Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Current Go To Fall Look

I feel like a tape recorder gone berserk because I feel like my excuse for not posting as frequently as I used to is always the same: there are not enough hours in a day. But to make up for that I forced myself to film a tutorial over the weekend! I currently don't have the time to take chances with my makeup because I can't afford to make a mistake and spend an extra five minutes correcting it. Check out the video below to see how I do my makeup most of these days! I change up my cheek and lip products but for the sake of keeping everything affordable, I used drugstore products.

Products Used:
E.L.F Mineral Eyeshadow Primer
NYX Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencil in Yogurt
Revlon Colorstay Quad in Blushed Wines
Maybelline Expertwear Quad in Natural Smokes
Physician’s Formula Gel Liner in Black
Revlon Beyond Natural Blush and Bronzer in Pink Rose
E.L.F Luscious Liquid Lipstick in Baby Lips

I'm still working out some kinks with my camera so for my future tutorials I think I will not zoom in so close to my eye as its difficult to stay in focus. It honestly bothers me a lot when videos don't look as good as I want them so I will try my best to produce better quality videos! My next blog post will be more along personal lines so expect lots of pictures of food and all that goodness coming soon!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pretty Party Nails: Sephora by OPI's The Sparkle That Never Sleeps

First and foremost, HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! Hope you all get to spend your Thanksgiving with family, friends, and loved ones. Thanksgiving always rings in the holiday season for me and I'm always very excited for December.

Nothing much on the beauty related front to post about but I might as well show you the holiday appropriate polish I am currently wearing. Yes, it is another polish from the Sephora Manhattan Minis Collection. 

As you can tell by the title of this post, this polish is called The Sparkle That Never Sleeps and it is red and blue confetti and silver glitter suspended in a clear base. I thought this would be a nice layering polish as I don't like the white tips of my nails peeking through my polish (the tips of my nails have been abnormally white for my whole life). I first applied two coats of ORLY's First Kiss, a very light pink, and then applied two coats of The Sparkle That Never Sleeps. The sparkle was nice and from afar the shimmer is very flattering. I wish there more flecks of confetti but that's just my preference.

I am itching to film some holiday inspired makeup tutorials but there are not enough hours in a day! I will try my best in the upcoming weeks to upload at least one before the year is through! Happy start of the holiday cheer everyone! :D

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Current Foundation Routine & NOTD

Flawless skin is the essential starting point for any makeup look whether you are trying to achieve a dramatic and sexy smokey eye or a simple "no makeup" face. As most of you know already, my skin is far from perfect and I suffer (suffer is probably too dramatic but you get my drift) from acne, acne scarring and redness. Thus, I turn to makeup to conceal my complexion woes.

First I start out with my concealer which is Lancome's Effacernes Concealer in Clair II. I have reviewed this in-depth already so besides that I love this concealer, I don't want to say too much more about it. I use my Ecotools concealer brush to place the product and my fingers to blend out the concealer.

Since August I have been predominantly using a little sample of Laura Mercier's Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer in Bisque. I only use a tiny bit and it really goes a long way! If I buy the whole tube, it'll probably take me more than two years to finish.... You can see how much was originally in the same jar in THIS post. I also featured this tinted moisturizer in my August Favorites so I do enjoy this product quite a bit (the only downside is that my face can get quite oily throughout the day from this, but just a tad). I use my Ecotools concealer brush to place a bit ofthe product on the places where I need the most coverage such as acne scars, redness, and on my cheek areas. Then I use my Sigma F80 brush to blend out all the product all over my face. This brush is the best for blending out thicker consistency foundations as it gives a beautiful, natural and airbrushed appearance.

Lastly I use my E.L.F Studio Complexion brush to pat on the Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation to set everything while adding a tiny bit of extra coverage. I use a patting and light swirling motion to avoid cakiness.

Watch the video below to see exactly how I use all these products!

Here is a closer look at my nails from the video. I cannot stop raving about the Sephora by OPI Manhattan Minis Collection as all the polishes are ON POINT. This one is Stand By Your Manhattan and it is gorgeous. But really, every single one that I have tried from the set (four out of six so far but I have yet to show swatches of all of the ones I have tried) is amazing. I have to thank this set for reawakening my love for nail polish and reminding me of how nice it feels to have manicured nails!

Oh the shimmery goodness of it all! Tell me, what are you loving on your nails at this moment? :D

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Exfolikate: Is It Worth The $85 Price Tag?

Exfolikate was one of the products I was most excited to test out in the Sephora In The Glow Kit. The kid is no longer sold but Exfolikate is a permanent product from Kate Somerville. This facial exfoliant is touted to be one of the best on the market because it is gentle yet effective and uses both physical and chemical exfoliators to smooth the skin. It definitely is a luxury skin care product as a 2.5 ounce tube of Exfolikate retails for $85. The .5 oz size which I have retails for $19 which is actually a better deal than the normal tube. The tube seems like it contains a lot of product but the product only reaches about the "e" in Kate (the bigger text running the length of the tube). The packaging is extremely misleading as the product only fills one third of the tube.

The good news is you only need a pea sized amount. The amount shown above is how much I used during my first application and I applied way too much. That amount is good for two uses. I use an exfoliant one a week so this probably will last me quite some time. The suggested directions are shown above and I follow them as stated. I feel a bit of tingling when I use this but it does not hurt or burn in any way. The tingling is normal but some people might not like that sensation.

The green scrub has a "natural" scent which reminds me of some kind of candy or fruit. The scent does not bother me as it isn't overpowering but it definitely is noticeable. Looking at the ingredients list, I do not see any signs of an added perfume but I could be wrong so do not quote me on that.

As for results... I do think this makes my skin a bit softer. But just a bit. Exfolikate is a nice weekly treat for my skin but I won't be running out to pay another $19 for such a small tube. The Olay Microdermabrasion Treatment pretty much does the same thing but with larger and more scrubbing particles which means a more thorough scrub. However, those with sensitive skin will like the Exfolikate better and right now my skin actually can't handle the Olay treatment because the weather is dry. Exfoliating is an essential part in any skincare routine so it's no wonder the market is saturated with hundreds (probably more like thousands) of products like Exfolikate with a more palatable pricetag. If you have the money for Exfolikate and have sensitive skin, I would say give it a try. But if you're not willing or able to throw down a whole lot for one item in your skincare, you aren't missing much.

Friday, November 18, 2011

(Very Belated!) September and October Empties

These are the products I finished during September and October (It's almost the end of November, I know). Even though this post is very late, my opinions of these products are pretty much finalized so everything I have to say about them are the same. Instead of going in depth about each product like I usually do, I'll just tell you which products I would repurchase.

Bath and Body Works Cucumber Melon Triple Moisture Body Cream
The Body Shop Seaweed Deep Cleansing Facial Wash
Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub
Origins A Perfect World Toner
Rimmel Sexy Curves Waterproof Mascara

Out of the whole bunch, I would only repurchase the Jergens lotion (I actually already bought another bottle!) because it is inexpensive and effective. The Biore scrub is quite good but I have found other scrubs which are more effective. Everything else was mediocre (The Body Shop cleanser, Bath and Body Works cream, Origins Toner) or just bad (Rimmel Mascara). Check out the video below for more of my thoughts on these products!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Flash Back: CARGO Summer '11 Mediterranean Kit Review and Swatches

Winter is drawing nearer with each passing day but I can't seem to forget about summer. I picked out the lovely Cargo Mediterranean Kit from Apothica a few weeks ago as they contacted me and offered me a sponsorship. I received this kit free of charge but in no way does that skew my judgment of this product... because I love this set!

As you can see from the picture above, the kit includes a mascara, an eyeliner, a mini lipgloss in Morocco, a blush in Mendocino, and an eyeshadow duo. Everything came in a cute little makeup pouch (not pictured but you can see it in my haul video HERE). I was mainly intrigued by the full size blush in this set which retails for $24 on its own. I believe this set was $32 and unfortunately it has been taken off the Apothica website. All of the products in this set are amazing quality besides the mascara which is nothing special. The rest of the products are all beautifully pigmented.

You can see the color payoff better in this picture and these swatches are probably more true to how they would appear on your face. Mendocino looks quite dark and scary in the pan but once you sweep a bit of it on your cheeks, it leaves a light pink with golden shimmer sheen. I swatched Mendocino in my aforementioned haul video so check that out if you want to see a better representation of the color. I am totally lemming for more Cargo blushes despite my makeup ban haha.

The lighter eyeshadow in the duo is a bit chunky, much like the texture of a pressed pigment. The darker shade is phenomenal to work with though! The eyeliner is great and reminiscent of other popular liners from Urban Decay and such. The pigmentation is great, the texture smooth and it's smudgeable for a short time until it sets and refuses to budge.

One of the things I wish was different is the packaging of the products. The metal tins are unique and cute to look at but I just find it easier to have a connected compact packaging for my products. This is just my opinion though and it does not affect the performance of the actual products. Just thought I should mention it though :)

You can find Cargo products on Apothica and until November 23rd, you can save an extra 20% off your order! Apothica offers a wife variety of brands that are pretty hard to find elsewhere including Paul & Joe and Becca. They also have products from well known brands such as Too Faced, Bobbi Brown, and Stila, just to name a few. Happy shopping and let me know in the comments if you have tried Cargo cosmetics and if you enjoy their products!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fall OOTD: Old and New

I really enjoy the fall season because I love layering my clothing. Due to the brisk, fall weather in New York City, I have been practically living in my scarves and blazers. When I think of a fall outfit I usually think of a romantic, soft color palette which I enjoy wearing a lot. I wore a bunch of somewhat recently acquired pieces the other day and took advantage of the beautiful Central Park scenery to film an outfit of the day.

What I'm Wearing:
Watch - Marc by Marc Jacobs
Necklaces - American Eagle and Tiffany&Co.
Earrings, Scarf, and Blazer - Forever21
Sweater and shorts - Gap
Leggings - Uniqlo
Flats - Rocketdog (Marshalls)
Bag - Longchamp
Coat - Cole Haan (Marshalls; not pictures, see video!)

On a totally unrelated note (but it must be addressed), I have noticed an increased number of comments on my blog with links to outside blogs. To be honest, it irks me when people put links to their blogs at the end of comments because it comes across as a kind of advertisement. I would much rather view someone's profile and check out their blog if they leave an interesting, thoughtful comment. Please do not advertise your blogs. From now on, any comments with a link to a personal blog (unless it is relevant to the contents of the post you are commenting on) will be deleted and removed from this site.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Sample Stash, November No-Buy, & Motivation!

Just a warning to those who do not like to read.... Get ready for a long and rambly post! Lately I feel like my makeup and skincare hoarding habits have gone a bit far.... It might have something to do with the somewhat huge (and unnecessary) haul that I've collected over the past few months. It's not that huge compared to many other bloggers and Youtubers, but nonetheless I'm only a college student with only a part time job to fund my spending. Thus, I am putting myself on a no-buy for the entire month of November. When I thought of this, I had a strange sense of deja-vu and I realized I had announced a no-buy ban for last November as well! Kind of strange... You can read about my reasons for wanting to do a no-buy and project 10 pan from last year in THIS post.

Last year I also did a post on my sample and backup stash which is basically my collection of sample goodies that I save for trips and such. I just thought I'd do a little update :)

I definitely have more samples at the moment than I did last year which is somewhat odd because I feel like I don't buy as much makeup as I used to.... Or maybe that's just what I want to think.

Last year, my main reason for doing project 10 pan and my no buy was because I did not have a job and I had more makeup than I needed. The second part still holds true only now I have a part time job. From my observations it seems as if many bloggers and Youtubers get sucked into this must-buy mentality and personally, I want to take a step back and appreciate what I have for now. I don't think I will be doing an "official" project 10 pan just because it puts too much pressure on me to use certain products. I don't really have any real guidelines for myself but I have confidence that I will purchase products less often. At the moment, and probably for the rest of my life, I am focusing on quality over quantity. Thus, you will probably see fewer drugstore hauls and more high end makeup purchases!

I want to lay out a few points that I have recently thought long and hard about which are helping me cut down on beauty related spending. For any of my real life friends who happen to read this (not sure if any of you read my blog anymore) I hope this gives you a bit of insight into what my approach is to beauty spending. I also hope this is helpful to anyone who feels like they spend too much on beauty products (or anything else). Perhaps my thoughts and opinions will spark something in you to help you control your spending :)

1. According to my estimates, I have enough eye, cheek, and lip makeup to last me at least three years. In fact, I probably have enough eyeshadow to last me my whole lifetime. Honestly I have never put up a picture of my makeup collection in its entirety because I feel like I would get a lot of negative feedback from many people I know in real life. I blog because I wholeheartedly enjoy sharing my thoughts on makeup, skincare, fashion, and everything else but the comments like "Wow, you have too much makeup!" or "Oh my god! You put so much stuff on your face!" get tiring very quickly. It's somewhat ironic because I love seeing other peoples' collections and makeup storage ideas. But at the same time, I hate hoarding and being wasteful. I have definitely controlled myself recently and have not made many eyeshadow purchases in the past few months.

2. Beauty products expire and have to be thrown away. Bacteria will grow in makeup and skincare and I cannot possibly use all of my makeup before it goes bad if I collect too much. On a related note, I am somewhat of a germaphobe. I do not allow other people to use my makeup. I feel bad when people ask to borrow things but I can't help but feel grossed out if someone uses my products. Another reason why I do not lend makeup is because I am incredibly paranoid about shattering powders, broken compacts, and things of that nature. I am extremely careful with wiping away fallout from product containers and cases. I like everything to look neat, clean, and pretty. I have no idea how I got off onto this tangent but you get the idea, I buy makeup for my personal use only.

3. I do not ever plan on having a blog sale. Many other "gurus" will host blog sales every few months to clear out their stash. I do not want to do that for several reasons. The first is that, like I mentioned before, I buy makeup for me. I heavily research about 85% of the products I purchase. I buy it with the mindset that I will hopefully enjoy it and wear it. I do not simply purchase products so I can do a review. Also, a blogsale would be extra work for me in terms of pictures, pricing, shipping, etc. If I really do not like a product, I simply give them away to my friends and family (which doesn't happen often by the way).

4. I have other things to spend my money on. Although I do not have to pay for things like rent and school, I have goals for myself in life which will require savings. I plan on traveling a lot in the future and plane tickets do not come cheap these days. I also want to invest in photography equipment because I have wanted to learn more about the field (lack of time is the main reason why I haven't learned as much as I would like). On a more superficial level, besides shopping for makeup and skincare, I also really enjoy buying clothes. I am aiming to slowly re-vamp my wardrobe which includes not only my clothes but also bags, shoes, and accessories. Again, I am sticking to the quality over quantity motto. On top of all of that, I should allocate more money to spend time with friends and family rather than buying the latest blush or foundation.

5. Not adding to my stash forces me to essentially shop in my stash and rediscover products. I have many samples (the pictures above only show a fraction of all of them) that I have yet to test out. I also have many products I used to love but forgot about because I constantly purchase new goodies to play with. When I purchase something new, I tend to use it and everything else gets stored away. Rediscovering products is sometimes even more worthwhile because I get the satisfaction of finding a product I love without having to purchase it!

There are many more reasons but these were just a few of the important ones that I wanted to share. I had hoped to post this earlier at the beginning of the month but my posting schedule is incredibly askew at the moment. I am happy to report that I have not made any beauty purchases since November has begun! It really is not difficult at all once you have the right mindset. I hope this post inspired some of you to assess your collections and stashes to figure out how much makeup you actually want to have :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Seasons Past: Coral Lips in the Fall?

Coral lips were on trend the past Spring and Summer but I only picked up this lippie at the end of August. I originally was not going to do a swatch or review of Maybelline's Colorsensational Shine Lipstick in Coral Lustre until next year but a reader requested it, so here it is! If you're in the market for a shiny, comfortable coral lipstick on a budget, look no further!

Coral Lustre is a bright orange lipstick loaded with golden micro glitter. Normally I prefer creamy, non-glittery lip products but sometimes I will make an exception. Thankfully the glitter in Coral Lustre is very fine and not irritating at all.

Even though the color looks bold and bright in the bullet, it is somewhat sheer on the lips. Coral Lustre imparts a healthy, shiny finish on the lips while achieving medium coverage with a few swipes. The formula is lightweight and quite moisturizing. I was very pleasantly surprised by this lipstick and it is a drugstore contender to the sheer, hydrating lipsticks that many highend brands such as Mac, Chanel, and Dior have released in the past year. Although this lipstick probably won't be getting much love for the next couple of months, I already can foresee myself reaching for this a lot once the spring and summer are back!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Recent Favorites // September & October 2011

Sorry for the long wait for this post! I recorded this a week ago but the video upload failed on three separate occasions so I didn't have time to post this until now. I can't believe it's already November and that the holiday season is approaching! With the start of the month, that means the end of another which means a monthly favorites post! I skipped my September favorites last month but for the most part I used the same products into October as well. I have reviewed and swatched several of these products before so I will link the reviews below (just click on the name of the products).

Lancome Effacernes Concealer in Clair II - I reviewed and swatched this already so I won't go into depth about it again. It's an all around great concealer for under the eyes as well as spots and acne scars.

Urban Decay Eyeliner in Bourbon - This was mostly a September favorite but in general, it is one of my favorite eyeliners in my collection. It is a brown eyeliner with flecks of gold glitter. As with the other Urban Decay 24/7 pencils, Bourbon is smooth and pigmented.

Maybelline Chai Latte - This is one of the best basic, neutral drugstore eyeshadow quads. I have proclaimed my love for the Maybelline Expertwear Eyeshadows already so must I say more?

ELF Studio Bronzer - I believe I had this duo in one of my favorites from last year. I have come to the conclusion that I actually don't care much for the blush in this duo because the powder is not finely milled and it does not last a long time on my face. On the other hand, the bronzer is very smooth and pigmented with decent staying power. Although there is shimmer in the bronzer, it is not apparent once applied onto my skin.

Nars Deep Throat Blush - I purchased this recently but after just one swipe of this blush, I was in love. The shade is a beautiful light peachy pink and the pigments are so finely milled it's unbelievable. I couldn't quite capture the beauty of this blush in a photo but you can see my swatch it in my recent haul video (and in the favorites video I will post below). I cannot wait until I can justify splurging on more Nars blushes. They are definitely pricey but the quality is there. 

Tarte LipSurgence Swank - This has opened my eyes to the wonderful world of bright lips. If you've been reading this blog since day one, you'll know that I'm partial to nude and baby pink pouts. Swank has totally changed my outlook on lip colors and I'm beginning to explore the rest of the lipstick color wheel. Love, love, love this product! You can read more about it (with swatches) in my previous review.

Burt's Bees Chapstick - I am an avid user of lipbalm as I hate chapped lips and Burt's Bees never fails. I've been adoring this lipbalm over my Softlips recently. I think it has to do with the minty sensation from Burt's Bees that I don't get from any of my other lip balms.

Dior J'adore - I'm not typically into scents and perfumes usually either smell all the same or too strong. J'adore is sweet, feminine, and light. It is perrrrfect! The scent instantly brightens up my day and I really want to purchase a full size in the future.

What were your favorites for the past month? Let me know in the comments below! :)