Change is Good

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After blogging for over two years, my sister and I have decided to make some changes.  As our blog and readership has grown, Pretty Squared has been officially updated. The blog is now hosted on WordPress and that can only mean good things – improved user experience, more freedom in exhibiting content, and overall better functionality.

With help from several sources, we were able to redesign Pretty Squared and transition all of our previous posts and information (countless hours and weekends were spent learning HTML, so we apologize in advance for the ‘ahem’ limited schedule of posts). As with every new start (in this case, re-start), the site will be experiencing some quirks and changes – we are very close to the final product but if you come across issues like broken links, fuzzy images, hieroglyphs and what not, please feel free to let us know via any of our social media.  We are still working on fixing the commenting system (get it together, Disqus!) so fingers crossed that the issue is resolved quickly.

We are always grateful for all of our readers’ and followers’ support and are excited for what’s next for Pretty Squared.  We continue to learn and progress and embrace change.

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie and Miranda M.

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Birchbox for CEW Limited Edition Box Review

If you don’t like the commitment of a beauty subscription box but you still want the beauty samples experience, then consider purchasing the Birchbox for CEW Limited Edition boxes.

The Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) organization hosts the annual Beauty Choice Awards where new makeup releases and innovate beauty products are recognized (similar to the Oscars for beauty but without the all the boring Oscar stuff).  Both of the CEW Limited Edition boxes feature award-winning brands that were “finalists” in the CEW Beauty Choice Awards.

Birchbox for CEW Prestige Headliners box (priced at $18) features high end, luxury brands – the Prestige Headliners box contains  Fekkai Brillian Glossing Creme, Josie Maran Cosmetics 100% Pure Argan Oil, Pure Creamy Nail Polish, Philosophy Miracle Worker Overnight, Coola Repair After-Sun Lotion and two lifestyle extras (pocket mirror and pedicure separators).

Value wise, the Prestige Headliners Limited Edition Box a wonderful pick – I’ve previously purchased mini sizes of the Josie Maran Argan Oil  and Philosophy Miracle Worker at Sephora, and I can tell you I paid way more than $18 (I recall paying approximately $35 but I try to block that stuff out when I’m in Sephora). I am not sure if the Pure Nail Polish and Coola qualify as prestige brands but the box overall is a great curation of beauty products.

Birchbox for CEW Mass Appeal box (priced at $15) features popular drugstore products – the Mass Appeal box contains Dove Restore Body Wash, Simple Light Moisturizer, L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Butterfly Mascara, Vaseline Rosy Lips, Burt’s Bees Lip Gloss, and Tresemme Kerating Serum (as in, heck yeah, I’m buying this box!).

Let’s hold a moment of silence here for the ever-increasing prices at the drugstore – for $15, you’re lucky to get a mascara or two lipsticks (I said “or” because almost every worth-purchasing drugstore item is priced over eight dollars).  I recommend the Mass Appeal Limited Edition Box because all the products are simply on point!

If you purchase both of the boxes, Birchbox provides a $5 discount and you only pay $28- so, yes, I apologize in advance to your wallet, but I’m an attorney who just did math and that means I’m serious about my advice.

If you also wish to subscribe to Birchbox, feel free to sing up or learn more via my referral link here.

Stay Pretty, Miranda M.
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Color Club Poptastic Neon Collection Swatches and Review

I wanted to share with you the neon Poptastic Collection (c/o) recently released by Color Club for summer 2014 (and really, for anytime you want a bright pop of color on your nails).  I’ve been noticing the prevalence of the Color Club brand in my local nail salons, and I am excited for all the bright fluorescent colors in our nail art futures.  Color Club is one company that does neons very well, and this collection lived up to its Poptastic name.
The Color Club Poptastic Collection (retails for $8 per polish) covers an entire rainbow of neons, from bright yellow to a cool blue, with a great formula.  Poptastic polishes swatch opaque (except  Bell Bottom Babe, I’m looking at you!) without any kind of base, and you know that is rare when it comes to neon colors! And because of that, some of the polishes tend to have a thicker formula, such as the yellow color in the collection Not so Mellow Yellow. All of these polishes have a slight shimmer, and while the formula dries demi-matte, the shimmer definitely creates a beautiful depth and dimension (one of my pet peeves is when neon colors dry all chalky).  I recommend a top coat if you’re looking for extra glossy nails, but I definitely think you can rock the demi-matte finish too!
Foxy Mama is the bright orange in the Poptastic Collection and it is hands down my favorite out of the bunch.  Peace, Love & Polish (which is an awesomely cute name) is the coral pink of the collection, while Kapow is the perfect hot pink neon with a blue undertone (think of it as the quintessential shade for a beach pedicure). Right On is a bright purple that appears as slightly pink; while I’m glad there is a purple neon in the collection, the shade is quite demure, and I’m still partial to my favorite neon purple Dream On from Sinful Colors.
I hope you enjoyed the Color Club Poptastic collection and that you are considering it for when you want a pop of color in your life.  I’ve tried some other brands that have released neon collections in 2014 but none compare to Color Club in formula and pigmentation. 
One last thing, I couldn’t resist a groovy tie-dye nail art design with all these neon shades (because why not!). If you’re looking to create tie-dye nail art, simply use the corner of a makeup sponge to apply contrasting shades.  What upcoming polish collections are you excited about?  Do you stop wearing bright colors during the fall, or is it never too late for neons?

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M. 

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MAC Mehr Lipstick Review and Swatch

We are halfway through August, and I couldn’t be more excited (sorry summer, but fall in New York is certainly the season to beat!).  I’m thinking cozy layers, scarves, hot lattes, moody makeup with vampy shades, and Halloween, which is one of my favorite holidays.  This summer, bright coral lipsticks with glossy finishes were highly popular, and rightfully so; however, this fall, trends have quickly shifted over to a mauve, brown nude lip in a matte finish.  Whether based on upcoming releases (or…ahem, Kylie Jenner’s Instagram), brown tinted lip colors are here to stay and MAC’S Mehr lipstick is the perfect shade to invest in (the brown lipstick shades also match the 90′s fashion trends popping up all over the streets and runways, but that’s a whole other discussion). 

Mehr by MAC is a matte finish lipstick that is opaque with one swipe and feels very comfortable on the lips.  I also own MAC Pink Plaid, but that lipstick feels much drier on compared to MAC Mehr.  The Mehr color is flattering for my skin tone, as the shade picks up the warm tones but also contrasts with the cooler mauve hints of color. This lipstick color would also look great on paler complexions and would qualify as a wonderful nude color on darker complexions due to its mauve pigmentation. 

It’s a hard shade to describe, but MAC Mehr is a mauvey brown nude, that pulls red (the Mehr swatches above should help you get an idea of the complexity of the color).  I love the vanilla scent of the MAC lipstick line, and overall, MAC Mehr has become my everyday go-to lipstick (think your lips but way, way better).  Mehr looks beautiful both with a warm nude eye look and cool based makeup, so this MAC lipstick is a versatile shade perfect for anyone’s collection.

Do you have a perfect nude shade that you can’t wait to wear during the fall?  What are your thoughts on the 90′s brown lip trend, and do you have any dupes or colors that you recommend?  I’m thinking about doing a brown nude lippy collection (as I have quite a few), so let me know if you’d be interested in seeing swatches.

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.