Cosmos Nails American Apparel Nail Polish

November 29, 2020

Mackenzie's Notes

Galaxy inspired nail art has been really trendy lately and before I attempted a more painterly version I decided to get the effect with my newly hauled American Apparel polishes.  I used 'Passport Blue', a dark dusty blue creme color for the sky and 'Supernova' (um perfect name for this anyone?) for the stars and supernovas. 

(L) Passport Blue and Supernova (R)
Seriously, how great is that glitter polish!
The glitter polish is best used as a top coat layer since all the shards of gold lay out randomly, and due to their larger size this looks great and not sparse.  I applied two layers of the blue and one of the glitter polish; they both took a very fast time to dry! I recommend putting on a base coat under the darker blue since it might slightly stain your nails. Also, next time I will probably apply a layer of topcoat to secure and flatten out the larger glitter pieces which can tend to stick up. 

All in all I really loved this manicure and got so many compliments on it too. I noticed some girls do a double take on the subway, so you know it's original and pretty! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

The size and shape of the gold pieces vary and mostly lay down flat; you just have to play with them a bit
Inspiration photo: I picked up this lovely cozy, rich indigo sweater at Forever 21; the color reminded me of Passport Blue!
This look is so luxe, perfect for a night out and during the winter months
Reader's Recommendations: Have you tried this galaxy nail trend? Send me some pictures or links to your looks I would love to see them!  I will hopefully try out a more realistic version soon so fingers crossed!

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzing Powder

November 27, 2020

Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzing Powder with Real Cocoa

Nice medium brown color perfect for my skin tone
Since winter has been creeping up on us quickly I have been looking for a matte bronzing powder to use for contouring and all over color.  I was using another satin finish bronzer from Physicians Formula which I still love, but the shimmer and color were best suited for my darker, tanned skin during the summer months.  Another matte bronzer I was trying out was NYC's 'Sunny' bronzer, but to be honest I really disliked that one and stopped using it; for comparison purposes, the Sunny is twice darker and more of a warm toned brown. I was disappointed that the Sunny didn't work for me, and since there's been so much hype around the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer in the beauty community I couldn't tell you how happy I was to receive it in my Sephora 'In the Glow' kit.  I couldn't wait to try it and smell it since I've never heard of a powder product having a distinct scent before! I'm happy to say this has become my new go to bronzer and I'm excited to share it with you!  Keep in mind that the packaging is different than the full size product and since this is a deluxe sample size (0.08 oz) it contains less product. The full size bronzer retails for $29 dollars and you can purchase it in store at Sephora or online at  Sephora or Too Faced.  
This is the deluxe sample size and packaging
The Sephora In the Glow kit was great for introducing me to this bronzer and many other goodies
 Mackenzie's Notes

Pros: The color of the bronzer is a medium/light cool toned brown that looks very natural on my yellow under tone skin tone.  The finish is matte and I enjoy this feature since I primarily use this product for contouring my cheeks and my temples; I also feel that this feature makes it very wearable for lots of skin types and ages. The formula is smooth and blends well and evenly once applied, so you can layer it and work with it easily.  I was pretty surprised at how sheer this bronzer was, but I think that is a good quality to have since too dark of an application or color isn't the look I'm going for. I think a bronzer should be pigmented enough to show on the skin but sheer enough so you can build it up slowly. This bronzer lasts on me all day (12+ hours) and looks even until the end of the day.  The scent was interesting for sure, but I don't mind it, and it's a nice little pick me up in the morning; keep in mind Cocoa is a natural ingredient of the product and not a chemical scent ingredient for you sensitive skinned ladies! This bronzer claims to take down redness but I can't quite speak on that since I apply it on top of my BB cream.  I tried this on my sister who is paler than me, and I think it showed too orange and dark on her skintone, so I might recommend her the Milk Chocolate Matte Bronzer from Too Faced which is a lighter version.

Cons: This deluxe sample size was included in the Sephora Favorites Kit and while I really like the product, I would probably think twice about spending $29 on a bronzer.  Instead I would maybe pay that much for an interesting blush or highlighter.  Keep in mind though that a full sized product would last you a long time since I have barely made a dent in my little one and I have been using it daily for a month or so.  Also, talc is listed as an ingredient which can be harsh and irritate sensitive skin and clog pores, so keep that in mind when looking at this bronzer; I don't have sensitive skin and my skin hasn't had any negative reactions to it so far.

Grade: 4.6/5

(L) Blended out, One swatch (R)
I swirled my brush in and applied it with an angled blush brush; not blended out, wanted you to see it in the photos!
Reader's Recommendations: Have you tried this bronzer and what did you think about it? Have you tried their Milk Chocolate version? Do you recommend I try another matte bronzing product? Let me know!

LUSH Oatifix Banana and Oat Mask - Oatifix Fresh Face Mask

November 27, 2020

Lush Oatifix Banana and Oat Mask - Oatifix Fresh Mask
Lush Oatifix Fresh Face Mask with oats, bananas, and ground almonds 
With winter in full swing, I decided to try a moisturizing, soothing mask from Lush.  I'm a bit of a mask newbie as I've only used one or two brands before and am not as well-versed, but I've heard great reviews of the Lush masks and took full advantage of Black Friday shopping.  The reason I don't use masks that often is because of my sensitive skin and the various chemicals and strong agents found in mask ingredients.  In fact, when I was in Lush, I tried several of the other clay masks on my hand, and within a few minutes, my hand turned red and itchy and all kinds of funky.  So before you try out any face treatments fully, be sure to test it on a small patch to see if you have any reaction.
Oatifix must be refrigerated - in fact, shelf life is quite short so check the expiration 
Oatifix Fresh Mask natural (and yummy!) ingredients
Miranda's Notes: 

Pros: When I purchased this, I was looking for a soothing, enriching, and exfoliating product that would give my skin a summer glow.  The mask definitely helped with complexion as it smoothed my skin and removed dirt and dry skin.  Because of the banana and vanilla ingredients, this Oatifix mask smells absolutely amazing, I can't praise it enough.  You know how masks always have that strange earthy, muddy smell - well, that doesn't apply to this product  and your skin will actually smell wonderfully even after washing your face. 

While application was a bit difficult because of the chunky oats, I could feel the mask sticking to my skin because of the oilier ingredients.  In the case of my dry, sensitive skin, that moisture was much needed but may be a bit overpowering for other skin types.  Overall, the exfoliation of the crushed almonds combined with the soothing banana, made my skin glow and feel hydrated. 

Cons:  Because I have super dry skin (this sounds like a useless super hero power), I would have liked more exfoliation.  Next time I use this mask, I  will use my cleanser first in order to exfoliate fully, and then apply the Oatifix. I also wish the mask applied better and smoothed better because I spent around ten minutes trying work the product and get it to stick in an even layer.  Depending on how much Oatifix you use, the tiny jar may not be enough for more than 4 or 5 applications so the price pay-off depends on your budget.  

Quick final advice, test the product on your hand, ensure that your skin can handle the rich moisture, and exfoliate before applying. As a starter mask, or a training-wheels mask for those not as familiar with face treatments, the Lush Oatifix Fresh Mask would be a great start. 

Grade: 4.2/5
Texture is soft with exfoliation qualities
Note the smaller size of the packaging (which means not as much product)

Giveaway - Thank You to Our Followers

November 24, 2020

My sister and I used to spend a lot of time talking on phone, g-chatting, and text messaging about our weekly beauty finds, nail art ideas, and the newest makeup releases.  With school and work getting more demanding and time consuming, we decided to share our beauty tips and tricks on a blog related to all pretty things. We chose to title it pretty to the power of two - Pretty Squared.

We have only been blogging for the past couple of weeks and the beauty blogging community has been absolutely wonderful. After reaching our first 200 follower milestone (hopefully the first of many!), we have decided to hold a giveaway with some of our favorite items.   Thank you all for your support and your lovely comments!

We picked some brand new, pretty little items that we absolutely love!
      -American Apparel Nail Polish 'Lipstick' (swatches here) and'Hunter' (swatches here)
      -Wet n Wild 'I'm Getting Sunburned' and Wet n Wild 'Don't Steal my Thunder'
      -EOS lip balm in Blueberry Potion (review here)
      -Revlon Lip Butter Raspberry Pie
      -Target make-up bag with beauty samples
      -And..last but not least, glittery snowflake ornaments!

2. Must be 18 or older to enter (or have parents' permission)
3. Random winner will have 48 hours to respond
4. Must follow via Google Friend Connect (GFC) to enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for entering and good luck!

Neutral, Natural Nails - LOreal Walk on the Beach and OPI Indigo

November 21, 2020

L'Oreal Colour Riche Polish Walk on the Beach 300
OPI Sehpora Indigo with the Flow 
Nails of the Week - L'Oreal Walk on the Beach and OPI Indi-go with the Flow 
This past weekend my friends and I decided to go out for dinner and drinks to celebrate the almost-there end of the semester.  The place we were going to was a mix between a lounge and cocktail party setup so I decided to wear my J.Crew tan purse.  Because the purse is so light colored and gets dirty easily, I don't get to use it that often but this was the perfect occasion. So this week's nails of the week (NOTW) was inspired by this natural, yet rich color.

My base color was L'Oreal Colour Riche Walk on the Beach (review here) and my accent nail was Sephora by OPI Indi-go with the Flow (perfect title for that whole night because we ended up getting multi-colored cocktails and singing karaoke).  The OPI Indi-go polish is a dusty purplish blue and hexagon shaped glitter polish.  As with glitter polish, the formula was thicker, applied easily, but took a bit longer to dry - so beware if you want to do your nails and head out immediately.

Overall, despite its basic-ness - not sure if  that's a word - the look felt fresh, clean, and sparkly... and I'm sure my J.Crew purse appreciated the love.
J.Crew Purse - inspiration colors 
Neutral, cool colors - detox for the nails 
Both polishes lasted several days (and the glitter lasted for a lifetime) 

Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow and Mood Boosting Blush -Physicians Formula Pink Blush

November 17, 2020

Physicians Formula Pink - I'm guessing the happy boost comes from the cute hearts
There's always the (ever-important) question of what is one makeup item you have to wear when going out and are in rush.  For me, that one product is blush because it's fast to apply, gives glow to the face, and hides any skin imperfections or uneven tone.  Plus, rosy, flushed cheeks are a distraction from lack of eyeshadow, lack of mascara, no lipstick, you of 'those' days.

I use the Physicians Formula Pink Happy Booster in Pink almost everyday - the Happy Booster blush is hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and paraben free  My skin is fair with yellow/olive undertones so I usually go for really bright pinks or peach pink over darker reds or oranges.  As a disclaimer and I am not ashamed to admit it, I'm a big (and I mean big) fan of glitter in blush.  I absolutely love the dewy look on the cheekbones and having that sparkly look whenever I smile.  Matte blushes look very one dimensional and almost chalky, so almost every single one of my blushes has sparkle in it. The Happy Booster blush does contain just the right amount of shimmer and provides color as well as highlight.
Compact size of product (swatch shows the sparkles on top of the dark pink hearts)
I adore the packaging of the Happy Booster Glow and Mood Boosting product, specifically the cute hearts, the sturdy material, and the mirror inside.  The blush is fairly small and easy to carry and the included brush, although not the best quality, is great for on the-go and when you do not have access to your own brushes.  The reason why I wear this Pink blush everyday is the longevity of the product.  I wear glasses and constantly touch my face and especially with the upcoming cold weather and bundling up with scarves, my blush better last a long time.  The Physicians Formula Pink retains all its color and does not smudge or patch. I have sensitive skin and have not had any adverse reaction to this product - the packaging mentions a violet scent but I did not smell anything.  As you can see from the swatch, you can swivel the color in such a way to have it darker pink (bottom hearts) or lighter pink (top hearts).   This particular Happy Booster Glow blush also comes in a Rose color that is a darker red as opposed to the pink Happy Booster Glow blush.  Lastly, there is a lot of product in the pot and the blush can last for several months even if applied daily.

In one of my late-to-class escapades, I accidentally dropped the compact and the blush completely shattered, so you have to be careful handling it.  Considering this is a drugstore brand, the cost is also high (at around $10.00 but given the high quality it's worth the investment).  The line doesn't have that many shade options (except Rose or Pink) so if neither matches your skin tone, you may need to try different blushers from Physicians Formula.
Top part mechanism allows the compact to roll up easily
Swatch of the Physicians Formula Mood Boosting Blush in Pink (color can be varied given the multi color hearts)
Physicians Formula Booster Pink Blush close up

Stay Pretty, Miranda M.  

NOTW American Apparel Polish 'Lipstick'

November 15, 2020

Mackenzie's Notes

I recently picked up a few American Apparel nail polishes and I was so excited to wear the one called 'Lipstick' first!  I have been wearing lots of dark and edgy (for me at least!) colors and decided to go with a classic yet fun red for a little while since I'm getting into that Christmassy mood. This polish is part of American Apparel's permanent collection and it retails for $6 (0.5 fl oz) or 3 for $15 online or in store at American Apparel. 

Beautiful red creme color for the holidays! Or for when you're feeling retro and flirty
'Lipstick' in all its glory with a Revlon Matte 'Really Red' kiss!
 'Lipstick' is a blue based red creme color, slightly leaning towards a magentaish, berry color; it is a medium red and compliments my yellow toned skin beautifully.  I was very impressed with most of the American Apparel polishes, but this was hands down my favorite in terms of its formula - it applied so easily and beautifully.  This polish has a great viscosity, not too runny or thick, and it spreads evenly without streaking.  It also doesn't flood my cuticles, which is a plus since I haven't mastered painting my nails yet (right hand I'm looking at you).  The color is opaque in one coat but I put on two for good measure.  In the photos I am also wearing a Seche Vite topcoat even though you don't need it - the polish is very shiny on its own and dries under 10 seconds! Just be careful when you lift the wand from the bottle to get rid of the excess polish that collects on the wand stick so it won't flood your nail with polish.  This manicure has lasted me for 5 days now so I think it has great staying power. Last but not least, I adore the packaging, since the polish comes in a very sleek, thin glass bottle that is great for storing and also very pretty for displaying.

So I hope you check out this 'Lipstick' polish and that you enjoy it as much as I did! Kisses!
This polish was easy to work with due to its formula
Lovely color for short nails
Reader's Recommendations: What's your favorite red color polish? What other colors do you wear around this time of year? Let us know ladies, we always look forward to your comments!

Eos Alice in Wonderland Limited Edition Eos Lip Balm

November 13, 2020

eos Alice in Wonderland Limited Edition Lip Balm
eos flavors: eos Blueberry Potion eos Watermelon Wonderland eos Sweet Vanilla Nonsense
eos limited edition - Alice in Wonderland - whimsical, fairy tale lip balm, who knew :)
Since I've been blogging, I've learned a ton about the ingredients that go in beauty products and the fact that many of these ingredients are harmful or at least have potential to be harmful.  I thought that I was picking natural products before, but now...I'm actually invested in doing my research.  I'm the weird girl in the drugstore aisle reading ingredients on the packaging and not the purported benefits/claims.

I've heard a lot of awesome reviews of the eos lip balms and decided to try them out.  And, the "always looking for a great deal" in me was even more excited to see that eos had a limited edition set with three balms priced for only $10USD.

Quick Note: Once we reach our 200 followers milestone, we will be having an international giveaway full of goodies, and that includes these eos balms, I realize they're difficult to find outside the US.

Truly a delightful package
Not impossible: a natural, organic lip balm that protects your lips for a long, long time

Miranda's Notes: 
Pros: As mentioned before, this is a lip balm that is certified 95% organic and 100% natural.  The blams are paraben free, gluten free, petrolatum free, and phthalate free - that's a lot of bad-stuff free which is great for our sensitive lips.  Eos provides long lasting moisture because of the shea butter, vitamin E, jojoba oil, and all kinds of other goodies.  The product goes on absolutely clear and it is not shiny at all - I tried to actually swatch it, but there was no need since my swatch looked like my natural skin.  Basically, you don't even see it's there but you get the softening and smoothing benefits.

And let's take a break here to applaud the glorious, adorable packaging - my sister and I keep saying they look like tiny pets or little eggies - I feel like I should pet them, the spheres are that cute.  If you think that's weird, just buy some and see how attached you get.

Back to the actual product, it's easy to carry, lightweight, it doesn't even show on your lips, and there is absolutely no taste.  I can now compare and notice how other lip balms and chap sticks have that petroleum, chemical taste.  The scents and tastes for these eos limited edition set are vanilla, watermelon, and blueberry.  Overall, the scent is subtle and the taste disappears after a few minutes so you won't be bothered by it, however sensitive your lips are. Oh, and as I've mentioned before in the Baby Lips review, I think mint is a big 'no no' in balms because it's so irritating, but these balms don't have a trace of mint and don't cause any irritation.

The eos lip balm is easy to apply (what am I saying, it's fun to apply!), doesn't open in your purse because of the twist cap, lasts several hours, and is highly effective - if you're looking for a lip balm, I recommend picking these up as they make great gifts for winter.  My boyfriend actually tried it and after eating dinner, mentioned the balm lasts a long time, so again, highly recommended - of course, he thought the little sphere was too much for him but eos has stick packaging as well.

Cons:  The texture is a bit waxy because the balm provides a barrier on the lips from all the cold weather and elements.  However, I find the waxy texture effective because I mess around with my lips a lot and the balm still stays on.  The beauty blogger in me wishes that the balm was tinted or had some glossiness but I remember I'm wearing this balm for its health benefits and natural moisture - I can easily apply a lip color on top.

Grade: 5/5

Flavors: Blueberry Potion, Watermelon Wonderland, Sweet Vanilla Nonsense
eos packs lots of product in this lip balm so it will last longer than regular balms 
Small sphere is easy to carry, stays sealed - and yes, that's a Mickey Mouse print 

American Apparel Nail Polish Haul

November 11, 2020

Mackenzie's Notes

This past week American Apparel had a promotion that gave us the opportunity to try one free nail polish from their fall 2012 collection upon showing a promotion email sent by the company.  Even though I was pretty familiar with their clothing line I've never tried their nail polishes; I've heard plenty of good things about them and decided it was a good time to try some. Boy am I glad I did! I really love these polishes and I'm excited about doing my nails now more so than before. Maybe it's the great packaging, the heavy glass, the great and unique color selection or just the awesome formula, but I'm very impressed. These polishes retail at $6 (0.5 fl oz) each, 3 for $15 or come in a 7 pack for $32 online or in store at American Apparel.  Their collection consists of metallics, neons, some original glitters, creme finishes, and most recently a sheer line which can be layered.  I can't wait to get some other colors and play around with their sheer ones!

I purchased Meteor Shower, Mouse, Supernova, Lipstick, Poppy, Port, Passport Blue and Hunter.  I think these are great polishes and come at a good price.  I enjoy the packaging very much since it looks high end and is great for storing! The wand is thin and I like that since it allows me to be more precise.  Formula on these is great, opaque and perfect viscosity; they also dry extremely fast (under 10 seconds).

Each of the swatches below are two coats, and I will give more details on the application of each, so keep reading!
(L) Meteor Shower, Mouse, Supernova, Lipstick, Poppy, Port, Passport Blue, Hunter (R)
Such beautiful rectangular bottles! Lovely packaging for efficient storage
I love these so much that I picked up an extra one to give to you lovely gals in the future!

(L) Supernova, Mouse, Meteor Shower (R)
Supernova - This is a glitter polish consisting of small glitter and larger hexagonal pieces suspended in a clear base; the colors of the glitter are blue, red, green, orange, yellow and magenta. As you can see in the above swatch, there is a generous amount of glitter pieces per application! I love this one and have been waiting to find a great dupe for OPI Rainbow Connection. Now, I think I like this one more because unlike OPI's orange based glitter, this includes more versatile colors that would match more base colors.
Mouse - This a taupe creme polish leaning toward grey. It is a sheerer finish than the other cremes so you have to either apply two heavy layers or three thin ones. Nonetheless, it has a great finish and love the color!
Meteor Shower - I have been waiting to get this one as it is such an original glitter! It is pieces or 'shards' of gold metallic plastic/foil/mylar suspended in a clear base. The pieces vary in size and this also gets a lot of glitter with two coats. You might have to play around with it and make sure the larger pieces don't stick up, but nothing a topcoat won't fix. This glitter is perfect for an all over glitter coat, and less as a gradient type of glitter. Nonetheless, it's pretty cool!

(L) Lipstick, Poppy, Port (R)
Lipstick - This a blue based red creme polish; I love this color on my skin tone! It is also the best formula out the entire line I purchased. Opaque in one coat, but I did two just in case.
Poppy - This is a bright orange/red creme color that highly leans towards orange but looks more red during the day time. The formula is also a bit sheerer than Lipstick but it's opaque in two coats. I wasn't sure about this color at first but looks beautiful on, can't wait to do a manicure with this one!
Port - Port is a vampy red creme color leaning towards black. It is the sheerest finish out of all of the ones I purchased, and you might need three coats for an even manicure; the more layers the darker the color will get. I wish it was a bit more complex since right now it is so close to black.  I was excited about this one since I thought it would be close to OPI's Skyfall, but it's very different.  This was the one I was least impressed by.

(L) Hunter, Passport Blue (R)
Hunter -  Hunter is a dark dusty green (hints of blue) in a creme finish; it applies opaque in two coats. This color is dark but you can tell the color well, it doesn't lean to black like Port does. Very pretty green!
Passport Blue - This is a dark dusty blue in a creme finish.  It's darker than Hunter in hue but you can still tell it's a dark blue and not a light black. Very rich color, will look great with Meteor Shower on top as a fall/holidays manicure.

Reader's Recommendations: What do you think of these colors and have you tried American Apparel polishes yourself? Which one would you recommend me to get? Let me know your absolute favorite from the ones I purchased!