

I want to first describe the benefits of the capsule wardrobe:

1) Overall, it saves money! You are buying a few quality pieces, which you can then pair for a large assortment of looks.

2) It saves SPACE in the closet! More room for your husband’s clothes – he will be very happy! I’m including a picture of my capsule wardrobe in my closet (below), which demonstrates what a tiny amount of space this occupies.

3) It is stylish – it is the Parisian fashion!

4) It’s amazingly portable – fewer clothes to pack for vacation!

Now, I’m going to show you – step by step – how to create this capsule wardrobe.

Step 1 – Choose your base color.

This base color is a neutral color upon which your entire palette is built and grounded. It is usually black or navy. I personally prefer black as it offers more versatility. More colors compliment black than navy, but you could use either.

Step 2 – Choose your accent color(s).

You will need to select 1-2 bold colors (non-neutral) to serve as your accent color(s). I personally chose red, but you could choose green, blue, etc. – the list is endless. This will serve as a “pop” in your wardrobe and will stand out.

Step 3 – Choose your tops.

Now that you have chosen your base color and your accent color, you will need to select 2-3 tops. Ideally, you should have some neutral colored tops (such as black, cream, etc.) as well as at least 1 top the same color as your accent shade (red, green, blue, etc.). It is also an advantage if you purchase a basic top which can serve as a casual top and a dressy top. You can dress up these tops with jewelry, a scarf, etc., and can dress down the blouse with blue jeans.

Step 4 – Choose your pants.

I usually advise sticking to neutral colors (black, cream, navy, denim) for the pants, but it’s not wrong to choose a pop of color for your pants as well. Blue jeans are essential to “dressing down” a look, or rendering it more casual.

Step 5 – Choose your dresses.

Like the tops, it is recommended to select 2-3 dresses to serve as a base garment. I do recommend that at least one of these feature the accent color. In particular, I love a little black dress. Plus – if there’s anything that is better than a little black dress, it’s a little red dress! Both are stunning and so versatile.

Step 6 – Choose your layers.

Layers are essential for fall. In many places around the country, the temperature may be 30 degrees (F) in the morning and 70 degrees in the afternoon. With layers, you can strip off or wrap up, as the situation requires. The ideal layers are cardigans, boleros, denim jackets. You can also “dial up” a look by layering with a blazer.

Step 7 – Choose your accessories.

Accessories are crucial for dialing a look up or down, rending it more sophisticated or more casual. Scarves and jewelry (such as pearls) tend to glamorize an outfit. A belt would also take a look to the next level.

I’m going to show you my own capsule wardrobe below, including all the looks I’ve created. You will shocked to see how many outfits you can create using this method:

Possible Outfits – White Top

Possible Outfits – Black Top

Possible Outfits – Red Top

Possible Outfits – Black Dress

Possible Outfits – Red Dress

SHOP THE LOOK

White/Cream Blouse:

***Please note: These blouses run large.

Black Blouse:

Red Blouse:

Little Black Dress:

Little Red Dress:

Blue Jeans:

Black Pants:

Khaki Pants:

White/Cream Cardigan:

Black Cardigan:

Black Shoes:

Money Saving Makeup Hacks

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NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

With fears of recession looming, every penny counts

Makeup is no exception!

I’m going to list 5 quick money-saving makeup hacks:

1) You can use lipstick as blush.

Yes, you can!

In fact, in the early history of makeup, this was often done. It was called rouge, which doubled as both lipstick and blush. You simply dot a speck of lipstick onto your cheek, and pat it in the skin gently.

2) You can use brown or black eyeshadow as eyeliner.

This works beautifully, especially if you like a smudged look. Brown and black eyeliner is so versatile; this color is in almost every eyeshadow palette. In contrast, you can sharpen the eyeliner look by adding water to the eyeliner brush.

3) You can use concealer as eyeshadow base/primer.

This is one of the most amazing money-saving makeup hacks of all. Concealer, like the eyeshadow base, not only cancels out the purple or red undertones to the eyelid, providing a neutral canvas for the eyeshadow, but it also provides an actual substrate (like concealer) to which eyeshadow can bind. You can get 2 products for the price of one!

4) Drugstore foundation is your friend.

Drugstore foundation is wonderful and often underrated. It’s hard to beat L’Oreal True Match foundation or Revlon Colorstay foundation. No one will ever know.

5) Brown or black eyeshadow can double as a brow color.

Another fabulous use for black or brown eyeshadow! Truly a versatile product, as it can double as brow color or as eyeliner. You simply use a thin-tipped brush to draw in your brows.

Related:

Makeup Items to Splurge/Save on

Il Makiage Foundation Review

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NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

We’ve seen them everywhere – glowing ads on Youtube and Facebook for Il Makiage foundation, showing young women squealing with delight as the foundation disappears into their skin.

Is it worth the hype?

I actually purchased it a few months ago, in shade 020 (the lightest shade)!

The packaging of the Il Makiage “Woke Up Like This” foundation is superb and fancy, complete with a pump, which nearly always renders application less messy:

The foundation is of a thicker consistency – not creamy at all. This is personal preference, but I do usually gravitate toward creamy foundations as they are easier to apply.

I have assembled 3 photos below (before foundation, after foundation, and full face of makeup):

So far, so good, right?

You have to examine the close-ups to see the true story!

The problem is the consistency of this foundation. It is thick and applies unevenly. It forms unsightly patches on the skin and oxidizes, forming splotches of yellow and orange (see below):

This foundation, unfortunately, is not worth the hype. It is, in fact, one of the worst foundations I have ever used.

For a product breakdown of my makeup look, see below:

Foundation – Il Makiage “Woke Up Like This” in Shade 020

Powder Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder in 1-Fair/Pale

Concealer Anastasia Beverly Hills Magic Touch Concealer in 1

Blush

Benefit Cosmetics Brightening Finishing Powder in “Dandelion” icon

Bronzer

Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Bronzer icon

Lips

Buxom Full-On Plumping Lip Polish Gloss in “Dolly” icon

Eye Look (see below)

Eye Look (products used):

Eyeliner Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in “Trooper”

Eyeshadow BaseMac Painterly Paint Pot and NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in “Milk”

Lid CenterColourpop Stone Cold Fox Eyeshadow Palette in “Magnetic Moon”

Inner + Outer LidColourpop Stone Cold Fox Eyeshadow Palette in “Fickle Fate”

Crease Colourpop Stone Cold Fox Eyeshadow Palette in “Enigma” + “Play it Coal”

Brow BoneColourpop Stone Cold Fox Eyeshadow Palette in “Dreamful”

Inner CornerColourpop Stone Cold Fox Eyeshadow Palette in “Dreamful”

Eyebrow Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in “Medium Brown”

Related:

Colourpop Stone Cold Fox Palette Review and Swatches

Colourpop Stone Cold Fox Palette Review and Swatches

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NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

In recent years, Colourpop has truly emerged as a leader in the makeup industry. Perhaps my favorite part of their line is their countless, large, and high quality makeup palettes – of every imaginable theme!

One of their newer palettes is the massive and lovely Stone Cold Fox palette.

It contains 30 well-milled eyeshadows. Although it does contain a few scattered warm shades, this palette leans mostly cool, with plenty of mauves, grays, taupes, and silvers:

The packaging is sleek – light and compact. It is actually quite thin, which works great to help fit into a makeup drawer!

Without further ado, let’s review each shade – shall we?

1) “So Fine”

This is a Cinderella shade – or, rather, perhaps a fairy godmother shade! It is a silvery baby pink, which would be ideal for the lid, inner corner, or brow bone.

2) “Trip”

If you are looking for a subtle, barely-there pinkish taupe, this is the shade for you! It also contains silver sparkle. Suitable as a crease shade or all-over lid shade.

3) Lux

A creamy shade with rare silver sparkle, “Lux” is quite pigmented. It is ideal for the lid or brow bone.

4) “Dreamful

“Dreamful” is a truly gorgeous snow white color, with abundant silver sparkle. The hue works as a lid color, brow bone, or even inner corner color. However, one downside is that this one is quite powdery.

5) “I Dig It”

“I Dig It” is a silvery glitter taupe. Beautiful as a lid color.

6) “Mystery”

A glittery mauve – again, an ideal lid color!

7) “Stranger”

“Stranger” is a natural-looking crease color – a light taupe which is slightly darker than “Trip.”

8) “Quarry Days”

“Quarry Days” is a matte warm-toned taupe, deeper than “Stranger.” Another great crease shade.

9) “U Rock”

“U Rock” is a cool-toned matte gray. Excellent crease shade.

10) “Magnetic Moon”

“Magnetic Moon” is my favorite shade in this palette! A glittery silver, this shade packs a punch in terms of pigment and has an almost foiled appearance. A stunning pop of color in the center of the lid!

11) Enigma

“Enigma” is a light warm-toned taupe. A crease color, for sure!

11) “Ghost Town”

“Ghost Town” is a deep, cool-toned taupe crease shade, with hints of mauve and plum.

13) “Stone Age”

Lighter than “Ghost Town,” “Stone Age” is a light mauve crease or lid shade – stunning on green eyes, I must say!

14) “Hard Place”

“Hard Place” is a mauvy bronze – best suited as a statement lid shade.

15) “Sediment to Be”

A pewter shade – ideal for the lid. This color reminds me of a moon rock!

16) “Rumor Mill”

“Rumor Mill” is a dark matte gray – best for deepening the crease or outer corner.

17) “Baby Doll”

“Babydoll” is a silvery taupe with a hint of mauve.

18) “Gneiss Guy”

I expected to love this shade but didn’t! A reddish mauve, “Gneiss Guy” contains glitter which is far too chunky and suitable only as a lid topper.

19) “Gravity Hill”

“Gravity Hill” is a deep matte mauvy plum – best for the deep crease or outer corner.

20) “Truffles”

“Truffles” is probably my second favorite in this palette – it is a highly unique shade. It’s a matte taupe infused with silvery blue sparkle.

21) “Bould Type”

A light matte grayish taupe.

22) “Caving In”

Silvery taupe with a touch of mauve.

23) “Fascinated”

Light matte grayish taupe. Useful as a subtle crease color!

24) “For Granite”

Deep brownish plum doused with delightful pink sparkles!

25) “Play It Coal”

This mauvy plum shade also contains pink sparkles, similar to “For Granite.”

26) “Fickle Fate”

This matte shade is a marriage between eggplant and plum. Suitable for deepening the crease or the outer V.

27) “Cult Classic”

Matte grayish brown. An outer V shade, for sure!

28) “Rock Bottom”

This is your classic matte black shade. It works to deepen the crease or outer V – and could also serve as an eyeliner shade.

29) “Drama Mama”

Probably my third favorite color in this palette. This shade is a mix between rich cocoa brown and eggplant. I love it for the outer V.

30) “Obsidian”

This shade is very similar to “Fickle Fate,” only darker and leaning more towards brown than eggplant or plum.

Now, for side-by-side swatches…

First Row:

First Row (L to R): So Fine, Trip, Lux, Dreamful, I Dig It, Mystery

Second Row:

Second Row (L to R): Stranger, Quarry Days, U Rock, Magnetic Moon, Enigma, Ghost Town

Third Row:

Third Row (L to R): Stone Age, Hard Place, Sediment to Be, Rumor Mill, Babydoll, Gneiss Guy

Fourth Row:

Fourth Row (L to R): Gravity Hill, Truffles, Bould Type, Caving In, Fascinated, For Granite

Fifth Row:

Fifth Row (L to R): Play it Coal, Fickle Fate, Cult Classic, Rock Bottom, Drama Mama, Obsidian

Overall, this is a fantastic addition to your eyeshadow palette collection which lends itself to a delicious variety of cool-toned looks!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Stone Cold Fox palette review and swatches!

Related:

5 Colourpop Stone Cold Fox Looks

Lois the Witch summary and review

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NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

As a lover of classic literature as well as European and early American history, I was recently drawn to Elizabeth Gaskell’s novella, Lois the Witch, as part of her wonderful collection of spooky stories, Gothic Tales.

It is the most haunting and powerful work of fiction I’ve ever read.

This novella begins in late 1691, just prior to the outbreak of the Salem witch hysteria.

It follows the tale of the teenage Lois Barclay, who travels from England to Salem, Massachusetts following the death of her parents. This is a taxing journey for Lois, who leaves behind a wealthy young man who wishes to marry her but whose family does not believes poverty-stricken Lois is a proper match for their son.

In Salem, where she comes to live with her uncle’s family, the Hicksons, she encounters a very strange world.

The paranoia which grips Salem, and later proves fertile ground for the madness which would trigger with the witch trials, leaps off the page quite early in the novella. The Puritans are intensely religious, but their faith is devoid of love and compassion. The inhabitants of the town are terrified by the Native Americans, who “lurk in the wilderness” surrounding them. The townspeople are convinced that the Native Americans dabble in the dark arts, or witchcraft.

The relatives with whom poor Lois comes to reside hold equally bizarre notions. Her first cousin Manasseh Hickson, the darling only son of the family, falls deeply in love with Lois. Almost immediately, he begins to harass her to marry him, claiming that it’s “God’s will” that they marry. Lois, clinging to her lost love back in England, spurns his advances repeatedly.

Though Lois strives to endear herself to her aunt and two adolescent female cousins, her attempts fall flat. They are consumed by jealousy of Lois’s sophistication and beauty – and baffled by her unfamiliar English ways. Instead, Lois bonds with the family’s Native American servant, Nattee.

In this setting, paranoia erupts in February 1692 as witch fever takes hold.

The novella demonstrates the many reasons why the townspeople accused their neighbors – including jealousy and unsettled grievances. Sadly, it also demonstrates that many accusations were made simply to draw attention to oneself.

***Warning (Spoilers ahead!)

In this manner, Lois is swept up into the madness. Prudence, her youngest female cousin, eager for the widespread attention which leveling an accusation often brought, charges her with witchcraft.

It is clear that Lois herself is not immune to these delusions. After her accusation, she worries constantly that she, unbeknownst to herself, is actually a witch. Only Manasseh, who is struggling with mental illness, defends her – all in vain. It is furthermore clear that those who defend the accused themselves ran the risk of being charged with witchcraft.

Lois is tried, found guilty, and sentenced to hanging. The Hicksons’ Native American servant, Nattee, is similarly accused and sentenced. They comfort one another in the jail, on the eve of their executions. This is one of the most touching – one of many! – parts of the work:

“When all was quiet through the prison, in the deep dead midnight, the gaoler outside the door heard Lois telling, as if to a young child, the marvelous and sorrowful story of one who died on the cross for us and for our sakes. As long as she spoke, the Indian woman’s terror seemed lulled; but the instant she paused, for weariness, Nattee cried out afresh, as if some wild beast were following her close through the dense forests in which she had dwelt in her youth. And then Lois went on, saying all the blessed words she could remember, and comforting the helpless Indian woman with the sense of the presence of a Heavenly Friend. And in comforting her, Lois was comforted; in strengthening her, Lois was strengthened.”

Lois and Nattee are executed.

In tragic irony, Lois’s lost love from England sails to Salem in the spring in order to claim her as his bride. There, he learns the devastating truth as follows:

“The people of Salem had awakened from their frightful delusion before the autumn, when Captain Holdernesse and Ralph Lucy came to find out Lois, and bring her home to peaceful Barford, in the pleasant country of England. Instead, they led them to the grassy grave where she lay at rest, done to death by mistaken men. Ralph Lucy shook the dust off his feet in quitting Salem, with a heavy, heavy heart; and lived a bachelor all his life long for her sake.”

The final pages of the novella detail how the people of Salem later publicly and bitterly repented of their violence toward the victims, including Lois, although it was too late.

Historic Salem, Massachusetts

Thoughts and Lessons

1) This powerful work is not about witchcraft or the supernatural; instead, it demonstrates that true evil lies in what humans do to one another.

2) There is a good reason for separation of church and state. It is said that the Salem Witch trials laid the foundation for this vital tenet of our American government and buried Puritan theocracy.

3) Beware mob rule and groupthink. No matter how noble the cause they champion, the proverbial “mob” has several common features – paranoia, propensity to violence, and eager to strip away rights from their fellow citizens. Lois falls victim to this “mob,” as have many other poor souls throughout history. Individuals with differing opinions should be respected; the alternative is frightening.

4) Any entity which begins restricting basic rights – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to a fair trial, etc. – must be regarded with utmost alarm. Lois the Witch reveals what happens when these basic safeguards to society are removed.

5) Religion without love is worthless and dangerous. As a Christian myself, I’m reminded of James 2: 14-17: “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

6) Think before you speak or act. You find a frightening, reactionary world within the pages of Lois the Witch, where people swiftly accuse and respond with violence. Instead of reacting with rage to a given provocation, go to a quiet place. Read. Meditate. Pray. Do not act immediately, as you might regret your actions, like the accusers of the Salem “witches” eventually did.

7) Remember that every human being is someone’s child. A dear friend gave me this advice years ago, and it has remained with me. Lois’s memories of her idyllic childhood, which return quickly once she is accused, constitute perhaps the most poignant part of the novel. She yearns for an innocent time, when she was dearly loved and not viewed with suspicion and hatred. Like the Native Americans, she is an outsider, which is her greatest sin in the eyes of the Puritans.

If you would like to read Lois the Witchwhich I highly, highly recommend! – you can purchase it on Amazon as part of Elizabeth Gaskell’s story collection, Gothic Tales (link below).

If you are interested in the later colonial period as well, you might check out my Revolutionary War novel, Cadence to Glory.

What to Buy for a New Baby (Part 2)

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NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

If you missed Part 1 of this post, please follow the link here.

Otherwise, without further ado, let’s begin Part 2 of “What to Buy for a New Baby”!

6) Activity Mat

Tummy time is essential to newborn development – and, of course, must always be closely supervised. A proper activity mat helps further this particular exercise. We loved this rainforest activity mat from Fisher Price; it includes music, hanging stuffed animals, as well as a large crinkled leaf for sensory development. You’ll be amazed how your newborn will learn to bat the hanging animals and respond to the new sounds when lying on his or her back on the activity mat. Our babies loved this!

7) Large Play Pen

As your child grows in the first year, containment will be key, especially as he or she becomes more active. A large playpen, large enough to give them room to crawl and move but large enough to contain them, is essential, especially if you need to do chores (keeping a close eye on them all the while, of course!). We used this large deluxe play pen from Fortella. It is foldable and transportable as well!

8) Bouncer/Jumper

Likewise, a bouncer or jumper serves a dual purpose, both for containment and to help strengthen the legs in preparation for walking. Our favorites are from Baby Einstein. The nice thing about this one is that it has numerous toys on the tabletop of the bouncer to entertain the baby and foster development.

9) Walker

Perhaps this is a no-brainer, but it’s a no-brainer for a reason. A good walker, such as this one from Baby Einstein, helps cultivate balance and strengthen the legs during early walking. Like the bouncer above, this walker contains numerous toys on the tabletop of the walker to keep the child entertained.

10) First Year Photo Frame

This is a sentimental purchase, but still essential in my mind! This wonderful first year photo frame, which we completed for both our boys, documents the child’s growth month by month with a picture from each month. It is a wonderful keepsake for years to come, a poignant reminder of how fast they grew during that critical first year!

Honorable Mentions

a) Mama Cheetah Swaddles

Our second child had great difficulty going to sleep without a swaddle during the newborn phase (our first did not). Our pediatrician recommended these Mama Cheetah Swaddles. They worked very well. The velcro is strong and was able to keep our baby from moving his arms, thus easing him into a restful sleep. He was only able to sleep 3 hours a night total; after we began using these swaddles, he slept a full 7 hours the first night.

b) Drying Rack

This drying rack was tremendously helpful. Although it is tempting to air dry your pump parts and bottle accessories on a simple paper towel, I’d highly recommend a drying rack such as this. It helps keeps these items cleaner and separated from your kitchen appliances and items.

c) Newborn Photo Session

Although some would argue this is not an essential item, I would beg to differ. We purchased a newborn photo session with our first son; we did not with our second (he was born during the COVID delta wave, and we were isolating). The photos of our firstborn, taken by a professional photographer, were priceless. It is so difficult to obtain good pictures of older babies and toddlers since they are so active. The sweetness and stillness of the newborn photos cannot be overestimated, and, since they are often asleep, the photographer can place them into an assortment of adorable poses. You will treasure these photos for years to come — I would highly recommend!

Related:

What to Buy for a New Baby (Part 1)

Pumping at Work Tips (How-To Guide Plus Must-Haves!)

Best Portable Breast Pump Review (with 10% Special Discount Code!)

What to Buy for a New Baby (Part 1)

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NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

In the months leading up to the birth of a new baby, excitement builds steadily. However, as delivery approaches, it is easy to feel anxious and overwhelmed as well! You’ve heard countless recommendations as to what baby will need, particularly in the first year. You may also be uncertain as to what you’ll actually need.

If you are expecting and are currently building your registry, or even if you are simply wondering what to purchase for someone else’s new baby, then this post is for you!

We’ll break this into 2 parts, detailing what I consider to be the 10 most essential gifts for a new baby, including some honorable mentions as well. I’ll cover the first 5 today.

1) Breastfeeding Pillow

One of the most challenging – but rewarding – parts of motherhood is nursing (if you are able to do so). It is difficult at first to figure out proper position, especially with a newborn who must be handled with the greatest care. One of the most crucial purchases is a breastfeeding pillow. Although a regular pillow will technically do, I found that it did not provide the best support for a delicate newborn. This breastfeeding pillow from My Brest Friend (below) attaches to your waist and provides a perfectly sized shelf upon which you can hold the newborn while he or she is nursing.

2) Pack ‘N Play

This multipurpose product can serve as a bassinet, changing table, play pen, and a bed. The bassinet section and the changing table can be used during the first 2 months in the upper part of the Pack ‘N Play. After the first two months, the upper part of the Pack ‘N Play can be removed, and it converts into a play pen for the later months. The lower part of the Pack ‘N Play also doubles as a bed for an older baby. The best part is that this product folds up easily and is transportable. A truly versatile purchase!

3) Sterilizer and Dryer

Whether sterilizing breast pump parts or bottles, this product was a Godsend for us. You simply pour a small amount of water into the base of the sterilizer, load the pump parts or the bottles onto the rack, place the cover, and press start. Although it has 3 settings (“dry”, “sterilize”, and “dry + sterilize”), we usually used the “dry + sterilize” function. It really is a large sterilizer, so it was amazing how many accessories you could fit onto this device.

4) Owlet Baby Monitor

Our second son spent 48 hours in the NICU following delivery, and naturally we were quite anxious bringing him home for the first time. The Owlet device helped reassure us. This device involves attaching a sock to your baby, and it will monitor heart rate and oxygen saturation for you. You download an app as part of the monitoring system, as well as a charging base. If the monitor goes off in the middle of the night, you can look at the app and see what your baby’s heart rate and oxygen saturation are at any given moment. Although there are some false alarms with this device, we were well able to overlook them for the peace of mind that it provides.

5) Baby Buddha Breast Pump

During my first pregnancy, I used the standard Spectra breast pump that was covered by insurance; I obtained decent milk output but was never able to form a large freezer stash. For my second pregnancy, I purchased the Baby Buddha breast pump. Total game-changer! In my opinion, this is the best portable breast pump. Not only did it double my milk output (I was able to fill 2 freezers full of breast milk!), but it was lightweight, totally portable, and enabled completely hands-free pumping. The pump, which has to be charged like an iPhone, is actually the size of an iPhone and can hang around your neck while you chase a toddler, fold clothes, etc. Although this pump is listed at $249.99 on the website, it is often on sale for $189.99. You can get a 10% discount when purchasing this pump at the website with this code – MAKEUPDIVA10. Please read my full review here.

Please stay tuned for Part 2!

Related:

Pumping at Work Tips (How-To Guide Plus Must-Haves!)

Best Portable Breast Pump Review (with 10% Special Discount Code!)

5 Colourpop Stone Cold Fox Looks

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NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

If you love cool eyeshadow looks, you will love the Stone Cold Fox palette from Colourpop!

I’m working on a detailed review with swatches, but, in the meantime, I’ve created 5 looks that you can recreate with this palette!

See below:

Look #1

Lid – “Babydoll”

Crease – “Ghost Town”

Deep Crease – “Rumor Mill”

Lash Line – “Rock Bottom”

Brown Bone + Inner Corner – “Dreamful”

Look #2


Lid – “Gneiss Guy”

Crease – “Gravity Hill”

Deep Crease + Lash Line – “Rock Bottom”

Brow Bone + Inner Corner – “So Fine”

Look #3

Inner Corner + Brow Bone – “Lux”

Outer Lid – “Obsidian”

Crease – “Quarry”

Deep Crease – “Drama Mama” + “Rock Bottom”

Look #4

Center of Lid – “Magnetic Moon”

Inner + Outer Lid – “Fickle Fate”

Crease – “Stranger”

Inner Corner + Brow Bone – “So Fine”

Deep Crease – “Rock Bottom”

Look #5

Center of Lid – “Mystery”

Outer + Inner Lid – “Truffles”

Crease – “Stone Age”

Deep Crease – “Obsidian”

Until next time! Full review and swatches coming soon!

Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerize Cream Eyeshadow (Swatches and Review)

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Today I’d like to review Charlotte Tilbury’s “Eyes to Mesmerize” cream eyeshadow (complete with swatches!).

These cream eyeshadows are housed in the typical sleek Charlotte Tilbury packaging, which screams elegance, sophistication, and Hollywood glamour.

The consistency is quite creamy and gel-like. I’ve tried applying this with a brush and have come to the conclusion that it’s best applied with the fingers. Patting it onto the lid, adding more to heighten the intensity, and then rubbing it into the crease works best.

It is difficult to explain, but these shadows, when applied as described above, create the illusion of a complex eye look, which involves several different shadows and took a long time to create. It is also a perfect eyeshadow for quick, on-the-go looks.

I’ve featured swatches below:

I’ll discuss each shade individually below, along with eye swatches!

1) “Oyster Pearl”

This shade, previously called “Marie Antoinette,” is a perfect blend of taupe, gold, and bronze. It is universally flattering, but is particularly appealing on blue eyes.

2) Pillow Talk

As part of Charlotte’s iconic “Pillow Talk” line, this shade is a dusty mauve with a sheen, and is actually very similar to the lipstick color of the same name. Gorgeous on all eye colors.

3) Rose Gold

“Rose Gold” is an airy, more cheerful cousin to intense “Pillow Talk.” It’s the same shade as a penny. Flattering to all eye colors.

4) Sunset Rose

If “Pillow Talk” and “Rose Gold” had a baby, “Sunset Rose” would be it. This combines the femininity of “Rose Gold” and the passion of “Pillow Talk” – perfect for the office or a date night.

Related:

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Look