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Ulta Beauty

Holiday Gift Guide Ulta

Cute Affordable Gift Sets From Ulta + Benefit

October 11, 2017

Ulta Beauty x Benefit Holiday Sets | The Beauty Look Book

This is probably the first year that I’ve seen holiday collections and sets out this early and I’m excited to be able to share my first holiday gift guide/review with you today! I’ve teamed up with Ulta Beauty to give you a look at four affordable gift sets from Benefit. There are a lot more options to choose from online and in store and the best two things are 1) they are all under $60 and 2) the packaging is fun and festive so there’s no extra work required to wrap it up. The four I’m featuring today include:

Ulta Beauty x Benefit Holiday Gift Sets | The Beauty Look Book

Up first is the Cable Car Cuties Set which has three minis of the Rockateur Rose Gold Blush, Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel in Shade 3, POREfessional Face Primer. This is an Ulta exclusive and is great for an affordable stocking stuffer set or for holiday gift exchanges. All three items are easy to wear and can be a fun way to test things out. This was my first time testing out Rockateur and it’s one of the prettiest soft rose blushes I’ve tried – truly natural and doesn’t darken on the skin.

Ulta Benefit Cable Car Cuties

Ulta Benefit Cable Car Cuties Set | The Beauty Look Book

Up next includes the Beauty and the Bay Set which has 4 full-size items and one mini. This one is on the left with the High Brow Highlight & Lift Pencil, They’re Real! Mascara in Jet Black, Hoola Matte Bronzer, High Beam Liquid Face Highlighter Mini. Hoola is one of the most under-rated matte bronzers (in my opinion).

GALifornia Love Set has a full-size Roller Lash Super Curling and Lifting Mascara in Black, full-size Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel in Shade 3 and a mini GALifornia Sunny Golden Pink Blush. It’s been a while since I tried Benefit blushes and have to say I’m really impressed with the finish and quality, especially for the price. GALifornia smells like candy peaches (in a good way). Whenever I ask for mascara recs a lot of you mention the Roller Lash and I finally tried it – pretty impressed that it had no smudging and was truly a deep rich black color. No clumping either!

Ulta Benefit Sets Beauty and the Bay and GALifornia Love

Beauty and the Bay Set swatches, I swatched Hoola with a very heavy hand, on the face I promise it doesn’t look this dark. If you’re ultra fair definitely checkout their Hoola-Lite, I’ve tried that one too and it’s the best light colored non-grey non-orangey powder bronzer I’ve tried.

Ulta Benefit Beauty and the Bay Set Swatches

GALifornia Love set swatches:

Ulta GALifornia Love Set

Last but not least is the Great BROWnanza Blockbuster Set which is a great value for the price. If you’re brow novice and don’t know what formula works best for you this is a great way to try all the different formulas. It’s priced at $59 but the retail value is $151. Note there are two shade options in 3 and 5. I picked up the 5 for darker hair.

Ulta Benefit The Great BROWnanza! "Blockbuster Brow Set" Shade 5

Ulta Benefit The Great BROWnanza! "Blockbuster Brow Set" Shade 5

Long-time readers know I’m a super minimalist when it comes to brows – I have thick dark hair but my brows are lighter in color so I struggle with whether I should match color to my brows, or my hair or somewhere in between. I’m still learning and do think brow application gets better with practice. I tried all the brow items in the set and my top two picks are the Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel (it’s so easy to use!) and the Brow Zings set because it comes with a usable travel applicator and the cutest mini tweezers. The Ka-Brow! gives me the most coverage and fills in the best, the Brow Pencil is easiest to use for precise feathering layering. The spoolie is a really good one and I don’t know why I didn’t find it sooner.

Here’s a quick look at the Benefit Hoola and the Brow Zings Shade 5. On the left photo you’ll see half my face is before with just my base (powder, concealer and foundation) and the other side has a more polished look with the Brow Zings and Hoola on the cheeks. On the lips is MAC Lipglass in N-U-D-E over Lip Pencil in Boldly Bare.

Benefit Hoola and Brow Zings 5

Ulta x Benefit Holiday Sets | The Beauty Look Book

Lots of cute options to pick from! Do you have any Benefit favorites? You can find all these sets now online and in stores at Ulta.

Thanks to Ulta for partnering to sponsor this post!

 

Becca Lips

Becca Lush Lip Colour Balm Review + Swatches

August 22, 2017

Becca Lush Colour Balm Review Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Becca launched eight tinted lip balms called the Lush Lip Colour Balm ($22 each). These are creamy tinted balms with a lipstick feel. They have a vanilla scent similar to that of MAC lipsticks which is soft and creamy. Pigment is medium but buildable if you layer and they feel hydrating without feeling heavy or like they’ll slip off the lips. The texture is smooth and they’re comforting on the lips and I like them even in the hot humid weather. My lips have been on a the dry side a bit with the chlorine and salt water from swimming combined with heat – these helped hydrate them significantly after a day’s wear. Lasting power isn’t the best as it is an emollient balm. They’re not going to stay put like a longwear lipstick or liquid/matte lipstick – but they don’t disappear on me quickly and it’s something I don’t mind re-applying.

Color options have a good range from light to deep and they’re all fairly conservative wearable shades. I did have some streaking with the deeper colors as they had a bit of contrast with my natural lip tone and when I swatched these I did have some peeling going on my lips – but it’s something I can fix with more blending.

Becca Lush Colour Balm Review Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Becca Lush Colour Balm Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Colors include:

  • Cafe Au Lait is a pale peachy beige which looks a bit streaky with one swipe, but add a few more and it smooths out to an impressive level of smoothness, often times I cannot wear such pale colors because they are super streaky, I was really surprised by this one
  • Ginger Vanille is a soft pink coral, it pulls a bit more coral on most people I’ve seen it on, since I have a lot of olive and yellow, especially when I’m in the sun a lot, it looks a bit more pink on my lips
  • Almond Fraise is a pretty soft pink rose cream, on me it pulls a little bit cool
  • Chai Creme is the perfect creamy soft brown pink shade on my lips
  • Milk Chocolate is a mauve brown cream, this one felt sheerer than the others
  • Toasted Hazelnut is a deeper brown
  • Cherry Ganache is a burgundy red, this one had a little bit of streaking with my dry patches
  • Black Violet was a bit streaky on me as well, but without any dry lips it looks smoother, it’s a purple cream

Lip swatches below on bare lips. The bases I’m wearing include NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in St Moritz, MILK Makeup Flex Concealer in Medium set with Armani Luminous Silk Powder in #4.

Becca Lush Colour Balm Review Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Becca Lush Colour Balm Review Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Bottom line love and I think the price is reasonable for the amount. Nicely hydrating with good color payoff for a balm. Smooth finish and a delicious scent. For a balm they are on the lightweight side but not weightless – I can definitely feel product on my lips, but since it’s a balm I don’t mind. My favorite is Ginger Vanille but it’s really hard to pick one favorite. If you need more color/pigment then I’d recommend opting for the Hourglass Confession Ultra Slim Lipsticks (even though they are a lot more expensive, review on all shades soon). By comparison the YSL Volupte Tint in Balms have a more glossy finish and emollient feel. As a sheer lip lover I like both – I think for neutrals the Becca has more options while YSL has more brights.

You can find the Becca Lush Lip Colour Balms at Ulta Beauty and Becca Cosmetics.

Balms provided courtesy of Becca for review.

Lips NARS

NARSissist Velvet Lip Glide Set (Ulta Exclusive)

August 18, 2017

NARSissist Velvet Glide Lip Set Ulta | The Beauty Look Book

There’s a super cute NARSissist Velvet Lip Glide Set ($45) which is an Ulta Exclusive. It has six new shades which are really perfect for summer but wearable year round. I found this at my local store – they don’t have the full line of NARS but did carry a small selection including this set. The velvet lip glides are minis (same size as the Sephora Give Me Some Nude Lips Set) and I’m beyond thrilled all the colors are new. It comes in a pretty pink box:

NARSissist Velvet Glide Lip Set Ulta | The Beauty Look Book

Colors include cream colors. All the colors are consistently medium to full coverage with a smooth streak-free finish. Pigment is really good and they have a natural sheen even though they have a velvety finish. I don’t detect any scent in these and they feel comfortable on the lips. Lasting power is medium – they have a similar lasting power to a regular lipstick. I love that the formula feels weightless and doesn’t dry out my sensitive lips.

  • Rapture a medium soft coral peach
  • Night Together soft neutral medium pink brown with a hint of plum
  • Californication cool-toned mauve
  • Immoral bright pink
  • Staying Alive vibrant plum
  • Burning Love is a bright red coral

NARSissist Velvet Glide Lip Set Ulta | The Beauty Look Book

NARSissist Velvet Glide Lip Set swatches | The Beauty Look Book

NARSissist Velvet Glide Lip Set Ulta Lip Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Full size vs minis and some comparison swatches:

NARSissist Velvet Glide Lip Set vs full size | The Beauty Look Book

Shown below:

NARSissist Velvet Glide comparison swatches | The Beauty Look Book

I think the set is a great buy. Colors are very wearable but not boring. Even the brighter ones are easy to wear especially for summer. If you haven’t tried the NARS Velvet Lip Glide formula this is a nice way to try more than one shade without having to buy the full sizes.

NARS x Ulta Velvet Lip Glide Set | The Beauty Look Book

You can find the NARSissist Velvet Lip Glide Set exclusively at Ulta Beauty. Have you tried this one yet? What did you think?

 

Uncategorized

Buxom Wildly Whipped Lightweight Liquid Lipsticks

May 13, 2016

Buxom Cosmetics launched a new liquid lipstick formula called the Wildly Whipped Lightweight Liquid Lipsticks ($21 each for5 ml/0.18 fl oz). These are indeed very lightweight in feel with a whipped texture that has a soft velvety matte finish. Unlike most matte finish lip products though, it doesn’t feel matte at all, but rather has a cushiony soft moisturizing feel almost like a balm. I personally do not like matte finish lipsticks or matte liquid lipsticks because I find them drying in formula, make the lips look wrinkled because of the intense pigment and the colors usually darken or look dusty once they’ve dried. There are few exceptions with really good matte formulas I am willing to wear including Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution, Louboutin Matte Lipstick and Tatcha Kyoto Red – the Buxom Wildly Whipped formula also now falls into that category.

There are 12 shades total that come in a wide range from neutrals, to reds, corals, plums and pinks. All the shades offer full coverage with a single stroke although to cover the entire lip and get application precise around the edges I like to swipe a few times to apply. The tips come with a beveled sponge which makes application easy (I really appreciate well-designed applicators). They do have a plumping formula to make the lips look full, but they don’t tingle like the Full On Lip Polishes or Lip Creams (several shades swatched here). I liked that they did not dry out my lips and the days after swatching and test wear – my lips did not show any signs of peeling or flaking. Lasting power is medium – I would say they last for a few hours as long as you don’t snack, drink or touch your lips. There will be color transfer if your lips touch anything – but other than that they do stay fresh looking for a relatively long time.

A closer look at all the shades and swatches:

Descriptions:
Nudist is a light nude
Centerfold is a warm nude
Instigator is a fig neutral
Devious Dolly is a warm rose mauve
Wandress is a medium pink
Lover is a bright rose pink
Moonlighter is a bright pink-red
Flaunter is a bright warm orange
Dominatrix is a deep red
Exhibitionist is a bright fuschia pink
Criminal is a deep purple plum
Swinger is a medium lavender purple
Swatches with flash:

Swatches in natural light without flash:

Lip swatches of all shades on bare lips, for skintone reference I’m wearing Becca Aqualuminous Foundation in Beige in some photos while others I’m wearing the Make Up For Ever Foundation Stick in 123 + translucent powder. These are all matte in finish – the sheen in the photos is due to the camera flash/lighting.

Most of the shades have very smooth streak-free coverage. I found the darkest shade Criminal to be very patchy but dark shades can be hard for me to wear because the contrast makes it where if any of my natural lip shows through – it really shows through. As soon as I saw all the corals reds I thought they would all look the same, but after swatching them I really do see the difference in undertone. Some are deeper or brighter, others have more pink or orange undertone. If you like reds – there are quite a few options to choose from.

My top picks and favorites are Devious Dolly, Instigator, Centerfold and Lover. They’re all on the bold side but I like that there are wearable shades mixed in for the neutral lip lover. I’ve been reaching for Devious Dolly a lot because I think it’s conservative enough for everyday wear but has enough color and pigment in it that makes it more fun than the everyday pink nude or neutral.

I give the formula a thumbs up – it’s really quite unique compared to anything else I’ve tried. I like that they don’t dry down like a traditional matte – they have a soft cushiony feel with a very very slight sheen which makes them look more natural as it catches the light. I would call the finish a soft matte that has a slightly diffused finish. If you look through other photos and swatches @buxomcosmetics or search #buxombabe you can see how these look on others to get a better idea of the finish.

Bottom line – I highly recommend you try one. You can find the Buxom Wildly Whipped Lightweight Liquid Lipsticks at Sephora and Ulta. They retail for $21 each.

Wildly Whipped Lipsticks provided courtesy of Buxom Cosmetics.
Uncategorized

Mother’s Day Beauty Gift Guide

April 28, 2016

Mother’s Day is less than two weeks away which is just around the corner and I started my gift search a bit early this year. Shopping for gifts for my mom is one of the most challenging things ever because she usually says she has everything she wants. To this day she would rather have me make her a nice card rather than buy her something (she still has almost all the little drawings, paintings and clay sculptures I made when I was in grade school!). Gifting a basket of little beauty goodies has always worked in the past – she loves OPI nail polishes and anything new for lips is always fun to try out for her. I’ve teamed up with Ulta Beauty to create a Mother’s Day Gift Guide for both my mom and my mother in-law. They are on opposite sides of the color spectrum for skin tone, my mom has fair skin, dark hair and prefers cool tones. My mother-in-law has medium-tan skin, blonde hair and I’ve always seen her wear warm tones. Both are classic beauties in their own unique way – I thought my picking items for both based on different undertones it might also help give you ideas of what to gift to your mom!

I stopped by my local Ulta last week to check out the new launches and promotions going on. There are a lot of new beauty items that were released, but I usually discover something new everytime I visit the store. Right now they have a Spring Bag Gift with $40 Fragance Purchase which is a large tote and small zip pouch. Buying fragrance as a gift can be a bit tricky but the one scent I find that is a hit with everyone I know (at every age) is Philosophy Amazing Grace because it’s such a fresh and clean uplifting scent. Tote featured in this post is the Blue Gift With Fragrance Purchase Option, there are three colors to choose from:

http://rstyle.me/n/bn3iyvubf6

For Mother’s Day gifting ideas, Ulta has four gift categories by personality type including On Trend Mom, Natural Mom, On the Go Mom and Classic Mom. I feel like both of my moms could fit in a few of the categories – they both have a hybrid of classic or on-the-go personality.

First I picked up a few classics that I personally really like I thought would be great for them to try out. I bought 2x of each of these shown below, one for each mom.

The Lancome Eau Fraรฎche Douceur Micellar Cleansing Water is a classic gentle but effective cleansing water good for a double cleanse or for quick makeup removal on days you are short on time. I like that it comes in a fairly large size and has a well-designed pump dispenser. Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water is something I discovered recently which doubles as a makeup priming spray to hydrate the skin or set makeup after application. It comes in a mini travel size which I think has enough to give it a thorough test drive. I think it’s a great multi-tasking product suitable for multiple skin types. I like to use it both ways as suggested and it’s a great face refresher.

For the face/cheeks Ulta has the Best of Becca Radiance Set which includes trial-sized minis of their best sellers for a natural luminous glow. The set is a steal at $32.50 and has Mineral blush in Flower Child, Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal, Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlight Wand in Moonstone and a small Backlight Priming Filter. (I almost want to keep this one for myself! How cute is the backlight primer!) 

For eyes, I think deep plum tones look amazing as a liner no matter what skin tone or eye color you have. It’s softer than black, not quite as boring as brown, but still conservative enough to wear for everyday. The Urban Decay Naked 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner in Darkside/Blackheart has two shades of deep plum, each side has a different shimmer effect but nothing crazy.

For brows, the Anastasia Brow Wiz is one of the most highly rated brow pencils. I recently bought Medium Brown and find it really easy to use. There’s a handy shade guide in store and online to help you decide what color to try based on hair color. I bought Taupe for my mother-in-law and Medium Brown for my mom.
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For beauty picks for my mother-in-law I picked out warm tones. She has blonde hair and tan skin and I’ve always seen her in neutral to warm tones. I think my husband’s mother is really one of the coolest people I know and lucky to have a mother-in-law like her. Anyone who has twins (and twin boys at that) deserves a medal. I don’t think raising two boys at the same time is something I could ever handle – and she did a great job. Since these items are going to be gifts I wasn’t able to swatch anything. I do have reviews coming of the Becca Luminous Blushes though so stay tuned for a review in an upcoming post.

Shown below is the Tarte Tartlette 2 In Bloom Amazonian Clay Palette which has the most glorious combination of mattes, shimmers, neutral and warm shades. I swatched this one in store and each color has an ultra smooth texture. It has 9 matte shades and 3 shimmers which makes gives it a little sparkle but makes it still conservative enough for a classic beauty. It’s so gorgeous I am going to have to go back and buy one for myself.

Becca launched new Shimmering Skin Perfector Luminous Blushes which are amazing in color and have serious pigment! Shown below is Snapdragon (pink) and Tigerlily (peach). These are literally what dreams are made of. They give the skin a luminous glow with a pretty flush of color. For those concerned about shimmer – they are on the shimmery side but are not overly frosted.

For nails OPI Bubble Bath is a neutral classic you can’t go wrong with. For the lips Tarte has new Double Duty products called The Lip Sculptor Double Ended Lipstick and Gloss – perfect for on-the-go. Below are two rosy shades in Voltage and Sass. I swatched these on my hand in store and the lipsticks were extemely soft and creamy.

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Up next are some cool tone beauty picks for my mom. She loves mauves and plums and brighter pinks for the lips. For eyes she likes to keep things simple but does like to add a bit of color. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her wear shimmer eyeshadow so I picked up the Tarte Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Palette for her. It also has ultra smooth shadows in a wide range of color options which seem to be neutral-cool. All of the colors are shades she would wear. For that matter I think they are shades I would wear too. For quick reference – I think these colors would suit a number of skin tones and under tones but she has fair skin, pink undertones, dark hair and dark eyes.

For cheeks she likes pinks and mauves that are soft but add life to the complexion. When I was younger she would always tell me I needed more color and dab some of her lipstick on my cheeks as a bit of a stain. Urban Decay Afterglow Powder Blush in Fetish is a soft mauve plum pink without any shimmer while Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Blush in Camelia has a luminous glow which is more pink and brightening.

For the nails I picked up OPI California Raspberry which is a bright shimmering fuchsia and for the lips also from the Double Duty line, I picked up the Tarte The Lip Sculptor Double Ended Lipstick and Gloss in VIP and Renegade.

If you’re searching for some beauty gifts for Mother’s Day I hope you this roundup gave you a few ideas! There are a lot of options to pick from in skincare, makeup, hair care, fragrance and beauty tools – many of which are budget friendly. These days there are so many brands to pick from at Ulta Beauty including Anastasia, Buxom, Benefit, OPI, Lancome, Becca, Tarte and Essie etc. Everytime I go in store I find I discover something new.

I shopped for my mom and mother-in-law but found a few items I think I’m going to have to pick up for myself in the next week, mainly one or both of the Tarte Eyeshadow Palettes. If you’ve tried them what did you think? Do you have any gifts planned for Mother’s Day this year? Would love to hear your ideas or plans whether it’s beauty or non-beauty related!

If you’re a mom – do you have anything on your wishlist for Mother’s Day?

Created in partnership with Ulta Beauty. Many thanks to the team for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions my own.

Uncategorized

Summer Beauty Pick-Me-Ups

August 19, 2015

Ulta Beauty is turning 25 today and to celebrate their birthday they have 25 online beauty deals with free shipping on orders of $25 or more. Ulta Beauty is a regular stop for me for beauty staples, especially for nail care. My go-to products are the CND Stickey Base Coat, Super Shiny Top Coat, Butter London Nail Scrubbers and the Tweezerman Pushy Nail Cleaner. I’ve teamed up with them to share some beauty pick-me-ups from a recent store visit. If you haven’t been to an Ulta Beauty store recently you will be amazed at the selection they have today – the lineup of products has expanded so you will find a wide range of items with a mix of drugstore and mid-end brands all in one store. If you’re in need of something new in beauty but aren’t sure what to look for, Ulta is a nice place to shop at your own leisure and browse without feeling any pressure to buy. I always discover something new.

Up first is the Mario Badescu Skin Care Facial Spray. It has aloe, herbs and rosewater and with a super relaxing lightweight scent. It’s one of the most affordable facial sprays I’ve tried and I think it’s highly under-rated. It hydrates the skin with a superfine mist. I like that it’s truly refreshing without that heavy feel.

Nude clutch by Truffle

For eyes I picked up one of the Naked2 Double Ended 24/7 Glide On Pencils. They come in a variety of colors, I picked one with Pistol and Perversion. For eyeshadow palettes, the Naked Basics2 Palette is a no-fail option. I already own one but bought one as a birthday gift for a friend. I swatched it below next to Naked Basics. Both are staples as far as matte shadows go.

One of my friends swears by Lancome Dรฉfinicils Mascara and she always has the perfect lush black lashes. I’ve only tried minis before. I’m giving this one in the full size a try. (If you have a favorite Lancome mascara let me know.)

I didn’t realize Ulta Beauty carried Becca Cosmetics, but now I do. I picked up the Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Rose Gold. I debated between the pressed and poured version. The pressed seemed to have more pink undertone so I opted for this one. It has the prettiest warm rosy champagne gold shimmer. The left side is a heavy swatch, right is blended out a little.

For nails, I like to shop for cheaper finds like OPI and Essie. I play around with both a lot but don’t buy many because of the lack of testers. Two staples include Peach Daiquiri and Topless and Barefoot. Both are relatively affordable options although they don’t last longer than 3 days on me, but for the price I think they are worth it. I just need to make sure I reapply top coat 2-3 times throughout the 5-7 day period I have the color on. Although I switch things up frequently to swatch so sometimes it doesn’t really matter.

Peach Daiquiri needed three coats for me.

Topless and Barefoot is the best neutral nude pink. It’s not too nude and not too pink. Two coats works ok, I find a third coat gives this one complete full coverage.

For lips the options are endless. There are so many different finishes, formulas, textures and packaging options. I think I got a bit lost with all the options but I wasn’t in a rush so I was able to take my time to browse. Stila was one of my very first beauty loves back when I was in high school and all the way through college. I’m glad through all the changes that they’ve kept some of the original line. The Lip Glazes are always fun. Apricot is a staple glow. Kitten is a fun frosted champagne beige shimmer.

Urban Decay has some really good new lip products out. I think many have been out for a while but my focus has always been on their shadows and Naked Palettes. The Revolution Lipstick in Naked is a neutral nude pink cream. It has medium to full coverage and has a slightly glossy sheen. There are a number of neutrals to pick from and they have different finishes from matte, sheer and regular. The High-Color Lip Glosses are full-coverage glosses. Almost like a liquid lipstick but still glossy in formula. Kinky is a really pretty light neutral pink beige. I’m completely obsessed with it.

Last but not least I tried something from Tarte. The twist up chubby stick lip products come in a number of different finishes and textures. After swatching up a number of colors all over my hand, I picked out the LipSurgence Lip Tint in Sweet. It’s a soft light pink with shimmer but goes on the lips a more rosy flushed soft pink. It has a soft minty scent and feels cool on the lips. I really like the way it looks and feels – I’m going to have to check out more of the colors soon.

Today on August 19th in celebration of their 25th birthday, they have 25 value sets available online. In addition they are running a sweepstakes through August 29th where 25 lucky Ultamate Rewards Members will win 25,000 points. Details here on ulta.com/25bday.

Do you have any recent discoveries from Ulta Beauty? What are your favorite beauty pick-me-ups?

This post was created in partnership with Ulta Beauty. Many thanks to Ulta Beauty for sponsoring this post. All opinions my own, more information on my disclosures