NOTD #4: Holiday Glitz

Winter and the holiday season means dark nails and dark lips!  My singing group is performing at a few holiday parties this year, so I’m excited to glitz it up this month, starting with my nails!

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I started off with a base coat of Pacifica’s Red Red Wine.  This is a polish I received in my September 2014 ipsy bag, and I LOVE it!  It’s very opaque and applies without streaks, but I like to apply 2 coats so it gets a little darker.  My only issue is that it stains my nails like crazy, even through a base coat, so I have to make sure the base coat is completely dry before applying or I will have red tinted nails for a while!  Bonus points for being “7 free,” aka free of parabens, phthalates, toluene, xylene, camphor, formaldehyde, resin, and animal byproducts.  The brush is vegan too!

The glitz is e.l.f.’s Gold Star.  I’ll be posting my e.l.f. haul this week, but one of the items I bought was a 10 piece nail polish set, which included this pretty gold glitter polish.  I just wanted a few pieces of glitter, so one coat was more than enough.  I love the way it looks!

Polish: Pacifica Red Red Wine
Accent: E.L.F. Gold Star
Base: Wet n’ Wild Wild Shine base coat
Top: Seche Vite Dry Fast top coat

Let me know what you think!

xoxo

 

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NOTD #3: Rose Gold

I haven’t posted in forever!!  I have quite a bit of time off this month so hopefully I’ll at least get some subscription box posts up!  But for now, here’s a quick Nail of the Day!

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Like most of the beauty world, I seem to be obsessed with rose gold, and that obsession has spread to my nails!  Rose gold is perfect for the holidays and I think it looks really good on medium/olive skin tones.  Here’s what I’m wearing:

Polish: Essie Buy Me a Cameo
Accent: Milani Club Lights
Base: Wet n’ Wild Wild Shine base coat
Top: Seche Vite Dry Fast top coat

Essie describes this polish as a “frosted mocha,” but I think there’s enough pink in there to call it rose gold.  It’s one of Essie’s better formulas and applies like a dream, with 2 coats being more than enough for opacity.  I did an accent with Milani’s Club Lights, which has large and small chunks of light pink and magenta glitter.

Let me know what you think!

xoxo

 

Review: Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette

I want to preface this post by saying that I am not usually one to spend big bucks on makeup.  I like makeup, and I would LOVE to try a lot of high end makeup, but that is not a possibility price-wise for me right now.  Up until now, all of my makeup has been purchased at drugstores or Target, usually on sale or clearance.  I am fairly certain that I have not spent over $10 on any one item of makeup before, even on foundation, which is usually one of the most expensive items in a makeup routine.

And technically, I didn’t even pay for this…

The Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette retails at $49.00 on TooFaced.com or at Sephora.  I purchased mine on HSN.com when they were having a promotion of $20 off a purchase of $40 or more.  That coupon dropped the price down to $29.00, which is already a great deal for this palette.  To pay for it, I used the money I had earned from completing surveys on OpinionOutpost.com, which completely covered the cost of the palette and tax.  So essentially, I paid nothing for it apart from the time spent doing random surveys on Opinion Outpost over the course of a couple weeks!

Now, on to this gorgeous palette…

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{colors, from left to right}
Top row: Gilded Ganache, White Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Black Forest Truffle, Triple Fudge
Middle row: Salted Caramel, Marzipan, Semi-sweet, Strawberry Bon Bon, Candied Violet, Amaretto
Bottom row: Hazelnut, Creme Brulee, Haute Chocolate, Cherry Cordial, Champagne Truffle

If you’ve never heard of this palette before, I’ll start off by saying that it SMELLS like chocolate.  The shadows are made with cocoa, and I love the whiffs of vanilla and chocolate I get as I apply these shadows.  Another amazing feature of this palette is that there is a nice balance of matte, satin/metallic, and shimmer shadows.  There are 16 shadows in all, broken up into 6 mattes, 6 satin/metallics, and 4 shimmers.  The color payoff is incredible (see swatches below) and they are very easy to blend.

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Gilded Ganache is a deep olive brown shade with a gold shimmer.  It looks like a deep brown in pictures, but there is a distinct dark green/olive tone to it in person.  It is very pigmented with minimal fall-out.

White Chocolate is one of the two highlight shades in the palette, and it is a matte beige.  The color is not anything unique, but the formula is amazing.  It is very creamy and soft.  A lot of highlight shades I’ve tried have been too powdery, but this is a great shadow that blends very well.

Milk Chocolate is a matte medium brown.  I love using this as a transition shade in the crease.  It is very blendable and smooth.  While it does have a good color payoff, it tends to be a bit lighter on the skin than in the palette, but I kind of prefer it that way!

Black Forest Truffle is a beautiful berry-brown color with red and bronze shimmer.  It is rather powdery and dry compared to most of the other shadows, which may be due to the shimmer, but it is easily buildable to a gorgeous opaque berry color.

Triple Fudge is a deep brown with a matte finish.  This shadow is a little powdery and requires several layers in order to get an opaque color, but it’s very easy to blend.  I like using this shade as a crease color when I want a look that’s not too dramatic.  It offers a nice dark color, but you shouldn’t expect to get the color in the pan or in the swatch above unless you build it up quite a bit.

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Salted Caramel is a matte warm orange-brown shade.  Like the other matte shades, it is very buttery and soft.  It’s a gorgeous shade that looks great blended all over the lid.

Marzipan is one of my favorites from the palette.  It’s a rose gold shadow with a metallic finish.  I like to use this as a highlight on the center of my lid, or blended all over my lid for a pretty frosted finish.

Semi-sweet is yet another matte shade, this one a medium-toned brown.  I like to think of this as a midway point between Milk Chocolate and Triple Fudge.  And just like Triple Fudge, it is a little streaky and requires several layers to reach opacity.

Strawberry Bon-Bon is a light matte pink shade.  I haven’t been adventurous enough to try this in a look yet, but the color payoff is excellent and I’m sure I’ll have no trouble with it when I decide to use it!

Candied Violet is a deep lavender shade with different colors of shimmer, mainly pink and gold from what I can pick out.  This shade is VERY shimmery, so it is not something I will wear frequently.  It is a little sheer with one layer, but it is very buildable to a nice smoky violet.  The only problem with layering is that there’s more glitter!  If you like glitter shadow, you’ll really like this.

Amaretto is another favorite of mine, I just can’t get over how gorgeous this color is!  It is a medium brown shade with red undertones and a satin finish.  This looks great all over the lid for a darker smoky eye, or in the crease or outer corner in a neutral eye look.

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Hazelnut is a dark bronze shade with a metallic finish.  It has a great color payoff and looks really nice in the crease or outer corner.

Creme Brulee is my absolute favorite shade in the entire palette.  It is a metallic dark gold with a brilliant payoff and staying power.  It is very buttery and easy to apply.  I can’t get over how pretty it is!

Haute Chocolate is a dark brown shade with a metallic finish.  It’s darker and redder than Semi-Sweet, but lighter than Triple Fudge.  I think this pairs rather well with Creme Brulee.

Cherry Cordial is the last shimmer shade in the palette.  It’s similar to Black Forest Truffle, but it has much less glitter and is more of a deep red-plum color.  I really love this shade and wish it didn’t have glitter, because I would wear it all the time if it were matte!  Like the other glitter shades, this one requires a few layers to build opacity, but as you can see in the swatch above, you can achieve a great color.

Champagne Truffle is the other highlight shadow.  It is a very very light pink, almost white shade, with a metallic or frosted finish.  I don’t like this quite as much as White Chocolate for highlight under the brow bone, but I do like it as a highlighter on my cheeks, as it gives a very subtle glow without added sparkle (can you tell I really don’t like glitter makeup?).  It is very buttery and smooth, so no complaints there, it’s just a little too “glowy” for my taste for use on the brow bone.


My verdict?  At $49.99 regular retail price, you’re getting 16 shades, most of which have incredible payoff and are very easy to work with.  I know $50 may sound like a lot for an eyeshadow palette, but you are only paying about $3 per shadow.  The shadows have such a good payoff that I can see them lasting for a very long time.  While I think it is worth the full price, if you can find it on sale or at a discount, I recommend purchasing it!

Let me know if I should do more reviews!  I’ll be doing my Birchbox and ipsy unboxings this week, as well as another review next weekend, but let me know if there’s anything specific you’d like to see!

xoxo

ipsy June 2014 – Unbagging and Review

I’m so sorry it took me so long to write this post!  I’ve been pretty busy lately, but I was able to find some time to review my first ipsy bag!  If you don’t know what ipsy is, it’s a monthly beauty subscription service where you pay $10 a month and receive a bag with 4-5 deluxe samples or often full-size products.  It is an awesome deal and a great way to try out new products!  A fun aspect of ipsy is that they release sneak peeks of the products in the bag at the beginning of the month, and they have a lot of “challenges” and opportunities to win more products!

This month’s theme is Pretty in Paradise.

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First of all, I LOVE the bag.  Rebecca Minkoff partnered with ipsy this month to design the bag, and it is a pretty navy blue color with bright pineapples.  The zipper and interior are red.  This would make a very cute summer clutch!  Now on to the products!

1) Nyx Butter Gloss in Eclair – this item was the first sneak peek for the month, and everyone got one of these in one of three colors.  I received Eclair, which is a pink lilac shade, and I have a picture of the swatch below.  The gloss is very shiny and “buttery,” and it is quite pigmented.  It also smells AMAZING, like a vanilla cupcake.  Best of all, this is a FULL SIZE item, which normally retails for $5.00.

2) OFRA Universal Eyebrow Pencil – I’m still relatively new to eyebrow makeup, and I have yet to master using an eyebrow pencil to achieve natural-looking brows…they always end up looking like they were painted on!  Nevertheless, I was excited to give this a try.  OFRA claims that this eyebrow pencil is universal, in that it can be used on any hair color or skin color.  I’m skeptical of that, but I just read the instructions on their website, and I will give it another shot.  Even though it is a deep chocolate brown and I have dark brown hair, the pencil color was so different from my hair color that it was blatantly obvious, even from afar, that I was wearing an eyebrow pencil that didn’t match.  I didn’t blend it out as the website instructs, but I will try that next time and see how I like it.  I do like that it has wax in it, so that it holds the brows in place, and my brows can be rather unruly!  This is also a FULL SIZE product, normally retailing for $13.00.

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3) Nicka K Shimmer Eyeliner in Blue – I was VERY skeptical of this when I found out I would be receiving it, as I normally do not like to use makeup with glitter.  It’s also electric blue, which is completely out of my comfort zone.  I was even prepared to trade this with someone else, but when that fell through, I actually felt relieved.  This is definitely not going to be an everyday kind of thing, but I think it might look nice with black liner for going out.  I haven’t used it yet apart from swatching it, and it is a very pigmented electric blue liquid liner with some shimmer.  I’m glad it doesn’t have glitter chunks!  It’s also waterproof and smudge-proof.  This is a full size product that normally retails for $4.99.

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4) REALTREE for Her perfume – So far in 3 subscription boxes, I’ve received 3 perfume samples!  In contrast to the Birchbox samples, however, this is a deluxe sample and it is twice as large.  I love the pink packaging and the fact that there’s a cap over the spritzer.  The website describes the scent as containing pomegranate, persimmon, orchid, lotus blossom, amber, violet, and mahogany wood.  To me, it has a very woodsy scent, which makes sense coming from RealTree, which seems to be a hunting/outdoors company.  It’s a nice scent, although rather strong, so a couple spritzes go a long way.  This deluxe sample size retails for $6.99.

5) Carol’s Daughter Sacred Tiare Anti-Breakage and Anti-Frizz Styling Cream – This product is meant to be used prior to blow drying or straight ironing your hair.  I don’t use heat products on my hair, I don’t even own a hair dryer or straightening iron, so I’m not sure how much use I’ll get out of it.  I plan to try it once and let my hair air dry normally, but I may have to give it to a friend who uses heating tools on her hair.  The full size (90 ml) retails for $12.00 at Target, so I calculated the sample size (15 ml) to be worth about $2.

Total value of bag contents: $31.98.  The bag itself, having been designed by Rebecca Minkoff, is worth well over $10 in my opinion.  So I paid $10 for $32 worth of products and a designer makeup bag.  Not bad!  To top it off, I’m already very happy with 3 of the products (gloss, eyebrow pencil, and perfume), and I look forward to giving the eyeliner a try.  Like I said, I probably won’t use the Carol’s Daughter cream, but I’m sure I can find a good home for it!

I hope you liked the review of my first ipsy bag!  Let me know what you think in the comments.  If you’re interested in joining ipsy, there’s a link to join in the side bar as well as the top navigation bar of this blog!

I have a couple reviews planned for this week, so check back soon!

xoxo

NOTD #2: Truth or Flare

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Just a quick post today!  I’ll have my June ipsy post up in a couple days, as well as a review of a palette I just purchased.  But for now, nail of the day #2!

Polish: Essie Truth or Flare
Base: Wet n’ Wild Wild Shine base coat
Top: Seche Vite Dry Fast top coat

This polish is part of Essie’s new Summer 2014 line, and I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it.  It is a gorgeous dusky cornflower blue, which I think is perfect for summer!  It applies like a dream and self-levels, as many Essie polishes do.  It is opaque and creamy, but two coats are required.  Definitely a new summer favorite!

xoxo

 

NOTD #1: Peek-a-boo Pink

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I paint my nails often, so I thought I’d start a series of “Nails of the Day” aka NOTD!  Today I am wearing Covergirl Outlast Stay Brilliant nail gloss in Peek-a-boo Pink.  It is a sheer bubblegum pink, and if you look very closely, there is shimmer throughout the polish.  I bought this polish a couple months ago from Target on clearance for $1.50, since Covergirl was discontinuing this color.  Covergirl polishes are typically $4.99 at Target.

I have to say, I am not the biggest fan of Covergirl nail polish.  The cap is square, and the brush is situated at an odd angle to the angles of the brush, so it is extremely awkward and uncomfortable to hold the cap and apply the nail polish.  This formula is quite sheer, but two coats were plenty.  Apart from the weird cap, it applied very easily, it was not goopy, and it even self-leveled.  While it’s not my favorite polish, it is a very pretty shade and it is a relatively inexpensive polish.

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For base coat, I really like the Wet n’ Wild Wild Shine Protective Base coat.  It costs 99 cents at most drugstores, and it has really made a difference in the time my polish lasts.  I can usually go 2 full days with zero chipping, sometimes even 3.  By the 4th day, there is some chipping around the edges of my nails, but it’s still generally intact!  If you’re looking for a good but inexpensive base coat, definitely check this one out.

My top coat is the best top coat EVER, Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat.  If you’ve never used this top coat before, what are you waiting for??  I buy it on Amazon for $5-6 and one bottle lasts a while.  It dries extremely fast, and paired with a base coat, keeps your manicure chip-free for days.

Let me know what you think in the comments!  This will be my last post for the week, more to come next week!

xoxo

 

Birchbox June 2014 – Unboxing and First Impressions

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That’s right, in the span of two days I have received and opened two Birchboxes!  I also received another special package today, but I’m saving that for another post…

This month’s theme is Away we go, and it is all about travel.  I am very happy with the sample sizes in this box, especially the shampoo!  Without further ado, let’s get into the goodies!

1) The first item that jumped out at me was the Davines – Love Smoothing Shampoo.  It is a HUGE sample, enough for 3 or 4 uses (and for someone with a lot of hair like me, that’s saying something!).  They also included a packet of the conditioner, which I can probably stretch to two uses, and the OI All in One Milk, which is a leave-in treatment to help tame frizz and soften hair.  The shampoo has quite a strong floral smell, but it’s a very pleasant scent and I am looking forward to trying out all 3 products.  The best part is that all three items count as one sample, so we still have four to go!  [Full size: $24-$28]

2) The next item is yet another perfume sample, which I was disappointed about…until I smelled it.  It is the Joie – Folle de Joie Eu de Parfum.  When I was a teenager (a decade ago!) I wore a perfume from PacSun called lilu.  The scent was very beachy and sweet.  This perfume smells EXACTLY like lilu, so it is like a nostalgic blast from the past.  The product description says it is “a fresh blend of mandarin, rose, and sandalwood that evokes a carefree, summertime vibe.”  I’ll definitely use up this entire sample, but if you like this scent, consider checking out lilu!  [Full size: $98]

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3) I am not too happy with the third item on my list, which is the LAQA & Co. – Sheer Lip Lube Pencil in Menatour.  It is a bright purple color, which I think goes horribly with my skin tone.  The product looks ridiculously purple in the tube, but once I swatched it out, it’s more of a neon fuschia color, which is still not appealing.  It is also quite matte, even though the product description describes it as “high gloss.”  The only thing I do like about it is that it has a minty scent.  I doubt I’ll be using this one, but perhaps the other colors in the line would work better for me.  [Full size: $18]

4) Yup, it’s Supergoop! again.  The same exact sample I got in the May box.  I really can’t complain, since I received a pretty great box overall, but I can’t help but be slightly disappointed about not getting a different item.  I contacted Birchbox Ops, and they told me that I should have received the “anti-aging” Supergoop sample in my May box.  They are sending me that sample now!  Mistakes happen, and I’m glad they have great customer service.  [Full size: $19]

5) The final item in my box is the Vasenti Cosmetics – BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator.  I’ve been really into skin care lately and trying different face masks and treatments, so I’m looking forward to giving this a try.  This is similar to a microdermabrasion with extremely fine granules.  It has a lot of natural ingredients, including coconut, papaya, and aloe, so I hope my skin likes it!  [Full size: $34]

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this box.  I am very excited to try and use 3 out of the 5 items (or 5 out of 7 if you count the foil packets).  I am indifferent to the sunscreen, and I do not like the lip gloss.  The sunscreen is useful, but to me, sunscreen is sunscreen.  It does its job.  I admit I haven’t tried it yet (haven’t spent much time outside apart from running errands), so maybe my indifference will change to excitement if I find that it does something special for me.  I’m fairly confident, however, that the lip gloss will never win me over.

That’s it for Birchbox this month!  Let me know in the comments what you got in yours or what you think about my box!

xoxo

UPDATE!

Just received an email from Birchbox apologizing for the mixup with the Supergoop sample.  They have credited my Birchbox account 100 points, which equals $10.00 to use in the Birchbox shop!!!  I’ve only been with Birchbox for about a month, and so far their customer service is absolutely amazing.  So with this $10, plus the $10 I have already earned from reviewing the products from my first two boxes, I redeemed $20 in points and purchased the Benefit Erase Paste for only $6!  Plus there is a promotion going on for a free sample of the Benefit They’re Real! Mascara with any Benefit purchase over $25, so I will be receiving that as well.  Plus free shipping!  I am loving Birchbox so much right now.  I can’t wait to receive these products and try them out!