All posts by Kathryn Sena

waxing strips

Quick Fix: Bliss Poetic Waxing Strips

I have dark hair, which unfortunately means that I feel the need to either wax or bleach above my upper lip. When I was a teenager, I opted to wax and since then I’ve stuck with it. At home it was pretty easy to do because I had a waxing kit, but once I got to college, the kit was covered in too much wax and was just too messy to bring to school with me.

I’ve been in school for almost three years now and have found a place close to campus that waxes. However, I don’t exactly love walking through campus after my wax with a bright red upper lip and I miss the days where I could wax in the comfort of my own home. Luckily, I don’t have to anymore because I’ve found Bliss Poetic Waxing Strips, which let me do my own waxing in my own room without any mess.

waxing strips
Looking for a kit to use from your brows to your legs? This is the one for you!
Waxing Strips
Bliss Poetic Waxing Strips for Face are the perfect quick fix.

 

I bought the set of eight strips for $12, but you can also buy a set of 20 for $25.  The strips are formulated with aloe vera, which kept my upper lip from being irritated. It also didn’t appear too red after using these strips. I love that these strips are simple to use – just rubs the strips between your hands to warm the wax, put them on the area where you want to remove the hair, rub the strip in the direction of the hair growth and then pull off the strip in the opposite direction. For an easy clean up after, the kit comes with oil that will remove any residue.

waxing strips
Check out the Bliss Waxing Starter Series

I got my kit at Sephora and will definitely be buying another one!

How do you take care of unwanted hair?

Photos: Sephora

Clarisonic

Get Clear Skin With Clarisonic

I had seen ads for the Clarisonic Skin Cleansing System everywhere, so I decided to head into Sephora to ask some questions. Little did I know, there are a whole variety of Clarisonic options to choose from. I ended up with the Mia 2, which I now consider a necessity.

Clarisonic
Clarisonic Mia 2 Cleansing System

If you’re not familiar, the various Clarisonic Skin Cleansing Systems work with your skin’s natural elasticity to remove impurities that traditional methods leave behind. The cleansing systems use a sonic frequency of more than 300 movements per second to remove six times more makeup and two times more dirt and oil that cleansing with your hands alone.

Clarisonic
Refreshing Gel Cleanser (comes with the Mia 2)

I saw this firsthand on the first night I used my Mia 2. I first washed my face with my normal cleanser and my hands, thinking that it was clean. But once I used the Mia 2, I saw just how much makeup was left on my face. The head of my Mia 2 became a brown/orange color from the leftover makeup and I instantly became horrified at how much makeup was really being left on my skin for all of these years!

Clarisonic
Deep Pore Brush Head

Although the Clarisonic line seems pricey, in the two weeks that I have been using my Mia 2, I’ve seen results. My breakouts have lessened and my skin is much more even. However, there is a purging period, which can take a week or two, so be prepared. During this time, you’re more likely to break out because you’re clogged pores are finally being opened and cleaned. Luckily, mine only lasted a week. That week wasn’t pretty, but my second week definitely makes up for it.

Make sure to wash the head of your brush regularly and change your brush head every three months. This is definitely a product that is worth the price!

Do you have a Clarisonic? I’m dying to hear if you love yours as much as I love mine!

Photos: Clarisonic

Smoky Eyes

Get Smoky Eyes with Almay

For some reason, I’ve never been able to master smoky eyes. I have a pretty steady hand but whenever I try to do it, neither of the eyes matches each other. However, I’ve found a pretty simple way to create a smoky eye with the help of Almay Intense i-Color Smoky–i Kit. If you have difficult creating a smoky eye look like I do, this is a great product to try.

Smoky Eyes
Almay Intense i-Color Smoky-i Kit

The kit comes in an adorable eye-shaped compact that allows for a simply three-step application process. Looking at the compact, you are able to tell which color goes where. The bottom shade in the kit is the darkest and so, you apply it from your lash line to your crease while blending it upwards. Then the middle part of the kit, which is the medium shade, goes right above the crease.  It has to be blended well in order to create a smoldering effect. Lastly, you apply the to lightest shade to your brow bone and the corners of your eyes.

Smoky Eye
Finally mastered the smoky eye!
Smoky Eye
Loving this look

No matter what your eye color is, this kit has a shade for you. You can find the perfect look for green eyes, hazel eyes, blue eyes and brown eyes. I use the brown eye kit and I love it. It’s not only simple to use, but it also goes on easily so you don’t need to apply a lot of it to get the right look. This is a definitely one of my “must” products and I’d suggest it for anyone who wants a smoky eye look.

Smoky Eyes
Blue eyes? These shades are perfect for you.
Smoky eyes
For brown-eyed girls, check out this kit.
Smoky eyes
Intensify your green eyes with these shades.
Smoky eys
Hazel eyes? This is the kit for you!

Have you mastered the smoky eye yet?

Photos: Almay

Prabal Gurung

Prabal Gurung for Target

Just like there was The Webster for Target and Jason Wu for Target, fashion designer Prabal Gurung is coming to Target next month. I cannot wait for his line to appear in Target stores on February 10 and I can assure you that I’ll be there snagging as many pieces of his as I can.

One of the reasons I am a loyal Target shopper is because of these limited designer collections. I love that they allow normal people to buy a famous designer’s pieces at a fraction of the usual price. With clothing and accessories between $13 and $200, there’s a wide range of items in this collection to buy.

Prabal Gurung
This yellow is perfect for warm weather!
Prabal Gurung
This dress is the perfect mix of cool and casual

Gurung’s collection for Target is full of bright colors and feminine prints making it the ultimate wardrobe for spring. From flirty dresses to bright patterns, I love everything that I have seen so far. His incorporation of color makes simple dresses youthful and fun. There are so many that I already have my eye on that I’m looking forward to seeing in the store.

Prabal Gurung
Be fun and flirty in this colorful dress
Prabal Gurung
This jacket adds a great pop of color to any outfit

I think a way to describe this collection is “fun adult.” With classically structured dresses and peplum tops, this collection has a lot of very clean lines that are seen all of the time in the office, but Gurung modifies the stuffy office look with color. He literally takes drab to fab and I think wearing some of his pieces in the office will literally and figuratively brighten anyone’s day.

Will you be counting the days to this collection?

Photos: Target

Forever 21 Cutout Shoulder Shirt

The Cold Shoulder: Shoulder Cutouts

The first time I saw shoulder cutouts was on an episode of Pretty Little Liars (my favorite show ever), and I was immediately intrigued. Who would have thought that a shoulder cutout on a denim shirt could look so good? The simple cutouts took a seemingly average denim shirt over the top to an edgier side. Since that episode, I’ve been keeping my eye on this style and it seems to be popping up more and more.

Forever 21 is a great place to look if you want to find a cute and wallet-friendly cutout top. Check out this cutout shoulder blouse or this collared cutout shoulder shirt.

Forever 21 Shoulder Cutouts Blouse
Forever 21 Cutout Shoulder Blouse
Forever 21 Shoulder cutouts Shirt
Forever 21 Cutout Shoulder Shirt

You can find this style at ASOS as well. ASOS’ cutout sweatshirt and cutout top are also great options.  If you head to Urban Outfitters, take a look at the cold shoulder knit top, cold shoulder chiffon blouse and the cold shoulder denim shirt.

shoulder cutouts urban outfitters
Urban Outfitters Staring at Stars Cold Shoulder Knit Top
shoulder cutouts urban outfitters white shirt
Urban Outfitters Pins and Needles Cold Shoulder Chiffon Blouse

However you wear it, a cutout shoulder is a great look that can add some spice to any outfit. I usually pair mine with jeans and boots or flats. Stay away from chunky necklaces because they’ll detract from your open shoulders, which is the whole point of the top!

Be on the lookout for this style, as it’s showing up more frequently. There are even some dresses now with shoulder cutouts, so this trend is definitely taking off.

Smashbox Try It Kit

Smashbox Try It Kit: Best Sellers

I love try it kits because they allow me to experiment with new products without paying a ton of money for them. These kits let you try out products in small sizes for a great price. Personally, I love buying try it kits from Smashbox. I just bought a new try it kit from Smashbox for $19.00 and I’m thrilled with it. Since I love the products so much, now I can commit to buying them in their full size without wondering if I’ll actually use them or not.

Smashbox Try It Kit
Smashbox Try It Kit
Smashbox Try It Kit Products
Try It Kit Products

This kit comes with Photo Finish Foundation Primer (clear), Photo Finish Lid Primer (warm beige), Full Exposure Mascara in Jet Black (blackest black), Lip Enhancing Gloss in Illume (iridescent pale nude), and Limitless Eye Liner in Onyx (black). The only product from this kit that I had used prior to purchasing the set is the gloss. When I bought a different Smashbox kit a few months ago, it included the same gloss. I use the gloss daily though, so I didn’t mind getting a new one! It’s the perfect shade for everyday use.

Smashbox Lip Enhancing Gloss in Illume
Lip Enhancing Gloss in Illume
Smashbox
Photo Finish Foundation Primer and Photo Finish Lid Primer

My favorite parts of this kit are definitely the primers. They are undoubtedly the best primers I have used so far and I’ll be purchasing them in their full sizes. They feel light and help my makeup last longer throughout the day. The liner and mascara are very dark which works well with my dark hair and eyes, but if you are fair skinned, I’d try a lighter shade. I’ve purchased Smashbox kits in the past and after using this kit, I’m sure I’ll be trying out some more!

 Limitless Eye Liner in Onyx
Limitless Eye Liner in Onyx
Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara in Jet Black
Full Exposure Mascara in Jet Black

What are some of your favorite try it kits?

Photos: beautyXposé

Wish List: Favorite Holiday Presents

Unfortunately, December is over. Some of you may be happy, but December is one of my favorite months because it contains not only my birthday, but also Christmas. The best part about both of these days is that I get to see the people I love most and eat a lot of delicious food. Spending time with my family was by far the best part of the month, but there were some wonderful other presents mixed in there as well.

For my birthday, my parents got me an iPhone, which is now practically attached to my hand. Needless to say, I was thrilled because my friends had been making fun of my old phone that wasn’t up-to-date. They also gave me some Pandora charms for my bracelet, which are some of my favorite presents because each charm has a story behind it. The music note charm they got me represented my years of voice lessons, and the 21 charm they gave me signified the age I turned.

Music Note Charm, Pandora.net

My aunt and uncle gave me a beautiful Fossil watch that I’m in love with. It’s my first “adult” watch, as I like to call it.

Fossil Stella Mini Resin Watch in Pearlized White

It’s the Stella Mini Resin Watch in Pearlized White and it’s the perfect size for my small wrists. The color is so neutral that I can wear it with anything, and it has already become a daily staple in my accessories.

For Christmas, my parents picked out a few items that I desperately needed. My mom ordered a beige BDG cardigan from Urban Outfitters because she noticed that my old cardigan had seen much better days. To go along with it, she picked out a Pins and Needles Embroidered Cutout Blouse in a similar color. Bottom line, Mom did a great job.

Pins and Needles Embroidered Cutout Blouse, Urban Outfitters

Lastly, my parents bought me a ring that means a lot to me. I love any gift that is sentimental and personalized, so this was a perfect fit. For me, it was a ring with my sorority letters engraved on it, but you can find personalized gifts at various places.

Myself/ring with my sorority letters from my parents

Engraving a special sentiment means a lot to the person you’re giving it to.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and created great memories with their loved ones! As much as I love all of my gifts, being with my family was the best part of being home for the holidays.

M2 Skin Refinish Review

Although my breakouts are less frequent than they were a few years ago, I still break out at age 21. I’ve been searching for a product that doesn’t just help breakouts go away, but helps prevent them. After a lot of research, M2 Skin Refinishseemed to be the product that was raved about by most people on the message boards. So of course, I ordered it.

M2 Skin
M2 Skin Refinish 20%

M2 Skin Refinish is a serum that uses Mandelic and Malic Acids to give users a facial treatment. It works to even skin tone, reduce breakouts and soften wrinkles. It can be used by all skin types, but is especially designed for hyperpigmented, mature, and acne-prone skin. It is also ideal for all skin tones. I use the 20% potency but there is also 12% potency. I have fairly sensitive skin, but the 20% worked fine for me. If you think the 20% may be too much for you, start out with the 12% and work your way up.

M2 Skin
M2 Skin Recovery Moisturizer

In addition to the M2 Skin Refinish, I also bought the M2 Exfoliating Cleanser and the M2 Skin Recovery Moisturizer. The cleanser is a gel that combines the same acids in order to exfoliate and remove impurities. The moisturizer works to protect your skin from moisture loss while improving the appearance of aging, acne, and hyperpigmentation.

M2 Skin
M2 Exfoliating Cleanser

So, does it live up to everything it says it will do? It really does sound too good to be true, but after a month of use, my skin tone has evened out. There is still more to do, but I’m happy with the progress I have seen so far. I also have to note that it has worked very well on new scars, fading them very quickly. In terms of breakouts, the site says that within two months of use, you will see a significant decrease in breakouts. I have only been using it for a month, but I have seen a decrease. I usually have very large hormonal breakouts, but this month, all I got was two small zits instead of painful ones that take forever to go away. I was amazed. When I do breakout, I have noticed that while using these products, my breakouts have cleared up within three of four days instead of a week or more.

I am very happy with the results of this line and I’m looking forward to seeing my results after each month. It is definitely worth checking out and I hope it works as well for you as it has for me!

One-Step Wonder: Maybelline BB Cream

Get flawless looking skin with Dream Fresh BB Cream

I have recently come across BB cream, which is my new go-to product. BB Cream stands for “blemish balm” or “beauty balm” and is a quick and easy way to get great foundation coverage while also getting skin care benefits. Maybelline’s Dream Fresh BB Cream has easily become my favorite makeup product and it’s the one product I will always make sure I have.

Maybelline’s BB Cream comes in five different shades: light, light/medium, medium, medium/deep and deep.

5 different shades so you can find your perfect fit!

I wear the medium shade and it matches my skin perfectly. According to Maybelline, this BB Cream is an 8-in-1 skin perfector that blurs imperfections, brightens, evens skin tone, smooths, hydrates, protects with SPF 30 and has 0% oils and heavy ingredients. It really does live up to all of these claims without feeling heavy.

Maybelline's Dream Fresh BB Cream

To apply your BB cream, just put some on your fingertips and apply it evenly to your face. Then blend it in and you’re all set! It really is a one-step alternative to heavy foundations, and I can’t believe I have gone so long without it.

The first time I tried this was last week and it took me about thirty seconds to put on and blend. My boyfriend was amazed at how quickly I did my makeup that day and said that it looked exactly the same as when I put on three layers consisting of foundation, bronzer and a translucent powder. I assure you that he was right! I have some pink and red scars on my face and this covered them entirely.

I cannot say enough about Maybelline’s Dream Fresh BB Cream. I can honestly say it is my favorite product to date and I recommend that everyone try it. It’s quick, easy and keeps you looking natural while providing great coverage.

Photos: Maybelline

 

 

Ankle Boots

Look Amazing In Ankle Boots

I walk around Boston a lot, so comfortable footwear is needed. However, when I go out at night, wearing flats just never seems to give me the look I’m going for. I’m short, so I always like to have some sort of a heel to give me some extra height. Unfortunately, walking around in high stilettos isn’t as practical as I’d like it to be. My new solution to this issue is ankle boots and I’ve already found quite a few pairs that I’m in love with.

The best part about ankle boots is that they have a chunky heel so they give you a few extra inches without killing your feet. They’re actually easy to walk in and you won’t need to take your shoes off an hour into the night.

Ankle Boots
Look Amazing in Ankle Boots

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I like the contrast between the brown wood and black suede and leather on the Orawin Boot from Aldo. The heel is four inches, so it’s not too high and the thickness of the heel gives you extra support. The gold zipper and side tassel add some extra edge to these boots!

H&M has beige ankle boots that have a 2¾ inch heel. They are faux suede and have zip on the inside leg. They are a great option to more expensive boots, with a price tag under $50.

If you’re looking to test out this style and not spend too much, check out Forever 21. This season they have a lot of ankle boots at reasonable prices. I really like these tasseled zip booties and they’re on sale for $22.96. These round toe booties come in black or brown and are on sale for $26.46.

Will you be buying ankle boots this season?