Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 2014 Favorites!

So! August is over!?! How did that happen? It was unseasonably cool in Boston this month, so it didn't really feel like August, but I saved some money on cooling bills so, I'll take it! Anyway, here are the things I've been absolutely loving all month long.


Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara: $23 Cosmetics Specialty Retail. The name of this mascara is just...*sigh*. It's not better than sex, but it's my new favorite, FAVORITE mascara. If they are going to say this is better than sex, it should come with a winning powerball ticket. I digress...

It is the blackest, most dramatic formula I've ever used. I have already ordered a replacement from Sephora. My new holy grail mascara for my nothing lashes (sorry lashes, but you are wispy).

Tip: Looks like if you buy this directly from Too Faced, they will include a travel size for free right now. Bonus Jonas.

Gel Eyeliner (in general): Price Varies, Drugstore and Cosmetic Specialty. I discovered my love for this backwards, I guess. I am a fan of some eyeliner, let me tell you. I love eyeliner! It makes your eyes look bigger, more dramatic and it comes in fun colors, although I only ever use black. I got a navy one in a beauty box, but I've only used it twice maybe (although it's beautiful and soft). When I first started wearing makeup, I only knew of pencil liner. Then I discovered the joys of liquid liner. Loved it. Earlier this year (yes, I'm behind the curve), I discovered gel eyeliner. I honestly had never even heard of this until a few months ago. A pot and a brush?! NO. WAY. NOT GONNA TRY THAT.

Then I got an email from Sephora saying that Benefit was coming out with a new gel eyeliner in a pen form. I purchased it before its release as a VIB benefit (Benefit as a benefit!??!) and I loved the formula, even though I found the application a bit challenging (full review forthcoming). I used it for about a month and liked it, but I found that it was difficult to use it and I had to get in to a mood to use it, like I had to get psyched up to apply it. Not good. Then, one day, I purchased a pot and brush "old school" type gel eyeliner from the drugstore. HOLY MOLY! Where has this been all my life!?!? It doesn't sound like a brush and a pot is an easy application regarding eyeliner, but I found this delivery system very simple. I got the most control from the brush and ultimately, I found it much easier than the pen form. Sorry, Benefit. I love you, but...


Nest Amazon Lily Perfume: $25 Roller Ball Specialty Cosmetics Retail. OMG. I got a sample of this with a Sephora order. I tried all the other perfume samples and when I sprayed this one, I thought: "Hm...weird. Smells kinda weird." However, I liked it. I tried it again and again and the more I tried it, the more I liked it. Then, I became obsessed and I had to order a larger size. It has a floral, yet citrusy and spicy fragrance. It's totally weird, but it hooked me like caffeine.

Well played, Sephora. Well played.



Rimmel Stay Matte Primer: $6-7 Drugstore Retail. I have issues with Rimmel products. Every YouTuber talks so much hype about this brand's Stay Matte Powder, but, they don't really make darker shades. Are they translucent?

I did come across this product at the drugstore and I gave it a try. I had been trying the Benefit Porefessional which was okay. It didn't keep me matte no matter how much I prayed on it. This stuff is a white cream, which looks like a moisturizer. You can put it on under makeup or wear it alone. It is supposed to blur your pores and keep your face from getting shiny. I wear this in the T zones and I hate to admit that it works really well. This stuff is the bomb dot com if you have oily T-zones. It kept me matte and looking nice most of the day. If you have darker skin, you DO have to be careful not to get this stuff in the drier areas of your face or you will look like a mime. Bottom line, for $7, this is a steal. Anyway, Rimmel...you get one.


Merrel Evera Shift Sandals: I seriously lucked out with these. I have a black and a tan pair. I happened to come by them at Marshall's and I paid so little for them that I feel like I stole them. They are so cute...so comfortable. I love the little heel. These are the sandals of the summer. Period. So much shoe love for these.


Garnier Sleek & Shine Moroccan Sleek Oil Treatment: $5.99 Drugstore Retail. A late entry, but I'm totally obsessed! Being a curly girl, I love me some hair oil. I had been using Kendi Oil but I mistakenly left it at home when I went on vacation. Kendi Oil smells amazing and works wonderfully, but my hair soaks up and eats product like The Greedy from the Raggedy Ann & Andy Movie (I am dating myself). Kendi Oil is $25 a pop. I went out to get some hair oil while I was in Hilton Head because I was going to be shampooing from the chlorine in the pool and salt in the ocean. This stuff is amazing! I applied it to my damp hair after I conditioned and shampooed and it made my curls soft and shiny and lessened the frizz (you can't be 100% frizz free if you're a curly girl. Let's just be honest). I like Kendi Oil, but I can be more generous with the Garnier since the price point is much lower and it works a little better too! Once again, a win for Garnier. I have used (and liked) their products in the past, so I'm anxious to try more products from their Sleek & Shine line. Recommendations anyone?


Special Meal Salad: Inspired by a salad I saw in Real Simple. It's farro underneath salad greens, snap peas, sauteed mushrooms (instead of chicken), fat-free feta, avocado and a lemon vinaigrette dressing. Grind a crap ton of fresh pepper on it. BAM. Lunch or dinner. Guilt-free, tasty as heck, easy, addictive. This was winning for me all month. Fiance is obsessed too.

That's what I've been loving as we slide into September. It's going to be autumn soon and that means I get to pick up and move in with my handsome fiance! Moving sucks but I can't wait to move in with the love of my life!
Monday, August 25, 2014

Vacation Luxuries for your inner Princess


Sometimes, there are crazy things you by from Sephora and you don't know why you spent that much on a single product. It doesn't make sense, it's probably not worth it and you probably didn't need it. But when I am on vacation, I like to have crazy, unreasonably-priced luxuries to make me feel like I'm royalty at my home away from home. Here are some of the crazy things I've brought with me on my beach vacation.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir: My friend Sara turned me on to this stuff and I'm not even sure what this does. On the Caudalie Website, it says it gives you a glow, minimizes your pores and sets your makeup. I'm not sure I believe all of that nonsense, but you know what it DOES do? It smells amazing and it feels amazing on your face when you spray it. It's got a rosemary, floral sort of smell and a slight tingle when you spray it on your face (eyes closed of course). This stuff is $49 for the full-size and I'm not even sure what it is. But you can buy a small little tiny size at Sephora for $18, which is just as stupid, but less of a sting on the wallet and was a perfect size for my purse. It's steamy and humid at the beach here and this has been so amazing in the middle of the day when my face is kind of feeling gross and hot. If you have money burning a hole in your pocket and you're vacationing somewhere hot, pick it up and treat yourself.

Ole Hendriksen Grease Relief Cleansing Cloths: I am super into cleansing cloths. Maybe because I'm lazy. My current favorite are the Yes to Cucumbers wipes for sensitive skin. I don't have sensitive skin necessarily, but for some reason, I love these wipes. They smell faintly of cucumber and they get your makeup off mostly. I had heard a lot of buzz in the beauty community about these (Ole Hendriksen) brand of cleansing wipes. I couldn't imagine that a stupid face wipe could be so amazing. I saw the little 10-count sample at the checkout at Sephora for $8. So it's $0.80 for each of these stupid face wipes, which is INSANE. But...

They are amazing. They feel amazing on your skin, they smell fantastic and they have a cool side with bumps on it that exfoliates your skin. I have oily skin and I enjoy anything that reduces the amount of grease and crap on my face and the fact that these wipes have AHA's in them is a huge plus for me. They leave my skin feeling clean, refreshed and smelling fantastic. The 30-count is a $15 which is a little more reasonable at $0.50 a wipe. I think I will definitely be going back for the big size, but maybe I can't buy them all the time. I don't use these to remove eye makeup (I use Clinique Take the Day Off Remover), it just takes off my blush and face powder and primer.

SUPERGOOP! Sun-Defying Sunscreen Oil: Sunscreen Oil, eh? Sure. I was attracted to this product initially because as a darker-skinned person, I didn't enjoy the blue-ish white cast that creamy sunscreens leave on my skin. Maybe I'm vain, but I think it looks really terrible. This product seemed like a good alternative because it was an oil. I initially didn't think an oil could really protect you from the sun because I believed that white-cast was coming from whatever chemical was keeping you from getting sunburned, but I took a chance on it anyway. It's $10 for a 1-ounce spray of this. That CRAZY. But I was going on vacation and this was a chance to be luxurious and treat myself like a princess. Well, I really love this product. It's waterproof up to 80 minutes and it feels really good going on your skin. Not greasy, but silky. I was out playing golf on a hot, sunny day and I did not get burned.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15: This is the most ridiculously expensive lip balm ever. It's $22.50 for a full-size, which is nuts because you only get 0.15oz worth of product. However, this is the best lip balm I've ever used. It goes on remarkably smooth and is incredibly moisturizing and the colors are usually very pretty. I have this balm in at least 5 colors but my favorite is the newest shade, Tulip. It's a pretty, bright pink and it's the perfect MYBB (my lips but better) color. Big ups to Fresh for compelling me to buy an insanely over-priced product in almost every color that they offer.

So, that's it for my ridiculously over-priced vacation luxuries! Are there expensive guilty pleasures that you enjoy? 
Monday, August 11, 2014

August Boxycharm Review!

For those of you who don't know, Boxycharm is a beauty subscription service similar to Birchbox and Ipsy Bag. Once a month for $21, they send you (free shipping!) 4-5 full-sized beauty products. It's a mix of high-end and drugstore, but this is my 4th box and I've only gotten one drugstore item (it was a mascara, which is great.) Boxycharm is my one and only beauty box subscription right now. What initially attracted me to the service is that they are sending full-sized items every time instead of samples. Not that I hate samples, I just think Boxycharm is the best bang for your buck right now. I have been waiting for it with great anticipation this week and now I'll let you know what's in my box! Disclaimer: This post is NOT sponsored by Boxycharm and I do pay for this box and chose to review it on my own for the benefit of my readers only!

Here is the box in upon opening. It's the Beach Babe Box! This is very exciting because in exactly seven days, I will be on the beach! YES. ALL of the products in this box are full-sized.



The first thing I noticed was a Tarina Tarantino lip color in Floriculture which was a really pretty berry color. I was very thrilled to see this in this month's box because in my June box, I also received a product from this line (which was a highlighter). I loved the highlighter, so I was very excited about this lipstick. The packaging is exquisite. It feels very heavy, high quality and has these adorable little crystals on the side. The color is absolutely gorgeous and it felt really soft on my lips and the color was perfect for me. It was a cute berry shade that goes perfect with my complexion and is exactly the shade of lipcolor I usually like to buy.

Verdict: AWESOME. I am not a lipstick girl, but I will be using this! (Retail price: $22)

Next, I saw this Enter Pronoun Blowtorch Bronzer. Enter Pronoun? What the heck? Well, turns out this is a unisex makeup line. Ok, cool. I also noticed that they don't really have a lot going on in terms of amount of products on their website. It looks like right now they are offering some concealers, this bronzer and an eyeliner. It looks like they are a startup or maybe just being cool by only selling 3 products? Who knows. But this bronzer retails for $35. Imagine me doing a Z-snapping motion after I say THIRTY-FIVE DOLLARS. That is like a YSL or Chanel pricepoint, baby!


That being said, the packaging is STUNNING. It's as beautiful as the Tarina Taratino product is and the bronzer seems nice. That being said...I'm not really a user of bronzer. Honestly, I have never even considered using it, especially since I don't see that many women of color reaching for it. But, I'm sure it's great and I'm going to hold on to it and give it a shot.



Verdict: STAY TUNED. I might use this, I might give it to a friend. Who knows. (Retail price: Once again with feeling...$35)

Next was this ModelCo Cheek and Lip Tint in Rosy Red. I've never tried a ModelCo product before. Is it just for models? Is it made by models? In general, I'm a little suspicious of products that are supposed to be for my lips AND cheeks. My first impression is that when I swatched it on my hand, it wasn't just a tint, it was a STAIN. It had a pretty good staining quality and I couldn't wait to try it on my lips. When you rub it it has a strange brick red color and it felt VERY sticky on my lips. When it dried, it felt okay, but in the 10 minutes that it was wet, it was sticky, sticky, sticky! I didn't try it on my cheeks since I was already wearing Tarte cheek stain.

Verdict: NEUTRAL. It's okay. It's a VERY SUBTLE color payoff (which is what it's marketed to be) for a no-makeup, makeup look. I'll use it and see how it goes. (Retail price $22)

Then there was the Ofra Cosmetics Lip liner in Silk. I watched a few YouTubers open their boxes and I appear to be one of the unfortunate ones who got a lip liner instead of a black eyeliner from this company. I got a stupid lip liner in July's box too. This was extremely disappointing.

Verdict: MEH. Who wears lip liner? I'll probably never use this. If anyone wants this, I'd be HAPPY to send it to you. Disclaimer: I did swatch it on my hand once. (Retail price: $13)

Lastly, I got this powder brush from Morphe Brushes. Here it is...



VERDICT: AWESOME. This brush rules! It's as soft as a bunny, feels really high quality and is a nice large size. I'll be using this to try my new bronzer or whatever. I would buy more brushes from this line. (Retail price: $19.99)

Overall, I was extremely pleased with this box! I was rather disappointed by my July box (which also came late), but this box is far more impressive and an extra bonus for including a Tarina Tarantino product! I can't wait until September's box! If you want to subscribe to Boxycharm, please use this link! This is my referral link and if you sign up, I get boxy "charms" which are points to buy full-sized products. 

Update

Oh hey, blog, HEEEEYYYY! I have been away for a while and BOY have I been busy! In the few months that I've been away from my blog, I've...

  • Become a reasonably successful entrepreneur
  • Made my Boston Jordan Hall soloist debut! (W00t!)
  • Gotten my first solo reviews in Boston Music Publications
  • Explored Voice Acting
  • Been on AM Radio heard in 38 States! (OMG!)
and finally...

  • gotten engaged to the man of my dreams!
So, when you ask yourself..."Where has Kay been?", you can now answer that question with confidence! I have missed my blog, but I have done SO MUCH! I just wanted to give a quick update as to where I've been! I'll be moving again in a couple of months so the mayhem continues!
Thursday, March 13, 2014

Why I Love YouTube Beauty Gurus


I'm not a makeup freak by any means. As a matter of fact, this is the entirety of my makeup collection. My dress collection is much more embarrassing (or awesome!).

I know I'm late to the party on this. However, over the past 6 weeks or so, after having stumbled upon Grav3yard girl's YouTube channel during a Dereck and Kay Show broadcast, I have been obsessively watching YouTube "Beauty Gurus" talk about makeup, hair products, beauty products, etc. I wasn't sure why I became so fascinated with the entire phenomenon. All I knew, is that I could watch them all day and I knew I wasn't the only one. Grav3yard girl has over TWO MILLION subscribers alone. TWO MILLION. This blog at current has 91 followers, which is a drop in the internet bucket. Why had I become so fascinated with these girls when I didn't even care that much about makeup? Here's what I figured out:
  1. I don't have any sisters: Growing up a military brat, I got shuffled around the world and by the time I got to high school, I was much more concerned with "being serious" than I was about makeup. Most of my makeup experience had to do with Stage Makeup and that was boring (and gross). I didn't care about it in college, and I didn't care about it in graduate school and I cared even LESS about it in my entire 20s and early 30s. I have one really girly, stylish friend and I only get to go to Sephora with her about twice a year. When I do, we spend an hour or more in there and it's very satisfying. Watching these videos is like having a really stylish, girly friend any time you want.
  2. Someone else gets to spend money (or get it for free in some cases). It's no secret that some of these girls make their living off of YouTube Videos which fascinates me. High-end cosmetic products are INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE. In 2011, I impulsively bought a super-overpriced YSL Eyeshadow Palette that I honestly wish I had returned. The colors don't work with my skintone and the eye shadows kind of suck. Now, if I'm thinking about buying something, I just look it up on YouTube, watch some reviews and try it in the store before I buy. No regrets. That being said, a lot of these YouTube Beauty Gurus get sent products for promotional purposes, but that doesn't bother me. It's Retail Therapy without the spending money part.
  3. The-Behind-The-Scenes Catiness & Scandals: Admit it...you like a good internet scandal. YOU DO. Back in the day when the Anthropologie Blog Community Anthroholic Scandal happened, I could NOT stop reading message boards and posts. When girls are involved in something, you can almost guarantee that there will be some kind of drama and there is no shortage of interesting controversy revolving around these YouTube Channels. I think most of it comes from a mean, jealous place, so I won't place any links here, but it does make for an interesting contrast. I have great admiration for anyone who has found a way to monetize their hobby. I'd say, "You Go, Girl!" but that's so 90s...
  4. It's Light and Fluffy: I spend the majority of the day worried about stuff. I'm a worrier and most of the time, I'm worried about pretty serious stuff. Almost the entirety of 2014, I have been quite worried about my kitty cat, who has had some serious health problems. Watching someone talk about mascara for 10 minutes will make me forget about worrying for a little bit and maybe even cheer me up.
I don't know how long this phenomenon will continue to be popular on YouTube, but I'm loving it. I think I'm also fascinated by the "Anyone-Can-Be-A-Star" thing. It also does, unfortunately also make me want to buy stuff, which is BAD. I'd be interested to talk to a few of these girls about their experience! In the meantime, I'm entertained. Anyone else watch these videos in their spare time too?
Thursday, February 20, 2014

OOTD: Sweet Life & Getting Lucky

It's a few days before the big Cantata Singers concert and I'm having fun choosing outfits for rehearsals. It's been so long since I posted an outfit and I did not have any decent light to work with so I apologize for the quality of this photo.


Paddington was totally photobombing as well! The cardi is from Express, but it's ancient. I got the skirt from a second hand store, but it's from Anthropolgie and it's from Corey Lynn Calter (Sweet Life Skirt). It still had the tags on it when I picked it up and I got it for a steal. It's one of my favorite skirts as it's so cute with the pink and gray stripes. It's really well made and looks adorable on. For some reason, I have INSANELY good luck at consignment stores. Everything I find that I love was like a highly coveted piece or something, it's in my size and either still has the tags on or looks like it's only been worn once. I don't know why I am so lucky in this way. I don't have ANY other luck in life it seems, but I can find something awesome in a consignment shop any day of the week.

I recently started buying a scratch ticket every now and again and this weirds me as well as intrigues me. I'm not even sure (and this is embarrassing) what to do with ones that win. I won about $5 (which is actually not a win because I spent more than that for the tickets), but the tickets are just sitting around. I'm just not lucky with that stuff. I went to Las Vegas in September and I was like the most unlucky person ever. I won a little bit of money at the stupid Sex and the City machine (like $75), but only because I was obsessed with watching the stupid show clips when I would hit the bonus. They know how to get you. Yet, I still like to try my luck...why do I continue to do this when I know my luck is bad? Or is it just a mindset? If I believe in my luck, do I become lucky? Maybe I should just stick to keeping people organized... Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Whip-it-Up Wednesday: Organizing Tips for Renters


Good Morning, everyone! This week, I'm going to introduce the first of my series about organizing (because it's what I love to do!). I decided to begin by talking about the challenges involved in organizing a space that you rent. When you live in a home that you own, you have a lot more flexibility about what you can do with the space. If you need a closet, you can just knock a wall down and build a closet. If you need to install a custom cabinet pull-out drawer in your kitchen, you grab your drill and you go to town. If you rent your apartment, live in a dorm or rent a room, the amount you can change the space is limited. Here are some tips to help you stay organized in a rented space! I made a video showing what I've done in my own rented space. The music is pretty loud, but I uploaded it that way by accident and I'd have to remake the video to fix it. So, bear with me!


In this video I talk about:
Hooks
  • Hooks are really great for hanging things. Hats, coats, hoodies, pot holders, oven mitts...and other stuff. If you rent your space, you probably don't want to put a lot of holes in the walls or damage the paint with permanent adhesive. I LOVE Command Hooks! These are a renter's best friend. You can do SO many things with Command Hooks and there are so many different kinds that do all kinds of different things. You can hang pictures, message boards, coats, towels, control cords...the possibilities are almost endless. There are even clear ones now!!!
  • Over-The-Door/Cabinet Hooks are cool too. An Over-The-Door coat hook, dishtowel hook or bath towel hook works well in a space where you cannot drill into the wall.
  • YES,  I know that all over-the-door solutions look somewhat unattractive on the other side due to the way they function. Here's where I'm going to give you a little tough love: DEAL WITH IT. Beggars can't be choosers. If it really bugs you that there are two little silvery little nubs on the other side of the door, don't use them or paint them to make them blend in. This is just the unfortunate part of the over-the-door situation.
 Under-cabinet Drawers: 
  •  Can't install pull-out cabinets? NO PROBLEM! Get some drawers you can simply place in the cabinets and voila! You've got a great solution! If the drawers you get are stackable, you can use the majority of the vertical space. The ones I purchased aren't for sale anymore but here some awesome ones from Ikea. Here is also a great solution from The Container Store, which is a little more expensive, but worth the extra cost since it will basically last forever.
Freestanding Shelving:  
  • Just because you can't put some holes in the wall doesn't mean you can't make the most of some empty wall space. If you're pressed for space...GO VERTICAL! My kitchen is SUPER tiny, so I built a freestanding pantry:
You can also purchase a wardrobe and use it as a pantry if you don't want to look at all your stuff. I personally like having it exposed so that I can make decisions easily. This pantry is a combination of InterMetro Shelving and Elfa Cabinet-Sized Drawer Units...both from The Container Store. Not attached to the wall, so I can disassemble it and take it with me to my next space. I also love these wardrobe solutions from Ikea.

Personalizing Your Space:
  • Can't Paint? Well, you have to work with what you've got, baby! Something I haven't tried, but I'm dying to is Tempaper. Tempaper is a removable wallpaper that is supposed to be damage-free when you remove it. It looks super awesome and it's a great way to bring a little bit of personalization to a rental space if you can't paint the walls, but are bored with plain white walls. Tempaper is not a cheap solution, but I think investing in just one wall's worth of color can really transform your space. 
  • Changing knobs: There have been some ugly, super boring knobs on cabinets in places that I've lived. The good news is, if you have a screwdriver, you can often easily switch out these boring knobs for some cute ones. I got mine from Anthropologie. The regular-priced ones are a little expensive, but you can grab some super cute ones on sale pretty much all the time. I only paid about $3 for each of the ones I purchased for my kitchen. I splurged for my bathroom knobs, but only because I needed two. It brightened up my kitchen so much to use these cute knobs and made it feel like it was a little more "me". JUST KEEP THE OLD ONES and replace them back when you leave ;-)
  • Doing something bigger: If you really want to do something bigger like say...replace the faucets with something better and fancier...ask your landlord. There is a chance, they may even do it for you or offer to split the cost! Some changes will increase the value of the space and it may benefit the landlord to make the change. The bottom line, is that you don't want to do anything that will cause you to lose your security deposit and you always want to be up front with your landlord about what is going on in THEIR property. The worst thing that could happen is that they'll say no and chances are they'll appreciate that you at least asked.
What do you do to keep your rented space organized? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks!