Sunday, March 29, 2015

Top Ten Lip Products

Hi, my name is Ashley and I'm obsessed with lip products. In case this is your first time reading this: I currently own 72 lip products, and in the last year I've tried out well over 100. Out of all of the lip products I currently own, there are specific ones that I find myself reaching for over and over again. I own lip products that range from cheapy drugstore up to somewhat high-end (I don't own NARS or Chanel, so I can't claim REALLY high-end), and these are the ones that I've found wear the best and give the most color pay-off. 

My Top 10 Lip Products

This is a sheer lip treatment that I wear to bed every night. This lip treatment has, I feel, made a huge difference in my overall lip appearance. Since using it I feel my lips look more moisturized and fuller. It also smells like yummy buttery popcorn, which is a plus to me.

 This was a spontaneous Cyber Monday buy last year, and it has turned into the lipstick I reach for the most. This is the best pink/mauve-ish lipstick I have ever owned. I get a lot of compliments when I wear this one, and it wears beautifully all day
This is a really beautiful, unique color. It's bright but it's not in-your-face, and when it's on it stays put. I feel extremely confident when I wear this color - I love neutrals but I think this is my spirit lipstick.
This is the perfect petal pink lip gloss. I repeat, this is the gloss that every woman should have in her purse. This stays in my purse with my MOLIN+GOETZ lipbalm at all times. This is what you wear to interviews, to meet the parents, to a big meeting - this is what you wear when you want to make a great impression but you can't wear loud colors.
I did a post on Red Apple Lipstick a few months ago and I did a separate post specifically on this color. The formula is very hydrating, very pigmented and stays on for a long time. Red Apple Lipstick's formula is one of the better formulas I've ever encountered in a lipstick. Also, this specific color is just really different. It's like a bruised sparkly raisin - it's very fun and earthy and edgy at the same time.

I started getting into nudes last year hesitantly because I was very scared of concealer mouth, but I did some research last summer and luckily came across this lipstick. I'm really glad I finally decided to pick it up last October. This is the lipstick I reach for 2nd most out of all of my lipsticks because it is so moisturizing and the color is beautiful.

This is another unique color, and I was very hesitant about buying this one initially. The color is what drew me in when I saw it online and I thought about this purchase for a solid week before making the commitment. I've got to say: Calvin Klein makes some fantastic lipsticks. The intensity of this formula and the lack of feathering is the reason why this is on my top 10 list.

This lip tint is such a pretty retro coral red. It's so feminine and easy to wear, especially during the warmer months. This is my go-to when I want a punch of color without going raver/Lite Bright. I own a lot of colors, but this is one that I feel is a classic.

I got this in my Ipsy bag a little while ago, and at first I was hesitant about using it but after my favorite chapstick got eaten by the dryer, I had no choice but to open it. This stuff stays with me at all times now. When I'm done with the one I have I will buy another one cause it's just that good. It leaves my lips feeling soft for hours and gives them a naturally moisturized look.

 This is a very bright, fun color and like all OCC products, it goes on and it stays on. A little bit goes a long way - I don't think I'll finish this tiny bottle any time soon. 

***In accordance with my New Year's resolution, as I use & finish many of these products that are not vegan & cruelty-free, I will switch over and stay with the vegan & cruelty-free alternatives***

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

LimeCrime: The Controversy

I discovered LimeCrime last year when I was stumbling around bored on Instagram one day, quickly falling for their dreamy-like pictures and colorful vegan products. It wasn't long before I was scrambling to buy from them, and I was of course over the moon when I (finally) received their products weeks later. I've mentioned them in more than one post/video, and they were everything I wanted in cosmetics, until about two weeks ago.

I follow many different makeup artists on Youtube/Instagram/Twitter, and two weeks ago I came across a video from Manny Mua talking about how he was boycotting LimeCrime. Curious, I hunted through a few other artist's pages only to find similar cries of boycotting and distaste with LimeCrime due to hacking. I was instantly confused: there had been no headlines on the company's website, no emails in my inbox, no videos from the company - nothing. Maybe I had missed the tweets and pictures, as that can happen with how fast everything is updated nowadays, but after Googling "LimeCrime controversy", I was hit with pages upon pages of customers crying out in anger over the way the company handled problems with their checkout process, shipping, and all-around general business practices. It turns out the website had had some long-brewing issues that finally boiled over and thousands of people had had their information stolen. Unfortunately, while it doesn't make this situation okay, ever, it does happen, and often. It happened to me back in high school with my first-ever online purchase. It happened just a little while ago to people who tried to buy the Jaclyn Hill palette from Morphe, and even Sony was hacked not too far back. 

My husband and I back in February noticed a fraudulent charge to our account for several hundred dollars worth of sports games. Neither one of us plays sports games, and neither one of us could figure out how anyone got our credit card information since we're always so careful. It wasn't until reading about the backlash against LimeCrime and the outcry over the company's practices that it dawned on me my debit card information had been stolen when I checked out on their website. We got the charges dropped from our account almost instantly, we got new cards and were lucky that no permanent damage was done. Everything worked out smoothly on our end, but I've read some horror stories where people's lives, and bank accounts, still haven't recovered from the scandal.

I have spent hours and hours over the last two weeks reading what people have said regarding the company and what happened, and I've come to one very certain conclusion: I am not boycotting LimeCrime. Yet. I am also not supporting them. I am not going to go into my bathroom to toss my glitter and gloss into the trash. I am also not going to hop onto their website and order myself anything new. I will be here neutral like Switzerland (without the good chocolate sadly). Reason being: 75% of what I've read about the owner and the company seems to contradict itself. There are certain things that keep popping up, like a possible grudge against the owner of SugarPill cosmetics, that there was a band and selling DIY on LiveJournal before makeup, possible controversy regarding whether or not the cosmetics were repackaged and sold as LimeCrime when they're not, etc. Many of the websites I've read have claimed to tell only "facts" about what was said regarding the website hacking and business practices, but then one person's "facts" and quotes contradicts something on someone else's.

With that being said, many major makeup personalities know LimeCrime's owner personally, and have come out with testimonies as to how she regards her customers and the company's products. A company can be fixed and a brand can come back from the brink of extinction, which is why I will not boycott LimeCrime. I had to wait 2+ weeks to receive my items, and my credit card information was stolen, so yes, I had a less than fabulous experience with the company, but aside from those things I don't feel enough hatred towards LimeCrime to publicly shame & boycott them. Thousands and thousands of people ranting across the internet however does make me think twice about hopping on to purchase from them, but the company, while embroiled in controversy right now, can turn around. This is why I will use up their products I own and simply wait to see what happens in the future. Things might continue to go south for the company and their reputation, or things might change and get better.

For now, I will remain Switzerland.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Vans + ASPCA

When Ralph Lauren partnered with the ASPCA in 2013 to create the "Dog Walk" campaign with special accessories designed for our 4-legged friends, I was instantly ecstatic about the partnership. Having grown up with a love of Ralph Lauren (thank you mom) and an extreme love of furry children (also thank you mom), it has always made me happy to see big name brands show their softer side and give back, as well as bring light to important organizations.

That's why when I was taking a quick morning break from being productive earlier, I decided to stumble around on the internet and look at cute animal videos. In the process, I stumbled across an amazing collaboration I hadn't heard about before: Vans + the ASPCA. This new collaboration that just launched brings some great duds to the public for a great cause with everything in the collection retailing for under $70. There's clothing, accessories, and of course, shoes. Below are my favorite pieces from the collection.

Vans + ASPCA

Cat Collage Tee: $30.00

Beach Girl Trucker Hat: $24.00

Backpack: $40.00

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ipsy Bag March 2015

Hey lovelies, here's my Ipsy unbagging for March! I hope you lovelies enjoy! <.3

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Aesthetica Contour Kit Review

One night over a month ago I was browsing Groupon (as usual) and came across the Aesthetica Cosmetics Contour Kit for $19.99. Being someone who has only ever highlighted with cream products and never contoured period, I instantly got curious for an entire kit being sold at that price. Aesthetica Cosmetics is cruelty-free, and this product is vegan and formulated without talc or parabens, so that got me even more interested. It normally retails for $60 on their website, so Groupon's price is an exceptionally great deal. Even with my discount at Sephora, I knew I wouldn't be able to get a price this good on a big-brand product, so I decided to try this one out. You can buy the kit by itself for $19.99 or the kit with a contour brush for $24.99. I chose the kit with the contour brush.

The 6 products that come in the kit are pressed powder, and you get; highlighters, bronzers and contour. Contouring has always been around in the makeup industry, but it seems lately every company big and small has been putting out their version of the "best contour and highlight" products. Having only ever used cream highlighting products before, I wanted to try this out just to see the difference between the two types of products. I was not disappointed.

I don't use bronzer, ever, so for me the 2 shades of bronzer in the kit were immediately put in my eyeshadow palette for future use. The thing I like about this kit so much is that there are little slots next to each pan so you can pop them out and put them into a Z palette if you're traveling. The kit itself is actually really small and can easily fit into an average size purse. It was also surprisingly light and the packaging felt sturdy. It had a nice big mirror on the inside and it came with instructions on how to highlight and contour for different face types, which I found very helpful.

The brush that came with it is awesome. It was very easy to contour with and great to clean. Brush and packaging aside, I really love the product: the powder felt high-quality and blended beautifully. It didn't go on patchy at all. In the middle of the upper row there's a yellow-er shade that I used under my eyes to set my under-eye concealer, and then next to it are highlighters. The one to the left is a non-sparkly highlighter, and the one to the right is a sparkly one. I tried all three in the upper row and I'm officially hooked.

On the bottom row, the one in the middle is the contour. The ones to the left and right are the bronzers (due to the warmer undertones), but the contour is perfect. I thought it worked beautifully with my skin tone. I think this kit is meant for light - medium skin tones due to the shades of highlighters and contour.

I heard through the grapevine that this kit was a knock-off of the Anastasia Beverly Hills palette, and so I pulled up some pictures for comparison:

To the left is Aesthetica, and to the right is Anastasia. They are pretty much identical, however, Anastasia's kit retails for $40, whereas Aesthetica's is on Groupon for $20 right now. My recommendation? I've never tried the Anastasia kit, but this is a great-quality product and it's at half of the price of the big brand. If you're looking for an affordable contour kit that's great quality, I would go with the Aesthetica kit <.3

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Zoolander + Paris Fashion Week

When I was middle school my mother and I decided one boring night to go to the movie theater to find a movie to pass the time with. That was all we had to do for fun in the small town aside from shop at JCPenney's or go get some Dunkin Donuts (There was one every 4 miles, literally)

As we walked towards the theater, my mother saw a poster for a new movie that had just come out called "Zoolander" and she dragged me in to go see it with her. At first I was apprehensive because quite honestly, it looked boring, but I quickly realized about 15 minutes into the movie that it was going to be AMAZING. Zoolander is one of our favorite movies still to this day, and last night I saw a post on Instagram of what looked to be Zoolander & Hansel walking down the runway.

Turns out, the boys are back at it again to make a Zoolander 2 which will be coming out next year. To announce it and promote it, Ben Stiller & Owen Wilson walked in the Maison Valentino show at Paris Fashion Week.

 They also did an amazing backstage getting-ready video with Anna Wintour that made me laugh uncontrollably. 

Are you excited for Zoolander 2?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Tattoo Goo Review

I've been getting tattoos since I first turned 18. I'm now 26, and I love every tattoo that's on my body. Each piece is it's own, a part of my skin, a story, a moment, and something I will love and never regret until the day I die. When I first started getting tattooed, I was recommended A&D ointment to use after cleaning my tattoos. I put it on faithfully each morning & night and my tattoos all turned out beautifully. However, about 3 years ago I read an article talking about how ointments are actually bad for tattoos because they don't allow them to breathe while healing. I thought it was strange that mine turned out so beautifully while using an ointment, but I decided to follow the advice and next time I got a tattoo, I would use an intense lotion instead. 

Flash forward to 3 weeks ago when my friend calls me up and says "They're having $20 tattoos at a place in town! You need to come with me and get one!". Having not gotten a tattoo in over 4 years, I was more than happy to go get one at an affordable price. I got an adorable little fishing cork because in truth, I actually really enjoy fishing. I just prefer fishing on a lake where there are trees and mountains vs. in the swamps and bayous. (I'm amazing at catching trees)
(Please excuse my scabs - the mosquitoes ate me alive right after getting my tattoo)

After I got my tattoo, I realized that I had given away my A&D ointment about 2 years ago to a friend who needed it and I had never replaced it. So, at 10pm at night I ran to Walmart and noticed a product that I had never seen before - a Tattoo Goo Kit. I had never heard of Tattoo Goo before, but it was only $15 for 4 full-sized products (And the packaging had Tye-dye on it + they're cruelty-free), so I decided to try it. I had also gotten my tragus re-pierced that same night, so I used the deep cleansing soap that came in my kit for my piercing too. 
This kit comes with:

- 1 Color Guard tattoo protection 30 SPF stick .45oz
- 1 Deep Cleansing Soap 2oz
-1 Tattoo Aftercare Lotion 2oz
- 1 Tattoo Goo original good .75oz

The ONLY bad thing about this kit is that the cleanser is very strong. I have very dry skin already, and as you can see from the picture above there's a bit of dry skin on the tattoo even though it's completely healed. All of the products are amazing, but even with constant application of the lotion, I experienced a great deal of dryness with my tattoo. I now use the tin of original tattoo goo since it's very thick and hydrating.

If you are someone that has or is easily prone to extremely dry skin, it would probably be better to use a very mild antibacterial soap. With every other tattoo I had I used a mild antibacterial soap and I didn't experience this much dryness, but we were out of mild soap at home and the kit came with it so I thought I would give it a shot. However, the cleanser is out of this world for healing a piercing. The first time I got my tragus pierced, it took a long time to heal. My piercing healed twice as fast this time, and I'm pretty sure it had to do with the cleanser.
 The After Care Lotion is fantastic. I would use that everywhere on my body, not only on my tattoos. It doesn't have a weird smell, it leaves your skin feeling soft and it's really affordable. It also comes in a handy little bottle that's really convenient to carry with you. I kept it with me for throughout the day and it didn't add any bulk to my purse. I would reach for this over Lubriderm 100%. The original Tattoo Goo in the tin is meant for intense moisture during healing and after. It looks like a green lip balm and has a very lovely, organic smell like an apothecary and it makes me want to tend a garden. I absolutely love it. It smells lovely in the tin and then the second you put it on the skin the smell disappears. This product felt a little intense to use while my tattoo was still fresh, so I waited about 2 weeks before switching from the lotion to the tin. I'm going to continue to use this from now on if my tattoos ever feel or look a little dry.

Lastly, but never least, the Color Guard Stick is out of this world. When I wear dresses or skirts or heels, I want to keep something with me to protect my tattoos from the sun, but I really can't stand traditional sunscreen. It's messy, it has a strong smell, and my hands and tats are greasy after application preventing me from touching anything. However, the Color Guard Stick is an easy, fast and non-messy application to any tattoo I want to protect from the sun. I keep it in my purse with me and rub it on whenever I might be going out in the sun. My hands and body don't get greasy, I can touch my clothing or purse without worry of leaving a sunscreen stain, and it's much faster to apply than rubbing in traditional sunscreen.

My verdict? Worth every penny. This will last you for dozens of tattoos, easily, and it's so affordable and sold through an easily accessible place: Walmart.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Organization Take #2

Since last week's video was so horrible, I decided to re-record with much better audio for your listening and viewing pleasure. I hope you lovelies enjoy!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Fashion Week Street Style

For every fashion week I get really excited, but not just because of the runway. What the designers send down the runway is usually amazing and makes me wish I had a bottomless bank account, but the part I really love is the street style shots that surface from each week. To me, the street style aspect of any event is really where the true style is at, because you see real people styling high-end and low-end in a completely fresh and innovative way. It really helps get my creative juices flowing as to how to style in conjunction with the latest trends, while still being able to add my own spin.

I'm still trying to determine who was my favorite designer from this round of shows, but I have sorted through all the street style pictures from each fashion week that I could get my hands on, and below are my absolute favorites.<.3