Tuesday, December 31, 2013

UPDATE: Project Pan!

Happy New Year's Eve everyone! Hope you all have some fun plans tonight to ring in the new year!

Honestly I think this project pan may be over for me. I'm going to give it one more month to see if I can finish off the eye shadows, but that blue in the quad I just haven't touched. I tried it multiple times and there is just no way for me to make it work for my lifestyle and color preferences. I'm going to attempt to finish off all those colors, but I've given up on the blue, it's just not going to happen. Check out my original Project Pan post here for the full names of all these products!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Mani Monday #1: Essie

Shout out to my friend Erica for coming up with this idea for a series! Every Monday, until I run out of brands, I will be showcasing a different brand of nail polish and doing an in depth review on the wear and tear. Obviously within brands the formulation varies between collections, so I will try and pick colors in permanent collections in the hope that this will be a more universal test run. All of these polishes will be tested with the same base and top coat and following this schedule: painting the nails right before bed, allowing them to dry all night and then putting on the top coat first thing in the morning. All of the daily pictures will be taken at night right before bed and a chronicled account of my daily activities with an emphasis on anything that may have added to chipping. All tests will run for a full week, or until there is serious chippage that I just can't live with. I must apologize, I was in a huge rush getting this started so the day one picture is a little unfortunate to look at because I did a bad job cleaning up the edges (nor did I respect my cuticles) but I promise you it gets better!

This week we are taking a look at Essie nail polishes! It is no secret this one is the favorite in my collection due to the pretty consistent formula, as well as beautiful range of colors and glitters. These retail for about $8, a good mid range polish that can be found just about everywhere. I think I own upwards of 30 different colors so I can definitely provide a good insight into the general quality of the Essie brand. There are so many types of Essie I may have to do additional Mani Monday tests with all the different textures and finishes, but for now I chose a simple cream finish polish. This one is called Wicked, which is a dark, dark red and just absolutely gorgeous. I started with the OPI Nail Strengthening Base Coat, followed by two coats of Wicked, and then topped off with the OPI Top Coat. I forgot to take a "pre" photo for this one, but there really was no change for it as you will see in my daily entry.

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 MVP: Most Valuable Products

Another year is coming to a close and I have the privilege of trying out a whole host of products. However even with my vast experimenting (and slight hoarding of makeup) there are some truly exceptional products that I feel warrant special recognition for their awesomeness this year. Here's a roundup of these tried and true products that I just keep coming back to time and time again.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

DIY: Glitzy NYE Nail Art!

I've been meaning to do a nail art tutorial for awhile now, but it's difficult and I wasn't sure if it would translate as well in a blog as it would in video, but here we go let's just try this out!

Just because you're decked out in sequins for New Year's Eve, there's no reason you can't bling out your nails too! Today I'm going to show you how to do a fun and easy manicure inspired by glitter and fireworks! First up gather these following supplies, I put in parenthesis the specific polishes I used:

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Favorite Christmas Traditions

Merry Christmas everyone! I can't believe another year has passed and it's Christmas again. While Thanksgiving is without a question my favorite holiday, the entire Christmas season puts me in a very festive mood. Now that the bulk of present opening has occurred and I await the heavy food coma that is too come from brunch, I figured it would be a perfect time to share just some of my favorite traditions and things about this whole month really that I just adore.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

They Made Me Buy It!

I like watching YouTube. A lot. And of course doing that I am influenced to buy way too many things I do not need just because someone raved about how much they loved it. Let's be real, some of these they casually mentioned in a haul and I was still like OMG I need that. With that being said, here is my little list of those said items and who it was that (easily) convinced me to run out and pick it up. Also some of these products I was lucky enough to get in subscription boxes!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Makeup Hacks

We all have them. Those little tips and tricks we use to help extend the life of our cosmetics, or just to make our lives more easy when painting on those faces. While I may have an uncontrollable makeup buying addiction, I like to believe that I am still smart when it comes to working with all I have. Here are a few hacks I like to employ to add versatility or save time that not everyone thinks of to do.

Friday, December 20, 2013

DIY: Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm not a big sweets person, but every once in awhile I get a craving for a nice chewy cookie. I can be picky about it, there must be the slightest crunch to the cookie while being soft and gooey in the center. I whipped up these ahhh-mazing mint chocolate chip cookies and just had to share! These make a great treat or even gift for this time of the year, the peppermint extract is really the winner to this, and gives the most delightful minty taste throughout the cookie.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Unboxing Match! December 2013 Ipsy vs. Birchbox

This hasn't been my favorite month for either of these. After the super packed bags and boxes I got last month I guess I shouldn't be too surprised of the slight let down this month. Also it was surprise that my Ipsy turned up quicker than my Birchbox, which seemed to get lost in the mail forever. I checked the tracking page daily and it seemed like it took a nice tour of California and then was lost at the post office for awhile coming a feel week after the projected delivery date. I was almost scared I wouldn't even get it this month. Nevertheless, here they are, a little later than usual, but still here.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with these services, Ipsy and Birchbox are two beauty subscription boxes that come monthly. Both of these cost $10 a month and each arrive with 5-6 different goodies ranging from sad little foil packets to full size products!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

An Ode to Eyeshadow Sticks

While I adore cream and powder eyeshadows, nothing compares to an eyeshadow stick when I find myself running late, which is often. A few quick swipes and you can have an effortless eye look complete, and they are excellent for lining the lower lash line when you want a smokey eye effect. There's no danger of fall out so it's virtually mess free, so those days where it's really bad you can just grab a few colors to go and apply in the parking lot when you get there. The most versatile of the colors that I have is definitely the white, in a pinch it can act as a base on my eyelids, the highlight for both my brow bone and cheeks, as well as lining my waterline and dabbing onto the inner corners for the really wide eyed look. So far my collection consists of three brands: Nyx, Jordana and BH Cosmetics, with all three falling in the $2-$5 category per stick. Whether it is a shimmer or a matte shade I do find that eyeshadow sticks across the board apply smoothly in beautiful creamy shades. These really are great everyday alternatives for when you just don't have time to blend out and define using traditional shadows where you need to spend longer layering colors to get the seamless transitions between shades. I find it much easier to use these sticks and either with a brush or even just a finger to gently smudge out the harsh line between colors to achieve that flawless transition. Even when I'm miraculously on time in the mornings, I still find myself reaching for these guys more and more often.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ins & Outs #2

In

  • Tea. You guys I have a serious juice addiction. And I'm not talking about that healthy juicing with all the fresh vegetables and fruits, but the store bought stuff that is 50% sugar and 50% preservatives. In an attempt to lead a healthier lifestyle because I just cannot bring myself to say no to french fries, I have replaced my sugary/flavored drinking needs with some delicious healthy tea! It's helpful to do this now as there are a bunch of vanilla and sweet holiday teas out now for the season which is helping the transition greatly. I must say I've been doing very well, I did have a few bad days of craving for something with a little bit more flavor but this just leads me to the next thing...
  • Almond Milk! I'm by no means a milk drinker, I have a slight lactose intolerance that makes drinking straight up milk an unfortunate situation for everyone, so enter my latest delicious discovery: Vanilla Almond Milk. This stuff is so good that I drink it by itself sometimes. But I LOVE adding this to my vanilla flavored teas (or even some herbal teas that are just to herb-y for me) and it just tastes heavenly. I've also been making some hot chocolate with this stuff and it is just genius. Hot chocolate seems to go against my sugar decreasing however it makes sense because I'm trying to burn through some hoarding habits which leads to...(I know everything is connected lately)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Is My Makeup Killing Me? Lip Products

In this second edition of "Is My Makeup Killing Me", we will move away from the terrifying secrets of nail polish and instead explore the wonderful world of lip products! Hence forth all lip products (glosses, lipsticks, crayons, chapstick, etc. if it goes on your lips it counts) will be referred to as lippies. If you really think about it, lippies go right on your lips and a good chunk of it is actually ingested through the regular wear and tear as well as coming off while you're eating. I don't know about the rest of you but when I bite into a burger I always leave a nice lipstick mark on the bun which I go ahead and just eat anyways, ew, I know.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Review: Maybelline Baby Skin

This is a lovely product all the way from Shanghai, China that I had been dying to get my hands on. Maybelline has decided to respond to the crazy cult following of Baby Lips (I still don't get it) and to start churning out an entire Baby Line of makeup. Baby Skin is scheduled to release in the USA next year so I was thrilled to be able to get a little sneak peek of what this is all about. Baby Skin claims to be a great makeup base that is a lightweight and breathable formula with cherry extract promising a baby smooth and matte finish that moisturizes all day. This retailed for around 100 Chinese Yuan or roughly $17 which I think is fairly pricey and I expect a lower price when this finally comes to the US. This is comparable to the Benefit's POREfessional which retails for double of that.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lazy Girl's Guide: Quick Outfits

Everyone has those days where getting dressed just seems like such an unnecessary effort. I have come up a solution for those lazy girl days: throw out those tabloids and embrace the use of leggings as pants. Hang on, before people's go up in arms to storm my home and those who immediately take it literally and start rocking the crop top and leggings look, there are ground rules to be set down to make this potentially trashy look tasteful.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Whole Lot of Lippies

As you can see from my recent haul I got a bunch of different lip products so I decided a post featuring some thoughts and swatches would be appropriate. I will be a doing a quick review on all of the lippies have hauled recently as I've gotten a chance to try each of them out. There's also a Nyx lipstick that I totally forgot to photograph above but no worries it will still be discussed!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cover Me Up

These days there dozens of brands of foundation out there, and within each brand there is a maddening amount of types to choose from. Fear not, here is your one stop guide to figuring out what kind of foundation will work best for your skin type! I have selected five different types of foundation, the most common forms of foundation you will find in stores these days and I am here to walk you through the pros and cons for each, as well as tips for achieving the flawless finish despite the product.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Lazy Girl's Guide: Quick Makeup

Sometimes Everyday when I wake up in the morning, I'd much rather stay a few minutes longer in my warm bed which inevitably causes me to run late and have to rush to get out the door. I know better than to leave the house sans makeup where I will terrify people with how tired I look, so in a pinch there are a few items I am sure to always reach for and can be applied in minutes to create an effortless and wide awake look.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Does It Work?? Smooth Away

I find that using a razor leaves me with razor bumps and an increase of ingrown hairs so I have been seeking at alternative that would get the job done and smooth out my legs. Enter the As Seen On TV product Smooth Away! Instead of purchasing the kit in stories I actually ordered it offline a deal that came with the large and small size pads along with 50 refill pads for each size. The instructions say to use the larger size for legs and armpits, and the smaller size for facial hair and other places such as knees for better precision. The pads have some sort of magical crystal things that painlessly buffs away hair and also dead skin leaving you with smooth and hair free legs. Think exfoliant with hair removing power for your legs. Taking the pad you rub it against an area for about three circles one way and then three circles the other way and now you are awarded with a nice smooth patch.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: theBalm Nude 'Tude Palette

The Nude Tude eyeshadow palette by theBalm cosmetics retails for $36 and consists of 12 shimmery neutral shades. The colors are perfect for creating beautiful natural looks with the options of darker colors to build a more smokey eye. This palette covers all the essentials for a complete look with light highlights to darker defining shades to add dimension to your eyes. This palette comes with a small two sided applicator brush that are angled ones on both side, one side being stiffer brushes that allows you to precisely line your eyes and the other side is softer to make it easier to sweep across your whole lid and blend out. Each color is given a sizeable amount, however they are a little powdery so it does tend to get messy while using them.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Collective Wishlist Haul!


Awhile ago I had put up a wishlist of items I had been lusting after and I have managed to make some of my wishlist dreams come true. I thought it would be fun to have a little update on the ones I managed to get a hold of. I have had the chance to try everything out a few times already so here are my impressions on everything and whether they lived up to my expectations.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

November 2013 UNfavorites

Going along with my not wearing makeup, nor experimenting (despite my retail therapy), this month has been an all time low for unfavorites too. With just three on my hit list this month it's making me at least feel like I'm becoming a smarter shopper...

Monday, December 2, 2013

November 2013 Favorites

I'll be honest I haven't been wearing a lot of makeup this month, it's been stressful especially with the return of my sleep problems and I just really didn't have the patience to play around with stuff. Despite buying a ton of it lately I will admit that my daily look (if I even bother at all) is brows, mascara, a little eyeliner on top and then some sort of lip product. With that being said I have few beauty favorites this month and more random ones. Mixing up the post formats this time with some closeup shots and appropriate swatches of the beauty products at the end of the post.

Friday, November 29, 2013

UPDATE: Project Pan!

This was a good month for product using! I actually managed to finish some up. I considered adding new items to the project but decided I'm just going to wait until I finish all of these up before tackling a new batch. Let's get right into the visual comparisons. You can visit my original post here to get the full names of all these products. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Splurge or Save?

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Everyday we are faced with the decisions of whether to spend 99 cents on that eyeliner or 20 dollar. Having had the privilege to try out an array of products I would like to share with you today which products I think are worth it to splurge on, and those that you would be better off saving your money on. So without further rambling let's dive straight into this list.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review: Kiehl's Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Repairative Hair Pak

I believe that a good hair mask is the secret to beautiful, healthy hair. I try and do a hair mask at least once every two weeks because my hair is not exposed to much heat (I never use a hair dryer and it only sees a curling wand maybe twice a year) and is naturally nonfussy, basically the epitome of normal hair. However, if you are someone who uses heat on their hair as a daily basis I suggest using a hair mask on a weekly basis. I have tried a number of different products from drugstore to homemade and everything in between and I have found that Kiehl's Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Repairative Hair Pak is hands down my favorite one. This lovely jar of goo retails for $25 which is slightly on the pricey side however if you (or a family member) is a frequent shopper at Kiehl's, their reward program combined with coupons can score you this for free. Often they will have promotions that reward you with any item $25 or less completely free of charge, which is how I get my hands on this stuff.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What's in my Trash?! Empties #1

I don't know why I am so fascinated by these, but seriously empties are one of my favorite things to watch/read about. Here are some products, mostly skin and hair care items I have used up. While I don't put on makeup everyday I do treat my skin and hair religiously so there will be plenty of those! I'll try to do these regularly however I'm really slow when it comes to using up things so we will see how consistent I can be. So let's go ahead and take a look at my trash (basically) and learn whether or not I repurchased/plan on repurchasing! Pictures for everything will be at the end of the post.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

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While most people pick Christmas or their birthday, all I have to say is, you can't eat a sweater or shoes; hands down, Thanksgiving is all my all time favorite holiday. I also like to believe that calories don't count on that magical day so I feast all day long without any regret. While 364 days of the year I can't even scramble an egg properly, Thanksgiving is the one day where I can touch the oven and not result in a small fire. I'll admit my family celebrates a weird sort of Thanksgiving and basically it comes down to, if I want to eat traditional Thanksgiving dishes, it's up to me to make them myself. So I would like to share some favorite recipes and tips when it comes to cooking sides. Be warned now these are not diet friendly recipes by any means, Thanksgiving is the day where butter is my friend and I'm not afraid to use sour cream.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday

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In exactly one weeks time crazed shoppers will be hungrily lining up post turkey coma in order to be the first in line to score those Black Friday deals. However for those who do not exactly find fighting hundreds of rabid shoppers, there's always the alternative of Cyber Monday to snag those deals too. These two events that takes place after every Thanksgiving marks the start of the Christmas shopping season. Before you start preparing yourself to enter the onslaught, I'd like to take some time to share some tips and debunk some myths regarding this shopping weekend.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

HUGE Haul! Sephora + Ulta

So I went a little crazy online shopping recently and placed two large orders to Sephora and Ulta for a lot of goodies. Let's just dive into everything I've hauled.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Emergency Everything Kit

More than once I have been caught in a situation where I walked out of the house missing some kind of makeup, or ended up staying at a friend's house due to one too many unplanned cocktails from a girly night in turned into happy hour. Ever since these kind of issues have arised (okay I'll admit it was around the tenth time of figuratively being caught with my pants down that I actually did something), I have put together a mini emergency everything kit that can be stashed into even the smallest of my clutches, so now I can always be prepared! A lot of these items I have my subscription boxes to thank for as they provide very conveniently individually wrapped items, but use this more as an idea or suggestion box to create your own kit.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Review: They're Real! Mascara

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I said I would never be one of those people who purchased high end mascara because of how disposable they are as the makeup with the shortest lifespan. However after trying a sample of Benefit's They're Real! Mascara I have completely changed my mind and started thinking up a whole mess of justifications for this purchase. This is seriously the best mascara I have tried in awhile and is so perfect because it combines a lot of benefits into one tube. Previously I have been combining the powers of two different drugstore mascaras to achieve the perfect length to volume ratio, but this one totally blows those two out of the water. This mascara retails for $23, if you purchase it online from the Benefit website there's actually a set that gives you a full sized mascara as well as a travel sized one for the price of the full sized so if you ever hunt down some free shipping codes I say that is a pretty nice deal.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Everday Makeup Favorites

While I love testing out new products, everyday I find myself reaching for some old favorites to use with my experimenting and if you pull everything together in the end you find the collection of products pictured above that I like using to create a very soft and non-fussy daily look. I'd like to share with you some of my everyday favorites that always seem to wiggle their way back into my daily makeup routine no matter how much I try to branch out and be adventurous with new things.

Friday, November 15, 2013

UnBoxing Match! November 2013 Ipsy vs. Birchbox

'Why is it that Ipsy always takes so much longer to ship?? I stare at the tracking information on a daily basis and for some reason it gets shipped as far as the next town over from me by DHL and then proceeds to sit in the post office there for a full five days before they decide to bring it to my house. Kind of wish I could drive over and just pick it up myself. Nevertheless here they are!!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with these services, Ipsy and Birchbox are two beauty subscription boxes that come monthly. Both of these cost $10 a month and each arrive with 4-5 different goodies ranging from sad little foil packets to full size products!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Orphan Drawer

I definitely have a habit of just going to the store and usually coming home with a bunch of products I snatch up on a whim just because I'm curious about them. However when I start organizing what I purchased into their new homes, I often find lots of similar items. With my need to finish things before starting something new and fresh, this is how the orphan drawer came to life. Basically it is what it sounds like, a drawer full of brand new products waiting to be used, whether they were casualties from an unexpected shopping spree, or ones I've received in my subscription boxes, either way this drawer is starting to get a little out of control, so naturally I thought it would be fun to share what is found in there. So here we go, like a huge game of Where's Waldo, try to spot all these products I'm listing (in no particular order) above. Go!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Review: L'Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream

When I find something I love I just have to spend some time raving about it, and this wonderful find puts all of my other skin products to shame. This is the L'Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream which retails for around $8 and comes in a squeezy tube filled with one fluid ounce of product. This is the same line as the Magic Nude Foundation that I had done a review on earlier, and this line really does deserve more attention and praise because it is amazing. This is a four in one product that claims to hydrate, correct, even, and perfect, so you'll notice right away that it does not contain SPF like most BB creams do. It comes in 4 different shades which I find is not a problem because the cream contains "beautifying beads" that basically adjusts to match your skin tone. Also this stuff is very sheer coverage, basically all it will be do is even out some redness and smooth out your skin, so a wide range of skin colors can find a match within their limited selection of shades. When you first squeeze it out of the tube it is a greyish with tiny darker beads so rubbing it onto your face you feel a slight grittiness, don't fret that is merely those beautifying beads I mentioned earlier that burst to adjust to your skin color. You can see in the swatches below the cream when it was first squeezed out as well as half rubbed in so you can see it adjusting to the color of my skin.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Evening Skin Routine

Earlier I had posted my Morning Skin Routine and now I will share my nightly routine. Since while I am sleeping I do not need to worry about maintaining that perfectly matte, photo ready (yes, I live my life anticipating paparazzi behind every bush) look, I tend to pile on heavier cream products that will work their moisturizing magic on my skin overnight.
First I remove my makeup with some coconut oil. I bought this jar from Trader Joe's and before anyone asks, I have no clue what that pink stuff is at the bottom, this is an empty jar and I have since gotten a new one. This works better than any other remover I have used and breaks down even the most waterproof makeup that I cement onto my face.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: Essie Holiday 2013 Collection

Sorry for all these consecutive nail polish posts lately, some serious bad planning on my part, I promise this is the last one for awhile though! 
This purchase was an accident I swear I didn't mean to buy it! But may as well follow up Friday's review of Essie's Winter Collection with this other collection they have recently released featuring all glitters for the holiday! I must say the name kind of grosses me out, they have decided to call it Encrusted Treasures...encrusted, really now? But I must admit there are some beautiful and unique polishes here, as well as their stab at the OPI liquid sand trend! Without further ado let's get right into swatches and thoughts on these six polishes! And yes a couple of these are meant to be layered top coats, but for the intent on showcasing the glitter alone I will be swatching all of them onto bare nails so some of these may end up a little wonky.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Battle of the Nail Polishes

Having quite an extensive collection of nail polish (100 bottles and counting), I thought it was high time to share with the rest of the world what I thought of all the different brands out there. I have picked six brands that I frequently reach for and which I have tried a range of colors and collections where I can confidently give an unbiased review on them. I have featured brands that are drugstore to high end and everything in between, and I'll be getting down to the bottom of whether it is worth it to splurge or whether you can get away with just dropping a couple of bucks. It should be noted that I always wear a base coat with all nail polishes (helps keeps those nails clean and healthy!), so I will not be able to comment on the staining factor.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Review: Essie Winter 2013 Collection

My nails are actually crying right now from these swatches, but I think it was worth it. Sorry some of the swatches are a little messy, I did have a slight struggle with the darker shades. Today I am sharing with you my thoughts on the Essie Winter 2013 collection, Shearling Darling including swatches! I must say I originally only intended to buy two of the colors due to the fact that the last few collections haven't been so great in quality, but after I found a deal which got me the whole set for $20, basically how much three of these polishes normally retail for, I decided to go for it and I must say Essie has finally stepped up their game because these are six truly phenomenal polishes.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cuddle Weather

As the temperature drops, there is nothing I love to do more than cuddle up with someone for a nice movie marathon. However I do not have the most agreeable fluffy dog when it comes to cuddling, nor does my boyfriend have unlimited time (and tolerance) for such shenanigans, I often find myself settling for plan B. That would be to put on some fuzzy socks, wrap myself into a warm blanket and grab steaming mug of hot chocolate for some quality time with a book. That was a mouthful, trying to paint a picture here in your mind. Besides my classic favorites of Harry Potter and Narnia, here are some other books I have been reaching for. You can see that I have a tendency to grab dystopian novels that apparently all come in trilogies. I do tend to gravitate towards fiction rather than nonfiction because I love losing myself in the story, just a habit from childhood that I've been happy to hold onto.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Is My Makeup Killing Me? Nail Polish

As people are becoming more health conscious, it still amazes me how makeup seems to be so low on the list of things that people are concerned about. While cult workout routines and crazy health foods are sky rocketing in sales, people are still blindly buying makeup with little concern which scares me because makeup is something you are piling directly onto your face and leaving there for hours, allowing a whole host of chemicals to sink in and directly enter your bloodstream. Now I'm not saying that everything I use is 100% natural and harmful chemical free, but I've decided it's high time to educate myself and the masses about what it is exactly we are doing to ourselves in our quest for beauty. First up is a look in my favorite product, nail polishes.

Monday, November 4, 2013

October 2013 UNfavorites

I found less unfavorites this month (yippee!) basically I learned my lesson of not forcing dupes and also to quit with my impulse buying. So let's just get right into the five items I had some issues with this month.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Halloween & Group Therapy

Here's an unusual weekend post, I just really wanted to share some images I've captured these past few days. Mostly an onslaught of pictures from when I went to see Above & Beyond of their typing. Enjoy! <3

Friday, November 1, 2013

October 2013 Favorites

October went by so fast for me, I can't believe it's already November and almost time for the best holiday ever! Thanksgiving for those wondering. There was definitely a lot of experimenting this month with some new products from the drugstore and I'm pleased to add them into my favorites. I was definitely looking for quality and budget friendly and I'm pleased to have found some winners.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review: Jordana Twist & Shine Balm Stain

Hello new obsession! I picked up these Jordana Twist & Shine Balm Stains from Walgreens for $3.29. They are available in 8 different shades and I have picked up 4, limiting my selections to only colors I like and that would compliment my skin tone. These are jumbo lip crayons that come in plastic sticks, and is similar to the Revlon Just Bitten stains in size and shape. They are twist up products, so no sharpener required. They claim to be a moisturizing balm infused with a light-weight stain, however I have concluded there is nothing light-weight about these stains. They smell delicious, like sweet tarts or cherry Chapstick, and no weird to taste to them like some lip products have. Despite how they all appear to be different colors, ranging from nudes to cranberries to red, I have found that all of them swatch out with pink undertones, so if you are looking for something that will give you a true cherry red, this will not give it to you. Here's a quick break down to the four colors I picked up.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

UPDATE: Project Pan!

It's the end of the month and time to check in to see how I am doing on my project pan! Right away you can see some progress in a few of these products. I've inserted comparisons side by side with some comments. You can visit my original post here to get the full names of all these products. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Morning Skin Routine

I am absolutely crazed about flawless skin because in my teenage years I was cursed with bad acne that had carried onto my adult years with slight scarring and the occasional breakouts. Because of this reason I prefer to keep the use of foundations at a minimum as to discourage future pimples from surfacing and to help keep my oily skin to a minimum. After scouring reviews and testing out a range of products I have perfected my ideal skin care routine. Here I will break down everything I do in the morning to help achieve that natural bright skin look I have been chasing after.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fall 2013 Trends: Nail Polishes

Good bye bright neons, hello to darker jewel tones! Fall is the season of transition, and before I break out those vampy reds and festive glitters, now is the time for the rich jewel tones to complement the shift in fashion from airy and light to layered and chic. Here are the top six trends of polishes I have spotted, as well as some suggestions of my favorites for each category.

Friday, October 25, 2013

DIY: Re-purposing Candle Jars

As a serious candle junkie I have collected candles for every season and holiday and constantly have one burning in my room. Before I had discarded empty jars once I had burned away all that delightful scented oil, but Pinterest has opened my eyes to a new alternative: reusing the jars! Similar jars sold in stores can run upwards to $20, so might as well invest the money in some good smelling candles and then be able to upcycle the jars as an added bonus. The steps are maddeningly simple to clean out a jar for use, and with so many different candles in all sorts of shapes and sizes, it was insane I hadn't thought to use them post candle life. Here's some really simple instructions as to how to clean out candle jars as well as some inspiration of what I use mine for.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: BH Cosmetics California Collection

I snagged these three special edition palettes off of the BH Cosmetics for $8 each and I must admit they are not worth the money. Originally I only had the intention of purchasing the San Francisco palette having studying the colors and deciding that those would be the most wearable for my preferences, but the sale I spotted when I was shopping around convinced me to go ahead and grab all three. Each palette is a small square that opens up to reveal 16 eyeshadows that are a mix of matte and glitter, 4 blush or highlight shades and a small mirror. The packaging makes these ideal for travel because they are compact and condenses many must have products into one. However I am extremely disappointed in the consistency within these palettes, with an irritating mix of sheer and opaque colors. While I would love to be able to take just one for travelling, I find it difficult to complete an eye look with just one palette because some of the colors are completely sheer and not build-able. This will become more apparent when I break down each individual palette down and show swatches below. For the price I guess this is the quality to be suspected, however after having great success with the Galaxy Chic palette I just expected a little more.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

OMG! PLL & RW!

Here's a break from the usual beauty talk to have a fan girl moment over the return of Pretty Little Liars and the premiere of Ravenswood. Warning you now that there will be spoilers so if you haven't watched these two episodes from last night turn away now! I will admit when I first started seeing the commercials for Ravenswood I wasn't too interested. In all honesty it actually took a few mentions of it in Pretty Little Liars (hence forth denoted as PLL), before I finally made the connection. Poor Hanna has suffered enough heart breaks and issues, I thought it was a little cruel to remove her boy from the equation and transplant him into RW. However I was intrigued by this opener and looking forward to the season.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review: BH Cosmetics Galaxy Chic

This is the BH Cosmetics Galaxy Chic baked eyeshadow palette which comes with 18 beautiful shadows. I hauled this palette along with a few other items a few weeks ago and I have been very pleased with this purchase. 

First of all the size of this palette is way bigger than I thought. It is roughly the size of a Harry Potter novel and each color comes in a generous quarter sized amount. It also comes with a small mirror on the lid which in my opinion is a little small making it difficult to actually use, especially while holding up this sizeable palette. The packaging is sturdy and it has a magnetic closure in the flap. For $14 this palette is an absolute steal for both the quantity and quality that you receive. There are no matte shades in this palette however it is still possible to create daytime looks because despite the bright colors and marbling in all the colors, some of them do come off as light and more neutral. There's a wide range of color that all work well for each other and there are shades for everyone to work with and enjoy. Unlike some other palettes I'm finding that each color seems to be unique in itself, with notable differences.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Things I'm Excited For!

I woke up today in a particular fall-ish weather. While I love the long days of summer and the ability to wear shorts and dresses, I must admit I am never a fan of the extreme heat that prevents me from ever enjoying the day. And to me extreme heat is roughly 80 degrees. I sweat a lot. A lot. I am very pleased with the cooler temperatures and the ability to wrap myself in warm sweaters and scarves. I am also waiting eagerly for the rainy season which allows me to feel less guilty about dirty my car is because the weather will conveniently clean it for me! Here's a list of things I am looking forward to: 

Friday, October 18, 2013

UnBoxing Match! October 2013 Ipsy vs. Birchbox

It's the most exciting time of the month where my Ipsy bag and Birchbox get to face off in an unboxing match and see who comes out on top!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with these services, Ipsy and Birchbox are two beauty subscription boxes that come monthly. Both of these cost $10 a month and each arrive with 4-5 different goodies. Ipsy, I have found, tends to have an even mix of well known and obscure brands, and can be pretty reliable about providing full sized makeup products; while Birchbox tends to be geared more towards the hair and skincare products in sample sizes. While I keep telling myself I need to cancel one, I love how they each offer a different side to my beauty routine and have stuck to them both every since. Let's get right into the unboxing and some first impressions of what I got.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

BH Cosmetics Haul

I will admit that these were two separate orders but I did place them within days of each other. I am a sucker for those special sales emails and definitely fell victim to it. I received the first order which was all of the palettes at the end of September and the second order more recently so I decided to wait to do a collective haul on everything.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Review: Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser

Foaming exfoliater. Pure magic. For the steep price of $32.95 you too can own your own jar of magical Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser. I first became acquainted with this baby as a sample from my Birchbox and was completely blown away by it. Full disclosure, I cashed in some Birchbox points to get a heavy discount, no way would I spend that much on a face wash! Price aside though I am absolutely in love with this stuff and a little really goes a long way so this sucker has lasted me a long while now with a little more than half the jar left.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

DIY: Cleaning Makeup Brushes

My makeup brushes go through quite a war everyday and despite daily spot cleaning, the gunk really starts to build up which inevitably starts contaminating all of my colors. And let's face it, it's not just color but these things are hotbeds for all kinds of germs and other ooey-gooey things. In order to preserve the original brilliance of all my shadows and blushes, as well as ensure that makeup is not a case to blindness or mysterious infections, every week (every month, more realistically) I have a makeup brush spa day and really deep clean all of my brushes. Here is my step by step break down of how I achieve the drastically difference displayed above.