Sunday, May 24, 2015

Birthday Musings | Napoleon Dynamite, "Yeah!", and a Lipstick-Infused Thanks!

Today is my 35th birthday!  I don't even know how that happened.  The last time I checked, I was 24, cruisin' down the street to Outkast's "The Way You Move" and Usher's "Yeah!", thinking about checking out that new MTV movie "Napoleon Dynamite"!

That was 2004, you guys.  11 years ago.  Velour leisure pants were the height of casual fashion.  A website called Facebook had just launched.  We were so into this crazy new TV show called "Lost", and catfish wasn't yet a verb.
My friend Colin and I meeting Jason Mraz (center) at Music Midtown 2004 (Shoutout to my temporary Jose Cuervo tat!) 
That momentary flashback is just to illustrate how quickly time flies, and how important it is to enjoy the small moments in life like grabbing a bite to eat at a new restaurant, watching birds, reading a hilarious book, or going for a walk.  Lately I've been focusing more on living offline and it's been fantastic.  I've been so content lately spending my free time with family and friends and enjoying some of my old hobbies like reading, watching movies, and (gasp!) exercising.  I think I've finally found the balance I need to be my happiest.  I still make time to catch up on my favorite blogs and YouTubers, as well as write new content for glambunctious, but it no longer dominates my spare time like it once did.  I finally took to heart that life is fleeting and what really matters to me is time spent laughing together with my husband, my mom, and my friends.  That being said, I still love to blog, but I've found ways to be more efficient at it so I still have time for the other things I enjoy.

You girls have always supported me, my blog, and my blogging habits.  I can't thank you ladies enough for your wonderfully witty comments, inspiration, and love!  Without you guys, this blog wouldn't bring me the happiness that it does because the true joy in it is connecting with you!
As a way to say thanks in a small way, I'm giving away 3 of my favorite MAC lipsticks (2 of which are dressed up in lovely limited edition packaging) to one of you wonderful people!

MAC Modesty (Cremesheen)
MAC Rebel (Satin) - Heirloom Mix Collection
MAC Goddess of the Sea (Cremesheen) - Alluring Aquatic Collection
To enter, simply leave a comment on this post telling me one offline activity or hobby that brings you a lot of joy.  I'll pick a winner on May 31st by Random.org and contact them by email.  This giveaway is open internationally.
Thank you all for bringing so much enjoyment into my life!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Review! | Grown Alchemist Watermelon and Vanilla Lip Balm


I've loved lip balms for as long as I can remember.  I have memories of rocking out the BonneBell LipSmackers (shoutout to Dr. Pepper!) and Maybelline Kissing Koolers as early as age 9.  If I had to give up all makeup and skincare, lip balm would be the biggest loss.  If I went on Survivor, lip balm would be my luxury item.  I always have several tubes on me, and will get out of bed to go hunt down my #1 balm if I realize it's not on my nightstand.  Suffice it to say, I'm a bit of a lip balm connoisseur.  A sommelier de baume, if you will, and I've tried quite a few offerings in my lifetime.
Retro!
I first heard of the Grown Alchemist Watermelon and Vanilla Lip Balm balm from an article called "This Lip Balm Changed My Life (OK, Lips)" on Allure.com.  While I'm quite happy with my long-standing Top Three Lip Balms, I may have lost my marbles a bit at the mention of watermelon.  I LOVE watermelon everything; it's right up there for me with lemon everything.  So a highbrow watermelon-scented lip balm?  Très irresistible.
To understand my balm "style", you should first know the rankings:
1. Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask: Thick, non-sticky, incredibly hydrating, lasts overnight/only needs to be reapplied once a day.
2. Glossier Balm Dotcom: Thick, non-sticky, very hydrating, lasts overnight/only needs to be reapplied a few times a day, unscented/taste-free.
3. Aquaphor: Medium thick, non-sticky, quite hydrating, lasts overnight/only needs to be reapplied a few times a day, unscented/taste-free, budget-friendly.
4. Everything else.  This encapsulates a myriad of drugstore and prestige balms including Nivea Lip Butter, Dior Crème de Rose, Dior Addict Lip Glow, Maybelline Baby Lips, Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm a/k/a "Lupita's Lip Balm", ChapStick, Nuxe Reve de Miel, eos Lip Spheres, MAC Lip Balm Tube, Bobbi Brown Lip Balm, By Terry Baume de Rose, Jack Black, et al.
It comes in a black metal squeeze tube with simple white writing.  Quite classic.  Texture-wise, the Grown Alchemist Watermelon and Vanilla Lip Balm most mirrors MAC Lip Balm Tube (a Top Five contender for sure) when it gets toward the end of the tube and breaks down a bit, causing the oil to separate a little.  It melts on contact into a thin, oil-based veil.  It smells wonderfully like watermelon (I don't detect the vanilla) and has no discernible taste or color.
Wearing Grown Alchemist Watermelon and Vanilla Lip Balm
Overall, I'd categorize the Grown Alchemist Watermelon and Vanilla Lip Balm as more of a lip oil than a balm.  It's just not thick and hydrating enough for my lips.  I have to reapply every hour or so, and it definitely doesn't last overnight for me.  While this one is not a top contender for me, if you prefer a lighter lip oil product, you might love it.

What are your top 3 holy grail lip balms?  Do you have a favorite scent for lip products?    

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Review! | Yves Saint Laurent Poudre Compact Radiance

If true love came in powder form, the YSL Poudre Compact Radiance would be it.

As you can see, I not only hit pan on my first Poudre Compact Radiance (hereinafter "PCR") a few months ago, but I used every last crumble!  
I've been relying on other setting powders ever since in the spirit of finishing the things I have on hand.  Not surprisingly to me, none of the other powders that have been pinch hitting were filling the hole in my makeup bag left behind by the PCR.  I scooped up a new PCR during the Sephora VIB sale, and it feels so good to have this powder back in my arsenal!  [Edit: I can't find it on the Sephora site?! It's not even showing in my account as a past purchase.  I guess Sephora will no longer be carrying this powder, but never fear, it's still available at Bergdorf's, Nordstrom, and Saks {links are at the bottom of the post}]
I have Shade 4 (Pink Beige) which is such a perfect match for my NW20-25 skin, the swatch seems to disappear.  It comes in a limited range of 3 colors, 2 (Pink Sand), 3 (Beige), and 4 (Pink Beige), which is the only thing I don't find rave-worthy.  I wish they'd expand their range to include deeper and fairer options.  I think the shades they offer would best suit those falling into the light, light-medium, and medium range.
The texture of this powder is so finely milled and incredibly smooth.  It never looks cakey and it does an amazing job of keeping my t-zone in check.  I can typically get away without powdering or using oil blotting sheets if I set my foundation with the PCR in the morning. 
PCR comes with a velvet storage pouch to protect the compact and a velour sponge to apply the powder with.  I typically apply it with a brush, but the velour sponge works nicely as well.  I found the pictures I took of my original compact from way back in 2013, hence the dates on the magazines! 

Here's (quite) few shots of me wearing the YSL Poudre Compacte Radiance in the past year!
This powder seems to be a chameleon, going by different names (the box says "Matt and Radiant Pressed Powder", everything I've found online says "Radiant Pressed Powder").  I find it gives skin a natural finish, neither overly matte nor radiant.  Bottom line, I love this and I declare Poudre Compact Radiance is my HG setting powder!

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Beauty Influencer’s Sunday Column Vol.7: How has your makeup style changed over the years?

BISC Vol.7
How has your makeup style changed over the years?
BISC Vo.7 Authors
MELISSA | Switzerland | Kiss & Make-up
When I first started wearing make-up as a young teenager I only wore some black eye pencil and a wash of grayish green eyeshadow. I must have worn that same look for like a year! And then I entered my gothic phase. Yep, I’m talking heavy eyeliner and black Avril Lavigne-style panda eyes! I thought I was such a badass, lol. Then when I went to college I got into my colorful phase and started experimenting with face make-up. And then finally after collage I started to develop my current make-up style: smokey eyes with a subtle lip.
KRISTEN | USA | Glambunctious
In a way, it really hasn’t changed that much!  I’ve always focused on the eyes.  In high school, I wore a shimmery lavender eyeshadow and in college, my go-to look was a bare lid with a swipe of metallic black liquid liner (found the exact Physician’s Formula one I used to have here).  It wasn’t until my late ’20s that I started using shadow again daily, and thanks to blogs and YouTube, discovered new application methods like using 3 different shadows on the lid to create dimension. Shadow, liner, and mascara still feel most like makeup “home”!
SUNNY | Belgium | Mostly Sunny Blog
I got into makeup with the hype of the original Urban Decay Naked palette. I was introduced to wonderful inventions like eyeshadow primer and gel liner at around the same time, so for quite a while eye makeup was all I wanted to wear. Then at some point, I discovered the joy of bright lipsticks and I haven’t really looked back since! I still do different looks for the blog, but in real life, my signature look would be neutral eyeshadows, winged liner, and a bright lip! It doesn’t have to be a full-on opaque formula, but it’s probably bright!
LILY | Malaysia | Chloe Ash
When I first started, I was all about the sheer nude lip. I was really bad at eye makeup so I learned and practised every day. Now, I’m more experimental. I love my smokey eyes of different shades, but I’ve always been a neutral girl at heart. So all different shades of brown and taupe it is. Recently, I love a clean flawless base, liquid liner for a small cat eye flick and a bold lip – orange, coral, dark reds and berries. I think when I get bored, I’ll change again. That’s why makeup is fun!
AGATA | USA | Her and Makeup
My makeup style has changed dramatically over the last years. I used to be a one shadow, one blush, one lipstick kind of girl. I kept my makeup simple and neutral, wearing the same makeup every day. Over the years, my makeup skills have improved and I learnt more about using products and applying them to my advantage. With the improved makeup skills, I also started to be more adventurous in terms of colors. Although neutrals are still my favorites, I have no problem wearing a pink or blue eyeshadow, rocking a red lip or a purple blush.
ALICE | Belgium | Alice Yeh
Looking back at old pictures, I spy a face generously dusted in bronzer and eyes lined with liquid eyeliner from top to bottom. Now I’ve learnt to embrace my features – the good and bad ones. Bronzers are now used light-handed and eyeliners are kept very thin with a flick tailored to the shape of my eyes. Oh, and I ditched the eyeliner on the bottom waterline altogether – I look so much fresher and natural now. Make-up mishaps are part of the journey so never stop experimenting, and embrace foremost the beauty you were born with.
LENA | USA | Lenallure
I’ve enjoyed refined and posh makeup styles for many years. I am not really into difficult techniques or something that requires too much time, etc. To me, a makeup style has to be simple and practical to function for me. For that, mine hasn’t really changed in concept. Color wise though, I used to sport purple/blue smoky eyes with light pink/nude lips almost everyday, but now I prefer light neutral smoky with bright lips. Also, lately I’m keenly interested in natural luminous base.
JAA | Thailand | Hello Jaa
I only started wearing “real” makeup 4 years ago! Before that, it was only a bit of mascara and sheer tinted lip balm. In 2010, I began experimenting with neutral eye makeup, sheer blush, and soft pink lips to create my very own “minimal” makeup look. When I started Hello Jaa in 2013, I became more adventurous with colors. I probably wear neutral eyes as much as I wear smokey eyes nowadays. I also like to experiment with foundation and concealer. Lip color still remains in the nude, pink and coral zones, though! I rarely wear bold lips unless I’m going out to a party! :)
[Interested in joining BISC Network? Send your request to jaa*at*hellojaa.com]

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Loves & Lemons | April 2015

What is Loves & Lemons?  A compilation of the best - and worst - products that I encountered during the previous month.  Read on to see what I loved and what didn't quite measure up!  Be sure to share your loves and lemons in the comments below!

Essie Splash of Grenadine
My mom first discovered Splash of Grenadine last year, and after seeing Xuvious' post in February, I tracked down a bottle at Ulta.  This cheerful lavender cream will be spending a lot of time on my tips and toes this spring and summer!  

This mask combines the clarifying power of kaolin clay with the nourishing hydration of shea and cocoa butters.  It smells like chocolate cake, and while it does tighten as it dries, it never gets uncomfortable.  My husband Jason was so impressed with my glowing complexion after I rinsed it off, he agreed to let me use this mask on him!

With a gorgeous texture and color range, the Revolution and Sheer Revolution lipsticks are some of my personal favorites.  I'm loathe to choose a favorite shade, but Rush is closest to "hitting pan" (tube?!) and I definitely plan to repurchase it.

NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation Santa Fe
After working with this foundation on and off for well over a year, I've concluded that it just doesn't jibe with my combination oily skin.  I've tried every application method: fingers, dry/wet sponge from compact, dry/wet Beauty Blender, dry/wet Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, dry/wet kabuki buffing brush, dry/wet flat foundation brush, over primer, on bare skin, on skin misted with Fix+, not set with powder, set with powder, whilst listening to legendary soft rock crooners Air Supply, patting it on counter-clockwise under the light of a waxing gibbous moon, etc.  No matter what, it looks cakey and settles into my pores after a few hours.
Other reviews: 10amBeauty | Beauty Reflections | Makeup & Beauty Blog | My Lucite Dreams | The Painted Rogue | Phyrra

After successfully transitioning from anti-perspirant to deodorant, I decided to try this organic option.  Sadly, it wasn't a love.  The texture is abrasive to the point of being unpleasant to apply and there is hardly any scent.  By the end of the day, I didn't smell fresh.

What were your loves and lemons last month?