Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 2012 Wrap Up

May, oh May. I'm beginning to see a pattern when I reflect on the past month's events and come to the conclusion that it was a period of ups and downs. May was no exception and almost every week was a test of my character. The past 31 days have definitely been some of the hardest but also rewarding times that I experienced recently. Oh, and most of the following photos were Instagram-ed which I somewhat regret but it's just so darn convenient to have a camera at the tips of my fingers at all times. I still love my point and shoot and you'll see the newest addition to my photography family in this post!

I started out the month on a good note with a bit of exercise. In the first weekend of the month I visited the driving range with my Dad twice for the first time of the season. I used to hate going to the driving range and holding a golf club in general but after being on my high school golf team I can appreciate a few hours at the range.


On the first day of the Rebecca Minkoff sample sale, I headed to the location just before the lunch break rush. This was my first time going to a sample sale and I was hoping to snag one of the infamous mini Macs in a bright shade but they were all gone by the time I got inside. I have never seen so many girls carrying Prada purses in a single place before which was pretty amusing but also somewhat disturbing.

I managed to grab a quilted swing bag in the shade Mocha, a lovely brown taupe. The rose gold hardware sucked me in and the size is perfect for hanging out.

The next few days afterward were hard because my Mom was admitted to the hospital unexpectedly so I spent the three days leading up to Mother's Day in the hospital with her. In my whole life I think I've been in hospitals three times and my family has been fortunate to never have been ill or injured until now. Those few days were really hard for my family and I but my Mom pulled through (it was never supposed to be something life threatening to begin with). She has to be readmitted in a few weeks for more procedures so the nightmare isn't over yet but I'm trying to be positive.

As soon as my Mom was well enough to eat regular food again we picked up some sushi to go from our favorite Japanese restaurant, Ariyoshi. If you're a sushi fan in New York, head over to Sunnyside and try Ariyoshi's Spider Roll and Sunnyside Roll. They're my favorites!

Here's a look at some vegetable pasta and zucchini fries that my boyfriend and I threw together in an attempt to cook a healthy dinner. The pasta turned out very colorful and although I wish the zucchini was less soft, they were quite good too.

I ended my internship which was bittersweet because I genuinely enjoyed the people I worked with. To bring some cheer into the office for my last day I brought in my favorite cupcakes from Baked by Melissa to share! It's quite amusing to see grown adults so excited to see a box of mini cupcakes.

Since it was my last day my supervisor brought my fellow intern, a freelancer we work with, and myself out to lunch. She told me to choose a place but I couldn't decide and asked what she recommended. We ended up at a nearby cafe and lunch spot called Pecan. I had the Moroccan Chicken Sandwich based on the recommendation from my supervisor and it was extremely tasty.

Spring classes wrapped up at my school about a week later than just about every other college so I was pretty bummed. While everyone was relaxing and having fun, I was stuck at home on sunny days studying the hours away. I was incredibly unmotivated for that last week and became increasingly bitter. Sad, but true.

My boyfriend picked me up from school after I completed my last final and we grabbed Thai food to celebrate. Tofu pad thai has become my default dish whenever I eat Thai food. Yum!

I was craving a burger so my friends and I decided to grab a bite at Bare Burger which I visited back in December. I had a positive experience during my first visit so I was looking forward to trying something else on the menu this time around. I opted for the veggie burger because I had never tried a veggie burger previously. I'm not a picky eater and I like a lot of vegetables but to be frank a veggie burger never sounded appealing to me. Maybe it's because I don't think vegetables should try to mimic meat and many veggie burgers use nuts which I'm not fond of in burgers. To my surprise this burger was better than I had anticipated. The patty was a mix of veggies I could not identify but it did not taste distinctly vegetarian at all. The avocado slices gave the burger a pleasant flavor and creamy texture.

Tada! The newest addition to my technology family! I was looking to invest in a digital SLR for quite a long time but I never took the plunge. The past year was filled with too many activities for me to practice anyway so I reasoned that this summer was a good time to develop my photography skills.

Lastly, my current favorite television show is HBO's Game of Thrones. I haven't caught up with all the episodes but this show is brilliantly executed from the acting, the dialogue, to the special effects and costumes. Tyrion, aka Peter Dinklage, is my favorite character so far and his wit often cracks a smile on my face.

What did you do in May? Are you looking forward to Summer (or Winter, depending on where you come from)?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Recent Mani's A La Instagram

I have been on a nail polish kick the past few weeks and Instagram allows me to easily snap photos of my manicures. Honestly it drives me insane that my point and shoot tends to capture all my nail flaws (gross cuticles, etc) so I appreciate how Instagram instantly makes my hands and nails look better!

Here is what I'm wearing (from top row left to right then bottom row left to right):

1) ORLY Dance 'Til Dawn - This is one of my oldest nail polishes and one that I sport whenever the weather picks up.

2) Sephora by OPI Dear Diary (LE) layered with Maybelline Lilac Luster (LE) and Beauty Credit Silver Crystal - I don't like the look of the Sephora or Maybelline polishes by themselves because they are too sheer so I layered them and topped the nails with a sparkly glitter. This still looks really sheer in real life which kind of bugs me but it looks decent in photos!

3) Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Mint Sorbet layered with Essie Shine of the Times - I love mint nails and somehow layered a flaky polish over this one makes it much more wearable.

4) Sephora by OPI Say It Ain't Soho (LE) - You can't go wrong with a bright warm red nail color. This is one of my favorites although I'm sad it's limited edition.

5) Color Club Clambake Coral - I received this in my March Birchbox and I love the shade. It's the perfect summer orange nail polish!

6) Milani Paradise Pink with Sephora by OPI Let Them Eat Cake (LE) - Whenever I want to spice up a mani, I rock a little glitz on my ring finger.

Speaking of nail polish, I just ran out of space in my polish storage.... Guess that means I'll have to start using some shades up or maybe increasing my storage space... heh. If you're curious, I store my nail polish in an old tissue box which I cut the top off of. I also store my samples in another old tissue box. Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle people!

What are some of your recent favorite nail polishes? How do you store your polishes?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

All Done Up With Lancome's Color Design Lipstick

I have no idea why I didn't think of trying out this lipstick when I added it to my collection a few moons ago when Lancome was doing a gift with purchase. I'm usually most excited about the little eyeshadow quads that they include but this time the lipstick won my heart. All Done Up looks frighteningly dark in the tube and I wasn't sure if I would like the look of a fierce burgundy on my lips.

When applied on the lips, All Done Up is actually much lighter, brighter and I absolutely love how it looks! This lipstick definitely satisfies my lemming for a bright lip color for the summer and I'm even happier that it was free. Seriously, Lancome has the some of the best seasonal gift with purchases and since my Mom uses Lancome skincare but not the makeup, I usually snag at least one gift per year.

The first swatch is how the lipstick looks applied directly from the tube. A few quick swipes and your lips will be enveloped in smooth, creamy lipstick goodness. The formula is lightweight and comfortable. I can easily build up the color if I want an opaque fuchsia pout. If I want a very defined, perfect shaped lip, I would use a lip brush to get into all the corners.

In the bottom photo you can see how my lips look after I blotted the lipstick with a tissue. Sometimes I want a more subdued pop of color and blotting helps me achieve that look.

I love mixing other shades with this lipstick to change the way it looks. I popped on a milky baby pink lipgloss over top and achieved this lip color HERE. On another day I applied All Done Up and then proceeded to go over my lips with Maybelline's Coral Lustre Lipstick with a lipbrush. The finished lip was a bright red color that looked stunning. 

The lasting power is phenomenal for this lipstick; I can get over 6 hours of color on my lips! Mind you, it's not going to look exactly the same as when you applied it but this lipstick stains my lips evenly so there is a hint of color when the product fades.

I am incredibly glad that I decided to dig this out of my collection on a whim because this is a fantastic lipstick. The formula is incredibly comfortable and easy to apply, the color is gorgeous alone or mixed, and the lasting power is excellent. This lipstick will set you back $22 which is expensive compared to drugstore or Mac but it's one of the more economical high end lipsticks. If you love the shade and you want a high quality lipstick, this might love this as much as I do!

Friday, May 25, 2012

In My Stash: Mac Cosmetics

I am kicking off my brand overview stash videos with Mac, not because it's my favorite brand but because people seem to be really interested in their products. I have a modest stash of Mac products but I know a lot of shades I do not own by heart and in general I think I have a good grasp on the brand. Anyway, here are my thoughts on the Mac cosmetics that I currently own. As usual I will link reviews and swatches I have done separately so you can see those for more information.

217 Brush - My first brush from Mac and one that I reach for everyday unless it's dirty. I'm not sure if I will invest in anymore Mac brushes because I can use the money somewhere else but if you decide to get one Mac brush, get this one.

239 Brush - I really like this brush as well but it took a bit of time for me to accept it for the price tag. The hairs on this brush are very flat which make it easy to pack on eyeshadows while avoiding a lot of fall out. The hairs are extremely soft like the 217 which my eyelids can appreciate.

226 Brush (LE) - I regret buying this brush to be honest as it is not as soft as the 217 and 239 brushes. I thought this would be great for blending out shadows due to the tapered tip but my $1 E.L.F blending brush does an equally good job.

Giggly Mineralized Blush (LE) - This blush has a very frosty, shimmery finish which I usually detest but it gives a nice brightening effect without making me look too much like a disco ball. I don't reach for this much but it's nice to have in the winter when my skin is very pale. The heart print detail was too cute to resist!

Pink Swoon Blush - The color looks scary in the pan but the sheertone formula makes this very easy to work with. I really like the color of this blush and the finely milled texture is great. I would recommend this blush.

Eyeshadows: Tempting, Carbonized (LE), Patina, Satin Taupe - Honestly I am let down by the shadows I have tried from Mac. They are good overall but I find that Urban Decay, Inglot, and even some drugstore shadows are on par or better. For the price Mac shadows can definitely be more buttery or pigmented. Patina left me the most disappointed as it barely shows up as a lid color on my skin.

Unflappable Mega Metal Shadow (LE) - This eyeshadow is a beaute and one of my favorites for defining the outer corner. The formula is highly pigmented and I wish Mac would make the Mega Metal shadows permanent. The constant limited edition collections can be incredibly annoying because I feel like I have to rush out and grab things before they sell out. Thus, I mostly avoid the collections altogether and keep my wallet happy.

Pigments: Gold Mode (LE), Gold Dusk (LE), Gold Stroke (LE), Melon, Reflects Antique Gold (Pro) - Mac releases pigment sets during the holiday season which are a great way to try out some of the colors. You only need the teeniest bit of product and I can't imagine ever finishing the mini jars. Gold Mode is one of my favorite shadow colors of all time.

Viva Glam Gaga II Lipstick (LE) - This was my first Mac lipstick because I love nudes and I got sucked in by the whole limited edition thing (they get me sometimes). This is an amplified finish which means it's incredibly pigmented. I sparingly use this because I must top this with a gloss. I definitely want to try more Mac lipsticks because they have a nice variety of shades and formulas.

Bare Again Sheen Supreme Lipstick - Unlike Viva Glam Gaga II, I reach for Bare Again a lot. This is one of my favorite lipsticks due to the wearable color and creamy formula.

Fashion Whim Cremesheen Glass - This is also another favorite in my collection. The consistency of this gloss is very moisturizing and not sticky at all. Although the shade makes me look a bit washed out when worn alone, this looks amazing on top of lippies!

Mineralized Skinfinish Natural in Medium Plus - This powder is one of the most raved about Mac products on the internet and I can see why. Even if I buff this into my skin with a kabuki, it looks very natural and not cakey at all. The major let down for me is that it has no oil control and my face gets incredibly shiny in a few short hours.

How many Mac products are in your stash?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

NYX Powder Blushes Pack A Punch!

To be honest I have never had much luck with drugstore or inexpensive blushes. More often than not, inexpensive blushes tend to be unpigmented, chalky, powdery, or a combination of these disappointing qualities. I'm not sure what took me so long to try NYX powder blushes (actually I do, it's hard to find these in person and I've only recently become comfortable with online shopping!), but I'm sure glad I did. Not only are these blushes pigmented without being powdery and chalky, these come in a wide variety of shades too!

I only purchased two very different shades shades to try out, Desert Rose and Bourgeois Pig. Desert Rose is a burnt strawberry shade with minimal, barely there shimmer. Bourgeois Pig is the classic peachy baby pink that nobody can go wrong with. I have many similar shades but this one was quite unique as it has no shimmer. The finish is in between a satin and matte which I personally love.

Retailing at only $6 for .18 oz (a wee bit less than a Mac powder blush), I probably should have stocked up (not that I need to given the 93022384 blushes I've recently accumulated...) since Ulta was having a 40% off NYX and an extra 20% coupon. I snagged these for only $2.88! Bargain much?

The blushes swatch nicely and blend well on the skin. The lasting power is decent at around the normal six to eight hours for me. The one minor gripe is the packaging which isn't the sturdiest. The compact of Desert Rose is incredible hard to open. The compact for Bourgeois Pig is perfectly normal so I'm guessing I just received a faulty blush compact. But for the price I can't really expect too much and I can work a bit to pry open the packaging for a nice blush.

If you're on a budget, NYX is a great brand to try out as they have a nice variety of products and shades. Most NYX products I have tried have met or exceeded my expectations so I highly recommend the brand to people starting out with makeup. Have you tried these blushes or any other NYX products? Let me know what your favorite NYX products are!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Alima Pure Nourishing Lipbalm: Another MLBB Lippie

Sheer lipsticks and tinted lipbalms have been a big hit in the beauty community in the last few months and I'm certainly a fan of the effortless, comfortable look they impart. Alima Pure's nourishing lipbalm might be for you if you fancy yourself a glossy, no-fuss lip balm!

I received this full sized lipbalm in my April Birchbox and I was intrigued because I was thinking about trying out some of Alima Pure's other cosmetics. I am a big fan of natural, healthy looking lips (although I am starting to gravitate towards bolder lip colors) and this lip balm delivers in that aspect. According to Alima Pure's website, the lipbalm contains "soothing antioxidants, rich pigments, and organic plant oils and butters".  It all sounds great but the price tag is $7 which isn't exactly inexpensive for merely 2 grams of product. The weight and packaging of this lipbalm is identical to a Softlips balm, for reference.

The color I received was Rhubarb, described by Alima Pure as "Medium, neutral pink with no shimmer". I would agree for the most part although I detect a wee bit more brown or terracotta instead of pink. Nonetheless, this translates to a my lips but better color once applied.

You can see from the swatch that the lipbalm imparts a lovely sheen. You can definitely see my natural lip color but there is a bit of pigmentation that just slightly evens out my lip color. I really like the texture of this balm because it makes my lips feel moisturized. Even after the balm fades, my lips feel comfortable. There is peppermint oil in the formula so there is a slight mint scent and a tingly effect on the lips. I usually don't love or hate mint in my lip products but the scent is mixed with some sort of weird chemical or plastic smell which tastes just as bad. The strange scent is not too overpowering to the point where I would hesitate to use it; but it's present and it bothers me.

The Alima Pure nourishing lipbalm is good but by no means is it great. Especially given the price, I would say it's a safe skip. I like that it gives my lips a bit of a tint and the texture is nice but the smell and taste are deal breakers. What are your favorite tinted lipbalms? Have you ever tried any Alima Pure products?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Kind of Office Attire: Outfit and Makeup

F21 blazer, F21 blouse, Gap skirt, Zara flats, Zara handbag, Marc by Marc Jacobs watch
Today I had to dress in "business meeting attire" for a class so I whipped out some of my go-to interview pieces. I tend to incorporate many of these pieces separately in my "normal" day outfits as well. I really like how this outfit turned out. I think it's appropriate for many work environments and I would definitely wear this to an internship or job interview. The color palette is neutral but the blazer and grayed pink pattern of the skirt offsets the typical gray and cream shades. The skirt and shoes also add a bit of texture to the look.

You all have probably seen me in this blush pink blazer a million times already. The blazer is by far my favorite and most worn purchase from Forever21 and that's saying a lot since I usually steer clear of buying outerwear from them. The blouse was an absolute steal for $10 at Forever21 as well so it goes to show how you don't have to shell out a lot of money for presentable clothing. I scored the Gap print skirt for possibly under $15 but it was definitely less than $20. I try to wear my favorite Zara flats sparingly because I walk a lot everyday. My flats often end up torn and the heels worn down to nubs after about ten wears. I love everything about these flats. The ankle straps, print, and comfort level... all perfect. The cut of the shoe is unique and it shoes a lot of my feet which gives the illusion that my legs are super long. I am totally in love with my Zara handbag which I did a full post about HERE. This handbag is perfect size for interviews as it's just the right size for a folder which I can tuck my resume in. Seriously, whatever Zara has been doing, they need to keep doing it.

My makeup of the day was polished and prim. I tied the front bits of my hair up because I swear it helps me stay focused when my hair is out of my face. I think I look more sophisticated with my hair up and people tend to tell me I look very mature when I throw all my hair into a top knot. I skipped foundation and just spot concealed with my favorite Lancome Effacernes Concealer. I buffed in a bit of Mac's Mineralized Skinfinish Natural which looks natural indeed but unfortunately has no oil control whatsoever and I had to blot more than three times today. I applied a shimmery yellow shadow to the lids, a matte brown shade to the crease and a thin line of black pencil liner to bring some definition to my eyes. I skipped any shadow on the lower lashline because I think leaving that area shadowless gives a more awake, youthful appearance. On my cheeks I applied Benefit's Coralista which honestly barely does anything to my face. I can't understand the cult following. On my lips I took a leap of faith and tried a lip combination out of the blue. I applied Lancome's All Done Up Color Design Lipstick (it was a freebie in a recent gift with purchase) straight from the tube and blotted off the excess. I was left with a beautiful, bright matte lip but I felt that it was a bit loud for the occasion so I topped it off with Mac's Fashion Whim Cremesheen Glass. I love how the combination turned out; it's a gorgeous bright pink lip that's perfect for spring and summer! I never thought about doing a post on the Lancome lipstick for some reason but after trying it out today, I think I need to. The pigment, texture, and lasting power is phenomenal!

Can you tell I'm a bit of an Instagram addict? The ease and simplicity is just too great to ignore. My point and shoot has been neglected lately in my day to day activities but I have not forgotten the important of high quality photos! I really need to get in the habit of doing more face of the day posts as I love seeing them on other blogs. I should really wrap up this unnecessarily long post now....

What are your favorite office or interview appropriate staples? Do you tend to change the way you do your makeup when you're at work versus in your free time? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Becca Flowerchild: Another Luminous Peachy Pink Cheek

Blushes are one of my makeup weaknesses and I find it difficult to turn away from a peachy pink blush. Add sleek, functional packaging, a finely milled formula and my credit card is way ahead of me. Becca's Flowerchild blush is one of the best peachy pink blushes in my collection at the moment and it's going to be hard to top it.

Becca is a high end cosmetics line that hails from Australia. The packaging of many of their products, blush included, is a mixture of the Nars-like rubber material and sturdy metal. The blush compact is small and the sleek inside mirror makes this even more travel friendly. Despite it's small appearance, the blush packs 6 grams of product, or .2 ounces. That is the same amount you get in a Mac blush, for reference.

Flowerchild is a beautiful peachy pink shade with gold shimmers evenly dispersed throughout the blush. It is one of those "universally flattering" blushes that has skyrocketed blushes such as Nars' Orgasm and Deep Throat to beauty world fame.

The blush appears so lovely when swatched that my camera couldn't handle it's gorgeousness and proceeded to fail in the focusing department.... Nonetheless you can see how much color one swipe yields. The powder is incredibly finely milled and after a few days of use, I can barely tell I touched the pan at all. You can see me sporting this blush in some of my recent videos like this one HERE.

If it weren't for the fact that Becca blushes retail for $32 a pop, I would collect them all right here and now. If you are looking for a beautiful peachy pink blush that will be lovely for the summer time and you can swallow a heftier price tag, I highly urge you to check out Becca's Flowerchild. I bought this product using a sponsored giftcard from Apothica so essentially this was sent to me for free. I believe Flowerchild is currently sold out on Apothica's website but they have other Becca products to offer and they periodically restock. I am extremely pleased with my first venture into Becca cosmetics and I cannot wait to try out more of their line!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What's In My Everyday Makeup Bag?

Whenever I see a girl whip out her makeup bag in public, I can't help but try to steal a glance at what contents she brings around with her. Here's a look at what I've been lugging around with me on the daily!

Comb and Mirror Contraption (you can probably find this in drugstores)
Boscia Blotting Papers
Microfiber Cloth For Glasses
L'occitane Hand Cream
Alima Pure Lip Balm
Revlon Coral Reef Lipgloss
Perfume Sample (Oscar De la Renta)

Check out the video below to find out more about each product!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Gossip Girl Birchbox: May 2012

This month's Birchbox is Gossip Girl themed which is welcome news for a lot of the show's fans. Even though I have never watched an episode of Gossip Girl, the idea of a box inspired by the fashionable gals and impeccably handsome men on the show was appealing.

Compared to other beauty subscription boxes, Birchbox seems to excel at establishing relationships with not only beauty brands but with entertainment, lifestyle, and fashion companies as well.

Here is the rundown of the products I received in my box along with the usual prices of the full sized items. Some of the other boxes contained Stila liquid liners or lip treatments from Fresh, among other goodies. I was a bit underwhelmed with my box to be honest but I can definitely use every single item so I cannot complain.

I am very surprised I actually like the scent of the Bvlgari perfume which is clean and fresh (I know, I'm horrible at describing scents). I always think Color Club is a cheapy nail polish brand because their logo looks incredibly juvenile.... Was that shallow of me? Nonetheless, I am happy with the color because I have no coral nail polishes (amazing considering I own probably at least 10 coral blushes). The Ojon conditioner is something nice to try since I have never tried anything from the brand and I am starting to get very into haircare. Unfortunately the first few ingredients consist of several alcohols and my arch nemesis dimethicone. Lastly, I'm always down to try out a new skincare product in my routine but I'm not sure how they decided that the Kiehl's Abyssine Cream + was a good fit for my skin type. The cream is targeted to an older market for combating wrinkles and I know it's never too early to start prepping against early aging.... But I'm not even in my twenties yet so I probably would have benefited more from another product.

All in all, this month's box contained a few nice surprises like the perfume (not that I think a perfume sample is worth it but I like the scent) and the coral nail polish. I would have preferred one of the Kerastase hair treatments but really, how were they supposed to know. I'll be happy to try out the Kiehl's cream because I've been interested in the brand for a long time as well. I felt that the items were not as luxurious or fashion forward as I would have expected from something Gossip Girl themed. Nonetheless, I am still a happy Birchbox subscriber and I can't wait to see what's in store for next month!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Zara Messenger Bag With Rose Gold Hardware = LOVE

I normally try to purchase as many things in person at a freestanding store as much as possible since I can visit many stores easily. But the other night I could not stop thinking about a certain purse from Zara and so I placed my first order with them.

First off, I am beyond impressed by the lightning fast shipping and handling. I placed my order in the wee hours before the weekend was officially over (read: late Sunday night) and I received my package yesterday (read: Tuesday). Shipping is always free on Zara's website which is amazing and their warehouse is in Massachusetts so it only takes one day to reach me in New York. The purse was shipped in a flip top brown box which was covered in protective plastic. Inside the bag was packed with beautiful teal wrapping paper. I always save wrapping paper so I can reuse it and the bright color made me that much more excited about my purchase. Win, win, win!

The bag is part of Zara's Basic line and it retails for $35.90. With tax my order totaled to just shy of $40 which is still a great bargain considering I really like what I purchased!

The main reason I felt that I needed this bag in my life is the rose gold hardware. The rose gold hardware stands out against the light gray pleather (it's 100% polyurethane which is nice for animal lovers!) and adds a classic and feminine touch to the bag. 

I love that the bag has feet on the bottom which are also rose gold. Small details like these add so much value to purses, not to mention they look pretty stylish.

The bag was actually larger than I expected because I didn't bother to read the dimensions given on the website properly. I thought it would be more of a shoulder type size but I am glad it was quite big as I can fit a water bottle and other necessities in there. A small negative is that there is no zipper across the top of the bag and only the buckle holds the sides shut. I am always very paranoid about people reaching into my purse, especially because I take the subway and bus everyday.

But for the price and the sake of adding a new favorite purse to my modest bag shelf,  I can overlook small nitpicky details. If this suits your style, you can check it out on Zara's website HERE. On a side note, the color in the website stock photo is highly inaccurate as it looks more like a cream color online. I love, love, love my newest handbag purchase and like everyone else has been saying, Zara has really stepped up their game this season with all their drool worthy pieces. I'm almost a bit frightened for my wallet when the next Zara sale comes around now that I can attest to the great shipping service....

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you will have seen another handbag purchase that I just picked up today that I will surely be doing a post on. Until then~

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Skincare & Haircare Haul

I decided that I am not going to purchase any new makeup products for at least three months (the last time I made a makeup purchase was my Ulta haul which was on April 6th) but I still need to buy skincare and haircare products. These were some necessities which I recently stocked up on.

CVS was having a sale on Aussie shampoos so I purchased the Moist formula as I was totally out of shampoo (the one I recently used up was the Aussie Aussome Volume formula). Little did I know, my mom picked up the other two formulas due to the sale and now my parents and I have three bottles to finish up.... I was hoping to switch to a sulfate free shampoo soon but it looks like that won't be happening for awhile.

I was also looking for a clarifying shampoo to help strip away all the build up from hair oils and whatnot and I stumbled across many good reviews for Suave's Daily Clarifying Shampoo. This is a super inexpensive product and I only paid $1.13 (tax included!) for the two bottles because they were on sale and I have $2.50 in Extrabucks from CVS. I use this once a week and so far it's okay. I might write a full review on this after I get to use it a bit more.

Origins does an event every Earth Day where you can trade in your empty cosmetics containers for a free full sized product. This year they were offering a free moisturizer so I chose the Starting Over Moisturizer even though it is targeted for drier skin types. I have not used this yet and I think I will save this for next fall and winter so I won't be able to formulate any opinions for awhile.

I am a few pumps away from finishing up my current cleansing oil so I was in the market for a new makeup remover. The Mandom Bright Up Cleansing Lotion is something like the Japanese version of Bioderma. I have known about the Mandom cleansing lotions for a long time but this is my first time trying one. I purchased mine from a local asian beauty store but you can find these online if you do not live near an asian community. I have only used this twice so far but I have very high hopes for it. I will be doing a separate review with a demo on this product soon.

My bottle of Thayers Lavender Witch Hazel is almost finished so I picked up another bottle but in the Rose Witch Hazel formula. I like using this alcohol free witch hazel as my toner. I decant the product into my Lush Tea Tree Water spray bottle and mist this all over my face to tone. I also sometimes spray a bit over my makeup to get rid of any powder that may not have fully blended in.

Check out the video below to hear more of my preliminary thoughts on these products!

C. Booth's Original Bath & Body Oil: My Current Body Moisturizer

I feel like I've been slacking on the posts because I usually post every other day. Lately I have been feeling quite under the weather and I haven't had the time to write many posts to save for days when I'm not in blogging mode. It irks me to no end when I go a few days without posting so I thought I'd quickly sum up my thoughts on the c. Booth body oil that I hauled a few weeks ago.

I purchased this Bath & Body Oil with the intention of using it solely as a body moisturizer. The large 16 fluid ounce bottle retails for a mere $7 and I bought this from Ulta with a 20% promotion so I paid only $5.60. This is definitely a nice budget body oil if you're in the market for something affordable.

After stepping out of the shower and towel drying, I get about three quarters worth of oil onto my palms, rub them together, and apply straight to my body. I repeat this as necessary to cover my entire body. I generally need to repeat this three times but it is personal preference and what your skin needs are. The oil does an adequate job of soaking into the skin but it does leave a slight greasy residue so I make sure to wear long sleeved pajamas with full length pajama bottoms. I suggest only using this before you go to bed as it may transfer onto your clothing. If you tend to shower early in the morning before leaving the house, you probably will not like this.

Here is a closer look at the ingredients for anyone who wants to know. The product is a blend of sunflower, olive, and some other oils. There is fragrance and parabens in the ingredients list as well. The scent is very noticeable although I am not sure how to describe it. It is pleasant and not very bothersome to me but if you do not like fragrances, this might not be for you.

As for moisturizing, this oil does not keep my skin fully hydrated after a few hours which is disappointing. For the price it was worth a shot but I would not repurchase this as it did not help my skin very much. Now, I have extremely dry skin on my body so if you have normal skin this may be enough hydration for you. The positives are that it is affordable and it seems like it would be a nice treat to throw into the bathwater once in awhile if you take baths. This did not make my skin break out nor did it give me any other negative side effects so that is also a plus. Looks like I'll still be on the hunt for my holy grail, inexpensive body moisturizer after I am finished with this bottle!

Have you tried any body oils? Let me know your experiences and what your go-to body moisturizers are!

Friday, May 4, 2012

In My Stash: Bronzers

Warm weather is almost here to stay (for at least a few months) so I thought I'd share the bronzers I have in my collection that help me get that sun kissed glow that everyone seems to crave this time of year. To be honest, I like bronzer but it's not one of my must have makeup products. I tend to skip it when I'm short on time or if I'm just too lazy to reach for another brush. That being said it's not surprising that my bronzer collection is quite modest and all of the bronzers I own are in palettes or were sold in a set.

The shades I have are all different from each other in their own way. As you can see I have used quite a bit of the Revlon bronzer as it is one of the oldest in my stash and I can't wait to finish it so I can get rid of it. The pigmentation on the Revlon duo is very light so I have to pack a lot of product on my brush to get a hint of color. I have also used the E.L.F bronzer numerous times but I have not made a dent at all. That bronzer lasts forever! 

As you can see in the swatch above the E.L.F bronzer is the darkest of the bunch. I highly recommend it for those of you with medium to dark skin tones as it is a great budget bronzer. The Revlon bronzer is the sheerest which makes it useless for anyone with medium or deeper skintones. I imagine only very fair skinned people would like this or anyone who wants to use it as an all over bronzer. 

The Too Faced, Revlon, and E.L.F bronzers all have a sheen to them whereas the ones from The Balm and Benefit are matte. Once applied to the skin, the shimmer and sheen is very subtle so I can hardly detect any shine. If anything, the sheen adds to the radiant, tan look that most people try to achieve with bronzer. The matte shades are very good for contouring. The Balm's Bahama Mama has a very nice formula that is smooth, pigmented but not chalky or powdery at all. I highly recommend it to those of you with olive skin tones. Benefit's Hoola is a very popular bronzer but I am not highly impressed by it because the product is very powdery and the color hardly transfers onto my skin for some reason. 

Check out the video below for more swatches and to hear my thoughts on each of the bronzers!

Have you tried any of these bronzers? What's your favorite bronzer? 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cream Blush Rave: NYX Stick Blushes

Meet my new found blusher love: NYX Stick Blushes. These cream blushes come in eight shades but sadly I only own two at the moment that I can attest to being ah-may-zing. Right off the bat I love the cute, bright packaging that is sleek and tiny so the blushes are easy to tote around. It also helps that the color of the packaging is spot on at representing the shade of blush. No more opening up every blush to check what color you're reaching for!

Here is a glance at the ingredients for those of you who are curious or have sensitive skin. The primary ingredient is mineral oil which seems to strike fear in many people but I have never had a problem with using it on my face. I have been wearing these blushes quite often and so far I have not experienced any break outs or skin irritation.

Here you can see how similar the color of the packaging looks to the actual product. The blushes are easy to twist up although a bit of product might scrape the sides of the packaging a little. The only negative about the presentation of this product is how much product you are actually getting. The packaging says there is 6.2 grams and also .013 ounces. I think .013 is a typo and it should be .13 but still, that does not convert to 6.2 grams.... Nonetheless there is quite a bit of product and a little goes a long way with these pigmented blushes.

Hibiscus is a brown pink shade which gives the cheeks a warm yet understated flush. Magnolia is a bright, bubble gum pink which is surprisingly flattering on me despite being cool toned. The above swatch is about three swipes of the blush straight from the tube. I suppose you can apply the blush by dabbing the product straight to your cheeks but I prefer swiping a brush into the product a few times then applying it to my cheeks. Using a brush gives more even color distribution and it is easier to layer on color rather than risk applying too much and looking like a clown.

The blushes are easily sheered out and can be built up for a more potent cheek color. The finish on these is much less glossy and reflective than the NYX Rouge Cream Blushes which some have complained to be too goopy in consistency. The Stick Blushes also last much longer than the regular cream blushes probably due to the firmer consistency. On my oily to combination skin, the Stick Blushes can over eight hours which is quite impressive.

I am a very big fan of the NYX Stick Blushes and I will definitely be picking up some of the other shades in the future. These budget blushes retail at $6 and I picked mine up for less than $3 a pop. I highly recommend these to those of you who like cream blush. If you're a makeup beginner I think you will appreciate these a lot as they look very natural once blended out. Have you tried out this product? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts on them too!