December 30, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Hello, friends! Welcome back to my blog. Sadly Christmas has now passed, which means the New Year is rapidly creeping up 'round the corner. Because of this, I thought it would only be appropriate to make a blog post about New Year's resolutions you could set for yourself this year that could not only make your life better, but are actually obtainable. Plot twist!

A new year means a new beginning; it enables you to completely start over with your life and hopefully not make the same mistakes you've made in the year prior. For most people, they use the New Year as a time to change their ways and alter their lives in some way to set them on the road to becoming a better person. Doing this means making resolutions and setting goals for yourself to accomplish in the year to come, ultimately making you into more of the person you want to be.

Below, I've listed 5, easy-to-follow New Year's resolutions, why you should take them into consideration and how you can check them off of your New Year's To-Do List. Let's hope this doesn't get too cheesy. Enjoy!

Resolution One: Let It Go

I think this is the most important goal you could set for yourself when entering 2014, or any year for that matter. I'm aware this can be harder for some people depending on the situation you're in, but it helps more then you would think. Over the course of 365 days, you can acquire a lot of weight on your shoulders, whether it'd be meeting deadlines, overwhelming amounts of schoolwork or even something as simple as getting through every day without threatening to punch someone in the face. It can be difficult, right?

If you're holding onto something you know you should've let go by now (possibly a grudge of some sort), it can make your stress levels even higher and any situation you're in a thousand times worse. No one wants that!

There's a church in my town that always has meaningful, inspirational quotes on display and somehow, they always find a way of tying in perfectly with your life. Today when I was making my daily commute past the building, I noticed the Quote of The Day was, 'A grudge is a heavy weight to carry.' and I find that couldn't be more true. Whether you're religious or not, I'm sure someone can relate to that.

As cliché and cheesy as it sounds, nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes! It's just part of learning and growing up. So whether you're holding a grudge against a friend, an enemy or maybe even yourself, remember that everyone messes up sometimes, and the majority of humanity deserves second chances.

Resolution Two: Think Positive

This is the one I struggle with most, I'll admit. It's hard trying to be positive when there can be so much negativity in the world. It's difficult to find the motivation to do something you want, or need to do when you only expect a bad outcome. It can only lead to depression, lifelessness and anger, all which can be very tricky things to get out of.

I'm naturally a very pessimistic person. Yes, I'm aware it's a very ugly trait for one to have, but sometimes you just can't help it. That's understandable! It's impossible to be positive and optimistic 24/7, unless you're someone with a perfect life and virtually no problems. It's just a part of human nature.

Just because it's normal to be sad, angry or negative doesn't mean you have to be. Having a positive outlook on life makes it a lot easier to get through the day without feeling depressed or angry. The easiest way I find to stay optimistic is to think about something you're looking forward to. Something as near as five minutes away or as far as five years away. Anything that you know will make you happy.

Resolution Three: Get Rid of Unnecessary Weight

No, this does not mean literal weight. It means getting rid of things that don't matter to you as much as they once did. This could also mean things-or people-that are getting in your way of your life, your happiness, or being who you really are. Ditch the things that are making you feel bad. This could be a massive aide in getting rid of excess stress or negativity, allowing you to become a happier, more positive person.

I understand this could be an extremely difficult step for people, as their group of "friends" or the way they're being treated by them may be the only way they know. Even though girls and boys everywhere are feeling badly because of the way they're treated, they stick around in fear of being alone or picked on even more. They're being weighed down constantly by the judgement of their 'friends' and become unable to express their true emotions or love for certain things in fear of being 'out of the norm''. This is sad but at the same time 100% avoidable, if people were just aware that they don't need all of the excess weight society puts on their shoulders.

To accomplish this New Year's Resolution, you could do anything from donating your old clothes to charity to spending less time with people that make you feel like anything less than extraordinary. Once you complete this step, you'll have loads more room for the things you love, the things and the people that genuinely make you happy and help you towards achieving your goals in life.

Resolution Four: Try Something New

I reckon this is the easiest, most enjoyable resolution to set for yourself this year. Try something new! You never know how you'll find something until you give it a go. Trying new things is like discovering a huge chunk of the world you never knew existed. It can open up so many doors you aren't even aware of, introducing you to loads of new things, opportunities and people you never thought you'd come across in your lifetime.

Next time you're out for dinner, order something you normally wouldn't get. Wear that top at the back of your closet you haven't sported yet because you're 'just not sure if it suits you'. These could be risky chances to take, but it could easily turn out that your perilous order will end up being your favourite food, or the colour you never thought would never work with your complexion could actually makes your eyes pop. What's the worst that could happen?

Resolution Five: Be Confident

I think confidence is one of the most important traits you can have. I've noticed this past year that there are a lot more insecure, self-conscious people than I ever imagined. I'm not talking about the people that claim to be unhappy with themselves, only to receive compliments from others. I'm talking about the quiet group of people that don't actually say anything about how they feel, but are genuinely dissatisfied with their appearance or something about themselves that they cannot necessarily change.

This makes me very sad,  I know from experience that being unhappy with yourself or they way you look can certainly hold you back from a lot of things. It can stop you from being yourself, as you feel your true self isn't 'exciting' or 'good enough' for other people. It can persuade you into thinking you have to cake on loads of makeup to cover all of your 'flaws' in order to be accepted by society. It's a horrible system, it is.

Being confident isn't the easiest thing to do. After all, you are your worst critic. There are many things I'd be more than happy to change about myself; my nose could be smaller, my eyebrows could be thicker, my skin could be clearer, etc. So whether you're insecure about your height, your weight, your teeth, your hair or whatever is holding you back from feeling fabulous, know that you have so many great things about yourself that other people wish they had, even though they might not say anything about it. The flaws you think you see, no one else sees.

I find the easiest way to become confident is to simply fake it 'til you make it. Whether you're thinking of going out with your friends, presenting a project in front of the class or maybe making a YouTube video, confidence is key. If you don't have confidence, just act like you do until you finally realize how awesome you are. Go out there and flaunt what you've got! Never let your insecurities get in the way of doing what you love.

Alright, everyone! I hope this post has helped you out in some way, shape or form. These obviously aren't the traditional New Year's Resolutions you usually see, but I feel that these are better and more useful in some ways. These five resolutions are things you can carry with you through all of your years, not just 2014!

In conclusion, always be be forgiving, positive, strong, adventurous and confident. Be the best person you could possibly be and let your true personality shine for everyone else to see!

I hope you all have a wonderful year, chock-full of love, happiness, friendships, opportunities and a whole lot of laughter because you deserve it. Make 2014 the greatest year of your life and do the same with all the years after that. The world is your oyster!

If you've read this far, please feel free comment below what your New Year's Resolutions are and what new things you plan to experience in 2014! I'm always on the hunt for new things to try; food, crafts, clothes, you name it!
"The meaning of life is knowing what life's about." 
Have a happy New Year and stay safe!
Jordan x

December 1, 2013

e.l.f. Studio 11 Piece Brush Collection

Hello, everyone! Welcome to my first ever blog post! I'm so thrilled to celebrate this momentous occasion with you all. Today, I'm going to be reviewing the e.l.f. Studio 11 Piece Brush Collection. I was given this collection as an early Christmas present and I have to say, I'm very impressed! The set comes with a total of 11 brushes (if you weren't already aware), ranging in size from a teeny tiny smudge brush to a medium-to-large sized powder brush.

Labeled from left to right: angled foundation brush, contour brush, fan brush, small smudge brush, complexion brush, concealer brush, small precision brush, blush brush, eyeshadow "C" brush, small angled brush, powder brush.

The brushes are made out of synthetic material, which makes them less damageable and easier to keep clean, as they don't absorb liquid or cream makeup like natural brushes would. Synthetic brushes are great for anyone with allergies to the hairs in which natural brushes are made of, such as sable, mink and horse hair. It also doubles as an alternative for people who prefer not to use any animal products at all!

Since the brushes are on the cheaper side of things, running for only $30.00 (£19), it's almost inevitable that they won't be as high quality as other makeup brushes that run for a lot more money. That's why they make for great a travelling kit or starter collection for beginners.

As far as the brushes work, they all have different capabilities, and each one can be used for many different things.

For example, I tend to use the Angled Foundation Brush more for applying blush or bronzer than I do foundation. I find that because of it's angle, it's easier to gain control over product placement, meaning you have a better chance of putting everything exactly where you want it on your face. I love this brush loads!

The Contour Brush is perfect for slimming down your nose and defining the eyes. I find that on your cheeks it can be a bit difficult to blend, leaving a sort of muddy streak that almost all of the time, looks very unflattering. You can use this brush to create the initial contour, then using a bigger brush (preferably the Blush Brush or Angled Foundation Brush), blend out the harsh lines to give a more naturally defined look to
the face.

I have to say, I'm not too keen on e.l.f.'s Fan Brush. I love the idea of it, but for me personally it feels a little too flimsy and poorly constructed. The purpose of the fan brush is to lightly distribute powders or various type of sheer-coverage, liquid makeup to the face. It also obtains the job of dusting off any access powder or fallout from your face, without leaving a trace of it behind. I feel like the brush successfully does one out of the two. It's great for sweeping up fallout, but the bristles of the brush are a little too far-and-few to pick up most powders, let alone apply them to your face. You'd really have to take your time loading it onto the brush, which to be honest with you, I don't quite have the patience for.

The Small Smudge Brush works wonders for smudging out eyeliner and taking eyeshadow along the bottom lashline, giving a subtle smokey eye effect to your look. This brush is very dense, so you have to work with a light hand whilst operating. If used correctly, you can achieve a gorgeous, soft look to your eye makeup. If you're inexperienced with these types of brushes, it can be the tiniest bit difficult to get the hang of. But you know what they say, practice makes perfect!

I could go on and on about the Complexion Brush. This is one of my favourites out of the collection, simply because it's big and fluffy and can be used for almost anything. It's soft bristles and dome-shaped physique make it the ideal all-in-one brush, if you're the kind of person who can't be bothered with a bajillion extra brushes that you don't actually need. The Complexion Brush bronzes, powders, highlights, contours and everything in between! Definitely a must-have in your overall collection.

I'm not a big fan of e.l.f.'s Concealer Brush. I find that it's a little too small to be pegged for such a job. The bristles of this brush are very short and somewhat dense. They're all different lengths as well, which makes it slightly harder to pack product onto the brush and apply them to the places you want concealed. It's a lot longer of a process than I would've hoped for. Personally, I find the best concealer brushes to be slightly flatter and less dense, with bristles a tad longer than e.l.f.'s model. But with every negative, there's a positive of course! Even though this brush isn't the greatest for concealer, you could still use it a slightly smaller eyeshadow brush! Be creative!

The Small Precision Brush is perfect for detailed and precise eyeshadow applications, especially when you're looking to create a better defined crease or colour transition. This brush gives the perfect edge to any look. It's not a brush I would use everyday, but it's great for the occasional, formal get-together with your relatives, when you want to look as put together as possible!

The Blush Brush is another one of my favourites. It's just like the Complexion Brush, in a sense that it can do virtually everything; it bronzes, powders, highlights, contours and applies blush like nobody's business! The only difference between the two brushes is that this one is a bit smaller, making it easier to apply product in specific areas, rather than a general region. It's much better for more detailed applications. Such a wonderful brush!

Normally, I don't like using makeup brushes for eyeshadow. I find that my fingertips always prevail my best tools, but this go-round, I was pleasantly surprised by the Eyeshadow "C" Brush. I find it can be harder to tell whether your brush is doing its job when your using not-so-highly pigmented eyeshadows, so I had to go with something a little more bold to write a fair, honest review. After a few swipes across the lid, I noticed a nice, even application of colour. Not only is this brush capable of packing on eyeshadow, but it's also brilliant for blending and smoking out colours!

I absolutely LOVE the Small Angled Brush! It's bristles are very dense, which is exactly what you need from a brush like this. I use the Small Angled Brush for my eyebrows and with every stroke, I'm left with a strong, crisp line, every time. It's the perfect brush for creating anything from a defined arch to a super-natural brow. It's brilliant for filling in your brows as well. A+ from me!

It's hard to tell in this picture due to the odd angle, but this is e.l.f.'s flat top Powder Brush. The bristles of this brush are all the same length (hence the 'flat top') which gives it the ability to apply powder and liquid foundation evenly across your face in a sort of buffing motion. This brush works the makeup beautifully onto the skin and leaves you with a gorgeous, even, flawless coverage! It's extremely good quality for its scarily low price.

Did I mention the brushes come with this super convenient travelling case? Inside, you're able to fit all of your brushes for easy transport from place to place. It fits perfectly into your purse or suitcase, for on-the-go touch-ups or completing your everyday makeup look on holiday.

Overall, I would give the e.l.f. Studio 11 Piece Brush Collection an 8 out of 10. It's a wonderful collection, considering how inexpensive it is, but I wasn't completely sold on a couple of their brushes. Preferably the Contour and Fan Brush.

*Shameless Selfie*

This is the look I created using all of the brushes in the e.l.f. collection. I spent the day in downtown Milwaukee, testing out coffee shops and going out for dinner with my dad. I didn't want to go for anything too over the top, so I opted for a neutral eye, using brown eyeliner instead of black, a light pink blush with gold shimmer and a bright fuchsia lipstick, to brighten things up a little. I think it turned out okay!

You've made it to the bottom! Thank you heaps for spending a few minutes reading this terribly long review. I apologize for any mistakes I might have made along the way or if I didn't quite answer your questions about these products. I promise you these posts will get a lot better once I get the hang of this!

Please remember, everything I've written in this review is entirely based off my opinions, so you might feel differently about the collection than I do. Don't let me scare you off!

If you have any suggestions on products I should review next before going out and buying them yourselves, feel free to leave them in the comments below! I always love trying new things! Also, please leave me any comments or helpful suggestions on how I should improve my blog, or what you'd like to see in the future. I need all the help I can get!

Have a wonderful Christmas!
Jordan x