As Summer Gives Way to Fall...

I love warm weather. Living in the Midwest, warm weather isn't as abundant as cold weather, so I try to take advantage of every warm day that I can. However, I absolutely 
{l o v e} the fall. There are a number of different reasons why I love this season, so to acknowledge the unofficial beginning of the season {I think it officially begins at the end of September, but around here the temperatures have been dropping to a fall-like range the last few days} I thought I'd write a post that celebrates the awesomeness that is autumn. :}

Some things that excite me about the fall season every year:

::: The smell of crisp morning air mixed with leaves and wood-burning stoves starting to kick in.
::: The return of jewel-toned everything. Clothing, makeup, jewelry, purses — fantastic.
::: The beginning of sweater weather! I love the coziness of sweaters on a cool {yet comfortable} fall day.
::: It's getting closer to Christmas, which is my favorite holiday {more on that when the time comes}.
::: The appropriateness of cute boots! Sorry, that doesn't include UGG boots for this gal.
::: The fall colors in general — I live near a mountain, so there are many opportunities to see the leaves change colors on a gorgeous landscape.
::: The cool weather offers the perfect excuse to stay inside and work on fun crafty projects, guilt-free.

So in honor of fall's arrival, I put together a style board that features my ideal fall outfit. I actually want to run out right this second and buy every single piece! I also made some other style boards that aren't fall-focused, and didn't have another reason to share them outside of this post, so those are included below the fall style board. :}

Fall 2011

Fall 2011 Pink and Yellow

Turquoise and Orange

Turquoise and Orange

Stay Fabulous!


2011 Primetime Emmy Awards: Predictions!

Emmy Award season wouldn't be complete without offering my winner predictions! Having watched a decent percentage of the shows nominated this year, along with staying informed of the critics' reviews and opinions of the nominees, I'm feeling pretty confident in my thoughts on this season's contenders. But then again, I've felt this way before and ended up disappointed in my accuracy. :}

So let's break it down. I'll only go over the big categories {assuming people reading this probably don't care about the best in sound mixing... hehe}. My picks are asterisked and in green.

Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights*
Hugh Laurie, House
Timothy Olyphant, Justified
Jon Hamm, Mad Men

Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Louis C.K., Louie
Steve Carell, The Office*
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

Laura Linney, The Big C*
Melissa McCarthy, Mike and Molly
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Tina Fey, 30 Rock

Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife*
Kathy Bates, Harry's Law
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Mariska Hargitay, Law and Order
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Chris Colfer, Glee
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O'Neill, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family*
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men

Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Walton Goggins, Justified
John Slattery, Mad Men*
Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age

Jane Lynch, Glee*
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock

Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife*
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Margo Martindale, Justified
Michelle Forbes, The Killing
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family*
The Office
Parks and Recreation
30 Rock

Boardwalk Empire
Friday Night Lights
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
Mad Men*

So... agree? Disagree? Any snubs that didn't make the list of nominees that you think should have? I think some of the categories will be pretty tough calls, and some of my predictions aren't necessarily who I would like to win, but moreso who I believe will win based on what I've read and how they've performed in the past. Often times actors who have won multiple times in a row will be passed over for someone new, even if the veteran actor deserves it. That's show business, I guess! I was going to explain each of my picks, but then this post would take about three hours to read, which is way too long for my attention span. :}

Stay Fabulous!


Moving Forward While Honoring the Past

I debated whether or not to make a post about today, as I have many things in mind to say regarding its significance, but sometimes words just aren't enough. But, for the sake of others who share my sentiments and hope for the future, I decided to move forward with a post that gathers my thoughts about 9/11.

I want to begin with this picture, posted on numerous websites {so I don't know where to attribute the original version}:

 This was the first thing I saw when I turned on the TV this morning, though it was live, as President Obama and Former President Bush, along with their First Ladies, walked along the memorial at Ground Zero and met with family members of the men and women who were lost on 9/11. This moment captures so perfectly the sense of solidarity that the attack on 9/11 has instilled in Americans {even if we don't always show it}. Two men, so very different in many ways, coming together to honor the people lost at the World Trade Centers, the Pentagon and United 93. Every year on 9/11 since 2001, Americans stand proud and united in honor and remembrance of the events that happened that day. However, it seems like only a few days pass before the country is back to its divisive ways. Politicians attacking one another instead of standing up for their constituents, people fighting over religious beliefs, sexual preferences and ethnicity. Let's not forget that ninety-three countries were represented within the walls of the World Trade Center towers. It wasn't just Americans who lost something that day — people all over the world lost loved ones that day. Yet for some reason, it only takes a few days for people to forget about everything that the heroes of 9/11 fought for. Now, I realize that's not going to change today, or even tomorrow, but it's important to point out that change begins with a single person. A single act. And maybe someday, somewhere, there will be a ripple effect of respect and unity that this country so desperately needs.

I watched ABC News' special coverage of the memorial service in its entirety this morning, which included footage from ten years ago that's still haunting and terrifying. In between moments at the Ground Zero service that included survivors and family members reading names of the victims, along with a bell that was rung to signify the different points of that day — when the planes crashed, when the towers fell — ABC ran a number of different clips from the past that were significant to the day, along with some clips from new interviews with people ten years later. The one that still gives me chills is the clip of former President George W. Bush in an interview with National Geographic, which I believe is airing tonight. When talking about his thought process when he was told about the first attack, the second attack, and then the attack on the Pentagon, he said,  “I remember thinking the first one was likely an accident, the second one was an attack and the third plane was a declaration of war.” And that it was. It was also a test of our country's perseverance, which has not wavered since then.

Following the coverage of the service this morning, I tuned in to the History channel, which at the time of me writing this post, is airing a program called Countdown to Ground Zero. It's basically rehashing the events of the night before 9/11, and everything that happened that morning, using actors to portray the events, but also interweaving it with words from some of the heroes and survivors themselves, along with actual footage from that day. More than anything, this program puts the focus on everyday people who sacrificed their lives to help others. It really puts it into perspective, to see how heroic "normal" people can be in the time of need. Office managers who ushered their employees out of the building and ultimately sacrificed themselves to do so. An employee who stayed behind to save a trapped stranger, even knowing the building would soon collapse. My thought is this: we don't give ourselves enough credit. We don't give other people enough credit. The man sitting in the cubicle across from you at work, rarely speaking a word to anyone, might be the man saving your life someday. Now, I'm in no way diminishing the heroism of the trained men and women who saved hundreds of people that day. Firefighters, policemen/women, first responders — their acts of courage will always be remembered and honored. But we can't forget the people who were relatively unknown. We can remember those people by showing respect for others no matter who they are or how you know them {or even if you don't know them}. Everyone has it in them to be heroes, so let's treat each other as such. You never know when that "relatively unknown" person might change your life — or save it.

So, with that said, and without dissecting a topic that has been taken apart time and time again, I'll end it with a quote from Jon Stewart {one of my favorite comedians and celebrities}. In his first show after 9/11, which was on 9/20, he gave an emotional response to the events — which can be seen HERE — and best sums it up with this: "The view from the south of Manhattan is now the Statue of Liberty. You can't beat that."


Virus Insanity Eyeshadows: A Review

Let me begin by saying... I {l o v e} Virus Insanity Eyeshadows {VIE}!

Now that that's out of the way...

I discovered VIE through a popular indie beauty blog that reviewed their purchase a few months back. At first I was hesitant ordering VIE, as it's all done via Facebook {until a website is created, which from what I've read, is supposed to be coming up}. However, after reading through a lot of comments left on the Facebook page about how awesome the eyeshadows are, how fast they shipped, the reasonable prices and the wonderful customer service, I decided to give it a shot. This is just the first review, as I've ordered more since then, which I'll post about later.

:::  THE SPECS  :::

As mentioned above, Virus Insanity Eyeshadows are available through Facebook. It may seem daunting at first, but it's very simple to order. Just browse through the photo albums and pick the colors or collection you want. Side note here: some albums are listed as "Custom Collections" and can only be purchased as an entire collection. Everything else is up for grabs individually, and there is a ton to choose from. Once you pick out the colors you want, you can either post on the VIE wall exactly what you'd like, or email her at the address listed in the info. It looks like most people just post on the VIE wall with the colors they want, and then their email address that their PayPal account is linked to so that she can send you an invoice. Her current TAT is posted on the information tab as well, and my order was shipped out well within the stated timeframe.

VIE also runs different specials throughout the month, so becoming a fan of the page is very beneficial. :} The shadows individually are $5 for a 5-gram jar, but there always seems to be a sale running. Regardless, $5/jar is very reasonable. I ordered when there was a 20% off the 10-for-$30 special, so I received the ten jars + two generous samples in clam shells for $24.

:::  THE PICTURES  :::

Get ready for lots of pictures!
All swatches were done over Smashbox Primer and NYX Jumbo Pencil in Cottage Cheese.
As always, the pictures can be clicked to make them bigger.

{I don't recall if they came with sifter seals, as this picture was taken later on}

{Out of this bunch, my favorites are Plaid is Rad and Fishy... though they're all lovely}

{Out of this bunch, my faves are Excitement and Fairy Purple}

{I love the spring-green shade of Plaid is Rad, almost with a lime glow}

{Fishy is a crazy-lovely color-shifting shade of blue -- to say the least.}

{Excitement is very deceiving in the jar -- looks fuchsia, but has an amazing purple/blue sheen.}

{Fairy Purple is the perfect light lavender shade that seems to look good with anything.}

{It's hard to see in the picture, but Panda is a white shimmer with black glitter.}

:::  THE OPINIONS  :::

My favorites were mentioned in the captions beneath the pictures, but just to reiterate, I {l o v e d} Plaid is Rad, Fishy, Excitement and Fairy Purple. Having said that, I thought all of the pigments were fantastic. They adhere well to the primer, they don't have a lot of fallout, and they're even pigmented enough to look good without primer at all.

In regards to the seller overall, despite only having presence on Facebook, I wouldn't let that deter anyone from purchasing, as these eyeshadows are well worth it. I just received a second order from VIE, and I still haven't ordered all of the colors I want. The customer service is flawless {in as much as I needed to utilize it} and the processing/shipping is quick. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

Stay Fabulous!


SweetPea and Fay: A Review

I ordered a Heartsy voucher to use on Etsy for SweetPea and Fay about a month ago. I had a few eyeshadows from SweetPea and Fay {I'll refer to it as SPF now} already saved as favorites on Etsy, so picking out what to order was easy enough. The SPF shop appealed to me initially because of its clean look, nice photographs and very reasonable prices, so I was happy to see a Heartsy deal for it.

:::  THE SPECS  :::

SPF offers a nice selection of different makeup products that includes eyeshadow {5-gram size}, mineral foundation, mineral blush and tinted lip balm. Prices range from $1.99 for a set of shadow sample baggies to $10.99 for 20-gram foundation. I chose the "Pick 5" listing for five 5-gram jars of eyeshadow, along with two individual shadows, for a total of seven eyeshadows. Despite ordering during a Heartsy deal, the processing and shipping didn't take nearly as long as other sellers I've purchased Heartsy deals from. The shadows came packaged in a bubble mailer with plenty of protection, and the shadows themselves were shrink-wrapped and came with sifter seals, which was pretty nice. You can tell in the picture below of the single jar that these products arrived in pristine condition. Not a single jar had leaked through the sifter, the jars were spotless, the packaging was thoughtful — overall a very clean, high-quality experience. Each jar has a cute logo sticker on the lid and a label on the bottom with the name of the pigment and the ingredients {that's a plus!}.

:::  THE PICTURES  :::

*All pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them*
I'm still trying to find the best way to swatch colors and present them in an organized way, so each review I do may be somewhat different from the last until I find an ideal "formula" for my pics and posts. :}

:::  THE PRODUCTS  :::

I purchased 5-gram jars of the following colors:

Planet 426 — Shimmering brown with a pink sheen.
UFO Sightings — Plum-like purple with color-shifting glitter.
Redonkulous — Deep shimmering lavender.
Super Duper — Satin teal with a blue sheen.
Shibalba — Yellow-toned shimmering gold.
93 Phobias — Metallic beige/sand with a subtle purple shift.
Crystal Meth — Sparkling white.

:::  THE OPINIONS  :::

SweetPea and Fay ended up exceeding my expectations. While the Etsy shop looked well-organized and clean, you just never know what you'll get when the products arrive. Thankfully the SPF eyeshadows were stellar in both their presentation and their actual performance. I've worn a few of them already, and when paired with Urban Decay Primer Potion, these pigments prove that they have true staying power. Planet 426 and UFO Sightings do look quite similar from afar, though the complexity and uniqueness of each can be noted when up close. My favorite of the entire bunch is Redonkulous, which I predicted would be my favorite before I got it. It's just that "different" color that caught my eye and seems to complement a lot of different looks. In the end, I certainly recommend SweetPea and Fay. :}

Stay Fabulous!