Thursday, June 23, 2011

After the cut...

I've been to the hairdresser, finally! It took her an hour and a half to cut my hair, but here's the final result:

You can sort of see in this photo that it's quite short with longer layers on top and a longer fringe. If I really really want, I can style it into a little mohawk, but I'm afraid it doesn't look as glamorous as Ginnifer's cut...

In case you're wondering about the black neckline and pearls, I graduated on Tuesday! In Poland, a graduation day is not in fact an official ceremony, but the day of the very final exam (the so-called defense of the thesis), after which your studies are basically done and over with :) I've graduated with honors and hold the title of MA in Applied Linguistics.

I opted for a very classic make-up with a shimmery champagne on the lid (Wet'n'Wild Walking on Eggshells trio), a mixture of Urban Decay Naked and Buck in the crease, Virgin in the inner corner and Creep as a liner. Base is Graftobian HD Glamour Creme foundation in Aurora with a bit of Buff mixed in set with MAC Blot Powder in Medium, blusher - La Femme Pink Velvet, lips - MAC Viva Glam Cyndi. The photos were taken after good 8 hours of wear, and you can see that the base lasted very well on my oily skin; I think it lasts even better than my Revlon Colorstay foundation.

I wore this simple black dress from Jake's with some black pumps borrowed from my mum, outfit documented by my dad in my parents' garden.

How was your first day of summer?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: e.l.f. Beauty Encyclopedia Eye Edition

After I've heard some good things about e.l.f. Beauty Encyclopedias and saw a heavily discounted one in TJMaxx, I've decided it would be interesting to compare it to some other neutral eyeshadow palettes I own, particularly the famous Urban Decay Naked palette. Does the e.l.f. Encyclopedia stand the test?

The e.l.f. Beauty Encyclopedia Eye Edition comes in a sturdy cardboard packaging with a magnetic closure, a plastic film over the contents and some instructions inside the cover - it would easily survive a journey, but that plastic films keeps getting in the way. I believe this particular product must have been discontinued and replaced by various Beauty Books, which retail for $5 and are quite a similar concept; see, this review might still be helpful to some people...

Inside, there's 12 powder eyeshadows, 2 cream eyeshadows, 1 black eyeliner pencil and 1 useless sponge tip applicator. I'll be straight with you: I was pleasantly surprised by the pigmentation of these shadows. Most of them are velvety smooth, apply evenly and stay on for a long time without fading. My only gripe with these shades is that most of them contain a lot of glitter, but then it doesn't seem to move much when used with a base. The cream eyeshadows are beautiful neutral colors and stay well enough on my oily lids when used with a primer and powder eyeshadow on top. The black pencil is creamy and pigmented, but again has a lot of silver glitter, which is why, I think, they call it 'brightening'. All in all, this set really does have everything you need for quite a neutral subtle or dramatic eye look, minus the tools.

The silver glitter is particularly visible in the lighter powder eyeshadow shades, so if you like sparkly eyeshadow, this is perfect. Matte lovers should probably steer clear. My two favorite shades are in the bottom right corner: a particularly buttery taupe and a creamy bronze, both pearl finish.

As you can see, the cream eyeshadow are also very shimmery, but not in a glittery kind of way. The texture is smooth and easy to apply. The two swatches on the right show the difference in vibrancy between an eyeshadow used over a cream shadow (top) and an eyeshadow alone, no base (bottom).

Here's the look created with the eyeshadows from the palette after good 6 hours of wear. I've used my regular eyeshadow primer, one of the cream eyeshadows as a base and then a glittery peach on the lid with the taupe in the outer corner. I lined my eyes with the pencil liner and smudged it in. There is some creasing visible in the photo, but no fall-out or smudging and minimal fading.

Overall, I think this palette is a fantastic value for money and would make a great purchase for someone who travels a lot and is afraid of bringing more expensive make-up, or for someone just getting into cosmetics. Admittedly, the quality and shade selection of the UD Naked Palette is much better, but it does come with a price.

What is your favorite inexpensive eyeshadow palette?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hauling in Warsaw: Skincare & Fragrance

Finally, I got round to posting the promised skincare and fragrance haul! I have to admit that I'm not 100% happy with this post because I'm badly missing my beloved DSLR. A point-and-shoot is quite all right for quick snapshots on the trip, but for me, no longer cuts it for beauty product close-ups. Well, we'll have to live with that somehow and just focus on the products rather than the pictures.

I suffered a bad case of seriously dehydrated skin after I landed in Warsaw. I'd already had some issues with dry flakes before the trip, and the flight just added to the overall bad condition of my skin, including my face, lips and the whole body, hands and feet too. I've managed to get most of my body parts under control since thanks to various products, including Avon Foot Works Intensive Callus Cream, given to me by my mum (funnily enough, I also gave her a foot cream, but this time by Ahava). Thanks to the high contents of glycolic acid and glycerin, it really does soften dry, rough patches on my feet.

I also decided I needed a new self-tanner as I was running low on my trusted Dove gradual tanner with SPF 15. I picked up this Yves Rocher Self-Tanner Moisturizing Face & Body Lotion after reading a positive review on Brunette's Heart, a Polish beauty blog. So far, I've only used it on my face either at night or during stay-at-home days; the texture on the skin is a bit sticky and shiny, but it does moisturize quite well and the tan looks very natural, not streaky, not patchy, not too orange.

Then, I found a L'Occitane coupon in my favorite Polish women's magazine, Zwierciadło, and couldn't pass up the offer. In fact, I'd never had anything from the brand before, but heard quite a lot of good things. I picked up the 100% Pure Shea Butter in a cute little tin and plan to use it mostly on my chapped lips. I also got the purse-sized Dry Skin Hand Cream with 20% shea butter content as a gift with purchase.

The most substantial thing I bought at L'Occitane was Rose 4 Reines Eau de Toilette (20ml). As the name suggests, it's a rose perfume composed of 4 different kinds of roses, the Grasse rose, the Bulgarian rose, the Moroccan rose and the Turkish rose. I wasn't a huge fan of florals before, but this is a lovely feminine scent with a powdery finish and a surprisingly good lasting power; but more on that in a separate post which I plan to write on my perfume collection.

I also couldn't stop myself from getting Zara Black Peony Eau de Toilette (100ml), known as a good dupe for Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb at a fraction of the price, discovered thanks to Pyxiee. I've wanted Flowerbomb for the longest time, but couldn't justify the pricetag, and this came to my rescue. From what I remember, it does smell a bit different then the more expensive version, lasts for a shorter time on the skin and has quite a ridiculous packaging, but I still like it a lot (and that fabric flower can be removed from the cap).

And there you have it, a very rambly skincare and fragrance haul post. Stay tuned for the make-up haul!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Sunday Trip to Mazovia

My blog's stats are telling me that not all of you, dear readers, are acquainted with Poland and Polish culture; otherwise I would probably be writing this in Polish. I don't often mention here much about my heritage, but when I've had, many of you seemed to be genuinely interested. This is why I've decided to share my Sunday trip and show you some beautiful places in Mazovia, which is a central region in Poland where I had lived before moving across the pond.

On Sunday, me and my parents first headed out to Żelazowa Wola, the birthplace of Polish pianist and composer Frederic Chopin (this is especially for you, Citrine!). We'd all been to the museum when still in school, but let me tell you, a lot has changed since then. The Chopin's family mansion and the surrounding garden are well maintained and beautiful at this time of the year, and small strategically placed speakers play beautiful music composed by Chopin as you stroll between the trees.

Then, through fields blooming with red poppies and blue loggerheads, we drove on to Nieborów to see a barocco palace and a park, which used to be owned by one of the most powerful noble families in Poland, the Radziwiłłs. The palace is unique in that it retained its original decor and furnishings and wasn't plundered during WWII, unlike most Polish historical sites. The park features many ponds and alleys, but most of all, beautiful old trees, like the plane tree in the photo below.

We then had to make a stop for dinner, which was traditional Polish cuisine, something we don't enjoy that often. I had delicious pierogi with lentil and minced meat filling, yummy!

The last place we visited was Arkadia, a romantic English garden founded in the 18th century by Helena Radziwiłłowa. The most interesting aspect of the park are faux ruins, like the aquaduct pictured below, which were all the rage at the time. Walking through the park, we managed to burn off some of that pierogi we had earlier!

The trip was fantastic and I'd recommend it to anyone visiting central Poland and especially Warsaw, since it's so different from the hustle and bustle of the capital. I was supposed to be studying for my exams on Sunday, but I'm glad we escaped to the countryside, it was lovely and peaceful.

Let me know if you liked this little peek of Poland and whether you'd like to see more, I could sneak in some photos of Warsaw if you like!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Beauty Blogger's Code of Conduct

In over two years of blogging, I've always been following my inner compass when it comes to what is acceptable and respectable in the beauty blogging world. I know this is a very personal matter and what I find dubious may seem crystal clear to you, but I just thought I could throw in my two cents here and let you know my thoughts.

taken from

1. Respect your readers. What I mean is that my priority will always be to you, which is why I will not join any affiliate programs or do sponsored posts on here, and I will always let you know whenever I accept products for review consideration. Additionally, I always strive for the best possible quality on my blog and will continue on improving the content, so that you'll be able to enjoy it even more!

2. Be faithful to yourself. I blog equally for myself as I do for you, and I will always post only what I feel like posting; I won't let either brands or popularity affect my writing. I accept that my readers might not find all my posts equally interesting, but I enjoy writing them all the same!

3. Don't (over)promote. I will never organize a giveaway on my blog aimed at increasing the number of readers, nor will I leave links to the website on other people's blogs. For this reason, I've debated joining Twitter for the longest time, but now really like it for the opportunity to keep in touch with my blog friends and readers. I feel that if someone would like to look for my blog, there is plenty of ways to find it without me needing to advertise my little blogging space.

4. Give back. Whenever I start watching the numbers of followers too closely, I go look for some new blogs to follow myself. Whenever I feel like my readers are being a bit silent on the comment front, I go leave some comments on my favorite blogs. Blogging is a community, and giving back is a must!

5. Support newbies. I probably do not share the love on the blog as often as I should, but I try to support newly founded blogs by following and commenting and helping with any questions they might have. I often feel like beauty blogging community is a bit like high school, where the elite is given all the attention and the outcasts are waiting to be heard. I do my best not to contribute to that status quo myself.

Pfff, here you have! I'm feeling a little bit like a Knight of the Order of the Garter by now with my Honi soit qui mal y pense attitude... What are the rules on your beauty blogger's code of conduct?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bronzing 101

Bronzers are one of those make-up products that lay neglected in my drawer for the most part of the year. Being very fair in the cold months, I just look quite odd even with a tiniest amount of anything darker on my skin. But come the sunny days, I dig out my small selection of bronzing products and make myself a bit sunkissed.

There is more to my bronzing routine than just powder bronzers. Even with a high SPF on my face, I always get a bit of natural color and a load of freckles, which I then emphasize by using a self tanning lotion on my face and body. I also mix my regular foundation, be it powder or cream, with a darker shade to adapt to my newly formed tan.

The three products captured in the photos all serve a slightly different bronzing purpose. I use the Limited Edition The Body Shop Bronzing Powder in Fair Matte in my early self tanning days on high points of my face (where the sun would naturally hit me), and when I go darker, more liberally all over. It's excellent for very fair gals, looks very natural, feels moisturizing and can't be overdone.

Benefit Hoola, a matte cool brown, serves as an ideal mix between a bronzer and a contour. When I'm pale, I use a very light hand with it and only apply it to my cheeks slightly beneath the cheek bone, blending upwards. With a bit more color in my face, I can use it more like a typical bronzer on the high planes of the face.

Wet'n'Wild Ultimate Minerals Bronzer in Amber Glow (supposedly a dupe for MAC Stereo Rose) is a mix between a blush and a bronzer. It's a lovely warm shimmery pinkish bronze color and can be of great use to anyone who struggles with regular bronzer. I apply it concentrating on the apples of my cheeks and blending outwards towards the ears, sometimes together with either The Body Shop bronzer or Benefit Hoola on the sides of my face and temples.

In the photos below, you can see my everyday summer look. I didn't take most of the products mentioned here with me on my trip, so I'm only wearing The Body Shop bronzer with a touch of La Femme Coral blush on the apples of the cheeks. You can see, however, what I like to pair it with: a neutral shimmery eye (Wet'n'Wild trio in Walking on Eggshells) and a brighter lipstick, which I'll feature in my next make-up haul.

What are your favorite bronzing products?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Another hair dilemma...

The time for my next hairdresser appointment has come again, and I've found myself at my wits' end: what haircut should I get?! Ok, I know it's not exactly a life or death decision, but this time I really struggle with choosing a short style that would suit me and I need your help!

For years, my hair idol was Keira Knightley with her long, choppy bangs, then I turned to the fabulous classic and opted for Audrey Hepburn's soft cut. While the former worked quite well for me (on days I could be bothered to style it), the latter doesn't read well on my mass of fine straight hair. What to do now?

I scoured the interwebs and came up with three options:

1. A mohawk-inspired style. This is similar to my Keira Knightley style from a while back, and I feel these egdy cuts work well with my regular features. I've always had a soft spot for mohawks...

2. Ginnifer Goodwin's pixie cut. Again, a variation on the rocker chic theme. Quite a fabulous one, and I love how versatile it seems to be... It's like at least three different styles in one!

3. Emma Watson's uber short style. I think it looks amazing with her young face and makes her features more interesting. But I've already been called a gentleman in a restaurant by some standing at my back, so maybe that's a bit too extreme?

Which one do you like the best? I'll be making an appointment in a couple of days, and your opinion is much appreciated!