Monday, February 2, 2015

Liebster Award... Round 2!

I'm so humbled to have been nominated for another Liebster award, this time from the lovely Michaela at Caela's Blogs. The rules have changed a bit since the last time I did this post, so if you're interested in my original answers, you can read those here. As for the rules this time, they are as follows: 

1.) Thank the person who nominated you
2.) Answer the questions from your nominator
3.) Nominate 11 bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers
4.) Create 11 new questions
5.) Notify your nominees through social media

Michaela's Questions

1. If you could only own three makeup products, what would they be? This is so tough! If this doesn't include tools like eyelash curlers (that would be my #1), I would probably have to say a brow pencil, a mascara, and a bold lipstick.

2. Who's your favorite blogger and YouTuber? My favorite blogger is Christine from Temptalia (I hope her site actually counts as a blog), and my favorite YouTuber is probably Shannon from Shaaanxo. 

3. If you could only use drugstore/high street makeup or high end makeup for the rest of your life, which would you choose? Definitely high end!

4. What's your holy grail beauty product? Just one? Hmmm... if I have to choose just one I'd have to say MAC's Mystery. It's the eyeshadow shade that I use to fill in my brows and it's also a lovely crease/outer corner shade. 

5. In your opinion, what's the best budget beauty product and why? NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams! These lipsticks come in a wide range of shades, smell amazing, have the smoothest application, are fully opaque, dry to a beautiful matte finish, and are comfortable on the lips to boot. Definitely one of my favorite lipstick formulations amongst all the ones I own (and I hoard lipstick). If you're curious about these, I have swatches and reviews here and here

6. What made you want to start blogging? I'd been watching beauty channels on YouTube and reading beauty blogs for a while, and I just loved the atmosphere and how generally supportive those in the beauty community were of one another. I'd also always been very shy about sharing my thoughts in writing, so I thought starting a blog would help me break down some of those insecurities. 

7. What's your favorite food and drink? I definitely take after my mom's side with this answer, but sushi (especially inari and futomaki) and green tea. 

8. If you got to make your own beauty product, what would it be? And what would the packaging be like? If I were to make my own beauty product, it would either be a lipstick or an eyeshadow palette (sorry I can't decide!). The packaging would be slim and sleek yet sturdy. Probably something like halfway between NARS and Marc Jacobs. 

9. Describe your perfect makeup bag. The bag itself would be long enough to accommodate all of my makeup brushes, and have enough compartments so each category of products could have its own little home. It would also be flexible and light enough to travel with yet sturdy enough so I wouldn't worry about anything breaking. As far as contents go, it would hold all of my HG's (whatever those may be at the time) and options if I change my mind on what I want to use. 

10. Do you use fake tan? And if so, what is your favorite? I actually don't use fake tan, and I don't tan as well as I used to so I'm pretty regularly pale. 

11. If you were given £100 to spend on either clothes or makeup, which would you choose? Can I convert this to dollars?? But regardless of the conversion rate, I would probably choose makeup. I'm usually pretty casual with clothing purchases, but I love me some luxury beauty so I'd probably splurge. 

My Nominee (sorry I cheated on this one)

Genevieve from Vievelle

My Questions

1. What is your favorite brand for makeup brushes? 
2. Which season has your favorite general makeup trends? 
3. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? 
4. What is your favorite type of shoe (wedge, bootie, flats, etc.)?
5. Holy grail hair product?
6. If you could only shop one makeup brand for the rest of your life, which would it be?
7. Could you ever be (or are you) vegetarian? 
8. What is your favorite and least favorite color to wear? 
9. Is there a perfume that brings back the happiest memories for you? If so, what is it?
10. Do you prefer to get your nails done, or do them yourself?
11. What is one thing that can always make you smile? 

Thanks again to Michaela for my nomination!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Nars & Marc Jacobs Vampy Lipstick Drugstore Dupes + The Perfect Liner Pairs

Now I realize that vampy lipstick season is almost over, but that doesn't mean the love for them stops. I was playing around with my collection the other day (I'm obsessed with darker hues), and realized I had a couple of dupes for my favorite Nars and Marc Jacobs lippies thanks to the NYX Simply Vamp Lip Creams. To find out what they are, and the perfect lip liners to pair with them, keep reading!

Dupe #1: Marc Jacobs Kiss Pop in Smack

Top to bottom: NYX Bewitching & Marc Jacobs Smack

Up first: Marc Jacobs Kiss Pop in Smack ($28) vs. NYX Simply Vamp Lip Cream in Bewitching ($6.50). With these, the NYX one is slightly more purple and cooler in tone whereas the Marc Jacobs one is slightly more brown and warmer. However, this difference is barely noticeable on the lips. And both pair perfectly with NYX Lip Pencil in Plum. 

Left to right: Marc Jacobs Smack & NYX ...

Dupe #2: Nars Audacious Lipstick in Liv

Top to bottom: NYX She Devil & Nars Liv
And my favorite: Nars Audacious Lipstick in Liv ($32) vs. NYX Simply Vamp Lip Cream in She Devil ($6.50). These two are just like the first set in that the NYX one is ever so slightly more purple and cooler in tone whereas the Nars one is slightly more brown and warmer in tone. Again, however, this difference is barely noticeable on the lips. Both pair perfectly with MAC's lip liner in Nightmoth. 

Left to right: Nars Liv & NYX She Devil
Unfortunately, my lighting was not exactly the same in each set of these dupe photos, which also accounts for a slight difference in appearance. But even with these minimal discrepancies, the similarity in color and texture of the NYX Simply Vamp Lip Creams to their higher end counterparts is incredible. Sure, they don't feel as luxurious, but for only about one fifth of the price, I think it's a fair sacrifice. 

What are some of your favorite drugstore dupes?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

ColourPop Haul, Swatches, and Review

I don't know if you're aware of the hype surrounding this California-based indie makeup brand, but spoiler alert, it's totally worth it. ColourPop sells three different products (Lippie Stix, Lippie Pencils, and Super Shock Shadows) all for just $5 each. I picked up six Lippie Stix, one Lippie Pencil (I'm not huge on lip liner), and seven Super Shock Shadows. And let me tell you: It was not easy to choose so few. Here's what I got:

Left to right: Lippie Stix in Heart On, I <3 This, Lumiere, Frida, Cake, Bound over Bound Lippie Pencil, Bound, and Lippie Pencil in Bound
Lippie Stix come in four different formulas, and I have three of them: Glossy, Satin, and Matte (I'm missing Pearl). All are comfortable on the lips, and none move where they shouldn't. And as you can see, the pigmentation is out-of-this-world. Full, opaque color with all of these babies. Unfortunately, I found out about ColourPop after hauling way too many dark shades for fall/winter, so I was on a mostly-nudes mission. My favorites from the bunch, though, are Heart On, Lumiere, and Bound. As for the liner? I like it on its own, but not so much under the Lippie Stix. The combined texture was just a little too thick on the lips, and I wasn't crazy about the color it created.

Left to right: Super Shock Shadow in Shameless, Lace, Hammered, Cricket, Game Face, So Quiche, and Amaze
Super Shock Shadows come in glitter, metallic, and matte finishes, although I made my orders before the matte formula was released so I don't have any of those. These shadows have the most unique formula I've ever felt, and some of the most unique colors as well. All have a pretty embossed pattern when you first open them, but wear away when you dip a finger or brush in (I prefer applying these with my fingers). They are a bouncy, wet texture but transform into a powder finish. However, the consistency is a bit off in texture from pot to pot. I say pot instead of color because I have read reviews where some people had better or worse color payoff from the exact same shades that I have. My favorites from these are Hammered, Cricket, So Quiche, and Amaze.  

Overall though, for only $5 a pop, you really can't go wrong with these. I think this brand is a great way to experiment with colors you might not usually go for with more expensive brands, and there really are some fantastically unique formulas and colors. Have you tried ColourPop? What do you think? 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Dior Cuir Cannage: Swatches & Review

I purchased this little beauty about a month and a half ago, and have since been putting it to the test. I consistently use mid-high end eyeshadows, so the Dior Cuir Cannage palette was my first foray into luxury eyeshadow. The palette features five warm, darker neutrals in both satin and matte finishes. Dior Cuir Cannage retails for $60. 

This eyeshadow quint includes a purple-toned brown, a champagne, a darkened gold, a blackened plum, and a camel (the only matte in the palette). The camel kicks up some powder when a brush is dipped into it, but none of the shadows feel particularly soft. And while I would have liked a little bit more pigmentation with these shades, they all apply beautifully and are not sheer, patchy, or chalky. 

Although these shades don't swatch all that well, they perform beautifully on the eyes. All are buildable and blendable. The champagne is the perfect highlight color, and the blacked plum is lovely as a liner or smudged in the outer-v. The camel works well in the crease, although it can be slightly too dark if used with a heavy hand. 

There is also nice variety in achievable looks from this palette due to the varying color depths. I like doing a lighter eye with the champagne on the lid, the golden brown in the crease, and the purple-toned brown in the outer-v. A mid-tone eye can be done with the golden brown on the lid, the purple-toned brown in the crease, and the blackened plum in the outer-v. And a nice smokey eye can be achieved using the purple-toned brown on the lid and the blackened plum in the crease for a little definition.  

The only real complaint I have with this palette is that the golden brown color is very similar to the matte camel-- almost identical except for the finish. So while these two blend very well together, since there are only five shades in the palette, I would have preferred a little more distinction between these two shades.  

But overall, I really enjoy this palette, and it has become my new go-to when I want a simple, neutral eye look. What do you think of the Dior Cuir Cannage palette? Do you have a favorite Dior palette? 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sonia Kashuk Lip Crayons: My Current Favorite Drugstore Lipstick

Honestly, I don't tend to use drugstore lipsticks all that often. If I do, it's usually Maybelline or NYX. I generally prefer the formulas and scents of mid to high end lippies. But recently, I got a bunch of darker shades for the fall/winter season from brands like Nars, TopShop, Marc Jacobs Beauty, and of course, Sonia Kashuk. And I must say, I was a little more than surprised that the Sonia Kashuk lippies matched if not surpassed the quality of the mid to high-end lipsticks. 

The ones I particularly like from her brand are the Lustrous Shine Lip Crayons ($9 each). These are twist-up, chubby lip pencils. I only have the two darker shades, but I love them so much, I really want to buy the other two shades in the range. 

The shades I have are Dahlia (described as a deep berry) and Orchid (described as a radiant purple). Now let me tell you what's up. These crayons glide onto the lips with absolutely zero tugging. They are pigmented as hell. (Is hell pigmented??) They are hydrating. They don't require a lip liner. They have a shiny finish but are long-wearing. And they stain the lips, so even when the shine eventually does wear off, the color won't. Do these sound like the perfect lippies? As long as you're okay with the non-matte finish, they basically are. 

Top: Orchid; Bottom: Dahlia

Here's what they look like on the lips:

Sonia Kashuk Lustrous Shine Lip Crayon in Orchid
This color...I'm in love with this color. I think it's more of a bright, pink berry than a radiant purple though. I love this shade for an everyday pop of color, and I think it will work great even through the warmer months. 

Sonia Kashuk Lustrous Shine Lip Crayon in Dahlia
Again, I think this color's description is a little off. I find it more of a deep, ruby red than a deep berry. But again, I love it! I think this makes for a perfect holiday lip. Although I doubt I'll put it down when the season's over.

Have you tried any of Sonia Kashuk's lip products? What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Christmas Tag

I know everybody always says it, but can you believe the year is almost over? I have to admit though, I'm pretty darn excited for 2015. I usually get a little sad when a year ends, and as nice as 2014 was, I have good feelings about 2015. So here's hoping, regardless of how this year has gone for you, next year will be even better. 

But on to the point of this post: I was tagged by Genevieve who runs the lovely blog Vievelle to do this Christmas Tag. Admittedly, I'm a relatively lazy celebrator of Christmas, but I celebrate nonetheless, so let's do this ish!

Admittedly this picture has nothing to do with Xmas.

1. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

A Christmas Story. Hands down. I severely appreciate TBS's 24-hour marathon of this movie every year. It definitely isn't wasted on me. 

2. Do you open your Christmas presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

Christmas Day. Although my family are minimalists with gift-giving so it's a pretty small affair. The dogs usually get more presents than the humans. 

3. Do you have a favorite Christmas memory?

Mm no, I don't think so. Every Christmas is enjoyable in its own way (and honestly, most are the same). 

4. What is your favorite festive food?

Peppermint bark! I always gotta get me some peppermint bark. 

5. What tops your tree?

Nothing, actually. We're pretty lazy about even putting up a tree every year, but if we do, there's rarely a topper. 

6. As a child, what was one extravagant gift you asked for but never received?

When I was maybe five years old, one of our neighbors moved away. I asked my parents to buy me their house. I totally didn't understand that real houses were not comparable to, say, Barbie play houses. 

7. Do you prefer a real tree or synthetic?

Well I've actually never had a real tree, so synthetic. I definitely see the appeal of a real tree, but I like being able to reuse a synthetic one. 

8. What's your favorite scheme for decorating a tree?

Lighting, tinsel, ornaments. 

9. Giving or receiving?

I love receiving, but giving can be stressful. I definitely prefer giving, though, when I'm confident I've gotten something my recipient will love.  

10. Christmas Day fashion?

Christmas Day is usually a lazy day at home. So for me, that means pj's or lounging clothes. Nothing particularly cute or festive. 

11. What's your favorite Christmas song?

Easy. "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays" by 'NSync. I usually won't even skip that song if it comes up on shuffle during the rest of the year. 

12. Christmas cards or texts?

Gotta love a good ole fashioned Christmas card!

Thanks again to Genevieve for tagging me, and I tag anybody who wants to do this tag! If you do, let me know in the comments so I can check it out!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2014

November Favorites

November was definitely a good month. Since my birthday and Thanksgiving both fall in November, it's usually a fun and relaxing month. And this year was no different. I have a few makeup favorites to share with you, so here we go!

I normally use powder foundations, and actually prefer a sheerer coverage. I know L'Oreal Magic Nude Liquid Powder foundation came out a while ago, but I've been trying to get more into liquid formulas, so I thought this would be a nice transition. This foundation is very liquidy, but that doesn't bother me. It does have a sheer coverage, so you medium-full coverage gals might not like this one. It blends into the skin nicely, quickly turns into that powder-finish, and is very comfortable on the skin. What I especially love is how long-wearing this is. I have oily skin, but even after five+ hours of wear (including taking my dog for a walk!), there is hardly any breakdown of the product--only slightly on my nose. And while I would have preferred a pump, I still really like the sleek, glass-bottle packaging. I use the shade Classic Ivory. 

Dior Cuir Cannage was my birthday present to myself. You have no idea how long I tried to talk myself out of another neutral palette (I was considering YSL Avant Garde for a long time), but I decided this combo of colors in all warm tones was just too good to pass up. I'll have a review on this palette coming soon, so if you're interested in learning more, keep an eye out! 

I think I mentioned last month how my love for drugstore mascara has been renewed. I wanted a mascara with a smaller brush to replace my Clinique Bottom Lash, and I found it in Maybelline Lash Discovery. I love, love, love this not only as a bottom-lash mascara but also as a base layer for my top lashes. On no-makeup makeup days, this is lovely alone on the top lashes for extra length. But on regular makeup days, I like to layer this under whatever mascara I use on my top lashes. The small brush allows me to really get to the base of my lashes, giving a tight-lining effect. 

NYX Plush Red lip liner plus TopShop Partition lipstick was my go-to lip combo in November. While swatched these colors come off more pink than red, on the lips, they are a perfect, true red. I like to line and fill in my lips with the liner and then top it off with the lipstick. Both formulas are so comfortable on the lips, and I can apply once and not have to worry about it for the rest of the day. The color will stay vivid and my lips won't dry out. This will definitely continue to be my holiday lip-combo through December. 

What were some of your favorites in November?