Thursday, January 31, 2013

FOTD: January 27th Edition

Hey everyone! Last weekend I went to my cousin's birthday party and pulled together a cute makeup & outfit look that I thought I'd share with you. It was a little bright and summer-y for this time of year but I was tired of wearing black!

Face & Makeup:

- Urban Decay DeSlick
- Stila One-Step Corrector
- Marcelle Hydra-C foundation in True Beige
- Rimmel Stay Matte powder
- NARS Laguna bronzer
- NYX blush in Desert Rose
- Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in RSVP
- Stila In The Know palette (assorted colors)
- Lancome Artliner (black)
- Urban Decay Naked & Buck for eyebrows
- NYX soft matte lip cream in Milan
- Be a Bombshell lip gloss in Hot Mess

Necklace: Forever 21 from a 2009 collection
White shirt: It's actually part of my old high school uniform lol! Yay for reusing clothes!
Green top: TJ Maxx

Can we talk about how tall my brother is?.........
Anyway, sorry for not blogging too much this month! I just got back to school and it's been time-consuming. Hopefully February will be a little more productive blog-wise. Thanks for sticking around :)

Versatile Blogger Award

Kassica from KassicaLife recently nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award which was really sweet of her! I'm always so happy to be nominated for these kinds of awards because it lets me know that someone somewhere out there is paying attention to the hard work I put in :) (Thank you Kassica!)

The rules are as follows:

- Nominate 15 other bloggers
- Let them know you have nominated them
- Share 7 random facts about yourself
- Thank the blogger who has nominated you
- Add the Versatile Blogger Award to your post

7 Random facts:

1) I'm going to be 20 years old in a month and I still don't have my driver's license! So annoying! Next August is when I'll finally, finally have it.

2) I prefer cheap chocolate over fancy ones. I will accept Kinder eggs and KitKats over Lindt and Godiva any day.

3) I'm completely, 100% obsessed with YouTube right now. It's actually so sad since I'm a "young adult" (or whatever lol) and should be out having other hobbies, but I'm much rather chill at home and catch up on my subscriptions. Wow.

4) I don't find Beyonce particularly amazing in any way. (Don't kill me lol!!!)

5) I remember a lot of names. If I'm struggling to remember someone's name, I'm most likely pretending so that I don't creep people out hahah.

6) I am usually procrastinating on school work at any given moment in time. I am now procrastinating on my Philosophy readings. I suck.

7) I have my own rice steamer and I love rice so I use it all the time.

I nominate...

1) Alice's Style Notes
2) Brunette in Louboutins
3) Carousel Coral
4) Chubby Love
5) Emmerliejay
6) First Kiss Time
7) Fuschia By Sd
8) Happy Go Lucky
9) Katie Alyse
10) Kel's Beauty Corner
11) Miss Makeup Magpie
12) Seize The Beautiful
13) Makeup By Khanom
14) Lavender Mist
15) Vividiorquue

PS. If you don't want to fill this out then it's no big deal :) This is just a tiny collection of bloggers that I enjoy, though would enjoy participating, or deserved some more recognition!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Easy Lava Cake Recipe

Hey everyone! I was craving dessert the other day so I decided to make these really simple lava cakes. My favorite part about this recipe is that it doesn't require any super fancy ingredients so you will more than likely have these ingredients in your house if you're mildly into baking.

Also, this recipe was actually given to me by my friend Marcella, so credit to her for finding it & perfecting it lol!

I'm really, really sorry if you're dieting.
Ingredients (serves 6):

- 1.5 sticks of butter (or 3/4 cups)
- 1 cup of semisweet chocolate
- 1.5 cups of powdered sugar
- 4 eggs
- 6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla
- 3/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- powdered sugar (to sprinkle over top)
- 6 ramekins or tiny bowls

I apologize for the weird shiny-ness of these photos, but I had to use flash since I had no natural lighting :(
Step 1: Melt the semisweet chocolate. You can be fancy and do it over a double boiler, but I just did it in the microwave. If you don't have semisweet chocolate, feel free to use half dark & half milk. For this recipe I used all milk chocolate (that's all I had), but it definitely tastes richer if you use semisweet.

Step 2: Melt the butter. This should be done on the stove-top which will make the next couple steps easier. Make sure the heat is on low-medium so that it doesn't burn.

Step 3: Add the melted chocolate into the butter.

Step 4: Stir until the chocolate is fully incorporated.

Step 5: Crack the eggs into a bowl.

Step 6: Realize the recipe actually calls for 4 eggs, and add 2 more lol. Then just whisk it up.

Step 7: In another bowl, mix your dry ingredients together (the flour, powdered sugar, and cinnamon). If you don't like the taste of cinnamon feel free to exclude it or add more/less as desired.

Step 8: Add the vanilla to the chocolate-butter mixture and stir it until it's gone.

Step 9: Gradually add your dry mixture into the chocolate/butter. Add, stir, add, stir. The dough will begin getting really thick - kind of like a cookie dough consistency. I should add that you want to let the chocolate/butter cool off a little before completing this step.

Step 10: Finally, add in your whisked eggs, which will get the dough back to a batter consistency.

Step 11: Preheat your oven to 400F. You'll notice in the photo I did 375, but in hindsight it should have been a little more.

Step 12: Lightly grease or butter your ramekins/bowls.

Step 13: Evenly scoop the batter into the ramekins. Place in the oven for approx. 10 minutes. I say 10 minutes, but if you prefer a more cake than lava, give it a few more minutes.

DONE! While the cakes are baking, cut up some fruits for dipping. I recommend bananas or strawberries, but you can use whatever you want. Also, feel free to sprinkle some powdered sugar over top (clearly I was too excited to eat and bypassed this step).

Let me know if you end up making these for yourself! :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

REVIEW: Stila One Step Corrector

Hey everyone! Today I bring to you guys my first ever product review! I purchased this product last year so I've been able to test it out for a long time and give you a well-rounded opinion. As you can see from my photo below, I've used quite a bit of it (at least half, I'd say).

PS. How rad do my nails look?
I had my makeup done at a Stila counter one day and the makeup artist used this on my face and it felt refreshing and nice. And then, of course, the presentation & packaging of the product is what sold me. How cool does it look?! It's meant to look like a strand of DNA, I guess, and each color is meant to do something different for your skin. Also, it has a really sturdy pump dispenser that definitely comes in handy.

Green: Minimizes redness. It does a pretty good job at minimizing redness but I do have a small problem with it. I only have redness on certain parts of my face but because the product pumps out as 3-in-1, I can't concentrate it on those areas specifically. I have to say the design is a bit of a flaw in this case. I've previously used the Makeup Forever HD Primer in the blue tone to eliminate redness and it works way better.

Lavender: Counteracts sallow undertones. That means it masks unhealthy yellow tones. To be honest I had no idea what "sallow" meant until now, so I can't really tell you guys if this worked because I wasn't looking out for it... LOL. I'll try to notice it next time and edit this post when I do.

Peach: Brightens, illuminates, and helps diminish the appearance of sun spots. I'd definitely say this part of the concoction works. I do find the product very brightening.

It does look a little green-cast in the third frame, but that's because I used a whole pump on a tiny surface area. The product would be evenly spread on your entire face so you don't have to worry about looking Grinch-like.

Diminishes the look of fine lines & wrinkles: I don't really have fine lines/wrinkles so I can't really vouch for this one. Sorry.

Minimizes pores: I have massive pores and I don't think this product really masked them whatsoever. I don't think it's thick enough to actually do this well. Again, I'd need a product that could be concentrated on the pores (i.e. not spread out over my entire face) to properly minimize pores.

Hydrates & Balances: This is actually one of the components that drew me into buying this. It eliminates having to use a moisturizer in the morning! I have to say this aspect of the product also really works.

Controls oil: Hmm, well, I wear my makeup all day and I definitely come home to some oil build-up when I use this. I can't say it completely controls oil throughout the entire day, but it does the job for a good portion of it.

The product is also meant to be used as a makeup primer so I'd like to address that for a little. Once the product dries into your skin it changes in consistency. If you take a look at the third panel in the above photo, you will see that it looks very wet. When it absorbs, it becomes a little tacky, and it gives your foundation a base to hold on to. It also creates a barrier between your skin and the makeup, which can be very beneficial if you have sensitive skin.

VERDICT: It's a nice product to own, but for the price ($47 - damn), it's a bit unnecessary. I'd say only about 3 of the billion "benefits" of this product are actually noticeable.

Have you tried this product? What did you think?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

NOTD: Matte Black & Shiny Tips

Hey everyone! About a week ago Rachel from 87daysbefore Instagrammed a photo of her matte black nails with shiny tips, and she reminded me that I'd been wanting to try out this manicure for a long time.  I've seen this manicure on Tumblr many times but it's been getting quite popular recently. In fact, only a couple hours after I posted my manicure on Instagram, Kim Kardashian posted the exam same NOTD! Arden from ARose186 also posted her matte black nails (sans shiny tips though).

I think this is a really nice spin on traditional black nails. The shiny French tips give it a classier effect because I think the matte black on its own can be a little grungy (equally cool, but different).

I basically used a really cheap black polish (can't say I recommend this one as I've had it forever and it's a little streaky now), then I blocked off the tips with tape and painted the rest with a matte top coat, then removed the tape and voila! I used a Kiko matte top coat but I know Sephora by OPI has one too if you're interested.

My only issue with this manicure is that the tip and the rest don't blend in seamlessly (the tip looks embossed or something?). Compare it to Kim's manicure. If anyone has a solution for this, please let me know in the comments. Otherwise I think it's super unique.

Let me know what you think!

PS: I've added a "Questions?" tab in the left sidebar so feel free to ask me anything!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Beauty Blogging on a Budget

Hey everyone! A while ago I made a post telling you guys about my current financial situation, and it dawned on me that I should write up a blog post explaining how I am able to be a beauty blogger whilst maintaining a sort of budget.

Types of Posts

First, I would like to throw this out there - having a successful beauty blog does not simply mean that you need to do constant reviews and hauls. In fact, some of my favorite posts are neither of those. I hadn't started doing hauls until I was months and months into blogging, and I still don't think I've dedicated a post to review one single product. Here are some other ideas:

Tags: Honestly, tags are some of my favorite posts to read. They're personal, yet informative. I've done quite a bit so far and I have a few in my drafts that are waiting to be finalized and posted. Generally, there are seasonal tags that tend to float around (Christmas Tag, Summer Favorites Tag), so be on the look-out for those, but there are also tags that never really die. You can check out the tags I've already done by clicking HERE.

Also, in my drafts I have the Sample Tag (wherein you just describe which samples you've been using up and what you think of them), I Heart Drugstore Makeup Tag, and the How Much Is My Face Worth Tag.

Collections, Top 5s: These are a really simple way to exercise your writing skills and give mini reviews on products you already own. You could break up posts like these into sections, or dedicate one post per product (for example, going through your nail polish collection by posting a photo each time you wear a new one).

Speaking of, photos are a great way to add some life to a blog post. You can use your phone camera or a basic digital camera - no need for fancy DSLRs. Also, it might get difficult to do "monthly favorites" if you cannot afford to buy bunches of new products every month, so these are a good alternative. Similarly, you can do "products I regret buying" or "disappointing products", both of which are as informative as favorites posts.

EOTDs, FOTDs, NOTDs, OOTDs: These basically stand for Eye of the Day, Face of the Day, Nail of the Day, and Outfit of the Day. These posts are quick and easy and let you showcase your love of beauty and fashion in a personal way. Again, they allow you to make use of the products you already own making them very cost-efficient. I've also noticed that these posts get many pageviews (at least on my blog).

Acquiring New Products

Giveaways: As of yet, I have won six beauty-related giveaways. Incredible, no? I think giveaways are an awesome way to acquire new products, and I mean - they're entirely free! It would be ridiculous not to enter giveaways. I think I might do a separate blog post on how to win a giveaway. It wouldn't be anything revolutionary (no hacks or cheating), but it would outline some simple tips that might up your chances of winning. Please let me know in the comments if you'd enjoy reading that.

I recently won Amarixe's Holiday LUSH Giveaway!

Online Shopping VS. In-Store Shopping: I find it very easy to sometimes get sucked into online shopping, simply because with blogging and getting involved in the online beauty community, links to new beauty websites get thrown around often. What I think is most important is to find a beauty website that is either a) based in your home country (therefore avoiding massive shipping costs), or b) ships for cheap (by my standards - no more than $5 extra). If not, shop in-store! I guess this sounds obvious, but there is no use in paying shipping from the Sephora website if you have a real-life Sephora near you. Save online shopping for exclusively online deals or for products that are inaccessible near you.

Beauty Subscription Services: For a small sum, you can receive deluxe beauty samples (and sometimes full-sized products) sent right to door every single month. This is a great opportunity to try out new products and to guarantee a new blog post per month. You can regard subscription services as an extra expense, or as one of your main beauty sources. If you are low on money, I don't recommend it, but if you see it as an investment, it's a great value.

My favorite service to-date has been Ipsy (formerly known as MyGlam). Unfortunately they only ship to the USA and Canada at the moment, but they send some really nice deluxe products (no crappy sachets of lotion or something). I was also subscribed to GlossyBox for a few months and enjoyed that as well. They didn't send as many well-known brands as Ipsy does, but I received a few products from GlossyBox that I still use on a frequent basis.

So that concludes my budget beauty blogging tips! Let me know if they helped you at all/if you enjoyed reading this! Happy Friday! :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A-Z of Erica

Becca did this tag originally and I totally forgot I had it saved in my drafts. I didn't have another post planned for today so I thought I'd go ahead and finally publish it! Hope you find it at least mildly entertaining haha :)

Age? 19 years old, however I am turning 20 in February!

Bed Size? Queen

Chore You Hate? Washing dishes. I get nauseous from it sometimes...

Dream Room? Cream walls, fairy lights, picture frames, vintage tins. I'm a five year old girl, basically. Or I'm Zoella.

Education? I'm currently in my first year of university studying Communications. I also have two years of college Liberal Arts under my belt.

Favourite Colour? Purple or navy blue, but not both of those together.

Greatest Achievement? I honestly don't know. This is the worst question to ask because on one hand I don't want to brag, and on the other hand I don't think I've accomplished anything particularly spectacular. Hmm.

Height? 5'3"

Instruments I Play? None. I've never been musically inclined although I have attempted piano, guitar, and trombone.

Job Title? Birthday party animator. Sounds awful, I know.

Kids? Nope.

Live? Montreal, Canada

Motivations? Hmm, I guess becoming "successful" in my current field of study. But I'd also love to work for a cosmetics company (not as a makeup artist or anything, but in PR).

Nicknames? None.

Overnight Hospital Stays? When I was little I was hospitalized because of a weird stomach thing. But my overnight hospital stays since then mostly include spending hours upon hours in the ER waiting room because free healthcare isn't all it's cracked up to be (ahem).

Pet Peeves? I'm pretty sensitive and introverted so I don't like people who talk/eat/are generally loud and "get-in-your-face".

Quote: I don't have a favorite quote.

Right or Left Handed? Right

Shops I Love? Sephora, Bath & Body Works, MAC

Time I Wake Up? Depends on the day, but I can usually sleep in until 11:30am.

Ultimate Food? Seafood. Omg

Vacations? USA (including NYC, Boston, Florida, California, etc), Europe (including Italy, France, Spain, Monaco), Cuba

What Makes You Run Late? Putting makeup on.

X-Rays I've Had? Teeth, at the dentist. And my hand for when I broke two of my fingers. And my head/face (long story).

Yummy Food I Make? I make a good grilled cheese.

Zoo Animals? ALL ZOO ANIMALS! Especially elephants and giraffes.

Friday, January 11, 2013

NOTD: OPI Golden Eye

Hey everyone! Today I wanted to share with you all this amazing nail polish I got for Christmas. It's OPI's Golden Eye which was released with their Skyfall collection.

The color itself is an incredible yellow-gold color, and the finish is almost a gold foil effect. I think the best way to describe it is "liquid gold". To be honest, I think this is one of the most special, unique polishes from the Skyfall line, and in my nail polish collection as a whole. This is definitely my new go-to special occasion polish (I wore it on New Year's Eve!).

What do you guys think?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

High-End Mascara Giveaway WINNER!

Hello everyone! My high-end mascara giveaway ended yesterday and I finally had a chance to pick and announce the winner...

Sheri Wong is the winner! Sheri, please respond to the e-mail I have sent you! If you do not do so within 48 hours, I will pick another winner.

A big thank you to everyone who participated in this giveaway and have followed my blog as a result. I hope you will continue to support Abundance of Erica, and stay tuned for more awesome giveaways!

OH and if you were curious, here's how the mascaras scored in the poll. There were 76 votes in total.

  1. Benefit BADgal (52%)
  2. Clarins Instant Perfection (19%)
  3. Lancome Hypnose Doll (11%)
  4. Shiseido Perfect Mascara (5%)
  5. Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Lash (2%)
  6. Lise Watier 24 HRS Glam (2%)
  7. Smashbox Full Exposure (1%)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Beauty Giveaways

Hey everyone! It's been a while since I made a post listing the giveaways currently happening in the blogosphere, so I figured you deserved an update.

Quite frankly, I haven't been on my giveaway game recently because of the holidays and whatnot, but I thought hey, why not start 2013 with a nice giveaway win. And then I checked my Twitter replies and noticed that I'd won Where Can I Find The Perfect?'s Zoya Spring collection giveaway, so I figured luck's now on my side, I'm going to enter some more! So without further ado...
Enter here:

Enter here:
Enter here:
Enter here:

Enter here:

Enter here:
Enter here:
Enter here:
Please let me know in the comments if you are having a giveaway at the moment and would like to be added to this post! :) Happy entering!