Thursday, June 27, 2013

Big Lots & Dollar Tree Haul

When nouveaucheap posted that there were sightings of China Glaze, Zoya, and OPI and even Essie at Big Lots, I knew I had to hightail it over there ASAP. There is only one big lots around me (a few more if I'm willing to travel a bit) and I had never even thought of looking there for makeup! I didn't realize that they have actual brands, not knockoffs or cheap no-names. They have nice brands there! For CHEAP
Unfortunately in my venture I did not find any Zoya, China Glaze, or Essie. But the trip was not a bust! I still got all these great products!

First I found this lovely emerald shade of nail polish by Julie G cosmetics called *****. I have also seen this brand be called Jesse's girl so I really don't know which to call it. The packaging says Julie G, though, so we'll go with that.I have seen lots of bloggers talk about this brand but since it is only sold in Rite Aid and online, I figured I would not be seeing it anytime soon. There are no Rite Aids around me and I am not one to order online very often (this is usually because I am broke) . When I saw this shade for only a dollar I couldn't pass it up! 
I have since used it on my nails and can definitely say that I am pleased with the formula so far!

 I have never tried any magnetic nail polishes before. But for $1.60 who can resist? I figured it was worth trying!
I have had one experience with "shatter" or "crackle" nails and let me just say, it was not a good one. I was not impressed at all. However when I saw this OPI Nicki Minaj **** polish for only $1.80 I had to snatch it! I am a sucker for a good deal. I am hoping the effect works, and it's cool to have a novelty polish like a Nicki Minaj one.
I got another magnetic polish, this time from Sinful Colors. Mostly what drew me to this was the pattern it has...unfortunately, I didn't realize until I got home that it didn't come with the magnet! I am still going to try using the Sally Hanson magnet, but it won't give it the same pattern it has on the tag :(

So that was my haul from Big Lots. 
Luckily (unluckily for my wallet) there is a Dollar Tree right next to my Big of course I had to stop in! and I found more goodies there!
This is my favorite find. It's a gorgeous purple with gold shimmering purple glitter in it. It's beautiful, and it looks great on the nails! It is Milani brand which I have never tried and it is the shade totally cool . That it is, Milani. That it is.

I'll admit this was a little of a goofy buy. I don't have any hope whatsoever for the polish in there, but I couldn't pass up those cute little stencils, for only a dollar. 
This is another fun color called Treasure Island by LA colors. Another brand I've never tried but I really liked the color so I hope the formula is nice!

I picked up Elf's shimmering facial whip in lilac petals and I think it might be a little to pinky to work as a highlighter for me. I haven't tried it on my face yet though!

That's it for my dollar tree haul but I have ONE more item that I found at CVS on clearance. I know that most people don't like or prefer black lipstick of any kind but I am really into the vamp-y kind of look.  I got this lipgloss for only 1 dollar and some change!

Rimmel Stay glossy in black

Ignore the extreme closeup of my lips. But here is the gloss on my lips alone, without anything underneath. 

This is layered on top of Urban Decay's sellout. As you can tell I layered the product a bit more this time. It tends to pool at the edges so maybe a lipliner would help prevent this?

This is the gloss layered on top of CoverGirl Outlast Lipstain in Saucy Plum 450
I layered it over this because it's darker and I felt would accent the black more. It's still spotty in places as you can tell on my upper lip.

The 3 lip products next to each other for comparison (sans flash)
I am still searching for a true black lipstick or gloss. They all seem to be spotty and sheer at best. The search continues! But for a buck and some change, I'm not complaining.

I advise everyone to go to their nearest Big Lots and see if they can score any high-end polishes for the low! Let me know in the comments if you found anything good at your local one!

Follow your bliss,
Ember Darling

Monday, June 24, 2013

First Ipsy bag! *first impressions and swatches*

So I FINALLY got my June Ipsy bag! 

If you remember my excitement almost a month ago, I was so eager to sign up, I tried to get in before May but alas I had to wait until June. I began seeing others getting their bags almost 2 weeks ago... clearly, I have a bone to pick with the USPS! It is absolutely absurd to me that it would take so long to get from North Carolina to Florida. Even more absurd is the fact that the tracker had it in orlando for FOUR days. I am less than 2 hours from Orlando. Clearly, no reason to take five days! 
I'm crossing my fingers that the rest of my bags arrive in a timely manner. I can only hope. 

Now, on to the good part! The stuff!
I was pleasantly surprised with my first bag, and I am happy to have no regrets about subscribing!

First of all, let's be real. The way this arrives is cute as hell! It screams glamour and I couldn't wait to open it once I laid eyes on it.

The bag itself is a cute leopard print with lime green accents. I like the little tag that says Ipsy :) I was a little surprised at the material- doesn't seem to be the most durable. But since this is one of many to come, I'm not complaining at all! Soon I'm gonna have more than I know what to do with! (This is a big fat joke. You can never have too many bags. I am a bag lady.)

First item I opened was the Nyx mosaic powder in Dare. I saw that some people got blush with theirs and honestly I'm pretty happy with this! It's a gorgeous shade as you can tell from the swatch. I really like it! Nyx is a brand that I am familiar with since it is being known for being affordable and fabulous which is obviously right up my alley! I have never tried any face products of theirs before, however! I have only tried eyeshadows and lip products. I am interested in seeing how I like their face powders. 
Retail price: $7.00 via nyxcosmetics

Next up is the Jcat sparkling creme palette in Suzie . This is the "warm" or golden toned version. Some people got the silver or "cooler" toned version and I think I would have liked that one much better! But I' not complaining, as these colors are still pretty!  This is a brand I have never heard of. 
This is probably my least favorite item from this bag. I really want to love it but it's a strange consistency. I have heard from various sources that this is meant to be a face and body glitter only and is not meant for the eyes. I have a few gripes with this. First one being-why wasn't it labeled as not being eye safe? I think that's something that should be printed very clearly on the label. Secondly, let's be real. I'm not in middle school anymore so I don't exactly wear glitter on my face or body. Some people can and they rock it and that's great but I'm not one of those people (anymore) I really like the colors and honestly I might try wearing it on my eyes and seeing how it goes since I can't find any other use for this palette. If I can't use it on my eyes I will have to unfortunately render this product useless :( 
Retail price: $4.49 *as I am writing this the Jcat website is down! Perhaps from all the traffic generated by Ipsy users?? Either way I couldn't check the price, so this price came from a random review that I found via google. No promises that it's accurate! You know how fickle google can be ;)

This is the highlighter crayon in Ivory Lace from the brand Chella. This is another brand I have never heard of. I am eager to try this product. I don't feel either way about it, so I will just see what I can do with it! I haven't tried it on my face yet so I'm not sure if it even matches my skintone. It almost seems like I could use it as a concealer as well as a highlighter! I will have to play with it and see what I can come up with :)
retail price: $18.00

The next product is a lipliner from the brand Starlooks in tickle me pink 
This is another brand that I have never heard of! Confession time: I have never used a lipliner. I know, right? Who am I? I claim to be a beauty blogger? Whatevs. I am digging this color. I can't wait to try it out! It is a gorgeous shade.

Retail price: $12.00

The last product I received was this gel eyeliner from Cailyn in the shade Iron
Full disclosure: I only use gel eyeliners! So I'm a little biased! I have never heard of this brand but I really like the packaging. The brush goes right into the top so it all stays together and the brush doesn't get icky! I am not sure about the shade so far, it's a steely gray with some shimmer. I think I will learn to love it, though, if we're being honest.
Retail price: $21.00

All in all even though there were no products that WOW-ed me, I am still totally happy with this month's bag! I can't wait to see what next month has in store!

The total value of this bag was over $63! And I can't believe I only paid 10!! What a GREAT investment

The best part about Ipsy is that when you subscribe you are given access to all kinds of tutorials on the website that teaches you ways to use the products you were given.
As if that's not cool enough, you also are given discount codes so you can buy the brand/product you got in the bag! It's awesome. 

If you are thinking of trying it I definitely encourage you to do so! It's a monthly subscription service so it automatically gets taken out every month but you can cancel after your first month if you don't like it!

you can sign up here, and yes this is a referral link. So I may recieve incentives if people sign up through me (think of it this way, if you join, you get the same opportunity!) but let me be clear I am NOT recommending it for that reason. This blog is completely honest. sign up here!

Follow your bliss!
Ember Darling

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sephora birthday haul!

If you have a sephora near you (or ever plan to buy things online from them) I highly recommend joining the beauty insider program. It's free to join and let's you accrue points with every purchase. But the biggest perk of joining is the birthday gift you recieve!

I just picked mine up today and I can't wait to try them out! 

I have never tried Benefit brand, as it is a little pricey for a budgeting beauty like myself. But I have heard LOTS of things about the brand, especially these two products.
This cute little box included a sample size of their They're real mascara and a smaller sample of their watts up highlighter. 

I am so excited to try out these products! I am going to be super sparing with them since they are so small. I am afraid that if I fall in love with them, I'll need to buy the full size versions! However the good news is the sample size of the highlighter is only $8. That's not so bad, in my opinion.

So I tried to beeline in and out of the store without spending any money but, of course, the clearance section caught my eye. I was delighted to see a $1 bin with a ton of sephora brand mini nail polishes in it! 
I picked up a few because for only $1 I couldn't resist. Because they are miniature the ingredients are REALLY hard to read, but I don't think these are big-3 free, which is a bit of a bummer. But I couldn't pass these up!

I am most excited for the one on the left! As you can see it is a purple/green duochrome, which great shimmer to it that the camera couldn't capture. It's called midnight crawl. It's kind of funny that it shows up mostly purple in the picture, because it looks mostly green in real life. Either way I can't wait to see it on the nail and I will for sure post what it looks like!
In the middle is money maker which is an interesting shade of gray. I don't think I have any gray polishes so I had to snatch it!
On the right is 1st night which is a pale dusty pink. I realized recently that I have NO light pink shades but I have an embarrassing amount of hot pink shades. When, in reality I am much more likely to wear a pale/light/baby pink more than a hot neon pink. So I got this one, too!

What do you think? Are you a beauty insider? Did you snatch up your birthday rewards from them? 

Follow your bliss, 
Ember Darling

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Birthday Haul

As I mentioned in my previous post, I just had a birthday! (let's not talk about how I'm getting old)
One thing that I am ecstatic about is the gift(s) that I received from my boyfriend's family. They are usually pretty good at giving gifts but this one blew all others out of the water! It's like my bf's mom knew exactly what I needed. 

So without further ado, here is all the goodies! I can't wait to try them all out! Expect some reviews in the near future!

First up we have the Onyx quick dry spray. I have only seen this in salons. I've mentioned before how I NEED to use Seche Vite because I ALWAYS mess up my nails before they are dry. Hopefully this spray will help out!! After reading the ingredients I will be sure to wash my hands after every application..yuck!

 Starting from the left we have a product that I have been in (lazy) search of for a while! the Sally Hanson manicure corrector. As you can probably tell from my pictures, I have issues with coloring outside the lines..I can't WAIT to try this product (in fact, I plan to tonight! and I will let everyone know how it is!). Second is the Sally Hanson Cuticle eraser+ balm. Alright, I've got a confession. I SUCK at taking care of my cuticles. It was one of those things that never even occurred to me until I started beauty blogging and realized that I really do need to start taking care of mine. So along with the eraser, there is also Sally Hanson Instant cuticle remover...very interested in trying these products so that I can have a more professional looking manicure!
 For makeup my boyfriend (and you guys!) know that I have been lusting after the Naked palette but I have yet to be able to afford it. Well, my boyfriend's mom was really sweet and ended up looking up online some dupes! and she found this physician's formula Nude palette. I don't know if it's an exact dupe but I'm still pretty excited to try it out and see how it looks! She also got me some Milani eyeshadow primer. I'll admit I don't know much about the Milani brand, and I don't own anything from it. I don't know how the primer will work but since I'm almost out of Urban Decay Primer Potion, I am excited to have something else to use.
I am excited for a new Sally Hanson base/top Seche Vite base coat broke, so I have been using Rimmel and I am not all that impressed. We'll see how the Sally Hanson brand holds up! Last but not least is a package of Nail rock nail caviar. I have never heard of this brand but I am interested in the caviar trend! this will be my first foray into the world of 3D manicures!! 

As you can see I was slightly spoiled! I am so thankful that my boyfriend's family treats me as one of their own. I can't wait to try each of these products and share the results with all of you!

Follow your bliss,
Ember Darling

I don't know about you...but I'm feeling 22! *Birthday nails*

Alright admittedly I can't get that dang Taylor Swift song out of my head! I don't even like it that much! But when you turn 22, it just gets stuck there, it's like a law.

But alas, yesterday was my birthday! I turned, as you may have guessed, 22. 

To celebrate I painted my nails with a birthday theme!

If my artwork is too awful for you to comprehend it goes a little something like this: 
thumb- candles, pointer- balloon, two middle- 22, duh; pinky- confetti 

I don't have any good pictures of it, and for that I apologize. I only have what I was able to capture with my phone, which wasn't much.

The base to this manicure was a purchase that I have been eyeing for a while..Essie's Using my maiden name. Such a gorgeous color! This was my first Essie purchase! Having only used it once I can't properly review it yet but that will be coming soon! :)

As you can tell I used a lot of colors for this! the polishes I used go as follows:
I know this is NOT the best picture but..ah well.

We've got from top to bottom- Sally Hanson nail art pen in Black (used for the string of the balloon), Sinful Colors in Irish Green (used for polka dots on '22' fingers), seche vite fast drying top coat, China Glaze in Creative Fantasy (for the balloons), Sinful Colors Nail art in either no more or bonjour- I had both of them out and not sure which one I used, whoops! (used for the candles), Sinful colors Nail art in Rose in Your Nose (for the other candles), Sinful Colors in Unicorn (for the flame of the candles), Sinful Colors Nail Art in  What a Night (for the numbers), Sally Hanson Instadri in Orange Impulse (for the flame of the candles), Ulta in Pinata-yada-yada (for the congetti pinkies), and last but not least Essie in Using My Maiden Name (for the base)

I've got to say this was the most work I've ever put into a manicure and I'm pretty proud of it! I know it's not perfect but I am still really happy with how it turned out. 

As for my birthday, I went to the Florida Aquarium! I know the purpose of this blog is for beauty so I will only include a picture or two :) 
myself and the boyfriend. It may be hard to tell but I'm wearing teal and blue eyeshadow/eyeliner/mascara, and have blue eyebrows. You may not know this but I am a mermaid so going to an aquarium was like returning to my natural habitat and I felt dressed for the part!

Follow your bliss,
Ember Darling

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My fatkini ...a lesson in loving yourself

An attack on "Things fat girls shouldn't do"
25 Things Fat People Shouldn't Do is an unabashed middle finger to the preposterous idea that any human who weighs more than the status quo does not deserve to live a full and well rounded (ahem) life. The list of 25 is composed word for word from direct lists of sheer assholery found on the internet. These range from the absurd to the profoundly shameful, and I will be disproving this offensive notion with style. Feel free to join in on the fun, and if you do, link at the bottom so I can share. May the Chub Club live long and prosper! -- Jes of the militant baker

I spent wasted a lot of time in my life being ashamed of my body. Outside forces and the media led me to believe that you can be fat or you can be pretty, you can't be both. You can be fat and want to fix it, or you can be skinny and love your body. But being fat and loving your body? Unheard of!

Over the past two years I've been on a fantastic adventure learning to love my body. and I've never been happier!! 

One of the things that has made me the most confident in myself is the purchase of my fatkini! 

Over my life I have been bombarded with the notion that you have to "achieve a perfect beach body!" I spent a lot of time covering myself up as I went to the pool and beach (and I live in FLORIDA!) of course I finally shook my head and said no no no, this will not do!

I hope that I can inspire at least one person to step outside of what they have always been comfortable in. The weight that lifts off your shoulders is unbelievable!

Here's a few pictures that were snapped of me this weekend, as I was swimming!

Follow your bliss, all the way to the beach!
Ember Darling

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Haircut: a journey

Since we are still getting to know each other (don't kiss me when you drop me off at the front door), I will let you know a little something.

My whole life, I've been obsessed with long hair. For as long as I can remember, attaining long, luscious locks has been the goal. Of course, to the outside (read: sane) person, I already had long hair. I always have. But it was never long enough.

One thing they don't tell you about being fat is that it makes your hair fall differently. It has more skin to roam over before it can reach it's final resting place. For me, it was right at the cliff that could be known as my cleavage. 

Ever since middle school, all I wanted was hair that fell below my boobs. I can't explain why, because I have no (logical) reason. It just seemed like an appropriate place for "long" hair to finally earn the title of "long". I wanted it to fall down the majority of my back. 

My hair didn't get the memo. 

I have very thin hair. and it has always stopped growing whenever it felt like it. As you can imagine, "whenever it felt like it" was always synonymous with "nowhere near where I wanted it". 
 (picture: Here is a picture from Thanksgiving 2010. I'm fairly sure this is the longest my hair has ever been. I would do a lot of things to get back to that length! I don't know how or why it ever got that long or HOW or why it stopped being that long.)

Once I became old enough to have a say in it, I refused going to the hairdresser. I avoided haircuts like the plague. Everyone always pumps you full of cliches like "regular trims make it grow faster" but I was a child with my fingers in my ears screaming la-la-la (not literally, but might as well have been) I didn't believe any of it. I didn't let ANYONE touch my precious locks. 
In recent memory (the past 4 years) I can count the amount of haircuts I have gotten on one hand. In fact, most have simply been getting bangs. I never let anyone touch the length. Hairdressers always have a way of promising a half inch, and chopping off 3 inches. I quickly learned to distrust them all.

Long hair has always just been me

Then, I woke up one day, and I felt differently. 

I realized that with the state my hair was in, it was never going to grow to the length I coveted. And even if by some miracle it did, why would I want ratty stringy hair? I pondered this for about 30 seconds.

I don't remember making the decision to cut my hair. I didn't choose to, but one day I just knew that's what I was going to do.

I am young, and I basically never step out of my comfort zone. I daydream about dying my hair all sorts of 'crazy' colors (but can't due to my current job). But I have never once thought about changing my hair style. 

When that hit me, I felt incredibly boring. What was I doing? Hair grows back! They make extensions! and wigs! Why was I  confined to this long, straight, damaged look I had committed myself to?? The time to experiment was now!

Once I made the decision, I told my mother, who is very familiar with my attachment to my hair. She literally didn't believe me at first. I had to do a lot of convincing to get her to realize that I was indeed ready for this. She set an appointment for nearly 2 weeks away. This made me nervous. What if I changed my mind before then!?

I got to work on Pinterest (I'm a self-proclaimed addict) and ended up finding more cute hair styles than I knew what to do with. I created a secret board (I wanted the change to be a surprise!) and soon had upwards of 50 pins on it. Here's a confession: they were all the same haircut, more or less. Even though I didn't realize it when I was pinning away, there WAS a style that I was clearly more drawn to.

Finally, after a lot of nervousness, the day of my hair appointment arrived. Honestly? I was terrified!

My hairdresser, who I have actually gone to on-and-off (off being when I was avoiding salons) for the majority of my life, was truly shocked, and a little apprehensive. I couldn't blame her. She had seen me pout over losing just 2 inches before. 

But I had made up my mind. I put my trust in her hands and.... took the plunge!

To my delight, I was pretty happy with it! I can't say I'm over-the-moon in love with it. BUT I don't hate it (there was a small....okay, large..part of me that feared I would).

What I like most about it is that if I leave it alone it falls straight and flat, and looks sleek. But if I add some styling paste it can transform to a slightly more 'edgy' look, to accentuate the angles and layers. The latter is how I prefer to wear it but the former is how my laziness gets what it wants.

The response from my family and friends has been overwhelming! People apparently like it! Who knew that short hair could suit me?

Which brings me to my closer. I am so glad that I took this risk, even though I was nervous and had plenty of doubts. I'm so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to embrace change! 

If you're reading this and are on the fence about trying something new in your appearance, I urge you to go for it. Appearances change, hair grows back, and you can fix most things you don't like. I was very set in my ways before and now I can look back and see how utterly silly and childish that was.

I know I'm going to have moments where I miss having long hair, and that's okay.
 Because overall, I'm really glad I did it.

I hope you guys like it! 

Follow your bliss, even if it scares you,
Ember Darling