September 27, 2015

Kat Von D Mi Vida Loca Remix Palette First Impressions

Is it me or are makeup releases this year kind of meh? Personally, I can't say I've felt the hype for beauty launches this year. I think the only brand who's products have really caught my interest is Kat Von D. It seems like she's been having launch after launch after launch this year and has seriously expanded her range. While I originally planned on resisting the Mi Vida Loca palette, when the time came, my Achilles heel for colourful palettes seriously crippled me over. I found myself making an order the same day of release! So was it worth it?

As per usual, I got reeled into purchasing this because of the rainbow of colours and packaging. The eyeshadows are laid out in a colour wheel with an inner circle of 7 neutral shades. The outer circle contains 17 bright shadows. My main issue with the layout is they aren't perfectly aligned with each other. It's an almost perfect palette, but the eyeshadows aren't directly opposite each other like you would expect from an artist's colour wheel.

Although the packaging is pretty, it's really impractical. The palette slides out of the cover just like an old school vinyl album. When I first removed the palette from the original box, I was surprised by how the palette instantly slid out of it's sleeve. It is also much bigger than the size of my face. I can't fit it in any sort of handbag or my train case for possible shoots. Even if I could fit it in any kind of bag, it would more than likely get damaged during transport as the palette slides out too easily.

I found the best performing shadows were the ones with shimmer. As someone with medium skin tone, I found the inner circle of neutral shadows disappointing. However, they do perform well as complementary shadows to the colourful shadows. Which is still a shame as I was hoping for a palette that would be a good all rounder palette for colourful and neutral looks.

I felt like the pigmentation for some shadows were amazing while some were ok. I could create colourful bright looks without the need of a white base and just an eye primer. Expect a little layering with the brighter eyeshadows but generally they were the more pigmented ones. My main issue was with the darker shadows. I felt as though they applied unevenly and required extra effort to blend.

Kat Von D's palettes are raved amongst fellow beauty addicts and while the Mi Vida Loca Remix palette is a good fun palette, I don't feel like this is the best bright palette out there. If you're familiar with the pigmentation of Urban Decay's Electric palette you'll find that performs better than the Remix palette. However, the Kat Von D palette provides more versatility as it contains a mixture of wearable shadows and brights.

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September 22, 2015

7 Highlights From My New York Adventures

If you follow me on Instagram, you'd know that I visited New York earlier this month. After 10 very busy days in the states, I've still not managed to sort out all my photos. Since we covered so much, in a city that's so big, I thought sharing just 5 of my favourite bits would be too few and 10 would take away from how much I enjoyed it. So I'm sharing my 7 personal highlights of my trip to New York, which I admit only covers the Manhattan area.

1. Chelsea Markets
I'm completely unaware of how touristy the Chelsea Market's are considered to be. Personally, I had never heard of them before and only came across it by chance while walking New York's Highline. Aside from being the place where Oreos were created, it's an excellent place to grab a bite of food and find unique gifts for those at home. I personally loved the Artist's and Fleas market within the complex.

2. Top of the Rock
As someone who has been lucky enough to have travelled a bit, I wasn't keen on the idea of going up some building to see the view of a city. I've done this in so many places including Toronto, Paris (twice), Dubai, London. I wasn't looking forward to doing another one but I was pleasantly surprised. Even though we visited around sunset time it wasn't too busy and you get an excellent view of Central Park, the Empire State Building & The Freedom Tower in far distance. If your eyesight is decent enough, you'll even be able to spot the Statue of Liberty.

3. Paley Park
Six minutes away from the Rockerfeller Center you may pass by a hidden gem of which could easily be passed off as just some alleyway if you're not paying attention. It's a small urban park featuring a 20-foot high waterfall. The splashes drowns out the rest of the big city, providing a relaxing escape from the a long day of discovering the city.

4. Book of Mormon on Broadway
This isn't exclusive to New York, Book of Mormon also plays in London (and is cheaper there too). if you're unfamiliar with the Book of Mormon, it's written behind the creators of South Park, which isn't too everyone's tastes. Personally, I'm not a big fan of musicals. I find them a bit too cheesy. However, as all the songs incorporated so much humour in it, I loved it and would easily watch again. I can't remember ever laughing so much throughout any kind of show. I hope to drag my partner down to London to watch it with him.

5. Trinity Church Cemetery
I'm sure this isn't a big deal for New Yorkers, as there are actually quite a few churches all over Manhattan. However this one really stuck out to me as it was right off the end of Wall Street. Walking around each gravestone, you'll discover a little bit of New York's history behind the important figures that were buried there.

6. Morgan Library & Museum
My biggest disappointment while visiting New York, was visiting the New York public library. The main reading room was under construction and there wasn't much to actually see within the building. So instead I headed to the magnificent Morgan Library & Museum. While I paid an entry free, admission is free on Friday's between 7pm to 9pm.

7. McGees - The Bar That Inspired How I Met Your Mother's 'Maclarens'
As a huge fan of the How I Met Your Mother tv show, I knew I had to stop by McGees. It's the bar that the writers used to hang out a lot in and inspired the Maclarens bar in the tv show. On Monday's they have a How I Met Your Mother themed food and drink menu. Including drinks called Robin Sparkles and the Naked Man. I ordered The Best Burger in New York. While I'm not a burger fan, it lived up to the name and I even revisited before leaving to taste that burger one last time before heading home.

Honorable Mention - Soho
My favourite neighbourhood was easily Soho, which is filled with quirky stores. They are home to the bakery that started the cronut. Which is a croissant and a donut in one pastry. The Bite Beauty lip lab where you can create your own custom lipstick shade is also there. They even had an awesome board game cafe and music store that had a respectful amount of metal albums. Sadly, I took 0 photos of the neighbourhood as I was too busy enjoying the time there.
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September 20, 2015

Do MAC Lipsticks Live Up To The Hype?

This post has been due for a long time. I've been on team anti-MAC for a long while. However, I've come to appreciate the brand a lot more (sellout), particularly while doing my makeup course. I love how easy their system is for starting makeup artists, with their range specifically specifying whether foundations are cool or warm tones, how you can match a foundation with a concealer easily and even with a heavily discounted 15 pan warm and cool toned palettes. They are a very makeup artist friendly brand. However, let's highlight the one product that have a knack for selling out and the entire beauty world raves about, those damned MAC lipsticks!

Dodgy Girl - Light Lavender Matte Finish
Heroine - Bright Purple Matte Finish
Rebel - Midtonal Cream Plum Satin Finish
Sin - Deep Dark Blue Red Matte Finish

MAC lipsticks come in a array of different finishes and textures and can range from £15 to £21. I'll only be discussing the standard £15 lipsticks that come in 9 different finishes. Of which, I've only tried two, Matte and Satin.

So do they live up to the hype? Hell no. There is no lipstick out there that deserves to sellout within hours of being available online. It's absurd! There isn't a single lipstick on this planet that is that life changing (although liquid lipsticks come close). However, that doesn't mean they're bad lipsticks. In fact they're better than just ok too.

When I apply MAC lipsticks, they feel almost like a balm over my lips. The creamy consistency isn't something I've ever experienced with most other matte lipsticks. This is bound to vary with each lipstick shade. I find Sin is the only one of the 4 that tugs on my lips with a drier texture. My limited edition dodgy girl lipstick does cling on to dry patches but isn't too unforgiving like some matte lipsticks can be.

They have a light vanilla scent. I generally dislike scented lipsticks however, the scent is so subtle and such a safe choice of smell that it doesn't bother me. I never notice the scent unless I'm literally sniffing the tube.

I find Sin and Dodgy Girl had the best coverage of the lot. With Rebel also having very good coverage for a satin finish. However I find Heroine needs extra building on my lips as it can seem a little sheer on the centre of my lower lip.

I find the darker matte lipsticks to be quite durable. With Heroine and Sin sitting perfectly on my lips for 5 hours. Although, my limited edition one lasts just under 4.

A while ago, I would have said £15 is way too much for a lipstick. However, these days it seems like most non drugstore lipsticks cost a lot more than this now. I find too many mid range lipsticks tend to now average around £18-£20.

So ultimately, would I purchase another MAC lipstick? Yes, I would (Sellout! *scoff* *cough*) Particularly if the lipstick was a truely original colour or maybe for my makeup kit. However, they aren't my go to lipstick of choice and you can still buy drugstore lipsticks that are on par with some MAC lipsticks.

Would I purchase another limited edition MAC lipstick? Only if the quality matches the permanent line.
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September 15, 2015

5 Reasons To Visit Dresden Germany

Now that I'm back dealing with the boring drudgery of everyday life, I thought I'd share some of my recent adventures. The first city I visited in August was Dresden, in Germany. If you were to say you never heard of the city before, I wouldn't judge you as I only heard of the place by chance. A friend of mine from university moved there and as I decided that I was going to visit Berlin anyway, I thought I may as well make a trip to Dresden and am I glad I did. It didn't take long at all to fall in love with the city. So here are my 5 reasons why you need to visit Dresden!

1. It's Easy(ish) To Get To
While flights to Dresden are rather expensive due to their tiny airport, Dresden has direct train connection to major cities both inside and outside of Germany. Dresden is a 2 hours train away from Berlin and Prague. If you were visiting either of these cities for Holiday, it's definitely worth making the train journey for at least a day trip to Dresden. 

2. Lack of Tourists
When I visited the city, I felt like I saw no tourists. This is because the majority of tourists in Dresden are from Germany, so as a foreigner, it felt very authentic and untouched. There are very few buskers and I noticed no scam artists. While it's not dirt cheap, it's rather affordable especially compared to other Major German cities.

3. The Architecture
During World War II, Dresden suffered a horrific amount of damage from the controversial allied bombings. Approximately 75% of the centre of town was destroyed taking 300,000 people with it. Old sites such as the Frauenkirche (first picture) were going to be replaced with a parking lot until locals protested against it. In response to the protest, the government began reconstruction of the church restoring it to it's former glory. It's fascinating to just walk around altmarkt (old town) in Dresden and imagine that most of the beautiful buildings and architecture weren't there decades ago and were rebuilt in it's original form.

4. One of only Two Places that lost it's World Heritage Site
The first city to lost it's status was Oman and Dresden's Elbe Valley is the only other city to have accomplished the same thing. Why did it lose it's status? Because of one modern bridge built across the river. This is partially contributes to the lack of tourists. If you're not a perfectionist and willing to look beyond the one silly bridge, I'm sure you can still appreciate the Valley nontheless, afterall, it spans over 20km!

5. Schlosses, Castles & Palaces
Despite living in the UK, castles are a bit of a novelty for me. Probably moreso as the closest castle to me is in ruins. Palaces and castles, particularly ones in their full form makes me feel like I've walked into a fairytale. There are quite a few castles and palaces both in and near Dresden. My favourites were the Zwinger palace and the grounds by Pillnitz castle.

Agree? Disagree? Have I missed something? Let me know!
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September 13, 2015

Revisiting Colour With Sugarpill's Heartbreaker Palette

...and a few loose eyeshadows. As somone who easily clocks around 40 hours per week in the office, I try tend to avoid wearing bright eyeshadow. However, I'm currently using up all my annual leave before it expires and so I actually had time to play around with one of my favourite indie makeup brands, Sugarpill! Admittedly, I was lacking imagination with this one as I basically just matched my eyeshadow to my hair colour. 

1. Apply eyeshadow primer both on and below the lid
2. Apply a light green shadow (Acidberry) on the inner corner 
3. Top it off with a shimmery light green pigment (Absinthe) for an extra pop 
4. Apply a seafoam shado (Mochi) on the inner 1/3rd of the eye and blend into the inner corner
5. Apply a blue (Starling) eyeshadow between the center of the lid to the outer corner 
6. Blend in a royal blue (Velocity) eyeshadow into the outer crease
7. Apply a faint brown (Tickety Boo) shadow into the crease area
8. Apply royal blue (Royal Sugar) on the outer crease down to the outer 1/3 of the lower lash line
9. Blend in a blue shadow (Starling) on the lower lash line between the two colours
10. Blend in a turquoise shadow (Darling) between the lime green and blue shadow
11. Highlight the brow bone area
12. Add a cat eye, line the lower lash line and finish with mascara.

Products Used

Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation Medium
Urban Decay Naked Loose Powder in Medium
Benefit Rockateur Blush

Urban Decay Anti-Aging Primer Potion
Illamasqua Brow Gel in Strike
Sugarpill Heartbreaker Palette Acidberry, Mochi and Velocity Eyeshadows
Sugarpill Loose Eyeshadows in Royal Sugar, Starling, Darling & Absinthe
MAC Bloody Brilliant palette Tickety Boo (crease) & Spoonful of Sugar (highlight)
Kat Von D Trooper Eyeliner
Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil Eyeliner in Perversion
Urban Decay Perversion Mascara

Jeffree Star Liquid Lipstick in Celebrity Skin
Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Rapture
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September 11, 2015

New York Beauty & Sephora Haul/Damage

I've completely fallen off the bandwagon. While I have been making makeup purchases at events like IMATS, I could at least justify them as they were made for a starter kit. However, during my trip to New York, I went crazy and not a single one of these items were for the kit. The moment I spotted a Sephora, I instantly walked in despite not having checked in to a hotel with all my luggage at hand.

The first purchase I made was the Kat Von D Lock It Tattoo Foundation after getting colour matched in store. Throughout the trip, I've been wearing this foundation and for now all I can say is believe in the hype! I can't believe how much coverage this foundation has. 

I've had my eye on Too Faced blushers for a long while. Their packaging is so cutesy they've been on my to try list for ages. However I find they're too expensive in the UK. Since I was in the US though, I decided to pick up one of the new love flush blushers which are packaged in an equally adorable way but more compact. They're also meant to last for up to 16 hours, it'll be interesting to see just how true that claim is.

While walking around the Chelsea Markets, I found the funniest makeup bag and had to get it. Artists and Fleas, which was a pretty cool marketplace filled with artists & designers within the Chelsea Markets building had a stall selling makeup bags with all sorts of quotes on them. The only downside is that photos weren't allowed so I wouldn't be able to show any proof.

The only thing I had originally meant to pick up for the kit was the Kat Von D Shade & Light palette. However, I gave in to my own selfish needs and ended up picking up the Laura Mercier's Eye Artist's palette. The cool toned berry shadows on the top row really won me over in store. The fact that it was around £10 cheaper in the US compared to the UK was a bonus.

The Kat Von D Metal Crush release didn't capture my interest online. In store though, I couldn't believe how pigmented these shadows were with just one swipe. Specifically the brighter shadows, however I opted for more everyday shadows as I own too many brights already! Black No 1 (which I can only assume is named after the Type O Negative song) is a metallic gunmetal & Thunderstruck is a metallic pearl shadow.

The only drugstore item I ended up picking up was the Bombshell Covergirl Mascara as it was recommended by a friend. It's a 2 step mascara which I hope I, the biggest mascara hater, will get along with.

When I visited Paris, I was given a sample of a Marc Jacobs gel pencil in Blacquer and I've loved using it! However, as I'm currently still going through several black eyeliner pencils, I decided to get a full sized one in a raspberry purple shade called Jazz(berry).

Lipwise, I knew I had to pick up some of the new Kat Von D liquid lipstick shades. Unfortunately, a lot of them were already sold out in store and I moved around hotels too much to try placing an online order. On the other hand, it's great because I probably would have bought many more. After much umming and ahhing I went for Double Dare (cocoa blush) & Susperia (bright lavender).

The Sephora Matte Lip Cream range has been raved about for a long time and I've had Blackberry Sorbet on my to try list for ages. The only reason I didn't make the purchase months ago was because I knew I'd be visiting the US.

A non Sephora purchase! All across New York, I bumped into several Ricky's NYC stores everywhere. They mostly sell hair products but there's a small selection of makeup in most of their stores including NYX cosmetics, Dose of Colors, Violet Voss and LA Splash! I had originally hoped to pick up a few of their liquid lipsticks back at IMATS London but they had dropped out due to warehouse issues. A lot of shades were out of stock in various stores but ultimately, I decided to go for two Disney themed liquid lipsticks. Tiana (purple berry) & Belle (peachy nude with subtle sparkle). I think their price has gone up since back when I first heard of them though. As I was charged over $15 for each. 
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September 08, 2015

Life Lately | August in Photos

August has been the month of downtime. Over the last year of continuous employment, I've gone in and out of a second job, completed a weekend Makeup Artistry course and done a lot of weekend overtime. Point is, I've not really had many weekends off or just any days off! So I finally got to switch off this August! 

SPLURGING | After attending the launch party for Urban Decay's Naked Smoky palette, I broke my makeup rehab goals & bought the palette. It's the first Naked palette that I felt like I needed and was just too beautiful to resist.

TRAVELLING | To Germany, specifically Dresden and Berlin. The moment I laid eyes on the Frauenkirche, I fell in love with Dresden. Germany was truely a beautiful country and I hope to explore other German cities in the future.

RELAXING | In Berlin I actually stayed in a rather nice hotel which also had a spa. Which included using a sauna in the German standard (aka the nude) which was a rather...interesting experience. 

READING | Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett. I have a tendency to start books and not finish them, I can finally say I've finished this one off! So I can justify buying another.

REMINISCING | I started a travel journal, it's an excellent way to keep you occupied during any solo travels. I've been hoarding a bunch of tickets and postcards for visuals.

INDULGING | The day after I arrived in Brum, I was treated to a blowdry by Show Beauty at Selfridges with Ting

PAMPERING | After being treated to a blowdry, it wasn't long after I received a package filled with Show Beauty products at my door. 

GIGGING | Shortly after returning to Brumland, I headed down to London for a mini reunion and sit down gig with some old uni friends.

ENJOYING | Being back in Birmingham. Between my trip to Germany and the US, Birmingham has been rather quirky and random. One of the random bits of 'quirkyness' was bumping into a Transformer truck in town. Can't complain.
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