Swatch & Review: Zoya Casey

Zoya Casey may not be the most obvious choice as we move into the warmer months, but this gorgeous blackened plum remind me of deliciously juicy dark summer berries. Casey is a phenomenal deep purple that leans heavily red. Most times it looks almost black, but in the sun it is a beautiful, glossy dark plum. While this vampy shade lends itself well to edgier ensembles, I think that Casey would also complement and add a pop of surprise to feminine, flirty pastel sundresses. The formula was perfect- not to thin or thick. I am wearing 2 coats here, but next time I wear this I will apply a third to eliminate some of the sheerness as the base of my nail.

What do you think of Casey as a spring shade? Do you think vampy shades are for autumn only? What dark colors will you be sporting in the warm weather?

Fashion journal

 This fashion journal captures some of my past week-and-a-half. Of course I spend 5 days a week working, but me sitting behind a computer screen wouldn't be too interesting to photograph ;)

What are you looking at?
1) The sort of racer back of my new Acne dress
2) Content of my beach bag for a day at Bloemendaal 
3) Pink drinks at Steve Madden store opening
4) The same store opening
5) Canvas bag to store my flats in
6) My boyfriend with Pilotto x Kipling backpack

April Favorites & Flunkies

Where did April go? I spent most of this month in front of a computer screen finishing up my MA paper (and taking a blogging break every now and then, of course). This past few weeks I was introduced to a few fantastic products, as well as a few disappointing ones. So what have I been loving and regretting?

  •  Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in 674 Coral Berry- I have been wearing this shade all month. Coral Berry is a rich creme orange coral that leans towards a strawberry pink. It definitely isn't a subtle lip,  but it is totally wearable, especially when paired with neutral eye looks. This coral has ushered in my spring in a sophisticated, juicy way!
  •  Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Gash- Metallic rust red might not sound like the most flattering shade for your lids, but I am finding this shadow really versatile. I have rocked a few smokey eye looks with this, but it is also nice blended into the crease for an interesting contour (check out my Fierce Femme FOTD for an example). More detailed images and a swatch can be found here. Green eyed babes like me will particularly love this.
  • Slathin & Co. Candle in Salty Carmel from Bath & Body Works- We all know that Bath & Body Works sells some awesome candles, but in my opinion this one tops them all. Salty Carmel is an fantastic scent to start your warm season with. It smells just like going to the fair as a kid! Absolutely delicious!
  • Sonia Kashuk Blending Sponge- I had heard raves about the Beauty Blender, and while I do not know how this compares, I have been loving this blending sponge. It doesn't eat up much product and gives me a natural finish without compromising on coverage. The little pointed end makes it ideal for applying foundation around the nose or concealer under the eyes. This has totally replaced my old foundation brush.
  •  Macadamia Natural Oil Healing Oil Treatment- A dime size of this on my wet hair keeps my long locks manageable and fizz free. With continued use I can tell it is improving the texture of my hair and keeping it moisturized. It doesn't leave me feeling greasy, and smells divine. The price tag for the full bottle of this is steep, but a little goes a long way and for the quality seems completely worth it.
  • LAVANILA The Healthy Body Butter in Vanilla Lavender- This came in my April Birchbox, and I am definitely going to invest in a full sized bottle of this. It is moisturizing and soaks into my skin quickly. Also, I love that LAVANILLA is natural and packages their body butters in sanitary tubes instead of tubs like other brands. I associate lavender with sleep, so I keep this by my bedside table to apply at night. I am interested it trying out other scents as well.
  • Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Illuminating Serum- This stuff has totally transformed my foundation. This combo skinned babe now can have longer-wearing foundation, oil control, and a subtle luminous finish. Check out my full review here.
  • Zoya Pasha- This month I have picked up quite a few polishes, but I can't help but come back to this one. It is a gorgeous silvered taupe with mushroom, almost purple undertones. Check out my full review and swatches here.
  • E.L.F. Cream Eyeliner in Black- I wasn't too fond of this at first, but have really gotten into this liner this month. It is creamy and easy to apply, and once it dries this stuff doesn't budge or flake. I have been using it to line my upper waterline and it lasts all day.
  • EOS Shave Cream in Vanilla Bliss- My legs and underarms have never been softer or more closely shaved. I can't find anything to dislike about this natural, deliciously scented, smartly packaged product. Check out my full review here.
  • EOS Lip Blam Smooth Sphere in Summer Fruit- This lip balm makes me want to abandon all of my others. Clever packaging, hydrating, natural, great taste- I love it! Check out my full review here.
  • Tarte 12 Hour Amazonian Clay Blush in Tipsy- I am not even tempted to buy another blush in the near future, unless it is other shades of this Tarte blush. The formula is that amazing, and Tipsy is an awesome coral for spring. My full review and swatches can be found here.

  •  Revlon CustomEyes Mascara Waterproof in Blackest Black- The only reason I bought this is because I had a CVS coupon for it, a tactic that unfortunately sucked me in. The selling point of this mascara is that the brush is 2-in-1: with a twist of the dial, the wand changes between 2 settings, one for "Length & Drama" and the other for "Length & Definition." More like "Spikey & Clumpy" and "More Spikey & Clumpy." Total gimmick! The formula isn't bad, so in the spirit of Project 10 Pan sometimes I apply this as a first coat and use another mascara with a better brush as the second.
  •  Yes to Tomatoes Deep Cleansing Facial Pads- I love the brand Yes to Carrots so this is upsetting for me. To be fair though, I am almost certain that the reason this product is sub-par is my own fault. I should have know better than to pick up an item like this from the discount bin at Walgreens, because I discovered at home that all the pads were totally dried up! I might give these another go, but pick them up from YTC directly.
  • E.L.F. Super Glossy Lip Shine in Goddess- This sticky, cough syrup flavored gloss does not make me feel like a goddess. Good thing it was only a buck! Read my full review here.
  • E.L.F. Essentials Natural Lash Kit in Black- These lashes are inconsistent, leaving me with one fluttery cute eye and another crazy, blinking doll one. Read my full review here.
Pheww! So there it is! What are you loving and regretting this month?

A little gift

At the Filippa K 10th anniversary event (that I blogged about here) I was given this cute, nude colored purse. The thick leather is beautiful - so are all their leather goodies by the way - and just so happened to match my nails! Right now it holds my business cards and it's also the perfect little wallet for when I just want to carry some cash and bank cards.

Haul: Zoya Nail Polish Earth Day Exchange

In my first Beautiful Brains post, I gave an update on my adventures with Project 10 Pan and mentioned that I found Zoya's Nail Polish Earth Day Exchange too good to resist. The sale only ended yesterday, and I already received my package! I ordered a few days ago, but regardless that is some superior shipping! Thanks Zoya!

My rainbow of treats, From L to R: Faith, Jancyn, Willow, Creamy, Dove, Casey, Marley, Buffy, Gaia
I snagged 9 delicious looking shades, and I am so overwhelmingly excited just looking at them. Which do I try first?!?! I broke out of my comfort zone and picked up a shade or two that I wouldn't typically go for- Marley, Creamy, and Jancyn were too stunning to deny. And has anyone seen Gaia? Sweet goddess, what a gorgeous shade. It is a soft white with golden shimmer that I can't wait to see on the nail.

Did your package arrive yet? What colors did you order?

Fierce Femme Face of the Day: Vintage Neutrals

Today I have a meeting with my academic adviser and a cohort photo, so I wanted my look to be sophisticated, natural, and professional without compromising too much on sex appeal. I'm calling this one Vintage Neutrals because it feels both classic and sultry.

Products Used

Hard Candy Sheer Envy Face Primer
Tarte Smooth Operator Illuminating Serum (mixed with foundation)
Revlon Colorstay in Medium Beige
Benefit Erase Paste in Medium (under eyes)
Revlon PhotoReady Concealer in Light Medium (blemishes)
Sephora Sculpting Disk (pressed powder for setting, bronzer for contouring, highlighter on cheekbones)
Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Powder in Translucent (all over glow)
Urban Decay Afterglow Blush in Score
CoverGirl Professional Natural Lash Mascara in Clear (for brows)

Urban Decay Primer Potion in Original (not pictured)
NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in French Fries (not pictured)
NYX 10 Color Eyeshadow Palette "The Runway Collection" in Versus (shimmery light beige for inner corner and browbone, shimmery taupe for lid)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Gash (crease)
E.L.F. Cream Eyeliner in Black
Loreal Voluminous Million Lashes in Black (first coat)
Revlon Grow Luscious in Blackest Black (second coat)
Benefit BadGal Plum (lower lashes)

E.L.F. Lip Liner & Blending Brush in Natural
CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipstick in 200 Sultry

outfit: Draped darling dress

When I posted the new Acne dress hanging in my room (seen here), some of you couldn't wait for an outfit post. So as soon as the weather allowed me to, I wore it on a Sunday out and about in Amsterdam. I'm still so in love with the beautiful and unique details like the gathered, asymmetric sash on one side, a hidden zipper and a special back. I also like how it’s flowy and layered but still shows my body shape because it’s fitted just below the waist. To dress it down I layered a biker jacket over it, put on peep toe wedges, and done!

Ibana Rouge bag
LF wedges
Storets biker jacket
Priti NYC silver nail polish

Beautiful Brains: The Cultivation of Need (& a Project 10 Pan Update)

On April 12th I embarked upon the infamous Project 10 Pan in hopes of clearing out old, unloved products, making way for future natural beauty purchases, and buckling down on my spending. How am I doing just 2 weeks in? I have actually started to finish up products a lot more quickly than I had anticipated. In fact, I have already hit 10...this is probably because I was already close to pan on some products and that I decided to include deluxe and travel sized products in the project as well. The next time I do a Project 10 Pan, I do not think that I will count these smaller sized products, but for a first go at this I am glad to be rid of all of those random little containers cluttering up my bathroom and makeup drawer. Since it is only 2 weeks in and several are deluxe sized products, I am going to keep up with Project 10 Pan for a while longer.

Using up that last little dusting of loose powder and that final squeeze of conditioner is indeed satisfying. However, this satisfaction does not always curb the desire to bring home some hauls from the store. I will be honest: I caved. A few days ago I placed an order with Zoya for their Nail Polish Earth Day Exchange, which ends April 27th. I justified my purchase by telling myself that this sale was an opportunity to get rid of old polishes in an environmentally friendly way and replace them with half-priced Zoya ones which are free of harmful chemicals. Of course, this is all true, but the bigger reason is that I totally succumbed to product lust. Did I need more nail polish? Nope, but I sure as hell wanted it...bad.

But let's consider that my polish binge might not simply be a moment of personal weakness but perhaps part of a huge capitalist beauty industry machine that is really good at inspiring consumers to hand over their cash. Of course, I am certainly accountable in important ways- I decided to shop the Zoya site, pick out 9 shades (which are gorgeous, but that is beside the  point here), and enter my credit card info. Yet, my individuals decisions, options, and desires are under the supreme influence of the beauty industry. I call this the cultivation of need.

The cultivation of need happens in a variety of ways. First, consumer culture promotes the notion that we are what we purchase. We often use the products we consume to display what kind of person we are. Brands are totally in on this, and cater to certain identities and niche markets. Are you an Urban Decay kind of girl or MAC? Hot Topic or American Eagle? Where we shop and what we buy has a lot to do with how we construct and communicate our identities. Secondly, I feel like the beauty cosmos knew that I started Project 10 Pan, because every time I open my mailbox or check my email I am bombarded by advertisements and tempting coupons. On the daily, Sephora, Ulta, Hautelook, Cherry Culture, among others of my frequently shopped beauty supply sources reveal new products and offer limited-time discount codes. My point is that the beauty industry is incredibly provocative and cunning in that it has mastered the ability to make their consumers feel elite in the interest of reaping profit. For instance, we can be Beauty Insiders at Sephora, indicating that we are the privilege lot that has special access to sweet deals and exclusive products. Moreover, limited time offers and coupons and limited edition shades and collections convince us that we must buy now. Rationally, sales will come again, and MAC will always have future collections, and dupes are pretty easy to find. Yet this marketing ploy creates a sense of necessity and urgency in buyers. Lastly, the cultivation of need often constructs a problem for or insecurity in the consumer, and then offers a solution to this problem or insecurity in the form of a product. We feel like we need a particular product, although we may have others already that perform similarly. Our needs and desires, if we aren't being critically aware and conscious consumers, are largely constructed by the beauty industry.

Am I saying that us beauty fiends are victims here? Certainly not. But sometimes we are blissfully ignorant. We hand over our credit cards willfully, but it is worth taking a minute to step back to take a hard look at the beauty industry that we support. It is really easy to get sucked in and completely consumed by the beauty industry. Does this mean that our whole lives should be a giant Project 10 Pan-like spending ban? No. But I think we could benefit from becoming more critical and thoughtful consumers.

On a lighter note, what polishes did you pick up during Zoya's exchange? I grabbed 9: Creamy, Marley, Jancyn, Dove, Gaia, Faith, Willow, Buffy, and Casey.

Dress Give away!

Time for a new give away! One of you is wining this black A-line mini Jinx dress from Seneca Rising! It's a loose fitted, 100% cotton, fully lined dress that's cut out on the side. The label says size 1, I would say it fits a size xs or s.

How to enter?
This give away is a special thanks to my readers. So it's open for everyone that follows This chick's got style on one or more of these channels:
Bloglovin, Google Friend Connect and Twitter! Just leave a comment with your e-mail adress :)

Haul: Mario Badescu Skin Care Sale on Hautelook

As a young teen, the joys of puberty left me properly red and bumpy so I used the Proactiv line with nice results for a some time. With age my skin balanced out on its own, and Proactive became too abrasive. Since then, I have tried countless facial cleansers, masks, and topical treatments that are heavy duty enough to prevent and control my minor breakouts without freaking out my sensitive skin. My skin care routine is currently loyal to Yes to Carrots and a few St. Ives products, but with the summer months just around the corner (read: increasingly oily skin) I was looking for some supplementary products that kicked my current faves into high problem zone fighting gear. A few weeks ago, Hautlook had a sale on Mario Badescu skin care products. I had heard some beauty gurus rave about this line on youtube, and after spending an afternoon researching their products and reading dozens of reviews I picked up these deeply discounted products. Some are for myself (sensitive combination skin with some stubborn blackheads), and I bought some specifically for my partner (very sensitive skin prone to cystic acne).

So here is the loot: Glycolic Acid Toner, Glycolic Foaming Cleanser, Buffering Lotion, Drying Lotion, Silver Powder, Drying Cream, and two free travel sized bottles of Vitamin "E" Body Lotion (Wheat Germ).

Keep an eye out for individual product reviews!

All products featured were purchased with my own money, and I am in no way affiliated with or being compensated by Hautelook or Mario Badescu. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Beautiful Brains: Lady Gaga, Beauty Norms, and "Bad Romance" Inspried Nail Art

Put Your (Painted) Paws Up!
With this entry I am introducing a series of posts called "Beautiful Brains," which will be dedicated to the thoughtful and critical discussion of beauty-related topics. In these posts I will be combining my love for all things beauty related with discussions of more socially and culturally grounded contemporary issues, such as body image, the beauty industry, norms of gender and sexuality, and so forth.

Love or hate her, Lady Gaga is undoubtedly one of the leading pop culture icons on our generation. Through the bizarre and ever changing stylization of her body, Lady Gaga challenges what our culture perceives as beautiful and desirable. The 'Born This Way' era has introduced prosthetic spiked cheek bones and shoulders, but her play with corporeality began much earlier, as can be seen in the 'Bad Romance' video. In 'Bad Romance,' Gaga displays a protruding spine and giant doll eyes which exaggerate the cultural  markers of feminine beauty (slenderness and emphasized, youthful eyes). The visual effect is, I believe, intentionally unsettling. Even though we are told that extreme slenderness and youthfulness are qualities we should prize in women, Lady Gaga's interpretation is haunting. Through her extreme and overemphasized adherence to the beauty norm, she highlights how disturbing these expectations are. So is Lady Gaga freakish? Or are American beauty standards?

Thinking about Lady Gaga and her 'Bad Romance' inspired me to create nail design based on the music video. In the video, Gaga struts in some outrageous Alexander McQueen footwear. These nude, jewel encrusted heels are simultaneously delicately feminine and severely hardcore. Like pretty ballet shoes meets broken glass. I toned the look down a little and transformed it into a wearable nude manicure.
I am wearing 2 coats of Essie's Topless and Barefoot, an amazing true nude that went opaque in 2 coats. Though the color is the perfect nude I have been searching for, I found the formula to be a little finicky. It was pretty runny, and I couldn't avoid flooding out my cuticles.

The glitter gradient was achieved using Sally Hansen Hard as Nail Xtreme Wear in Strobe Light, which I have heard is a near dupe for OPI's Teenage Dream from the Katy Perry collection.I applied the first coat starting 3/4ths down my nail, another starting at half, a third on the top 1/4th, and a final coat just on the tip for maximum sparkle.

Pamela Love for Topshop line

I came across the first images of the Pamela Love jewelry collection for Topshop and wanted to share them with you. As you could read here I'm a fan of hers, so I was looking forward to this. Secretly I had hoped for a few more silver pieces that are a little less detailed... It makes sense though that she didn't want to copy pieces from her line and create another big spike cuff or knuckle ring or something. The feathered jewelry is my favorite. I'm curious how you feel about the collection, that ranges between around 50 and 120 pounds, and what your favorite piece is. Thoughts?

Outfit: Sand and stripes

 I couldn't think of a better way to spend the hottest day so far than by going to the beach with my boyfriend. I kept my outfit simple - after all you can only lose or damage your accessories - and opted for shorts and a breezy, nude top. Today is the last day of the so called heat wave, so I'm out the door again to catch some sun before I go back to work.

River Island shorts / H&M top / LF suede wedges / Stanton James love ring / other ring and necklace gift from friends / Priti NYC
silver nailpolish

Welcome weekend

How I'm spending my Saturday morning... catching up on magazines and deciding what color to paint my toe nails. Stored my favorite polishes in a glass candy jar, after all they're little colored goodies. Next on todays program; visiting my family for a birthday/early Easter party. Wishing you a happy Easter too! Are you doing anything special on those days (next to stocking up on chocolat eggs?) 

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Favorites More