Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 FAVORITES!

Hey everyone! So the year wouldn't be complete without a recap of all my favorite things, and I decided to divide this up into categories, telling you my top 4 in each. This was honestly really difficult and I thought about it quite a bit! Hope you enjoy.

Of course, I could not give you a top 4 without telling y'all my makeup faves. First is the Urban Decay Naked palette that I received for my birthday in February. I won't dwell on this one too long because if you know anything about me, you will know that this is my ultimate eyeshadow palette ever.

Next is the Rimmel Stay Matte powder, which I picked up thanks to Tanya Burr on YouTube. It does an incredible job at mattifying the skin, so if you are of the oily type, I highly recommend it.

Along the same lines, Urban Decay's De Slick has been a lifesaver. I definitely think this helps my makeup stay put, and it definitely controls oil really well.

Last is my Korres lip butter in Wild Rose. I purchased this product during the summer thanks to EssieButton on YouTube, and I've loved it ever since. Whenever I'm not sure which lip product to wear, I always reach for this one. It's such a pretty color and a pleasure to wear.

The first nail polish is China Glaze's Ruby Pumps, which is kinda cheating since I only just received it for Christmas. I can predict that this might also be a 2013 favorite, just because I love it a lot.

Next is also a China Glaze polish, but this one is called Prism. It's an amazing, sparkly, glittery lilac-toned nail polish and I have nothing more to say about it except that it's beautiful. I'm wearing it for New Year's!

Third is Essie's Bahama Mama. This was my ultimate fall nail color and I found myself gravitating towards it multiple times during the season. I honestly think it's such a classy color, and a great alternative to the traditional red.

Last but not least, Julep's Kate. Now, I didn't predict liking this polish as much as I did, but I've been absolutely loving this. I thought white nails were tacky at first, but I've grown to love them. I've found it to be a wonderful year-round color and a perfect base for glitter polishes. The formula is super smooth (absolutely no streaks).

I wore Julep "Kate" during the winter as well. Here, it's underneath Essie's Shine of the Times.


In 2012, I've been obsessed with watching YouTube videos. Mainly for beauty and makeup purposes, but also for entertainment. First is EssieButton, whom I've mentioned many times on my blog. She's funny and has a knack for picking out lovely beauty items. Many products I've purchased have been due to her recommendation.

MissGlamorazzi is also a YouTuber I've been watching very frequently. Her demeanor is always super cute and optimistic and she's just so much fun to watch. Her vlogs are also really entertaining.

Next is FunForLouis. This is actually his second channel, but I can't really bare to watch his main channel to be honest lol. This year, he went on a UK roadtrip with Sam Pepper and Mazzi Maz, and vlogged every single bit of the way. Sam and Maz vlogged too, but I found Louis' the most fun to watch. He's currently staying with Sawyer Hartman (another YouTuber) and Sam in Los Angeles, and is vlogging every second day.

Alright, I seriously couldn't pick between these girls. They're YouTube's trifecta of awesomeness. Last year, I would've placed JennaMarbles in the non-beauty YouTube favorite category, but these three just take the cake this year. MyHarto's My Drunk Kitchen is very likely the funniest channel on YouTube. Hannah is also a really great person. Next is Mamrie Hart's channel You Deserve a Drink. Again, super funny. I can find myself watching her videos for hours. Last but not least is DailyGrace. She uploads videos Monday through Friday and is super witty.

I won't spend too much time talking about my music favorites, but here they are. First is Ed Sheeran's + album, which I listened to all the time whilst in Italy. This is definitely my top favorite album of the year.

Next is Taylor Swift's Red, which I'd been anticipating all year and was not disappointed by. She strays from her country genre quite a bit, but I just can't help loving her music.

I also really enjoyed Ellie Goulding's new album (admittedly not as much as Ed's & Taylor's). Her sound is so unique and I'm glad I was introduced to her music.

Lastly, is Miley Cyrus' backyard sessions which can be found on YouTube. I'm such a fan of her voice and every song she sings is so spot-on. Adore this girl.

This year I spent a lot of time watching movie staples that I had not previously seen, the first being the Shawshank Redemption. I could seriously go on and on about this movie. It was just perfect.

Next is Fight Club. I loved this story so much, and I even ended up reading the book. It's a cult favorite for a reason.

So specifically for 2012, I have to say, I really enjoyed the Avengers. I saw it multiple times in theatres and never got bored of it. It's chock-full of great actors and so much fun to watch. This was a big year for superhero movies but to me, this was the clear stand-out.

Last but not least, the Hunger Games. I read the books a while ago so I was very, very excited for this movie. I had high hopes and they were certainly met. Not much else to say - I loved every part of this film.

Finally, television. This year I kinda strayed away from my usual genre (think Gossip Girl, The OC, PLL), and started watching a variety of different shows. First up is How I Met Your Mother, which has been a favorite for years, to be honest. This show never fails to make me laugh, and I have so much love for all the characters. I'm going to be so upset when this is over.

I also really enjoyed watching the show Revenge this year. It's still relatively new (halfway through season 2), so I recommend starting it if you don't watch it already. It's super thrilling and the premise is really interesting.

Gah, gotta love me some Suits. This was the TV show I least expected to love this year. It's basically about lawyers, which I would generally hate, but the characters are so likeable and the storyline is so great. And yeah. A+

Lastly, the Food Network. I mean, there isn't much to say here. I like food and I like television and the Food Network exists, so obviously I'm a fan. Notables include Chopped, Cupcake Wars, and most recently, Iron Chef.

And that concludes my 2012 favorites! I hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating 2013, and thank you so much for reading Abundance of Erica this past year. It's been a lot of fun to update and I look forward to blogging in the upcoming year :)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

NOTD: China Glaze "Ruby Pumps"

Hey everyone! Today's NOTD is China Glaze's "Ruby Pumps". I got this polish for Christmas, and I must say, it is one of my absolute favorites already. I genuinely think it's the most perfect red nail polish ever formulated.

It's kind of a deeper red, but then it has bright ruby-colored microglitters that make this such a stand-out color. The glitters are actually hardly noticeable in person. You can see them clearly in the photos, but in reality the effect is simply a shimmer. It's honestly so pretty, I can't get enough of it.

I'm in the midst of trying out all the different polishes I got over the holidays, but I'm really excited to put this one back on!

What do you guys think?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Recap & Haul

Christmas is officially over and I finally decided to write up a post about it. I had a blast hanging out with my friends and family, and I hope you guys did too! I know the popular opinion is that "Christmas is not about the presents", but let's face it, it really is. More than receiving presents, though, I love to give them. I thought about taking photos of the gifts I gave to other people and ultimately decided against it, but I kinda regret it! I think I gave some really good gifts this year, to be honest. Anyway, here's a little mish-mash recap post about my Christmas. Enjoy!

Me and my lovely cousins, my cute dog with all the presents, and the ultimate Christmas nail polish: China Glaze Ruby Pumps
Our traditional Christmas tree and the crazy amount of presents my mom and I bought for our family.  From left to right: Barbie carrying case for my cousin, H&M khaki pants for my brother, giftcards, acrylic paint set & canvases for my cousin, two Skylander Giants for my cousin, wallet & money for my cousin, Armani cologne for my brother, Crate & Barrel cookbook stand for my cousin, cotton night gown for my great aunt, baby Levi's jeans and plaid flannel shirt for my cousin, Williams Sonoma oven mitt & measuring spoons for my godmother, One Direction blanket and poster book for my cousin, kitchen soap set for my cousin's grandmother, Converse hoodie and journal for my cousin
Before I get to showing you guys the things I got for Christmas, I wanted to write a bit about the items I gave to my family. I guess I'll write this out list-style because I feel like that'll be the most organized.

My mom: I got my mom a pizza peel from Williams Sonoma. She ended up really liking it, but I overlooked the fact that she would only be able to use it if she had a pizza stone, lol. Oops. So now we're on the lookout for a pizza stone. And sidenote: damn is Williams Sonoma expensive! Everything is pretty and smells like cinnamon but it's also unnecessarily overpriced...

My dad: This year I got my dad into Bath & Body Works candles (lol), so I picked up "Merry Mistletoe" for him. He's usually really particular about scents but he ended up enjoying it. I also got him a random bottle of wine that I chose because the label was designed nicely (I know nothing about wine), but he opened it on Christmas day and said it was a good choice, so I'm glad.

My brother: I got my brother a movie giftcard. Admittedly not the most creative gift I've given but at least I know he'll use it.

My godmother: I got my godmother a Williams Sonoma oven mitt and measuring spoons. I can't get over how expensive that store is.

My goddaughter: I got my goddaughter a Sephora giftcard and the same Soap & Glory set that I actually ended up receiving for myself lol!

My aunt: So whenever my aunt and I go to Sephora she spends all her time smelling perfumes but then never actually buys one, so I picked up a set of mini perfumes from Sephora for her to try out. I think she really liked it!


Here are the gifts that I received for Christmas, and also a few that I got on Boxing Day (I'll let you know which ones). Overall I'm super excited about everything I received! I mostly got money from my extended family and my dad, but also in addition to these, I got Bioderma eau micellaire (from my mom) which was on my Christmas Wish List. I've already started using it which is why I forgot to include it in the photo!

Christmas:

  • Lord & Taylor manicure kit from my brother
  • OPI Matte Nail Envy from my mom
  • Seche Vite top coat from my mom
  • Soap & Glory gift set from a gift exchange
  • China Glaze Ruby Pumps from my mom
  • OPI Golden Eye from my mom
  • Buddha Gotama statue from my aunt
  • Dior 5-Color Eyeshadow in Stylish Move from my godmother
  • Movie theatre gift card from my mom
  • Starbucks gift card from my mom
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth from my mom
  • MAC Plumful lipstick from my mom
  • MAC 217 brush from my mom
  • Revlon nail file & buffer from my brother
  • Taylor Swift "Red" from my aunt
  • Starbucks set from my cousin

Boxing Day:
  • Two Lush gift boxes (bogo) with a giftcard I received at Christmas from my brother
  • Benefit cream eyeshadow in "RSVP" from Sephora ($12 on sale)
  • Sephora double-ended blush brush from Sephora ($9 on sale)
  • OPI "Don't Mess With OPI" from a random mall counter ($3.50 on sale)
  • OPI "Cuckoo For This Color" from a random mall counter ($3.50 on sale)

Again, I hope you all had a great Christmas! Leave me links to your Christmas hauls in the comments because I would love to read them :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

December Glam Bag

Hey everyone! I know this post is a little late, but I figure it's always worth making beauty subscription posts so that you guys can have a reference for past products if you ever feel like subscribing.

Overall I'm very pleased with my subscription to Glam Bag. Unfortunately, I had to cancel my January subscription because of all the money I spent this holiday season, but once my bank account recovers a little I will definitely renew it.

The first product is this super tiny sample of NYX's Ultra Pearl Mania loose pigment. I have no idea what the name of the color is (it doesn't say on the sample), but it's a very pretty pink pearlescent shimmer. I've worn it once with my L'Oreal Infallible eyeshadow in Amber Rush and Urban Decay "Toasted" in the crease and it looked really nice. To be honest, I kinda wish I'd received the champagne color instead, but this is still a cute little product to have.

Next is the Mai Couture highlighter papier in "St. Barts". I was actually really excited about this product because it's so unique. Basically, you rip out a sheet in the little booklet and sweep it over your cheek bones for an instant highlight. At first I wasn't too crazy about the color; it's kind of on the orange side, but I ended up really enjoying the effect and I can see myself wearing it a ton during the summer time.

I was really excited to receive this primer because my Urban Decay one is beginning to run out. It's clear in color and has a very fluffy consistency (similar to Smashbox Photofinish primer). It does a great job for smoothing out the skin. What's unfortunate is that, given the small size of the tube, I probably wouldn't use it as a face primer under foundation because I would run out really quickly (although I feel like the consistency and effect of the product would be perfect for that).

Next is this red lip gloss from Be A Bombshell in the shade "Hot Mess". I actually wore this on Christmas Eve and I absolutely loved it. Of course, it's worn best over red lipstick (I can totally predict wearing this over MAC's Russian Red), but it can be worn on its own as well. This is definitely an upgrade from last month's lip gloss.

I love it when subscription services provide products that are actually useful. It's fun to get some items that you would otherwise never purchase (like the highlighting papiers, for example), but a solid black eyeliner is great. Urban Decay is an awesome brand and I've been meaning to try this product out. The name is spot-on, too. It really just glides right on, and stays put. I've kinda graduated from lining my water line with black eyeliner, but this would be a great product to do just that. I recommend it.

So overall, I ended up enjoying every single one of these products which is a rare thing for a subscription service! I genuinely foresee using each item. I'm definitely going to renew my subscription later on next year. If you guys are interested, the January bag includes Josie Maran Argan Oil, which is a highly raved about product.

Let me know if you enjoy these posts :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

High-End Mascara GIVEAWAY! [CLOSED]

Hey everyone! Hope everyone had a lovely holiday. I definitely did! This is just a quick post because I've decided I would like to do another giveaway, since my last ones have been very successful.


READ THIS ~ The concept is simple: head over to my post about high-end mascaras (CLICK), have a look at all the photos, and decide which one you think did the best job. Next, go to the poll in the right sidebar and cast your vote for your favorite mascara. I will be purchasing two of the winning mascaras (one for myself, and one for you guys!).

TERMS & CONDITIONS:
1) Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY
2) Must be 18+ years of age or have your parent's permission to enter
3) Must fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter
4) Must be willing to provide a shipping address if won
5) The winner will announced in a separate blog post and will be emailed
6) You are only eligible to win if you have not won a previous giveaway on Abundance of Erica
7) If the winner does not respond to my email within 48 hours, another winner will be contacted
8) All prizes will be shipped in pristine condition (none have been removed from their original packaging), but I cannot be held responsible for damages that occur in transit
9) GIVEAWAY ENDS ON JANUARY 9th, 2013



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

NOTD: OPI Yoga-Ta Get This Blue

Hey everyone! Today's NOTD is OPI's Yoga-Ta Get This Blue. The polish itself is from quite an old collection of theirs, but it's definitely a favorite in my collection. As always, the consistency and application of this OPI is incredible. Two quick coats and you're good.

The color itself is a really pretty deep sapphire. Sometimes blues can come across as a little tacky (though I still wear them like, all the time), but this one is really classy. It's a really nice alternative to all the burgundies and deep greens I've been normally wearing around this holiday time (ahem, Essie Bahama Mama).

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

High-End Mascara Sampling

Hey everyone! As you may recall, back in October I attended a VIP day at Pharmaprix and managed to pick up this awesome mascara sampler. The concept is that you test out these deluxe samples, and trade in the one you want for a full size. I was having trouble deciding which one I liked, so I decided to set up a poll here on my blog so you could help me choose!

A few things before I start: I tried my best to get helpful pictures so I hope they're clear enough. And I have to apologize, my eyebrows got a little unruly throughout the whole process lol. Also I should mention that I curled my eyelashes before applying each mascara.

I'll try to keep my comments to a minimum because I really would like you to choose based on the photos. Here goes!

This is a photo of the set I took back in October



I think my favorite part about this one is the amazing packaging. It just looks so luxurious. And lately I've been a fan of mascaras that are tailored to the eye shape, and this one has a precision tip so you can really grab the inner and outer lashes.






This mascara is extremely lengthening, as you can see. I have to say this is my least favorite wand out of the bunch. It's really clumpy and messy-looking.




There's a lot of hype about this mascara in the beauty world, and I can definitely see why. The mascara is very lengthening but it makes the lashes seem very natural. My only gripe is the wand. It's huge! It takes up the whole sample bottle!



This is the first mascara of the bunch that has a thinner wand, which is nice.



Like the Benefit BAGgal, this one also has an obnoxiously large wand. The effect is also similar: very natural-looking, fluffy and lengthened.


This is the only mascara with a plastic wand. This is the one that bunched up my lashes the most, so consequently I'd say it's the least volumizing (as you can see the lashes look sparse).



Here's the final mascara! This one, by far, has the oddest shaped wand. It's actually conical lol. It did a decent job overall.




Now, head to the right of this post and pick a mascara in the poll in the sidebar. Please pick your favorite mascara of the bunch, and feel free to leave your comments below!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Questionnaire: December 17th, 2012

I know I already blogged today, but I figured I'd throw in a little Monday questionnaire since I haven't done one in a while. I stole this from Amarixe whose blog is amazing, so you should definitely have a look at it.


Here's a photo from my friend Alina's Christmas party. (I'm second to the left)



1.) Mood:
Relaxed. I finished my finals so I am no longer stressing out about school, and now I can focus all my energy into Christmas! Woooo!

2.) In what order do you apply your makeup?
Generally I do setting spray, foundation, powders, eyes, lips, then setting spray again, but if my eye makeup requires a lot of shadow I'll do eyes first so that the fallout doesn't mess up my foundation.

3.) What is one thing that made you smile today?
My dog (who is guaranteed to make me smile every day).

4.) Current Nail Polish:
OPI's Yoga-ta Get This Blue! (NOTD coming soon)

5.) Have you ever had a kiss under the mistletoe?
Nope!!!

6.) Current Outfit:
My pajamas because I deserve a lazy day after surviving exams & this weekend, LOL.

7.) Moment of truth: do you usually drive the speed limit?
Well I don't have my full license yet, so I have to drive accompanied by an licensed driver, but I generally stay within the speed limit. I kinda take driving very seriously, especially in school zones. 

8.) If you could spend the holidays anywhere in the whole world, where would it be?
Yeah, this definitely only applies if the whole family's involved, but honestly I'm not too fussy about location. As long as there's snow. Preferably in Italy maybe, since we're Italian and I'm sure my mom would love that.

9.) Do you know sign language?
Not at all, though I would be willing to learn :)

10.) Weekly Goals:
Pick up a few more gifts for my mom, brother and goddaughter, and get into the Christmas spirit! How great and stress-free is this week lol!?

Photo from Tumblr, via http://www.bohovanity.com/


Please leave a link to your monday questionnaire below, and have a great week everyone!

Wishlist Pt. 2: Christmas Edition!

Hey everyone! Long time no talk! To be honest, I thought I'd be posting on here way more this month... I guess it's just been a crazy couple of days. I finished off the last of my exams on Saturday and I was out yesterday, so today is looking like the opportune day to get back in the blogging game.

Anyhow, I have my second wishlist I've ever posted on this blog to share with you (click here to see the first one). These are some items I would love to receive for Christmas, and hopefully it gives you a few ideas for last-minute Christmas shopping. These are perfect for a friend or daughter or anyone into beauty (with perhaps the exception of the last three items).

OPI nail polish in "Golden Eye": This nail polish is from the OPI Skyfall collection (inspired by James Bond, of course), and it's a really pretty gold shimmer. I don't have one of these in my collection and I think it's just a nice, luxurious color to have. I would even treat it as a neutral because it could match so many different outfits.

Dior Shimmer Star in "Amber Diamond": I've been kind of obsessed with powder highlighters lately and it seems to me like this is just the ultimate. Everything about it seems incredible. The pigmentation (I've swatched it in-store many times), the pattern on the product, the packaging, everything. This is definitely more high-end given the price, but it would be such a lovely gift.

Bioderma Solution Micellaire: This product is hailed by the online beauty community as the best makeup remover in existence (lol). I guess the price is a point I'd like to address. This is not available in the United States, and can only be purchased in Europe (UK and France for sure, I'm not certain about other Euro countries) and Canada, and from what I know about exchange rates, it's marginally cheaper in Canada. That said, $22 for a makeup remover is a hell of a lot. It does seem like an incredible product, though, and I'm dying to try it.

Benefit POREfessional: The annoying thing about pores is that they're genetic, so any kind of serum that claims to remove pores is a scam. However, there are products available that reduce the look of pores, such as this one. I would be interested in trying it out to see how I'd make do with it, because it can be a hit or miss product. It's gotten generally good reviews, though, so I'm intrigued!

BeautyBlender: This is a product that is meant to seamlessly blend foundation. I don't know why it's $26; I can't really justify buying that for a sponge, but concept really peaks my interest. I still have a problem with streaky/patchy foundation if I don't spend ample time applying it, so this would be a wonder to have on days when I'm in a rush.

MAC 217 Brush: Okay, I love my Sigma blending brush, but this brush is likely one of the most-talked-about brushes in the beauty community. It seems more stiff than the Sigma one, so I bet it's a lot more precise. It can also be used to apply eyeshadow, and I think it would be an all-around great brush to own.

Giftcards: I think giftcards are a great gift, because it shows a person that you're atune to their needs and interests, while still giving them the opportunity to go shopping for themselves. Personally, I'm in serious need of a new bra (hope that's not TMI), and I've been having issues with Victoria's Secret lately, so Aerie is my new go-to. It's actually American Eagle's lingerie line. Really, though, I could make use out of any giftcard, be it Walmart, Pharmaprix, Sephora (of course), Bath & Body Works, Forever 21, etc.

Divergent by Veronica Roth: I'm in need of new books to read, and I've heard great things about this one. A lot of beauty gurus have read it (Tanya Burr and Amarixe, among the ones I can recall), but John Green has also recommended it, so I'm pretty confident that it's a good one.

H&M Braided Headband: So, I couldn't find the price on this because according to their website, it's sold out (!?), but I've seen it in-store many times so I'm sure they haven't completely vanished. American Apparel has similar styles but I'd rather not give them by business (or that of anyone shopping on my behalf). I just think it's very cute and a nice alternative to wearing a hat.

So that concludes my Christmas wishlist! Hope you enjoyed and please don't be shy to comment below! :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

NYX Haul & November Glam Bag

Hey everyone! I have a little haul for you guys today. After an address mix-up I finally received my November Glam Bag a few days ago, and I can't really tell if I'm impressed or not so I thought I'd do a blog post to sort out my thoughts lol! First, though, I'll start off with a NYX haul. I purchased all of these off of BeautyJoint.com. I've used the site before and I'm a big fan of it. I highly recommend BeautyJoint to Canadians because they sell brands that are difficult to get a hold of here, and the shipping is pretty cheap.

Soft Matte Lip Cream in "Milan": Love the consistency! I need more! Smells like vanilla too :)
Jumbo Eye Pencil in "Slate": Not my favorite but my mom really likes it.
Jumbo Eye Pencil in "Knight": I thought I would like this one more, but I'm not crazy about it. :(
Jumbo Eye Pencil in "Black Bean": Black eyeliner, pretty classic.
Jumbo Eye Pencil in "Purple Velvet": My favorite from the bunch!
Blush in "Desert Rose": Gorgeous color. I have yet to try it on the cheeks.

Swatches of the products mentioned above
I have to admit, because the Jumbo Eye Pencils goes on so pigmented with just one swipe, it's really hard to get a precise line with the darker colors. I'm gonna have to work hard to master this I think.

Alrighty, so here's the Glam Bag. There are two products that I absolutely love, two that suck, and one that I'm indifferent about. Here goes.


Startlet Eye Pencil in "Chocolate": This stuff is terrible. You need to drag it across your skin to make it appear. Don't recommend.
Benefit They're Real mascara: LOVE this stuff! The wand is absolutely amazing. The spiked top makes it easy to grab inner and outer lashes. I might splurge on the full size...
Eclos Anti-Aging Serum: Why do I need an anti-aging serum? Hate it when sample bags resort to this.
MyGlam Glam Gloss: This is the product I'm indifferent about. It smells like watermelon which is nice, but for some reason I got this instead of the Bare Minerals lip gloss... Not cool, MyGlam.
Nailtini Lacquer in "Millionaire": This is such a unique glitter polish and it's so great and festive! Love it!

Nailtini Lacquer in "Millionaire" over Essie "Bahama Mama" 


Overall, I'm going to continue my subscription for the Glam Bag. The December one looks pretty promising (NYX and Urban Decay are going to be included). I'll keep you guys posted on that!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

100 Follower Giveaway WINNER!

Hey everyone! As you may know, my giveaway came to an end yesterday so I just wanted to announce the winner...

Congratulations to Emma F.!


Emma, please respond to the email I have sent you. If there is no response within 48 hours, I will pick and contact a new winner.



A big thank you to everyone who took the time to enter, and who have become followers of my blog. I hope you will stick by me regardless of whether or not I am holding a giveaway! Since I posted the giveaway, I have received an incredible amount of 191 more followers since then. This is just amazing. Thank you all so much. I hope you will be around for my next milestone, which I'm sure will also feature a giveaway ;)

- Erica

Monday, December 3, 2012

NOTD: Sally Hansen Rockstar Pink

Today's NOTD is this amazing, glittery Sally Hansen polish. I got this polish because it's a dupe for Butter London's Lovely Jubbly. I don't actually have the Butter London polish so I can't objectively compare but I've looked up swatches and apparently they're identical (except for the price--$3 as opposed to $14).

The great thing about this polish is that you can pack on three coats and end up with this incredible, opaque glitter, or you can use it as a top coat. It has silver, blue, fuschia, and red glitters, so it would look wonderful over-top of any of those color bases.

The application was really nice as well, and I think this might be my favorite glitter polish in my collection! Let me know what you guys think in the comments below!

Education Shmeducation

Hey everyone... Someone posted this video to my school program's Facebook group, and after watching it, well, I felt a rant coming on. I know this has nothing to do with beauty so you don't necessarily need to read it but I thought I'd share my opinion!



To be fully honest, this video infuriates me for many reasons. First, I'd like to take this guy's idea to the "worst case scenario" for purely argumentative purposes. I should hope that this is not how it goes. But sometimes it's crucial to apply theories universally. (See: Kant's Moral Theory)

People who lack critical thinking skills and are easily swayed might view this video and think, "Man, this guy's right. Why go to school? I'm gonna take a day off. Or maybe two. Or maybe I'll drop out." Etcetera. They'll pass it on to their friends who will wholeheartedly agree. And soon enough we're going to live in a society where no one will have an education. Where people simply didn't feel like memorizing dates and staying up late to study. A society filled with people who slept through their classes and didn't so much as bat an eyelash whenever the wise prof said anything remotely interesting. Because what's the point?

But let's get back to this society where no one is educated. God, if this guy attended and payed attention to a single history class, he would know that this society he's set up would gravely backtrack us in time. A time with no gender equality. A time with no racial equality. A time with no such thing as technology. He fails to realize that Steve Jobs' ingenuity relies on the sheer intellect of his developers, all of whom bring a quality of intelligence wrought mostly by their formal schooling. I mean, if no one knew about the Holocaust, if no one knew about the intricacies of science, math, and physics, if no one knew about Shakespeare and Chaucer and Austen and Hemingway... What a truly boring, dysfunctional, and discordant world we would live in.

And originally I didn't want to go there... But it's necessary. In what world do we live in where an African American can stand there and claim formal education is all for naught. African American history is all about redemption, equality, and most importantly RIGHTS. The most fundamental of which is the RIGHT to education.

Sadly, many countries do not have the right to education. Personally, I think this guy needs to do some world travelling. I hope one day he will go to a 3rd world country and realize that the one thing in the world that kids in poor countries long for is an education. Maybe going to school won't directly fix poverty and famine and drought, but it might give a person the intellectual tools necessary to tackle the problem logically and perhaps to simply even cope. If anything, it might give a child something to hinge on and to be passionate about. If you give a poverty-stricken child in a third world country the opportunity to go to school, I guarantee that they will not be moaning and groaning like you.

I admit that I complain about school. I admit it. That doesn't mean I lose sight of the fact that I am in a rare situation. I have been given the opportunity to attend higher education, whereas the majority of the world's inhabitants have not. However, I accept this opportunity with humility. I don't understand people who think they're above school. I just don't. Even if you harbor all the creativity and personality in the world, trust me, you will not mask it by going to school, you will simply highlight it.

Kids bitching about school being useless is something I can't stand. But here's something I'd like to clarify: I acknowledge that the end goal of school is to obtain a degree that will get a potentially mediocre, unfulfilling job, and that might sound very daunting. That's attributed to the capitalist-driven society we're living in.

But here's another idea. Why not pay attention in class? Why not try to absorb some information? Learning for the sake of learning. Why not? It might make a dreary school day somewhat tolerable. I mean, if this guy wants to be an educated individual, here's an idea: instead of droning about your school days, why not take up a genuine interest in a class? Even if it's just one! Take a class you might not usually take: architecture, religion, painting, anything. I promise that school is not all about deadlines and grades and sleep deprivation.

I guess one good thing came about from watching this... I really feel like studying now. Learning doesn't suck unless you let it.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Beauty Blogger TAG!

Hey everyone! So Jen from Vibrant Beauty Blog tagged me to do the Beauty Blogger tag and it looked like fun so I thought I'd give it a go! Enjoy :)

Why did you start blogging and how long have you been blogging for?
I only started blogging this summer (well, I created my blog in February but only started using it recently), and I started because I wanted to focus my energy on something remotely productive. Also, I just started university with a major in Communications, so the whole idea of blogging is right up my alley!

Whose blog did you fall in love with first?
To be honest, I fell in love with vlogs before blogs. I really want to get into vlogging someday, but I thought a less scary place to begin would be in the blogging world. Only after researching my favorite YouTubers did I find some of my current favorites blogs: Amarixe, Essie Button, Sprinkle of Glitter, and more. 

Most important part about doing a blog post?
I think some sort of visual aspect is really important. Not even photos, necessarily, but just organizing your writing in a way that adds some visual excitement (larger titles, bolding, italicizing creatively, etc). I guess it goes without saying that honesty important, but seriously, what fun is blogging if you're going to give 100% positive reviews all the time? 
 
What kind of camera do you use?
I use a Fujifilm camera that I absolutely despise. I got it as a gift about 4-5 years ago (I'm very grateful, don't get me wrong), but as I'm becoming more educated about photography and camera quality, I'm realizing how crappy it is! I'm waiting on hearing back from a scholarship I applied for and if I get it, hopefully I can invest in a proper camera :)

I got these photos at http://www.digitalcamerareview.com/default.asp?newsID=3514&review=fuji+finepix+s1000 (but I edited the graphic myself)

What was the first blogosphere hyped about product you bought and was it worth the hype?
I'm going to cheat a little on this because technically I didn't pay for this one myself (I got it for my 19th birthday), but this definitely has to be the Urban Decay Naked Palette. I wanted this originally because Rachel from 87daysbefore talked about it alllll the time, and then I started noticing other bloggers/vloggers using it as well. Hands down, this is my all-time favorite makeup item and I wholeheartedly think it's worth the hype. Even though there are some dupes for this palette floating around, the texture and amazingness of Urban Decay eyeshadows can never really be replicated.

What are your favourite five things about blogging and being a beauty blogger?

1) I'm forced to exercise my writing skills. I think this is really important, and honestly, I feel bad for people who don't write regularly (even if it's something as simple as being a frequent tweeter) because being able to communicate effectively though the written word is something I really value. (Am I a Comms student or what?)

2) I have a lot of opinions, especially on makeup-y things, so it's nice to be able to catalog it all. Also, it's reassuring that I can express myself in a way that doesn't need to be censored at all, if that makes sense.

3) I think this is a really rewarding process, in the sense that I love producing and creating a blog post and having readers comment on it. I think it's one of the most gratifying things in the world sometimes.

4) Although I haven't made close friends in the beauty blogging community quite yet, I like seeing the connections made amongst bloggers and the comradery that goes on in this little online world.

5) Just having a hobby to look forward to whenever I'm bored :)

What have you learned from being a beauty blogger?
I already knew I was a perfectionist but the whole blogging thing definitely confirms it... I seriously re-read all my blog posts like 25 times before posting. Also, I've gained an appreciation for people who are good at photography. I've realized how much work goes into taking a nice photograph, so kudos to anyone who's really good at it!

Have you changed anything since being a beauty blogger?
Hmm, the only thing I can think of is that I take way better care of my nails. Deep, I know ;)

What advice would you give to a beauty blogger just starting out?
If you're writing something informative, take your time to make your posts the best they can be! I sometimes write up a couple drafts of my posts before publishing them, and I think it shows in the final result. Obviously, tags are a different story, but when I'm writing a review I try to be as detailed and precise as possible. And of course, if you want people to comment on your posts, do make an effort to explore other blogs and comment on theirs as well :)

Your Favorite Eyeshadow Palette?
My Urban Decay Naked palette, duh :D

The Best Beauty Deal?
I have been using my Rimmel Stay Matte powder literally every day since I got it. It's seriously amazing, and only like $3. Incredible.


Makeup Regrets?
Hmm, I don't really have any makeup regrets because I never get too crazy/experimental. I do have products that I regret buying, though (check out this post). I've actually been meaning to do a follow-up to that post. Would you guys be interested in reading that? Let me know in the comments!

Name your top five Beauty brands!
I guess unlike other beauty bloggers I don't really have a staple makeup brand. I like to dabble in different brands (high and low-end) so I only own select products from each of the ones I will name, but I'll try my best!

Korres I guess this is a slightly random brand to begin with, but after purchasing their lip butter, I became obsessed with this brand. I don't actually own any other products by them (lol), but I've researched their company and their whole philosophy/esthetic is really unique and refreshing. My only gripe is that their products are so costly (which is incidentally why I own so few of them) :(

L'Oreal This is my favorite drugstore makeup brand, for sure. I'm hardly ever disappointed by L'Oreal products I purchase, most notably their nail polish and Infallible eyeshadows. Also, they own Maybelline and YSL (and now Urban Decay!!) and other cool brands so they're quite top-notch in my opinion

Benefit I own quite a handful of Benefit products, so I feel like I'm qualified to name this brand as one of my favorites. Their Lemon Aid was one of the first products I ever bought from Sephora (and I got it at the Sephora in Madrid--oohhh fancy), and I find myself reaching for it every so often, despite my much newer eyeshadow primers that could potentially replace it.


My Benefit collection

NARS God, whenever I'm at Sephora, the NARS counter just calls my name. Sadly the only product of theirs that I own is the Laguna bronzer (LOVE IT), but their stuff just speaks to me. I'm obsessed with the packaging and I really want to just try out their whole collection. 

MAC I wanted to avoid saying MAC because, again, I don't own too much MAC, but I feel incredibly savvy about their cosmetics because I browse their website like 24/7 and I do my fair share of blog reading. I own a couple brushes, eyeshadows and blushes, and I must say they are very high quality products. I have yet to be disappointed by MAC.

Recommend your top five favourite beauty products! 
  • Urban Decay Naked Palette: For the reasons explained above. You don't need anything else. Seriously.
  • Rimmel Stay Matte Powder: See above question. Really worth the money, even though it's like $3.
  • Lancome Artliner: This is kind of a staple in my collection. I haven't yet mastered the art of gel liner, so liquid liner is my go-to (especially on nights out or when I'm going for a more dramatic look). You get a lot of precision with this liner and the application is very smooth.
  • NARS Laguna Bronzer: Yep. I said it. And many have before me, I know. It's just your quintessential bronzer, in my opinion. Not sure if it would work for darker skintones (for which I would recommend maybe NARS Casino), but yeah, lovely product.
  • Blistex Lip Medex: You can't really go wrong with some good old lip balm, can you? I love putting this on underneath lipstick, or even keeping it in my winter coat pocket because it's very hydrating when it's cold out. It does have a medicinal scent and slight stinging sensation, so if that might bother you I'd avoid this, but I personally don't mind it (in fact I quite like it). I've gone through multiple tubs of this.

And that concludes my beauty blogger tag! Again, a big thanks to Jen for tagging me! Please feel free to do this tag and link back to me (I would love to read your responses). Also, some specific people that I tag:

- Ellie from Ellalogy (who is having an awesome giveaway right now!!)
- Marie from MCMiki93
- Janine from The Amazing World of J
- Paige from PaigeyPumpkin
- Rosie from Gorgeously Glowing
- Tasha from A-Nice Cuppa Tea
- Sher from Fashernably Late
- Millie from Lola In The Lounge
- YOU!