The Blogger Crowd: Blogger Pack Review

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In July, The Bloggers Crowd released their first Blogger Pack, an organizational tool for bloggers.  I saw their advertisement on Insta Stories and jumped at the chance to check out their product for bloggers.  Luckily, Abbie sent it over quickly!  I was quite impressed with the PDF I was sent.  You could tell a lot of hard work went into designing this blogger pack. First, I will list what was included in the pack then I’ll share my thoughts.

The TBC Blogger Pack contained:

  • 2 prints
  • a daily planning page
  • blog post planner
  • 12 monthly planners which helps you organize
    events, birthdays, notes, and goals
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Empowering Print!

As a part-time blogger who works 40-50 hours a week, I try to be as organized as possible.  I try to plan when I do blogging work as well as what I am going to post.  I am a newbie blogger who launched in May, so I haven’t really gotten into a routine yet.  I aim to post every week, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen; I am working on being more self-disciplined when it comes to blogging.  Due to my inability to stay on top of blogging tasks, I jumped at the chance to review this blogger pack.  I mean…who doesn’t want to be more organized???

Upon first opening the blogger pack, I was impressed with the quality of graphics .  I don’t know how people produce such adorable and fun prints!!  The title page (first photograph) immediately grabs your attention with the funky lettering and zigzags.  I absolutely love their logo!  The mix between cursive and all-caps is perfectly on trend.  The 2 prints I received (pictured above and below) are definitely empowering and motivating, which is a necessity!  My favorite is the “Get Shit Done” print because I routinely say this in my day-to-day life and because I LOVE me some coffee!  I plan on framing this and putting it by my laptop.  I think it will motivate me to stop procrastinating and give me the much-needed kick up the arse!

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The blog post planner is so cute!  I am not typically a pink-loving person, but I adore the coral/pink colors used.  Again, I love the fonts used.  Layout-wise, this page works well.  There is a space for the title of the post at the top.  On the left, one can list photographs needed; on the right, one can ensure they include all the links needed.  A notes section is provided for any other information needed, and finally a space for when the post will be posted can be found at the bottom of the page.  I especially like the “going live” part because I think it would help me stick to a time frame if I write it down and continue to look while working towards completion.  This planning page aids bloggers in managing their blog posts.  As you can see, I already have started planning my next blog post; this will be a review of Which Beauty Box’s first curation.  I can’t wait to start ticking items off my to-do list!  This page is my favorite organizational tool from this blogger pack and I can see myself continuing to use it.

Next, I found a “What Am I Doing Today?” page.  Even though I am not so organized when it comes to blogging (yet), I am incredibly organized in my day-to-day life.   Therefore, I did not find this page particularly useful because I am obsessed with my daily Every Day Matters planner.  I believe that this planning page would be useful for someone who doesn’t routinely use a planner.  One can manage a to-do list, record their food/exercise, take notes, schedule blog posts, and keep themselves motivated with a “looking forward to” section.

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Monthly planning pages

Next, I found 12 monthly overview pages; notice the different images in the top right corners.  I am a detail-oriented person and love small touches like that.  I filled mine out for August and it made me feel excited and organized, which are amazing feelings!  I find that when I write down everything I have going on, I am more motivated and better with time management.  I love the coral colors and layout.  I especially like how I can incorporate both my private, work, and blogging life into one planning tool.  I can see myself using these for the rest of the year.

I hope you enjoyed reading what I truly thought about The Blogger Crowd’s blogger pack. I thoroughly enjoyed receiving and reviewing this product, especially because it’s something I can use to increase my productivity.  I want to say thank you to TBC for giving me this opportunity and being patient with me.  I believe TBC will be releasing a finalized blogger pack, so be sure to follow them for updates.  Hint: they often post amazing opportunities on their Insta Stories so watch that space!!

 

 

Nat’s Summer Wish List

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I’ve been seeing “wish list” posts for a while and I finally wanted to write one of my own showcasing items I’d love to splurge on but won’t.  I feel quite cheeky writing a wish list a mere month after my birthday, but oh well! 

The first item on my lust list is from Lime Crime!  Have you seen their enchanting Mermaid collection which launched in June?!  Well if you’ve somehow missed it, let me enlighten you: promised to make you glow like a mermaid on a moonlit night, this kit has all you need to rock that Ariel-inspired look.  Moonlight Mermaid: Collector’s Kit (now sold out) absolutely spoils consumers with 3 full-sized highlighters and 3 full-sized Velvetines.  As you can see, the shades from the highlighting palette (Seashell, Pearl, Mermaid) correspond to the matching matte liquid lipstick (Siren, Mermaid’s Grotto, Seashell Bra).  I’ve wanted to try Lime Crime for a while due to their popular Diamond Crushers, a set of iridescent lip toppers which use prismatic technology to show off the sparkle! 

I wouldn’t live up to my handle, Gorgeous and Geeky, if I didn’t include at least one geek-inspired product!  These makeup brushes from Storybook Cosmetics were inspired by the wands you’d find in Ollivanders.  Since these were teased on their Instagram in October 2016, fans have been impatiently awaiting their arrival; when the brushes were released in earlier 2017, you can imagine that these sold out fairly quickly!  Everyone wanted to perform the “Accio Makeup!” spell, I’m sure of it.  These “Wizard Wand” brushes come in gold, gun metal and rose gold.  Rose gold continues to be a hit color and I obviously need the rose gold set ha!  I considered asking my better half for a set as a birthday present, but I’m afraid that if I order them I won’t use them!  I could totally see myself framing them and not actually casting any makeup spells.

The next item on my wish list isn’t flashy but is indeed necessary!  This Drying Lotion from Mario Badescu has exceptional reviews for its potent, yet gentle, effect on acne.  I am 27 and suffer from hormonal acne due to a reaction to the mini-pill I started taking a few months ago.  I have been off of the pill for 2 months and can see an improvement, but the skin is still irritated and looks like a red rash on both sides of my jaw.  I am not entirely sure if this acne treatment would work for my particular needs, but I’ve been wanting to give it a go.  I absolutely hate my acne.  I will go makeup-free because I believe a woman should be as confident without it as she is with it, but it still doesn’t look very nice.  Plus, who can wear a full face of makeup in this heat?!  If you have been wanting to try this product/brand but are in the UK, you can purchase Mario Badescu from Beauty Bay.  

Recently, my trusty (and cheap) wet-to-dry straightener died and I decided that when I can afford to replace it, I would like to finally buy the pinnacle of hair straighteners: a ghd.  One of my closest friends turned me onto ghd when we were traveling in Iceland; I was amazed that she could use it in another country without it blowing up or melting.  In 2011, I melted a straightener from the US when I was studying in Ireland!  I researched various ghd products and decided that I’d like to eventually invest in the Platinum Tropic.  I try to take good care of my hair, especially since I started coloring it a few years ago; therefore, I can appreciate the technology that goes into this “safer-for-hair” styler that reduces breakages by 50 percent. 

My wonderful partner surprised me with a light blue Fitbit Charge 2 and I cannot stop fiddling with the app.  I love it!  I love how it tracks my caloric intake so I can decide how many calories to eat.  I am trying to lose a pound a week, so I try to cut out 500 calories a day.  Before I had a Fitbit, I estimated how many calories I burned and how much I should eat but this device removes all guesswork.   I am astonished at how it tracks my sleep cycles, steps, and active minutes.  Now I am reaching my goals and seeing even better results.  The item on my wish list is this chic, grey-colored leather band which would allow me to paid my trusty Fitbit with nicer outfits.

The final item on my wish list is something I didn’t even know I wanted until a few weeks ago!  Last year the Town House at the Kensington Hotel in London advertised their brand-new Tale as Old as Time afternoon tea and I joined the waiting list because seats sold out in a matter of minutes.  Thankfully, they released more dates.  My partner and I were already going to London for a night to celebrate my birthday so when they released more dates in May, I jumped at the chance to go!  We were not disappointed!  I plan on writing a post about this experience, but for now I will just say this: you’d be surprised how well-made these figurines are.  They were on each table and I was seriously shocked when I picked it up to move it because it was incredibly hefty!  The figurine is battery-operated and the flames really glow.  I was astonished when I saw the price tag, though: £59 from the Disney website!!!  I do not think I will be getting this item any time soon!    

I hope you enjoyed reading about the lust-worthy products I am wishing will magically turn up on my doorstep!  If you’ve used any of the products I’ve mentioned, I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

The Mystery Blogger Award

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Hey, y’all!  Today I am over-the-moon because I have been nominated for my second blogging award: The Mystery Blogging Award!  The lovely Valerie from Southern Belle in the West recently nominated me and I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for thinking of me; your support means the world to me!  Please be sure to check out Valerie’s blog as it’s the bomb.com!  Another reason I am excited about receiving this award is because it was created by one of my favorite blogging pals, Enigma, from Okoto Enigma’s Blog.  Enigma and I have gotten to know each other quite well over the past few months and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching her blog grow.  She created The Mystery Blogging Award to showcase inspiring and passionate bloggers.  Right!  Let’s get started…

Here are the rules:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  • Tell readers 3 things about yourself
  • Answer the questions provided
  • You have to nominate 10-20 people
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  • Share and link to your best post(s)

3 things about yourself:

  1. I have a cute little Peugeot 307cc convertible and her name is Francesca!
  2. I am starting my level 2 QCF/NVQ in Health & Social Care this month. Once I finish, I hope to get my level 3 then level 4 in Positive  Behavior Support (PBS).
  3. Even though I’m from Florida, I’ve never been to any attractions in Orlando (Disney, Universal).

Questions from Valerie:

  • What are you proudest of so far (life, blog, anything)?

I am most proud of the fact that after working hard to earn my degrees, I am now working in mental health and helping people.  I went through a quarter-life crisis after I finished uni and was stagnant for about 2 years.  Now,  I am thankful I am learning every day and developing applied psych skills.

  • If you could ask for anything in life, what would it be?

I would ask for a healthy relationship with my father.  My mom passed away a few years ago so he’s the only parent I have left, but he doesn’t want anything  to do with me.  In 2011, I told him about Martyn and my intentions to come to Wales and he stopped talking to me.  I have reached out numerous times with no avail.

  • What is one goal you have for this year?

To pay off all my debts!  Last year I had to go back to the States due to visa issues and I wasn’t working.  I have created a budget and I should be debt free by the end of the year if I stick to it!

  • What is one thing you would love to learn or master this year?

I would love to learn how to better manage challenging behavior at work.  The first few times I’ve experienced incidents, I’ve gotten heightened myself and even cried.  Now, I am better and maintaining composure, but only experience will help me learn how to handle and cope with incidents of challenging behavior.

  • Weird question: If given the chance, would you travel to Mars?

I genuinely am not sure if I would go to Mars.  Part of me is always up for new experiences; I’ll try anything once.  However, I am also a planner; since I have no knowledge about what life would be like, I’m not sure I could commit.

My Nominees:

  1. Claire from ClaireLouiiseXO 
  2. Shaienna Monique from Shaienna Monique: The Blog 
  3. Lydia from Mademoiselle Women 
  4. Tiffany from Food and Other Loves 
  5. Lola from Lolita Bonita 
  6. Jenn from Jenn the Aries 
  7. Britt from Alternatively Speaking 
  8. Jordanne from The Life of a Glasgow Girl 
  9. Becca from Becca’s Love for Life 
  10. Jess from Snaps & Slap 
  11. Sophia from Sophiaaaxo
  12. Lynz from The Cat Mother Chronicles 

Questions for my Nominees:

  1. If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
  2. What is your favorite childhood memory?
  3. If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
  4. If you had your own show, what would be the theme song?
  5. Weird question: When do you start your Christmas shopping?

Thank you for reading!  I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little better. I would like to thank Valerie again for nominating me for The Mystery Blogger Award!  I look forward to reading posts from my nominees.

If you’re new to my blog, please check out my 2 favorite posts:

Liebster Award

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About a month ago, Britt from Alternatively Speaking nominated yours truly for the Liebster Award. If you are like me and had never heard of the Liebster Award before, this award is given to new bloggers from other new bloggers. It’s a way to get our blogs out there and share the love. In order to participate, you must:

  • Post 11 facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions your nominator has asked
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers
  • Ask them 11 questions
  • Let them know you nominated them
  • Be sure to link up with the blogger who nominated you

Got it? Good, cause here we go…

11 Facts About Me

1. I am obsessed with Lana Del Rey, Halsey, and Taylor Swift. I’ve spent so many nights reading and analysing their lyrics.

2. I played tennis in high school and loved it even though I was the worst on the entire team. 

3. My favourite colours are green, purple, and grey.

4. I live in a tiny Welsh village with a population of approximately 2500.

5. Even though I love my cats, I desperately want dogs, a leopard gecko, a bearded dragon, and some dwarf hamsters.

6. If I could be anything in the world with no limitations, I would be a neurobiologist who studies mental disorders, addiction, and pedophilia.

7. I’m the only child.

8. I grind my teeth when I am stressed or have too much caffeine.

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14-year old me with braces

9. I wore braces for almost 3 years and had perfect teeth, but I stopped wearing my retainers and now I want braces again!

10. My favourite book is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.

11. Penguins are my favourite animal.

 

What Britt Asked Me

1. What inspired you to start blogging? When I read my first blog, I was suffering from depression and insomnia. I truly enjoyed reading about beauty products and boxes! Somehow I made it through those dark days and realized I have a wealth of knowledge and experiences that I’d like to share with others, well those kind enough to read my little blog 🙂

2. What is one piece of advice that you wish someone had given you before starting your blog? I wish someone had told me how time-consuming blogging is! I never realized how much time and effort went into blogging until I sat down with WordPress and tried to set up Gorgeous and Geeky. Then take into consideration trying products, taking notes, photography, writing a post, engaging with other bloggers and sharing your own content. It’s a full time job!! 

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Trevi Fountain, Rome

3. What is the most memorable vacation you ever took and why? Ah this one is quite difficult as I have so many memories running through my head… I would have to say my trip to Italy with my partner was the most memorable. We got to do a mix of everything I love the most: try fantastic new food, explore different cultures, meet new people, and see some incredible sights such as the Trevi Fountain and the Sistine Chapel.

 

4. What is your go-to fuel? Coffee, tea, hot chocolate or some other glorious provider of energy when needed? Coffee, definitely! Preferably with a hint of vanilla

5. What is your favourite social media platform and why? I prefer Facebook. I’ve lived in many places and have friends/family all over the world so Facebook helps me feel connected to them.

6. If you could design your “perfect day,” what would it look like? I think my perfect day would be at the new Star Wars Land in Disneyland, which is opening in 2019! I imagine dressing up in a cute Star Wars dress, meeting some of my favourite characters, riding on some intense rids, eating quirky food, and watching the gorgeous fireworks at the end of my perfect day. Of course, all of this would happen with my best friend and future husband, Martyn, by my side.

7. In what ways do you inspire yourself to come up with new content? I gravitate towards my passions and focus on my particular niche. Not everyone may like Star Wars or cats, but I prefer to write about subjects that move me!

8.  What is the one app on your phone you couldn’t live without? Twitter! How else would I interact so much with the wonderful blogging community?!

9. What is your favourite band or artist? See above 😉

10. What is your favourite childhood memory? I adored my grandfather who passed away when I was 6. He lived in Mississippi and owned a farm. I remember going to Ellisville and spending time with him and those are probably my happiest memories. We would ride the tractor, go fishing, get ice cream, and spend time playing.

11. Do you have any major blogging goals for 2017? If so, what are they? My blogging goal for this year is to maintain my blog and social media presence. I work approximately 45 hours a week and try to have a social life, so fitting in my hobby can be difficult. I try not to put pressure on myself; I don’t want blogging to become a chore! Therefore, if it takes me 2 weeks to write a new post, so be it!

Who Are my Nominees??

Questions for my Nominees

1. How long have you been blogging?

2. What’s your favourite album and why?

3. Do you blog full-time? If not, what do you do?

4. If you could go anywhere in the world for a day, where would you go and what would you do?

5. Do you have any short-term blogging goals?

6. What’s your favourite animal?

7. Do you have any long-term blogging goals?

8. Where are you from? Do you still live in your hometown?

9. Have you done any collaborations? If so, which was your favourite?

10. Do you have any pets?

11. Do your friends/family know about your blog? If not, why?

Alright ladies, now I pass the torch onto you! Get out there, find your own crop of nominees, and share a little insight into who you are with all of your readers (myself included because I will be watching, excited to see what each of you share with your own posts)!

 

Anatomicals UK Review

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“We Only Want You For Your Body”

The arrival of Anatomicals in the United Kingdom has created quite a stir in the beauty industry, for their quirky and giggle-inducing branding have made Anatomicals products a must-try amongst beauty bloggers and consumers alike. Anatomicals utilizes minimalist packaging with in-your-face slogans, such as “silly twits ignore their mitts,” which certainly grabs attention.  Anatomicals products not only put a smile on our faces, they also put our minds at ease by ensuring consumers that their products are cruelty free and free of parabens.

In early May, Anatomicals were kind enough to send over some products of my choosing (shown above) to try and review. While these products were sent to me free of charge, all opinions expressed here are completely my own. I have been using these products for about 2 weeks now and would like to post my thoughts on this unique brand.

First, I will review the one product I don’t have a stand-alone shot of: the Off With Their (Black and White) Head Botanical Purifying Tea Tree face mask. Phew! What a mouth full, eh? The popularity of sheet masks has boomed, and anyone who has tried one can understand why! I am a fan, so when I saw this face mask I knew I had to try it, especially considering  I suffer from hormonal acne and the occasional T-zone spots due to my oily skin. I saved the mask for a special occasion; I used it the night before I went to see Iron Maiden in Cardiff.

Once I got out of the shower and dried off, I took a “before” shot then applied this mask to my face for 20 minutes, as directed. The first thing I noticed was how refreshing the fragrance was. If you’ve ever smelled tea tree oil, you will know what I’m talking about. The scent is quite invigorating; it reminded me of when I was 13 and using tea tree oil nightly to help with my acne. I am not sure if this was intended, but I experienced an incredible cooling sensation. This made my hormonal acne feel less hot and angry, which was a happy surprise as I did not expect any results in regards to my hormonal acne as very few products help.

After I took the mask off, I took an “after” shot and inspected my skin. I did not include these before and after pictures because I did not see much of a difference, although my skin felt thoroughly refreshed.  I did not see a big difference in my black heads, though I must admit I went for an extraction facial maybe 2 weeks prior to using this mask so luckily I don’t have too many at the moment! After inspection, I found that the few spots I have in my T-zone were less red and irritated. Now here comes the best part: when I woke the following morning, my skin was glowing, which I attribute to my skin soaking in the concoction overnight.

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The second product I will review is The Buff Stuff Citrus Body Scrub (£4). I love the feeling of exfoliating, but limit it to every 2-3 days. I genuinely believe you can never own too many scrubs (especially ones without microbeads), so I was excited to see Anatomicals offer this product. I have been using this scrub on my arms, stomach, across my chest and up my neck; my partner has also scrubbed my back with The Buff Stuff once a week.

A biggie for me is fragrance! While some say to stay away from scented products, I have to admit that I love them because smell is such a big part of my personal experience whether I’m trying products, food, or going to new locations. So once I opened this scrub, I was instantly happy due to the aroma of pink grapefruit, which even lingered after I was out of the shower! The nights I use this product, I find I continue to catch a whiff of grapefruit, which puts a smile on my face. The next thing I noticed was the texture: a grainy liquid which easily pours from the bottle. With this product, you do not need to scrub hard. I have a heavy foot while driving and a heavy hand, so at first I actually hurt myself a little due to how hard I scrubbed. Once I eased up on myself, the scrub softly sloughed away dead skin cells leaving me with soft and touchable skin.

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Another product you cannot ever have enough of is hand soap, especially a “bitchin bottle of soap” like this one from Anatomicals! I knew straight away that I wanted this Ain’t No Soap This Dope Watermelon and Cucumber hand wash (£3). I absolutely love cucumber/melon scents and it’s something practical that I can use daily. I genuinely struggled with where to put this soap; I wanted to keep it in the kitchen so I could show it off but I use the soap in the bathroom more, so I opted to keep it in the bathroom. Like The Buff Stuff, I’ve been using this product for roughly 2 weeks and the delicious scent lingers for a good while, which I absolutely love!

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The final product I will be reviewing is the one I was most excited to try: We Never Forget a Face Memorably Good Daily Cleaning Pads (£8), with exfoliating glycolic acid. Recently I read an article about the cons to washing your face too many times a day; this article suggested I use cleansing pads with glycolic acid in lieu of washing my face. I later read that glycolic acid is amazing for people with acne troubles like myself because physical exfoliants can do more harm than good by causing more irritation. Therefore, a few months ago I went to Boots and purchased another brand’s cleansing pads. I use these pads every morning once I wake up as I prefer to shower and properly wash my face at night.

Back to Anatomicals: after using these “apads” for 2 weeks, I’ve found that these work as well as my regular brand of exfoliating cleansing pads. They leave my skin looking bright and awake, which is exactly what I need because I am not a morning person! The pads do not smell very nice, but that could be a good thing because unnatural fragrance ingredients can add many harmful chemicals which can be detrimental to your health. These daily cleansing pads also include Aloe Vera and Chamomile extract, which helps soothe irritations and Vitamin E to add some moisture to your skin.

I have thoroughly enjoyed trying Anatomicals; I hope you have enjoyed reading about these products! If you are interested in purchasing these purse-friendly and effective beauty products, check out ASOS. or Superdrug.

I have compiled a list of a few products I hope to try in the future:

  • No More White Bits Instant Self Tan Mousse in Medium
  • More Hula for your Moolah Hawaiian Coconut Body Butter
  • We’ll Cool You Again Later Facial Spritz
  • Puffy the Eye Bag Slayer Wake Up Under Eye Patches

 

 

Colourpop: Worth the Hype and Hassle?

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Recently, I’ve seen numerous bloggers tweeting about Colourpop Cosmetics.  If somehow you have not heard of Colourpop, let me enlighten you with a brief introduction: Colourpop Cosmetics is a company founded in 2014 by Laura and John Nelson.  The Nelsons manufacture their products in a factory known as Spatz Laboratories in Los Angeles, California; the name of this laboratory may sound familiar as it is the same factory where Kylie Cosmetics are made.  Many beauty bloggers have demonstrated that Colourpop products can be used as dupes for many of Kylie’s products.  While beauty bloggers have compared and contrasted products from Colourpop and Kylie Cosmetics, John Nelson stated in March 2016 that the products aren’t the same, as “everyone is coming up with their own formulas and their own exclusive products.”  

Topics of discussion on Twitter have ranged from quality and collaborations to whether or not these cosmetics are worth the hassle for those located outside of the United States. People living outside of the US must pay for international shipping (unless you can snag a free international shipping deal), import taxes, and a customs processing fee from the Royal Mail, which is always an extra 8 quid.  

Today I am going to show you the Colourpop products which I have accumulated and been using for a few months, as well as a new palette I received recently that I am dying to try!  I will review these products and write about their quality then give a final verdict on whether or not these cosmetics are worth the hassle of ordering from America.  Please note that all pictures have been taken with flash on.

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I must give credit where it is due and Colourpop certainly deserves kudos for offering outstanding prices and deals.  In March 2017, Colourpop celebrated its third birthday and treated its customers to FREE international shipping; therefore, I had to take advantage!  Plus, they had a super-duper deal going where if you purchased two Super Shock eyeshadows, you got a free brush of your choice.  While this wasn’t my first Colourpop purchase, I must admit this was my favorite due to the absolute bargain I received.  All of the products shown above, I purchased for $30 or £23 pounds (I also paid £8 in import taxes and £8 in fees).  Technically, I purchased 7 products for £40 pounds, which means each product roughly cost £5.60.

I’d like to start with a product I wasn’t crazy about then later talk about my favorites.  I hate to admit that I was a tad disappointed with these Super Shock Shadows, Ignition (holographic, ultra-glitter lavender-middle swatch) and Bill (a light, dusty Matte mauve-final swatch). While Ignition has a gorgeous shimmer, I felt that these shadows did not live up to the hype of Super Shock pigmentation. image2However, both of these shadows have 5-star reviews on the Colourpop website, so perhaps I was simply expecting something different. I’ve worn these shadows to work and paired them with Marshmallow (grey lavender-first swatch), an Ultra Satin Lip. Grey has become one of my favorite colors, even for makeup, thanks to Halsey for MAC’s daring slate lipstick, so when I saw this lipstick I had to have it.  I am happy with the color and the formula; I did have to reapply halfway through the day but I am thankful the formula did not dry my lips out.  I never mind reapplying once or twice throughout the day.

Speaking of lipstick, let’s talk about the different types of lipstick products I’ve tried from Colourpop.  A few months ago I was given an Amazon gift card and with it, I made my first ever Colourpop purchases: a lippie pencil in Petit Four (blue grey-first swatch), an Ultra Satin Lip in Petit Four (second swatch), and an Ultra Matte Lip in Jellies (cobalt-third swatch).  I know what you’re thinking: more grey?!! Well yes, more grey…and no, I am not making a 50 Shades pun ha!  I have not worn the Petit Four lippies often because there aren’t many places I can pull it off, but I am thoroughly impressed with the staying power and the richness of the color. image4

Jellies is a color I had been searching for; I absolutely love Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara in Blue as it makes my green eyes POP!  I wanted to find a pocket-friendly lippie which would compliment the cobalt-blue look and was dying to try this shade, which was now been discontinued.  While I love the color, I am not a huge fan of the formula as it bleeds. Before I put it on, I cover my lips with my trusty Esteé Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place lip pencil, color clear.  That way, I can make sure that I don’t look like I’ve just eaten a blue raspberry popscicle (or ice lolly for you Brits).  The final 2 swatches are both Lippie Stix in shades Wet (a pearlized taupe-fourth swatch) and Skimpy (a soft pink nude). Although I have not yet worn these for a full day, I can attest to the formula: it is incredibly creamy and glides on your lips so smoothly.  I am excited to try these for a longer period of time, though I must admit Skimpy is a little too Barbie-pink for me.  Oh, the pigmentation is excellent with these Lippie Stix as well.

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My newest item from Colourpop is the Gemini by Night pressed powder shadow palette from their collaboration with Sonya Esman (a Russian beauty guru). Please excuse my hair arms; I did not realize how hairy they were until I took pictures for swatches.   I used Esteé Lauder’s Illuminating Perfecting Primer as a base.  image3

From left to right, here are the colors:  

~Golden Gate Bridge, a matte warm nude
~The Hidden Hills, a satin warm taupe
~Manhattan Coffee Run, a matte mid-tone      brown
~Moscow Sunrise, a metallic rosy copper      I have not yet used this palette as I received it on 23/05 but I’m super excited to try it out!  As you can see, there is a range of more muted colors to bolder        shades.  These are quite pigmented, too!  

To finish this post, I’d like to discuss the item I use the most: the Lo-Key pressed powder shadow palette, which features orange and red colors with shimmery finishes.  Monochromatic looks have been a hit this spring and this palette allows you to easily wear this trend.  

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Using this palette, you can create a more subtle, suitable-for-work look or an exotic and enticing nighttime look.  Even when I go out at night, I tend to play it safe (as you can see haha) and not go too dark with that final redish color; I don’t like to overdo it.   Here’s a look I recently created with Lo-Key when I went to the Gin Festival in Swansea with some girlfriends.  image1 (2)

I felt like the orange/red colors really made my green eyes pop. I thought Benefit’s sunny golden pink Galifornia blush and Kylie’s metallic peach lipstick metal in Heir really pulled this look together.  

In terms of quality, I have to admit that this is one of my favorite eyeshadow formulas; I currently own quite a few Smashbox palettes, Avon, Pop Beauty, and Bare Minerals sets, and single shades from Lola Cosmetics, Stila, Bella Pierre, and Model Co to name a few.  

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I wanted to include a swatches picture; I used Esteé Lauder’s Illuminating Perfecting Primer as a base.  Once again, please excuse my hair arms; I think I’m going to be saying that a lot on beauty posts!  The colors, from left to right are: 

~ Take it Slow, a metallic warm champagne

~ I Owe You, a matte mid-tone orange

~ Running Late, a matte creamy orange

~ Criss Cross, a matte brick orange

So, finally, I must answer the question: is Colourpop worth the hassle of international shipping, import taxes, and customs fees?  My vote is YES!  While I am not completely happy with all of my purchases, I am impressed with the majority and can see myself using these products as long as they will last me.  In my opinion, I see why Colourpop has a cult following, numerous celebrity collaborations, and a growing company.  We want more Colourpop and I believe we will get more, more, more as this company is not slowing down.  It feels every few days I see hints and ideas via their Instagram story!  

Now that you’ve listened to me, I’d love to hear your thoughts!  What products have you tried; did they work for you?  If you haven’t tried Colourpop Cosmetics, do you want to and what items are you interested in?  And even if you’ve had a rubbish experience with this brand, I’d still love to hear your thoughts!  

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017

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In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week (8 May – 14 May), I was invited by Becca from Becca’s Love for Life to write a guest post about my experience with mental health and where I am currently.  This post took me a lot of time and effort; I’ve never publicly spoken about my past.  Due to support from my friends, I’d like to share it on my personal blog.  Please be aware that this post may contain sensitive material, which could lead to heightened negative emotions. If you become upset or triggered while reading this, please stop reading and utilize the coping mechanisms that work for you.   Here we go…

I was not only gifted with a predisposition towards mental health difficulties, I was also born into and raised in a toxic environment. Indeed, I drew the short end of the stick in regards to both nurture vs. nature explanations of mental health. My mother was an alcoholic and she passed away at the age of 55 from cirrhosis of the liver. Since my father is still alive, I will not comment on his shortcomings out of respect. Let’s just say that my childhood had very little stability with a lot of domestic abuse. Memories of my upbringing are more upsetting than happy, with most of them being drunken episodes (even Christmas and birthdays) due to my parents’ issues.

I do not agree with the notion of “stay together for the kids,” because life was absolute hell when my parents were together. About once a month, my parents would get into a huge drunken argument and my father would pack most of his clothing in his Mitsubishi Eclipse and leave for a few days. Finally, in 2001, he didn’t return home and this split was the catalyst for my downward spiral. Despite my disruptive home life, I found solace in going to school; academia gave me something to strive for. However, after my father left for good, I completely gave up. I felt abandoned.  At this age, I could not grasp that my father was leaving my mother, not me. My mother fell off the deep end and I looked to the one place I had for help: the internet.

In May 2001, I ran away from home with a 19-year-old I met on the internet. I was lost. I was so desperate for love and understanding. I felt like he was the only person who cared. I was manipulated and abused, though at the time I was completely unaware of the dangers. He talked about taking me to meet his family and sitting here writing this at almost 27 years old, I am dumbfounded. What would a 19-year-old pedophile tell his parents about bringing an 11-year-old home? To this day, I have no clue what his intentions were. Thankfully, I was quickly rescued from that situation and was sent to live with my father.

I must give my father credit here: he had no clue how to handle a messed up 12-year-old girl, so he took me to numerous therapists and psychiatrists in order to give me the best help available. Looking back, I cannot fathom how I made it out; I was torn up inside about what had happened to me. I started to suffer from severe anxiety and depression and was treated with psychotropics for both conditions. I experienced overwhelming fears of abandonment and would ask my father 30 times a day if he loved me. I had no faith or security in my father, no matter what he did for me.

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At 13, I began to self harm. I chose to include this picture of me at 13 years old because it demonstrates that someone can look “completely normal,” yet still be suffering with severe trauma and deep issues. I’d go to school and smile and try to be as normal as possible, yet I was dealing with intense emotions and coping poorly. I would pull my hair, slap my head, and throw/break items in fits of mania/rage. By age 15, those around me noticed an increasing, and profound, fluctuation in my moods. One minute I’d be perfectly happy and bubbly and the next I’d be in the school bathroom scratching at my arm or thigh. I alienated every single one of my friends (even the church goodie-goodies); obviously at that age, no one really understands how to handle those situations.

I somehow made it through high school even though I’d continued to self harm and suffer from depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. At 18, I left home to attend Georgia Southern University, where I graduated on-time with a bachelors degree in Psychology. In university, I found myself. I found my strength. My father pushed me away and forced me to cope with my mental health difficulties on my own, including being hospitalized from an overdose and self harm. Today, I must admit I’m grateful for the tough love. I can’t put my finger on what exactly changed me, but somewhere along the line I became a new person. I became independent and no longer reliant on my father. I developed my own ideas and opinions about the world, which I gained through stepping out of my comfort zone and experiencing new things. I learned hope to cope with and manage my mental health.

Years later, I still struggle; every single day is a struggle even with the correct medication. However, I have developed the skills which enable me to manage my irrational and negative thoughts. I acknowledge them and tell myself that they’re valid feelings, but then I rationalize them and that brings me back to reality. No, not everyone hates me. No, not everyone is out to get me. No, my friend doesn’t hate me because she can’t chat when I message her.  No, my partner isn’t going to leave me because of a fight.

Today I am working as a mental health support worker in a residential care home for vulnerable adults (aged 18-65) with acute mental health difficulties. I aspire to become a psychologist. Right now, I am focusing on developing the skills to be an effective and successful support worker so eventually I am able to work my way up and possibly apply for my doctorate in clinical psychology.

I’d like to end this post with one of my favorite quotes: “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars,” Kahlil Gibran. If you are currently struggling with mental health difficulties, I’d like to encourage you to KEEP GOING. Even if your biggest achievement today is getting out of bed and getting a shower or making yourself a bowl of cereal, BE PROUD and JUST KEEP SWIMMING. Who knows where you’ll be in 10 years time? You could be using your experience to make a change in someone else’s life!