Sunday, February 9, 2014

7 Shades of Valentine's Day - OPI's "Big Apple Red"

A gorgeous red from OPI
(next to Vanilla Snowflake candle from Bath and Body Works)

Here is day two of my "7 Shades of Valentine's Day" series where I am posting a different nail shade every day leading up to Valentine's Day.

I have recently become an OPI convert. I don't know why I was always so uninterested in this brand. Was it the price (granted $9 is a lot more affordable to me now than when I was 13)? The ridiculous names (okay, some of them are pretty funny)? The new collections every three days (or so it seemed)? What ever the reason, I am happy to say I am so over it! In fact, I've become a bit obsessed! I'm not ready to abandon the Essie ship quite yet, but I have purchased a little OPI row boat to hook onto the back. (I promise I'm done with terrible nautical metaphors).

OPI "Big Apple Red"

This shade is Big Apple Red and it's a gorgeous cherry red. I think everyone needs this red in their nail polish collection - it's that darn gorgeous! I'm actually not a big fan of red nail polish at all so the fact that I'm raving about this shade is a little surprising to me. I have a feeling I will be coming back to this polish every Valentine's Day season.

What's your favorite red nail polish? Do tell! And stay tuned for another Valentine's Day polish tomorrow!


Ten Affordable Pink Lips for Valentine's Day

With so many pretty choices how can you choose just one?
(shown in order listed below)

I bring to you ten gorgeous and affordable pinks for Valentine's Day. I have picked out ten different shades from light to bold and everything in between so there is sure to be one for you! 

Ten gorgeous and affordable pinks for Valentine's Day!
(shown in the order listed below)

Jordana Twist & Shine Moisturizing Balm Stain "Sweet Pink" - I love the Jordana Balm Stains because they are inexpensive, easy to apply and have an amazing shade selection. This light pink is super wearable because it doesn't lean too cool or too warm. This is a great everyday shade that will be perfect paired with jeans, flats, and a cardigan for a low key celebration. 

Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquer "Apocaliptic" - The Show Off Lip Lacquers from Rimmel are some of my favorite lip products ever because they are fiercely pigmented and so darn affordable. Apocaliptic is a gorgeous bright pink shade that you have got to get your hands on, even if you're not a pink person. It's just so pretty! This shade would be perfect paired with a leather jacket and some kick-ass boots. 

Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush Lip Gloss "Mango Madness" - I may be cheating a little bit because I don't think this lip gloss is still available, but it's too pretty to not be included! Do not let the name fool you - this is not the color of a mango! I love to use this lip gloss over lip stick to give it more dimension. The sparkles are so beautiful. This would be a great lip to pair with a flowy dress. 

NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss "Dolly Girl" - This lip gloss has recently become an obsession of mine. I picked it up from Ulta after seeing it featured in Ingrid's (missglamorazzi) January favorites and I am in L-O-V-E! This is the perfect hot pink gloss - it looks scary in the tube, but is actually very wearable because it comes out kind of sheer, but is easily buildable. This lip gloss would be great paired with anything! 

Revlon Lip Butter "Sweet Tart" - If you like Revlon Lip Butters and you're a fan of pink you probably already have this in your collection! Sweet Tart is a very pretty bright pink that I think would look great for a day time date - maybe out to lunch or shopping! The formula is very moisturizing and lasts about five to six hours on me so you don't have to worry about touching up during your fun day date! I picture this lip paired with an oversize (heart) sweater and leggings.

E.L.F. Hypershine Gloss "Pink Pop" - If you're looking for a pink that leans a little fuchsia than this gloss if for you! It's a little on the sticky side though, but for only $1 it's totally worth it! Apply this to the center of your bottom lip for fuller looking lips. Wouldn't this color be gorgeous with classic outfit such as jeans and a statement blazer? I think so!

Revlon Colorburst Lacquer Balm "Vivacious" - This is a gorgeous bright pink with an extreme glossy finish! If you don't like shimmer, don't worry because there is none to be found in this bold shade. Pair this with an LBD to sass it up a bit. 

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream "Instanbul" - This soft pink nude is very similar to the Jordana Balm Stain, but more nude and with a matte finish. I am a big fan of the Soft Matte Lip Creams from NYX. The formula is very comfortable and there is a huge shade selection. This would be great with an LPD (little pink dress)! 

Maybelline ColorSensational The Vivids "Wild Rose" - How can I put into words how much I love this color? This lipstick is a bright, bold rosy pink and is absolutely stunning. I want to pair this with dark blue jeggings, a simple tee, and kitten heels. 

Cover Girl Lip Perfection Lip Color "Bombshell" - The last pink lip color I bring to you is a little on the purple side, but still bright, bold, and gorgeous. I definitely think of a bombshell wearing this. Pair it with a printed crop top and black circle skirt for the unexpected bombshell look. 

That wraps it up for my list of ten affordable pink lips for Valentine's Day. What are you wearing on your lips for Valentine's Day? Also, stay tuned for my red version! 


Saturday, February 8, 2014

7 Shades of Valentine's Day: Essie "Watermelon"

Essie "Watermelon"

I'm starting a new series called "7 Shades of Valentine's Day" where I will post a new nail shade every day for the next seven days, leading up to Valentine's Day! Here is day one.

I bring to you my perfect nail polish for Valentine's Day! I have been lusting after Essie's Watermelon since Stefanie from eleventhgorgeous hauled it last summer. The name describes this color perfectly - a gorgeous pink and red hybrid, exactly what I think when I think of watermelon. I find this polish to be one of the better formulas from Essie. This polish is very easy to work with and applies best with a few thin coats. I used three coats with the photos below, but probably could have gotten away with two. 

Essie Watermelon with three coats

What are you wearing on your nails for Valentine's Day? Have you tried Watermelon by Essie?


Friday, February 7, 2014

January Favorites

January Favorites 2014

So I know this post is super late, but I still wanted to get it up because I will (hopefully) be blogging all year and the thought of approaching the end of 2014 with a missing Favorites post makes me very uncomfortable! I know, I'm weird! Let's get to the point. January was a simple month in terms of the products I used. I was sick for most of the month so I didn't use much makeup at all and when I did I stuck to known favorites. Here's what I loved in January 2014!


l-r: UD Naked Basics, Cover Girl Wetslicks, Maybelline The Rocket,
OPI Grape Crush, Maybelline Baby Lips, Benefit The POREfessional 

I would not have been able to survive January (or any month) if I didn't have Benefit’s The POREfessional primer. This stuff is amazing and is the only makeup product so far that I have deemed holy grail. I use this over my nose where I have the most visible pores and does a wonderful job at blurring them. I tried out a few different face powders in January so I don't have a favorite and since I was sick a lot I pretty much stayed away from foundation and concealer so this was the only face product I couldn't live with out in January. 

Urban Decay Naked Basics was my baby in January. I can create simple and easy looks in just a matter of minutes which is ideal for me since I started my new work schedule (I have to be to work at 7:30 am now).  I like to use W.O.S. all over my lid, Naked 2 in my crease and outer corner, Foxy as a brow bone highlight, and Venus in my inner corner. Occasionally I will use Faint if I want something a little bit more dramatic, but I usually don’t have the time in the morning. I finish up with Maybelline The Rocket mascara - perfect for separately lashes and building volume.

I also kept my lips very simple in January. Maybelline Baby Lips in Quenched was a true life saver - in fact I used a whole one up in just two months! Unfortunately, I threw it out and didn't even think of saving it for a future 'products I've used up' post. Seriously though, this lip balm is incredible. It makes my lips very soft and I can feel my lips soaking this up instead of it just sitting on top. When I wanted a little bit of color I reached for Cover Girl Wetslicks lip gloss in Raspberry Splash. It's a gorgeous shade and very easy to wear and apply.


OPI "Grape Crush"

My favorite nail polish of the month was OPI's Liquid Sand in "My Current Crush". It's a gorgeous grape purple shade with silver sparkle. I picked this up at Ulta on clearance. It came with a top coat and both were only $9! I wore this pretty polish for a good two weeks. 


l-r: PINK Warm & Cozy, Simple Facial Toner, Olay Moisturizer,
Suave Moroccan Oil, The Body Shop Shea body butter

My favorite fragrance of January was Warm & Cozy by PINK. It smells like vanilla and peony and is surprisingly perfect for winter. I use this after the shower and I feel so refreshed! Instead of lotion, I've been on a body butter kick. The Body Shop had some insane deals during Christmas and I picked up quite a few mini body butters. My favorite has been Shea. It's simple and perfect for every day. I like it because it doesn't clash with any fragrances or perfumes I might be wearing. 

My face has been loving Olay Fresh Effects Long Live Moisture! face moisturizer. It has a satin finish and a really great smell. It comes out white when you pump it out, but it warms up to be slightly pink and iridescent. It makes the skin look healthy and glowy, but not glittery or shimmery. I've been using this since summer and am still in love! At the end of the day I use Simple Soothing Facial Toner. I picked this up as a recommendation from Lindsey Hughes (beautybaby44). This. Is. Amazing. I use it every night before bed and it makes my skin feel great. I can see a difference when I use it. My skin looks fresh and cleaner than if I just washed it with face wash. And the best part? It's so inexpensive - I paid $5.99 at Target.

My last favorite of January is Suave Moroccan Oil. I have been using this every day and my hair feels so much softer. My mom even noticed when she was braiding my hair a few weeks ago (yes, I still ask my mom to do my hair sometimes, even though I'm 22). I prefer to use it right out of the shower when my hair is still a little damp. 

So that concludes my very first favorites post! What did you love in January?


Monday, February 3, 2014

Getting Naked...with Stila?!

Stila Not So Nude and The Natural, $20 each at Ulta

While at Ulta recently, I impulse bought two neutral palettes from Stila. (Because I need neutral palettes like a hole in the head). I don't know what initially drew me to these palettes. Maybe because they're small and perfect for travel. Maybe because they're pink and girly. Maybe because they're filled with a mix of mattes and shimmer..Whatever the reason those suckers found their way into my grey mesh bag. And I didn't even bat an eye.

Each palette is slim and opens like a book. One the cover we have girls with long, flowing hair in their undies. Cute and innocent! The palette feels like cardboard, but a little sturdier than the cardboard that houses my Stila In The Light palette.When you open up each palette you have a small mirror on the left hand side and an illustration of one look using the majority of the products in the palette. The palette has a magnetic closure. It doesn't feel expensive and sturdy, but it doesn't necessarily feel cheap and flimsy either.

Let's take a closer look at each palette.

l-r: Stila The Natural and Stila Not So Nude


l-r: Innocent, Linen, Pure, Element, Demure, Silk

l-r: Organza and Soft Clay

The Natural palette contains six eye shadows, one all over shimmer, and one bronzer. 

Pure – a matte ivory cream
Linen – a matte light brown
Innocent – a matte medium warm toned brown
Element – a goldish brown sheen
Demure – champagne with a hint of pink sheen
Silk – a bronze sheen
Organza – a peachy pink with sheen
Soft Clay – a warm bronzer with sheen 

The three matte shades (Pure, Linen, and Innocent) are silky and smooth. There are not as pigmented as other matte shadows I've seen from Stila (namely from the In The Light palette), but they are buildable and perfect as transition colors. On their own they are subtle enough to use to blend other eye shadows. Although they are nice, they are definitely not the stars of the palette.

That title would definitely go to the other three eye shadows, all with a sheen finish. There is no shimmer, but there is definitely some shine. Applied wet (or under a primer) these shadows are absolutely gorgeous. I love all three of them. They seem like shades I would have numerous dupes of, but they are actually pretty unique in terms of browns and neutrals. Demure reminds me a little bit of Stila’s ‘Kitten’ shadow, but more beige than pink.

The two cheek products are not my favorite in the palette. I do like Organza, but not as a shimmer over the face (I’m thinking Stila is referring to this as a highlighter). A peachy pink highlighter is just not flattering on me. I think on darker skin tones it would look lovely. The same goes for the bronzer – not flattering on me at all. Instead, I like to use both as eye shadows. If you think like me, then essentially this palette contains eight eye shadows. Organza is absolutely gorgeous as a lid color. I don’t have an eye shadow quite like this. And a plus – the pan is huge! More than half the size of a normal full size eye shadow. The chances of me hitting pan are very slim. This shade is especially beautiful with my blue eyes!


l-r: Barefoot, Dolce, Mink, Buff, Fawn, Sugar
l-r: Kitten and Lily (blended out on the right)

The Not So Nude palette contains six eye shadows, one all over shimmer, and one convertible lip/cheek color. 

Sugar – a champagne beige with sheen
Fawn – a cool toned light to medium brown with slight shimmer
Barefoot – a dark purple with a hint of brown/black and red shimmer
Buff – a matte camel beige
Mink – a cool toned matte taupe brown
Dolce – a true gold sheen
Kitten – a champagne shimmer
Lily – a peachy pink sheen

This palette only has two matte shades and they are both very similar in terms of texture and pigmentation as the mattes in the previous palette. Buff is a hybrid between Pure and Linen and Mink is a shade or two darker than Innocent. It’s probably not necessary to have all five unless you love matte shades. Buff and Mink would make excellent transition and blending shades.

There are two actual shimmer eye shadows in this palette and they could not be more different. To me Fawn looks like an olive green neutral in the pan and swatches similarly. It’s not a very flattering shade on me, but I can imagine it looking quite lovely on medium to dark skin tones. Barefoot is probably the most unique eye shadow shade in both palettes. It’s a gorgeous dark purple with red shimmer. I saw this and immediately thought of Blackheart from the Naked 3 palette. I think Barefoot actually swatches more pigmented and feels smoother than Blackheart.

The other two shades in this palette have a sheen to them, but no shimmer. Sugar is a gorgeous lid shade and Dolce is perfect for all those gold lovers out there. I personally am not a huge fan of gold eye shadows – they look gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, but I tend to gravitate towards champagne shades. Both are very pigmented and smooth.

The all over shimmer in this palette is called Kitten. It is not a dupe for the eye shadow by Stila of the same name. The Kitten eye shadow has a much stronger pink tint to it whereas the Kitten in this palette has a more gold look to it. Again, I don’t like this as a highlighter for me. Maybe I’m just not as comfortable with highlighters just yet, but I think this looks like too much on my cheekbones. I will be using this primarily as an eyeshadow.

I am happy there is a convertible cheek color in this palette as I’ve always wanted to try one, but it is not sealed or separated from the powder products and I fear it will get dirty really quick. This particular shade is very pretty, although it’s a little bolder than what I prefer for a cream blush. I do not like how this looks on my lip. It clings to imperfections and makes my lips look shriveled. Not a pretty look.


I was able to find a few dupes between these two palettes from Stila and the three Naked palettes (well four if you count Naked Basics) as well as the Stila In The Light. 

l-r: W.O.S., Buff, Bare 
The first dupes I detected were of these light, matte cream shades. From Urban Decay's Naked Basics palette we have W.O.S. and from Stila's In The Light palette we have Bare. Both are very similar to Buff in the Not So Nude palette. Depending on the light I can't tell Buff and W.O.S. apart. Bare is similar to both, but more cream based instead of W.O.S.'s pink undertone and Buff's beige undertone.

l-r: Sugar, Organza, Kitten eyeshadow, Kitten shimmer, Demure

The next comparisons we must make are with all the pretty champagne colors! Of course we have to compare them all with the original Stila Kitten eye shadow (mine is from the In The Light palette). I didn't find any dupes with the Naked palettes. As you can see the shade most similar to the Kitten eye shadow is definitely the Kitten all over shimmer. Not very surprising if you ask me. Since these shades are my weakness I don't mind owning all of them, but I know they are not a necessity for some people. 

l-r: Blackheart, Barefoot (with flash)

l-r: Blackheart, Barefoot (without flash)

The last dupes I bring you are very interesting. We have Barefoot from Not So Nude and Blackheart from Urban Decay's Naked 3 palette. If you've been lusting after that shade, here's a cheap alternative! I have to admit I prefer Barefoot because the shimmer/glitter is more subtle and the dark base is more pigmented. 


Over all I think both palettes are great for the price, however most of these eye shadows are not unique shades at all. If you own all three Naked palettes plus Naked Basics you probably do not need these two palettes. I would also say these palettes are not a necessity for someone who owns the Stila In The Light palette as that palette pretty much has variations of all these shadows. I would recommend these to someone just starting out with makeup or someone looking to increase their collection. The small size is perfect for travel. My favorite of the two would be “The Natural” even though I really don’t like the bronzer and probably won’t even use it much for eye shadow. The “Not So Nude” palette is nice, but Fawn is not a shade for me and even though Barefoot is gorgeous I don’t need it since I have Naked 3. I could also do without the convertible color since it’s not sealed. 


Sunday, February 2, 2014


l-r: Cover Girl Clump Crusher, Too Faced Lash Injection, Maybelline The Rocket, 
Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing, Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes

I am the type of person that always has a few masaras open at any given time. I like different mascaras for different things - one for my bottom lashes, one for separating, one for volume...ideally there is a mascara out there for me that does it all! Unfortunately, I have not found said mascara yet so I always have a few that I am currently using. Here are the mascaras on my current rotation.

Cover Girl Clump Crusher by LashBlast, $8.99 at Ulta

Ah, the Clump Crusher. I don't think I've ever seen a drugstore mascara with so much hype! I remember Tracy and Stefanie from eleventhgorgeous raving about this mascara last spring and thinking I must have this in my life. Honestly, it's not my favorite, in fact I kind of dislike it...a lot. 

I never seem to have luck with Cover Girl mascaras.  The wand for the Clump Crusher is rubber with a slight curve and short, stubby bristles. It does not do anything for my short, sparse, thin lashes. This mascara does live up to it's name in that I do not have any clumps, but it doesn't give me volume or length which is truly what I need. It is, however, amazing for my bottom lashes! The wand is the perfect size to get every single lash on my lower lash line and the formula does not smudge at all. I'm happy that I found a purpose for it. 

The only thing is this mascara tube is kind of bulky so traveling with it is kind of a pain especially since I know I'm only going to be using it for my bottom lashes. I don't regret buying it because it was pretty inexpensive and I was so happy to finally try it even though it's not my favorite mascara out there. 

Too Faced Lash Injection, $21 at Ulta

Too Faced is one of those brands with the most gorgeous packing - from the eye shadow palettes, to the bronzers, to the lipsticks (seriously have you ever held one of their La Creme lipsticks in your hand? It's a magical moment!). Everything is simply stunning. Their Lash Injection Mascara is no exception. The packing is not only pretty (there are gold bows along the top of the wand!), but it feels expensive. Also, call me crazy, but the smell of this is kind of amazing. It doesn't smell fruity or fact I can't tell what the smell is, but it's kind of nice! I would have never guessed that I would like the smell of a mascara! 

Now, about the actual mascara. It's not that impressive. At least for me. It does a nice job separating my lashes and coats them, but very thinly. Do not get this mascara if you are wanting anything really dramatic. I use this mascara on my 'no make up' days. And I don't mean no make up days where I'm actually using twenty-seven products to achieve a "natural" look. I mean I've got Benefit POREfessional to hide my pores, Rimmel Stay Matte powder all over my face, mascara and a sheer lip gloss. This mascara is about one step above natural lashes. Sort of like a "my lashes but better". Definitely not dramatic, in fact quite natural. 

This mascara came in the Be Merry and Be Bright holiday set exclusive to Ulta so I did not pay full price for this mascara. I was glad I was able to try it, but I won't be purchasing it again. Mostly because there are too many mascaras out there I want to try so a mascara has to be AMAZING for me to purchase it again and this one was just sort of meh

Maybelline The Rocket Volume Express Mascara, $7.49 at Ulta

I absolutely love Maybelline mascaras! I don't think there has ever been one that I truly disliked. That being said, The Rocket Mascara is one that took a long time for me to warm up to. The first time I used it I scratched my cornea with the wand! Those bristles are T-I-N-Y! This mascara is another rubber wand - for the most part I seem to prefer those kinds of wands. As I said the bristles on this wand are very tiny so you have to get really close to the base of your lashes. I have poked myself in the eye many times using this mascara. Other than the possible danger of using this the actual mascara is really nice! 

The formula was perfect from the get go - it wasn't too dry or too wet. This mascara builds volume very quickly, which is what I look for most in a mascara. I've had this mascara the longest (almost six months) and it's still going strong. I have a few other mascaras that I have purchased, but haven't opened yet that I want to try out. If those don't work out I will definitely be buying this again. 

Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara, $2.99 at Walgreens

It's kind of surprising that the least expensive mascara on this list is actually my favorite! This mascara from Jordana is absolutely incredible. I bought it on a whim in July fell in love immediately. The wand is the perfect size for me - it's not massive like The Rocket or super tiny like the Clump Crusher. The formula doesn't flake or smudge at all. However, my favorite thing about this mascara is that it leaves my lashed feeling soft. Yes, you read that right - SOFT. It's amazing! I've never in my life tried a mascara that makes my lashes feel this amazing. This is very close to becoming a holy grail product. The picture shown is of my second tube. I think this might be the first time I've repurchased a mascara. Okay, let's just slap a holy grail sticker on that sucker. I highly recommend this mascara to anyone with easy access to Jordana cosmetics. It's seriously worth it! And if you don't like it? Well, it only set you back $2.99.

Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes, $5.99 at Ulta

Having heard so much about this mascara from Lindsey and Meghan Hughes (beautybaby44 and missmeghanmakeup) I decided to pick this up when Maybelline was BOGO at Ulta a few months ago. Now, I will admit that my expectations were very high for this mascara because it's the only mascara I've seen Lindsey use other than Benefit's They're Real! and she admitted this is her holy grail. I'm not that impressed so far. Granted, I've only used this a handful of times, but I think my lashes are just too thin for this to be beneficial. I can imagine this working wonders on someone with naturally thick lashes, but sadly that person is not me. It takes so many coats to get a little bit of volume and I just don't have the time so I haven't been reaching for this much. I did try layering the Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara over this once and I really liked the result so I may start using mascara as a base. I'm not prepared to give up just yet, but as of now, I will not be repurchasing. 

That's it for my current mascara rotation! What mascara(s) are you currently using? Have you tried any of these mascaras? Do share! 



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Saturday, February 1, 2014



Let me introduce myself. My name is Alyssa and I'm twenty-two years old. I live in Omaha, Nebraska.

I have had a passion for all things beauty since I was young. I remember collecting Smackers lip balms in the sixth grade. I moved on to black eyeliner and neutral shadows courtesy of Cover Girl shortly thereafter.  My love for beauty has evolved significantly over the past year or so, specifically with nail polish, but it certainly doesn't stop there. I am slowly but surely building a collection that I am proud of. My collection consists of mostly drugstore products with a few high end products sprinkled in. There's not a whole lot I like better than a good sale. I live for Ulta's BOGO deals!

It's probably important to share that I have thought about starting a beauty blog for a few months now. Initially I considered a YouTube channel, but I don't have a decent camera, lighting, filming space, or the ability to edit videos. A beauty blog seems like the easiest and most logical choice. I'm not writing off a YouTube channel yet, but for now I'm going to focus on blogging.

As for content, this blog is going to be primarily beauty. Anything from makeup, hair, skincare, nails, and anything in between. Mostly reviews, swatches, hauls, current favorites, collections, storage, looks, wishlists, tags, and anything else I can think of.

I know I'm a new blog, but my passion for beauty has been around for years and years. Please, I encourage you to leave comments and interact with me. I'd love to get to know some fellow beauty bloggers!