Saturday, November 28, 2015

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade | Review & Swatch

Hello! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday! Today I bring you my overdue review of Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in the shade "medium brown".  I started using this product over 6 months ago and it has been my go-to brow product when I wear a full face of makeup.

The product is 0.14 oz and retails for $18, but a little goes a long way. One jar will probably last me forever or until it eventually dries out.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Money saving tipEbates cashback program is offering 8% cash back for Sephora (sometimes they offer 10%!). Also, my Discover credit card offers 10% cash back for Sephora.  Definitely look for cashback bonuses before you purchase!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I typically go in first with my ABH brow wiz in "granite" (my review here) to lightly outline the shape my brows, then I follow up with the Dipbrow Pomade in "medium brown" to fill in all the sparse areas.  If I want a more defined brow I will clean up the edges with concealer and set with a clear brow gel.

  • waterproof, sweat-proof, smudge-proof
    • when in contact with water, it doesn't budge unless you very forcefully rub it off
    • the product won't even smudge if you rub it, it just fades

  • great lasting power
    • can wear this for 8+ hours and it'll still look the same at the end of the night

  • versatile and buildable
    • achieve either a soft natural brow or a bold defined brow depending on how much product is used

  • applies smoothly
    • the creamy formula glides on nicely with no patches or skipping

  • great color selection
    • currently available in 11 different shades ranging from warm to cool undertones
    • the 'medium brown' shade matches my black Asian hair naturally

    • a little goes a long way

    • beautiful, solid packaging 

    • requires some practice to master the technique to achieve a natural brow
      • I feel like I still haven't perfected the art of applying the dipbrow

    • not as quick & easy to use compared to ABH brow wiz or any other brow pencil
      • I don't use the dipbrow pomade on a daily basis because it takes a lot longer for me to apply it compared to just using a brow pencil

    Here are side by side swatches: brow wiz in "granite" and
    a heavy vs lighter dipbrow pomade swatch in "medium brown"

    top: bare brows with no product
    bottom: ABH brow wiz for outline + filled in with pomade

    Dipbrow Pomade packaging

    Packaged in a sleek and sturdy glass jar

    I decided on "medium brown" to match my black hair
    since it's a cooler brown with very little warm undertone.

    There are a lot of other color options to match black hair but the medium brown
    is the only one I've tried so far. Since I like the match, I haven't really found any
    reason to try other colors like "granite", "ebony", "dark brown" or "ash brown".

     I can't even imagine how long this one jar will last me

    To apply the dipbrow pomade I use a Sephora Collection double-ended angled brush with a spoolie on the other side. Unfortunately, the particular brush I use is no longer being sold. The recommended tool to use with the pomade is ABH brush #12.  I think any thin angled brush and a spoolie brush would be sufficient to use with the dipbrow - just practice, practice, practice!

    I do want to note that I don't use my dipbrow pomade on a daily basis for a few reasons. The main one being the fact that it's not a quick and simple routine; plus, it requires the use of a separate brush and spoolie.  Also, my daily routine typically only consists of filling in my brows with a brow pencil, putting on eyeliner, curling my lashes, and applying a quick sweep of bronzer. I usually only reach for my dipbrow pomade if I'm wearing eye shadow so my brows don't overpower my face.

    I've already written an entire blog post about the struggle of finding a natural color match for black hair. But I must give it up to Anastasia Beverly Hills for having a superb color selection for all their brow products. Overall, I'm very happy with my dipbrow pomade and it is a must-have if you want to achieve those defined bold brows that are trendy these days.

    Feel free to explore my other reviews on some other brow products:

    Monday, November 9, 2015

    Holiday Themed iPhone 6/6s Wallpaper | Free Downloads

    It seems some have lost a tad bit of that winter season festivity with the Starbucks plain red cup controversy. While I couldn't care less about what is or is not on my disposable coffee cup, I decided to create a range of November/December holiday themed iPhone wallpapers for those who want to bring a touch of festivity to this season. No matter what holiday we do or do not choose to celebrate, we can all at least appreciate snowflake designs, no? Enjoy!











    I'll be adding more in the upcoming weeks; stay tuned!

    NYE / New Year's Wallpaper Backgrounds:


    Sunday, October 4, 2015

    Everlane Petra Market Tote | Review & Photos

    Clearly I am a repeat shopper at Everlane as I have previously reviewed their weekender bag, U neck and V neck t-shirts, and short-sleeved sweatshirts. Today I bring you my review of the leather Everlane Petra Market Tote in black.

    I was back and forth about purchasing the Petra tote for well over a year -- mostly due to the $365 price tag for a simple leather tote. I first became interested when they introduced the beautiful cognac color; unfortunately, that seasonal color was no longer being sold when I finally committed to purchasing the Petra Market.

    I ultimately decided on the black Petra Market tote since it's a timeless color that pairs easily with the majority of outfits. Everlane has since released 'coming soon' photos of new Petra fall colors that will be available on Oct 15. If I hadn't already purchase the black tote, I would totally go for this beautiful camel brown below.

    Now before I get into the actual review of the bag, I have to share my experience with receiving a defective bag and what a wonderful job Everlane's customer service did to rectify the situation. 

    So the tote comes in a drawstring dust bag and has clear protective layers covering the chrome hardware on the straps. To my disappointment, when unboxing my new bag I noticed an odd tarnish to the hardware as I peeled away the protective plastic covering for the first time.

    At first I thought I could wipe off the weird tarnish (or whatever it was) since it looked like a fingerprint -- but nope, the stains would not budge at all. It almost seemed like whoever handled the hardware had some kind of chemical on their hands since the photo above clearly looks like a fingerprint.

    I emailed Everlane's customer service with photos of the hardware but didn't expect a quick reply since it was Saturday morning. But wow, they responded within 15 minutes! The customer service rep informed me the defective hardware is definitely not normal and immediately ordered a replacement bag to be shipped. He also sent me a prepaid shipping label so I could send back the defective bag for their team to look at. Now that's what you call superb customer service.

    I received my replacement Petra Market tote in a few days, and it was in perfect condition.

    Now, on to the actual review!

    • High quality, durable Italian leather
      •  soft, smooth, fine pebble grain
    • High quality stitching
      • stitches are tight, straight, even, and well-secured
    • Gorgeous timeless color choices available (more colors being released soon
      • no color transfer to light color clothing
    • Clean, sleek, logoless design
      •  I'm personally not a huge fan of bags with extremely visible logos, but this is strictly personal preference.
      • The "Everlane" logo is nicely hidden on one of the inside pockets
    • Size: holds a whole lot
      • Dimensions: 21.4" top, 15" bottom, 13.75" height
      • The Petra Market is a bit large for my personal daily use since I don't carry much, but this size is great if you're carrying notebooks, a laptop, flats/commuter shoes, etc.
    • Adjustable 9 inch drop handle straps
      • 3 notches (adjustable by 2 inches) 
      • At 5'4'' I can hold the tote by the handles at my side without it touching the ground
    • Durable ultrasuede interior
      • the ultrasuede is very soft yet doesn't scratch easily
    • Two functional interior canvas pockets
      • Both interior pockets are large and have a snap closure
    • Price: $365
      • I think the price tag is fair for how much quality leather is used to construct this well-made tote. But it's definitely enough $$$ where I felt the need to really take time to contemplate the purchase.
    • Small feet rivets
      • small chrome rivets at the bottom of the bag are too small to be functional
      • sides of the bag will slouch and touch the ground when placed down
    • No zipper or clasp closure
      • I know most totes are open at the top and I personally rarely zipper up my purses that do have a zipper, but I do use and prefer magnetic clasp closures. 
      • This Everlane tote is completely open at the top. This isn't a huge issue as I carry it on my shoulder so it's safely tucked under my arm and close to my body.
    • Quality control
      • Considering the first Petra tote I ordered had defective hardware, I think Everlane can work on their quality control a bit.

    The Petra Market shipped to me in this uniquely shaped box

    Includes a nice drawstring dust bag

    Upon unboxing: handles are nicely protected

    I love the slight upside down trapezoid shape
    rather than a rectangular silhouette

    Close up of the fine pebble grain texture of the leather

    The leather is a perfect thickness: sturdy yet not too stiff

    Straight and even stitching

    Sleek chrome hardware

    Adjustable shoulder straps (3 notch options)

    What the strap looks like when set on the middle notch

    The extremely tiny foot rivets on the bottom of the bag

    The "Everlane" logo is nicely hidden on the interior of the tote

    Interior canvas pocket with snap closure

    The two interior canvas pockets are very large/deep

    Size of the Petra Market on my 5'4'' frame

    I can fit my 13" macbook pro, notebook, wallet, keys with plenty of space to spare

    This bag has the potential to hold so much!

    One of the main reasons I kept going back and forth about purchasing this bag was because I never saw it in person and couldn't find any videos online that showed the details of the bag, the quality/texture of the leather, etc. I told myself if I buy this bag, I will post a video on YouTube. 

    I hope this helps someone with their decision!

    Comparison to some other leather totes on the market:
    Plain leather totes are sold by a plethora of brands with prices ranging from affordable to slightly outrageous. Some other brands with similar style totes include: Mansur Gavriel, Madewell, Cuyana, Tory Burch, Kate Spade, and many more.

    I seriously considered the Cuyana classic leather tote since it's only $150 and available in various beautiful colors, but it's slightly smaller and I personally didn't like how pebbled the leather looked. I also prefer the slightly trapezoidal shape of the Everlane Petra over the more rectangular boxy shape of the Cuyana tote. Sidenote: if you're looking for a leather tote with a zipper, Cuyana has them for $195.

    The Mansur Gavriel large tote comes with a small detachable pouch/wallet but is slightly smaller than the Everlane Petra Market, doesn't have adjustable shoulder straps, and has a higher price tag of $595.

    Madewell has a standard leather tote for only $168 which is a great price! Again, this tote is smaller than the Petra Market and has a more rectangular/boxy silhouette. The stitching on the Madewell tote just doesn't look as sleek as the Everlane totes.
    Tory Burch has a smaller leather tote for $395, Kate Spade's leather tote runs around $298, Ted Baker's version of a leather tote goes for $289, a Nina Ricci shopper tote is $990, and a Mark Cross pebbled leather tote is $1,295.  These are all lovely totes but they are generally smaller and have more hardware and/or the logos plastered on the exterior for the bag. I just love how simple, sleek and chic the Everlane Market looks.

    If you're not looking to shell out too much for a simple tote, there are often similar faux leather options available at H&M and other retailers that often go for less than $50.
    The Everlane site states the "traditional retail" for a tote like the Petra Market would be $1300, and they break down the transparent pricing of their tote to explain how they derived their retail price of $365.While $365 is not cheap, I still feel it is a reasonable price tag for the quality of bag. What I'd like to see is some improvement on the chrome finishes as I have doubts it will withstand the test of time considering I initially received a tote with "faulty" hardware. Only time will tell.

    I still need to give my Everlane tote more wear and tear before I can come back and do an update on how it holds up.  

    Let me know what leather totes you've owned and how they have fared with daily use!