beauty · style

My Boohoo Wish List

It’s been quite some time since I discussed fashion on this blog. I take it that this means that I’m starting to feel more like my old self (which is a good thing!). I still love fashion, though it took a backseat to my physical and emotional health over the past 18 months.

However, a recent haul video done by the lovely Jessica over at Wigs and Wanderlust reminded me of my love of Boohoo clothing. The clothing is, as I’ve heard it described, “cheap and cheerful”, but the designs are cute and last a while when you take good care of them. So I decided to see what beauties Boohoo had for me. I wasn’t disappointed with what I saw!

Full disclosure: I adore midi length dresses, so pretty much everything will be a little longer than many of the designs offered on Boohoo. I will occasionally wear a shorter length, but something about midi-length dresses make me feel sleek and more elegant.

This square neck midi skater dress is dreamy: it looks cute and summery, and there’s a lot of potential to dress it up or down. I’d love to get this one in a couple of colors.

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The pleated bodice on this midi dress is so dynamic, yet the overall silhouette is controlled and sleek. The pleated top bandeau midi dress is a great option for a summertime cocktail party.

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The puff sleeves may sound a little silly, but paired with the structured bodice and sweetheart neckline, this organza mesh puff sleeve midi dress is a stunning study in harmonious contrasts.

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The blue version of this dress reminds me a bit of a design offered on Boohoo a few years ago that I adored. However, I like the white version of this bust detail porcelain print midi dress. I’m not sure if the print is visible in person, as it would be white-on-white. But if it has a slight contrast, it could be very pretty when viewed in real life.

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These are just a few of the designs that won my heart over at Boohoo. I don’t have anywhere fancy to wear them, but at this point, I love dressing up to walk around the house LOL!

Have you been making any wish lists recently? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

 

beauty

Rest in Peace, Brandon Truaxe

A few days ago, the founder of The Ordinary, Brandon Truaxe, passed away. Truaxe’s brand is brilliant: it finally brought professional grade skin care to the masses at affordable prices. The Ordinary’s powerful, effective serums and solutions have been a staple in my routine for quite some time.

Truaxe experienced a tumultuous year, and was eventually ousted from the company that he started. Aside from the controversy surrounding his company, I suspect that he was deeply troubled and experiencing many personal struggles as well. I hope that he is able to finally rest in peace.

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(Photo courtesy of DetailOrientedBeauty.com)

beauty

Beauty Review: Urban Decay Go Naked Perfume Oil

***Disclaimer – this one may be hard to find, since it’s currently sold out on Sephora and Urban Decay’s websites***

I purchased the Go Naked Perfume Oil earlier this summer, as it was clearance priced on Sephora’s website. The description (as written on Urban Decay’s website) lured me in:

You don’t just look better Naked, but you even smell better Naked too. Get it on in new places with Go Naked, a limited-edition perfume oil that tucks into your purse and makes you think of sun-warmed skin and salt air on a private beach.

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Well, when you put it like that, who wouldn’t want to give this a try?

So I tried it. This immediately made me think of Maison Margiela’s Beach Walk, a perfume that I adore during the warm months. Go Naked has the same sunny, crisp notes that can be found on MM’s Beach Walk, except Go Naked is a concentrated perfume oil with (presumably) more staying power. I mean, I don’t know if I could tell the two apart if blindfolded. I’m sure there are some differences, but these are essentially the same fragrance.

I’m used to perfumes that occasionally smell similar to a scent that I’ve worn previously, but I’ve never had the scent equivalent of doppelganger quite like this one

I hope that Urban Decay brings this one back, because I really liked the smell and value of this oil. However, if I’m itching to wear a similar scent, I’ll just reach for Beach Walk.

relaxation · travel

Review: TownePlace Suites Hotel in Cary, NC

 

I’ve been to Raleigh numerous times, but when I visit, I stay in Cary, a small incorporated town bordering the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area. Every time I visit, I stay at the TownePlace Suites, a cozy aparthotel that meets all of my needs.

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Quiet? Check!

Conveniently located? Check!

Reasonably priced? Check!

Ample amenities? Check!

Eligible for reward points? Check!

I always love my stays here and I’ve raved about it each and every time. However, I wasn’t blogging when I’ve visited previously. So now that I’ve had a recent visit, I can finally share this information with you all!

Instead of adding a bunch of photos, you can check out this video room tour. I stayed in the studio-style suite with an “office” (it had a desk area). If you’re ever in the area, I can’t recommend this hotel enough!

travel

Review: Microtel Inn and Suites, Philadelphia Airport

Even though I adore luxury experiences and love sharing those reviews with you, it’s important that I try a variety of things because you may find it necessary to scale back the luxe and enjoy more economical experiences.

 In this spirit of this, I am reviewing a lower priced hotel in the Philadelphia area. I stayed at the Microtel Inn and Suites near Philadelphia International Airport (on Tinicum Drive). The hotel is modest but boasts a continental breakfast, close proximity to the airport, and free wifi.

I reserved a room with a double bed, and I was impressed with the simplicity and tidiness of the room upon settling in. However, there were a few issues that I want to note, for anyone interested in visiting this location.

 For starters, only the suites have microwaves, coffeemakers and refrigerators. Since my room technically wasn’t a suite, there was no way to preserve the takeout that I ordered. Also, the walls are very thin: I heard the television next to my room for quite a few hours. I know that complete soundproofing isn’t possible – nor is it desirable – but I would have enjoyed a quieter stay (for the record, the room next door did turn off/turn down the TV before 12 AM, so I didn’t have to listen to their set all night).

The main issue came after my first night at the hotel. The following morning, I went to use the internet and . . . it wasn’t working. I contacted the front desk and I was advised that they were aware of the issue but they were waiting on a technician to resolve it. It took nearly 4 hours (from the time I woke up around 6:30 AM to sometime before 11 AM) for the internet to be fixed. It wouldn’t have been a major issue except I needed to access systems for my job and send reports. I ended up using my cell phone as a hot spot, but that is my least favorite way of accessing the internet.

My overall takeaway is this: Microtel Inn and Suites Philadelphia Airport location is fine for one night, two maximum. It works out just fine for someone that may need to rest before continuing on their journey, or if you’re traveler that plans to just crash for the night after having a whirlwind tour of the city.

beauty

Review: KoyVoca Glossies

In late March, one of my favorite indie cosmetic companies, KoyVoca Cosmetics (you remember them – I reviewed them in this post and in this post) announce the upcoming release of their new lip gloss line. The product, Glossy, is, as the company puts it, “[…]the lip gloss you’ve been looking for! Its long-lasting formula provides a glass-like look to the lips.” The company launched 8 lip gloss shades in April and I, ever eager to switch it up from the matte lip trend, made sure that I preordered.

I ordered three shades: Panther, Princess Cut, and Rude Gyal. I got my glosses quickly after the release date and I’ve had a chance to play with all three, so I’m ready for this review!

For starters, kudos to KoyVoca for quickly shipping their products! Every time I order from them I’m impressed by the speed of order delivery. That being said, I also was very impressed with the size and presentation of the glosses:

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(top to bottom: Rude Gyal, Princess Cut, Panther)

There’s a good amount of product in each tube. These also have a light fruity smell that I enjoyed. Here are the descriptions of the shades as written by KoyVoca:

 

Panther – a blue and purple duochrome with red and blue flecks

Princess Cut – a golden pink with holographic shimmer

Rude Gyal – a shimmery wine

I swatched the shades then I swooned. The colors are gorgeous, perfectly pigmented and thick without being sticky (basically, the glosses are perfect).

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(left to right: Panther, Princess Cut, Rude Gyal)

Here I am rocking each of the shades:

Princess Cut

Rude Gyal

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Panther

I find myself frequently reaching for Princess Cut because it’s such a wearable shade. But my favorite, by far, is Panther. It’s deep, dramatic and memorable.

But all that being said, there are still a few things I want to mention about these glossies. These are VERY long wearing! It takes a while for these to wear off, and they have some real staying power even as you eat and drink. The shine is INSANE: highly reflective! I love that these are true glosses and not semi-shine formulas like a lot of companies are selling right now. The smell is pleasant and the formula is nonsticky, so they are very wearable.

I highly recommend these! Check out all of the shades and see which one should be in your collection!

 

 

wine

Low Cost Libations: I’m Trying Inexpensive Wines

 

A recent trip to Trader Joe’s ended up with me browsing the wine section and being floored by the super-affordable wines. So many options were less than $5! So I had to ask myself, do I, the wine lover, give inexpensive wines the thumbs up?

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I bought 6 bottles for less than $5 a piece. I’m not a wine “snob” but I prefer wine that costs a bit more because they tend to taste better. But I’m curious about the overall qualities of the wine that I purchased. So here I am: trying some new wines and figuring out whether the flavor and quality far exceeds the cost. I’ve tried one so far, and I’ll be trying a new bottle every few days or so. When I’ve finished trying them all, I’ll come back and give a review.

(here’s a review of one of the wines on my Instagram account)

Do you all have any favorite inexpensive wines? Let me know in the comments below!

hollywood glamour · luxury

Baubles, Hollywood Style Part Deux

Not too long ago, I mentioned the Hollywood Collection, a company that recreates jewelry worn by the stars of yesterday, in a Hollywood Glamour post. Today, I’m excited to share with you all yet another company that does spectacular jewelry that is inspired by classic Hollywood actresses.

Filthy Rich has their own “Hollywood Collection“, complete with replicas of jewelry worn by stars such as Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Jean Harlow. This company doesn’t just limit it offerings to jewelry styled after the ones worn by Hollywood’s finest: they also has recreations of jewelry owned by Jacqueline Kennedy and Kate Middleton. Here are a few of my favorites from the site:

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Audrey Hepburn Roman Holiday earrings

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Kate Middleton Royal Engagement Ring

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Jacqueline Kennedy Gold Bracelet Watch

They have some other glamorous options for anyone interested in adding some Hollywood to their wardrobe. I love that these pieces are not only beautiful but very affordable, too: the prices average less than $50 each. So reasonably priced, so chic!

beauty

Review: Beauty Benefits Haul

It took me longer than I anticipated to write this review, for two reasons:

1) I bought a bunch of products, so it took time to try them all; and

2) I was underwhelmed each time I tried a product, so I didn’t know if I needed to even bother writing about them.

But, since I bought the products, and I know that some of you may enjoy reading about inexpensive beauty hauls, I figured, why not write about it?

Initial excitement about the products soon turned to apathy LOL

I enjoy using super-luxurious products that deliver BIG on their promises. But I’m also intrigued by bargain brands. I know, for a fact, that many exclusive brands use the same manufacturers as the companies that can be found in a local drugstore. So well-made products can be had at any price point.

However, Beauty Benefits is not a maker of those products. I overwhelmingly disliked the brand but there were a few items that I enjoyed and will use until they are used up.

Here’s what you need to know about Beauty Benefits:

  • The products are CHEAP.  Each product cost $1 at a local Dollar Tree store.
  • The cost correlates to the quality. That isn’t the case for all cheap makeup, but for this brand, it applies. Overall, they don’t apply that well and the textures are subpar.
  • The powder products that should be matte actually have quite a bit of reflective ingredients in them, so you get a little unintended shimmer. That may be find for eyeshadow or blush, but foundation powders shouldn’t sparkle on your face.

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Let’s talk for a moment, beloveds. I don’t expect miracles from cheap makeup. Low investment = low expectations. But note that these were the deepest “foundation powders” offered by Beauty Benefits. The lighter shade, Tawny, isn’t so bad: it’s neutral and could work as a setting powder on my complexion. But the deeper shade, Carob? #trash I’ve not seen such a gray foundation shade in years. It makes a good contour color, since it wouldn’t match any living person’s complexion. And WHY do these companies insist on adding sparkles to pressed powders for the face? It doesn’t look dewy: it looks cheesy. Oh well: it was $1 per powder #yougetwhatyoupayfor #cheapmakeup #bargainbeauty #thebronzebutterfly #thebronzedbutterfly #bronzebutterfli

A post shared by Missy Delano (@bronzebutterfli) on

That moment when your pressed powder is shimmery and you have to speak up about it

  • The shades aren’t labeled on the products, so once you throw away the packaging, you won’t have any way to recall the name of the shade. I used some stickers to keep them straight, but that’s a bit much for such an inexpensive product: would it really have hurt the manufacturer to put the shade names on the actual product, instead of just on the exterior package?

The blushes before I opened the packages

Blush swatches (with color details in the caption)

 

  • The eye products are surprisingly good. I really enjoyed the eyeliner (the applicator brush isn’t very thin, but the product applies smoothly, albeit with a touch of shimmer. I also liked the lengthening mascara, though it doesn’t “length”. It did a good job of defining the lashes without clumping. Avoid the volumizing mascara: it doesn’t have an interior “rim” to wipe excess product off of the wand before applying to your lashes. You’ll end up with a ton of mascara on your wand EVERY. TIME.
  • I also liked the lip liner. It applied smoothly and is VERY pigmented. I’d purchase it again.
  • I also enjoyed the lip glosses. Shiny, not too sticky, easy to remove (which also means they need frequent reapplications, but that is normal for lip gloss), and doesn’t stain the skin.

With and without flash. (Top to bottom) Lip liner in Red, lip gloss in Terra, Rouge (yes, rouge is basically clear), Geranium, Berry and Ballet

  • While I disliked the brand overall, these actually make really good “intro to makeup” products for young girls. These are great to gift to your daughter, niece or goddaughter, when they want to play in makeup but aren’t responsible enough for the more luxurious stuff.

So, while I disliked the powder products from Beauty Benefits, the liquid liner, mascara, lip liner and lip gloss were okay. And since each product was only $1, I’m not mad at this minimal investment!

Do you all enjoy any bargain beauty brands? Let me know all about them in the comments below!

beauty · luxury

Review: The Ordinary’s Niacinamide + Zinc Formula

A few months ago, I reviewed some other products by The Ordinary, such as the squalane oil and the argireline solution. I was overwhelmingly satisfied with these products so I wanted to post my thoughts on another one of The Ordinary’s offerings.

The Niacinamide + Zinc solution is designed to treat and prevent skin blemishes, especially those associated with acne. According to the Deciem website,  “Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) is indicated to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion. A high 10% concentration of this vitamin is supported in the formula by zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid to balance visible aspects of sebum activity. ”

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As an acne-prone girl with combination skin, any product designed to treat blemishes and redude the apperaance of oiliness is worth a try, in my opinion. So I started using the solution. The directions for use are as follows:

“Apply to entire face morning and evening before heavier creams.”

I followed the directions to the letter, using the solution before my heavier products. It’s lightweight and dries down without any sticky residue, but you must carefully rub it in, otherwise you will have traces of white product on your skin. Overall, the absorption is moderately good – it doesn’t soak in rapidly but retains moisture on the skin’s surface long enough for you to ensure that you’ve rubbed in the product before it dries completely.  The product has no odor and caused no reaction with any of my other products.

I noticed that my skin looks GREAT with this product included in my routine! It seems to really assist my benzoyl peroxide (BP) in preventing acne breakouts. Sometimes, I skip my BP completely and just use the solution as my acne fighter. I love the results!

As a full disclaimer, Deciem recommends that this product NOT be layered with vitamin C products (the niacinamide affects the integrity of vitamin C). But otherwise, this can be used with most other products.

After using this for months, I can confidently say that the Niacinamide + Zinc Solution is a permanent fixture in my routine! It’s available at both Sephora as well as Deciem. The product is extremely affordable, at less than $6 per bottle. If you get a chance to try it, let me know how it works for you!