Blog Makeover + First PopBasic Purchase!

Hmmm…things look…different around here, right? I have to admit I am pretty nervous about my blog’s makeover, which I know is super silly. It took me hours to find a layout I liked. I wanted to do something glamorous and holiday-themed, without being too over the top! Do you like it???

In other news, I ordered my first PopBasic collection yesterday! PopBasic sells micro collections of fashion items featuring “limited edition, high quality basics and trend pieces.” The nice thing about these items is that, as the name indicates, they’re basic enough that they will likely compliment many other items in your closet! At the same time, they almost always sell out of their collections in a short time period. They’re so popular that they “open” at a specific date and time, with many fashion enthusiasts marking their calendars so as not to miss out! This is not a subscription service, it’s a one time set purchase. You will not be automatically enrolled to receive the next set.

Amelie Collection – $70

1d18e9e56ae5c225f634d847a8190b5d_650pxI ordered the “Amelie Collection,” released yesterday at 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST). This set features the:

  • Le Breton dress (RRP $70) – A fun twist on our classic Le Breton. We’ve taken it out for a spin, added pockets and adjusted the sleeves to a 3/4 (really 1/2) length for transitional dressing.
  • Silver tube necklace (RRP $25) – For those days when you’re after that perfectly simple, yet delicate accessory. Wear on its own or layered with another chain. Alloy, silver plated.
  • Infinity knot bracelet (RRP $20) – Whether worn on its own, or stacked with other pretty pieces, our Infinity Knot Bracelet will be a lovely addition to your collection.Β 

8f6663fea96200ecaa1e205a5e341157_650pxSince this was my first purchase, I got $15 off (You can too! Just click here!) the purchase price of $70. Some of their collections push $80-100, so I waited for one I really loved to use my $15 off.

I can’t wait to get it in the mail! I already know exactly when I’m going to wear this for the first time–at the airport on my way to Cancun in a few weeks πŸ™‚ It’ll be a nice transition piece (as indicated) from the freezing temps in Ohio to the 70’s and 80’s (hopefully!) in Mexico! I’ll instagram some pics from the airport and trip, so be sure to follow me on instagram!

7a10dd338f31fa9cce6c625ff0b81e78_650pxI also have some super amazing giveaways (yes, that means more than one!) planned for the Holidays, so press the “Follow” button so you won’t miss out!

XO Ali

Weekending + Holiday Beauty Wantlist

Happy Monday! Let’s start off this week with a positive attitude, mmk? πŸ™‚

I may have an important paper due tomorrow, but it won’t get me down! I have a lot of fun things I’m looking forward to this week: Friendsgiving, dinner at a new restaurant downtown, a 5k, and going out with some of my lovely co-workers on Friday night! In addition, I had the most heart-warming, feel-good weekend just doing things I love πŸ™‚

IMG_0485-Ryan and I went for a short wine-tasting and then picked up our very first Christmas tree together on Saturday! We got a pretty good deal–$99 for a pre-lit 6.5 ft tree. I cried for a couple of seconds because I’m a sappy-face for it being our first Christmas under the same roof πŸ™‚ This is Yoshi’s first Christmas too, and I have plenty more things like stockings and lights to pick up before this girl can call her decorating done!

-Slow-cooking: I went to the grocery on Friday night and got enough ingredients to make three different recipes in my slow cooker for the week. First up: barley-spiked winter casserole. It’s got carroway seeds, carrots, parsnips, and a lot of celery root in it. Add a can of tomatoes, veggie broth, mix in some barley, and top with parsley and you’ve got a bowl of yum perfect for a cold winter’s night! We ate the whole crockpot serving (5.5 qts) in 24 hours!

-Baking: I whipped up some gingersnaps, snickerdoodles (yet to bake), and chocolate chip cookies yesterday. I won’t go into details about how it was my ugliest looking batch of chocolate chip cookies to date, but at least they tasted good!

-SNOW! We woke up to about 6 inches of snow this morning. It was simply beautiful. The sun hadn’t come up yet, but the snow was so bright it let off this brilliant blue hue to our backyard! Fall is my favorite season, snow or no snow. And there’s absolutely no reason to complain about it snowing “already,” its the middle of November! (3 weeks till vacay…)

A Holiday Beauty Wantlist

Holiday Beauty WishlistYves Saint Laurent Touch Γ‰clat in Luminous Radiance or Luminous Ivory ($41) – this is definitely a luxury item I don’t need, but I’ve been eyeballing it for a year. Can I really justify $41 for it? Probably not. I’m not sure which color would look better on me. Luminous Radiance would be better suited for me since its for fair to light complexions with pink undertones (bingo), but both swatches look like variations of my skintone.

Fresh Lotus Eye Gel ($48) – if there was such a thing as a love affair with beauty products, I’d be married to “Fresh” brand. I haven’t tried a single one of their products I haven’t loved. I ordered the Dare to Bare Sugar Lip Ritual set last week, but my Sephora order is currently in their backlog due to an overwhelming response to their 20% off sale. Out of all the flaws and features of my face, I am most self-conscious about my eyes. I am plagued with baggy eyes and fine lines, and as I get closer to 30, I am much more aware of wrinkle-formation. This gel promises to alleviate “puffiness, dark circles, and signs of fatigue.” Sign me up!

Dior Addict Lip Glow ($33) – this is a “nice to have,” not “need to have.” Mostly, I’m just curious about all the hype surrounding this cult-favorite. Some swear by it, others claim its not worth the hype. I’m too much of a germaphobe to test it out in store, especially when…

tester-lipsticksEnough said.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo in Blonde ($23) – now here is a cult-favorite worth the hype! This company makes the most beautiful brow-products for every hair color and skin tone! I just can’t justify spending $23 on colors I probably have in my eyeshadow collection! Haha

Pixi Ultimate Beauty Kit – 2nd Edition ($34) – after regularly using the Plum Quartz mineral palette I bought on my birthday (it’s a staple in my daily makeup bag!), I have faith that the rest of the eyeshadows are just as good of quality! I like the mix of cool tones and warm tones, and am curious as to the effectiveness of the blushes and highlighters! I also love that Pixi’s brand is so accessible as they carry it in most (all?) Targets!

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Grandest Grape ($17) – a perfect cranberry color to add to my fall lippies collection! My best and I swatch the chubby sticks every time we go into Sephora. Maybe one of these days I’ll pick this up and actually buy it! It’s also a full-size part of this Holiday Gift Set which only retails for $22 more than the lip balm itself!

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask ($26) – this product has been lingering in my Sephora basket since it came out last winter, but it’s just always one I parted with to narrow down my collection. I have terribly dry lips and I will try almost anything to find a good treatment and moisturizer for them in the winter-time! The complaints about the packaging breaking easily has been enough to keep me at bay, but some day this will be in my lip drawer.

Pixi Glow Tonic ($29) – this glow tonic is at the top of my list, and the next time I am in Target, I will probably pick up a bottle (if its in stock). It isn’t cheap, but this keeps popping up on my instagram feed, and maybe it’s the name, but I. need. it. Ginseng and aloe? Nothing like a little extra glow to add to your winter complexion πŸ™‚

NARS Virtual Domination Cheek Palette ($65) – this is second to top on my wish list. I can’t see myself ever shelling out $65 on blushes for myself, but I am seriously mesmerized by this palette. I love NARS because they are so brazen with their product names. A single 0.16 oz NARS blush retails for $30, so this set with 3-0.15 oz blushes (Sex Fantasy, Deep Throat, and Final Cut), a 0.15 oz highlighting blush powder (Miss Liberty), and 0.35 oz bronzer (Laguna) is an amazing deal! Any friends out there reading this? This is what I want, ha πŸ™‚ Their lip pencil collection is a pretty good deal, but I’ve got a million and one lippies I still need to go through!

Sonia Kashuk Holiday Limited Edition All That Jazz 10 Piece Brush Set ($34.99) – is that a mouthful or what? But seriously, these brushes are gorgeous. I have more than enough eye brushes, but what I don’t have are many brushes for the face. My current face brush collection includes: an all-over powder brush & a contouring blush brush. That’s it! This set has plenty of contouring pieces and the gold and black frame with white bristles just scream luxury!

I haven’t forgotten about my 30 day challenge, just haven’t got around to shooting yet. Look for some updates soon! πŸ™‚

What’s on your holiday wishlist?! Comment below and let me know πŸ™‚

XO Ali

Fall 30×30: Outfit #2

I have to admit, it’s nice being up early this week without studying my brains out for a midterm like I spent all of last week for my Early Rising challenge.

Without further ado, here is outfit #2 (rhyme not intended) of my Fall 30×30 challenge. Anyone else want to jump on board and do the challenge with me?! πŸ˜€ It’s not too late!

IMG_2163dYellow boyfriend cardigan: Target | Chambray button-down: Forever 21 | Navy skirt: Target | Brown lace-up boots: Target

IMG_2168c IMG_2177c IMG_2185cHave a wonderful day my lovelies πŸ™‚

XO Ali

Fall 30×30 Challenge

Happy Monday morning, everyone πŸ™‚

This weekend we were blessed with some amazing weather considering its November. This has allowed me to get out and shoot some outfits to kick off my first ever Fall 30×30 challenge! I have to admin, I’m not a huge fan of capsule wardrobes where all your pieces can be mixed and matched with everything else in your closet, as I just like to have variation and a few interesting pieces on hand to spruce things up! However, I’ve seen these seasonal challenges floating around the blogger community for some time, and thought it was time to see what I’m capable of producing.

The challenge: 30 pieces for 30 looks. The goal is to pick out exactly 30 pieces from your wardrobe (I am defining wardrobe as: tops, bottoms, shoes, and dresses; excluding accessories like purses and jewelry, as that is what I will be using to differentiate my looks) to wear for 30 looks. I decided not to do 30 days, because my work wear has to be more modest than short skirts and more formal than chambray.

I am hoping to get some more good weather on the weekends because that is my only opportunity to shoot in the daylight. With Daylight Savings Time over, it is now dark by the time I get home from work.

First look:

IMG_2098cSouthwestern-print sweater: Forever 21 | Burgundy matelot shorts: Forever 21 | Black fringe booties: Target | Hat:

IMG_2148cIMG_2115cIMG_2130cIMG_2154cWhat do you guys think? Do you like capsule wardrobes? Let me know in the comments below and hit the “Follow Me” button if you want to see more looks πŸ™‚

XO Ali

Vegan Beauty: Vegan Cuts Beauty Box vs. Petit Vour

Welp, it’s officially November! That means that I am now getting up at 5:00 a.m. every weekday until the month is over. My dog woke me up at 4:40 this morning as if to jump-start the process, so I didn’t have much of a choice πŸ™‚ It was a pretty productive morning at least: I paid bills, cashed in some Birchbox points, and made a purchase for the first time ever from NewLook with some items that have been hanging out in my cart for over a week.

Vegan Cuts and Petit Vour are both subscription boxes that send out monthly beauty goodies, but in this case, they’re both vegan! What did I think of both boxes? Keep reading to find out πŸ™‚

Vegan Cuts Beauty Box
The box: monthly box with 4-7 100% cruelty-free products “ranging from unique cosmetics to luxurious skincare.” It consists of mostly organic and natural products, ranging from sample-size to full-size products.
Brand sample: Pangea Organics, LVX, John Masters Organics, Sevi, Goddess Garden Organics, Lauren Brooke, Skinagain
Extras: one-time themed boxes available for purchase in their Beauty Shop

IMG_1886 IMG_1898Floss Gloss nail lacquer ($8) in Picnic is a 3-free “weathered cranberry creme” color. When I saw they were including one of three colors in every Vegan Cuts beauty box for October, I was actually hoping for Donatella, a pretty pumpkin-color with a lot of gold shimmer, since I already have so many burgundy/reds in my polish collection. Despite the brightness of the bottle, it actually goes on a gorgeous dark, dark burgundy, much darker than the rest of my reds. I would show you a picture of my feet, but I’m not all about putting that on my blog πŸ˜› I’ve been wearing it over a week with zero chipping!

coffeebeanscrubThis coffee bean-illa scrub by Lovinah is exactly what it sounds like. I haven’t figured out the best use for it yet, though I did apply it to the back of my hands in the shower. It feels exactly like wiping damp coffee grounds on your skin. With a scent as strong as coffee, it may work best as an occasional facial exfoliator. Overall, I’m not quite sure what to do with this product as the sample size is plenty big and I’m not going to use it all that often.

IMG_1891This pure energy serum by Lotus Wei ($10) is another favorite from the box. They’ve got an entire line of serums and elixirs designed to do everything from quiet your mind, to give you energy, to inspire action. My only wish was that the scent was slightly stronger. I have an addiction to lemon and orange-scented products, and this is so light you almost can’t even smell it (which is maybe the point…). I like to do one pump on my wrists and dab some on my cheekbones for a dewy glow!

IMG_1904This deluxe travel set from Hylunia ($35) makes up a whole line of their paraben and phosphate-free skincare. The collection is designed to “fight aging, acne, redness, and dryness without clogging your pores.”

IMG_1900I’m not a big fan of bar soaps (because they make such a mess on the counter to clean up!), so when I received this watermelon hand soap from South Side Soaps as an extra in my box, I wasn’t overly impressed, though the skull was appropriate for Halloween’s timing.

Overall, the box’s contents (over a $60 value) were pretty impressive. I was happy not to receive any foil packets or single-use samples, as you can never really gauge a product’s qualities with just one use. However at $20/month, and with 6 subscription boxes for October (6? 7? I can’t even keep track), this one will not be making the November cut. Were money not a factor, I would continue my subscription because I think the value is absolutely worth it, and come on, cruelty-free? All the time if I could.

Petite Vour
The box: monthly box with 4-5 luxurious and vegan beauty products. Goodies range from sample size to full products.
Brand sample: Ellovi, Forager, Harvey Prince, Lotus Wei, Pacifica, LVX, California Naturel, Everyday Minerals
Extras: earn points for reviewing, purchasing, and friend recommendations; redeem points for $ off in their shop
IMG_1981lipstickThis Pacifica Devocean natural lipstick in Firebird ($14) is a vibrant orange-red, that goes on much more like a balm than a lipstick. It’s not heavy at all and lasted for over 4 hours w/o reapplication. The container is also 100% recyclable! πŸ™‚

IMG_1959Body butters are tricky. This wild mint body butter from flo+theo (sample size; full-size is $28) is no exception. My main problem is that I have a really hard time sitting still. I’m constantly touching things, which leaves a greasy residue behind after application. The smell is perfectly paired with the butter without being too strong. I found the best time to apply is right before going to bed.

IMG_1972This natural eau de parfum from Forager Botanicals in Heaven Scent (sample size; full size is $98) has notes of “succulent florals, citrus and honey” (though there is no honey in the formation of the perfume), though to me it just smells kind of woodsy. Not bad, but I think I’ll stick to my Molecule 01. I’m pretty picky in my choice of perfume.

IMG_1970My initial thought was “another day, another argan oil.” However, upon closer inspection, this argan oil from Lavina (sample size; full-size is $20) is actually sourced from a woman’s cooperative in Morocco to help support economic and social welfare! How cool is that?

IMG_1962Unfortunately, this natural deodorant from Schmidt’s in Bergamot + Lime (sample size; full-size is $10) is just not doing it for me. The instructions: “[u]sing the fingertips, apply a pea-size amount to each underarm.” Sounds simple, right? The problem is, its packed into the jar like a balm and you have to dig it out to get it to work, try to rub it around on your underarms, and then use a nail utensil to scrape out the gunk under your nails. It’s just way too much work, and I didn’t find the deo to be particularly effective.

Overall, the box had a decent selection of products to sample, and its on the lower price range of Vegan beauty boxes. That being said, I think I still preferred VeganCuts over Petit Vour. Too bad I was only sampling these boxes in October and have since canceled my subscriptions. I may pick back up the VeganCuts BB subscription at some point, but for now I’ll be sticking with Ipsy (tomorrow’s post!) and Birchbox.

XO Ali