Category Archives: Stash / Organization

In My Travel Makeup Bag: A Casual Weekend Away

Purchased – Press Sample – Affiliate Links

Travel Makeup Bag

I’m at my parents’ house this weekend, so I thought I’d do a quick post on what makeup I brought with me.  I packed lightly this time – it’s going to be a casual weekend at home for the most part, with two nice-but-not-fancy dinners.  My makeup-packing philosophy is to bring items that are small, light, non-breakable (usually this means creams instead of powders), and replaceable (in case I lose them – so, not too expensive and not limited edition).  I’m fairly relaxed on the “replaceable” criterion when I visit family, as if I leave something there, I’ll get it back eventually.  This weekend, I also tried to pack items I could apply with fingers so I’d be able to get away with minimal brushes – just powder, eyeliner, and cream blush/ cream contour.

Here’s the same photo as above, but numbered for reference:

travel makeup bag - numbered

  1. Skindinavia Finishing Spray (originally a gift from a friend; I actually finished it and refilled with Embryolisse rosewater toner). I love using a spray after powdering for a more natural finish.
  2. Ben Nye cream contour in 01 Neutral
  3. Decant of Make Up For Ever Face & Body foundation
  4. L’oreal Infallible in Sahara Treasure – this shade isn’t available in the US, but I love it. Can be patted on with fingers, so no eyeshadow brush required. // swatched here
  5. Wet n Wild single eyeshadow in Brulee
  6. Dollywink liquid eyeliner // swatched here
  7. Maybelline Master Shape Brow Pencil in dark brown. This is a repurchase – I just finished my first one! // reviewed here
  8. Maybelline One by One Volume Express mascara
  9. Too Faced Shadow Insurance
  10. L’oreal Gel Liner in Dark Slate // reviewed here
  11. Sample of Hourglass Mineral Veil primer
  12. Guerlain Illuminating & Mattifying pressed powder (sadly discontinued! I’m on my fourth compact and I have one backup left).
  13. TheBalm Time Balm concealer // swatched here
  14. Addiction Cheek Stick in Tea Rose  // swatched here
  15. Maybelline Color Elixir in Intoxicating Spice // reviewed here
  16. Dior Fluid Stick in Vie d’Enfer // reviewed here
  17. Canmake Cream Cheek in Clear Red Heart  // reviewed here

*The Skindinavia finishing spray was a gift from a friend; the Embryolisse rosewater spray was a PR sample; the Hourglass primer was a free sample from Sephora. I purchased all other items featured in this post. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

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In My Travel Makeup Bag – A Weekend Away for a Wedding

travel makeup-2

As promised, here’s a post on what’s in my travel makeup bag! I’ve done these posts before, but it’s been quite a while – time for an updated one. This time I’ll be away for three nights to attend my cousin’s wedding. I’ll be driving, so there are no airline-related restrictions (but I do tend to decant foundations to save space).

travel makeup - base products

First, base products.  I’m bringing two foundations – I’ve decanted some of my MUFE HD foundation (swatched here) into the larger jar. It’s shade 117 and 120 mixed, which is a good match at this time of year.  The small jar has MAC Studio Sculpt in NC20 (also a good match), which has fuller coverage – I recently got a sample, and I like it enough that I may purchase it.  I also have my standby powder, Guerlain Compact Meteorites in Teint Beige (I just opened up my third compact; my second one is almost finished, so I don’t want to travel with it – it’s more fragile now that there’s so much pan showing).  I also have a Skindinavia finishing spray (gifted to me by a lovely friend) — I’ve been preferring it to powder lately since my skin is so dry this winter! I will eventually review it.  And finally, I have a Clinique Airbrush concealer; it took me a while to warm up to this concealer, but now I find that I really love it for undereyes, brightening, and blemishes.

 travel makeup - blush, contour, highlight

Next, other face products.  I have two blushes with me – both rosy neutrals, but one cream and one powder.  I’ve really been loving my MUA cream blush in Yummy (reviewed here) lately – it’s very easy to wear and goes with everything, plus is easy to apply.  And, almost every time I travel I bring MAC Blushbaby, which is my long-time favorite neutral blush (you can’t see it in the photo, but there’s actually a noticeable dip in the pan at this point).  Lately, I’ve been using NYX Taupe to contour (see a comparison of all my contouring products here) – it’s also great for travel since it’s inexpensive, and thus I don’t need to worry about breakage.  And finally, I have Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light – review coming soon!

travel makeup - eyeshadow

I only brought a few eyeshadows – my trusty favorite, the discontinued Wet n Wild Greed Palette came along because it has one of my favorite matte blacks ever, and a great matte bone color that I use as a highlight shade.  The other four shades are okay, but those two are the reason I brought it.  I also have Armani Eyes To Kill 24 Smokey Copper (here’s myreview) and L’oreal Sahara Treasure Infallible – each of which is lovely as a wash, I’m not planning anything complicated. I’ve been skipping eyeshadow primer lately because my eyelids are dry (which is why I went for eyeshadow that doesn’t really need primer), but I still brought a MAC Paint Pot in Soft Ochre to use as a base just in case.

travel makeup - eye and brow

My other eye and brow related items are pictured at the top of this post, but here they are again.  We have mascara, pen-style black eyeliner (easy to remove!), the Rimmel Taupe Scandal Eyes liner (for my lower lashline – still totally loving this!), and a selection of brow products – I just couldn’t choose! The Anastasia powder is quicker and easier to apply, but I prefer the result of the Browlash pen.

travel makeup - lips

Lips are probably my favorite, so I brought some options.  If I decide to go for a red lip for the wedding, I have Rouge d’Armani 400 (swatched here – the positive comments about it helped me choose it out of my selection of red lipsticks!). If I go vampier, I have Black Radiance Brandywine (swatched here) – which is also a great daytime lipstick worn as a stain.  I brought two of the L’oreal Glossy Stain dupes – Berry Perseverance and Lilac Every After (which is a my lips but better shade on me). I also have an actual YSL Glossy Stain – #1 Violet Edition – but it’s hiding in my purse.  A tinted balm, and my favorite (non-tinted) balm round out the lip selection.

All of this is inelegantly stuffed into a very unattractive bag:

travel makeup bag

I hate the design, but the bag is the perfect size for a weekend trip, and the separate compartment on top is just the right size to hold miscellaneous tools (eyelash curler, mascara guard, pencil sharpener, and tweezers).

Brushes live in my slightly dirty brush roll – I always travel with full size brushes rather than travel brushes these days:

travel makeup brushes

And that’s it! Hopefully I haven’t forgotten something crucial; if I have, there’s a drugstore nearby!

affiliate links - small

My Makeup Brush Collection

Makeup Brush Storage

Makeup Brush Storage

Today, I have brush picture spam for you! Above, is my brush storage – I started off with the two containers on the left, for face and eye brushes. However, I now have too many burhses for just those two containers, and they’re also too tall for some of my brushes – so I’m using a wine glass and a shot glass as well (the shot glass works surprisingly well for travel-length handles).

On to the pictures! This post is going to be mostly pictures with minimal text, but I’d be happy to answer questions in the comments.  I apologize that several brushes are dirty; they’re never all clean at the same time – since most of them are clean right now, I though this was a good time to take photos.

First, Hakuhodo brushes – these have a reputation for being very expensive – and some are! – but most of the eye brushes I love are in the $15 – $25 range.

Hakuhodo J110, K020, G5533 BkSL, G5529 BkSL, J515, G5515 BkSL, K005, K005, K007, 270

Hakuhodo: J110, K020, G5533 BkSL, G5529 BkSL, J515, G5515 BkSL, K005, K005, K007, 270

I would recommend all of these brushes except the G5533, which is too floppy to be useful. My favorites are the K020 blush brush, the J515, G5515, and K005 eye brushes, and the 270 lip brush.

Here’s a close up of the eye brushes & the lip brush:

Hakuhodo G5533 BkSL, G5529 BkSL, J515, G5515 BkSL, K005, K005, K007, 270

Hakuhodo G5533 BkSL, G5529 BkSL, J515, G5515 BkSL, K005, K005, K007, 270

My MAC eye brushes are also staples, and I sometimes use my 188 to contour with eyeshadow.

MAC 188, 239,239, 219, 217

MAC 188, 239,239, 219, 217

Notice anything odd about the two 239s?

I have two Shu Uemura eye brushes – they’re the most expensive eye brushes I own, but they really are fantastic.

Shu Uemura natural 10, 5r

Shu Uemura natural 10, 5r

I recently bought some short-handled Sonia Kashuk brushes, mainly because I was intrigued by the shape of the 3rd brush – I haven’t figured out what to do with it yet though. It’s very small – about an inch across; you can see it in the shot glass in the first picture in this post.  The 4th one is a fantastic pencil brush, though.

Sonia Kashuk set

Sonia Kashuk set

Here are some miscellaneous eye brushes:

Laura Mercier Finishing Eye Brush, Monda Brush , Smashbox brush

Laura Mercier Finishing Eye Brush, Monda Brush (from beauty
supply store), Smashbox brush (from unknown source)

Benefit Get Bent brush, L'oreal brush x2, spoolie

Benefit Get Bent brush (discontinued), L’oreal brush (comes with
gel liner) x2, spoolie

Sephora brow brush, Maybelline cream eyeshadow brush

Sephora brow brush (trimmed a bit), Maybelline cream eyeshadow brush

Moving on to (mostly) face brushes, here are the mixed brands.  I adore the Ecotools Bronzer brush especially, it’s wonderful for buffing in powder.

Ecotools Bronzer brush, Sigma F80, Sonia Kashuk Medium Angled Multipurpose brush, MUFE 24S,  Illamasqua Blending Brush 2

Ecotools Bronzer brush, Sigma F80, Sonia Kashuk Medium Angled Multipurpose brush,
MUFE 24S, Illamasqua Blending Brush 2

I have several Real Techniques brushes; I really like them, but tend to find myself using them for purposes other than what they are intended for. The crease brush (second from right) is a great concealer brush, and the brow brush (right) is terrible as a brow brush, but great for using dry eyeshadow to on the upper lash line.

Real Techniques brushes

Real Techniques brushes – combined from various sets

I also love for ELF Studio brushes.  My favorite is the eye contour brush (third from the right) – it’s just fantastic at laying down a cream base. I actually have a second one, which was hiding for this photoshoot.

ELF Studio Complexion Brush, Blush Brush, Small Tapered Brush, C Brush, Contour Brush, ELF Mineral Blending Eye Brush,  ELF Glitter Eyeshadow Applicator

ELF Studio Complexion Brush, Blush Brush, Small Tapered Brush, C Brush, Contour Brush,
ELF Mineral Blending Eye Brush, ELF Glitter Eyeshadow Applicator

I also have a handful of ELF’s $1 concealer brushes that I use as lip brushes.

And, that’s my brush collection! I think that only ones missing are that hiding ELF contour brush and the retractable Maybelline lip brush I keep in my bag.

Makeup Stash & Organization: October 2012

My last post on my makeup stash / organization was several months ago, so I filmed a video and took photographs today!

Here’s the video:

And pictures:

Brushes, drugstore lipstick
Mostly high end lipstick, skincare

Eyeshadow drawer
Top drawer – some inexpensive earrings, rings, plus tweezers & perfume samples

lip products
Eye products
blush & highlighter

foundation, powder, contour

false lashes, beautyblender

Any questions about products or anything else – just ask!


This post is from Project Swatch. All rights reserved.

My Nail Polish Collection Photo Spam

Flakies & Duochromes
I finished swatching my nail polish collection last week.  Here’s some photo spam of all the swatch sticks! This is about 260 polishes, and doesn’t include my frankens – I have about 100 mini bottles, which are also swatched, but separately.
red orange pink

yellow green blue


purple, beige

sheers, whites, blacks
linear holos, scattered holos, chromes, magnetic polishes


Glitter close ups:

I’m thinking about doing some posts where you can see the names of each polish, I would break them down by color / special finish – let me know if you’re interested in that type of post.


This post is from Project Swatch. All rights reserved.

In My Manicure Bag

nail polish supplies - in my manicure bag

Today, I thought it would be fun to take a look at what’s in my manicure bag! I do all my nail polishing and swatching outside, so I have everything I need together in a medium – sized Sephora bag, so I can head outside any time and have everything I need with me.  I just grab the polish (or polishes) I want, my bag, and I’m ready to go!

acetone, homemade remove plus

One of the most important things I have with me is nail polish remover. I have two types in my bag: pure acetone, and a homemade version of Zoya’s Remove+.  I usually use the homemade version of Remove+ to remove nail polish, because it’s more moisturizing than pure acetone – it’s made of acetone, glycerin, and water, and I learned how to make it from this post on the blog Loodie Loodie Loodie.  I use the acetone for stubborn polishes (usually glitter), for my pedicures, and to clean up the edges of my manicures with a brush.

My favorite top & base coats

My favorite top & base coats

I also keep my favorite base coat and top coat in my nail bag.  I’m still using Essie First Base basecoat (which I posted about quite a while ago). I find that most topcoats make my nail polish peel off in sheets, so I usually skip topcoat. If I’m wearing a polish that requires topcoat (for example, a rough glitter), NYC Grand Central Station is my favorite – it rarely leads to the peeling nail polish problem.

My favorite white & black creme polishes

My favorite white & black creme polishes

Several of the polishes I wear require a coat of a solid color first. Neons work alone, but pop more with white underneath, and some duochromes look best over black.  I find it convenient to just leave my favorite white and black creme in my manicure bag all the time. My current favorite white is Milani High Speed Fast Dry in White On the Spot, but I’d love to find something a bit less streaky. And I love Wet n Wild Wild Shine in Black Creme – it’s one coat of perfect black glossiness.

Decanted Blue Cross cuticle remover, nail polish thinner, quick dry spray

Decanted Blue Cross cuticle remover, nail polish thinner,
quick dry spray

Some miscellaneous but important items: my favorite cuticle remover is Blue Cross, but it’s very watery and hard to use.  Then, I read the wonderful idea of putting it in a clean nail polish bottle. I just brush a little on my cuticles, let it sit for a minute, then gently push them back.

I can’t believe I didn’t own nail polish thinner until Mimi at Makeup Withdrawal wrote about it a few months ago.  Her post convinced me that I needed it immediately – and really, I did. If you ever paint your nails, go buy nail polish thinner – you’ll be glad you did! It’s only a couple dollars (I think mine was $4?) and it makes thick, gloopy, and aging nail polish like new again. You can even use it to revive totally dried out nail polish.

The quick dry spray is not a necessity; I’m not sure how much it actually speeds up the drying process. However, it’s fairly moisturizing. When my fingers are too dried out from nail polish removal to photograph, I paint them anyway. Then afterwards, I spray them with the quick dry spray – it moisturizes them enough that they look fine in photographs. Once the nail polish is 100% dry, I can apply a cuticle cream (I don’t photograph nail polish when it’s wet, but I photograph it when the top layer is dry, but it’s still dentable).

Nail tools

Nail tools

And finally, some tools. Cotton squares for removing nail polish; the ELF $1 concealer brush is my clean-up brush; an orangewood stick for pushing back my cuticles, and a no-name glass file I got for $2 at Big Lots.

Below is the bag I use. I usually have a couple more items than those listed above kicking around in it – some nail polishes, a swatch wheel, a sharpie to label the swatch wheel, along with various other bits and pieces.

manicure bag

Do you have a manicure bag, or nail art supply bag? How do you organize your nail stuff? I’d love to see!