January 16, 2014

A Haul + Review: E.L.F.

E.L.F. is a wonderful line of inexpensive, quality (mostly), and cruelty-free makeup that I trust. I haven't had problems that went unfixed. (In a order long, long ago, something came broken and they immediately sent two replacements - cool, right?) Their stuff all pretty much averages under $5 unless you're getting a set. Their Essentials line is mostly $1-$2, their Studio line is around $3-$6, and their minerals line is $4-$6. I cannot speak for their mineral line but as for their Essentials and Studio products, this is where I need to be when I want makeup. Also, never order at full price. Almost always, there's a coupon code out, just Google for one, you'll come up with something. (Hint: my original total was about $65, I ended up paying only $35 - including shipping - for everything below.)


I will upload with photos and swatches later but while everything is fresh on my mind, I'm going to scribble down some stuff that's short and sweet about each product. 

Studio Powder Brush ($3) - this is a full-sized flat top brush that I love. I think at one time, I had ten individual brushes with this style all from E.L.F. It's amazing from powder to liquid foundation to cream blush, you need this brush.

Studio Angled Brush ($3) - I use this style of brush for my eye brows only and they have a nice, sturdy one that'll be great to use in lieu of my Revlon one that's on its last leg. 

Studio Pointed Foundation Brush ($3) - What a neat concept. This is a full, well-constructed brush that's going to be great under the eyes and for contouring. I'm impressed with the size, it's shaped almost like a lipstick but symmetrical all around. I can't wait to use this one. 

Studio Contour Eye Brush ($3) - This is another I use strictly for brows and it's a re-buy, mine is getting kinda shabby but what else can I expect after two years of daily wear. I use this for the bulb of my brows or to smudge out liner or crease-work. It's a necessity. 

Studio Small Stipple Brush ($3) - I bought this on a whim. I can already tell it'll be nice for highlighting, cream blush, or under-eye work. It's short, small, and full; very different from their flimsy full-sized stippling brush.

Essentials Professional Blending Eye Brush ($1) - I love this style of brush because I like a darker crease color always. This is a re-buy and I already have many but while I'm browsing, I always repurchase favorites because E.L.F. takes longer than I'd like for shipping and only ordering a few things isn't worth it to me. Great staple.

Studio Baked Highlighter in Moonlight Pearl ($3) - I didn't order this but it was in with my bag of stuff, I think they threw it in on purpose though. Nice! It's a pretty, pearly highlighter and nothing more but it'll be handy! Super shimmery and candle-light like, nice!

Studio Baked Blush in Passion Pink ($3) - It's pretty in the package and comes off very shimmery and light on the skin but still, a nice night-time blush or if I'm looking for a warmer highlight. These baked products are pretty dry but not hard to work with. 

Studio Bronzer in Cool ($3) - "All my life...I've prayed for some(thing) like you..." is what I sang when I got this. I've wanted this since I saw it a couple of years ago and just never took the time to buy it. I needed this so bad and I can't wait to see it in action. It's completely matte and contained four colors: a white, bronze, taupe/bronze, and deep pink shade. Contouring, here I come!

Studio Contouring Blush and Bronzer Duo in Turks Caicos ($3) - These, unfortunately, are glitter bombs but the color is nice. The one on the left is a deeper, darker peach with glitter and the right is a nice deep peachy bronze. I'm not sure how I'll deal with all the sparkle but we'll see. I definitely won't be contouring with this.

Studio Contouring Blush and Bronzer Cream Duo in St. Lucia ($3) - This is like the original duo only cream finish. These have no shimmer. The left side is a nice, deep peachy pink and the right is a deep neutral tone of brown. I can't wait to use these. 

Studio HD Blush Cream in Headliner ($3) - This particular shade is gorgeous but man, this stuff is no joke! A pin-head sized dab would be sufficient for whatever blush you needed. I can't wait to use this. 

Studio HD Setting Powder in Translucent ($6) - I bought two of these, as I can never have enough. This is just straight up silica powder, no fillers, nothing but sweet, smooth skin afterwards. Enough said, I think. It's nice to have so long as you're careful with it. 

Studio HD Undereye Setting Powder ($3) - I thought this would be concentrated translucent powder but no, it's silica powder with microglitter - not shimmer but straight up glitter! I hate glitter but I'm still going to give this a shot. It's nice and smooth but then there's these prom-night-esque bits and chunks here and there. Grr. 

Essentials Sheer Eye Shadow Primer ($1) - For a dollar, this can't be beat. I like this stuff against my Urban Decay Primer Potion, Too Faced, everything. (I do use the Fergie Wet N' Wild Take On the Day Primer on a daily basis but it's essentially the same thing.) You need this, trust me. 

Essentials Eyebrow Stencil Kit ($1) - On a whim, I got these to make my brows go faster in the morning, I hate doing them but I feel incomplete without them. I like these, they're basic but smaller than some you'd find elsewhere. I have some from a beauty supply store and they're similar. Basic, cheap, and useful. 

Studio 32 Piece Eyeshadow Palette in Natural ($6) - This is a big ol' palette full of all things pretty and neutral, just like I like. This has cool, warm, and neutral tones of natural colors. I can't wait to get into this and play. Quality is what you'd expect, some better than others, but I've already found several favorites. On sale, this would make a great buy or a great gift. 

Studio Lash Extending Mascara ($3) - I can't wait to use this. The brush speaks for itself. No comment just yet but I'm stoked to try it!

Essentials Eye Shadow Single in Taupe ($1) - This is the one that you can put into the compact. I just got it to make my order enough to qualify for free shipping. This is certainly not a shade of taupe. It's more of a cool antiqued gold rather than taupe. I'm sort of disappointed. It's pretty, nevertheless. I'll give it a shot. 

Essentials Lipstick in Nostalgic ($1) - These lipsticks are nice, pigmented, creamy, and long-lasting. They even smell good. This color is a nude-leaning-peach type of shade, think MAC Freckle-tone. For  $1, they're definitely worth experimenting with.

January 13, 2014

Buzz Issues: 03 A Rant

So this really may become a series. I care about my coffee that much.
On the subject of decaf and sugar-free...

At my own restaurant a few days ago, my assistant manager (I am below her in "rank" so to speak) took an order for a decaf coffee and all we had made was regular. We were freaking slammed. I went to make a fresh pot of decaf and she runs up to me and says, "decaf, regular...same thing!" and proceeds to pour the decaf-requesting customer a cup of regular. This does not fly with me. I took it from her hand and poured it out, told the customer a fresh pot was on its way, and she happily took a seat.


First of all, you could really mess someone up. A lot of people who want decaf want it because they can't drink regular or they have caffeine sensitivities. My mother, mentioned in the previous post, is a diabetic and it very sensitive to caffeine - it makes her dizzy and she'll eventually get the "shakes." Some people aren't allowed it in their diet prescribed by a doctor and otherwise, it's just unsafe and impolite. I can be almost okay with giving decaf to everyone if you're busy because they'll likely not notice but as for the other way around, no. Just no.

Some people are as sensitive to gluten, sugar, nuts, etc. as anything else. Allergens and food sensitivities need to be taken very seriously in a restaurant, if you work there or if you're ordering out. Watch what is going on.

Until next time, take care and drink up.

Buzz Issues: 02 A Comparison

This is going to be a coffee comparison that I'm going to call the "Buzz Issues" and that means this is Issue 1. Again, maybe someone will find this useful but I can use this as a reference later, as well. Coffee is the biggest part of my day when it comes to what I put into my body and this is probably the first and last thing. I don't have a Starbucks in my area because I live on the dark side of the moon, but today I stopped at McDonald's and Sonic for large coffees.

Both of these are black with french vanilla flavorings. The Sonic cup is regular with french vanilla and the McDonald's cup is decaf with sugar free french vanilla (for Mom - she's at the house painting today). *Personal note, bring up the idea of decaf and sugar free options in restaurants later in this post.

Packaging: I know it sounds silly but let me start with the packaging. Sonic has a really good thing going with their coffees. The plastic lid is sturdy, I like a good, thick paper cup, and the corrugated cozy makes this high-class, let me tell you! McDonald's has a slick foam cup with no cozy and a much thinner plastic lid. I have dropped one or two of these in my time.

Aroma: Sonic's is nice, even, strong, woody, and nutty. McDonald's has a deep, strong smell, too, but slightly sweeter and I think if this is decaf, it was probably older.With aroma, there's appearance and the Sonic coffee was a bit darker.

Taste: Both coffees had a true coffee taste, nothing instant I would assume, but McDonald's tasted older and I'm sure it was. Sonic's was fresher and more bold. Otherwise, they didn't taste too terribly different. But if given the option, I would go for Sonic.

I wish I knew legitimately what each produced used as their brand of coffee. I honestly don't know. Both seem to be Colombian medium roast but who knows. The Sonic coffee was about ten cents more than the McDonald's coffee. Based on that and the facts above, Sonic does make a really nice cup of black coffee. It's just more authentic and fresher.

January 5, 2014

At the end of the day...

It was about 4:00 in the morning when I woke to heat, smoke, and bright flames at the foot of my bed. Something had caught fire this New Year's day and I was in bed when it happened. I don't know what exactly woke me up because I am not scathed in the slightest nor do I know what exactly caught fire and how it grew so big in just a few seconds but I do know that I am thankful to be alive and by the grace of God alone.

I'm just stopping in to say - reporting from my living room now as my bedroom has been made uninhabitable - that at the end of the day, stuff is just stuff and people (and pets) are irreplaceable. Divine providence somehow woke me up and my family and pets (all five dogs, all four cats!) escaped quickly and without incident, although one big, dumpy old dog decided to run back in but found a bed to hide under that wasn't mine. The fire was contained to my bedroom but because most of what caught fire and burned away was polyester, plastic, or otherwise black-smoke emitting, the entire house is covered in soot and grime that isn't easily washed away. But thankfully, clean up is all we've got left and there's no tears to be shed over something like that.

I didn't lose as much as I thought I would have as the family and I were standing outside, freezing, and I, myself, in nothing more than a bathroom and having left my glasses on my bed that caught fire, I knew for sure they were gone. Within an hour, (and after having gotten there in three minutes) the fire department had things under control. I hadn't gotten to see any of it because of my poor eye sight and after saying something about being legally blind, a fireman ran back into the house to pick up my glasses he had put on my dresser. If you ever wanted a scene to depict the word "thankful," that was it. I couldn't stop crying and hugged the fireman at least three times before letting him go.

It all seems so surreal. But again, stuff is just stuff. This was a small house fire. True, my room needs to be deftly replaced in every sense of the word but it was concentrated just there and no where else (besides the mess). And for that, I'm truly thankful. Words cannot express what COULD have been but what wasn't. Again, divine providence and the sheer grace of God is something that couldn't have been more visible.

The tremendous amount of help and love being thrown our way by friends, family, and strangers alike is incredible and tear-inducing. There are people - neighbors and family, mostly, but then strangers too who only heard about the fire are pitching in. It's amazing. Again, I didn't lose much but as my Dad and I crept through the mess on the first look inside, I saw more than I wanted to. A lot of really special things that I loved dearly are gone but at the end of the day, it's all just stuff.

As we approach the end of the holidays, stuff is stuff and family is forever - like it or not. These are the people that walk with you day in and day out, through the very heaviest and the very thinnest of our lives, through the good and the bad and the broke and the comfortable, we've all got someone and if you don't, you're somebody's someone. Pets count here, too. I'll continue to diary things here as there's no where else I can put them. Some upcoming before-and-afters may be okay and some smoke-eater tips and what is best to get the grime off your stuff because boy, let me tell you, I'm going through some lengths to get certain things clean. I now know what works and what doesn't. Anyway. Remember. Stuff is stuff. You can buy "stuff" all day long. I still have a house to come home to and for that, I'm truly thankful.