If you ever watched Sex and the City then you probably remember the episode where Charlotte admits that she actually enjoys a night home alone where she can sit with her magnifying mirror, uninterrupted, so she can stare at her pores.

I like doing the exact same thing (but not with a magnifying mirror, I’m not a masochist.)

January was all about decluttering. I’d say I did a 65% effort with another 20% just waiting for warmer weather. The other 15%? That’s what the spare bedroom with a door is for.

February is going to be all about learning how to use the fancy makeup I own. As part of my decluttering I tossed a lot of old expired crappy makeup and stuff I have either never used, or never would use (bright gold liquid eyeliner and sticky red lip gloss being two of the tossing victims.) I realized I have a lot of good stuff, either from gift cards, samples, Birchbox, or stuff I have bought on the suggestion of others. Bad news? I barely know how to use any of for its true intended purpose or to its true potential.



I’ve scoured beauty blogs (whew, those are kind of exhausting), Pinterest (in the case of makeup tutorials, PINTEREST LIES) and YouTube for how-to videos. I plan on visiting a few makeup counters for a few bonus tips and tricks when I have the time/ability. I’m certainly not going to wear a lot more makeup a lot more often, but when I do put it on I want to wear it right. I tried out a really fancy eyeshadow tutorial tonight and realized I’m not cut out for 30 minutes an eye so I only did one. (The special effects made my 30 minutes of effort feel way more satisfying.)

Here’s what I have used for a long time that I would buy again/always have on hand:

Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer. I also really like the illuminating one but only for special occasions. The illuminating one doesn’t come in oil free so it feels a lot heavier which, sad.

Blotting tissues. I don’t really care the brand. I think the ones I have now are Boscia.

NARS blush in Orgasm (seriously, looks good on everyone.)

Urban Decay Naked One and Two palettes (One has a more equal number of matte/shimmer while Two is really shimmery.)

Make Up Forever HD setting powder (If you’re going to be having your picture taken? THIS.)

Fresh Sugar Lip Balm, my favorite color is Rose but the straight up colorless balm works wonders as well. (I have a tube in every bag and room in my house.)

Benefit Eye Bright pencil (I put this in the corners of my eyes and on my browbone and BOOM. Wide awake. I like this one better than Benefit’s High Brow)

Smashbox BB cream (this one is still earning its wings, but I’m pretty sure it will be one that sticks around.)

Clarisonic (Enough said. Everyone should get one of these when they turn 21. Period.)

Honorable mention goes to The Balm Hot Mama Blush, it’s really similar to Orgasm but with more of a warm golden shimmer.

I’m not a total nail polish crazy, but I do love Orly Bonder. Best basecoat ever. Their Sec N Dry is good stuff too.

My lashes are already pretty well behaved so I couldn’t really suggest one mascara over another, but I really like Tarte’s Lights Camera Lashes. If there’s anything I’ve tried a ton of, it’s mascaras, in fact, I could do a whole post dedicated to mascara. Concealer? It’s between Benefit’s erase paste (40% of my vote) and Cargo One Base (60% of my vote).

I am a sucker for samples which is why Birchbox day is one of the best days of the month for me.  I could do snow angels in makeup samples if you gave me the opportunity. Those little tester boxes where you get five smaller versions of bestselling products for $15? Those are my crack. When Sephora has holiday specials of best selling mini mascaras or eyeliners? WHOO!  I once tried the Boscia black mask which Shireen swears by but it ripped every hair out of my face including the ones I wanted on my face so I never did that to myself again.  Queen Helene’s Mint Julep mask is cheap and seems to work pretty well but it smells like sulfur which is gross (the smell doesn’t wash off either.)


Queen Helene and her Royal Mint Julep


Let’s talk about the GLAM GLOW Super-Mud Clearing Treatment. I was reading over the package at Sephora when an adorable girl with the hair I dream said “I love that stuff! Have you tried it?” The box said things like “vacuum extraction” and “sebum” so I was a little wary of her glowing endorsement. “WANT ME TO MAKE YOU A SAMPLE?” she asked.


Back to Charlotte and examining her pores, Cody is watching a basketball game with friends tonight so it’s just my pores and me. I busted out the sample. She told me it goes on dark grey, dries to a light gray and wherever it managed to suck crap out of your skin (blackheads, oil, general grossness) it would turn black (which sounds terrifying doesn’t it?) I smoothed it on, a little minty, a little smelly but not terrible.


It dried in about 10-15 minutes and THERE THEY WERE. The little black spots where supposedly garbage had been sucked out of my skin. Well played Super-Mud, I’m intrigued.


I rinsed it off with a washcloth and warm water and YOU GUYS. Those little black spots on my nose in the above photo? Those were blackheads that are now GONE. I actually look dewy, refreshed and glowy! I’ve never had a mask, face wash or facial anything leave me looking this…good. To be honest every other mask I’ve ever used leaves me looking like I just ran around the block and slammed my face into a brick wall. NOT THIS ONE. Is it worth the $60 price tag? I can tell you I would not have been disappointed had I actually paid for it. (But really, you should have a Clarisonic before Super-Mud.)


I feel I should also mention the red lipstick. That’s new too. I love red lipstick and this one may be my new favorite. It’s actually a pencil and it stayed on through washing my face (twice) as well as eating and drinking. I’m not going all in just yet and say I’m 100% on it but it’s looking VERY promising. It’s by Bite and the color I have on is pomegranate.

So there you go. This is the stuff I would tell you about if we went into Sephora together. I love makeup, but I don’t wear it a lot nor am I an expert at putting it on. You could say I’m realistic! Relateable! And over the next month I’m going to be learning a lot more about it.

Next time you’re by a Sephora get a sample of the Super-Mud and let me know how it goes.

What is/are your favorite beauty product(s) you would tell me about if we went shopping together?

(nothing sponsored. no freebies, just some samples. links are affiliate.)



  1. I totally just bought the super mud at Sephora on my trip to Augusta last weekend, but I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. Now I’m super stoked about the super mud!!!

    Casey Reply:


    Chrysta Reply:

    @Casey, Have you seen my Instagram today??? I got back from the 6419.2 mile road trip, left for Augusta, revamped the landscaping at my house there so we can sell it, came home and put on a Pinewood Derby, did 7 bajillion loads of laundry, and helped Hudson build an ancient Roman aqueduct in Provence. Super mud tomorrow!!

    Casey Reply:

    @Chrysta, If you had time to read this and comment twice you could have at least smooshed it on your face and let it dry during aqueduct assembly.

    Chrysta Reply:

    @Casey, You live in a girl house, where such things are viewed as natural and normal. I live in a boy house, where I have to hide out if I want to put a mask on my face or deep condition my hair. I risk weeks of commentary otherwise.

    Casey Reply:

    @Chrysta, Touche.

  2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that lipstick on you! Did you use a liner with it? And does it go on the way a regular matte lipstick does and feel dry after a while? I’ve been wearing the Boots brand from target and loving it, and I put a little gloss over it so it doesn’t feel so dry.

    And you’ve almost convinced me to invest in a clarisonic. They need a junior version for people who want to try it out. (And should hire you as an ambassador!)

    Also, check out the makeup bag remix by Make Up For Ever- https://www.facebook.com/MAKEUPFOREVERUSA/app_580985371918304 – they go through the makeup that you have and show you how to use it! I’m going to be doing the one in LA, will let you know how it goes!

    Casey Reply:

    @Linz, I used Make Up Forever’s invisible liner, I really like it for red lipstick. And NO! It never felt dry and it’s not even all that matte. They’re not kidding about the pigment either, one thin layer and you are COVERED.
    Clarisonic-GET ONE.
    I’ll have to check out the remix thing, see if Indy is cool enough for such a thing.

  3. I would buy the clarisonic but you’re last recommendation I followed didnt go so well for me…(Brazilian) ow! ????

    Casey Reply:

    @Stacey, Well of course it hurts! But it was TOTALLY WORTH IT AFTER RIGHT?

  4. I so want to love and find a lipstick color, but it is the one thing I shy away from. By the way, I miss you and loves you.

    Casey Reply:

    @lu, Ah, you are at the distinct advantage of having lovely lips without lipstick my friend!
    I miss you to. And love you more.

    lu Reply:

    @Casey, That is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. Thank you for making me smile.

    Casey Reply:

    @lu, Come close, lemme smell you.

  5. I have to try this mud mask. I am fascinated by your picture, can’t stop looking at it.

    Also, I’m on the quest for the perfect shade of wedding lipstick. And perfect wedding everything, but I think it’ll take me a month or so to find the lipstick.

    Now I just feel bad for the makeup people who have to watch me try them allll.

    Casey Reply:

    @ClassyFabSarah, Uh, fascinated by which picture? The during or after? 😉
    My makeup girl down here is AMAZING if you ever want to see her while you’re around.

    Also, Jentura at the MAC store in Keystone is AMAZING.

  6. Favorite Beauty Product is Anthelios SX SPF 15 w/Mexoryl. It’s not thick, it’s a great moisturizer before you apply makeup. Some of La Roche Posay’s other Anthelios sunscreen/moisturizers are way too thick but this one is perfect for everyday use. They are now starting to sell this over the counter too!

    Casey Reply:

    @lr, I’ve never heard of that before, I do love a good moisturizer with SPF! Thanks for the recommendation!

  7. Just curious…did you use the Glam Glo SUPER MUD Clearing Treatment, because your link went to a different Glam Glow product, the Tingling & Exfoliating Mud Mask. I want to make sure I get the one you used. Thanks!!

    Casey Reply:

    @Beth, Good catch! Thank you so much! Yes, I used the clearing treatment which is in the white jar but I was linked to the black one. I’ve updated the links and PLEASE let me know how it works for you! I’m so curious about it!

  8. So wish I could use the NARS blush…but it makes me break out….sigh. I will try the other one you mentioned. Hopefully that will work!

    Casey Reply:

    @JMH, That is terrible sad news. I hope the other one doesn’t give you grief!

  9. I loved the picture where your eyes looked huge thanks to your fantastic new make up skills (or the distortion)! LOL. I don’t know much about makeup either and every once in a while, I wish I did and want to learn but mostly I am happy not to bother. What I really want to know is a good mascara that doesn’t come off in my eyes and bug me!

    Casey Reply:

    @Scarlet, Yeah, that’s what I’m trying to do. Know how to do it when the time comes.
    I’ve only had a few mascaras really bug me, I have a friend with tender eyes, I should ask her about what she likes.

  10. Love this post. I go through phases of wearing make up. Right now, not so much. I love wearing mascara, but have never found a product I like to remove it. I’ve mentioned waving to you in Indy when I’ve driven from Chicago to Bloomington. I’m now in Bloomington. I wish we could make up shopping together and eat decadent cupcakes!

    Casey Reply:

    @Amy, Mary Kay oil free eye makeup remover is my personal favorite, have you ever tried it?

    There’s a See’s Candy in the same mall as Sephora…you know, if the stars ever align.

  11. Have you read The Happiness Project? It sounds sort of like what you are doing–something different each month for a year. I don’t think she spent a lot of time on makeup….but that is a good place to start. 🙂 Of course, I don’t wear make up at all for too many reasons to list and sometimes wish I were a tad more “girly”

    Casey Reply:

    @Liss, So funny! You’re not the first person to tell me to read that book. I haven’t, but apparently a lot of what I’m doing is right in line with what Gretchen writes about.

    Liss Reply:

    @Casey, She also wrote a “sequel” called Happier at Home. Both are good and quick reads. 🙂

  12. I love love love your tips because I often buy them and am not disappointed. I loved my naked palette and my mia2 (though I haven’t seen remarkable results yet, I know they must be coming!)

    I love benefits “watts up” highlighter and “yes they’re real” mascara. Have been using the full size versions for a year and the minis are sephoras birthday gift this year!

    I’m curious about this mask but not for $60… I may try to swindle a sample!

    Let me know when you find a good face lotion. My skin is sensitive, dry and breaks out. It sucks to find a good lotion!

    Casey Reply:

    @Marta, I use the “yes they’re real” right now too! It may have been you that suggested it to me.
    I don’t have super sensitive skin but Shireen does and I think she’s been really happy with Boscia products.

    Casey Reply:

    @Marta, How long have you been using your clarisonic? I’d say it took about a month to have consistent results, and now I can tell when I don’t use it. My skin is just well behaved which is SO NICE.

    Marta Reply:

    @Casey, Its possibly that I recommended you the mascara, because I often recommend that one!

    I got it for xmas so its been a little over a month. I feel like I can tell on my nose that it’s better, but my cheeks and chin still get some red spots!

  13. I definitely need a good pamper me day. Haven’t done anything like this for years.

    Casey Reply:

    @Amanda Jillian, Plan it now! YAY!

  14. OH Lordy, I’m going for it. I just spent $75 on face-clensing. Seriously. That’s huge for me, my face and my usual up-to-$16 budget. With a 5 month old son, my face has gone back to looking rather like the middle schoolers I teach; my pregnancy “glow” is alllll gone. Here goes nothin…!

    Casey Reply:

    @Melissa, Ooh! What’d you get what’d you get!?