Pretty Squared Spring Giveaway Featuring MAC, Essie, and Maybelline

February 28, 2021

We recently reached 450 followers and (50,000 views!!) so we decided to hold a Spring Giveaway with some goodies that remind us of spring, warm weather, and sweet treats.  We chose colorful items with bright colors and playful patterns as a thank-you to all of our lovely followers!

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

So without further ado, here are the prizes one lucky winner will receive to jump start to spring

MAC Lipstick  - Chatterbox (my sister and I swatched this in store and it looked lovely on both of us, so we decided this was the perfect shade)!!
Essie Tart Deco 
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment (mini)
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Rose (mini)
Maybelline Colorshow Nail Polish - Fierce N Tangy 
Maybelline Colorshow Nail Polish - Tenacious Teal 
Kiss NailDress - Nail Polish Strips with Jewels 
Incoco Nail Polish Applique Pink Bows and Blue Slate 
Hard Candy That's How Eye Roll - Smoked 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Goodluck! And thank you for all of your support!

Tarte Flush Cheek Stain - Tarte Blush Review and Swatches

February 27, 2021

Tarte Flush Cheek Stain Review - Tarte Flush Cheek Stain Swatches | Tarte Blush Review
Tarte Flush Cheek Stain Review - Mini Blush 
Back in October, my sister purchased the Sephora in the Glow Kit (review here) and offered me the Tarte Flush blush to try out (sisterly love and sharing right there!).  Tarte has a great reputation and in recent months, their products have become favorites and have gotten great reviews. While I was excited to wear this best-seller Tarte Cheek Stain, I was disappointed in the actual product.  I've had this mini blush since last year and have put off the review in order to keep trying the product, but alas, my impressions are the same as the first time around.
The Tarte gel stick is wet and glossy to achieve a brightening effect
The color of this blush is a lovely mix between a red and pink - think summer berries or barely ripe cherries. The color should suit all skin tones as it really does give a flush look (see below swatch).  The gel consistency of the blush is also perfect for achieving the glowing, dewy skin look without being greasy or watery.  Tarte blushes do have a slight scent that I actually enjoy and while Tarte Flush is citrus-y, the smell disappears soon after application. I did do my research a bit before writing this review, and have noticed several girls with sensitive skin who had reactions to the product so I recommend swatching first on your hand.  The blush did not break out my skin or irritate it so the actual natural ingredients were great for my skin.
Hmm, notice how short my pros were? Aside from the color, everything else is a headache.  I wish I could take the flush color and bright look of the blush and transfer it to a powder or another gel blush.  Tarte Flush Cheek Stain does not last long at all - approximately an hour or so before it fades completely - and it actually fades in patches so that's another big no-no.  The biggest issue I had with this blush (as I am sure I'll have with all other gel stick Tarte blushes) is the difficult application. The blush applies like a lipstick and is difficult to blend in so I end up with two doll-like circles on my cheeks.  I actually had to research tips to apply (as a beauty blogger nonetheless!) because I kept thinking I was not putting it on correctly.  Tarte recommends that you apply the Cheek Stain over a powdered, finished cheek - so after you apply foundation and setting powder.  This did help a bit but the Tarte Flush Cheek Stain longevity was still short and the blush still rubbed all over my face.  If you also do contouring or highlighting, I'm assuming you'll have even more problems with this cheek stain.  In conclusion, the Tarte Flush Cheek Stain is difficult to blend in evenly, does not stay on for more than an hour, and has little color pay off.
Despite the dark tube color, Tarte Flush comes off as a pinkish red (swatch taken in light to show the wet shine); also notice how difficult it is to build up the color because streaks form 
Benefits of Tarte blush - the pomegranate extract gives the lemon-like fresh scent 
Reader's Recommendations: Have you had more success with these blushes or have you had the same experience? The Tarte colors are beautiful but would love to know if I can do anything to improve application.

Stay Pretty, Miranda M. 

Spring Eye Makeup Looks and Runway Trends - Miranda's Favorites

February 22, 2021

Spring is upon us and still so far away - it's currently snowing in DC and my sister confirmed it's raining in New York City so ...yay for spring.  Because I have a ton of work to do for school (defense procurement regulations aren't reading themselves!), naturally, I decided to look at New York Fashion Week and Spring Ready to Wear collections to get some beauty inspiration. I picked six spring eye makeup looks I truly liked and look forward to trying.  If you have a chance, definitely search for runway makeup photos because everything is absolutely creative - true, you may not wear the floating eyeliner a la Michael Kors, but a girl can get some ideas.

Also, let's preface this by saying I have no fashion sense or fashion intuition (is that a thing?) whatsoever.  My closet is all black and white basics with some dresses thrown in - so I will refrain from saying how the look is influenced by the clothes or how the patterns match the texture of the *insert fashion-y word here*.

Beauty, I can talk, so below is my favorite eye makeup for spring as well as possible way of recreating these runway looks.  For spring makeup, I chose natural looks with nude lips and simple eye shadow or eyeliner that follows the eye shape.
Photo Credit: and New York Fashion Week  - both sources include more looks if you wish to see other designers 
Miranda's Favorite Spring Eye Makeup Looks: 

1. Chloe Spring 2013 RTW - I love the use of a bolder copper eye shadow to emphasize eye shape and frame the face - perfect for those spring patio parties. 

2. Derek Lam New York Fashion Week - Spring 2013 RTW - We can't always wear eyeliner, so a pastel eye shadow can enhance eye color without looking over the top. 

3. Valentino Spring 2013 RTW - I picked this look because in all the Valentino runway pictures - the models' eyes were bright and I couldn't figure out how that could be with so little makeup.  After a bit of research, I found that the makeup artist used translucent eye shadow and shimmery brow highlighting with a white under-eye liner. 

4. Altuzarra Spring 2013 RTW - I'd like to wear colorful eyeliner but have to keep in mind that bright blue and gold aren't exactly school and office appropriate. Altuzarra runway models had a thick liner line (that almost looks like eye shadow) - the detail included shows that the liner is actually a deep purple, so I found a way of adding some color without looking like I'm headed to an 80's party. 

5. Vera Wang Spring 2013 RTW - As all the other looks, a brown eye shadow applied softly can make all the difference - for spring makeup, less is more.  

6. Phillip Lim Spring 2013 RTW - Similar to the Valentino makeup look, Phillip Lim models had under eyes lined with a white pencil - but for some added pizzaz (this sounds like a fashion word right?) the makeup artist halfway lined with a dark pencil.  

For this spring, I look forward to a glowing, fresh face look that also emphasizes the eyes in a natural way (and I can totally do it, because it's in style!). 

Valentine's Day Manicure and Nail Art

February 13, 2021

Valentine's Day Manicure, Valentine's Day Nail Art - Polka Dot Nail Art, Lace Nail Art, Cheetah Nail Art, Heart Nail Art 
Valentine's Day flirty nails
Kept some elements similar but mixed some up slightly for a funner effect
 Mackenzie's Notes:

This was the design that Sephora (@Sephora) chose to feature on their social media sites (check it out on Instagram) out of all the entries for their Valentine's Day inspired manicures at #SephoraVday.  I was beyond excited and especially giddy when I saw all the lovely comments! Since many of you liked it and because several people asked at work, I thought I would share with you a tutorial on how to achieve this flirty and easy manicure. It took me about 30 minutes, a steady hand and a small budget.   Thank you again Sephora and our lovely followers and supporters for your likes and sweet comments!

I have always been a fan of nail art and what better opportunity to embrace it and flaunt it than Valentine's Day.  I think nail art is a really fun and enjoyable thing to do and wear; I wanted to show that fun and flirty aspect in this manicure by using girly colors, adorable prints and having mismatched yet cohesive designs for the nails. I will include a tutorial on how to achieve a polka dot nail art design, a lace nail art design, a cheetah nail art print and a heart nail art drawing.

For the Nail art I used Kiss's Nail Art polish in White and Sinful Color's nail art polish in Black.  I topped everything off with a coat of Seche Vite, and after 6 days, my nails are chip free and still look great. I wanted to use true pink colors, a lighter and darker shade.  Cool toned pinks look good against my warm skin tone but feel free to use more coraly pinks, reds, purples etc as long as you have two similar hues, with one being darker than the other. If you don't want to mismatch the patterns, you could pick a pattern or two and arrange those together for another cute yet more toned down work appropriate look.

Regardless, have a blast, pretty nails are a girl's best accessory! 

Pink fur and pink nails - all you need is some chocolate
Tutorial on how to achieve the manicure:

 Polka Dots Nail Art Tutorial 

1. Paint your thumb and pinky (left hand), as well as your thumb, ring and index finger (right hand) with a bright pink. Paint your remaining nails with a light pink color. 
2. Using Kiss Nail Art polish, begin dotting the nails painted in the darker polish. Keep your brush filled with polish, as this will ensure your polish to be wet and your dots to be even.  Remember to disperse the dots in a 'fill in the blank' manner - after painting one row, the second row should fall BETWEEN the dots above. Keep your hand steady by resting it on a surface and use a pivoting motion to go up and down while dotting the nails. 

 Lace Nail Art Tutorial 

1. Using the Kiss Nail Art white polish, draw three diagonal lines at the top of both middle finger nails (make sure these aren't too low on the nail as you don't want your pattern to touch your cuticle once done; this should look like a lace overlay at the end). Cross the diagonal lines to form a grid.
2. Create three scallops and fill them in with a three pointed linear design. Use your brush to apply dots following the tops of the scallops in an even manner.
3. Draw two more scallops at the opposite corner of the nail. Fill them in with the three pointed linear design and finish off with dotting the outline of the scallops. This bottom pattern is the same as the top, minus the grid pattern.

Cheetah Nail Art Tutorial 

1.  Using a pink nail polish, dot polish randomly on your ring finger (left hand) and pinky (right hand).  Don't make these too big, as more spots give the look of cheetah spots more effectively.
2. Using Sinful Color's Nail art polish in black, surround the spots on two sides with a parenthesis and a dot at the bottom or top, as if bridging the parentheses. Disperse loose 'wriggly' dots between the larger spots you just painted.

  Hearts Nail Art Tutorial 

1. Cut out a heart shape out of painter's tape or scotch tape and place on your index fingers (heart tip painting towards your smile lines and away from your cuticles).
2. Cover with alternate polish colors (depending on your base color) and remove tape to reveal your heart drawing!
3. Apply one coat of Seche Vite to all your nails to blend the designs seamlessly to your base polish.

And there you have it! Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and Happy Valentines' Day!

Pretty Random - Lifestyle Beauty: Lauren Conrad Beauty Book Review

February 11, 2021

Pretty Random - Lifestyle Beauty Post 

We all know beauty is more than makeup.  Our Pretty Random posts focus on lifestyle topics that are still related to beauty and make for a lovely (and informative!) read. 

Book Review - Beauty by Lauren Conrad 
Miranda's Notes:

Let's start with a confession - a guilty pleasure of mine is to watch reality tv shows, and yes, that includes everything from The Hills to Real Housewives of Whatever to the bestest singing/dancing competition to Bridezillas (or anything wedding related truly, if it's got a wedding dress and cameras, I'm watching) -  I could go on forever about why I watch these shows (and why I shouldn't watch these shows).  But we're here to talk beauty - enter the lovely Lauren Conrad and her book.  Yes, I may have felt a bit guilty saying "I want to read LC's book" because after all, she's a reality tv person.  Once I actually received the book as a birthday gift (shout out here to my sis!), I knew I truly enjoyed the content and Lauren Conrad's advice.

Beauty by Lauren Conrad includes general tips on a range of topics - the book discusses harmful chemicals in daily products, exercising and staying healthy, how to apply foundation and concealer  nail art tips, hair style tutorials, and creating different looks for various occasions.   Rather than focusing solely on beauty products, Conrad includes advice on a variety of issues and includes funny anecdotes about her life and experiences.

The book provides basics information which is best suited for beginners but is also a great refresher for those with more knowledge. I found it odd that Conrad did not specifically identify brands, but by the final chapters, the advice felt more personable and able to be adapted for different needs. Overall, the pictures are wonderful and feature several models of various backgrounds.  My favorite portions were the last chapters where Conrad created era-inspired beauty looks.

Her effortless style and tutorials translate into sophisticated looks suited for everyone and for every day.  I absolutely adore Beauty by Lauren Conrad (still feel strange saying that out loud hehe) and highly recommend the book for a fun, relaxing read, full of pretty pictures.

Tips on how to achieve the Lauren Conrad eyeliner shape and makeup tutorial 
Beauty by Lauren Conrad - also include hair tutorials, my favorite is the effortless top knot 
Tutorial on creating a 60s inspired minimalist look  - 60s makeup and 60s hair style
Nail art tutorials include basic designs - polka dot nail art, rose nail art, and heart nail art 
Readers' Recommendations: How did you enjoy our first Pretty Random - Lifestyle Beauty post? Do you have any other ideas for these kind of posts?

Covergirl 3 in 1 Outlast Stay Fabulous Foundation Review

February 9, 2021

Covergirl 3 in 1 Outlast Stay Fabulous Foundation in #810, Classic Ivory 

The color that fit my skintone best is #810, Classic Ivory
Mackenzie's Notes:

I was browsing YouTube the other day and stumbled upon Judy's lovely channel Itsjudytime, where she reviewed (and raved) about the new 3 in 1 Outlast Stay Fabulous Foundation from Covergirl. Needless to say, it peaked my interest.  I have been wearing Garnier's BB cream daily and sometimes Laura Mercier's Oil free Foundation, but I haven't really given drugstore foundations a chance since my skin used to be very sensitive and acne prone.  But due to the rave reviews, affordable price ($12.99 for 1 fl oz.) and availability in my local Rite Aid store (and most other drugstores), I decided to see how it really is for myself.  The color I am showing you is number 810 in Classic Ivory, and the entire collection consists of 14 shades, a pretty wide range. While displays might not included all the shades, they are available on Covergirl's website and darker shades are also available, under the Queen Collection All Day Flawless (same formula). 

Claims:  All-in-one foundation with a long-lasting formula that fuses primer, concealer and foundation in one easy step! The 3-in-1 formula provides a flawless look that lasts all day long, shine free.

I'm a Covergirl fan so I'm glad they came out with a wonderful foundation (oops spoiler) to add to their line.

Glass bottle with a pump and a plastic lid; hygienic and easy to use
Covergirl 3 in 1 Outlast Stay Fabulous Foundation: So excited about the SPF 20
Pros: The formula of this foundation is awesome and is perfect for girls with normal/combo skin or oily skin. It doesn't stick to my dry patches, so if you are excited about this foundation and you have dry skin, I would encourage you to do so.  In my opinion, all the claims hold true, since it has medium/heavy coverage, it blends wonderfully and is absorbed evenly for lovely coverage. For heavier coverage, I recommend to apply one layer first and then stipple more on the areas that need additional foundation. Despite the coverage it offers, this feels so extremely light on the skin! It literally just feels like my skin, not cakey, greasy, sticky, etc I kept touching my face and couldn't believe how comfortable it was (better than my Laura Mercier Oil free foundation). The fact that it has SPF 20 is wonderful and the packaging is so hygienic and easy to use, due to the lockable pump. It really did keep my face shine free all day (10 hrs+) and does not settle into fine lines either. It dries to a semi matte finish (not flat) very quickly; you have time to blend it well, but it sets fast enough to continue the rest of your makeup.  My bronzer and blush blended great on top of this foundation. No scent, and it has not broken me out. Also, the price point of the Covergirl 3 in 1 Outlast Stay Fabulous Foundation can't be beat for how awesome it is, and the variety of shades available is a plus!

Cons: Despite the wonderful formula, I am still unsure about the color - it applies well but it oxidizes after an hour or so, making it slightly too dark for my skin.

Grade: 5/5

(L) Ingredients list. Close up of pump with the ability to lock (R)
The foundation is medium thickness, and that amount covered my entire face, medium coverage. Blended out on the right
My skin is semi matte and the rest of my makeup applied wonderfully! The bronzer didn't apply patchy and blended out well

Reader's Recommendations: Have you tried this foundation? What is your Holy Grail foundation? Let me know, because they are tricky to find!

Pretty Random - Chanel Chance Eau Tendre Parfum - Review

February 5, 2021

Pretty Random - Lifestyle Beauty Post 

We all know beauty is more than makeup.  Our Pretty Random posts focus on lifestyle topics that are still related to beauty and make for a lovely (and informative!) read. 

Chanel Chance Parfum - Chanel Chance Eau Tendre
Chanel Chance Eau Tendre Perfume Review 
A way to feel beautiful, fresh, and confident without having to spend hours on makeup is by wearing the perfect perfume.  Too often though, that perfect perfume is elusive because it is difficult to find a signature scent that fits the every day, the cocktail hour, the work, and the subway (we all dread the cramped spaces and the pungent strong smell of vanilla at 8 AM).  Enter the iconic Chanel brand and the Chanel Chance Eau Tendre perfume.  If you have doubts about which scent to pick, Chanel Chance Eau Tendre is the perfect choice (after all, it's Chanel).
Simple, sophisticated packaging 

While some of Chanel's perfumes may not fit everyone, the Chanel Chance scent is suited for all ages and all occasions.  The main notes are fruity (grapefruit, citrus) and the lingering notes are floral (jasmine) and earthy (patchouli, white musk).  The perfume wears for a long time, approximately 8 hours, and although the scent progressively wears off, it is still quite detectable at the end of the day. This scent has depth and an aura of sophisticated youth, seductiveness, and playfulness .  Whenever I wear Chanel Chance Eau Tendre, I always get complimented - wear it and you'll see, it's a challenge. I've tried the other similar scents (Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche, Chanel Chance), but found the scents too overpowering.

The scent is not particularly original but that is what makes it suitable for everyone.  Chanel also managed to find a balance in all the notes without being overpowering.  For those who are sensitive to strong smells, this may be a bit strong -  however the scent settles after the initial application. Because this is Chanel, the price is a bit steep, but given the lovely scent and longevity, Chanel Chance Eau Tendre is a great investment.
Chanel Chance and the iconic Chanel logo 

Sums up how I feel about Chanel Chance (Photo Credit: Chanel)

Stay Pretty, Miranda M.