Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sunflower nail art!

I have some new nail art! It's been ages, but I had a ton of down time today and I was in the mood to do some nail art! I browsed Pinterest (Pinterest.com/rakuzen) and found a cute sunflower ish nail art. 

The cast of characters: 
From left: China Glaze Agent Lavendar, Zoya Arizona, Zoya Wednesday, Zoya Shelby, Revlon Dreamer, OPI DS Illuminate, and a Sinful Colors yellow striper. 


First step, two coats of each color. These colors show up on my blog a lot because they're basically the only spring/summery ones that I have. Most are dark and more suitable for fall. 


Then using the brown color, paint a small circle in the corner. Using a yellow striper (it was yellow, although it did turn green on the middle finger), draw petals around the brown circle. Finish with top coat and voila! 

Super simple design, but I love it! Has just enough sparkle for me. It was nice to get back into nail art too, I haven't had much time or energy lately with working and taking classes all summer. 



Monday, July 14, 2014

Product Review: Gerard Cosmetics' BB+ Illumination

I have to tell you guys about an awesome new product that I got to review. This has been sitting in my drafts waiting to be written for a little while, but I like to try products for a few weeks to make sure that I have a good review and not just a snap decision about them. But I have been using this almost every day (which says a lot, because a lot of new products I will try for a week or two, but then it'll be too much of a hassle/I no longer like it and I will stop using it), and I think it's time to share. 

Introducing the BB Plus Illumination cream from Gerard Cosmetics. BB cream has been all the rage in America lately, so American companies have been jumping on the bandwagon to produce their own lines. Before this, I had mainly been using BB creams from skin79 and other Korean brands, since they've been producing it longer and have perfected it. I tried a few American BB creams but I didn't really like any of them. They were mostly either too heavy (almost foundation-like, which BB cream is not supposed to be like) or they were basically tinted moisturizer re-packaged to say BB cream on the bottle. But this one is not like any of the other ones on the American market. 

Not this one. The description from the Whitening Lightning website says that it is "creamy but sheer," just like a good BB cream should be. And it is. It's not sticky and heavy, nor is it too liquidy to apply well. It includes "light reflecting particles and golden shimmer," which is supposed to suit every skin tone or type. It looks awesome. Usually I do not really like shimmery products, just because in the wrong light it can make you look greasy instead of glowing. But this product makes your skin look amazing. It is super easy to apply (the site says that it "can be used alone, as a cream highlighter or mixed with your favorite liquid foundation", lightweight (perfect for the summer), and has wonderful coverage. 


And it comes with a pump top, which makes it so much better than most of the BB creams on the American market (which usually have the flip-top lid with the squeeze bottles). Since a little goes a long way, you won't accidentally squeeze out way more than you need and waste good BB cream. Plus, it's a lot more hygienic. It's made in the USA, cruelty-free, and gluten-free. 

Seriously, I swear on it. I am in love with the way that this covers my skin and makes my skin glow. It is available here on the Whitening Lightning website for $36 a bottle, which is comparable to the Korean brands, but you don't have to pay a ridiculous shipping fee or worry that the product is not authentic (all of which are reasons I was looking for a good brand in America.) 

(This product was sent to me for review, but all opinions are my own.) 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Product Review: Skindinavia Makeup Primer Spray

  I don't know about you, but in my city today it was 99% humidity and around 90 degrees. I work in a restaurant kitchen where it is at least TEN DEGREES hotter than it is outside. Add to that the fact that I have to run around like a chicken with my head cut off and I end the day sweaty and disgusting (tmi, maybe, but this is important to the rest of the post). Most of the time, I just skip make up because no matter what primer I use (and I have tried A. Lot.) or how often I blot my face during the day, my makeup runs and I look like a not-at-all hot mess. So my choices are looking like I'm dead (without makeup) or like someone dumped water and oil on my face. 


And in steps the Skindinavia makeup primer spray. Cue angels singing. This product is a miracle worker, and I am being 100000% honest right now. The one on the left is the makeup primer spray and the one on the right is Skindinavia Makeup Primer Spray Oil Control, which is best for oily skin. The original one is tested for sensitive skin, so it works best on either sensitive or normal skin. It is paraben-free and hypoallergenic, and silicone-free (which is wonderful news for your pores, especially because once you try this, you'll want to use it every day). 


The best part about the Skindinavia primer is that it is a SPRAY. I am really lazy when it comes to putting on my makeup, and slathering on a bunch of different products at night and in the morning is not my idea of fun. Plus, I'm usually a late riser and I have to rush to wherever I'm going, so I don't have time to evenly apply most primers, then wait for it to dry enough to be able to apply my makeup on top.

I find that waiting about a minute, or until the spray is dry to the touch on your skin, works best, but I have even done it hastily and applied makeup while it was still slightly tacky. It didn't last quite as long that way, but it still didn't make me look like a monster. Plus, spraying it on literally takes less than 15 seconds, so there really is no excuse not to apply it.

It has no scent, which is great because recently I've become very sensitive to scents and they tend to give me headaches. After it dries, it doesn't leave your skin sticky like a lot of primers that I've tried. I don't need to blot my face every ten minutes, and I don't have to worry about constantly checking the mirror to make sure that my makeup is still where it is supposed to be on my face.

Plus, the cost is a huge perk. A 4oz bottle is only $35, while an 8 oz. bottle is only $49. If you think that's steep (which, I'll admit, normally I would think so too), just remember that after you buy this, you will absolutely not have to spend so much money on blotting sheets, makeup (because you have to constantly re-apply), or testing other primers. Believe me, it really is worth it to be able to wear your makeup even in the heat of summer without having to worry about how you look ten minutes later.

This product is available at skindinavia.com and was sent to me for review, but all opinions in this post are 100% my own.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Father's Day Gift Ideas: FragranceNet.com

Father's Day is in two weeks! If your dad is anything like mine, he is impossible to shop for. Most of the time, I skate by without really getting him anything because there's nothing that seems perfect out there. If my dad sees something that he likes (such as a lawnmower, tool set, etc. all the usual Father's Day gift ideas) he usually buys it without hesitation, so I can't just get something he's been eyeing. Also, he has basically everything within my price range that he could possibly want so, that leaves very few options.

One thing that I never really think of gifting to people is cologne/perfume. It is just really hard to find a fragrance that someone will actually want to wear, especially if you're like me and you don't live near a perfume store where you can smell the fragrances before you buy it. But FragranceNet makes it super easy to pick out a cologne that dad would probably like! 



"Go for Polo Blue Sport men's perfume if you are looking for an exquisite masculine fragrance that can be used on any occasion and one that all your friends will envy. Recommended for casual use and launched in 2012, Polo Blue Sport perfume was composed by the house of Ralph Lauren and features woodsy notes of sandalwood, fern, and oakmoss, and for extra freshness, they're accented by hints of mandarin orange and sage." 

This is the description for Ralph Lauren's Polo Blue Sport for Men that comes from FragranceNet.com, and the feature that changed my mind about gifting fragrance. Instead of just guessing who would like it from the notes about the ingredients (do oakmoss and fern have a special scent? If they do, I have no idea what it is), it gives you a good guess about who would prefer it ("an exquisite masculine fragrance... recommended for casual use.")


Another awesome thing is the price. This bottle has an MSRP value of $59. However, FragranceNet sells it for only $45.19, or $36.15 if you use a coupon available on their site! The coupon is super easy to get, all you have to do is put in your e-mail and you will receive a 20% off coupon. That is an incredibly good deal! But the next one has an even better deal attached. 


Dolce & Gabbana "The One: Sport" For Men. FragranceNet's description says: 

"This boldly unique fragrance for men was launched by world famous design house Dolce & Gabbana in 2012. Warm and spicy yet woody and aquatic, The One Sport for men is a casual, sporty fragrance that he will want to wear every day. Designed for the active, modern gladiator, this fragrance opens with top notes of rosemary that combine with heart notes of Sequoia wood and dark base notes of musk and patchouli for a go-everywhere scent that captivates and invigorates."

Since this cologne is described as a "casual, sporty fragrance... designed for the active, modern gladiator," I figured that it would be a good choice for my dad. Once again, if I was looking on another site that said "top notes of rosemary... heart notes of Sequoia wood and dark base notes of musk and patchouli" only, I would have just given up, because I have no idea how any of those things smell alone. 


The bottle is so sleek and cool. And again, the price for this is killer. Originally, the MSRP for "Dolce &Gabbana: The One Sport" is $78, which is crazy. I know that it is designer and everything, but still. That is the other reason that I don't usually gift cologne/perfume because it is way too expensive for something that I will never use. However, FragranceNet sells it for $46.19, which is already super reasonable. But like I said, they also have a coupon that you can use, which will bring your price down to $36.95. Which is less than half the price of the retail value. Which is insane. 

Since Father's Day is a little while away, I have not gifted either of them to my dad. I did spray some on a tester sheet for my dad to smell, and success! He liked both of them. 

So don't be afraid of gifting cologne if you use FragranceNet. The description makes choosing a cologne pretty easy, and the pricing is so reasonable. Also, they offer free shipping under $59, so you will totally have enough left over to buy one for yourself! Even if you don't want to buy cologne, then you can always get a gift set, which they have tons of, or even just decide to buy something for yourself! They have so many different brands which is awesome. 

(This was sent to me for review). 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May 2014 Ipsy GlamBag Review

Long time no see! I am finally done with school for the semester, and I am back! I am planning on updating this blog a lot more frequently because I want to be able to use this in my portfolio. So definitely stay tuned and make sure you check back! I have a lot of posts planned and finally everything has come together: most of my pictures have been taken on my iPad lately, because the camera on that is the best one that I have, but transferring the pictures to my laptop takes forever. So I bought a wireless keyboard, and now I can type the posts on my iPad and have them up much quicker! Also, I had a ton of plans for LED/at-home gel nail polish kit posts, but my Sensationail lamp went missing. I just found it, so expect some posts with that within the next month! :)

Here's a simple post to mark my comeback, though. This month's Ipsy GlamBag! 


This month, the products were awesome. I definitely approve! 


The cosmetic bag that the samples come in. That's the nicest thing about Ipsy! I collect make up bags like no other, so I'm glad that I get a new one every month. This one feels like it's made out of canvas material, and it has a green leaf design. 


A 1.76 oz bottle of Avene Thermal Spring Water. So, it feels nice. And it smells nice. And it's supposed to be fancy (it has water taken from French Springs, apparently). But overall, it seems kind of useless because it is just spring water in a spray can. A 10.58 oz bottle is $18, so going by that, this is worth about $3. 


A 60 mL bottle of eva-nyc Therapy Session Hair Mask. I love this so much! I try to take super good care of my hair, and this works great. My hair is very thick and long (past my shoulders), and I have to tie it up a lot for work (which causes split ends like you wouldn't believe). I used this as a hair mask, and it made my hair so smooth and soft, this product makes up for the bottle of spray water! A 60 mL bottle sells for $12 on their website, so this is worth $12. (Although through ipsy, they offer 65% off this hair mask, so I am definitely re-purchasing and stocking up).


This was probably the most surprising item in the bag. A sample of Calvin Klein Endless Euphoria. This was surprising for two reasons: One, it's Calvin Klein. And two, it's not one of those tiny, .000001 oz sprays of perfume sample that most companies usually send out. This is .01 oz of perfume. I love the smell of this! It is floral and very light. This is a rollerball, which I love, and it's so tiny that it can easily fit in a purse but, at the same time, you can use it for more than one or two sprays. A .34oz rollerball of this perfume costs $20 at Ulta, so this is worth... Less than a dollar. Oh well! It's the thought that counts. 


A 2.0g compact of Pacifica Mineral Eyeshadow in Duo #2 (Moonbeam & Unicorn). I don't tend to like mineral makeup because it usually creases easily for me, but I do like this one. Plus the color pay-off is quite nice. Unicorn is from their Charmed palette, and Moonbeam is from their Mystical palette.  Just guesstimating (since it's kind of hard to tell with the palettes and this compact), I'd say this eyeshadow compact is worth about $3-4. I love it because purple and white eyeshadows are my favorite :) 


Lastly, sunblock! This is .5 oz of Jersey Shore Sun's Sans Tan Pure White Mineral Sunscreen. The bottle claims that it is all natural and anti-aging, and it has SPF 35. So this is (as the name suggests) kind of whitening. I did pass it on to my mom because she's a sunscreen nut, and she likes it. It smells nice and it applies smoothly. On their website, they sell 2 tubes of this (which is their travel-size) for $25, so this is worth $12.50. For a relatively tiny bottle! Kind of crazy, but I guess that's the price you pay for whitening, all natural, anti-aging sunscreen. 

And there's my review. All in all, this GlamBag was worth about $31 (if you generously say that the Calvin Klein Endless Euphoria rollerball was worth about $0.50). Not bad, considering you pay $10 shipped for it! And the products were pretty nice. Definitely glad that I made the switch to the GlamBag. 

(This review was not sponsored. I pay for the GlamBag out of my own pocket (which is why I was relatively bitter about the spray bottle of water). 

Stay tuned! 
Rakuzen

Friday, February 28, 2014

Review: Jane Iredale's 24-karat Gold Dust

This is a review of a product that I was super excited to receive! It is Jane Iredale's 24-karat Gold Dust, that you can purchase in Gold, Silver, and Bronze for $13.50 from www.janeiredale.com. 


This is what I saw as soon as I opened the box. A sprig of Lavendar! I am a sucker for packaging, so this is such a nice and personal touch. Packaging make up in nice tissue paper helps too, it feels so much more elegant and you could totally send it as a gift. 


The description card that came with it,, which is a note from Jane Iredale and explains a bit about the Lavender sprig and why it was included. This is just such an awesome way to make their customers feel like a part of the family, which is something a good company should do. 


The packaging. A glossy plastic box that the compact comes in. So simple, but the gold edges on the box adds such a nice touch. 


And a little bit of a closer look. I received the bronze shade, which is beautiful. The site recommends applying it to "the eyes, cheeks and lips for a "delicately giled look" that highlights your best features" and recommends adding it to moisturizer or hair gel/leave-in conditioner to make your hair sparkle. 

I tried all three ways. It makes an awesome eyeshadow base, the color is just a bit darker than my skin tone, and the sparkle just showed through my eyeliner. Also, it's easy to just add a little bit to my eyelids in the morning if I don't have time for more make up, just to get a little bit more glitter. Putting it in moisturizer makes it like a tinted moisturizer, which is perfect for the upcoming summer! I didn't really notice it when I mixed it with my hair gel, but my friends said that there was "something different... in a good way" about my hair when I tried it, so apparently it works nicely :) 

As you might have been able to guess, this line is Olympic-Inspired. Too cool, right? This is incredibly pretty and such an awesome value. If I ever run out, I'll definitely re-purchase, and maybe try a new color. 

Rakuzen 


(This product was sent to me for review).

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ipsy Glam Bag February 2014

I just got my Ipsy Glam Bag and I love it for the most part! I am a little bit nostalgic for my Birchbox because they would put random "stocking stuffer"-esque items in it, such as a nail file, candy or a hair tie whereas there's always only beauty items in the Glam Bag. (I realize that it is a beauty subscription, but it would be nice to throw something random in.)


This is the bag that came this month. It's so cute! A cute light pink color with a white zipper and white button tag that says Ipsy. 


The card that came in it this month. February's box is love/Valentine-themed!


A box of J. Cat Beauty eyelashes and glue in EL05. 
The back of the package with instructions. According to the website, this is $3.99, which isn't bad for fake eyelashes. I have a ton of them (because I'm an impulse shopper) but I've never actually worn them. I still like having them on hand with the fantasy that some day I will dress very fancy and use them.


This is an Eyetini Cordial Cream Shadow + Base in One stick from Tini Beauty in Violette. I usually use Urban Decay Primer Potion as a base when I wear eyeshadow (which hasn't been often lately because I am lazy), but even with that my eyeshadow still smears and rubs off. So far so good with this one! Plus I like this color because I usually wear purple eyeshadow. This is $18 and the one in the package was full-sized. 


PopBeauty Plump Pout Mini in Fuschia Freesia. I love this bright pink color, I always go for bright pink or red lip products. Plus this is mostly flat, which is awesome because it makes it more portable. Happy with this! This is about half the size of the one that they sell on their website, which sells it for $16, so it'll probably run around $8.


This is a blue clay mask and activating gel that is supposed to be used weekly. I haven't used it yet because I'm cheap and want to savor it, but the reviews look good! The website sells it for $39 for six packets, so this one in the Glam Bag would be about $6.50.

Zoya nail polish in Dot. I love Zoya, but this color is such a light girly pink that I passed it on because I don't use pink nail polish that often. It's $8 for the full size on Zoya.com

Overall, this bag is worth $44.50, which is an insanely good deal, especially since I liked this month's Glam Bag. 

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Till next time!