Travel Tuesday – Dreams Edition

I’ve been dreaming of vacations. Does this happen to you this time of year? I think it does to most of us, especially those of us in the midwest or – especially this year – the east coast, where winter just won’t let up even though the stores are starting to have garden supplies and swimsuits. In no particular order, here are the places I would love to visit someday.

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(photo found on amongraf.ro)

France: I spent two weeks in France the summer after my senior year of high school, and I have been wanting to go back ever since my plane touched back down on US soil. The picture above is Nice – Paris was great, of course, for the monuments and history and shopping; but the south of France is where my heart lies. If my group had accidentally left me behind in this otherworldly coastal city I would have been just fine with that. I’m determined to get back here one day, and it would be a dream come true to live there permanently.

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(photo found on Buzzfeed)

England: Anywhere in England, really. London would be a must of course, but I’d also love to see the little bucolic towns like Bibury in this picture. It seems a beautiful country with so much rich history and culture. Wales, Scotland and Ireland would be included in this dream vacation – I’d love to see it all!

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(photo found on flickr.com)

Egypt: I have been completely obsessed with Egypt since I was a little kid. I still harbor a dream of basically being Rachel Weisz in The Mummy – albeit with more historical accuracy and less gooey mummies. The culture, the history, the stories of the gods, it all fascinates me to no end. Plus I love the idea that so little of Egypt’s treasures have been found – that there’s still more wonders to unearth in the sand. It’s still not the happiest place on earth, politically, although one small grace is the fact that they rely heavily on tourism for income, which means that tourists are still safer here than in many other Middle Eastern countries. I’m still determined to get there one day and see the pyramids and temples for myself.

Where do you dream of traveling?

Makeup Monday – Ipsy/Sephora Mini Haul

So that was a bit of an extended break yes? It all really boils down to me managing my time better, especially the weekends that I have to work. I’ll work on it! But, that means this Ipsy haul will be more of a review than a first impression, since I’ve had some time to play around with the products.

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Five products, as usual, three of them full size! I’ll start with my least favorite and work up to my new (spendy) holy grail product.

City Color Creamy Lip Stain – Flirtini: I hated this product. That swatch up there makes it way prettier than it has any right to be. It is a nice creamy pink color, but other than that, this is the first Ipsy item I’ve gotten that’s gone in the trash. When you first put it on, it feels greasy and patchy and slides all over the lips, it dried out my lips horribly as the night went on, and worse yet – it doesn’t stain! As soon as I ate dinner the color was gone. I also wasn’t a fan of their matte lipstick – I got that in an earlier Ipsy bag. So, so far I would say stay away from this brand, although their products are cheap.

Model Co. Blush Cheek Powder – Cosmopolitan: Wow this blush is $22. It is a nice formula, very smooth and blends nicely, but the color is just too light/cool toned for my skin. If I apply it lightly, you can’t see it at all; if I build it up more I look like a clown. Not a good look! I would have liked to receive the other color, which is a warmer peach, but honestly I have no need for it since I have the BH Cosmetics palette.

Eva NYC Up All Night Volumizing Spray: This product works as intended – spray it on your roots, then blow dry or style as needed – but I didn’t notice it really doing anything for my hair that most drugstore products can’t do. Not a bad product by any means, just didn’t knock my socks off.

Emité Makeup Professional Eyelash Curler: A $25 eyelash curler? Holy high end products this month. I wish I had more use for eyelash curlers! This is a very nice tool, works great, and is beautifully constructed. I have fairly longish lashes, and they already kind of curl up naturally – I’ve never found the need to curl my lashes and the couple times I’ve tried with this product, I didn’t think it added anything to my lash look. However, I do like to use it when I wear false lashes, to gently crimp together the falsies and my natural lashes.

Mitchell and Peach Fine Radiance Face Oil: Oh em GEE. I cannot tell you how much I love this product. It’s been a skin game changer. I was a little skeptical at first – I have combination skin, but the oily bits get VERY oily – but this product moisturizes without making my face oily, smells amazing, and my skin still feels nice in the morning. It hasn’t broken me out in any way; in fact I feel like it’s actually improved any breakout areas, and my skin feels more plump and glowy. It is not cheap, however. It’s a UK product – they do ship worldwide, however, except for their perfumes – and the full size goes for £30 for 20ml, which equals out to around $47. I have never spent that much on a face product ever, but I’m thinking I may have to bite the bullet on this one; this stuff is honestly amazing.

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I popped into Sephora yesterday and picked up a couple little things.

Bite Beauty Luminous Crème Lipstick Duo – Fig and Date: I have a previous color combo in Palomino and Violet, and I love the formula and the color payoff. Right now they have this duo plus another one in Tangerine (orange) and Lingonberry (bright pink) – I had to really stop myself from buying that one too, because I already have so many pink colors! This is a neutral duo; the Date side (the bottom swatch) is a more brown neutral, and the Fig (top swatch) is more rosy. Date reads a little dead-girl-lips on me, although it would be nice paired with a darker lip liner, or over the top of a more intense lip color. Fig, however, is pretty much my perfect my-lips-but-better color! Plus these are very moisturizing and comfortable to wear.

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara – Black: Still on a quest to find my holy grail mascara. This … might be it. Or very close. One coat of this stuff added serious volume and color to my lashes; two coats was even better. I love volumizing formulas best – like I said my lashes are already kind of long, and I love the look of full, dense lashes!

Plus I got a couple of samples – which let’s be honest, why else shop at Sephora? – a moisturizer, and an “overnight perfecter” from Living Proof. I really like Living Proof’s hair products – I use their anti-frizz serum all the time – so I’m excited to try that out.

And that’s it! What new products have you discovered this month?

What I’m Loving Wednesdays – YouTube

You guys I am hopelessly addicted to YouTube. I have several subscriptions, and on off weekends I check them every day – and get a little sad when nothing new pops up! Most of my subs are beauty related, but I do have a couple non-beauty channels I watch religiously.

Beauty Broadcast – emilynoel83

Emily is, hands down, one of the best beauty bloggers on YouTube. She’s been around for a long time – since 2006 – and she uses her former news personality skills to perfect use on her channel. She is engaging, fun to watch, LOVES makeup, and best of all – she’s honest. She will try anything at any price point, and even if it’s the most expensive thing from the most haute beauty house – if it’s not any good she will say so! For the most part, if she says it’s gold, I buy it without question, because I know she’s true to her word. At the end of the year, she compiles her favorites of the year into a multi-part Emily Awards series that is great fun to watch, and very informative. I’ve been watching her for a few years now, and I have learned so much from her videos.

Pixiwoo

Pixiwoo is the combo of sisters Sam and Nic, two British professional makeup artists. They have years of experience, teach classes in England, and have their own line of makeup brushes. They do a great mix of easy wearable tutorials and more challenging runway or fashion spread type looks. They do err on the side of higher-end makeup brands, but their tutorials are easy to follow, and it’s easy enough to recreate them using drugstore brands. Keep a look out come October for their Halloween tutorials – they have some of the best on YouTube. If Emily taught me the most about the makeup itself, these girls have taught me the most about the art of applying said makeup.

SORTED – Sorted Food

Cute British boys with adorable accents cooking delicious food. Do I need to say anything other than that? It’s basically the best girl porn ever. Oh you’re not a girl? Fine – one French restaurant-trained chef and his buddies show you how to cook amazing meals, or show you three ways to cook one ingredient, or whatever else you need to learn how to do to impress the girl or guy of your dreams. Just do them a favor and learn the accent!

Simon’s Cat

Adorable cartoons that speak real truths about living with a cat. Each one is super cute, but the funniest one in my opinion is “Fly Guy”. If you own a cat, or you’ve owned a cat in the past, or you have a friend that owns a cat – you will recognize your life in these cartoons.

A Model Recommends

Former – and still sometime – model Ruth Crilly bangs on about makeup, skincare, food, health, and anything else that strikes her fancy. She’s a hoot to watch, and even though she used to be a model, don’t expect all her product recommendations to cost an arm and a leg. She also has one of the fluffiest cats I’ve ever seen, named Mr. Bear. If that sort of thing strikes your fancy.

If you need yet another distraction in your life, check out these channels! And let me know which ones are your favorite – I’m always looking for new channels to become obsessed with.

Travel Tuesday – Road Trip Playlist

Music is big aspect of any road trip. You want to set the right mood, you want to stay awake, you want to have fun – especially if you have to drive through somewhere like Iowa (no offense Iowa. Your cornfields are … lovely). So I put together a Spotify list of songs I like to drive to! These are in no particular order, and I couldn’t figure out how to shuffle them around anyway. I’m new to Spotify so if anyone has any tips feel free to comment!

1. and 2. “Firework” and “Roar” by Katy Perry: I have a love/hate affair with Katy Perry. She makes some very good songs. She also makes some very not so good songs, and isn’t the best live performer in the world. But when she’s on, she is on – and these two songs are a blast to belt out in the car.

3. “Blow” by Kesha: I love Kesha. I love performers who are unabashedly weird and wonderful and don’t give a flip what you think. And she can actually sing – my range goes pretty high, and she hits notes that I couldn’t even dream of hitting. This song is fun, and the video is hilarious.

4. “Surrender” by Angels & Airwaves: This is usually not my type of music – I’m not the biggest Blink 182 fan, and this band features former member Tom DeLonge – but this song just makes me dance.

5. “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel: Classic. Bonus points if you know all the words! I still wish he’d make an updated version of this song – like from where he left off in this song to now – but I guess he isn’t desperate enough for money.

6. “Everybody Wants You” by Billy Squier: Another classic song! Again it’s just super upbeat and makes me want to dance. Poor guy. He was so talented but had no stage presence – his career was literally killed by his terrible MTV videos.

7. and 8. “Remedy” and “Hard to Handle” by The Black Crowes: My dad plays guitar and is big into the blues, so I always gravitate towards bluesy rock songs and bands. These are a blast to sing.

9. “Gold on the Ceiling” by The Black Keys: Another Southern rock/bluesy band! I just got into them last year, after they kept showing up on various Pandora playlists. This song gets the blood pumping – it’s got a great beat.

10. “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes: I never used to like this song; I wasn’t the biggest fan of Jack White’s voice. It’s still not my favorite voice, but this song grew on me over the years. This bass line just will not quit, and the lyrics are quite good.

11. “Steady, As She Goes” by The Raconteurs: Another Jack White band. I had a version a while ago – I think it was a free song on iTunes for a bit – that is acoustic, rather than the electric original. I actually kind of preferred the acoustic version; you see the artistry that goes into the song rather than it being covered up by studio tricks. But the original here definitely jams along, and will keep your fingers tapping.

12. “Womanizer” by Britney Spears: There are a lot of Britney songs I could have put into this playlist, but I’ll always have a soft spot for the first song she did after she climbed out of her long slog of madness. I mean sure, she’s still not 100% but I remember seeing this video and thinking, “Hot damn she might be back finally”.

13. “Scream & Shout” by will.I.am and Britney Spears: Okay this is not high art, I know. But it is a fun song, has a good beat, and who can resist her “and Britney, bitch” aside?

14. “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash: One of the few punk bands I can stand. I appreciate punk’s place in music history, but most of it grates on my nerves. The Clash’s songs rock, but they’re fun too.

15. and 16. “Suffragette City” and “Dead Man Walking” by David Bowie: I could have made an entire playlist consisting of only Bowie songs, to be honest. I’ve loved everything he’s ever done, pretty much. But I limited myself to these two, one classic and one more recent-ish.

17. “Five to One” by The Doors: The Doors are not really known for their happy upbeat songs. I wouldn’t really call this one happy either, but it is primal, and one of the best showcases of Jim Morrison’s vocal prowess.

18. and 19. “Electric Twist” and “Blow Away” by A Fine Frenzy: Alison Sudol is one of the loveliest creatures to ever grace this planet, and I love her music so much. She errs on the side of ballads or slower songs, but these two just make me happy beyond all words.

20. and 21. “You’ve Got the Dirtee Love” and “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + The Machine: They have a new album coming out! Are you as excited as I am?! Like Bowie I could have just made a playlist of all of Flo’s songs but instead I picked two. The live mashup of “You’ve Got the Love” and “Dirtee Cash” she did with Dizzee Rascal at the Brit Awards never ever fails to get me dancing, and “Dog Days” will be known as a classic years from now.

22. “I’m No Angel” by The Gregg Allman Band: The anthem of flawed heroes everywhere. This is just a good song.

23. “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin: This is probably my absolute favorite Led Zepp song. The guitar work is flawless, it’s epic in both musicality and subject matter, and it shows how much range Robert Plant has in his voice – his trademark wail is very restrained here.

24. “Generals” by The Mynabirds: I talked about this song in an earlier post. Again, like A Fine Frenzy, this is a band whose music is usually softer, but this one is a rocker.

25. “I Like It” by Enrique Iglesias feat. Pitbull: This song makes you get up and dance. If it doesn’t I’m not so sure about you. Like “Scream & Shout” it’s not high art – and has some questionable lyrics – but it’s just a fun song.

26. “Ghost” by Ella Henderson: I saw an article about her on Buzzfeed, but I wasn’t so sure about this song at first. Fast forward a few months, and this song kept catching my ear every time it came on the radio, and now I’m obsessed with it. I don’t know why the Brits do soul better than us, but if you like Adele or Duffy or Amy Winehouse, check Ella out.

27., 28. and 29. “Dangerous”, “Summertime Sadness”, and “Our Solemn Hour” by Within Temptation: And now the metal portion of our program. I grew up listening to metal thanks to my mother – she listened to Black Sabbath and Judas Priest along with her classical and opera. In Europe (mostly) there is this whole sub genre of metal bands featuring operatic singers or elements; Within Temptation hails from Denmark and Sharon den Adel’s soprano voice adds major drama to these songs. It’s not on this playlist since it’s a ballad, but check out their version of Passenger’s “Let Her Go”.

30. “Red Stars” by The Birthday Massacre: This band’s songs are very melodic for a metal band; this is probably one of their hardest rocking songs that I’ve heard. Chibi’s voice sounds like a fairytale, which is interesting matched up with the head-banging music.

Here’s to good songs and good road trips – happy travels!

Makeup Monday – Eye looks

My Ipsy bag for this month hasn’t come yet (*sob*) so that mini haul will have to be next week! In the meantime I did two kind of exciting eye looks this weekend, one for Valentine’s Day and the other for a contest L’Oréal put on.

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I was really happy with my look for Valentines! I did a bright purple-y pink on both eyes and lips. For face, I’ve been using Maybelline’s Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Foundation – my shade is 130 Buff Beige – and loving it. I feel like it covers and perfects my skin without making it look like a mask. Blush and bronzer are from my BH Cosmetics blush palette – I used the matte bronzer in the upper left hand corner and coral color on the top row, second from right.

For the lips, I used Bite Beauty’s Luminous Crème Lipstick Duo in Violet and Palomino – which apparently isn’t available anymore on Sephora? That is a shame because those colors are beautiful. I lined my lips with the Violet, and filled in the outer corners. Then I applied Palomino – which is a bright fuchsia-ish pink – all over, and topped with NYX Butter Gloss in Cupcake.

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For the eyes, I applied a warm brown shade above my crease as a transition shade, then from my BH Cosmetics Eyes on the 70’s palette, I applied the black with this brush just in the crease and outer eyelid, creating a v shape. I then blended it out with the dark pink color in that palette, using the blending brush. I liked this technique because the dark color didn’t get obliterated by over blending, so the definition was still there, plus it turned almost purple where it mixed with the pink. Then I applied L’Oréal’s Infallible Eyeshadow in Amber Rush all over the lid. This color is so, so good. It’s a metallic rose gold color, and I swear it goes with any other color you could possibly put on your eye and makes it look luxe and pretty. Then I lined the upper lash with NYC High Definition Liquid Eyeliner  – I don’t like this as much as NYC’s other eyeliner; it has a felt tip and doesn’t seem to go on as rich and black, but it’s quick and easy to apply. Then L’Oréal’s Voluminous Extra-Volume Collagen Mascara on the lashes. I’m trying to find a mascara I love as much as Tarte‘s mascaras, but that I can find at the drugstore and doesn’t cost $20 a tube! I don’t think this one is it yet, but it’s not bad.

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For the contest – the theme was Color Clash. I already had the green eyeshadow, gold eyeliner, and red lipstick – all L’Oréal – and then picked up the purple eyeliner and pinky red lip gloss on clearance at Target. All those colors together reminded me of the Joker, so I did this look with the green in the crease, gold all over the lid, purple smudgy liner and bright red lips. Would you like to see the video? It could only be 3 minutes maximum – you have no idea how hard that was – and my lighting sucks but you get the idea:

I’ve never ever uploaded a vid onto YouTube before, and so forgot to change the title like an idiot, but there you go!

Neutrals definitely have their place, but I love bright looks like this. Hope you enjoyed this, and I hope it inspires you to bring a little color into your routine!

Tiny break Tuesday – Sick Edition

Why hello there. Just a quick note to say, after working a very long busy weekend, I woke up sick with a cold/flu/something yesterday. So I will be taking this week off to recuperate, but I will be back next week with your regularly scheduled programming! I should have an Ipsy mini haul, a Baileys cocktail, and other fun stuff for you guys!

Have a great week, a great Valentine’s Day – if that’s your sort of thing – and I will talk to you soon!

Travel Tuesdays – Tote Bags/Carry Ons

When you take a flight, do you check your luggage? I used to, until Delta switched it so the first bag isn’t free anymore, and when I’m (usually) just going home to see the parents for a long weekend, I don’t really want to pay extra! The price of the ticket is extravagant enough. So instead, I stuff everything I can into a carry on suitcase, and bring a large tote bag that fits my purse and anything else that I couldn’t fit into the carry on.

I found a blue mesh tote bag on clearance at Target, but if you’d like something a little more posh, here are five options I found around the web!

Steampunk Bird Messenger BagShana Logic: Shana Logic is a website that works with independent artists, and features all handmade items. This messenger bag is super cute, a dark brown with a fun steampunk bird motif in black. It is 11.5″ by 16″, and 5″ deep, so it will fit any books, makeup bags, magazines, tablets, or anything else you need to stuff in there. It has a magnetic snap closure, and zippered interior pockets. They also have other designs – vintage map, moon phases, periodic table of elements – but I liked this one best.

Keystone State Weekend BagModcloth: ModCloth is the place to go for vintage and thrift store styles, all at fairly reasonable prices. This one is a real beauty, a large faux leather tote in two-tone brown with a neat brass skeleton key closure. At 13″x19″x7″, it will not only fit books and purses but probably a throw blanket and a few clothes while you’re at it! It has a removable, adjustable shoulder strap, and two interior pockets, one zippered.

Original Penguin Canvas Tote6pm.com: If you don’t need to bring your whole wardrobe and blankets and pillows and just need something that fits a few books and magazines, this is a handsome option. It’s a classic canvas tote bag in dark khaki and green. It features dual shoulder straps, one zippered and three slip pockets on the outside, and one slip pocket on the inside. It is 17″x14 1/2″x3″, so again it won’t fit everything, but it’s a nice smaller slim option.

Big Tote BagMango: Mango is a UK brand, but their website ships to the US. This pebbled faux leather tote bag comes in black or this beautiful bright blue, which is sure to perk up any travel outfit! It features dual top handles, a detachable shoulder strap, one inner zippered pocket, and a magnetic closure. At 14.17″x8.27″x6.3″ it’s bigger than your standard handbag, big enough to stash any other bags or books you need to take with you.

Faux Leather Washed CarryallYesStyle: Finally, a lovely faded army green tote from YesStyle! As the pictures in the link show, this would look very chic while you traverse airports and car rental lots. It features dual top handles, dual detachable adjustable shoulder straps, two zippered side pockets and a zippered pocket front and back on the outside, and two zippered pockets and two slip pockets on the inside.

So next time you travel, carry a fun tote bag instead of the backpack you’ve had since college! Traveling can be stressful and tiring – a fun bag may be all it takes to perk up your mood!