Monday, September 30, 2013

A Sample Story

I love getting samples from Sephora - especially the deluxe samples from their VIB program.  They're adorable little miniature clones of their adult counterparts, and just make me happy.  Problem is, I don't use them nearly as much as I should, because I don't want to use them up!  This, of course, is ridiculous, and makes no sense.  So, to persuade myself to actually use my samples, I thought I'd do some mini-reviews of a few I've currently been using.

The first is this Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Plumping Gloss in Candy Gloss.  It has a rather rude name, which I'm not the biggest fan of, and after having used it a while, I'm still not sure what I think of the product itself, either.  I love the champagne color it gives my lips, but it's rather sticky and thick, making it difficult to apply.  I also don't like the tingling plumping sensation, even though I know that's how it's supposed to be.  I do feel that my lips look fuller with this product, so maybe I could look past the tingling, but the texture is a deal-breaker for me.

Next up is Illamasqua's Hydra Veil Rehydrating Gel.  It is a hydrating primer, and this is another product I wasn't certain about at first.  When I got the sample, I hadn't looked at the product itself, so I was shocked when this chunky, clear gel came out of the tube.  It seriously reminded me of hair gel, and I decided right then and there that I didn't like it.  But, when I rubbed it in, the texture completely changed, and it was so smooth.  After I finished putting on the rest of my makeup, I could tell there was a clear difference, too - my skin looked much more radiant, and I completely changed my mind about this product.  I may even end up picking up the adult version of this guy.

Finally, I thought I'd quick mention a product you already know about if you've seen my Skincare Routine video, and it is the Caudalie Vinoperfect Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Day Perfecting Fluid.  Really, it's just a face moisturizer.  It smells really good - just like the rest of the Vinoperfect line, but it's not my favorite moisturizer ever.  It does have SPF, which is always good, but it doesn't work as well as my Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cream or my Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream.  So, sadly, I will not be purchasing this for the rest of my Caudalie products.

So, those are the samples that I've been trying out.  Samples are an amazing way to test out products without any commitment - as long as you actually use them!  The Illamasqua Hydra Veil Rehydrating Gel is definitely now on my beauty wish list, but I can skip the Caudalie Vinoperfect Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Day Perfecting Fluid.  Have you tried out anything new recently?  What have you tried, and what did you think about it?  Let me know in the comment section below!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Cheap Chic: Maybelline Big Eyes Mascara

Maybe it's just me, but whenever there's a new "holy grail" Maybelline mascara, I tend to just roll my eyes.  They have an insane amount of mascaras, and I find most of them to be too wet for my taste.  Then, after hearing about it from more and more people, I cave in and eventually try it out, like the mascara that currently seems to be all the rage: Maybelline's Big Eyes mascara.

The main selling point for this mascara is that it is dual-ended with one side for your upper lashes, and the other for your lower lashes.  The formula itself is also supposed to give your lashes that big, babydoll look.  I haven't actually had anything specifically made for my lower lashes, so that was what I was most excited about with this mascara.

As for the formula, I can't really tell the difference between many of the Maybelline mascaras.  They all just feel kind of the same to me, which, as I said, it too wet for my taste.  But, this one definitely didn't clump as much as the other mascaras I've tried from them, and I quite liked how they made my eyelashes look nice and defined, but still slightly whispy.  My favorite part of this mascara, though, was the brush.  Both the upper and lower brushes have fiber bristles rather than plastic, which helps to make sure your lashes get thoroughly coated.  I typically like the plastic bristles more, but I really do like the finish these particular ones gave.  Also, now that I've tried out a brush for my lower lashes, it might be very difficult to go back to using regular brushes.  The smaller spool is so easy to use, and makes sure that the mascara stays on the lashes where it's supposed to.

So, do I think this is a "holy grail" mascara?  Well, probably not for me, necessarily.  I definitely enjoy using it, and I love how it makes my lashes look, but from what I've seen, Maybelline just makes really wet mascaras.  They get better the more you use them, and they start to dry out, but I just can't quite get over that little hump to say that it is perfect.  However, it is much better than I thought it would be, and if you like the wetter mascaras, I would say that this might just be perfect for you.  Plus, as a drugstore product, it is relatively inexpensive, and readily available!

Have you tried this mascara, yet?  What do you think about it?  Also, if you have any recommendations for any other "Cheap Chic" posts, let me know in the comment section below!  I love trying out new drugstore products, but I definitely need suggestions.  If you have a favorite drugstore mascara or know of one that I might like, please let me know!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

JustFab September Pick

To be honest, even though I'm signed up with, I don't usually pick up anything new.  Most of the time, I even skip the month without looking at what they have available, because I don't feel like spending money.  This month, however, I decided to use my account to purchase a new pair of boots, because last year I wore out all my boots to the point of death - literally.  I had this amazing pair of Steve Maddens, and the sole actually came off the rest of the shoe.

So, clearly a new pair of boots was a necessity.  I had originally thought I'd get some riding boots, because I've never actually owned a pair, but I always love them on other people.  Then, I found these Davina boots, which are basically the black version of all the brown boots I owned last year, including those Steve Maddens I told you about.  Yeah, maybe I'm not stepping out of my comfort zone on this one, but in the words of Liv from "Bride Wars" - one of my current favorite movies - "It's a classic.  If it works, you work it hard."

As you can see, they are taller boots with a slight slouch to them, and a bow detail at the top.  When I was looking at the bows on the website, I thought they were just decorative, but they do actually adjust to hold the tops to your leg, allowing you to control the amount of "slouchiness" you want from them.  They have a 3 1/2" heel on them, which I think is the perfect heel height for the colder months.  Much as I love them, my high, high heels tend to get a break around this time of year due to the threat of ice.

I absolutely love these, just as I've loved their predecessors, and I know I'll get a lot of use out of them.  It's so easy to dress them up with a skirt or heavy leggings, or go a little more casual with some skinny jeans.  They're perfect for my lifestyle, which is probably why I keep coming back to them.  If you are on JustFab and picked out something new this month, let me know what it was in the comment section below, and if you aren't, tell me about your "classic" shoe.  I'm sure we all have one that we keep coming back to, even when we know we should step out of our comfort zone every once in a while!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Nail Rock Velvet Manicure

Even though I don't remember the first time I laid eyes on a velvet manicure - I don't even remember if I'd seen it on Pinterest or if I was in Sephora, and saw the one from Ciate - I do remember thinking that it was the coolest thing ever.  I have this weird habit where I rub my nails when I'm stressed, and all I kept thinking about was how nice it would feel to have a blanket on my nails.  So, naturally, I couldn't wait to try it out.  Problem was, I couldn't justify picking up a Ciate manicure set.  I think they're absolutely adorable, and I'd love to try one, but I'm just not quite ready.  Taking the DIY route wasn't much better, either, since I couldn't find any of the crushed velvet required.

Then, I stumbled upon this Nail Rock Velvet Manicure set, which as far as I can tell is the drugstore version of Ciate.  So, I grabbed a set that actually matches my favorite autumn shoes, perfectly, and home we went, so I could try it out that very night.  It's actually a really easy manicure process, and within a few minutes, I was gazing lovingly at my fuzzy little blanket nails, waiting for them to dry.

There are only two steps involved in this manicure, and both are really easy.  First, the directions say to apply two coats of the base polish, but I found that you couldn't get a nice, opaque base with just two coats.  An opaque bas coat is really important, too, because as the velvet starts to wear off, it can stay fuzzy and feel really cool, but they start to look a little spotty.  So, I would recommend adding another coat or two, for an opaque finish.  After that, you just dip your still wet nail into the crushed velvet, roll it around a little to make sure it's covered, then gently pat down any little clumps to make sure the velvet is nice and even.  This step was really easy, and much less messy that I'd anticipated, but what made it even easier was when I realized how tightly the velvet was packaged, and loosened it up a little!

This is such a fun manicure, and I'm sure I'll be wearing it a lot in the coming months, but I'm curious - what do you think?  Is this something you would wear?  Let me know in the comment section below, and if you've already tried a velvet manicure, let me know how you did it, and if you liked it!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Caudalie Makeup Remover Cleansing Water

If you saw my Morning Skincare Routine video, you'll already know that I've been using a deluxe sample size of Caudalie's Makeup Remover Cleansing Water, Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, and Vinoperfect Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Day Perfecting Fluid each morning.  After much consideration, I decided just to upgrade to the full-sized Makeup Remover Cleansing Water for the time being, and before I get into why that product in particular is so amazing, let me quick explain why I didn't get the other products this go round.

First, I truly, truly love the Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, but it's also really quite expensive, and with our wedding coming up next year, I've been trying to be a little more frugal.  It is one of my favorite products right now, though, and I may reconsider my decision when my deluxe sample of it runs out.  As for the Vinoperfect Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Day Perfecting Fluid, I like it, but I have several face creams and lotions, some of which I like better, so I simply don't need it right now.

Now, let's talk about the Makeup Remover Cleansing Water.  This was the first cleansing water I've tried, and it's incredible, especially in the morning.  It smells amazing, like wine grapes and camomile tea, which makes sense as it has grape water and camomile as two of its ingredients.  The scent is so relaxing, but using a cleansing water in the morning really wakes you up, too.  I find that it is less harsh than using an actual face wash or strict makeup remover (which you should have done the night before!), but still leaves your face nice, clean, and refreshed.

I have been absolutely obsessed with my skincare routine, and I'm always looking for new products.  So, if you have a favorite skincare product right now, please let me know what it is in the comment section below!  I'd love to try any new suggestions you guys may have!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Flower Nail Polish Review

If you've been hanging around here or either of my Youtube channels for any length of time, you may know that I live in a very small town in Minnesota.  That makes it relatively difficult to find many of the newest drugstore collections, and even just brands that are not carried at Walgreens or Walmart.  Actually, some Walmart brands are hard to get my hands on.  One such brand would be Drew Barrymore's Flower line which is, sadly, not available at my local Walmart.

However, I was able to stop at a different Walmart recently, and pick up a few different products - an eyeshadow quad, a creme blush, and what I'll be talking about today, a nail polish.  The color I chose was April Showers, which is a deep, almost black green.  I love wearing darker colors in the fall and winter, which is why this color stood out to me.  Plus, it's very different that the other colors I saw from her line, which were lighter and brighter, making them more suited to spring and summer, rather than fall and winter.

As far as the formula goes, this polish is amazing.  One coat did leave a few streaks and light spots, but after the second coat they were completely opaque, and I absolutely love the color itself.  It wasn't too light or too heavy, but I would say that it tended more towards an OPI thickness with an Essie-sized brush.  I know some people don't like the smaller brushes, but as someone with small nails and a shaky hand, I tend to seek them out.  As for packaging, I'm in-between on it.  It's not my favorite nail polish bottle of all time, but it's not unattractive, either.  It's just kind of there.

I hope you all are having an amazing week, and if you've tried the nail polish from Flower, tell me what you thought in the comment section below!  I know my opinion isn't the only one out there, and I would love to know yours!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Favorite Autumn Shoes

Being that I started this as a beauty AND fashion blog, I've come to the realization that I haven't really talked about fashion much at all.  Now that we're getting into the cooler fall and winter months, though, that will be changing.  I absolutely love fall and winter fashion, because it always feels a little more elegant and rich, with just a bit of edginess thrown in.  As someone that likes to overdress for absolutely everything, this kind of style is perfect for me.

So, today I wanted to talk about a recent addition to my shoe collection that I'm sure I'll be wearing nonstop these upcoming months, whether I'm wearing them to work, or even out on the town.  They are these beautiful pointed-toe Mary Jane heels from Dana Buchman that I picked up at Kohl's for $48.99.  I have been absolutely loving the color burgundy recently, and that is actually what I first noticed about these.  Plus, I've been looking for a mid-heel, pointed to shoe to wear while I'm at work, and it was this fact that convinced me to bring them home.

They have an almost Western-styled toe in patent leather, with matching detailing on the heel and top of the shoe, while the body is actually made of wool, which will make these little babies perfect for winter, as well as fall - living in Minnesota means winter comes fast.  I can already see myself wearing these with some nice grey or black dress pants, or with some knit tights and a pretty sweaterdress - even just some dark wash jeans and a nice top would look amazing with these!

Well, until next time, Happy Autumn, everyone!  If you have a favorite pair of shoes for the fall and winter months, leave a link to a picture of them in the comment section below!  Who knows?  They might end up being my favorite, too!