Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stuck in a Rut

Hi Guys!

I am PUBLICLY PROMISING that I will write up a post before tomorrow morning. Promise. It might just be a NOTD, but it will be something.

But for now... I just want to vent a little bit! I have been feeling so unenthusiastic about makeup, and it's not because I'm not into makeup. Honestly, I just really don't want to take pictures of myself. I don't feel like I've been keeping myself up like I usually do, and I just can't stand the idea of taking photos of myself and having to go through them all. Does anyone else ever feel this way? I've been spending as little time on makeup as possible so I don't have to think about how unhappy I am with the way I look lately. It's not even a low self-esteem thing, I am just not happy with the way I've been looking when it comes to my hair, clothes, etc... I need a makeover or something! It's been so long since I've felt cute. I've felt "cute for me" or "prettier than usual", but not when compared to other people. I got my hair cut recently, and it looked great when the hair dresser styled it, but now that it's shorter (just at my shoulders) it gets super ugly if I let it air dry like I normally do. My hair is almost curly (if I let it air dry, I get weird looking ringlets), and being so wavy, it looks messy if I leave it unbrushed like gals with truly curly hair would do, but really poufy if I do brush it out. Now that it's shorter and doesn't have the length weighing it down, it just goes out sideways when I do that! So I need to teach myself how to style my hair.

I have also been really stressed out... My schoolwork isn't going the way I thought it would, which is really depressing. I thought I would graduate last spring, and now that it's looking like it won't be until next spring, I am so... upset isn't even the right word. It's like it's sucked all the emotion from me, and school and my thesis have become this black hole. I am at a point where I feel like school is keeping me from the things I want to accomplish, rather than helping me reach goals. Maybe I'd feel differently if there was a career I wanted that required the degree I'm working towards, but that's not the case. That being said, I am too close to the end (I've finished all my coursework, I just need to get through the thesis process) to walk away from it now. I'm trying to find a part-time job so finishing up school ASAP doesn't feel like my whole world. I really desperately need to be able to define myself with some successes, not just things I perceive as failures. I have an interview for a job I would really like to have tomorrow, and I am really nervous. I can feel my throat closing as I type this up, that's how nervous I am! So wish me luck and send me good energy!

Does anyone else ever feel like they get stuck in these ruts where they just aren't happy with their beauty routine, or wish they could mix things up but don't know how? Anyone else letting stress from "the real world" distract them from blogging?

Also, I really want to take this time to thank all of you guys who follow along and comment. It means a lot to me to be part of this community, and you guys support me more than you know!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

NOTD: L'Oreal Brit Invasion

I couldn't resist L'Oreal's Brit Invasion as soon as I started seeing swatches of it pop up online... it's the perfect fall shade, a purpley-greige with tons of gold shimmer and a subtle iridescent microshimmer. I don't know if it quite lives up to my expectation of it, but it is lovely.

Brit Invasion is part of a limited edition nail polish collection from L'Oreal for the fall. The Colour Riche line of nail polishes run around $5.99 for .39 ounces, but you can find them for less and on sale pretty frequently.  I found Brit Invasion easy to apply; I didn't have any issues with it, and it was opaque in two coats.

Have a look-see:

I think that the color looks a bit warmer/ plummier in real life, but not much. You can see the shimmer on my nail really well in the second picture if you want to enlarge it.

Like I said, this is a really pretty shade, but I am not as head-over-heels for it as I thought I would be. I am glad I ended up purchasing it, though (and during a BOGO1/2 sale, no less).

Do any of you guys have this color? What do you think of it?

Friday, September 21, 2012

e.l.f. Villainous Villains palettes

Look what I found! I am so excited. I live about a five minute walk away from a Walgreens, and I checked to see if they had these the other day... They did! I am pretty excited. I am a big Disney fan, and the villains are some of my favorite characters; I went NUTS over Mac's Venomous Villains collection.

I haven't had time to give you guys swatches; I am getting ready to spend the weekend visiting family. But, I wanted to share my excitement and show you guys just how cool these palettes are. I'm really impressed with the packaging; it's the same package that most of e.l.f.'s palettes are, but the graphics and presentation are really neat. There are three palettes in the collection; the Evil Queen's Devious Dramatic Eyes, with purple and gold tones, Cruella's Evil Everyday Eyes, with beige and brown shades, and Maleficent's Sinister Smoky Eyes, with a variety of dark, dramatic shades (and a sparkly liquid liner!). Take a look!

All three palettes:

Snow White's Evil Queen, Cruella, and Maleficent
 Luckily, I had a dramatically crumpled taffeta petticoat strewn across the floor. It made a good backdrop for these picures. When sewing and makeup converge!

Here is an up-close peek at what's inside the Evil Queen's palette.

The front
 Inside each set is an eye primer, a daytime eyeshadow quad, a nighttime eyeshadow quad, false lashes, a liquid eyeliner, and two cheek/ lip pencils.

Evil Queen e.l.f. set

Each one has a themed mirror on the inside cover:

A daytime "Day Evil" look with instructions, the makeup on a sketch, and an illustration of the character in the makeup...

...And a nighttime "Night Villain" look featuring the same.

Next up is Cruella's palette:

And finally Maleficent's:

 As far as I can tell, these are only available at Walgreen's. Mine doesn't normally carry e.l.f. products, but they had a display for this set, so if you are looking at these make sure you check the stores in your area, even if they don't have a regular e.l.f. display.

I've only used Maleficent's palette, and the pigmentation was decent. Not great, but decent, and the shadows looked fine over the included primer. They were a bit soft, but not super powdery. The pale peach-pink in this set (spindle) was surprisingly pretty; I'd buy a full size if they offered it. It's no surprise I used this one first; I LOVE Maleficent, and Sleeping Beauty has been my favorite Disney since I was very little. Honestly, I think I like Beauty & The Beast just as well now that I'm older, but when I was little it was Sleeping Beauty all the way.

Are you guys planning on trying to pick these up? Has anyone else had any luck finding these? I don't know how hard they've been to find, but I kind of feel like I hit the jackpot with these! Since they're only available at Walgreens, that makes them a bit harder to come by, and there were only two of each palette when I found these, and the location I got them at is pretty out of the way and the display wasn't in a really obvious spot; I don't think a lot of casual shoppers would notice it. Only us crazies looking for it! (Full disclosure: I may or may not have made the poor salesgirl scour the same location a few days before they got the palettes in. She had no idea what I was asking about, but perked up when I explained that they were based on Disney villains).

Have a good weekend everyone! I have one more schedule post for you, but after that it will probably be at least Monday before I'll be able to blog again.

NYC Lipsticks; on sale now at Rite Aid!

Hi everybody, hope you're doing well! I am popping in to show you a couple of lipsticks that are on sale now at Rite Aid! I just bought them tonight, and I don't have any other NYC lipsticks (which is so weird; I feel like I should have at least a couple...) so I haven't had any time to test the wear or get a good feel for them, but I was really impressed with both of the shades I bought and thought I would give you guys a heads up while they're still 40% off; I believe the sale only runs through 9/22, so hurry if you want to take advantage of this! Luckily, both of these items are inexpensive enough that even if you miss the sale, you won't be breaking your budget if you choose to pick one of these up.

I purchased Sheer Red from the Ultra Moist line of lipsticks (which is normally $.99 but is on sale for $.59) and Mousse from the Ultra Last line (normally $1.99, currently $1.19). Sheer Red isn't really all that sheer; it's about the finish and opacity of some of the more pigmented Revlon Lip Butters, so it can be built up to be opaque in just a couple of passes, and has a semi-glossy finish. It's a fairly neutral toned brick red shade; it doesn't scream "blue red" but it doesn't pull too orange, either. Mousse is a semi-matte opaque lipstick, and is a pale caramel rose-nude shade. I was surprised at how much I liked both of these shades on me, especially given that I couldn't swatch them or try them on before purchasing them. Deep wine-reds are very hit or miss for me, since I am so fair and since I have warm undertones. This holds doubly true for nudes; they almost all look awful on me, and even ones I think will be safe usually aren't. I tend to have to settle for pale rose and brown shades that are too dark to be really truly nude. Mousse is nearly the exact same color of my lips, but a bit rosier, and a touch lighter.

Sheer Red, two passes. I needed a second pass to keep the color from being uneven, but I didn't build it up quite as much as I probably could have.

NYC Sheer Red

One pass on the left, three on the right

And here is Mousse.

Swatched gently on the left, two firmer passes on the right
I'm going to try to give you an idea of how this compares to my natural lip color, so I've included a picture of my bare lips, a picture where I am wearing the lipstick only on one half of my lips, and then a picture wearing the lipstick regularly.

Bare lips

One pass of lipstick on the left side of my mouth
 And here I am wearing an opaque coat of lipstick on all of my mouth, like a normal person.

So there you are. Go forth and buy lipstick! But seriously, even though I can't speak to the formulas since I don't have much experience with them, I think these two shades are a great addition to a lipstick wardrobe. I didn't notice anything glaringly obnoxious with either formula; neither seemed moisturizing, and both were on the thin side but If you are lacking a nice brick red and a nice nude, I think these are options worth picking up, especially while they're on sale!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

NOTD: Orly Synchro

I almost didn't buy this nail polish. I can't believe it! After seeing some swatches online, I was worried it would look like a rose frost... A little mature for my taste. However, it was so pretty in the bottle, and I couldn't stand the idea that it might be prettier in person than it was in photographs. And oh my, was it ever!

Synchro is fuschia-pink based color with a strong yellow-to-gold-to-orange-to-violet flash. I hesitate calling it a multichrome since it feels like the shift is much more fluid than what I think of a multichrome being. You know those iridescent lipglosses that look so cool in the tube, but then are just an itsy bit glowy on the lip? This looks like the tube-color, but on the nail. It has a bit of shimmer in it, too, which comes through much more in the photographs than in real life. In real life, you mostly just see the dazzling shifts in color.

The formula on this was really nice. I didn't have any problems applying it, and it stayed put on my nails for a few days, which is average on  me. The formula is on the thin side, and any imperfections on the nail will show through, even with a nice thick top coat. This is bad news for me, since my nails peel at the drop of a hat. You can see a bit of this imperfection on my ring finger in the following pictures; I had a big peel on my nail and it ended up causing a bubble and a weird concave spot over there. So bear that in mind; this shade might be worth pulling out a ridge filling base coat for if you have similar issues with your nails. It's not too fussy, though; the rest of my nails are far from perfect, and it was only on the worst of them that this showed through.

I've included a bunch of photos so you can see the diferent variations and shifts in color this nail polish takes, depending on the light and angle. I used natural light for all of these photos, direct and indirect.

Hello, I'm a dowdy rose-frost--




Summary:  I love this color. Unabashedly. I know it might not be for everyone, but it is one of the few multichromes that translates from the bottle to the nail. The pictures don't do it justice; this is one of those shades where I was staring at my nail A  LOT when I was wearing it. I can't wait to work through some more of my untried to wear it again.

I realized a month or two ago that I only had one Orly, and since then I've been consciously trying to pay more attention to their offerings. I've built up my collection rather quickly, thanks in part to some great clearance sales at Sally Beauty. I've been really pleased with the brand so far; the colors are very unique! What do you guys think of Orly? Any shades in particular you'd recommend?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Just a little check-in

Hi guys!

No tutorials or reviews or swatches in this post, but it's been awhile since I posted last and I just wanted to check in and say hello! I haven't been up to much beauty-related, but I have been sewing an awful lot, which has been consuming a lot of my time. I am also getting ready for a block-wide garage sale tomorrow morning that my boyfriend's parents do every year around this time. We are using this opportunity to go through a lot of boxes that we haven't unpacked yet aaaaaand GUESS WHAT? I found a box that had a ton of makeup I'd lost in it! There were some loser boxes (old cables for computers! old jarred food!) and then there was a winner box that contained:

-Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol II
-An old Tarte holiday set with a ton of great eyeshadows in it (it's in a silver case with jewels on it, and it's kind of a big cube... not sure when it was from, definitely a few years old)
-MAC lipstick in Midimauve
-a NARS coffret of 3 untouched mini lipglosses (the fourth is in circulation and made it into a long-ago uncovered box)
-some Victoria's Secret body products in Velvet, a favorite but unfortunately discontinued scent
And, drum roll please... some Tiffany & Co. jewelry. Yup, you heard that right; I found a couple of little Tiffany Blue boxes floating around in the box with all of my beauty treasures. I have a little silver bean necklace that I got in high school, and a watch that I got for my college graduation, and they were both recovered in one go. Very exciting!

Have you guys ever stumbled upon things you thought you'd lost? Was it indescribably exciting? It felt like Christmas morning!

Well,because I hate posting something with absolutely no pictures in it, I thought I'd give you guys a peek at some of my costuming progress. I wanted a necklace like Elizabeth I's in the portrait she gave to Edward when she was only Princess Elizabeth (two strings of alternating pearls and gold beads, one choker length, the other dipping down behind the neckline of her gown), but I also wanted an initial pendant like the one featured in so many portraits of her mother, Anne Boleyn. I ended up making the necklace like I wanted, with a pretty double-strand Tudor rose clasp, and then I fashioned a pendant in an "M" shape (for my last name) out of clay, and then painted it with gold metallic paint. I haven't got any beads to attach from the bottom of the pendant yet, so you'll see little gold rings inserted in the bottom that are bare, but will soon have either red glass or faux pearl drops on them. The whole project took just an evening, and I am pleased as punch with the results; it's not perfect, but it came out better than I expected, with a lot less effort than I expected! I am definitely not an experienced beader, and it's been years since I've done any beading.

Like I said, not perfect, but it'll do very nicely for a costume.

What have you guys been up to lately, beauty-related and otherwise? Any creative pursuits you've been indulging in lately? Have you ever uncovered long-lost makeup and felt like you were opening it for the first time again?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

NOTD: Maybelline Color Show in Downtown Brown

This is my first of the new Maybelline nail polishes, and I have to say... I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for more of these! They are smaller than your average bottle of nail polish at .23 ounces, but they're also a little less expensive than L'Oreal or Revlon at right around $2.99 a bottle.

Downtown Brown, from the new limited edition fall line, really called to me. It's been described as the nail polish version of MAC Club or Urban Decay Lounge eyeshadow; a warm reddish brown with a green shift. On the nail, it's stunning. In brighter light, it looks like a very warm auburn brown with green shimmer, and in shadow it can almost look like a warm charcoal grey with aqua shimmer. The (numerous) pictures I'm posting here don't do it justice; I never finish bottles of nail polish, but with only .23 ounces in this one, I am sorely tempted to pick up a backup. It is that cool. The formula was just fine (nothing stellar about it, but I didn't have problems either), and it was opaque in two coats.

Not my neatest manicure ever (I swear, it'll look fine on my nails, and then I'll see a close up shot and wish I'd spent some more time cleaning up my cuticles), but I think this gets the point across.

Summary: Yes! Go buy this! If there is any part of you that thinks this color is appealing to you, you should be keeping your eyes peeled. The pictures really don't do this one justice, and it's such a neat color for fall.