Makeup Dupes Soup

I am so excited today to share with you all some MakeUp Dupes, as in makeup that could duplicate for those high-end products.

Now, I am sure you are thinking to yourself, “I didn’t know Grace knew anything about makeup.” 

Well, I don’t, really.

But, my friend Mike does.

I invited Mike to share his makeup expertise with you. He knows his stuff. His makeup looks flawless and fresh, and he’s always current on all the best makeup dupes and tricks. 

When I asked Mike to share his expertise with us, he was enthusiastic and so sweet. Just talking to him, I picked up some tips on makeup application. If we play our cards right, he just might come back and share some makeup tips with us later… 

Makeup Dupe Soup…  

By: Mike Brooks      

Hey Gals and guys, who like the designer makeup look, but for less! I’ve always got my eyes out for a good drugstore dupe. I mean, who doesn’t want to look their very best without breaking the bank?            

Here’s a few of the dupes I’ve run into either by trial and error, or basically repurposing  a makeup.

First up:

Wet n Wild Reserve your Cabana slays HourGlass lighting powder

Wet n Wild Reserve your Cabana slays HourGlass lighting powder

   HourGlass* Ambient Lighting Finishing Powder which retails for around  $45 is duped by Wet N Wild’s* Reserve Your Cabana Bronzer (once you see the pigment of this you’ll understand right away it’s a highlighter/finishing powder) which retails for an astonishing 41 bucks less at around $4.      If you likemake up foundation dupe Bobbi Brown* Liquid Foundation and don’t want to pay the steep price of $50, why not try Maybelline* Fit Me Foundation for only $8?   

Now, let’s talk bronzers. bronzer

These days matte powder bronzers are all the rage, but if you don’t want to shell out the $35for Estee Lauder* Bronze Goddess Powder, you’ll be relieved when I tell you it’s dupe Rimmel London* Natural Bronzer only cost $5.  

Color Correcting Dupes Capture

Try this dupe for $3

Try this dupe for $3

Right now, color correcting pallets have been coming out in all the high end brands. If you’ve never tried them and don’t want to pay the not too bad price of $12 for the NYX* Color Correcting Pallet, you can pay 4 times less with Elf’s* Tone Correcting Pallet at a whopping $3!   Well, that’s all the makeup dupes I have for ya, but I will leave you with one more. elf brush How would you put on all this fabulous makeup without the right tools? If you’re paying between $15 – $50 on MAC* or Sephora* Brushes, might I suggest you take a look at Elf* Brushes which are between $1 – $3, Elf* started out online only, and then branched out to Target, but now I hear many retailers are carrying them. My favorite is the Elf* Studio Mineral Powder brush which retails for $3, great for contouring & highlighting.   What makeup dupes do you use?  Please comment because everyone should be able to afford to look great! – Mike      


Want to try out some of Mike’s favorite Makeup Dupes? Enter the giveaway to win some of his favorite products!  Good Luck! 

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Target Obsession

If you are obsessed with Target like me, then you know exactly how a “quick” trip can turn into a shopping spree. The dollar spot, end caps and red sale signs get me every time! And let’s talk about the new home department vignette displays. A-dorbes! Recently, I’ve been obsessing over two of the store’s new brands. I thought I would share with my fellow Target lovers, in case you need a reason for a quick Target run.

Earlier this month, Target released its Oh Joy baby and home décor line in collaboration with Joy Cho, who started as a blogger like us ladies. Her simple, colorful and whimsy point of view has launched the Oh Joy brand to a design studio with multiple licensed product lines. This collection features bright colors, fun patterns and feminine vibes. I picked up the dots crib sheet for baby #2’s nursery (more on that later) and the diaper bag (currently out of stock). Love love both!

Oh Joy Collection

1. decorative pillows 2. ceramic animals 3. bedding collection 4. muslin swaddle blankets 5. wall art 6. diaper bag 7. muslin swaddles

This Saturday, the store will debut its new children’s line Pillowfort. It’s aimed to be a brand that can grow with your child and fit your home’s design aesthetic. My local stores have already put a few items on display. Most accessories will be available this weekend and furniture pieces will be released this summer. I’m in LOVE with everything in this modern/Land of Nod-esque collection. It offers style, spunk, imagination and comfort. I’m especially obsessing over the toucan bedding, arrow wall décor and mint chairs. Hoping to snatch those this weekend for L. Just take my money already Target!

Pillowfort collectionphotos source:

Hope some of my favorite things caught your eye as well. Let us know what is your Target obsession?!

PS-Since the new children’s line is making it’s way to stores, the older stuff are now 70% off!


Perfect Brownie Recipe

the perfect chewy brownie

I have the perfect Brownie Recipe for you. 

Here is my hard copy, tweaked recipe.

Here is my hard copy, tweaked recipe.

I know some of you may be saying, “I already have a perfect recipe. It comes from a box.”  While I will agree that there are a lot of perfectly fine (dare I say, “Delicious) brownies that come from a box, I must contend that I still have the perfect brownie recipe.  My grandmother was the queen of homemade (and correspondence). She made ev’rything from scratch. Everything except for brownies.  She claimed that she couldn’t make brownies better than the box, but if she would have tried my Perfect Brownie Recipe, she clearly would have ditched the box and went back to basics. Best Brownies Recipe

The unsung hero in this perfect brownie recipe is parchment paper. Seriously, parchment paper is pretty ah-mazing. These brownies just lift out of the pan, and you are left with a large (and perfect) brownie. 


chewy gooey brownie

Before removing the brownie from the parchment paper.

After removing from the pan. The result: a perfect slab of brownie ready for consuming, err I mean cutting.

After removing from the pan. The result: a perfect slab of brownie ready for consuming, err I mean cutting.

I tried  and made a lot of Brownie Recipes, and this one after a few tweaks (I added coffee and sea salt to my recipe to deepen the intensity of the chocolate)  of my own is  THE PERFECT BROWNIE RECIPE.  

Best Brownies Ever
Better than box Brownies. Easy scratch brownies
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. 1/2 Cup Butter (melted)
  2. 1 1/2 C Granulate Sugar
  3. 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  4. 1 T Coffee
  5. 2 Eggs
  6. 3/4 C Flour/All purpose is fine
  7. 1/2 C Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  8. 1/2 tsp Seasalt ( I just crank my Seasalt grinder-- usually 3-4 turns)
  9. 1/4 tsp baking soda-- this will give you a crunchy crust while leaving the brownie chewy and gooey
  10. 1 C Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line a pan (I use a square 8x8, which made a thick brownie) with parchment paper (this makes the brownies easy to remove)
  3. Combine butter, sugar, extract, coffee in a large bowl
  4. Beat eggs in one at a time (best if eggs are at room temperature)
  5. In another bowl combine: flour, cocoa powder, sea salt, and baking soda
  6. Whisk the dry ingredients together.
  7. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients ( I do this gradually)
  8. Don't over mix, but mix so all ingredients are combined (do not use a mixer-- I use a spatula)
  9. Stir in choc. chips
  10. Place in pan and bake for 25 minutes (and upward-- Mine usually take 35 minutes to bake, but in my mom's oven... 25)
  1. Keep an eye on the batter while in the oven... the brownie will rise in the oven, but settle after it cools. It's ready when a toothpick comes out clean.
  2. When you remove your brownies from the oven. Allow about 5 minutes to cool in the pan before lifting the parchment and brownie out of the paper. Once you lift, I would wait another 5 minutes before cutting
  3. Sometimes, I add a little more coffee because I think the batter is too dry; if you add more liquid, you will need to cook for a little longer.
Adapted from adapted from Brooke's Best Bombshell Brownie
Teach Love Craft

As a teacher, I would be quite the hypocrite if I didn’t give credit to the original source. Inspiration for this recipe derives from Brooke’s Best Bombshell Brownie. It was from her recipe that I derived mine. 

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