Sunday, April 19, 2015

NYX Eyebrow Pencil | Review & Photos

Happy Sunday! I am back with another review for a black-hair-friendly eyebrow product. I've already done enough whining in my previous posts regarding the lack of brow products that naturally compliment black hair, so let's just get straight to the review for the NYX Automatic Eyebrow Pencil in the color charcoal.

  • Affordable (1 pencil 0.5 oz, retails for $4.99 at Ulta)
  • Easy to apply
  • Easy to remove
  • Buildable color
  • "Charcoal" matches black hair (also available in 7 other shades)
  • Tip is not round, allowing you to make thin or thick lines easily
  • No need to sharpen

  • Not waterproof
  • Rubs off easily
  • Formula is dry so it doesn't glide on very smoothly
  • Brush end is too soft

More Photos:
Top: my bare brows with no product
Bottom: with NYX brow pencil "charcoal"

NYX Automatic Brow Pencil in "charcoal"

This is how much product it comes with.

 Notice the chalky look; the formula is on the dry side

Notice the tip is not round
This allows creating a thin or thick line depending on how you hold it

Left: 2 strokes /// Right: 1 light stroke
As you can see, the product is quite buildable

Close-up of the brush end

I recently found these pencils at Nordstrom Rack for $4.75
(yay, saved a quarter)

This NYX brow pencil is inexpensive and a great color match for those with jet black hair. Definitely check out the "charcoal" color if you're looking for a brow product with no warm undertone. This pencil has absolutely no warm or red undertone to it -- so the "charcoal" color would probably only suit those with black hair.

Unlike most other brands, NYX makes this pencil in "black" -- a true black. I did swatch the "black" color in stores and felt it would be way too dark to use for my sparse brows; if anything, I would only consider using it to define the tail of my brow.

Unfortunately, the pitfall of this affordable product is lack of lasting power. I found the product rubs off very easily and fades throughout the day. Even the soft brush on the other end of the pencil rubs off the product a bit too much.

As of right now, my daily go-to affordable eyebrow pencil is still the $2.80 Forever 21 retractable brow pencil.

For more eyebrow product reviews, check out my post here:

I hope this was helpful!
Please share your favorite brow products in the comments!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

iPhone 6 Wallpaper Backgrounds | Free Download

Switching up your iPhone wallpaper is a quick and simple way to add that extra personal touch to the ever popular iPhone. Change your wallpaper to match the current season, holiday, or your current mood. I personally like to rotate through different backgrounds for inspiration and motivation throughout the week.

Check out my previous post featuring different iPhone 6 wallpapers!

To save/download these free backgrounds:
Right click and select "view image", then right click again and select "save image as".

Enjoy some more that I recently created:

Pastel Color & Wood Grain Pattern Wallpaper (+/- "Live Life"):

Paint Brush Stroke Stripes / Tiffany Blue / Gold Glitter Heart:


Ombre Pastel Peachy Pink Brush Strokes:
LOVE / Heart / Coffee Addict / Jet Setter

"When you love what you have, you have everything you need":

Open Ocean Waters, Love/Dream + infinity symbol:


Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 6, 2015

How To Clean Beauty Blender | blendercleanser solid

I have owned my Beauty Blender for about a year now and I love it!  I was a tad late jumping on the BeautyBlender bandwagon, but I now cannot imagine applying foundation without it.

I used disposable makeup sponges to apply my liquid foundation for the longest time and couldn't fathom why anyone would be willing to dish out almost 20 bucks for a single makeup sponge. Well, you know that saying "don't knock it until you try it"? Yup, that's the perfect phrase to describe my experience with this awesome egg shaped makeup sponge.

In my opinion, the beautyblender is a must-have for applying makeup on dry skin. The damp, dense, soft sponge yields a flawless makeup application regardless if you're using a liquid, cream, or powder product. The beauty blender absorbs less product so this avoids waste. It also somehow gives a more smooth finish than other sponges. Flaky uneven patches, be gone!

For a while, my only concern about this re-usable beauty blender sponge was that it stained and took a while to clean. I later discovered I was just cleaning it inefficiently -- with foaming face wash or baby shampoo.  The picture below is what my beautyblender sponge looks like after I wash it with foaming face cleanser. Notice how you can still see some light foundation stains at the tip.

I've always known about the liquid and solid blendercleansers, but was extremely reluctant to give them a try since the liquid retails for $17.95 and the solid for $15.95. Luckily, Sephora was offering a sample size of the solid beautycleanser as a 100-point-perk and I quickly jumped on this opportunity to give it a whirl.

The solid beautycleanser is truly a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I was completely shocked at how quick and painless it was to wash and completely remove any stains from my beautyblender sponge. The picture below is what my sponge looked like after a quick wash with the solid cleanser.

The solid beautycleanser also works wonderfully for cleaning makeup brushes!

How I use my Solid BeautyCleanser:
  1. Turn on the water to a lukewarm temperature
  2. Hold the dry solid beautycleanser in my dry left hand
  3. Wet the dirty beautyblender (or makeup brush) with my right hand
  4. Squeeze the water out so the sponge is damp and not dripping wet
  5. Swirl the beautyblender (or makeup brush) all over the dry solid beautycleanser
  6. Run sponge (or makeup brush) under lukewarm water
  7. Squeeze the sponge to create a lather; watch all the gunk come out
  8. Repeat again if needed, until completely clean stain-free (I usually do this twice)
  9. Wipe the top of the solid beautycleanser with a damp paper towel.
After your sponge is clean, make sure you squeeze out as much excess liquid as you can. I always wrap my sponge with a few paper towels and give it a good squeeze to suck up the extra water. The quicker it dries, the less chance of bacteria to grow in your sponge.

You can definitely wet your solid beautycleanser and run it under water if you want a better "lather", but I find this unnecessary since it uses up more product.  I've been using the steps I described above for weeks now and I have barely put a dent in my sample sized solid beautycleanser.

I seriously love this solid cleanser and my beautyblender and makeup brushes have never felt/looked this clean. It's way quicker/easier to use than baby shampoo or foaming face cleanser. Yes, the full size solid beautycleanser is $15.95, but I'm assure you it will last for a very long time.

Happy cleaning!

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Money saving tipEbates cashback program is offering 4% cash back for Sephora 

(cash back rates vary; the most I've seen for Sephora is 10%!)
Ebates has soo many online sites they offer cash back for.  
Definitely look for cashback bonuses before you make any online purchase!
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Friday, April 3, 2015

Everlane T Shirts | Review & Photos

It's no secret that I love basic comfy shirts -- I'm guilty of having a closet full of basic tees in any imaginable color. Of the many solid colored t-shirts I own, my $15 Everlane t-shirts are the best bang for my buck.

Everlane has been on the climb the last few years, especially since they're now selling more than just t-shirts. This web-based company sells mostly basics and timeless wardrobe staples/accessories. The company boasts the motto "radical transparency", meaning they are forthright in regards to the: cost to manufacture (materials, labor, transport, etc), mark up, and factories utilized for manufacturing.

Since there are no Everlane brick-and-mortar shops, the brand is able to cut down on certain expenses and, in turn, offer lower prices for their goods via online sales. The downside is trying to determine sizing without having to pay the price of making an exchange/return. Let's be honest, sizing charts are helpful but not foolproof. It's important to note that returns to Everlane cost $5.

I've found sizing for Everlane tops vary from style to style; so hopefully my review and photos will help someone out there. This post will be a review on their v-neck and u-neck tees; I will write a separate post for sweatshirts (see my short-sleeved sweatshirt review here).

  • soft and comfortable 100% cotton
  • lightweight but not sheer
  • does not shrink or stretch in the wash 
  • reasonably priced ($15 for a V neck or U neck tee)
  • quality matches price paid
  • available in a variety of colors
  • option to email to get more info on sizing

  • difficult to determine fit before purchasing
  • returns cost $5
  • stitching around the collar needs improvement (see photo further down)

Photos & More Specifics:

First, let's talk packaging. The goodies are shipped in a heavy duty brown paper bag type package.  Well, maybe I shouldn't say heavy duty since mine had a decent size rip at the bottom.  Luckily, there were no damages to the contents inside.

Upon opening, the items were nicely folded and bound.

This is what the U-neck shirts look like laid flat:

 (colors: "red clay" and "light grey")

This is the V-neck shirt laid flat:
(color: antique)
*this looked like a slate blue online in the stock photo, but
in person it looks almost identical to my navy Everlane tee

I am 5'4'' (162cm) and 110 pounds, but I'd consider my shoulders to be slightly broad compared to my body frame (thanks to weight lifting since my high school days).  I prefer the U-neck tee over the V-neck -- but it's just based on body type and personal preference.

The U Neck has a deep scoop neckline, relaxed fit, and dolman sleeves. The wide feminine "U" scoop shows off the collarbone yet isn't too low cut. The dolman sleeves are more forgiving for those with a more athletic build since it smoothly drapes off the shoulder. I really love that the back of the shirt is slightly longer than the front -- it adds a chic style to an otherwise plain tee.  It's easier to find the right fit for the U-neck since it's meant to be rocked as a more relaxed fit. 

The V Neck is more slim and fitted compared to the relaxed U Neck. The sleeves are a bit shorter and more snug. The seam for where the sleeve attaches to the body of the shirt runs from the shoulders down to the armpit; therefore, the sizing/fit needs to be more precise as you want the seam to meet at the corner of the shoulder bone for a flattering fit.

See the photos below for a comparison of the two styles:
(U Neck in XS:  "navy",  "red clay",  and "white")

back; side (notice the slight high-low cut)

(V Neck colors: "antique" in XS,  and "moss" in S)

V Neck: front/back of shirt is the same length

Let it hang or tuck it in :p

My t-shirts are in good shape, but they are either new or have only been through a few washes. On the other hand, my boyfriend has owned his Everlane t-shirts for well over a year now. They've held up well in the washer/dryer except for one aspect: the darn stitching of the collar. 

The stitching around the collar of some t-shirts have held up well, but there are a few that have loosened or unraveled. Quite honestly, I would expect this to eventually happen after numerous washes to a $15 t-shirt. I'm actually surprised a $15 t-shirt has held up this well through so many washes. 

Despite the potential for seams coming apart after a hundred washes, so far I haven't found a t-shirt that is a better bang for my buck than Everlane t-shirts. 

Sure I can buy a similar t-shirt for $5 from Forever21 or H&M, but you really get what you pay for. Some Forever21 basic tees I own have crooked stitching and almost all of them shrank lengthwise in the wash. My H&M t-shirts are very soft and stretchy, but significantly shrink lengthwise after washing (even if I don't ever put it in the dryer). 

Gap and Banana Republic have t-shirts that hold up well in the wash, but they retail at higher price points. Definitely keep your eye out for sales and utilize cash back promotions. I have snagged a number of GAP t-shirts for less than $10 from clearance sales.

As for "high-end" designer t-shirts? Meh. I am not the type of person who is willing (or baller enough) to spend upwards of $50-$100 for a plain tee. They're out there if that's what floats your boat, but no reviews on $85 Alexander Wang or $125 Rag & Bone tees from me. I can't justify making room in my budget for those types of purchases.

Everlane works for me, and I will continue to buy their t-shirts when they come out with more colors. I'm super excited that they have a bunch of new apparel coming out this upcoming year -- I have my eye on the street shoe that is scheduled to launch on May 7!

Maltese doggy photobomb :)

Wow, sorry! I didn't expect this post to be so long. Hopefully it will help someone out there avoid paying $5 for a return/exchange! I'm still waiting for the day where all online shopping will be free shipping and free returns. Actually... that might not be good for my shopaholic tendencies.

I'd love to hear which t-shirt brands you love! Let me know in the comments!

Similar: My Everlane Weekender Bag Review