Friday, October 31, 2014

October Favorites

Happy Halloween! I'm going as Louise from Bob's Burgers (pictures may or may not be posted), and I hope this weekend has good things in store. With the end of October, that means fall is almost over and winter is a-comin. Snow is actually forecasted for tomorrow in Vermont and I'm certainly not ready to deal with it. A lot of holiday sets have already come out and I love winter makeup launches, so I'm excited for what's to come! On to the favorites!

1. Bobbi Brown Sultry Red Lip Color. This is part of Bobbi Brown's holiday collection and I'm loving it. It's a true blue red that looks old school glam with cat eyes and is perfect for the holiday season. It's not quite matte, as it has a bit of gloss, and has great lasting power. 
2. J'Adore Dior Perfume. I picked this up on a whim after returning stuff to Sephora and quickly understood it's cult classic appeal. It has ylang ylang, rose, and jasmine, which leads to a sophisticated clean scent. It's perfect for fall and winter and the bottle is super cute.
3. Dr. Jart Pore Minish Primer. This is a clear gel texture primer, similar to the Smashbox Photofinish one, but slightly more liquid in texture. I find that it really does diminish my pores and help makeup last longer without making me look oily.
4. Boscia Revitalizing Black Hydrating Gel. Not gonna lie--I partially bought this just for the packaging. It's one of those containers where you press on the top and a little bit comes out, so you don't have to keep sticking your fingers in it. I like gel moisturizers and this one is a solid choice for moisturizing and evening out skin tone.
5. Charlotte Tilbury Rock n Kohl Eyeliner in Bedroom Black. I know I constantly rave about the Pixi and Marc Jacobs liners, but this one beats them to the punch. It is simply the creamiest and long lasting black eyeliner. If you need one black eyeliner in your life, it's this.
6. Charlotte Tilbury Retoucher Concealer Stick in Fair 2. At this point, my blog is looking like a complete ode to Charlotte Tilbury makeup. I raved about this concealer in an earlier post this week, so I won't harp on it too much but again, seriously awesome stuff.

Books: Black Ice by Becca FitzpatrickNot That Kind of Girl by Lena DunhamCartwheel by Jennifer DuboisThe Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Music: Ciggarette Daydreams by Cage the ElephantSee the Sun by The KooksTo Kingdom Come by Passion PitRich Girls by The Virgins

What have you been loving in October? Let me know!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Charlotte Tilbury 4 Step Face Base

We all knew this was coming... another post featuring Charlotte Tilbury makeup. When the makeup line first launched in the USA about a month ago, I told myself I didn't need any "base" products as they couldn't be that special. Boy was I proved wrong. Each product fails to disappoint and delivers great results. I've gone a bit crazy, and obviously you don't need to use each product together, but here are my thoughts on how to have a complete Charlotte Tilbury face base (using four products).

1. Wonderglow Instant Soft-Focus Beauty Flash. This is not a typical primer per se, but is developed to be used under the foundation or on it's own. It appears really shimmery right out of the tube but applies with just a small hint of color, really making your face glow. I imagine you could also mix it in with your foundation or apply it as a liquid highlighter on top of makeup, but I use it under makeup as a primer.
2. Light Wonder Foundation. Wow I love this stuff. The last thing I needed was a new foundation, but the plastic bottle makes it very travel-friendly (the excuses I tell myself). It's marketed to be "youth boosting", which isn't a concern for me at the moment, but it does minimize pores and give a light-medium coverage that doesn't look like you're wearing anything. I'm shade Fair 3, which is great for NW20s.
3. Retoucher Conceal and Treat Stick. The packaging is similar to YSL Touche Eclat, but it's a lot fuller coverage. This concealer seriously rocks, since it delivers pretty full coverage and highlighting in one formula. It's very creamy and is great under my eyes, plus I love the wind up wand. It can also be used on red spots, which is a bonus. I'm shade Fair 2.
4. Airbursh Flawless Finish Powder. Lastly, I top off everything with this lightweight powder. It has a hint of color, but really helps seal in everything so the dewiness doesn't look too oily. Like all other products, this is formulated with a bunch of anti-aging and good-for-your-skin ingredients. I just love the packaging of everything too. I'm the lightest shade (Fair), which works for a lot of skin tones.

L-R: Wonderglow, Light Wonder Foundation, Retoucher, Finish Powder
*Ignore the weird cuts on my hand, no idea where they came from!

What are your favorite products from the Charlotte Tilbury range? Let me know!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Battle of the Balms

Winter is coming and you know what that means... chapped lips. My lips always get incredibly gross and dry during the colder months, so I always try to have a good lip balm on hand. They're good to use year round but are especially handy starting now. They're also great to use before applying lipstick/gloss so you can have a more even and moisturized base.

1. Dior Addict Lip Glow. This one is probably the most functional yet "fashionable". In addition to being moisturizing, it has a slight pink tint that "enhances your natural lip color'. It has SPF, which is a must, and the tube is a great design because it makes sure it won't get smushed. There's also a coral option available for a limited time if that's more your speed.
2. Wild Argan Oil Solid Oil Lips. At only $8, it's such a steal you'd be crazy not to buy it. The argan oil range came out a few months ago at The Body Shop and I love everything about it. It probably has the creamiest texture out of any of these and smells amazing.
3. Nuxe Rev de Miel Lip Balm. I bought this just because it's such a cult favorite and everyone raves about it. It's not scented or tinted, so great for those who want something plain. It's a thicker texture, so you need to work it into your lips a little but the results are worth it.
4. Dior Creme de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm. This stuff is seriously awesome and I should really use it more than I do. I love the rose scent and it's a creamy, hydrating texture that applies like a dream on your lips. I wish it wasn't in a finger-dipping tube (those always annoy me) but that's my only real complaint.
5. Bite Agave Lip Mask. Calling out the big guns for this one--it's seriously heavy duty. It really is a mask for your lips--it's a really thick liquid texture that squeezes out of the tube. I apply it overnight so it can really sink in. I just don't like the packaging of the tube (as you can see it's a bit gross) but I love it nonetheless.

*This title/blog idea was inspired by the lovely Vivianna Does Makeup

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What I've Been Reading Lately

I still actively read at least three books a week, but lately my picks have just been killin it. There was definitely diversity amongst genres, but it kind of just happened that way (I read books in the order they're downloaded). I wish I had physical copies of the books to insert in pictures, but I only read things on my iPad. So here's a picture of current library/books I'm waiting to read.

1. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham. I have mixed feelings about Lena Dunham... sometimes Girls can be hilarious and then totally weird the next week. I loved this book though. It's a comedic advice/memoir book about coming of age: sex, living on your own, friendships, etc. There are cute illustrations and lots of different segments so it's easy to read through.

2. Cartwheel by Jennifer Dubois. This actually came out a few years ago (not sure how I missed it), and is loosely based on the Amanda Knox trial. A young girl studying abroad is accused of murdering her roommate--lots of perspectives are intertwined and we flash between the present as well as past events leading up to the events. Each perspective was unique and gave a different insight into the story. I really enjoyed this one.

3. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld. I think I mentioned how much I loved this book in a previous post, but it's seriously that good. A dual perspective novel but with a different take--one focuses on Darcy, a young adult in our world as she navigates the publishing scene and tries to get her book published. This alternates with chapters from her actual book, so you get to experience that story as well. Her story has some fantastical elements but is not dystopian (which is refreshing for a change).

4. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. So I actually haven't read this yet (it's next on my list), but since it's by Jodi Picoult I'm assuming it will rock. It claims to be "deeply moving and intelligent", and Picoult excels at character development. Review to come!

What books have you been loving lately? Anything to suggest? Let me know in the comments as always!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Origins Skincare Winners

I've always been a fan of the Origins brand--they strive to use organic and natural ingredients, but products aren't crazy expensive. These are the products I use from the brand and have been loving, although there are many other products they offer for any skincare needs (plus they have some cute makeup too).

1. Ginzing Refreshing Face Mask. Although you're supposed to just leave this on for 10 minutes then tissue off, I usually leave it on overnight. It's a gelly-like consistency that absorbs into skin and I use it on days when my skin is feeling a bit dull. The cooling sensation is nice and I imagine would be great in summer (of course I got it at the end of August).
2. Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask. Once again, I'm breaking the Origins rules and I use this pretty much every night as my moisturizer. It's not so much as a mask as a really intense moisturizer with a thick consistency that really works. I have combo/dry skin and don't wake up feeling oily, but those with oilier skin might need to be more sparing.
3. Ginzing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser. I use this every morning and love the scent to wake me up. Although it has exfoliating beads, it's more of a cleanser texture so it's not harmful to use everyday. I'm not sure if I've noticed that much of a difference since switching over from the Clarisonic cleanser I used to use, but then again, I didn't really have any major concerns to take care of so I give it a thumbs up.
4. Ginzing Brightening Eye Cream. I guess I just really love the ginzing line, but this eye cream is pretty new to me. It claims to brighten dark circles, which is my biggest concern, and I do see a slight improvement when I've been using it. Now we just have to wait to see if this is long term!

This semester is definitely busier than I thought it would be, but I am still trying to post as much as I can on here! It can be difficult to come up with content, so let me know if there's anything you'd like to see (reviews, tags, etc.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

5 Blushes for Fall

Blushes are my weakness. It was really hard to pick just five to showcase in this post (because I have at least 20 that fit the bill), but these were the first five I picked that are of great quality. I tend to go for darker, plummier, more nude colors in the fall, as opposed to brighter pinks and corals.

1. By Terry Hyaluronic Blush in Blush Berry. It looks like a lipgloss but it is in fact a blush. This is a liquid to powder blush that squeezes out of the tube and you apply it like a normal cream blush. It's not technically a shimmer blush but has a luminous effect that makes your cheeks glow. The swatch makes it seem intense, but since it's a liquid, it easily sheers out.
2. Benefit Rockateur Blush. I love all the Benefit blushes and this one is no exception. This is a very natural rose gold shade with a hint of shimmer but nothing super dramatic. It is a less pigmented option, so you can build it up as much as you want.
3. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure. There's a whole post I've done reviewing these babies (see here), but this is my favorite of the bunch. It's a plummy shade that is so natural yet gives your cheeks a healthy glow and makes you look glowing from within.
4. Nars Sin. This is a cross between Rockateur and Mood Exposure. It's a little more berry, but it has that natural, plummy glow of Mood Exposure and the shimmery, glowiness of Rockateur. 
5. MAC Warm Soul. My all time favorite fall blush. MAC mineralize blushes are great because they don't emphasize pores and help enhance cheekbones with build-able color. It's a beige gold that can flatter any skin tone and is the one I find myself reaching for the most.

L-R: Warm Soul, Rockateur, Sin, Blush Berry, Mood Exposure

What blushes do you reach for during fall? Let me know!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Lorac Mega Pro Palette

First of all, I apologize for this not being a super in-depth post... it's been a crazy week but I wanted to at least put something up. Out of all the holiday launches, the Lorac Mega Pro Palette is what caught my eye. Originally I thought it was just a combination of the original palette and pro palette 2, but it includes mostly new shades! I love the Lorac shadows, especially the quality you get for the price. I'm excited to play with this palette... it will definitely keep me busy for a while!

Full size vs. Original Pro (top) and Pro 2 (bottom)

As you can see, some of the browns look the same but almost all of the shades on the right side seem to be different and something fun to play with. I do wish there were some more purple/taupe shades but I definitely have some of those around the rest of my collection. There's a lot of hype around this palette, so make sure you grab it before it sells out. It's available exclusively on the the Lorac website or

If you're looking for a great read this weekend... check out Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (remember him? He wrote the Uglies and Pretties series). It's an alternating chapter book. One perspective is Darcy, an 18 year old who has deferred college and written a highly anticipated young adult novel. She's figuring herself out in the hubbub of NYC, which is contrasted with the actual chapters of the book "she" wrote. I was never confused (the perspectives are obviously different), but it did feel kind of weird to be reading two different stories at once. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Boston Beauty Haul

I like Burlington, don't get me wrong, but I appreciate Boston even more when I'm home for a weekend. I had a good time relaxing at home, getting my haircut and eyebrows done, seeing Gone Girl (check out my review here), and of course some beauty shopping. I bought some clothes on Newbury Street (nothing super exciting) as well as beauty goodies at a few places.

1. Okay yes there is a Body Shop in Vermont but they were having 40% off so it was hard not to stop by. I wanted to try the Instablur Eye Primer because I like the normal instablur eye primer so much. This is not only an eyeshadow primer but also helps prime concealer and maybe even cover dark circles? We'll see.
2. My current moisturizers are more watery/liquidy, so I wanted to have a heavier, creamier one on deck for the winter months. The Vitamin E Moisture Cream is one of The Body Shop's best selling items and I enjoy other things from the Vitamin E range.
3. I obviously had to stop at a Sephora. Yes, we have a Sephora in Vermont too but it's one of the small ones inside a JC Penney that only has limited brands. The Sephora in the Prudential Center is huge and a beauty lover's dream. First on my list was Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer for Under Eye in Shade 2. I've heard this is heavy duty at covering dark circles, and having used it yesterday, I can attest to that. A little goes a very long way, so I have to make sure to use sparingly.
4. Speaking of dark circles, I've also been wanting to try the Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream. I think they used this on me a while back when I got a free mini-facial at Origins (yes they do that and it's awesome) and I liked the results. It has light reflecting particles to help brighten dark circles and tired eyes, so I have high hopes.
5. Now this was a total impulse buy but I always love checking out the Hourglass display because there is nowhere in Vermont to get it. I love me a good lippie, so I picked out the Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipstick in Fresco, which is described as a Rosy Nude. It has a square tip, which I've never seen, but is actually almost easier to manipulate. It's super creamy and relatively pigmented... I already have my eye on another shade Whisper. Here's a swatch of Fresco.

6. Lastly, I finally got my hands on the Ren Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial, which was on my September wish list a while back. Even though it's an exfoliator, it has a softer feel to it and doesn't irritate my face. You're supposed to use it every 3 days but I'm tempted to use it everyday, though that probably wouldn't be great for my face.

If you like the movie Almost Famous, then you'll love the last book I read, How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran. Johanna is a 16 year old living in England during the 1990s. She follows her dream of becoming a music reporter and comes-of-age away from her parents. Her voice is real, raw, and truthful, and Moran does a great job of creating the indie culture of the 1990s.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Gone Girl Movie Review

Note: This posts contains spoilers, so if you haven't read the book and want to see the movie, come back to this post after!

I've loved Gone Girl ever since it came out. Gillian Flynn is a master story teller (check out her other novels if you haven't read them already) and drew me in right away. I read the book upon release, so that was over two years ago. When I found out it was being made into a movie, I could not wait. I had really high expectations and this did not disappoint. Gillian Flynn also wrote the screenplay, so I knew it would stay close to the film and have that same excellent writing.

First of all, let's talk about the casting decisions. Every single character was extremely spot on. Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne easily captured the confusion, distance, and determination of the character. The real standout was Rosamund Pike--Amy is certainly not an easy character to play, and I'd never seen her in anything, so it was a pleasant surprise. Smaller roles featuring Neal Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry were also great, and it was nice to see them featured in more serious roles.

I had forgotten this takes place mostly in a small town in Missouri, and Fincher does a great job of capturing the loneliness and desperation that one can feel there. The scene aesthetics seemed great, and I truly felt like I was a part of the film. I remembered the general gist of the story but had forgotten what happens once Amy runs away. It's crazy enough that she hid in a cabin and got her money stolen, then conned Desi into taking care of her (then killed him), but then she has the audacity to come back to Nick. She thrives from the media attention but the icing on the cake is that she's pregnant. Nick, being the good guy deep down that he is, stays with her for the sake of the child. As if the marriage wasn't fucked up enough before, now knowing that she had no problems with him potentially going to jail, she has control over him with a coming child.

Fincher really delves into how their marriage starts out so wonderful, and then becomes slowly destroyed. The flashbacks in NYC are cultivated carefully, and even the score really helped to create the mood. The film is 2.5 hours, which normally feels like an eternity to me, but I was captivated by the film and was left wanting more. A surefire film to see, even if you have read the book.

I've been feeling kind of a blogging rut lately, so let me know what types of things you want to see or anything you want to see reviewed!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Why Mindy Lahiri Is My Spirit Animal

I've been a big fan of The Mindy Project since day one. Something about the dynamics of the characters, the relatable and pop-culture laden humor, and absurd story lines drew me in. I love all of the characters-- Danny is great with his macho yet sensitive routine and Morgan is just hilarious. But the standout star is (obviously) Mindy Lahiri. First of all, how great is it that Mindy Kaling gets to write and star in her own show? She was fabulous as Kelly on The Office but really shines here.

I love Mindy because she is exactly how I could picture myself in my late 20s/early 30s. She's extremely accomplished (so she's a gynecologist and I want to work in marketing but hey still successful), struggles with dating, and isn't afraid to tell it how it is. She realizes that "who I have been isn't who I'm going to be". Now she can be a bit ditzy at times (who isn't), but it all has good intentions. She's awkward and often screws up relationships (except now things are perfect with Danny), but still manages to come out on top and look on the bright side. I don't want to go so far as calling her "flawed" but she's perfect to me because I think there's no such thing as true perfection--being actually perfect means you have flaws and you can embrace them.

Very few women characters on TV have "The Mindy Effect"--brains, beauty, and relate-ability.  She even admits that "it's so weird being her own role model". She's comfortable in her own skin and provides a positive role model for girls everywhere. Plus, I love the fact that she isn't a size 2. She has curves and isn't afraid to rock them--her style is fabulous. When she screws up, she doesn't let it get her down and she turns it into a learning experience. In her words, "if you're gonna be a mess, be a hot mess" (I've definitely said this many times).

Here are Buzzfeed's 24 Most Relatable Mindy Lahiri Quotes. The show is incredibly successful and already starting off with a stellar third season. One of my favorite aspects of Mindy's character is it's based on a real person, Mindy Kaling, so you know the character truly has heart and soul beyond the script. I've never related to a character so much as I do with her. Sure, sometimes it's not the funniest show (gotta give my props to Curb Your Enthusiasm or Seinfeld for the most hilarious laughs), but Mindy Lahiri is still poignant and hits home more than most other women on TV.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"This or That" Tag

Another tag means inserting another Silly Rachel pic

Blush or Bronzer? Is it weird to say I like something in between? My favorite blushes are the natural, bronzy looking ones but not as deep as a bronzer.
Lipgloss or Lipstick? Lipstick, because it stays on longer.
Eyeliner or Mascara? I guess mascara, because that's what I would throw on in a hurry, but I have more fun playing with eyeliner.
Foundation or Concealer? I always wear both, but concealer is the most important for covering up my dark circles.
Neutral or Color Eyeshadow? Neutrals, and any sort of colors I like are usually muted neutrals (pinks or purples).
Pressed or Loose eye shadows? Pressed are much easier to work with.
Brushes or Sponges? Brushes all the way--the one time I used a sponge I did not like it. 
O.P.I or China Glaze? I'm gonna say neither and go with Essie.
Long or Short? A medium length just above the finger tip.
Acrylic or Natural? Natural.
Brights or Darks? I gravitate towards brights in the spring/summer and darks in the fall/winter.
Flower or No Flower? I don't do designs. 
Perfume or Body Splash? I wear both but like the strength of perfumes.
Lotion or Body Butter? I really have no preference--I use both.
Body wash or Soap? Body wash is much easier!
LUSH or Other Bath Company? I do love Lush, but I also really like The Body Shop.
Jeans or Sweat pants? Leggings!
Long sleeve or Short? Again, depends on season/temp. 
Dresses or Skirts? Dresses are a lot easier to throw on and call it an outfit. 
Stripes or Plaid? Plaid--stripes don't really work with my body type. 
Flip flops or Sandals? I basically live in my Rainbows over the summer, so flip flops. 
Scarves or Hats? Scarves--the only time I would ever wear a hat is for winter warmth.
Studs or Dangly Earrings? I like dangly earrings in my first hole because the rest of my piercings are studs. 
Necklaces or Bracelets? I wear the same necklace every day, which I love, but bracelets are where I usually change it up. 
Heels or Flats? Flats are much preferred for this tall chick.
Cowboy Boots or Riding Boots? Riding boots for sure--my Frye Melissa button boots are my obsession.
Jacket or Hoodie? Jackets tend to make things a little less causal, so I opt for those. 
Forever 21 or Charlotte Russe? For some reason, Charlotte Russe always decides to add one weird thing to instantly make an item un-cute. I have better luck at Forever 21 but unfortunately there are none in VT :(
Abercrombie or Hollister? I haven't shopped at either of these places in a couple of years, but I still have some Abercrombie items lingering in my closet.
Saks 5th or Nordstrom? Nordstrom, hands down. Another luxury not available in VT :(
Curly or Straight? Obviously curly, since that's what my hair naturally is, but it's fun to straighten every so often.
Bun or Ponytail? Buns work with my hair a bit earlier.
Bobby pins or Butterfly clips? Bobby pins.
Hair spray or Gel? I don't really use either, but hair spray is more frequently used.
Long or Short? Longer is always better than shorter.
Light or Dark? Once a brunette, always a brunette. 
Side sweep bangs or Full bangs? Full bangs have a much softer look in my opinion. 
Up or Down? My hair is almost always down.
Rain or Shine? I'm one of those weirdos who prefers rainy days.
Summer or Winter? I like aspects of both, but winters in New England can be really freezing.
Fall or Spring? Fall all the way.
Chocolate or Vanilla? Usually chocolate.
East coast or West coast? Although I grew up on the east coast, I feel like my heart belongs to California and plan on moving there after I graduate.
I tag all of you to do this! Mention a comment if you've done it on your blog :)