Mad Men Stole My Life

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Paul and I have been talking about hopping on the Mad Men train for a very long time. We held off for so long because we knew it would be worthy of our full attention (like Breaking Bad!). Man, does AMC have the best shows, or what? I’m so excited and nervous for the new season of Breaking Bad. Unfortunately, we don’t have AMC, so Twitter will be a nightmare on Sunday nights before we get to watch it.

Eek, I’m starting to babble because it’s been an eternity since my last post and I’ve missed writing! I was very aware that I was neglecting my blog and it made me feel terrible because I always look forward to writing my posts and responding to your comments. I didn’t want to write an excuse post, but it has gotten a little out of hand. Sometimes when I have an overwhelming number of posts and photos waiting to be turned into a blog, I just freeze. I guess I initially got distracted by birthdays, traveling, and completing my final project for summer semester (just finished! Phew!). But then, Mad Men came along. And yes, it’s true. It has taken over my life. I finally realized that I was having so much trouble getting back on track because the time I usually devoted to blogging has now been taken over by Mad Men. I usually write before bed, but now we stay up and watch too many episodes in a row before bed. Obviously, I love it and hate how short the seasons are. Betty is so beautiful and I had to find out if there were any blogger tips on the lipsticks she uses. Of course, they use MAC and I now have to resist walking into a store and buying a whole new makeup kit.

Anyway, as a new fan, I never knew about the Estée Lauder Mad Men collections. I wasn’t as enamored with the one that they sell currently, but I saw this classy, gold blush compact from last year and immediately had to have it. I’ve never cared much about makeup brands or their limited edition collections, but this was too pretty to resist. I seriously lucked out and found this one in an Ebay auction for much less than all the “buy it now” prices. I woke up at 7am to make sure I got it too. I was apparently the only person in the world wacko enough to do so because I didn’t have any competition. I’m pretty sure that proves once and for all that Mad Men has truly taken over my life.

The first step is acknowledging the problem, right? I’m confident that I will now be able to regroup and find a new blogging schedule. Because, let’s get real, I’m not cutting back on the Mad Men addiction any time soon. ; )

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Purse Organization Tins

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Isn’t the idea of organization so great? Putting it into practice can be a little tricky though. I’m always on the hunt for life changing organizational systems that work seamlessly into my existing routines. I love having an organized purse. I just wish the organization would last longer than a couple days! I think part of the reason why we all have a hard time keeping our bags clean is just because we are so very kind to the environment and refuse to litter, right?? Sometimes the purse just has to be a trash receptacle.

These metal slide top tins have proven to be majorly handy over the last few months. Every time I’m near a Black Ink store in Boston or Cambridge I grab a little handful of them. There are probably about a zillion uses for them and they are less than $2 each (I think the tiny ones are like $.97). I really like these for my purses because they are sturdy, compact, and give the look and feel of a customized kit. I have some filled with tiny crafting pieces, fake eyelashes that I think are so cool, but I never use, and pretty much anything that I want to throw in my purse. Acquiring a label maker made these little guys so much cuter too. For my purse, I keep one tin for mints and gum, one for hair ties and bobby pins, and one for makeup touchup supplies. It’s so nice to not have all these things rolling around in the bottom of my bag! It also makes switching bags a piece of cake. If I’m going out for a quick meal, I can just grab the gum tin or if I’m going to be out all day I can make sure I have it all. So convenient! What are some of your favorite organization tips?

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Just a few items that might help to freshen up if needed. And it all fit so nicely in one tin!

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I did not intend to be all Kate Spade or primary color themed here – it just happens to be what I was using at the time!

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Such a perfect fit!

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Friday Favorite – Lip Stuff!

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I remember the day that I discovered YouTube makeup tutorials…It was a few Halloweens back and I was just looking for some inspiration. I had no idea that these things existed and I was super impressed and instantly addicted. As I was watching one Halloween video after another I slowly discovered that these aren’t just limited to crazy, scary, cool looks, but people have entire blogs and YouTube pages dedicated to everyday looks and products. I love having fun with makeup, but I am by no means an expert! I check out beauty blogs to see what kind of stuff is out there, but I don’t have a huge collection of things myself. I’ve been trying to use up stuff and clean out what I do have for what feels like an eternity! I think I would prefer to have a very small collection of things I really like, but I also don’t want to just throw stuff out! Sigh. I’ve seen a few makeup collection videos online, which always makes me feel better about myself. Holy cow, I would go crazy if I had an entire dresser full of just makeup!?

ANYWAY, I never imaged I would ever take photos of lip product swatches and post them to the internet. However, I tried this combination of lip stick and lip gloss today and felt it was worthy of sharing. I really like these two colors on their own and never thought to use them together. Come to think of it, I never really think about combining different shades together. I’m usually more matchy-matchy. But not no more, folks! I think this is cool because I’m sure I could easily go out and buy a more pinky-orange color, but now I can just use what I have. I’ll definitely be trying out other combinations! How do you guys feel about makeup collections? Do you like to have lots of options or just your favorites? Thanks for reading this uncharacteristically long post about lipgloss! Scroll down for more makeup musings, color details and pics.

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Top is both colors layered. Middle is Revlon Colorburst Glittering Garnet and bottom is Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Siren. If I remember correctly, I got the lip gloss in some kind of holiday display, so I don’t know if you can still get it? I think the sparkle is really nice with the flat orange shade. By the way, I’ve had this orange lipstick ever since I saw it in a magazine a couple of years ago and had to have it. It was like my first kind of ‘out there’ makeup item and probably what got me into lip colors in the first place. I think I had two lipsticks before that. And I’m pretty sure both were purchased specifically for high school dances…

DSC_2194Eek, something else I never thought I would post to the internet! Fun fact: I have had this scar type thing on my top lip ever since I fell off my bike and onto my face in 3rd grade. It wasn’t pretty. But the lipstick is! ; )

DSC_2196It sure has been a while since I’ve shown my face on this blog! Hey guys!

SensationNail Gel Manicure Demo + Review

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I never really imagined I would be doing beauty/tutorial posts, but here I am writing a review/demo for the SensatioNail gel manicure kit! I definitely love trying out beauty products and usually read at least a couple of reviews before I purchase most any type of product whether it’s drugstore or not. I have heard lots of rave reviews about gel manicures, but I actually enjoy doing my own nails and rarely go to the salon. This made me a little curious about all the at-home systems that have been popping up everywhere. Wasn’t sure if I wanted to shell out the money for one though! So, when my mom got this kit for Christmas I was pretty hopeful that she would let me give it a whirl! She loved using it and was very willing to share the miracle of gel nails with us girls. I figured other people might be curious about these systems before investing too, so I took pictures of each step. I learned a few tricks along the way that I think might be helpful to know before diving in to your first procedure. I’ve also included some of my final thoughts on the kit after the demo photos.

Have any of your tried gel nails at home or at the salon? What do you think? Is it worth the price?

DSC_1365File and buff your nails before applying the gel cleanser with a lint free wipe (provided).

DSC_1367Apply the gel primer and let it dry. I expected the primer to be dry to the touch immediately, but it remained a little sticky. To be safe, I let it sit for a few minutes before I moved on to the gel base coat. (I think it just stays sticky though!)

DSC_1368Apply a thin layer of the base coat and then get ready to try the lamp! The light stays on for 60 seconds total, but beeps after 30 seconds. The base coat only needs to cure for 30 seconds. I found it worked best to place your four fingers in for the first 30 and then switch to your thumb (below).

DSC_1370When the lamp beeps the first time, place your thumb underneath. Doing it one hand at a time like this keeps you from “wasting” lamp time. It will work a little differently in the next lamp step.

DSC_1375Now it’s time for color! I used pink chiffon. They really stress that each layer should be thin. It seems to me that if your coats get too thick, tiny air bubbles will form. Look out for them while you’re painting. If you see them just keep going over it with a mostly dry brush. The dry brush will help ‘pull’ the bubbles and smooth the layer.

DSC_1378Don’t forget to paint the tips of your nails to help seal everything in! (This actually applies to each painting step) You should try to avoid painting your skin. I painted the nail and then used the remaining polish on the tip rather than re-dipping. If you do get some on your skin you will just feel it tighten a little under the lamp. It might feel like there’s something stuck under your nail for a day or so, but should peel off or wash off soon.

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Place your four fingers under the lamp for 60 seconds per hand. Then place both thumbs in for a third round. So, after this is when you’re probably going to need to use the bathroom…at least that’s how it went for me! I made the mistake of thinking that once I cured the polish I was pretty much set. Apply and cure the gel top coat before you run to the bathroom! The polish shouldn’t chip or smudge, but it’s tacky and every little hair or piece of lint will stick to them. Luckily, if you do get any fuzz on your nails (that you can’t just pick off), a dryish brush will help sweep them off just like the air bubbles. You could either try another thin coat of color to help pull them off or start the top coat and keep brushing until all the fuzz is gone. DSC_1381

And here it is! Fuzz free – phew! After you cure the top coat, you need to wipe them with the gel cleanser again. If you don’t do this, your nails will feel a bit tacky and continue to attract lint. Once that step is done, your nails should be hard as a rock!

DSC_1448Here they are a couple of days later. Still lookin’ good!

DSC_1455The reason that I didn’t put the top coat on right away was because I wanted to try some gold tips. I thought it would be best to let the polish sit for a while, add the gold and then do the top coat. I was wrong about that! To do these tips I tried a metallic sharpie trick that my mom told me about. I LOVED the way it came out, but it doesn’t last. I even put the gel top coat on and cured them. I left one nail top coat free overnight to see what happened and it basically just wiped off like a dry erase marker. The top coat helps it stay longer, but it still rubs off, just more slowly. I’d say on it’s own, it will last you a few hours before it smudges. With a top coat, you might get one full day.

SO what do I think?? I think it is worth the money (and time), but I still don’t know if I would buy one for myself. It really is a perfect gift idea! It is a great value when you compare it to going to the salon and it would be awesome to do before a vacation where you don’t want to have to do touch ups. Your nails will look beautifully shiny even just with the cured top coat. My mom bought the colors that she thinks are tricky to apply/don’t last with regular polish – red, black, white, and this light pink. I haven’t tried removing it yet, but my mom said it does take a toll on your nails because some spots might need to be scraped off with a tool. We both agree that the kit is perfect for applying these tricky colors, but it’s a good idea to give your nails a rest and use your fun, regular colors in-between! If you like to change your nail color every few days, this thing isn’t for you! : )

Friday Finds :: Day After Xmas Shopping

DSC_1097Going shopping on the day after Christmas has become a pretty solid tradition around here. I always look forward to browsing the sales, even when I don’t have anything in mind that I need. This year, I kind of wanted to get some new sneakers, but didn’t have a whole lot of luck with that. The purchase I’m most excited about is the First Aid Beauty kit I picked up from Sephora. The funny thing is, I came really close to getting one for myself, my mom and my sister for Christmas and then we all ended up buying one on our shopping trip! I had heard really good things about the brand and then the Sephora employee gave a rave review, so I was officially sold. A few days in and I’m loving this stuff!

My best bargain award goes to the folded base tote bag I got from H&M. It’s from the Maison Martin Margiela collection, which I didn’t know much about and assumed had long been sold out. This bag was thrown in with all the other totes and marked down to…$20! I honestly don’t think I would have noticed it if it weren’t for the red sale sticker and I certainly wouldn’t have bought it for the original $199! A (kind of weird) leather bag for $20 was too good to pass up. I think it will make for a good airport bag. Did any of you brave the crowds after Christmas? Any good bargains??

DSC_1102      :: yes, it is very tempting to try to unfold the bottom! ::

DSC_1114      :: a few little goodies. Necklace and nails from Forever 21. Glitter polish from a drugstore run on the way home ::

20121228-172641.jpg      :: necklace in action ::

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:: heeeeeey guys! :-p Cozy flannel from J.Crew ::