October 2014 Empties


As I've made a foray into the "real world" I've tried my best to use up what I have and not purchase anything I don't need. As a way to keep myself going, I made this little post to show you guys the things I've used up and the things that I would be most interested in repurchasing.
  1. Guerlain Parure Extreme Foundation in 02 - Discontinued
  2. Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner
  3. Chantecaille Future Skin in Nude
  4. YSL: Volume Effet Faux Cils in Rich Black
  5. Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel in Granite
  6. Majorlica Majorica Cheek Customize Blush in 255
Thoughts after the jump!

Crop Tops and Excel Sheets

Outfit: Leather Jacket: Club Monaco, Crop Top: Bow and Drape, Pants: Zara, Bag: Chanel, Boots: Stuart Weitzman, Headband: BCBG 
Sometimes you just wakeup and want to feel like someone else. Today was one of those days. It was also one of those days that I felt kind of self-conscious about wearing a crop top. Stalking instagram and looking at all the crazy fitness hashtags hasn't motivated me the slightest to start working out, but it has stirred in me a definite feeling of envy.


Clothing, you just gotta wear it. It don't matter if you have a marshmallow body underneath your crop top. If you like wearing it, just do it.


Don't be embarrassed about your soft-pillowy body! Your confidence will carry you through!





Also you can't be embarrassed of posting lots of photos of yourself on the internet. Or having a fashion blog. Or doing a combination of all three.

Thanks for reading! Wear what you want.

eShakti Customization Review

Dress Review


This OOTD may be out of season, but it's exciting for me! It's a cute sundress and has all the elements of a dress I love. An illusion neckline, a lace print, and a nice length. eShakti contacted me about doing a dress review for them and I gladly obliged. As always, the the opinions on my blog are honest and my own. Let me give you a little background on the history of the company.



eShakti was created in 2004 as an online clothing retailer, but switched to focus only on women's apparel in 2005. Their name stems from the sanskrit word "Shakti", which means power or strength, and the addition of the "e" at the front symbolizes their belief in the power of the internet. The CEO of eShakti, B.G. Krishnan, wanted to explore the idea of "custom clothing" using the internet. They've been featured on NBC, LifeHacker, Wall Street Journal, Jezebel and have won a handful of accolades on their utilization of customization. They offer custom sizing, where you input your own measurements, and "standard" sizing from size 0-36W. As someone who is on the more petite size, I was excited to see that they offered such a huge size range. Their dresses range from $50-$150 dollars.


Now you know my measurements. 
For this dress I chose to explore the "custom sizing" option. eShakti usually charges a $7.50 for "custom sizing", but if it's your first time purchasing from eShakti they'll give you your initial custom order for free. I wanted to see if the dress was really, truly made for me. I put in my own measurements and I decided to make the dress end "above my knee." I didn't want the length of the dress to further accentuate my short stature.



The custom sizing field was easy to navigate and eShakti had helpful picture guides to show exactly where to measure. What I found silly was that they asked for the length of your arm, which makes sense for sleeved dresses, but they gave the options: Short, Average, and Long without specifying the values of each. What is an average arm? A short one? They give helpful guides and pictures with every other measurement, but left this one painfully blank.


Every garment is cut and made to your order, in order to save on warehouse costs incurred storing large amounts of product, so there might be a wait time on your garment. I chose the "Heather" dress for two reasons: I wanted something that I would be happy to wear over and over again and I wanted to see if their quality matched their price tag.


Verdict? Yes and No. The material and make of the dress was above average quality. I would say that the the dress design and material is something that you would find at J.Crew or Ann Taylor, however there was one detail that was lacking for the price: The bodice.


In addition to the eyelet fabric, the second thing that I was most excited about was the illusion neckline. However, it just wasn't well executed. I expected there to be boning in the dress to at least hold the bodice up, but instead there was just an elasticized band meant to cling onto your bosom. My boobs are small, like the rest of me, so I don't have the girls to securely hold the bodice up. What ends up happening is that when I wear the dress there's a flaccid, flappy piece of opaque fabric in between the eyelet lace and my skin. With proper arranging it looks great, but you have to be wary of a wardrobe malfunction. For $140 dollars, I expected a little more support. Ultimately, I also think that's what divides it from taking it to the "next level".

I think their other dress choices would have equivalent quality to price. Here are some other cute designs that I liked from their site:

Mesh Insert Poplin Dress

Embellished Yoke Poplin Dress

Morgan Dress

I've read mixed reviews about them from other blogs, but on the whole my experience with them was positive. I would purchase from them again just to compare experiences and see if the dresses were high quality.

On that note, remember my contest ends tomorrow! So please enter if you want a $25 giftcard

Apple Cider Pt 2.


Finishing up the last round of apple cider! If you missed it, I posted two recipes here for Peppermint Apple Cider and Pumpkin Spice Apple Cider. Check it out if you can!



Caramel Apple Cider

Honestly, when we were thinking of flavor "twists" for apple cider we just thought of things that apple was already twisted with.

Apples and pork? No. Apples and cinnamon? Too plain. Caramel Apple! OH GENIUS.



My group did a basic google search on caramel apple cider and this is what appeared: Betty Crocker's Caramel Apple Cider. If Betty Crocker did it...it must be good. That, and why fix something if it ain't broke?

This apple cider was actually the easiest to make and had the fewest ingredients.


According to good ol' BC, you'll need Brown Sugar, Heavy Whipping Cream, and Vanilla extract. If you're fancy, you can also make/buy some whipped cream and caramel topping to add some finishing touches.


In the end, you get this. Surprisingly, to me at least, it was amazing. When I was cooking the caramel and mixing the whole concoction together I found the smell a little off-putting, however boyfriend loved it. He kept coming over to sniff around and ask what I was making.

The final mixture was a cloudy amber and tasted exactly like a caramel apple. It was insane!! It was sweet and tart at the same time. The final mix was almost like a liquified version of a caramel apple pop.

This was boyfriend's favorite out of everything.

Pomegranate-Blueberry Apple Cider

This is something that boyfriend and I free-styled on our own. After drinking and making Pumpkin Spice Apple Cider, Peppermint Apple Cider, and Caramel Apple Cider we felt that our teeth were about to fall out. We wanted something less sugary and more "traditional." We took the base of mulled apple cider and twisted it with a pomegranate-blueberry juice. 


Recipe for Two:

2 and 1/2 Cups Apple Cider
1 and 1/4 Cups of Pomegranate Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
8 Cloves
1 Stick of Cinnamon


Honestly, it looks free styled. The amber of the apple cider and the deep purple of the pomegranate juice combined to make a rather muddy liquid. It tasted fine, but it wasn't pretty. It gave our palettes relief from the sugary tinctures and suffusions we had made previously with a fruity, almost bitter bite. It was a unique twist, the pomegranate juice and the apple cider really complemented each other, and I could see people drinking this outside on a fall day, but the juices intermixing was subtle. If you're looking for a "Wow! Flavor!" sort of apple cider, I don't think this is it.

Mulled Apple Cider 



This apple cider recipe is just the traditional old-fashioned Grammy-approved Mulled Apple Cider. I stole this recipe from my friend's Grammy. She always serves this during the holiday family get togethers and it's a time-worn favorite.

Recipe:

2 Quarts Cider
1/2 Cups Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Allspice
1 and 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
2 Sticks Cinnamon
Orange Slices (1 Whole Orange)


Grammy recommends throwing all of this in a slow cooker for four hours before serving. It's infused with spices and the orange gives an added level of sweetness that plain apple cider doesn't have. This is personally my favorite and the only cider that I could drink more than one cup of. 



Long live apple cider! Tell me about your fall traditions and family recipes! I'm always interested in trying something new. 

On Wednesdays We Wear...+ Contest!

Jacket: Zara, Dress C/O: eShakti, Purse: Coach, Shoes: D&G




We have to enjoy the warm weather while it still lasts! I've heard that this winter is supposed to be especially harsh...so if summer bleeds a little bit into fall....I'm not complaining! Although pink has never been a favorite color of mine, I'm coming to appreciate it more and more when I want to add some "lady" to my wardrobe. I'm loving this Audrey Hepburn-ish Zara coat and my custom made eShakti dress.

If you haven't heard, eShakti is a website with the ultimate level of clothing customization. They offer sizes 0-36W and even an option to put in your own measurements. You are given the choice of sleeve length, pockets vs. no pockets, skirt length, and neckline options. eShakti's clothes are amazingly customizable and actually pretty cute!

I ordered this with my actual measurements and asked that the dress be shortened to above the knee length. I'd say it turned out well. Don't you? It fits better than most of my dresses....from larger retailers. Especially from the likes of J.Crew! 

Contest

Now for the exciting part! eShakti offered to sponsor a giveaway for you guys. I have two $25 dollar gift cards here that I can giveaway. Currently eShakti will give you an additional $25 for registering with their site as a new user and will waive the $7.50 fee on your first custom order. That's $50 dollars off your first purchase and a free customization! I'll be giving one giftcard away here and another on my instagram

Unfortunately this is limited only to US and Canadian residents. 


Social Media Links For the Curious:
Pinterest
Facebook
Instagram

Apple Cider Bar and Party Pt. 1


What do you do when you're bored? Specifically, what do you do during the fall when you're bored? Specifically on the east coast? GO APPLE PICKING.


What do you do with an excess of apples? APPLE CIDER. Honestly though, homemade apple cider requires pressing, pulping, juicing and cheesecloth. What I ended up doing was buying some gallons of apple cider from the Apple Farm and "twisting" their flavors later in my own kitchen. We had a little competition to see what flavor infusion/twist was the best tasting. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but we had four flavors of apple cider. I'm going to share two with you now and two next week, then reveal the winner. Sounds fun right?

Apple Orchard Picked Clean

Peppermint Apple Cider


This is a recipe that we made up on our own, as I've always loved peppermint and forced everyone else to eat it even if they didn't. I think peppermint makes everything better: peppermint teas, peppermint bark, peppermint hot chocolates...why not add peppermint to apple cider? Originally, I wanted to add peppermint extract, but I feared that would be too strong. Adding candy canes and peppermints seemed like the best way to add the peppermint flavor without it being too overpowering.

Recipe:

2 Liters Apple Citer
2 Cinnamon Sticks
6 Cloves
3 Candy Canes or 12 breathmints
2 Oranges worth of Zest

Heat on low until all the peppermints have melted down.


I don't have a slow cooker, so I poured in the apple cider, dropped in the cloves, cinnamon sticks, and peppermint and then peeled the zest straight into the pot. I would have preferred a micro-grater, for decorative purposes, but using a peeler didn't turn out too badly. I personally don't like eating orange peel, so I picked it out before serving. For the final touch, I added whipped cream and sprinkled crushed peppermints on the top. 


Melted down, I genuinely enjoyed this apple cider. Usually it's too sweet or tart, but the peppermint added a nice clean aftertaste to the apple cider. The flavors didn't clash. Instead, the peppermint accentuated the apple cider and didn't make it overly sweet.

Pumpkin Spice Apple Cider


With all the hullabaloo about Pumpkin Spice Latte's coming back into season, my friend group thought this flavor combination was an easy twist to welcome in the autumn weather. It may sound unbelievable to you, but for the most part my friend group has never tried a pumpkin spice latte. We just like pumpkin pie.


I used this recipe from the Tasty Kitchen to get our base formula down, but from there we made a couple of changes. Instead of white sugar I substituted brown, because I think it imparts a richer flavor to pumpkins, yams, and other members of the squash family. I also changed the measurements so that the recipe would accommodate a whole can of pumpkin puree. Although there was an excess of syrup, they made for good party favors to give away at the end of our little gathering. They can be gussied up further in cute mason jars and also make a great topping for ice cream!


For an average sized mug I put in three tablespoons of the pumpkin syrup and poured in hot apple cider. I topped it off with some whipped cream and a little bit more of the syrup, but the discerning palettes of my friends said that the additional whipped cream wasn't needed. Personally, I couldn't taste the "pumpkin spice" flavor too much. All I got was the sweetness of the syrup. I think I would prefer it with vanilla ice cream!

Stay tuned for part two and let me know what your favorite fall drink is!




Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation Review and Swatches


This is the foundation I turned to after my beloved Guerlain Parure Extreme was discontinued. Starting at my new workplace, I may have been talked into this a little bit by my friend, but I'd heard great things about the brand and I was curious to see if the product stood up to the hype surrounding "Future Skin." On the box it says:


An innovative, oil free gel foundation containing 60% charged water and seaweed. Skin looks totally perfected and dewy; sebum is balanced. Aloe, Chamomile, and Arnica calm irritation. Rosemary, Green Tea and Rice Bran help prevent oxidation. Adjustable coverage from medium to full. 

The natural ingredients and Chantecaille's dedication towards organic products and overall "skin health" really intrigued me.



Including this jar of Vanilla Future Skin, I've also gone through one whole jar of Nude. One jar of future skin retails for $75 at stores like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. For $75 you get 1 oz. of product in a thick plastic pot. I really don't like the packaging of this product. Not only is it unsuited for travel, but I think it's harder for products in pots to remain hygienic. Personally, I also tend to be too heavy handed with product when it comes in a format like this so I feel like I'm wasting it with my haphazard daily application. I would have much preferred a pump or tube in terms of dispensing this.



This foundation is really different from most foundations I've tried. The closest thing I can think of is Bourjois Healthy Mix Gel Foundation. However, Chantecaille's formulation isn't as heavily scented as Bourjois'. In terms of texture, I think Bourjois Healthy Mix is a close dupe for the much more expensive Chantecaille foundation.



Although they say the foundation is "medium to full coverage" I feel like one layer of foundation isn't enough for me. The gel foundation is more of a tinted moisturizer or a "your skin but better" foundation. I think this foundation will add a natural glow to anyone who already has perfect or near perfect skin. Not only am I naturally heavy handed, I felt like I needed a lot of foundation to get the coverage level that I wanted.



I usually apply foundations with my fingers or a stippling brush, but the associate who sold me this told me that the best way to apply the foundation was with a flat synthetic foundation brush. You'd brush a base layer onto your entire face and pat more foundation onto the areas where you need more coverage. For me, I focused on increased coverage for my cheeks and my chin.



As I've stated before, I've already used up a pot of this in Nude and repurchased it in a different color, Vanilla. The nude was actually too pink-toned for my skin. As you can tell from the swatches above, Vanilla was just a more natural shade for me in terms of undertone and color.

Here are some photos of the different foundations on my skin. I've only applied a base layer so you can see the amount of coverage. I really like the demi-matte, satin like finish of this foundation.







This is after I completed my whole makeup routine with concealer, powder, and everything else. I have very oily skin and usually "dewy" foundations make me look greasy. I think this is the first time that I've experienced a healthy looking glow.



This is after a full day of wear. I haven't touched up or used oil blotting sheets, but you can tell that I look significantly greasier. Although it's hard to tell in this light, I feel that the lasting power of this foundation is a little lacking. If you have oily skin, you definitely need to set your makeup with a finishing powder to make it last through the day.



Altogether it's a great luxury product, but I feel that it's definitely a "my skin but better" foundation. Even though Future Skin is easily buildable, I have to use an excess of product to get the level of coverage I want. When 1 oz. of product is $75 I want to make it last as long as possible, which is impossible for the amount of daily coverage I need. Application also tends to be a bit finicky when you have troubled skin like mine. Finally, I had a huge issue with the packaging. Not only was keeping the product hygienic a little difficult, it was unnecessarily annoying to travel with. I took it traveling once and it got messy. A lot of product got inside the lid and wasted foundation that I could've put on my face. Given all these factors, I don't think I'll repurchase.

Facts:
- $75 for 1 oz. of Product
- Luxury Cosmetic and only available at high end retailers
- "Medium to Full" Coverage
- Organic Ingredients
- Oil Free

Pros:
- Great for your skin, chock full of ingredients to improve you skin
- Didn't break me out, great for sensitive skins
- Beautiful Finish

Cons:
- Expensive
- Had to use a lot of product to get the coverage I wanted
- Container Unhygienic and Bad for Travel

Purchase Links:
Future Skin