Friday, February 27, 2015

FRIDAY FAVORITE: NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna

NARS Laguna

NARS Bronzer grass

NARS Bronzing Powder Laguna

Swatch NARS Bronzer Laguna

Hey ladies, how's it shaking?  I know most of us are dreaming of far off tropical locations, laying by the pool with a margarita in our hand, but we can all trudge through these final months of winter together.   Everyone could use a great bronzer this time of year to fake that envious summer glow, and I don't know about you but my skin is nearing snow white status.  So for this week's Friday Favorite I am sharing with you my favorite bronzer ever, the NARS bronzing powder in Laguna. This baby is holy grail status.  

I received a deluxe sample size of this bronzer last year and immediately fell in love with it.  I had heard great things about it for years, and knew it was a cult product in the beauty community, but was put off by the high price tag and what looked like glitter in the pressed powder formula.  Well I have to say, I am a convert.  This has everything you look for in a bronzer: it gives you a glow, but doesn't make you look like an oompa loompa, easy to blend, and it's long lasting and natural looking on the skin.  And what I thought looked like glitter in the formula, isn't glitter at all but a golden sheen that produces a lovely effect on the skin.  This is just an all-around great bronzer and can be used to warm up the face and even works for contouring.

This will work better for those with lighter skin tones, but for darker skinned gals they do offer other options in the bronzing range.  (The shade Casino is gorgeous!)  Now the price...I know this is $39, but in my opinion it's worth the cash.  The quality of the product justifies the price tag and you get a lot of product, (0.28 oz ) thus this will be lasting you awhile.  (Now for my drugstore gals, if you really can't fathom dropping this kind of dough on a bronzer the NYC Sunny bronzer line is also very good.)  For contouring I love to use the NARS bronzing powder with my Real Techniques Contour brush or to warm up the whole face I will use my Real Techniques Powder Brush.  I am still on the hunt for a great bronzer brush, so if you have any recommendations please let me know in the comments below!  Bottom line this a true brown-based bronzer with a gold shimmer that will never make you look orange.  I have tried sooo many bronzers on the market and I love how natural this looks on the face and blends seamlessly into the skin.  If you have yet to try the NARS bronzing powder in Laguna, I would highly recommend.  Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have an amazing weekend!  Xoxo Nicole

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Makeup Cosmetics Beauty

Modern Minerals Duo Fiber Mini Round Brush

Jing Ai Velvet Shine Lip Jewel Swatch

Boxycharm february 2015

Boxycharm description card

I love subscription boxes because I feel I get exposed to so many great brands and products that I otherwise probably wouldn’t discover.  I enjoy trying out new beauty items and there is such a pleasure is finding a hidden gem or unsung hero that hasn’t been hyped to death on YouTube and/or the blogosphere.  (Some of my best finds in the past six months have been the Doll 10 Highlighter, a Duo Crown brush from my Ipsy Bag and the Coastal Scents Revealed palette from Boxycharm, they are all seriously amazing!)  Which brings me to this month’s Boxycharm post.  Boxycharm is a monthly beauty subscription box that costs $21 a month and delivers five deluxe or full-size products.  I have been so impressed with Boxycharm and personally feel they are the best bang for your buck when it comes to beauty subscription services.  So read on to find out what was in my box this month and the hidden gem I’ve discovered…

This month’s box was obviously Valentine’s Day themed, if you couldn’t already tell from the heart nail polish and kiss embossed product card.  Valued at $105 this box featured four full size products and one deluxe size sample.  The first thing that caught my eye was the ncLA Nail Lacquer in “Heart Attack.” (Retailing for $16)  This nail polish looked adorable, chock full of pink and red hearts, but sadly my box didn’t arrive until after V-day and I don’t know if I would rock this polish post-holiday season.  Next was a Modern Minerals Duo Fiber Mini Round Brush. (Retailing for $15)  I love seeing brushes in boxes because I feel like you can never have enough and this would be perfect for blending out shadows on the lower lash line for a smokey effect or for highlighting the inner corners.  Also included was this adorable Mullein & Sparrow Mini Facial Mask.  (Retailing for $15)  I loved the packaging on this and it reminded me almost of sand in a bottle.  I have yet to try it out but the mask claims to contain a blend of  “powerful, detoxifying  clays mixed with soothing, aromatic herbs that help to refine pores and provide a gentle exfoliation.”  Instructions state this mask can be used weekly by mixing the powder with a little water and leaving on the face until dry.  And now for the hidden gem.  I am obsessed with this Jing Ai Velvet Shine Lip Jewel!  Has anyone even heard of this brand?  I got mine in the shade “Pink a Boo” and absolutely love it. (Retails for $22) It’s a jumbo pencil, which I love for easy application, and the color is a gorgeous baby pink.  It’s very long lasting on me and doesn’t dry my lips out which is probably credited to the amazing formula which is infused with macadamia seed oil, shea butter and jojoba seed oil.  I love it.  And lastly is a Mistura Beauty Solutions C-2-P Complexion Corrector.  (Retails for $36.99)  This is kind of a mehh product for me.  It’s advertised as a cream-to-powder complexion corrector targeted at masking redness and broken capillaries.  It was ok, but faded on me quickly throughout the day.  Also the color was fine for me, but this is one of those “one shade for all skin tones” products which doesn’t always work for everyone.

Ok, so that was everything in my Boxycharm this month!  My favorite product by far was definitely the Lip Jewel and I also think I’ll get really good use out of the Duo Fiber Blending brush.  I thought the nail polish was adorable, but I just wish this subscription box would arrive a little earlier in the month.  Does anyone else have this problem? #firstworldproblems I know. Nevertheless I would highly recommend Boxycharm and really look forward to receiving my box every month.  Leave me a comment below letting me know if you subscribe to any monthly subscription boxes and which ones are your favorites?  I would love some recommendations!
xoxo Nicole

Monday, February 23, 2015

NEW BEAUTY LAUNCHES: What’s on my wishlist (and there’s a lot)

new beauty launches

I’m sure your twitter and instagram feed has been blowing up with New York and now London fashion week buzz, but fashion isn’t the only thing launching new collections at the moment.  There have been some amazing new beauty launches to hit the market as of late, and I wanted to fill you guys in on what to watch for.  Now even though there have been some duds (Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palette, I had such high hopes for you!) all the products featured in this post have been getting amazing reviews and the ones I have tried so far have left me impressed.  Now onto the products...

In the market for a new primer?  YouTube queen Jaclyn Hill has been raving about the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water and it’s great for sensitive skin.  If you’re looking to invest in some brushes Real Techniques recently launched their Bold Metals collection sold exclusively at Ulta and the collection includes great quality face and eye brushes.  Charlotte Tilbury’s Beach Sticks just launched at Nordstrom and look perfect for the girl on the go, being advertised as a convertible cheek and lip color.  

Next on my wishlist is Bare Mineral’s Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream.  Advertised as “a versatile gel cream that combines skincare benefits and naturally radiant coverage” this face base has been making it’s way around the blogosphere and receiving rave reviews.  Another skincare item I have been smitten with is the Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm.  I’m not exactly sure the correct way to use it and it’s hella expensive at $63, but my sample is about to run out and I can’t imagine my life without it.   This product kind of reminds me of Clarins Beauty Flash Balm.  It can be used as a primer, face cream, illuminator…all I know is Bobbi has dubbed it her “Cinderella cream” and this is magic in a bottle for your face.  Moving on to other magical products how cool are the Marc Jacobs Beauty #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powders?  The line has been killing it with their new launches, and this highlighting and contour duo testifies you will “appear as though you’re basking in perfectly-filtered light.”  So basically it’s an instagram filter for your face.  All I can say is, wish I had thought of it myself.  And next up is the Anastasia Liquid Lip.  Although the market has been saturated with liquid lipsticks recently this fresh take on the trend doesn’t disappoint.  Offering 20 gorgeous shades these liquid lipsticks are super opaque, long lasting and don’t dry out the lips. 

Now I don’t know if you tried the Marc Jacobs Le Crème Lipsticks when they first came out, but let’s call a spade a spade…they sucked.  Thankfully they have just re-launched their lipstick collection with a new formula and they are amazing.   Seriously amazing.  All named after women that have inspired Marc himself these lipsticks are moisturizing, long lasting and wear comfortably on the lips.  (Check out my personal fave Clara, the perfect pink for spring!)  And last but not least can we just talk about the launch of MAC Cosmetic’s Cinderella collection on February 26th?!  The packaging is insane and the collection is slanted to include lipsticks, highlighting powders, some pigments, but the standout for me is the Studio Eye Gloss in Lightly Tauped.  We can all feel like the belle of the ball with this one.  

Alright, so as you can see I will be foregoing groceries this week as I got some shopping to do.  What can I say...all in the name of beauty and fueling the shopping addiction.  Am I right ladies? So as I sign off to make my online purchases I just wanted to wish you all a wonderful week and thank you so much for your support and stopping by Brazen Brunette!
xoxo Nicole

Friday, February 20, 2015

FRIDAY FAVORITE: Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler

shu uemura eyelash curler

Want beautiful baby doll lashes?  You need an eyelash curler.  Curling your lashes should be an important step in every girls makeup routine and it really makes such a difference, making eyes appear more awake.  (See the serious impact in the before & after picture below.)  I know some may be lucky enough to be graced will naturally curly lashes, but sadly that is not the case for most of us.  So for this week's Friday Favorite I am sharing with you my favorite eyelash curler of all time.  May I introduce to you the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler.  This baby is the best on the market and has been my ride or die for the past three years.  It has held up so well, and all I need to do is replace the curler pad every six months or so.  (The Shu Uemura curler refills can be hard to find, so I usually buy the Shiseido ones and these work just as well. You can purchase them at Sephora here.)  This beauty tool, dubbed the “Cadillac of eyelash curlers” gives me a curled and defined lash with one pump even getting those itty bitty lashes on the outer and inner corners.  Before finding the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler I had tried every drugstore curler out there and they were just awful for me!  They would pinch my eyelids, pull my eyelashes out, and would barely curl my lashes.  Talk about a dud.  That is not the case with the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler.  It is so comfortable to use and has never pulled at my lashes or tugged at the skin around my eyes.  I seriously can't recommend it enough!  Ever since using this curler my lashes stay curled and looking perky all day long and I can't imagine doing my makeup without it now.  The Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler retails for $20.00 and can be purchased through Shu Uemura’s website and on Amazon

before and after eyelash curler
 Before & After snapshot using the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler

Quick Tip:  If you have trouble with your lashes staying curled throughout the day an industry tip is to apply a thin layer of waterproof mascara to your lashes immediately after curling them.  Let this coat dry and then apply your favorite mascara.  By doing this extra step it will keep your lashes staying curled all day long. 

So that is it for this week’s Friday Favorite.  I hope you enjoyed this post and will try the Shu Uemura Eyelash curler.  (It is life changing, I swear!)  The weather has been absolutely gorgeous here in Florida, around mid-70's, so I definitely plan to take advantage of it this weekend.   You can find me lounging by the pool soaking up some rays and reading the second book in the Divergent Series.  (Sorry North Easterners, don’t hate me!) I hope you all have a lovely weekend and I will see you back next week! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


spring fashion haul

spring fashion haul

Quality over Quantity.  That is my motto in 2015.  This year instead of racking up random pieces at Target and Forever 21 (not that I’m knocking cheap clothing, my love runs long and deep) I want to invest in pieces that are of higher quality and will last from season to season...Even if that means spending a bit more.  Prior to this new found mindset I found I would just buy to buy and wasn’t really in love with what I was wearing.  Studies have shown you only wear 20% of your wardrobe.  Now this may not be true for everyone, but I would say it probably is for me.  I find myself reaching for the same pieces over and over again and I’m trying to change that.  I also have a problem with never throwing anything away, but we’ll save that for another post… Delia’s jeans I will one day fit into you again!  So last weekend when I was meandering around the mall here in Tampa I fell in love with the spring launches in stores, did a little damage, and couldn’t wait to share the pieces I picked up with all of you.  I absolutely adore everything I purchased and think I will get a lot of wear out of each item.  I linked where you can purchase each piece below, and if you see anything you like hurry because they’re all currently still in stock! 

astr overlay romper
You know how they say girls dress for other girls?  I think that’s definitely true with rompers, but hey I love them.  One easy made outfit and I don’t have to worry about anything flying up and flashing my underwear to the world…count me in.  

zara flounce sleeve top

I love a crisp white shirt.  They go with everything, pair great with statement necklaces, and wear well season to season.  I especially loved the flutter sleeve and button detail on this one.

zara midi skirt
I am in love with this skirt.  I have been on the hunt for a midi skirt for so long because I think they’re great for work and when I tried this on I knew we were a match.  The pattern is beautiful and it just fit me so well.  Sometimes I have a hard time with midi skirts because they don’t sit right on my waist or accentuate my wide hips, but this fit like a dream.  And I find the wide waistband is also much more flattering when trying to conceal a little tummy.

The cut and fabric of this blouse is pretty basic, but what won me over was the color.  It is the most gorgeous periwinkle blue!  This will be perfect for work, or could easily be dressed up for going out to dinner.  And I also was so happy they had my size in the store, J.Crew tops run a little loose, so when I spotted they had a 00 I scooped it up!

I was so torn in Anthropologie over purchasing this.  I loved it, but had a hard time justifying spending $50 on a statement necklace.  What won me over was there was only one left and when I left the store I couldn’t stop thinking about it and just had to go back and snag it.  I think it’s so unique, well made, and in my opinion looks expensive.  (Always a plus.)

So that is everything!  I know I didn’t go toooo crazy but I just love everything I bought and wanted to share it with you guys. If you are interested in seeing more fashion related posts in the future please let me know in the comments below.  I hope you are having a great week and I’ll see you guys back on Friday!

And Oliver says hi too.  (This face means he's been getting into mischief.)