Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rediscovered Beauties and a Beautiful Pairing

If the silence in posts the past few days means anything, it means that I've been playing hermit again and not stepping out of my house besides going for a run or wearing any makeup.  Recently I've just felt an unexplainable need to lounge around in my house and relax, and at least try to work on my homework for my online classes.  Usually that means a lot of reading and a little bit of homework.  You see, one of my goals this summer was to actually read for pleasure, which I don't think I've done since...last summer.  

Part of being a hermit this weekend was because of my first book of the summer: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Is it ages old? Yes.  Has everyone on Earth already read it? Yes.  But I haven't gotten around to it and I absolutely adored the movie (the original Swedish version...I haven't gotten around to the American one yet!)  This book has been on my list for ages, and I've finally gotten around to reading it, and it was absolutely fantastic.  Despite having seen the movie already, I still could not put down the book because of the suspense.

The next books on my list?  I have Cold Mountain and The Great Gatsby waiting for me, but I'm looking for new suggestions!  If any of you have any good recommendations, please tell me! I'm open to just about anything.

Now, onto the actual subject of this post...



 I seem to be the expert of not using half the products I actually own....but the Revlon PhotoReady Cream Blush in Coral Reef and Maybelline ColorSensational Lipstick in Park Ave. Peach are making a reappearance!

Read on for more swatches and information:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Perfecting the art of the natural look

While I love a perfectly made of face complete with bronzer, blush, highlighter, sometimes I just want a lighter look.  Especially as the weather gets warmer (with the exception of today's 55 degree weather), layering on a full coverage foundation puts me at risk of having a melted face at the end of the day.

Tinted moisturizers are perfect for creating a natural look with their light coverage while still evening my skin out.  I mixed Covergirl's Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 foundation  just to get a perfect color match, but I don't think I added enough to really amp up the coverage that much.  

I haven't perfected the minimalist look using just around 5 products, but I'm getting there!  There's something liberating about just wearing a few products on my face.

  
I guess the eyeliner doesn't make it a perfect "natural" look, but I couldn't resist...the best way that I've found to define my eyes without using a black eyeliner is by using a charcoal liner.  It subtly darkens my eyelashes without actually creating a definite line, making it perfect for those I-don't-want-to-look-like-I'm-wearing-makeup-but-I-actually-am days.

Here's what I used-
Face:
Sonia Kashuk Radiant Tinted Moisturizer mixed with a drop of Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous Foundation - also used as concealer (multitasking!)
Sephora Mattifying Foundation
Vincent Longo Water Canvas blush in Aqua Crimson (I finally finished this today..hooray!)
theBalm Frat Boy

Eyes:
Milani Liquif'eye 
Revlon Colorstay eyeliner in Charcoal on lower lashes 
Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara

Brows: Revlon Brow Fantasy

Lips:
Neutrogena Moistureshine Lipstick in Nectar

I'm a load of contradictions, aren't I?  Between natural-no makeup days, and challenges to put more color on my face, I can't make up my mind!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

SOTD: Smoothie of the Day and FOTD where I'm actually wearing color??

I'm addicted to smoothies. I can't help it - they're so incredibly easy to make, are refreshing for the warmer days we've been having, and are a great way to fill my sugar cravings.  I find that whenever I drink my smoothies, the fiber in them keeps my so full that I have no desire to snack on anything else, which was always a problem for me.  

My next experimentation is extremely refreshing, and has a great balance of a tart and sweet flavor.  It's also a nice tropical-inspired smoothie, including kiwis, bananas, and pineapple.  I typically don't like eating either kiwis or pineapple for their texture, but I love the taste of them in a juice!  I added in kale to sneak in some fiber, and right before I started blending, I added in some flax seeds as well.

All the ingredients jumbled in together!

 Read on to see the exact recipe!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

And the hunt ends (for now). Sneaker wedges??? New Jewelry finds and books!

For the better part of the last 4 months, I have been on the hunt for two specific pairs of shoes.  The perfect ankle boot and the perfect sneaker wedges that wouldn't break the bank.  Every time I saw either of these shoes, there was something just off about them, whether it was the sole, color, or material.  

This weekend, while trying to take advantage of Urban Outfitter's extra 50% off clearance sale, I found them.  It was complete fate that I would pick these up in glee.  The boots, by Sam Edelman, were the last pair left, and fit my perfectly, despite being a half size too big in what I usually wear.  The sneaker wedges also fit perfectly, a relief after I couldn't find a pair in Germany that I just loved.  To top things off, $30 for the Sam Edelman boots that I have lusted after for so long and $20 for the sneaker wedges had me tucking them under my arm and toting them home with me.



 Read after the jump to see more details and other pictures of what I found this weekend!

Feeling Coral

I have a full blown obsession with the Estee Lauder Pure Color Blush in Naughty.  It is the perfect bright red coral that with the right stippling brush (Sonia Kashuk Highlighting brush anyone?), gives me the perfect flush.  I'm actually not sure I've loved a blush more, except for MAC's Fleur Power when I first got it a few years ago.  It still remains as one of my favorites, with its shiny new sister from Estee Lauder.

Paired with MAC's Refined Mineralized Skin Finish, it is a coral-bronze glowy heaven.




Read on to see swatches and how I wore this!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

New obsessions...

...new obsessions for beauty, that is.  In a whirlwind of shopping this weekend, I've managed to get all the shoes I needed for the summer, as well as some new clothing (what's new?).  This only happens a couple times a year, and every other time I go shopping, I usually just get one or two pieces.  More details on those tomorrow, but my newest makeup acquisitions are just begging to be talked about.


When heading to the beach, I always accidentally wander into the Cosmetics Company Outlet to hunt for limited edition/discontinued/hard to find products.

First up - I have wanted to get Clinique's Black Honey gel liner for forever, and although it isn't hard to find by any means, I still picked this up while I could.  I haven't even tried it yet, but I've almost bought it so many times that I just took the leap this time!

The Estee Lauder Pure Color Blush in Naughty is my newest obsession.  It is a BRIGHT coral blush that actually stained my hand when I swatched it.  I clearly did not use the right brush with it today as I resembled something like a clown before I furiously blended it to an acceptable level.  Tomorrow, I will try again with a stippling blush in hopes of achieving that perfectly flushed look...  I had heard so much about how amazing these blushes were and they definitely didn't disappoint! In fact, when my wallet recovers (read: when I get a new job) I will definitely be getting more of these since I wanted practically every one I saw...

Lastly, this is so old I was shocked I even found it.  I have always wanted the MAC Viva Glam Cyndi lipglass for ages, but it was always sold out.  I knew as soon as I saw it that I had to get it!

This blog seems to be turning into a  documentation of everything I buy, but I promise, reviews will be coming soon!  After my upcoming posts on my new fashion items, that is...

Friday, May 17, 2013

R&R

Beach Essentials:
 
 
Some much needed R&R.
Sunscreen, lip balm, lip gloss, music, and a book.
What else is needed?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Experimenting with green smoothies...

Having a vitamix at home is something I'm definitely going to miss when I go back to college.  They effortlessly make smoothies and juices, turning them into a perfect liquid where other blenders can only purify.

I love making all types of smoothies, especially a post workout peanut butter and chocolate protein smoothie, but today I felt a little more adventurous.  

I made a green smoothie from things I had around my kitchen...possibly a recipe for disaster, but I say my only downfall was that I made far too much for just two people.  Try three or four...




 That moment you have so many ingredients, you need to blend half of them together first to make room for the other half




 Already half gone!  Oops.


mmmmmmh....

Here's what I used for what ended up being 3-4 servings

4 c. spinach
2 medium/large pears
2 medium bananas
1 large apple
3/4 lemon, juiced (told you I took what I had laying around..)
1 c. cold water

It was originally just going to be bananas, pears, and spinach, but then I added too much spinach, which caused me to add another apple, which caused the quantity to go way over the intended two.

I confess, I'm after all the qualities a green smoothies can give - better skin, better energy, with a ton of nutrients added in, but it was absolutely delicious.  Spinach flavor, gone.  Hallelujah!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

And the hauling monster returns....

Stepped into a Rite-Aid for the first time this year, and I couldn't resist picking up a few things. 

L-R clockwise: Maybelline Vivids Lipstick in Electric Fuchsia, Covergirl 3 in 1 Outlast Foundation, Covergirl Lash Exact WP mascara, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Icy Mint.

Covergirl Foundation, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Icy Mint, Maybelline Electric Fuchsia

I've never been a huge Covergirl fan, but I've heard so many good things about the new Outlast Stay Fabuous 3 in 1 Foundation.  I picked it up today, and was pleasantly surprised by its light and watery texture.  I haven't worn it yet, but a quick swatch on my hand reminds me of MAC Face and Body.  The shade in 857 Golden Tan is a perfect match - such a perfect match on my hand that you can't even see it blended it in under the pumped out swatch.

I was also excited to see the new Maybelline ColorSensational Vivids collection, and had to resist getting all the shades.  I picked up Electric Fuchsia to begin with and the initial swatch is gorgeous.  I don't any shades like this so it'll be interesting to see how it looks on my face.

The Maybelline Color Tattoo in Icy Mint was a total impulse buy as I saw this all by itself and was drawn by its icy blue-mint color.  This will be a perfect base for some summer looks!

Last of all, I picked up the Covergirl Lash Exact mascara because I know my Max Factor one will dry up soon.  This is a tried and true waterproof mascara - it will not budge.  It provides some perfect volumized and lengthened lashes!

Although this was an unplanned haul, at least I know they were things I've wanted for awhile!  I'm sure I'll be back with more soon. Oops, there goes my bank account...

Finally crawling out of the house...

Finally getting out of the house and looking like a normal human being...





 See the products and a few swatches after the jump!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What was waiting for me when I came home.... + a cooking experiment

While I didn't buy too many things while I was abroad, I did make a couple purchases that I was excited to come home to.  More specifically, this...




Read about the products+ some of my ventures into cooking after the jump!


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Barcelona Part Two

Going through these pictures again is showing me that a week in Barcelona is not nearly enough time to see everything.  Although it is seemingly small in size, there is a wealth of things to do and see, and I felt like I discovered something new everyday!  It's hard to pinpoint exactly what my favorite part of the city was, since all of the sections have their unique aspects.

The Gothic Neighborhood of Barcelona is truly stunning because of its small winding streets and architecture, and sometimes they would open up to these beautiful squares. As a lover of Gothic architecture, coming to the largest concentration of it in Europe was a really special experience for me!







Find out more after the jump!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Barcelona Part One




When I went to Europe, I knew the Spain was on my "must-visit" list and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to visit Barcelona.  I had the time of my life getting to know the city - sitting on the beach and trying to get some color back on my skin after 3 months of barely any sun, as well as getting lost in the old Gothic parts of the city, and admiring all the Gaudi architecture.  I completely fell in love with the city and cannot wait to visit Barcelona and the rest of Spain again!

As soon as I arrived in Barcelona, I could not stop admiring the cloudless blue skies - a welcome change to the cloudiness of Berlin and Paris. 



Read more after the jump!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why I've been gone...

Updates and pictures to come...after I've landed in the US.  It's a bittersweet moment for me, but every adventure has to end sometime, right?

For now, here's a teaser: 


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

When in Paris...

When in Paris, it's hard not to get wrapped up in the effortless chicness of the French women.  They throw on a pair of heels and some red lipstick with everything.  Even with a pair of sneakers, they look chic when paired with a tailored trench coat and jeans that hit their ankles at the perfect spot.  They have perfect dewy skin (without obvious foundation!) and a natural rosy glow.  Their hair is impeccable, and don't even get me started on their perfumes.

In a desperate attempt to emulate some of their natural beauty, I hit up a couple French pharmacies and stores.

In the end, here's my modest haul - I only have so much space left in my suitcase after stocking up on German chocolate and beauty for the past four months:



I wasn't planning on buying Caudalie's Beauty Elixer, but after seeing it cheaper in a pharmacy, I couldn't resist.  It retails for $18 in the US, but I found this bottle for around 9 Euros, which is roughly $12.  I really enjoyed using this last summer and I really felt like it made my skin more radiant.  I didn't use a set time of day - sometimes I used this in the morning as my toner, sometimes at night, but definitely throughout the day to freshen up.

I also bought a travel size of Bioderma!  I honestly have no idea how to use this, as I'm quite content with my Clinique Take the Day Off cleanser, but I have heard so many raves about it I decided to pick up a small bottle.

The next item is the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation.  This was a must-have on my list for Paris, as Bourjois is not available is not available in the US and I had also heard so many good things about it.  I picked up the shade 53, which is a little bit light for my skin tone, but at least it has a yellow undertone.  I have a number of foundations a little too dark, so this will be good to mix with.  I've only worn it for one day, but I like the semi-matte texture it has.  I was out and about all day yesterday when I wore it though, so I didn't really check the lasting power.  I didn't notice that I got too oily with it, so that's a good sign!

Yves Rocher is also a brand I had only heard of vaguely before going to Europe.  There are a few Yves Rocher stores in Berlin, but I had never entered any of them.  Curiousity got the better of me here and I walked into it.  It reminds me of a bath and body works with its bath and body products, but with a smaller range.  They also had a pretty big makeup collection, but none of the items really interested me.  I picked up a Malaysian Coconut body lotion in a travel size perfect for Barcelona, and a Strawberry body spray.  

I'm usually not interested in fruity body sprays at all, but as soon as I smelled the strawberry, I could not stop sniffing it.  It's slightly sugary and over-saturated, but sometimes you just have to indulge your inner 5-year old.  I think I'll love wearing this in the summer when I just want something fresh and simple.

The Coconut body lotion screams beach to me - it has a pure coconut smell that lingers for awhile after the lotion absorbs.  It's also simple, but sometimes simple is best.

Although I didn't pick up very many products, I'm happy with the selections I made.  I was able to resist makeup (except for the foundation, an essential, I'd say) and I picked up products I cannot find in the US.  Here's to hoping I become even one bit like a Parisian.

Paris - Day two, birthdays, and Ladureé vs. Pierre Hermés

Hello! The past couple days have been a blur and a crash course of Paris.  I've now seen the Eiffel Tower, the Luxembourg Gardens, Sacre Coeur, and the Musée d'Orsay in addition to Pont Neuf, Tuileries Garden, Champs Elysees, and Notre Dame.  

I've loved taking it all in, but I'm excited for my days to come in Barcelona!

Monday was my birthday, and I spent a magical day shopping, eating macarons from Ladureé, Pierre Hermés, and watching the sunset from the Eiffel Tower.  My day became even better when I saw the lights on the Eiffel Tower start flashing at 10pm, which I had no idea about before, but it was the perfect end to my birthday.

Here are some more pictures of my birthday in Paris!



Champs Elysees


It's not a birthday without some Ladureé  
 Flavors left to right: Lily of the Valley, Rose Petal, Orange Blossom, Cafe, Pistachio, and Chocolate



...and Pierre Hermés
 Flavors clockwise from top left: Green Tea Sesame seed, Japanese Garden, Jasmine Tea, and Chocolate


Read on after the jump to see my opinions on Ladureé and Pierre Hermés, as well as the Eiffel Tower!