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!

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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.

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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

My Top 10 Favorite Shows on Netflix

Hello frenz! Welcome back! A few weeks ago, my boyfriend's mom gave us her Netflix account to use. Since then, we've done nothing but binge watch our favorite (and some new) shows. Below are my top 10 favorites on Netflix. I hope you guys enjoy these as much as I do!

10. Trailer Park Boys
This has been on Netflix FOREVER and, to be honest, I wasn't a fan until recently. It follows around three main characters' shenanigans while living at a trailer park in Canada. Between trying to grow and sell dope, staying out of jail and pulling shopping carts out of a lake to sell, this show will keep you entertained and make you laugh for hours.

9. Criminal Minds
I've been a fan of this show since I was a teenager and I can't help but binge watch it all day, every day. This show follows an FBI team, known as the Behavioral Analysis Unit. They work on cases involving anything from rapists to murderers to terrorists. Their job is essentially to give a criminal profile based on behavior in order to find the "unsub" (unknown subject). It will for sure keep you on your toes — and some episodes are actually really creepy.

8. iZombie
I've just started watching this show, and I'm obsessed. The main character is a doctor who became infected and is now a brain-hungry zombie. She now works in the morgue and helps a local detective solve crimes…by eating the brains of the victims and getting visions of how they were killed. It's gory enough for a TV drama, with some good comedy aspects, too.

7. Supernatural
This show, again, I've been a fan of for ages. It follows two brothers who are, basically, demon slayers. There's a whole backstory, which I'll let you learn on your own (I don't want to ruin it!). Each episode has a level of creep factor, along with two gorgeous men to look at.

6. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
I watched all the seasons of this show in two weeks. It's too funny. It follows five friends' antics in a bar that they all own together. You can't expect a show with Danny Devito and Charlie Day not to be hilarious.

5. What the Health
This documentary is new to Netflix. I really wish I could scream from the rooftops how powerful this film is. It talks about meat and dairy and what's actually in our food. It's an eye opener and I recommend everyone to watch it.

4. The Office
How could I pass up Steve Carrell as Michael Scott? I'm not a huge fan of the British version, but the US version is enough to make me pee my pants. It follows the everyday life of people who work at a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania (ayooo). Their boss might be a narcissist and certifiably insane, but you can't pass it up if you're looking for a laugh.

3. An Idiot Abroad
My boyfriend was the one to introduce me to this one and with much hesitation, I will admit that I enjoy it. Ricky Gervais sends his idiot friend to different countries and basically, you just watch him make a fool out of himself, because he just doesn't know anything about the country or culture. I could watch it for days.

2. To the Bone
This film was extraordinary. Lilly Collins has really outdone herself with this role — an anorexic 20 year old with a dysfunctional family. It follows her, and other people, in a group home treatment for eating disorders. Keanu Reeves also stars as a doctor. It really brings to light the struggle that those with this disease face.

1. Bill Nye Saves the World
Bill Nye has been my hero since I was a kid. He's single handily taught me everything I know about science. His new show is more adult friendly and he talks about REAL issues in this world that need to be addressed, like climate change and alternative medicine. I'm making a petition to make Bill Nye president.

There are plenty of other shows on the beloved Netflix that are incredible. These are just a few that I can't get enough of. Feel free to share some of your favorites in the comments!

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]

The Importance of Wearing Sunscreen

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‘Tis the season for bikinis, days at the beach and the inevitable and always dreadful sunburn. Every year, the same thing. You go out into the sun for a day (or a few hours), forget to apply a sunscreen and by the end of the day, you look and feel like a burnt piece of plastic. The days to come until the burn subsides are grueling and you can’t help but hate yourself for not taking the time to apply sunscreen. When I was a kid, I didn’t care about sunscreen. I never burned and I always had a fabulous tan. But now, about ten years later, it’s like my skin did a complete 180. I no longer tan; I only burn. I think to myself while being in the sun that I want a tan and that sunscreen would prevent me from getting one — so I never used it. It took me 23 years, but I have finally understood the reason for sunscreen and why we all should be using it.

Skin is the largest organ on the body, coming in at a whopping 16% of a our total body weight. It covers your blood vessels, nerves and organs, as well as protecting your body against dangerous bacteria. We all know the basic ways to have healthy skin — keep it clean, hydrated and protected from the sun. But exactly why do we have to protect it from the sun? When your skin is exposed to the sun, it creates melanin — a chemical produced from your skin to naturally protect it from harmful UV radiation from the sun. There are two types of ultraviolet radiation — UVA and UVB. While both are harmful, UVB rays are the worst for your skin to be exposed to. Sunburns occur when your skin is exposed to more UV rays than the level of melanin your skin produces. The lighter your complexion, the less melanin your skin will produce and it’s more likely for you to burn. Darker complexions can be effected by harmful UV rays, too. Darker complexions have a higher level of melanin in the skin, which acts as a natural protectant to UV rays and is what causes the skin to be darker. While this may protect against sunburns, it doesn’t necessarily protect against benign tumors or skin cancer.

Too much sun exposure on your skin can damage it irreversibly. Ultraviolet rays damage a tissue in our skin known as elastin, which, you guessed it, keeps our skin elastic. When that tissue is damaged repeatedly over time, it can cause the skin to lose elasticity and become leathery. Your skin can begin to bruise easily and even become deteriorated. Although the effects of sun exposure won’t be apparent while you’re young, it can become very noticeable later in life. This is why sunscreen is so important to lifelong healthy skin.

Sunscreen contains ingredients that block the ultraviolet radiation from reaching your skin. The higher the SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, contained in the sunscreen, the more percentage of UV rays are blocked. There can be damage to the skin without the occurrence of a sunburn, which is why it is better to use a sunscreen that has broad spectrum ingredients, which protect from both UVA and UVB rays. Although higher SPFs offer more protection, no sunscreen should be expected to exceed a two hour wear without reapplication. If you’re spending a day at the beach, pool or you work outdoors, be sure to use a water-resistant broad spectrum sunscreen that will stay on your skin — and be sure to reapply generously. There are tons of low SPF moisturizers available for every day wear, as well.

There are some common myths out there about sunscreen, like you should only wear it when the sun is out or that it won’t allow your skin to tan. These are false. Did you know that 40% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays reach Earth on very cloudy days? Your skin can still be damaged even if it’s not in direct exposure with the sun. You can actually get a little color on some of the cloudiest of days! This leads me right into my next myth bust, you can become tan using sunscreen. The SPF in sunscreen only protects your skin from burning, not tanning. For example, a sunscreen with SPF 15 means that if you begin to burn after ten minutes, it will provide you with 150 minutes of protection. It is possible to protect your skin and get that beautiful sun kissed tan!

If you don’t want to bake your skin in the sun just for a bronzed look, you can always try alternative tanning. There are various types of fake tans, like lotions, spray tans and the self tans that you can do in the comfort of your own bathroom. One of my personal favorites is the Malibu Tan Hemp Golden Glow Skin Firming Bronzing Moisturizer.

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You can purchase it at Walmart or Sally’s Beauty Supply Store and it’ll run you anything from $6-$23, depending on the size you want to purchase. The formula of it is extremely moisturizing and it smells like a tropical vacation. It’s also cruelty-free! It takes about a week to build up a nice base, but if used consistently, you will have a noticeable and beautiful tan. It will make little crevasses, like your cuticles and between your fingers/toes a little orange, so be sure to wash your hands and feet after applying, unless your goal was to be Oompa Loompa orange — in that case, rock it, sister.

In this heat, it’s almost impossible to resist spending the day out and about. Whether you’re going shopping, spending the day by the pool or working outdoors, remember that your skin needs some extra protection. Spend that extra ten minutes applying sunscreen. Future you will appreciate it. Be safe. Drink your water and stay cool.

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Sources: webmd.com, howthingswork.org, medlineplus.org

[Photo Credit: Pixabay]

The Modern Dating Game

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The dating game isn’t the same as it was 20 years ago. We use technology as a way to meet people, as a way to interact with people, right from the comfort of our couch. Pretty genius, right? Not only has technology played a role in the way dating has changed, but also how we go about break ups and falling in love, too. 

Since the high rise of social media, dating has become a serious  challenge. You can find out everything there is to know about a person before ever meeting them. So what’s the point of going on a real date when there’s nothing to talk about? Real dates have become nerve racking. You don’t know if who is showing up is even the person you’re talking to, or if they’ll even look the same (hello, catfish). It’s literal Russian Roulette in dating. 

Dates aren’t even the same anymore. There’s a rare dinner and a movie date, but it’s usually Netflix and Chill, with a side of you’ll never hear from me again. It’s annoying. Why isn’t there a romantic walk home after a lovely dinner? What happened to wanting a first kiss, not expecting one. What happened to wanting just a kiss, not the whole kit and kaboodle? Chivalry is slowly dying, my friends. 

We’ve become so comfortable in our texting bubbles and living life through a screen that we lose sight of just how valuable eye-to-eye conversation is. We’re forgetting how necessary human interaction is in relationships. You can’t see the passion when someone talks about something they love via text. There’s so much miscommunication through texting, too. It should never be used a sole communicator in a relationship. You become so comfortable talking to a person through a screen but when the time comes to see them in person, it’s enough to give you a heart attack. 

The dating game has gone from romance and chivalry to hook ups and “not catching feelings”. When did we stop wanting to catch feelings? When did we become so numb to love? We all stopped wanting to care the moment that we were hurt. You become so used to being hurt that you truly start to believe that love doesn’t exist. You can’t trust anybody with your feelings. You can’t even trust somebody to tell you about their feelings. Were we all desensitized so young that we can’t feel affection anymore? It’s so hard to get a straight answer to the inquiry, “are we in a relationship?” It’s never clear. All you’re left with is confusion and a human impulse to care for this person, even if they don’t really care for you in return. 

Break ups in the modern dating game have changed to the point where it’s become annoying. I’m sure we would all love never seeing our exes again, but social media has made that damn near impossible. Exes are literally everywhere; on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, your blog. They find you, and without saying a word, they like what you post. Being haunted is one of the most frustrating things about modern break ups. They leave you just as puzzled as you were during the split. 

Even when you get into a happy and committed relationship, your exes are still everywhere. It’s like they have a free pass to your current relationship, and it’s always a scare wondering if they’ll be petty enough to wreck it. Our generation has become so spiteful that I can’t put it past anyone to not do that.

We’ve all developed issues because of this vicious dating game. Whether it’s trust, intimacy or communication (just to name a few), it’s difficult to find someone in this day and age who is willing to accept us and our problems. Isn’t it funny; we developed these issues because of being hurt, but we’re willing to still put it out there all over again, in the hopes of being accepted? 

Dating has been a real challenge, especially in the new generation. We don’t think about the future harm we are causing. We don’t think about the consequences of our actions on someone else. We think about us, right here and right now. We might be the most selfish generation yet. It’s time to change, guys. Let’s start respecting one another and showing affection and love again. It’s not cool to be crass.