Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas & Boxing Day Haul 2014

Since I love seeing what everyone got for Christmas I thought I would do the same and take some photos to share with you all :) Happy holidays!

$13 Boxing Day purchase from Sephora

Candles from William

Michael Kors hat set from my cousin

iPhone lenses! The coolest

$10 Boxing Day purchase frop Topshop

*heart eyes emoji*

Hourglass Ambient Lighting palette

$13 Boxing Day purchase from Sephora

$5 coin ring set from Topshop

This is a sleep mask! I'm aware it looks like a bra haha.

See you in 2015!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Last Minute Christmas Shopping Guide

Hey everyone! Since we're ten days away from Christmas, I thought I would put together some tips for last minute Christmas shopping.

First thing's first, Amazon is your best friend for last minute shopping. If you know exactly what you need to buy but are worried that you won't have time to get it in-store, check out Amazon. Their shipping is so fast and you'll probably receive your order within a few days. Amazon is really good for books, tech stuff, and so much more. Tech gadgets are a particularly good idea because most people have a cell phone or a laptop nowadays, right? I bought my mom an iPad keyboard for her birthday and she loves it. Also, they're having their 12 Days of Deals sales right now, so I would suggest having a browse there for some inspiration!

If you have no idea what you need to buy, visit a store that can be a one-stop-shop. One-stop-shops are ideal for gift exchanges, for bosses & teachers, and for anyone whom you're not quite sure what to buy.

My first one-stop-shop is Chapters/Indigo (or whichever bookstore chain is near you). Even if whoever you're buying for isn't a reader, bookstores tend to have a variety of knick-knacks. The Indigo near my house has great options for homewear, fashion accessories, and stationery. Also, their sale section is always especially good. You can pick up a few cookbooks for your foodie friend, an activity book for someone creative, or toys for children. Indigo is also especially good online and you only have to spend $25 to qualify for free shipping - check out the "gift" section on their website for inspiration!

My next one-stop-shop is Sephora. I know you wouldn't necessarily think of Sephora as a one-stop shop, but given their wide range of makeup, skincare, and perfumes, you can really find something for everyone. This year, I bought my father, brother, and two of my cousins their Christmas gifts with one stop at Sephora. You'd be surprised, but Sephora has some really good options for men. I would discourage you from using Sephora's online shop as their website is quite buggy, the shipping isn't great, and you have to spend $75 minimum to get free shipping.

If you're really in a pinch, i.e. it's Christmas Eve and you need a last-minute gift, a giftcard is pretty much your only option. BUT chances are stores are closing early or are already closed, so what do you do? Well, here are some ideas for e-giftcards you can buy, print out, and hand out to your friends.

1) Origrami. If the person you're buying for is active on Instagram, you can get them a giftcard to Origrami which is a place to order prints of Instagrams pics. The prints are beautiful quality and they'll enjoy receiving it in the mail. Take a look at the different kinds of print packages they offer and make the amount of the giftcard match it, and don't worry about shipping fees because shipping is free. I think this is a perfect idea for a teenager or really anyone into photography & Instagram.

2) Spa. If you're stuck on a gift for a mom or an aunt, a spa giftcard is a great idea because it accommodates a wide ranges of prices, and many spas allow you to print certificates online nowadays. Usually you can input the amount on the giftcard yourself. You can go less-expensive and have the giftcard be worth a manicure or mani-pedi, or you can go all out and have it cover the cost of a massage.

3) Audible. One of the greatest things I discovered in 2014 were audiobooks. Audible has the fantastic option to purchase 3-12 months of audiobook credits, where your recipient can choose from over 150,000 titles. The only requirement is that they have a device to which they can download the Audible app. This is a great idea for anyone you know that loves to read, or anyone you know that hates traffic and has an aux cable in their car. Seriously, an audiobook is the best company when you're stuck in traffic. I reviewed three of the audiobooks I read this year HERE.

So that's it! Hopefully if you're doing some last minute Christmas shopping I was able to help you. Happy holidays!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Holiday Nail Polish Picks

Hey everyone! Since I've managed to amass a large number of nail polishes, I figured it was only right to share my selections for the holiday season. I personally think dressing in holiday garb can be a little over the top, but painting your nails is a subtle way to show how festive you are!

My first choice is Essie "Shine of the Times" over top of OPI "Alpine Snow". Shine of the Times is an incredible sheer nail polish with flecks of shimmer that you can layer over top of just about anything to make it look awesome. I like it over a white nail polish like Alpine Snow because it actually reminds me of snow!

Next is OPI "Golden Eye" from their Skyfall collection a couple years back. This is the most gorgeous, finely-milled gold glitter that looks incredible on its own (3+ coats) or layered on top of something else. I like it over a plain white but it also looks great over a wine color.

Marc Jacobs "Gatsby" is the most luxurious polish I own, making it perfect for special occasions. It's a stunning metallic copper-rose gold shade that's opaque with one coat. A nice alternative to a solid red.

If however, solid reds are your thing, OPI "Short Stop" is a beautiful bright red that has become a staple in my collection. I think this shade of red is perfect year-round, but especially lovely for the holidays.

To add a bit of excitement to a classic red nail, try China Glaze "Ruby Pumps". It's a red-based polish with red shimmer running through it, and to me this polish just screams Christmas. In fact I think it's safe to say that I exclusively wear it around Christmas time.

Last but not least, OPI "Don't Mess With OPI" is a classic green color, perfect for holiday nail art. You know, I bought this polish on a whim thinking I would never really wear it, but I gravitate towards it more often than I thought. The formulation is great and the wear is so long.

Personally, I think dressing in holiday garb can be a little over the top, but painting your nails is a subtle way to show how festive you are!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Problem With Igloo Australia

I am quite invested in pop culture and current events, so I'm closely following what's going on in Ferguson (and all over the US), and I find it interesting to see where celebrities fit in to certain discussions relating to social justice issues.

Iggy Azalea has received a lot of backlash in light of the protests going on in the United States regarding police brutality in the black community. You may be thinking, what the heck does Iggy Azalea have to do with that? Well, the criticism she has been receiving is due to the fact that she is willing to dip her fingers (so to speak) in black culture when it suits her purpose - i.e. within the rap/hip hop scene, but when it comes to real and hard hitting issues surrounding blackness, she remains silent. She appropriates the aspects of black culture that further her career and denies any sort of responsibility that comes with the tough parts of being black. This is the epitome of white privilege: being able to pick and choose the stylish aspects of other cultures for your own benefit. I would also argue that her success is maybe due to the shock/difference in hearing a blonde white girl rap (but that's a different topic entirely).

Many people have called her out on her hypocrisy, her main opponent being Azealia Banks. See below.

To which Iggy responded:

Iggy and Azealia Banks have a longstanding feud, but that doesn't discredit Azealia's argument. Many people in the black community have voiced their issues with Iggy and other celebrities who appropriate black culture, but Iggy truly believes these criticisms only exist to fuel celeb feuds and petty Twitter trolls. She's misinterpreting these arguments against her as personal digs rather than larger racial issues.

I think the problem here is that Iggy, and other celebrities, receive so many personal attacks on the daily that actual, relevant criticisms get mixed in with stupidities. They can no longer discern between what is simply trolling and what is constructive critique. Her attitude is a product of her inflated ego and her thinking that she is somehow separate from the universe she is entangled in. She lives in her own Iggyverse, where she exists in a vacuum of self-absorption.

I imagine that part of forging a name for yourself and creating your own personal brand can be very self-involved. I'm sure everyone she surrounds herself with are "all Iggy all the time". I guess it's also somewhat of a prerequisite for all pop stars to have a certain degree of narcissism. But, that's no excuse. Even Macklemore, the king of piggybacking off the realities of others, showed up to protest and spread the good word.

I don't think it's ridiculous or misguided to hope that celebrities might use their platforms for good. A tweet about Eric Garner or Ferguson from Iggy Azalea would reach a whopping 3.38 million people... If that's not power, I don't know what is. But she just throws it away and pretends these issues aren't her problem. I've always been a firm believer that silence is ignorance. I don't think she's racist, but I do think she's ignorant.

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