I was really excited when Pop Sugar sent me their June 2016 Must Have Box to try. This is my friend Bianca’s favorite subscription box and I have to say – this box was one of the best subscription packages I have ever received. This subscription costs $39.95/box and you receive 1 box/month (use coupon code MUSTHAVE for $5 off your first box). Here is what came in my first box:

Pop Sugar June Must Have Box


Ridley Games – Who Am I? – retails for $13. The packaging of this game is adorable. My family and I love having game nights so we will definitely put this to use. You read off clues and your friends have to guess who you are (my husband and I tried one and I was LIVID when he failed to guess Kate Middleton – aka my role model in life).

Hat Attack – Neutral Diamond Sarong – retails for $58. I don’t typically wear sarongs but the print on this one is gorgeous. I am determined to come up with a use for this product! Scarf maybe?

Pacifica Under-Arm Wipes – retails for $9. I first heard about the brand Pacifica when my friend Lisa was a finalist in their “Pacifica Muse” contest. I tried their Kale face wash and fell in love. I have had these wipes in my Ulta cart for months so I am really excited to receive these. These are going to be great to keep in my gym bag or purse.

NCLA Born on the Fourth Lacquer – retails for $16. I will never complain about receiving a nail polish in a subscription box. I love painting my nails and you can never have too many polishes. This red, white , and blue glitter polish will be perfect for the 4th of July!

Sriracha Pressels – retails for $1.29. I enjoy discovering new snacks so I love when my subscription boxes include a snack to try. My husband is obsessed with all things Sriracha so I have a feeling he will love these.

Sisters of Los Angeles Cheers Bottle Opener – retails for $12. This is my favorite product in the box. It is adorable AND functional. This will be perfect for Summer parties! (I could not find this exact product online so I linked a similar one that this brand makes.)

Knock Knock Are You Ready Compact Mirror – retails for $10. This compact mirror is super cute and is double-sided (one side has a normal mirror and the other side is magnified)

June Pop Sugar Must Have Box

Bottom Line: The total retail value of this box is $119! I love boxes like this because there is truly something for everyone. Plus, it’s fun to receive a subscription service that isn’t solely makeup products. If PopSugar does not send me the July box (fingers crossed y’all) then I will for sure be purchasing my own subscription!





If you follow me on Snapchat (kateluvsmakeup) then you know that my husband and I recently traveled to Key West, Florida to celebrate our 3-year wedding anniversary. I thought it would be fun to share all of the makeup products that I wore on the trip (I only wore a fraction of what I packed, oops!)

Beach makeup flat lay

As much as I love makeup, I am not someone who wants to wear a full face of makeup all of the time. So, I ended up not wearing any makeup during the day. At night, my skin was very dry and slightly sunburned after being in the sun all day so I used the Murad Invisiblur Primer for SPF and the  IT Cosmetics CC Cream in Tan to even out my skin tone. I found that this CC Cream gave me the coverage I needed but did not feel too heavy in the heat and humidity. Plus, it has a high SPF (50) which is a must at the beach. I skipped using any setting powder and instead bronzed my skin with the Hourglass Ambient Bronzer in Luminous Bronze Light. Honestly, my skin was so tan and naturally bronzed that this step was completely unnecessary but I just love this bronzer so much.

The only blush that I brought was my limited edition Hourglass Blush Palette (includes shades Luminous Flush, Mood Exposure and Incandescent Electra). I was actually surprised to see that Incandescent Electra and Luminous Flush did not look great on my really tan skin. Have you ever applied a blush color before and just thought it looks super unnatural? These did not show up very well on me so my cheeks looked powdery and the color that did show up looked very unnatural. So, I wore Mood Exposure for the entire trip. FYI – I have been loving Incandescent Electra but I will have to keep in mind that it does not look great on my super tan/slightly sunburned skin. I am not a huge highlighter person but for some reason, when I am tan and on vacation, I am all about that glow! I used the Balm’s Mary Lou-Manizer to highlight my skin.

I found myself not wanting to bother with much eye makeup so I was really happy that I brought my Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Copper. This is the ONLY eyeshadow that I used on my ENTIRE trip. It is a cream shadow that looks great on it’s own. I lined my eyes with MAC’s Costa Riche, which happens to look great with the Copper caviar stick, and then used Lancome Cils Booster Lash Primer and Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara to get dramatic lashes. This mascara combo CANNOT be beat.

If you’ve been following me for a while now then you know that I am a neutral-lip lover. However, I decided to “spice” it up for this trip. I wore the Clinique Lip Pop in Poppy Pop, which is a bright orange-red shade. It was a little too dramatic at first so I found the perfect way (for me) to wear it was to apply it to my lips and then dab *most* of it off. I then topped my lips with my Dior Lip Glow in Pink. Dabbing most of the product off toned the color down slightly and made it look more like a lip stain than a full-on lipstick. The Dior Lip Glow then added some moisture and gloss back in to the look. I set my makeup with the travel-sized version of the Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray (Oil Control version).

What are your must-haves for a low maintenance look at the beach?


I recently received the Mally Beauty Perfect Prep Poreless Primer ($35 for 1 oz) to try out. According to Mally, this product is supposed to be a lightweight primer, that minimizes fine lines and pores, and creates a subtle shimmer.  Mally Beauty Perfect Prep Poreless Primer

I found this product to be very smooth and silky. It reminded me of the Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer that I love in that it created a very smooth canvas for my makeup. My makeup blended out really nicely on top of this product.

As yall know, I have incredibly oily skin. I’ve probably tried over 20 primers and none of them have kept me matte (I always have to blot around lunch-time and then again in the afternoon). For me, this primer was no different. So, I’ve basically given up on finding a primer that will keep me matte and I am now focused on finding primers that blur my pores and make my foundation look really pretty on top. I would say that this primer definitely does that! The only con for me is that the packaging is huge and bulky. It actually does not fit in my “primer drawer” so I end up forgetting to reach for it. Have yall tried this product? What did you think??




Derma E and Dr Brandt Microdermabrasion

I am a huge fan of Microdermabrasion. I consistently went to a facialist for about 6 months leading up to my wedding and she said that the best thing for my skin would be microdermabrasion (as opposed to a facial). As a result, my skin looked incredible for those few months. Unfortunately, this beauty regimen was way too expensive for me to maintain so I started researching at-home microdermabrasion. The product that got the best reviews and claimed to “mimic an in-office procedure” was the Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant. I’ve been using this product for 3 years and I absolutely love it. It does almost as good of a job as my esthetician did.

I recently received an amazing package from the brand Derma E. I’ve been hearing a lot about this brand on Instagram so I was thrilled. The product I was most excited about was their Microdermabrasion Scrub with Dead Sea Salt. I used this product and immediately fell in love. It seemed to be almost identical to the Dr. Brandt scrub. So, for the past few times I have been applying the Dr. Brandt scrub to one half of my face and the Derma E scrub to the other side of my face. Here is how they compare:

  • They both have a lemon scent, which I find to be very enjoyable. The Dr. Brandt scrub is a little more subtle than the Derma E. As I happen to LOVE this scent – I really enjoy the Derma E scrub.
  • The Dr. Brandt scrub is a little more fine than the Derma E one. Basically, the Derma E product feels slightly “rougher” and “harsher”. So, if you have sensitive skin you will probably enjoy the Dr. Brandt one more as it is a little less abrasive. If you want something that feels very strong, you will probably enjoy the Derma E one more.
  • Overall, each side of my skin looked basically identical after using these products. So, I would say they perform very very similarly.

Here is the kicker… both products are 2 oz but the Dr. Brandt scrub retails for $79 (at Sephora) while the Derma E scrub retails for $29.99 (at Ulta). I could not believe the price different. So, I wanted to do a little research to see if there was something “behind the scenes” causing the price difference (quality of ingredients, etc.)

  • Dr. Brandt: Sulfate Free, Phthalates Free
  • Derma E: 100% Vegan, Cruelty Free, Paraben Free, Sulfate Free, Mineral Oil Free, Lanolin Free, Gluten Free, GMO Free.

As I am not a licensed esthetician, I cannot review the ingredients and tell you which one is “better”. With that being said, I will absolutely be repurchasing the Derma E product over the Dr. Brandt product as it performs just as well and is a fraction of the cost.



FullSizeRender 2

I’m not going to lie, this beauty blogging hobby of mine is expensive. Like really, really expensive. Recently, I’ve had a few people reach out to me asking the same thing: “I don’t have a large makeup collection and I don’t have a lot of money – can I still create a blog or Instagram account?”

This question really got me thinking. Is it possible? In a short answer, yes. Here are a few ideas that I have thought of for how to save money while blogging:

  1. Start by blogging about the products you already own. I’m sure you’ve used them 100’s of times and can easily write a review on them. How do you like them? Why did you choose them over other products? Etc.
  2. Do not purchase a new camera to take your pictures. I personally use a DSLR camera for most of my product shots because I love photography and happened to already own this camera. However,  I find that my iPhone camera works almost as well. Start by using your phone camera or a digital camera that you already own.
  3. Do not purchase expensive lighting for photography. I own a light tent and lights but I’ve recently started taking most of my photos outside in natural light. Yes, this limits when I am able to take pictures but it is FREE. I also find that natural lighting looks better than all of my purchased lighting.
  4. Do not purchase expensive backgrounds for your photos. I have used a paint canvas, various table tops in my house, a $2 marble tile from Home Depot, a notebook, a piece of scrapbook paper, etc. for my backgrounds. A friend of mine actually uses wrapping paper as her background. Get creative, you can find amazing looking backgrounds for very inexpensive.
  5. A lot of brands have started selling travel-sized versions of their most popular products. They aren’t usually a better deal than the full-size but they ARE cheaper.
  6. When you do purchase makeup, do it online!! First, you can use the Ebates to EARN money every time you purchase. (If you haven’t heard of this website, and you are interested to learn more.. let me know and I will write a blog post).
  7. Another reason to purchase makeup online is that you can find coupon codes for free product samples. I ALWAYS check RetailMeNot for coupon codes. For example, I just used a code and received 10 product samples with one Sephora order. That could be 10 blog posts if I wanted it to be.
  8. Write blog posts about your first impressions of products using these free samples. I do not think that a sample sized product is enough to give a hugely detailed review but it is absolutely enough product to give a first impression. I’ve actually received a few samples of new, very popular products that I plan on writing first impression reviews on.
  9. Consider signing up for a beauty subscription (i.e. Sephora Play, Ipsy, etc.) The two I mentioned, Sephora Play and Ipsy, cost $10/month but you receive multiple products each month that you could use and review.
  10. Think outside of the box/get creative. For example, this blog post is costing me $0 to write. Try to come up with things you can write about (that are still relevant to your blog and interesting to your readers) that do not cost anything.
  11. “Trade” or borrow makeup from your friends. I saw Mallory Ervin and Alexandrea Garza (two of my favorite YouTubers) do a video where Mallory tried a bunch of Alex’s products. Ask your friends if you could try some of their favorite makeup products to then write about.
  12. Buy used makeup on Poshmark. I know – this sounds gross and not appealing. However, you CAN sanitize used makeup. (Think about it, if you’ve ever been to a MAC counter and tried one of their lipsticks. This is USED makeup that they spray with a sanitizer before you try it on. If you’ve ever gotten your makeup done professionally or at a beauty counter, this is USED makeup). As a buyer, the thing you should be on the lookout for is how LONG they’ve had the product (not how many times it has been used). I’ve noticed that sellers focus on how many times they’ve used it and not necessarily how long they’ve had it (which would give you a clue as to if the product is expired or about to expire).
  13. Go to MAC/Nordstrom/Sephora and ask for samples. I’ve gone to Nordstrom and asked for samples of foundations to take home and try. Or you could go to MAC and ask to try one of their lipsticks and take a selfie for your Instagram or review the color and wearability for your blog.
  14. Ask companies if they would be willing to send you product. I am including this one last because I think this should only be done once you have built up your blog or Instagram account. If you have a “large” following, brands will be more than happy to send you products for FREE because you are essentially providing them marketing.

In the end, I think it is impossible to write a beauty blog without spending ANY money. However, I definitely think you can write a beauty blog while on a strict budget and not spend very much money. If you have any tips on how to blog on a budget, leave them in the comments below!


I recently posted a photo of my new Z Palettes on Instagram and was surprised when a few people asked me what they were. They weren’t aware that you can “de-pot” your makeup products and store them in Z Palettes! So, I immediately realized that I needed to write a blog post!

Z Palettes

Honestly, I think that the best way to learn how to de-pot is to go to YouTube and search “how to de-pot makeup products”. Also, the Z Palette website has an entire section on de-potting and it includes de-potting videos. FYI, the method I use is the hair straightener method where you set the product on a hair straightener to melt the glue and loosen everything up. You then take a small pointed tool and pry the pan of product out of it’s packaging. From my trial and error I can tell you – do NOT use tweezers (they will scrape your product) or toothpicks (they will break) If you are looking for a tool, Z Palette actually made a de-potting spatula that you can purchase. My husband’s art kit has a tool that looks very similar so that is what I have used.


In my experience, some products have been incredibly easy to depot and some products have been RUINED by my de-potting (a couple of MAC eyeshadows, a MAC blush, etc). So, my first piece of advice is to be very careful and know that there is a slight chance that you will ruin your product. If you are OK with that, then let’s move on. My second piece of advice is to choose your products wisely. My favorite products to de-pot are ones that are packaged in bulky, clunky packaging (MAC eyeshadows, Milani blushes) OR products that are packaged in ugly, cheap looking packaging (Wet N Wild Blushes). I did go a little de-pot crazy a couple of years ago and there are a few products that I actually REGRET de-potting because the original packaging was gorgeous (NARS & Laura Mercier blushes – what was I thinking?!)


Z Palette

The biggest perk of Z Palettes and de-potting is that you save so much space. I can’t tell you the amount of space in my vanity that I have saved by de-potting MAC eyeshadows and other bulky products and storing them in Z Palettes. This also makes them very travel friendly. Another thing I have seen people do (but I haven’t done myself) is to de-pot eyeshadow palettes so that you can combine all of your favorite shadows in one Z Palette. I don’t personally plan on doing this because I love the look and feel of my individual eyeshadow palettes but I do think it would be amazing to take all of my favorite shades from my favorite eyeshadow palettes and combine them into one Z Palette!

Z Palette with MAC Eyeshadows

If you have any tips on de-potting or any creative ideas you have for storing things in your Z Palettes – post them below!!



UPDATE: If you follow Jaclyn Hill on Snapchat, she just told her followers that this eyeshadow palette is being dropped from the collection due to it’s poor quality (they were on a time crunch so Becca sent this palette to a different lab than normal to be produced). If you follow me on Snapchat then you know that I had a major rant afterw hearing this news. I am disappointed with Becca Cosmetics for putting out a sub-par product, but what is even MORE upsetting is that I have yet to see a single YouTuber that I loyally follow complain about this palette. In fact, they have all raved about it. It’s sad that this beauty community has turned into an industry full of people lying about the quality of products (that they receive for free) to make money. I hope y’all know that I will ALWAYS give you my honest opinion, no matter what! Ok, rant over. Here is my original blog post before I heard that this palette was being dropped:

Let me start by saying that I LOVE Jaclyn Hill. Her Champagne Collection Face Palette is one of my favorite makeup releases of 2016. However, I was EXTREMELY disappointed with the Jaclyn Hill x Becca Champagne Collection Eyeshadow Palette. Take a look at this photo and you might see one of the reasons why:

Jaclyn Hill x Becca Champagne Collection Eyeshadow Palette and Ombre Rouge Palette

The palette on top is the new Jaclyn Hill eyeshadow palette and the palette on the bottom is the Becca Cosmetics Ombre Rouge palette. Notice any similarities?!?

Let me start by saying that I absolutely love the Ombre Rouge palette. In fact, it is one of my most used eyeshadow palettes. The colors are very wearable and they all work really well together. I find myself wearing this to work all the time because they are not crazy, in-your-face-pigmented. I found the Jaclyn Hill palette to not at all be the same. These colors are dry and not very pigmented.

My other major complaint is that these palettes are almost identical. There was absolutely no way that I could justify keeping the Jaclyn Hill palette when I had an almost identical palette, with more pigmented shadows.  I do not blame this on Jaclyn. If you listen to her Snapchats and YouTube videos, she makes it clear that she was responsible for designing Champagne Toast, the ONE different/unique color in the palette. Becca was responsible for the rest of the palette. I was very disappointed that Becca would choose to fill this palette with colors that were so similar to their LAST palette. I really hate when brands do this – it almost “punishes” their loyal customers. That sounds dramatic, but you know what I mean…

The bottom line is that if you want to try a Becca eyeshadow palette: buy the Ombre Rouge palette. If you want to buy a Jaclyn Hill product: buy the Champagne Collection face palette.