Wednesday, July 31, 2013

BEAUTY: BH Cosmetics Gel Eyeliner Review

I consider a cat eye look to be one of my closest friends (no offense to my human-type friends) and we generally get together every day. Usually it's a good time - a quick swoop across each lid and I'm good to go. I stick with liquid eyeliner 99% of the time because it's what works best for me (and because I'm fiercely loyal, but we can talk about my delightful qualities another time), but I was getting sick of trying new subpar products. 

I had a great run with an eyeliner pen, but when it stopped working out I went on a journey to a land I'd only read about: gel eyeliners. A sort-of-sister to liquid liner, gel is thicker and more pliable, but I'd never tried it myself due to a lack of good drugstore options. BH Cosmetics is an online brand selling eyeshadow palettes, loose glitter and tools among other things, and I found some favorable reviews of their gel eyeliner so I thought I'd give it a whirl. Here are my thoughts:


BH Cosmetics Gel Eyeliner
I bought the BH Cosmetics gel eyeliner in Atlantic (blue) and Onyx (black). These were on sale for $3.50 each (and currently are again - or maybe they are always "on sale?").

BH Cosmetics Gel Eyeliner in Onyx (left) and Atlantic (right)
My initial thoughts were that the blue was GORGEOUS and that both gel liners were super pigmented. Off to a great start! The product was really soft and easy to play with, which made application a breeze. I was shocked how easily these both applied. I've been using eyeliner for more than half my life, and I think these were the easiest liners I've ever applied, including liquid pens.

I used this angled eyeliner brush from ELF. Whoever invented this type of brush is a genius and deserves the many riches I am sure have been bestowed upon them. I can't believe I waited so long to use this brush! All this time I've been letting my own wrist do the bending like a fool.


Clearly I could not wait to touch this before snapping a photo. Don't steal my finger print, please
The gel liner in Atlantic is a great unusual shade of blue - not quite light or dark and really pops on your eyes. This one was completely opaque in one coat. It felt like I was painting, but somehow even easier. No snagging or smudging here. It was easy to build line thickness where I wanted it and even out any areas that needed it. The cat eye flick/wing was also simple due to the soft formula and controllable brush. It would also work well with a slanted eyeliner brush, but I am definitely partial to the bent brush.





Onyx was a bit of a different story because I found it to wear off really quickly after application. Like the blue, it was opaque and went on very smoothly, but within an hour I'd find tiny black smudges on my face and hands. The blue shade did not move AT ALL, so I was confused by the messiness of the onyx shade. Bummer too, since this was going to be my every day liner.
Just not quite crisp enough for my liking!
It didn't completely run off my eyes, but its general smudging made it too high maintenance for me. I tried it on several occasions and always got the same results. I'm trying to find another use for it so if I ever take up professional football (who knows?) I will smudge it under my eyes.

They offer so many colors at such a good price that I'm willing to gamble again on other fun shades, like Fresh (a pearly mint green) or Lilly (a shimmery purple) in the future. Now that I know I'm into gel eyeliner I'm willing to try some new brands, too.

Have you ever tried BH Cosmetics? Are you a gel eyeliner devotee or just gel curious? What is the best black eyeliner out there for upper lids?


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Monday, July 22, 2013

STYLE: Swimsuits & Beach Accessories

I've got swimming on the brain because, as you read this, I'm probably lazing away in a delightful New Hampshire lake. I say probably because I might also be lounging beside it, playing board games right near it or some other super lazy bones situation, depending on the exact time of day. 

My new bathing suit is a retro-style red halter top with a cute little skirt. It is literally the exact same bathing suit I've had for years, except just in red rather than my previous aqua. That is SO not my style - I like to switch it up and try new things with clothes, but when you find a bathing suit that works it's hard to swim walk away. I half spared you from that terrible pun, so you're half welcome.

Having a brand new swimsuit doesn't stop me from peeking around at these other awesome numbers. Nothing will ever quench my shopping thirst - NOTHING. Enjoy the fruits of my obsessive labor!


RED HOT
In honor of my new red swimsuit, I'm bringing you some red hot looks that offer a little something extra. I love how the polka dot swim dress and the heart print peplum suit are all cutesy and innocent, but the cool mod look of the belted suit is all power. Red is versatile!

POLKA DOTS
Duh, there was obviously going to be a polka dot section. Polka dots add a retro flair to any bathing suit, not that this black Esther Williams suit needed the help. The white suit has great retro elements - length, ruching, neckline - but the pop of turquoise gives it a cool modern twist. This blue number flips the swimwear script with a full black bow over the chest. I know I would never stop tying and untying that thing. Bonus entertainment!

RUFFLES
Ruffles are a swimsuit feature that I'm always drawn to, but that I generally avoid for myself. I always hear they "enhance your bust line" or something similar via ridiculous magazine-speak articles, and I am generally trying to do the exact opposite. I love the girly nature of ruffles, especially around the waist like on this purple bikini. The yellow suit will make you look and feel like a human pinata, which I am suddenly very into. This navy suit is like an evening gown for the water! She even rocks it with an armful of bangles. BRAVO!

NAVY STRIPES
Navy stripes are very nautical so they tend to pop up a lot in swimwear, which is fine with me. I love a good bold stripe and these suits show how you can wear it in very different styles. The bikini has great feminine accents and a high waist for a pin up look, while the skirted suit is almost dress-like and the peplum one-piece is all modern and architectural.

FLORAL
Floral swimwear will always be classic, but it definitely doesn't have to be boring. This bright bikini has a 60s watercolor feel and the daisy-print one piece is also very retro, while the yellow suit offers a more modern take on florals with a uniquely shaped top to boot.

UNEXPECTED PRINTS
You'll always keep 'em guessing in unexpected prints like these. Trust me, they will never see these coming! With most things, I often think "the weirder the better" and these suits sure do fall in line with that. This sloth just wants to hang at the beach with you and your pals - are you gonna be the one to tell him no? DIDN'T THINK SO. Shine like King Tut in a metallic gold number to let everyone know that you are beach royalty. Or you know what? Just slap some unicorns on your crotch and nips and call it a day.

FUN BEACH TOWELS
Even though I usually only buy them once per decade, I'm always eyeing cute beach towels. Usually that means fun fish prints or whatever, but these vintage-inspired girly towels are something totally new. Flash some pin-up lady love at the beach while showing off your own swimsuited glory!

COOL POOL FLOATS
The pool float industry has really stepped up its game lately! It used to be that if you wanted to get wild you'd opt for that giant alligator float that pretty much everybody else had too. Now you can fold up in a pretzel and pop into a donut hole to catch your rays. This floating table is giving me all kinds of ideas - there's even a cooler in the middle. With my love of card games and my juvenile refusal to EVER get out of the water, this might be the float of my dreams!

What do you wear in the water? Are retro suits your kryptonite or are you more of a modern gal? Would you like to pull up a seat at my floating table?

p.s. Don't miss my DIY Beach Coverup from a T-Shirt tutorial from last summer - it is SUPER easy and people get all impressed with you anyway!



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Monday, July 15, 2013

DIY: Beach Wave Spray


I consider it nothing short of a TRAGEDY that I was born without a head full of natural curls. Come on, I'd even settle for waves! My mother and grandmother were blessed with major curls (not sure they saw it as a blessing though...) and I was always waiting for my hair to get curly. I thought if I waited long enough and maybe slept in sponge curlers often enough, then my hair would just magically become curly. I was kind of out of touch with reality for a long time. Still waiting to find some kind of magic amulet which turns me into a teen witch, Universe!

I know curly hair can be a lot of maintenance and, truth be told, I probably couldn't handle it. Everyone who wakes up early to blow dry, straighten or otherwise wrangle their hair has my respect. I know if I actually had hair that required any effort I would probably wear it up in a messy bun even more frequently than I normally do, assuming that was physically possible. I'll stick to envying you curly ladies from afar. 

Since it's summer, I've been doing some research on beach hair sprays to get a little effortless texture. I've tried some store bought kinds in the past (all borrowed from friends so I'm not sure which ones) and it seems everyone on the internet agrees that it is ALL about Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray, which is cool and all, but I'm ALL about keeping my $25 so when I found this recipe, I decided to try my hand at some DIY Beach Wave Spray.


WHAT YOU NEED
Sea Salt  //  Leave-In Conditioner  //  Spray Bottle  //  Coconut Oil  //  Water-Based Pomade  //  Water  //  Mixing Bowl

HOW TO MAKE IT
I made a small batch to test this out, so you can use my measurements or double/triple/whatever them to make more.

First, pour 1/4 cup of water into a mixing bowl. Add 1/4 tsp of sea salt to the water.

Next, add 1/2 TBS leave-in conditioner.

Then add 1/4 tsp coconut oil.

Add a small blob of pomade and mix all ingredients.

Add the mixture into your spray bottle via a funnel (or not if you're a risk taker...also know that I like your style). Shake the closed bottle to mix.


HOW TO USE IT
For reference, here is my super straight hair before I got going.
Disgusted at my lack of natural curls or waves. Simply ridiculous.
You want to apply this to damp hair. I sprayed mine with water, but if you're the type who regularly washes your hair, feel free to do this fresh from the shower, show-off.

When hair is damp, spray the Beach Wave Spray all over like a madwoman.

When your hair feels sufficiently covered, start scrunching it all over to encourage waves. This should feel very familiar if you attended middle/high school in the late 90s-early 2000s and favored the "wet look" created with crunchy gel. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone.

Here's where I got distracted by the fact that my lipstick perfectly matched the nozzle (what a great word) of my spray bottle. EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON!

Here is my hair right after I scrunched my little heart out. It was halfway dry and had some texture and waves all over. Plus a bit o' frizz, but even that is vaguely exciting for a pin-straight-haired lady.

Instead of letting it roam free, I decided to go with the beachy, hippie-esque vibes by adding some braids and a daisy hair clip. This allows for the messiness to look intentional, which is essential to the beach wave look, and also a great way to be kinda lazy about it.

A closeup of the braids. Basically, I just made a tiny braid right above each ear, draped them over my forehead and bobby pinned them on the opposite side, under the rest of my hair. Kind of like mini milkmaid braids, which are THE BEST.

To save your precious fingers from scrolling back up, here's a very scientific before and after comparison.

BONUS! I slept with my hair in a big messy bun (because that is how I always sleep) and the next day I had some curls which had been held together by the Beach Wave Spray! This means two days of hair looks for one day of effort, which is always a win in my book. Unless, of course, you're one of those show-off daily hair washers I mentioned earlier, in which case you don't get this benefit. I think that's fair.
I constantly have a fake flower in my hair. SO WHAT?! You can see me make this one here.
SHORTCUT: Skip all of these steps and just go to the beach, dip your hair in the ocean and sit in the sun like a total champ. Best hair ever and zero dollars. This is my usual approach.

Do you use any beach wave sprays? Do you prefer texture or straight hair on yourself? Are you one of those awesome people who have a giant head of curls that are basically an extra accessory, like Felicity (or another more current example for the young folks)?

xoxo,
Michelle

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

STYLE: Food Print Clothing

Have you noticed that it's basically impossible to enter a real or online store lately without being bombarded with clothing covered in miniature food items? I've seen this trend more online, but in those rare times when I've been foolish enough to leave the safety of my couch to enter The Real World I've seen racks and racks of cutesy cupcake print dresses and watermelon shirts. Some clothes take it even further and offer photo print graphics that completely encompass the garment so you can commit fully to becoming the hamburger, instead of just letting the world think you merely love hamburgers. Or you can just get a polo with a tiny stitched strawberry on the chest or whatever. There's something for everyone.
BECOME THE BURGER! 
Pizza T-Shirt  //  Burger Sweatshirt  //  Gummy Worms T-Shirt
It might sound like I'm mocking this whole food friendly clothing thing, but with my well documented love of color, print, kitsch and weird stuff in general, I'm actually super on board with the food invasion currently infiltrating our malls. 

I haven't seen many people actually wearing this stuff, though. I would wear it because it seems like something my kindergarten self would have worn, so I'm automatically into it. Don't like the idea of dressing like a kindergartner? Think about it - five-year-old you was free of judgement and gravitated toward what you liked just because you liked it. As adults, a lot of people worry about clothes looking cool or flattering or eliciting some kind of response from other people. Five-year-old you didn't care! Five-year-old you would have worn the pizza shirt. Five-year-old you probably even peed your pants once or twice, and what, may I ask, is more freeing than that? Dressing like a child is freeing, but, more than that it's fun. Just get on board already!
Gummy Bear Leggings  //  Candy Leggings  //  Popcorn Leggings



Kale T-Shirt  //  Apple T-Shirt  //  Pickle T-Shirt

Candy Shop T-Shirt  //  Pancake Sweatshirt  //  Donut Stack T-Shirt


Bow Tie Ice Cream T-Shirt  //  Nacho Shirt  //  Cartoon Junk Food T-Shirt

Junk Food Tank Top  //  Milkshake Shorts  //  Burgers & Hot Dog Smiley Tank Top

Ice Cream Dress  //  Watermelon Dress  //  Fruit Dress
These ones have small prints that are so cute close up:
Andy Warhol Campbell Soup Jeans  //  Candy Jar Dress 

So, would you wear clothes with food or candy on them? Is it really better to leave your kindergarten self in kindergarten? Who's buying me that pickle t-shirt?

xoxo,
Michelle


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