Thursday, April 10, 2014

Watercolor Bearded Irises

I found this workshop and decided that I needed to try it out:

Here is my result!  I definitely added my Kirsten twist to it and I like how it came out.

I need a lot of practice still.   I think it would have looked better with a blue background but I was being somewhat true to the whole color wheel exercise I'm sure she was going for.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ipsy January 2014

Yes, it's February, and yes, I've already received my February Ipsy subscription.  I've been meaning to make this post but every time I thought about doing it I died a little inside because of how disappointing January's bag was.

January Ipsy Bag

Elizabeth Mott Smooth Shadow mini in Penny - (Full Sized $14.99)

Not amazingly pigmented or anything special worth this much money.  It's the right color for me, though.

MALIN+GOETZ Mojito Lip Balm - $12.00

Not a fan of this at all.  It feels like a flavored petroleum jelly and I haven't noticed any big difference while using it. The flavor is also just... meh.  Definitely not worth $12, especially for an ingredient list I'd have to be a chemist to read.

Proactiv+ Mark Fading Pads 4pc - ?

I don't like Proactiv.  Their company practices are horrible, they products didn't work on me.  I almost feel offended I got these in my bag. :(

Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Tri-Wheat Leave In Conditioner 1.7fl oz - $6.00 (Full Size 6.5 fl oz $17.95)

Supposed to moisturize and detangle, and it helps with that.  I enjoy the texture of my hair after i use it, and this is probably the best sample I received in my Ipsy bag!

skinn Soothing and Smoothing Eye Cream - (Full Sized $29.95)

A light moisturizer for the eye area with a subtle smell that absorbs quickly.  It leaves my thinskin soft, but I haven't noticed any de-puffing or fine line management.  It does have things like aloe, retinol and Hyaluronic Acid so I can only assume that over a long-term use it will keep you skin looking nice.

So yeah, this is the worst bag I've received so far.  I just don't really have much else to say about it.  I hope you other Ipsy subscribers were happier with yours!

- Kirsten Holen

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Manis!

So last week I did a little Christmas manicure inspired by a Christmas Tree.  The polishes I used were Sephora by O.P.I Spark-Tacular! top coat over Sinful Colors Last Chance.  Kevin liked it so much he demanded I do it on my toesies, too, so I did!  I felt so festive. :)  In August when I got Spark-Tacular I knew it'd be perfect for Christmas time.

I did two coats of the green and one coat of the sparkles, starting at the cuticle and slowly moving it down so it faded out some.

Of course, that manicure chipped and looked like crap after a week, so I decided to do a new one.  I could have red-did the last one but... the 49ers were playing the next day and I have these two other beautiful polishes...

Sephora by O.P.I Be-Clause I Said So over Keep Me On My Mistletoes.

While the last polishes were festive I feel fabulous in this gold and red combo.  It's so shiny it reminds me of champagne, bubbles and all, and I think it will go perfectly right through New Year's!

Two coats of the gold was enough for good coverage of this micro glitter.  One coat gently doled out so the large hexagonal reds got on there evenly did perfect.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

e.l.f. 6 Piece Holiday Eyeshadow Compact

A couple years ago I picked up an e.l.f. holiday palette on a whim from Target.  A week after I brought it home, I tossed it in the trash.  The eye shadows were chalky and not very pigmented.  Furthermore, the packaging the actual shadows were glued into was some flimsy plastic thing with no cover of any sort.  It was all around just a really bad palette.

Fast forward to me paying attention to the beauty blogger circuit and doing some experimenting of my own.  When these came out about a month ago I decided that if Wet N Wild can get their act together and put out some good quality eye shadows, surely e.l.f. can.  I've heard a lot of good things about e.l.f.'s products since my first (and what I thought would be my last) run in with them.

First of all, I am not a fan of the triangular pans.  Maybe I'm a boring traditionalist, or maybe I almost had a brain bleed thinking of getting the last of the pigment out of one of those corners, but I almost didn't buy it because of that.  I decided that for $3 and because they actually put the shadows in a durable, travel-friendly case, I would give it a go.

In the pans, the colors look beautiful.  They have gold and copper shimmers and this looks like the perfect holiday nude palette.

The saddest part is that I'm not disappointed because I wasn't expecting much.  The baked shadows they sell on the website might be a LOT better quality and give e.l.f. a good name, but these eye shadows definitely don't help them out.  They are beautiful, but not very pigmented.  I think this palette would be good for a teen just getting into make up or if you need a quick travel palette.  You definitely won't be getting any stunning Urban Decay Naked looks out of it, though.

The coppery color, far left on the palette and fourth in from the left on the swatches, is the most pigmented and probably the only one I'd use.  The runner up is the one on the far right of the palette, and second to last on the swatches.  The three light colors could be used as highlighters.  The darkest color isn't even that great for defining.

I think I saw this specific palette on a clearance end cap at Target, so this would be the perfect time to pick up a small gift for the niece, cousin or little sister in your life.

Where: Target

Price: $3

Monday, December 9, 2013


STEAMCREAM started to pop up on various blogs and the first thing I thought was, "Wow, look at those tins!"  I read good reviews, but the fact that the tins looked a little TOO cute and that price was a little steep (for my budget), I wrote it off as something I'd have to pass on.

Imagine how ecstatic I was when I received an email asking if I'd like a tin of STEAMCREAM to review!

I chose the Shu tin.  Each tin holds 75mL of product.


I fell in love with it instantly.  It looks vintage and foreign.  I love having a decorative, yet useful, tin in my bathroom.  It adds some oomph and fancy to an otherwise "here are all my products" area.

But, as with all skin care products that come in a tin or tub, the chance of the product getting contaminated is huge.  I wash my hands before dipping my fingers in and don't dip twice.  STEAMCREAM also has a 6 month shelf life once opened.  Depending on what you use it for that may be enough time and it may not be.  Since it can be used almost everywhere I'm sure I'll use it up by then.


I was so excited when I got my STEAMCREAM that I popped it open and the cream spurted onto my hands.  It was probably a combination of shipping and carelessness on my part, and not something that happens regularly.  I hope.  Just, you know.  Be careful. :P

In any case, I rubbed the cream into my hands and my skin was instantly transformed.  I felt soft.  Like, baby's bottom soft.  There is definitely an initial residue but it's not unpleasantly sticky or slick.  It feels more protective.  The scent is very soft and pleasant, the main note being lavender.  The scent fades into a mixed herbal that you only really notice if it's on your face or you sniff it up close.

STEAMCREAM works well as a night cream if you can handle the scent.  It has that residue, but by the time I wake up the skin on my face and neck feels soft and supple.  I'd like to note that I have combination, acne prone skin.  I didn't get any acne flare ups or allergic reactions using it on my face.  If anything it helped speed along the healing of my acne spots.

In the winter I get bad, BAD dry legs that are made worse when I shave.  STEAMCREAM heavy-duty moisturizes my legs so they don't get cracked and flaky and helps prevent any itchiness.  It also works wonders soothing my eczema spots.

Because of the price and the shelf life, I'm not sure I would have this in my 'emergency stash' of products for when things get bad.  I am instead using this as an intensive treatment through winter, as a dry skin therapy.  So far it's working GREAT.

I think a tin of STEAMCREAM would make a perfect gift.  There are so many designs to choose from that you're sure to find one that fits your giftee's personality, and the tins are reusable.

Price: $20 for 75mL on

A tin of STEAMCREAM was sent to me for trial and review, but I was not otherwise compensated.