Monday, December 9, 2013

Winter Lip Smacked

Winter has finally hit and we're all dreading the chapped hands and chapped lips problem.  A friend of mine sent me a message yesterday asking me what were some good brands of lip glosses and balms for him to use.  Living in cold climate for the winter could really take a toll on your skin, especially parts that naturally are moisturized.  I gave him a list of suggestions, but I figured I should list my top 3 balms, glosses, and lipsticks so everyone can get some information on what you can use to soothe irritated, chapped lips.  I have sensitive lips, so only certain formulas and products work for me.

Lip Balms and Treatments

Nivea Lip Butter - $2.99 at Target and Ulta; this lip butter is probably one of the best and most affordable glosses I have ever bought.  They taste great and the balm itself is very moisturizing to the lips.  Your lips will heal on its own from the shea butter, glycerin, and seed oil.  The best part about this gloss is that it doesn't have any petroleum jelly, which usually leaves a sticky residue.  They come in 5 different flavors (my favorite is the Vanilla and Macadamia Kiss) inside small easy carry tins.  These small balms also add shine on top of its soothing capabilities.  If you are ever near a BJ's, they do carry this balm in a pack of 5 for $9.99.

Caudalie Lip Conditioner - $12.00 at Sephora;  The French got it right with this balm!  Apricot oil and grape polyphenols saturate this formula and give your lips a very soothing treatment.  It is a very lightweight balm that leaves a matte finish, giving you the luxury of putting a lipstick or gloss on top without that sticky finish.  If you're looking for a higher end, but effective product, this is the one to purchase.  The balm itself is easy to apply due to its lipstick-like shape.  I personally liked the light scent of the balm.  There was really no taste and you won't have to worry about feeling overpowered by the smell of perfume on your lips.  Don't worry animal lovers, this product is not tested on animals and does not contain any animal ingredients.  Overall, this is definitely the product to try if you're looking for something different.
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 - $22.50 at Sephora;  This particular lip treatment is different from the ones I mentioned above because it contains natural sugars that help restore and revitalize the lips.  Upon use, it leaves a buttery soft feel and slight gloss.  What's great about this balm is that it comes in various colors and flavors, so you can pick and choose what you like.  I enjoy the berry flavored one, but the original tastes just as good.  The original has this citrus, almost lemony scent.  Each flavor is a different tint, so if you're looking for something with more of a color, this is definitely the one to choose.  What's also great about this lip balm is the SPF, so your lips are protected from UV rays.  Most people use sunscreen or sunblock on their face, but always miss their mouths because most glosses don't have an SPF, but this one is convenient so you don't have to worry when you go outside.  Sephora is currently having a Christmas gift set sale, so you can head on over there to see if they have what you're looking for.  They have a few sets of the different Fresh scents.  

I have a few other balms I love, but some have been discontinued.  Honorable mentions include Lotta Luv's Hostess Twinkie lip balm (yes, it smells and tastes like Twinkies) and Tarte's fRxtion, which unfortunately has been discontinued.  I loved this balm because it was a dual-sided lipstick shaped gloss and one side was for nourishment, while the other side was a sugar scrub.  The moisturizer was similar to that of Caudalie's, but a bit more slick.  It came in a compact lipstick case with an attached mirror.  I wish they still made these, because they were amazing.  Maybe if there's a high enough demand for it, they'll bring the product back.  One last product I'd like to mention is the Hurraw! lip balm at American Apparel.  I'd have to say this balm is not only great, but it's also natural and vegan.  Try out the Green Tea flavored one!


Loveable Lip Glosses

I have a big thing for lip glosses.  I love many formulas, but because of my allergies, I can only use a select few.  The ones I have tried, however, are worth purchasing because of how they satisfy my individual needs.

Bare Escentuals 100% Natural Lip Gloss - $15.00 at Sephora;  I'm not too sure if this product is discontinued yet, but this gloss in Pomegranate is probably my favorite gloss out there.  I've never had a problem with break outs, sores, or chapping with this gloss and it leaves such a high shine that it gives me the perfect pout to complete my look.  The wand has a brush at the tip for easy application.  I've stocked up on these from the Bare Escentuals outlet, and they come in a variety of colors.  They may have updated the formula and changed the name to Moxie, because I haven't seen these glosses in a while, but I hope the upgrade is just as good as the original.  If you're looking for a natural gloss with a lovely tint, this is the one to get.
Liplicious Dazzle-licious High Sparkle Lip Gloss - $10.50 at Bath and Body Works;  This particular lip gloss is loved by all my friends because of the glossy pout it gives to its user.  Not only does it have a non-sticky, shiny, glossy feel to it, but this gloss is packed with glitter to make your lips sparkle and give that sun-kissed glow.  When you apply this gloss, there is a wand applicator with a sponge tip to apply it evenly.  Not only does it smell delicious, but the gloss also tastes as decadent as the names.  These have almost a sheer to medium coverage and come in a variety of different colors.  They don't leave your lips as moisturized as the balms, but they will definitely be a hit for every day use or even the night out.  A few of my friends are obsessed with the Jeweled Coconut flavor, mainly because of the nude color and the iridescent sparkles.  I personally chose a darker shade, Brilliant Berry.  It brings a dark pink tint to my pout, but not enough to be overbearing.

MAC Lipglass - $15.00 - $25.00 at MAC Cosmetics; MAC has created a lip gloss line for all sorts of occasions.  They have their lip stains for tints, cremes, high gloss, high shine, etc.  You will not be disappointed with this gloss because these glosses are really for long-wear use.  They have full coverage and are tinted in any color you desire.  The wand sponge application applies the gloss evenly and smoothly.  Jojoba oil is used to keep your lips moisturized and perfectly kissable throughout the day.  It's a great buy if you're looking for something that almost equals the color of lipsticks.


Lipstick Appeal

Every person should carry their favorite shade of lipstick for those evenings out on the town.  My preferred colors are wines, plums, and even bright reds.  I've found some formulas to be better than others, and a few of them are even more long-lasting and worth the extra money.

Rogue Dior Couture Color Voluptuous Care Lipstick - $34.00 at Sephora;  This lipstick is long-lasting and provides full coverage to the user.  Don't let the price shock you.  It's worth the money because of their perfect formula.  Dior's lipstick has been known to have the right amount of moisture on top of its creamy texture, leaving the lips rich with color.  I use this shade in #728 Mauve Mystere, which is almost like a plum color and it stays on for a good 4-5 hours before I have to apply again.  When applying this lipstick, you don't get the small cracks and creases you get from other brands.  It also has a lovely scent and packaging to make it as "couture" as it sounds.  Overall, this is the #1 lipstick I'd recommend for anyone out there.  There are a variety of shades for you to choose from for both day and night.  I probably need to go back and pick up a new one!

MAC Lipstick - $15.00 - $25.00 at MAC Cosmetics;  I personally enjoy MAC's lipsticks because the wear on them is amazing, especially for the price.  I can't complain about the creamy texture of the lipstick because it glides on easily and stays for a good 3-4 hours before having to reapply.  I'm not really a fan of matte lipstick because I really love shiny, pouty lips, but Viva Glam I's matte formula makes me fall in love.  My lips look great with this lipstick and I don't have to worry about too much smudging or having lipstick get into my teeth (because we all know how embarrassing that looks).  They have other types of lipsticks you may like as well, some being long lasting while others were created by stars like Rihanna or Lady Gaga.  I'm a huge Hello Kitty fan, so I have the poppin' pink lipstick from that line... and I love the Barbie pink tint!

NYX Black Label Lipstick - $7.50 at Target or on;  Don't be fooled by NYX's cosmetic line.  I love their lipsticks because they're much more affordable than the ones I've previously mentioned and they still give you the same result as compared to something you'd buy elsewhere.  NYX created a great variety of tints and shades for you to choose from.  They all leave a silky, satiny, feel against the lips and will last at least 3-4 hours until you have to reapply.  I use the shade BLL133 Wine, which appears to have a dark fuchsia undertone and light shine.  Try this lipstick out and you won't be disappointed.

I hope my top 3's helped you pick out your next lip treatment or brand.  I'm sure there are many other great brands out there, but these are the three I'll stick to because I know they will last me quite some time.  If you're trying to figure out the right color for you, go to the store and test them all against your arm to find your perfect shade.  You can always have more than one!

Disclaimer:  I am no way endorsed or affiliated with any of these brands.  I do this for my own enjoyment and my own free will.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fandom Cosmetics Lacquer Review!

Leigh, Annie, Liz, and Olivia of Fandom Cosmetics

I've had the opportunity to meet the ladies of Fandom Cosmetics at New York Comic Con this past October.  Annie was actually a friend of mine from a while back and she started her own nail polish company.  She sold her first company and created a new one with Leigh, and their joint partnership created the indie brand, Fandom Cosmetics.  Fandom Cosmetics not only sells nail polish, but jewelry, body care items, makeup, and bath salts as well (which smell divine).  Their polishes are made in sets, and each set holds a specific theme that geeks and nerds will love (not to mention everyone else).  Many of their polishes contain glitter, so you can have the glitz and glam with a touch of nerd.  I have four polishes to review today.

Each of these polishes are from different collections of Fandom's line.  The polishes are in square bottles with a simple black cap.  They are embellished with the line's initials, "FC."  All polishes are 5-free, Vegan, and cruelty free.

We first have Moon Runes, which is from the "Dungeons Deep and Caverns Old" collection, inspired by The Hobbit.  It is an opaque silvery base that glows in the dark.  The formula for Moon Runes was very smooth and easy to put on.  Inside the base were small flecks of blue and iridescent glitter dust, followed by blue moons and holographic glitter hex.

The brush size was a standard brush that easily glided through the nail without a problem.  As you can see, the lacquer has a loose consistency, but doesn't clump on the brush.

Here are some of the photos close up.  These swatches have two coats of polish, which is enough to cover the whole nail with glitter.

I wanted to try to add this to some color, so I swatched to coats on top of Essie's Licorice.  The outcome was a gunmetal polish with a semi-matte finish.

One coat of Essie's quick drying top coat is enough to add shine to the nail.  I didn't have too much of a problem removing the glitter, as most of it comes off with the base coat.  Overall, it was a great formula and the simplicity of the polish left me wanting more.  I think I'd use this polish if I were cosplaying as the White Queen from XMen.

Next on my list is Burn Book, from Fandom's collection "The Plastics.  This particular collection was inspired by the movie Mean Girls, where "On Wednesdays, we wear pink!"  You can guess that the polishes from this collection are pink and pretty, packed with a touch of mean.  Hot pink and white glitter overtakes the polish, with some medium sized light pink glitter circles and black hearts hidden and scattered throughout the bottle.  I swatched this lovely glitter lacquer over Essie's Licorice and here was the outcome.

One coat of glitter over your base coat is enough to make a statement.  Two coats makes everyone's heads turn.  The only problem I really had with this polish was that the brush was bent out of shape.  This most likely was a manufacturer's issue, because I remember Annie getting upset with the quality of brushes her distributor sent her.  The lacquer glided smoothly and evenly throughout the nail and I didn't have a problem with the consistency either.  The brush was only a small setback that can easily be fixed.

I really enjoyed the playfulness of the polish because it brings the nails to life.  Upon drying, the coat was very smooth and I did not have a problem removing it.  Here are a few more swatches.

The only thing I really didn't appreciate was the brush and the lack of hearts and circles.  I wish there were more black hearts in the polish because I wasn't able to swatch any on my nails.  I don't like to go "fishing" for polish glitter.  Removing the polish wasn't really much of a problem because the small spots came off with the black polish.  No foil needed!  Overall, I thought it was a great color.  I'd definitely wear it to my next high school reunion, where I can revisit "The Plastics" in my school.

Lil' Asskicker is from the Walker Bait collection, inspired by my favorite show, The Walking Dead.  This glitter bomb is swarming with teal, fuschia, red, and black hex glitter suspended in a clear base.  I feel the base was a bit thicker than normal consistency because applying it was almost like toasting a piece of bread with jam.  I layered it on top of Essie's Trophy Wife so you can see the full effect of this gorgeous glitter.

Like Burn Book, the brush has a bit of a problem.  It was not bent, but there were a few hairs sticking out of the sides, so I just turned the brush in order to streak the nail properly.  I believe she had a bit of the problem with the consistency of the polish because Annie was making them on the spot, underneath the table during the Con.  That's a lot of dedication!

Here are a few more swatches of Lil' Asskicker after two coats.  

This polish was a little annoying to remove because of the amount of glitter that adheres to your nails.  I had to foil my nails in order to remove the polish.  As long as the consistency of the polish doesn't thicken over time, I'll continue to use this polish until the last swatch.  I would definitely like to try more polishes from the Walker Bait collection.

Son of Jorel is the last polish on my list for the day.  This polish in particular was my favorite.  It is from the Justice League collection, inspired by Superman.  Holographic blue hex, royal blue hex, medium sized yellow circles, and large red circle glitter were suspended in the clear base.  I swatched two coats of Son of Jorel on top of Essie's Licorice.  It looked like the sun and the moons were colliding in the stars in the universe.

I had a bit of the problem with the consistency, as this was the thickest of the four.  You can see the base almost appears jelly-like, where it clumps near the end of the brush and around the rim of the bottle.

Regardless of the consistency, the application of the polish to the nail was not difficult.  One coat of glitter would be enough to make a statement, but two coats would call Superman back to earth.  The brush had a bit of fly aways along the side, but not enough to interfere with my swatching.  Here are a few more swatches.

I wanted to see how this glitter bomb looked on top of blue, so I swatched it over Essie's Aruba Blue and this happened.  I apologize over the poor quality of the photograph.  I didn't realize it blurred when I took the shot.  Regardless, I loved the outcome.

I love how the red and yellow stands out from the blues.  The primary color scheme is simple and effective, and there is just the right amount of red and yellow circles within the base.  Upon removal, the base really stuck to the nails so I had to use foil to lift the glitter off.

Fandom's creativity really moves me because of their ability to showcase our beloved shows in a single bottle of nail polish.  I'm glad I got to run into them for Comic Con and I can't wait to try their upcoming products in the future!  The only problems I had with these polishes were the brushes and the consistency of a few of them.  I only feel this was an issue because the company was shipping the bottles from Texas to New York, and they had to make polishes on the spot because you can not fly boxes of nail polishes across the country.  The amount of air exposure to the base may have been a factor of the thickness.  The brushes had a few minor fly aways or bent issues, but otherwise worked well.  Other than that, I loved the glitter bombs and I'd like to get more.  You can never have too much glitter.  Feel free to take a look at their website and other social networks.  I've linked them below.

Fandom Cosmetics Facebook Page:  here.
Fandom Cosmetics Website:  here.
Fandom Cosmetics Twitter:  here.
Fandom Cosmetics Tumbler:  here.

I hope you enjoyed.  Until next time!

Disclaimer:  I am no way affiliated or endorsed by this company.  I do this for my own enjoyment and my own free will.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Food For Thought

I've been experimenting with cooking lately and I've realized I have a real knack for it.  I suppose you can say in a way, cooking is like art.  You have to have that special touch to make it taste just right for you.  I have always loved cooking food and eating it, which is ironic since I'm a personal trainer.  I should be creating healthy meals, but instead, I'm making pastries for the holidays for my side business. If I didn't work out every day, I'd probably be a very heavy lady.  It actually wasn't supposed to be a side business, though.  I was just baking for fun... until someone told me I should really sell my food.  Of course, my mom didn't like the idea of me selling homemade baked goods, but after she tried my cooking, she realized I could actually do it.  Who knows... maybe I'll open my own bakery one day.

In the meantime, here are a few of the cakes and pastries I've created.  I don't like my pastries too sweet, but the right consistency will play well on the tongue palate... and you can even accompany it with some white wine!  Let's get fancy!

This is the cake I am holding up in the photograph.  It's a dulce de leche swirl cheesecake with a vanilla pudding/fresh cream topping.  I topped it off with raspberries for decoration.

This is the first time I've ever made a pie... and it's an apple one, for that matter.  I took different types of apples and created an apple filling with the right amount of spices.  I let it cool for a day and made a homemade crust.  I layered the pie together, baked it, and used an egg wash to make it shine.  Not bad for my first try!  The only sad part was that I couldn't even try it.  Sadly, I'm allergic to apples... but I'm glad everyone else enjoyed it!  It was a big hit!

These are little white chocolate cheesecake bites, layered with fresh cream and raspberry filling.  They're good for a bite-sized snack if you don't want to eat a whole slice.

I baked this mouth-watering cake for my boyfriend's holiday party.  It's a chocolate marble cheesecake with a chocolate ganache pudding topping.  I finished it off with fresh strawberries to add a little bit of color.

As you can tell, I've been having a lot of fun with my time and these desserts are as decadent as they look.  My desserts were inspired by my love of foods and various restaurants in the city.  However, what really got me started was my best friend, Elena (find her here on her blog).  She is always so talented and creative.  Every time I come over her house, we're always baking her addicting chocolate chip cookies and I manage to take home half the batch.  Of course, the cookies don't last too long since my entire family gobbles them up... but they're still amazing when I get to have them.  I think one of the coolest things she's ever done and shown me was her hot chocolate pops from last Christmas.  She made these chocolate lollipops that had a marshmallow attached to it so you can just dip them in hot milk and stir them to make hot chocolate.  How innovative!  They were definitely on my "try to make it" list and I made some for my Christmas favors.  I can't wait to see what she's making this year!

I'm probably going to make some homemade cookies this year, which may include my white chocolate  cranberry walnut biscotti, peppermint pinwheels, chocolate chip cookies, and red velvet crinkle cookies.  We need some holiday cheer!  

If any of you would like to contact me about buying something for the holidays, please feel free to contact me here.  Please give me at least 5 days notice so I can have enough time to make it.  Same day or day before orders will be an extra $8.00.

Prices are as follows:
9-inch round cheesecake - $25.00
24 cupcakes or cheesecake bites - $20.00
Pies - $15.00
Regular 9 inch cakes (buttercream frosting) - $25.00

Cheesecake Flavors:
White Chocolate (with raspberry compote filling)
Dulce de Leche
Apple Toffee
Red Velvet
Milk Chocolate
Dark Chooclate
Marble Cream

Pie Flavors:
Coconut Cream
Key Lime
Chocolate Mud Pie

Okay, I have to get back to baking.  Have a great day, everyone!