Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Meet the Bloggers: Makeup by Angel

Hi, everyone!  I thought I would continue the Meet the Bloggers series and feature the women (and men!) that contribute so much to the beauty community.  If you haven't already, definitely check out our first interview with The Nailpolish Addict.

Our second featured blogger is Angel from Makeup By Angel.  We met for the first time through Twitter and we've been longtime mutual followers.  She's been a great person to follow and I support her wholeheartedly, just as she has supported me throughout the years.  Her blog is great as well and provides a lot of great conversation, reviews, and tutorials surrounding makeup and beauty products.  Furthermore, her blog incorporates a personal element with the inclusion of her family.  It's a pleasure to know someone so dedicated to creating art, sharing experiences, and to her own family.  I really appreciate her allowing me to do a special feature for the blog!

Q:  Do you have any nicknames? 
A:  As a child my family called me Chicky, to this day I only have a few family members that still call me this. I have dubbed myself Froggistyle73 lol

Q:  Where are you from?  

A:  I am originally from Fremont, California but raised most of my life in Modesto, California.

Q:  What is a typical "day in the life" like for you? 
A:  Oh WOW, chaos!  I am a mother of 3 children and each have very different schedules. My day consists of shuttling kids to and from school, with a slight 1hour break by myself (which I'm taking advantage of right now) before I have to pick all the kids up again and start homework while making dinner. Then we have some family time together watching tv or playing the Wii before it's bed time and we repeat. 

Q:  Aside from beauty, what other types of things are you interested in?  Have you found that your interest in beauty has made a point of connection with any of these other interests? 
A:  Before I got into makeup and beauty, I enjoyed scrap booking.  I had a whole area in my bedroom that was dedicated for it and then it slowly got put to the side to make room for my makeup collection. LOL My husband is a photographer and that has got me more involved in photography, modeling and makeup.  Both scrap booking and makeup, even photography have all combined at one point or another. 

Q:  When did you first become interested in makeup and other beauty products?
A:  My husband started his own photography business and he needed a "model."  I hardly consider myself a model but he did need a subject to photograph. I noticed that my pictures looked dull and washed out.  In an effort to better understand why my makeup wasn't showing up in pictures, I turned to the internet to learn about makeup for photography and well...the rest is history. 

Q:  What is your personal philosophy regarding beauty?
A:  Do what makes you feel good!  In my life, pretty much everything I do is dramatic so why would I expect anything less from my makeup? LOL So take that into consideration for your life and your beauty rules. Take some risks and follow the basics of beauty, everything else you can make up as you go along. 
Q:  Who or what would you say are your beauty inspirations?
A:  I'm inspired by a lot of celebrities, it's sort of my guilty pleasure. I like to take looks they've done for promos and videos and re-create them to make them more wearable or more dramatic. I also take inspiration from nature, it's the best because nature never gets the colors wrong.
Q:  What do you believe is the worst beauty mistake that others could make and/or what are your beauty pet peeves?
A:  Beauty mistakes:  lining your lips in black and using a nude color inside the lines, wrong foundation color (too orange or too yellow), not blending your shadows. 
Beauty pet peeves: people who think there is nothing beyond MAC, drives me insane! 
Q:  How would you describe your signature makeup look?
A:  I go through spurts where I will wear a certain color all the time but I always mix up the color placement or technique. For the most part though, I would have to say dramatic looks are my signature go to looks. If I am not feeling the makeup for the day, I don't wear any.

Q:  What would you say are your "go to" products and what products are you currently in love with?
A:  Go to products: Revlon Colorstay Foundation is a must! Urban Decay Primer Potion. Maybelline Full N Soft mascara w/p formula. Maybelline Line Stiletto liquid liner. Wet N Wild Color Icon palettes!
Current loves: MAC Black Track fluid line, NYX Cosmetics blushes, lipsticks, glosses and eye shadow.  FLIRT! Cosmetics eye shadow
Q:  How did you get your start in beauty blogging and what was your main goal in starting your blog?
A:  My original goal was to have an online gallery of looks I had created or re-created of others. I eventually wanted to get my name and work out there to try and become more prominent in my community. Then I started having health issues and it became therapeutic and helped relieve stress and anxiety, so my goal changed. I wasn't needing to be known anymore, I just was doing it for me.  

Q:  Do your friends and family know about your blog?  If so, what do they think about it?  If not, why haven't you shared it?
A:  Some of my family know about it and almost all of my friends are aware of it.  My friends are very supportive and ask for my help often. My family is not as supportive and we don't speak about it.
Q:  What type of impact, if any, has running a blog had on your life?
A:  Having this blog is like having a job I actually like. It keeps me busy and also keeps me wanting more. I want to read and learn every bit of information out there so I can share it with others. I want to eventually be a MUA and put all of the knowledge to good use. I've become so passionate about it that it has become everyday life. My children are always getting lessons on skin and beauty lol.
Q:  We all know that you have a blog, but have you already or are you planning on posting videos to YouTube
A:  I have no plans of doing YouTube videos. I have friends that ask me all the time when I will start doing tutorials and I always say I won't be. LOL I try to keep my life pretty positive and there is so much negativity that comes from YouTube and I don't want to subject myself to that.  I know I could ignore it but there are so many great women, even men there with great informative videos that I don't think I need to join that world. I'm happy being a blogger :) 
Q:  What advice would you give someone that is looking to start their own blog?
A:  My advice would be, do it for you and make it what you want it to be! Stay true to you and be honest. People will see how genuine you are in your posts and will keep coming back. 

Q:  What do you think the future holds for you?
A:  I think with a lot of hard work and determination I will have a career with makeup.  I would love to go into business with my kids and husband one day.  My children, as young as they are, are already talking about their careers (hair, fashion and race car driver lol) and if I could combine them into a photography studio, that would be the ultimate job for me. 

Q:  What would you like people to remember about you the most?
A:  I am always me, computer screen or not it's always the real me. I'm fun, honest, passionate and there isn't 
a thing I wouldn't do for my family.

Would you like to appear on the next Meet The Bloggers segment?  Please send all interest notices to  I'm looking forward to getting to know you!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Review: Lush Breath of Fresh Air Skin Toner

While I'm not one of Lush's die-hard regular customers, there just seems to be something about Lush that draws me into buying their products.  Maybe it was the cheerfully persuasive sales woman.  Maybe it was the packaging or the pretty colors.  Maybe it was the natural, earthy smell.  Or...maybe I'm just too impulsive and too easily swayed to say no.  Whatever it was, I came in for some window shopping and walked out with Charity Pot hand lotion, Lemony Flutter cuticle cream, and this--Breath of Fresh Air skin toner.

Breath of Fresh Air Skin Toner

What it is:
According to the Lush website, Breath of Fresh Air skin toner brings all of the nutrients of the sea to your skin.  It is said to be beneficial for dry skin, especially while traveling by airplane or sitting in air-conditioned offices.  Among the ingredient list is Breath of Fresh Air's featured product, aloe vera gel.
My impression:
I used to use toner a few years ago and stopped, mostly because the alcohol made my skin dry out. I recently became interested in trying it again, however, though I wasn't exactly sure which product was for me.  When I asked for some advice, the woman at Lush recommended this to me, especially since it didn't have any alcohol.  After bringing it home, I was pretty pleased with the results.  It got off the last bits of makeup and cleanser that might have been left over from washing my face.  It also felt very lightweight and refreshing and I noticed my skin starting to take on a smoother, more even appearance after a couple weeks of use.  One of my favorite things about it is that a little goes a long way.  Just two spritzes on a cotton pad is enough for me to apply it to half my face.  The unique spray top ensures that the same amount is dispensed each time and not a lot of product goes to waste.  Because of this, I could easily see this bottle of toner lasting me several months, even with me using it morning and night.  It did smell a little earthy, quite possibly because of the rosemary oil, so if that smell is a turnoff for you, this might not be for you.
My recommendation:
All in all, I thought that it was a great toner.  I loved that there wasn't any alcohol in it and that it kept my skin relatively moist.  Additionally, I thought it was great that it featured natural ingredients.  I also liked that the spray top allowed for a way to dispense the product in a sanitary and controlled way.  My skin does look better than it did before I was using the toner.  However, I think that even though it would last a while, the price tag is a little hefty for it to be a "must have."  I would definitely recommend it, but I wouldn't consider it a necessity.
The rundown:

  • Product:  5/5
  • Packaging:  5/5
  • Quality:  5/5
  • Overall:  5/5
  • Would I buy it again?:  Yes, repurchase is very likely!
  • Where to buy:  Lush website or Lush stores
  • Price:  $8.95 for 3.3 fl oz. or $18.95 for 8.4 fl oz.
  • Pros:
    +  Does not include alcohol
    +  Non-drying
    +  Not greasy
    +  Lightweight
    +  A little goes a long way
    +  Natural ingredients
    +  Packaging allows controlled release of product
  • Cons:
    -  A little pricey
    -  Can smell a little funky to some
I hope you guys found these reviews helpful!  I'm looking forward to trying out more new things and sharing the stuff I've tried with all of you.  If you have any comments or questions, please don't hesitate to let me know!

Disclaimer: I have not been paid to review any of the products featured above. I purchased all of the products reviewed in this blog post and did not receive them for free. I ensure that this is my true and honest opinion.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Review: Rush Shine DBP Free Topcoat

The third quick dry topcoat that I will be reviewing is Rush Shine DBP Free Topcoat, completing (for now!) my series of reviews.  If you're interested in being Big 3 free and were thinking about some products, you might also be interested in checking out my review of Oh So Wet! and Nubar Diamont Seal & Shine.

Rush shine DBP Free Topcoat

What it is:
As described on the Sally Beauty website, this topcoat claims to be high gloss, quick drying, professional formula, and protective.  It is also DBP free and claims to promote healthy and long-growing nails.
My impression:
To be honest, I wasn't planning on even reviewing this product and only picked it up "on a whim" because it was right next to Oh So Wet!  But it was affordable and DBP free, so I figured it was worth a shot to review and share my experience.  The consistency of Rush Shine was a little on the thinner side, closely matching the consistency of Oh So Wet!  It was easy to work with, however, in my experience it didn't dry any faster than a regular topcoat.  Additionally, it was not as "high gloss" as I had hoped--in fact, I thought my polish looked a little flat.  In terms of chipping, I would say that my nails started chipping as soon as the next day or two--even with Orly Top 2 Bottom as a basecoat.  Because my manicure failed to last, I can't comment on whether or not the topcoat dulled the color or if I was able to achieve healthier, long-growing nails with its use.
My recommendation:
As I've said before, it's not often that I give a bad review on things.  I'm usually very generous and my reviews are usually positive--especially since I do some research before choosing to buy things.  I guess I should have did a little more research on this topcoat, as it did not impress me at all.  I would not recommend it in the slightest.  In fact, you're better off getting a "regular" (big 3 free!) topcoat, as it would probably dry in the same time and do a better job at protecting and providing shine.
The rundown:
  • Product:  1/5
  • Packaging:  5/5
  • Quality:  2/5
  • Overall:  2.7/5
  • Would I buy this again? - Not at all.
  • Where to buy?  - I bought mine at Sally Beauty Supply.
  • Price - $4.99
  • Pros:
    +  DBP free
    +  Affordable
  • Cons:
    -  Did not dry quickly
    -  Finish was a bit flat
    -  Nails chipped shortly after
I hope you enjoyed round three (and the final round, for now!) of my Big 3 free quick dry topcoat reviews.  Having experienced three different quick dry topcoats, I think that the best I have experienced thus far is Nubar Diamont Seal & Shine.

If you have any experience with this or know of any similar products I should try, please feel free to leave a question or comment below!

Disclaimer: I have not been paid to review the product featured above. I purchased all of the products reviewed in this blog post and did not receive them for free. I ensure that this is my true and honest opinion.

Update: Follow Me On Twitter!

Hello, readers!  Those of you that had followed my blog Twitter, @LMFAOBeauty, might have noticed that the link is no more.  But not to fear--you can still follow me at @VelociMellie!

I decided that it would be the best move, considering it's a lot easier for me to update only one Twitter account.  I also thought that it would be a great way to get to know followers on a more personal level, considering I'm a lot more in touch with that Twitter account.  Since the blog is well-rounded by featuring beauty and fashion aspects in addition to life events, I thought it would only be fitting that my Twitter page stand for the same things as well.

My Twitter account is locked for privacy reasons, but if you request me I will be sure to respond to it in a timely manner!  Definitely don't be shy and don't forget to say hello once you've followed me--I'm always interested in meeting new people.

Once again, thank you for all of the support and I'm looking forward to tweeting with you in the future!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Congratulations, Class of 2011!

Now that we're entering graduation season, I thought that I'd take the time to dedicate a post to my fellow graduates in the Class of 2011 and to share a little bit of my experience with you.  First and foremost, I'd like to say congratulations to anyone that also graduated this spring.  I know that we've all put in a lot of time and effort into earning our diplomas and to finally have it embodied in a way that lasts a lifetime is certainly a great achievement deserving of recognition.  Hats off to you and best of luck in your life endeavors!

My family and I taking pictures after commencement.
My brother and I are tall!  Haha...
As for me...  I began my college career in the fall of 2007 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a marketing major.  I was very much interested in consumer behavior and the power of influence.  The initial interest grew into love as I took pertinent course materials and found that not only was I creative--I was also analytical.  I feel blessed to have the capability to see and be interested in both sides of the story, and while my heart pushes me towards research and analytics, I still enjoy and appreciate the creative aspect of my chosen major.

That isn't to say that the journey was easy, however.  I had my first experience with being away from my home and my family as well as the experience of living with people that were virtually strangers.  I was opened up to a new world of different people and experiences, which I felt was especially challenging due to my quiet and reserved nature.  Academics were also a challenge as well, as I had dual involvement in honors/scholar programs that required a very demanding schedule and a great deal of work.  Also requiring a great deal of work were the extracurricular activities in which I participated and the leadership roles I held.  On top of balancing my social life, academics, and extracurricular activities, there was also the issue of work experiences.

While I held a summer internship on the boardwalk close to my house, I think my first real business experience came at the start of my current job.  It was my first time in an office setting, and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be working for a huge, multinational firm this early in my life.  In spite of this, I really think I held my own and learned a lot--especially since I've been working here full-time and have been living away from home (and for a lot of the time on my own).  Although I enjoy where I am, it wasn't always easy to wake up before the sun came up, sit in up to two hours of traffic, and have to come back and take care of things like cooking and cleaning.  Moreover, it was especially hard to keep energized when I had to budget my time between work, school, friends, family, and my boyfriend.  I certainly felt as though I had been thrust unexpectedly into some type of legitimate adulthood.  As hard and as different as it was, I wouldn't exchange it for anything--it was one of my most valuable life experiences to date.

My boyfriend and I with my diploma.  Graduated with
honors, baby!  :)
But of course, I wouldn't be where I am today without the love and support of my friends and family.  I thoroughly appreciate their encouraging words and their willingness to let me reach for my dreams.  I'm sure it wasn't easy for my parents to let go of me and let me experience the world on my own for a while...and I'm sure it wasn't easy for my friends to deal with me ranting about my struggles, haha.  But I do want to say that I appreciate and love all of them from the bottom of my heart.

And of course, I appreciate all of my readers here, for supporting this dream of sharing my experiences about life, makeup, fashion, and beauty.

Review: Nubar Diamont Seal & Shine Topcoat

As many of you know, this review follows a series of posts stemming from my pursuit of nail products that are Big 3 Free.  Since the first product to go was Seche Vite, I decided to review other quick dry topcoat alternatives.  The first I reviewed was Oh So Wet!, a product that I enjoyed very much.  The next quick dry topcoat I'll be reviewing for my readers is Nubar Diamont Seal & Shine Topcoat.

Nubar Diamont Seal & Shine Topcoat

What it is:  
According to the website, Nubar Diamont Seal & Shine is the "ultimate" in quick dry topcoats.  It is meant to seal polish and nail art for wear and shine, ensuring that the color will last.  The formula also includes UV-protectors and claims to be non-yellowing, fast drying, high gloss finish, and chip resistant.  Best of all, it claims to be Big 3 free!
My Impression:  
In doing my research about which topcoats to try, I heard a lot of good things about this topcoat.  If memory serves me correctly, many users ranked this as their "holy grail" of topcoats.  Given the good reviews, I decided to give this a try.  In comparison to Seche Vite, the formulation is thinner, but in comparison to Oh So Wet!, the formulation is thicker.  To me, the consistency was perfect since it didn't glob up and I felt that it would really give the coverage and protection every girl (or guy!) seeks from a topcoat.  From my recollection, it didn't take all too long to dry--just a few minutes and it felt dry to the touch.  I would say it took about the same length of time as Seche Vite took to dry completely.  While the finish wasn't as smooth as Seche Vite, it was already much smoother and definitely more glossy than Oh So Wet!  However, I did notice that after a few days, it did seem to dull some colors a bit--especially the milky pinks that I wear to work.  This wasn't that big of an issue for me, as I frequently change nail colors.  But for those of you interested in longevity, I will confirm that there was very minimal (if any!) chipping involved, though I also started using Orly Top 2 Bottom as my base coat.
My recommendation:
While I think that Oh So Wet! was a good product, I think that I am much more partial to Nubar Diamont Seal & Shine.  It's a little more expensive, but I felt that it dried faster, had a better consistency, and provided better protection.  Though it behaves differently than Seche Vite, I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for an effective quick dry topcoat that does not contain the toxic trio.
The rundown:
  • Product:  4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5
  • Quality: 5/5
  • Overall:  4.8/5
  • Would I buy this again? - Absolutely!
  • Where to purchase?  -  At the moment, I'm not aware of any retail outlets selling this.  I purchased mine from the Nubar website.
  • Price:  $7.49 on the website
  • Pros:
    +  Big 3 Free!
    +  Manageable consistency
    +  Dries quickly
    +  Glossy finish
    +  Protective
  • Cons:
    -  Dulls the color of some polishes
I hope you enjoyed round two of my Big 3 free quick dry topcoat reviews.  If you have any experience with this or know of any similar products I should try, please feel free to leave a question or comment below!

Disclaimer: I have not been paid to review the product featured above. I purchased all of the products reviewed in this blog post and did not receive them for free. I ensure that this is my true and honest opinion.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Back from Europe--With Pictures!

Wow.  Would you believe that I've been home from Europe for two weeks already and I have yet to make a post?  Shame on me!  But life ended up taking the reins and as I prepare for graduation in may, the amount of things that I need to get done keep snowballing into one big, frustrating ordeal.  That's normal for any graduating senior, I suppose, but I still remain committed to updating as much as possible and sharing as much as I can of my life with you.  In any case, I'd like to thank all of the readers and everyone that wished me a good trip in Germany and France.  I had a fairly decent flight to Europe and once we got there, it was certainly a great experience!

One of the first places we went to was Hohenzollern castle, which was just absolutely gorgeous.  It sat atop a mountain that we actually needed to climb.  It was then that I realized...I am terribly out of shape!!! (I'm making strides on improving this...more to follow in the next Susan G. Komen post.)  Despite huffing and puffing all the way to the top, I found that it was definitely worth it.  The architecture was beautiful and it totally spoke to that side in me that yearns to be a princess.

While we did a few touristy things while in Germany, we did visit quite a few businesses and we went to places where we could observe International Marketing (that's what the trip was for, after all!).  One such place was the outlet town of Metzingen.  It was a very beautiful set of outlets with high-quality stores like Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Puma, and Hugo Boss.  Despite being an outlet town, however, everything was still much too expensive for me and I ended up window shopping.  It was still a good experience--and I saved my wallet some, too!  Another place we visited was Reutlingen University, where we had a lecture and got to see the way that German universities operate.  For those of you that enjoy a good "brewski," I am pleased to announce that we did go to a German brewery!  It was named Berg Brewery and we got to do our own little beer tasting there as a class.  We also had an authentic German dinner in which I finally figured out what a schnitzel was!

Another highlight of the trip was the Mercedes Factory and Museum.  I don't know much about cars, but I do appreciate good design and quality engineering.  I was surprised to see a lot of Mercedes cars were used as police cars, tour buses, freight trucks, and more.  I was also surprised to see that the Pope Mobile was a Mercedes, too!  Out of all the cars in the museum, I think my favorites were probably the convertibles.  One of my biggest "fantasies," so to speak, comes right out of those old movies.  There's nothing I'd love more than to have a dashing gentleman waiting in front of my house in a convertible, ready to pick me up and ride into the countryside.  Let me also add in that a stylish scarf around my hair and big sunglasses are also necessary!  But in all seriousness...not only were the cars amazing, but the design of the actual building itself was dazzling as well and very modern!  Overall, it was a good experience to see where these cars got their start and how they evolved through the years.  I had a similar experience on my last day in Germany, when we went to the Porsche museum.

I'm not really sure how much of this is evident in the posts that I make, but I would probably consider myself a very traditional person.  It's probably not a surprise that the quaint little town of Rothenburg found a special place in my heart.  A city that was once ravaged by war, Rothenburg, it was able to rebuild and rise once more.  The architecture here was stunning and if there was one place I visited where I would choose to live full-time, it would be here.  From my research, Rothenburg served as inspiration for the setting of the Disney movie Pinnochio and was the setting of scenes in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (not that I've watched it--I just heard about it!).

It was in Rothenburg that I had my first mini schneeballen, a dessert made of fried dough.  Although everything in the bakery looked delicious (it's Europe, after could it not?), I decided to go with the mini-schneeballen.  The particular kind I decided to try (and the one featured in the picture!) is of the cinnamon-sugar variety.  Other varieties that were available were nut, chocolate, and powdered sugar.  I suppose what I would compare it to is kind of like a donut hole (in terms of available flavors), except on the crunchy side!  I determined that the mini schneeballen wasn't for me, but it wasn't bad at all!

After taking care of business in Germany, we went to France.  The picture on the left is of the Arc de Triomphe, which we visited on our first night in Paris.  It was breathtaking at night!  Though you'd think that after nearly keeling over climbing the mountain to Hohenzollern, I would give up on climbing, I decided to be a trooper and stick it out.  I ended up climbing to the top and I'm really glad that I did.  From the top of the Arc de Triomphe was an astounding view of the entirety of Paris.  Though I ended up going a lot of different places throughout the rest of my stay in Paris, I think that by far, my favorite pictures were taken here, that night, at the Arc de Triomphe.

This picture is of the city street, branching out from the Arc de Triomphe.  What I really liked about our trip to Paris was that we were given a 3-day metro pass for our weekend there.  With that pass, we were able to go see the all of the tourist destinations in which we were interested as well as go poking around the city.  Though I'm not fluent in French (my experience spans four years of French education courses in high school...I am now a senior in college), I was surprised at how much came back to me and how well we were able to navigate and get around the city. 

While I only featured a few pictures here on the blog, I did visit a lot of tourist attractions.  I was able to make it to the Eiffel Tower, the Moulin Rouge, the Louvre, Montmarte, the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur, the Notre Dame de Paris, and the Saint Denis Basilica.  My general feeling is that I saw a lot and not enough at the same time.  A weekend was definitely not enough to accomplish all that I wanted to accomplish, and I am definitely looking forward to going back to Paris and seeing all these things again. 

While we were able to visit a lot of tourist attractions on our own, the entire class went to visit Crown, Cork, & Seal, a company responsible for metal packaging.  It's actually the industry leader and you probably would never know.  It manufactures containers for a lot of things from beverages to cleaning products to watches to wine to even cosmetics.  Who knew?  It was definitely interesting to see things from their perspective.

So what did I learn overall?
  • I love architecture.
  • I'd love to learn  more about photography.
  • I need to get in more of my pictures.  I was behind the camera almost the entire time!  I need to document that I was actually at these places!
  • Pain au chocolat is absolutely DELICIOUS and I will miss having it for breakfast every day...although it's probably a good thing I'm not having it every day, haha.
  • European chocolate is WIN.
  • Europe is super fun!  :)
If you've got any other questions or comments, please feel free to leave them here and I'll be happy to answer!

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