31 December 2014

2014 | year in review

So here it is, my year in review. I think it's really nice to think back and reminisce about the good things that happened this year. This year has been particularly good to me, and I'm really happy for the things that I got to do. Most of these pictures were taken on my phone, before I got a fancy shmancy camera - but I still hold them close to my heart cause memories are still memories. It's a lot easier to capture moments on a cellphone camera rather than a heavy DSLR anyway!

30 December 2014

2014 favorites | makeup part 3: eye makeup!

Of course eye makeup will have its own post... For me, it's the most fun part about makeup, even though I don't have the time to play around with it every day. Here's the list of eye makeup that I find myself using consistently!

29 December 2014

2014 favorites | makeup part 2: blushes, bronzers, and highlight

After I apply my concealer and sometimes-foundation, my face is looking pretty blank and flat! Here are my favorite blushes, highlight, and bronzers to add the color back in.

dolce & gabbana blush in tan 22 » It says blush, but it's clearly an overpriced bronzer. Even so, I'll buy this over and over because it's just that good. I have a review, here!

benefit hoola bronzer » Unfortunately just one bronzer isn't enough for me because I go completely bananas when it comes to contouring. Hoola is darker and more pigmented than the D&G one, so this one goes on just the hollows of my cheeks.

too faced a la mode eyes » BECKY THAT'S AN EYESHADOW PALETTE-- I know, I know! But, I like super shimmery highlights and even though it doesn't look natural at all... well, I like it so much to the point where I use La Croisette which is a SUPER pigmented and shimmery eyeshadow, as my highlight. I might look into the Becca highlighters but at almost $30..... I'm going to cry.

too faced full bloom ultra flush blush in cocoa rose » My go-to neutral blush, it works with both neutral and more out-there looks. I believe this is the first ever high-end blush I bought as well, around 2 years ago. Since then it seems like they've been out of stock of this shade in particular, and I really hope it's not discontinued.

tarte 12-hour amazonian clay blush in captivating » The perfect coral on the cheeks, I like using this when my makeup is fairly neutral to give a pop of color. I've been using it for a while and the imprint doesn't seem to fade away. Magic, I tell you.

The last of the makeup favorites series will be up tomorrow, featuring my favorite eye products! Unfortunately the hair and bodycare favorites won't be up until sometime in January (it feels so weird saying that!) since I'm saving the 31st for a post that will be special to me.

28 December 2014

2014 favorites | makeup part 1: bases & details

After sorting through my makeup favorites from this year... there's too many! I'm sure most of you guys can relate, haha. I'm be splitting this section into a few separate posts, cause I don't like having super long posts myself. So here's part one of the (hopefully) makeup favorites trilogy: bases, and the little things at the end that tie everything together.

I'm changing things up a little bit by trying out different styles in writing... Usually I like to provide a (quite lengthy) mini review but I'll try to shorten things up a little bit especially since most of these products aren't new to the blog... I suppose that's the point of having these as my all-time favorites this year, though! A lot of these are featured in my everyday makeup post as well, if you'd like to read about how I use these products.

First things first I'm the realest - the things I slap on my face after skincare...

27 December 2014

2014 favorites | skincare

star violet 2014 skincare favorites

2014 was the year where I discovered and frequently lurked /r/skincareaddiction thanks to James and learned so much about taking care of my skin. I'd recommend the subreddit to anyone, whether you're struggling with skin issues or not. The main things I changed in my skincare routine are using oils, switching over to an inexpensive moisturizer that does the same job as some of my favorite high-end ones, and most importantly using sunscreen. So, here are my favorite skincare products from this year!

25 December 2014

merry christmas!

I've been super busy these past few days, from preparing Christmas cards and presents to taking care of a knocked-out drunk from a holiday party at work... It was a pretty interesting night, but I hope something like that never happens again. Anyway, regular posting, replies, and comments will resume soon!

I know maybe not everyone celebrates Christmas - but it's what I celebrate, so I think it's more natural for me to say that. But whoever you are what whatever you celebrate, I hope your holiday is full of family and friends, and lots of good food!

20 December 2014

current playlist #1

star violet current playlist late cambrian trash show

I think I have a very eclectic taste in music. I'll listen to anything and everything, and I'm more inclined to say I don't like a certain song rather than an artist or a genre. It's very (very!) random and all over the place in terms of lyrics and melodies, but here's some of the songs I have on repeat at the moment...

1. Trash Show! - Late Cambrian
2. Iggy SZN - Iggy Azalea
3. Cannibal - Ke$ha
4. Hey, Soul Sister - Train
5. Life of a Salesman - Yellowcard
6. LOVE & ROLL - supercell
7. Foxes - Echo
8. Demons - Iggy Azalea

What are your favorite songs at the moment? Also, trying to balance a cup of hot tea on a pillow, next to your phone is never a good idea.

18 December 2014

ootd | black on black + sock review?!

top » american eagle
shorts » hurley
tights » american eagle
socks » sock dreams (here)
shoes » steve madden (here)

Usually I like to post in the mornings but I couldn't because of bad timing - but oh well, it happens! Here's a quick outfit of the day, for today/technically yesterday. I really, really, really wanted to wear shorts today but it's still pretty cold, so I wore tights underneath and layered with a pair of long, thick socks. It did a pretty good job of keeping my legs warm, so I'm looking forward to wearing more shorts this winter :)

If you're on the lookout for some good quality socks I highly recommend Sock Dreams, which is where I got mine from. They meant it when they named these long cuffable scrunchable socks, because they are super long even when they are cuffed at the top and scrunched. They can reach up to the uppermost portion of my thighs and would still have room to go if my legs didn't end there. The only problem is that it's one size only, so the foot portion of the socks has a lot of wiggle room, as opposed to.... "normal" socks that conform to your feet, if that makes sense. Still, at the price point and comfort, it's something I can overlook.

I can already tell that these will be my favorite socks for the wintertime, and I'm planning on ordering more colors soon.

15 December 2014



Earlier last week, I bought my first succulent! Or rather Wei bought it for me cause I didn't have cash on hand, but I paid him back a couple days later so it still counts as my own purchase? Anyway I really wanted one, cause it's really tiny and cute - the pot is a little less than 2" in diameter! We joked that it would look even cuter in shot glasses.

I remember buying a mint plant once, and my mom said I should have taken the mint that was growing outside the front yard since it grows like wild there, haha. Anyway, my mint ended up dying cause I guess I didn't water it enough. Luckily succulents aren't as needy as mint - the lady selling these said they only need to be watered every 3 or 4 weeks. I did a little bit of my own research and people say the general rule of thumb is to water them every week in the hotter months, and every few weeks in the colder months, but never when it's raining because the soil retains moisture better on those days. And, that it's always better to underwater a succulent than to overwater.


Right now it's found a home on top of my shadow box, beside my very small miniature perfume collection. I want to get a few more succulents, and maybe - gasp - some cacti too? We'll see how this little plant journey goes...

13 December 2014

my first time at lush!

welcome to the lush life - included in poptastic

I had a day off on Wednesday, so it was the perfect time to head over to Lush! Now that I think about it, I should have been all cool and taken pictures of the store for an Instagram-worthy picture to celebrate losing my Lush virginity. Oh well. There's always a next time for those pictures!

lush dragon's egg bath bomb, lush twilight bath bomb

Dragon's Egg bath bomb » One of the bath bombs that I've wanted to try for a really long time. Partly because it's citrus scented, partly because of the magical explosion of glitter, but mostly because it's called Dragon's Egg and it reminds me of Harry Potter.

Twilight bath bomb » I felt a little empty-handed if I left with just Poptastic and Dragon's Egg, so I made a last-minute decision to get Twilight. It smells like berries to me, but Lush says it's supposed to smell like lavender... Maybe the berry scent is just on the surface. I can see (smell?) why they say it helps you to relax your mind for better sleep, though!

lush poptastic

lush northern lights bath bomb, lush sparkler bath bomb

Poptastic » Northern Lights was on my wishlist, but they seem to have sold out online and in-store. One of the associates suggested the Poptastic wrapped gift set, which includes Northern Lights and another similar-by-type one called Sparkler. She said it's a great way to try more, though honestly it's probably to get me to buy more - not hating on her of course, it's her job after all. Nevertheless it worked, and I'm happy she directed me towards the set cause I gave Sparkler a whiff later and it smells pretty darn good!

I wish I could have left with a few more items, but I had to exhibit some kind of self control here. Until next time, Lush! In the meantime, do you have any favorites for me to check out in my next visit?

11 December 2014

november favorites

star violet november favorites: naked2 basics, ysl lipsticks, bobbi brown corrector, laura mercier foundation primer, clinique spf 50 sunscreen

It's a little bit late for my November favorites, but at least it's not late December? I didn't do one last month because I didn't have many favorites I particularly liked throughout the month. For the ones that I did enjoy using, I started using them near the end of the month so there wasn't a lot of time for me to form an opinion on them other than "I like this!"

So without further ado, here are my favorites from November and a little bit of October!

star violet november favorites - naked2 basics and bobbi brown corrector in light bisque

Urban Decay Naked2 Basics is a palette I've been reaching for almost every time I do my eye makeup. I thought I really didn't need the original Naked Basics palette because I saw it as shelling out the extra money for the convenience of often-used shadows in a single palette, and of course I thought the same for Naked2 Basics. While it's kind of true, I also don't have anything quite like the shades in this one and I like that I'm getting a lot of use out of it. You can read the full review here.

Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque, I love you. If you don't know already, I have terrrrible dark circles that just won't go away Of course getting a few days of good sleep helps, but even so it's still a tad noticeable. One of the associates at Sephora helped me pick out this concealer when I told her about my dark circles problem, and she said these are supposed to go underneath your concealer/foundation to cancel out the discoloration. It works like a charm, and my under-eye area looks even more rested compared to using only concealer.

ysl rouge volupte lipsticks

ysl rouge volupe lipstick swatches in beige ultimate and peach passion

Formula-wise, YSL Rouge Volupte Sensual Radiant Lipsticks are the best I've tried so far. I only have (had) two of them: Beige Ultimate and Peach Passion. I wouldn't say it's balmy, though it's definitely nourishing like a balm. It's super wearable even on bad lip days, how the heck did YSL manage to create something like that? I did end up returning Peach Passion, though. There wasn't anything different about the formula, but unfortunately I didn't find the color as flattering on me as they did on others. However, I do recommend the entire line if you're looking for a great lipstick.

laura mercier foundation primer, clinique spf 50 sunscreen

And lastly, the very basics: a primer and a sunscreen. One of Laura Mercier's primers made it in my September favorites and it worked wonderfully, but it had a slight white cast to it with flash photography and that was a no-no when it came to taking pictures with my Instax camera if the flash fired. So I went for her (probably) original primer, which is just called... Foundation Primer. It's a water-based primer and it works a lot better than a silicone-based one. I found that silicone-based primers made my foundation and concealers patchy, while this one makes them look like a second skin!

The sunscreen I've been loving is Clinique Broad Spectrum SPF50 Sunscreen. Prior to this I've used Algenist Ultra Lightweight UV Defense Fluid SPF50 (a drying alcohol as the third ingredient - no thanks!) and Ole Henriksen Protect the Truth SPF50+ Sunscreen (pilled up horribly - think of it like rubbing dried glue off your hands). Clinique's sunscreen goes on very nicely, doesn't have any drying ingredients, doesn't create pillings, and is fragrance-free which is always great when it comes to skincare. Plus, it's inexpensive relative to the other two sunscreens mentioned before. I haven't taken any pictures with flash when I wore this, but hopefully the white cast (if any) won't be too noticeable.

What were some of your favorites this month? Leave me a link if you've written one, I'd love to see what you've been loving :)

08 December 2014

review | naked2 basics palette

urban decay naked2 basics review

I'm very late on the Urban Decay Basics palettes. When the first Naked Basics came out, everyone was all over that. Meanwhile, I convinced myself that I didn't need it - I felt like it was so hyped because it was convenient having all these super neutral shades in one palette. I don't remember what made me purchase the Naked2 Basics... Perhaps it was the VIB sale?

naked2 basics review

naked2 basics review

A closer look at the shadows. It's a very nicely sized palette - compact enough to make it easy for travel or chucking into the makeup bag, but has a decently sized mirror for touch ups. Do the lines around the pans drive anyone else nuts? It looks like it's made of cardboard or cardstock (which I did believe it was, before I actually checked it out in-store), though it's actually plastic. Of course it doesn't have anything to do with the overall quality of the palette, it's just a peeve of mine.

naked2 basics swatch

Obligatory swatches. Surprisingly they aren't as powdery as I expected them to be. Yes, they still are a tad powdery - though most of these are matte shades, so I feel like it's to be expected.

A rundown of the shadows with UD's descriptions and my comments, if any:
  • skimp (pale nude satin) » The only semi-matte shade in the palette. I like this for highlighting my inner corner, though it's not my favorite.
  • stark (nude-pink matte)
  • frisk (warm gray matte) » I loooove this one as a transition shade!
  • cover (muted red-brown matte)
  • primal (muted brown matte) » One of my favorites for darkening any other shadows.
  • undone (deep, smoky brown matte) » The chalkiest of the bunch. I get a little bit of fallout if I'm not careful. I still like this one a lot, it's nice for smoking out the bottom lashline or using it as a soft eyeliner.
Overall, I like this palette a lot and I'm glad I decided to get it. I find myself using something from this almost every time I do my eye makeup. It's very true to name - it's got all your basics covered, from highlights to transition shades to shades you can use to darken or smoke out just about any color.

Do you own the Naked2 Basics palette? What are your thoughts?

05 December 2014

wishlist #2

star violet wishlist

I planned on doing a review on the Urban Decay Naked2 Basics palette for today's post but this happened and the sun has gone down so I'll have to do another swatching sometime when good lighting is around. In the meantime, I rounded up a few of my wishlist items to share...

1. asos speech bubble beach bag | I hate to admit that I'm super out of the loop of using reusable bags for groceries. This one is super cute and I can imagine myself looking all cute and stuff, strutting out of the supermarket with this over my shoulder.

2. lush northern lights bath bomb | As huge as Lush is in the beauty blogging community, I've only tried one of their bath bombs and I loved it! It's so relaxing, even though I'm pretty much doing nothing while being lost in my own thoughts for a good 40 minutes. Northern Lights is an especially pretty one, judging from the images on Google.

3. anastasia contour kit | I see a lot of people on YouTube using this, and I really want to try it out for myself! It's not a bad price, $40 for three highlight and three contour shades. And I just realized it's LIMITED EDITION so I better get on that, fast.

4. marvy le pen marker pens - lavender purple & dark grey | I know, I know - $1.15 pens on my wishlist is a really silly thing. I currently have a lavender purple one (snagged from my sister cause she left it here before she went back to school, thanks yo) and I like it a lot. I don't know which other stores sell this pen and it's $25 for free shipping, so.... that's a lot of pens I have to buy for free shipping.

What are some of the things on your wishlist?

03 December 2014

i'm back!

I had an amazing time with James in California. He booked us a hotel in San Francisco for a few days and we got to explore Japan Town and the California Academy of Sciences, but honestly I'm really happy just being able to be with him. I'm back in New York now and I'm still settling in - I actually woke up late yesterday morning for work because of jet lag, so I will leave you with a few pictures from Instagram as a quick update.

It's always sad to leave, but I suppose the silver lining is we'll see each other again soon. He's coming here at the end of December, so that's something to look forward to!

24 November 2014

travel | 3 tips for packing your cosmetics minimalistically

When it comes to traveling, I always try to pack as light as possible. Makeup and skincare, on the other hand... It goes out of control. Since I've been doing a lot of traveling this year, I've gotten quite good at being space-conscious when it comes to packing these items.

travel friendly beauty samples

save those sample packets ♡ When you get your samples from Ulta or Sephora, save them! Oftentimes I find that I can get 3 or 5 uses out of a sample packet, and I can throw it away when I'm done which saves just a little more space on the return trip. Generally this is only a good idea if you've tried the product before, because you don't know if you'll get a bad reaction from it and you probably don't want to get said bad reaction on your trip.

small travel containers

transfer products into smaller jars ♡ This has been the hardest for me to master, but I think I've finally done it. Since I'm traveling carry-on only, I kind of have to do this anyway with products that come in big containers. Even so, I've learned to transfer products that contain less than the allowed 3.4oz into smaller containers - it saves a lot of space, especially if you have six other products like that. The past me would have bought my full-size sunscreen and primer with me, but for this upcoming trip I've put them into tiny jars and I'll continue to do that in my upcoming travels!

I bought my small jars here, and I reuse deluxe sample containers when I can. Just remember to label them cause you don't want someone else using your shower gel thinking it's face wash - my mom filled an empty Cetaphil bottle with her shower gel and I used it, thinking it was Cetaphil. Similarly, I filled an empty Josie Maran argan oil bottle with orange essential oil and my sister was thinking about trying it out - which would have been a huge disaster! You could also save the ones you get if you ask for samples... or just ask for samples of your favorite products in-store. Go ahead, I won't judge you ;)

travel friendly palettes

simplify what you bring ♡ Let's be honest here - do I really need to take 3 blushes and 5 lipsticks with me when I'm traveling? No, I do not. But if there's enough space after I pack everything, I probably will For me the trickiest is when it comes to eyeshadows, which I will try to minimize to just one palette... but it never works out so I take two small ones - one that's more neutral, and one with some color variety.

Do you guys have any tips for packing your beauty items while traveling? What are your favorites to take with you?

22 November 2014

peachy eyes and peachy lips

urban decay slowburn

Slowburn is one of my favorite shades in the Urban Decay Electric palette - review on that will be coming up soon! Anyway, it's a bright neon orange in pan, but it comes off with a coral tone when swatched and I think it's super pretty - so of course it's the first one I want to use!

(Why are my eyebrow hairs so shiny?)

urban decay electric palette

Can we just stop for a moment and admire my eyelashes? THEY NEVER TURN OUT THIS WAY AND I'M LOVING THEM but it's just too bad they probably won't be like this for a loooong while.

urban decay slowburn

I forgot what I used for this eye look though, besides slowburn near the center of the lid and the Naked 2 Basics palette on some other parts. Heck I even forgot if I used foundation on this day - I need to start writing this stuff down, haha. The lipstick is YSL Peach Passion, though! :)

19 November 2014

how do i lipstick

When it comes to makeup, lips are definitely not my forte. I've only started wearing lipsticks quite recently - as in, a week ago recently. Certain (matte-ish) lipsticks that other people don't seem to have a problem with tend to accentuate the cracks in my lips. While it can probably be remedied by taking care of my lips, well - I don't know how. All I really do is use lip balm, drink a ton of water, and exfoliate whenever I remember to.

Help a sista out, what are your tips for lipstick prep and application? :)

17 November 2014

haul | sephora sale!

sephora vib haul

sephora haul

I bought a bunch of new items...
benefit | bronze n' dandy
formula x | prime - base coat
nars | blush brush #20 (returned)
ole henriksen | protect the truth vitamin c spf 50+ sunscreen (returned)
dolce & gabbana | the blush luminous cheek colour in tan 22
laura mercier | foundation primer
urban decay | electric pressed pigment palette
too faced | melted liquified long wear lipstick in melted nude
bite beauty | mix n' mingle lip mini in glace
dior | rouge baume in lili (Rachel convinced me)
yves st laurent | rouge volupte silky sensual radiant lipstick in 3 beige ultimate
yves st laurent | rouge volupte silky sensual radiant lipstick in 13 peach passion (not pictured, still waiting for it in the mail)

...And a few repurchases as well.

beautyblender | royal beautyblender (seems to be discontinued? original here)
nars | radiant creamy concealer in honey
first aid beauty | facial radiance polish

sephora vib haul

There's (was) three FIVE lipsticks in my haul, which is something very new to me. I used to hate how lipsticks looked on me because of my lip shape. The outer edges of my lips kind of meet at a curve instead of a point, making lipsticks look clownish on me. But that's ok - if I take my time with lipstick application, it doesn't actually look that bad! It's probably a bad move to buy higher end lipsticks, but oh well - might as well go all out, haha.

I returned two items and bought some other stuff with it, though it was after the sale - I'll probably get around to the mini haul/reasons for returning stuff in another post, cause I don't want this one to be tooooo long.

Did you guys get anything from the sale? Leave me a link to your post if you have one, I'd love to see what you got!