Wednesday, June 19, 2013

J. Crew/Madewell Haul

Disclaimer: I didn't buy this all at one time because I am a poor grad student and that would be insane, but I got all of this in the last month or so, largely on sale (yay!).

Madewell Afternoon Dress, $98 at, J. Crew Collection Cashmere Plaited Sweater, $129.99 at I am a huge fan of dresses like this, that are very simple with classic shapes in comfy fabrics and fun colors.  Why?  Because you can wear them so many ways!  I put a blazer over it and wore it to work, but I can also wear it with a pair of wedges and some fun statement jewelry for a night out, or with a cozy sweater and a pair of boots around for errands.  However, I am the most excited about this sweater.  I've loved this silhouette that J. Crew has been doing in all cashmere for a long time, with the French girl sweatshirt-chic vibe, but those sweaters run about $250.  This one was a magical sale find for $45.  TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS DOWN FROM THE ORIGINAL PRICE.  INSANE.  Granted, pink stripes is not the world's most practical color choice, but it's really cute (and much more neon in person), it's a cozy, flattering fit, and I think I can wear it a ton of ways.

J. Crew Button-front Dress in Linen, $138 at This is the kind of dress that I saw online and I saw in-store, and I thought it looked kind of blah and dumpy.  But then it was on super sale ($45!), so I tried it on (it also comes in an adorable black and white print that I think is sold out online).  I got this in a 6, as it's a heavy linen blend with no stretch, so it seemed safer to size up.  It's much shorter on me than on the model, and I like to wear it with the top two buttons undone and the sides pushed back so it's more of a v-neck.  What I really like about this dress is that it's really well made--it has a lining, bra keeps, deep pockets, etc--and it has a shape that's pretty universally flattering.  The wide, full skirt would be great for adding the illusion of curves if you have narrower hips but also has lots of room for my ridiculously wide hip bones.  The top fits my chest really well, which is great for me, and the waist is also fairly fitted, which is also great for me.  However if you have a large ribcage, this may not be for you, as the torso is fitted and has no stretch.  My absolute favorite thing about this dress, however, is that it manages to look like something Sophia Loren would have worn while also still being modern.  It's a perfect warm-weather sundress.

J. Crew Drapey Elbow-Sleeve Tee, $39.50 at, J. Crew A-line Ponté Dress, $128 at I have this weird thing with t-shirts where I accumulate a lot of basic tees, realize I have no blouses or nice tops, end up trading in all my tees for blouses, then realizing I have no tees, and the vicious cycle continues.  I wanted a basic tee to wear with my colorful minis and my legging-pants, and this J. Crew version fits the bill.  It comes in a bunch of colors, was 25% off today, and has a fit that is the perfect combination of slouchy-casual and slightly sexy.  I got this pink dress for work (wohooo unpaid internships) and for $45 as well!  I got it in a 6, and I really like it.  It's a good length, short enough to be flattering but long enough for an office, the v-neck is flattering without being scandalous, and the combination of the fitted waist and a-line skirt is both comfy and flattering.  I just realized that this is the third pink dress I've bought in the last few months.  I have a problem.

Tell me about your shopping adventures!  What have you bought lately?

Images via,

Monday, June 17, 2013

Delicate Gold Bar Necklaces--on the Cheap!

 You've probably seen these little bar necklaces everywhere--the ones on the short, delicate chains where the bar sits right below the collarbone.  I wasn't sure how much I would like them on me, because short necklaces aren't usually my thing, so I picked up a gold plated one on Etsy with an 18 inch chain for $20-something from this little shop.  I got the hammered version, where the bar is slightly textured (you can kind of see it in the second photo).

I absolutely love this.  I wear it every day.  I think it would feel cheap, because it was pretty cheap, but it looks and feels pretty expensive.  The chain is so thin that it almost disappears on me, and it's just the gold bar floating below my collarbone, which looks really pretty.  I love it because it's the kind of necklace you can wear with everything--it's fancy enough to wear out or to a nice event, but it's simple enough that you can wear it with a tee and leggings.  It's just a great, easy to wear piece of jewelry.

I also super recommend that Etsy shop!  It shipped quickly, came in cute packaging, and it was super affordable.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Currently Loving: Maybelline Super Stay 24 Hour Concealer

I've almost used up the entire tube of this, which is how you know that I love it.  I got this while frantically rummaging through CVS on the way to class in desperate need of concealer after my MAC Studio Finish had gone MIA.  Honestly, I think I grabbed it because it was cheap (about $7).  I picked up Ivory, which is between NW15 and NW20 in MAC shades, and it's literally an exact match for my skintone--woohoo!  It comes in a little plastic tube, and unscrews to reveal a doe-foot applicator.  It's about the size of a lipstick, maybe a little longer, but I've had it since maybe February and it's still going strong.

Shade range: The shade range, sadly, seems extremely limited.  It's probably only going to work for you if you are very pale, like me.  However, if you are very pale, you are in luck!  They have a few options on that end of the spectrum.

Formula/coverage: I love love love the formula of this.  A lot of concealers I've used tend to sit on top of skin and be tacky.  This one is almost like a watercolor--it sinks into skin immediately, dries down, isn't at all tacky, and feels just like skin.  I've been using it on my dark circles and acne, and the fact that it dries down so quickly makes it great for covering blemishes.  I also love it on dark circles because it is extremely pigmented and doesn't crease.  This stuff is so pigmented that I can use just a dot and cover up a horrible zit.  While it claims to last 24 hours (who is testing that?!), I can definitely get a whole day's wear out of this without needing to retouch.

Application: It comes with the doe-foot applicator, which is handy for applying to dark circles and dabbing on blemishes.  However, I usually try to dab it on my hand and then apply it with my fingers because I don't want to get bacteria in the tube.  The one qualm I have about application with this is that you have to blend quickly.  It sets very fast, and then it doesn't budge, which is nice, but can be bad if you're like me and get distracted in the middle of blending in your concealer.

Awkward Chic Rating: A.  I wish it had a wider shade range, but it is a great concealer with stellar coverage and lasting power for a crazy cheap price.  Pale friends, rejoice! 

Image via:

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Currently Loving: Benefit Dallas + Real Techniques Blush Brush

Sooo life kicked my ass and basically thesis + finals + graduation + a week and a half in Istanbul (!!!) and here I am.  But I am officially doing nothing this summer pre-law school, so time to blog!

I picked up Benefit's Dallas at Sephora two weeks ago, and I have been using it every day since.  Let me contextualize this purchase--I am extremely pale.  Like burning after half an hour in the sun, mistaken for a ghost in photos with flash pale.  I use bronzer and blush, but I have a hard time finding colors that make me look alive without making me look like a clown.  Enter Dallas!  Sephora calls it a rosy bronze, which is exactly what it is.  It'll cost you $28, and comes in Benefit's typical cardboard box packaging that unfolds at the top with a mirror.  It also comes with a flat blush brush, but I was never going to use that, so I gave it away.  How hilarious is that rearing pony over the sunset?  So soapy--in typical Dallas fashion.

It's a mostly matte powder--it has just the smallest hint of silvery shimmer, but barely enough to notice (I didn't even see it until I swatched it), and is fairly sheer, but builds up nicely, like you can see in the swatch.  I apply it with my Real Techniques blush brush (more on that later) on the apples of my cheeks, on top of my cheekbones, and lightly on my chin, nose, and temples.  The combination of blush and bronzer makes for the perfect natural flush--when I tan, I always burn first, so straight up bronzer usually looks unnatural on me.  The hint of rosiness in this combo looks insanely natural, and because of that and the sheerness, this is basically impossible to overdo.  It is literally foolproof--hard to overapply, easy to blend, and looks great even on super pale people!  The lasting power is typical for powders on me--all day, with maybe one touch up around lunchtime if I go to the gym.

Awkward Chic rating: A+!  It's a huge box, so it'll last me forever (and $28 for a blush/bronzer combo isn't bad), it's crazy flattering and easy to use, it smells like roses, and it wears nicely!

Real Techniques Blush Brush: Guys, I love Real Techniques brushes.  They're all synthetic, affordable, and great quality (plus I love the Pixiwoo sisters, so it's a win-win).  I have four now, AND I WANT MORE!  The blush brush is $8.99 at Ulta, and it is a steal.  Let me break it down--it's about 6 inches tall--the height of my palm--has a brushed pink metal barrel and a black plastic base that's wide at the bottom, so you can stand it up on its end, which is super convenient.  The brush head is extremely soft, but packed with bristles, so it's firm enough to pick up a good amount of product.  The rounded head means that the tip picks up product while the edges blend it out for a flawless application.  I can't even tell you guys how fluffy this brush is.  Sometimes I get distracted while putting on my makeup and just play with this brush.  I use it for contours, blush, bronzer, powder, everything!

Awkward Chic rating: A+.  It's hard to find cheap brushes of this quality.  I've paid three times as much for brushes that I like less.  Buy this!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Real Techniques Brushes + News

 I'm alive!  Long story short, I got into law school (UVA law class of 2016!) and then my senior thesis ate up my life.  But I've really missed blogging, and I'm going to try to be more regular about it (promise).  I've bought a ton of things in the last few months that I really really need to review, so I'm going to hop to it.

I've been thinking about getting some Real Techniques brushes for a long time now, and when I was home in LA over winter break I picked up these two at Ulta (I really wanted the Expert brush, but it was sold out!  Sadness).  Real Techniques brushes were created by Sam from Pixiwoo, which is a sister team of makeup artists from the UK.  They are FANTASTIC.  Go watch their whole channel right now.  I'm waiting.  You'll thank me later. 

Back to business!  The premise behind these brushes is that they're all affordable, but still high quality and high performance, and synthetic (yay!).  I got the stippling brush and the fine liner brush.

Real Techniques Stippling Brush, $9.99 at  I wanted a brush that would apply/blend my foundation, concealer, highlighter, bronzer, and brush.  Yeah, I'm lazy/very demanding of my brushes.  I've had the MAC skunk brush (188) in the past, and while I liked it, I didn't love it.  I prefer synthetic bristles, and the bristles on the 188 are so long that it was hard to control where I was putting my product.  This brush, on the other hand, is fantastic.  It's the length of my hand, so not that huge, has a pretty pink metal body, and a flared plastic bottom so you can stand it up (so handy).  The brush itself is pretty short and squat, and the bristles are very soft, but also very packed, so the brush is still firm.  The general idea behind the duofibers is that the longer fibers pick up the product, and the shorter, firmer fibers blend the product into your skin--it's often call a skunk brush because it looks a lot like a skunk's tail.
To use this brush for foundation, I'll put a pump of foundation on the back of my hand, and then pick it up on the top of this brush and stipple it on my forehead, chin, both cheeks, and nose.  Then I'll buff the foundation into my skin using circular motions.  I've found that I can get a much more natural finish with this brush than I can using my fingers, and better coverage as well.  For blush, I'll tap this onto my creme blush (MAC Lilicent, sadly discontinued), then stipple it onto the apples of my cheeks and blend it out towards my temples.  I like my blush light and very blended, so having a bit of foundation left on the brush really helps keep application smooth and light-handed.  Then I do the same with my bronzer and highlighter.  I should buy another one of these brushes so I'm not using one to apply so many products, but...I'm lazy.  Also poor.  But mostly lazy.

I've had this brush for three months now, and it's honestly as good as new.  I wash it about once a week with a gentle shampoo, and then lay it upside down to dry, and it dries quickly and holds its shape perfectly.  I have literally no complaints here.  It's such a great brush, especially for the price.  I could see myself paying a lot more for this brush and still feeling happy with the price. 

Real Techniques Fine Liner Brush, $5.99 at I am very pick with my eyeliner brushes.  I've had the same little angled brush from Sephora since maybe 10th grade, and I love it.  I've had a hankering recently for a fine liner brush, though, instead of an angled one, and since this one is so cheap, I picked it up too.  It's thin brush, about the length of an Urban Decay liner, with very thin bristles. 

 I saw a lot of negative reviews about how thin and long the bristles were when I got this, and I have to say, I was a little scared to use it.  The first few times I used it to apply my gel liner, it was a mess.  This brush definitely takes some getting used to.  HOWEVER, once you get used to applying liner with it, I think it's actually pretty great, especially for getting a thin line across the upper lashes (much much better than my angled brush).  I also have an easier time doing my cat eye flick with this, although it was pretty hard for me at first.  I think it would be a little easier to deal with if the brushes were a bit shorter, but overall it's still a pretty solid liner brush.

In terms of upkeep, I wipe this down with makeup remover every night (lazy lazy Megan) and wash it thoroughly...occassionally?  It's still in tip top shape.

Awkward Chic rating: A+.  I love these brushes.  They're so cheap but they perform so well.  I just want to buy more Real Techniques brushes (like literally all of them).  If you take one thing away from this review, it's that you should really buy the stippling brush!  

Images via

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My New Favorite Boots: Frye Vera Hiker

I am really weird when it comes to shoes.  Mainly in that I have very expensive taste with a very non-expensive budget, which makes me sad, so I just don't buy shoes often.  In my attempts to actually buy shoes (I was honestly that California girl in the Rainbow sandals for an embarassingly long time), I try to save up and then splurge a bit once or a year or so on a pair of Fryes--and then wear them to pieces.  My current Fryes in rotation are the Frye Jane's in Redwood, which are just the most beautiful boots, and these Vera Hikers in brown that I got for Christmas (thanks mom!).

The reason I wanted these boots was that I like the versatility I get from having a pair of short and a pair of tall boots.  My last pair of short boots was more on the cowboy side, and I wanted to try something a bit more rustic and a bit less western without getting these, which basically everyone at my school has.

I love, love, love these boots.  They look like a retro hiking boot, but the oversize tongue, upturned toe, and the 2 inch heel give them a bit of a modern, edgy twist.  I've gotten so many compliments on them already!  Some of my Fryes have taken weeks to break in properly, but these I could wear easily right out of the box.  They have a rubber sole for traction, which is perfect, and are easily to get on and off with the laces.  I can wear these all day without my feet getting tired or annoyed.

I like to pair these with tights and nubby men's socks.  The simple, slightly old school feel of these boots means that they can work with lots of different outfits and styles--I like these with a little leather jacket and a cute little dress because they can ground even the girliest of dresses, but they're also cute with a colorful mini and a sweater.  Overall, I really recommend these.  They aren't cheap, but they're the best combination of timeless and on trend, and you can absolutely feel the quality. 

ALSO!  If you live somewhere snowy and cold, totally get these instead.  They come shearling lined!  I think they're so cute, and they would be SO WARM AND COMFY.

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