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I celebrated my birthday over this past weekend. Even though I always say that I hate how the weather never cooperates with my dreams of being forced to snuggle inside to hide from the frigid outside, I have to say it’s pretty nice to be able to take the party outdoors even though I’m a November-baby. For once, thanks California.

This year I celebrated pretty casually. A game of croquet that suddenly became a race to who could beat the Birthday Girl the fastest-I lost, a lot –homemade bread and a pasta-dinner made by my wonderful mother, some black and white, pink and mint, brownies and lemon bars, trick-candles (thanks mum), and sharing the day with my favorite people.

party tablescape



owl ornament

homemade bread in five minutes

mirror made of paper

I was showered with love and beautiful things. One thing I thought would be perfect to share with my blog-friends though was my gift from this girl:

how to look expensive by andrea lustig

She lived up to her reputation of impeccable candle scents. Her choice of Calvin Klein’s “Winter Fruit” was pretty spectacular. She also gave me the book How to Look Expensive by Andrea Pomerantz Lustig. The book is packed with info and tips on how to look expensive even if you have a very cheap budget.

How to Look Expensive

Lustig gives the classic “splurge” and “save” suggestions so you can choose where you want to skimp a bit and where you want to spend more. While I was browsing through the makeup section, I kept noticing that a lot of her “save” suggestions were E.L.F. products.

I was kind of surprised actually. I’ve bought E.L.F products before but that’s mostly because I cringe at spending $10 on a new eye-shadow color that I will probably hate anyway so I try it out for $1 instead. According to Lustig though, they actually make pretty good stuff!

Two of her “save” options from E.L.F. really caught my attention:

E.L.F. products

She recommended these two products as a “save” option if you’re looking to try a primer or a highlighter. With all of the new makeup products now, by the time you’ve bought concealer, powder, foundation, primer, highlighter, eye-brightener, and moisturizer, you could have spent a small fortune and only have tackled skin products! According to Lustig though, with the primer you get a nice base to apply your more expensive foundation to, and the illuminator gives your skin some glow instead of covering it with a matte powder all the time.

It wasn’t in the book, but I use some of E.L.F’s brushes as well as their eyelash curler and you seriously cannot beat the price. And, unless you are a bit of a makeup snob, they are also perfectly good utensils. I don’t know about you but I’d much rather spend my cash on something other than a fancy eyeshadow brush.

– ❤ A.