Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What's in my Spring Break Makeup & Beauty Bag

Hello my friends! I'm writing to you with a sun-burnt hand. Strange place for a sunburn? Well, welcome to my life. I'm about 25% Greek, but also about 20% Irish which makes my sun exposure a strange event. I don't tan. I burn sometimes. But when I do burn, it's always in the most bizarre locations, no matter the amount or intensity of my SPF. Either way, this time it's the top of my left hand and the side of my right foot.

Now that you know way more about my sunburning patterns than you ever wanted to, let's get down to the business if this post, which I regret to inform you is minimal. If you're not following me on Instagram then you haven't seen a recent slew of cocktails with ocean backdrop photos. And if you hadn't seen those you might not be aware that I'm currently soaking up the sunshine in Florida.


Before I flew out I quickly filmed and edited a video of all the things I was packing in my makeup and beauty travel bag. I had some good intentions to photograph said items and write a proper post sharing them.... but, vacation. Side note: it's really hard to write blog posts on vacation. 

While I usually don't like to post just a video for a blog post, today, that's what I've for for you. I know some blog readers have about zero interest in watching videos, which is why I usually try to do a full post to accompany each video. But, I knew for the sake of vacation, that you'd all forgive me and let this one slide.

What's in my Travel Makeup and Beauty Bag?


What's are some of your must have travel beauty items?


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Monday, April 14, 2014

Favorite Pastel Polishes, Round Three: Pretty in Pinks (and purple!)

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Today I have the final post in my pastel polish series.  The first week I brought you my favorite Pastel Mints and last week I brought you my favorite Pastel Blues.  This last post features pinks and purples, which I put together because I find them to sort of overlap.

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When I went to pick my colors for this post I realized I seriously lack in the pale pink colors. Like, where is Essie's Fiji or China Glaze's Something Sweet? Hello, Ulta.com I'll be seeing you soon. I'm not sure how I've overlooked this hole in my collection for so long, but I do have a mixture of great purple-pinks, so let's take a look.

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Zoya- Dot: This was an Ipsy bag item. It’s a really sweet baby pink. Somewhat sheer but good quality, like most Zoya polishes.

OPI - Mod About You: I lusted after this color for a while and last fall I was about to checkout at Ulta and added it to my cart last minute. I’m so glad I did. It has quickly become one of my favorite polishes, ever. (Sometimes I play this game in my head when I’m trying to fall asleep, or waiting in some long line, where I try to decided if I could only have 10 polishes which they would be - someone else please tell me they do this? Either way, Mod About You almost always makes the cut.) It’s a pale creamy pink that slightly leans purple, which is what makes it so special. It’s not just any old pale pink. It’s hard to explain it, but this color somehow sports a major punch. It stands out. It’s like a pastel pink with attitude.

Essie- Go Ginza: This polish always makes that top 10 cut.  It's the perfect cream pale lilac.  The swatch above doesn't do it justice, but you can see it on my nails below for a better idea.

Revlon- Gumdrop: This is one of the Revlon scented polishes and it does offer a very soft, sweet scent, which is sort of fun. But, what I really love is the color. It’s a pale purple that favors blue/grey just slightly, making it a unique pastel purple. I love this color when I want a pale purple, but don’t want something too light or creamy.

Revlon- Flirt: Perhaps not a pastel, but it’s such a pretty blue-toned purple. This is one of those colors where the name perfectly describes it somehow.  It's sweet and a little fun, too. It's also almost a perfect dupe for Lucky Lucky Lavender from OPI.

Color Club- Pardon My French: Oh, are you tired of hearing me talk about this color? Oops, #sorryimnotsorry. Like Flirt, it perhaps isn't "pastel" but it's too perfect of a purpley-pink I couldn't exclude this amazing color.  It's a Birchbox exclusive from Color Club, part of their Wanderlust collection.  As far as I know, you can only get it when you buy the set of four (here). But it's only $8 for the set, and all four colors are perfection, so it's a win, win, really.
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Ok, that does it for some of my favorite pastel polishes.  In case you missed you can see the other two posts here:



Tell me some of your favorite pastel pinks in the comments, since I need to work on filling that hole in my collection and want your advice!

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Inspiration: Less

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I've tried to write a response to this week's Sunday Inspiration painting all week long and just can't form what I want to say into logical sentences. I think, perhaps, it's because these five words say enough on their own than I could express in five paragraphs. All. You. Need. Is. Less. Life is a miracle, it is beautiful by itself. There are people who are happy with less than you have. Be thankful for moments more than material things.


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Thursday, April 10, 2014

10 Things I've Learned in my Mid-20s


This past month I turned 26.  On the morning of my birthday I asked Michael, "So, am I in my late-twenties now?"  To which he informed me I still had at least another year until then.  Later in the month I was thinking of all the things I'd learned about life since I turned 21.  I know some people dread getting older, and perhaps someday I will too, but for now I enjoy the process of getting older. Sure, I can't eat a whole Funfetti cake or 8 buttered Eggos anymore, but you lose some and gain others.  In growing older I'm learning so much about the world and about people and about myself.  I only imagine this process will continue.  Either way, some random thoughts of things I have learned in the last five years have been bopping around in my head and so I thought I'd share them with you.

One: Your life is not going to turn out the way you imagined 10 years ago, 5 years ago, 1 year ago, or even 6 months ago.  But that doesn't mean it's not a good life, it's actually better.

Two: Know how to spot good friends and know how to keep them.  Good friends build you up, are there when you need them, support you, and make you laugh. Cherish these people and provide the same for them.

Three: Don't let anyone make you feel inferior for the way you are or what you're like. And in turn, don't make anyone else feel inferior for the way they are or what they like. Stand up for yourself and your likes and dislikes but never push them on anyone else.

Four: Have fun.  Don't let the worries and responsibilities of entering adulthood rob you of your fun-natured, spontaneous side.

Five: Don't stop learning. Just because you're not in school doesn't mean you should stop learning and teaching yourself new things. Learn something new each day. Read. Explore. Study.

Six: Understand that not everyone is going to like you, and own it.  It is not worth it to try to please everyone.  So long as you're kind to your fellow man, that's the best you can do. Like they say, "you can be the juiciest, ripest peach on the tree, and there are still going to be people who hate peaches." (Which is hard to believe because peaches are dang delicious.)

Seven: Sometimes you have to be a pest. Sometimes you have to call places back 100 times and send ump-teen e-mails to get what you want.  Don't feel hesitant that you are being bothersome, people get busy and you're not always on the top of their to-do list, sometimes annoyance is the only method to get what you want.

Eight: Talk to strangers.  Not talking to strangers is the worst advice you were ever given as a child and it's turning our society into a sort of sad, cold, quiet place. Obviously you need to use judgment, but in general, strangers are mostly nice and funny and have great stories to tell and wisdom to give.

Nine: Stop comparing your life to other people's lives. Comparison is the thief of joy.

Ten: Don't take yourself so seriously. Laugh at yourself and at situations you find yourself in. If you're going to laugh about it later, you might as well laugh about it now.


What are some things you've learned in growing up?

What's your favorite thing about getting older?

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My tips and tricks for concealing and treating breakouts

It's Tuesday, the week's most pointless day - unless you participate in Taco Tuesday, then it's the best.  Anywho, it's that not-so-special day if the week, so we might as well tackle a not so fun topic: the dreaded pimple. 



 Last Tuesday I awoke to the smallest of bumps on my chin and I knew, it's just one of those things you know...a pimple is coming.
Besides wallowing in self pity that I'd have to carry around the extra weight on the smack dab middle of my chin for the next 1-2 weeks, I also saw it as an opportunity to share my tips and tricks on treating and concealing breakouts.  Hey, my unfortunate circumstance is your gain. So here are my tips for treating a breakout followed by my tricks for covering a breakout. If you'd prefer, I also covered the whole topic on my YouTube Channel, including a demo of how I conceal and that video is embedded at the bottom of this post.
*Disclaimer: I am not, nor have I ever been a dermatologist. This is simply what works for my skin and some things I've come to know about treating breakouts.  Each person's skin is different.*

Treating the Breakout:
 
Step One: Know your skin. 
The best thing you can do in treating and preventing breakouts is KNOW YOUR SKIN. Please learn from my mistake on this one. Let me take a quick detour and tell you my skin story:
   I almost never got pimples.  I think I survived my entire high school career with less than 5 pimples the whole four years.  So when I turned 24 and suddenly had constant breakouts on my chin, I was a little lost.  At first I convinced myself they'd go away in a few weeks.  When they just kept coming, I convinced myself I just needed a little more time, I was going through a pretty tough thing in my life at the time and on top of that I was in the process of moving and applying to jobs.  I told myself when the stress subsided, so would the breakouts.  When they were still there a few months later I naturally turned to google and tried to self-medicate the problem. In the process I probably spent more than I care to admit on different creams and treatments.  It wasn't until almost a year later I finally took myself to the dermatologist for the problem.  He could tell, immediately, what my problem was, what was causing it and how to treat it. Within weeks I had things under control.

So, this is my skin story, and I hope you learn from it.  If you're battling with breakouts, even if they think they are small or will go away, do yourself a favor and visit the dermatologist.  You can't properly treat a breakout if you don't know what's causing it.  Breakouts can be caused from all sorts of things like bacteria, oil clogged in pores, diet, stress, improperly functioning pores and so on.  You don't want to waste your time and money on a product designed to reduce oiliness if you are really struggling with a bacteria problem, or vice-versa any of the other ways. 
Step Two: Reduce Inflammation and Redness. 
In the beginning stages of a pimple you are usually struggling with redness and inflammation.  My first course of action is always to help reduce size and color of the pimple.  My favorite method is with a cold lemon slice.  I stick the slice of lemon in the freezer for an hour and apply to the effected area for 10-20 minutes. Lemons are high in vitamin C which has natural anti-inflammatory properties.  It also contains alpha-hydroxy which is a natural exfoliate, encouraging the dead skins cells to loosen. A cold compress is also a natural way to reduce inflammation.  In the beginning stages of my pimple I usually do this one-two times a day.
Step Three: Treat the area consistently.  Obviously step one is vital here, you need to know which products to use to properly treat it.  But, once you know what to use, stick to it religiously.  Skin can be stubborn and it can take months to rid your skin of what might be causing the breakouts.  Even once your blemish appears to be gone stick to your regiment to prevent further breakouts for as long as your dermatologist recommends.
Step Four: Use an exfoliating mask.  
Areas of the skin effected by breakouts are shedding dead skins cells and rejuvenating new skin cells at a much quicker pace than regular skin.  It's a good idea to help this process along.  I love using Michael Todd's Pumpkin Mask because it's made with quality ingredient and holds my favorite little miracle ingredient: glycolic acid. Glycolic Acid is a nifty little guy who attaches to dead skin cells, helping to loosen and remove them.  I love this method of exfoliating as opposed to the traditional method of using a product with a fine grit to exfoliate because I find it to much more gentle on my skin and way more effective.

Covering the Breakout:
Even with a strict regiment, breakouts sometimes pop up and hang around for a little while.  Since I've perfected my regiment, they last way shorter periods of time, but I'm still left having to cover the little guys up for about a week.  These are my steps.  
Step One: Prime the area.  
Use a freshly cleansed face, I like to use the Say Yes to Tomatoes Cleanser when I'm dealing with breakouts, and prime your skin for makeup.  If you have oily skin you will want to use a mattefying primer in your oily areas.  I like to use a pore minimizing primer around my blemishes as the pores always look bigger when I'm struggling from a breakout.  I've recently been using a sample of the L'Oreal Paris Youth Code Texture Perfector Pore Vanisher and really like the way it works to diminish the appearance of my pores.
Step Two: Foundation. 
The order of these steps is preference but I always apply my all over foundation before I bother with any concealing.  I usually go for a slightly more full coverage look than I do on a daily basis so that the concealer around the area of the blemish blends nicely with the rest of my face.  I tend to find my Revlon foundations more on the full coverage size so I usually grab one of them.
Step Three: Prep the blemish. 
If the blemish is still in the early bright red stage I use a color correcting concealer.  Green is a complimentary color to red so it helps to reduce its intensity.  If the blemish is in it's later stage, where it's more of a scab, then I like to use a dab of coconut oil.  Coconut oil has antibacterial properties but it also helps to soften the area.  
Step Four: Conceal.  
I apply a thick concealer in my skin tone or a shade darker with a small concealer brush.  The concealer brush helps the concealer get into all areas of the blemish, areas just your finger wouldn't be able to. You want to use a concealer that's slightly darker than your own skin tone because darkness makes things recede while lightness makes things appear closer.  By using a slightly darker concealer you help to minimize the size of the blemish making it look as if it's not sticking out as far.
Step Five: Set.  
I like to use a translucent powder like the Bare Minerals Mineral Veil.  It helps to set all the concealer in place and keep it there all day long.  If you have oily skin I suggest taking powder with you so that you may touch up throughout the day.


What are some of your go-to tips and tricks for covering up your blemishes?

Do you have any must-have products for treating breakouts?

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Meet April's Blogger Spotlight



What is Blogger Spotlight? 
On the first Monday of every month I feature a different blog here at But First, Coffee! 

How it works? 
 Each month there is a spot to enter to be next month's blogger spotlight.  A winner will be chosen at random and will be featured next month.

What does the feature include:  
Links to your blog and any other desired social media.  Photos from your blog. Your answer to 6 set questions and 4 wildcard questions that I provide. A spot in my sidebar for the month! A shoutout by me on Twitter. Your feature will be added to all past month's features on my Blogger Spotlight page! 

Rules?
1. You must be following But First, Coffee through Bloglovin OR GFC.
2.  You must have an active blog (ex.you have posted in the last week and post at least once a week.) 
3. You can only win once, so if you have already been featured, you may not enter to be featued again.
4. Enteries open on the first Monday of the month and remain open for 2 weeks.
5. Just like with all giveaways, you have additional ways to gain more entries including following me on my social medias or tweeting about Blogger Spotlight.
6. All types of blogs are allowed to enter!!! But, nothing with inappropriate content accepted (I don't think I need to go into detail about this...the typical no violence/nudity/racism etc.)

Meet this month's Blogger Spotlight!
Meet Jess from A Beautiful Secret.  Jess blogs about fashion and beauty. She does lovely product reviews and shares some outfit of the days.  Let her tell you a little more about herself below.

1. Your name and your blog's name:

2. When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog back in 2012 but due to work I stopped after a few months and started again Jan/Feb 2014

3. Briefly describe your blog in 2-3 sentences: 
My blog is mostly based around beauty, fashion & make up products. But I do include some lifestyle posts aswell.

4. Something you are looking forward to in the next 4 weeks
On the 30th April its my birthday! So I am pretty excited about that.

5. What's something you're passionate about? 
It might sound pretty obvious but I am really passionate about beauty & make up products! I could spend hours looking around the shops at them and spend so long reading reviews about them.

6. Link one of your most favorite recent posts and briefly describe it:
http://www.a-beautifulsecret.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/empties.html This post is about recent beauty products that I have used up and what I thought of them, I really enjoyed writing this post.

7. If you could only purchase beauty products from one brand the rest of your life it would be...
That is such a hard question haha but it would be between MAC & Benefit, at the moment I would probaly say Benefit as I have tried more of their products.

8. Five things that are always in your handbag: 
My handbag is always so over full but five things that are always in their are; my phone, my purse, my car keys, my make up bag & an umbrella.

9. Finish this sentence: You might be surprised to learn that I.... 
I love Disney wayy too much! I have a small obsession with Minnie Mouse! & it is my dream to go to Disneyland!

10. Favorite way to spend a Sunday morning? 
Doing nothing! Sunday is my favourite day of the week as I have nothing that I have to do and I can relax all day.

Where else to find Jess:

Bloglovin     Twitter     Instagram  

Sign up to be next month's blogger spotlight!
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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Inspiration: 32 things that make me happy

Today's Sunday Inspiration is a breif detour from what I have been doing here as of recently. There is no painting for Sunday Inspiration this week. This Sunday I'm linking up with Erin from Two Thirds Hazel and Sarah from Venus Trapped in Mars as part of a link up. They created the 32 Things That Make me Happy link up, and I just thought it was about the best thing ever. I thought it was a perfect Sunday Inspiration because we should all reflect on things in life that make us smile. There are so many annoyances in life it's important to remember the things that make us happy, too. So I encourage you to join in and link up, or just grab some scrap paper and jot down 32 things that make you happy.

Without further ado, 32 Things that make me happy:

1. Instragram. 
Is that embarassing that it makes me happy?  But gosh darnit, it just does. I love seeing everyone's photos and I love that it's like my own little walk down memory lane. So, in honor of instagram, all photos shared on today's Sunday Inspiration will be right from my instragram.


2. These little faces. 
Just stop, am I right?

3. In one week... 
I will be in 80 degree weather and my soul needs it to re-charge.  Although it appears below freezing temps are behind us, I'm in need of flip flops and shorts.

4. New York City.
I shared my most recent day trip in here. It's a special city, to me, and my favorite.

5. Coffee. 
Obviously. Or espressso. Or Turkish coffee.


6. Long walks in good weather.

7. Cupcakes. 
Just all of the cupcakes.

8. Lazy Friday nights.

9. My friends.
Because a life with no friends is no life at all.

10. The smell of the ocean.

11. Flowers.
Particularly tulips and peonies.


12. Knowing people who understand my sarcasm.
Even better if they can dish it back.

13. Happy hour.

14. Colorfully painted nails.
You know I had to throw that one in there.


15. Freshly made bed with clean sheets.

16. Solo dance parties.
If you don't have these, you're missing out on a key to happiness.

17. This. 
Sorry to get all PDA on you, but this man is my best friend and he makes me lots of happy.

18. Pulling up old photos,
and just looking through them and smiling about the good memories.

19. You.
Yep, you. All of you and your comments make me happy. You're just about the nicest, funniest, and sweetest people I know.

20. Being barefoot.

21. Sushi dates.

22. Cheese and wine.
And other assortments of things thrown onto a plate. This is my favorite kind of meal.


23. Games. 
I love games: board games, trivia games, card games, any game.

24. Jeans.
I never truly understood my love for a good pair of jeans until I had to get a grown up job where I can't wear them.

25. Traveling.
Whether across the globe or a few towns over, exploring makes me happy.

26. Painting.
Despite this weekend's detour, I love painting my weekend inspiration quotes. It's crazy relaxing and somehow therapeutic.


27. Meeting new people.
Although at first, meeting new people can sometimes make me feel a little nervous, I mostly just love making new friends and talking with people I've never met.

28. The Christmas season.
 I'm the happiest little Christmas elf.

29. Shirts with words.

30. Any food on the grill.

31. The feeling when...
...you get into bed and you don't have to set your alarm or get up at any particular time.

32. My camera.
I love snapping photos and documenting little moments of my life.


I wanna hear some of the things that make you happy in the comments, share away!  And I encourage you to think about 32 things that make you happy and write them down or link up here and share them.

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