Thursday, November 20, 2014

Battle of the Drugstore Mascaras: Round 3

Oh, well hey there friends. Happiest of Thursdays to you! Thursdays are usually awesome IMO, but today feels like Friday, which is not awesome.

Wanna know what is awesome, thought?

I've got another Battle of the Drugstore Beauty Products for you! And not just any old battle, but battle of the drugstore mascaras (which is, it seems, everyone's favorite.)

Let's get started, shall we?

best drugstore mascara

The Contenders: Milani Grandissimo, Essence Big Lash! Volume Curl, NYX Provocateur, L'Oreal Miss Manga, L'Oreal Butterfly, Maybelline Falsies Voluminous.

If you're new to Battle of the Drugstore Beauty Products, basically I battle out 5-6 different versions of the same kind of product. Video is best for this, as I can really highlight the product's features and I show you the application and result of every single one.

If you are not really into watching videos, I have done my best to highlight each in text down below, but, it's not as thorough.

Milani’s Grandissimo Mascara - $5
This Mascara has a spiral bristle wand and claims to be a mega-volume mascara that will stretch lashes to their absolute longest length in a smear-proof, non-clumping formula that lasts and lasts. Now, I’m a volume lover when it comes to mascara and at first I was very excited about this huge brush, but it turns out it’s so big it actually makes applying the mascara a little bit difficult. Overall I think this mascara is decent. The formula is a little on the dry side, it gives some volume and some length, but nothing over-the-top. I certainly wouldn’t call it a mega-volume mascara. However, I found the formula to be clump free as it claimed and I didn’t have any trouble with it smudging or flaking throughout the day.

Essence Get Big Volume Curl - $4
Like a Milani one, this has an over sized fiber brush, however this one is slightly curved. It claims to give you maximum volume and a gorgeous curl and thickens your lashes. The formula of this mascara is more on the wet side making it easy to apply, but in conjunction with the over sized brush it makes it a little bit messy too. The product builds up well for volume, but you’re forced struggling with some clumping. Definitely some mega volume with this mascara but at the expense of some clumps. So, it really comes down to preference, if you hate clumps maybe not for you...but if you don't mind clumping if it means you'll get some serious drama, then it'd be OK. The staying power is good and I experienced no smudging throughout the day.

NYX Provacatuer Mascara - $6
This mascara has two wands: level one which is thicker designed to add volume and level two which is much smaller and designed to separate and lengthen, also ideal for the little bottom lashes. The concept of the two brushes in one with the mascara actually worked out really well. The first one grabbed much more mascara and the smaller one is much finer and grabs less product. The place this mascara falls short is in formula. I found it it be way too try, to the point where trying to apply or build volume was really hard. This was disappointing because the two wand concept worked really well. I do still use this for my bottom lashes and to separate, but alone this mascara doesn’t offer quite enough.

Maybelline Miss Manga - $8
This mascara has a cone-shaped fiber wand and claims to help you build up to 15x the volume in a flash - which, honestly, is just a ridiculous claim. I don’t know why companies make such far fetched claims. But, either way, I really enjoyed the look this mascara gave me. I thought it built up nicely and gave me some good volume. However, the downside to this product was its staying power. I experienced a lot of flaking throughout the day which was a pretty big bummer. Now, this does have a waterproof formula which I didn’t use, but I imagine it have better staying power.

L’OREAL Butterfly Voluminous - $9
This mascara has a angled rubber wand designed to help coat the outer lashes the most giving a winged out look and the formula has fibers designed to add length. The formula of this mascara is great, super easy to apply and the wand is easy to work with. It doesn’t develop any clumps, even after a few coats. Overall, it’s a decent mascara but as a fiber mascara I was expecting a lot more length than I got and was left a little disappointed. Additionally, I experienced a little smudging with this mascara as well. Not nearly as much as Miss Manga, but enough to note.

 Maybelline Falsies Voluminous - $7
This has a spoon brush with flexible wand helps to lift and separate lashes to provide the look of more lashes. Claims to instantly build 8x more volume without clumping. This mascara has a great formula, not too dry or too wet, making application easy and build-able. It provides great volume to the base and adds length as well. It lasts all day with no flaking. Honestly, I don’t really have anything bad to say about this mascara except that maybe its claim for 8x as long lashes is far fetched. Overall, just a great mascara.

Who did you pick as the winner?

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Snapshots: A Day in Napa Valley

Oh vacation, I miss you. I miss your reckless nights and alarm-free mornings. I miss your no schedules and sunny weather and self-cleaning bedrooms.  It doesn't help that I came home from vacation to a week that could drive anyone to insanity.  Think: someone stole my wallet, a pipe burst inside the wall and floors are all wet, then minutes before company was coming over all our water stopped functioning all together. 

Oh life, you crazy.

Sorry, did I take a little side track there?  Why are we here again? 

Oh, that's right...Napa.

Napa was towards the middle of our vacation to Cali.  If you've never been, it's pretty much just as splendid as all the people say it is.  You drive into it slightly confused as you drive down a road with fast food and cheap chain restaurants and you're all like, "wait...this isn't what I pictured." Then, all the sudden, Napa is like "BAM! Here I am!"

There's a cute downtown- where we stayed- that is at the base of Napa Valley, then the vineyards extend north about 26 miles.   We started our morning with, well, coffee - duh. 

We started at Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company which was a tiny little spot with freshly roasted, ground, and brewed coffee.

Ok, we're caffeinated! On to the wine!

After wine tasting and pretending like we knew what the heck we were doing, we started to work up an appetite. 

Per the suggestion of a handful of locals we stopped by The Rutherford Grill, a local favorite spot that served up new American cuisine. We ordered some California beers while we waited for a table. A wait on a Wednesday afternoon is usually a good sign.

Of course, I checked out the Rutherford Grill on Yelp before we arrived and everyone was talking about their cornbread.  Not one to say no to bread in any shape or form, I had to try it.  It was just the right amount of sweet and savory, crispy and moist. Gosh darn perfection.

I ordered their house-made veggie burger for my meal which came with coleslaw.  I spent 12+ years as a vegetarian and am what you might call a connoisseur of veggie burgers (let's just say I've had a lot.)  This one was some type of rice base, making it not too soggy or soft - like veggies burgers can often be.  It is also made with roasted beets giving it a sweet flavor as well.  But, overall, it had more of a flavor of grain than of vegetables, which was a little disappointing.  I prefer a veggie burger that you can really taste the vegetables in. But still, a great veggie burger and I'd happily order it again.

The next day (I know the title is misleading, saying this is a "day" in Napa - but in truth, it's two days, compiled into one) we went to most northern town of Napa Valley, Calistoga.

We stumbled upon this adorable little "I want less..." tree.  People had filled out tags all listing things they wanted less of.  It had all sorts of things like "war," "cancer," "hair on my legs," "fear," "worry."  

I decided to join in on the tradition and fill out a tag for myself.  Can you read what I want less of?

Yes, I want less bad coffee.

Then Michael decided to put me to shame and write a really profound card.

Whatever. I still want less "bad coffee." 

Enough of that, let's get some more wine. I mean, this is Napa Vallery, am I right?

We headed to Dutch Henry Winery where we were greeted by this lil' lady who escorted us to the barn where the tasting took place. 

We were also visited by this handsome guy while we tasted. Apparently tongues out is the signature pose of the animals of Dutch Henry.

To finish the night we headed into downtown Napa for dinner.  We stumbled into The Bounty Hunter, a Wine Bar and Smokin' BBQ that offered an endless wine list and smoked meats.  I dig it.

We drank too much wine, tested the meats (which were ah-mazing), indulged in the seasonal pumpkin bread pudding, and scoped out our next day's travels.

Oh, vacation. I loved you and miss you.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Rock the Perfect Holiday Makeup

Perfect Holiday Makeup

Happy Monday, friends! Guess what?

That's right! It's the holiday season! Well, I mean, basically.

Today I'm teaming up with Covergirl for their Girls Can campaign to bring you a holiday party themed makeup look.  The #GirlsCan campaign promotes the empowerment of women by encouraging them to break down barriers and turn “can’t” into “can."  When they have such a great message, how could I have said no when they asked if I'd be interested in joining in?

So, in the honor of saying, "I CAN," today I'm going to help you say, "I can," to executing a classic holiday makeup look.  Maybe not as inspirational as some of the over #GirlsCan campaign stories, but hey, it's still important to rock a great look to all our holiday parties. 

Perfect Holiday Makeup


1. Apply Covergirl Ready Set Gorgeous in 205 all over using a damp beauty blender.  Using the Ready Set Gorgeous concealer I apply this in a V shape under my eyes and blend it out as well.

2. Apply Covergirl Flamed Out Shadow Pencil in Ginger Flame all over my entire lid.

3.  Using the Covergirl eyeshadow palette in Cafe au Lait I patted the lightest color into the inner corners of my eyelid.

4.  Next, I took the darker color and blended it into my outer corner.

5.  Add a classic winged liner using L'Oreal Infallible liquid liner.

6. Apply 2-3 coats of Coverigrl Flamed Out mascara.

7. Wipe blush onto the apples of my cheeks, I used the color "Brick Rose" from Covergirl.  I also used a some Too Faced Chocolate Soliel bronzer to lightly contour.

8. RED LIP! A classic holiday lip isn't complete without a seasonal red lip.  This is the Covergirl lipstick in "Seduce."

9. Gloss it up.  The only thing more perfect for a holiday look than a red lip is a glossy red lip.  So, I swiped on Covergirl Colorsational lipgloss in "Whipped Berry" on top of "Seduce."

Perfect Holiday Makeup

10. Oh, if you're attending a holiday party, don't forget the bring the host or hostess a gift! I usually go for wine, but a candle, baked good, or coffee/tea would be another great option.

As I mentioned, this look is in collaboration with Covergirl for the their #GirlsCan campaign. This November, Covergirl is donating $50,000 to Dress for Success®, an international not-for-profit organization that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support, and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and life.

To get you excited about this campaign, I have a $25 Walmart gift card to giveaway so you can go to Walmart and pick up some of these great Covergirl products and create your own holiday look.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Walmart gift cards, product, and information have been provided by COVERGIRL.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

5 For Friday: Lust List

Ain't no shame in a little lusting #amirite

Also, ain't no shame in the fact that two things on my "lust" list have already been purchased and are making their way to my doorstep. I mean, what's a lust list if we don't indulge a little once and a while!?

1. Black Fedora Hats- What can I say? Hats are just everywhere this year and this is a lust list item that I caved on.  A little online boutique I follow on instagram was having a flash sale and I got it, with shipping, for $14. #justified 

2. Blanket Scarf - Thanks to Always Ashten, my want for a blanket scarf quickly became a need.  And then she posted an awesome GroopDealz one and I scooped it up for under $20.  That deal is over but this one from Express is equally perfect. 

3. MAC "Syrup" - A cult favorite color and I want it in my makeup bag like "whoa."  I think this is the PERFECT everyday color.  Maybe I'll just have to buy it for myself for Christmas. 

4. Black Over-the-knee Boots - Get in my closet! The problem with shoes is you never have enough of them.  While over-the-knee boots have always been in style, I feel like I've seen a surge of them this year.  I think a classic black pair would go with SO many outfits and I'd get so much wear out of them.  You see how I'm convincing myself I need them? I do that. I mean, when I can get this pair from Target for only $49, it's hard to say "no."

5. Utility/Military Vest - Old Navy had a beautiful one of these on sale for like, $20, a few months back and I'm STILL kicking myself for not grabbing it then. I also secretly want a faux fur vest, but I feel like a Utility Vest would be way more versatile and wearable. See how I'm convincing myself again? Ok, you don't need the fur vest, but that utility one...that you'd wear. You need it. 

Alright friends, that's my 5 lust items of the week.  I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

What are you lusting over this week?
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Leather Up for the Holidays (and an introduction to Tagspire)

Shirt | Marshall's (similar)
Pants  |  Vigoss (Black Coated Jeans)
Shoes  |  (similar)
Necklace  |  Our World Boutique 
With the holidays fast approaching we're all clamoring for the perfect holiday party looks.  This season, after I heard Rachel Zalis speak at an InStyle Magazine event, I'm embracing the trend to leather up. 

Leather isn't just for your purse anymore, it's everywhere.  And, it's in every size, shape and form. Leather pants used to be a thing of "I have to wear what all night?!" But it has transpired into faux leather pants and leggings and tuxedo pants so you can look chic (and still be comfortable!)  I'm rocking faux leather pants in these pictures.  These pants are actually jeans but have been coated to look like leather. Comfy and chic and my new BFF.
Leather is also popping up in outwear, dresses, jewelry and blouses.  Below I've shared some of my favorite pieces to Leather Up with for this holiday. 

Like my collage? See how you can just rollover on the dollar signs to see where the items came from?! Pretty neat, right. I'd like to take credit for this nifty thing, but I actually used Tagspire.  

Tagspire is a brand new social commerce website that knows that word-of-mouth social shopping is the new face of shopping.  It's designed for bloggers, influences or fashion lovers who want to easily share their shopping finds, OOTD details, and style inspiration. The idea is you can quickly and easily tag your own images, collages, or any image you'd like and then share on Facebook or embed into a post.  Oh, and of course Tagspire keeps track of any sales purchased through your tags and pays you a commission. 

If you want to know a little more about it, this video from Tagspire does a way better job explaining it.  But, if you're thinking of signing up I suggest you do so soon. It's free to use and you can maximize this busy time in online sales during the holidays!

Oh, and here's a few snaps from the event I told you about.  It was put on by Single Edition Media, Blogger Meets Brand and InStyle magazine and was an awesome night full of fashion and fun!
What holiday trends are you most excited for this year?
This post is sponsored by Tagspire. All thoughts are my own.
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