August 31, 2011

Happy Birthday to Matt

Matt's Birthday was this past weekend (Saturday) I thought I did pretty awesome in picking out presents, but then mother nature went and one-up'd me (and delayed this post). Ah well, no use feeling too inferior.

Every year for his birthday, there are assorted present and a baked good in the flavor of his choosing. Year one it was a Reece's Cup cake, year two was a  flourless (very dense) hazelnut cake, year three was an Almond Joy cake and now for his fourth birthday (can't believe we're past 3 years now... I never stick with anything that long!), he let me take the reigns. I picked banana split cupcakes and I must say I thought they came out a-mazing.

The main cupcakes are made using nice, ripe, mushed up banana. They kind of tasted like banana bread, but a little less nutty.


Once cooled, you cut out the center and spoon in warm strawberry preserves (warm because they pour into the holes better) 


And then top with chocolate/almond buttercream frosting, dark chocolate chips and fresh strawberries.


I knew these were a success because Matt's mom said she wanted the recipe. (Though even before that I knew they were a success because it's the first time in a long time I have baked and haven't burned something/dropped something/mis-measured something. I was almost worried things went TOO smoothly and they were going to somehow turn out to be poisonous or something.)

For some reason I decided to show off my (non) wrapping skills. I just don't know how people do it so perfectly!


Totally forgot to buy a card, so this was my last minute solution:



Is it sad that I'm waiting for the new Toddlers & Tiaras to come on in a couple of hours? Yes... yes it is.

August 30, 2011

Come On Irene (I mean Eileen)

Slowly but surely, all of my friends are regaining power after one of the strangest hurricanes I have seen. My own family was without power for about 36 hours, we were lucky (though compared to my boyfriend who had power and was only as inconvenienced as losing internet and cable...) We lost our power early Saturday morning which is weird because the actual storm didn't hit until maybe 11am-ish. It was all of the pre-storm wind that took a toll, though luckily nothing too catastrophic.


We had some tree branches come down/sag very low. Several times we heard some nasty cracks that sounded like trees getting ready to fall. That was a big concern as we have many trees in our back yard that could come down into the house. I'm still not sure if the cracks were the trees shifting or the branches coming down.




The roads were littered in leaves and fallen branches. 


As was my car.



We tried to make the best of it by playing board games by candlelight. It was mostly a success. My mom kept putting her cards too close to the flame for my brother's and my taste, though. Thought she was going to burn down the house. (coffee in the picture was from Dunkin Donuts who luckily did not lose power)


I also had enough power on my computer to make it through one movie using the reserve battery power. I decided on Adventureland (which I'd never seen before.) Still not sure what I think about it. It wasn't terrible, but Kristen Stewart is just so awkward that it made me embarrassed for her. I don't think it was the character, it was just her (she seems to act the same in real life.)

Hope everyone else on the east coast made it though with as much luck and thank you to those who have wished me well in your own blog posts. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy to know how amazing you guys are <3

August 25, 2011

Tomorrow we can drive around this town and let the cops chase us around

Hey Jealousy! Oh man, awesome karaoke song (the first 5 times at least, then it's extremely obnoxious)

So who's gearing up for this hurricane we have coming? I myself am not really. I mean we have candles and food and water, so I'm not terribly worried. It's more that it might cut into my weekend plans which consist of things for Matt's birthday (which is Saturday) I baked some cupcakes tonight (which I will share in their own post) and wrapped presents. We have dinner reservations tomorrow and then Saturday we'll meet up with his family. The storm isn't supposed to hit until Sunday night, so for now I'm good. In fact if the roads flood and I can't go to work Monday, well then who would I be to fight the forces of mother nature?

Back to Jealousy. Not Hey Jealousy, though,  Jealousy Wakes. I picked up this MAC Blogger's Obsession shadow because I am an avid reader of Temptalia. Greens usually aren't my thing and when the shadow arrived, I thought it seemed much darker and more "forest" than "emerald." I threw it aside and figured I would give it some thinking. I have seen some awesome looks popping up with it since then, though, so I pulled it out and gave it another shot. I actually kind of love what came out of it:






It's honestly not all that complex, Jealousy Wakes in the middle, MAC Short Shorts on the lid and something slightly shimmery and skin toned to highlight. Goes to show, though, that sometimes you just have to sleep on things (for a few weeks) before inspiration strikes.

Best of luck to any of you who will be on the east coast this weekend, stay safe if the weather turns too bad.

August 23, 2011

Shiro is the Japanese word for castle. Because the princess is in another one.

With a tagline like that, it was really hard to resist Shiro Cosmetics for as long as I did. Larie of Eye Heart It  finally kicked my butt into gear when she posted this look using Shiro's "Gyrados" shadow. Yes, I just said Gyrados. As in Pokemon. Amazing.


(even the business card is adorable)


My order arrived in a bubble envelope (which of course I forgot to take a picture of) Inside, everything was neatly wrapped in the cello-bag pictured underneath everything. The business cards and baggies of samples were all together within another baggie. All the other items (including some sort of adorably packaged candies) were "loose." I say that in quotes because nothing was moving around within the package, it was all very secure. 



The eyeshadow mini's ($3.00/ea) are the mid-size shadows. I opted for two colors in this size, Gyrados and Majora's Mark. The jars are about 1 gram of product (I say about, but it's probably more). They do have a sifter in them, but I had no problem prying it out for immediate disposal. The shadows were packed in there so tight that it didn't even shift while I did this. On the bottom of each jar is a label with the color name, ingredients and an indication if the product is not safe for something (in the case of Gyrados above, it's not lip-safe)


The eyeshadow samples ($1.00/ea) are the smallest shadow available, meant to just test out the color a few times. I only purchased one (Outright Fabrication) but received 2 more as a gwp (Spinarak and A Neat Gun) The samples are 1/4 tsp of product and come in a mini-ziploc. The sticker on them is the exact same as the mini-jar, it's just stuck to the baggie instead of the bottom of a jar. As you can see, Outright Fabrication is lip-safe. (yay for when I wear my spaceman costume? lol)



The last thing I decided to try were a couple of the Intertubes which are Shiro's lip products. I went with the sample size ($1.80) which consists of about 1.5 grams in a clamshell container in Yo Dawg and Rickrolled. The full size of these come in a tube like a chapstick. The color name is hand written on the bottom label. I'm guessing it's because the labels aren't -usually- little circles, and the regular label wouldn't work on a clamshell. The one con I will say to getting the samples, these really are not "finger" lip products (meaning there is color, so you probably won't just be dipping into it in the middle of your day out) I had no problem applying with a lip brush and assume the full size in the tube would be more convenient for on-the-go. 


Swatches! From L to R, A Neat Gun, Spinarak, Outright Fabrication, Majora's Mask, Gyrados, Rickrolled and To Dawg. These were all done dry and you can already see the shimmer and sparkle. I haven't played with them over a sticky base, but you know they're just going to get more awesome.


As a "bonus," here is Rickrolled as applies to my lips. I absolutely adore the color. The texture is not really a lipstick (even though it's nice and opaque) and not really a gloss (even though it's smooth and a bit shiny) Whatever it is, I think I like it.

Will I be ordering from Shiro again? I would definitely think so. I tried to keep it to a minimum what with birthdays coming up within the next couple of weeks, but will be back for another looksie when money is being more generous. In the mean time I am excited to get to playing with what I have!







August 18, 2011

The Mascara Chronicles (part 6)


Up for scrutiny today is Blinc Mascara which Blinc's site says is formerly known as "Kiss Me," though other sites still use that term within the name. This is a tubing mascara with the tag line, "stop painting your lashes... tube them!"

The manufacturer claims:

Blinc Mascara is the original tube-technology mascara. It's invented to form tiny water-resistent "tubes" around your lashes for maximum amplification and hold, rather than painting them like conventional mascaras. Once applied, the tubes bind to your lashes and cannot run, smudge, clump, or flake, even if you cry or rub your eyes.

The product:



This product comes in a sleek silver tube. The brush on it is tapered slightly at either end. It comes out of the tube with enough product on it to complete several strokes on each eye (the manufacturer recommends doing several strokes to separate and coat and then let dry for 2-3 full minutes) They actually have a whole tips and tricks section to using this stuff on their site.



INitially when applied, this mascara gives decent separation and length. Its definitely not as dramatic as other mascaras I have tried. I honestly can't tell how dramatic your results are supposed to be. You can keep building layers until the formula sets (and once it sets, you're done) but I didn't want to keep piling it on for the rest of my life. Once set, this mascara gets HARD. My lashes were like tiny ninja stars on my eyes. If I blinked near anyone close to me, they'd lose a limb.


After a full day of wear (and the addition of some liner) I felt the mascara looked the same. I pretty much had no doubt it wouldn't budge from the way it sealed on. Because of the formula of this stuff, it doesn't melt or flake off like typical "paint-y" mascaras (no raccoon eyes! btw the smudging you see underneath is liner and that was my own doing.) The one thing I wanted to talk about that I don't usually is removal. Unlike any other mascara, you are not supposed to take this stuff off with any kind of face wash or remover. It's meant to slide off with lots of warm water and gentle pressure. What you might not be expecting if it's your first time "tubing," though, is that it looks like your lashes just fell off. So don't be alarmed! It's normal to have something like this come off on your hand:


My conclusion:

This is not the first time I have used Blinc's tubing mascara and it is to date still the strangest mascara I have tried. The only thing I think that could compare in weirdness is whatever that one is that has the spikey ball brush, but I haven't used that one. That said, strange isn't totally bad. I like that this is a more subtle "every day" mascara (not all vavavoom) and that it's pretty goof-proof in wear (I guess just don't rub your eyes in the rain and you're good) The things that turn me off of it are the spikey/hard texture (I like my mascara to give a bit of "crunch" as too soft seems to flake, but this was beyond crunch) and the price. Blinc is available through their own site for $25 or Sephora for $24. The mini tube I have is another from a sample set and is not available for individual sale that I can find. I have used the full size in the past, though, and it is exactly the same. 


August 16, 2011

Essence isn't just a magazine any more

Thanks to Karen of Makeup and Beauty Blog, Essence brand makeup has made its way into my life. I picked up a few things on my trip to Ulta last week specifically to test out for ye olde blog. None if it's from old England, so I don't know why I just said that. Whatevs. So this post is about Essence's Stay With Me longlasting lipgloss. I picked up the color "Trendsetter" (pretty much because it was the only color left) which is a magenta-like pink.








I don't honestly know why it has this wonky shaped applicator, but I kind of love it. It doesn't make application any easier imo, it's just odd. Odd in a good way. It's like a jellybean maybe? That's it.





I felt the need to test this item on Saturday morning when I first rolled out of bed, so you'll have to deal with my unwashed morning face. As you can see, this little gloss packs a lot of color. I got fairly even coverage and it's really not sticky. It smells a little fruity to me, kind of like red fruit. Berries? It smells like red, that's all. While it's not a moisturizing gloss, it's not drying either. The best part? This gloss costs a whopping $2.29 at Ulta. The only two cons I came up with about it are 1) it's not all that long lasting (which seems like it would be a big deal since it's in the product's name, but I'm not sure I believe long wearing gloss exists anyway) and 2) like many drugstore-type items, this gloss didn't have a safety seal. I picked the one with the lid on the tightest and that didn't look like it had been touched. Since you can't really disinfect a gloss, it made me think twice (and then obviously a third time in which I sucked it up and bought it)

Overall, I would recommend these glosses and hope to pick up another color or two if they restock by the time I get to Ulta again. They're fun color and super cheap. Those are two of my favorite things. Take that Julie Andrews.

August 13, 2011

LOTD (Lip of the day, I didn't mistype Lord of the Rings) - Vegas Volt

A few weeks back, Matt and I went out for round two of Barnes and Noble Criterion sale shopping. What that meant was driving an hour away to yet another B&N that is nowhere near us to check and see if they had any different movies. I say that like it was painful to do, but I just read a magazine about the Hunger Games movie while he shopped (seriously Kristen, I hate you a little for how obsessed I became in like a week's time... I read the 2nd and 3rd books in 2 days) After our bookstore journey, we popped over to the mall across the way. It's the closest place with an actual MAC store (rather than just a Macy's counter, not that we have a close one of those either) so I went armed with my empties for Back 2 Mac. For those not familiar, you bring back 6 empty full size MAC products and you get a free lipstick from the regular line (or eyeshadow, but I think that's still stores only and not valid at counters) I'd been talking to some girls on the Livejournal MAC community and we all decided we needed Vegas Volt lipstick in our lives. Not one to argue with a group makeup decision, I got just that.

Fast forward to last night, I finally pulled the thing out of its box to try it out. I get so lazy, it's like I NEED something and then don't even try it out for weeks. By the time I got home from work, fed the dogs and played with the ferrets, I didn't have a lot of time to get ready to go out. I opted to just add on to my work makeup with some bright winged liner (my sad version of winged liner) and some bright lips. Here's what I came out with:



Face

  • NARS Gobi Sheer Glow Foundation (applied with the Beauty Blender sponge)
  • MAC Mighty Aphrodite Blush
  • Revlon Brighten ColorStay Mineral Finishing Powder

Eyes

  • Milani Infinite Infinite Liquid Eyeliner (I didn't mess that up, the color name and the product name are the same. There are other colors in the Infinite Liquid Liners that don't make you look like a moron when you type it)
  • Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume Mascara

Lips
  • MAC Vegas Volt Lipstick

And as a little teaser for products to come, here is what I picked up while I was out last night (at Ulta):


LORAC Naked Lace Collection, Yes To Carrots Shampoo, Essence lipgloss and 2 mascaras and a rollerball of Justin Beiber's Someday perfume (yes, yes it does smell amazing)



August 11, 2011

What's in your pursecase?

What IS a pursecase? It's a cross between a purse and a suitcase (which is a more appropriate term for the size of the thing that I carry) I can't pack lightly, not even for a trip to the grocery store. Plus I'm a big girl, I need a big bag. For all my big things. J/k, I have little things, too.


I got my bag at Target late last year-ish. I just needed something big and in a color that went with pretty much everything. Before that I had a Betsy Johnson blue and zebra-print bag. That went with nothing. I want a new bag, but so far have not been successful at finding anything (at least not anything under $200)


Inside you will find all of the things I carry with me every day. I have a very reasonably sized Hello Kitty planner... very reasonably sized indeed. To the right is my Hello Kitty wallet (which contains, among other things, my Hello Kitty checks) In row 2 you have my blueberry hand sanitizer, cupcake nail kit (clippers, file, etc), mints, a notebook, mouthwash (I put that in there when I had to go right from work to my dentist. It's been there a while) and my makeup case. Row 3 starts with a pile of gift cards I've been accumulating since Christmas, a nail file (another one), a pen, my keyring which has all my store rewards card and some mystery keys, headphones, bluetooth, car key, a parking tag to my boyfriend's apartment complex which doesn't get used since I don't go over there any more, my iPod and my phone (phones aren't for music, iPod's aren't for talking to people)


Exciting stuff, no? It is, I promise. Anyway, tell me about what you carry with you. What's the most important thing of them all? While I know it should be my wallet, I think I care more about my makeup bag. I know you can all feel me on the distressing decision. 

August 7, 2011

The Mascara Chronicles (part 5)



Today I have for you a mascara that I was saving until after my friend's wedding (the reason being I test with the included brush, so that would have made it germy had I done so before the wedding) This is Laura Mercier's Full Blown Volume Mascara. I will preface this by saying the packaging makes it look like its really the Long Lash Mascara, but I double checked the bottom of the tube and it's definitely not. 



The manufacturer claims: 

Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume Lash Building Mascara dramatically thickens, lengthens, curls and sculpts lashes with each stroke. The lightweight, nutrient-infused formula leaves lashes super-shiny, soft and clump-free all day long.


The product:




The first thing I have to say is that I really like the packaging on this mascara. It's kind of sparkly, but in a very subtle and sophisticated way. The brush is pretty run-of-the-mill, nothing significant to say there. That doesn't mean it's bad, just nothing of note to say about it.


This mascara definitely provided plenty of color, length and volume upon application. It dried quickly enough and was the normal amount of crisp that I get from a lot of formulas. It wasn't soft as a pillow (can one still say that? all these new memory foam-type pillows aren't all that soft...) but it didn't feel like little spikey weapons on my lashes.


After a full day of wear, I found my lashes to still look long and full. I did not experience any smudging or flaking. I forgot to mention it, but I don't wipe off any smudging or flaking though the day when I am doing a trial. If that means I look a little goofy at work for a day, so be it. Luckily I haven't tried anything that has given me raccoon eyes yet, but you will definitely see the full effect should that day come.


My conclusion:

I definitely saw the length and volume promised by this mascara. I'm not sure that my lashes were super-shiny (does one want little mirrorball lashes?) and I think the sculpting comment was kind of silly (they're my lashes, not a hunk of marble) In the end, though, this isn't the only mascara that goes a little overboard comparing your lashes to things they needn't be compared to. I honestly don't think, though, that this mascara is so special that it warrants the $24 price tag on both lauramercier.com and sephora.com. As mine was from a sampler set, though, it was probably more like $4 for the mini-tube and I would say that it was worth that much.