Beauty: Products Edition 2

9 Jun

I’m trying some new products. It’s Ulta coupon time and I took advantage of the $3.50 off combined with several sale offers to pick up a few things.

This months products also fall into my search for budget friendly beauty supplies.The following items are all under $11.

The quick rundown:
1. Dove Ultimate Go Sleeveless in Pearl Finish: This deodorant claims softer, smoother underarm skin in just five days and then you can go SLEEVELESS! While I don’t understand the appeal of showing off my armpits I liked the smell and $3.64 price.

2. NYX Lipgloss w/mega shine in Natural: As close to natural “natural” lip color as I’ve ever tried. It should be noted, Ulta is running a buy one get one 1/2 off sale on NYX products this month and this brand and particular gloss are at the top of most internet lists budget friendly quality products.

3. Ulta Professional Lash Primer: I stumbled upon this in the clearance section and for $3.99 I figured I could afford to give it a go. I’ve used it once but so far I’m not to impressed, it’s clumpy.

4. Texas Collection by O.P.I in Don’t mess with O.P. I.: Come get dungeon nailed and judge the color for yourself. p.s. I love the color.

5. NYX 10 Color Eye Shadow Palette in Champagne & Caviar: Raving internet ravers gave this high marks and 10 colors for $10.99 is worth a try. My poor abilities in applying eyeshadow makes me hesitant to give any opinion but the few colors I managed to smudge on seemed fairly color rich.

Now go get your products on or something.

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Beauty: Mascara Edition

2 Jun

I’m trying a new mascara. I have been religiously using Bourjois Coup de Theatre mascara for years.

Once upon a time I used any drug store brand that was on sale, then one day Ulta had a sale on Coup de Theatre mascara, I tried it out and was hooked. Recently Bourjois has for whatever reason decided to pull the brand out of the US and while you can still get it a few places online when I need mascara, I need mascara.

So, I’m trying out Buxom Lash by Bare Minerals. I decided to try Buxom because it was a top rated mascaras on Sephora’s website that came in at a mere $18, while other top rated brands ran $22 and up.

So far, I have mixed feelings about it. The Bourjois mascara included a lengthening mascara as well as the mascara, two products for the price of one but Buxom doesn’t include the lengthener and I’m to cheap to buy an additional product. The result has been shorter less full lashes which keeps the eye from popping like it does with a false lash look the lengthening mascara creates. If I bought a lengthening mascara I think the results I’m getting would be dramatically different but I really want one product to do everything I want it to do! Reading reviews on sephora.com I’m in the minority of people who don’t agree this mascara volumizes.

The one thing Buxom has going for it is it’s brush is really full and keeps clumps at bay. Additionally the formula is light so it doesn’t feel like your lashes are being weighed down or drying out. Overall Buxom is doing it’s job but I think I’m going to have to keep looking for my new go to mascara.

You can get Buxom Lash exclusively at Sephora if you wanted to decide for yourself about it.

Mixology: June 1, 2011

2 Jun

I’ve been working on some new summer cocktails. The following is one I came up with yesterday but look for some several peach based ones in the coming days.

This guy comes to us courtesy of an excess of lemons, my summer goal of incorporating fresh fruit, herbs, and veggies into beverages, and a strawberry/ mint combo kick.

June 1, 2011
Add ice to glass of your choice
1-2 ounce Strawberry Vodka (I like Strawberry Smirnoff or your own infusion)
Splash of Peach Schnapps
Fill glass half up the rest way with homemade Lemonade:
– 8 Fresh Squeezed Lemons= roughly 1 cup lemon juice
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 3 cups water
– Stir till sugar dissolves, serve over ice.
Top with sparkling water
Garnish, fresh strawberries, watermelon, mint.
Mix and serve with straw.

Summer in a cup?

Fashion: NO! Edition One

26 May

I’m adding a new feature here which is just essentially going to be my opinions on what I call a “No” look. If you’ve ever been out with me at the mall or people watching or something you’ve probably heard me say out loud “No” when I see a particular look pass by that just should not be happening.

A look will solicit this reaction from me based on two criteria:

1. Particular pieces should’ve never been made, let alone worn. (Just because they sell it doesn’t mean you should wear it.)

2. A really cute look is not working on a particular shape because for whatever reason they let their friends talk them into looking bad or their mother never taught them the golden rule of dressing for their bodies at EVERY age.

Prime example of rule #2 I have been seeing lately:

This look was designed for people with the body type of this model, a.k.a. teenagers.


Not that people older then teenagers can’t wear this look, they just better not have hips, or a butt, or thighs because while they might feel amazing, to the rest of the world they end up looking more like:

So before this post spins out of control here is, in my opinion, some of the latest bad ideas from stores popular with the 20- 30’s set:

I don't even know where I'd start here.


Unless you're Pocahontas you probably should stay away from this.


This reminds me of either a really ineffective tablecloth or a curtain you hang over the door of your doin' it room.


NO. Never OK.


Every season Anthro has a real "What?" dress. This is this seasons.


The combination of the one shoulder and short hem line make this look like either a dress for a little girls dance recital or a shirt missing it's pants.


No joke, when I imaged searched this dress several moo moos populated with it.


Who is this made for? The average American woman should NOT be wearing a hem line this short.


I don't even know. This looks trashy not sexy. Gypsy?

I’m clearly no fashion expert and have and do make many a fashion faux pas (like flip flops whenever possible and wearing a dress 15 days in a row just to wear it all the ways) but based on the styles I’ve been seeing lately I feel like we’re living in a fashion apocalypse. I realize my main issue with current fashion stems from my ideas that the younger trendier looks seem terrible (seriously, if I was a teenager right now, and knew better, I would be so angry about my clothing options) and I’m in a fight to obtain a more grown up, body appropriate look of my own that is still stylish not necessarily trend setting and it’s mildly overwhelming.

However, I think it’s time for this girl to finally accept I’m not forever 21 and perhaps $60- $80 for a pair of jeans that fit my body type perfectly (my body wasn’t on the design board when skinnies were created) and $50 on a fitted blazed to go with isn’t that unreasonable if it keeps me from wearing the sausage casing that becomes my favorite $5 H&M knit mini. And I should also begin to acknowledge that shopping at department stores instead of throw away fashion shops will probably offer me more flattering fits.

I think what I’m ultimately trying to get across is there is a look for every age, personality and body type. These looks might not be the hottest trends but should always look good on that particular person because they put forth some effort and found their style niche. I mean even some of the above styles have the potential to work for someone but I still think if I saw them walking around I would say “No.”

And remember, no matter what anyone says: going out and buying all the latest pieces at H&M and Urban is not a style, that’s just lazy. Now go forth and stop wearing ugly.

Couponing: Target Edition

23 May

I’ve been giving coupons a try for the last four or so months. I’d heard a bunch about people saving buckets of money on lots of different stuff and decided to check into it. I started with couponmom.com which has some instructional videos on how to get serious about it but I found out quickly that I don’t have enough patience to really go for it.

However, I did pick up a few tips and trick that have helped save me some cash money. I won’t go into those today (maybe another time) but I will say that I’ve saved the most money from the discovery of Target coupons . Maybe I’m the last person on earth to discover these but I can’t get over how they’re good on sale and clearance items for ULTIMATE savings.

Smartphone users can download the Target app which will text a different set of coupons each month right to your phone which they scan right from your phone at checkout, no printing necessary. So far the text coupons I have gotten have been themed for things like cinco de mayo and graduation and I haven’t used any but I have actually saved a significant amount with the ones I print from online.

With the amount of time and money I spend at Target it’s great to save some extra once in awhile. If you have any interest in coupons and shop at Target with any regularity you should at least check out the offers. Save some cash for whatever you wanted to save cash for bitch.

Magazine Suggestions: Glamour’s “go from this…to this (in 4 minutes)” Edition

20 May

I’m trying out Glamour’s 4 minute makeover from the June edition. The article claims to give you a flawless look in 4 minutes and 38 seconds and advertises use of minimal products.

I liked the idea of a flawless look in four minutes but one look at the actual step by step kind of gave away the fact it would take, me, longer then 4 minutes to achieve anything close to the magazines final look:

So many instructions, took me atleast 20 mins to read them all!

I don’t expect you’ll be able to read all the tiny text so I’ll give you the quick overview of the steps and you can decide whether or not the look is worth all the products and if it’s actually 4 min. achievable (which would make me just incredibly slow.) I won’t go into all the techniques for application either, you can buy the magazine for that but I will give some thoughts on each step.

Magazine Says:Step 1: Hide Dark Circles: The first step of all: Apply a moisturizer with SPF to help concealer glide on smoothly.
I Say: I’m on board with the moisturizer as it is always my first step anyway. Apply your concealer with a brush, and if you use one, apply you’re eyelid primer at this time.

Neutrogena Healthy Defense Moisturizer with SPF 55 and Loreal Skin Genesis Eye Serum


Smashbox High Definition Concealer and NYX High Definition Eye Shadow Base


Magazine Says: Step 2: A Touch Of Base: To get perfectly even skin the speedy way use a foundation stick.
I Say: I don’t generally use foundation only tinted moisturizer once in a while but for the purpose of trying all the steps I applied my tinted moisturizer to any red spots around the nose and used a light dusting of translucent powder.

Almay Smart Shade Smart Balance and Loreal Bare Naturale Powder


Magazine says: Step 3: Reassess and Perfect!: If a pesky zit or mark is still poking through, go back and hide it with an extra layer of concealer.
I Say: If I had any blemishes at the time of trying this out I would have done this.
Magazine says: Step 4: Now blush!: Forget shading and sculpting cheekbones with a brush and powder, and try a cream kind instead for that glow-from-within effect.
I say: This is probably the only step I was most pleased with the result. I have used cream blush in the past and had some in my makeup bag but it seemed every time I applied it I looked like a clown, I also use Almay’s smart shade which is supposed to figure out the color based on my skin temperature (?) However I figured out if I put a few dabs of color on the apples of my checks and pulled up lightly it really did give a glow- from- within effect.

Almay Smart Shade Blush


Magazine Says: 5. Apply Shimmery Eye Base: For pro-looking eye makeup in no time, apply a wash of sheer, shimmery cream shadow from lash lines to brow bones using your pointer finger.
I Say: The article suggested Revlon Illuminance Creme Shadow in Copper Canyon as it has all the right colors for the look. So I picked it up and have to say was not surprised to discover the color lacking.
I was given some makeup advice several years ago by a friend who worked for laura mercier that was essentially: you should spend more on eyeshadow, blush, and lipstick because they are made with a higher content of pigment which makes the colors more vibrant, for everything else, drugstore brands will do.
So, having taken that advice years ago I’ve bought maybe two drug store brand eyes hadows since but thought after years makeup might’ve progressed but as far as this particular product is concerned it hasn’t. They suggest setting the color with a powder eyeshadow in the same color and which for me, made the colors better but leaves me wondering why you wouldn’t just use the powder in the first place and skip the creme?
Magazine Says: Step 6: Make’ Em pop.: Next, use bronze and gold creme shadows (both are in that same Revlon palette) to give eyes depth.
I say: The bronze and gold creme shadows weren’t much better then the shimmer but the powder eyeshadow I used is what helped make the color pop. They also suggested putting a little gold under the eyes which I thought was a nice effect.

So many products!


Magazine Says: Step 7: Add Some Definition:For more intensity, rim your upper lash lines with a brown liner pencil and smudge upward with a shadow brush.
I Say: My eyes lids aren’t as big as some peoples, so I find anytime I use eyeliner and “smudge it up” it tends to cover the whole lower half of my lid, so I just applied a thin line at the top of my lashes and didn’t smudge a thing.
You’re also supposed to add your mascara at this point which is fine but if you plan to curl your lashes, curl them before applying any creme shadow, as the curler will smudge the colors. Apply your mascara whenever you want.

Magazine Says: Step 8: Get Lush Looking Lips:If yours are dry or at all chapped, gently buff with a damp washcloth and apply lip balm.
I Say: Applying lipstick, is applying lipstick. Start by applying to the center of your mouth, yada, yada, yada… Berry colors always look great but it looks especially nice with the eyeshadow colors used in this article.

laura mercier and paul frank for lipsmackers

So after way more products then seems necessary and more then 4 minutes here is how it turned out for me:

I hadn't applied lipstick yet and I hate picture so much I forget you should smile.


The look wasn’t quite like pictured but I realize I’m not a model and don’t live in photoshop. However I do like the gold under the eyes effect and the blush.

My take away: If I want a similar look in four minutes I’d only moisturize, conceal, blush, powder shadow (but probably one or two, shades, not three), mascara, and lip gloss. Which is basically what girls do anyway right?

Jewelry Making: Necklace Edition

20 May

I’ve been trying jewelry making (sort of.) In December I was trying to come up with relatively inexpensive Christmas presents and after wasting several hours, maybe days, on Etsy looking for jewelry to gift I decided that I could just make some. I mean making your own gifts is normally cheap and how hard is stringing together some beads? Well turns out it isn’t exactly that cheap and more frustrating then I had anticipated. Tiny little beads + tiny little splintering wire + coming up with a design + ect. = pain in the ass.

So, I made one necklace and decided I didn’t have the patience for making more at that time but decide it would be a thing I would give another go at a later date. I had told a friend that I would make her a necklace and this week I got around to it.

As a side note to me trying this out: I have this weird anxiety that I’m going to be one of those girls who thinks what I’m making is really great and pretty, when in reality it is kind of lame and tacky (you know what I am talking about.) So I ‘m trying this out and crossing my fingers I’ll know when I have crossed the line from fashionable to unoriginal everyone makes it but no one wears it-ville.

This is the first necklace I made:

December Necklace

I used red beads between the big beads, but only on one side.

This is the second:

Coming up with a design.


I used a two strands of colorful beads that look a bit like coral.


Finished

Both Necklaces:

My catalog of jewelry.

The second time around didn’t seem to be as bad as the first, I think mostly because I figured out how to attach the clasps properly. If I were to do necklace two again, I might have played around with several designs before landing on this one, it’s not that I don’t like it, it’s more I wish I had tried some other stuff out. For next time I am thinking about purple and feathers.But maybe I should stick to things I would wear and not whats in fashion right now? Cause there are some fashion things happening right now that I just can’t get behind, but this is about things I’m trying, not things I hate.

Beauty: Products Edition

18 May

I have several new hair/ makeup/ skin care products I have been trying. I get into product kicks once in a while, where I hear about all these new products and I want to try them all right away and see which are worth the hype. Products I have in the works are as follows:

Works best if applied before drying hair.


Haven't noticed much difference between this brand and something like John Frieda


Amazing Pigment


Review to come later.


Fits right inside my purses makeup bag!


Preventitive?


Eye Lid Primer for eyeshadow, best product of the bunch.


Revlon Illuminance Creme Shadow in Copper Canyon- So-So, so far.

Mixed feelings so far

If any of these turn out really good, I’ll do some follow up, but right now I’m just trying them out.

Cooking: From Farmers Market to Beer Battered Veggies Edition

18 May

I’m trying to be more adventurous with food. I don’t really like to cook that much and when I do I have a pretty standard food lineup I stick too, however I discovered a farmers market with great prices and actually fresh produce and thought I should pick up some veggies I wouldn’t normally think to unless a recipe specifically called for it. Vegetables before recipes this time.

I picked up a pound of asparagus for .99 and googled for recipes other than roasted and steamed asparagus and came up with: Beer Battered Asparagus with a Lemon Herbed Dipping Service. I had also picked up some sweet potatoes and thought I would give those the beer treatment too. It went something like this:


I finished making the vegetables and moved onto the Lemon Herbed Dipping piece:

And served them with Pan Seared Pork Chops (which is a thing I make fairly often):

I would say the beer battered veggies turned out fairly average and I liked the dipping service more; bonus it’s easy to make. I suck at cutting recipes so I had enough leftover to serve with the buffalo chicken pizza I tired out the next evening:

In conclusion, it’s summertime and that means fresh produce reasonably priced and with that in mind I anticipate trying more vegetable/ fruit based experiments. Like the Minted Watermelon Salad I made for brunch a few weekends ago. I also anticipate trying to get people into the dungeon to help me get rid of the to much food I always end up making, friends you’ve been warned. Cooking.

Vacation: Greece Edition

18 May

I tried out Greece last week. On a Monday morning Mar and I decided to go to Athens and by Monday afternoon we were on a plane headed there. It was pretty a great trip and would recommend you getting there if ever possible. Some things to consider:
Pros:
– Flying with a flight attendant and in flight movies
– Everyone speaks English
– Food is amazing

Bananas, Nutella, Chocolate Sauce, Carmel Sauce, Whipped Cream

– Nescafe Frappe
– Funny souvenirs
– So many Acropolis views from pretty much anywhere in the city
– Cheap hostel with a balcony and best views

View from my bed + Mar.


View from the roof of the hostel

– A tram that goes up and down the coast for only 4 euro.
– Mythos
– American Apparel Bandeau Dress and my insistence on bringing cowboy boots in a tiny carry on
– So much relaxing

Cons:
– The exchange rate
– A million stray animals

100 of these guys around

– Jetlag
– Almost Brokedown Palaced
– So many pushy restaurateurs
– Being obviously American
– Parents reading about riots in Athens. We could hear them but didn’t see any.

Over all I would give Greece an arbitrary high score on the being a nice place to go scale. A million good memories were made. This trip was made possible by Marilyn and a traveler like me. Thanks Mar, you’re a true American Girl in Greece.