Ghosts and Pumpkins Halloween Nail Art

October 27, 2020

There are some things that just make me think of Halloween - a pumpkin, a bat, ghosts, and candy corn are just a few reminders of this awesomely fun holiday.  For this nail art, I wanted to include anything and everything that symbolizes Halloween.  Sure, I love color matched minimalist, pretty nails, but this design gave me the chance to play around with colors, patterns, and cartoon-like drawings.

The nail polishes I used are Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear and American Apparel Nail Lacquer (AA polishes are very affordable and the color options are great).  Because the colors have to pop, I recommend using a white base for your nail art (the rest is up to you, add whatever design you'd like and vary it for each hand!).  These festive nails are sure to have everyone giddy and ready for a spooky trick or treat.  Have a happy Halloween!

Stay Pretty (Spooky), Mackenzie M. 

Skull Halloween Makeup Tutorial - Pretty Skull Makeup

October 26, 2020

I adore Halloween celebrations because it gives me a chance to play with makeup and come up with exciting, fun costumes (plus, going out with friends and my boyfriend is another perk!).  I will say this though - deciding on one costume only is a tough decision and it involves lots of Pinterest research. This Halloween, I created a two-face makeup look featuring a pretty skull and a glamorous Lana del Rey look (from her Young and Beautiful video). And because a flower crown ads the finishing touches, I pinned a ribbon in my hair to emulate red rosettes and styled soft hair waves.  Picking a Halloween costume is much easier when you create a two dimension makeup look. Happy Halloween from Pretty Squared!

Skull Makeup 

Materials - White face paint (purchased from Rite Aid), MICA Beauty Black Gel Liner, Wet n Wild White Eyeliner pencil, Johnson's Baby Powder, Elf Foundation Brush, Catwalk Glamour angled eyeliner brush.

1.  Using a white pencil, lightly draw a skull image on one half of the face.  I was inspired by this lovely editorial image here.
2.  Using your fingers, spread the white face paint evenly on the white areas of your face. Afterwards, using a large brush, set the white face paint with baby powder (or a white eyeshadow).
3.  Using an small brush and black gel eyeliner, fill in the dark areas on your skull.
4.  Using a fluffy middle sized brush, I spread out the gel eyeliner and using the same brush I created shading for the teeth, cheek bones etc.  This way the shadows will be soft and easily blend into the white for a more realistic look.
5.  Set the black areas with a black eyeshadow to ensure a long lasting skull!

Lana del Rey Makeup 

Materials - MAC Studio Fix Foundation, L'Oreal True Match Naturale Powder Foundation, The Balm Meet Matte Palette, Wet n Wild Black Liquid eyeliner, L'Oreal False Fiber Voluminous Mascara, Wet n Wild White eyeliner pencil, Too Faced "Chocolate Soleil" bronzer, Rimmel Powder Blush "Pink", NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil "Cruella", Elf Liquid Gel Glitter liner, Diamond nail gems.

1.  Apply a full coverage matte foundation all over the face.  Conceal further if necessary for brightness under the eyes.  Set foundation with a matte powder.
2.  Apply a matte bronzer and matte mauvey pink hued blush.
3.  For the eyes, create a dramatic 50's inspired look.  I used a dark grey shadow to create a cut crease and blended that out with a warm brown to warm up the look.  Apply a light matte shadow on the lids, inner eye and brow bone.  Draw a heavy cat eyeliner using a precise liner.  Using a white pencil, fill your waterline in to make your eyes look bigger and doll like.
4. Fill your eyebrows in, in a slightly arched yet still flat shape.  Lana's brows are full and the flatter arches give her that Lolita glamorous look.
5.  Draw two tears under your eye with a black liner, and apply a dab of a clear gel (or eyelash glue).  Place three diamonds in the tear shapes in a pyramid shape.
6.  Fill your lips in with a red liner and lipstick and voila, you're done! Enjoy your frightfully pretty skull makeup!
Stay Pretty (Spooky), Mackenzie M. 

Revlon by Marchesa Jewel Nail Appliqués

October 21, 2020

Revlon has begun a beauty-fashion revolution, and it starts at our fingertips!  From gold brocades, intricate designs, and colorful rosette motifs, Revlon is giving us all access to runway high fashion at an affordable price. Available starting October 1, Revlon has released Limited Edition Revlon by Marchesa 3D Jewel Nail Appliqués. Inspired by designer Georgina Chapman, Revlon by Marchesa features stunningly beautiful designs that add depth and dimension to your manicure.

When Revlon reached out to us, we were very excited to try the jewel appliqués (what girl doesn't love fashion and nails!). Revlon by Marchesa Royal Burgundy is a dark red and gold baroque pattern with relief accents on the gold. The 3D jewels are not overdone but are discernible enough to add shine to the manicure.  The pattern is reminiscent of royal velvet and would best be suited for an event or party.  Revlon by Marchesa Gilded Mosaic is a pattern of circles and miniature 3D diamonds arranged in the shape of sunshine rays.  The color palette for Gilded Mosaic includes yellow, gold, silver, grey, and brozne.  For all the intricate detail, this particular pattern manages to be simplistic and wearable for most occasions.

Now, you must wonder how to apply the Revlon by Marchesa nail appliqués to achieve a clean manicure.  The secret to flawlessly applying nail stickers is finding the best fit - the nail sticker should not be too big or too small.  The beauty of Revlon by Marchesa products is that you can make mistakes (and fix them!) - you can realign the sticker at the base, use the included file to define the shape, and use the included stick to smooth the surface.  Because the stickers cannot fit everyone's nails, there may be wrinkling in application (for this, I wish Revlon would have included more than 18 pieces).  Lastly, I think the product is easier to apply on longer nails so I recommend having some length for filing and shaping. Once you're ready to wear these appliqués, also be ready for compliments (the designs are quite eye catching)!  Revlon by Marchesa designs are available in eight variations at Walgreens, CVS, and other select retailers (more info available on Revlon web site). Revlon by Marchesa Crown Jewels, which is an elegant combination of black and gold, is next on my wishlist.

Thank you to Revlon for partnering with Marchesa - now we can stop daydreaming about the runway and start wearing couture creations!

Stay Pretty, Miranda and Mackenzie M.

Halloween Nails - Disney Maleficent Nail Art

October 16, 2020

Halloween is a beauty lover's favorite holiday.  From spooky nail art to scary make up looks, Halloween is a great opportunity to put all those beauty products to use.  My sister visited New York this past weekend because of the government shutdown, and we decided to create a Halloween nail art design inspired by Disney Villains.

After much needed Pinterest Disney research, I based this Halloween design on Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty.  Because I did not want a literal interpretation, I drew roses, thorns, magic flames, and an accent of the evil crow. Color Club The Uptown, reviewed here, provided the color palette of green, purple, rose, and black. The glitter in Color Club The Uptown was also perfect for outlining around the nail tips and adding definition and depth to the design. The other polishes I used are Revlon Posh and Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure polishes.

I loved creating this look, so keep a lookout for more Halloween villains-inspired nail art. On another note, it's now time to re-re-watch some of my favorite Disney movies!

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M. 

Sephora Favorites Makeup Value Sets

October 15, 2020

It's that time again! Sephora recently released the Sephora Favorites Value Sets which are curated to include the most popular makeup items. Last year, we purchased the Sephora In the Glow Kit, reviewed here, and it was one of our best investments.  These Limited Edition Value Sets are made up of deluxe sized products (who doesn't love mini beauty items!).  While the prices may seem initially high, consider the items you are receiving - for example, a Tarte Lipstick and a Too Faced Lipstick are individually at least $20.00 but the Sephora Give Me More Lip Value Set has 16 lipsticks, lip stains, and glosses for $60.00. 

Sephora Favorites Give Me More Lip Set includes products from OCC, Stila, Bite Beauty, Laura Merceir, Buxom, Tarte, and more. The shades vary from deeper berry colors to flattering nudes - if you're one of those girls that doesn't actually "finish" a lipstick product (and we're guilty of that!), Give Me More Lip is the best way to reasonably grow your lipstick collection.

Sephora Favorites Glitz and Glam Set is the ideal day to night makeup kit.  Products from Urban Decay, Josie Maran, and Lancome are easily handy to update your beauty bag (the lower price would also make this Sephora set a great gift!). Sephora Favorites Super Stars Set is curated with an assortment of Sephora's bestselling products.  The Super Stars kit has 9 full sized items and 3 deluxe samples (again, the price is well worth the investment for what is included).  There is also a Sephora Favorites Lash Stash Kit but because mascara ingredients degrade quicker and there are 11 mascaras, I'd recommend one of makeup value kits (of course, if you're a mascara junkie and use it often, this is your dream come true!). 

The Sephora Value Sets are a perfect way to add beauty favorites to your makeup collection - these are tried and true items from popular brands that are guaranteed to look and work wonderfully. 

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.   

L'Oreal Le Matte Colour Riche Lipstick Swatches - L'Oreal Matte-r of Fact

October 13, 2020

If you're still on the look out for a fall matte lipstick, stick around to read about the L'Oreal Le Matte Matte-r of Fact pencil.  Part of a limited collection, L'Oreal released four Colour Riche La Laque lip products and four Colour Riche La Matte lip products.  I had difficulty locating this display but my sister was kind enough to lend me her L'Oreal Matte-r of Fact lip pencil (and by lend, I mean reluctantly let go and asked me to take extra care of it).

L'Oreal Le Matte Matte-r of Fact 404 is a fully matte lip product in a dark red, brownish color. This Le Matte product has great pigmentation, and the color is buildable from a red wine stain to vampy red lips.  Unlike some other matte lipsticks I own, Matte-r of Fact applied easily and did not emphasize dryness, although it did feel somewhat dry (I recommend using some chap stick prior to use).  The most negative aspect of the Le Matte line is the lasting power - this particular shade lasted only around three hours but it did leave behind a beautiful red stain.  The packaging is sleek and easy to carry but the applicator needs to be sharpened or maintained in its shape.  

Despite its flaws, L'Oreal Le Matte in Matte-r of Fact is simply a beautiful, rich shade - my fiance immediately noticed when I applied this lipstick (noticed in a good way!).  This vampy red is the quintessential "fall color" and should compliment any skin tones with its matte yet smooth formula - this one is a must-buy for me!  

Stay Pretty, Miranda M. 

Dainty Necklaces and Understated Jewelry

October 12, 2020

I'm am picky with jewelry because I usually wear only a few pieces and my work is conservative. While I enjoy a chunky, statement necklace for weekend events, most of my necklaces are understated.  For this post, I'm showing you five of my favorite jewelry pieces - these necklaces are delicate, cute, and perfect for most occasions.  With jewelry, I find it's a good idea to invest in items that are of quality - this can mean anything from a department store to a high end retailer and can include any materials/finishes that suit your budget.  Ultimately, the piece should be flattering, classic, and suited to your style.

My fiance gifted me a Tiffany & Co. chain link necklace for our eighth anniversary - the craftsmanship is exquisite and the quality is top notch.  This particular piece has a tiny diamond above the triangle detail but the diamond is barely visible, enough to add sparkle without being ostentatious.  The glass heart necklace was a gift from my mom who absolutely loves jewelry (and her collection shows it!). The writing necklaces featuring the word "faith" and initial "M" are my way to add personality when accessorizing (plus, these are lovely gifts from my sister). My philosophy with accessories is that less is more, and the less distracting, the better. Style aside, each of these necklaces has sentimental value, and I enjoy wearing them because they remind me of my family.

I'd love to add some more dainty necklaces to my collection so let me know your recommendations!

Stay Pretty, Miranda M.

Ipsy September Glam Bag

October 9, 2020

I realize my October Ipsy Bag is on its way, but I couldn't wait to share what I received in my September Ipsy Glam Bag.  The Classic Beauty theme was appropriate for fall and included all the necessary beauty products for a "classic" kit. I was more and more excited with every item I pulled out of the bag - this month, Ipsy was definitely worth the investment.

Jesse's Girl Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is a sleek, liquid eyeliner pencil that has a precise, soft brush. Unfortunately, this product tends to smudge easily and doesn't have an absolute black pigmentation  - however, the liner is handy for on-the-go touch-ups because of its packaging and ease of application. NYX Cryptonite eyeshadow is a graphite grey with a lot of glitter.  This particular NYX eyeshadow is not strongly pigmented but I actually enjoy the softer color, it's perfect for blending and creating an everyday makeup look.  I haven't tried the It's So Big Volumizing Mascara by Elizabeth Mott, but most online reviews are positive. Mascara ingredients degrade once a tube is open and touches air so when I get through my stash of mascara samples, I'll be sure to give this one a try. Because a classic beauty needs a classic lip color, Cailyn Cosmetics Tinted Lip Balm in "Big Apple" provides a matte red tint.  The Cailyn lip balm also comes with a handy, built-in brush that enables a precise application. I was surprised this is labeled as a "lip balm" because the color is very strong (in a good way!).

My favorite product from the Ipsy Glam Bag is a miniature Butter London Nail Polish in "La Moss."  As is the case with Butter London, the packaging is beautiful, the quality is top notch, and the color is gorgeous! Butter London La Moss is a glossy, oxblood red that was recently used on the runway shows at Rachel Roy and Dannijo at New York Fashion Week.  La Moss is the perfect color for fall and the cute nail polish bottle is an added bonus.

Because Ipsy has increased bag variation, I was very luck to receive these lovely products - now, it's time to look forward to the October Ispy Glam Bag goodies.  Subscribe to Ipsy here (affiliate link).

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M. 

My Favorite Highlighter - Milani Eyeshadow Runway Eyes

October 4, 2020

You may be confused by the title.  How can the Milani Runway Eyes eye shadow be my favorite highlighter? Well, it' a short story but you've read that right, if I can recommend any highlighter it would be these baked shadows. I was getting ready for an event and stopped at the drugstore to pick up some fast makeup (because I was late, of course).  I ran to the Milani display remembering they have beautiful highlighters, and in my rush, grabbed a compact with pink, glittery powder.  I thought the applicator was odd but didn't really stop to think about it (again, the lateness).  Fast forward to a few days later, I realized this is an eye shadow but the product was doing wonders for my cheekbones (and voila, my favorite, best highlighter!) 

Milani Runway Eyes has several neutral shades in this line and each is a baked, pearly, glitter fine goodness.  Milani Eye Shadow Runway Eyes #16 in Peaches and Cream is a soft peach color with a pearl finish - when I apply Peaches and Cream over my blush, the blush is warmer with an almost bronze finish.  Milani Eye Shadow Runway Shadow #5 in Girls Luv Pink is the best highlighter (I mean it!) - the pink color transfers lightly and all you see is a shimmery, almost wet finish.  No matter what color blush you are wearing, dabbing a bit of Milani Girls Luv Pink would add dimension and a gorgeous flush.  For the affordable price, both products also last very long due to their baked texture.

Keep in mind this Milani line is sparkle-central and long lasting so apply only a small amount. I've used this for more than a year almost daily and had no reaction or spots.  If you're still looking for the best highlighter, think outside the box, be adventurous, and give Milani products a try (their actual highlighters are wonderful as well!). 

Stay Pretty, Miranda M. 

Lighting Sky and Gold Aztec Nails

October 2, 2020

This summer, my sister and I both visited home in Texas and relaxed with our family before starting work and school. Texas summer weather is unpredictable and yet somehow expected if you've lived there before - it could be mid-afternoon and the sky is black with a thunderstorm, and ten minutes later, it'd be nice and sunny.  Inspired by this constantly changing weather, I created a thunder nail art design with bright Aztec gold accents.  The stormy sky background is based on our Galaxy nails tutorial and the gold nail accents are based on this geometric striped pattern.

For geometric nail art, I love having the natural nails peek through so the pattern is not too distracting (plus, this adds dimension to the design).  The more tricky part of this nail art is creating the lighting effect - using an opaque white nail polish carefully outline and blend in the lighting strike (add dabs of glitter to imitate a starry sky).  Because I've been thoroughly impressed with the quality of Sally Hansen polishes, I used all Sally Hansen products (Sally Hansen Water Color #570 Complete Salon Manicure swatch, Sally Hansen Wedding Glitters #110 Complete Salon Manicure swatch, and Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Nail Color).

Stormy skies and gold Aztec patterns may not be what first comes to mind when creating nail art, but I absolutely love the edginess of this design.

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M. 

Revlon Super Lustrous - Iconic Limited Edition

October 1, 2020

Makeup is a part of history.  And in 2014, Revlon will bring back history in the form of lipstick shades from various eras.  Revlon recently held a poll for all fans and officially announced which five iconic Super Lustrous shades will be re-released. All Super Lustrous Revlon lipsticks look absolutely beautiful and even when voting, I had a hard time picking a favorite (I'm a huge fan of Revlon lipsticks as evidenced by my extensive collection).

Did you know that Revlon Cosmetics was founded in the 1930s and was initially selling only nail enamel to beauty salons? Revlon was originally created by Charles Revson and chemist Charles Lachman who contributed the "L" in the Revlon name - over the years, Revlon added lipstick shades and other beauty products.  I searched online for vintage Revlon ads, and I did find all the Super Lustrous lipstick shades - so, when these limited edition lipsticks re - release, you can wear a shade sold in the 1940s or 1960s.

No matter the quality or availability (I realize these will be difficult to find), I am intrigued by the notion of wearing lipstick shades from throughout history.  Somehow, just looking at the Revlon press release, I can see the trends of each era.  We all have our way to connect with the past and be blissfully nostalgic - and just for that, I look forward to wearing these iconic and timeless Revlon shades.

Stay Pretty, Miranda M.