Monday, June 30, 2014

Face and Outfit of the Day -- PHAMExpo

This past weekend, I was able to attend the Professional Hair and Makeup Expo in Pasadena, CA, better known as PHAMExpo! I've been to a few trade shows like this back when I was in beauty school, and I totally forgot how much fun I had at them. Think of PHAMExpo a little bit like IMATS, except much smaller scale. At this show, I got to meet such fantastic inspirations such as Marlena from +Makeup Geek and Sam and Nic from +pixiwoo!

Let's get on to the outfit! I wanted to go casual yet chic, keeping in mind that it was also 90 degrees in Pasadena. I decided to go for this simple tiered mint crop tank from Wet Seal, which kept me cool while the tiered effect of it added a little something extra. Since this tank had such a deep racerback cut, I wore a cross-back bra with a white lace bandeau, also from Wet Seal, to ensure that everything stayed covered up. My black high-waisted skinny jeans are from H&M, and my black belt is from Target. To add a little more flair, I threw on my super cute black cat flats, which my best friend gave me for my 20th birthday. This style of flat is super popular right now, and a bunch of different brands sell them, but you can purchase these exact ones from Amazon! My bracelet was a total steal for $3.99 at Forever21, and my necklace was from H&M, which I also wore in my birthday look

On my face, I wore a combination of "Marzipan" and "Amaretto" shadows from the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette. I did a bold winged liner using my Maybelline Line Stiletto Liquid Liner, and for a vivid pop of color, I added Sephora Cream Lip Stain in "Forever Fuchsia." I wanted the makeup to be simple but fun, so I wouldn't have to worry about touching it up at all throughout the day.

Shop the Outfit:

I had so much fun at PHAMExpo, and definitely spent way too much money. But as Sarah always says, makeup is an investment! I will definitely have a big haul/first impressions post up very soon, so stay on the lookout for that! 

- D.

p.s. I could just DIE from meeting Marlena, Sam, and Nic today! Marlena was the reason my interest in makeup first sprouted and it was an honor to meet all three of them. Enjoy a couple of photos from the day!

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Lipstick Collection

Summer is my favorite time to wear super bright lip colors, which inspired me to do a post on my lipstick collection. It's not as vast as a lot of people seem to think, however the products I am swatching and sharing are only the traditional, lipstick-in-a-tube lip colors in my collection. A lot of the lip colors I have purchased have been bought as dupes for other more expensive products, so I will also leave a list of dupes with each color. If you would like to see my collection of liquid lip colors, let me know in the comments!

See, my collection isn't all that large after all!


  • Maybelline Vivids "Fuchsia Flash" -- This is a great blue-toned neon pink color, and one of my favorites for summer! It is gorgeous on pretty much every skin tone, and I actually really love seeing this color on darker skin tones. It is very similar to MAC "Candy Yum Yum," although much glossier. 
  • Maybelline Vivids "Brazen Berry" -- This is a great color if you want to jump on the Radiant Orchid train. It is definitely a great way of adding a pop of purple without getting that frostbitten look. It is very similar to MAC "Heroine" lipstick, as well as Milani "Violet Volt."
  • Maybelline Vivids "Shocking Coral" -- This is my favorite coral lip color. After being super let down and unable to find MAC "Party Parrot," I settled for this color and I'm still very happy with it! It is a bit glossier than "Party Parrot" might be, but it is still very comparable. It is also similar to Milani "Flamingo Pose."
  • NYC "Blue Rose" -- This is an older NYC lipstick, but I believe they just repackaged it into their Expert Last Lipstick collection. It is a very blue-toned pink, even more so than Maybelline's "Fuchsia Flash." I actually completely forgot how much I loved this lipstick until swatching it today! It is almost a dead on match for MAC "Show Orchid."

  • MAC "Russian Red" -- Without a doubt, "Russian Red" is my favorite red lipstick. It is a deep, cool-toned red that looks great on every skin tone. Personally, I prefer it over the much-coveted "Ruby Woo." It is a matte formula, but not so matte that it is uncomfortable or drying. It is very similar to Makeup Geek "Elegant," but for whatever reason, the Makeup Geek lipsticks are not available on the website currently. It also reminds me of Wet n Wild Mega Last "Stoplight Red."
  • Revlon Super Lustrous "Love That Red" -- A more orangey-toned red, "Love That Red" looks best on warmer skin tones. On cooler skin tones, it definitely comes across much more orange, which is why I don't tend to reach for this color much. It reminds me a bit of MAC "Lady Danger," but it also reminds me of "Ruby Woo." I'd say this color is kind of like if those two had a baby. It also reminds me of Milani "Red Label."
  • Revlon Lip Butter "Red Velvet" -- This is another fantastic color from the Revlon Lip Butters, and "Red Velvet" isn't sheer at all like some of the others. It is definitely buildable, and reminds me quite a lot of NYX Butter Gloss in "Red Velvet." It is a bit of a brown-toned red, much like the cake! It reminds me of a much sheerer version of LimeCrime "Wicked."
  • Milani "Plumrose" -- This color on the lips is absolutely beautiful. It makes my lips look so good, but it's just natural enough to look like you're hardly wearing anything at all! It is a plummy-pink color that reminds me of MAC "Craving."
  • Milani "Sangria" -- This lipstick is great if you want to have a dark berry lip but you want it to be comfortable and fuss-free. This lipstick isn't super opaque, so it isn't as precarious as, say MAC "Rebel," but it is comparable in color.
  • Wet n Wild Mega Last "Sugar Plum Fairy" -- Now this color is a pretty solid dupe for MAC "Rebel." They are both matte, berry colors, but the Wet n Wild lipstick is only $1.99! This is one of my all-time favorite lipsticks for the fall and winter. Of course, it is very similar to Milani "Sangria."
And that's my entire lipstick collection! I'm actually quite surprised at how well I recently cleared out my stash, because there used to be tons more! My name is Danielle, and I am a lipstick addict. If you want to see the rest of my lip collection, let me know in the comments, or +1 this post!

- D. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Collective Summer Fashion Haul + Try On

To kick off the summer, lots of stores have started having some fantastic sales. Since I'm moving soon to a much more humid environment than I'm used to, I need some different clothing to better suit my new weather conditions. On top of that, I've recently realized I need to stop fighting my body type, and I have decided to kind of re-vamp my wardrobe to better suit my shape. (Look at me, justifying my shopping addiction as always). Here are just a few things I have picked up in the couple of months to add to my summer wardrobe! Also, please excuse my dead grass. We're having a drought here in San Diego!

At Aeropostale, they've been having one of their awesome "Up to 70% off" sales. With this sale, a lot of the clearance stuff gets even cheaper. I mean, come on, you can't beat crop tops for less than $5! I really love boxy crop tops and stripes, so I picked up a striped cropped tank for only $4.99, and a striped cropped burnout tee for $5. Plus, Retail Me Not currently has an exclusive 25% off online/20% off in-store coupon (expires 6/25/14), so take advantage of it while you can!

Since I am leaving for school soon, I needed to pick up a good laptop/school bag. I didn't want to get anything that was obviously a laptop bag, and I needed something big enough to also carry my books. After hunting for a little bit, I decided on this cute faux leather tote bag with zipper detailing from Forever21. In addition to the bag, I picked up these basic high-waisted cuffed denim shorts. I have been on the hunt for the perfect pair of high-waisted denim shorts that were a medium wash with no distressing. Apparently that's a hard thing to find because it took ages, but it must have been meant to be, because these were the last pair and they fit me perfectly! I also needed some basics, so I picked up two v-necks in white and black, as well as a black racerback tank. I got these a size up from what I normally would because Forever21's basics almost always shrink for me.

Because I recently donated quite a few of my old cardigans, I also picked up this oatmeal cardigan from their Love 21 line, which I think will be absolutely perfect for cool summer nights or when the weather is transitioning into fall. It's super cozy and incredibly soft!

Lastly from Forever21, I bought two pairs of sunglasses. One pair of thick-rimmed ombre sunglasses, and a pair with a square frame and gold accents. I purchased two different pairs because I've had some horrible luck with sunglasses lately. Recently, I broke one pair of sunglasses, and then managed to lose another pair within two weeks. The fantastic thing about Forever21 sunglasses is that they are so affordable, and I won't feel so guilty if something bad happens to them!

This next piece is something a bit trendier than I would normally buy. Recently, I've been seeing kimono cardigans every where, and I love how they dress up any lazy day outfit! If you follow me on Tumblr, you'll know I had some drama with a kimono that I bought from Cotton On (never again), so I ended up going to Charlotte Russe and finding this navy floral kimono which I love! I think kimono cardigans make outfits so easy. Just some jeans or shorts and a basic tee, a kimono on top, and you're all set. I'm a sucker for anything that makes my lazy outfits look a little more put together, and this definitely does the trick.

From H&M, I picked up two pairs of pants. The first pair is just a basic pair of black high-waisted skinny jeans. I know these jeans are going to be a staple in my wardrobe year-round, and they make me feel so confident! The second pair I picked up is a pair of khaki mid-rise twill skinnies, which were on sale for $10. They're definitely quite a bit different from what I would normally wear, but with all the dark colors I tend to wear for tops, I thought they would be perfect to help lighten up my wardrobe a bit!

Of course, I had to stop by Target, but here I had two very specific items in mind. I needed a new pair of basic black flats, because I ripped through my last pair after wearing them to work every day for over a year, and a new bikini top. These basic black flats by Merona were not my first choice in style, but they were so comfy and looked better on my feet than they did in the box (plus, nothing bothers me more than toe cleavage, which these shoes didn't have. you know, when the front of your shoe doesn't quite cover your toes all the way and you see the little lines between your toes?), so I settled on these. I've also been wanting a vintage-style swimsuit for a very, very long time. Probably since I was a junior in high school, actually. With the summer on its way, and with my upcoming move to a warm and humid climate, I have a feeling I'm going to be spending a bit more time in the water than usual. I picked up this basic black bikini top, which I plan to pair with some high-waisted bikini bottoms from Unique Vintage.

Last but not least, of course, I could help but stop by PINK to check out their Love PINK Sale, which is essentially their version of the VS Semi-Annual Sale. PINK and Victoria's Secret are the only stores where I can find my size (having a small rib cage with a bigger bust sounds like a blessing, but I promise you it's not), so every time they have a sale, I have to take a look! PINK's Wear Everywhere Lightly Lined bras are my absolute favorites, so I scouted the sale bins to find these two bras. Unfortunately, I can't find the sale price online, so you'll have to go in store to see what you can find! The black and white bra cost $15.99, and the muted lime green bra cost $14.99. If you have a hard-to-find size like me, I definitely recommend checking out this sale before it ends! 

And just for kicks, enjoy a photo of my boyfriend attempting to walk my cat on her leash in my backyard ;)

Let me know in the comments if you decide to hit up any of the awesome summer sales that are happening right now. I'd love to see your picks! 

- D.

p.s. On Sunday, June 29th, I will be at PHAMExpo in Pasadena! If you are going to be there, let me know in the comments! :) 

Monday, June 16, 2014

How I Grow My Brows

It's no secret. I hate my brows. And I know a good majority of my brow hatred is my own fault. To start off, I don't have very thick brows because of genetics. I am half Taiwanese and because of that, I have sparse, thin brows. On top of that, I have horrific anxiety, and when I get anxious, I often pull my brow hairs out. Let me tell you, it's an awful habit that I'm trying to stop, but either way, my brows aren't very voluminous in the first place!

To solve my sad brow problem, I hunted high and low. The most affordable brow serum I seemed to find was the Anastasia Brow Enhancing Serum, at $38. And then, of course, there was the ever-popular Latisse, which can range anywhere from $40 to $240, and requires a prescription. Okay, so I wanted thick brows pretty badly, but not so badly that I was will to pay that much for it. For a while I felt that I would have to just live with my brows. But then, about a year ago, I found a miracle product that is super affordable and can be found at any drugstore in the...laxative aisle?

This miracle product is castor oil. While castor oil is known to induce vomiting when ingested, it is also known for hair growth. Castor oil contains all kinds of beneficial ingredients for your hair, such as vitamin E, proteins,  fatty acids, as well as having antibacterial properties. Castor oil is also known to help improve circulation, which is can promote hair growth! At first, I was very skeptical about this stuff working. However, what did I have to lose? It was such a low cost, between $5-$10 on average, so I figured I might as well try it.

A year later, I still pull my brows out due to my anxiety. However, my brows have greatly benefited from the use of castor oil. Within about a week of applying castor oil for the first time, I noticed results! It's very quick and easy, and I apply it at night before I go to bed with a cotton swab. This oil has changed the way I see my brows, and has kept me from looking like a mad woman, especially on days when I don't fill in my brows. 

- D. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Drugstore Nails -- Pastel Yellows Brand Battle

Recently, I've been on the hunt for the perfect pastel nail color. After trying out three different nail colors, I finally found the perfect one! I am horrible at painting my nails, so I tend to avoid expensive luxury brands, since I'll just make a mess anyways. Because of this, I chose to look into some drugstore polish lines to see what I could find. 

Unfortunately, the majority of pastel yellows are limited edition, which makes them even harder to find. Two of the three polishes that I'll be talking about in this post are limited edition shades, but you can still find them on the shelves of many drugstores. In photos and in the bottles, all three shades look generally the same. However, there are some very distinct differences!

First I'll start with the two limited edition shades:

Maybelline Color Show Bleached Neons in "Citrus Collide." This polish really doesn't look much like the color in the bottle. You may be able to tell in the photo that this yellow is definitely a bit brighter. I definitely understand why they named it "Citrus Collide," because I'd kind of describe it as a slightly under-ripe lemon. You know, when it still has that greenish tint to it? It is definitely much more vivid than the other two polishes, and is surprisingly usable for being a Color Show polish, which usually are a total let down for me. Not the pastel I was looking for, but a unique color nonetheless.

New York Color In A New York Color Minute in "Mimosa Bouquet." Cute name, pretty color, horrific formula. I haven't used N.Y.C. polishes since I was in middle school, I'd guess. This polish reminded me why. After two coats, the polish was streaky and sheer, but after three it becomes opaque-ish (but still patchy). It seems like it never dries. It's got a bit of a weird shimmer in it, and I suppose that's to help distract from the streakiness of the polish, but this stuff just doesn't get it done for me.

Revlon Color Stay in "Buttercup." This is the only permanent shade of the bunch, and by far my favorite. In fact, this is my new go-to pastel yellow polish. I don't know why I didn't think to buy this polish first and foremost, to be honest, because I already know I love Revlon's nail polish! It's a beautiful, creamy consistency that is opaque in two coats (but for the sake of photos, I used three). It can get a little streaky, but even I could make it work for me, and that says a lot. It's no doubt to me why this is the only pastel yellow in a permanent collection!

What is your current nail obsession?

- D. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

REVIEW: bareMinerals bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation

It's been a couple of months since my last product review, and recently I tried a new foundation that I am fully obsessed with, so I figured it would be perfect to do a full review for anyone who may be curious! This is my first time doing a foundation review, so if I miss anything that you may have questions about, feel free to ask in the comments!

This foundation has been all over the internet, and I think the general consensus is that this foundation is amazing. What foundation am I talking about? The bareMinerals bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation, which I also mentioned in my May Favorites post.

The shade I got was "Bare Porcelain," which is the lightest shade. According to the bareMinerals website, the coverage of this foundation is adjustable, with a natural finish, a liquid texture, and is suitable for all skin types. This foundation is also formulated without water, oil, silicones, parabens, or fragrance, which means that this foundation is pure liquid pigment, with 11% titanium dioxide to act as a physical sunscreen, which is something I talked about in my Sunscreen Smackdown.

Clearly, bareMinerals is really pushing the "Shake well" thing, but with good reason. Because this foundation is so pure, the chemicals used to bind ordinary foundations are not included in this formula, so the ingredients will settle and separate. If you don't shake well, you'll get a streaky finish and a bizarre texture to your skin.

You get 1 fl. oz. of product in a sturdy plastic bottle, with a squeeze top bottle that reminds me a little bit of eye drops packaging. The packaging for this isn't luxurious despite the $29 price tag, but it's pretty obvious that the foundation is the focus here, and the bottle does get the job done.

This is probably the thinnest foundation I have ever used. It is set in a coconut-derived base, with lilac plant stem cells and vitamin C to "reveal brighter, more even-toned skin." According to the website, this foundation was clinically proven to improve the appearance of dark spots, skin brightness, and texture. While I'm not sure if that is entirely true, I have definitely found that this foundation makes my skin look really, really good. 

Every time I have worn this foundation, I have gotten tons of compliments, and it's very suitable for my dry-combination skin. You are supposed to be able to only use 1-2 drops for a more natural look, and you can add drops to increase coverage. This product claims to be buildable from sheer to full coverage. 

I have found that this foundation is definitely buildable. On days that I don't want to use a heavy concealer, I can dab and blend this over any spots and it really helps to make them disappear! It is quite a dewy finish, so unless you skin is absolutely parched, I would definitely recommend using a setting powder on top. Also, in combination with a primer and powder, this foundation does last all day! I wore it for the first time for about 12 hours and it still looked great (although not as fresh) at the end of my day, and it was hot that day! 

Some of you may be asking, "What about the brush?" Well, I honestly felt like this brush was a gimmick, so I didn't purchase it. I have found this foundation applies perfectly fine without the brush. Maybe eventually I might go out and purchase, but for now, I'm very happy without it.

Finals Thoughts? For $28, this all-in-one product is definitely worth it, especially if you have dry or aging skin. If you have oily skin, I'm not sure if I could really recommend it (but of course, I don't have oily skin, so it's hard for me to say). For the summer, this foundation is beautiful and light, and with 20 different shades, there is a color for just about anybody! To see this foundation in action, check out my Karlie Kloss MET Gala post! 

Like I said before, this is my first foundation review, so if I missed anything, feel free to leave questions down below!

- D. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Trash Talk

Alright so the point of this post isn't to "trash talk" anyone, but rather talk about the bag of trash that's been piling up in my bathroom. Now, this isn't a huge number of products, but it's definitely more than I usually let build up. Why? So I can tell you all about them, of course! These are a few of the products I have finished up in the past few months, along with my thoughts on them!

  • Tresemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo. So much "no" about this product...I have had this for a few months, and supposedly they have a new formula now, but I don't even want to try the new formula. When I first used it, it actually felt like it made my hair greasier, and it left a really apparent white cast in my hair. I tried to use it a couple times, thinking maybe it would get easier to use since it was my very first dry shampoo, but after like two uses, the nozzle clogged. It's still mostly full, but I can't get any product out, and I don't even think I would want to if I could.
  • Up & Up Nourishing Nail Polish Remover. There isn't really much to say about this. I don't really know if it "nourished" my nails or cuticles at all, but it did the job. I prefer nail polish removers with acetone because I feel like they get the job done better, and this stuff is super affordable, but nothing special.
  • Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deep Conditioning Treatment. I have been obsessed with this stuff since January of last year. This is probably at least my fifth or sixth bottle of this stuff, and I recently discovered they have released a bunch of new treatments from their 3 Minute Miracle line! I recently picked up the Color Treatment, so hopefully I love that one just as much as I loved this stuff! It also smells absolutely amazing, and makes my color-treated hair feel super soft without making it greasy.
  • Soap & Glory Hand Food Mini. This stuff has saved my hands so many times. I picked up this travel size quite a few months ago and it has lasted me ages! It smells amazing and does a great job, and is super easy to just toss in your bag because it takes up so little room. Soap & Glory's Original Pink fragrance is my absolute favorite, and this hand cream hydrates my hands really well without leaving a greasy film all over my skin. It absorbs quickly and gets the job done!
  • Aquaphor Healing Ointment. I became obsessed with Aquaphor when I got my first tattoo done. This stuff seriously does such amazing things for dry skin. I use it in combination with a steroid cream for my psoriasis, and it helps to keep my skin hydrated and soft without irritating it! When the weather starts to get crazy and I find my lip balm can't keep up with my chapped lips, I pull out my Aquaphor at night, and my lips are healed and plump in the morning.
  • Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner. This gel liner lasts ages, but that doesn't mean it doesn't eventually dry out. I have had this pot for quite some time (seriously...a really long time), and it's finally time to say goodbye. After fighting with the texture of this liner, I decided I needed to just go out and buy a new pot, because it was just starting to tug and turn a charcoal color, as opposed to the super intense black it was in it's original form. I almost began to think I didn't like this liner anymore, but then once I got a new pot, my faith in this product was revived! 
  • Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm. I wear this stuff night and day. The Shea Butter & Vitamin E flavor smells like vanilla cupcakes, and it is a fantastic every day lip balm! It is without a doubt the best lip balm I have ever tried, and has an SPF of 25 to help protect the sensitive skin on your lips!
  • Soap & Glory Flake Away Body Polish. It has certainly taken quite some time to get through this body scrub! It has that same Original Pink scent as the Hand Food, and I seriously wish I could describe it to you. It does a fantastic job of exfoliating, and worked wonders on my legs after I got home from Chicago back in February, after fighting against the cold winds that my skin isn't used to!
  • St. Ives Oatmeal & Shea Butter Body Wash Travel Size. You may have noticed a pattern. I love moisturizing products. My skin is so dry, but oddly enough, I found that Aveeno products are too hydrating for my skin, and oftentimes just make me feel greasy. I bought this travel size when I went to Chicago, and finally finished it back in April. This tiny bottle lasted me that long! A little bit goes a long way with this stuff, and it lathers beautifully. 
Are there any products you've recently finished that you love? Let me know if there's anything you think I should try!

- D.  

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

May Favorites!

May was such a good month for hair and skin. I have discovered a few new products that I am loving, and another product (that I didn't include in this month's favorites) that is a new part of a line I already know I love! I'm only going to be talking about a couple of products this month, but they have made such a huge difference in my routine this month that I almost felt like it was all I needed!

bareMinerals bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation. This foundation was released in early May and as soon as I saw it, I had to have it. I love products that are pure and natural, and this foundation is made with no parabens, fragrance, silicone, or water! A foundation without water? Crazy, right!? But it is seriously such a beautiful foundation and it makes my skin look absolutely amazing. I won't go too into detail because I'm planning to do a full review on it, but this foundation has been on my skin almost every day since purchasing it. 

Dove Hair Therapy REFRESH+Care Volume Dry Shampoo. I have been on a hunt for the perfect affordable dry shampoo. I have been looking for one for a long time, but I was always so paranoid of dry shampoos that would leave a white cast in my hair or just straight up not work. In my next post, you'll see a perfect example of that. However, this Dove dry shampoo works wonders! Usually I can go 2 days without washing my hair, but this dry shampoo helps my hair push into 3 or 4 days without washing! It leaves no white residue or powder in your hair, and it smells so clean and fresh.

NYX Rouge Cream Blush -- Natural. This blush gives such a light, natural flush to the skin, and my dry skin absolutely loves the cream formula. I love how lightweight it feels, and the color is perfect for my skintone! It is definitely a wetter consistency than a lot of other cream foundations, but it sets to a dewy finish that can easily be mattified with some translucent powder. 

Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray. Earlier this year in April, I was thinking back on my beauty school days and trying to remember what I used to use with my short hair. Of course, I couldn't remember but I did remember a friend of mine used a sea salt spray very similar to this one, and it gave her the most beautiful beachy waves. Now, for my pin-straight hair, it doesn't create a beachy wave, but it does give me tons of volume! I like to use it after washing my hair and before blow drying on low heat, and it just gives me so much more texture than my fine hair normally doesn't have.

- d.