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Thursday, February 27, 2014

That time I....

I was looking through all the pictures on my computer and I thought that it would be a great way to have a laugh at myself and have you guys get to know me a little bit better if I shared some memories from years past, so here goes!

Harris Teeter Breyer's Ice Cream Buy 2 get 3 free

bought 2 Breyer's ice creams and got 3 free at Harris Teeter with my step-sister. At least two of them were 1/2 the fat, right?

ironed my shirt with my curling iron...while wearing the shirt. (Ouch!)

30 Seconds to Mars concert Jared Leto
saw Jared Leto and 30 Seconds to Mars in concert for the first time while it rained the entire show.

Fourth of July Strawberry and Blueberry Cheesecake Pinterest

made my first cheesecake on my own for the Fourth of July. Thank you, Pinterest.

was Editor-in-Chief of of my high school yearbook.

went undercover with a friend on our other friend's date her mom insisted she go on, but she was dreading.

Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Ireland Spring Break Trip

went to Ireland for Spring Break on my first trip out of the country.

Blarney Stone, Blarney Castle, Ireland

went as quickly as possible down the most narrow stairs you'll ever see after being a scared-of-heights baby before I kissed the Blarney Stone.

had ombre hair for a couple weeks, with a brassy tone I couldn't get rid of.

That's all I have for you guys today, enjoy your Thursday!

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Almay One Coat Get Up & Grow Mascara

Hello again, everyone! Today I want to tell you about Almay's One Coat Get Up & Grow mascara. I was in need of a new mascara and I waned to go for something I had never tried before. I had been hearing a few select people talking about how impressed they were with this mascara from Almay so I decided to give it a try. I don't use Almay products very often and I had never tried one of their mascaras before so I didn't know what to expect!

Almay One Coat Get up and Grow Mascara Review

First off, I really like the packaging. The tube is white with a silver band, has metallic lettering and gets wider as it goes to the top. It doesn't feel cheap and I think it has a really nice look to it. Also, another thing I love about it is that the top makes a clicking sound when it's closed all the way so that your mascara doesn't try out before it's supposed to. This product was just under $7 for me, which is slightly on the more expensive side as far as drugstore mascaras go, but not unreasonable. The formula is Almay's first anti-breakage pro-vitamin formula that is supposed to lengthen the lashes and defend against damage so the lashes can grow long and beautiful and all that great stuff.

Almay Get Up and Grow Mascara Wand with Maybelline The Rocket

The Almay mascara wand is on the right and here I'm comparing it to Maybelline's the Rocket mascara wand on the left.  You can see that the Almay brush is very long, but not too wide. When I apply it, the brush basically covers the length of my entire eye, which was a bit awkward at first, I will admit. You can also see that the bristles are longer and wider than on The Rocket brush.

As you can see, the wand is this shape that starts off wide, thins towards the middle and widens out slightly at the end and according to Almay this is supposed to "fit eye contours perfectly so you reach every last lash in just one coat." Just so you know, though, I don't find one coat to be enough and I always do at least two.

This isn't the best photo to represent what this mascara does because I had been wearing it all day and then reapplied it because my lashes weren't looking as spunky anymore (but this happens with all mascaras I use) so I decided to freshen it up. Still, though, you can see that it is a nice black color and it does do a good job of lengthening and even giving some volume.

Besides getting used to the massive brush, there is one thing I have NEVER had an issue with that this mascara causes:


See photographic evidence below.

Excuse the quality, this photo was taken with my phone, but do you see the two black splotches under my eye? Yeah, that happens a lot with this mascara and it's not the end of the world or anything and it isn't horrible, but why would I want to have to check a mirror every couple of hours to make sure this hasn't happened when I can use a mascara that doesn't cause this problem at all? If you have a problem with smudging, I would steer clear of this one.

Overall, I  haven't noticed my lashes any longer or better in any way, however, this mascara does provide good length and doesn't flake. I appreciate the nice packaging and the price isn't too bad, especially if you can find a coupon (I've seen $1 off coupons for Almay mascaras from time to time). I have had this mascara for about 2 months now so it has dried up since I bought it and the smudging problem isn't as bad anymore, but I still don't want to have to wait until it's almost time to toss the product for it to work properly. I still recommend that you give it a try if you haven't because it may be just the mascara you've been looking for, you never know!

If you're interested in checking it out, click here!

Have you tried this mascara or any others by Almay? Also, do you guys tend to have mascaras smudge on you? Let me know!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

2014 Blogger Challenge Post 4: High End vs. Drugstore

I was super excited to do this post on High End vs. Drugstore products for you guys because it's featuring my all time favorite blush and it's high-end "dupe." Yep, that's right, I'll go ahead and tell you that I prefer the drugstore version so I consider the high-end product a dupe, but they are both amazing and I'll show you why!

The products in question are Dallas Blush from Benefit and a Covergirl Cheekers blush in Soft Sable. I've actually had Dallas in a palette for about 4 years now and I've always loved it and have obviously hit pan on it. One day, about a year ago, I was at Target and was just having one of those moments where I really wanted some new makeup so I got a couple of things and the Covergirl blush was one of them. When I got home I realized it was pretty similar to Dallas but I've come to love it even more than Dallas and like I said, it's my favorite blush out of anything I've tried- bold statement, I know.

When the blushes are swatched, you can see that Dallas has more brown undertones and is overall a little more muted than Soft Sable, which is slightly more orange.

Side by side in the pan, I think they look pretty similar. The biggest difference besides the slight tone difference is that Soft Sable has a sheen to it and Dallas isn't matte, but it's pretty close to it.

Soft Sable is more pigmented and has a texture that is velvety and seriously a dream to apply. Dallas can be built up in terms of color payoff, but it's still nice as a subtle blush color. 

Top photos are with flash and bottom photos with natural light.

As you can see, they look almost identical on the skin. The Soft Sable is more intense, but other than that, the color is basically the same. The brown/orange/terracotta color of these blushes makes them so great and so versatile. I wear these year-round and never feel like I'm wearing a color that looks out of season because it just perks up my face, but doesn't make you look too "done up." Also, if I'm ever going to wear a red lip, I will always use one of these two colors. I'm not a fan of pink cheeks and red lips so for me, the tones of these blushes works amazingly with red lips- I'll have to show you guys in a short post sometime soon!

If you've wanted to try Dallas and haven't wanted to spend the $28 on it, I would definitely recommend getting Covergirl's Soft Sable; it's only in the $4 range and in my opinion is a slightly better product and I absolutely love it every time I apply it. Have you guys tried either of these blushes? Let me know!

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Herbal Essences Shampoo & Conditoner

After six months of blogging two things I don't believe I've talked about yet are shampoo and conditioner! I'm not very loyal when it comes to my shampoo and conditioner and I'm constantly switching it up. I tend to stick with "drugstore" brands because I have used more expensive brands before and have never noticed them to be any better. A while back I heard that Herbal Essences was coming out with a paraben free formula and I'm not one to go out of my way to use natural or more healthy products, but when it's an easy transition like this was, I figured I'd give it a go!

Herbal Essences naked Shampoo and Conditioner Paraben Free

There are other shampoos and conditioners that are paraben free, but this is the most inexpensive that I've found so far, even at the drugstore. This hair cleansing duo from Herbal Essences is part of their "naked" line- it seems every company has adopted one of these in some form or fashion.

Herbal Essences naked Shampoo and Conditioner Paraben Free

These products look fairly standard- the shampoo is a clear liquid and the conditioner is a white cream and as the bottles say, there is no added colorants. The shampoo is supposed to help with shine, although, I have to say that I haven't noticed that with this product (or any other shampoo for that matter). The shampoo is also infused with white tea & mint extracts and the conditioner has herbal mint extracts, which as far as I can tell based off of the packaging is just part of the "naked" experience and is supposed to make the whole experience more relaxing and refreshing. They both have very faint smells of mint that aren't overpowering at all and are really pleasant when you lather. What I love so much about these products are that the shampoo gets my hair super clean, this would be great for anyone that tends to get product build up because it can seriously handle it and the conditioner is a "moisture" and "hydration" conditioner and my hair feels so soft after I use it. My skin on my face and body have been so dry recently and my scalp has been no exception to that and even though I know the rule of thumb is to keep your conditioner below your ears, if I lather this into my scalp I can tell a big difference in  how hydrated it feels and looks.

Overall, I would completely recommend both of these products, let me know if you guys have tried them! :)

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine's Day Decor Under $2

I'll admit, I've never been that into Valentine's Day. In fact, I never really celebrated or acknowledged the day until I met my boyfriend, so I certainly never decorated for it. This year was going to be no exception because I honestly didn't want to spend money on buying things to decorate the house for a one-day holiday. Valentine's day isn't like Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas, really; there is no build up to the holiday and there is no "season" in which to enjoy it, i.e. "the Christmas season."

However, the craft and DIY version of Cupid struck me one night and I decided that I would really like to decorate a little, but only if I could use items I already had. I did end up spending a $1.60 but I still considered it a win. I didn't create anything fancy, but it was just enough to add some color and a little bit of a fun spirit to our house.

If you decide to challenge yourself to use what you already have, what you come up with will probably be different than what I came up with, but this is just to encourage you to be creative!

A few of the things I gathered up were two shiny, plain red Christmas gift bags (I've always thought they were too boring to give a gift in so I was happy to get use of them), letter stickers, the bottom of a gift box (the white cardboard on top of the bags), a pink vase, printables I found online (highly recommend doing this) and napkins that I bought for something else.

I decided to make vertical heart garland strands so I cut open the gift bags and traced my heart stencil I cut out from a free printable. You could also use a heart cookie cutter or anything else similar.
Then, I cut out the small pink and tan hearts I printed out from online and I assembled my garlands by alternating the different sizes and colors and fastening them with a piece of tape. Later I went back and glued on hearts to the backsides so that when they spin around you won't be looking at a white heart with tracing marks on it :)

I also added two really long medium-width red and white ribbons from Christmas and  hung them from the window. I really like hanging things like this around the window because the windows are so plain and boring otherwise. If you've been reading my blog for a while you would know already that we agreed (I reluctantly agreed) that we wouldn't bother with curtains because we knew this wasn't going to be our permanent home.
 For these projects, what costed me money was the heart napkins ($1) and 2 small bundles of white string that were 30 cents each. There are so many ways you can dress these garlands up even more, for example, making the hearts out of felt, or using little pompoms in-between the hearts, but like I said, I was trying to do this for as close to free as possible! I ended up making enough to hang on the window in the kitchen as well.

The last thing I made was the little door hanger that I hung from the pantry door in our kitchen. Just a brief rundown of what I did:
1. Took the cardboard bottom of a second Christmas bag and used that as the base.
2. Cut out enough of the bag to cover the cardboard base and glued it around.
3. I used the glittery Christmas ribbon as decoration for the top and also added the red ribbon through the "knot" backing of the gold ribbon. The red ribbon that it hangs from came from the handles of the Christmas bag- I wasn't throwing anything out!
4. I used an extra red heart I had leftover from the previous project, cut out another heart with a pair of scalloped edge scissors from card stock and glued those together and onto the bag.
5. Lastly, I used the sticker letters and spelled out love to go over the top.

My boyfriend's birthday is the day before Valentine's Day, which is why I didn't want to go overboard with Valentine's decorations... I'm not going to take them down on his birthday and then put them back up again! So, the last little things I did were using one of the heart napkins to make a little "coaster" for the candle- really just to add a little color to the area and I printed out the heart picture and put it in the frame to add to the love theme in a subtle way!
If you want this printable for yourself, you can find it and others here!

Overall, I'm happy with the way these little DIY projects turned out and I'm even happier that I was able to repurpose a few items I already had, only spend an extra $1.60 and spend an afternoon crafting :)

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Currently Coveting: Nike Free 5.0

Nike Free

I've never been one to actually lust over a pair of sneakers, but there's a first for everything, right? I remember one of my friends saying in college that everyone should have a nice pair of black sneakers but black sneakers always looked so "heavy" and boring. I would much rather have had a bright pair of sneakers so I'll feel sporty and sassy and motivated to go to the gym. I didn't really "get" the black sneaker thing until now...now I totally get it.

You may be thinking, "But what does Elegance with a Dash of Daring" have to do with these shoes? Well, I think these are some pretty elegant looking sneakers because they have a classic look , but still have a fresh vibe. Also, rarely would you describe a sneaker as daring, but I can totally see myself wearing these out with black skinnies, a graphic tee and a blazer. I feel like these are the type of sneakers that you can pair with regular clothes and look totally chic!

Don't get me wrong, I love all of the fun neon colors and animal printed pairs they're coming out with these days, but there's just something about the classic black that is totally drawing me in! What do you guys think? :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

elf HD Blush and Small Stipple Brush & Blog Anniversary!

I was running a few non-makeup related errands and somehow I accidentally ended up on a makeup aisle curiously enough, and in front of the elf section. I don't know how it happened, it just did and these two products jumped out at me because I have never seen them in the store before. There were only two blush colors so I grabbed the one I most preferred and the brush is one that Emily from Beauty Broadcast raves about all the time so that ended up in my basket then I kept on walking and didn't look back!

For starters, both of these products are in their studio line and cost $3. I've been wanting to try their HD blushes for the longest time and the color I got is Headliner. In the first photo in the bottle, it comes off much more coral than it is in person. In person, it's a really pretty bright pink with slight coral undertones that I think will be gorgeous in the spring and summer.  A little bit of this will go a long way, so you do have to be careful when applying it because it's very pigmented and it's easy to go overboard. 

The product feels incredibly soft, just like it claims to and it glides on and blends in very easily. What I've loved about this color is that it makes you instantly look fresh-faced and awake. I've also been impressed with the staying power of it without it being set with any powder, so I would highly recommend this product.

The Small Stipple Brush had a lot to live up to after hearing Emily talk about it so often and I'm pleased to say that it does live up to everything I was hoping it would be. In terms of construction, it feels like nice quality, especially for $3. A far as performance, the reason why this is so great is because the bristles are short and dense. I find this brush to be great with my cream blushes and highlights because you can get the product exactly where you want it without the bristles fanning out. Also, sometimes when I apply cream products with my fingers I'll get finger marks on my skin or I'll mess up my foundation underneath but you get no kind of marks left behind with this brush and it doesn't disturb any makeup you've put on before it.

Overall, both of these products are winners for me and I get excited each time I use them. Have you guys tried any of the HD blushes or the Stipple Brush? Let me know your thoughts if you have!

P.S. Today is my 6 month Blogging Anniversary! Thank you so much for all of your support these last few months, it means so much to me.  This has been such a fun journey so far and I'm so excited to continue on and see where it leads us!

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

2014 Blogger Challenge Post 3: Book Review

Because this post is very open-ended, I decided to go a more unconventional route. Oh the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss is a classic children's book with a message that people at any age can be inspired by.

For me, this book is about how life is a journey and it's not always pleasant. We don't always get what we want, when we want it, but we have to keep pushing forward through any disappointment we may face in order to succeed. This book reminds me to be positive and to know that it's not a matter of if I succeed, it's just when. It's such a hard thing to believe sometimes but I have to tell myself that if I keep working hard and knowing in my heart that something is going to happen, it will.

This book offers so much encouragement and I think anyone can benefit from the message of going out and getting what you want and when there's a bump in the road (because it's going to happen) don't let it stop you, take the time to learn from it (it may be a day or it may be a year) and when tomorrow comes, keep chasing your dreams.

I also think it's important to remember that while everyday we may not be accomplishing our life goals, there are mini-successes that are stepping stones to our dreams and that those deserve to be celebrated along the way too :)

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Photo Diary: January

Well another month has come and gone and I almost forgot about this post altogether! I'm not sure why, but I didn't take many photos this month so I literally had to scrounge up photos. I ended up having to pull some from my Instagram, so if you follow me there you will have seen some of these already! 

1. Many of us have been experiencing the "Polar Vortex," myself included, so it's been all about layers this past month. I even bought myself this little hat, which I've wanted for so long and once I got it home I'm kind of undecided about it but I'm trying to work with it.

2. My Mom's birthday was the 13th of this month so we sent her a little birthday party in a box. And yes, my boyfriend wrote "Happy 18th Birthday" on her card.

3. We went back to the Hibachi restaurant that I showed in my November Photo Diary. You gets tons of food and it's so yummy!

4. In addition to the homemade chocolate chip cookies I showed you guys I made in my last post, I also made homemade oatmeal raisin cookies and oatmeal raisin with chocolate chips. If you guys are interested, I'll share that recipe as well. These cookies were so good and were nice for a sweet treat and even for breakfast because of the oats!

5. I added this sparkly little rose gold gem to my jewelry collection! What do you guys think?

6. I got the idea for this toast from Kayleigh on the Youtube channel, MattnKayleigh. It's a piece of toast with peanut butter, honey and cinnamon. Again, another thing that is great for a sweet treat or for breakfast because the peanut butter is heavy and will keep you full.

7. I've been using a lot of fun new products this month that I received as Christmas presents, so I've been enjoying adding some new things to my routine.

8. I've been drinking SO much hot chocolate this month. I'm surprised I'm not tired of it with as much as I've been drinking it. Did you guys know that apparently hot chocolate is good for your brain and can prevent memory decline? I just read that recently so I've been drinking up!

9. Lastly, as I was about to wash a few dishes last night I got the urge to craft for Valentine's Day, and so I did :)

This wasn't a particularly eventful month as it would seem, but I did have fun trying new things from accessories to beauty products to new recipes! What did you guys do this month?

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