SLIDER

battle of the essences | may coop raw sauce vs. sk-ii facial treatment essence

5.19.2016

After having a few breakouts over the past month, I've picked up the slack in my skincare routine. A product I've started religiously using again is essence (don't know what essence is? read this ITG article) and I've got two in my arsenal-- May Coop's raw sauce and SK-II's facial treatment essence.

I bought May Coop's raw sauce last year in the height of the Korean beauty phenomenon. You can read my first impression's of it in my Sephora VIB haul post. The SK-II essence sample I received as a free sample from influenster, in exchange for my honest thoughts on the product.

Before I start my review, I have a little bit of beef to pick with this SK-II essence. If you follow any bigger bloggers on instagram or use bloglovin', you might have seen one or two or a dozen sponsored posts pimping this essence. And in about 75% of said posts, the bloggers were either pretending they were applying the product atop a full face of makeup or overly-saturating a cotton pad with it (which seems like a massive waste of a $100+ product.) Then cue a litany of readers' questions about the product, "how well does this work," "when do you apply this in your skincare routine," etc. And 9 times out of 10, said questions are met with radio silence by the blogger.

If bloggers are getting paid thousands of dollars to advertise a product, but can't provide any actual helpful information about the product, I'm going to assume it's because either the product was terrible or because it seemed so unappealing they wouldn't even try it.

And the whole point of me complaining about this campaign was to say that I was already biased when I received the SK-II essence from influenster.

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Price: Neither of these essences are particularly cheap. May Coop's raw sauce is $43 for 5.07 fl. oz, which breaks down to $8.48/ fl. oz. SK-II's essence comes in various sizes but the smallest is $99 for 2 fl. oz so it's approximately $50/ fl. oz.

Ingredients: May Coop's raw sauce is 93% maple sap. I haven't found much background on the benefits of the sap, but the brand claims its molecules are so small that it absorbs into the skin better than water. You can read the rest of the ingredients at Sephora.

Sk-II's essence is more than 90% pitera, which the brand claims to help the skin's renewal process. You can find the entire list of ingredients here.

Packaging: The packaging on both of these products is so lux. Both are contained in heavy, glass bottles. You definitely feel the hefty price tag whenever you pick up each of these bottles.

Application: I've always read that the best way to reap the benefits of an essence is by rubbing some between your hands, then lightly patting and massaging it onto your skin. This works wonderfully with the May Coop essence as it has just perfect enough of traction. There's some stickiness for maybe 30 seconds or so, but after my skin soaks it all in the stickiness is gone and my skin is hydrated!

The SK-II essence is a whole 'nother story. Because it's almost as thin as water, it slips right off my fingers and about half the product is lost before I'm able to pat it onto my face. I tried using it with by drenching a cotton pad and swiping it all over my face and had better luck. But ultimately a lot of the product is still lost by the cotton pad sucking it all up.

Results: After a few weeks of using May Coop's raw sauce my aunt commented how my skin was glowing. The only thing I had changed in my skincare routine was the addition of this essence. It also helped get rid of a few stubborn dry winter skin patches I had. Overall, I found my skin to be a lot more hydrated and smoother. When I apply it prior to putting on my makeup, it prevented my foundation or concealer from clinging to dried up acne spots-- which is one of my makeup pet peeves.

I did find that the SK-II essence helped hydrate my skin. But because it was so much of a pain to apply, I stopped using it after a week and switched back to May Coop. Perhaps if I used it for a longer period of time I would have seen the same results as I did with May Coop's raw sauce.

The bottom line?
Both have nice formulations that help hydrate my skin and prep it for my moisturizer. The main reason I still prefer May Coop's raw sauce because it's much easier to apply and is a better bang for my buck. If you're looking to try it out, they also have a 1.35 fl. oz bottle which is $14.

P.s don't forget to enter my giveaway! Read the original post here



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flower shopping

5.17.2016

Because the weather has been so fickle lately, I've been cherishing every bit of sunshine we get. For instance the morning of these photos, it was gloriously warm and sunny and pretty much the perfect kinda day to go to the nursery to buy flowers and veggies and fruits for the garden. Fast forward a few hours to the afternoon where my plans to barbecue dinner were canceled thanks to a thunderstorm.

I bought this white midi dress during the Zara sale last summer and while it made an appearance on instagram, it never made it onto the blog. It's funny, sometimes the pieces I wear all the freakin' time never make it into an outfit post. Am I the only one that happens to?

The silhouette is so flattering and easy to wear, not to mention it's also easy to dress up or down. I've been wearing it so much that I think it would be worthwhile to purchase another dress in a similar style. I'm eyeing this white dress from urban outfitters which doesn't have any embroidery, making it even more versatile!

dress: zara (similar from urban outfitters, roxy), shoes: forever 21 (similar from urban outfitters, topshop, schutz), lips: nars 

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P.s don't forget to enter my giveaway! Read the original post here

Win 2 Limited Edition Wet N' Wild Highlighters!

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the weekend edit

5.13.2016

Real life Friday the 13th Scary Stories
Tbh, I didn't even realize it was Friday the 13th until I opened up my email and saw this Refinery29 article about real life horror stories that coincidentally (or not... *dun* *dun* *duuuun*) took place on Friday the 13th.

Instead of spoiling the stories for you, I'll leave you with the link here, so you can check them out for yourself.

Metallic Lipsticks
Metallic lips seem to be one of the trendy things happening in the beauty world right now. I can't decide if I'm absolutely in love or absolutely horrified. I'm leaning towards in love. I'm just not sure if I have the... moxie to pull off such a bold look.

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If you're looking for alternatives to the reality-star-who-shall-not-be-named's line, here are some solid options.

My first trip to Yankee Stadium
Growing up in Jersey, it was pretty much a prerequisite that you pick sides: Yankees or Mets. And of course I chose the Yankees. That said, asides from those few years in my childhood, I never really cared much about baseball even if it is the great American pastime.

Then the other day on Twitter I saw an ad for the Gametime app; they were selling $5 Yankees tickets. And what do you know, I ended up at the game last night because why not when there's $5 tickets. I mean, I would go to a Kanye West concert if there were $5 tickets and I find Kanye absolutely insufferable.

Let me just say, baseball games are so much more interesting in person. I was honestly shocked that 3 hours had passed because I was having such a good time! Moral of the story? I'll definitely be buying more $5 baseball tickets throughout the summer!

If you decide to download the Gametime app, you can enter the code "LASTMINUTE20435" and both of us will receive a $5 credit! Win-win!

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Buzzfeed Unsolved
I'm a big ol' scaredy cat wimp. Scary movies, scary stories, basically anything scary makes me want to close my eyes, put my hands over my ears, and start saying "nanananana I can't hear you." But for whatever reason, I love to punish myself and read scary shit on the internet. Especially before bedtime.

This month I've been enjoying creeping the fuck out of myself by watching Buzzfeed's new Unsolved series. Two Buzzfeed authors, Ryan and Brent, chat about creepy conspiracy theories, heinous unsolved crimes, and all that jazz. My favorite part of the series is the repartee between the two hosts-- Ryan is all about setting the eerie mood and then Brent comes in with his wtf-is-this-skepticism.

If you're a glutton for scary stories, you should definitely watch!



Highlighter Giveaway
And finally a shameless plug for my giveaway. If you read my previous post, I reviewed two of Wet N' Wild's limited edition highlighters and am giving some away! To read the full review and full details on the giveaway check out that post :)

Win 2 Limited Edition Wet N' Wild Highlighters!

What are you up to this weekend?

cheap thrills | wet n' wild summer 2016 limited edition highlighters review

5.11.2016

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As I mentioned in my last Sephora haul, I'm a total sucker for highlighters. There are no shortage of options when it comes to higher end highlighters-- my personal favorite is Becca's shimmering skin perfecter pressed in Opal. But when it comes to drugstore highlighters, I've never really tried one I've loved... until now.

I'm a regular reader of Nouveau Cheap (she posts about makeup sales and new makeup releases-- hands down one of my favorite beauty bloggers) and when she posted about the Wet N' Wild limited edition Lost in the Wild Flowers summer collection I was all up in that sh*t.

Price: $3.99 each    Size: 0.19 Oz/ 5.4 g    Cruelty Free
Ingredients: I have fairly sensitive, acne prone skin and these highlighters haven't caused any breakouts.
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Packaging: Nothing special here-- solid black plastic with a clear front to view the colors. They do have a petal engraved in the powders which is a nice touch and perfect for their "Lost in the Wild Flowers" theme. I have dropped each of them a few times (klutz life) and they haven't broke or chipped. Of course that doesn't mean I'm going to go around dropping it for kicks to see if they will break.

Formulation: Both highlighters are soo buttery soft and pigmented. They have the perfect balance between sheen and glitter. One of my least favorite part of cheaper highlighters is their tendency to have large chunks of glitter in them, but these two highlighters don't. For all intents and purposes, these feel more like a $40 highlighter than a $4 highlighter to me.

Application: I like to apply Precious Petals onto the high points of my cheek bones, because duh it's a highlighter. My preferred method of application is with the Real Techniques highlight brush. A quick swirl in the pan and the brush picks up enough pigment for both cheeks. The powder is a bit too pressed to apply with my usual brush of choice for highlighters-- MAC's 159 brush. I've also tried applying it with a wet beauty.blender and beauty.blusher but they don't pick enough pigment so I have to keep layering to build up the highlighter to where I want it. If you like super subtle highlight though, this could be an option for ya.

Overall I think the highlighters are very easy to blend and build up. If you want it sheer, you can easily buff it out. If you want a "strobing" level of highlight, you can also easily build it up.

Longevity: For the sake of comparison, I've worn this solely on my bare skin, solely over Hourglass's mineral veil primer, and over a full face of makeup (with Nars's tinted moisturizer as the base.)

As expected, the highlighter lasted the shortest amount of time on my bare skin. After 3 or 4 hours, it started fading. What I did like is the way it faded. Instead of falling out and exploding glitter all over my face, it slowly faded away into my skin. With both the Hourglass primer and full face of makeup, the highlighters lasted a full day, which for me was about 7 hours. Since I washed my face afterwards, I can't say how or when they would break down when worn longer.


Swatches: The peachy shade is Crown of My Canopy and the champagney shade is Precious Petals.






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After wasting way too much time driving to more than a dozen Walgreens and CVSs, I was so thrilled to finally find a display with these highlighters. In my excitement I bought all of them...and since I don't need a bagillion sets of the same highlighter, I decided to do a giveaway!

I will be picking two winners, two weeks from now on Friday the 27th. Each winner will receive one highlighter in Crown of My Canopy and one highlighter in Precious Petals. All you need to do to enter is follow me on instagram, bloglovin', or pinterest. You can do all three or you can just do one, up to you.

The giveaway is open worldwide!

Win 2 Limited Edition Wet N' Wild Highlighters!

platforms and flatforms and wedges, oh my!

5.06.2016

It took me a while to get on the flatform express, but I am now all aboard. I fully committed myself to the trend last September when I purchased a pair of wooden flatforms that I had been eyeing all summer at Urban. Unfortunately for me I managed to break the straps on one of the shoes a few weeks ago :'(. While I'm trying to figure out ways to fix those shoes, I've been eyeing up this summer's flatform and platform options. And there are many!

The best part of flatforms are that they're sooo comfortable. Since I am part of the vertically challenged club, you would think that I would be inclined to wear heels more often. But I am a creature of comfort and I'd rather let my feet be happy rather than stuff them into heels (at least, most of the time.) With flatforms you get the best of both worlds! Height and comfort. This chick couldn't ask for anything more from a pair of shoes (except perhaps the ability to fly? Because who wouldn't want a pair of shoes like that?!)

Since I spend a decent chunk of my time scrolling through pinterest (mine is @sharmtoaster), flipping through magazines, and reading about a bagillion blogs, of course my tastes are also influenced by what I've been seeing on the interwebs. Here's a collection of the flatform and platform looks that have been inspiring me lately!

image sources: pinterest, songofstyle.com, atlantic-pacific.blogspot.com, vivaluxury.blogspot.com, neginmirsalehi.com, www.garancedore.fr






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