Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Censorship, SOPA, & Why You Should Care

It happens all the time in the beauty community - companies see a bad review of their product, contact the blog owner, and ask to have the review removed. Or you check out a product on that you know doesn't work, and you see that it only has glowing, 5-star reviews. That's censorship, and it means that someone else is controlling what you can and can't see or do on the internet - and it's exactly what will happen if the United States passes the internet censorship bills SOPA and PIPA.

The internet is an amazing invention and truly defines my generation. Sure, I still use books for research and call my friends on the phone, but having an entire encyclopedia at my fingertips at any moment (thank you, Wikipedia!) or being able to send a friend a quick IM have become indispensable parts of my life. Let me put it this way: I've been awake for less then two hours, and I've already tried to get on Wikipedia four or five times, simply because using that website has become a habit for me.

Imagine not being able to read a Wikipedia article because someone in the government said you couldn't. Imagine certain searches not being allowed on Google. Imagine Facebook monitoring what you can and can't post to your friends' walls (or timelines, if you've switched over to that). Imagine bloggers who can only post reviews that are approved by the company that they're reviewing.

Basically, imagine an internet that's totally different from the internet we use today. The total freedom that I take for granted every single day will be gone, and instead we'll have information that's been filtered through the government. No, SOPA and PIPA won't hand over control of all of the internet to the government as soon as they're passed. These bills have more to do with pirating and copyright issues than with total control of information, and if passed, they might not even effect you at all.

The problem is this: if we pass SOPA and PIPA, then we open the doors for a harsher censorship bill next time. If we cross the line from "totally uncensored" to "just a tiny little bit censored," we've still crossed the line. And maybe, after these bills are passed, all of the things that you love on the internet will remain untouched.

But maybe not.

Today, January 18th, 2012, websites all across the internet are protesting these bills. If you want to join in or just learn more about SOPA and PIPA, please visit and consider joining the strike, posting on Facebook or your blog, or tweeting about SOPA.

"Books won't stay banned.  They won't burn.  Ideas won't go to jail.  In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost.  The only weapon against bad ideas is better ideas."
-Alfred Whitney Griswold, New York Times, 24 February 1959

XOXO, ████████

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lots of Extrabucks = CVS Haul!

Yesterday my hair was feeling pretty greasy and I had no time to shower before my sister's band concert - so I figured it would be the perfect time to invest in a dry shampoo. I ran into CVS and grabbed the Tresemme Freshstart Dry Shampoo, which ended up being on sale (I got it for $3.49 ish and saved $2.99). I also got a ton of coupons at the end of my receipt, so today I stopped into CVS again to spend my $16.50 in extrabucks, along with a few other coupons that I had been saving for a rainy day.

CVS brand skincare was buy one, get one 50% off, and when I scanned my card in the store I got a $1 off two CVS brand skincare products - it was definitely an offer I couldn't pass up. I decided to get the CVS Apricot Scrub, since I'm running out of my other apricot scrub, and the CVS Deep Cleaning Pore Strips. I've used the Biore Pore Strips before but I wanted to see if the CVS brand would work the same, since they were several dollars cheaper. And I picked up the Clean & Clear Blackhead Eraser Scrub - in case you couldn't tell by my other skincare purchases thus far, I have major issues with blackheads and clogged pores, so I like to try anything that promises to help with blackheads. I mean, you never know what might work, right?

Finally, I got two products that I can't wait to try - the L'Oreal Infallible Eye Shadow in 888 Iced Latte, and Bio-Oil! I've heard amazing things about these L'Oreal eyeshadows, and I love iced lattes so it was pretty obvious which shade to get. And I've been hearing a lot of good things about Bio-Oil, but it's a little pricey (around $12 for the little 2 oz. bottle), so I wanted to wait until I had Extrabucks to use on it. Fingers crossed that it'll work for me!

XOXO, Ally

Friday, January 13, 2012

Walgreens Haul!

I snagged a few cool things from Walgreens today and I wanted to share them with you guys before I actually reviewed them!

First is the new Wet n Wild Color Icon Bronzer in 743A Reserve Your Cabana. I had heard that this was the same shade as the discontinued Acapulco Glow over at Nouveau Cheap (which is one of my favorite blogs, by the way!) and though I've never used Acapulco Glow, I figured that if it was so beloved, I might as well give it a try! You get .46 oz of product for $3.99 (in comparison, a MAC beauty powder is .35 oz and a NARS blush is .16 oz), so the value is pretty great, and the shade looks absolutely gorgeous!

I picked up another shade (40 Purple Pizzazz) of the Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear polish, since some of these polishes were on clearance for about 80 cents. I've really been loving this galaxy nail tutorial, and I thought this dark, glittery purple would be a perfect shade to use for that!

Also from Wet n Wild, I got a Megalast lipstick in 901B Think Pink (you'll see why later!) and one of the Juicy Lip Balms in Raspberry. I've been loving the Maybelline Baby Lips tinted balm, so I wanted to see if this Wet n Wild one would give similar pigmentation. Fingers crossed!

Finally, I got one of the new Kate Moss Lasting Finish lipsticks in 08 from Rimmel. I'm absolutely in love with the packaging on these, and the little signature reminds me a lot of the signatures on the celebrity Viva Glam lipsticks from MAC. I really wanted to try the nude shade but Walgreens only had one left, and it had been used, so I went for a different color instead (08 is more pink than nude, almost in the mauve family). And the last thing that I picked up was the Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in 063 Eastend Snob. I got the Wet n Wild lipstick in Think Pink because it looked like it would pair well with this lip liner, and I really wanted to try out a light pinky-nude lip.

So that's all I got during this haul, but I'm really excited about everything. Hopefully all these products live up to my expectations...I guess we'll have to wait and see!

XOXO, Ally

Revlon Lip Butters - Review and Swatches!

Hey everyone! So for the past week or so I've been slowly but surely collecting an array of different shades of Revlon's new Lip Butters. It seems like every store I went to was almost totally cleaned out, so I had to drive all over my town just to find the shades I wanted, and there are still a few more that I'd love to own (like Gumball - lilac? Yes please!) Anyway, I wanted to review and swatch the shades that I do have at the moment, especially because a couple of these belong to my mom and my sister, and I didn't think they'd appreciate them being exiled to my "waiting to be reviewed" pile.

Click on the pictures to see them bigger!
So the shades that I have are (from left to right):
  • 025 Peach Parfait - a shimmery peachy shade
  • 001 Pink Truffle - a light brown-ish pink
  • 050 Berry Smoothie - a lighter raspberry color
  • 075 Lollipop - a really bright fuchsia shade
  • 035 Candy Apple - a bright red
  • 040 Red Velvet - a dark red

As you can see, the shades are really pigmented, like a cross between a tinted lip balm and an actual lipstick. These have a lot of shine to them, and feel nice and moisturizing on the lips. On me, they don't wear as long as a regular lipstick, but I still get a few solid hours and they definitely wear longer than a lip balm would. I like that you can get sheer color as well as really opaque color when using these, depending on how much you apply.

The packaging on these is really nice, and I like how you can easily tell the shades apart, in case you have a big collection of them and are trying to grab the right one. And something about the metal packaging on the inside feels really sleek and high-end.

(I know these lip swatches are a little sloppy - I was a bit under the weather when I swatched them, and you can definitely see that I wasn't really feeling it. But seeing the shades is the most important part, right?)

You can really see the shine in these lip swatches - it's not as much as you would get with a gloss, but these are definitely nowhere near matte!

Rating: 5/5
These are just as good as a regular lipstick, but are super moisturizing and creamy. I really don't have any complaints!

XOXO, Ally

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Almay Intense i-Color Trio For Browns - Review & Swatches

Normally I don't pay much attention to makeup that's designated for certain eye colors. After all, if everyone only wore shades that were pre-approved for their eye color, the world of makeup would be a very boring one indeed.

That being said, when I spot an eye trio for 75% off that promises to enhance brown eyes, what do I really have to lose?

The Almay Intense i-Color Trio For Browns contains three absolutely beautiful shades that promise to enhance the appearance of brown eyes. It also explains how to apply the shades on the back (top shade on lid, middle shade in crease, bottom shade to highlight - pretty basic, but definitely useful if you're a beginner). I don't really understand why the highlight shade is twice as large as the other two; I don't think I used more of the highlighter than the other two when I applied this shadow, but maybe most people do?

The three shadows included in this trio are a pinky-brown with gold shimmer, a dark brown that looks almost plum-y, and a shimmery cream with a bit of light lilac shimmer. They have decent pigmentation, nothing spectacular, and I definitely would recommend a primer to get the most out of these shadows. The colors all look amazing when applied, and while I honestly can't tell if they make my brown eyes pop any more than normal, I do think the colors look really nice on me.

The problem is that after wearing these all day, the colors tend to fade and blend together and just look muddy. So while they look beautiful right after application, they don't stay beautiful. It's a shame, because I really liked the shadows in this trio and they look fantastic together. Maybe this will work better for you, but for me it was just average. This trio isn't a complete waste, and I've found that using shadows from other brands along with using shadows from this trio together helps the Almay shadows to wear a little longer. But it's no holy grail product for us brown-eyed ladies, that's for sure.

Rating: 2.5/5
This palette has beautiful colors, but the formula is lacking and the shadows don't wear as well as they should.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Victoria's Secret Fragrance Sale!

If you're a fan of Victoria's Secret fragrances (I know I am!), it might be time to take a trip down to your favorite Victoria's Secret store and check out their super fragrance sale going on right now! Tons of body sprays and perfumes are 50-75% off, as well as certain lotions and fragrances being 3/$15 or 5/$25. I just happened to stop in the other day while I was perusing the mall (getting my new calendar!), and I snatched up a couple really nice deals.

The Victoria's Secret Pink holiday fragrances and body care were all 50% off, so I got this little guy for $4 instead of $8. (Not gonna lie, I love getting deals on holiday items after the holidays are over, especially things like this that you can honestly use year-round.) If you haven't seen any of these holiday fragrances yet, the names are all really cute - other than "Give a Little Pink," which is the one I got, they have "Oh What Fun is Pink" and "Merry Merry Pink." Give a Little Pink smells fruity and bright but also has some warmth to it, if that makes any sense, and these little mini fragrances would make great birthday gifts for someone with a winter birthday, since they're not overly holiday-themed.

I also got this fragrance mist in "Wild One," which was 75% off of it's normal price of $20. Definitely a great value for just $5 on clearance! You can definitely smell the raspberry in this, but it's not overly fruity. And the packaging is really gorgeous - love the lace and leopard print!

You can find a lot of these deals online, but the sales seem to be better in stores - for example, the Wild One body spray that I got for 75% off is only 50% off on the Victoria's Secret website. At the same time, a deal is still a deal, and if you don't have a Victoria's Secret store near you, it's still worth checking out their online deals!

XOXO, Ally

New Calendar!

Ok, so this isn't really beauty related but I wanted to show you guys the calendar I got after I picked up some sale items at Victoria's Secret. It's Adventure Time! I seriously love that show, it's hilarious! I cannot wait to hang this in my dorm room, it's so much better than my calendar last year that had cheesy inspirational quotes.
XOXO, Ally

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year Everyone!

Well, at least for those of you on the east coast, like me. =]

I hope you all had a wonderful 2011 and I wish you guys a fabulous 2012! Lots of love, and here's to another amazing year of blogging and beauty obsessions to us all!

XOXO, Ally