Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Review: Anastasia Beauty Express for Brows and Eyes

I'm a little obsessed with eye brows.  When I see celebs with thick brows like Camilla Belle, it makes me so happy.  One of the first things I notice about someone's face is their eye brows.  I know.  I'm weird.  But I do think that a well-shaped and shaded pair of eye brows can really make a difference in framing your face.  I have naturally blondish brows with scars through both brows, so I need a lot of brow product but pencil can look very harsh.  I'm always looking for a more natural way to do my brows, so I jumped at the chance to try this Anastasia Beauty Express kit, $39.50 at  I have the Brunette kit, but it also comes in Blonde.

The kit comes with an outer black sleeve that explains what comes in the kit.  The sleeve slides off to reveal the kit, which looks like a little book covered in pebbled burgundy red leather.  I really love the packaging on this (sorry mine is a bit dirty, I've been using it every day!).  It feels very luxe.  This is the kind of packaging that makes me excited to pull it out of my makeup bag and show it off.

When you open up the kit (click the pictures to enlarge) you get a little mirror and instructions on the top half.  The bottom half has a brow wax on the left, a duo of brow powders in the center, and an eyeshadow duo on the right.  You also get an angled brush (which is basically identical to the brush I apply my gel liner with) and five eyebrow stencils.  The stencils are Petite Arch, Medium Arch, High Arch, Full Arch, and Slim High Arch.  My brows fit Medium Arch perfectly.  What you'd do to use the stencil is find the one that fits your brow shape best, apply the brow wax, hold the stencil over your brow, and then use the powder to fill in your brows.  Then you pluck the hairs that you didn't powder, and voila!  Nicely shaped brows.  I don't see myself getting a lot of use out of the stencils because my brows are naturally arched, but I think that if you're the kind of girl that gets your brows waxed a lot to keep their shape, this could be a great investment for you.  You could shape your own brows and end up saving a lot of money!

Here are swatches of the products.  The top left is the light brow powder, the top right is the darker brow powder, the bottom left is the shimmery champagne shadow, and the bottom right is the matte brown shadow.  In terms of the actual brow products, I was very impressed.  The brow wax has a nice texture, with just enough stick to keep my brow hairs in place but not so much that my eye brows look crunchy (which is the WORST).  It also helps the brow powder stick, which I love. I apply the darker of the brow powders with the angled brush.  I'm so pleased with that combination, because the brush is thin enough to be able to achieve a really natural-looking finish--it looks like individual hairs being drawn on!  And the brow powder lasts all day on me, which is much better than any pencil I've used.  As far as the colors go, I like that they have a lighter and a darker brown so that you can mix and match to find your exact color.  However, both the browns are on the ashier side, so if you have red/auburn hair, they might not work for you.  The eye shadows are lovely.  They are both very pigmented and apply like butter.  The highlight color is a pretty, golden champagne with a gorgeous sheen (no shimmer), and the matte brown is a nice contour shade.  I use it in my crease, and it reminds me of a lighter version of MAC's Wedge.  I get great lasting power with both shadows.

Awkward Chic rating: A+.  I've used this every day for a week, and I literally have no complaints.  I like the packaging, the stencils are fun, the brow powders work and look very natural, and the shadows are so easy to work with.  It is a pricey kit, but I think it's worthwhile if you want a convenient way to do your brows every morning and the shades in the Blonde or Brunette kit work with your hair color.

Also!  Anastasia Beverly Hills is having a really fun contest right now. You could win a trip to LA (aka my hometown, aka the best city of all the cities) and tons of cool prizes.  Here's the info:

Anastasia Beverly Hills presents Wish You Were Here! This beach inspired kit available exclusively at Sephora features the limited edition Pacific Coast Illumin8 Shadow Palette, HydraFull Gloss in Guava, and Clear Brow Gel to give you that cool LA look, no matter where you are. 

To celebrate this cool new kit, one lucky winner will receive a round-trip ticket to Los Angeles, a two-night stay at a Los Angeles hotel, a brow appointment with Anastasia, a hair and makeup makeover featuring the Wish You Were Here! kit at the Anastasia Beverly Hills Salon, and a photo shoot with the ABH team!

Here’s all you need to do...
  • Take a postcard-worthy photo of yourself in front of your favorite local landmark!
  • Make a new post of the picture on Facebook and tag Anastasia of Beverly Hills ( in the photo to enter. You need to first LIKE the page on Facebook in order to tag us.
  • Or email your name, home address, and photograph to “”.
  • One entry per contestant only by 11:59 PM PST on February 3, 2012
  • You must be a United States citizen to enter.
The Anastasia Beverly Hills team will select a winner and fly you out for a Los Angeles beauty weekend with Anastasia!   See for complete contest rules and details.

Disclaimer: I was given this product to review.  However, all opinions are always my own.  I don't get paid to blog, and I will say if I don't like something.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Review: Remington Pearl Ceramic Conical Wand

I'm in a constant battle with my hair.  I want it dark brown, it wants to be blonde, I want it curly/wavy, it wants to be stick straight.  I yell at the bathroom mirror a lot.  It's fun.  I've tried curling irons, curling with straighteners, putting my hair in a bun and braids, and nothing seems to work.  My hair does not hold a curl AT ALL.  I heard a lot of buzz about conical wands on YouTube--they're like curling irons without the clamp, so they don't leave that awkward kink in your hair.  I found one at Ulta for just $30, so I figured it was worth a try!

Remington TStudio Large Pearl Ceramic Styling Wand, $29.99 at First off, it's pink!  I love pink.  I got the large one, which is 1" at the top and 1.5" at the base.  It comes with a heat-protectant glove to keep you from burning your fingers (it works, I'm too lazy to use it) and the cord swivels around the base of the wand so you don't get all tangled in it when you're trying to curl your hair.  It has 3 buttons, one to turn it on and off (you have to hold it down for about 5 seconds to turn it on, which took me like half an hour to figure out of course), one to raise the temperature and one to lower it, which you hold down for a few seconds to lock the temperature where you have it.  It heats up from the low 300 degrees F to 410 degrees F.  There are about 5 heat settings between 300 and 410 degrees, so you can't have the temperature exactly wherever you want, but you do get a good number of options.  It heats up to 410 degrees for me in about 2 minutes (it tells you on the little LED screen when it's done warming up).  The smoothness of the barrel gives my hair a really nice, smooth finish, and my hair doesn't snag on it like it does on curling irons and straighteners.  In terms of how it functions in general, I think this is a really well designed tool.  I literally have no complaints about it.  It works really, really well, especially for a $30 product.  I've seen $150 conical wands that do the same thing, but at 5x the price.  It comes in a smaller size if you want a tighter curl, you can adjust the temperature for different hair types, and once you get the hang of it, it's really easy to use.  I'm in love with it.  To hear about how I use this little guy, keep reading!

Using the conical wand is kind of like riding a bike.  It takes some time to get the hang of, but once you get it, it's really easy to work with.  I hold the wand upside down, with the skinny end pointing towards the ground.  That way I can slide the curl off easily and the curl is looser at the top and tighter towards the bottom.  I take 1-2" sections of hair and wrap them around the conical wand from top to bottom, making sure to wrap the hair away from my face (you get a prettier curl), and then I hold it there for 10-15 seconds.  I have very thick, straight hair, so I use high heat and hold the curl for a while, but if you have thinner/finer hair you may not have to hold it as long.  Then I release the curl and let it fall into my hand so that it cools while still curled up (this helps the curl keep its shape).  Continue that around the whole head!  If you want a tighter curl, use a smaller section of hair and the skinnier end of the conical wand.  If you want a looser curl, use a larger section of hair on the wider half of the wand.  Then I run my fingers through my hair or brush it out to get the curls to meld together, and spritz on a little hair spray. Even without the hairspray, my curls last all day!  Given that my hair usually doesn't curl at all and if it does, that curl is gone in an hour, I'm pretty over the moon about this conical wand.   I know it sounds easy to use, but I really recommend watching some YouTube videos before you break it out.  I like this video from Pixi2Woo.  Play with it, figure out what size curl works for you, and you will LOVE this conical wand.  Promise.  Here are two pictures of my hair after I used the wand:

Awkward Chic rating: A+.  I LOVE THIS CONICAL WAND Y'ALL.  It's easy to use, it's cheap, and it actually works.  I couldn't ask for anything more.  If you buy one, make sure you get an American one.  Most of the ones I found were from the UK, and they need converters and adapters to work here, which is just a pain.

Image via

Friday, January 6, 2012

I'm in love...with a skirt

I miss my camera. Don't get me wrong, my iPhone has a nice camera.  For a phone.  Wahhhhh.  Anyways, I finally got my conical wand from Ulta in the mail.  FINALLY!!!!  I've been stalking in via UPS for days now.  I much prefer my hair wavy/curly to straight, so I was extremely excited to play with my new toy.  Here's my second attempt with it.  Happy bouncy hair!  I'll have a real review of it up next week.  Back to the main event: this new Madewell Tweed Belltoll Skirt, $98 at  I was casually online shopping a few weeks ago, and I came across this skirt.  I've been looking for a good daytime skirt for months now.  I have an hourglass-shaped body, so when I add a lot of volume to my bottom half, like an a-line skirt, I start to look really bottom heavy.  I really look best in a pencil skirt, but I'm not comfortable running around in a pencil skirt for errands and to class on a daily basis--it's not all that comfortable and I'm curvy enough that it looks too over-the-top for class.

That's why I fell in love with the shape of this skirt!  It's like an a-line skirt and a pencil skirt had a baby.  It hits at the low waist, has a bell shape, and has a few soft pleats at the waist with adorable little pockets in the front.  It's in a nice, thick grey/black/white tweed fabric with a generous hem and a black lining.  I bought this on Monday, and I've worn it every day since.  It's that great!  The shape is lean enough that it's flattering, but it's not so fitted that I'm constantly self-conscious about my stomach whenever I eat anything.  The color palette makes it easy to wear with just about any colored top, and the tweed and structured shape have a fun, retro feel that I really love, but the length makes it modern.  It's really easy to dress up or down, too--the tweed can transition from day to night really easily.  Anyways, the skirt is Madewell, the shoes are from Maripaz (like the Spanish Payless), the top is from Stradivarius (Spanish again), the necklace is vintage, the watch/bracelet is La Mer Collections, and the bag is from Etui.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Review: Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in Rose Passion 160

I picked up this Rimmel Moisture Renew lipstick at Boots when I was in the UK.  I don't think this shade is available in the US?  Or if it is, it's sold out because I can't find it.  Anyways, I got this because it came recommended by pixi2woo (aka Tanya Burr) as a good, moisturizing drugstore lipstick.

The PR copy: 'This moisture-infused lip essential reduces lip dryness by up to 65% for smoother lips and better colour. Developed with SPF 18 and a cutting edge Self Adapting Moisture Complex that features Hylaronic Acid, Collagen and Vitamins A, C and E to nourish lips, leaving them with a smoother surface for better colour application and wear. 24 creamy, moisturizing shades come richly wrapped in an elegant metallic purple case.'

I really dislike the packaging on this, at least from an aesthetics perspective.  It functions fine and feels sturdy enough for plastic/metal drugstore lippie packaging, but that metallic purple with the crown on the top--ugh.  It feels cheesy.  I dented the top of my lipstick.  :(  And apparently I chipped my nail polish too.  Grrr.

 As for the actual lipstick, it has SPF, which I love, but it also has an old lady-ish rose smell/taste, which I don't love.  It's not overpowering, but it's noticeable.  Unlike the Revlon lipstick I reviewed yesterday, this stuff is PIGMENTED.  That swatch is one swipe.  Rose Passion is a really reddish pink on me (pinker than it photographs), definitely cool-toned and slightly retro feeling.  It goes on easily enough, no dragging, but it definitely has a firmer texture than the Lip Butters, more like a traditional lipstick.  It doesn't feel drying like most lipsticks do on my bare lips, but I definitely need to wear lip balm with this.  It feels drying after a few minutes if I don't, even though it goes on bare lips smoothly.  I can get a straight-up opaque color with just one firm swipe, but I like to apply it a little more sheerly than you see in the picture below (all that color freaks me out).  I usually wear this as more of a stain, which is really pretty.  I get about 3 hours of wear with this one, and it wears down decently (it can be a little uneven).

And the creepy lip closeup.

Awkward Chic rating: B+.  I'm not a huge lipstick person, but as far as lipstick go I do like this one.  It's more moisturizing than most, even if that compromises the wear time, and it's really nicely pigmented.  I don't think it lives up to it's moisturizing claims, though.  Reviewing this right after the Revlon Lip Butter made the huge contrast in hydration really clear (and the Lip Butter wins by a long shot).  If I wanted an opaque lipstick, I would buy another one of these, but that's not really my usual cup of tea, so I'm not sure I'll end up repurchasing one.  But if you like moisturizing lipsticks and don't mind the smell or the shorter wear time, this is a good buy.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: Revlon Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti

It felt like everyone on the interwebs--YouTube, bloggers, even Tumblr--was freaking out about these new Revlon Lip Butters.  They're supposed to be like a lipstick-lip balm hybrid, here's the PR copy:

- Buttery Balm + Shiny Color
- Buttery balm with beautiful shiny color to give you baby soft, healthy glowing lips
- Hydrating mango, shea and coconut butter formula boosts lip moisture by 156%
- Pampering gel formula provides super charged hydration and glides on lips buttery smooth
- Sheer to medium color with buttery shine
- Available in 20 luscious shades

I was in Target the other day, and I went to look for these.  They were all sold out!  Except for 3 shades, and I picked up the only wearable one for my skin tone, Tutti Frutti.  The packaging is simple, with a sheerish plastic lid in a quilted pattern.  The lip butter comes in a balm-esque twist-up tube that feels slightly retro.  Overall I like the packaging.  It's definitely more cute than elegant, but it feels sturdy enough.

 Tutti Frutti is an orange with a hint of coral.  I really like the formula.  It goes on sheer--that swatch is VERY heavy--but you can build up the color to about medium opacity.  It goes on like butter, with a really lovely texture, and has a lot of sheen.  I feel like with a lot of 'hydrating' lipsticks, you don't really get that much moisture.  But I can actually use this as a lip balm--in fact, if it wasn't straight-up orange, I'd just make these my new lip balms.  I do like the orange, though.  It feels fun and festive, it's definitely wearable (even for me, and I'm scared of color).  I almost splurged on a MUFE lipstick in a similar color a while ago, and now I'm glad I didn't since I got this for $6.50.  As far as wear-time goes, I get probably 2-3 hours of color from this before it fades away beyond recognition.  The moisture lasts a little longer, maybe 4 hours.  It fades evenly, which I love, and doesn't stain my lips.  Oh, and as far as I can tell there's no smell or taste.

Here's the terrifying lip closeup.  

Awkward Chic rating: A+.  I really like these!  I feel like they live up to the hype of color and moisture, and hopefully I can track down some more nude/pink colors to wear.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mama's Got a New Bag

When I was in London, I popped into the Topshop at Oxford and happened across a whole display of these gorgeous, handmade leather bags from Etui.  I couldn't find much on the internet about Etui, but the tag on my bag says they make 'Vintage Inspired Leather Bags'.  They had a toooon of bags at Topshop, little pouches, wallets, big totes, and I grabbed this medium-sized clutch/shoulder bag.

It was 56 pounds, so around $80? It's a thick burgundy-red leather with crocodile stamping.  It has a nice sheen to it and a bit of a vintage finish--it looks a bit lived in, which I really like.  It's about 12"x4" and an envelope style, so the top flap folds over and closes at that magnetic snap you can see in the first picture.  The shoulder chain (which is pretty long, it hits me at the hip) snaps on at those little rivets you can see on the left, so it's removable if I want to wear it as a clutch.  The inside of the bag is a plain black nylon-ish fabric, with a small zipped side pocket (the zipper pull is a little heart--too adorable).

I've always been wary of these little shoulder bags because I tend to carry a ton of stuff around with me.  But on the other hand, my shoulder is always killing me because of that, so downsizing is definitely a positive for my back.  I can fit a surprisingly amount of stuff in this bag though: my phone, sunglasses, keys, touch-up makeup (powder, brush, lip balm, lipstick/gloss, eyeliner), credit cards/cash/license, etc.  

Overall I totally love this.  I've never really had a bag in a color before, so that's fun for me.  It's a vampy sort of color, so it's fun but not so bright that I can't wear it with a lot of clothes.  I love the texture of the crocodile stamping and how it makes my bag feel more upscale, and the size is perfect for me.  I have no complaints!  So if you're ever in London (or on eBay), definitely look into Etui's bags.

Monday, January 2, 2012

I Got a Watch!

That is actually surprising news, y'all.  I haven't had a watch since 5th grade.  I had one of those giant Baby G watches that was absolutely hideous, but I loved it and wore it literally constantly until I got the grossest watch tan and I haven't worn a watch since.   I really dislike the little 'girly,' dainty watches, but I don't feel like I can pull off the oversized men's watches that I really love.

I've had my eye on these La Mer bracelet watches for awhile now.  At first I thought they were too trendy to invest in, but they've come out with some more classic styles recently and I've been itching to get a watch so that I'm not so tied to my phone all the time, so I sprung for one as a Christmas present to myself.  (Apologies in advance for the shitty iPhone pictures.  My camera kicked the bucket on me).

I got the Moscow Braided Chain Watch, which is $110 at  The website describes it with: "Extra-long soft brown Italian leather strap topped with one large Antique Brass Chain Braided with thin natural Chain. Wipe clean. 22" long and 1/2" wide strap, Buckle closure. 14 K Gold Plated Square Signature La Mer Watch Case, .875" wide Watch case, seiko watch movement, Nickel Free. Due to the handcrafted nature of this product, each watch may vary slightly. Made in the USA."  It comes in this nice leather box.  The watch itself has an extra-long brown leather band, with the actual watch-face in the middle and a thick, copper-colored chain (with a little chain woven through that chain) attached to one half of the band--the chain runs between the buckle and the watch-face.

So basically I wrap it around my wrist haphazardly and try to get the chain all tangled in there, and it comes out looking like this!  The watch-face is pretty small with Roman numerals, but it does the trick.  I've always loved leather wrap bracelets with chains woven in, so I probably would have bought this without the watch, but that does make it so much more convenient and useful.  I really love it.  The strap has a couple different holes for different sized wrists and I think the leather will wear really well.  Overall, I think I'm gonna wear this all the time.  It's low-key, but refined, I think it'll go with a lot of outfits, and it's really easy to wear.  I'm super pleased with this purchase.


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