BATTLE OF THE PALETTES: W7 Lightly Toasted vs. Joly NK1

Hello frenz and Happy Friday! I hope you all had a wonderful week! I can't believe it's Friday already! I'm not sure where these days are going, but today is going to be fun because we're going to be talking about eye shadow palettes! I have about 12 palettes currently, some I use frequently and then there are some that I forget I even have (I can't be the only one). Today I will be talking about two palettes by two brands that don't have too much publicity…so let's just jump right into this, shall we?!

In one corner, weighing a whopping three grams with an expiration of five years is the Joly NK1 palette. I purchased this palette off of Amazon about two years ago. The colors were insanely similar to the Urban Decay Naked palette, and I thought it would be a possible dupe.

In the other corner, coming in at a whopping 15.6 grams and an expiration of 18 months is the W7 In The Buff: Lightly Toasted palette (ain't that a mouthful).

I purchased this palette around the same time that I purchased the NK1 palette, again, hoping it would be a dupe for UD Naked. Do you see an ongoing theme here? I can't tell you for sure if either of these palettes are dupes for UD Naked because I've never owned it, nor have I ever swatched it, but the shades look very similar.

So in preparation for this post, I did some research on both of these palettes. When I looked up the brand Joly on Google, I found the brand's website…which is rather sketchy, if you ask me. They don't have very many products, which I thought was a bit odd.

They have three eye shadow palettes; NK1, NK2 and NK3, which I'm assuming are supposed to be similar to the UD Naked line. They have a set of brushes, along with a brush stand and some powder puffs. When going to their about page, they don't specify anything about the company or the makeup they sell on their site…instead they talk about baby care products?

The whole site was incredibly confusing and gave zero insight into what the company is and what they do. They list that they are based out of California, but then list another address out of China. I won't even begin to tell you about their description of the product, because it was an absolute mess and was probably written by someone with less than half a brain stem. It also says to keep away from contact with eyes…but it's eye shadow so I'm confused???

Upon doing further research on this company and its products, I found absolutely nothing, which is really bizarre to me. If they are selling enough products to be at the top when you search on Amazon, then why isn't there more information about them? Am I just looking in the wrong place?

W7 is a popular brand in the UK, while also having an online store for the States. They have a vegan line, as well as hella palettes to choose from, along with other products like setting powder, foundation, eyeliner and whatever else your little heart desires. At least this brand's website seems a lot more legit that Joly!

The Lightly Toasted palette has 12 colors, ranging from nudes to coppers to golds. There are two matte shades, with the rest being shimmery and metallic. W7 also claims that the colors are highly pigmented with little fallout and they're not prone to creasing. Well, we're just going to put that to the test.

Now first off, these palettes aren't exact matches. A few of the shades are darker or lighter or more metallic than the latter, but all in all, they're seemingly similar palettes.

NK1 doesn't have shade names listed in or on the packaging, whereas Lightly Toasted has them listed on the back. If you're anything like me, you love your shade names — ten points to Lightly Toasted.

My arm isn't long enough to swatch 24 colors, so I split the swatches up into four each, going from left to right in the palettes.

As you can see, the beginning four nude shades hardly have any pigmentation from either palette, so I wasn't too impressed and was concerned about the pigmentation on the eyes. The NK1 palette is a lot creamier to the touch than Lightly Toasted. With Lightly Toasted, you really had to press hard to get product, and the product you did get had very little pigment.

You can see with the darker shades that they are highly pigmented for both palettes, although they still aren't exact matches for one another. Lightly Toasted has more sparkle in the shades, whereas NK1 has more of a metallic sheen.

When applying to the eyes, I find that the creaminess of NK1 gives it the ability to blend out seamlessly, without completely blending away. It also left fall out, but not enough to be bothered by it. Lighlty Toasted wasn't patchy when applied to the eyes, but it was a bitch and a half to blend, especially the darker colors. The metallic colors weren't as metallic as the NK1 shades and the two darker shades in Lightly Toasted (Up in Smoke and Dawn) have EXTREME sparkle to them. So when I tried to smoke out my look a little bit with the black shade, the sparkle and uneasiness to blend made those shades hard to work with.

Below is the look that I created using both of these palettes. The camera captured the colors beautifully. Can you spot the differences?

W7 claims that Lightly Toasted has little fall out, so at least I knew what I was getting myself into. What was most annoying about the fallout was that it was really only present on the darker shades, which were the most pigmented; leaving the process of wiping away the fallout a pain in the ass. It would just smudge and the color wouldn't budge (haha I made a rhyme). The creaminess of the NK1 palette causes the shadow to break and crumble, so I definitely had to use a lighter hand when dipping into those shades.

I wore these shadows all day (like 8 hours) to give you guys an accurate review of their wear. Today was a hot one – though I rarely was outside, I could still feel my skin build up more oil under my foundation. These shadows were really put to the test.

On the NK1 eye, you can see that the metallic sheen has worn off almost completely. Although the picture gives this look better justice, in person, you can see that the outer and darker shades have starting to slide a bit into the crease with lost pigmentation.

Lightly Toasted is still going strong. The metallic shade has hardly lost its sheen, although you can tell that awful blending job on my outer V with Up in Smoke (I told you they're hard to blend!)

These weren't the worst palettes I've ever used. Most of the colors have decent pigmentation and the formula of both weren't terrible, although I prefer the creaminess of the NK1. They're not something I think

I would use for everyday looks. I wish that there were more matte shades in these palettes. I love shimmer and metallics but it's hard to work with almost all shimmer shades. NK1 went on so pigmented and smooth — I really wish that pigmentation would've lasted throughout the day.

If I had to choose one to go with, I would favor Lightly Toasted. Although I wish they were creamier and had better pigmentation in their nude shades, I really like that the shadows lasted all day without creasing or smudging. It's a really decent palette for only $12.95 and I can't wait to try more from W7! I don't want to shit on the Joly brand because this is the only thing I've tried from them, but I really wish their website made more sense. Their palette isn't horrible, but there's very little information available about it which drives me a little bonkers.

I know this post was long, but I had a lot to say about these palettes. What good is having a makeup blog if you're not going to write detailed reviews? I had a lot of fun using these shades and doing the research to put this post together — let me know in the comments if you'd like to see more Battle Of series! What are some of your favorite eye shadow palettes? I'd love to hear about 'em!

SFX MAKEUP TIPS: Reference Pictures

Hello, frenz and happy Monday! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. I took a little break from makeup this weekend to heal my poor, dry facial skin. The cocoa butter has yet again saved the day and returned my skin to its regular, moisturized state. Anyway, today's post is all about my favorite type of makeup…that's right, we're gonna be talking about special effects makeup! Let's jump right into this, shall we?

I've been doing special effects makeup for about three weeks, maybe a little longer. I've definitely progressed since my first go at it and I've learned certain things along the way. One of the most important things I've learned is using reference pictures to bring your look to life. There's one specific look that I think of when I talk about referencing, and that's my third-eyed gypsy look that I created a few weekends ago (or maybe sooner, I don't know, I'm terrible with time). 

What you don't know about that look is that the one I posted on Instagram was the second rendition. The original look was thrown together in about an hour…and looks nothing like the version that took me two hours, just on the eye alone.

image1 (3)

If you look at these pictures side by side, you can obviously tell which one is better. You can see on the first one there is absolutely no shading and highlighting. The pupil and iris itself look completely fake. There is no tear duct detail. There is no illusion of the eye actually being a part of my forehead. The funny thing about the first one is that I was actually planning on that being the final look! But I couldn't do it — I didn't have it in me to call that wimpy, pathetic looking eye the final product. I scratched the idea completely.

My future mother-in-law tagged me in an article a few days later about a girl who does illusion makeup. I will link it here because this girl is seriously phenomenal at SFX and illusions. Anywhoo, as I was scrolling through, I saw this look that she created of eyes all over her face.

As you can see, the details are immaculate and the eyes look so incredibly real. That's when I knew I had to do the third-eyed gypsy makeup over again. And that's when a new skill was formed.

What I learned from this is that you must have something to go off of, especially if you're a beginner. I saved the picture and studied it. I referenced it throughout the entire process of creating my own eye. Now, obviously, I didn't copy it completely. Chances are she used entirely different products than I, and I don't have the skill that she has. But the point is that referencing can make all the difference. I referenced the shading on the whites of her eyes. I referenced the shading around the outer eye to make it appear circular and to give the illusion of it being a part of my face. It turned into something I never in a million years thought I could do. I've been using reference pictures ever since, and it has progressed my SFX skill to the high heavens.

You have to remember that makeup is an art. In art classes, pictures are referenced and recreated. It's the same with SFX makeup or even every day makeup. If you're really trying to get into SFX makeup but can't quite get the hang of it, try studying and referencing. And hey, even if you're not into makeup, you can always try this tip for painting or drawing or whatever kind of art you're into. It might make all the difference.spooky

FIRST IMPRESSION FRIDAY: e.l.f. Duo Eyebrow Kit

Hello, frenz and happy FriYAY!!! If you read my last post, you would know that I am changing up my blog. What I've come to decide is that I like makeup and that's what I want to write about. I apologize for all the confusion that has come with the change up, but makeup is something I love and it's something I want to pursue. I hope you all stick around to read my new content! As you can tell by the title, today is First Impression Friday, so let's jump right into this, shall we?

Let's talk about brows. Brows shape your face and they can either make or break your look. I've been fussing with my brows for YEARS and have just recently learned what works well for me and what doesn't. Now for the record, I don't have one set brow product. I use Maybelline's Nude eye shadow palette for my brows. Go ahead and judge me. The only brow product I've found that I truly love is the Anasatasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, but I went through it super quick and I lack the bread to repurchase. So since then, I've been experimenting with different brow products, as well as shadows, to give me the perfect brow.

So today, I'm going to talk about a very popular brow product, E.LF.'s Duo Eyebrow Kit.image3
This product has been in my collection since about this time last year. I've wanted to try it forever, but could never find the blonde shade that I needed. I once tried the dark shades and I immediately regretted that decision and it turned me off to the product for some time. But alas, my local Wal-Mart had the blonde shade in stock and I purchased it for a measly $3…only to let it sit in my collection. Yesterday, I stumbled upon it and thought to give it a go.

This product is a duo, with a pigmented wax and a powder. The wax is a darker shade than the powder. It has more of a red undertone, whereas the powder is more ashy, with a cooler undertone. It comes in a tiny compact with a mirror attached to the inside top of the lid. Also included is a mini double-ended applicator; one side being an angled brush and the other being a small blending brush.image2
I chose not to use the applicator that came with it and, instead, reached for my E.L.F. angled brush, mainly because it has a longer handle and it's what I always use to fill in my brows.

By just looking at the pigmented wax, you wouldn't think it would be any different from their darker shades, but upon swatching, you can see that it is a much lighter brown, almost like a dirty natural blonde.image1 (2)

When applying the wax, it goes on very smooth and was more pigmented than I had anticipated. It worked well and filled in the part of my brows that were fuller, but the formula's consistency made it hard to fill in the sparse parts of my brows. It has a rather oily consistency and smudged easily. Wiping away the edges of my brow with my finger smudged the ends entirely. I couldn't really reach the product into the arch of my brow where I needed more coverage. I tried going in with the powder portion and it did a decent job at mattfying the wax, but was no good at giving my arch coverage.

Once I got the outer part of my brows filled in as much as I could, I started working on the inner part. My brows have been over-plucked for years (currently trying to grow them back), so I hardly have any hair on the inner brow, and the hair that I do have is a very light blonde. Again, the consistency gave me trouble on giving the illusion that I had full brows in the front. Even when applying the wax and blending it out, you could see the distinct space between where my eyebrow started and the "illusion" begins. It was nearly impossible to make hairlike strokes with the wax, leaving my brows blocky and thick. Again, going in with the powder only helped to mattify the wax, but didn't give me the coverage and illusion I desired. I ended up just coating my brows in the wax the best that I could, and then put the powder over it to try to make them appear less oily.

I wore this product for a good eight to ten hours before taking it off. It did a fairly good job at keeping my brows in place where I had hair, but as the day went on, you could see the sparseness of product in the inner part of my brow. It seemed like the mattifying effect that the powder gave completely wore off as the day went on and as my skin became more oily. If you would've seen me, you wouldn't have thought that I was a beauty blogger or that I had any clue what I was doing with a brow product. Looking in the mirror at the end of the day, my brows looked sparse, discolored and oily.

I really wanted this product to work out. E.L.F. is one of my favorite drugstore lines. They're inexpensive, cruelty-free and most of their products work fantastically for me. This duo eyebrow kit, however, was a complete bust…but I'm not giving up hope.

I want to try it again with the powder I currently use to fill in my brows and see if that makes much of a difference. I really want to like this product and find a way to make it work. Perhaps if you have fuller brows, this would work better for you. Like I said previously, the consistency didn't allow me to create the illusion of thick and full brows where my hair was more sparse. I wanted to take pictures of the inconsistency in color, but unfortunately, it wasn't showing up on camera…but it was a disaster in person.

Let me know in the comments if this product works for you and if you have any recommendations of how to make it work — I would LOVE to hear them. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!rl

 

Goals for the Rest of 2017

Hello frenz! Welcome back to whatever this blog has come to. I've been bored with my blog lately, so I thought about doing something a little different. I've seen these done before and I think it's fabulous to share goals with likeminded individuals. I've tried to keep this post upbeat, but to be honest, I haven't been so positive lately. So here goes – my goal list for the rest of 2017.

GET A JOB
I've been unemployed since March, so that makes a total of almost five months now. I was planning to join the Air Force, but realized that I was leaving too much behind (also I'm too old to be tricked by military schemes). I put that goal behind me and now I have another – to find a job. Not only do I need one to pay my bills and buy food, but I'm tired of not working. Every day since losing my job has turned into a blur and I'm ready to be productive again.

SAVE MONEY
I really don't want to live in Pennsylvania anymore. It's poor and highly taxed. The weather sucks and my town should be known as Drug and Crime Central. By getting a decent (and steady) paycheck from accomplishing Goal #1, I hope to be able to start saving enough money to get the hell out of here within the next two years.

GAIN A FOLLOWING
I want to write for a living, I've known that for some time now. I want to be a full time writer or even a full time blogger at some point. I want to get my blog out there and create a name for myself. I need to start creating my empire.

LIVE STRESS FREE
I don't think I've ever had this amount of stress in my life. I have nervous breakdowns almost every day, mostly due to lack of money. I can't afford things I want and need. I want to live stress free again. I want to be able to enjoy life and wake up happy.

BEGIN SFX MAKEUP
This is something I've wanted to do for some time, but haven't had the money or want to invest the time in. But Halloween is coming up and you best believe I want to scare all the kiddos on the block this year.

MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LIFE
Since money has been so tight recently, I've only been eating once a day and skipping the gym to conserve gas. I need to get back into the routine of working out regularly and eating enough so I don't waste away into nothing. It's easier said than done when you have $-33 to your name.

TAKE ANOTHER TRIP TO FL
My trip to Florida at the beginning of July was so incredible. Seeing and spending time with my family meant so much to me. I want to make it into a regular visit.

READ MORE
I really do enjoy reading, but I lack the interest to do anything other than nap (thanks depression). I also find myself reading the words but daydreaming about something else, which leads me to reading the same paragraph ten times. I have so many books but have only read maybe five of them. I'd like to read them all and then add to my collection.

BUY MORE MAKEUP PRODUCTS
It sounds a little materialistic but I'm a sucker when it comes to makeup. I watch and read tons of reviews on new products and I want them all…but lack the dough to get them. I haven't purchased any new makeup in at least a year, and it's breaking my heart.

GIVE GIFTS AT CHRISTMAS
Last Christmas was horrible. I wasn't able to get anything for anyone and it made me feel so low. Christmas is my second favorite holiday and I love giving to others. I want to be able to give to everyone I can this year, and even to the less fortunate. I miss having the means to be generous.

BE GENUINELY HAPPY
I haven't been happy in such a long time, and I really miss the feeling of enjoying life. I need to get that feeling back for my own sanity.

I'm keeping this list as my own little time capsule of things I want to accomplish. I hope to look back in January 2018 to have accomplished all of these and then some. Here's to my future endeavors.

GUIDE TO: Running a Mobile Blog

Blogging is hard. Blogging is tedious. Between tweeting, instagramming and the pride and glory blog itself, it can take up your entire day. Unless you're totally fine with spending the majority of your days indoors, you might want to try running your blog from a handheld device, like a tablet or even your phone.

I've been blogging for a few months now, and most of it has been completely done from my phone. That's right; whole posts, picture edits, proofreading, all done from my iPhone. I don't have a set space to blog. My laptop screen doesn't work, so it has to be hooked up to a TV, which isn't my ideal blogging setup. I like to blog on the go, that way I never miss the chance at writing down an idea. Here's how you can, too!

First, you're going to need an app (or some sort of internet browser) for your blog. WordPress and Blogger both have apps for iPhone and Android devices with an easy to use interface. You want to be able to check your blog stats, read other blogs and also be able to upload posts from your handheld.

You're also going to want to download a notepad to your handheld. Just look up notepad or notebook in your App Store and choose the one you like best. I personally use an app simply called, Notebook.

It allows you to create different notebooks with pretty designs and it has fun background colors. You can also change your font! It's easy to use and there's no sign up required.

You'll want to create a folder on your handheld specially for your blogging apps. I keep all of my social and blogging apps in one folder, since mobile blogging can be a little chaotic.

Along with social apps and a notepad, you're going to need some photo editing apps. My favorite is Photo Editor.

It allows you to adjust the lighting and overall look of your photos. I also use InstaSize for their adjusting features and filters.

You can always download different photo editors to play around with and decide which you like best. Now you're all set! Get to typing that newest blog post!

Once you've typed your first (or final draft), go ahead and copy & paste it into your blog's app (or internet browser). Chances are the format is going to be a little off, so make sure you're triple checking your work. You don't want to spend all this time on an amazing post, just to have the published version look wonky.

You'll need to do the final touches, like bold or italicize text and add links all in your app or internet browser. I haven't found a notebook app that does all of that….yet! If you know of one, PLEASE let me know.

I've found that uploading your content first and then editing/uploading your pictures last can save time and cause you less hassle. Try creating an album on your phone dedicated to blog pictures. You can even delete all drafts of pictures except for the final, just so it doesn't get messy.

There are some things, however, you might want to use your computer for — like editing your theme. I've tried and tried again to edit my theme via handheld internet browser, but it just doesn't work for me. Everything is entirely too small and you're not able to see the true look of your blog. Save theme editing for your handy dandy computer.

And there you have it. You're now well equipped to run your blog completely from your handheld! Now go out there, live your life while also strutting a blogger's paradise right in your hand!

[Feature Photo Credit: Pixabay]

What’s Been Going On: Vacation, Anxiety, Life

whats been going on blog post

Hello there, frenz! Long time, no blog post. First off, I would like to apologize for the 24-day absence. If you read my last post, you know how I was running my blog completely from my iPhone and that I ordered a new laptop charger so I could run my blog the way it is supposed to be ran. Well, the charger came later than expected and then life events, as you all know, came crashing down like monsoon season in Vietnam.

My boyfriend thought three weeks ago that it would be the perfect time to quit his dead end job. If you know anything about me, it’s that I like to see people with happy souls. He didn’t have a happy soul at this job. He was doing slave work and working insane hours for very minimal compensation. He’s my man and my best friend, so of course I supported his decision 150%, even if I didn’t totally agree with it. Sometimes you gotta quit that crappy job for a happy soul and peace of mind; I’ve done it and was happier because of it. The only issue now is that we are a household with a total fiscal balance of $2 bucks.

Although we are extremely broke, we’re trying to make the best of our situation. I actually have a family vacation to Florida in T-minus 12 days. And no, I didn’t spend money on a plane ticket that I could’ve been spending on food. My generous and loving big sister and brother-in-law paid for both mine and our other sister’s tickets. Our niece turns ten on July 6th, and what kind of aunts would we be if we didn’t visit her? A vacation to bright and sunny Florida is long overdue, and is just what I need to clear my head. I need to get away from this rain and gloomy weather. I need a break from my own existence. I need to be in my happy place, which is poolside (or ocean side) with coffee in one hand and a fashion mag in the other.

As excited as I am, I’m also exceptionally nervous. I’m nervous for the plane ride, because I’ve never been on one and I’ve seen Final Destination a billion times; but I’m more nervous to see my big sister. She’s been like a mother to me ever since ours crapped out of the unconditional love department. I’ve made many changes to my life in the last year since she’s moved away and I can’t get it out of my head that she won’t approve of the changes I’ve made. She’s always told me she wanted me to move out of my parents’ house and experience life; learn what I like and dislike and find out who I am, and that’s just what I’ve done.

Whether I like to admit it, I need approval from my big sister. She’s always pushed me to do great things and I want to make her proud…but what if I don’t? It might be my anxiety talking or it might be a validated fear, but I don’t want to feel less proud of the choices I’ve made for my life by her disapproval. My boyfriend said something to me a few days ago that really stuck with me – “if she doesn’t approve of your life, then she’s not really your sister and doesn’t really love you.” And he’s right…like always. But if that is the case and she’s not happy with my newly formed beliefs and the choices I’ve made, then I won’t have much family left, and it’s already upsetting enough not to have parents in my life.

It could be the child in me that never grew up that needs approval and validation, but IĀ  finally know what I want, and am meant, to do with my life and I’m ready to put the steps into motion. All I want is to be truly and utterly happy, at whatever cost.

Until next time, xo.

[Photo Credit: Pixabay]

 

It’s Okay to Leave Your Toxic Family

Pixabay

Family; the people you go to for the utmost unconditional love and support. That’s like the basic principle of family. But there are some families that are toxic and dysfunctional and stressful and terrible. That’s the kind of family I had. I left them when I was 20 years old. 

To keep a long story short, my mom had Bipolar Disorder and had been addicted to pain pills for as long as I can remember, and my dad was a truck driver who was only home on weekends. Due to my mother’s addiction (and other underlying issues I’m not sure of), she would be physically and mentally abusive. On top of that, she was a compulsive liar and everything was about her and her health issues (pancreatitis, diabetes). It was a stressful time growing up. I never knew what kind of mood she would be in when I got home from school, if there was going to be a fight or if she had accused me of doing something in her head. She would be nice one minute and upset the next. She could really spew some evil words towards me. I never really understood her addiction as a child and I just went along with it. I thought it was normal. I thought all families acted that way and that all moms behave that way. 

When I was old enough, she would have me drive pills to her friends and pick up money. She once made up this crazy scenario that I stole her pills and sold them, all because she didn’t want my dad to know she was overtaking. She almost had me arrested over her lie. I was her scapegoat.

My sister got married in 2014. My mother showed up to her wedding late and hopped up on God knows what. The guests at the wedding took notice which, in turn, lead to my sister’s embarrassment. My sister stopped all contact with her that day. Due to the imaginary scenarios my mother created, I was soon kicked out because I told my sister she was high at the wedding. 

I tried to stay in contact with her even after I moved out because she was my mother, I loved her. But it soon became apparent that she only cared about her and her pills, and that my life really didn’t matter to her. She couldn’t be bothered to wish me a happy birthday or ask how my job was going, or even if I had a boyfriend. That’s when I  started to realize that her behavior wasn’t normal. The things that happened to me as a child were not normal or okay. So I left. I stopped all contact. 

It’s been three years since I left my parents’ home and I’ve learned so much about myself and the world. I’ve learned that I have anxiety and depression stemming from childhood trauma. I’ve learned how to cope with those feelings. 
Most importantly, I’ve learned that you don’t have to stay in a toxic family. It’s okay to get out and start your life anew. It’s your life. Live it how you see fit. Don’t feel bad because you got out. You’re a survivor. You’ve been through a lot, now it’s time to breathe. This doesn’t go without saying that it hasn’t been hard. I get sad when I see girls my age with their moms. I still get upset on holidays. 

But what’s funny is I spent all this time feeling sorry for myself, like I didn’t have a “family”, when I do. It might be unconventional, but I have people in my life who love me; people who have been there for me when my world has crumbled. It has taken me a long time to deal and work through my family issues, but I’m able to say today that I’m better, and it was no thanks to my parents. Family is who you make it. It shouldn’t be a label given away freely. It’s a label that should be earned.