I won a $350 Ulta Beauty giftcard from my xoTribe! Here’s what I purchased…

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you received an all expense paid trip to the makeup store? Imagine dreaming about makeup and then the next day receiving an Ulta Beauty gift card in the mail. As a bonafide makeup lover, I have often wondered what I would do with a free pass to the beauty store. Well, I finally got my chance to find out!

Ironically, I never dreamed of an all expense paid trip to the makeup store, but I did win a gift card to Ulta! The entire experience was better than anything I could have dreamed. As luck would have it, Christmas came early for me this year in the form of a $350 Ulta Beauty gift card. I. Lost. My. Mind. Now, I am going to tell you how I showed out in the store!

First of all, I don’t know what I did to deserve it, but somehow the universe conspired to answer a prayer for me by sending me this wonderful gift. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait until December! Besides, everybody knows how much I love makeup.

Interestingly, prior to winning, I had been wondering why my palms were itching. I don’t know if it was my female intuition or what, but I just knew that I was about to get something and I did! Anyhow, I have been hanging out in my favorite chat group xoTribe curated by Necole Kane, creator of xoNecole. While I was minding the tribe business and in my own world, a fun little survey came across my screen so I had to indulge. Between the group discussions, workshops, and different surveys, I can’t get enough of all the valuable gems that are dropped daily. As much as I engage the group, I was bound to win something!

Still, I can barely remember the beauty survey that led me to win the gift. I completed it out of mere curiosity, but I had completely forgotten all about it. Then, a few days later they announced that they had a winner and I was it!

I still can’t remember the last time I won anything. This is up there with asking Santa for a bike and receiving the exact color, size and brand of which was asked. To be honest, I could have gotten $20 and I would have been equally as happy! Instead, I learned that it was for $350! Do you know how much damage I can do with $350 in a beauty store?

Well, allow me to tell you…

As soon as I received my card in the mail, I started plotting and planning. I even took the time to make a list just in case I forgot to look for something even though I knew I was going to peruse the entire store. Despite going through all of this trouble, I managed to forget the list at home anyway.

In spite of it all, here’s what I purchased:

  1. The very first item on my list was the new Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Pen in Dark Brown for $22. I am obsessed with their Brow Wiz Skinny Brow Pencil. I knew I would be equally as obsessed with this precise pen to get my eyebrows picture perfect. Trust me, this is a must have if you want to get your eyebrow on point.
  2. I still bought another Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Skinny Brow Pencil for $23 to use in conjunction with the brow pen. I am so glad I did, too, because they work perfectly together.
  3. Since the eyes are the windows to the soul, I am determined to learn to master the wing eye look. I chose Benefit Roller Liner to accomplish this for $22. I have been practicing all weekend. I haven’t gotten it yet, but give me time. I promise you I will be an expert. This eyeliner is an excellent eyeliner choice.
  4. Next, on my list was foundation. Even though I use foundation sticks mainly, I still wanted to invest in another liquid foundation for backup. I have always loved Kat Von D Vegan Lock-It Foundation. I am so lucky to know my shade because you can no longer test products at Ulta. Therefore, I was winging it. I got it just right for the bargain price of $37. KVD Foundation is perfect for warm skinned girls with red and olive undertones. Thank me later, ladies!
  5. As much as I love my KVD foundation, it can’t do all of the work for alone. I still need concealer to complete my look. Hence, the reason I got three different concealers to be safe. I am a huge fan of Morphe Fluidity concealer for $10. That really is a good price, but there was only one problem. I got the wrong color. They were out of my regular color so I improvised and it turned out to be off. However, I still got ColourPop Pretty Fresh Concealer for $9. It was a little off, also, but the quality is great for price. The last one was KKW Beauty Creme Contour & Highlight Set in Medium. I should have gotten it in Dark, but it still works for $32. That is high for the wrong color, but the greater value is the KKW Beauty Concealer Brush II for $18. I absolutely love it! If you like to contour your makeup, then you will find great value in this product.
  6. Once I got my foundation and concealer, I had to get blush and bronzer. I chose BHC chocolate Marshmallow Truffle four-color blush palette for $12. It’s the perfect palette for any complexion with its nude colors. Then, I got the Morphe Glamabronze Face and Body Bronzer in Trailblazer for $19. I topped it off with Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Champagne Pop Highlighter for $38. I splurged, but I cannot imagine not having the perfect highlighter!
  7. I’m not a big eye shadow person, but I like eye shadow. So, I couldn’t leave without a nice eye shadow palette. Since it’s Fall, I wanted some pretty Fall colors. Instead of my typical brown, blue or black, I decided to go with rich purples. I got two Juvia’s palettes: violets and berries for $14 each. On top of those beautiful purples, I plan to top off my eyes with EYLURE London Luxe XL Faux Mink lashes for $11.99. The special occasion kind!
  8. In order to get the look I want, I need new makeup brushes to accomplish the goal. I had to scoop up three three brushes: Morphe Large Duo Foundation Brush for $10, Morphe Contour Blender Brush for $5.45 (Buy one get one free), and Morphe Tapered Duo Blush for $5.45 (buy one get one free). I think I left one at the store. For my foundation brush, I got the Ecotools Custom Match Duo, which includes a flat top foundation brush for $14.99. A steal if you ask me with all the goodies included. It even comes with a little dish that holds three different colors for foundation mixing.
  9. My biggest flex came when I got my lip colors. I tried Beauty Bakerie for the first time and they did not disappoint. The three liquid matte lip colors that I purchased for $20 each are Syruptitious, Sangria Splash, and Cranberry Stiletto. I will probably be going back to purchase three more because the quality is impeccable. In keeping with my purple theme, I purchased two Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink lip colors for $9.49 each. For less than $10, I think this was a steal! Lastly, I had to get a lip gloss. So, I chose Milani Ludicrous Lip Gloss, Kiss From a Rose for $8.99.
  10. As I conclude this list, I had to include the one thing that I rarely shop for, but decided why not! That’s nail polish. I decided to try OPI Infinite Shine color in Do You See What I See for $13. It’s a pretty shimmering blue with a metallic look. It’s actually pretty cool!

I hope that you have concluded by now that I went over my $350. This is the short list, though! Initially, I had gone over to the tune of $640, but I politely asked the cashier to remove a few items. I still went over, but at least it wasn’t as outrageous as a $600 surplus. All in all, I am extremely happy with my products and I owe it all to my xoTribe! I don’t know who’s bright idea it was to give someone a gift card to a beauty store, but whichever sister it was deserves a raise! Thanks, Sis! Now for exclusive opportunities such as this, you should subscribe to the xoNecole newsletter at www.xonecole.com.

If you would like to get a better look at the products, then you can check out the video I created on my Youtube channel.

Tell me what you think about the product selection in the comments. What would you purchase with a $350 beauty gift card from ULTA? Let me know in the comments below. If you are curious about any of the products, I have provided links to those items, as well. Some are affiliate links and some are not. I receive a small commission on a few products. However, you are under no obligation to purchase or click on anything.

a. https://rb.gy/johghi-Anastasia BH Brow Pen

b. https://rb.gy/idsum4-Anastasia BH Skinny Pencil

c. https://rb.gy/heybxu-Benefit Cosmetics Roller Liner

d. https://rb.gy/fh8too-Kat Von D Vegan Foundation

e. https://rb.gy/rnmatm-Morphe Fluidity Concealer

f. https://rb.gy/05y1dy-ColourPop Pretty Fresh Concealer

g. https://rb.gy/1tp725-KKW Beauty Creme Contour Kit

h. https://rb.gy/kv1tcj-KKW Beauty Concealer Brush II

I. https://rb.gy/xsxfr7-BHC Truffle Chocolate Marshmallow Blush

J. https://rb.gy/lwei8r-Morphe Glamabronze Face and Body Bronzer

K. https://rb.gy/cwa3lj-Becca Shimmering Skin in Champagne

l. https://rb.gy/3qc2om-Juvia’s Berries eyeshadow pallette

m. https://rb.gy/8lblug-Juvia’s Violets eyeshadow palette

n. https://rb.gy/vjrnrt-Eylure London Luxe Eyelashes

o. https://rb.gy/g50c3v-Ecotools Custom Match Duo Brushes (Amazon has a bettter deal here: https://amzn.to/32g7Qwn)

p. https://rb.gy/dtkqo2-Beauty Bakerie Matte Lip Whip

q. https://rb.gy/sdfxu0-Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick

r. https://rb.gy/1m73ai-Milani Ludicrous Lip gloss

s. https://rb.gy/oekxiy-OPI Infinite Shine Nail Polish

Great Skincare Tips for Fall



Fall officially arrived on September 22 and will end on December 21.  When she arrived, she didn’t make a lot of noise this year.  As a matter of fact, Fall came quietly.  The falling of the leaves and the greenery of the trees were unusually subdued.  If you weren’t paying attention to these climate changes, then you might have believed that Summer didn’t want to leave us.

Fall is the season that you cannot miss, not even if you tried.  Fall is the season that doesn’t stir us in the same way as Spring, Summer and Winter.    That’s because we know that after Fall comes Winter.  If you live in certain regions, you know that nobody is looking forward to Winter.  However, Fall is that one season where we know we get a short reprieve from the heat or the cold. Go figure!

During the Fall, our skin needs our attention more than ever.  Winter will bring us many external factors that will affect our skin.  If we ignore our skin during this critical time, then we fail to protect ourselves from what is to come.  It is during Fall, that we must create a good skincare routine to guard against the elements.

Winter is right around the corner lurking.  She is a ruthless bitch unlike Fall.  If we don’t want Winter to come and ruin us with her savagery, then we must take the necessary precautions.   It is during Fall that we offset all of the damage Winter will wreak during those harsh Winter months.

You can do this easily by doing these three things to protect your skin:

  1. Start moisturizing your face daily.  To protect against dehydration that likely occurs during the Winter, you need to make sure that you’re moisturizing your face.  If your skin is oily, use a water-based moisturizer.  If you’re skin is dry use a oil-based moisturizer.
  2. Follow up with a gentle cleanser.  In the next couple of months, the cold will dry your skin as much as any products you use.  So, don’t make it worse by using harsh chemicals.  Make sure your toner is gentle on your skin.
  3. Finally, minimize your pores with a light mask.  The Summer months caused your pores to grow increasingly large likely due to heat, humidity, and dirt buildup.

This list is short and sweet.  However, it is extremely effective.  If you want to prepare your skin for Winter, then you need to Fall into the right skincare routine now! Your skin will thank you!


Meghan Markle’s Bridal Makeup


If you like fairy tales, unconventional love stories, and timeless beauty, then you were probably amongst the other 29 million viewers tuning in to watch #TheRoyalWedding of Prince Henry Charles Albert David to Rachel Meghan Markle on Saturday, May 19. To those that think rising as early as 4 a.m. American time just to gawk at the likes of British royalty is absurd, let me assure you that The British did not disappoint. As a matter of fact, the event turned out to be quite enlightening and entertaining.

I could literally write about all of the things that I found fascinating about the wedding from the classy British toppers to the dapper British digs. However, there’s only one major detail that needs to be discussed for the purpose of this blog that cannot be ignored or downplayed. That detail is the absolute flawlessness of the bride’s simple bridal makeup. If anyone missed the memo about less being more, then please refer to The Duchess of Sussex; she got it right.

Now it doesn’t hurt to point out that she is naturally, strikingly beautiful. Likewise, her natural wedding day glow didn’t make it any less so. In my amateur opinion, her makeup was not just perfect for a royal wedding, but any wedding. Personally, I think her bridal makeup would be a good reference for any bride trying to achieve a more natural beauty look.

How does one achieve this look so effortlessly displayed by Royals? By focusing on these key focal points, these tips can help you create a more natural bridal look like Meghan’s.

1) Instead of choosing a heavy foundation, you might choose a tinted moisturizer or foundation stick which isn’t as heavy on the skin. The goal is to have your makeup look weightless, not packed on or caked.
2) The cheeks should be two shades darker than the natural skin tone and not rosy or pink. The key is to create a cheeky effect without looking cheesy. Dark, but soft and subtle colors on the cheeks achieve this look.
3) Meghan has beautiful amber-colored eyes so her eyeliner was lightly tinted with brown eyeliner or you can achieve this look with gray, but not black. Brown or gray give a more natural look without making the eyes look too dark or defined. Again, softness is the goal here. Brown actually works well with darker skin, also.
4) The eyebrows are lightly penciled with light brown, not black or dark brown due to the fairness of her skin. A darker color would create a less natural effect. By making the eyebrows brown but not too dark, the color actually shapes her eyes giving her a more dramatic look.
5) Finally, a soft pale pink on the lips creates the perfect hint of color without too much.

Boom! There you have it! This is how a princess was created!

By following all five of these steps, you can achieve the Meghan Markle bridal look and look as naturally beautiful as she did on her wedding day! What are your bridal tips to help achieve that beautiful, natural glow?

Why Women Who Go From Blah to Beat are the Real Heroines


I have this thing with women who love to brag that they don’t wear makeup like it’s some badge of honor or something. I always tell those women, “okay, I get it!” What I don’t tell the ladies is the real tragedy of being the chic who doesn’t wear makeup EVER is that you’re limiting yourself from so many other growth possibilities. You see, when you reveal the fact that you never wear makeup, you’re essentially telling me that you don’t adapt well to change, you’re possibly not open to growth, nor do you like to learn new things.

After all, are you going to go to that important dinner without wearing any makeup?  You think Angelina Jolie wants to hit the red carpet with no makeup? Is Michelle Obama ever seen at the White House without makeup? Of course, these women would not ever attend any important function in the public eye without that quintessential “beat”.

I see applying makeup as an activity the same as learning how to ride a bike or drive a car. In the beginning it seems hard, but once you get going and doing it regularly you see driving as an activity that makes your life easier. Further, you look good doing it. One might think that comparing applying makeup to driving cars is ludicrous, but it isn’t. They are both two activities that you learn how to do so that it helps you. At first, you might not be that good at it, but over time with practice you can improve your skills. In the end, you benefit from learning.

I started experimenting with makeup when I was five years old. I’m not kidding! My fascination with makeup started early. I think I had mastered how to apply makeup to my face by the time I was in the 6th grade. In those developing years, I learned a lot. The most important thing I learned from applying my makeup is how I could go from blah to beat! One of my colleagues told me years ago that on any given day when I didn’t wear makeup I was just Ponchitta Thompson. However, once I walked in with my makeup and hair on fleek, I was transformed into someone else. That colleague was right! Just like me, you too, can take baby steps to learn to create your own beat face.

That face beat made all the difference for me. My attitude changed, my self-esteem was at an all-time high, and my confidence levels were incredible. When my makeup is done right, I feel like I can take on the world. I’ve had many women tell me they feel empowered in the same way when they get their faces beat.

I think it’s a beautiful thing when you’re naturally confident. The woman who needs no extra confidence boost in the morning when she awakens or the woman that doesn’t need a spike in their confidence by adding lashes or red lips is someone special. To that woman, I applaud you because you’re a rarity.

However, for the rest of us that need that extra pep in our step or the extra jumpstart to boost our morale, I say don’t you dare feel bad because you love the beat. That beat does for us what spinach did for Popeye. It turns us into the strong, courageous women that we need to be to conquer all we must do in this world. I lift my wine glass up to all the women that don’t mind admitting that they love going from blah to beat. Once you start, it will change your life. You’re the real heroines.




Dr. Martin Luther King wasn’t the only person with a vision for mankind.  Mere mortals like myself tend to have visions of grandeur that transform the human race, but in a very different way. The only difference in our dreams is my dream involves makeup and people.  However, don’t get it twisted! My dreams are just as surreal.

Every night I dream about all I would do if I had all the makeup in the world.   All the good I could do to beautify all of the female inhabitants therein.  I dream about every woman on earth being contoured to death! Every little girl would be wearing pink lips daily!  Every grandma, no matter the age, would be wearing fifty shades of red.  Don’t you dare think my dreams are silly.  They are very significant.

Just like Martin Luther King, Jr. I know my dream would make a difference in the world, too.  All women would feel beautiful and confident.  Women would feel empowered and special.  The makeup that I would share with the world would make every woman colorful and picturesque.  The world would truly be more beautiful.  We would look at people differently and view the world differently because all women would be visually pretty.

My dreams consist of a world full of prettiness and nothing ugly.  Makeup might be viewed as an external fix to some, but it is an internal fix, also.  When you look extraordinarily good, you feel extraordinarily good.  If makeup has the power to revamp and enhance one’s natural beauty, then I don’t think it’s wrong to envision a world in which all women have the opportunity to morph into something visually amazing.

Martin Luther King stated that the March on Washington would go down in history as “the greatest demonstration of freedom in the history of our nation.”  My vision is similar, but with a twist because the same ugliness he wanted to eradicate is just like the ugliness I want to erase in the same way.  Likewise, a nation filled with  pretty faces and colorfulness can only make the world a better place.  I have a dream to put makeup on the faces of as many women as possible one day.  That’s the greatest demonstration of freedom to me. 🙂

Interview With Brandis J, Emcee of 2nd Annual Faces of Beauty Extravaganza

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Last year was the first year for the Faces of Beauty annual charity fundraiser to help raise funds for Faces of Beauty Foundation.  Ponch Cosmetics is the host of this spectacular event in which we raise funds to help support programs that aid victims of domestic violence.

Brandis Jamerson was the emcee last year and she did such a phenomenal job that we decided to bring her back again.  I recently caught up with Brandis J and here is what she had to say about the event:

Ponch: You emceed the event last year? What led you to do this event again?


Brandis: After the event last year, I received so much encouragement from friends and associates that were at the show. I even received one of the hottest shoutouts in Facebook history from an old classmate. So when the opportunity presented itself I was slightly nervous… But after I thought about the fun we had last year… I just began thinking of how to bring it again this year!


Ponch:  Was this your first time emceeing an event:


Brandis: Yes, it was my first time emceeing and I was a nervous wreck! There is a big difference between doing the welcome at the 3 o’clock service and emceeing a large event.


Ponch:  Did you ever get stage fright?  What happened?


Brandis:  When the time came for me to get the show started all I can remember were seeing all those faces just looking at me and it was definitely intimidating! I just remember my voice shaking and me ready to run back off the stage… After I came back and the crowd begin to engage, it got easier.


Ponch:  You participated at rehearsal last month.  You looked like you were having a good time.  Can we expect some of that foolery at the event this year?


Brandis:  Of course! Anytime I’m in the midst of good company I will be an advocate for a good time! Again, it goes back to the crowd and their participation. The models that are participating this year have great personalities, attitudes, and it was easy to come in and cut up with them! So as long as the attendees get into the show, we have no choice but to GO UP ON A TUESDAY!


Ponch: This is a Bachelor/Bachelorette auction. Do you think this is a battle of the sexes?


Brandis: There is no battle when there’s a woman involved… We always win. Lol


Ponch: Who do you think is going to win?


Brandis: It’s hard to call it because there are so many different flavors for bidders to pick from, and who knows? There are some sneaky ballers out there that may like the shy type or may like their men light skinded… lol I’m thinking I may get the largest amount on the silent auction tho!


Ponch:  Do you think this is a good idea for singles looking for love or to just have fun?


Brandis:  Folks need to come to the event with the mind frame of having fun! If a love story comes out of it then we will give them a shout out at the next show… But one of my disclaimers for the event will be to not expect a relationship as an outcome to your bid… Now what they do with their opportunity is up to them… *sips tea*


Ponch:  What do you consider sexy about a guy?


Brandis: What’s physically sexy to me will always include tattoos… I’ve always been a fan of good art work…. What’s mentally sexy is a man’s ability to show compassion towards me… Unfortunately that combination has been hard to find.


Ponch:  Well, we do have a few studs with A LOT of tattoos! So, if you could build a guy, what would he look like and how would he be?


Brandis: This is a loaded question…

Ponch: Since you’re funny, how important is finding a guy who is funny, too?


Brandis: Any prospect of mine would HAVE to have a sense of humor or we are going to run out of things to talk about real quick.


Ponch: Would you ever ask a guy out?


Brandis: At this point in my life I wouldn’t ask a guy out because that sets a precedent that the man doesn’t have to take on a leadership role within the relationship.   I need a man that’s not afraid to open his mouth!


Ponch:  Who is your celebrity crush?


Brandis: Zac Efron


Ponch:  If you were a guy, would you bid on any of the ladies in the auction?


Brandis:  Heeelllll Yeeahhhh!!! Lol All of em thick wit it! They’re very beautiful ladies.


Ponch:  If you could go back to last year’s event, what would you do differently?


Brandis: I would have spent more time with the models before the show so I can get a better understanding of that makes them tick. That would make it easier to promote their personalities and make them more appealing to the bidders.


Ponch:  Do all your comedic moments spring from the truth?


Brandis:  Yes, 9 times out of 10 I find laughter out of the truth and what has become reality! And if you were to meet some of my family members it would be evident that DNA definitely plays a large part as well! 45


Ponch:  Which person in the auction will make your job easy? (This person just makes you think of funny ish)


Brandis:  DJ Demarcus Sharp is a natural fool and I am so excited about working with him! My other classmate Brian Davis is an inspiration also! They tend to think outside the box!


Ponch: Who are your favorite female comedians? Why?


Brandis: Sommore has always been a favorite for so many reasons! Not only is she representing for the thicker chicks, but her delivery is what makes her comedy stand out. She is blunt, but not abrasive… That is an art form these days.


Ponch: How important is crowd engagement when you’re emceeing?


Brandis: As I mentioned earlier, the crowd’s enthusiasm is so important and is necessary for a successful event! They have got to come ready to participate in this positive movement.


Ponch:  What song gets you excited and ready to go off?


Brandis: Too many songs to count! Lol It ranges from Taylor Swift to Z-Ro. I love music and if the beat is on point then I’m enjoying it!


Ponch:  How important is music when doing an event such as this?


Brandis:     Music sets the tone… The music can make the crowd remember a time  or moment… or it may awaken their ratchet side… either way it helps creates a mood and I know that DJ Demarcus will be able to assess his crowd and give them something to groove to.


Ponch: What’s your educational background?  Have you ever thought of a career in broadcasting?


Brandis: I graduated from Stephen F. Austin with a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Administration. I have a passion for the hospitality industry, and I love the idea of traveling. I did attempt, while attending SFA, to become a radio personality with a local station here in Longview. Long story short, being behind a microphone and speaking between songs is not as easy as one might imagine… It takes practice to become an effective radio personality.


Ponch:  What are your thoughts on the issue of domestic violence?

Brandis:   Domestic Violence is an issue that is becoming too common in our communities. Recently I have had the opportunity to be educated on how domestic violence not only affects the person who is being physically and /or mentally abused, but it also affects the friends and family that are around them during this difficult time. In a lot of cases the idea of leaving is not as easy as some try to make it out to be. There is an uncertainty of how the person will survive without their abuser, sometimes there are children involved and the abused doesn’t want to disturb their children’s home environment. There are so many reasons that can deter an abused person to get the help that they need. As a society, and especially as a community, we need to work together to be a form of assistance to those who have been in these violent situations to get out safely.  I’ve experienced domestic violence personally, and I was blessed to get out of that situation before it was too late. So I have a soft spot for those who are facing this on a daily basis and living in fear of the next attack. That’s why I plan to give my all on that stage December 20th! I want to play my role in this effort to raise money for the victims of this horrible crime.


Ponch:  What’s next for Brandis J?  


Brandis:  Hopefully a nap… I’m tired!

What’s next for me is continuing to work with the members of the women’s organization “We’re S.A.S.S.I.” to be a present entity in the Longview Community. We want to provide an environment for the personal growth of women of all races and ages! Please be on the lookout beginning in January 2015. We have some great ideas on the horizon, and we look forward to empowering the women of East Texas through group activity and volunteer efforts!

You can catch snippets of what is to come for this event on Youtube at http://youtu.be/wdeIAyS4R-Y.

To get tickets to this event go to www.facesofbeauty2.eventbrite.com

To learn more about Faces of Beauty Foundation go to www.facesofbeautyfoundation.wordpress.com.