Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review | MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation; An Almost Favorite

I picked up this foundation while I was out Christmas shopping back in December. We all have one of those "one for you, one for me" gift shopping sessions! I tried out this foundation for the first time a few years ago, and I remember that I really liked it but wasn't impressed with the staying power. But then again, that was a few years back, so I decided to give it another shot.

The packaging of the product is really nice- it comes in a velvety plastic tube that's super portable and fits into make-up bags nicely. The black cap twists off, and the product can be squeezed out of the tube onto a brush, sponge, or your skin. It's not a cheap foundation (but certainly not the most expensive either), at $30 for 40ml (1.3 fl oz)- but the tube will last you forever, as a little bit goes a very long way. The photos below show a tiny amount of product, and the same amount blended out.

Pros: The finish of this foundation is absolutely beautiful, and the coverage is medium but build-able. It gives a very natural looking, luminous finish- like your skin but perfect. It's easy to put on too much of this product because it's so easy to blend, but piling it on won't make it look cake-y either, which is good on those crappy skin days. I like to apply this with a foundation brush, but fingers work just as well! Of all the MAC foundations I've tried (studio fix, studio tech, mineralize, face&body), this is the foundation that looks closest to natural skin with a higher coverage.

Cons: This is not a product for oily skin. I have combination skin- I get a bit oily in my t-zone area and usually have to blot halfway throughout the day. My cheeks are pretty good, not oily or dry- just in the middle. That being said, I noticed that this foundation only lasts two or three hours on my t-zone. The foundation slips noticeably on my forehead, and rubs off around the sides of my nose! My cheeks look great all day though. I think this foundation would be fabulous for those who have normal to dry skin. It's definitely one of my favorite finishes in foundations, but unfortunately it doesn't always work well on my skin. Setting the foundation with a powder buys me a bit more time, but this isn't a foundation I would wear if I need my makeup to last all day. One more note, I'm not a fan of the scent of this foundation. It smells a bit like paint to me- it's not super strong, but enough for me to notice and not enjoy the smell.

Repurchase? No, sadly.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Story of A Wednesday

A bit of an outfit of the day! Ran a few errands this morning, picking up groceries and other uninteresting household items and such in preparation for my final semester (starts Monday)! I picked up this sweater a few days ago at C Wonder, an adorable store that reminds me a lot of Kate Spade but preppier. I got the sweater in a large, since I like the slightly oversize fit of a chunky sweater. It does run a bit short, so the larger size made up for the length as well. 

C wonder It's somewhat of a lifestyle shop with everything in every color from sweaters to jewelry to dishes to a moped! They have amazing sales, currently 50% off all sale items. 

Tank: Target
Leggings: J.Crew
Boots: Willow//Banana Republic 

Started the day off right with fruit and oatmeal. College and campus has done quite a number on my figure (put on 20 pounds! Absolutely horrifying), and I'm on my way to losing the weight (with no intention of  finding it ever again). With healthy eating and exercise, I'm halfway there!

When it comes to exercise, I'm usually pretty good about it, except when I get busy. Then it ends up on the back burner. I'm going to make sure I get in my exercise daily, even if its just parking farther away, or always taking the stairs. I also have a nasty habit of buying magazines. It's totally unnecessary, but I always get sucked in. Maybe I should sign up for a subscription, it'd be so much easier on my wallet!

It's about that time for graduate exams, which means hardcore study time. Excited and intimidated about the Kaplan class starting next week, butttt one must do what she has to do. Bring it on MCAT.

Picked up this top from Lucky Brand. They're having a fantastic sale at the moment - 50% off sale items! This sale seems to be the trend with a bunch of stores at the mall, and I've been taking full advantage! I'm not usually a fan of Lucky Brand clothes (though I do love how it says "lucky you" on the fly of their jeans), but I thought this one is cute. Figure I'd tuck it into skinny jeans or shorts. The oversize, drape-y fit along with the velvet fabric hangs nicely.

And lastly, it's time for whiter teeth! My teeth aren't yellow by any means, but they're not as bright as they used to be. Maybe it's due to my Starbucks habit in the last year or so. I picked up these White Strips at Ulta earlier. These were on sale as well for $45 (usually $55). There's also a $3.50 off any $10 or more purchase that can be printed out from their website.

I've used these strips once before in high school, and they worked fabulously. These ones are to be used for 30 minutes a day for 20 days. The ones I had before were 30 minutes, twice a day for 14 days. I'm not sure if I can double up on the strips per day to make them work faster or not. I do know that they make my teeth a bit sensitive so that probably isn't a good idea anyway. This is also a sign that I need to work on my patience haha.

Have you used these? Is there a stark difference between the 4 and 5 whitening power?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review | Butter London - Big Smoke

It's a fine Tuesday evening, and I've decided to paint my nails blue (something I don't usually do). I remember seeing this color at Ulta a few months ago, and just HAD to have it for whatever reason. It just looked so beautiful in the bottle - sapphire blue (it's actually called Big Smoke).

My first impressions of this polish once I'd opened it wasn't all that good. The first layer looked so ridiculously sheer that I wasn't convinced that two layers would make it opaque enough to be the same color as I see in the bottle. I find that the formula is also a bit runnier than I'd like.

That being said, I do find that painting a second or third layer before the first (or second) layer has completely dried helps build up the color quite nicely. Make sure that your polish strokes are straight since it'll be really apparent and messy looking otherwise. In total, I painted about three layers to build up the color. I also noticed, while painting on the top coat, that it stripped off a bit of the blue! Maybe it's because I didn't allow the polish to dry completely, but that was quite annoying.

All in all I absolutely love the color, it's such a gorgeous deep blue that's perfect for fall and winter. I don't own enough Butter London nail polishes to give a well rounded opinion on whether I like them or not - I have just one other "Tea with the Queen", which is a really pretty nude-y color. Again, I'm not particularly satisfied with how runny it is, or that it takes such effort to build up the color, but at least it came out nicely!

I hope your week is going well, and if you have any nail polish suggestions, please share!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Grocery Find: Emu Eggs?!

So I went to Whole Foods the other day to pick up a few groceries, and came across these gems next to the carrots. Whole Foods, for those not in the US, is somewhat of a specialty grocery store that specializes in many organic, imported, and other foods you wouldn't find at every grocery store. It's one of my favorite places to shop for food, as there's always something new to be discovered, and the emu eggs were no exception!

There were two bright turquoise eggs about the size of my hand, if not a bit bigger, next to the diminutive quail eggs in the smack middle of the produce section. I was quite excited, since I've never seen these before! I also didn't know they were edible, or that it was something one would go looking for. (Maybe I'm just not well versed in fancy foods?)

Being the nerd that I am, I decided to do a bit of research on emu eggs, and how one might cook such a specimen, and here's some of what I found:

  • 1 emu egg = 12 chicken eggs
  • emu eggs have about 6% less saturated fat (than chicken eggs)
  • the yolk is paler
  • the tastes are apparently similar
  • it takes 1 hour 45 minutes to hard-boil

All this is quite interesting, although I'm not sure I would want to cough up the $30 for one egg. Though it would be pretty novel to bake a gigantic cake and list "emu eggs" as one of the ingredients. That being said, it was an interesting find at Whole Foods. I'd imagine it'd make a mean omelette. 

Review | Sunday Night Manicure - Geranium//Essie

I purchased this nail polish towards the end of summer and I've been LOVING it ever since. 

Geranium//Essie is a bright (but not neon) red-orange that flatters my skin tone really well (I have yellow/beige undertones).

It's the perfect color for all seasons, bright for spring and summer, but a nice pop of color during the cooler months.

It's available at Target, and Amazon

What are your favorite polishes? Leave any suggestions below please :-)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January Beauty Haul

Of course I couldn't go long without picking up a few things. I've taken advantage of the holidays and had a good time out shopping.

MAC 219
Perfect for precision shading and a smokey eye!
MAC 188
I think the sales lady talked me into this one, but it looks good. I was thinking I could use it for highlighting, but the woman mentioned that it's great for applying liquid foundation. I'll give it a try!
Real Techniques Face Brush
I've been wanting this brush for so long! I tried it out this morning, and I love it! Applies liquid foundation like a dream.

Sigma Dry n' Shape
I'm up for anything that keeps my brushes looking fantastic.

Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss #14
An inexpensive drugstore find! I've been looking for the perfect nude lipstick (as always), and although this one comes off a bit thick and opaque, it does the job! 

Covergirl Lash Blast Luxe
I ran out of my regular Covergirl Lash Blast, and figured I'd change it up a little bit. The Luxe has shimmer, which I find, so far, to be a bit clumpy, but still volumizing. We'll see how it goes, but so far I prefer the original.

Urban Decay Naked Basics
I don't even wear eyeshadow much! But of course I couldn't resist.

MAC Pink Swoon
Light candy pink. I'm not sure it goes so well with my skintone- I need to find the receipt :-/

MAC Studio Sculpt NC25
This is one of those foundations that I want to love. It seems like it will last forever, and the finish is really pretty (dewy/natural). Excited to try it out!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

On Reading More

Every year I resolve to be more productive, and this year is no different. I've always been an avid reader (for leisure), but lately I haven't been taking any time for myself. I've "shopped my stash" of books that have yet to be read, and am challenging myself to finish them all in the next month (more realistically, two. But we'll see). I have this awful habit of buying more and more books, ending up with a large collection of unread books. Let the reading begin now!

 In Cold Blood//Truman Capote
" On Nov 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces..."

The Tipping Point//Malcolm Gladwell
"The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire"

Blink//Malcolm Gladwell
"Drawing on cutting edge neuroscience and psychology to reveal that the difference between good decision making and bad has less to do with how much information we process than with our ability to focus on a few, particular details, Gladwell shows how we can all become better decision makers..."

Casual Vacancy//JK Rowling
"When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock..."

Wild//Cheryl Strayed
"At twenty two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail..."

Have you read any of these?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Years and Favorites!

Happy New Year Everyone!
I hope everybody had a safe and fun filled holiday, and a great start to 2013.
Necklace: House of Harlow
Makeup (though hard to see, sorry!):
- MAC Carbon eyeshadow
- MAC All That Glitters
- Covergirl Lashblast Mascara
- MAC Soft & Gentle
- NARS Cruising lipstick

I thought I'd throw in my favorites of the past year. Made every effort to keep it rather concise!

MAC Peaches (Sheertone Blush) $20
This blush is great because it looks super natural, is really sheer, and buildable. It works really well with my yellow undertones, and adds a pop of color without looking overdone. I bought this over the summer - I use this almost every day and still haven't made a dent! Looks great with all makeup looks.

Keeps my brows nicely in place, and holds the shape well. It's invisible on the brows, and lasts all day!

Most versatile product! The highlighter end works well under the brows for a lift, as well as brightens the eyes if used as eyeliner. I use it on the bridge of my nose to make it look slimmer, as well as a face highlighter when I'm in a pinch. I take this everywhere.
The gold side is beautiful as well. Looks gorgeous as eyeshadow and liner.

 MAC 130 
Top left. Perfect for highlighter and foundation. Applies just enough for an even, flawless coverage. Had this for a few years, and it still looks like new!
MAC 168
 Amazing blush brush! It works well with cream foundations as well (I tried it with Studio Tech//MAC). Perfect for contouring as well due to the shape of the brush
Posh eye brushes (drug store)
bareMinerals Correcting Concealer $20
This concealer is super creamy and doesn't cake, making it perfect for under eye circles, acne scars, and other blemishes. It doesn't dry and never cakes. 

MAC Studio Finish NC30 $18
My go-to concealer. Covers absolutely everything and stays on all day. This little pot lasts forever, as you only need the tiniest bit to cover up.

Covergirl LashBlast Mascara $8
Best mascara ever! Especially for the price. Holds a curl perfectly, and all day long. Very build-able- good for faking falsies!

MAC Carbon (Matte) $15
Perfect for every look! It's super pigmented, and lasts all day. I use this as eyeliner for an every day or dramatic look.

MAC All That Glitters (Veluxe Pearl) $15
Perfect for a bit of sparkle! I love the veluxe pearl finishes, they look so luxe! A super soft and very versatile eyeshadow. I wear these two shadows together almost every day.

Yes to Cucumber Facial Towelettes $6
I use one of these wipes every night. Doesn't break me out, smells super fresh, and removes all make up efficiently. I've gotten away with not washing my face after using these, and my skin is still clean and clear the next morning. (Not saying you shouldn't wash up after!) It's perfect for those late and exhausting nights.

Dickinson's Witch Hazel <$5
One of those amazing drugstore products that does it all. I'll use some of this on a cotton pad after I wipe my face with the towelettes at night for an extra clean and soothing feeling. It's also very soothing to use post-wax if you wax your eyebrows, etc. I also use some on a cotton pad every morning if I'm in a pinch and running late. For the price, benefits, and the size, the bargain couldn't be better!

L'oreal BB Cream $12
I've talked about this product so much before, it's in every travel make up bag! (To-Go Makeup Bag Post) It was also in my November Favorites. It blurs blemishes and redness so perfectly for an airbrushed effect. It doesn't compare to foundation, but true to it's claims, it's a skin beautifier, keeping the face looking natural, but better. I use this every day for a natural look.

My absolute favorite, go-to foundation. It's one of those products that you know will fix any bad make up day. A little goes a long way! It applies very lightly but has fantastic coverage. This is my second bottle, and I'll repurchase forever. I apply this with the MAC 130 brush.

Burt's Bees Lip Balm $3
Drugstore perfection at it's best. I've been using this daily since the 7th grade! It's really moisturizing, and provides a tingling effect. Some people aren't a fan due to the minty-ness, but that's exactly what I love about it.

Rosebud's Strawberry Lip Balm $7
My first tin was gifted to me a few years ago, and I've been repurchasing ever since! It's my absolute favorite scent of any product (light strawberry scent), and the tin will last forever. The balm works for any part of the body, not necessarily for your lips. A must have!

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine//Belle-Ami $34
A lipstick that feels like a balm? oh yes. Delivers just the right amount of color and isn't at all thick. It does go quick though since it's relatively soft. Store away from any type of heat! Otherwise, it's worth every penny. I'll be buying more colors.

Chanel Black Satin $25
I've always loved black nail polish. I'm glad I found this one, it's black but not harsh. It has micro sparkles (almost invisible though) and gives a really nice satiny finish.

Essie Sugar Daddy $8
The your-nail-color-but-better pink. Adds a beautiful shine and a bit of color. Can't really notice if it chips either.

Essie Bordeaux $8
A wine-red color. More red than Wicked, and very flattering against the skin. I love this because it's more red based than many other darks which tend to be purple based.

Seche Vite $10
 Perfect quick-dry top coat. Gives the polish an extra shine as well, lasts forever on the nails.

Boscia Green Tea Blotting Papers $10
Doesn't disturb make up! $10 for 100 sheets- a great value. (Compared to Clean & Clear's $6 for 50 sheets at drug stores).

Caudalie Beauty Elixir $18/1oz
I've talked about this one before as well, I love everything about it- how it makes my skin more glowing, the way it smells, and how refreshing it feels to apply. Perfect size to keep in my purse. Gives the skin an extra boost when applied before moisturizer (morning and night), and a great wake-up spray in the morning.

L'Occitane Cherry Blossom Hand Cream $10/1oz
I've tried SO many hand creams, and this one is my absolute favorite (Caudalie's comes up second, but I'm not really a fan of the smell of that one). Smells amazing, and absorbs instantly- I hate that feeling when creams don's absorb and you have that sticky feeling on your hands for the longest time). The packaging is just adorable, and is small enough for any handbag/makeup bag. The tube lasts me a while as well.

Pond's Clarant B3 $2/1oz
This came up as one of my favorite face creams. Runners up were Kate Somerville's Oil Free moisturizer $65/1oz (a bit too expensive), and Boscia's $35/1oz. Over time, it does reduce dark spots as advertised. It smells really good, and a little goes a long way. I pick this up at the Target travel section.
Lush Ocean Salt Scrub $30+
I use this on my face, and have noticed my skin looking brighter. Works wonder for blemishes as well (I'm guessing the vodka is working as the anti bacterial aspect). I use this in the shower as a bit of a "mask", applying it to my face and leaving it for a few minutes before rinsing. Works wonders!

Cane & Austin Acne Pads $60
It's expensive, but I can't live without this. Keeps blemishes at bay, and brightens the skin. It's not harsh like many other treatment pads, it's never dried out my skin (Even if I forget moisturizer!). Available on Amazon and at SpaceNK. Worth every penny. I've tried so many other cheaper alternatives but have always come back to this.

Favorite scent ever (next to Rosebud's Strawberry Balm). This is my fourth bottle and I'm running out! It's the perfect mixture of sweet, floral, and musk. Couldn't ask for more. My other perfume favorite is Chanel's Chance (ran out, so there's no picture :-/)

Have you tried any of these? What are your favorite products this year?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

End Of The Year Travels - Grand Canyon 2012

On the second day of our trip, we went to the Grand Canyon. Here are a few pictures I took, but they don't do the place any justice. It's truly a breathtaking view! A tour bus picked us up at about 630am for the ~5 hour drive to the canyon (from Las Vegas- read about that trip here!).

Unfortunately it was absolutely FREEZING, and started snowing quite heavily after a while. 
We didn't have enough time to do any of the activities, however if and when I return, the skydiving simulator and helicopter ride are on my list of to-do's.

Have you been to the Grand Canyon before?

End Of Year Travels - Las Vegas 2012

To celebrate the end of the year (and semester), a few girlfriends and I made our way to Las Vegas! It was an amazing trip, although exhausting. We stayed at the Mirage Hotel & Casino, which is on the strip, with all the attractions within walking distance.

On our second day, we visited the Grand Canyon- read about that here.

Surrender - Saw Steve Aoki here! The club was a bit small on the inside. There is a super nice outdoor area, but considering it was about 40 degrees outside, we didn't really enjoy that part. The DJ was great though!

Tao - Probably one of my favorite clubs/lounges I've been to. With three floors, there are several bars, nice lounge areas, and a restaurant downstairs. We throughly enjoyed DJ Hardwell and the open bar! The decor was beautiful.

Wicked Spoon (@ The Cosmopolitan) - Suchhhh a delicious buffet. There were all types of foods you can think of, from shrimp & grits to chocolate covered strawberries. It was rather expensive for a buffet, but I'd say it was worth it.

Mon Ami Gabi - A french steakhouse located in the "Paris" section of the strip.

 Hash House - Located in one of the hotels, it was one of the Best of Las Vegas restaurants, and it was. The four of us ordered two of the the sage fried chicken (pictured below) and shared. It was the most delicious lunch (and probably one of the most unhealthy). The portions are absolutely enormous, and are super wallet friendly. It was only about 10/person, and considering the amount of food, it was great.

 Cesar's Palace - This place is huge! It's a hotel and casino, and has a ton of shopping and restaurants as well. There an indoor shopping strip where the ceiling is designed to look like a blue sky. Absolutely gorgeous.

 The Venetian - Another hotel and casino, and fabulously elaborate. There's even indoor gondola rides (where the tour guide sings!), as if you were in Italy.

 Hotel Bellagio - May look familiar if you've seen Oceans 11, which was filmed here. There were gorgeous indoor gardens and extensive holiday decorations.