May 30, 2013

My Current Favorite Accessories

I've been wearing these accessories almost exclusively since spring began and ask me if I care because I do not. The following items are just so great it's going to take a court order to make me stop.

Roll On Nepal Bracelets Lily and Laura Ebay Bracelets Beaded
Roll On Bracelets
I'm obsessed with these bracelets. Obsessed. I want more than I have pictured about because I want ones in blue and yellow and red and black and white and literally every color combination imaginable because I want to have one that matches every single outfit. They're just so easy. You roll them on your wrist and boom, done and on top of that they're not bulky or dangly or making obnoxious jangling noises when they hit together. They're relatively cheap if you look on eBay. I was looking in a little boutique store by my plastic surgeon in Jersey the other week and they had rows of these. They were admittedly shinier than mine and I'm sure they were made of nicer materials and all but I asked the salesgirl how much they were and she told me $20 apiece. I couldn't even keep the incredulous look off my face. Places are selling these at upwards of $20 each and you can get them on eBay buy 3 get 1 free for about $22. And that's the point of these - buying multiple bracelets and mixing and matching and stacking them. I just love the way two or three of them look together and it's just so effortless.

 Beaded Earrings
I ordered the green pair online from Forever21 and my boyfriend rolled his eyes when they arrived and I went off about how I didn't expect them to be so small. The silver pair is from a World Market clearance bin and it shows because they're miserable to shove through my ears. Look at that fastening, I don't know what I was thinking when I bought them. I do, I was thinking "Giant $3 beaded hoop earrings? Meant for me!" They're actually super flimsy too - I ended up having one just shoot off my ear onto a pile of books in the NGA giftshop - but who cares? Not me. I should probably be wearing neither because my ears hate cheap earrings and my lobes always swell up and itch. But where else am I going to get giant, shoulder dusting, tacky hoop earrings other than from cheapo stores? Riddle me that.

 OPI Gargantuan Green Grape
 OPI Gargantuan Green Grape
I like to wait until the heyday of summer for my neons so I can be sure I'll have them on when the sun is making them their glowiest. My favorite nail polish until then is this green that I've been waiting all winter to use again. This is probably one of my top 10 nail polish colors of all time. It's such a perfect pastel shade of green and I reach for it over and over again when the weather starts to warm up.

 Longchamp Le Pliage Large Tote in Navy Purse
Longchamp Le Pliage Large Tote in Navy
I had never heard of Longchamp before I got to Boston. Longchamp is everywhere in Boston. I don't even know how to describe it to you. I feel like they should just had every 20 something girl a Longchamp bag the day she signs a lease there. It's uniform level. You know how people always bitch about how all college girls wear the same Northface fleece and VS Pink sweatpants and Ugg boots? Boston is like that with Longchamp bags except that it's every single woman, not just college aged girls. I liked the look of it a lot when I was up there and wanted one and everything but at the same time I was always like "I don't know, $145 for a nylon tote bag?" I'm cool with the prices of most designer bags but paying top dollar for buttery soft, quality leather just feels like a smarter decision than paying more than $50 for a plain nylon bag.

I ultimately asked for it for Valentine's Day because I figured it would be a good carry on bag for bus trips or flights or something. I was going on a trip about a month later so I thought I'd just keep it in my closet until then and then eventually have a nice looking bag for my magazines and cosmetic case and stuff for my flight. This idea of putting this bag away for a month is absurd to me at this point because this is the greatest bag I have ever used. I understand why EVERYONE in Boston carries them and why a bunch of women down here in DC have them too. This bag is just too good. I cannot even believe myself that I waited almost 5 years between seeing this bag and thinking it was cute and actually getting it. That trip I went on a month after? The one where I thought I'd just use this bag as a carry on? I went and walked around a Longchamp store and had to talk myself out of buying another in a new color because this bag is good enough to have two.

It's so practical because it fits over your shoulder so you're not hurting the crook of your arm when you carry it. It's waterproof so if it starts to downpour you just zip it up and don't even think twice about your phone getting wet or your bag getting ruined. It stays relatively compact and flat against your side no matter how much you stuff it - I've been to crowded bars while carrying it and it was just no thing. It's super roomy so you can tote around all your Tide pens and band aids and 5 lipsticks and whatever else if you're a pack rack like me. And then, somehow, it just defies physics and gravity and whatever else and it's super lightweight still. I met with a friend after I had just got it and she said she had just got one too and mentioned she couldn't believe how light it was and I was like I KNOOOOOOW!!! and we were just stereotypical squealing at each other over how easy this bag is to carry around. I have no idea how they managed to make such a lightweight tote bag. It's probably some kind of French sorcery. 

I see someone carrying one of these totes (in the same color, even) literally every day I go downtown and there's a reason for that. It's just the perfect everyday bag. I have other purses that I like more but none that I like to carry more, if that makes sense. It's so practical and functional that it almost makes me angry.
 Forever21 Forever 21 Sunglasses Wayfarer Cat Eye
Forever21 Sunglasses
I have about 10 pairs of sunglasses, all of which are some bright color and none of which cost more than $10. I figured I should get a neutral, boring pair in case I ever go somewhere where bright purple CosmoGirl brand shades would be inappropriate. I briefly though about getting actual nice sunglasses but ultimately just ordered this $5 pair from Forever21 because that's how I handle things. I thought they'd be big without being bug eyed big and that was that. Kind of Wayfarer meets cat eye. Jack and Jackie in one pair of glasses. I didn't even think about it that far, I just said "this will work" to myself and ordered them.

Now I'm obsessed with these glasses. I used to always forget my sunglasses at home and kick myself but I'm always wearing this pair. Not even so much for sun protection but just because I like the way they look. They fit my face and hide a big portion of it but do it without being over the top or concealing too much of my brows in case I want to use them to be expressive. I think I paid $5.80 for these things and I'm protective of them like they're Chanel or something. I couldn't find a case for them in a store so I went on eBay to find them and just bought the first suitable case I found in a frenzy because I needed these glasses to be protected as soon as possible. I HATE the case I picked out but it was there and I just ordered it because I was scared to wear these in the meantime because what if they got scratched up in my aforementioned Mary Poppins purse? Things on the Forever21 site don't last forever, what if they got scratched and I could never find a similar pair ever again? My stress game was this high over a pair of sunglasses that costs less than the pack of toilet paper sitting in my bathroom. I don't even feel bad because I just found them on the site and two of the three reviews are people freaking out about the black version going out of stock or saying that they wanted to buy3 different pairs just in case because they couldn't bear it if something happened to them. People are begging in capslock for these to be restocked because they're that flattering.

I've been to Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus and everything since getting these and I'm so over it when I look at the designer sunglasses. All of the Armani and Gucci glasses, I look at them and just think, "Meh, these don't look as good as my $5.80 sunglasses..." I literally check the weather and when I see it's raining I'm not thinking about how annoying it will be to have to use an umbrella and all that, I'm just pissed because I'm not going to be able to wear my sunglasses that day. None of this is hyperbole. I'm ready to go knocking on doors, interrupting family dinners to be like, "Excuse me, ma'am, do you have a moment to talk about the salvation that Forever21 sunglasses offer?" I feel real passion for these shades.

May 29, 2013

Hedgehog Nail Brushes

 Hedgehog nail brushes Target

I think everyone in America can identify with going into Target just to look or to get "one thing" (it's always just "one thing") and leaving with a full cart full of stuff you didn't even know you "needed" - like these hedgehog nail brushes.

 Hedgehog nail brushes Target
If you're interested, they're sold in a pack of two in that awful dollar section at the very front of the store. That little aisle that they put right by the entrance so you can just black out as soon as you enter the building. Where you end up with a cart filled with $1 children's Hello Kitty socks and $1 plastic storage containers and $1 hair clips and $1 hedgehog nail brushes before you've even been in the store for 2 minutes. That aisle. I know you know where it is.

May 28, 2013

Home Decor and Fine Art: Wayne Thiebaud

I'm going to start this with an artist who I'd really like to decorate with myself.

Wayne Thiebaud

Wayne Thiebaud is an artist who is actually still living (kind of a point of interest, even with modern art) and was kind of at the forefront of the pop art movement. Pop art isn't really the right word for his work and he himself has kind of dismissed himself as a pop artist (and as an artist at all, but that's another thing), saying that his work is more about nostalgia. He's famous for painting lines of food, using super saturated colors and exaggerated shadows against soft white backgrounds. I really love that his subjects are such mundane objects, like the lines of pies that would have been in every diner in America in the 1960's, and that his set up in seemingly mundane as well - just the food arranged without any artistry in one or many straight lines against an empty background. All the interest is added with his heavily pigmented colors and long shadows. It transforms the food from something you'd see every day into something you've never seen anything quite like. His paintings also have this element of laziness to them, in my mind, but not the bad kind of laziness - kind of the laid back, West coast vibes. Maybe it's the long shadows that make it seem like the day is stretching on. They're also very serene and sad, in a way, even though you'd think brightly rendered paintings of pastries and candy would be anything but.

I'm pretty much in love with the idea of hanging a couple Thiebaud prints in the kitchen. Like, Thiebaud would work perfectly if you're the kind of person who is into fiestaware and colorful appliances and owns a bright KitchenAid mixer. The kitchen is kind of a space where there's constantly something going on. If you're in there you're throwing together a meal or cooking or scrubbing down the dishes. The kitchen is full of action. I like the kind of sad serenity Thiebaud prints would add to balance that out. Plus, I feel like a couple of his prints are just meant to be displayed together with their matching white backgrounds and heavy blue shadows and similar compositions that could tie them together. And it's the kitchen so I just like the idea of hanging up pictures of food but still doing it in a way that's unexpected.

I floated the idea past my boyfriend who is the one out of the two of us who actually cooks and it was met with something like, "Ugh, no!" because my boyfriend is into stainless steel filled, purely functional kitchens. Maybe you're not Italian though and into accessorizing your kitchen. If so:

Wayne Thiebaud, Three Machines, 1963, $8

 Wayne Thiebaud, Cakes, 1963, $3

Another great thing to remember when shopping for art: You don't always have to buy prints or posters and you can get more for your money in other ways. Sites like Amazon stock tons of calendars and postcard books featuring fine art and images that might be less accessible on their own. Add postcards to your fridge, stick them to a bulletin board or in a ribborn board, display them in a multi opening collage style frame. Calendars can easily be cut up - that way you'll have 12 different images to choose from and frame.

Home Decor and Fine Art

I'm (hopefully) moving come August and always find myself obsessed with interior design blogs months before I switch apartments. I love looking at other peoples' spaces. This is partially because I'm nosy - I love to go through drawers and purses and wallets of friends (with their permission) just to see the things they have and how their needs or style is different from mine. But, it's mostly because I get majorly inspired for new ways to arrange my furniture or to organize my closet or to decorate my place. I have bookmarks upon bookmarks of house tours on Apartment Therapy or room tours on Livejournal just because there was a rug or a mirror or something in one of the photos that I died over and have to recreate.

Still, a lot of the time I get majorly weirded out when I'm stalking total strangers' private space via the internet. Sometimes people have nothing on their walls. Nothing. Totally bare. I have the hardest time finding SPACE on my walls for the things I want. My walls would look like a 19th century French salon exhibition or a poster plastered teenager's room if I had my way and you're telling me some people have zero to hang on theirs? I get that some people are minimalists (well, I don't 'get it' because I'm the opposite) but it doesn't seem to be an aesthetic choice for a lot of people. There will be a regular, young adult, Ikea furnished type of living room with bookcases filled with knick knacks and throw pillows on the couch and all but just barren walls. Either that or people say that they "have to find something to put there" which is fucking bananas to me. Like, that picking out art is as much of a chore and a thing that has to be done as finding a pasta strainer or a TV stand. I've seen it with my own eyes - just watched helplessly as a friend showed me this horrible, generic canvas painting of a city skyline that he planned to hang in his apartment. I asked if it was of the city where we went to school and was slack jawed when he was like, "Oh, no, I don't know what it is. I just found this at Home Goods the other day, I needed something to hang over my couch and it's big enough." What the fuck?? I've seen the other side of the coin, too - both of my boyfriend's college roommates didn't hang up one single thing. Not one. They just didn't have anything they liked. Their side of the room always look so cold and impersonal, like they were waiting to throw all their clothes in a bag and leave in the middle night as if they were never there at all

It makes me sad. It really does. Art is really inspiring and it's the most accessible way to personalize your space when you're decorating. Why just impulse buy some bargain bin selection from Target or neglect your walls all together? Art history is so vast and so varied and I really believe there's a favorite artist for everyone if they just cared to look. It's the same reason seeing posters of Starry Night or The Persistence of Memory over and over irks me. Like, is that REALLY your favorite piece of art of all time? Is that even your favorite Van Gogh or Dali piece? Is that even your favorite post impressionist or surrealist piece because who knows, maybe you like Cezanne or Ernst more? Maybe you'd love another artist or movement all together but you'd just never know because you've never looked. I get sad at hell over people insisting Nighthawks or A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is their all time favorite piece. I'm not knocking any of these works but just because they're the most famous in hundreds upon hundreds years of art doesn't mean they're best. I think everyone should find what speaks to them, especially when it comes to picking out something for their home that they have to live with every day.

So, I'm going to do a couple of posts on art that I feel would be really nice for decorating your home or apartment. Maybe someone will see something new that inspires them. Maybe someone will see something that would be the perfect fit for that glaringly empty wall in the bathroom. Whatever. Either way, I'll feel accomplished if even one person finds a piece of art they like to decorate their space with instead of settling for some black and white poster of the Empire State Building. Your home should reflect you and I really, truly believe everyone on the planet has a favorite work of art that they don't even know exists yet. What better way to decorate than with that? Why wouldn't you want to decorate with art? That's why so much of it exists - sure, a lot of it is meant to be thought provoking or social commentary or a reflection of the artist or whatever else but a lot is just meant to be hung on the wall, looked at and admired. You wouldn't even believe how cheap some of it is, too. I'll only include prints or posters you can easily find on places like and museum websites, most for cheaper than $25.

Who knows, maybe you'll something that finally speaks to you here. You can put my thank you note in the mail.

May 27, 2013

If You're Ever in DC: Georgetown Waterfront

One of my favorite places in DC is the waterfront at the edge of Georgetown. The area is a great place to just sit and people watch when the weather is nice. There's a little park where tons of people bring their dogs, sprinkler fountains where people bring their kids and waterside restaurants like Tony and Joe's and Sequoia where you can drink and eat crab cakes and drink. The best part is a row of steps that leads down to the water that offers prime views of boaters, the Kennedy Center, Watergate and the Arlington skyline. Plus, there's always about half a dozen ducks floating around. Nature!

Georgetown water front waterfront Potomac River Kennedy Center Watergate Hotel ducks

Georgetown water front waterfront Potomac River Rosslyn Arlington VA skyline

 Georgetown waterfront water front Potomac River Rosslyn Arlington VA skyline

 Georgetown waterfront water front duck Potomac River
I highly recommend making a reservation at one of the waterside restaurants if you're ever in DC. One of the best meals I've had in recent memory was at Tony and Joe's. The Yelp reviews are pretty middle of the road but I couldn't get over how good the food was. My boyfriend and I split the crab cakes and filet mignon entrees because we couldn't decide and I could practically cut the steak with a fork even though I ordered it well done. It was one of those meals where I was literally forcing the bites down by dessert because I couldn't bear to leave a single morsel of food on my plate even though I was stuffed. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g was delicious, from the bread to the side vegetables to the drinks.

If you don't go the restaurant route, you can visit the waterfront in the middle or after a shopping trip in Georgetown. It's a good place to sit with an ice cream or a froyo or whatever if you're more weight conscious than I am. I took a bit of a break there today to feed the ducks between window shopping at West Elm and gorging myself on Haagen Dazs up on M Street. I ended up soaking in the beauty of nature by not only watching the ducks swim around but by watching a guy get passive aggressively rejected while trying to hit on a mom who clearly wanted to be left alone to play with her daughter. Nature is so beautiful sometimes.

May 25, 2013

Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadows in Diamond Dog and Moonspoon - Review and Swatches

Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadows Diamond Dog Moonspoon Review Swatches

I have been beyond excited for the release of these eyeshadows. Urban Decay is my all time favorite eyeshadow brand. Every shade they release ends up being a 10/10 in terms of looks, pigmentation, blendability, you name it. Naturally, I was beyond excited that my favorite eyeshadow brand was releasing a new all glitter line. I've been scouring Sephoras and department stores and Ultas for a month with no luck but they're finally, finally here and they're everything I hoped they would be. I'd go so far as to say they're one of my favorite makeup products of all time.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm all about glitter. Sparkle is my favorite color and all that. Most "glitter" eyeshadows, to put it lightly, are not up to par. The phrase "subtle sparkle"doesn't illicit more than an eyeroll from me and that's all that most so called glitter shadows give you. I'm not here for wimpy shimmers and I'm sick of seeing shadows that look promising in the pan and disappointing on the eye.

Enter the Urban Decay Moondust shadows. They're definitely not for the faint of heart, and probably not for daywear either (not that that will stop me). I fully endorse these as "Sparkly Enough" - the glitter particles are super fine which makes them extra shimmery in all kinds of light.
Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadows Diamond Dog Moonspoon Review Swatches

Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadows Diamond Dog Moonspoon Review Swatches

These shadows come in the new Urban Decay shadow cases that allow you to pop out the pans and put them in the build your own palettes. I also love the boxes - even the labels are glittery.

Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadows Diamond Dog Moonspoon Review Swatches
Look how they shine in the sunlight. I was expecting to swatch these and end up with a sheer wash of color that was more of a boring shimmer than a bold glitter. My hopes were so low and I was so, so wrong.

Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadows Diamond Dog Moonspoon Review Swatches
In full sunlight. Look at that sparkle! Can you just? The shadows almost look wet when they're on the eye due to the shimmer. These shadows don't even quit in lower light, as pictured below. They're jam packed with beautiful, shiny pieces of glitter.

Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadows Diamond Dog Moonspoon Review Swatches
Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadows Diamond Dog Moonspoon Review Swatches
Urban Decay Moondust over Maybelline Tough as Taupe Color Tattoo cream shadow.

Most reviews of these shadows that I've seen seem united in their opinion on the Moondust shadows - unbeatable sparkle but a dealbreaking amount of fall out. Truthfully, fallout hasn't been that much of a problem for me (even though fall out is something I usually invite rather than try to prevent). The only real obstacle I've encountered is the application process. The glitter kind of renders most eyeshadow brushes useless - you're definitely not going to be able to work this stuff around with a blending brush. I use the flat Urban Decay brushes that are included with the Naked palettes to pack on the shadows. I hate those things for all other shadows but they really do the trick here. I've heard those spongey foam applicators are surprisingly useful here too.

The best results for me have been with the use of a cream shadow, like a MAC Paint Pot or a Maybelline Color Tattoo. I definitely wouldn't try to apply these shadows without a good primer or a solid base. With the use of one of the two you'll find that the color ends up a lot more vibrant and you end up with very little fall out. Just slowly pile the shadow on all over the lid and do it with a lighter hand as you reach the crease for a smokey effect. I also highly recommend slapping a piece of tape of a Shadow Shield around and under your eye - you inevitably are going to end up with a face full of glitter during the application.

To put it lightly, I am obsessed with and head over heels in love with these shadows. I picked up another shade (Space Cowboy) since taking these photos because they're just too good. All the colors I own are total knockouts and I've received a compliment every time I've worn one of them. The two colors pictured above are great for Saturday night or New Years Eve or wherever else all you less adventurous people relegate your glitter use. Space Cowboy, which I haven't photographed yet, is a champagne glitter that's really great for adding some extra interest and sparkle to your standard neutral everyday look. I really just think the sparkle and glitter speaks for itself. I've never seen shimmer that intense before - they've been permanently affixed to my eyelids since I got them because nothing else compares to these shadows.

These shadows come in six different shades and are $20 each. You can find them wherever Urban Decay shadows are sold. And you should because they are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

May 16, 2013

Nail of the Day: China Glaze Sugar High and It's a Trap-eze!

 China Glaze Sugar High Spring 2010 Up and Away collection China Glaze It's a Trap-eze! Trapeze! Trap-eze Winter 2013 Cirque du Soleil World's Away OPI Alpine Snow
 3 coats of China Glaze Sugar High (from the Spring 2010 Up and Away collection) and 2 coats of It's a Trap-eze! (from the Winter 2013 Cirque du Soleil World's Away collection) over one coat of OPI Alpine Snow (the perfect basic white polish)

 China Glaze Sugar High Spring 2010 Up and Away collection China Glaze It's a Trap-eze! Trapeze! Trap-eze Winter 2013 Cirque du Soleil World's Away OPI Alpine Snow
I really like It's a Trap-eze! as an accent nail for the spring. It would probably go great with any bright or pastel colors. I especially like it with Sugar High, one of my all time favorite pinks which looks like the color of a Barbie convertible.

May 15, 2013

The Glamorous State Of My Hair

I had surgery on my ear at the beginning of April and the nursing staff was really thorough about prepping me for the occassion. I even had to take off my little necklace that my boyfriend gave me a literal 5 days after we DTRed or whatever MTV is making you call becoming official these days. I hadn't taken that thing off since November of 2009. Like I half my skin cells have been on my body for less time than that necklace. So, naturally, I assumed they were going to be pretty strict about what my hair was doing during this surgery, it being so close to my ear and all. I asked if I needed to put it up a certain way or something and they explained they were going to wrap it up and it would be totally fine.

Smash cut to me coming to from the anesthesia and my nurse telling me that everything went totally fine... minus the fact that they dyed my hair blue. Just dyed my hair blue when marking out where to slice and dice my ear. Not even in streaks or anything I could pass off as something deliberate. Just random chunks on my ends like I was Stripped era Christina Aguilera with a bad hairstylist or a scene kid circa 2006 who brags about doing their own hair on their Myspace profile. I don't know how or why but random pieces of my hair were just blue. There was no hiding it. My hair is a light reddish brown so that color of greenish blue was probably the most LOOK AT ME color that random chunks of my hair could be dyed. I stared at the boxed dyes in Ulta and thought about just taking care of it on the cheap but I just couldn't. My hair is so fine and dry as is and using boxed dyes just turns it to brassy straw.

I cut my ends kind of haphazardly to fix the problem and it really pained me to do that. I probably cut off a solid 4 inches off and there was still an inch or so of blue on some of my ends. I just couldn't stand to hack anymore off. My boyfriend sat and watched me downgrade my hair from super long to just plain long and listened to me complain about how much I hated to do it but how I had to because I was so sick of the blue and I'd just have to deal with the little bit I was leaving on the ends. Just sat and watched and waited until I was done.

That's when he said, "But what about all the blue at your roots?"

blue hair dye surgery surgical

I guess I should have gone with destroying my hair with the $10 box of dye and getting rid of the blue rather than destroying my hair with scissors and getting rid of 40% of the blue, huh? Trick question, I should have just had professional hair stylist at a professional salon do a professional job.

May 14, 2013

Nars Galapagos and Mekong Single Eyeshadow - Review and Swatches

Nars Galapagos and Mekong Single Eyeshadow Review and Swatches

I'm obsessed with neutral eyeshadows which is lucky because they look best on my eyes - bright colors end up looking strange against my orangey brown/hazel eye color. Browns and taupes can get pretty repetitive so I always get excited when I see browns that look like something special. My friend was sharing her Nars collection with me and I fell in love when I saw Galapagos, a single shadow. Nars duos are a better value so I rarely browse their singles selection but this one was just stunning. I posted about it on my wishlist post and my dad surprise treated me to both the Nars shadows on my list. I know. I was pretty speechless. I had to resist applying them right that second so I could take pictures of how much more beautiful they are in real life.
Nars Galapagos and Mekong Single Eyeshadow Review and Swatches
Nars Galapagos
 Look at the subtle multicolor glitter in that. The color is described as "rich brown with gold flecks" on Sephora's website but you never think gold flecks actually means gold flecks. I'm mad cynical about make up descriptions and promo or online photos because they're normally a let down. This is one of the nice surprises where it actually lives up to its description.

Nars Galapagos and Mekong Single Eyeshadow Review and Swatches
Nars Mekong
Mekong is described as "espresso infused with gold" but it's more of a purple toned brown infused with bronze. Mekong is particularly blendable. I was shocked at how much color I picked up when I swatched it. I love how the shimmer in Mekong is almost exactly the color of Galapagos. They really play off each other just as well as I had hoped they would.

Nars Galapagos and Mekong Single Eyeshadow Review and Swatches

Nars shadows are usually hit or miss. Some are buttery and pigmented and look as gorgeous in the pan as they do on the eye. They're easily in my top three favorite brands of eyeshadow when they're done right. On the other hand, some are disappointing, chalky messes with no color pay off. These two colors are pretty firmly in the former category and knock it out of the park with pigmentation and blendability.

I'm almost offended that these aren't sold as a Nars duo. Look at them together! What a wasted opportunity. I should know, Nars, I took a semester of marketing as a graduation requirement in high school!

May 13, 2013

Obsession: Butterflies

My parents picked out a pretty great name for me, Vanessa. It's different without being different different, like Rainbow or Apple or Pilot Inspecktor. I've only ever met one other Vanessa in real life, a girl in my college math class. She was clearly equally put off at the existence of another Vanessa and would constantly say "WHICH ONE" during attendance, oblivious to the fact that my last name came before hers in the alphabetical by last name roll call. I sometimes feel like Vanessa Anne Hudgens is stealing my identity too - she has both my first name and middle name. Still, when she got an enormous butterfly tattoo on her neck I almost wanted to take time out of my life to make the rounds on gossip websites and let everyone who was calling her tacky know that they were ignorant. Hello, the name Vanessa MEANS butterfly. She's allowed! I'm sorry your name means "fair" or "honor" or something totally boring.

This is actually a picture of me, a Vanessa atalanta. It's science! Look how beautiful I am! Not a genius but a genus! Wikipedia describes me as striking!

My mom had Vanessa picked out because it was the name of a nurse she worked with so I think she was excited to discover that it meant butterfly. I've grown up with a ton of butterfly things. Butterfly window decals, butterfly shower curtains, on and on. I remember my dad got me a denim baseball cap with my name and a butterfly embroidered on it which I LOVED. I was a butterfly in a ballet recital when I was little and the costume was covered in sequins and had rainbow wings that attached to my wrists so they looked totally real - to this day I'm devastated that I grew out of it. I even got to go to Butterfly World in Florida when I was in fifth grade. I still have a bunch of butterfly things "subtly" around the apartment I share with my boyfriend who is suspiciously not as passionate about butterflies.

Butterflies seem to be having a comeback. Or at least I think they are because I keep seeing them pop up everywhere and in places totally unrelated to 8 year old girls or Mariah Carey. I am in style. Here's some of my butterfly items under the cut and options for where you can find ones of your own.

May 11, 2013

The Greatest Flower in the World (That's A Fact, Not An Opinion)

 Peonies have been my favorite flowers for years and years and years but I've never had a bouquet of my own until this week. I have been missing out in such a big way. Peonies are so perfect. You know when you smell flowers and you're just doing it because that's what society or whatever has conditioned you to do and there's no real smell there at all? Peonies are the opposite. Peonies make everything smell like peonies. I also have a personal grudge against wimpy filler flowers and there's just no need to even consider bothering with those with peonies. My boyfriend asked the flower shop for "every peony you have" which was eight and I had to split the bouquet into two separate vases because 8 stems was just out of control in one vase. How are roses the go to favorite flower when these things exist?

I can't believe these things are just going to die on me in a few days. I should just stick to buying flowers I hate so I won't feel hurt on a personal level when they die and I just have to throw them in the trash with all the Fiber One wrappers and toilet paper rolls and disposable razors. It's all carnations and baby's breath from here on out.

 Peony flowers OPI Play the Peonies
It just shows how into nail polish I really am that I had to grab my bottle of OPI Play the Peonies from their Summer 2010 Nice Stems! collection and see if the color lived up to it's name. Pretty accurate, right? I could probably make an entire blog holding different colors of nail polish up to their namesake items. OPI Hands Off My Kielbasa next to the Ukrainian sausage at Christmas Eve dinner. Revlon Bonsai next to my dad's mini tree collection. Essie Penny Talk next to all the change I dig out of the bottom of my purse. OPI Crown Me Already next to a photo of me. The possibilities are endless.

I will probably sue you for all you're worth if you steal this idea.

May 10, 2013

Repurposing Candle Jars

 candle jar woodwick bath and body works slatkin and co freeze freezer candle diy repurposing jars
For the first 21 years of my life I was just tossing candles out as I finished them. The wick would burn out and leave a couple centimeters of wax at the bottom but the candle was toast. Now, I would never dream of just throwing that seemingly useless candle in the trash. You can salvage the glass containers and re-purpose them around your house for no extra cost instead of wasting your money on the jars they sell at home or craft stores.

Cleaning out the glass containers is relatively easy. Once the wick is burned, stick the candle in the freezer for a couple hours. The wax will freeze and end up hard and possibly cracked. At this point you can move the candle to the sink and CAREFULLY stick a butter knife into the wax. The wax should pop out in big pieces relatively easily depending on the brand of candle. In my experience, the Slatkin and Co candles sold at Bath and Body Works part with their wax the easiest while Yankee candles are a big more difficult. Woodwicks are sometimes a bit more difficult as the wax remains relatively greasy no matter how long they're kept in the freezer.

Once the wax is out you can peel the labels or stickers off the side and bottom of the candle. Usually the stickers on the bottom are paper and a big more difficult to peel than the brand labels. Additionally, a lot of the stickers and labels can leave behind that sticky residue, especially if you get over eager and peel too fast. This can be remedied by running the candle under hot water and attacking it with a steel wool pad, like Brillo or SOS. If the wick has been left behind on the bottom of the jar the hot water will loosen the glue and allow you to scrape it off with a spoon. Give the jar a quick wash like you would with any normal cup or run it through the dishwasher and you're done. You have a container that is totally unrecognizable as a former candle.

This is especially great if the candle jar was more unique than just a standard glass cup

A holder for drink stirrers, straws, small measuring cups, etc in the kitchen

This candle had a unqiue flat jar and now sits on top of my dresser and holds my most worn jewelry for easy access

I would have been sad to part with this cute pink container once the candle was used up but cleaning it out turned it into a great brush holder. The clear former Woodwick candle holds pens.

A tall, skinny candle turned into a mini vase and a former Slatkin and Co candle now holds little candies on our side table.

 My nail care basics fit in a Slatkin and Co container as well.

Other great uses for former candle jars are coin holders in your entryway, containers for cotton swabs, balls or pads in the bathroom, containers for hair bands or bobby pins and storage for tubes of lipgloss. I've also been saving some Yankee candle jars to use for building terrariums. These things are so multifunctional and make me feel like I'm cheating candle companies a little since I'm getting years of use out of them rather than just a week's worth before they have to be tossed. Hunt down some candles in cute containers and try it out for yourself!

May 9, 2013

Deborah Lippmann Summer 2013 Mermaids Collection - Review and Swatches

Deborah Lippmann nail polish review swatches Mermaids Collection Mermaid's Dream Mermaid's Eyes Do The Mermaid Mermaid's Kiss Million Dollar Mermaid
Can you imagine receiving notice that you have a package to pick up even though you know you haven't ordered anything and going to pick it up and seeing it's from Blue Mercury which you know to be a high end beauty store that you usually go into to just stare longingly at expensive nail polishes before leaving empty handed? And then you open it up and you see your dad has read your dumb beauty blog and sent you ALL FOUR of the new Deborah Lippmann Mermaid polishes as a really generous surprise?? Just imagine me in that moment. I almost passed out.

Deborah Lippmann nail polish review swatches Mermaids Collection Mermaid's Dream Mermaid's Eyes Do The Mermaid Mermaid's Kiss Million Dollar Mermaid
Mermaid's Dream, Mermaid's Eyes, Do The Mermaid, Mermaid's Kiss, Million Dollar Mermaid
Deborah Lippmann nail polish review swatches Mermaids Collection Mermaid's Dream Mermaid's Eyes Do The Mermaid Mermaid's Kiss Million Dollar Mermaid
Look how beautiful these polishes are just sitting in the bottle. This is probably one of the most appropriately named nail polish collections ever. All the colors are so summery and the finish is this slightly textured glittery foil, like something you'd imagine real mermaid scales to look like. The best part is that some have a duochrome-y silver or gold sheen that makes them extra gorgeous when they catch the light.

Deborah Lippmann nail polish review swatches Mermaids Collection Mermaid's Dream Mermaid's Eyes Do The Mermaid Mermaid's Kiss Million Dollar Mermaid

On my index is Mermaid's Dream, the original that inspired the rest of the collection. This is still my favorite. It's a beautiful warm seafoam green with a slight hint of gold shimmer and small pieces of medium blue glitter. My middle finger is Mermaid's Kiss which is the standout of the new collection. It's a rose pink with this strong gold shimmer and two shades of pink glitter pieces. It's gorgeous when it catches the light. My ring finger is Do The Mermaid, a lavender with a slight gold shimmer with bright purple glitter pieces and micro-glitter. My ring finger is Million Dollar Mermaid, a tangerine with orange glitter pieces with a slight hint of gold shimmer, barely visible against the orange base.

Deborah Lippmann nail polish review swatches Mermaids Collection Mermaid's Dream Mermaid's Eyes Do The Mermaid Mermaid's Kiss Million Dollar Mermaid
Deborah Lippmann nail polish review swatches Mermaids Collection Mermaid's Dream Mermaid's Eyes Do The Mermaid Mermaid's Kiss Million Dollar Mermaid

The blue shade, Mermaid's Eyes, doesn't really mesh with the rest of the collection. The base blue color is too close to the blue glitter pieces. The base color is also thicker than the rest of those in the collection and kind of swallows up the glitter. The gold shimmer in this come out as tiny glitter pieces instead of a duochrome shimmer as it does in the rest of the polishes. I wish the blue glitter pieces were more of a navy than a medium blue and that there was a silver shimmer instead of the small gold glitter. It's a polish that actually looks better with one carefully painted coat rather than two - this seems to be slightly effective at combating the opacity problem.

The wear on these polishes isn't the best. They're textured, shimmery and have glitter pieces in them which makes them prone to chips and tip wear. You probably won't get more than two days of wear with these polishes if you work with your hands often. Wearing a sticker base coat like Orly Bonder Base helps with these problems but with polishes like these the chips end up being a big bigger and therefore more noticeable. I suspect Million Dollar Mermaid and Mermaid's Eyes might wear a little better than the other three since their finish is less textured. The dry time is exceptional but you might have to clean up the tips if the glitter in the polish has made them look jagged.

Deborah Lippmann is probably the most over priced nail polish out there and these are no exception at $19 apiece. I feel really lucky that my dad gifted them to me which was super generous and thoughtful. I would still be thrilled with Mermaid's Dream and Mermaid's Kiss if I had paid for them with my own money. They're both incredibly eye catching and without hesitation I can say that they're my two most unqiue and beautiful polishes, hands down. I have hundreds but I can easily say that I own nothing like any of these five polishes.

I've heard of a dupe for Mermaid's Dream being sold at Urban Outfitters but I don't think it's available anymore. I'm surprised that more dupes haven't been released since Revlon has created at least 5 Lippmann dupes in the past two years and lines like Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure have been stepping up as well. I usually stick to buying these drugstore dupes because they're a very similar look for a quarter of the price and paying more than $8 for a nail polish is a bit extreme. Still, Mermaid's Dream and Mermaid's Kiss are worth their price. There's no colors that even compare on the market right now and they're breathtaking, prized additions to my collection. I'd splurge for the two and consider the purple shade, Do The Mermaid as well.

May 7, 2013

Forever21 Fit & Flare Floral Lace Dress

Shopping for summer clothes with a larger chest is "not fun" to put it politely. Life in general with a larger chest in not fun. You never hear the end of how "lucky" you are to have a chest that some women are paying thousands for. Rarely do I feel lucky and I'm sure a lot of chesty girls agree. All you get is unwanted looks, street harassment and beauty magazines that cater to making smaller chested girls feel better by telling them they'll never have to deal with gross, saggy boobs and guys are sooo put off by big chests anyway. You know, like you're not supposed to notice they're using your gross body for a self esteem boost because you're obviously dumb as rocks and obsessed with nothing but male attention if you're bigger than a D cup.

Summer clothing is just the cherry on top of it all. The trends are all flowy tops and neon bandeau bras and backless dresses or strappy designs. I can't wear a top without a defined waist or else I look third trimester level pregnant. I can't wear bandeaus or "pop of color" bras or tops where the arm holes go halfway down your sides - I'm overexposed as it is in a V neck. I can't go out in a backless dress or a strappy top - I don't mind visible bra straps but seeing the entire back of my bra would defeat the whole point of the dress. And going braless? Not an option. Sometimes I even run into problems with crew necks. I once bought three drab solid colored long sleeved crew neck t shirts from the Gap thinking I'd camoflague my chest once and for all and somehow nothing draws attention to my bust more. There's no winning. This just flashes in my head whenever the weather warms up and I pull up a website to online shop:

I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here but when you're chesty and find an article of clothing that fits AND looks cute it's like finding the Ark of the Covenant. I'll buy it in multiple colors if possible and I always feel obligated to shout it from the rooftops. I've found it! I found one thing that fits people like me!

One such item is the following dress from Forever21, the Fit & Flare Floral Lace Dress
Admittedly, I'm not sure how great the quality is, how well it will hold up after washings and whether or not it will dye all your socks pink in the machine. It's made of nylon, spandex and polyester which are far from high quality materials so proceed with caution. However, it is under $20 and those materials mean the dress is stretchy which is always a plus for my chest.

I love this dress. Love it. It's so bright, a hot medium neon pink. The color is like a real life exclaimation point to an outfit. It has a cute lace overlay that's attached with two stitches to the shell underneath that makes the dress really comfortable. The best part is the fit. I was kind of skeptical based on the above online photo but it's pretty perfect. I'm 5'4 and the dress hits right in the middle of the above-the-knee and mid-thigh mark so it's not too short (a frequent issue with Forever21 clothing) and not too dowdy, although I'm not sure if neons can ever be considered dowdy. The waistband hits me right at my natural waist and gives me a nice hourglass figure whereas a lot of summer dresses barely show any distinction between my stomach and chest. Best of all, the neckline exposes almost no cleavage and the straps are thick which makes it great for even the most heavy duty bras and for the days when you feel a bit more modest. I'm sure it would be great for people gifted with bigger hips or butts too because of the flare fit. It's an all around adorable and fun dress that's really cut with curvy people in mind. 

The dress fits pretty true to size if you're planning on making an online order. Just consult the size chart with your measurements in mind and order accordingly. It's not one of those Forever21 nightmares where the XL fits like a child's small.

The dress is also available in a neon yellow that would probably look awful on my perpetually pale skin but would look incredible on darker skin tones.

 I'm sure this dress looks great on the under D cup set but it's a real diamond in the rough find for people who have a tough time dressing for their chest. It's one of the few articles of clothing I feel cute but still covered up in for the days when I don't really want to flaunt my cleavage. I love having a dress where I don't have to sacrifice looks or fit for a modest look. Like, I have dozens of dresses for being unmodest but sometimes I just want to go to a family party, you know?