Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review: e.l.f. Disney Villains Look Books

One of my many guilty pleasures is watching makeup guru videos on YouTube, so last year when I came across a video that announced the launch of an e.l.f. makeup palette featuring Disney villains, my eyes were glued to the screen. How perfect! Something that combined two of my favorite things: makeup and Disney. These special products were out for a limited time at Halloween and only at select Walgreens. I immediately jumped in the car to find them. After all, looking good is still a part of domestic bliss...

I purchased one of each of the three featured villains (Cruella, Evil Queen, and Maleficent) and let my mom and sister each pick one and kept the last one for myself. I ended up with Maleficent.

This year, they launched the look books again, but in addition to the three villains mentioned above, Ursula joins the bunch. My sister was so excited and inspired by the one I gifted her last year, when she spotted that they maybe another appearance this year, she picked up one of everything just for me. I was very excited, but thought I should share, at least a little bit, so I convinced her to keep the Evil Queen set for herself.

Last year, each look book contained a set of false eyelashes. This year, instead of the false eyelashes being included, they were sold separately. The lashes are actually ARDELL brand versus e.l.f. and each villain has three sets of different (and flashy) false eyelashes with glue. I didn't even try the included lash glue last year: it looked like superglue and scared me. This addition looks much better.

Beyond that, e.l.f. also put out a nail polish set that includes three colors for each villain. The colors are great to look at, but I haven't actually opened the bottles yet, so I can't speak of the quality. There are also a set of hair ties that belong to each villain and yep, you guessed it, I got those, too! Is my sister the best or what?

But let's get back to this year's look books. Each package includes: a mascara, pencil eyeliner, liquid eyeliner, a six-color eyeshadow palette, eye primer, and eyeshadow brush, and a lip gloss. Each villain has her own distinct eyeshadow and lip colors, but the products are all the same.

The Breakdown:

Mascara - This mascara is certainly nothing to write home about. It's fine. It's actually better than I thought it would be. It does a good job separating the lashes, but I felt it left them looking thin. Maybe it would work as a second coat on top of a thickening mascara, but it didn't do much defining by itself.

Would I purchase separately? No.

Pencil eyeliner - What I enjoy about this pencil liner is that it doesn't pull or tug on the eyelid. Even just a light touch and you will deposit a thin black line; however, the pencil doesn't smudge well at all. It creates a precise line, but if you're going for a smokey eye, you may find yourself wiping it right off versus giving your eye a smoldering effect. Note: I didn't try it in the waterline, which I suspect it may actually be good for. I have extremely sensitive eyes and typically do not have good reactions to products applied to my waterline.

Would I purchase separately? No.

Liquid eyeliner - This liner has a good applicator. You can apply it in thin strokes or longer swooshes. It's jet black and dries that way. Another plus. The formula is a little more watery than I like, but it goes on easy without drying too quickly so you can touch it up a bit if you don't get the shape you were aiming for the first swipe. Once it dries, it stays in place. It kind of reminds me of paint. Quite a good liquid liner really.

Would I purchase separately? Possibly, if I were looking for a fun look. I usually prefer a gel liner pot or creamier pencil.

Eyeshadow palette - This is obviously the main reason to buy this product other than the fun factor. I was really happy that this year the eyeshadow palette actually came in a case with a mirror so you could add it to your regular makeup collection or throw it in your purse. The colors for each villain are different, but the quality is surprising good. With the included eye primer, the color lasted all day without creasing. The pigmentation payoff was surprisingly good and with the mixture of matte and metallic colors you can create great day or evening looks. The only complaint I have with the eyeshadow palette is that there are no color labels on the compact itself. Once you take it out of the package, you don't know what the names are. Note: I do not know if these are special colors just for the books or if they are colors normally in the e.l.f. line just with new names to complete the package.

Would I purchase separately? Yes. I was more than happy with this shadow, the textures, the colors, and the pigmentation. I'd actually choose it over some of my most expensive eyeshadows.

Eye primer - I was really pleased with this eye primer. The color is nude and it's a thin liquid that dries to a powder texture almost immediately when you blend it with your finger. I applied it under the eyeshadow. It didn't create a cakey texture and lasted all day. I think I actually like it better than the Smashbox and Urban Decay primers that I have, though not as much as Too Faced Shadow Insurance, all of which make my top cut. I'd also be willing to bet, when purchased separately, it's a lot more affordable than the aforementioned!

Would I purchase separately? Definitely. It worked great and had an appealing consistency. It also competes with my high priced eye primers.

Eyeshadow brush - This brush is full-size which is nice. It actually has bristles, and it isn't a sponge-tipped applicator so it's already better than what a lot of palettes come with. It's kind of a short-bristled, flat, rounded shader brush. I'd say it's somewhat comparable to a MAC 239 brush. Obviously, not as high quality, but really actually decent to have on hand for quickies. Mine were all bent slightly upwards when I first took them out of the packaging, but began to lay flat after a only a short time.

Would I purchase separately? It wouldn't be my first choice of makeup brush for everyday use, but it's nice to have as part of a bigger collection. It's good for patting eyeshadow on and would probably work well for cream eyeshadows as well. I like having extra brushes for cream shadows because they get messy so quickly.

Lip gloss - Of course we all have more lip gloss than we know what to do with, and this one is just your run of the mill lip gloss. I will give it credit for not being sticky. Sticky lip glosses just annoy me. It didn't seem moisturizing, but it wasn't drying. It gave a pretty, sheer wash of color. Again, it's fine. Nothing special. But as you might already know about me, I'm really a lipstick girl anyway.

Would I purchase separately? It's not that I didn't like this, I just probably wouldn't buy any lip gloss at the moment. I just have so many already!

Overall, just for the fun of Halloween, makeup, and Disney Villains, these look books were worth the price as a treat. But the fact that these goodies actually produced pretty, everyday, wearable looks made them a real steal. Now factor in the idea that (especially with the additional purchase of the eyelashes) you can kick it up and notch and add some more festive looks, you really can't go wrong with these sets!

Well, maybe buying every single piece of every single set was a bit costly so don't get carried away...or do!

These were a nice step up from last year and I would definitely buy them again next year. It's a exciting new tradition to add the the mix. Personally, I'll take makeup over pumpkin guts any day! Happy Halloween all!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Domestic Bliss Tip - Homemade Wood Polish

While I was browsing Procrastination Central a.k.a. Pinterest the other day, I came across an all natural recipe for Wood Polish. Actually, I came across several, but this simple recipe called to me. It required little effort and only two economical ingredients: olive oil and distilled white vinegar. The recipe I saw called for 3/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup vinegar, but I was skeptical whether this would work or not. I just used the 3:1 ratio and mixed together 3/4 tsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp vinegar. I dipped my microfiber rag into the concoction and got to work.
My results:
The wood looks revitalized in my opinion. Of course the deeper scratches will still require sanding and refinishing, but this is a quick and easy trick that does make wood visually appealing in a snap. I even used it on my wooden banister that the cat has clawed up. Again, a huge improvement but it won't fix the deep marks. It may not be a perfect solution, but it definitely fits into greening my environment. And it helps while I'm following FlyLady, making things look prettier!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Domestic Bliss Tip - Removing Drywall from Clothing

If you've been here before, you probably already know that I'm a self-professed perfectionist which keeps me from getting a lot of things done. It's like there is a really mean boss-lady inside of my head, but I can't quit my job because boss-lady is actually me! On the bright side, this means she can't actually fire me even though it hasn't stopped her from trying over the years.

Every time I even have an idea for a blog, that boss-lady is there challenging the quality of my ideas. If I can actually find a topic to please her, she may let me begin to draft it. But this process is longer and more daunting than one would typically imagine. So this evening I decided as part of my journey to domestic bliss, I'm going to start going right over her head. I may not always have the best idea for a blog post, or a great story, or perfect picture to go along with it. Who cares? Probably only her.

So for my very first Journey to Domestic Bliss (JDB) Tip, I want to share something I just learned this evening. You may never even encounter such a problem, but now if you do, you will be lucky enough to have the answer.

JDB Tip - If there is ever a time when you end up with loose, crumbled drywall on your clothes, brushing it away with your head won't get you all cleaned up. You'll actually need to vacuum the dry dust off the material to be rid of it.

Silly subject I know, but after we installed our new walk-in closet, my husband had to do some last minute adjustments. This left about a quarter of my blazers and jackets covered with a fine dust of drywall and me looking for a solution. So there you have it. Hoover away!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

TAG: The Sunshine Award

I have to admit, I'm pretty excited to have been tagged by Ashley over at GreenBeautyLife. If you aren't yet familiar with her blog, you should really check it out! She's a girl after my own heart, trying to go green with her cosmetic choices and she does some excellent reviews on products. Honestly, I could read her blog all day.

As I've just gotten back into blogging, I don't have as many posts as I would like, so what better a way to let you know a bit more about me to add this award post and also introduce you to some other blogs you may not have come across yet.

Here are the rules for the Sunshine Award:
  • Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  • List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve the recognition.
  • Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all of them know that they have been nominated.

    11 Random Facts About Me:
    1. I'm a recovering perfectionist. My mantra is: I'm not perfect, as that's okay, as long as I'm doing  the best I can.
    2. I have seen every episode ever aired of the "Real Housewives" franchise.
    3. I hate the taste of beer. I'm all about champagne.
    4. Some of my favorite jewelry pieces are from Tori Spelling's HSN line.
    5. I'm obsessed with makeup, but most days I don't even wear it.
    6. I'm a brunette, my husband is a blond, and my baby girl is a redhead...every time we walk into a room it's like the opening line of a joke.
    7. I'm a bit of a hoarder.
    8. I do most of the reading in the bath, even on my iPad and Kindle.
    9. I'm kind of a know-it-all and I hate that about myself.
    10. I have over 50 pairs of shoes.
    11. My favorite sound in the entire world is my baby girl's laugh.
    11 Questions from Ashley:
    1. What is your favorite article of clothing that you own?
    Tough question! I have a lot of clothes. And I certainly have a favorite pair of shoes, but if I had to pick a favorite article of clothing it would be my Michael Kors black leather motorcycle jacket with lots of silver hardware. It looks good with almost everything!
    2. Favorite place you've ever been?
    Venice, Italy on my honeymoon. I swoon just thinking about it.
    3. Favorite scent?
    Another tough one. I also have a ton of perfume. I love Dior, Hypnotic Poison and the original Burberry.
    4. Would you rather have a chocolately dessert or fruity one?
    Chocolately, all day, any day. But add some raspberry and that's just sinful!
    5. Name a weird habit that you just can't shake!
    I save old voicemails. I want to be able to hear people's voices even after they're gone.
    6. What color are your nails right now?
    They're completely bare at the moment. I wash my hands so frequently at the moment!
    7. Name one beauty product that you continuously repurchase.
    Avon's lipgloss in "Magnificent Mauve."
    8. Favorite movie/TV show?
    For years it has been "What Not to Wear" so I guess I will have to find a new one soon. Heartbreaking!
    9. Favorite type of food?
    I love Italian food. Except pizza. I'm not a big fan of pizza.
    10. How big is your makeup collection?
    So big! It fills my bathroom and spills out into my bedroom. And you can find more in more purse and pretty much every room in the house. It just keep growing and growing.
    11. Favorite place to go shopping?
    I'd love to go to Nordstrom any day for the atmosphere, but I love JC Penney's affordable prices and trendy styles. 
    Tag, You're It! The 11 Bloggers I Tag!
    My 11 Questions for You 
    1. What inspires you the most in life?
    2. What advice would you give you yourself from five years ago?
    3. If you could change any body part, what would it be?
    4. What's your go to outfit for a casual, crisp Fall day?
    5. Name your favorite magazine.
    6. If you had to recommend a good book to a friend, what would that book be?
    7. What is the one song, that whenever you hear it, you can't help but shake your groove thing?
    8. Do you have a signature scent?
    9. What's your go-to recipe?
    10. Where are you going on your next vacation?
    11. What's the best compliment you've ever received?
    Okay, I can't wait to hear your answers! I hope you have as much fun with this little exercise as I did!


    Wednesday, October 16, 2013

    Homemade Rosemary Leaf Extract

    While I'm working on some projects to try and become more blissfully domesticated, I don't have one to share just yet. But in the meantime, if you're interested in greening your environment, check out my latest post on Green My Beauty Routine about my attempt at making my own Homemade Rosemary Leaf Extract!

    Thursday, October 10, 2013

    Green My Beauty Routine

    I love cosmetics. I'm a makeup junkie, my perfume collection could keep a dozen people smelling delicious for a lifetime, and I have a beauty product for just about any task you can think of: dry skin, blemishes, oily hair, sunburns, sunscreen, faux sun, stretch marks, spider get the idea.

    It wasn't until I was pregnant that I started paying attention to what I was actually putting onto my skin. I thought about what I might be absorbing into my skin, and in turn, what my baby might then be absorbing. Figuring out which ingredients were safe and which weren't was a daunting task. Decidedly, I stopped using most of my cosmetics cold turkey.

    One day while at the library, I was thumbing through some books about makeup. I glanced up and realized there were quite a few on DIY natural cosmetics. Well, I love a good project and even more, picking up a new hobby, and thus, in idea was born. I gathered up some of the books, took to internet research, and added another aspect to my journey to domestic bliss.

    My first foray into making my own natural cosmetics right from my own kitchen was easy enough. Lipstick was how I began my obsession with cosmetics. My grandma's hot pink lipstick was my gateway drug. It sounds funny to say it out loud, but it's been a life-long dream of mine to make my own lipstick.  It only seemed right that it would be my original undertaking.

    So I got to work. I ordered a few of the harder to find ingredients online, but collected most of what I needed from Walgreens. While you can make it without a true lipstick mold, I just felt like it wasn't lipstick if it wasn't in the pretty shape you find in the professional tubes. I ordered that online, too.

    My first two homemade lipstick creations!

    In the end, I had some beautiful, natural, moisturizing tubes of lipstick. I made them in very little time and it was fun imagining up the colors. My only complaint is that it paints only a sheer wash of color on my lips. It does work well for everyday color, a slight pick me up. On the agenda for the next time though, formulating a more pigmented option.

    In addition to this blog, I've dedicated a separate blog to hold all my recipes. My trials and my errors. For more info and recipes check it out: Green My Beauty Routine