Big Changes!

Hi friends!!

I am so very grateful for your continued support and encouragement! I have loved getting to know you all and supporting you and your blogs as well 🙂 I am making the move over to a self-hosted site, www.citystyleiowasmile.com

I will continue to be active and supporting you all via my wordpress.com account and I would love it if you would stop over, subscribe, and continue to support me too! Connecting with a similar community is one of the many reasons I began to blog…I love hearing about how others are styling an outfit or using the latest eyeshadow palette and I enjoy sharing what I am creating as well! I have a new post going up on my site today, a review of my May 2015 Glossybox. I will be aiming to blog Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays.

Thank you all again and see you at citystyleiowasmile.com!

blue heart

xoxo,
Mandie

Instagram @citystyleiowasmile

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New Product Review: Not Your Mother’s Déjà Vu ‘Do Style-Extender!

dejavu doHi friends!

For the last couple weeks, I have been trying out a new product from Not Your Mother’s (NYM) called Déjà Vu ‘Do Style-Extender. This product is a primer designed to extend the life of your hairstyle by repelling dirt and oil, maintaining body and volume, and preventing the effects of humidity. Now, I can use all the help I can get when it comes to humidity. My hair is naturally wavy and when you add in humidity, it goes full Monica. It ain’t cute.

Anyone else remember this episode?

Usage

NYM recommends applying a nickel-sized amount of product to damp hair, root to tip. Comb through, then style. Blow dry for best results.

de ja vu do collagePictured above is my hair on day 1 and then on day 2 after using Déjà Vu ‘Do.

Pros

  • Decreased frizziness
  • Decreased oiliness–I still used some dry shampoo, but definitely less than I usually do
  • Maintained more body and volume–even on day 2
  • My hair only needed a few touch-ups on day 2. Definitely made getting out the door easier and faster.
  • I also I also worked out in between these photos and my hair still held up (and I sweat like it’s my job)!

Cons

  • You must blow dry. I have tried using this product on days when I left my hair to air-dry and it did not work. My hair became frizzy throughout the day and was fairly limp the next day.
  • Product has an artificially fruity smell. It claims to smell like red apples & berries, but it smells like a candy version of red apples & berries. Luckily, the smell doesn’t linger.

Overall Impression

I will definitely continue to use this product on days when I blowout my hair. My hair felt like I had just come from the salon. I was also so impressed that I hardly had to mess with my hair at all on day 2! I’m excited to use it this summer, as I often would just wear my hair up constantly in the summers because it would get so frizzy from humidity if I left it down.  Déjà Vu ‘Do Style-Extender is also a great value–it retails for $9 for 4 oz and is available at many large retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens. I will definitely be repurchasing!

And just to prove that it wasn’t a fluke…

dejavu2 collageI will also add that it was incredibly windy on day 1, but my hair held up!

What new products have you tried lately?

xoxo, Mandie

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Disclosure: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Frenchie Fever!!

My little squishy-faced buddy, Winston, turns one today! winston birthdayBecause of his fawn coloring, he is often mistaken for a pug. But this handsome little dude is all French Bulldog. Frenchies have been everywhere lately, so in honor of Winston’s birthday, I rounded up a few Frenchie merchandise favorites!

PicMonkey Collage frenchie

  1.  Adorable lipgloss from Forever 21, cute enough to display on your nightstand or desk!
  2. Perfect for a day at the dog park, these French Bulldog Print Toms by The Matt Butler via Scoutmob will have everyone talking!
  3. The Frenchie on this shirt is as cool as they come!
  4. Those big ears get cold in the winter! Protect them with the BatHat by snorfindustries.
  5. Where else would you want to store your cookies? Or homemade dog treats?
  6. This dishtowel from Anthropologie is too cute to use, officially.
  7.  You can never have enough Frenchie shirts!

And of course, you can always customize a shirt for yourself at Pop Your Pup! They take a photo of your pet’s face, turn it into pop art, and put it on a shirt for you!

And because I’m obsessed with my dog and, like any good fur-mom, think he is just the cutest ever…here are more photos of my buddy Winston

winstonCollageHappy Birthday little dude. Thanks for make me smile everyday–even on the days when you eat my socks.

Desert Sunset Glam

Facetune(1)

I was playing around with the new Too Faced Sugar Pop Eye Palette the other day and I came up with this fun look. It’s a nice way to add a little pop of color with the orange on the lid and the bright pink on the lower lashline. After I was done, I found the colors I applied reminded me of a sunset I had seen in Sedona, a beautiful area in the desert of Arizona. It looks something like this…

The Sugar Pop Eye Palette is a wonderful little palette–the colors are very pigmented and apply very smoothly. It also has a nice mix of neutrals and bright colors that are perfect for spring/summer. It retails for $36 and I think it’s a reasonable price for the quality of the product.

sugar pop palette

Step 1: Start with your gorgeous blank face.

step 1 desert glam naked face

I applied my normal skincare regime–toner, serum, moisturizer, and eye cream. I generally hold off on applying foundation until I am done with my eyeshadow, in case I have a lot of fallout.


Step 2: Prep & Prime

step 2 desert glam primePrime your lids with your primer of choice. Here I am using Tarte’s Colored Clay CC Eye Primer. You swipe it on like a crayon and blend it out with your fingers. It’s a good product, but I have had big problems with the packaging.


Step 3: Base Shades step 3

Colors You’ll be Using in this Step

Grab your standard transition shade on a crease brush. I recommend using a matte shade just slightly darker than your own skin tone. For myself, I use Wit from Stila Eyes are the Window to the Mind Pallete.


step 3 desert glam transition

Apply color in a windshield wiper motion to your crease. Back and forth, back and forth. You really can’t mess this up, you’re just applying the base for your more dramatic eyeshadow on top!


step 3 lid


Grab your lid shade with a flat eyeshadow brush, which would ideally just be your nude skin color. For myself, I use Genius from that same Stila palette. Swipe it all over the lid, from eyelashes to crease.

At this point, it will not really look like you’ve done much. That’s okay, we’ve only really started!


Step 4: Let’s Start Playing with Color

color pop upper


step 4 a

Grab the shade for your outer V, Malted Milk Ball, on your preferred brush. I normally don’t use any sparkly shadows in this area, but Malted Milk Ball actually has more of a satin finish.  I actually just use a squared off eyeshadow brush for this. We’re not aiming to be super precise for this yet. Starting on the outer corner of your eyelid/crease, apply Malted Milk Ball by inward short strokes. When you have built up the color to the depth you’re happy with, work it inward on the crease a little.


step 4 B

Take a clean fluffy blending brush and go to town on the outer edges of that brown we just applied. Blend, blend, blend. If you find the brown color is too light for your liking after blending, you can go back and intensify the color by repeating the above a second time.



step 4cApply your lid color, Macaron, from eyelashes to crease. Take the fluffy blending brush and blend out the edges around the crease and where Macaron meets Malted Milk Ball. You will probably need to go back and reintensify and blend a couple times, as Macaron is a little sheer. Note: At this point, I go and apply my foundation, eyebrows, and undereye concealer. Any fallout from this point is pretty minimal, plush it’s helpful to have eyebrows done before you do your eyebrow highlight.





step 4DPick up your eyebrow highlight color, Rock Candy, apply underneath your brows. You could also use this to highlight your inner corner if you want (I used Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal for my inner corner).

Awkward eye contact with the camera is optional.


Step 5: Line your Lids

step 5 dg

Tightline your eyes with black eyeliner (i.e. line the area between your eyelashes and eyeballs). Then apply the black eyeliner to your waterline. You could do a more dramatic eyeliner if you want, but this is what suits my eye shape the best. I am using Make up For Ever Aqua Eyes in Matte Black.



Step 6: Lower Lashline

lower lash line

step 6a

Pick up Peach Fuzz (color 1) on a smudge brush and apply all over the lower lashline.


Step 6B

Apply Malted Milk Ball (number 2) to the outer 2/3 of the lower lashline using your smudger brush.


step 6 C

Using a damp flat liner brush, pick up Bubblegum (color 3) and press into the outer 2/3 of lashline. You will probably need to go over the same area twice to get the color built up appropriately.





Finish the Look

PicMonkey Collage 1For mascara, I applied Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes.

desert glam finished

PS I LOVE what this did for my hazel eyes. I also feel obligated to say that I self-tanned in between the top photo and when I shot this tutorial.

NYC Tourist Guide Part 1 – [slightly] off the beaten path

CSIS NYC guideMaybe you’ve been to New York a few times before and seen all the big sights…or maybe you just don’t like doing “touristy” things all the time and like to see something a little different. If so, these guide is for you!

I lived in New York for quite some time before moving to Iowa (where yes, I literally live across from a corn field), so when we plan a trip back to the city, our itinerary looks a little different from perhaps, a first timer’s. There are many, many great tourist traps attractions in New York–unfortunately, they can be super crowded, overpriced, and [highly] overrated (I’m looking at you, Times Square!). This guide is my tips and tricks to make the most of your NYC vacation! This first post includes my tips regarding accommodations, transportation, and events that require planning ahead.

CSIS GantryThere is life on the Queens side of the bridge! View from near our hotel

Accommodations

You can basically spend as little or as much as you want on accommodations in New York. Personally, I’d rather spend my money buying clothes having fun than on the place I only sleep. By no means am I staying at seedy Super 8, but I do have some tips.

  1. Stay outside of Manhattan: we stayed in Long Island City, which is a neighborhood literally right over the bridge from Manhattan. We were only one subway stop away from Manhattan in a 3 star hotel for about $125/night (if you’re specifically wondering where, we stayed here). I guarantee if our hotel were in Manhattan, it would cost twice as much. Try hotels in neighborhoods like Long Island City, Greenpoint, Astoria, Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn, or Park Slope.
  2. This goes for anywhere you travel, but priceline.com and hipmunk.com are your friends. You can get great “instant deals” on priceline and hipmunk lets you see B&Bs in the area, plus Airbnb properties as well.
  3. If you can, be flexible with travel dates. Hotels will always be more expensive around big events (early November, during the NYC Marathon–expect to pay more) and on weekends.

Transportation

Subway, subway, subway. There is no more efficient public transit than New York. If you are uncomfortable or unsure of yourself, you should avoid the mayhem that is rush hour. There are many, many apps that can help you get point-to-point directions using the NYC Transit, but my favorite is Citymapper (and it’s free!). You can get an Unlimited Ride card for 1, 3, or 7 days–you’ll probably be schlepping around enough to make this your most sensible option.

You should also plan on walking a lot–miles per day. Bring comfy (but cute!) shoes. You wouldn’t bring your heels for a day of walking around DisneyWorld, right? Same thing–except you’ll be walking more. I would also bring a small cross-body bag, because schlepping around a heavy tote all day is no fun either!

CSIS DUMBOView from the AIANY Architecture Boat Tour

Planning Ahead

There are tons of things to do in New York that you can just walk right in and do, but there are many things you need to plan in advance as well.

  • Show Tapings –if you want to see Jimmy Fallon, for example, you are going to need to look into that about 2 months ahead of time. Ticket releases are announced via Twitter for this show. Whatever it is you’re interested in seeing, look it up WAY earlier than you probably think you need to. Better safe than sorry.
  • Comedy Shows–The ever popular Upright Citizens Brigade’s Improv Shows often sell out a week or so in advance. UCB Stand-up shows are easy to get tickets for, however.
  • Broadway Shows–I actually don’t recommend shows for everyone–it’s an expensive event ($70+ per ticket) and you’re not really into it, I don’t think it’s worth it. That being said, my hubs and I do enjoy theater quite a bit–we saw Finding Neverland and I highly recommend it.
  • Certain Tours–Some tours sell out ahead of time, so it’s worth looking into tours if that’s something you’re into. I recommend the AIANY Architecture Boat Tour and the NBC Tour (returns later this year!).
  • Sporting Events–you can get last minute tickets to baseball games, but you’ll have better seat selection if you look at least a couple weeks ahead of time. On a side note, baseball games are actually one of the more affordable activities you can do! Personally, I am partial to the Yankees!

CSIS yankees

I hope these tips are helpful! Visiting NYC, especially the first time, can be overwhelming  if you don’t have any guidance. I am hoping to make NYC a little more accessible and affordable with these guides 🙂

Empties & Favorites — Vol 2!

products cinco de mayoI decided to forgo doing my April favorites since my bag of empties was literally overflowing and I wanted to review these products before someone went on a cleaning spree and chucked them all on accident (if we’re being honest, between myself and my hubs there is only one of us who ever goes on a cleaning spree…and it is not me). We’ve got quite a few hits, a couple misses, and everything in between–Let’s get to it!

Lush Brazened Honey Fresh Face Mask ($6.95/2.1 oz; Disclaimer: they are preservative free and only last ~1 month) This mask, so far, is my favorite of Lush’s Fresh Face masks. It has a nice fragrance due to the honey in the product. I have oily/acne-prone skin and this mask did a great job of taming the oiliness, without overdoing it and creating dryness.  I don’t think I had a single breakout while I used this! It’s a hit!

Lush Ayesha Fresh Face Mask ($6.95/2.1 oz; Disclaimer: these are preservative free and only last ~1 month) I bought and used this mask after my skin was angry, red, and broken out all over from another product during the winter. It is marketed for mature and tired skin, and even though I’m only 29, I would say I noticed a great difference in my skin after using this. It calmed my redness, my breakout resolved, and my skin just looked healthy and fresh. The only downside I would mention: It does not smell great, I think it’s because of the asparagus in the mask (for real). It’s a hit!

Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo ($6.19/7 oz) This dry shampoo does a great job of absorbing oiliness and extending time in between regular shampoos (I only wash ~3x per week, so a good dry shampoo is always needed). Using it pretty much daily, it lasted 3 months. It does have a pretty severe white-cast, but I actually tend to use my dry shampoos at night, so by the morning all the oil has been absorbed and any white-cast is no more. That being said, I don’t think it’s a great option if you’re using dry shampoo to help create texture. The smell is alright. Considering the very low cost and how long the product lasts, I will definitely repurchase. It’s a hit!

miss manga brushL’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Mascara ($7.99) I was really excited about this mascara because everyone on YouTube was raving about it. Anytime people are getting excited about an affordable product, I’m on board! I was so disappointed though…it was so clumpy it was unusable. Spider lashes are not my thing. I think it had more to do with the brush than the mascara formula. I was looking through reviews on Ulta, and I wouldn’t say my complaint is isolated. Definitely a fail.


Lancome Genifique Yeux Light Pearl Eye Illuminating Youth Activating Concentrate ($69/0.67 oz) Besides legitimately having the longest name of any product I’ve ever used, this is a great eye serum. It was great for my puffy bags under the eyes and dark circles when I maybe didn’t get enough sleep or was feeling sick. The metal teardrop applicator also feels great on tired or puffy eyes because it stays nice and cool. For the price, I would actually say it’s a pretty good value–it lasted 6 months of twice daily use. It’s a hit!

Juicy Couture Juicy Couture Perfume ($72/1.7 oz) There is a little part of me that was embarrassed to buy this…but I actually loved the fragrance after I had received a sample and tried it on vacation. I could see it being a little heavy for some, but I love it and as long as you’re judicious with how much you use, it’s perfect. It has musk, vanilla, and floral notes. It’s romantic & sexy–definitely a more night-time fragrance. It’s a hit!

Ole Henriksen Grease Relief Cleansing Cloths: Oil Free Pore Refining ($15/30 cloths) I am fully aware it is nutty to spend $15 on face wipes. Nonetheless, these are my favorite. My makeup artist used them when we did our trial run for my wedding makeup and I knew I had to pick them up. They are refreshing and dry up any oiliness you have. My skin felt fantastic afterwards! They also did a great job removing makeup. My husband would steal them too and really loved how they made his skin feel too. When I go to grad school, this will probably be the first “luxury” purchase that goes away, but if you can afford them, they’re fantastic. It’s a hit!

products ive used up elnett

L’Oreal Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray ($14.99/11oz) This is a holy grail for many blogger and YouTubers and is for me as well. The hold is fabulous without being crunchy. The scent is great. You don’t need much either, so although it is definitely more expensive than some drugstore hairsprays, it will last you ages. It’s a hit!

The Body Shop Spa Wisdom Afrique Ximenia & Salt Scrub ($28/13.5oz)  There must have been a deal on this, because there is no way in God’s green earth that anyone should spend so much on a body scrub. For me, this was not something I’ll repurchase. I like my scrubs pretty rough and I felt this scrub was too gentle. The salt in it was very fine, so I didn’t actually feel exfoliated. It is very moisturizing, however. The fragrance is very mild. I wouldn’t say the product is a fail–it’s just not for me. If you are need a very mild exfoliant, this might be a good option!

Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder ($37/1 oz) Another holy grail product for many, myself included. This powder blends and absorbs seamlessly. It photographs well (some white powders can really reflect the light in flash photos, which looks really weird). This one container lasted me for-ev-ver. I have had it for at least 2 years. It’s a hit!


Favorites!! Since I’m not doing a “monthly favorites” this month for beauty,  I wanted to include a few other great products that made my day this month!

Favorite Gluten-Free Product: Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour Gluten Free I have Celiac Disease, and while I do my best to really not make this blog about that, I do feel like I need to look out for my Celiac homies when I find a good product. This flour is a great substitute. I have used it both in specifically GF recipes and subbed it into non-GF recipes without any problems. It’s also very affordable. I have found a 5 lb bag for $15 at my local grocer’s, which is MUCH cheaper than anything else out there.

Favorite Song: Rachel Platten “Fight Song” This song recently came through on my Pandora while I was out on a long run and it is the perfect workout song. I am always adding to my marathon playlist and this song is definitely on it!


That’s it for my empties/favorites! What products have you used up that you loved?

Loving the London Look

Rimmel and Kate Moss have been teaming up for nearly 15 years to bring affordable but high quality makeup products to the masses.  Rimmel is one of my favorite drugstore brands–I hold them right up there with Maybelline, L’Oreal, and NYX–that I count on to consistently deliver a good product at a great price. Recently, Influenster sent me two of Rimmel’s recent Kate Moss Collaborations for review purposes. Both products were a hit for me and are, of course, super affordable.

Rimmel Kate ScandalEyes Mascara

I am not going to lie–I was a little taken aback when I opened this mascara. The brush is definitely different from anything I have seen before.

rimmel brush

Rimmel describes this as a “broken heart” shape, and I after I read that I could kind of see that half-heart shape. Anyways, the great thing about this brush is that it when you apply the mascara, the wider bristles towards the outside provide your lashes with a flirty little flare.


I have been using this mascara for a week and it passed all of my requirements for a good mascara.

  • No clumping
  • No flaking
  • Decent length (I have seriously stubby lashes)
  • Holds a curl
  • Removes fairly easily

rimmel kate moss mascara

It retails for around $6.99 at any of your big drugstore chains, Target, Walmart, etc.


Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss in #10

kate moss rimmel 10

I love a good red lipstick, so I was very excited by the color Influenster sent. #10 is a slightly cool toned cherry red. It’s the kind of red that makes your teeth look just a little whiter, which is just a little bonus. Rimmel designed these lippies for up to 8 hours of wear. I would say they only last 8 hours if you don’t plan on eating during that time. They definitely don’t hold up to the wear of a NARS lippie or some of your more high-end long wear lipsticks I’ve used, but for under $6, I think you get great wear for the money.

How did it stack up to my expectations?

  • Applied smoothly
  • Creamy finish
  • Did not dry out my lips, as many long-wearing lippies can
  • Not as long-wearing as some other products on the market
  • Cute Packaging

rimmel kate moss

Overall, I will definitely continue to use and recommend both of these products. I think if you are in the market for a hard-core, “I want to eat a sub sandwich and not reapply my lipstick,” I would seek elsewhere, but for $5.79, I can reapply after my meals. Thumbs up Rimmel!

Disclaimer: These products were provided to me by Influenster for my honest review. The thoughts above are solely my own and I have received no compensation in return for my reviews.

If you are interested in joining Influenster, I have a button in my header ❤

xoxo,

Mandie