Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Random Haul(s)

Hello! Hope you're all doing well and staying warm! For being spring, it sure is wintery here, which has been kind of a downer. To be honest, I haven't been feeling well lately, but doing a blog post will cheer me up. So let's get started!

Today is going to be a pretty random haul. I think I'm going to start calling my "purchases" "hauls" because that's what everyone else seems to do. To me, a haul has to be pretty huge, but I've seen videos/read blogs where people get like 4-5 things from two or three different stores and call it a haul so I feel like the definition of the word has broadened in the "blogosphere". There was a break in the weather recently where it was nice enough out for me to go walking, so I went to the mall and picked up a few things!
 My first stop was Marshall's. Ever since my last trip there and my issues with the nylons, I've been a bit leery buying things from there. I'm also not the type of person to think that spending $30 on pants and having that be the clearance price is a super good deal. Haha, it's weird, my idea of what's expensive is so skewed; $40 on nail polish and nail polish accessories? Awesome! $10 for a pair of pants? ...maybe not. $36 BB Cream? Put that in my cart, please! $20 shoes? ...I don't know if I can afford that. It's super weird.

HOWEVER. Last time I went to Marshall's, I found these super cute, mint-colored skinny leg jeans. I needed these jeans, but when I went to try them on, they were one size to small, and the next size up that they had in stock was much too big. I needed these pants. I went on a crusade of sorts to find a nice pair of mint-colored skinny leg jeans and I just could not find a pair anywhere (well, technically I could, but not for a price I was willing to pay). I really want to expand my "bottoms" wardrobe from just jeans, and colored pants are pretty in right now and an easy transition. (Incidentally, Target carries a lot of different colors of "jeggings" right now and I'm thinking about picking some up. I know, I know, "jeggings" are pretty lame, but they're basically just thick, opaque, solid colored tights.) If you've read my past posts, you'll know I thought I snagged a cute pair of burgundy corduroy skinny leg jeans from H&M only to discover that they did not fit when I got home. I decided that I was going to get a pair of colored skinny leg jeans, mint or not, and I picked up these beauties:
They're lavender (the tag says "pale orchid") petit skinny leg jeans from Kenneth Cole! And they were only $15, which is basically what I am willing to spend on a new pair of pants. Sorry for the harsh lighting, the sun decided to actually come out for a few minutes. If I can't have mint, then lavender is a pretty good substitute since it's still a spring appropriate pastel and is still in the cool-color family, which looks nice with my skin tone.

I also decided to check out the sunglasses at Marshall's. I don't like spending a lot of money on sunglasses since I have a tendency to break them or scratch them badly or lose them, so I've always bought those cheap $4-5 pairs from Forever21 and the like. I read somewhere that a lot of those cheap sunglasses might actually be bad for your eyes because, even though they say 100% UV protection on them, you can't be guaranteed that they actually are, or that they are the "correct" type of UV protection. I guess the regulations on those kinds of things are a bit loose. A lot of the time, they only darken your vision, not actually protect it, so it's like a double whammy; you're not experiencing how bright it is so you open your eyes more and stay out longer, but you're letting in more UV damage because you're experiencing discomfort at the bright light, if that makes sense. I figured designer sunglasses that cost normally $20-$70 would have better and more consistent UV protection and that paying $10 for a pair of sunglasses that last a while is the same, if not better, than paying $4-5 for a pair that you have to replace more than once (I actually purchased the same pair of $4 sunglasses three times last summer because they kept breaking, so in total they were $12 sunglasses). After trying a whole bunch of different shades, I picked these out:
They're by Oscar de la Renta (well, from the "Oscar by Oscar de la Renta" line) and they are so many steps above my cheap $4 glasses. I'm almost ashamed I wasted my money on those cheap things! These glasses feel so much sturdier, they fit my face much better, and they don't just muddle my vision and make everything darker. Things actually look clearer when I wear these; the glare and brightness is all gone, but my vision isn't darkened or anything. It makes me think that my cheap ones really were the kind that are more damaging because I get the feeling that all they did was darken my vision, not protect it. so for $10, I think these are a good investment!

After Marshall's, I went to Michael's (there are oddly a lot of stores with first names...). I generally don't like Michael's craft stores; I think they're over priced, carry low quality goods, and have very limited stock, but it's worth stopping in there occasionally to catch things when they go on clearance. Which I did! I got some yarn that was clearanced out to a third of it's original price.
I was not going to pass up $6 for this much yarn, and I think the color is very pretty, too. It's very soft and thick and I ended up making a little throw for our couch out of it.
It's not perfect because I didn't spend too much time on it (since it was just for my husband and me), but it's really nice to put over your feet if you're a little chilly, but not enough to want to use a full blanket. It's made from a super repetitive and simple shell pattern and took about a day (off and on) to crochet. I watched a lot of videos on Youtube while making it.

I also picked up some clearance Easter candy at Michael's.
We already have more than enough candy (and now more than that, which you will see a bit later on), but 70% off is hard to pass up. Candy is one of those things that I don't get weirded out about if it's been around a long time. It's also the only food product (actually, about the only product) I'll buy from the Dollar Store. It's pretty hard to mess up candy. But I love Dots and I love Air Heads, so I was happy to get these for super cheap.

After Michael's, I hit up Barnes and Nobel to get myself some magazines. I know I should really subscribe instead of buying them off the newsstand (seriously, for the price of two issues, you can get a year's worth. Delivered to your door, even!), but I don't know where we're going to be living in the next few months (our lease is coming up) and I hate the hassle of changing my delivery address.
I picked up the April issues of Nylon and Allure. Allure is a new buy for me; I've always looked it over when buying magazines. I don't think I've really..."trusted" it? It's always seemed like a more drug-store aimed publication, and drug-store make-up does not interest me. I have been looking for a good publication that focuses more on just beauty products, so I figured I'd give it a try.

I also picked up a novel from the B&N used section.
Charles Stross is a favorite writer of mine (if you like science fiction, I highly recommend checking out "Accelerando" by him. Admittedly, William Gibson is my be-all, end-all favorite writer, but Stross is up there.) and I was excited to find this book in pretty good condition for only $3. I do need to stop buying books since I have a bit of backlog of reading materials (and I'm only 50% of the way through Les Miserables...) but I just like having books around. I like how they smell (weird, I know) and I like the...potential, I suppose, they have.

I also stopped by B&N on a separate shopping trip from a little later in the week and picked up a few more things.
I got the premier issue of  Nail It!, a new crossword puzzle book, and an audio book of one of those bathroom readers on clearance. I've been super into nail art lately, and I thought it was cool there was finally a magazine dedicated to it in the U.S. I hope they do well and continue to publish it. It looks like it will be a bi-monthly schedule with 6 issues a year. From what I've read so far, it's pretty interesting, but the articles are very short and there are a lot of advertisements (which is true of any magazine, honestly). I feel pretty lame for only getting easy and medium level crossword puzzles, but I've noticed that Dell likes the cheat and make their hard puzzles unnecessarily hard; they'll use forms of words that aren't normal, like having the answer to a clue like "stags and does" be "deers". "Deers" is not a real word. It's a little frustrating, and I do crossword puzzles to relax, not be frustrated by grammatical issues. The audiobook was an impulse buy; it was on sale for $4 and audiobooks are nice to have when my husband and I drive to see his family. It's about an eight hour trip, so it's nice to have something mindless to listen to. We usually use podcasts, but after a while they can get kind of boring.

Before I forget, Nail It! came with a little sample pack of nail decals!
I'm not sure if I'll actually use these since you only get one of each color (having three designs with two decals each would have been better because you could at least do an accent nail on each hand), but they look cute and seem to be really high quality, what with the rhinestones and all. It was a nice touch to include in the magazine, nonetheless. Free samples are always good to have!

On the way home, I went to a Sally Beauty Supply to pick up some nail art blanks (I've been using them to swatch nail polish colors for you guys) and to sign up for their discount card. It's $5 to join for the year, but you get a $5 coupon to use on your next visit, so I figured why not. I also picked up a nail art brush/dotting tool combo and some toe separators as well.
I've used the brush, and I really like how it's angled. It makes painting tips sooooo much easier than a straight brush. It was about $5, so not a bad deal.

I actually stopped back in to Sally's recently to use my $5 coupon because they're having a "Buy 2 Get 1 Free" sale on their nail polishes. I was also having a pretty awful day, so I figured some nail polish would perk me up. I got three colors from China Glaze:
This is called "Liquid Leather". I don't own any black polish, and realized that if I want to do nail art, I should probably get some.
This is "Peachy Keen". I wanted a "creamsicle" kind of color and was surprised that Orly didn't seem to have a color like that. I would have preferred to get Orly over China Glaze (I would have actually preferred getting like an O.P.I. polish, but Sally's doesn't carry O.P.I.) but you have to go where the colors are.
And finally, this is "Sweet Hook". I'm lacking a lilac/lavender color and once again, China Glaze had the best color option. This is a pretty warm lilac, and I think I would prefer a more heathery/cool lilac color, but it's actually quite pretty and I'm glad I got it.

Here they are swatched for you:
As you can see, I was very excited to paint my nails. The colors are pretty accurate to the picture, maybe a little brighter in real life, but they look a little more muted on actual nails anyways, since the nail wheel is more of a white base, and my nails are more of a pink base.

I also bought these Orly brand french tip guides because they were on sale.
Not going to lie, they're pretty crappy. I can see why they were on sale. If you're doing a true french tip, where you paint a white tip on basically a bare nail and then paint a sheer color over it, I can see these working okay, but if you want to use them as a guide for a more complex type of nail, say doing an orange tip on a purple base, these are pretty hard to work with. They can be difficult to line up and get the type of tip you want, and they have a fairly strong adhesive, so if your nails are not 100% totally and completely dry, they will mess up your base polish. I paid less than $3 for them, so not a big deal, but I wish they worked maybe not "better" but at least "differently".

And here's some pretty awful nail art I did with my new polishes to try and cheer myself up!
My right hand had better leopard print, but the tips were much worse, so I didn't want to to put that on the internet. I think there might either be something wrong with my Julep quick dry drops, or maybe they don't work with this type of polish (I think China Glaze has some weird kind of clay hardener in it) but the drops seemed to make my nails dry even slower than normal, and they were smudgy and even a little tacky the next day still. I was weird and kind of annoying. I might try using these polishes again with my Sephora brand quick dry drops to see if it's the polish or the drops that are behaving badly.

I also stopped at our other mall this week since I had to go to Sephora to return the damaged products from my recent order. I didn't do much shopping since my husband and I were both tired, but I did get a chance to stop by Claire's and the import store.

Claire's was having one of their "sales" (they're not really sales if they're going on all time) on their hair products, and I have been looking for a hair doughnut since my hair is now long enough to put into a bun, so picked up a 2-pack as well as some cute hair ties.
I got the small ones because my hair is still pretty short, but I actually might need the bigger ones soon. The hair ties are just your average ties, but I liked the colors, so I'm pleased.

At the import store, I picked up some candy!
The candy on the left are soft milk chews from...Indonesia I believe and the candy on the right is my favorite candy of all time, Puccho! Well, technically, Miracle Puccho is my favorite, but regular Puccho is good, too. This bag has cola and ramune flavored Puccho. I don't really know why Japanese candy makers like to use "cola" flavor so much, but they are delicious. The Puccho bag also came with a little extra attached to it:
It's a mini notepad of one of the girls from AKB48 in Puccho form! Very weird, and very cute!

Finally, to round out this random haul, I got some things from Target.
I've heard pretty mixed reviews of E.L.F. make-up brushes, ranging from the very good to the not worth your money. I picked up three brushes because I was curious, and at $1 and $3 each, it wasn't a big investment. The white handled brushes are from their $1 line, while the black handled brush is from their $3 "studio" or "c" line. I've heard people say only the $3 are worth the money, and then other people say the $1 are just fine. I needed a new blush/bronzer brush anyways (I've been using this stubby little brush I got with a Too Faced set a loooong time again. One thing I will say, Too Faced's "Teddy Bear Hair" brushes stay soft for basically ever and are really well made.) so we'll see how these work out.

I also decided to give EOS lip balms another try.
I picked up the flavor I had originally wanted to get, but could not find the first time I looked (Target was sneaky and put all the Strawberry Sorbet flavored ones at the cash registers). This flavor is much, much better than the weird Summer Fruits one, and I actually enjoy using it. The packaging is very cute, and the taste/smell is good, but I'm still trying to decide if it actually works for me or not. I feel like when I try out a new lip product, I chew, lick, and smush my lips a lot more than if I'm just using my Chapstick. This leads to it wearing off much faster and making my lips feel even drier, so it's not really a fair comparison. I feel like I'm going to have to use it long enough for me to get used to it so I can leave it alone and see how it really performs.

Finally, I picked up some reinforcement stickers.
I know these seem like a weird thing to talk about in a haul, much less a beauty blog, but I saw a really interesting tutorial on Pinterest (...I finally got an account. That may have been a mistake. It's way too easy to waste time on Pinterest) where they used these as guides for doing french tips and half-moons. I actually bought these before I got the Orly guides, but I haven't tried them out yet. I'm hoping they work better since they're a few bucks cheaper and you get way more in a pack!

So that's all of my past week-week and a half's worth of shopping! I do also have some random Easter goodness to post! My husband and I were able to have a late Easter celebration with my parents this past weekend, and I came home with a lot of goodies!

Before I get to the candy I took home, I want to show off some candy I made. I wanted to make this for my family's Easter party, but I ended up just making it for my parents instead. I found a really easy recipe on Youtube for rainbow fudge. And when I say easy, I mean easy. Like, I'm almost embarrassed how easy it was, but it turned out really well. It tastes like milk candy, or as my dad put it, like vanilla ice cream.
Here's the half of fudge that I didn't take to my parents. I didn't have time to cut it all up before we had to go (I made it the night before and it has to sit in the fridge for at least 12 hours) so now we have this chunk of rainbowy goodness sitting in out fridge.
These are the individually wrapped pieces that I brought to my parents' house. I wish I had a cuter bag, but alas, I did not. The pieces are kind of big since I wanted to make sure each one had all the colors, so they're more of a two to three bite treat. They're also individually wrapped in waxed paper so they don't stick to each other and look more like legit candy.

AND HERE'S MY EASTER CANDY HAUL:
So as you can see, we now have way too much candy. I love it.

Thanks for reading! This got pretty long (I really need to do these more often and not let it all build up...) but I really appreciate you sticking around to finish it! <3!

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