Reviews

Fashion Nova Review (Phoebe top)

So it’s been a while since I online shopped – actually, it’s been a while since I shopped AT ALL – and to honor that I decided to cause a little damage buy something new.

I’d been ogling Fashion Nova for a while, but because their stuff sells out so fast (Fashion Nova, PLEASE FIX THIS) it took me a while to finally find something still on sale that I actually liked.

Here’s the Phoebe top:

Now when I saw this, I immediately thought: what a beautiful taupe¬†blouse. I would imagine, that’s what everyone else would think right? It is a taupe, right? Or am I going color blind?? Regardless, I ended up buying it alone since there was nothing else I liked.

This time, unlike last, I made sure to make an account prior to my purchase. From there, I could see my orders and whatnot. I was sent a confirmation email, and thereafter a tracking email (yay!), it arrived within 3 days.

Upon arrival, I was surprised to find the packaged resembled nothing more than a simple package. Isn’t that disappointing? Don’t you want to find logo’d stuff everywhere? I do!

The package came inside a priority mail bubble mailer (those are free), with logo’d stuff inside (much better ūüĎĆūüŹľ).

Here’s what it looked like EXACTLY AS IT ARRIVED.


Hint hint, I think that’s a general code ūüėČ

For your own sanity, here’s the code: SAVE10

I also used the code VACAY which saved me 15% off, and they always have codes, just google them prior to purchase.


Anyway, as for the blouse, I’m on the fence, absolutely. It’s definitely not a taupe, maybe not even a “coffee” which is the shade it is officially described as .. Soooo what shade is it??? Gray? Gray-Taupe-Coffee? The fabric is thin and slightly sheer, but I’d expect that to some degree for the price.

Not sure whether I’ll be returning this or not .. But as for the store, for those wondering, it is authentic.

Update: The color has grown on me, so it’s all good!

Pros:

-FAST shipping (ordered Sept 16, 2016, received Sept 19)

-Nice, professional inside packaging.

-Made in the US

-Fairly Inexpensive

CONS:

-Cheap outside packaging (a logo’d bubble mailer would’ve been nicer)

-Product color not accurate/ as pictured.

-Size is slightly larger.

Overall I would still recommend Fashion Nova, just know your clothes may or may not look as pictured .. Good luck! ūü§ĒNicole.

Note: I was not paid nor given anything free for this post (God. I wish.)

 

Naked Wardrobe Review

I know it’s been a while, and so I wanted to post something worthwhile!

For a few months now, I’ve been eyeing up naked wardrobe’s website, and I have to tell you, I was reeaalllyyyy tempted to purchase something but I refused due to the lack of reviews. So I just went ahead and bit the bullet, and here are my thoughts.

I purchased the ‘All Stripes And You’re Out Mini’ in Small, which you can see at their website here.

Update 1/11/2016: The link is has been updated. Their smaller sizes tend to sell out soon, so¬†if you’re in love with a dress, know that it may sell out. Usually their Large sizes sell slower.

It was about $40, but then I remembered the usual codes they have on Instagram, so I went ahead and used one of their usual codes (ps. It’s “FRIDAY”) which takes 15% off so that brought the price down to $34, plus tax and shipping, the total was brought back up to $42.

After ordering, the worst part was the wait. Apparently, when ordering, the system automatically creates an account for you. The problem is, you’re likely not aware of this, especially since the option to create an account is in really small letters followed by a check.

So when it comes to knowing about your package, first of all you have no option on the home page to login. Second you don’t have any official information to log in.

To put it simply, I had no idea where my package was until I got a tracking email – I almost thought I had been scammed!

In total, it took about a week to get my package: about 3 days in preparing the shipment, and 3 days to ship, I’d say.

As far as the actual package goes, I admit I was pretty impressed.

The package comes in a black shipping bag with the words “naked wardrobe” on it:

 


Inside is the items wrapped up in tissue paper, along with your order sheet printed in pink paper.

Once unwrapped, in the middle you can find a card that looks like this:

  

The actual dress is a bit darker than in the image on the naked wardrobe website, though that’s probably due to lighting etc. The quality of the fabric is superb, as well the stitching/seams.

On the inside there is a second layer of fabric for more throughout coverage.


I couldn’t get a good picture of the full dress, so I’ll leave it at that!

Have you shopped from the naked wardrobe? What are your thoughts?

Let me know if you like clothing/boutique reviews like this!

Note: I was not paid nor given anything free for this post (God. I wish.)

Fit ME Foundation & Concealer Reviews

I recently got a Fit Me Matte + Poreless sample packet from one of the magazines of my dozen-and-still-counting subscriptions, and after trying it out, more on that here, I decided to purchase the full bottle.

I got the 220 shade, which in the sample was a shade or two darker than the bottled version, but was warm enough to play with!

Along with the foundation, I’ve been dying¬†to try out NARS’ Radiant Creamy concealer and I’d heard Fit Me’s concealer was a very close dupe, so I also purchased myself the whole thang in shade 20 Sand.

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When the original Fit Me line came out, I never really took notice, especially since the line was targeted towards Normal to Dry gals, so when the newer line launched recently, I was so excited to try it out!

The foundation itself¬†is reminiscent of¬†L’oreal’s¬†True Match with a hint of mattifying powers – get the hint already, L’oreal! – which is great, because the main reason I avoid my True Match foundation at all is due to the fact that it doesn’t¬†prevent my skin from getting oily.

The shade selection seems much better than True Match’s however, considering W3 is slightly¬†lighter than shade 220 – True Match’s Warm line runs dark and pink, so those with light to medium, warm skin might find Fit Me suits their skin tone better than True Match. The bottles in-store at my local Target all look the same shade, so I’m not exactly sure what’s up with that. If you know your shade, I’d suggest you purchase online instead, since the’s a lower chance of your foundation bottle being messed with at all.

Here’s a swatch of the shade 220 along with a few other foundations I have:

photo 1  swatch

Product Name L to R: L’oreal True Match, Revlon Colorstay, Pond’s BB Cream, True Match, Maybelline Fit Me. Natural Lightning.

photo 2 swatch

Swatches in direct natural lightning.

The finish is slightly powdery when set with powder, though that’s easily fixable with a spray of Rose Water, or Elf’s Setting Spray (which is pretty much the same thing).

On the other hand, the quality of the  concealer surprised me quite a lot, especially since it was so dirty cheap!

The shade was surprisingly warm as well – most “warm” drugstore concealers and foundations tend too run a little too pink for truly warm skin tones.

Note: Pink-based concealers tend to hide very dark circles better on lighter, warm skin tones (yellow based concealers tend to turn the area a grey color). As you darken (during the Spring/Summer time) the pink-based concealer tends to look obvious on skin, so true-to-skin-tone concealers are better to use during this time of the year – since blue/green/purple shadows hide better under darker skin.

Here’s the swatch compared to my other favorite concealers:

photo 3 swatch

Product Name L to R: Maybelline Fit Me, Maybelline IAR Dark Circle Eraser, It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye.

As for the actual quality of the actual product, this concealer is life, basically.

Why? Because it manages to completely remove my trusted Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer from my routine (which by the way is the ONLY concealer that truly hides my heavy, Purpley-Bright Red Dark Bright Under Eye Circles)

This concealer is a true rival, offering medium to full coverage with a very natural, skin-like, moisturizing/sheen finish. LOVE. All for $20 cheaper. LOVE EVEN MORE.

Pros:

  • Medium-to-full coverage
  • Very skin-like
  • Very Moisturizing
  • Easy to blend
  • True Warm shade
  • Really inexpensive ($4 on amazon, +¬†there’s $1 off magazine coupons around!)

Cons:

  • Oxidizes easily when packed on heavily
  • Creases towards end of the day when not set with powder
  • Personal con: oxidized when set with my Sonia Kashuk loose powder.
  • Wand¬†can get dirty easily since you use it to apply the concealer every time without washing (think loose shadow/mascara flakes getting stuck)

As for a comparison to the NARS concealer, I don’t personally own it, though from testing in-store, the NARS’ concealer is slightly thicker, offering more of a truly full coverage (no medium-cov bs).¬†So unless you need straight up full coverage with fancy shmancy packaging with a price to match, the Fit Me Concealer will surprise you in terms of quality.

I know the line also comes with a pressed powder to match (how cute, I know), but I decided to skip it since prefer loose powders.

Overall, I am highly pleased with Maybelline’s shade selection and their concealer’s amazing coverage as well as their true to¬†name number shade selection – 0’s are warm, and 5’s are cold, if you’re olive under-toned, warm should suit just fine.

If you have any questions, let me know!

Love, Nicole ūüíč

The Big-Booty Guide for a Small-Bootied Girl! + Gel-V Dupe!

This post is for all of the women around the world lacking a bit (or ALOT) in the booty department (ahem, me.)

Despite my Latina heritage, I was not gifted with a very big behind (sadly), so for quite a while now, I’ve been on a hunt for a bit of a boost (excuse the pun, lol) to give my petite figure a more curvy look.

So far, here’s what I’ve found that actually works.

Exercises can make a huge difference, so I like to keep squats, donkey kicks and lunges as part of my workout routine. They really “harden” and lift out the booty, making shapers, and anything else you use, much more effective. Another thing to add is that, actually “making” a booty takes some time (fitness-wise), so you just have to be patient! But for the meanwhile, you can use these tricks to make a sad butt look happy … kinda¬†…¬†you get the point!

Faking it until you Make it.

1. So, for an instant boost, I like to wear ASSETS by Sara Blakely Mid-Thigh Shaper. You can purchase this at Target.¬†This is mainly a mid-section type of shaper (where my main problem areas lie – lower stomach, bigger thighs, sad booty) so it’s great to just kinda shape that area and suck it in a bit, as well as lift the butt and tighten it in.

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Compression zones flatten the tummy and trim the thighs, specially-designed rear pockets offer an added lift in back, legband-free! No bulging on the thigh, sleek yarns are soft & comfortable, cotton gusset for comfort, imported

It’s slightly expensive ($28), at least for me, but it is very much worth it and so much better than other shapers I have tried, (including Maidenform Flexees Women’s Shapewear¬†– which¬†did absolutely nothing for my butt!)

2. I’ve also tried Slim Extreme 3D Super-concentrated Serum by Eveline Cosmetics. I’m not gonna lie. This was more of an experiment than anything else, I was not in any way expecting (more like wishfully hoping!) that this would work … But it did.

Eveline

You see what this does is, besides make your butt feel ridiculously soft and smell ridiculously good, it tones the area to which it is applied to Рbe it the buttock area or breasts etc. I find this lifts my butt, giving it a soft, rounded and natural look (which I love!)

The only problem is, this is only a temporary effect, at least from what I’ve tested. It usually takes a week to notice results, but it also takes within a week to notice the results going away once usage has been stopped.

I would still recommend this, however, because well I mean, this lifts your butt – exactly how many things can you say that about?

I’d say this would be ideal for major events where training won’t get you results fast enough (or when you’re just plain ol’ lazy like me ūüėÄ )


Another thing worth mentioning is, this contains centella asiatica as the third ingredient, compared to the Gel-V (a lotion designed to tonify skin) also listing centella asiatica extract as the third ingredient, meaning this is a possible dupe for the $50 lotion! ūüėÄ

Note: Ingredient list taken directly from VannaBelt.com.

 

Centella asiatica is an herb known to have wound-healing and toning properties (the success of the Gel V is proof of that.)

Slim Serum also has Alminaria Algae (Seaweed), compared to the 2nd ingredient in Gel-V: Fucus Vesiculosus Extract, an extract derived from seaweed.

Random fact: The first two ingredients, Camellia Sinensis and Fucus Vesiculosus of the Gel-V are both antioxidants (antioxidants reduce the negative effect of oxygen, like wrinkles and general ageing.) Based off this, researching, I found that Funat Natural Body Fat Burner is another possible dupe, as it also has the same first two ingredients, but not Centella Asiatica. I am still testing this one.

I have as of yet to find a closer dupe, but this is what I have so far, and I thought I’d share this.

Feel free to ask any questions!

Love, Nicole ūüíč

Benefit Minis Reviews

Looking through my makeup collection, I realized I had a bigger-than-usual amount of Benefit minis (just look at the picture above! Lol.)

So I decided to show them off write a quick review of them all!

I find their minis are really cute. I actually think Benefit is one of the very few brands, if not the only one, that carries most of their original products in sample sizes. They don’t skimp on them either!! I think their Hoola sample size (which I’m probably purchasing as soon as I finish it!) has lasted me about 3+ months of daily usage. So yeah, the samples have plenty of¬†product for more than a couple of uses.

Their unusual cardboard-boxes do throw me off a bit, however, making them¬†difficult to travel with¬†(maybe that’s why they have so many samples .. hmm …)

Here’s a quick overview of the¬†ones I have:

  1. Hoola by Benefit – Neutral-to-Warm brown shade best used for contour/bronzing (looks best on neutral/warm¬†skin). Might tend to look orangey on cool skin tones.¬†Highly, Richly¬†pigmented. No shimmer. Fabulous “Hoola” carved into first¬†layers of powder. Easy to blend. Warms up the skin nicely.¬†Con: A tad too warm for pale skin. Tends to look orange on my light-olive skin during the fall/winter seasons. Dupe: NYC Bronzer.
  2. Watt’s Up by Benefit – Golden, Champagney Highlighter. Really fine micro glitter/shimmer. Visible Golden flecks in sunlight. Overall warm. Highly pigmented but easy to blend – with finger NOT a brush. Creamy. On the warmer side.
  3. High Beam by Benefit – Liquid¬†Cool Silver highlighter. Applicable using a polish-like brush. Much easier to blend than Watt’s Up due to it’s liquid form. Easier to blend using a brush. Ideal for cooler tones or pale skin tones. Dupe: ELF baked blush in Pinktastic.
  4. Roller lash by Benefit – Lenghthens but does not curl like it claims. Does not Volumize. Waterproof (for the most part). Does not flake. Stays on for 8+ hours (have not tested for a full day.) Dries fast (For those with allergies!). Dupe: Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes.
  5. The POREfessional by Benefit –¬†smoothes over pores. Not lasting from personal experience. Skin-like tint. Doesn’t smother skin (not very feel-able throughout the day). Does not control oil. A little goes a long way. For those with big pores (I think this is funny) this tends to close pores in an “elongated” manner (think of a toned stomach with a line-like belly button – the belly button being the pores). Dupe: Maybelline Baby Skin.
  6. Oxygen Wow Foundation in Petal (not shown) Рlight coverage. Warm, yellow undertone. Light tone (just before Light/Medium). Dupe: TrueMatch liquid super blendable foundation in W2.

Let me know if you’d like swatches!

Love, Nicole ūüíč

March Favorites

Having a Target across the street is legit dangerous. Shoutout to all of you working in retail. I feel ya. I mean, how do you do it? I’d go to work empty and come out full-handed!! ūüėęūüėā

Anywho, I’ve gotten a few new items, some of which have been 5-star products for so long and I’m just here scratching my head thinking why??? The first one being ELF’s HD Loose Powder in Translucent.

I have a few things to say about this, mainly mixed thoughts. First of all I want to say, the packaging is horrible upon opening – every. single. time. I’ve tried it all by now, trust me, but there is just no way to prevent the powder from going into the inner rims of the lid and spilling out everywhere upon opening of the jar.With that said, if you decide to purchase this, expect about 1/5 of the powder being wasted all over your vanity and carpet.

I hope it absorbs odors at least, otherwise the thang is just stuck there … Until vacuumed.

As for the powder, this is where I have mixed thoughts. I have heard so many wonderful things on this powder, including from Paula’s Beautychoice, saying it basically melts right into your skin, blurring all pores. It may, when applied sparingly, but when packed on (for those of us with oily skin whom need plenty of powder to absorb the nasty mess) it turns out looking absolutely obvious and a tad bit like tiny pieces of dried toilet paper rolling on your skin as you try to remove it. I absolutely hate this!!

On the other hand, however, the powder leaves a tad white-ish, definitely brightening, look so I LOVE that for my under eye!

I have found that applying with the slightest amount of pressure on the brush is the best way to apply this in a “packed” manner. That way you have very little powder to brush off.

Side-Note: I have applied this powder to set foundation and it does set my foundation quite nicely (completely disappears!), however it DOES NOT absorb oil.

This is best when used with a matte or oil-absorbing foundation like Revlon’s Colorstay.

As for the packaging, I highly recommend somehow  transferring the powder onto an empty loose powder jar, as that would save a lot of headaches!

Secondly, prior to this powder, I purchased Sonia Kashuk’s Loose Brightening Powder, having fallen in love with her Loose Powder (non-brightening). The powder is definitely much better than ELF’s. The problem is, it’s glittery. Though it’s better than ELF’s HD Powder, it is pretty much the same as ELF under-eye setting powder, which is glittery as well. I generally don’t have much problem with glitter, though I’m not exactly sure how I feel with it under my eye, instead of my eyelid.

The packaging is very pretty, regardless, and it also stores the powder much better than ELF’s HD Loose Powder. It closely resembles its sister normal loose powder, though the lid is sleek and reflective.

 

Another ELF love (I may post more this on this later) are the ELF powder blushes. I could almost swear these are the best, most inexpensive blushes you will find. Ever. Like seriously, they are that good.

Like Coastal Scents/Urban Decay, the formula is not quite NARS, but it comes so close, it’s actually amazing – making it an absolute steal. I recently bought tickled pink, which I would assume is very much like Deep Throat, since it’s a bit like Orgasm, slightly peachier, with slight sparkles only visible in direct sunlight (like most blushes).

The powder, though not as firm¬†as NARS powder blushes, is very pigmented, buttery and blends like a dream. I mean, you can’t do wrong with these blushes.

  

And to add on to my ELF obsession, I also recently tried ELF’s cream eyeliner in black.

I found it to be somewhat pigmented (first 2 layers tend towards more of a dark brown rather than true black – third layer usually fixes that, however)

   

I really liked how this wore once on, as it was truly long-lasting and quite waterproof!! I couldn’t even get the swatch off my arm!!

Lastly, after having so many (if not all!) of the the Almay softies, I decided to try them.

I have to admit, I kinda fell in love.

While the first try was an absolute flop – these eyeshadows do not work with brushes – the second try was much better. Being more of a cream shadow (though seemingly powder) these shadows are surprisingly pigmented and are best used alone or as a base. Why you might ask? Because fingers must be used with these shadows, and creating a crease, etc, is nearly impossible with fingers alone.

One layer: 

Two layers:

So do you really need these?

The shade Cashmere works great as a base for a neutral eyeshadow look, but as for the rest, unless you prefer one-shadow looks, you’re better off without them.

The Hot Fudge shade is a fair exception as it is highly pigmented, though creating a crease with it could prove a little too hard considering there are better options out there.

That is all for my March Favorites! (A little late, I know, I know)

Have you tried any of these? How do you like them? Let me know!!

AliExpress MAC Brushes Review

So I’ve finally received my Mac brush set (purchased from AliExpress), after two weeks of waiting, and let me just tell you – these are not cheap-like brushes. They are also strikingly beautiful as a whole and individual, and the case is a cute extra.

The favorites (& standouts)

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The brush I absolutely couldn’t wait for was the white bristled, angled brush (168). I love white bristled brushes. I just think they look cute and classy, but that’s me. I also think this one may be made out of real goat hair, as the bristles smelled a tad bit funky, the way goat hair brushes usually smell.

The bristles of this particular brush are not the softest, but they do a surprisingly good job at applying contour powders (no wasting powder!) I would compare the feeling of this to the ELF Professional Contour/Angled brush (white-handled, red-bristled brush), though a tad bit softer.

photo 3 (8)

Another one of my favorites in this set is the other white-bristled brush, brush 219, which is a crease blending brush. I think this may also be a real goat hair brush. This is by far much better for my crease (alone!) especially when compared to the other two brushes I’ve been using for shadow (Real Techniques crease brush & Ecotools smudge brush). It both applies shadow pigmentedly and blends out beautifully. LOVE. The texture is neither soft nor rough. Softer than 168, but not any more than 187.

photo 2 (9)

I also like that this set comes with another flat small brush (214). I have 3 of them as of now. I just think small flat brushes are a must for pretty much any type of complexion cosmetic (concealer, foundation, BB creme) to pack up on blemishes and imperfections. This is mid-soft, as well.

photo 1 (11)

The stippling brush, 187, though seemingly big, “stipples” surpringly well. It leaves my foundation looking flawless as ever and I don’t need to break my wrist in the process! That’s always a plus. I would seriously tie this to my all time favorite Expert Face brush by Real Techniques. It’s that good. This brush is probably the softest of them all, as you can see from the thinner bristles towards the end (the thinner, the softer!!)

photo 2 (11)

The flat foundation brush is a nice standout. It is very soft (much more than the typical flat foundation brushes I’ve seen). Too bad I don’t like using flat foundation brushes – I find they leave me “streaky” and “painted-on”.


photo 1 (8)

The Bad:

The powder brush (134) is not the best. My Ecotools powder brush is better (softer, glentler, better). The bristles are too thick to actually take seriously as a brush – seriously, this looks like a dollar-type of brush. The bristles are coarse and “hard”, and they don’t feel too good against the skin. You can skip this one.

The rest of these brushes I have as of yet to try. Though most are simple, small brushes. I might add on these later on.

What I will say in general is they lack the super softness of other higher quality brushes. But the actual application is flawless. They don’t waste nearly as much product as some of my other brushes do and they apply the product well, which is what I like.

The brushes are housed in a really nice case, which would double perfectly as a makeup bag. It has a detachable little purse in the middle, which can be used for storing products or travel sized brushes.

photo 1 (9)photo 2 (10)

Overall, would I recommend this? Yes and no. As an overall, this set is okay. As for some of the individual brushes, this set is an absolute steal! There are a few brushes in this set which are amazingly good and all that, and then some, for 15 bucks makes it worth it to me. Find some niece or little girl to give the worse brushes to! Lol.

What do you think of the AliExpress Mac brushes? Let me know!!

Love, Nicoleūüíē

Note: the brushes used in this post are not authentic MAC brushes. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Products are purchased on my own. Thank you. x