Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: Stila Travel Palette - Striking in South Beach

Hey guys! I'm back for a review on one of the Stila Travel Palettes.
I had gotten one of these earlier last year and it was the Haute in the Hamptons palette. This one, Striking in South Beach, I got for Christmas last year from my mom and I'm just now getting around to review it.

So to start with the packaging, it has a hard cover and opens up like a book. On the inside there are four round shadows, a blush, a bronzer, a square mirror, and instructions on how to create a look.

Also, as you can see, every color is named. 

Now for some swatches and first impressions:

L-R: Ocean Drive, Wave, Cabana, Nightlife

These shadows seemed very promising as this is a higher end company and is known for great shadows. Ocean Drive and Cabana were both definitely lacking in pigmentation. I had to swipe them a few times to get the color in the picture. Wave and Nightlife were pretty pigmented, but still not as much as I was expecting. Nightlife was overall the best shadow from the palette, but honestly I can get a sparkly/shimmery black anywhere...

Another thing I should note is that Wave shows up on my eyelids splotchy. Whether I use a primer, pat it on, or sweep it across my lid, Wave will always be patchy and not smooth on easily at all. Major disappointment. 

What can I say... I have ELF $1 shadows that are better than these. They are hard to blend, powdery, and some are just not pigmented. I would expect better quality from Stila. 

Top color is Art Deco and bottom color is Sabe

Where the shadows were lacking in quality, the blush and bronzer picked up the slack. I really do like these. They're much better quality, smoother, and more pigmented. The one thing I don't like is that the "bronzer" seems much more like a blush to me...  

Sabe is more pigmented than Art Deco, but that is good because if the Art Deco were any more pigmented, it would make you look like a Barbie or a clown. 

I did my own look with this palette because I didn't like the look following the instructions it gave me. 

All the pictures are with flash (they didn't look good in the natural light without flash)

Look at how brown my eyes look! That's the one thing I really like about this shadow combination.

I applied (or at least TRIED...) Wave all over the lid. I used Cabana in both the inner and outer corners, and also in the crease. I used Nightlife in the very outer corner and used it to let my liner on both the upper and lower lash lines. I used a little bit of Cabana on the lower lash line. I used Ocean Drive as a highlight, although it is a little too dark to use as a really good highlight. 

Even though I think Sabe is a little too rosy to be called an actual bronzer, I used it as a contour and think it looked surprisingly nice that way. And then Art Deco I used on the apples of my cheeks and blended it into the Sabe.

Pros of this palette:
  • Very affordable - under $20 for a high end palette
  • Packaging is adorable
  • Colors are coordinated, do the choosing for you
  • Instructions provided for creating the look
  • Colors are perfect for brown-eyed girls
  • *Almost* complete look in one simple palette (just add a little mascara and foundation of your choice)
  • Eyeshadows are hard to work with, some are not pigmented enough
  • Shadows can be powdery
  • Bronzer is not really a bronzer, maybe a dark blush
  • Made me look a little too over "done"

Overall, I might give this palette 6/10. I don't think it is available anymore, but Stila is coming out with more of the Travel palettes. I do recommend picking up at least one if you haven't tried them before. They're easy - they have everything there that you need to really complete a look and it even tells you how to do it! Also, they're really cute and pretty small so they don't take up too much room!

I have another Travel Palette that I like so much more than this one. I think this may have been a dud because from what I've read and from my own experience, these palettes are of great quality. 

Have you guys tried out any of the Stila Travel palettes? What do you think of them?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Smoky cat eye with ELF

Hey guys! I hope you all are having a great weekend! It's unbelievably hot here.

I hadn't used my ELF Drama in a while, and today I wanted to use it in a way I don't usually use it. Normally, I'll take the silvery color and use that as a wash all over the lid, use the gunmetal color in the crease, the black in the outer corner, and  the matte white as a highlight.

Well, here's the look I came up with. Mind you, I did take these pictures six hours after putting it on, and after being in the sweltering 90 degree heat. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

Here's how to get the look:
  • Do the usual foundation routine: primer (I used Monistat chafing gel), concealer (NYX Concealer in a Jar in Fair), foundation (Revlon Colorstay in Nude), powder (Palladio Rice Powder in Natural). Eventually I had to blot and set my face again using the ELF Mineral Booster in Sheer because it was so hot in my house that I kept sweating. 
  • I primed my eyes with my Laura Mercier eyeshadow primer. While letting that dry, I filled in my brows with the NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder. 
  • Then I took my Wetnwild Coloricon black eyeliner pencil and drew a thick line along my top lash line, with a wing out. I took the black color in the ELF quad in Drama with an angled brush and just set the eyeliner. 
  • Then, with a smaller detail brush, I took the charcoal/gunmetal color in the quad and blended out the edge of the liner. 
  • Then I blended the light silver color into the crease area.
  • I went back and darkened the lash line first with the gunmetal color and then with the black, redrawing the winged line. 
  • I took the matte white shade and blended it right under my brow bone and in the inner corner of my eye. This is a great pigmented matte white color, by the way.
  • Finally, I took the black eyeliner and lined my waterline and the outer third of my bottom lash line. I set this and blended it with the black shade. I blended the gunmetal shade into that and spread it out to the middle third of my lower lash line. I put the light silver shade in-between the gunmetal shade and the matte white.
  • I contoured my cheekbones with the NYC Bronzer in Sunny. Then I used my ELF Essentials blush in Blushing. 
  • I actually did my mascara and lipgloss in the car. I used my Revlon Grow Luscious mascara and NYX Megashine lipgloss in Salsa. 

I hope you guys liked it! This is something a little different from what I usually do. I got a lot of compliments on it while I was out and about today, so I guess that's a good sign.

Also, while I was out and about I couldn't help but buy these:

Bath & Body Works is having one of their huge semi-annual sales. All of these lip glosses were $3 each and they're normally $8. I saved $15!!! I love these glosses, but I would say that they are definitely not worth $8... So that's why I stock up on them in June and December! 

Do you guys use these glosses? What do you think about them?

Well I hope you're having an amazing and relaxing weekend! If you're in the US, I hope you're staying out of that heat! Find me back here soon for some more posts ;)

Friday, June 22, 2012

LOTD and another Target visit

Hey guys! I really meant it when I said I was back and that I was going to be posting a lot ;)

I'll start off by talking about my ELF/Target woes...
One of the ELF liquid liners I got in this haul was leaking from the bottom when I opened it... not good. So I took pictures of it, saved it, etc. to be able to exchange it out for another one. I've never had this problem before, so it's not like one leaky liner will completely change my opinion of the product.

Also, I had gotten one of the purple cream liners by ELF and at the time, when I opened it it was completely dried out. Well, I figured I would try it out and see if it worked. I wanted to use it today, but I couldn't use it at all. At the time, I didn't even think about returning it or anything (I bought it at Target), but today I decided I would try, along with the other eyeliner.

So I go to Target in the pouring rain, equipped with my two defective ELF liners. The guy at customer service was so nice and helpful! I didn't even need to show him the pictures of the liquid eyeliner all over my hand or have the cream eyeliner in the original packaging! All I had to do was go get two new ones and show my ID. Piece of cake.

Needless to say I'm a much happier woman now as I love my liquid liner and I really wanted that purple liner to work.

But please know that these are the only two products I have ever tried by ELF that have had something wrong with them. I love ELF products. I've usually never had issues with quality. I can assure you that these were definitely an exception and it should not keep you from trying out these products yourselves!

On to my LOTD...

As I have been trying to branch out and use things I have in my stash that I haven't used in a while, I went to one of my Clinique eyeshadow duos! (Also while contemplating a new post I have in store for you guys... ) It has a light gold and light purple with a hint of gold. I got it after using a friend's gold/purple eyeshadow duo from Loreal HIP, which I loved. This Clinique duo does not even compare... I can say that the HIP duo was much more pigmented and vibrant. In general, Clinique shadows are soft and not as pigmented. The advantage, though, is that there's never any fallout and the shadows practically blend themselves.

Once again, a pop of color :)

I took some pictures with Photobooth, and the rest with my iPhone, not in direct natural light (it's not sunny), and with:

One of the most frustrating things about doing my eyeliner, and blush/contouring even, is that the two sides of my face are shaped completely differently. It's the most bizarre thing actually. My cheek bones, brow bones, and eye sockets are all shaped differently and it makes makeup application really difficult. 

You can especially tell in this picture (with my eyes at least):

Onto the products I used...
  • Monistat Chafing Gel (as a primer)
  • Revlon Colorstay foundation in Nude (200)
  • NYX Concealer in a Jar in Fair
  • Ulta Professional Concealer in Fair
  • Palladio Rice Powder in Natural
  • ELF Contouring Blush/Bronzer duo
  • ELF single pan eyeshadow in Pink Ice (as a highlight)
  • NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder
  • ELF Essentials eyeshadow primer in Golden
  • NYX eyeshadow base in matte white
  • Wetnwild Coloricon single eyeshadow in Brule 
  • ELF Essentials liquid eyeliner in black
  • Revlon Grow Luscious mascara
  • Clinique Colour Surge Eyeshadow Duo in Beach Plum
  • Liplicious Cup Cakes lipgloss in Pink Chiffon

Some more random ramblings...

I've been using some new cleanser with a higher concentration of benzoyl peroxide to nip my breakouts in the bud. While I'm spreading the cleanser on my forehead, some gets on my eyelids, and now my eyelids are super dried out and burning. Perfect. I love my life.

I'm thinking about starting to do videos in addition to this blog. What would you guys think about that? Please send me any feedback concerning that. I would love to be a part of that, but I do have apprehensions. I would only do that if I actually had the viewers and support. I have been getting more followers on this blog, but I still don't think the support is there. If you guys would watch and enjoy, I would gladly add a Youtube channel to my passion for makeup.

I was also thinking about making this a bilingual blog (French/English). I do get views from Francophone countries, and perhaps I could get a more widened, diverse support if I wrote in two languages. I don't know. Any feedback on this idea too, please let me know!

My college roommate really wants me to teach her how to do makeup. It's so cute! I'll have pictures to post of that come August when we move in together ;)

Thank you guys so much for reading this super long post! Please let me know what you think about my look, ideas, etc. below in the comment box or you can find me on Twitter and Instagram @jessiefrancaise!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Marlena inspired "Bronzed Summer Look" LOTD

Hey guys! First of all, I'd like to give a shoutout to my several new followers! I was so delighted to log on today and see I have more followers :)

The other day I was going through some of Marlena's much older videos and came across this one called Bronzed Summer Look. As it is summer, I decided to put my own little spin to it.

Some of the pictures may be a little crappy. I haven't charged my camera yet, so I had to use my iPhone.

Here's the look I came up with:

And for the ones in the broad daylight, which I think are much better:

I usually just do neutral colors and after getting back into the blogosphere and seeing colorful artistic looks, I know I need to branch out with my colors. The "pop" of color in this look gives me the opportunity to branch out. Good thing I kept my turquoise eyeliner :)

Products Used:

  • Monistat Chafing Gel (as a primer)
  • NYX Concealer in a Jar in Fair
  • Revlon Colorstay foundation in Nude 200
  • Ulta Professional Concealer in Fair
  • Palladio Rice Powder in Natural
  • ELF HD Powder 
  • ELF Contouring Blush/Bronzer duo
  • Rimmel Natural Bronzer in Sun Dance
  • ELF Essentials eyeshadow primer in Golden
  • NYX eyeshadow base in matte white
  • NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder in Dark Brown/Brown
  • NYX Ultra Pearl Mania in Mink
  • LA Splash Cosmetics pigment in Bronzed Brown
  • ULTA Automatic Eyeliner in Teal Blue
  • Wetnwild Coloricon single eyeshadow in Brule
  • Bourjois eyeshadow in Beige Rose
  • Revlon Grow Luscious mascara
  • ELF Super Glossy Lipshine in Pink Pop

This look is very wearable for anywhere or any occasion and I love that it's versatile to where you can add practically any pop of color. I would use my NYX purple liquid liner with this too. 

Let me know what you think in the comment section below! Also join me on Twitter and Instagram @jessiefrancaise

Thank you guys so much for reading and following!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Target mini haul + swatches!

Hey guys! I hope you all had a great weekend and a great Father's Day!

Yesterday I went to Target to pick up a few things I had been needing or wanted to try out. I was disappointed, however, that they had run out of a couple things I wanted, but I did luck out.

So I grabbed some mascara, bronzer, some of my favorite eyeshadow, and liquid eyeliner that I'm running out of.

After hearing Marlena rave about this mascara, I picked it up probably 6 months ago and used a whole tube and it took me a few weeks to fall in love with it but I do really enjoy this mascara. Kim Kardashian's makeup artist (Mario whatever his last name is) likes this one as well! I've been back to using my Lashblast for a while, but I'm running out of this. I had a Loreal coupon and actually found one with another $1 off so I think I ended up getting this for $4? 

This is the ELF Contouring & Blush set. I've been wanting to try this out for probably a year now. I was hesitant because I read that some people with fairer skin (like me) thought the bronzer was a little too dark. It is rather dark, but we'll see how it works out on my skin. I haven't tried it out on my face yet. 

Also, I did read a lot of reviews on this and heard about how pretty the blush is. Well, I thought to myself back then that it couldn't be THAT pretty, but I will tell you guys that IT IS! Granted, I haven't put it on my face yet, but swatching it, I can tell you it is absolutely gorgeous.

I'll probably do a review on this soon once I get to use it enough.

As you can see, this is the NYC bronzer in the color Sunny. It is a matte bronzer, which I guess is hard to find in the drugstore. I've heard Emily Eddington of Beauty Broadcast rave about this bronzer as it is a drugstore matte bronzer so I wanted to give this a try.  I paid $2.89 for this, so it was a great bargain. 

It comes with a face sponge, which frankly I find bizarre as one usually puts bronzer on with a fluffy face brush rather than a face sponge? I will be throwing that out... 

Also I've found that it's hard to open and close sometimes. Packaging fail? 

I might be doing a review on this one as well...

And this is the Rimmel Bronzer in Sun Dance. As well as the NYC bronzer, I have read that this is one of the best drugstore bronzers out there. I'll give it a test run. It does appear as though you get a hefty amount of product (0.49 oz or 14 g as opposed to 0.33 oz/9.4 g of the NYC bronzer). 

And I paid $4.29 for this bronzer, so it actually ended up being the most expensive thing I bought.

I may being reviewing this one in the future. Who knows?

I'm sure I'm not the only one who likes to stock up on her makeup favorites... I kinda hoard some things sometimes? Well, I like to stock up on my ELF favorites especially. Since I have a backup of my quads in Drama and Butternut, I wanted to get a backup of Day2Night. This quad makes me look like Kim Kardashian. Seriously. This quad is the best. (Review with swatches here). 

Also, I've been using liquid liner SO much lately. I guess because I get lazy and don't want to clean my eyeliner brush after using my cream liner so much? Well, anyway, my ELF liquid liner has been my favorite lately. I think I'm running out so why not buy some more? Haha.

I did want to get some NYC liquid liner to try (I haven't used it in probably 6 years), but they had run out :( 

What I also wanted to try was the ELF Clarifying Pressed Powder... OUT in my shade :(

And for some swatches...

L-R: ELF Contouring Blush, ELF Contouring Bronzer, NYC Bronzer in Sunny, Rimmel Bronzer in Sun Dance

So you can tell from the picture that the ELF bronzer is super dark and pigmented. I'm not sure how that will fare on my skin. If not, I still have that pretty blush. You can barely see the NYC bronzer... hmm... and I don't know if you can tell in the picture, but the Rimmel bronzer is a little orangey and shimmery.

Again, I haven't actually used these products. I will be using these a bunch and maybe writing some reviews. After all, it is the time of the year to be using bronzers...

Have you guys used any of these products? Tell me about your experiences with them in the comment box below. 

I do think I am going to start a monthly favorites post, so be expecting one for June in a couple weeks ;)

Thank you guys for reading! Have a wonderful Monday!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

LOTD: Weekend look

Hey MUGs!

As promised I have many more posts to come. I actually didn't plan to post anything today, but I was feeling a little extra creative. I had no plans in mind for my look today and I kind of just went on a whim and used a few things that I haven't used in a very long time. I also have been in love with my NYX Femme lipstick (you can see my review and swatches of the lipsticks here). I actually bought it initially because it's a beautiful and bright red orange color that reminds me of the lipstick my bubbe (grandma) used to wear when I was a little girl. I told her about it last weekend when she was in town for my graduation and she put it on and she loved it!

So here are the pictures:

And here's the ones in the direct sunlight:

Frankly, I would even like this look without the eyeliner on the bottom. I was debating over whether I should put anything on the bottom and finally I just wanted some major eyeliner drama today.

Here's a last closeup:

And a closeup on this LOVELY lipstick! (I don't know why it looks so pink in this picture though)

So here's what I did:
  • Prime up the face with the Monistat Chafing Gel (Marlena has recommended this as a primer; the ingredients are almost identical to a MAC primer)
  • I use the NYX Concealer in a Jar in Fair to cover up any dark circles, acne scars, etc. 
  • I used my hands to just smooth on my Revlon Colorstay foundation in Sand Beige all over my face.
  • I set my face with my ELF Mineral Booster in Sheer with a kabuki.
  • I primed my eyelids with my ELF Mineral eyeshadow primer in Sheer (I always prime my eyelids before doing my eyebrows so I'm doing something productive and letting it dry at the same time)
  • Then I take my HG NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder in Dark Brown/Brown and fill in my eyebrows
  • I then set a base for my shadows with the NYX Eyeshadow Base in matte white. This is comparable to the NYX JEP in Milk, and honestly, you get a larger amount in the jar of eyeshadow base for a better price for practically the same product, so I just use that.
  • I patted on the NYX Chrome Eyeshadow in Beanie all over my lid. It's a gorgeous shimmery brown color that looks darker in the jar than it does on the lid. It was rather sheer and shimmery on the lid with a hint of dark purple. 
  • I blended this out with the Loreal Soft Effects shadow in Sable, just around the crease area. I don't know if they still make this shadow. My grandma gave this to me years ago. It's just a single matte shadow and reminds me of MAC Soft Brown. (It's scary that I don't own any MAC but I can't point out the colors...)
  • As a highlight, I used one of my favorite highlight colors which is Bourjois eyeshadow in Beige Rose. This is just a single baked shadow with gorgeous packaging - I'll do a post later on this.
  • I did my top liner with my HG ELF Essentials liquid liner in black. I winged it out a bit. I absolutely adore this liner.
  • Then I lined the waterline and lower lash line with my favorite WetnWild Color Icon eyeliner in Black Black. I set this with the NYX Beanie. 
  • For mascara I used some Revlon Grow Lash mascara I have that I am not a fan of.
  • I contoured my face with my favorite NYX Tango with Bronzer in When Leopard Gets a Tan. For blush, I used an old ELF Essentials blush in Blushing.
  • And finally, I used NYX Round Lipstick in Femme on my lips. 
I know that was a long post :) Thanks for reading through the whole thing! Stay tuned because I've got a lot more to come. I'm so happy to be back blogging with all of you. If you like what I post, please share with others!

Also, any questions, comments, suggestions? Please let me know below in the comments section or on Twitter @jessiefrancaise

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