He Texted Book Launch Event - He Texted: The Ultimate Guide to Decoding Guys

April 20, 2014

If I were to become stranded on an island and I could only bring one item with me, I'd take my phone (that decision would be made easily, with no hesitation).  From nail art to online shopping to Kindle books and cat videos, my phone would fulfill all my stranded needs (oh, did I not mention my island has unlimited, high speed wireless internet connection?).

Among some of my favorite sites to visit is HeTexted.com where girls can give and get advice on decoding perplexing guy texts (because everyone who owns a phone has received at least one 'wth' text). The website is essentially a relationship forum that allows for unbiased conversations on dating questions or dilemmas.  And if you're like me and you're looking for the spark notes version of the web site, you should probably run to your nearest Barnes and Nobles or Amazon account and check out the "He Texted: The Ultimate Guide to Decoding Guys" book.  Authored by Lisa Winning and Carrie Henderson McDermott, the founders of the HeTexed website, this book is an easy and fun read with valuable advice and real-life scenarios that are bound to ring a bell or bring back some what-was-I-thinking memories.

As part of the Her Campus network, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the HeTexted book launch event at the Nicole Miller boutique in Soho. With its feminine decor and splashes of color, the Nicole Miller boutique was the perfect setting for the HeTexted launch party. The authors were absolutely lovely, the store was lined with awe-inspiring prints, and the hosts were great company (and cupcakes were served, if there was any doubt on how much fun I had). At the end of the evening, HerCampus generously provided gift bags that included a copy of HeTexted. As you can probably already tell, I was inspired to create candy nail art based on the cover, and I spent the weekend reading more than halfway through the book.

Thank you to HeTexted, Her Campus, and Nicole Miller for an absolutely wonderful evening (and if I were to be stranded in the Nicole Miller shop with a copy of HeTexted, I'd accept and resign to my fate of fun prose and bright fashion).

He Texted: The Ultimate Guide to Decoding Guys is currently available to purchase online and in stores at Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.

Pastels and White Sheer Dots - Pastel Nail Art and Polka Dot Tutorial

April 18, 2014

With Easter (and springtime) approaching, we're starting to be surrounded by everything pastel. I couldn't tell you how many times I pass window displays of peep shaped cakes and bunny baskets and respond with an "awww."  I'm not really a girly-girl but adorable tiny chicks, fluffy bunnies, pastel cupcakes, and an abundance of flowers and pinks appeal to my inner egg-hunt child.

For the grownup version of celebrating spring time, I create a pastel nail art and sheer white polka dots. I combined soft shades like pink, blue, and green and created an ombre watercolor effect (this watercolor technique is quite easy as it allows for freedom in the design and creativity - no ombre nail art will be the same). For added 'cute' bonus, I drew a pink bow accent on the thumbs. Lastly, I included an easy to follow nail art tutorial for drawing the polka dots.  Start with a nude or peach nail polish base, apply evenly spaced dots, and use a matte top coat.  The matte top coat and the complimentary colors create the soft, sheer dots effect.

And voilĂ  - spring at your fingertips with pastels, bows, and polka dots! Hope all of you have a wonderful Easter weekend and allow your inner child to indulge in pretty nail art and cadbury candy eggs!

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.

IMATS NYC 2014 - IMATS Tips and IMATS Haul

April 14, 2014

My sister and I attended IMATS NYC this past weekend and we can't wait to share our experience, our IMATS haul, and tips for future conference events. If you're not sure what IMATS is all about, let me describe it to you - imagine an enormous place with dozens of makeup booths, product discounts, whimsical costume makeup, beauty samples, edgy fashion, and live presentations by renowned makeup artists. Add some frenzied shopping and lots of photo taking and you've officially arrived at IMATS.

As this was our first year attending, we did not know what to expect.  Somehow, our non-knowledge and blissful ignorance resulted in an absolutely amazing event where everything worked out and we completed everything on our itinerary (and wish list!). As we were unwinding at dinner and re-hashing and re-living the moments from IMATS, we came to the realization as to why IMATS was so amazing.  Every single person there, from teens shopping with their parents to groups of best friends, absolutely loved makeup and wanted to be there.  You could see it in everyone's energy - we were all primped up, we were ready to shop, we loved swatching, and we loved debating shades with the strangers next to us. The makeup and beauty lovers camaraderie was in full force and contributed to a wonderful event. 

My sister, Mackenzie, brought up that we've never actually shared a haul (what with actual budgeting and all), so we're happy to have our first haul post come from IMATS. We varied our products and purchased items that were on our wishlist and are not as easy to locate. For the China Glaze haul, we picked six colorful summer shades (cost $20.00 with no taxes). I went on an eyeliner binge and purchased the Stila Waterproof Eyeliner Alloy (priced $13.00) and Lime Crime Blue Milk Liquid eyeliner (priced $10.00). Mackenzie found the perfect coral shades in this Inglot eye shadow palette (priced $36.00) and replenished her lip product stash with NYX lip butters and Lime Crime Coquette nude lipstick. We both needed specialized makeup brushes so we opted for the affordable Morphe brushes (prices ranged from $3.00 to $9.00).

If you ever have the opportunity to attend, we highly recommend going to IMATS - if you love makeup, it's a must! Stay tuned for our next post featuring swatches and a tips and tricks list for surviving IMATS.

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie and Miranda M.

Going-Out Mod GIF Tutorial - How to Create Retro Makeup with Rimmel London

April 7, 2014

This "Going-Out Mod" tutorial post was sponsored by the Collective Bias Social Fabric Community. 
#BeautyInspiration and #CollectiveBias
The retro mod revival is bringing back some of the best trends and elements from the 60s era.  Think baby-doll lashes, white eyeshadow, bob-styled hair, pink lipstick, and a ton of attitude.

With affordable, effective, and simply beautiful drugstore products, Rimmel London is helping us celebrate retro and recreate statement makeup looks. And what better way to be inspired by the iconic 60s than with a "going-out mod" smokey eye shadow tutorial? Yes - there will be color, there will be strong eyeliner, and there will be lashes for miles. Be sure to follow along with the mini-gifs for the step by step tutorial.

Rimmel London products, which can also be purchased at Walmart, are extremely affordable and contain a variety of beautiful shades.  For this makeup look, I used the Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation, the Scandal Eyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner in Light Blue and Sparkling Black, Rimmel Kate Moss #17 Lipstick in Valentine Kisses, and the Rimmel Scandal Eyes Retro Glam Mascara. April is Rimmel's 180 year anniversary (talk about retro chic!) and Rimmel is offering $1 off coupon inserts for the Rimmel Scandal Eyes Retro Glam Mascara and Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation.
Step 1: Start by prepping your face and applying the Rimmel Stay Matte foundation. The Stay Matte foundation is full coverage so a little bit goes a long way.  Using the Scandal Eyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner in Sparkling Black, create a crease outline that follows the shape of your eye.

Step 2: Blend in the black outline to create the smokey eye effect. The Rimmel Scandal Eyes Sparkling Black kohl eyeliner has glitter speckles which add a touch of pretty and dimension.  Use the Light Blue Scandal Eyes kohl eyeliner all over your waterline and lid and blend in with the crease outline.  This grey-blue shade is retro and daring without being too conspicuous (Rimmel figured out how to make blue eyeshadow work!).

Step 3: Line a dramatic cat eyeliner that extends past the corner of your eye and on your waterline - the more fierce, the better. Finish your going-out mod makeup by applying the Scandal Eyes Retro Glam Mascara. For demure cheeks and lips, use a baby-pink Rimmel blush and Rimmel Kate Moss Lipstick in Valentine Kisses.
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To help you achieve your favorite retro makeup looks, Rimmel is holding a giveaway for 25 beauty baskets featuring favorite Rimmel products valued at $50 - be sure to enter by submitting your information in the Rafflecopter form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway  
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The Coty® Rimmel® Giveaway starts at 4/2/14 at 12:00 A.M. (midnight) ET and ends on 4/25/14 at 11:59:59 PM ET. Open only to (i) members of the Social Fabric community, (ii) legal residents of the fifty (50) United States, the District of Columbia, and (iii) who are at least 18 years old at the time of entry. Click here for Official Rules and details including how to enter, entry criteria, prizes and restrictions, etc. Void in PR and where prohibited. Sponsor: Collective Bias, Inc.

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.

Tiny Beauty - Free and Affordable Makeup Samples

April 1, 2014

Let's face it - miniature things make us happy (and when that miniature item is makeup, the cute factor is undeniable).  I've been amassing an adorable collection of mini and sample-sized beauty products, so now, I'm ready to let you know how you can find affordable and free beauty samples.  

Smaller makeup products are useful for two reasons. First, you have the chance to experiment and try a product without paying full price on a full-size item (your wallet will thank you if that product is not your favorite).  Second, you will always be prepared with easy to transport products that do not take up much space and can be easily stored at your desk and in your purse. Alongside the post below, I've also included some of my favorite mini products and makeup kit links.

Counter Samples: When purchasing from a counter, I tend to ask the sale representative if there are any samples that he or she recommends. Most often, you will not even need to ask as associates will offer potential samples. When I purchased my much-beloved Chanel Candeur lipstick, the Chanel representative offered me the Chanel Le Lift Firming Anti-Wrinkle sample creme. Be sure to also consider Gifts with Purchase promotions where brands offer free makeup products if you spend a certain amount (Clinique Bonus Time helps us keep track of the most popular gifts with purchase offers).

Sephora Free Samples and Value Sets: From free deluxe samples to free birthday gifts and affordable value sets, Sephora is one of the best places to find mini beauty products. Every year, my sister and I take advantage of the free birthday gift which includes two items from popular brands (past gifts included Fresh Sugar, Benefit, and Make Up For Ever). I also discovered some of my favorite beauty items in the checkout section at Sephora which features mini kits with their highest rated products (consider the $15.00 Benefit highlighting kit, the $20.00 Too Faced Beauty Blogger Darlings kit, and the $16.00 Stila Pretty Pick-Me Up blush and gloss kit). Around the holidays, Sephora also curates deluxe value sets with a multitude of beauty products (one of my best friends gifted me the Sephora Give Me More Lip Kit so I'm set for life with my mini lipstick collection).

Reward Points Systems: The majority of beauty stores have purchase reward systems that come with many perks. Sephora, Ulta, Beauty.com, and Drugstore.com are just a few examples where you can redeem points and select samples (as an example, Sephora currently offers a mini-mascara and Tory Burch perfume as rewards). Add in free shipping codes and additional purchases to receive more points, and the never-ending cycle of samples and beauty goodies starts again.

Beauty Box Subscriptions: This one is a no-brainer - for a set monthly price, you receive deluxe makeup samples and full-sized beauty products. If you review the products and earn points, you can further receive free samples from each respective subscription (popular services include Ipsy, Glossybox, and Birchbox although there are numerous options suited for your budget and makeup preferences). If you are unhappy with your samples, you can also trade and exchange for whatever products you'd like.

Influenster and Free Sample Services: As companies realize that consumers are more comfortable purchasing products only after trying them, free sample services have recently become increasingly popular. For example, I received several makeup and nail polish products to review from Influenster and PINCHme. And because there is no such thing as a "free lunch," keep in mind you often have to complete a review or survey after sampling the items.

As if makeup couldn't get more fun, tiny beauty items add just a pinch of cute - start researching, get to purchasing, and happy sampling!

Stay Pretty, Miranda M.

Ipsy March Glam Bag - Mini Reviews

March 31, 2014

SUBSCRIBE TO IPSY HERE (affiliate link)
 As I'm eagerly awaiting for my April Ipsy Glam Bag, I wanted to show you the items from my March Ipsy and to provide you with my thoughts on them after using them - there are lots of unboxings available so I want to offer you a different take on the monthly subscription bags, since these are samples and thus advertisements for purchasing the full size products.  

First off, Ispy is now partnered with Bare Minerals! I'm more and more excited to see Ipsy grow and collaborate with known and popular brands (the available brands is still something that Ipsy can improve on compared to other subscription boxes). Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie lipstick in Get Ready is a medium toned rose-pink color (the color matches the color on the packaging quite perfectly) - Get Ready Moxie is a great 'my lips but better' shade.  The lipstick applies very smooth and is moisturizing and pigmented.  Moxie Get Ready has a minty feel to it when you apply it (which I didn't expect from a lipstick) and that might be the reason why I won't purchase this full size, as I'm not the biggest fan of mint in my lip products.

The Be a Bombshell Cosmetics eyeshadow quad in Bora Bora was one of the things I was really hoping to have included in my bag (I was very happy with it when swatched).  The colors are smooth and pigmented, not chalky or dry - I can't wait to use the bright shades for summer makeup tutorials. I think these shadows would be perfect for all sorts of eye colors (blue and brown) because of the variation of the shades. Loving the cute packaging too!

I was so excited to get a Chella product in my bag because I've received one of their highlighting pencils in the past and I still love it and use it quite frequently in my makeup routine. Chella Indigo is a deep cobalt blue color that is highly flattering (it's everything a blue eyeliner shade should be!). However, the disappointment kicked in when I started applying Chella Indigo on my eyes - it dried out on me super fast! I didn't even get a chance to do both my eyes, and the felt tip was already dragging and applying almost no color.  For such a beautiful indigo shade, I was extremely let down with this product.

The Klorane Soothing and Relaxing Patches for Eyes were the star of this March bag.  Yes, I know, foil packets are dreaded in these subscription services, but to be honest, I get more use from them than most of the Ipsy makeup products I receive.  After spending a long night painting in the studio,  I used these Klorane patches the next morning, and I really enjoyed the soothing and de-puffing results.  The Klorane patches are a plush, silicone texture, that stay put under your eyes without causing any discomfort; removal was easy too, I didn't blink once (see what I did there).  Ipsy gave you two packets with two patches each, so I can't complain about the sample size.  I might order these to prep for my upcoming finals!

Overall, I was satisfied with Ipsy's March Bag, but some products were hit and miss - we also only received four products (something I haven't experienced with Ipsy before).  As a note, there has been some recent issues with Ipsy and a certain POP Beauty sample included in the February Glam Bag. The POP Beauty lip gloss sample contained harmful ingredients that caused lip burns, lip swelling, allergic reactions, and other negative symptoms (more details in our February post).  For now, I will continue my subscription to Ipsy's monthly service, but I wanted you to be cautious and aware - if you experienced issues with your POP Beauty gloss, contact Ipsy to let them know and request a replacement.

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.