Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Talk About Cosmetics - 100% Pure Luminous Primer

I have never been a huge believer in the importance of primer although I have liked to test out different formulas and experiment with them. I became a serious primer lover, though, when my Mom stuck a bottle of the Luminous Primer from 100% Pure in my stocking at Christmas. It's beyond incredible. I mean, seriously. It's amazing. Ingenious. An absolute must-have for me now.

Okay, enough accolades for now because you're probably wondering what makes it so great. Am I right? Well, I'm glad you asked. I have fairly dry, dehydrated skin that tends to look really cakey and overloaded with makeup sometimes, especially when it's cold and dry like it has been for the last several months.

When I apply this magical elixir to my skin it creates an impressively smooth canvas that looks healthy, hydrated, smooth, and supple. I'm not going to say it makes me look younger or anything because I'm only 27 and I would never want to be or look 17 again but it does help make everything even and plump (in a good way!). It also feels delightful on my skin and helps my makeup go on nicely and last all day long.

I'm ridiculously in love with this primer. It makes me glow and I will forever have a bottle on my vanity.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lip Lovers Series - Lip Balm

Lip balm is something that is an absolute must have in my life. I get such dry lips and I can't stand the feeling that accompanies flakes and chapped skin. I'm extremely picky when it comes to lip balm and I try so many that don't work for me. It's always a nice surprise when I find a lip balm that I really love and today I want to share my top 5 lip balms with you.

Keep in mind that I have liked a lot of lip balms in the past but these 5 are my current favorites.

EcoLips has an awesome selection of lip balm and I got the chance to work with them a few years ago. You can check out my review by clicking here. I was in my favorite grocery store a couple of months ago and saw a box of Medicinal Lip Balm and the simple packaging caught my eye. This particular balm is marketed for cold sores but I have taken to using it every single night before bed. It has an earthy tea tree scent but no noticeable taste. It feels incredibly soothing and nourishing on my lips and makes an immediate difference. It has been a miracle worker this winter and I'm so glad I have it in my arsenal. I will be purchasing another tube soon.

The Theraneem Naturals Neem Stick Lip Therapy is a hard product for me to describe. I absolutely hate the scent and flavor. It reminds me of minty chicken bullion. I'm a vegetarian but I am familiar with the scent. It's disgusting. I actually think I don't like the natural scent of Neem because I have noticed this gross scent in a lot of products listing it in their ingredients. So, you're probably wondering why this product is being included on my favorites list when I hate the scent so much. The formula works wonders on irritated and raw lips. It does an excellent job at healing and protecting lips. I can get past the scent because the stuff in the tube is brilliant.

My old trusty MoistStic obviously had to be included in this list. If you've been following Beautiful Basics for a few years you have heard me talk about this stuff a lot. I even have an individual review for this balm. I actually don't use it as much as I used to thanks to the lip balms I talked about above but I do still really enjoy this one. Here is the link to the review.

As far as plain and simple lip balms go I really love the Booda Butter Naked Lip Balm. I always keep a tube of this in my wallet since it comes in a cool kind of flat tube. It is the perfect essential lip balm since it hydrates and moisturizes without any extra frills. It is truly unscented, flavor-free, moisture infusing, and gentle on my ultra sensitive lips. Click here to check out my review.

Portland Bee Balm is a dry lip balm meaning it does not have a very wet or slippery formula, nor does it leave lips looking shiny. I absolutely love wearing it under lipstick since it acts as a primer. It lasts a very long time and helps hydrate and protect lips. Here is the link to my full review.

Do you have a favorite lip balm? Share your must haves with me! I'd love to check them out!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

2015 Birthday to Birthday Giveaway (CLOSED)

March 15 is a very important day in my life. March 15th, 2011 is the day that I started Beautiful Basics. I know you're probably thinking something like, "Beauty Blogging isn't a very big deal so it shouldn't be such an important anniversary", but for me it was a huge deal.

When I was 22 I became seriously ill. In 2009, my entire life changed and I couldn't do anything about it. The person I was before was not the person I was capable of being any longer. I couldn't work or do much of anything and it was really devastating. Being 22 and being sick is incredibly difficult. Let's be real, being sick at any age is really hard but at 22 I had so many goals and plans for my life that were all thrown out the window.

I started to feel lost and hopeless and like I was useless because I couldn't work. I thought about volunteering, but it's hard to make any commitments when you're ill, so I thought about taking up a hobby. What did I enjoy? I thought about it and I realized that I loved to read beauty blogs and watch beauty videos on YouTube. I wasn't (and I'm still not) ready to put myself out there on camera but I have always loved to write so I came up with the concept of Beautiful Basics. The blog originally began as an outlet for my favorite beauty tips and some reviews but took on a life of its own when I began researching green living and eco beauty.

Today, 4 years later, I'm still sick. In fact, I'm worse than I was back then but my attitude and outlook have changed a lot. I'm no longer lost or down about my situation. Life is whatever we choose to make of it and I'm choosing to live a happy life. Beautiful Basics gave me something to do and focus on and gave me hope. Blogging and keeping up with Beautiful Basics is a part of me now and it's something I enjoy doing, very much. In honor of my 4th blogiversary I want to do a giveaway for all of you wonderful people who keep me blogging. Thank you for that, by the way. Your likes, comments, questions, suggestions, and recommendations make this all worth it.

And since my birthday is April 10th (I'll be 28… where does time go?) I want to do a double giveaway that lasts from my blogiversary to my birthday. How does that sound?

There will be 2 winners. The first randomly selected winner will be able to choose which prize they would like. The other bag will go to the second winner. This giveaway is open to everyone worldwide. To enter simply use the Rafflecopter form below. You can choose to do as many or as few options as you would like. All entries will be verified! Give this post a "like" and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lip Lovers Series - Acure Lip Lushes

Acure Organics is a massively popular green brand for a reason. They consistently deliver products that are highly effective, clean, and fun to use at a really affordable price point. I've tried a lot of their products over the years since I first went green and the majority of them have been big time hits in my book and I'd like to introduce you all to their Lip Lushes if you haven't already tried them out.

Like I said earlier in the week in my Favorite Lipsticks post I'm more of a lipstick than lip gloss kind of girl. Gloss is pretty hard for me to fall in love with. I don't like sticky gooey stuff but Acure has created a gloss that has an extreme amount of shine without that gross tacky feeling that some glosses have. I'm wildly impressed with their entire range of Lip Lushes which is comprised of 5 pigmented shades that range from sheer to surprisingly opaque. These aren't your average glosses.

The formula of these glosses is moisturizing and feels silky smooth on the lips. It also smells absolutely delicious! I love the scent so much. It is sweet and slightly fruity. The applicator is easy to use and apply. And… the names are beyond cute - Birthday Suit, Shmexy, No Strings, Date Worthy, and DAAANG! Awesome names, right?

Without further ado I'm going to let the swatches speak for themselves. Stunning, no?

Birthday Suit is essentially a clear gloss with a slight nude tint with no shimmer.
Shmexy is a sheer light pink without shimmer.
No Strings is a great rosy pink with a slight touch of shimmer.
Date Worthy is a really richly pigmented peachy, rosy, nude shade that is super opaque.
DAAANG! Is a shimmery plum berry shade.

I think I would have to say my favorites are Shmexy and Date Worthy, although they all deserve special recognition. Each individual gloss is special and unique. My Mom snagged Birthday Suit and No Strings for herself and she's been wearing them nonstop. There is definitely a shade for everyone. Which one would do you like most?

(FTC: These Lip Lushes were generously provided to me by the company for review purposes. I am not being compensated for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lip Lovers Series - Lipstick and Tinted Lip Balm

Who here loves lipstick? I do! I do!

Lipstick is my preferred method of applying color to my lips. It's funny because my Mom is a gloss kind of gal but I find something transformative and super special about lipstick. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate gloss (I'll even be sharing a review of 5 gorgeous glosses later this week) but I don't love it nearly as much I love a good tube of lipstick.

Today I'm opening up my makeup stash and pulling out some of my current favorite lippies to share with you. I hope to make this an annual (or maybe seasonal) series if you all like it. Also, please remember that I have super sensitive lips that are easily irritated and none of the following products bother me in the least bit.

Ilia makes gorgeous, stunning, amazing, and unique lip products. They have a superb selection of shades, finishes, and formulas that come in sleek and sophisticated metal tubes. Shell Shock, a Tinted Lip Conditioner, is number 1 on my favorites list. My sweet and thoughtful Mother knew I had this beauty on my wish list and ordered it for me as a surprise. Surprised I was and in love I quickly fell! I think I might even call Shell Shock my signature lip shade. It is a lovely sheer, but buildable, coral pink that brightens up my face and makes me look healthy and awake. We went on a couple of vacations last summer and this is all I packed with me lip wise. It is appropriate for any situation and goes with every makeup look. It applies and wears perfectly. It leaves my lips soft and hydrated.

I talked about Arabian Knights and Nobodys Baby years ago. You can check out that review by clicking here.

Another gift from my Mom (and Dad!) is the Bite Beauty Luminous Crème Lipstick Duo in Date and Fig. First of all, I love the size of this little guy. It's perfect! The colors are great and the formula is exceptional. These particular shades are pretty similar and end up being the perfect MLBB (My Lips But Better) shades for me. They are very long lasting as well! I'm happy to have it! They have several different versions too with some brights and reds but I'm really loving the nude selections in this duo.

I had been eyeing Pacifica's Devocean Lipsticks for quite a while before I settled on Tenderness. I don't know what it is about this color but my lips look huge and full when I wear it. I hate the description I'm about to use but I can't find another way to say it – this lipstick makes my lips look juicy! It's great! Love the tube and the formula. This lipstick definitely makes me curious about the others in the line.

Another Mom gift is the Pacifica Color Quench Lip Tint in Sugared Fig that she stuffed in my stocking this past Christmas. I remember receiving one of Pacifica's jumbo tints in a Goodebox years ago and I really didn't like it so I was pleasantly surprised when I ended up loving this one. It doesn't provide a lot of color but it does give a nice little tint to the lips and it smells and tastes excellent. It's perfect for girls on the go because it's effortless and easy to use. I'm actually planning on doing an entire post about Pacifica and the products I've tried from them so keep an eye out for that if you're interested.

I did a whole review of the Noyah lipsticks not too long ago so I'm not going to talk about this next lipstick in depth. You can check out that review by clicking here. Anyway, Deeply in Mauve surprised me by becoming my favorite of the range. It's a beautiful shade that suits me. It's not a fuss free shade since it's on the darker side but if you have some time to dedicate to applying it you won't regret it. I think this color would look great on so many different skin tones.

My final favorite is Hannah PureMoist Lipstick by Jane Iredale. The Jane Iredale website decribes this shade as a creamy matte brown plum but it ends up being a pretty brick color on me. It is very wearable and works day to day or for evenings as well. It has a gorgeous smooth and velvety formula that makes lips look and feel soft. I also love the rose gold packaging!

I want to know what your favorites are so please feel free to comment on the Facebook page and share what you love with me!

(FTC: Some of these were gifts from my beautiful Mother and some of these were prizes that I won from giveaways. The Noyah lipstick was given to me as a PR sample by the company. I am not being compensated for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and honest, as always.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Beautiful Baking - Organic Scones

Can I make a confession? I can't cook. Well, I can… because I believe that everyone can do anything if they try hard enough but I don't like cooking. In fact,I kind of hate it. It's not fun and I never like anything I make. I think food tastes a lot better when someone else cooks it for you. Am I alone here? Anyway, despite my aversion to cooking, I find that I really enjoy baking. It's so fun to mess around with different recipes and create something, that is hopefully super yummy, for my loved ones.

Scones have become my "thing". I love baking scones! I don't know exactly why I love it so much but it's a ton of fun for me and I really love experimenting with making different flavors of scones.

I know that Beautiful Basics is a beauty blog but I love scones so much and a lot of you expressed interest in the recipe when I shared a photo a while back so I hope you won't mind too much that I'm posting about food.

I have found that when it comes to baking recipes are pretty much just suggestions. You can make substitutions or add other ingredients and create something unique. Baking is a fun process of trial and error. The following is my base recipe for scones and then I had things, by eye, to create different flavors. The photos in this post are of Blueberry and Plain scones but I have also made chocolate chip (the favorite of my family) and Peanut Butter. Feel free to add anything you want to your mix! Also, I use all organic ingredients but you can feel free to use whatever you prefer.

Preheat your oven to 425 and then get your dough ready! You will need:
2 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugaryou can add less or more depending on your tastes and the final flavor you're going for. I go for ¼ cup when using chocolate chips or other sweet ingredients.
¾ cup milk
8 tablespoons of cold cut up butter - I actually use 4 tablespoons of real butter and 4 tablespoons of Earth Balance and it works beautifully. I have found that using only Earth Balance doesn't work as well but if you're a vegan feel free to substitute for the butter

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt before adding the butter. Let the butter incorporate and then add your sugar. Once those ingredients are mixed add your milk. If you're making plain scones you're done but if you're not then this is the point where you will add your other ingredients – berries, chocolate chips, etc. You'll know when the mixture is ready because it becomes a sticky but packed dough ball. At this point you can cut up your dough and stick it on a cookie sheet. I like to form a ball and flatten the bottom on my cutting board. I then take a pizza cutter and cut the dough like a pie. You can make your scones as large or as small as you would like.

Bake your scones until they are a lovely shade of golden brown. This can take anywhere from 10-15 minutes. Take them out of the oven and let them cool on racks. Now you're done and you should have a tasty batch of scones. Enjoy!