Monday, August 25, 2014

Rouge Louboutin by Christian Louboutin: A Love Letter

Let's not pretend, here.

The second I saw that Christian Louboutin was going to create a beauty line, I was all over that. All over that. I knew it was going to be exuberantly expensive, to the point of sheer ridiculousness. But, as someone who considers herself almost a connoisseur of luxury beauty (to the extent that a student on a...flexible, let's say...budget who lives nowhere near a Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom can be considered one), I knew I'd have to get something. I had no idea what the line was even going to consist of, but I knew I just had to have it.

Enter Rouge Louboutin. A classic Louboutin-sole red nail polish in an 8-inch bottle that's simultaneously an objet d'art and a lethal weapon for whatever unplanned lobotomy finds its way into your day.

I got myself on the Sephora notification list ASAP when I saw this, unsure about whether I would feel comfortable spending $50 on a nail polish. My brain said no but my heart said It will be at least 4 years until you can afford a pair of Louboutin shoes, self, so what's a $50 nail polish in the grand scheme of things until then? This will be worth spending two weeks eating nothing but cereal. I got the email a short time later. I bought it immediately. It was sold out by the end of the day.

First things first, the bottle. It really is unbelievable. The glass itself is very, very worries about shattering this sucker. It wouldn't be right to ignore how gorgeous this bottle is, because that's part of the appeal. It's something I keep out instead of with the rest of my polish, partially because it won't fit but mostly because it's just beautiful and awesome to look at. The brush itself isn't, in my opinion, nearly as unwieldy as it looks. My fingers fit right into the little groove around the base of the handle, and I had no trouble using it whatsoever.

The formula is a dream to apply. It's smooth, patent-shiny, and is opaque in one coat. I use two coats anyways, but I'm an overachiever. One is enough.

A caveat: Nail polish has a very difficult time lasting 24 hours on me. Doesn't matter whether I've got a base coat/top coat/whatever. Cheap or drugstore polish usually chips well before 24 hours, high-end might last a little longer if I'm not flailing my hands into things or whatever I do that makes nail polish and I frenemies. Essie lasts ~16 hours before I have tip wear or have a chunk or two missing, Chanel gets ~24-36 hours before the same tip/half-nail-chunk problems. And when I'm talking chipping, I'm talking at least a third of the polish coming off at once. It gets pretty unpresentable pretty quickly.

I did not have to change this nail polish for five days. 5 days. 120 hours. I got very very minor tip wear around day 3, but I didn't lose enough to make me want to change it until day 5 (and even then, the amount that had chipped off was substantially less than what I normally get after a day and a half of high-end polishes, and only on one or two fingers instead of seven or eight). I know Christine over at Temptalia had the opposite luck that I did; she experienced shorter wear than usual, and nail polish is certainly a product that wears differently on different people. But on me, there was no denying it. It's the best nail polish I've ever used. Ever. Hands-down. Nothing has ever worn so well on me. It's a real, true A+ product for me.

Will it be for everybody else? Probably not. It's definitely a dupeable color. I know that's a stupid amount to spend on nail polish, of all things, and lord knows I could never judge anyone for being like, "NOPE, you crazy," because that's also true. I've been known to make bad life decisions for the sake of beauty products, and nobody ever should follow my lead. But do I regret it? No way. It's not only the product (which is phenomenal), but the vibe of the whole thing, with the heavy gradient glass bottle and 8-inch-long spiked handle. It's luxury. That's the point. It's over-the-top, grandiose, and I love that shit. I live for it.

Bottle size comparison with Chanel (both are 0.4oz product)

I'm boring, you know? I go to school and do science all day and then work/gym and if I'm feeling fancy I'll make something in my breakfast sandwich maker for dinner or thaw some chicken something with chicken. Nothing about that is glam. But that's why I love makeup, and prestige/luxury makeup in particular. It's the experience, the packaging, the colors, the textures. Rouge Louboutin is the epitome of that. If it came in a crappy plastic bottle or even something basic or boring? I'd be pissed. But if you're going to sell a $50 nail polish, you'd better crank it up to eleven, and I think that's exactly what they did.

It's sold out I think everywhere at this point, but 30 new shades (!!!!!) are coming in September. There are 10 neons, 10 dark and vampy shades, and 10 neutrals. I sure don't have the funds to buy them all and my heart is broken and devastated over it, but let's just say I'm on that email notification list for when they come in because I need at least one more. It'll be a little Sophie's Choice when I have to pick, but we all have to make sacrifices.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

ipsy August Glam Bag Review!

Long time no blog! Between getting everything set up (sort of) in the new apartment and managing to survive orientation week and week 1 of my 4-year PharmD journey, I've been busy, tired, obnoxiously full of migraines, and generally boring. But! I'm back and with some new beauty stuff! First off, the ipsy Glam Bag. Next is probably (hopefully) Rouge Louboutin, the new Christian Louboutin nail polish that I splurged on, but first things first. To the Glam Bag!

This is, believe it or not, my first beauty subscription. I know, right? It's probably because I'm kind of a beauty snob and had such bad experiences with drugstore/lower-end products; why would I want to pay every month to get stuff I didn't want or wouldn't work on me? I'm happy with my luxury and prestige brands because they work with my uncooperative skin. I'd heard good things about ipsy, and I decided that I'd give it a try for a month or two to see how I liked it, hoping that I'd be impressed enough to keep it going.

The August Glam Bag was my first one after getting off the wait list in mid-July, so I really have nothing to compare it to other than my own expectations. All of the samples were pretty small, some a little bigger like the deluxe samples or 100pt Sephora rewards. The bag itself is okay; I'm not a fan of orange but it's cute.

ipsy August Glam Bag

  • Klorane Dry Shampoo
  • Jersey Shore Sun Lip Conditioner
  • Dr. Brandt "pores no more" Primer
  • J.Cat Beauty Eyeshadow in "Half Naked"
  • Urban Decay Perversion Mascara
My first impression was "...meh" and it's still hovering around there. The dry shampoo seems interesting and will, at some point, be tried. I've always wanted to try one, so that's a positive. The lip balm and eyeshadow were my least favorites and will probably get zero to very little use (the lip balm...even though it smells lemon/ more likely, just because I always lose and eventually re-find the ones I have and like). The one thing I was pretty thrilled with was the Dr. Brandt primer! It's something I had tried before and liked, even if it's not leaps and bounds above my usual Smashbox/Laura Mercier primers. I remember it being pricey after finishing up a sample, and primer lasts me too long to get anything larger than small travel sizes, so I never picked up the full bottle. The texture is really smooth and unique, and this will definitely be used and probably emptied.

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara

Now, the mascara. This was clearly the BFD sample in this bag. I love Urban Decay. They're one of my favorite brands. But mascara and I don't get along. It's always been me vs. mascara. I've tried everything from drugstore to Dior, and every single thing ends up under my eyes within an hour or so, waterproof or not. Diorshow really broke my heart because it looked stunning when I put it on, but I was full-on raccoon clown within an unacceptably short period of time. My lashes just hate mascara. I currently use...and love...Blinc, which is that weird tube mascara that some of you have probably heard of. It doesn't smudge under my eyes at all because it is a miracle product. Granted, you sacrifice some of the big glamorous lash look, but it stays put until I take it off and that's pretty impressive.

I decided to give the UD mascara a try and wore it to work today. It was on for 11-12 hours and the verdict is: definitely not bad at all! It smudges tons less than basically every other mascara I've ever tried. There's still some under my eyes, but a whole lot less than I expected, which is pretty darn impressive. Very little smudge, actually. Overall, if I weren't me with my eyelashes, I'd give it a two thumbs up and probably use it. I still prefer Blinc because it's completely smudgeless, and Perversion didn't give enough of a "bigger, blacker, badder" lash to overcome my need for apocalypse-proof makeup, but I'd rank it second above everything else I've ever tried. And that's saying something.

I'm going to give ipsy another month before I make a decision on whether I want to keep subscribing or not. Like I said, I'm very "meh" on this bag, but not unimpressed enough to not give it another try. Here's hoping that next month's Glam Bag is a stunner!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Back to the Gym and Some Savory Soup

When I get overstressed, things tend to fall to the wayside. Over the past year or so, my gym time has definitely suffered. On the contrary, my "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' skills have grown remarkably strong as of late.

I'm trying to get back into the groove of things, which can be tough when you've lost a lot of strength (and the bruised ego that comes along with it). Yesterday was a bench press day, which I hate because it's my worst lift and I have to adapt to lower weights until it picks up. Lately I've been going by feel because I'm unsure of where I'm at. Benching especially sucks because you have to start at the bar, which is 45lbs, and I don't have a lot of room to add weight at this point until I regain strength.

  • Bench: Warmup sets of 5 with the bar (3 sets), increase by 5lbs until sets of 5 become difficult
  • Dumbbell Rows: 3x15
  • Tricep Pulldowns: 3x15
  • Clean&Jerk: 3x5, done with little rest in between sets to build endurance
  • Elliptical HIIT

Somewhere between unpacking more so I'm not living out of boxes for six months (which, given the opportunity, I will do), I made a batch of easy chicken minestrone soup in the slow cooker, which I put straight in the freezer so I have four meals ready whenever I need! I meant to snap a pic but it slipped my mind, but trust looked (and smelled) delicious. Adapt this recipe to as little or as much as you want. Hate beans? No beans. Lots of celery? Go crazy. Need three times more noodles than normal people? I feel you, let's do it.

Simple Crockpot Chicken Minestrone

  • 1lb boneless chicken breasts
  • 4c chicken stock/broth
  • 1 28oz can of undrained diced tomatoes (I get mine "Italian", already seasoned with basil/garlic/etc.)
  • Veggies of your choice - onion, celery, carrots, potatoes, whatever works for you!
  • Beans if desired; cannellini or even red kidney beans work well
  • Noodles if desired: I use mini shells (1 cup or more, however noodly you like it!)
Stir the chicken (leave whole or cut in chunks, it doesn't matter), broth, tomatoes, and veggies into the crockpot. If you use something like zucchini or beans of any sort, don't put that in quite it until after. Throw some salt, pepper, or Italian seasoning in if you'd like, and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low from 7-9 hours. If you left the chicken whole, it will be tender enough to pull apart.

Stir in beans/zucchini and, if you plan to eat the whole thing immediately, noodles, and cook for another 10-15 minutes. If you plan on freezing it, let it cool to room temperature, add the noodles, and immediately freeze. This way, the noodles don't end up mushy blobs when reheated. I'd assume you could do the same with the beans as well so they don't get overly soggy!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Dior Addict Fluid Stick in "Kiss Me" and Sephora's Summer Surge!

As some of you know, from August 3-10 Sephora is holding their Summer Surge event that multiplies your points with purchase (with some additional goodies for those who qualify!). Beauty Insiders get 2x points, VIBs get 3x points, and VIB Rouge gets 4x the points for every purchase you make this week both in-store and online, no promo code needed. The girl I spoke to yesterday said that there will be special rewards going up online, although I haven't seen them yet. VIB Rouge...if your store still has them in stock...also gets a little tote and a makeup bag with samples. Mine had some of the usual throwaways, like perfume or mascara that doesn't work on me, but there were a few really great ones including a Laura Mercier Radiance Primer, Benefit Watts Up! highlighter, and Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Styling Treatment.

Summer Surge VIB Rouge Goodies!

I spent a lot of time wandering Sephora yesterday but only ended up with one thing (for now): Dior Addict Fluid Stick in "Kiss Me".

Dior Addict Fluid Stick in "Kiss Me"

I love love love this formula (also the darling packaging, how cute!), which is somewhere between a liquid lipstick and a gloss. "Kiss Me" looked like the perfect conservative shade to try out for school, a muted cool-toned pink. It's very close to a MLBB shade, but a little lighter. Because it is a lighter shade, it does settle into lip lines a bit, but nothing really noticeable unless you're up close, so definitely not a dealbreaker for me. Wear time is about what you'd expect from a gloss/lipstick hybrid.

"Kiss Me" - No Flash

"Kiss Me" - Flash

The no-flash swatch is definitely more true-to-life, if a little's definitely not bubblegum pink, but the flash highlights the coolness of the color.

You can pick up "Kiss Me" ($35) or any other Fluid Sticks wherever Dior products are sold, but like I mentioned, Sephora is running that great Summer Surge event so it's definitely worth checking out there because of the 2x/3x/4x points offer!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Happy National Lipstick Day!

Because, obviously.

I always was (and still am) more of an eyeshadow person, but there's nothing like a fierce lipstick. A good lip can make or break your whole look, and I'm a firm believer that a bright lipstick equals a brighter day. Whenever I need to feel badass, I throw on a great lipstick; a bright pink, a fuchsia, a summery coral, a bold nude, a statement red. I know it can seem intimidating at first to wear an intense lip out, especially if you're not used to it, but from personal experience it brings out self-confidence that you may not have even thought you had!

Choosing a favorite lipstick is a little bit like choosing a favorite child, if you had, say, a hundred children. Yet there's one that I always have tucked away in my lipstick basket for those moments where I need to feel like, yeah, I'm a bad bitch. I bought it hesitantly, not just because it was pricey (lord knows I have no problem with that, I say as my wallet cries) but because I wasn't sure the color would suit me. It immediately became what I affectionately refer to as my "power lipstick". I use it rarely and for special occasions...I wore it to my college graduation, for example...because it's a little like my special secret weapon. Insta-fierce, just add lipstick.

Behold, Tom Ford "Violet Fatale":

You can't even see the "TF" in the lipstick anymore because it's so well-loved. I was afraid it would lean too purple on me, but it's just pink enough for me to pull off. Tom Ford has one of my favorite lipstick formulas, probably tied with Guerlain Rouge G, though they're both very much splurge purchases and I can't blame anyone for looking at the prices and shaking their heads. However, both formulas last essentially all day and sit comfortably, two things that I rarely find together in a lipstick, which is why they're top-tier products for me.

I had a longer "Celebration of Lipstick!" post planned, but that's going to be another time! I hope everyone celebrated National Lipstick Day, and if you haven't yet, there's still time!

What's your favorite lipstick?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Reanimating the Frankenblog: It's Alive!

I swear I'm going to start blogging again, with all of the blame directed at my friend Beth (whose blog Epise of Cake you should check out, y'all). Things are hectic right now...I'm moving this Wednesday and have basically nothing (read: actually, literally nothing) packed, or clean, or organized so no guarantees on how regular posts will be until things get set up and in some sort of routine, but I'm hoping this will help get me back on track with, well, life.

On the personal front, things with the boyfriend went pretty south...we're kind of "separated", not together but not really single, I guess?...and I'm living on my own next year. To say it's been devastating is an understatement. The past few weeks have been rough to say the very least, and I'm trying my best to get through them in one piece. I had to find an apartment on really short notice, and it's really at the very end of my budget, but I'm trying to stay optimistic.

However! I did get into pharmacy school and have orientation starting August 11th and classes starting the 18th, which is pretty cool and something I'm trying to use as a big positive to balance out the whole avalanche of negatives I've been bombarded by as of late.

The gym spent a lot of time at the back of my mind being so busy, and I'm working on getting back into that. I've lost a lot of strength that will hopefully come back at least moderately quickly. It's tough not to feel discouraged when I go.

I do have a whole ton of new makeup, though (of course), and look forward to making a whole bunch of great posts about that! I also have to learn how to dress myself because there's a dress code for school, and that will be an adventure.

To end things on a wonderful note and not just a wall-o-text, here is Waffles just doing Waffles.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

My Lips...But Better

Every beauty junkie has her own personal mission to find the ideal, everyday lip product that just works with her natural lip shade, enhancing it without concealing it. In the beauty world, this shade or shades is referred to as lips but better. As much as I love bright, flashy lipsticks in fun, bold colors, there are plenty of times where I need a MLBB shade to either bring attention to the rest of my face or just for an everyday coverup. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten a ferret nip right on the lip that I want to just erase!

As of right now, I've found four amazing products that achieve that MLBB look, so I decided to do a fun little writeup of the products that I love and reach for often! My favorite four are:

  • Guerlain Rouge Automatique in 100 Apres L'Ondee
  • Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in Memento
  • NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Sex Machine
  • YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in 08 Pink In Confidence

Guerlain, OCC, NARS, YSL

Guerlain's Rouge Automatique is a sheerer formula than their legendary Rouge Gs (which are one of my favorite full-coverage lipsticks ever), but it does a great job enhancing the natural lip color without overpowering it. The super-convenient packaging is also one of my favorites...slide the little button up and the lipstick pops out the top! 100 Apres L'Ondee is very close to my natural lip shade, so it's definitely a go-to for me!

OCC Lip Tars are fantastic, opaque, long wearing liquid lipsticks. You just need a little dab of liquid to cover your lips, and the formula will set and stay put for hours and hours. Memento is a rose-mauve that is slightly brighter than my lips and is definitely very opaque, but it's the only long-wearing full-coverage shade that I can put in the MLBB category so I love it for days when I won't have time for touch-ups.

NARS Velvet Matte lip pencil in Sex Machine was my very first MLBB color, as you can tell from the picture because it's certainly well-loved. I adore the simple pencil application, which is why this is a makeup bag staple for me. It hides all of the little flaws in my lips while giving a smooth, matte finish that is natural but lovely. I always, always have this one in my bag.

YSL Rouge Volupte Shines are sheerer but extremely hydrating lipstick that feels like a balm gliding on and leaves a wonderful shine. It's probably the most moisturizing and comfortable lipstick formula I've ever worn. 08 Pink in Confidence is a glossy MLBB shade, so it's perfect for days I want a subtle but shiny lip.

Guerlain, OCC, NARS, YSL (no flash)

 Guerlain, OCC, NARS, YSL (flash)

As you can tell, each shade has its own look that I can use to enhance when I'm not feeling a statement lip (which happens, I swear). Some are sheerer, while some are more opaque. I love all of them, though, and they each get heavy rotation in my makeup roster!

Feel free to share your favorite MLBB shade!