Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Julep "Jennifer" Nail Polish Swatch + Review

Julep "Jennifer" Nail Polish 
On Monday I finally got around to posting My Julep Nail Polish Collection! And after editing that post, I had the sudden urge to exchange my bright purple nail polish for a more subtle look. And "Jennifer" is an obvious choice--a soft pale pink (almost nude) color. As I've mentioned before, I have a love-hate relationship with "Jennifer". It was a very expensive purchase ($14.00) and I hoped that it would be the perfect polish. Let this be a lesson: a high price tag does not guarantee a better product. While I love the color, the formulation is a pain in the butt. It is extremely sheer. Don't expect a quick manicure with this color. Today when I sat down to paint my nails it took seven coats to get an opaque finish. 

Julep "Jennifer" Nail Polish
In the end, I will not be repurchasing "Jennifer" when I run out. Julep polishes are very expensive but I haven't found a difference in quality that justifies the difference in price. I don't think "Jennifer" is worth the money and I recommend looking for a less expensive polish at the drugstore. Personally, I love Essie "Fiji". It isn't as nude as "Jennifer" but it's half the price and only takes two coats to get an opaque finish. Now I call that a fantastic deal. I suggest saving some money or checking out Julep polishes that are a bit more unique (try "Jessica" or "America").

Monday, July 29, 2013

My Julep Maven Nail Polish Collection: Photos + Reviews

My Julep Maven Nail Polish Collection
 Last month I finally got around to doing a My Essie Nail Polish Collection blog post and it was wonderfully successful. Easily one of my most viewed blog posts in June. And I finally got around to doing the second part of my nail polish collection--my Julep Maven nail polishes. It isn't as large as my Essie collection but I had enough polishes that I thought I would share my collection with you. 

Julep Nail Polish Collection: Catherine, America, Jennifer, Hayden, Parker, Annette
 Catherine is a deep, vampy red. It is the polish you reach for when you need that classic, Old Hollywood inspired manicure. The formulation on this polish is a bit sheer (you'll need about three coats) but the consistency is fantastic. This is one of my favorite colors that I own. I'm sure that you can find a cheaper alternative at the drugstore (because it isn't a terribly unique color) but if you're looking to invest in a classic red nail polish, this is an excellent choice. America is another one of my favorites. It is the perfect color to show off your patriotic spirit. This is my must-have 4th of July nail polish. I'm also excited to rock this color during the upcoming Winter Olympics. Jennifer is a color I bought because of the name. My sister's name is Jennifer and I just couldn't resist. However, I learned a very valuable lesson with this color--never judge a nail polish by its name. The consistency is lovely (very similar to Catherine) but it is extremely sheer. It takes upwards of seven coats to get a completely opaque look. It is a wonderful color once applied but I find that I never reach for it because it's such a hassle. If you're looking for a fantastic pale pink try Essie Fiji instead. 

I was a bit hesitant about buying Hayden because I was so disappointment with Jennifer. But I was happily surprised when I realized that Hayden had a much thicker, much more opaque formula. It only takes two coats and you have a lovely creamiscle-orange manicure. Parker is a color that gets a lot of use around Halloween--its the perfect orange for pumpkin nail art. The consistency lies somewhere in between super sheer (like Jennifer) and super thick (like Hayden or Gayle). It's application is nice but it isn't a color that I go gaga over. Unless you're a big orange nail polish fan I suggest you pass on Parker--it will most likely just end up collecting dust in your collection. Annette is a beautiful sleek, clean, and modern grey nail polish. The formulation is thick and lends for easy application but like Parker, it's a color that I tend to forget about. It's lovely but nothing incredibly special. I can easily think of more affordable nail polishes that I love more. In the end, Annette is a nice color but I don't think it's worth the hefty Julep price tag. 

Julep Nail Polish Collection: Courteney, Sofia, Jessica, Gayle, Julia, Patti
Courteney is easily one of the more unique colors in my Julep Collection. It is similar to Essie "The More The Merrier" but Courteney is slightly lighter and is more pastel than neon. The shade is super opaque and you'll only need two coats for complete opacity. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Sofia. It is a light green with lots of chunky glitter. It goes on very sheer (you'll need to have a lot of patience and a lot of time if you want a really opaque finish) and dries with a matte finish. It's a pain in the butt but I found out that it glows in the dark. No joke! I was so impressed. This color is another one that I love to wear around Halloween. Jessica is my favorite Julep nail polish. It is the prettiest baby blue color. It has a very thick formulation (maybe a little too thick for my personal taste) but you only need one coat. There are a lot of sky blue polishes out there but this one is my favorite. If you are looking to expand your Julep collection, you've got to check this one out. 

And from my favorite Julep nail polish, to my least favorite--Gayle. The polish is so thick that I find it nearly impossible to get a nice manicure. The color is nice but not very unique. This is a polish I would pass on. There are so many other great colors from Julep. Don't waste your time with this one. The moment I saw Julia online, I knew that I had to have it. As a proud UW husky fan, this color is fantastic way to show off my husky pride. It is a gold and purple metallic polish that looks stunning when applied to the nails. This is definitely one of Julep's most unique colors. It is a must have if you are a fan of purple and gold. And finally, Patti. Patti is a cream black polish with chunky glitter mixed it. It reminds me of some of the iconic Deborah Lippman glitter polishes. This one is a color for a girl's night on the town or a Lady Gaga concert or Halloween. It isn't something that I wear on a regular basis but it's a color that I'm glad to have in my collection. 

Positives
-Sleek modern packaging
-Small business based in Seattle, Washington
-Huge range of colors online

Negatives
-Very expensive ($14.00)
-Inconsistent formulation + opacity 
-Hard to find most colors at country-wide retailers like Sephora

In conclusion, I'm still undecided when it comes to Julep nail polishes. There are some colors that I absolutely love (Jessica, Patti, Julia, America, Catherine), a lot that I have mixed feelings about (Sofia, Annette, Courteney, and Hayden), and a few that I wish I hadn't bought (Gayle and Jennifer). In my experience the formulation is a bit hit or miss with Julep. A lot of these polishes aren't available at Sephora and when you buy them online it's a bit of a gamble. I have a love-hate relationship with Julep. If you are going to buy a Julep nail polish, I highly recommend that you do your research before you buy. 


FTC: Some of these polishes were sent to me for review. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Drugstore Dupes: MAC "Lustering" Lipstick

Drugstore Dupes: MAC "Lustering" Vs. Revlon Lip Butter in "Sweet Tart"
 I'm glad so many of you enjoyed the first installment in my new series, Drugstore Dupes. Last time I compared the elf  Blush + Bronzing Powder in St. Lucia to the NARS "Laguna" bronzer and "Orgasm" blush. Click here if you want to see that post. But because you guys seemed to enjoy that post so much, when I found found a dupe for one of my favorite MAC lipsticks I knew I had to share it with you guys. MAC "Lustering" is a gorgeous  medium bubble gum pink lipstick with a subtle glossy finish. Unfortunately, like all MAC lipsticks, "Lustering" retails for $15.00 at MAC counters and online. However the Revlon Lip Butter in "Sweet Tart" retails at drugstores for about $6.00 (depending on where you buy it). That's a difference of almost ten dollars! But I know what you're thinking, how closely doe the two shades compare? Well, let's take a look. In the bullet the two lip products look similar but the MAC lipstick looks the slightest bit darker.

Drugstore Dupes: MAC "Lustering" Vs. Revlon Lip Butter in "Sweet Tart"
 Swatched on the back of the hand the difference between the two shades becomes less pronounced. If you look closely the "Lustering" still appears a little darker and "Sweet Tart" has a bit more of a glossy sheen to it. But these two lipstick are really, really similar.

Drugstore Dupes: MAC "Lustering" Vs. Revlon Lip Butter in "Sweet Tart"
 And now for the final test--the application comparison. Here is a look at MAC "Lustering" applied on the left side and the Revlon Lip Butter in "Sweet Tart" applied on the right. Honestly...I can't really see much a difference between the two products. The Lip Butter has a thicker, more opaque formulation while the MAC  lipstick has a sheer (but build-able) formulation.

In conclusion, the Revlon Lip Butter in "Sweet Tart" is an excellent dupe for MAC "Lustering" lipstick. If you have one shade, you don't need the other. When applied to the lips, the differences between the two products is virtually non-existent. If you've been lusting after "Lustering" for some time now but don't have the funds to buy it, check out Revlon "Sweet Tart". You'll save ten dollars and still have gorgeous pink lips.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

OPI "Pamplona Purple" Swatch + Review

OPI "Pamplona Purple"
 I have a bit of a confession to make: I am a sucker for nostalgia and the color purple. "Pamplona Purple" is a color that I've had a very long and very loving relationship with. It was the color I picked out the day I got my first professional manicure with my sister and my cousin. It was also the color I picked on when I got my second professional manicure and my third. I'm nothing if not loyal. 

OPI "Pamplona Purple"
However, I find myself not reaching for this color as much I thought I would when I bought it. I've found in the couple years that I've owned this polish that it doesn't really fit into any particular season. During the summer I reach for super bright, super bold colors. During the fall/winter I reach for deep, warm colors. During the spring I want to wear pastels and neutrals. I normally only paint my nails this color when I'm feeling nostalgic.  If you like the look of the polish from the swatches, I cannot recommend it enough. Like almost every OPI polish I've ever tried, the formulation is fantastic and the lasting power is around eight days. At one point in my life I loved this color but now I feel like I've grown up and it doesn't really fit my personal tastes anymore. There will always be a part of me that loves this color. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Best of Beauty: Top 10 Summer Lipsticks

Semi-recently Estee, from the beauty blog essiebutton and youtube.com/essiebutton, released a series of videos and blog posts all about her top lip products. I thought I would take a page from her book and do a top 10 list of my own (but with a bit of a twist). My list--as you can see from the title--is all about summer themed lipsticks! I picked eight drugstore lipsticks and two higher-end products. I made my list based on the colors I've been wearing for the past month-and-a-half. Last year I made a similar post. Click here to see what products I was wearing during the summer of 2012. 

Top 10 Summer Lipsticks: Revlon Lip Butters in "Tutti Fruitti", "Lollipop", and "Strawberry Shortcake"
 No top ten lipstick list would be complete without mentioning the Revlon Lip Butters. If I hadn't restrained myself this list would probably have been nothing but lip butters because I am obsessed. They have a fantastically opaque and creamy formulation at a drugstore price. But I showed some self-control and only picked three shades. "Tutti Fruitti" is the only orange-toned lipstick that I wear because you can get a sheer, subtle look with only one layer or a bolder, brighter look with two of more coats. Summer is a great time to take risks. "Lollipop" is a color that is perfect no matter the season. Last month I posted a review all about how much I loved it. Click here to see that! And the last lip butter I picked for this list is "Strawberry Shortcake"! It is a creamy pale pink that is the color I reach for whenever I want a subtle makeup look. Although note, it's harder to get a sheer application with this product. 

CoverGirl Jumbo Gloss in "Watermelon Twist" and Revlon Balm Stains in "Honey" and "Smitten"
Next, I picked three of the crayon-like lip products that have been super popular recently. I'm not the biggest fan of the CoverGirl Lip Perfection Jumbo Gloss Balms--they're not long lasting or opaque or super moisturizing like a balm--and I honestly think there are tons of better products on the market. But I do have a soft spot for the shade "Watermelon Twist". It's that product that you keep in your purse for easy, no-mirror reapplication. The color is simple and sweet. It'll look great for almost any occasion. The other two crayon-like products are from the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain line. "Honey" is a beautiful medium-nude stain (that, along with the Revlon Lip Butter in "Tutti Fruitti", ironically is also on Estee's top 10 drugstore list). It isn't uber long lasting when compared to the other colors in the range but it's a lovely color for everyday. Conversely, the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in "Smitten" packs more of a punch. At full opacity, "Smitten" is a deep berry color that will literally last all night. But if you're looking for a more subtle look, one coat gives the lips a sweet I've-just-been-eating-berries sort of look. 

Top 10 Summer Lipsticks: L'Oreal "Blushing Sequin" and Flower Lip Butter in "Wispy Wisteria"
The last two products are both relatively new products in my collection but they've quickly earned a special place in my heart. The L'Oreal Color Caresse by Color Riche Lipsticks are a line of smooth, but sheer, lip products. They're not the longest lasting but they effortless and hassle-free. I'm also obsessed with how the formula feels on the lips--not cakey or waxy at all. I'm also a huge fan of the Flower Lip Butters (even though I only own one color, Wispy Wisteria) because this is a gloss and a lipstick in one. It is the glossiest lipstick I've ever used. The Flower makeup line is available exclusively at select Wal-Marts. It took me about four tries to find a Wal-Mart that carried the line. I'm also not a huge fan of the packaging--the lid falls off a lot and it's a bit bulky--but I'm still a big fan of the color. 

Best of Beauty: Top 10 Summer Lipsticks

Top 10 Summer Lipsticks: MAC "Viva Glam V" and YSL "Red Muse"
 I only picked two high-end lipsticks to add to the list--MAC "Viva Glam V" and YSL "Red Muse". I choose "Viva Glam V" because it is a shimmery nude that is a step up from a regular nude like MAC "Myth". I also picked the YSL Rouge Volupte lipstick in "Red Muse" because this is literally the perfect red lipstick. It is creamy, applies like a dream, smells fantastic, and feels like luxury in a lipstick. I'm not a big red lipstick fan but this one is amazing. I cannot get enough. If you want to see how the lipstick looks on the lips, check out the more in depth review I posted here

Top 10 Summer Lipsticks: YSL "Red Muse" and MAC "Viva Glam V"
And those are my top 10 summer lipsticks. I'm curious to know what your top ten summer shades are, so please leave it in the comments below! Don't forget to check out the drugstore dupe blog post I published yesterday where I compare the elf  Bronzer + Blush duo in "St. Lucia" with the NARS "Laguna" bronzer and "Orgasm" blush

Friday, July 19, 2013

Drugstore Dupes: NARS "Laguna" Bronzer + "Orgasm" Blush

NARS "Laguna" Bronzer
 These are tough economic times and everyone is looking to save some money--especially when it comes to luxury beauty products. And so today I'm starting a new series dedicated to finding drugstores dupes or alternatives to some of my favorite high end products...and what better way to start than with cult favorites, NARS "Laguna" and "Orgasm". 

elf  Blush + Bronzing Powder in St. Lucia
 Whenever the conversation of dupes for "Laguna" or "Orgasm" begins, someone always recommends the elf Blush + Bronzing Powder in St. Lucia. And I can understand why. The packaging for both these brands is eerily similar. Although the NAR packaging is made of the black matte plastic that is a nightmare to clean while the elf packaging is simply traditional black plastic. But what about the product inside? 

NARS "Laguna" + "Orgasm" Vs. elf  Blush + Bronzing Powder in "St. Lucia"
elf  Blush + Bronzing Powder in "St. Lucia" Vs. NARS "Laguna"
 Here are the elf bronzer and NARS "Laguna" side by side. They are very similar but under close inspection, it becomes obvious that there are some subtle differences. First of all, the elf bronzer is a bit darker than "Laguna" and while "Laguna" does have a subtle hint of glitter the elf bronzer is practically packed to the max with glitter. 

elf  Blush + Bronzing Powder in St. Lucia Vs. NARS "Laguna"
 Once the colors are swatched on the hand the differences between the two products becomes even more noticeable. Surprisingly the elf bronzer is significantly darker and more opaque than NARS "Laguna" (which also appears to have more of a orange undertone). 

elf Blush + Bronzing Powder in St. Lucia Vs. NARS "Orgasm"
 Unlike the bronzers, it doesn't take long to recognize the differences between the blushes. The elf blush is a darker mauve pink with chunky golden glitter while NARS "Orgasm" is a lighter peachy pink with a golden sheen. 

elf  Blush + Bronzing Powder in St. Lucia Vs. NARS "Orgasm"
When swatched, the blushes look nothing alike and the differences are even more pronounced. The elf blush looks like a terracotta color and the "Orgasm" is the infamous pinky peach. It is hard to believe that anyone could believe that these two could possible pass as dupes for one another. 

In conclusion, the elf  Blush + Bronzing Powder in "St. Lucia" is not a dupe for NARS "Laguna" bronzer and "Orgasm" blush. I can see how some people could make the mistake (the elf packaging takes a lot of inspiration from NARS and the colors are fairly similar) but once you see the colors next to each other, the truth is very obvious. The bronzer is closer than the blush and would make a good alternative for people who find that "Laguna" is too light or too orange for their skin tone. The blush is a lovely shade but doesn't quite capture the "Orgasm" radiance we all know and love. So, I guess the search continues. If you would like more posts like this, leave a comment in the comments below! 


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Maybelline "Pink Punch" Baby Lips Lip Balm Swatch + Review

Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm in "Pink Punch"
It's only the second month of summer but I'm already feeling the heat--and so are my lips. I recently wrote a blog post about my love for the new Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm in "Quenched". It was only a matter of time before I found myself purchasing the rest of the shades in the range. "Pink Punch" is a lovely medium bubble gum pink. The formulation is a little thicker and waxier than "Quenched" but it does a great job of balancing color and moisture. 

Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm in "Pink Punch"
The shade "Pink Punch" comes in a bubble gum pink tube that matches the product in the bullet and bright yellow writing on the cap. The Baby Lip line is easily one of the most eye-catching and best designed ranges at the drugstore. The packaging is a well balanced mix of youthful, fresh, and modern elements. Added bonus: the bright colors makes it easier to find at the bottom of a messy handbag or in the crevices of a cluttered car. 

Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm in "Pink Punch"
Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm in "Pink Punch"
As you can see from the swatches above, "Pink Punch" is actually pretty pigmented for a tinted lip balm. If you want an even bolder pop of color, heat the product under a blow dryer for a few seconds or leave it in the car on a warm day before application. "Pink Punch" is a fantastic for days when you want a low-maintenance flush of color on the lips. Like "Quenched", "Pink Punch" smell is divine. It is a fresh fruity scent that is potent without being obnoxious. Out of all the Baby Lips I've tried, "Pink Punch" is the most pigmented but it is also the heaviest. Unlike "Quenched" which was extremely lightweight, "Pink Punch" has a slightly waxier formulation. It is about on par to the feel of the EOS lip balms.

Positives
-Highly pigmented
-Fun and youthful packaging
-Fruity smell
-Fantastic price ($3.99)

Negatives 
-Slightly waxier formulation + not as moisturizing as other shades

In conclusion, the Maybelline Baby Lips very much so deserve all the hype they've been receiving since their release. "Pink Punch" is less moisturizing than the other shades I've tried from the Baby Lips range but it is also the most pigmented. It will keep your lips moisturized but you'll probably have to reapply more frequently. But in all honesty, I think it's a fair trade off. "Pink Punch" is a no-fuss-no-muss product--just swipe in on your lips and head out the door. It's the perfect product for a busy girl on the go who wants an effortless hint of color. But if you're looking for a product that will revamp your lips and help restore them to a state of ulta softness, check out "Quenched". As I said in that review, your lips will thank you.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

In The Mood "Flirty" Nail Polish Swatch + Review

In The Mood "Flirty" Nail Polish
 Growing up did any of you have mood rings? You know, the rings with the stones that would change color based on your "mood" (a.k.a the temperature of your body)? Have any of you ever wanted a nail polish that would change color based on your "mood" (a.k.a the temperature of your body)? Well, your wish has now been granted thanks to In The Mood. In The Mood is a small company that offers ten shades that will change based on the temperature of your fingers. "Flirty" is the more subtle of the ten shades changing from a pale pink when hot and a medium bubble gum pink when cold. The swatch above is the polish at room temperature. 

In The Mood "Flirty" Nail Polish
Here is what the polish looks after a minute next to a room heater. The polish is quick to change colors. You can see where the polish is already changing colors at the edge of my nails. If only you could somehow add a topcoat that would prevent the color from changing because this would be a super simple way to get ombre nails. Unless you live in very warm climate, I doubt you would reach this end of the spectrum. 

In The Mood "Flirty" Nail Polish
Here is what the polish looks like after a minute in a bowl of ice water. As you can see the change is much more dramatic (probably because I took the room temperature photo on a rather warm summer day). The shift takes place rather quickly. "Flirty" is a lovely color that is perfect for any occasion. I don't think anyone else would notice the temperature-induced transformation but it's cool to look down throughout the day and never know what color you're will be wearing. If I were to buy a shade I would probably pick something with a more dramatic transformation like "Hyper" (coral to peach) or "Devious" (purple to pink). 


FTC: This product was sent to me for review

Friday, July 12, 2013

How To Meet a Victoria's Secret Swimsuit Model

Victoria's Secret model, Candice Swanepoel
Wednesday was a very productive day for me. In the morning I published my Best Beauty Gurus on YouTube Pt. One blog post and then a few hours later I got to meet Candice Swanepoel, Victoria's Secret model. Yah, know. Just another Wednesday. But, seriously, I was super excited. Candice came to Seattle as part of the U.S. of Angels Summer Swim Tour which celebrated the new Summer 2013 Swim collection from Victoria's Secret. The event ran from 5-7 PM and you could take pictures with Candice, get a makeover, listen to the DJ, or enter to win a free swim suit of up to $120 value (my sister was one of six lucky winners). 

Seattle was the first stop on the tour but Erin Heatherton will be making an appearance in Milwakee on July 18 and a yet to be unveiled VS Angel will be in Orlando on July 25th. Click here if you want to know more about those upcoming events. If you live in the area, I would recommend going. It was so much fun and it's not like you get the chance to a VS model every day. Right?

Seattle U.S. of Angles Summer Swim Tour with Candice Swanepoel 
 If you are thinking about attending the event I have some advice. Tip #1: Arrive early. Candice arrived at five and she left promptly at seven. Unfortunately for a lot of people that meant that they waited in line but never got to see her. Some people arrived before the mall opened at 10 AM (that's overkill and don't do that) but arriving two or three hours before is a good idea. Click here to see a photo of the line from Candice's instagram. It was insanity. There is also a VIP line available to people who spent $75 on swimsuits and it moves much quicker than the normal line. Also, as an added bonus if you were one of the first people t in line you receive a mini-version of the poster for the event. Tip #2: Bring flats and then change into your heels right before the picture. Tip #3: Bring something to entertain yourself with. You will be standing in line for a while so might as well be productive, right?

Seattle U.S. of Angels Summer Swim Tour with Candice Swanepoel
If there is one thing I learned (other than the fact that Candice is just as beautiful in person) it's that I would make a horrible paparazzi photographer. This is the one usable shot of Candice I got on the day. I guess I need to work on my ability to photograph a moving target. 

Seattle U.S. of Angels Summer Swim Tour with Candice Swanepoel
And here is the photo I took with Candice. She was super nice and friendly. They had a photographer at the event and they printed out a copy of your picture in stores as well as giving you a code to get a digital copy online. There were no autographs or personal photographs inside the store. But I had a really great time at the event. Other than the excitement of helping my sister pick out a free Victoria's Secret swimsuit (literally a dream come true for her) and meeting Candice Swanepoel, the DJ was fantastic and the energy was electric. 

As I mentioned before, Seattle was only the first stop on the U.S. of Angels Summer Swim Tour. Erin Heatherton will be making an appearance in Milwaukee on July 18 and a yet to be unveiled VS Angel (the Angel will be announced the day of Milwaukee's event on July 18) will be in Orlando on July 25th. Click here if you want to know more about those upcoming events. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Share the Love: The Best Beauty Gurus on YouTube Pt. One

Ingrid is no longer just a beauty guru. She has expanded her YouTube resume to include vlogging, cat-enthusiast, and even singing. Her videos are extremely professional and high-quality but she still manages to let her personality shine through. Her GIY (Glam It Yourself) videos teach you how to make anything from makeup brush holders to wrap bracelets to reusable shopping bags. But Ingrid is more than just looks, I'm always impressed with her "No Makeup" videos. She makes it a priority to  communicate to her viewers that makeup and looks aren't THE most important thing in the world.

These sisters are kicking butt and taking names. They're two of the original beauty gurus and no list would be complete without mentioning their names. These girls have managed to segue their YouTube success into a make-up line, novels based loosely on their lives (ala Lauren Conrad and her L.A. Candy series), and roles in movies and TV shows. They're two of the most well known gurus--on and off YouTube--but they're also two of the most criticized. It is amazing how many blogs are dedicated to bashing these two girls. Much of it is undeserved although at times their videos do seem more like a commercial than a conversation. But there is no denying that these girls are charismatic and funny and engaging. Elle's recent Makeup Mayhem series (she posted a video every other day in May) was a breath of bubbly fresh air and a welcome addiction to my subscription feed. Can't we have Makeup Mayhem all year round? But being in the spotlight has not always been an easy ride. It took a lot of guts for Blair to admit to the world that she'd had a nose job and you can't help but respect that kind of courage. 

Allison has two features--that for me--really stand out. Her bright blue eyes--they look so beautiful whether she is a brunette or a blonde. But that other feature that makes her stand out is her voice. I adore her voice--it is so calming and soothing and...I don't know how to explain it. Better that you just see for yourself. She makes videos on a wide range of topics and even has her own vlog channel--her running vlogs and book reviews are both addicting and motivational in their own way. Plus, her blog is a MUST read. She writes amazing reviews and (as I've mentioned a few times already) she has an amazing taste in nail polish. Unlike some of the women on this list, Allison uploads on a fairly regular basis which is a very, very good thing because, as I mentioned before, they're kind of addicting.

Michelle Phan is at the top of her game. She makes videos that are uber professional and is partnered with one of the most respected makeup brands in the world--Lancome. Now she is expanding with a new channel, FAWN, a jewelry line, and a monthly subscription service. There is no stopping her. She is the girl to look for makeup tutorials. Her range is impressive. She'd posted videos with looks inspired by french pastries, Final Fantasty characters, and Lady Gaga. The transformation from "before" to "after" is sometimes very difficult to believe. This girl knows her stuff and she is more than willing to share her secrets. 
I absolutely adore Louise! She is bubbly and sweet and hilarious (she is totally unafraid to say or do something silly). She is the perfect mix. I watch her when I want great information about a wide range of products while being thoroughly entertained. She exudes confidence and I enjoy all the zany things that come out of her mouth. She is so down-to-Earth. I think she is really beautiful and someone that any girl can relate to. Plus, did I mention the British accent or her daughter, Baby Glitter? Even though I am not married and don't want children for several years I find myself watching Louise's Baby Clothing Hauls. Darn you Louise and your charisma. She also writes a fantastic blog which everyone should check out. She's is one of my absolute favorites.
  
Lisa Eldridge is not your run of the mill beauty guru making beauty videos in her bedroom. She has done the makeup for celebritities like Nicole Richie, Liv Tyler, Lara Stone, and KATE WINSLET! Lisa has so much knowledge and experience that is amazing that she is willing to make videos and share it all. She is so professional and I learn something new in every single video. Lisa doesn't just know about makeup and how to use it but she is also very knowledgeable about the history of makeup and how its use has transformed over the years. Sidenote: Her Marilyn Monroe tutorial was the most informative and well-rounded tutorial I have ever seen. It was just fantastic. She is just fantastic.
  
Sam and Nic on pixiwoo pump out videos at an alarming rate--I'm not quite sure how they do it. They create makeup tutorials that range from crazy Halloween looks to everyday minimal makeup and somehow they make me want to try out all the looks on myself. Magic. It's got to be magic. These ladies are professional makeup artists and even teach classes for those looking to take their YouTube experience a step further. Too bad I live in the states or else I would be signed up in a heartbeat. They create content that is diverse and entertaining but I especially loved the makeup tutorial series that they published for women that had lost their hair in their fight against cancer. And you are probably already familiar with one of these ladies--Samantha--because she has created her own brushline--Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman. It is well loved by everyone in the beauty community and well as being loved by celebrities like Taylor Swift (you'll see her applying makeup with one of Samantha's brushes in her 22 music video). These ladies are unstoppable and I can't wait to see them grow.

So...what did you guys think? This is only part one of this little series but I have at least four more segments planned. There are so many fantastic women and men make beauty videos on YouTube that it would be nearly impossible to include them all in one blog post but I am determined to include as many as possible (no matter how many blog posts it takes). Do you watch any of the ladies I mentioned above? Who do you watch on YouTube? I really would love to hear your suggestions!

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Monday, July 8, 2013

China Glaze "Flip Flop Fantasy" Swatch + Review

China Glaze "Flip Flop Fantasy"
After taking a quick break from bright nail polish last week with Essie "Lady Like", I have come back to the bright side with probably one of my brightest and boldest nail polishes--China Glaze "Flip Flop Fantasy". In addition to being one of my brightest nail polishes, "Flip Flop Fantasy" is also only one of the three China Glaze polishes that I own. And I know what you're thinking. What? You? The nail polish junkie extraordinaire only owns three China Glaze polishes? How is this possible? It's possible because...and don't hate me...I really, really, really don't like China Glaze polishes. In my experience--especially when it comes to their neon or brighter shades--the formulation is really gloopy but at the same time extremely sheer. And in regards to formulation, "Flip Flop Fantasy" is no different. 

This polish is an absolute nightmare to apply. I'm not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that to get the opacity of the swatches I posted in this review I had to apply eight coats of polish. And that isn't eight thin coats. No, that is eight frustratingly gloopy coats. Oddly enough, this polish doesn't have a glossy finish but instead dries with a matte finish. It is something that is easily fixed with a quick application of a top coat but it was something that I was expecting the first time I painted it on my nails at home. If there is one good thing to be said about the formulation, I can say that this stuff dries pretty quickly. I think it might have something to do with the matte finish but the polishes quick dry time definitely helps cut down application time. Also, beware that the lasting power of this polish is extremely unimpressive. It was less than 24 hours before I started chipping on the edges and four days before it was time to redo my manicure. 

China Glaze "Flip Flop Fantasy"
But why, since I hate this formulation so much, do I keep coming back to this nail polish? Sigh. Honestly? It's because the color is so fantastic and I forget what a nightmare application is (or I somehow convince myself that I remember it being worse that it actually was). "Flip Flop Fantasy" is unlike any color I've ever seen in a nail polish. It is a true neon flamingo pink. It was really difficult to get this color to show up true to color in the swatches but in the end I think I managed to get it as close as possible. It is stunning color that will get lots of attention but if you are not in love with the color, I don't think this polish is worth the money. The application is horrible unless you have ninja nail polish applications skills...but I can't stay away. I'm sure before the summer is over I'll be rocking this polish on my nails. I can't stay away. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Beginner's Guide to Thrifting: Top 5 Tips + FAQ

I hope everyone is enjoying the warmer weather as we make our way into summer. I am a thrifting fiend. I love thrifting--I find it so relaxing and rewarding. And although I haven't been posting a ton of outfit posts lately, I do wear quite a lot of thrifted clothing. But I have always recieved questions about thrifting whether it's on the internet or even from my friends. Thrifting is a frustrating and intimidating and wonderful and surprising hobby. Some of you may be intrigued by the whole experience and may want to start thrifting--or as my dad likes to call it, "vintage shopping"--but where do you start? And what do you look for? Well, I'm here to answer some of those questions and talk about my personal experience with thrift shops. 

Tip #1: Go in with an open mind
When you go into a thrift store you need to know that these are the clothes that people wanted to give away. They will NOT be last season's Chanel haute couture straight from the runway. They will be clothes that people no longer wear or can no longer fit into. Yes, 99% of the stuff in the store will be hideous but if you go in expecting to find a Alexander McQueen skull scarf you will be disappointed. Go in with items that you're looking for but know that you might not find them--you might find something better that you hadn't even thought of. Also, don't bring along a friend who doesn't have an open mind. I've gone thrifting with someone who thought the process was a little "ew" and they tend to hover and it's hard to enjoy the process with someone like that. I'm not saying "don't bring thrifting newbies!"--just know what you might be getting yourself into

Tip #2: Be patient
You aren't guaranteed to find something you love every time you go thrifting. And you probably won't find something right when you walk into Forever 21. Be patient. It will happened. It is really easy to get frustrated and give up. Perservere and you will find something that you love. After all, one woman's junk is your most worn winter coat.

Tip #3: Look everywhere
A lot of thrift stores don't have the man power to organize the entire store to perfection. Be sure to check out the men's section for cool band tees and warm flannel. If you're very pettite check out the children's section for some great stuff in your size. Things get mixed up and it can get confusing. Make sure to keep your eyes open for great bargains.

Tip #4: Take a chance
Thrift stores tend to be significantly cheaper than most stores you will find in your local mall. This means that you can take a chance on an emerging trend and not feel as guilty. If you have seen girls rocking a leather jackets but can't convince yourself to spend the money on something you aren't quite sure will work out, go to the thrift store and find a leather jacket for the fraction of the cost. If you love the look then great you saved a ton of money and still look great. If you end up not wearing it you won't be as mad at yourself.

Tip #5: Know when the sales are happening
If I can give you one tip, this would be it. There is nothing more important than knowing when the sales are happening. My favorite thrift store--Goodwill--has special tags sales every week. Like for instance this past weekend, al green tags were $1.29! That's insane! I can get so much great stuff. Sales are the best and if you can get it cheaper, why not?


Best Places to Thrift
Now onto the FAQ! I get a lot of questions about where I thrift. My favorite place to thrift is Goodwill. I am a sucker. I have about five locations within a ten minute drive from my house and I love spending half a day going around and shopping. They have the fantastic taag sales and I get so many things for $1.29! Steal! I also like the Salvation Army and a few local thrift shops in Seattle--but those tend to be on the pricer side.

Best Pieces to Buy at a Thrift Store
Another question I get a lot is what are my favorite things to thrift. I love getting really cool printed tees when I thrift. Those are always in the men's section. I highly recommend checking those out. I also love getting really feminine button-up blouses from Goodwill. They have so many colors and styles to choose from. But baggy, oversized cardigans are the best things I find at thrift stores. They always have these super cool cardigans that have these sweet buttons and they're so easy to slip on before heading to class. Gosh. I love them so much. 

Why Do You Thrift?
Because it's fun. I love the feeling of finding the four or fives great pieces in a room full of junk. Also, because I'm a college student and I have no money. Thrifting is a way to get quality pieces--and many of the pieces I've thrifted are great quality--for a low cost. You won't have to worry that you'll come to school dressed in the same thing as someone else--been there, don't want to do it again. These pieces are a reflextion of your hard work and savy shopping skills.

I hope this blog post helped! I really enjoyed writing it. If you have any more questions please leave them in the comments below and I might do another FAQ blog post like this one. 

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Top 10 Blue Nail Polishes

Top Ten Blue Nail Polishes
Since my beauty ban started in February I have been spending a lot of time rediscovering lost loves and old faithfuls--especially with my nail polish. In case you didn't know, let me confess it now, I'm a nail polish junkie. It is my biggest sin. But luckily my readers will benefit from my lack of will power because I am putting together six top ten nail polish lists. This one (the best of blues) will be followed by purple, green, pink, glitter, and neutrals in the coming months. I've been wanting to do a post like this for ages and I'm really excited that I'm finally getting around to doing it. 

But first things first. What criteria am I judging these polishes on? There were three things I took into account when choosing the polishes for this list. One) How often do I wear it? A lot of times I love a color but I don't find myself reaching for it. Two) What do others think? A lot of my friends and family are nail polish junkies as well. I love having people over to the house to have manicures and a lot of these colors are very popular with the ladies. I also took into account which polishes receive the most compliments when I wear them out as well as which colors receive a lot of attention from fellow beauty bloggers. Three) Uniqueness and quality. Is this a unique shade? Is a color that you can't find in another brand's line up. If not, what makes this particular color from this particular brand the best (formulation, price, packaging, brush, lasting power, etc.)?  Well, enough blabbering...onto the nail polish!

Top 10 Blue Nail Polishes: Julep "Jessica", Revlon "Blue Lagoon", Essie "Lapis of Luxury", Essie "In the Cab-ana", Revlon "Radiant"
 The first five shades that I picked fall on the summer/spring end of the spectrum. The first shade is Julep "Jessica" which is--without a doubt--my favorite Julep nail polish. The color on the nails is very true to the color in the bottle. This polish is super opaque and only takes one coat (which is super surprising for such a light color). It's a little on the thick side for my taste but I think it's a great polish and a lot of my friends seem to really like this color. But be warned this stuff is pretty pricey ($16 per bottle). Revlon "Blue Lagoon" looks pretty similar to "Jessica" in this picture but "Blue Lagoon" has a more green undertones while "Jessica" is a pure baby blue. Also, the Revlon shade has subtle glitter in it. I know, how can you resist. 

The next shade has been a favorite since I first started getting into nail polish (I believe that it was the first Essie polish I ever bought) and it's called Essie "Lapis of Luxury". This shade is a lovely muted cobalt blue. This is actually my second bottle because my first one died sometime last year. I knew this color had to make the list. Sidenote: this color looks GORGEOUS on darker skintones. The next shade is a new addition to my collection and it's Essie "In the Cab-ana". I haven't owned this shade for very long (only a few weeks) but I have become obsessed and I can't get enough. This color looks pretty ordinary in the bottle but packs a massive punch when applied to the nails. It's the perfect for bright summer polish. And finally, Revlon "Radiant" which is a lovely blue-green-silver glitter. It's something that I love to wear as an accent on my ring finger. Bonus: I looks great with all of the other summer/spring blue nail polishes.

Sally Hansen "Pacific Blue, Nicole by OPI "Kendall on the Katwalk" and "Listen to Your Momager!", OPI "OPI...Euso Euro", Essie "Dive Bar"
Now, onto the colors I wear more during the fall and winter...except for the first one which is Sally Hansen "Pacific Blue". This color is so bright and so bold. This is what I thought OPI "Royal Navy" was going to be. It is a really saturated royal blue color. The formulation isn't my favorite (a bit too gloopy) but I am willing to overlook this flaw because the color is brilliant and the price is fantastic. Next I have Nicole by OPI "Kendall on the Katwalk". This a true opaque glitter (unlike Revlon "Radiant" which is more like a top coat) and I love wearing it even though it tends to chip like crazy. The price is fantastic and widely available at most drugstores. Bonus: it looks fantastic with my next favorite, Nicole By OPI "Listen To Your Momager!" Tomorrow is the 4th of July and this color is perfect for lovely American flag inspired nail art. Click here to see what I'll be rocking on my nails for the occasion. This color has a bit of a reflexive finish and is really great for people looking for something more than a traditional cream finish. 

OPI "OPI...Eurso Euro" is an electric dark royal blue. It's a bit more vibrant than OPI "Royal Navy" which is a similar color from the brand. This is the only OPI polish that made my list but I will say that OPI that is a lot of OPI in most of my other lists because it rates extremely high in formulation and brush application. It is my all time favorite nail polish brand but it needs to work on it's blue range. And last but not least, we have Essie "Dive Bar". I will admit that it looks a bit lackluster in the bottle and I probably would've never picked up this shade if it weren't for Allison from Amarixe.com and youtube.com/amarixe. One day she was taking about this polish and it looked so good on her that I had to go check it out. She write excellent beauty reviews on her blog, makes fantastic YouTube videos, and has amazing taste in nail polish. This color is a lovely duo chrome dark blue. It's a great color if you're looking for a chic, vampy blue color for winter.

What are your favorite blue nail polishes? Please leave your answer in the comments below because I would love to hear your suggestions! Also, look out for my top ten green nail polishes list which should be out within the next week or two.

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Essie "Lady Like" Swatch + Review

Essie "Lady Like"
 And my Essie obsession continues. Today I am doing an NOTD feat. the lovely Essie "Lady Like". After rocking the almost obnoxiously bright nail polish  Essie "The More The Merrier" for the past week, I felt that I needed something a bit more subdued on my nails. I've said this before and I'll say it again but Essie is the master of the neutral nail polish. If I want something natural and subtle, I will almost always turn to Essie. Lady Like is essentially a purple-brown nude. It is noticeable darker than my other favorite nude from Essie--"Sand Tropez"--but it is still a lovely nude. It would be a great color to look into if Essie "Sand Tropez" is still a little too light for your skin tone. 

Essie "Lady Like"
I first heard about this shade from the lovely and knowledgeable MissGlamorazzi on YouTube. And at first, I'm going to be honest, I wasn't that impressed with the color. It was nice but I didn't think it was something that I needed to add to my collection. But then I kept seeing it everywhere--on beauty blogs, in magazines, and from other beauty gurus on YouTube. I finally cracked and bought "Lady Like" because I thought it would compliment the dress that I'd picked out for my cousin's wedding. In the past year I've gotten so much use out of this shade. It is something that I tend to reach for when I need to look professional and polished--like interviews, award banquets, or other formal events. I also love wearing accent glitter with this polish--I recommend OPI "Princesses Rule!" or Essie "Set in Stone". In conclusion, this is a lovely nude polish that might be a better alternative for those looking to avoid the mannequin hand look that can sometimes be a happen with more traditional beige nude polishes. 

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