Friday, September 27, 2013

"Fall"ing for Nars Lip Pencils

Nars Dragon Girl and Palais Royal
Left: Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl  |  Right: Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Palais Royal
For me, fall beauty means dark, moody lips. And red. Lots of red lips. Sure, I might dabble in the occasional darkish eye look with a minimalistic lip, but for the most part, I'm all for doing up the lips. When the weather gets colder, I don't want to get out out of bed, let alone spend a lot of time doing my makeup. This is where bold lips and I really get along. When wearing a bold lip, it is typically expected that you keep the rest of the look simple, resulting in extra snooze time.

For some time, I have been oogling the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils. It was just a matter of which color to get my creepy, little hands on. Then, as it got closer to fall, I decided it was time for a new red lipstick. And when it comes to red lipsticks, they have to be matte for me. I'm just not a fan of a shiny, red lip. So, after swatching Nars Dragon Girl,  I decided it was the one. The formula of this is just lovely. It glides on really smooth and the pencil shape eliminates the need for a lip liner. This sits nicely on the lips, not highlighting dry areas, which is a big plus for me. There's few things I hate more than having my lipstick settle into my dry, cracked lip patches. Well... ok, serial killers, maybe. And rude drivers. Well, you get the idea. Anyway, this also has some awesome lasting power. I have issues with my lipstick lasting longer than 30 minutes, but this lasts hours without budging. I have a feeling this might even replace my Mac reds :)
Nars Dragon Girl on Lips
Nars Dragon Girl on the Lips
Next up, the other Nars lip Pencil I purchased (and also the darkest lip color I own), Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Palais Royal. I think this actually might look a tad darker in person, but not too much. This would be described as a dark berry, plummy red (sangria). I can't say I like this as much as Dragon Girl, just because I really prefer a matte lip. This glides on really smoothly and feels light and dewy. It actually looks/feels a bit glossy when first applied, but after about 20 minutes, that initial glossiness wears off and you're left with more of a satin finish. This wears off nicely, as it leaves a bit of a stain behind, so it doesn't look uneven. It seems to highlight my dry patches more than Dragon Girl, but not too badly.

Nars Palais Royal on Lips
Nars Palais Royal on the Lips
Overall, I am extremely pleased with the Nars Lip Pencils. I think given the quality, they are a pretty decent value at $25. I like that they eliminate the need for a lip liner, and they are super easy to apply. My other red lipsticks need an accompanying liner to look their best. I also love the sleek packaging of these. They're skinny and they save much needed space in my bag. The only thing that I don't enjoy about these is that you have to sharpen them. No, they do not come with a sharpener. You either have to buy the one from Nars, or just hope that the one you have at home is the right size. I wish they would have just made these with the twisty end. I'm not a fan of sharpening things, hence, why I always used mechanical pencils in school. Regardless of the packaging, I am loving these two products for fall. I can't wait to try a few more of their beautiful colors!

My lips are ready for fall. Are yours? What are your favorite fall beauty looks?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Plaid? For fall? Groundbreaking.

Wavy haircut, long bob, plaid shirt outfit
Shirt: Target (similar)  |  Mint Sweater Vest: Thrifted (you can try searching on etsy or eBay)  |  Jeans: Urban Outfitters  |  Bag: Fossil  |  Shoes: similar

I go to the weirdest places. I know. I told you guys, I try to seek out unique places to take outfit photos. When a group of friends told me they were going to the Michigan Renaissance Festival, I was all about it. See, the "Ren Fest" is the ultimate people watching experience. And I LOVE me some people watching. Some people enjoy bird watching, for me, people are where it's at. I can't get enough of it. The exposed butt cracks, the horribly unattractive cleavage, the wild outfits, the drunken antics... the list goes on and on. What I have discovered about people, is that they will cash in on any chance they get to wear a costume. However, since I do not own a wench, pirate, or fairy costume, I decided on plaid.

I know plaid seems like the obvious choice for a fall day, but I figured I was sort of putting my own spin on it by adding the mint sweater vest thing. This thrifted piece has been sitting in my pile closet since spring, but I just never really had the "right" outfit for it. I threw it on over this plaid shirt from Target and everything just clicked.

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I finally got my hair chopped. I was in desperate need of a cut and color for months. I finally just got fed up with feeling like my head weighed 30 lbs and not being able to do anything with the bushy, shapeless mess on top of it. I was nervous about getting so much cut off, but now I couldn't be happier with it. I just went for a lightly layered long bob type of thing that's ever so slightly longer in the front. It looks fine straight, but wavy (as pictured) is where this cut really shines. It's just so bouncy and shiny, and so much easier/quicker to style! I really love it :)

What do you think of this plaid look? What's your favorite way to wear the trend?

Linking up with My Serendipitous Life

P.S. I had to add this last photo, because it cracked me up how it looks like this woman walking by is morphing out of me with a weird, dinosaur claw hand, and a really goofy look on her face! I would feel bad about that, but come on, lady. I'm obviously trying to take a picture. Don't go ruining it with your claw hand and your "I'm trying to lick food out of my teeth" face.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Feline Frenzy Part 3

HM Cat Print Dress, Leather Jacket
Dress: H & M  |  Wedges: Target (similar style) |  Bag: Forever 21 (old)  |  Sunglasses: Warby Parker  |  Jacket: Urban Outfitters (old)

Whenever I read articles on how to be a successful blogger, they always say to find your niche, your "voice," your "thing." This is something I always have trouble with. When I first started this blog almost a year ago, I aspired to be the next Blair Eadie or Emily Schuman. But, see, the problem is, that's not me. I don't wear designer clothing, I don't have perfect hair (I often go six months without so much as a trim), I get acne, and when I bake cookies, they look like a pile of garbage. I also struggled with the fact that l don't live in a big city, therefore, I wouldn't have the "right" background for my photos. I live in a suburban neighborhood with no real visual appeal whatsoever.

At first, I was really apprehensive about the whole blogging thing altogether. "Nobody wants to look at my Target bag or my Forever 21 shoes, or my stupid hair, blah blah blah." The thing is, some people actually do, because that's the reality for a lot of people. So many people swoon over these blogs, but could never afford the stuff they wear. The Elizabeth and James jeans, the Equipment blouses, the Chanel bags, the Manolo Blahnik heels, etc. Yes, I will splurge on the occasional J Crew sweater or a top from Madewell. I splurge on makeup, hair and skincare. But for the most part, my style is what I call "budget chic." And I am starting to embrace that.

As far as my location is concerned, I am starting to come to terms with the fact that I don't have a NYC or LA backdrop for my photos. It forces me to be creative, much like my lack of a designer budget forces me to be creative with my outfits. I am always on the hunt for something visually interesting to take photos in front of. I think the background is almost just as important as the outfit. The background enhances the photos, creates a story almost. I don't like taking photos in my bedroom. The lighting sucks and there's no story behind that. All the photos would be the same. That's why I am constantly searching out unique little gems to use as a setting in my story. Obviously, they can't all be this wild, or unique. Sometimes, I just do the old 'pose in front of the side of a colored building' thing, but when I find a gem like the Heidelberg Project, I embrace it and run with it. It turns out Michigan has so many unique and beautiful locations to photograph. You just have to look beyond your front yard. All this is what makes blogging fun for me. With every post, I try to show readers a little bit of who I am. Not just a picture perfect, fabricated life, but my real, quirky, sometimes a little offbeat self. 

Coming up on my one year blogiversary, I aim to fully embrace and show readers who I am, and not pretend to be who I sometimes wish I was.

Make sure to check out Part 1 and  Part 2 as well :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Feline Frenzy Part 2

In the last part of this series, I talked about being resourceful and making the most of what you've got, wardrobe wise. Well this time, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the background of those (and the following) images. First, I thought this setting would be appropriate for this post, because it is located in a place where the people know quite a lot about making the best of what they've got. This is the Heidelberg Project, which is an open air community art exhibit on Detroit's East Side.

The Heidelberg Project was started by artist Tyree Guyton in 1986 as a response to the decaying community. Dotted with abandoned, collapsing houses, many would argue that the destitute, crime ridden city was a hopeless case. Tyree Guyton along with a few other artists and many members of the community decided to turn the decay into something inspiring. Whether it looks like art, symbolism, or junk to you, you have to admit that it does serve a better purpose than abandoned, caved in houses. It is bringing the community together in a place where all you hear about is how people are killing each other left and right. The Heidelberg Project creates an atmosphere which gets people off the streets and working together to create something very unique and thought provoking.

There are many different houses and little "exhibits" involved, made up primarily of reclaimed "junk" found around the city. Below is the Polka Dot House, which Tyree inherited from his grandfather and remains a focal point of the community's aesthetic. There is a fence covered in all types of shoes, a speed boat filled with stuffed animals (Noah's Ark), a house covered in pennies, a house covered in records... the list goes on and on. The beauty of it is that it's up to the viewer to make sense of it and decide what it all means. 

 Cat Print Dress: H & M  |  Polka Dot Shirt: J Crew (old)  |
 Cardigan: Madewell (old)  |  Shoes: H & M   

The Heidelberg Project is one of Detroit's top tourist attractions, bringing in around 275,000 visitors each year from all over the world. Whether inspiring people to think about art, community, politics, or just to create a wacky, quirky outfit mixing cat print and polka dots, the Heidelberg Project is  serving a viable purpose in a place that no doubt needs some repurposing.  

What are your thoughts on this? Would this be something you would be interested in visiting?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Feline Frenzy - Part 1

Cat Print Dress: H & M  |   Scarf: Target (old)  |  Shoes: Similar  |  Watch: Michael Kors  |  Clutch: Thrifted

I decided to do sort of a "1 Dress, 3 Ways" type of thing with this cute cat print dress. The reasoning behind that being, well, for one it's super freaking cute, and two, because there are a lot of people out there who don't have a lot of money to just go buy a new outfit all the time. If that is the case, you really need to know how to work with what you've got to maximize your wardrobe's full potential. Poor people have a right to be stylish too!

A little background... When I was young, we never had any money, which meant I didn't have the cool toys or the cool, new clothes. Most of what I had was either a hand-me-down or thrifted. So, I usually had to get creative if I wanted to have a nice outfit. As I got a little older, my situation changed and things weren't so bad, but I think that sense of resourcefulness sort of stuck with me. 

In my early adulthood, I got a job that paid a little better than my teenage job and as I worked more and made more money, I went through a phase where I got kind of crazy and only wanted to shop at J Crew. Well this didn't last too long, and after having my hours cut at work, I had to tone down the shopping a bit. Now, I find myself rummaging through my old, forgotten stuff to find hidden treasures, or "shopping my closet," as I like to call it. Sometimes I'll find something and try to think of a new way to wear it. Take this scarf, for example. I was looking for a statement necklace to give a pop of color to this dress, couldn't find one, so I took this scarf and  tried to think of a different way to wear it, besides just wrapping it around my neck. Hence, the bow scarf! I paired it with a matching clutch I found in my stash, which must have been picked up at a thrift shop at some point, and these heels, because well, damn it, I like the way my legs look in them with this dress!

This scarf was tied in a bow, but it flopped over and turned into whatever this is.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Feline Frenzy, where we'll talk a little bit about the wacky setting these photos were taken in! What do you think of this look? I don't really understand the world's obsession with cats right now, but I saw this dress and I knew it would fit perfectly with my somewhat quirky, odd personality :)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

August Favorites

 Although this is an "August Favorites" post, we're just going to pretend it's my "July Favorites." Why? Well, one reason being that I didn't do a July Favorites post, and the other is that I simply cannot cope with the fact that August has passed (so quickly) and that means that the summer is basically over. Fall is fine and all, but let's be real here. It really only lasts like two weeks, and then it is uncomfortably cold. Frigid cold, actually. It's quite depressing for me, hence the game of "let's pretend." 

 Ok, on to my "July Favorites." 
First up, we have the forever raved about Fiji  by Essie. I have been hearing girls gushing over this nail polish for years and I finally gave in to the hype. I am glad I did! Though Essie is one of my favorite nail polish brands, I will be the first to admit that quite a few of their nail polishes have a pretty crappy consistency. This, however, is not one of them. This nail polish goes on nice and opaque in two coats, and has the prettiest creamy, pale pink hue. It isn't streaky, too thin, or too thick. It is just right. Oh, and it doesn't take five years to dry like many of their other nail polishes. It also takes like four to five days for this to chip on me, which is pretty good!

Essie's Fiji nail polish

When I want to remove my Fiji, I have been loving Zoya 3- in- 1 Remove + ! I first saw this nail polish remover on Vivianna Does Makeup and thought the pump dispenser was cool and seemed convenient, so I splurged for it. At first, I thought, "Really? Ten bucks for a nail polish remover? That's kinda ridiculous!" But, I am glad I decided to shell out the extra cash, because this actually does seem better than the cheapo nail polish removers I buy at the drugstore. First, I was right. The pump dispenser IS cool, and it IS more convenient! Second, this removes polish quite a bit quicker than my usual remover, and with less effort. I don't have to scrub away at each nail for the nail polish to come off, and when it does, it doesn't seem to leave a stain behind. With the other removers, I either have a stain the color of the old nail polish, or a yellowish stain. It doesn't make my nails look dead and dull, either. Overall, I am more than a little happy I bought this stuff. 

The next product I was really feelin' this last month, was Mario Badescu's Buffering Lotion. See, for the last few years, I have been getting these really crappy cystic acne spots right along my jawline and down to my neck. I decided I'd had enough of it and purchased this little miracle potion. MY GOD! This shit is AWESOME! Excuse my less than ladylike language here, but I am just so excited I found this! I apply this thin liquid to my spots at night, and when I wake up in the morning (or mid afternoon depending on how eventful the night before was) they have magically disappeared! At least for the most part. This time last year, I was going for acid peels and using all kinds of garbage prescribed to me by the dermatologist (which caused me to have like three periods a month) and now, I think I have found just what I needed all along! This can also be used on the back and chest. I know $17 seems like a lot for 1 oz of product, but I'm telling you, if you suffer from deep, painful cystic acne, you have to try this!

Another Gh0stparties inspired purchase, Clinique's High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara has wedged it's way into my beauty routine, and I am quite pleased about it! This mascara really gives me long, thick, extremely black, beautiful lashes. One thing I really like is how easily the brush glides through the lashes, distributing just the right amount of product. It really doesn't clump,  and when I do get a little too much product in one spot, it brushes through easily. My lashes are just left glossy, thick, and black. This doesn't curl as much as Diorshow Iconic Overcurl which I talked about here, but it does volumize and lengthen beautifully and once again, I'll say how glossy and black it makes my brittle, dead lashes! P.s. It is actually quite hard to photograph eyelashes. I promise you this mascara looks better than it does in the photos below!

Scary face sans glasses wearing Clinique's High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara

Wearing YSL's Glossy Stain in #108 Violine Out of Control

Next, we'll talk about my latest YSL lip product acquisition, the "Rebel Nudes" Glossy Stain in the shade Violine Out of Control (#108.)  Now, this has a bit of shimmer when you see it in the light. I normally don't like shimmer on my lips. In fact, I hate it. But, when it isn't glistening in the sun, you can't see the shimmer. This lip product is sort of a balmy feeling, glossy stain. Just like the name says. And it really does stain. The stain lasts quite a long time, and I love that it doesn't feel dry on the lips like most stains. It has a nice shine, but nothing too crazy. Just enough to not make it look and feel drying. This particular shade just gives my lips a purple-y, berryish tint, which I like, as it's a bit different than my usual bright red or fuschia lips. It's subtle enough to wear to work (I work in a hospital, where bright, cheery lips just don't feel right to me.) And as always, the YSL packaging just feels so luxe and special!

Ok, so I have been having lip issues lately. By "lip issues," I'm referring to the dry line along my bottom lip where my lipstick crumbles up to, making me look utterly ridiculous. The words crumbly and lipstick really just never belong together. At least not in my world. So, I picked up this little Popcorn Lip Scrub from Lush. This sugar and sea salt concoction sloughs away the dead lip skin, while jojoba and coconut oils nourish the lips, leaving them smooth, soft, and hydrated. The interesting thing is that you can just lick this right off your lips, because it's made from all natural ingredients. And, though, it doesn't taste exactly like popcorn, (this is a little sweeter) it still tastes good enough for me to want to use a little extra, just so I can lick it off. 

Finally, we have one of my favorites of the favorites, the Juicy Couture Viva la Juicy/Viva la Juicy la Fleur rollerball duo. Ok, when I saw this, I almost defecated in my pants! No, but seriously, I was super jazzed. Viva la Juicy happens to be one of my all time favorite fragrances, which I ran out of like two years ago, and have since moved on to try others. I had been wanting to purchase La Fleur since it came out, but I was too cheap to do so, plus I couldn't decide between the two. Well, now that the stars have aligned in my favor, I don't have to! I know some of you might say, "God, what are you? 16?" as these are rather young scents, but I just can't seem to get on board with the more mature scents that are all the rage these days. I smell all the Tom Ford perfumes and make a rather unpleasant face. There might be one or two Chanel perfumes I like, but not love. I have never come across Diptyque in a store to sample, but I'm betting I wouldn't really care for that either. I just really love these flirty, young fruity floral type scents. Both scents feature notes of creamy vanilla, caramel, wild berries, and soft jasmine with slight variations. Both are very sexy and alluring in my opinion. I never feel "complete" without adding a few dabs of one of these to my pulse points before heading out the door.

Thanks for reading through this novel I've written here! Have you tried any of these products? What are your thoughts? Do any of them sound like something you would be interested in? Let me know what you think in the comments!