Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflections and Body Image

And what a year it's been. I can't believe how quickly it has flown by. I'm not usually one for new year resolutions, but I'm going to focus on one for the coming year, as it's something that I have been thinking about lately.
I'm going to work on having a healthier body image.
As some of you may now, I was a very serious ballet dancer for much of my life, until I blew out both knees and redirected my focus to music and college. Because I had been training from the age of six, I never really knew my body in anything less than an extremely fit condition. Combined with the fact that I'm naturally petite, I never had much body fat and was quite toned. Now, about five years after I had to stop training for a professional level of ballet, my body has certainly changed. I went from dancing nearly every day of the week and eating wonderfully healthy meals to focusing on my degree and eating whatever's convenient. And when I look in the mirror, I have mixed feelings.
On one hand, I firmly believe that my overall weight now is healthier than it was when I was dancing. I've easily gained 15-20 pounds over the past 4-5 years. Hey- now I even weigh enough to sit in a seat with an airbag! (Which certainly wasn't the case when I started driving.) However, there are certain areas that could definitely use some toning. Actually, all of me could use some toning. I haven't stuck to an exercise regimen since I left dance, and it's time for me to start exercising regularly again. And in all honesty, I'm more or less disgusted by some of my newfound flab. I've been too hard on my reflection these days, comparing my body now to the body I had when I was dancing constantly. And there's just no way I should expect my body to magically stay fit. It's just never something I had to think about before. I was so committed to dance, and a result of my serious training was a very muscular, toned, fit body. And I never really thought of it as exercise, or that my body looked that way as a result of blood, sweat, and tears. Literally.
(A few of my retired pointe shoes)

I'm going to work on feeling better. And my plan is to tackle this through exercise and reasonable expectations.  I need to keep reminding myself that I'm not a disgusting slob just because I have some more curves these days. And the funny thing is, I know I'm still smaller than many people, and when I look around at others, I certainly don't hold them to the harsh standards I have for myself.  So I hope that in no way does any of this come across as insulting to those with different body types.
I've enrolled in yoga for the spring, and am planning on starting to swim regularly and maybe even enroll in an adult ballet class. I miss ballet so much. My goal is not to lose weight, but instead to feel healthier both physically and mentally. I would like to gain back some more muscle and tone some things, but I need to remember to be nice to myself in the process. Some days, when I look in the mirror it makes me want to go on some ridiculous celery diet. And that is going to change. I'm going to exercise regularly and accept that my body is the way it is right now. With regular exercise, it'll change eventually.
But in the meantime I need to be more accepting of myself, something I feel many of us struggle with.

Here's to a healthier and happier new year!


Tobago, January 2010

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Benefit Eye Gotta! The Annie Collection review and swatches

I bought the Eye Gotta! The Annie Collection by Benefit from Sephora some time ago with my Beauty Insider gift card. I had seen swatches of it, and was lusting after the cream shadows in the set. Since I only had one mini cream shadow in my stash at that point, I decided to indulge. Right now it's on sale at Sephora here for $24, but you can get another %20 off until January 3 if you use the code EXTRA at checkout online.

All photos in natural light

The packaging isn't particularly sturdy, and mine is starting to get a bit beaten up from bouncing around in my makeup bag. But if it gets damaged, I think it would be easy to just relocate the pressed shadows into a freestyle magnetic palette. I always like it when my makeup products have a mirror built in, since it's helpful for travel.

The set comes with two cream eyeshadows and what Benefit calls a "3 in 1 eyeshadow", which is three shades pressed into one pan. So you're getting five different shades overall with this set.  The cream shadows are minis, they're 0.11 oz versus Benefit's full size cream shadows which are 0.16 oz. Benefit calls the cream shadows "Creaseless Cream Shadows". I find that these will crease a bit by the end of the day if you don't use a primer. Even so, they hold up pretty well without a primer. The two shades in this set are Flash and Foiled.

Swatch Time! No primer.
Foiled is on the left, first swatched sheerly (one swipe, then blended) then more opaquely (about three swipes).
Flash is on the right, same drill.

I am crazy about these. They're so creamy and lovely and I love the shades. I like that they can just provide a wash of shimmer or can be built up. I think they're very versatile. Once again, I suggest using a primer. I like that they can be used alone or as a base for other shadows.

Aaannnnddd the pressed shadows now. Without a primer, the pigmentation is pretty weak.

With primer, it's definitely better, though the plummy shade requires some work to get it to show up. I wasn't entirely wowed by the formula on these.

The shadows behave better over the cream shadows from the set, it gives them some more oomph. (Flash on the top, Foiled on the bottom)

Overall, I like this set. The pressed shadows didn't wow me, but I really purchased it for the cream shadows. I'm definitely a fan of the cream shadows.

What do you think?

New hair, EOTD, and Hot N Silky curling iron mini review

Last week, I finally gave in and got a long overdue haircut. I'd been avoiding it because my usual hair stylist moved, and I'm always a bit apprehensive when it comes to letting someone new try to tame my curly mess of hair.

Pre-haircut, my mane in all its untamed glory:

I've been trying to grow my bangs out, so they had gotten to that awkward in between length. The number of bobby pins I'd been using to try to keep them at bay was pretty absurd.

After! No idea why I'm so washed out here.

Since I liked the way the new haircut looked when the stylist used a curling iron, I decided to run out to Sally Beauty Supply to get a 1 1/4 inch curling iron.
So I picked up this guy!
I did something fairly out of character and bought this without doing any research. At Sally, it's $29.99 but if you have a membership it's $26.99. My membership definitely pays for itself every year.

I liked the looks of this one, especially since it has an automatic safety shut off after 1 hour. I'm a bit absent minded sometimes, so I like things like that.

Here are some other things that I like:
The on/off switch. Seriously, I like it. My last curling iron had on/off buttons located in a place where I was always accidentally and unknowingly turning the thing off while using it. And then I would wonder why it wasn't really curling my hair, until I realized that I had turned it off. Brilliant, I know. But it makes me appreciate this switch.

"How do I know when it's ready?" This light blinks when the curling iron has heated up.

I also like the way the temperature dial is set up.

I really like this curling iron. I'm glad I didn't look at the reviews on the Sally Beauty website before I bought it. There are currently two reviews on the site, both of which rate it as being a terrible product. Both reviewers on the site mentioned not liking the rotating tip. In all honesty, I haven't bothered holding it from the tip, so it could very well be terrible and I just don't know it. One of the reviewers mentioned that it burned their hair, which I haven't had an issue with. Obviously, if you put it on a high setting and leave it in your hair for a while, you're at risk of burning your hair. But it hasn't been an issue for me.
I'm  happy with my curling iron and my haircut! I also like the haircut when I let my hair run wild and free, but I don't have any pictures yet.

And here's my eye from that day:
 Please excuse the rogue bangs trying to give me caveman brows.

This is pretty much my go-to "I just want to brighten up my eyes" look. I used the two cream shadows from the Benefit Eye Gotta! The Annie Collection (which I will swatch in its entirety later). I applied Flash on the entire lid and Foiled on the outer corners. The mascara is Maybelline Lots of Lashes. I think it's a nice, simple and natural look.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday Musings Vol. 7

Hello, all!
Sorry for being a bad blogger and MIA for the past week, I got a bit caught up in the craziness of the holidays and visiting with family and friends. But now I'm back with so many things to show you! The backlog of photos in my computer is getting to be quite impressive. I happily spent the majority of yesterday indulging in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon with my sister, which we continued until 2AM. But now it's back to the grind, I have a lot of thesis work to do, as well as preparing for my senior recital. I took the past week off, except for a bit of thesis research.
Now that the holiday gift-giving has passed, I can reveal one of my recent secret (or not so secret anymore) projects!

I've been having a blast playing around with making lipglosses. It's definitely been one of those 'learn as you go' experiences/experiments, with a few minor mishaps. For example, peppermint oil is STRONG and will make your entire apartment smell strongly of peppermint if you're not careful. Just Peachy's lipgloss series, which can be found here along with her other awesome DIY posts, was definitely an inspiration and a large part of why I decided to give making lipgloss a shot.

Hope you all have had a wonderful holiday!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Favorites Vol. 5

This week's Friday favorites focuses on three of my favorite looks posted by other bloggers this week.

1. Scrangie's beautiful purple look with blue liner, which can be found here.
2. An awesome smoky eye with gold glitter at Beauty's Bad Habit, here.
3.  A gorgeous blue and turquoise glittery look from the Crow and the Powderpuff, here.

What were your favorite looks this week?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Toucan Life

I just wanted to share a few recent pictures with you to give you a glimpse into the life of the toucan :)

Me with Jessie of Cakespy!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Brazen EOTD

Fun, sparkly eyeshadow is a great way to escape from the stress of finals. Recently, I've been sticking to neutral looks day in and day out, so it felt like time to shake it up a little.

I used:
Too Faced Shadow Insurance (entire eyelid)
Too Faced Shadow Insurance Glitter Glue (center of eyelid)
Scorching- Brazen Cosmetics (inner third on eyelid)
Idol- Brazen Cosmetics (center of eyelid)
Karma- Brazen Cosmetics (outer third of eyelid)
Maybelline Lots of Lashes mascara

Photo under daylight bulb:
 Top Row: Karma, Idol. Bottom: Scorching

Under daylight bulb:

Natural light:

I like the way this look looks when my eyes are open, but not so much when I close my eyelids. The shadow that I applied over the TFSI Glitter Glue refused to blend well with the shadows applied over regular TFSI.  Overall, though, I am happy with this look! It's about time I started playing with colorful shadows again.

Monday Musings Vol. 6

It's Monday of finals week: it's getting hard to see the floor of my bedroom and I really should go grocery shopping because celery, ginger snaps, and string cheese are my main food groups right now.  I only have two finals left to worry about, an American Sign Language final in which I will be given a prompt and then must sign about it to the professor, and a Hinduism paper. Then Thursday I venture back to the southwest for a few weeks.
Brazen Cosmetics has launched their website, , and I think it's looking good! As you are most likely well aware, Brazen's lip glosses were my gateway gloss and I love them for it. I'm extremely tempted to pick up a few tubes (yes! tubes!) since most of my Brazen glosses are potted. I'm so excited to see them opening their own website and listing the glosses in tubes instead of pots. Yay!
Physicians Formula has released a new Organic Wear mascara, which I can't wait to try.

It's the "Organic Wear 100% Natural Lash Boosting Mascara". Sometimes I wish Physicians Formula would come up with shorter names. I always have a hard time remembering long names like that. I really like the Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Jumbo Lash Mascara (see what I mean about the names?), or as I lovingly call it, the giant shiny leaf mascara. Since I've enjoyed the giant green shiny leaf mascara, I have high hopes for the giant black leaf mascara. Maybe I can convince my roommate that we need to leave early for the airport Thursday so I can run in to Ulta to see if they have the new mascara...

Stay tuned for my sparkly Monday EOTD!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Musings Vol. 5's certainly feeling like winter. As the air gets colder and drier and the heaters get turned on, my skin needs some extra love. If I don't moisturize religiously, my whole face flakes and I start to look quite lizard-y. Anybody else have this problem? As much as I like my powder mineral foundation, I'm thinking I need to switch over to a liquid foundation or tinted moisturizer for the winter. The powder isn't doing any favors for my dry skin. Winter's not my favorite season- I tend to be hungry and tired much of the time, regardless of how much I eat and sleep. I am, however, happy to have my little tree out.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hi-Fi swatches, part 1

What seems like ages ago, I placed my first order with Hi-Fi Cosmetics. I haven't used them enough yet to give a full review, but I do have some swatches for you! The Hi-Fi shop is on Artfire (, eyeshadows are $6 for a 5 gram jar.

First, for the jars:
Slime and Snails

Lost and Lonely

Between the Stars

Pale Jewel

All swatches done over Too Faced Shadow Insurance, in natural light unless otherwise noted.

Left: Slime and Snails, Right: Lost and Lonely
 Soo much glitter in these two shades!  It's hard to avoid fallout.

Lost and Lonely, Between the Stars

Slime and Snails, Lost and Lonely

Between the Stars, Pale Jewel

Lost and Lonely, Between the Stars, Pale Jewel

Slime and Snails, Lost and Lonely, Between the Stars, Pale Jewel (with flash)

Slime and Snails, Lost and Lonely, Between the Stars

Slime and Snails, Lost and Lonely, Between the Stars, Pale Jewel

Slime and Snails, Lost and Lonely, Between the Stars, Pale Jewel (with flash)

Slime and Snails, Lost and Lonely, Between the Stars, Pale Jewel (with flash)

Overall, I do like these shades. I'm not sure how much use I'll get out of Slime and Snails because glitter ends up EVERYWHERE. I think Lost and Lonely would make a great liner. I was expecting Pale Jewel to be more...pale, but I do really like the orangey shift.