Monday, January 28, 2013

Ulta & Sephora Mini-Haul

I haven't been shopping for beauty related things in awhile. I don't know why, but I just fall into a rut for a couple of months out of the year where I rarely wear makeup and just kind of let my hair do what it wants so long as it's brushed. I'm still feminine, as always, I just don't put the effort into all the above and beyond accoutrements that go with being girly-feminine.

 It's usually in the middle of winter when we're holed up indoors all day anyway, overloaded with work. I'm going to make it a point to stave off this beauty hermit phase as best I can, because I'm back to my usual girly, beauty-obsessed self and remembering just how much fun all the primping is.

I always come out of this phase suddenly. Last week, I was almost out of my Tresemme conditioner so I started browsing the shampoo aisle while we were at Walmart doing grocery shopping. All the stuff was kind of "meh" and I hadn't brought any of the beauty coupons I clip and save in a little box, so I asked Dom if we could just make a trip to ULTA since I at least have reward points there. Being the accommodating lover she is, she agreed and we took a trip the next day.

We walked through the doors and it was as if the aisles and aisles of goodies were whispering, "Lana, where have you been? How could you leave us for so long?" Or at least, that's what I imagined. It was around this time that Dom started getting a very wary look on her face. I'm pretty sure that ULTA is just about as close to her own personal hell as you can get. It would only be her exact personal hell if my mother worked there. I felt a little bit bad until I discovered how she occupies herself while following me around the store.

I went in there with the intention of getting conditioner and a hairbrush, nothing more, but by the time we were done I'd actually forgotten the hairbrush and wound up buying a set of Conair brushes during the next Walmart trip. I did, however, get the conditioner I came in for. They were having a sale, of course. Entire liters of shampoo and conditioner from major hair care brands like Biolage, Redken, Joico and TIGI, for 15.99 each. I wound up getting the Redken All Soft Conditioner liter, which is normally 36 bucks.  Not too shabby, especially since it's a brand I've been wanting to try forever.

I'll do a review soon when I feel like I've used the product enough to have a fair assessment. So far, so good! I also picked up two products from the Schwarzkopf got2b line: Oil-licious Dry Oil Hair Taming Mist for me and Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Gel for Dom. It's basically the ultimate butch styling product so I'll probably do a review of that later, too.

Next, it was off to Penney's. I picked up a few T-Shirts for Dom and a maxi-skirt for me. It also happened to be a Penney's with a mini Sephora store inside! I love those. They're much less crazy than the full stores, have just about all the same products and, best of all, I didn't get asked if I needed help every time I went down a new aisle. It was a much more relaxed shopping experience, which I can definitely appreciate.

 I went in thinking I'd look for some good neutral shadows. I thought about buying the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette, but it had so many shades in it I just couldn't see myself wearing on a regular basis, so I couldn't justify the $50 price tag. I was about to settle on one of the Sephora brand palettes for a much lower price point when I saw this little beauty at the register. Urban Decay came out with a mini-version of the ubiquitous Naked palette. The mini palette features 6 of the Naked line essentials at much lower price point of $27. It was sitting right at the register, too! I couldn't believe how perfect it was.

Forgive the terrible swatches. I'll post some better ones later and maybe a look or two with the colors. It really is the perfect neutral palette for my fair, pink-undertoned complexion. The two lightest shades are just a bit too close, but the rest of the palette more than makes up for it. It's a great deal if you're on the fairer end of the spectrum and looking for a good, matte, neutral selection of colors for an everyday look.

Well, that's it for my mini makeup haul. I'm sure there will be a few more to come soon since I need to pick up some other hair care and beauty related items.



Sunday, December 23, 2012

Strawberry Flavored Disappointment

So we were at Walmart in the checkout line when I saw these cute little packages with cows on them and the phrase, "got milk?" I asked Dom what they were and the checkout girl over heard us and replied excitedly, "Oh, those are straws that flavor your milk!"

What? Hold, please. I will drink anything out of a straw. You could combine battery acid and purple Kool-Aid (which I hate) into a cocktail with bugs frozen inside of ice cubes, and if you put a crazy straw in it chances are high that I would drink it. Straws just make everything taste better, particularly drinks that you wouldn't normally drink through a straw, like milk. Add to this already magical straw ability to make everything taste better the power of flavoring and you have a very excited Lana.

Unfortunately, some things really are too good to be true and this is one of them. The packaging is cute and each one contains about 4 or 5 straws.

The straws themselves are clear with little sugary balls inside of them. As far as I know, there are only chocolate and strawberry flavoring. I LOVE strawberry milk, so I chose that flavor. The straws are pinched in at each end so the little balls can't escape. You just place them into the milk and drink normally.

For about 1.3 seconds, I was in strawberry heaven. Then there was only disappointment and sadness. Drinking through these straws goes like this: *sip* WOW! My mouth is experiencing an explosion of strawberry glory... oh... no... wait, now it's just milk. How depressing.

This was one of those products I so dearly wanted to love, but alas, it doesn't work very well at all. The beads evaporate after just a few sips, too. The worst part is, it kind of sucks as a normal straw. Oh, well. At $1.99 it's no great loss, but I definitely wouldn't say it was worth it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hello, world! For my first post, I thought I'd start off talking about my new obsession as of late: false eyelashes. I wore falsies quite often years ago, and back then I used Revlon and KISS lashes almost exclusively. I don't remember particularly positive experiences with either brand, so this time around I decided to try something different.

I've seen some positive reviews of false lashes purchased from eBay both on Youtube and in the blogosphere so, being the cheapskate that I am, I decided to try it out. I like buying recurrent-use products in bulk when possible, and I was amazed at some of the steals available through online suppliers! You can buy 50 sets of lashes for well under $10, but I decided to try them out in a smaller quantity. 

I found a set of 10 lashes for $1.77 from an online seller on eBay with FREE shipping! Free is my favorite word, so even though I was doubtful about the quality, I decided to give it a shot. After all, that's a lot of lashes for less than the cost of doing a load of laundry! Fortunately, I was not disappointed. 

The seller I chose is located in China, but they ship internationally (US only, sorry Canadians! I know there are other similar sellers who ship to the UK and Canada, though! :) I purchased these lashes in the more modest 121 style, though I'd like to try out some of the bolder lashes next time: 

As you can see, the box has Chinese writing and I haven't a clue what it says, so if anyone knows the brand, please tell me in the comments! My first impression of the lashes was that they were, indeed, a very simple style, which suits me fine. The quality is fairly decent. They're definitely synthetic and the texture is a bit stiff, but it really doesn't matter once they're on. 

TIP: Each lash does come with a bit of extra plastic strip on each end to keep them in the box, so you'll want to snip those off with some nail scissors before applying.

I purchased the Salon Perfect Perfect Strip Eyelash Adhesive to apply them as the lashes don't come with any adhesive. I was in a rush since Dom wasn't feeling well and we were eager to get home, so I just grabbed the first, cheapest product I saw and I really got lucky! For $2.98 at Walmart (I'm sure you can find this brand at CVS or any regular drugstore, too) this adhesive is very high quality! 

It's a creamy opaque white liquid which had me worried at first. I've had bad experiences with white adhesive drying poorly and leaving behind tacky residue, but this stuff works like a dream. It dries completely clear, it isn't overly tacky and so far it's held the lashes on extremely well. It works great and, at the price, it's a steal! I'll definitely be purchasing again.

Here's a quick before picture to show what my lashes look with mascara only:

As you can see, they're pretty long/thick as it is. However, falsies give that added fullness for a dolly look that no mascara can match. I've learned that the hard way. Here's what my lashes looked like after, with falsies, eyeliner and mascara from the same day as the above photo:

 UGH, the one closed-eye shot I got and the tip of one of the lashes wasn't glued. Oh well! That was my problem, not applying glue to that one edge and had nothing to do with the lashes. It was an easy fix. : )

I really like the effect the lashes give to the overall look. They're very subtle but definitely give the eyes some added "oomph". Even my fiancee, who is very skeptical of all my girly makeup and beauty regimens, noticed the difference. "Wait, are you wearing those lashes? Wow, they actually look really natural!

As she pointed out, the lashes are as long as my natural ones already, so if you have shorter lashes, you'll notice a difference in length but for us long lashed gals, not so much. They are quite a boost in volume, though! The curl is nice, too. I didn't even have to use a curler on them to get them to follow the shape of my natural lashes.

For $1.77, no complaints here! I definitely want to try out some more styles and maybe branch out into a few drugstore brands. I've heard good things about ModLash, Ardell and Dolly Wink, though I believe those are a good deal more expensive. Who knows, with such positive results, maybe I'll be adventurous!

Have you purchased false lashes from eBay or another online seller? Any positive (or negative) experiences or recommendations? Let me know in the comments!