Christmas Gift Haul

Makeup wrapping paper

Every Christmas and birthday,  I receive at least one Biggie Smalls themed gift, one vodka gift and one beauty product gift. The trifecta of Allison-perfect gifts. I have of course already tried out all of the beauty product gifts I received this Christmas, so let’s talk about them.


Samples are part of the game with most beauty product purchases now. Due to their size/amount of product given I can’t always get a thorough review, so these are more like first impressions. Here are the ones I got with my gifts this Christmas:

Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask.  I love Charlotte and her products but I knew this one wasn’t going to be a great fit for me. Clay masks work best on oily skin because they absorb oil. I have combination skin and have been dry dry dry lately, so I didn’t have much oil to be absorbed. The mask felt fine when it was on and was easy to wash off. My skin felt super clean after (clay also lifts impurities out of the skin) and I could see that the pores on my nose, which I noticed looked a little clogged the other day, were significantly unclogged. But my skin did feel dry and tight after, as I expected. This is probably a bomb mask for oily skin but that’s just not me right now.

Glossier Moisturizing Skin Primer. I have used this one before but I don’t think I have written about it. It feels great going on and it does make my foundation apply more smoothly. But as far as extending the wear of makeup, I haven’t noticed any difference. It doesn’t claim to make makeup last longer, but I think that should be a primer’s responsibility. To me, this is an excellent non-SPF moisturizer (great to wear if you are being photographed).!/products/priming-moisturizer

Roses de Chloe. I don’t know much about perfume, but my nose says this one is floral and not overpowering. I think it’s a pretty daytime scent. I looked it up and it has notes of fresh cut roses, bergamot, rose essence, magnolia accord, white musk and amber if that helps with my lackluster review.

Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.NG Lipstick in Bitch Perfect. I have a Charlotte Matte Revolution Lipstick that I love, so I was excited to try this sample from her K.I.S.S.I.N.G line. It looked a little orange in the packaging, but went on pinky nude and gorgeous. I immediately texted a friend who has been on the hunt for the perfect nude and told her to check this one out. I’m normally not much of a nude lip wearer because my lips are thin and my skin is light but this had enough pink to actually work on me. It feels moisturizing and did not dry my lips out.


Glossier Balm Dotcom Universal Skin Salve. I have been using this on my chapped lips, elbows and a small curling iron burn on my hand and it is good ish. It is unscented and not greasy, which I love. This one is going to take up residence on my nightstand. Lips, burns, elbows and cuticles could benefit from daily use. I will probably buy one when it runs out.!/products/balm-dotcom

Korres Twist Lipstick Raspberry Trio. The shades of the three lip crayons in this collection are Delight (a pale pink with a slightly frosty finish), Grace (a brown-rose pink) and Charm (a vibrant peachy pink). They are easy to apply, decently pigmented (not too sheer, not too opaque) and give a shiny finish. I really like these lip crayons for quick, polished lip looks.  Korres seems to have a new Raspberry Twist line but the colors are different. You can find the colors I have in a set with three other colors or sold individually on eBay:

Mr. Bean Coffee Bean Scrub. This body scrub that I was gifted contains ground coffee beans, coconut oil, vitamin E and sea salt. It smells incredible and man, does it make your skin smooth. It will temporarily stain your skin coffee color if you don’t scrub it off but you should be fine if you use exfoliating gloves. Caffeine is supposed to help with cellulite (not sure how scientifically sound that is) and any exfoliation helps with dry skin. It’s sold out on their website right now but you might be able to find it elsewhere:

Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze & Glow in Light to Medium. I have been coveting this powder bronzer/highlighter duo since it came out. The bronzer is neither too warm nor too cool, so it can work as both a bronzer and a contour. It blends beautifully into the skin. The highlighter gives a champagne colored candlelight glow–nothing too obvious or glittery. The packaging is gorgeous and the product is, as Charlotte would say, “divine.”

My Christmas was wonderful, not because of the gifts (although they were all awesome) but because of the people I was able to spend it with. I hope everyone else has had a happy, peaceful and love-filled holiday season.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Feelin’ So Good

I like feel-good things. For me, that includes funny movies, beach days, soft serve and lunch dates with my mom. It means getting enough sleep, finishing a good run, reading a great book, and gong to happy hour with my friends. It also means wearing the clothes/makeup/hair that make me feel my best. I’ve had an amazing last few years and I feel really good about myself, my business, and my life in general. So I like my outside appearance to reflect that. It’s not a superficial thing at all–it’s quite the opposite.

I’ve come up with a list of beauty/fashion related things that make me feel my best, and I encourage you to make your own list. Why? Because it’s fun!

I Feel My Best When:

* My hair is wavy and big. Magazines tell me I’m fighting nature and should lovingly embrace my curly hair, but I don’t like the way it looks it on me. (Funny how they never tell people to embrace their naturally oily skin or emphasize their rosacea, isn’t it?) I like my hair best when I’ve straightened it with a round brush and blow dryer, and let the ends curl. And I am big hair girl for life. Volume at the crown (not the sides) is the most flattering for my face shape, so I say tease it up.

* My lashes are black and thick. I was lucky enough to be born with somewhat long, thick lashes, but I like them even more when they are coated in mascara. I can get a good fake lash effect from the layering of a few different mascaras, but I also love falsies. I tend to only wear them when I’m going out, but I always love the look when I do.

* My skin is tan. Although I am mostly Italian, my skin is light. I lived in Florida for a few years and had quite the tan going, so I know I can get much darker than I am, but I refuse to do that to my skin anymore. The risk of skin cancer and the guarantee of skin damage/premature aging has caused me to give up sunbathing (those beach days I referred to always feature me covered in SPF 30 or higher, frequently re-applying). I do, however, have a great airbrush tan woman who I go to when I’m feeling a little too pasty. She does an amazing job and if I keep up with daily moisturizing, the tan fades nicely.

* My clothes are form-fitting. I have what is, I am told, a curvy, petite figure. If I wear outfits that are loose or shapeless, I either look lost in them, or ten pounds heavier. So I’ve found that clothes that skim my shape–not cling to it for dear life–look best on me. I tend to go for pencil skirts and 1940s style silhouettes. Skinny jeans, shorts, A-line dresses, and cap sleeves are styles that don’t work on me, so I avoid them. It’s not about hating parts of my body, it’s about wearing clothes that flatter the areas that I like.

* My hair has layers. Without layers, my long hair just looks blah. But if I cut the overall length too short, it doesn’t work with my bone structure. So the happy medium is long hair, lots of layers. It also gives it a style without me having to do much to it, which is wonderful.

* My eye makeup is contoured. I have several makeup looks that I love, but I have to admit that the most flattering eye makeup look for my eye shape and size is a contoured look. I have pretty big eyes, so accentuating that seems to work well on me. A darker color slightly above the crease (because my eyes are deepset), dark at the lashline and off-white liner in the waterline does good things for these peepers.

* My toenails are red. During my Florida years, I of course always wore opened-toed shoes. I used to switch up the polish colors whenever I felt like it. One night, I was out with some friends, and my toenails were painted red. Whatever jackass I was talking to at the bar said to me “I like the red polish. A girl should always wear red polish on her toes, I think it’s sexy.” I remember nothing about this guy, never dated him or ever saw him again, but for some bizarre reason, that comment stuck with me. Since then–and we’re talking about seven years here–I have only worn red polish on my toes. I think it had nothing to do with what he thought, and more that I agreed with the statement. If another guy says the same thing to me this summer, but he says it about pink polish–guess what? I’m still wearing red. It’s my signature toenail polish color.

* I’m at my high school weight. This is not a crazy statement, because I have only ever weighed 12 pounds more than I did in high school, so we are not taking about some unattainable number here. I feel best when I’m at that weight because that happens to be the number I hit when I am eating clean and exercising regularly. For some people, their high school weight might not be a number that is healthy for them now. I know people who were too thin in high school, and to get back to that now would not be good for their body. But for me, my healthy, strong, feel good weight happens to be the same that it was a decade plus ago. Two pounds more, I’m still good, and two pounds less, I’m still good. If I go any more in either direction (and keep in mind I am pretty small, so two pounds is more like eight pounds for some people) and I know I need to reevaluate what I’m doing.

* I’m wearing a perfume I love. Like Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, Thierry Muegler Alien, DKNY Green Apple, Vera Wang Princess, or Cacharel Amor Amor. Our sense of smell is the sense most closely tied to our memories, so that could be why I love these perfumes (and I love each one for different times of day, events, moods, etc.). A spritz or dab of one of these is usually the last part of my beauty routine before heading out, and it’s the little step that makes me feel completely “done up.”

* I have a shellac manicure. It doesn’t really matter what color, I just like the look of polished fingernails on me. Even if I’m wearing yoga pants, a white tank, and a baseball cap, I feel more put together if my nails are done. And shellac is the way to go! Shiny, chip-free, no maintenance nails? How could you not?

* I’m wearing heels. Most of the clothes I like to wear call for heels. And besides that, they make my legs look better. It’s the truth! I workout and eat healthy and I’m accepting about what I look like, but I can’t hate on that little boost I get from heels (no pun intended). Plus, anything that is going to make it easier for me to reach things is okay by me.

* I have good accessories on. Sometimes this means my hoop earrings, my Biggie necklace, or the sparkly ring my friend Carina gave me. But I’ve found that one or two accessories can really make an outfit. It’s the little things in life, isn’t it?

That’s my list! It’s a big day or night when I have all of these things going on, but I feel freakin’ great when I do. None of these things would make me happy if I wasn’t already happy, but for me, they are just a few more sparks of joy. The reason I say that is because I don’t believe that looking great alone will make you happy, and appearance isn’t the most important thing in life. But if it reflects what you feel inside, and/or gives you a little shot of confidence, why not go for it?

Have a beautiful day 🙂