Get in on the conversation! To leave a comment, just click on a post title.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Don't "label" me. ;)

So I began a post early this morning about my recent trip to was terrible (the post, not the trip), so I erased it. It was focused on the park, which was lovely, by the way, rather than on the fabulous woman behind it. I'll blame it on the fact that I tried to wake up early to get to work; it's now 1:30 in the morning, so I should be able to churn out some prime writing, ha ha. Anyway, a great part of the Dollywood experience is having the chance to walk through the Chasing Rainbows museum. Scattered amongst the fabulously tacky outfits, handwritten songs, and plethora of family mementos are wonderfully witty and passionate quotes from Dolly herself. Not only are they painted on the walls and playing over the speakers, but you can also see little handwritten notes, alive with her buxom...personality. She is quite the woman...bold, vivacious, talented, and beautiful in so many ways. Oh, what fun it would be to meet her! Someday...right, Jen? ;)

While I was on my excellent vacation (for real, it rocked) that hottie Jenarcissist emailed me a Dolly quote that I can especially relate to...

"It's hard for me to spend a huge amount on one outfit, like to go to Beverly Hills and say, 'Oh, there's a coat for $5,000.' I'd rather go to Wal-Mart and get a whole bunch of stuff, 'cause it's all gonna look the same on me. I'm gonna look cheap no matter what I wear!"

Now, I look cheap because what I wear is just that. I have nowhere close to Dolly's shopping budget. In fact, I don't have a clothes shopping budget at all. I am broke. A starving-teacher-hungry-artist-budding-entrepreneur kinda broke. I do shop at Wal-Mart. Partly because I have to and partly because I want to, no joke! But when I say I'm broke now, it in no way compares to the kind of broke I've been in the past. Which brings me to my point...even if I had the money to spend on high-dollar labels, I wouldn't. I am too aware of the value of every cent that I spend. To me, why buy one $30 shirt if I can spend time doing my favorite hobby, bargain hunting, and come home with six shirts! That darn high pricetag is definitely NOT going to make me look any hotter. Furthermore, I must add, there's not many a thing that feels better than getting a compliment on an outfit and being able to say, "Thanks; it only cost me $4.99!" Ooh, what an awesome feeling that is! Love it!

This reminds me of something funny that happened on my trip. While riding the river raft ride, a nice local woman asked me a question that I honestly didn't know how to answer: "Do you like Coach?" Apparently, they were having a great sale, and she was being very kind and letting me know...I actually do mean that nicely. I smiled, looking at her a bit puzzled. I am a people pleaser, and as much as I wanted to just say yes, I couldn't lie about it. Isn't that ridiculous? But it's who I am; it would have gone against my allegience to the clearance rack! Couldn't she just look at me, sitting there in my five-year-old blue jean board shorts, $3 clearance Target tank, and $2 Wal-Mart thongs (that's what I call flip-flops) and know that I wasn't that kind of girl? So I mumbled something along the lines of, "I'm not very familiar with the brand," and tried to change the subject. In retrospect, it would have been funny had I asked her if she had seen the adorable No Boundaries summer line that was heating up the aisles of Wally World! But of course I didn't say that; she was just being nice.

On a positive note, maybe she couldn't tell how cheap my clothes were. Could it be that labels actually don't matter as much as some may think? Is it possible that finding a good fit and staying true to your own style is more important than whose name is pressed up against your back?

Now I want to open the floor to your own thoughts on shopping...what labels can't you live without, and what draws you to them? Are you a bargain hunter like me or a label whore like the raft lady? (Again, I kid.) What's your proudest shopping moment? I'll have to ponder this myself and get back to you with my own clearance conquests; I've had so many! hee hee ;)

As you ponder how to comment, check out these new necklaces Jenarcissist got from Shop the Look for a really sweet deal...if you remember, she posted about one of them before and remarked how it was similar to some necklaces from Anthropologie that cost a whole lot more. ;) You can get your own sweet deal from the site by clicking the banner below. (Hurry, offer ends in 5 days!)

50% Off Orders up to $20

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pleez vote for meez in this e.l.f. contest! :) (by 6/21)

If you're so inclined, I would love your vote! :) This is for e.l.f.'s "Get the Look" contest where the winner's look will be featured on their site for 6 months. 

I am posting the larger picture here because you can't see it very well on their site. I did a more natural look, which is actually kinda uncommon for me because I'm typically into brighter colors. I took about 20 pics, and it was at night, so this was the best one I could get, and hopefully you can see it well enough now. You should be able to click it to enlarge it here. When you look at it in their gallery, you can see which products I used.


Here's the link: 

Thanks in advance! ;)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Huge e.l.f. haul review...finally!

I promised a big e.l.f. review about a month ago, and well, I got so much stuff for so little money that it's taken me this long to feel like I had a handle on all the products so I could review them! As I mentioned before, I've been buying their products for years...everything is so cheap that it's impossible to resist, and they are always doing special offers and giveaways. I would say I am impressed with 98% of the e.l.f. products I've tried, and that's especially huge for a line that boasts items for $1, $3, and $5, with only a handful of items going above that. I think they have only gotten better over time, especially as they've expanded with the Studio and Mineral lines, though there are a few discontinued products I miss from the early days. They've also recently expanded their selections at Target, though you won't find the full line and have to order some things online from their web site. Let me note that this review is completely unsolicited by e.l.f. I hope they will feature it!! But they didn't ask me to write it.

If you want to make a purchase, click the banner below to get a FREE mineral makeup package with any $20 purchase (and think of how much makeup you can get for $20 here!!), and you'll also get a chance at being their 2 millionth customer, who will win a huge prize!

So...let's dive in, shall we??

Eye Primer & Liner Seal duo *** - The liner seal creates liquid eyeliner from any shadow and works really well; the other end is pretty good if you use a thin layer, and it's also not a bad stick concealer if it matches your skin tone.
Lavender Blossom Moisturizing Hand Cream **** smells like Johnson's lavender baby powder - yum! (But it's not an overly "baby powdery" smell.) I am in love with this lotion and already want to buy more. I wish they had this at Target.

Powder brush, Complexion brush, and Blush brush (Studio line) **** = awesome. I like e.l.f.'s regular $1 brushes too, but these Studio brushes are heavenly soft and apply products beautifully. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY on more expensive brushes!!!!! I have never been a "brush snob," and now there's no reason for ANYone to be, because these are just as good or better than more costly brushes. The Complexion brush is amazing for applying finishing powder and giving you an airbrushed look, and the Powder brush will apply product in a more concentrated way because of the flat top, so it just depends on the finish you want.

Natural Nymph lipstick *** - It's sort of a light peachy nude...very pretty.  If you feel like you look a little washed out, a bit of gloss will give it enough of a boost to override that if you think you need it.

Cool Coral lipstick *** is a nice color's got a hint of shimmer, but I wouldn't say it's metallic. The reason for 3 stars is simply that I prefer a creamier lipstick, but that's not to say these are dry. They are great lipsticks.

Nymph Dreams Brightening Eye Color quad **** - The fact that I bought 2 products with "nymph" in the name must be related to our Narcissa story!! :) I really, really like this quad. I'll admit, I already have other shadows that are similar in color, but it's so nice having them all neatly together in one little package. Their shadow quads in general give good color payoff and go on nicely. Call me crazy, but I prefer pressed shadows to loose...less messy.

Eye Transformer **** is a really innovative product! It's 4 pastel-colored pressed shadows you can use alone OR over existing eyeshadow to completely transform its color! Especially interesting applied over dark colors like black and very dark green! It's also great for highlighting the inner corners and browbone on its own. The little brush it comes with is a bit small for applying all-over color but is perfect for highlighting. These give a teeny hint of shimmer but not too much.

Shimmer Palette *** - I need more shimmer palettes like I need more...well, like I need more of ANY makeup. ;) I find it impossible to resist something that promises "shimmer" or "highlight" in the name for some reason. It's nice on lips if you put just a bit in the center over lipstick or gloss. At least for me, it creases on eyes if you use too much, even with primer, which is unfortunate. It's nice as a subtle highlighter on the tops of your cheekbones under your eyes, as well as down the bridge of your nose. Just go light with it.

Undereye Concealer & Highlighter duo **** - I really, really like this! You may have to use 2 layers of concealer under your eyes depending on your needs (or you may be fine with one), but the thin formula allows you to build your coverage without caking/creasing or tugging on this delicate area. The highlighter seems to be good as a primer and is good for inner corners, under brows, and outer corners. A fellow makeup blogger posted a different take on this product here, which I feel I owe it to everyone to post...I don't know much about the ingredients she mentions, but it's only fair to bring it up!

I'm on the fence about the Corrective Concealer ** - just can't seem to work this product. It's very sheer, and it's hard to get any product on the brush or your finger. It seems to work best if you use green and THEN add concealer on top, rather than using the green alone. It does fill in pores nicely on either side of my nose. I just need something thicker, creamier, and more opaque in certain areas. If you have any tips, let me know! The concept of it is good; maybe they will reformulate it.

Nail polish - I got Nude ***, Dark Navy **, Chocolate ****, Mint Cream ****, Lilac ****, Desert Haze ****, Innocent****, and Smoky Brown****. I mean, they're only $1!!! And they're good-sized bottles at that. Nude goes on sheerer than how it looks in the bottle - like a glorified clear, but better than clear, and a little like a French manicure look...very natural-looking and mistake-proof. I believe I used 2 coats when I tried it, and I probably would have a different result with 3. Dark Navy didn't go on as metallic as it looks in the bottle, and 2 or 3 coats yielded more of a matte, SUPER dark navy that almost looks black...I was hoping for a more shimmery, bluish color, but it is still nice. All the other colors look exactly like you think they will! You may have to apply 3 coats for some, but to me, this isn't a big deal. They typically last about 4 days on my nails and then need to be touched up or redone. I've never met a nail polish that lasted longer than that, so it doesn't bother me. If I HAD to pick a, I can' 2 faves are Lilac and Mint Cream. But whichever one I'm wearing at the time is my favorite. As soon as I saw 5 new colors had been released for spring (the last 5 in my list), I couldn't wait to get my hands on them...or get them on my hands, as it were!

                                         Desert Haze                                                   Lilac                                                       

Complexion Perfection **** - this is, hands down, one of my FAVORITE e.l.f. products! Love the pretty colors. It becomes whitish when swirled together and applied, like a high-def powder, but it blends very nicely once it sets. Not sure if it's correcting, per se, but it does leave a very nice, smooth finish. Best when used with the Complexion brush for all-over, in my opinion. I don't think this is meant to be used as a finishing powder. I apply it over my foundation and then apply powder over top...and let me tell you, I don't even need a primer to get superior oil control ALL DAY when I use this in between my foundation and powder!! I'm truly amazed. I love it!! I also love that it has a full-sized mirror. Good thing it's only 3 bucks cuz I'm gonna be going through this stuff fast.

Eyebrow Kit *** in Medium- Another one I really like. Medium is a perfect match for my dark brown hair color, not the dark one, which surprised me. You'll get the best results if you brush/comb through your brows before applying it. Then you use the double-ended brush that comes with it to apply it...use the angled side to apply the creamier-looking product and the other side to apply the powder over top to seal the deal. I usually comb through my brows one more time afterward too. I think it looks pretty natural and does a great job of filling in a bit and holding shape. I'd been using Bourjois Eyebrow Mascara forever, but it has been discontinued, unfortunately. Still, e.l.f.'s product is $3, and that was $13. I'd give it 4 stars if I somehow didn't need the extra step of brushing/combing through to make sure my shape is right because it would save time, but really, it's not a make-or-break thing.

Duo Eyeshadow Cream in Butter Pecan *** - very good for days when I want to be a little more natural, a little less bold and bright. It creases a tiny bit, later in the day, even with primer, but not much. It's so easy to swipe across your lids with your finger, and then you're done. This has better staying power than CoverGirl ShadowBlast for sure.

Lip Lock Pencil *** - Sally Hansen used to make an invisible lip liner that I really liked, but I would run out SO fast, and it was $6. This has a lot more product in it for a lot less money and does the same thing. Just be careful with it so it doesn't break (mine did). It is, however, a product that delivers. I get better results applying most any lipstick when I use a product like this first. I don't like regular lipliner at all, so one that's clear is perfect for keeping color within the bounds of my lip shape and making it last longer.

Mineral Lip Gloss in Trophy Wife ** - pretty but very sheer; gives a light golden dusting of shimmer. I'd love if it went on more like how it looks in the tube.

Therapeutic Conditioning Balms **** in Blackberry Creme and Orange Creme - lovely smells, nice texture; these are a must-have to keep on-hand.

Natural Lash Kit **** - I don't know that any false lash kit actually looks "natural" because nobody has lashes that are THAT long...except maybe my fiancee, who was blessed with lush fans that leave me green with envy. But this kit gives a pretty, long-lashed look without being overly dramatic. I will most likely wear these in our wedding! 

Liquid Eyeshadow **** - I got this one in Cream Dream to use as a browbone highlighter, and it's perfect for that. And sometimes I like to wear nothing but white shadow, which KameraWhore got me started on. It lasts really well and leaves a nice, shimmery finish. It's faster and easier to use than a regular pressed or loose highlighting shadow and isn't messy, so you don't get white shimmer all over your cheeks from fallout.

This pic shows both the Natural lash kit and Cream Dream liquid shadow.

Clarifying Pressed Powder *** in Light Beige - best with Complexion brush if used as a powder, but I also tried applying it with the flat-topped Powder brush as a foundation, and it actually did a great job, but my oil control isn't as magical as with my normal mineral foundation-Complexion Perfection-powder cocktail. Would be too dark on me in the winter but might be good as it's getting warmer. I really should've gotten it in Ivory, though. Poo. :(

Natural Radiance Blusher **** in Glow - I've been using this one for a loooong time; it's fabulous. It easily rivals NARS blush in Orgasm. It has a peachy-pinky color with just a very slight hint of shimmer. It makes you look awake and glowy, just like the name. I do also like the Shimmering Facial Whips and All-Over Color Sticks for blush, some other oldies but goodies (I especially LOVE their sugar orange scent, and I hope e.l.f. never does away with it!!).

Eyelid Primer (the $1 kind) *** - they were out of the mineral eye primer when I was ordering, so I got this one, and I'm happy with it. I can't say how the two compare to each other, and there are mixed reviews everywhere about which one is better. It's still a helluva lot cheaper to try than Urban Decay! It goes on smoothly and dries quickly. It seems to be doing a good job, at least with pressed powder shadows.

Mineral Booster (mineral finishing powder) *** - the only thing that would make me love this more is if it came in PRESSED formula. Just like with shadows, I prefer pressed powder to loose because it's less of a mess. For that reason alone, I'm still drawn to my Physician's Formula pressed mineral powder. But if you like mineral makeup, particularly products like B.E. Mineral Veil, you will love this even more because it costs you less and does the same thing!

Mineral Mascara **** - WOWZA!!! A $3 mascara that actually rivals (I would say outdoes) L'Oreal Telescopic and CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion??!  Yes'm, indeed! You get a lot of product in the tube; it goes on dark black; it gives you length AND volume with its rubbery bristles; it separates beautifully; and it has no flaking, clumping, or smudging...what more could you ask for?! This is my new mascara. The end. No falsies in this pic.

WHEW!! I think that's everything!!

Have you tried any of these products, or wanna weigh in on any others??

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Intern Lauren needs us! - part 2 (a/k/a 10 great things about YOU!)

(cont'd from previous post)

image by nicolepete23 on flickr

I don't know how I'll feel when the actual time comes, but in this moment, I am not afraid of turning 30. :) There's a real sense of coming into my own. I wouldn't wanna go back to the insecure version of myself from before. 29 brought anxiety but then a real comfort in my own skin that I didn't have when I was younger. If you're younger than I am, enjoy it, and try to start realizing NOW that you're amazing...if you're older than I am, enjoy it and revel in the fact that you're way smarter than I am. ;) There's much good stuff to be experienced in every age! Those who are older than I am, you are equally amazing, if not more so than the younguns (no offense, younguns). I was going on the basis that after 30, you should already be aware of the important fact that amazing and beautiful is what you are. If you weren't, I just told you, so now you know. :) 

My mom always told me no one else is nearly as worried about how you look as YOU are. They are all too busy thinking about themselves and how THEY look!

There's a line from a song I came across a long time ago that I printed out and taped to my bathroom mirror. The song is "Beautiful" by Joydrop. 

I am not beautiful like you. I am beautiful like me.

A friend of mine left me this GREAT comment...she so aptly worded her feelings on being 30 - 32. If you're younger, try not to repeat how we were! :) Now's your chance to start seeing yourself differently! 

I have never been more comfortable with who I am and what I stand for. I loved every minute of turning 30 and will love every minute of turning 32 day after tomorrow. As you grow as a woman you learn what sexy is and morph from a gangly duckling (with the hottest body you will probably ever have) into a more subtle and put together version of yourself you will soon realize that the 30 something version is unrivaled by your twenty-something counter-part. Sure there are a few more gray hairs and a few more wrinkles around your eyes, but I would trade those any day for the sheer confidence I feel in almost everything I do now that I have a little more life under my belt. While my breasts are closer to that belt than they were when I was 25, I have the utmost security that I know how to use and be comfortable with what I have now. When I was 25 you would not have caught me naked with the lights on to save my life, but now is a different story. If I had the body I had then and knew what I know now...WOW! So love yourselves and embrace what it is about you that makes you special. I will give you a hint, it isn't your cup size, your hair color or the brand of jeans you wear. 

In the last part of Q100's interview with their intern, Lauren (you can go back and read our part 1 entry about it here), they ask her to list 5 great things about herself. Without even pausing, she says, "Oh, no, I can't." Then they say how about 3, and then 2, and she still has a really hard time coming up with anything. That absolutely BREAKS MY HEART. 

So KameraWhore and I will take the lead by posting lists for ourselves, and we hope readers, and intern Lauren, will take their turns as well. :)

Jenarcissist: INSIDE

1) I'm very loyal. I've had the same two best friends almost my entire life. I'm even fiercely loyal to my favorite singers, especially if they have taken the time to write back to me. I'm also very loyal to various causes that I hold near and dear to my heart, which leads to my next one.
2) I'm compassionate. This compassion is extended to people and animals and all creatures. I've done lots of animal rescue on my own, and I'm always trying to think of ways to make people, especially girls, feel better about themselves. I carry an intense burden for people who are hurting, even if I don't always know what to do to help. I also consider myself a bit of a personal advocate for transgendered people, even though I'm not transgender myself, because I believe very passionately that this is something people should educate themselves on and pass along a broader societal understanding and just let people be who they are.
3) I am exceptionally strong. This is a whole other topic, but my mom passed away a few years ago when I was young, and I am determined to live a joyful, fulfilled life even amongst the pain. I loved her so much that I thought losing her would destroy me, but my inner resolve wouldn't allow it. I purposely focus on what's good in life more than what's bad.
4) I'm talented at several things. I don't know if I've mastered any of them, but I sure have fun trying, and I've finally gotten to the point where I realize that is the most important part! I don't have to be perfect to know I'm good at a wide range of creative things.
5) I have overcome tons and tons of fears and anxieties! I won't expound on it right now, or you'd be here all day. Every day, I'm a work in progress, but I'm leaps and bounds from where I used to be!

Jenarcissist: OUTSIDE

1) I like my eyes. I've never met anyone else who has my eye color. I think it looks like cats' eyes. I also like my eyelashes, though you wouldn't know it by the incessant odyssey I'm on to extend, extend, extend!
2) I like my lips. As you'll realize if you read "Narcissa," I was made fun of for my big ole lips all the time in middle school. But I learned eventually that I quite like them. :)
3) I like my hair. It might not always stay the same color, but I like the way it falls.
4) I like how my middle fingers curve outward instead of being straight. I get that from my dad.
5) I kinda like my height. I'm not tall; I'm actually fairly short by "normal" standards. But I kinda like it "down here."

Kam?? :)

Alright, alright...I finally have some time to really get to work, so what better task than to write about my awesomeness. Just kidding...this isn't going to be easy for me. Aside from my cattiness with Jenarcissist, I really am a very shy and fairly self-conscious gal. This is getting better as I age, however. I'm beginning to not give a damn what others think about me. Though when I pass a random hottie, I would of course rather turn his head in my direction rather than the opposite :). Okay, I'm rambling; I suppose I should begin my assignment... 

What's fabulous about the inner KameraWhore? 

1) I'm a positive thinker. It's a way of life for me, and I hope to always stay this way. If something sucky happens, then it must be for a reason. If there's two hours of traffic or a missed plane, well, then I must be blessed enough to have averted a car accident or, worse yet, a plane crash! Lucky me!
2) I'm nice. Why be mean to others? How is that going to change my life for the better? If I want to vent and be ugly about something or someone, then I save it for those who are closest to me. They'll listen and help me process my feelings without my having to deal out any negative energy into the universe. It has enough already. Yep.
3) I'm funny. I think. I can make Jenarcissist laugh, right, hottie? I'm no comedian, and VainShane may not agree to this particular attribute of mine, but you don't know me yet, so I'm a real hoot.
4) I'm a lady. I had the most vulgar father, God rest his soul, but he (and my sweet momma) taught me to be a well-mannered least in public, that is. I can't say the same for my private life. *wink, wink*
5) I have a strong work ethic. I started working when I was 12. My family never had money, and I knew if I ever wanted a car, I'd have to buy it myself. A handsome '89 Dodge Shadow entered my life on my 16th birthday, paid for using my own cash. I've never had anything handed to me, and that's okay. I'm a better person because of it.

Now onto the outer me... 

1) My arms are my favorite part of me. They're my mom's, and I love that they look just like hers! 
2) My hands. They are small and petite and they can create art, which is my favorite thing about me...oh, I left that out above; I suppose that belongs under inner awesomeness? But back to my hands. My fingertips are hideous. I bite my nails down to the quick, and nobody can understand how it doesn't cause me pain. But they look exactly like my dad's fingertips. He passed away when I was 23, and looking at them reminds me of him. So, oh, well that they're ugly; I love them!
3) My ribs, ha ha. I have a pretty small rib cage, and I like them. Not much more to say there.
4) My eyes. They're pretty big and dark green. They also have some "bags" under them which have actually improved with age. I'll just tell ya right now, I was a funny looking kid. Some photographer thought it would be a good idea to airbrush them out of my senior portraits; apparently, he didn't like them. He made me look like a completely different and plasticky person, and I didn't appreciate it. I'm okay with my imperfections, and I don't really care if others aren't.
5) My nose. It's straight, not extremely long, and it turns up just a bit at the tip. Genetics worked in my favor, because it could have had a lot more "personality," if you know what I mean! :) 

Now we would like for anyone reading this to list out (in a comment) 5 things you love about your inside and 5 things you love about your outside! 

Take it seriously. You can post anonymously if you want (though as a closet narcissist, you'll probably want people to know who you are! haha). Use this chance to really stop and think about what makes you awesome. If you have trouble, you can ask a friend for input. A close friend of mine did this for me (Jenarcissist) once...she listed out 10 things she was proud of me for, and it's something I will save forever!! And, trust me, there ARE 10 great things each girl and woman can list about herself!!! :)