The problem with product hype in the beauty blogosphere

I couldn't tell you how many beauty products I've purchased solely because a beauty blogger I love raved about it. Including this little fella.

Aren't I just so cute? Don't you want to squeeze me?

Ohhhh yeaaaah buddy, the beautyblender. I haven't had a chance to play with it yet, but if you've watched any beauty blogs, you've seen it. You've heard about it. You've lusted after it and not been sure why.

The Naked 2 palette. The Lorac Pro palette. The Revlon Lip Butters. The Clarisonic Mia brush. These are just a couple of items that I've bought after hearing about them on YouTube or a blog. 

I think that discovering new products through bloggers and word of mouth is great. I've loved the great majority of the products I've bought because of recommendations, even the ones I know are mad overpriced. I drank the Kool-Aid, and I asked for another round, baby. And keep 'em coming.

There are lots of videos on YouTube about products that are and aren't worth the hype, and I believe those are worth checking out before you make a major purchase. 

But aside from spending too much money and the potential disappointment in a product made to sound like the second coming of Elvis gliding down to Earth in a flying red Porsche with a giant plate of tiramisu, there's another downside to overhyped products:

Everyone ends up wearing the same STUFF!

I find myself flipping through makeup ads, magazines and websites desperate to find something new and innovative from a brand I've never heard of. It's hard. It's also hard to not feel like a total jackass for wanting that, because it starts to sound like those jerks who say a band was so much better before it went mainstream. But you know, I crave variety! I want to fall in love with an esoteric brand and share it with you, so that you're not scared to venture away from the Revlons and the Urban Decays and the NARS. I don't want to be in a makeup rut and just write and do videos about products that have been talked about to DEATH.

Dear reader, if there's a brand you're curious about that you'd like me to look into, or if you have a super-secret holy grail product you swear by, let me know. Leave a comment or shoot me an email about what I should test and review. I'd love to hear your suggestions!


The Great Underwear Debacle of Move 2010

If you believe my homegirl Jenna Marbles, (and I always do) the type of underwear that you have on will greatly affect your day. Which explains why the move from Orlando to Santa Fe was so dreadful.

You see, I can be a bit of an idiot sometimes. Specifically, the time that I forgot to pack any underwear before our moving truck got loaded up, and of course the dresser that contained my underwear went into the truck first, so it was waaaay in the back and inaccessible. Which is how I found myself at Wal-Mart at about 1 a.m. the night (morning) before the move, purchasing a pack of patterned, no-ride granny panties.

With any luck, I won't be totally out of my mind this time around and will remember to pack a bag with clothes that I'll need for the three-day drive to Pittsburgh.

Anyway, moving sucks. I'm happy that I am moving, but the process of packing is horrifying. Especially when you are dealing with the aftereffects of your incompatibility with Benadryl, as I was when I filmed the video below. It's about handbags. I have a lot of them. They are all, with a few egregious exceptions, gorgeous and dear to my heart.

Please subscribe to my channel, and thanks for watching! What's the first thing you do to prepare for a move? Any horror stories you've learned from?


FOTD: Mug like an Egyptian

Today, I wore just the gold eyeshadow from the Lorac Pro palette and did a kitten flick with the Revlon Colorstay felt tip liner. As you can see from the pic where I look down, the liner isn't perfect, but it passes any casual appraisal! On my lips I'm wearing MAC Plumful.

The shadow was applied first all over the lid with a wet shader brush, over eyelid primer. Then I went over with another layer like that before topping it off with a layer applied with a dry MAC 217. Maximum intensity and lasting power.


Adored items, giveaway and BIG BIG NEWS!

Hey guys! I did a little favorites video, and let me tell you something — it was hard to narrow it down. I left out a lot of products and some non-beauty favorites that would have just made the video far too long.

I'm also going to be giving away a Real Techniques Travel Essentials brush set, which brings a case/stand, foundation brush, eyeshadow brush and multitask powder/blush brush. I adore Real Techniques brushes. They are so reasonably priced and you can use one brush for a lot of different things (for instance, I use my buffing brush from the Core Set for powder, blush and even liquid foundation). And they are gloriously soft.

Oh, and before I forget... I am moving to PITTSBURGH! I foresee a "Get Ready With Me: Steelers Game Edition" video in my future!

So watch the video, please subscribe to enter the giveaway, and have an awesome day!

Products mentioned:

NYX Rouge Cream Blush in Hot Pink

Real Techniques Stippling Brush

Physicians Formula Mineral Glow Pearls in Beige Pearl

Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Coral Reef

Mary Kay Lip Lacquer in Pink Pagoda

Carol's Daughter Vanilla Petals Body Cream (can't track this one down anywhere but Amazon, but this set is the same scent line)

Lorac Pro Palette

Crocs sandals

Katy Perry Eylure Color Pop Lashes in Ka-Pow (purple)

OPI Liquid Sand in Pussy Galore is available by itself at Ulta stores or in this mini set

Real Techniques Travel Essentials set (subscribe for a chance to win!)

Wanna be a Bond girl

Among other, more noble aspirations, one of my goals in life is to look like a Bond girl.

Yesterday, I bought one of the new OPI Liquid Sand shades from the Bond girl collection, in the shade Pussy Galore. It's unlike anything I've ever worn, and it's hard to capture it with my little iPhone. The gritty, matte texture is growing on me, and it's an interesting juxtaposition with the delicate color. I would still like to slap some topcoat on it in a few days, since I saw some glorious swatches of the polishes worn that way.

Love how the lashes look in the light

I emptied out six MAC containers and headed over to Dillard's yesterday to trade them in for a free lipstick. This one is Plumful, a smooth purpley pink that feels nice on the lips and can be worn sheer and subtle or layered on thick for a vampy look, which isn't as intense as a deep wine red or brown lipstick.

I also got these fabulous black and purple Katy Perry Color Pop Lashes, which I wore in my Adored Items video (post to come very shortly). Here's a screenshot of the look, and you can watch the video here. I'm going to be giving away a Real Techniques Travel Essentials brush set, so please watch the video, comment on it and subscribe to enter!

Wearing MAC's Plumful and my purple lashes


Tweaking my skincare

For the most part, I have nice skin. I'd say I'm combination/oily in humid climates and more normal/combination in the desert. I've never really had more than a few breakouts, but occasionally I'll struggle with a horrific zit or two, and I do have some little hyperpigmentation spots that seem to never go away.

Because my skin seems to change a lot, I'm always tweaking the products I use to address what I need at that moment. I try to never change everything all at once, preferring to stick to a few products that I know I love and then adding in some new stuff.

Three products that have been consistently in my routine for some time are the Neutrogena pink grapefruit acne cleanser, Simple moisturizer and my Clarisonic Mia brush.

As with many things I buy that cost too much money, I blame the bloggers. Every YouTuber and her mother swears by the Clarisonic. I found the concept of a $100+ face brush ridiculous, and tried cheaper brushes like the Olay one. Well, eventually the devil on my shoulder persuaded me to get a Clarisonic. And I have been drinking the Kool-Aid, y'all. That thing has changed my life. My skin is dependent on it. If I don't use it for a day or two, I break out. The texture is just not as nice. I don't feel like my face is clean without it.

In fact, I got a cystic pimple so bad that I had to take antibiotics for it about six months ago, and now I'm taking more antibiotics because it's STILL unresolved. And I only got it because I was slacking on the Clarisonic.

That being said, since it's still cold out, my skin has felt dehydrated and taut, and using the brush twice a day feels like overkill. So what I'm trying now is just using the No7 Cleansing Water in the morning or washing with my Neutrogena but without the brush, and then at night bringing in the Clarisonic to really scrub all that makeup off. I might switch brush heads from the acne one back down to the sensitive-skin version.

I hadn't heard of a cleansing water until this week, so I'll have to report back how I get on with it. I'm also trying another Boots for Target product, the Expert Anti-Blemish Serum. I love using serums under my moisturizer. They really seal in moisture and make it so my face lotion doesn't just get sucked right up by my thirsty skin. I also like the Lumene Arctic Aqua moisture booster, Burt's Bees Radiance Serum, and the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum. But I'm taking the Boots one for a spin, since it's readily available at Target and inexpensive.

And the last change I've made recently is using a benzoyl peroxide spot treatment instead of salicylic acid, which I think I've developed a tolerance to. I like facial masks, and I think taking a cotton ball soaked in apple cider vinegar and pressing it on a pimple helps dry it out faster.

DIY blueberry face mask

Remember when I wrote a post about how I ended up looking like this?

Well, here's how that happened. Enjoy!


FOTD: Pinup girl next door

I love winged eyeliner, or as it's adorably called elsewhere in the world, the "kitten flick." I think it's glamorous, universally flattering and much cleaner and prettier than top and bottom raccoon liner.

Because my eyelids are somewhat hooded, it's a bit trickier for me to get the flick right, and like most people, I can never get them exactly identical on both sides. But I forge ahead! Here I'm using Revlon Colorstay felt tip liner. I have Maybelline's Tough As Taupe Color Tattoo all over my lids, and on my lips I have my NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Luxembourg.

I also painted my nails today with Essie Pretty Edgy. Essie polishes make me feel conflicted. The colors are gorgeous, but they're pricier than I'd like, considering the formula is streaky as hell and the wear isn't that long. However, I adore their Good To Go topcoat, which significantly speeds drying time.


You've got something on your face

In the last few weeks, I've been bewitched by a British-by-way-of-Canada beauty vlogger called Essiebutton. She is my spirit twin. I talk about her so much that it's past the point of ridiculous. ANYWAY, I saw a post on her site about Catastrophe Cosmetic, a blueberry mask from Lush. Because it's made with fresh ingredients, you can't order it online, and the closest Lush to where I live is an hour away. Ain't nobody got time for that!

So I decided to whip up a version of my own. I filmed this for a video, and I'll obviously post that here once it's up. For now, I leave you with a sexay preview.


Yes, but where was Finnick?!

Switching gears from Doctor Who to another fandom of which I'm a rabid, erm, fan, let's talk about the Catching Fire trailer. It was 2 minutes and 26 seconds of pure glory. The fact that they managed to have such an exciting, poignant, intriguing trailer while preserving the secret of the gigantic plot twist that happens early on in the book bodes very well for this sequel.

I wrote a guest post over on Victor's Village ages ago about my massive disappointment about the costume design for The Hunger Games. And based on just this short teaser, I will be eating crow this time around. I'm so excited for this movie, which takes a distinctly darker turn from the first book in the trilogy — yes, it gets darker than kids killing kids, for you snobs/lazies holding out and not reading the series.

So, in honor of the trailer, I decided to create a toned-down version of the red eyeshadow look Katniss was rocking in a few moments in the trailer. My chatty tutorial follows. Enjoy!

Update: Here are the products I used!

Stila In The Know palette

NYX eyeshadow in Rust

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Inked in Pink and Gold Rush

MAC Prep + Prime for lashes

Benefit They're Real! mascara

Urban Decay Wallflower lipgloss (mine was the mini that came from the Feminine Palette)


I'm seriously just trying to distract myself from impatiently waiting for the Catching Fire trailer

I filmed this a while back and decided, hey, dummy, maybe post that "What's In My Bag?" video? So here you go. Hope you enjoy!

I've been working on a Day of the Dead sugar skull look (I don't care that Day of the Dead is months and months from now, I just really want to do one), and I want to do a faves video and something really fun and DIY that I'm obsessed with getting done. One of those videos will announce a giveaway. I'm just so excited about all of them that I don't know which one to film first!


OOTD: A Pop of Color, A Lot of Leg

My last outfit of the day:

NARS Satin Lip Pencils swatches and first impressions

Today I stopped by my neighborhood Cos Bar, where the lovely ladies there were saving me the new NARS Satin Lip Pencil that I'd been coveting in the shade Luxembourg. But while I was there, I also tried a few other shades of the lippy, and I liked pretty much all of them. There are nudes and brights that will flatter every skintone or makeup persuasion, and you can purchase them here.

These are much more slippery and smooth than other lip pencils I've tried, like the Revlon Just Bitten balm stains, and I like the consistency way more than the Urban Decay Super Saturated pencils, which can feel heavy and greasy. So without further delay, here are some lip swatches.

Palais Royal
This one made me feel like a Hollywood-noir vamp. I can't tell you how pretty this is, and I shy away from any type of dark lipstick because I just feel weird in them. If I were going to pick up another one of these babies — and I just might — it will be Palais Royal. It made me feel like a fancy lady. Or a Bond girl.

This is a great, everyday pink. It's delicate but just enough color to make you look a bit more put-together. I'm sure this one will be popular because of how wearable it is. However, when I splurge, I tend to go for more high-impact shades. Don't I just look like an innocent little cherub? Actually, this might be a worthy investment just so I could fool people into thinking that...

I think the shade Lodhi will look great on some people, but not on me. I am so envious of women who can pull off orangey shades.

And finally, my baby love, Luxembourg. It is so purdy. Just the right mix of pink and red that fades into a lovely stain. This is a shade that I would seriously wear every day because it's so flattering and it adapts to what you're wearing —the pink makes it casual, the red makes it formal. I love love love it. I haven't had a proper test of wear time, and honestly, I'm always eating and drinking coffee, so stuff doesn't wear very long on me at all. But I can say that just on Day 1, the lip pencil does not look scummy and liney and bleedy as it wears away, the way a lot of other lip products do.



So these are Crocs.

I tried these on after having sworn I'd never wear Crocs. But these are gorgeous and so comfortable. It's like a constant foot massage. It's like walking on a rainbow. It's like the first time you hear The Beatles.

Sorry I'm not sorry.


Hot pink blush, dark gray brows? When weird makeup looks incredibly good

A quick preview of more extensive posts/videos to come. On my last trip to Ulta, I picked up two NYX products that might change my life -- a cream blusher in hot pink and an eyebrow pencil in dark gray.

After dyeing my hair black, the conventional wisdom of picking a dark brown brow color just looked off. And black, of course, looked too severe. In comes my dark gray auto eyebrow pencil. The result was so natural -- my brows have never looked neater or better.

And it turns out hot pink blush doesn't make it look like I'm heading to a rave. When it's free of shimmer and super blended, it gives a great, natural glow.

Stayed tuned here and over on my YouTube channel for a favorites of the moment roundup (beauty and otherwise) and my experiments in homemade face masks.


OOTD: Sexy knitted miniskirt and Prabal Gurung stilettos

Hey guys! Head on over to ye olde YouTube channel to check out my outfit of the day post, featuring a Chelsea & Violet skirt. I discovered the brand at Dillard's on my weekend, and I fell madly, irrevocably in love. The line is affordable and it's very Missoni meets Nasty Gal meets Sienna Miller. Love love love.

Also, keep your eyes on my channel, because I have a giveaway announcement coming up! Make sure to subscribe to my channel, because you've got to be in it to win it!


FOTD: Mary Kay Pink and Cardinal Red

I had a lovely time today with Diane, a Mary Kay consultant I met in the Urban Decay aisle at Ulta. I got some gorgeous blush and lipgloss, plus some samples I will report back on soon.

I'm currently coveting an Illamasqua cream blusher in the shade Laid, and might get it with my Chic Week discount at Sephora.

And at this moment, the Cardinals are playing Wichita State in the Final Four. The mister handed me one of his caps before I headed into the office. Here's hoping my hat head will prove a lucky charm!


Update: Never underestimate the power of a hat strategically turned around whenever your opponent is up.


FOTD: Fun With the Lorac Pro Palette

This is premature, but the Lorac Pro Palette might be my holy grail makeup product. I have yet to try every single shade, but from the ones I have experimented with, I get the impression that, if I took everything I love about Naked 2 and Naked Basics, tweaked the shades to make them a little bit more suited to my tastes and then put them in one palette, this would be the result.

I'll have a full review at some point.

The shades are velvety, intense and just straight up pretty. I used a mix of the matte and shimmery shades, and experimented with the reddish shade, Garnet, as a liner on my upper lash line. These shadows are the mad note when used wet. It's like second skin.

I also dyed my hair yesterday. I am going gray at 24, which is a SCANDAL, but I usually don't do anything about the grays except yank them out. But my hair was looking so overall dull yesterday that I ran out and bought a box of Natural Instincts and some deep conditioner. I think it looks great.

I've also been playing with Revlon Nearly Naked foundation. It's OK, and maybe I'll like it more when my skin is a little better. But I still love my Revlon Colorstay to death, and when applied with a damp sponge, it looks very fresh. Oh, and my gloss here is a Revlon one in the shade Coral Reef. Definitely my favorite drugstore brand.

I'm off to have margaritas with my buddy. Hope everyone is having an awesome weekend!

The MOVIES Tag! In Which I Piss Off All My Friends Who Love Zooey Deschanel and Anchorman

I did another tag video after having a lot of fun with the I Heart Spring Tag (which you can check out over hurr). This one is all about movies — the ones you love, the ones you hate, the ones that haunt your dreams and the ones that should have never, ever been made. Hope you enjoy it!

Doctor Who Companion Series: A Rose By Any Other Name

I am a recent Whovian convert. Little Brother was visiting a while back and was hell-bent on getting us into Doctor Who, and wouldn't you know it, the cheeky bugger succeeded.

A primer: Doctor Who is a long-running British sci-fi series, brought back in 2005 after a long hiatus (Classic Who ended in 1989, with the exception of a 1996 TV movie). I watch New Who, and have only seen one storyline of the classic series so far on Netflix.

Now here is where the show is going to start sounding very stupid. Doctor Who is about a man called The Doctor, a time-traveling alien with two hearts who regenerates into a totally new physical being whenever he is mortally wounded and who travels through time and space in a phone box that's bigger on the inside. Still with me? When the series picks up in 2005, the doctor is in his ninth incarnation, played by Christopher Eccleston, and he saves and befriends a 19-year-old London girl from the projects — Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper.

She's a bad, bad wolf. Source

Rose is my favorite companion in the series. Her very obvious love for the Ninth and later Tenth doctor is beautiful to watch. She's kind, funny, tough, and even though she's got that whole "stand by your man" thing going on, she never loses herself for the Doctor. She's not afraid to put her centuries-old love on notice if he, say, is willing to allow disembodied alien creatures from taking over human corpses. Without giving anything away, Rose is the woman who steals the Doctor's heart(s), and I don't think he ever gets them back.

One thing I love about this character's look is that she's obviously wearing makeup. The other companions have that look that's supposed to pass off as "no makeup," but when Rose cries, there are just puddles of mascara going down and smearing her obviously rouged cheeks. She's a teenager! Can't you just picture a teenager, when presented with the opportunity to visit all of time and space, saying, "Hold on a minute, Doctor, I've got to finish putting on my powder"?

So for my Rose-inspired look, I went with a strong brow, a bronzed, shimmery eye and a near-matte peach lip. I was going for her look in the Series 1 two-parter, "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances." I backcombed and pinned back a section of my hair, and worked styling wax through the rest of it for a messy, beachy look (you could probably get good results with Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray — I haven't tried it because I don't think it would work with my texture, but you never know). And of course, you need pounds of liner and gobs of mascara.

Products mentioned:

Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation

Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation

Physicians Formula Concealer Twins

Benefit Hello Flawless Powder Foundation

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

MAC 187 stippling brush

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette

MAC 217 brush

Stila In The Know Palette

NARS Blush in Deep Throat

NARS Laguna Illuminator

Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso

Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Powder (translucent, with shimmer) and 100% Natural Origin Bronzer (tinted, without shimmer) are good products to fake a glow for half the price of the NARS Illuminator

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette

MAC Prep + Prime for lashes

Benefit They're Real Mascara

MAC Cremesheen in Ravishing

Beyond The Zone Stiff Head


Can I print myself a new flat-screen TV? 3D printing and its possibilities will blow your mind

An avant garde, perfectly curve-hugging dress worn by burlesque performer Dita Von Teese. Weapons. A working centrifugal compressor. Sculptures, iPhone cases, guitars.

All of these can be created through 3D printing.

Oh, this old thing? Source

3D printing has apparently been around a long time, but it's becoming more well-known now and will likely be available on the consumer level soon. In oversimplified terms, because that's how I understand it: A digital model becomes a tangible object by "printing" layers on top of layers in any material you can think of, from plastic to metal.

I remember reading on Brit + Co about a concept for "printing" clothing, and then depositing the item back into the machine so it can be broken back up into thread that can be reused. Imagine never wearing the same item twice, being able to completely and easily create a custom wardrobe and save money and resources by reusing materials in the process.

If some guy can make a working firearm with a 3D printer, how far off can an at-home instant seamstress be?

What would you do with this technology? I could see myself printing up elaborate floral vases, protective covers for my phone, wild, colorful costume jewelry. I could print myself new frames for my reading glasses. And my lack of a dining room table wouldn't be an issue if I found myself with sudden dinner guests. Plus, there'd be no more late-night trips to Walmart (a store that creeps me out immensely, especially after-hours) to pick up whatever it is one picks up at Walmart at 2 a.m.

Mashable has some good straightforward information on the topic. And any search for YouTube videos about 3D printing will lead to hours of your life gone. It's fascinating.