The Haul to End All Hauls

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I promise you the content of this blog post is not as intense as the title suggests, but I obviously have some explaining to do.  And while I am a fan of the suspenseful and dramatic reveal, in this case I think the big news needs to be broken beforehand.

The long and short of it is that come September, I will no longer be blogging from my tiny bedroom in northern New Jersey.  Now don't get me wrong, I will still be blogging, just from a completely different location. Alright, I'm starting to annoy myself I'm just going to tell you!  Come September, I will be officially matriculated as a postgraduate student at the University of London!!!!  I couldn't be more excited, and while this won't directly affect anyone who may be reading this, I just couldn't contain myself any longer and had to let the secret out! Nothing has been arranged yet as far as my living situation goes, but the whole point of me telling this story (besides sharing my excitement!) was to basically say that I won't be buying much in the way of anything for the foreseeable future as I'm now officially in scrimping and saving mode (we'll see how long that lasts)!

Phew!  Now that's out of the way, we can get on to the beauty bits.  As a gift for working my butt off to get into this school, my parents decided to treat me to [some money that quickly turned into] a bottle of MAC's only fragrance.  Turquatic is actually a bit hard to describe, but on me it smells fresh and aquatic (wow, Amelia, how inspired).  It was love at first sniff back in January, and although it took me almost three months to get my hands on it, I still love it just as much.  A full review will probably surface sometime soon.  I also decided to treat myself to a little summin', and picked up a tube of MAC's Studio Sculpt foundation in NC30.  I love the level of coverage it provides (I'm going through a full coverage phase, at the moment), and while I still haven't found a way to keep it from sliding off my face by midday, I'm pretty sure it's a keeper.

This was admittedly a very small haul, but it consists of two items I'm sure to repurchase down the road, and ones that will stay in my collection for quite some time.  Luckily I like what I bought, because I'm pretty sure this is going to be the last of the hauls for a damn long time.  Maybe.

* Both items were purchased with the MAC Pro discount so I paid 70% of the original price.

Dupe Alert! NARS Orgasm

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Top picture; Nars Orgasm (L), Nyx Pinched (R), finger swatch; Nars top, Nyx bottom; hand swatch; Nars (L), Nyx (R), cheek swatch; Nars (L), Nyx (R).

To anyone who may be unfamiliar with the word "dupe", it's simply a short form of the word "duplicate".  In the makeup world, dupes are products that are extremely similar in appearance, and most often (but not always), there will be a sizable price difference between the two.  I stumbled across this pair of dupes accidentally, and even though I'm sure this exact post has been done by others in the past (I mean, how could it not have been??), I wanted to share this with you in case you were contemplating a future NARS purchase.

If you're a part of the beauty community, then I've no doubt you have at least heard of the "legend in its own time" blush, NARS Orgasm.  Described by Sephora as a peachy pink with subtle golden shimmer, it looks great on a variety of people, and thusly gained its immense following.  It lasts forever, is wearable with countless makeup looks, and is super handy to travel with, however there is one slight drawback: any NARS blush will set you back a nice $29.00.  Enter NYX Pinched (described on their website as "coral pink with gold glitter and iridescence", I might add).

I picked this up on a whim after seeing some youtube guru's favorites video (can't remember who?) way back in the summer, and being that NYX blushes are a mere $4.99 from Ulta, I thought nothing of the purchase.  It wasn't until I applied it the following week that I thought, 'Hmm...why does this look oddly familiar..?' and the connection was made.  It must be said that NARS Orgasm does have slightly more detectable shimmer in it than Pinched does, and Pinched appears a bit cooler and chalkier than Orgasm, and takes a few more swipes to get the same color payoff, but I just bet you couldn't tell I was wearing two different blushes in the above picture...

So it all comes down to what you're willing to splash; almost $30 for the authentic and legendary NARS blush, or a mere $5 for essentially the same blush, minus the snazzy NARS packaging.  And hey, if you still want the NARS blush after reading this just because it's a NARS blush, I'm no one to judge; I bought them both!

My Bedroom

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bedrooms speak volumes about the people who sleep in them.  Favorite colors will be scattered throughout, a current read can usually be spied on the bedside table, and some decorative (or otherwise) clutter will undoubtedly reside somewhere within.  In my case, it may become obvious that I thrive on warm colors, that my bedside "table" is home to plenty of favorite books, and that I'm really not a fan of clutter.

What may also come across is my penchant for reminiscing, my love of music, and my complete inability to get rid of the vestiges of my teen-hood (McFly, anyone?).  Bedrooms are extremely personal, and I hope that by having a little look around mine, you feel you may know me a bit better now.

My room is currently undergoing a transition, and as I am ditching the schoolbus-cheese color for a more grown-up play on white walls, I thought I'd memorialize the orange paint one last time through these photos.  The dresser is also a new addition to my bedroom, and can be found here.

What does your room say about you?

My Makeup Bag: The Basic Edit

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Quite possibly the start of a new series of posts here on the old blog, the "My Makeup Bag" posts will showcase the edits that my bag is subjected to, dependent upon the occasion.  I thought I'd start simple (don't laugh, this is as simple as I get), and bring out my pared down, "I can go anywhere" makeup bag staples.

Now, as with most makeup lovers (I think?), the "Lips" department of my bag is the most extensive, with six different options to choose from.  'But, Amelia...' you might be asking, 'isn't this your "Basics" edit?'  You'd be right of course, and the only excuse I've come up with at the moment is that these all perform slightly different tasks.  Starting with the glosses, we've got Rimmel's Apocalips in 101 Celestial, which I was insanely lucky enough to receive in one of Essiebutton's recent blog giveaways.  It looks and feels just like a liquid lipstick, and goes on extremely opaque immediately, with no need to build it up.  Urban Decay's Lip Junkie in Naked is on hand for when I want a gloss that adds a touch of plump, and my Korres Lip Butter Glaze in Laurel is basically always in my makeup bag, because it's not sticky, and does the job when nothing else will do.

For everything else lips, I've got two MAC lipsticks; Angel, a subdued yet frosty pink, and Morange, a bolder option for when I want a bit more color.  And of course, I have to have my Blistex, just for those dry lip emergencies.

In terms of my base, I always get shiny around my nose, so Rimmel's Stay Matte powder is a makeup bag essential.  I use my Clinique Stay Matte pressed powder when I want a powder with more coverage, and a Crown powder brush for application.  I also always have a concealer on hand for those pesky red areas that crop up around midday, and at the moment my new Collection Lasting Perfection concealer in medium (also courtesy of Essiebutton) is doing the job just fine.

I've also got two perfumes in the bag because you never know.  The first is my Stella EDP rollerball, which is not my favorite to be quite honest, but it does the trick in a pinch.  I've also found the makeup bag is a great place for housing perfume samples, if only to use them up (a tip borrowed from Zoella), and Caudalie's Zeste de Vigne is presently filling that role.  I've also randomly got a NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Black Bean thrown in because I change my mind quite often, and sometimes it takes me half a day to realize that I actually wanted to wear black liner on my lower lash line.

And finally, just some miscellaneous bits and bobs like a hair tie, a nail file and some tweezers.  Again, you never know.  And on that note, I think I'll end this lengthy post.  Basic, it is not, but this edit is my kind of basic (because I apparently have six pairs of lips).  I would love to know what some of your makeup bag staples are!

Inspired by Beauty...Bloggers | Korres Shower Gel

Friday, March 15, 2013

By now it should be no secret that Korres is a brand that really floats my boat (read this for reference), and as I'm feeling rather positive today, I thought I'd jump off the bandwagon long enough to share another Korres favorite of mine.

Giving credit where it's due, I stumbled across this brand in 2011 around Christmas time while watching Lisa Eldridge's annual holiday gift guide.  Now when a beauty guru raves about a product, I'm usually cautiously excited, but when that beauty guru is Lisa Eldridge, I'm planning my trip to the store before the video is even over.  OK, maybe a slight exaggeration there, but I wound up with a bottle of Korres Japanse Rose shower gel--Lisa's scent of choice--in my bathroom by the time July rolled around and I wish I were joking when I say this, but the stuff is actually addictive.  I found myself making excuses to take a shower (not all that hard in the summer, honestly), and wound up running through it before August was even on the horizon!

I've since tried the Vanilla Cinnamon scent, which was a bit eh to be honest, but after hearing some hype about the Fig shower gel from one of Meg's empties videos from last year, my Korres shower gel flame was rekindled, and I swiftly purchased it without so much as a sniff.  And ooooohhh, does it smell like summer in a bottle!  It's a juicy, fresh and green scent that is more than welcome in my shower, especially during the colder months, but it would also be extremely  refreshing, not to mention seasonally appropriate, in spring and summer.  And like all other Korres shower gels that I've tried it leaves your skin very lightly scented and slightly soft, and requires very little for a rich and nourishing lather.  Korres is also a very environmentally conscious brand, and is said to feature more than four-hundred natural ingredients (as in, found in nature) throughout the entirety of their skin care and makeup line.  Somehow, knowing that makes me feel less guilty about spending $20 on a shower gel.  And yes, I'm already planning which one I want to try out next.  All in the name of science, of course...

My Guide to Carefree Curls (Hair Care Routine)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

If you have naturally curly hair, you'll know exactly how dramatic it can be.  One day it'll be perfectly manageable and actually look semi-presentable; the next it's shrunk by what seems to be a foot or so, and there's a very noticeable and quite unfashionable halo of frizz surrounding it.  So I'm sure it comes as no surprise that growing up, I saw my curls as more of a curse than an attribute.  Most of my life was spent fighting the evil frizz monster, running through hundreds of different products (and rejecting most), learning that brushing dry curls was most definitely a big, fat no-no, and so on until I found what worked.  That is to say, I'm still not exactly sure what works, but I've found a combination of products and procedures that works for right now, and that's more than I could have hoped for!

This is going to be a long one, so click the "Read More" button so I don't have to overwhelm the homepage!

The Spring 2013 Nail Edit

Thursday, March 7, 2013

It's no secret that Spring will be here in a matter of weeks, and with all of the cleaning to be done, I thought I'd attack my makeup collection as well.  First stop: nails.  I raked through my (and my sister's) collection and pulled out the shades that I plan on sporting in just a few week's time, keeping Spring and warmer weather (yusss) in mind.  So, with the dark and plummy colors safely tucked away for at least another six months, I bring you my Spring Nail Edit for 2013.

The Pinks:
Is there a color more synonymous with Spring than pink?  Well...maybe green, but...OK just go with me here. There are tons of pink flowers at least, right?  So of course, I had to pad the pink polish category accordingly. Naturally, I have to start off with Essie's classic Ballet Slippers, in keeping with light, springy colors and the resurgence in popularity of pale nails this season.  Next up, Revlon's Peach Petal, a super salmony pink that just screams "Springtime", and that would look stellar both with and without a tan, and finally, a sort of honorable mention if you will, Essie's Bachelorette Bash.  The youngest member of my little Essie family is more of a summery shade than a springy floral, but I tossed it in because I just know I'll be cracking this little bottle open at least a few more times before the summer heat hits.  I mean, it's just so bright and happy!
Extra honorable mention: Essie Sugar Daddy (pictured here).

The Usual Suspects:
Is it even possible to create a Spring nail polish post without a few pastels?  Well, it wasn't for me.  Revlon Colorstay in Provence is a dusty lilac that easily conjures up images of flowers and warmer weather.  Urban Outfitters' Matte Green had to be thrown in as well, because in Spring mint is king.  It should be noted that this polish actually dries to a semi-matte finish, which looks quite cool.
Honorable mention: Revlon Minted (not pictured).

The "In" Crowd:
Have you been told enough times that emerald is the color of the year, or do I need to stuff it down your throat once more for it to sink in?  It seems that everywhere I turn, someone else is reminding me that 2013 is the year of bright, deep green, and Revlon has come up with yet another reminder.  Aptly named Trendy, this Revlon polish is bang on trend, and will help bring your polish collection up to speed with this year's color leanings. And nude nails are always in style, no?  Revlon's Bare Bones is the epitome of the word greige, and would make a great transition color from Winter into Spring.  It could definitely be this year's up-and-coming nude polish. Doesn't it just scream sophisticosity? (Bless you, Louise Rennison).

The Metallics (well...):
If there's one nail trend that people haven't stopped talking about in anticipation of Spring, it's the metallic nail. Sally Hansen's Golden-I is about as metallic as you can get, and would work well as a highlight nail, or as part of a design if you're fancy.  It's also fabulously cheap ($2.50 at most drugstores)!  Essie's Mochachino on the other hand, while not actually metallic, would still look great during the warmer weather, especially on paler-skinned girls.  Not quite gunmetal, and not quite a glitter polish, Mochachino is rather undecided as a color, but makes a great statement nail nonetheless.

The Unsuspecting Duo:
This pair tumbled out of my Christmas stocking last year, resulting in me endlessly complimenting my mother's color savvy (and the ice cubey, Estee Lauder-esque packaging!).  The bluey lavender of Urban Outfitters' Crowded is slightly mimicked in the blue glitter specks of Urban Outfitters' Afterhours.  The pair can be worn beautifully as full on glitter nails with Afterhours slapped on top of Crowded on each nail, or Afterhours can be used as a highlight on each hand.  I've worn it both ways, and got compliments each time.  Not to mention, the glitter-on-lavender combo sort of looks like a jazzy robin's egg!

Thumb to pinkie (above): Revlon Colorstay in Provence, Revlon Peach Petal, Essie Bachelorette Bash, Essie Ballet Slippers (click here for a better swatch), Urban Outfitters Matte Green.

Pinkie to thumb (above): Revlon Trendy (click here for a better swatch), Urban Outfitters Crowded (periwinkle) underneath Urban Outfitters Afterhours (glitter), Essie Mochachino, Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Golden-I, Revlon Colorstay Bare Bones.

Now I'm just now stepping out of my comfort zone and back into colorful nails, but do let me know what some of your favorite polishes are?  I'm definitely not bold enough to take on two-tone manicures or sport fashion-forward designs on my nails yet, but I can at least handle a bit of color now, so put on your rec. hats and do your worst!  In the meantime, I'll just be sitting here re-adjusting my budget yet again...

A Favorite Base: MAC Pro Longwear and Trace Gold

Sunday, March 3, 2013

I'm back!  And I've literally been falling off my seat waiting to talk to you guys about these products, both of which were picked up from MAC early last week.  It should be mentioned as a reminder that I have decidedly combination skin that gets oily throughout the day around my nose, and that stays annoyingly dry and flakey between my brows.  I also have quite a few freckles sprinkled across my nose and cheeks.  Now this is not to say that I don't love my freckles, but I judge the coverage of a foundation on how well it conceals them, and baby, this foundation definitely falls along the higher end of the coverage scale.

MAC Pro Longwear foundation ($31, I wear NC30) is not a full coverage foundation, and is not marketed as such, but it provides a great medium coverage initially that can be built upon and made fuller.  I have wanted to try a MAC foundation since I got into makeup three years ago, but somehow never made it to a counter for that purpose.  So when I finally decided that the time had come, I knew I wanted a medium to full coverage foundation (just because that's what I like) that could keep up with my semi-oily skin, and well, let's just say they don't call it MAC Pro Longwear for nothing!  It used to be that my foundation seemed to have slipped off my face quite a bit by the end of the day, or had gone patchy, but after switching to Pro Longwear, that problem has become a thing of the past.  My foundation now looks essentially the same as I applied it after 10 hours of wear, and for me that is nothing short of a miracle.  Now, as you may be able to tell by my forehead in the third picture, this foundation can get a bit cakey around the dry areas of your face if you're not careful, but the problem can be solved with some spot exfoliation and a good moisturizer a few minutes prior to application.  I apply with my Real Techniques Expert Face brush for a flawless finish, or the RT Stippling brush for a more natural one.

The second half of this new base combination I've been exhausting of late is MAC Trace Gold blush ($21), which is a shimmery golden color that doesn't read as shimmery on the cheeks.  I've been using this to chisel my face, and while I still haven't quite worked out the best brush for the job, I've been loving the "faux-cheekbone" effect it gives.  I mean, why get plastic surgery when you can just blend some blush down your cheeks, amirite??  I apply with my dense Crown face brush.  To top it all off, I've been absolutely addicted to highlighting with Benefit's High Beam (not pictured).

I'd love to know some of your favorite base combos, be they dewey or matte, chiseled, or otherwise!  What are some of your go-to daily foundation combinations?

*I thought I'd include at the end here a kind of personal disclaimer for my unusually long time between posts, and that is that this new job of mine has become far more stressful than is warranted.  I feel that my time and my self-worth are not being respected, and that has taken a mental toll to the point where I have already started the search for other work.  I feel so uninspired when I get home, that I fear I've lost my blogging juices, and that's horribly frightening as this blog is by far my favorite hobby and outlet.  I just don't think my high stress levels are worth what they're paying me!  Maybe my blog isn't the best place for me to talk about this, but I love you guys and value your input.  I have plenty of pictures taken that are just waiting for words to appear under them, so barring any more uncreative periods, this post should be the first in a string of many more to come in the near future.  I don't want to let something I can't stand get in the way of something I've come to love.

* Both items were purchased with the MAC Pro discount so I paid 70% of the original price.
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