Halloween + New Hair color

So this post might be not really relevant to this year, but maybe you can keep it in the back of your mind for future costume parties and such.  I was a work for Halloween, but fortunately we were allowed to dress up to hand out candy to the kids that came and I created this last minute Pocahontas costume inspire by a youtube video which I will link below.  I tweaked it a bit: just used a standard brown material I found in the $2/yd bin at Walmart, made a mistake and ended up making it an off the shoulder, ruched, top, which was still cute and wore leggings underneath for work. Luckily, I had a necklace that looked perfect with the costume.  All together this took about 2 hours and cost about $12.  Here's the video if you want to take a looksie.

Secondly, I dyed my hair!! So if you're thinking that Scarlet Jamie maybe doesn't apply anymore, no worries, I always cycle back. I've been considering blonde for the longest time and decided I didn't want to shell out the cost of making it look natural quite yet.  So, I got a $3box of dye and went dark! I've been a brunette before, but this is darker than I've had it in awhile and I'm super pleased with it. Dark hair just looks so shiny and healthier.

Thats it for the posts this week, if you drop by leave a comment below, I'd love to check out other blogs! I've been a little out of the loop for awhile!

Coming up in the next week or two is the November Ipsy bag. So stoked!xo

October Favorites + Ipsy

Hey there everyone! I didn't do a post for the October ipsy bag so I thought I'd do a quick little favorites post which includes some of those items, and show you what I got last month, I'll be getting a November back in the next couples days.  Also stay tuned Friday for a post about my new brown hair and what I did for Halloween (for reference next year perhaps).

October Favorites:

  • Coastal Scents Revealed 2 Palette $19.95- This is supposed to be kind of a Naked dupe, which I don't have, but its a warm-tone eye palette with gorgeous plush shadows. When I ordered the palette I expected them to be more brown tone but they're a bit more purple/pink toned that just your basic browns and blacks which I've decided I quite like. I got this on sale for $9.95 but its gone up a bit since then. I've used this every.single.day. since I got it. Best purchase I've ever made this year so far.
  • Figs&Rouge Hand Cream $6.56 - Got this with the October ipsy bag and I'm addicted. I've been keeping it in my backpack. It smells kind of citrus-y with a hint of sweet. Considering the great price I think I might actually get this again when it runs out.
  • Carmex $1 - Its my night-time balm go to.  Plus it doesn't taste the greatest and it really helps me not bite my lips.
  • Deluxe Infitiy Crown brush $6.99 - You might recognize this from September's bag. I previously said it might be a bit large but I've used it religiously since then and I think I've got the hang of it. I need more brushes!!!
  • Rue 21 Runway $10 - Its kind of sour-sweet smelling. I'm so bad with describing smells, but I love this. This is my second bottle and it lasts forever. Plus I'm a bio anth major so I dig the cute skull packaging.
  • Rue 21 Studded Bag $10 - I just started using this again after buying it a couple years ago and packing it away. Its starting to rip at the handles but I love it so much I must find another! The store doesn't sell them anymore so if anyone knows where I can get a similar one from cheapish let me know!
  • Nicole OPI in Feeling Very Cherry - Also from the October bag, its a deep oxblood color and I've been wearing it on my fingernails and toes all month. The perfect fall color.
October Ipsy Bag:
  • Model Co. Volume Eyes - Just a basic big brushed mascara. Nothing special, not water proof.
  • Lip Gloss - Just not a fan of lip gloss and this color didn't really suit me.
  • epice exfoliating scrub - I've only used this one but I really liked how fine the scrubby particles are. I would assume its sugar. I quite liked this.
  • The bag itself I just loved. Its a plasticy material in a gorgeous color. Just though it was super cute.

iPhone Case Haul, less than $10!

Ebay has always been my number one place to get iPhone cases. Why? Because no matter what kind of case you're looking for, you can find a unique one, manufactured and shipped from china, for like $5 tops.  Why spend $60 on an otterbox when you can buy a dupe on ebay for a tenth of that price?
My most rent case haul, consisting of 2 regular cases and a wallet style case, totaled $6.63.

Punk Ariel Case - $1.98 Free Shipping.
Hakuna Matata Lion King Case - $1.98 Free Shipping.
Nautical Wallet Case - $2.67 Free Shipping.

All three of these cases were shipped from China. The disney cases were from the same seller so they were shipped together.  A *note* about buy cases from China - most trinkety things from China offer free shipping however ETAs usually are anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks. I was lucky (and shocked!) because my cases arrived no more than a week after the order was placed, which was awesome, but in my experienced it usually takes about 2 weeks.

I've had a lot of fun with these cases so f
ar and gotten lots of compliments so I'm very happy with my choices!  I've added links to those that are still available.  The nautical wallet case is sold out but I've provided a link to the sellers other cases.

Coming up next!---Review of Coastal Scents Revealed 2 palette that I just got in the mail today, and the influenster Dean's List voxbox that I received yesterday!

September 2014 Ipsy Glam Bag!

After being wait listed since I signed up in July I was soooo excited to get my first bag mid September.  I know thats its kind of a thing to trade products with others for things you may want but didn't get but I think I like the idea of just sticking with what I get. I like trying new things and since I don't wear makeup as much as I used to I'm not usually looking for particular products.

So September's theme was street style and the products came in this cute silver bag with little studs on it, just my cup of tea. Here's just a quick rundown of the items I got and my thoughts on the ones I've tried so far.
  • *Crown Brush Deluxe Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet brush, $6.99 - Brushes were just something I never got into until the last year, and I don't have many at that aside from a few e.l.f. $1 cheapies so its safe to say I don't have a lot of judge by. I have used this brush and think maybe that it's slightly large for my eye shape but its very very soft and haven't had a problem with shedding yet.
  • Pacifica Natural Waterproof eye pencil in Gun Metal, $5 - I haven't tried this yet but I'm intrigued with the idea of a silver eyeliner. It sounds like fun!
  • *Cailyn Art Touched Tinted Lip Gloss in Love Affair, $19 - This color is absolutely gorgeous. I was disappointed it doesn't last as long as a lipstain but its very easy to apply, not messy and very bold. It doesn't have that sticky texture which is the main reason I don't normally wear lip glosses. I don't think I would want to pay twenty bucks for this product so it might be slightly over priced, but I do enjoy using it.
  • Mitchell and Peach luxury hand cream, $14 - I love how thick this feels when I'm rubbing it in but how light it feels coming out of the tube. Its super moisturizing and soaks in quickly.  The scent is a bit heavy. Very sickenly sweet and peachy.
  • Nourish Organic Face Moisturizing Organic Face Cleanser, $3 - I haven't tried this one yet either, perfect travel size.
    Total Value: ~$48
*indicates full size product.

Overall I'm really happy with my first bag and am excited to see what next month's theme will be. Yay for not being a completely broke college student this year. I love getting to treat myself a bit.

What's your favorite monthly beauty box?
Interested in signing up for ipsy? You can use my referral link and help me earn more pointsss. :)

Coming up next isss a review for Coastal Scents Revealed 2 palette which is a Naked dupe and a show case of my recent iPhone case haul.

Review: Color Oops hair color remover

I am a natural blonde. I started dying my hair about 4 years ago when I was 17 because I noticed that, like my mom, my pretty blonde locks were starting to grow in a darker, more ash brown shade.  I had always taken a lot of pride in being a blonde, so when it started to change color I just decided to speed up the process.  I've been a few different colors since then, but I have been red the longest.  For the last couple years and a year before that I've had red hair.  I kind of feel like I was born to be a red head.

Top: before Color Oops. Bottom: After. Left: After Dark Ash
However, for the last several months I'd been playing around with the idea of going blonde again and last night was just in a "whatever lets try it" mood.  I wanted an inexpensive option to play with and planned to just re-red it if it ended up looking disastrous. My plan of attack? Color oops and an box of $3 Dark Ash Blonde hair dye.  I knew that bleaching would be much more harmful and potential more expensive by the time I got toner and all those extra products.  So I spontaneous decided to go the walmart route.

The directions were pretty simple to follow and basically mimic your standard box dye instructions except the fact that when you're done applying the solution you cover your head with the supplied shower cap thing.

Just a few things to note about the process...

  • The formula is very runny and watery which I didn't realize until I almost got it in my eyes.  
  • If you think it smells bag when you're applying it, no...as it develops it starts to smell like rotten eggs...and it will continue to smell like that for goodness knows how long. 
  • If you're like me, you might consider using a hair dryer to speed up the developing process, don't. The instructions specifically say not to do this for whatever reason.
  • It is safe to recolor the same day after using this product, but it is recommended to use a protein conditioner before doing so. I also wouldn't recommend bleaching unless you want dead hair.
I was super skeptical when purchasing this product. I fully expected it to be a complete waste of $10. However, I was shocked when I started rinsing my hair to see blonde strands.  Shocked. I hadn't seen my hair that color in years.  Now, because the red dyes I'd used before lighted my hair, it wasn't its original, brown-y or whatever color its supposed to be now but it definitely got all the red out. I'm attaching a before and after picture (they aren't supposed to be flattering, just to show color. haha). And just for fun, I'm throwing in a picture of what it looks like after I went over it with the $3 box color.

Verdict? I was insanely happy with this product and I'm ashamed to say that I didn't think it would work like this.  This won't work for blues, purples, pinks, etc. And I'm not sure how going black to blonde would work. But other than that, I recommend it! If you try this with darker colors send me your before and after pictures! I'd love to see how it works on black or brown hair.

Coming up! My first ipsy bag has been shipped! So look out for my unbagging(?) post coming up next week!

In the Nude: Being Confident in Your Own Skin

When I was in 7th grade, I started putting on foundation every day before school.  About 13 is when I became aware of other girls being skinnier, prettier and having better skin that me and I wanted to fix that.  Over the course of several years I went from just foundation, to discovering eyeliner and eyeshadow, and then going all out with a full face routine. Every. Single. Day. I was so self conscious about my appearance that I refused to go to school, or anywhere that anyone other than my parents would see me, without wearing makeup.  When I turned 18, I developed moderate acne from having relatively clear skin before so the makeup use only got worse.

One day I was out with a friend to get foundation and she picked out a tinted moisturizer for me.  I was skeptical when I used it, and my self esteem issues sky rocketed when I applied it only to realize it didn't cover acne at all.  My friend made the harsh suggestion that maybe if I didn't cover my face with so much makeup it would go away.  At first I was horrified at the thought. I'd never been able to let anyone see me without makeup, not even long term boyfriends. But as the weeks went by,  I decided to try it out.

I now only wear makeup when going out or other special type events.  I'm comfortable enough to go barefaced to school, work, and my boyfriends house.  I cannot possibly express what a huge accomplishment this is for me.  My acne is hormonal, so going au natural didn't improve that much but the confidence I have gained from this experiment was a monumental achievement.  I no longer feel like I have to wear mass amounts of makeup for people to want to talk to me or take me seriously.

The How-to:

Making this life adjustment is not easy, especially if you're someone like me who wears makeup for confidence-boosting reasons.  I've been doing this for a month and even though I never used to take makeup-less selfies, I still wasn't quite comfortable going filterless for the blog's photo.  It takes a bit of time to get used to seeing your face without it on and you might feel sloppy or unattractive at first.  I think a great first step is to use a lighter foundation before you stop wearing makeup completely.  This way you get used to how your skin looks when blemishes, or other things you're bothered by, are more visible.  I went from full coverage foundation to tinted moisturizer and it was a shock to say the least.  However, after a couple weeks of using just such a light coverage foundation every day, I realized that going bare faced wouldn't look much different.

When you finally decide to make the brave move of going completely barefaced, its okay to only start with a few days on and a few days off. Even just going makeup-less once in awhile is so much better for your skin than 24/7 face paste. Along with proper cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing and drinking plenty of water the condition of your skin can greatly improve.  Its so easy to forget to take off your makeup and night, or to use the wrong products for your skin type, things that can cause your skin to break out or become dull/dry.  You'll love how much better your skin looks and feels after a few days of going makeup-less and you'll love that extra 15 minutes you can sleep in the morning that you would have otherwise spent time staring at your self in the mirror.

All this being said,  I still love makeup and I like how I look while wearing it. I love be able to accent my eyes and wear different colors for different occasions. But I also love that now I can look in the mirror and think my eyes are just as beautiful without makeup and they are while wearing it. I love that I can see the "family heirloom" birthmark on my forehead that I would never see before because it was covered up with foundation. I needed to learn how to be more confident in my own skin and I love that after 10 years I was finally able to achieve that.

So if this is something that you're interested in because you want more confidence in yourself or you think it might improve your skin then I encourage you to give it a shot! Don't be afraid to take small steps and don't be afraid of what others might think or say. You. Are. Beautiful.

Blog and Life Updates

Hello everyone! I trust you add had a fantastic summer full of sunbathing and lemonade. I have had quite an interesting one so far.  As you may know from twitter or previous posts, I took the spring semester off of school and moved this summer from Illinois to North Carolina.  There were a couple reasons for this, a.) my long distance boyfriend moved to Georgia to Virginia to go back to school. He will be living just 3 and a half hours from my new home in North Carolina. and b.) the college I attended back in Illinois did not have the kind of anthropology program I was looking for.  My new school, Appalachian State University has a lot more opportunities including the ability to declare a concentration in archaeology.  An archaeology program is pretty hard to find in the midwest so this was just the best move for me all around.
A lot of things have changed in the past year and because of that I don't really want the main focus of this blog to be makeup and beauty anymore.  Being on my own and out of school until now I've had a lot of financial issues so I actually can't even remember the last time I went clothes shopping or bought new makeup and I'm okay with that.  I'm actually having more no-makeup days than I ever have in effort to clear up my skin so perhaps I will talk about that I some point. I will still do those kind of posts occasionally, but I would like to talk about other things that are more relevant to me these days like archaeology, college related things, moving, travel/road trips, life in a studio apartment, long distance relationships,etc.  I will slowly be re-working the blog's design and content over the next few months to better reflect the kind of topics I want to discuss.  In the meantime, if any one has anything they would like to read about regarding the above topics feel free to drop a comment below and let me know.  

xo, J.

Phone Case of the Month - Review

Hey everyone! So today I wanted to do a quick review of the shipment I got from Phone Case of the Month club.  I was looking into which subscription boxes I wanted to try and decided to add this to my list as my otter box was starting to bore me.  Each shipment includes a phone case, a little surprise trinket or piece of candy, and a nifty little felt bag.  Also included was a little card with a matching design and a quote that fit the theme of the case. This one says "You can't control the wind but you can adjust the sails."   You can get this subscription for $10 with free shipping if you're in the US or $5 extra for international shipping.  This company designs their own cases and says that they strive to make all of their designs unisex. Their website includes several examples of different cases that you could receive.  After your phone case is shipped, you'll get a tracking number and a matching wallpaper for you phone will be available for download on your account. 

I received the set sail case which according to their website is one of their limited addition designs.  It only took about two days to receive it in the mail from the time they emailed me and was shipped in a yellow bubble wrap packet thingy.  This case doesn't feel flimsy and cheap, "not your dollar store phone case" and I love the matte, non-glossy feel of the finish.  I've had this case for a little over a week now and I have started to notice where the design is flaking off around the very edges of the case. I'm sure over time it will get worse with handling but at the moment its not bad and I'm still extremely happy with it.  Just looking at their website I feel in love with all of their designs and am so excited to receive my next case.

If you're interested in trying this out (you can cancel at any time), use my link to sign up and get your first case for $5! (it gives me a $5 credit as well).  Currently, cases are only available for iPhone (4,4s,5,5s,5c) and Samsung Galaxy (S3 and S4).  

In The News: Ban on Microbeads

Anyone who knows anything about health and beauty products knows that polyethylene beads or plastic "microbeads" are commonplace in the industry. Advertised to help exfoliate, a single product can contain over 300,000 microbeads.  This year, many retailers and health/beauty manufacturers have pledged to phase out the use of microbeads in their products within the next four years.  Why this sudden change, you ask?

Increased concern about pollution is what sparked many states, including New Jersey, New York, and Illinois to propose acts to make microbeads illegal within the next few years.  In fact, earlier this month Illinois became the first state to pass the ordinance against the use.  Illinois' biggest concern was the plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. Microbeads cause significant problems as their small size makes them unable to be filtered out by water treatment plants.   Microbeads have even been found in the digestive tracks of fish that humans eat.

Microbeads became popular in beauty products because they are smoother than natural exfoliates.  Despite this, the Illinois government did not have the conflict with cosmetic companies that they expected.  Colgate, Johnson and Johnson and L'Oreal are just a few of the companies that have already agreed to phase out the use of plastic microbeads in their products by 2015.  Even retailers like Boots are committed to removing such products from their shelves.

So how will we survive? I know, just off the top of my head, I can think of at least three products in my bathroom right now that contain microbeads.  It seems like every other product on shelf contains them, so that just means its time to get back to basics.  L'Oreal is already considering alternatives to microbeads such as apricot pits and sea salt.   Who knows, maybe this change will be better for everyone. Perhaps natural exfoilents will be more beneficial for skin in the long run anyway.

For now, your favorite exfoliating facial scrub (Clean & Clear anyone?) is still on the shelf, but if all goes as planned, a nation-wide ban will take effect in 2018.

Sources: CBC News, 5gyres