Lucite Dreams on an Acrylic Budget

Moving is my absolute least favorite “adulting” thing to do. I have done a lot of it in the past two years, but I am finally settled in a new place with my younger sister. We have a beautiful, modern, two bedroom near both of our jobs and the cool spots Uptown and Downtown. I successfully removed the final moving boxes from my bedroom last week, and have been working on pulling the space together.

Of course most of my focus has been on the area where all the magic happens…my vanity. Last night, being the handy woman that I am (insert sarcasm here), I hung the shelves I purchased last week.

Please ignore the fact that I’m hanging out in the mirror.

If you know me at all then you know I am obsessed with anything acrylic, lucite, or basically see through. There is just something about it that looks so classy to me. So when I saw these acrylic shelves at The Container Store I knew I was going home with them. I initially went in there for more storage drawers or possibly even new ones (lusting over the cliché units that Desi Perkins has), but when the shelves caught my eye it was a done deal.

Eventually I would like to do a full overhaul of my happy space, but I am taking it a few items at a time. I like to mix modern with vintage and sometimes it takes some hunting to track down the latter. Needless to say I have never met an antique store I didn’t like! Fortunately for me I found my French Provincial vanity on Craigslist for 100 bucks! That was back in 2012 and since then pieces like it have sold for triple. Look out for my next post on bedroom décor and I am sure there will be a vintage find included.

I hope you all have an amazing rest of your week!

Acrylic Shelves

Metal Marquee Letter

Brush Cup with Blush and Freckles

Glass Brush Cups

 

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The Fabulous World of Skincare Part II

Last week I shared what it takes to get my face squeaky clean. So what happens when I have to rebalance my skin’s PH? That is where my superstar arsenal of skin care products comes in.

Before I worked at Sephora I had no idea what an essence was. I would see the fancy bottles and just assume they weren’t worth the price tag. Man, was I wrong! I have tried two since receiving products in gratis, but the one I’ve liked the most is by SK-II. This skin treatment essence is created to balance the skin’s hydration levels and support cell renewal which is important for combatting wrinkles and other signs of aging. You can read more on SK-II’s essence here. It is the first thing I apply after cleansing my skin and it just makes it feel smoother and ready to accept more products.

Next I apply my Caudalie Radiance Serum. This serum helps shatter melanin particles which are responsible for the pigmentation of dark spots. I have several post acne marks and I will say since using this serum they have continuously gotten lighter without disturbing the natural pigmentation of my skin. Caudalie’s secret weapon for making this serum great is viniferine. This natural ingredient derived from grapevines is 62 times more powerful than Vitamin C. Check out more info on this miracle serum here.

Because you can see my dark circles from outer space, an eye cream is a must! I use It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye. It contains high quality ingredients like hyaluronic acid and peptides which have been proven to improve under eye brightness. With two jobs and a weekly blog to run I never sleep so this product is my knight in shining armor! This product also de-puffs and smooths.

I swear this post is in no way sponsored by It Cosmetics…they have no idea who I am! They just happen to have great products that my skin really likes. As my nightly moisturizer I’ve been using It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream. This product is a stand out for me because it can also be used on the neck. I’m 30 now and one of my biggest fears is having a “turkey neck” when I am older. Needless to say, if it will firm the neck and face I am all about it! Niacin, peptides, collagen, and other anti-aging ingredients make this product a powerful force against wrinkles and dehydration.

My skin can be finicky now that my biggest worry isn’t P. Acne. I don’t always use the same source of moisturizer all the time. Aside from my Confidence in a Cream I really like facial oils. Seems counter intuitive for an oily skin type to place oil on the skin but it actually makes me less oily. Oils trick the skin into producing less surface oil because it thinks it more than hydrated when there is an extra layer of oil on top. I love Drunk Elephant’s Virgin Marula Oil. It’s light weight so I don’t feel greasy and I’m convinced it helped my usually sparse eyebrows grow a bit.

More recently I have been trying Noni Glow Oil by a new brand called Kora. Kora was developed super model Miranda Kerr. The oil is also light weight but it isn’t intended to be used alone. It’s basically a booster before using your regular moisturizer. I like it so far but I’m not in love with the smell. Luckily the scent doesn’t linger! I don’t know how long it will be part of my routine unless I start to see some amazing benefits, but I’ll stick with it to give it a fair chance.

When it comes to hydrating in the morning after my micellar water; I run back to good old Ole. Ole Henriksen that is. Ole created a line specifically for us oily beasts! The Counter Balance line combats oils by mattifying while still hydrating and balancing moisture levels in the skin. The Counter Balance Oil Control Hydrator uses botanicals and AHAs to reduce oil and still hydrate. This product can also act as a cosmetic primer improving the wear of foundation for up to 8 hours. How cool is that!

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The Fabulous World of Skincare Part I

I haven’t posted on skincare since 2015! Since I started work at Sephora (9 months ago) I have received tons on great skin care items in my Gratis. Gratis is just fancy (Italian) for free stuff. This has definitely helped me step up my skin care routine. I definitely do a lot more than I used to but that also comes with the knowledge of how to better care for my super sensitive, oily skin type. I’ve broken this post down into two parts so you don’t strain your eyes reading it all! Hope you enjoy Part I.



Cleansing

In the AM my routine is pretty minimal. Over the years I’ve learned that washing my face with hardcore cleansers in the morning does my skin no favors. So I just take a cotton round and use some micellar water to cleanse away any debris I didn’t catch the night before. I like Garnier most mornings, but my Caudalie water is awesome as well and it was free.99!

Nighttime Pre-Cleanse

I always remove my makeup. To me it’s like a layer of stuff that has be wiped away before cleansing. Most of the time I jump straight into my shower and use a nickel sized amount of It Cosmetics’ Bye Bye Makeup Melting  Balm. It is fantastic! It removes hard to get off mascara and/or lash glue. You can read more about its benefits here. On the occasion where I am feeling lazy or need a quick nap I reach for my Simple Skin Care makeup removing wipes. These do not cleanse as deeply as the balm, but they work at getting everything off the surface until you can cleanse your skin.


At night after I am ready to wash my day away I need a bit more help than my hands can give. That’s where my Clarisonic (complements of Sephora) comes in.  I’m currently using Skin Laundry Gentle Foaming Cleanser. I had never heard of Skin Laundry before I received this product in my Sephora Gratis; but I am glad I did. This cleanser is amazing! It is gentle but it cleanses my skin after makeup removal perfectly. It never leaves my skin feeling dried out or stripped. Skin Laundry is a niche brand founded by Asia native, Yen Reis.  You can read more about Yen and her brand here

When I need to exfoliate there is nothing like my Ole Henriksen Pore Balance Facial Sauna Scrub. I first heard of this brand before I worked for Sephora. I received a sample in my Sephora Play Box. Ole Henriksen is a Danish Esthetician who launched his skin care line after suffering from Cystic Acne himself. You can read more of Ole’s story here. This brand is amazing enough to give frequently to Sephora employees. I received this scrub about 2 weeks ago so it is relatively new to my routine, but I love it! The beads have the perfect amount of grit and it has a warming sensation as it goes onto your skin. This sensation intensifies (not uncomfortably) and then gradually fades to a cooling sensation.

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Dallas Gets a NYX Store!

Image Credit: northparkcenter.com

Receiving employment update emails from large cosmetic companies is part of my weekly norm. I have wanted to work for L’Oreal in particular for some time now and I get their updates all the time. Most of them are positions I am not qualified for at this time or in areas I have no desire to relocate to. Imagine my surprise when I open last week’s email and there are some new positions available in Dallas. Specifically at a location near my home with a brand I had no idea was coming to the DFW area. Seriously, I used to think that we never got anything because Houston seemed to always one up us. Apparently things are changing for “Baby New York” as my grandpa used to fondly refer to the big D. I by no means think we are on a New York status but the birth place of Neiman Marcus is on the up-rise.

Dallas’ Northpark Center is one of the largest shopping malls in Dallas proper, and getting bigger all the time. Joining us this Summer is NYX Cosmetics! Their stores have already graced other large cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Austin with their presence. My email from L’Oreal advertised management positions with the upcoming store. However, I have no intent to leave Sephora at this time. I’m kind of loyal like that! Although, that isn’t going to stop my makeup addicted self from shopping till I drop. If you live in the Metroplex will you be checking out the new NYX store? Let me know in the comments!

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Let’s Talk About Books Baby!

In the past I’ve kept this blog’s main focus on the beauty industry. While that is and will always be my first love; I love a lot of other things. Some of you may know that I got my Bachelor of Arts in English. I have always been enamored with a great story and a continued passion for writing. With that being stated, I am going to help this blog continue to flourish writing about what I view as beautiful. From my perspective writing is an art form and novels, poems, and short stories are the expression. I initially chose beautybymbell as my blog name because of my trade and my obsession with beauty products, but as we all know this is a highly saturated blogging market. I need to set myself apart and be true to myself so I am not changing the name but I’m shifting the focus of this blog to more lifestyle related content including the books I’m reading.

So far this month has been one of dramas for me when it comes to novel genres. I’m currently in the middle of reading a series by Lisa Gardner featuring a snappy female police sergeant named D. D. Warren. I actually started reading the books out of order until I figured out they were a series. I started with the fourth book Live to Tell and was hooked. Then I figured out I could get more D.D. by picking up the others so I went back to the beginning. Now I have finished the sixth book plus the novella in between books six and seven. The novella, aptly titled 7th Month tells a short story featuring a bored D.D. on desk duty at the precinct in the seventh month of her pregnancy. A bit of luck shows D.D. favor when a bumbling movie producer stops in looking for a consultant for his film.

D.D. initially accuses him of being a serial killer after he insults her rank by assuming she’s the receptionist. After the unpleasant exchange D.D. discovers that the guy is looking for a police consultant for his film and it pays a generous amount. She quickly decides to take on the role thinking of nursery money for her new born. She ends up getting a lot more than she bargained for when the previous consultant is bludgeoned to death and her team is assigned to the investigation. Shenanigans ensue from there as D.D. tries to catch a killer in the midst of a bunch of wanna-be famous actors.

This was overall enjoyable for a short look into D.D.’s pregnancy. Some other personal facts about the protagonist are revealed in this story that I don’t know if the next book will glaze over or not. However, I didn’t like how shaky the plot in this one felt when it came to the crimes committed and by whom. It just did not feel as authentic as Gardner’s previous full length novels. I guess I shouldn’t have had high expectations for a condensed D.D. book. In terms of characterization Gardner shines as she always does with well developed main and sub characters carrying out this loose plot line about a killer on a movie set. I give this one a B-. I enjoyed reading it but I don’t know that it’s pertinent to the course of events in book seven, entitled Catch Me.

When I am not reading the D.D. Warren books I often listen to audio books on the Overdrive app on my iPhone. If you haven’t used that app check it out! It’s a great one that easily connects you to audio and e-books from your local library. All you need is a library card and you’ll have access to some amazing titles. While I was waiting for 7th Month to arrive from Amazon; I randomly selected a book under the mystery/drama section. I had never heard of the author but before I read one of Lisa Gardner’s books I’d never heard of her either. The book was titled Among the Missing by Morag Joss. The novel is set in Scotland, U.K. as that is where the writer is from. Each of the narrators had a heavy accent, but were not difficult to understand. The book’s limited summary does not give any of the mystery of the story away, in fact it is almost misleading because there is a lot more going on that it reveals.

The story is told from three viewpoints, the first being Ron’s who has just been released from prison for negligent homicide. His former occupation was a school bus driver, until he fell asleep at the wheel one afternoon, killing six children and a pregnant teacher. Ron is a nomad with no place to call home. Despite that event being an accident even his sister will not take him in. She sends money which Ron takes to buy an old Land Rover which he drives around picking up hitch hikers to help himself regain some shred of humanity.

Silva and her husband Stephan are illegal immigrants. They have left a small village in a country that is not named to live in Scotland with their toddler, Anna. They live shrouded in secrecy in a trailer with a leaky roof.  They live in squalor with only hopes for a better life and fear that people will find out they do not belong. Stephan has plans that Silva deems extreme for establishing a new life.

The other female character, who’s real name the author does not reveal, is on a vacation with her new husband. They are staying in a hotel near the town Silva and Stephan live it. It is just across a large bridge. Although she is in her forties, she is newly pregnant. When she tells her husband, Cullen he is not happy at all and gives her an ultimatum. Either she can have a life with him or she can have the child but not both. Tortured at the thought of abortion she contemplates what her next move is. When the aforementioned bridge collapses one day, each of the main characters’ live intertwine. Each of them having a secret unspoken to the other. Assumptions and accusations flare as these three people struggle to figure out how to be whole again in the middle of a horrific event.

Without giving too much away from the novel I will say these things: it starts off slow so you have to stay with it to get to the better parts, you’ll be annoyed at the pregnant character who is given a fake name of Annabelle throughout the story, you will be furious with Silva at some point for being so hateful, and lastly you will be bewildered at the unanswered questions by the end of this book. Overall I give it a B+ for the eloquent switches of point of view, the descriptive nature of the novel itself, and the well developed characters that you will feel an attachment to.  Not an A for the frustrating ending and the subtle undertones that suggest women are weak creatures with no control over emotions.

 

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Poetry Prowling in Deep Ellum

Feeling inspired to begin writing again is not easy sometimes. With everything I have going on in my professional life right now; at times I feel that I am doing myself a disservice taking the time to pen this blog. However, I am a writer and if I stop writing all together I may never realize my full potential. At this point I could easily launch into an anecdotal story about my favorite college English professor but I’ll save those lines for another time. I’d rather tell you guys about this cool event I went to last week, completely spur of the moment, in Deep Ellum.

My younger sister is still in her adventurous 20s and has yet to experience the body betrayal that is 30. Seriously, I went to the doctor a few weeks ago and she told me I am exhausted all the time because I am Vitamin D deficient. Then the very next week I had Norovirus and was the most sick I’ve ever felt in my life. I digress. I’ve been to one other poetry slam with my sister, but that was last year. I enjoyed it the first time so naturally I was down to attend another.

We went to a small venue in Deep Ellum off Commerce Street (if any of you are familiar with Dallas) called Kemet Kitchen. Very chill vibes with healthy fare and a cute cocktail bar. All eyes were on the stage that evening though for this event hosted by Black Canvas. To my surprise there ended up being all types of acts taking the mic: singers, a 3 piece band, poets, and even a comedian. Despite some of the performances being lack luster; overall it was quite enjoyable.

The best of the evening had to be the featured poet Tro’Juan Henderson. His poems about love, admiration, and corruption had me snapping until my thumbs hurt. There was also an amateur poet that evening who struck a cord with me. Her poem “If I Love a Black Man” described every fear I’ve ever had in my adult life about committing to a Black man. For the life of me I cannot remember her name which is unfortunate because she was amazing. Needless to say I am glad I forced myself to miss my self imposed bed time that evening and partake in the arts Dallas has to offer.

Black Canvas does their events monthly. If you’re interested in checking them out click here.

Outfit information is featured on my Instagram @beautybym.bell

 

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Olive Juice Pictorial

Isn’t it ironic that we get all dressed up on Christmas Day, just to sit in our living room? I didn’t spend the whole day in my living room, but my closest friends do know what I look like without a full face of warpaint. However, they also know makeup is my one true love! Here is a look at the eye look I created that day: step by step. Products used will be listed below.

1: Scotch tape and NYX eyeshadow base in Skintone

2: Transition shade from the Melt Cosmetics Dark Matter Stack in Blurr

3: Melt Cosmetics Dark Matter Stack shade Enigma

4: Revlon Photoready Eye Art in shade Desert Dazzle (shadow end of the duo)

5: Sephora Collection shadow in the shade Snakeskin Dress over the liquid shadow

6: L.A. Splash Art-ki-tekt liquid liner

7: Josie Maran Enlightenment Illuminizing Veil as a brow bone highlight. Glitter end of Revlon Desert Dazzle as an inner corner highlight. House of Lashes Pixie Luxe lashes.

 

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“The” Bobbi is Out of Bobbi Brown

If you’ve been under a rock the past couple of days (or stuck holiday shopping inside the mall) let me shine some light on you. According to Allure.com, Bobbi Brown is departing from her namesake brand in 2017. Bobbi will be turning over the creative reigns to Peter Lichtenthal, Global Brand President of both Bumble and Bumble and Bobbi Brown. That means consumers can still get their hands on Bobbi’s best and most iconic (um…shimmer brick anyone?) products; however, Bobbi will no longer be the creative force behind new products for the brand. Miss Brown (who’s actually Mrs. Steven Plofker) has not commented on what her next endeavor in the beauty biz will be, but stay tuned! I have a feeling that Bobbi is going to throw us for a loop in 2017!

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Estée Lauder Picks Up Too Faced

Photo courtesy of: makeup.nowblogg.com

In my last article I told you guys all about Estée Lauder acquiring Becca Cosmetics, a brand best known for their highlighting powders. Well EL strikes again with another strategic purchase of cult-brand, Too Faced. Headquartered in Orange County, California the brand prides itself on uber cute packaging and “food themed” palettes. Lauder put down a cool 1.4 million which is the largest payment they have ever made for an acquisition. CEO, Fabrizio Freda cites Too Faced’s “unique feminine and Millenial communication focus” as a characteristic that compliments EL’s current brand portfolio. 

Want even more scoop on this new endeavor? Check out Allure’s article here.

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Lauder Acquires Another Small Brand

cosmetics-1543276_640If you aren’t a web stalker like myself, then you may not know that Estée Lauder has once again purchased a smaller, yet well-known (in partial thanks to Jaclyn Hill) cosmetics brand. The cosmetics giant acquired Becca from Luxury Brand Partners for what is being said is a hefty sum. Forbes touts “[the] search for the flawless face” as EL’s reasoning behind the purchase. My personal take on the matter…in the world of beauty it’s EL’s world and the rest of us just live in it. One of the oldest beauty companies, Lauder has been around since 1946 when screen sirens like Eva Gardner were all the rage. Having started with just four products in their arsenal; the Estee Lauder Companies now own over 30 beauty brands. Needless to say, Mrs. Lauter (may she rest in peace) has certainly earned her keep.

So what is Becca, also known for being a cruelty-free brand, saying about all of this? The official statement can be found on their website under their FAQs. “Our #BECCAbeauties are our guiding light. The past few years have been amazing and we have grown tremendously. We appreciate all of your support and love to help get us where we are today. As we continue on our journey, we are excited to join The Estée Lauder Companies family. With their extra support, we will be able to bring our products and vision to even more #BECCAbeauties worldwide.” Other cruelty-free brands such as Urban Decay and NYX have also joined the EL Companies and maintained their commitment not to test on animals. Will it be the same for Becca? Only time will tell.

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