Writings

Alabaster Angel

Most days, she is a hero.

Kindness in her eyes.

Love in her voice,

Preparing to carry the world

On narrow shoulders.

Some days, she is a villain.

A vendetta in her heart,

Suffering in her mind.

Stifling a pain great enough,

To tear the world apart.

She is imperfect, flawed, and indulgent.

Yet, she bears no shame,

For she holds within her spirit,

The very key to eternal life.

A love of herself so great, 

Even the Universe is envious. 

Gem or Junk

Fiona Stiles Soft Cheek Veil: Making Us Blush?

This is a blush I’ve been eyeing for a while. We’d always see each other in Ulta, make a little polite chit chat and go our separate ways. Each time I walked away, I wound up regretting it more than the last time. Finally, I had to go for it. No more holding back. Before we find out if I made a love connection let’s go over a few quick facts about the brand:

  1. The brand is the brainchild of celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles, hence the name.
  2. The brand is currently doing some “housekeeping”. Seems Ulta isn’t what they expected it to be. 
  3. The brand is currently exclusive to Ulta.

Now let’s get blushing like brides. I picked this up for $5.00. The regular price is $20.00.  Now the packaging is what first caught my eye. It may not look like much but it’s brilliant. It’s a deep navy chrome with a nice metal feel. There’s a magnetic latch making opening and closing it a breeze. 

I picked it up in the shade ‘Pomander Walk’ which is described as a bright peony. 

This is honestly the pinkest shade I have Ever attempetes to wear on my cheeks. It’s a beautifully bright pink.

*The Pink Print ๐Ÿ˜‚

It has a very nice feel to it. It feels very finely milled. It reminds me of a loose pigment somehow. 

I figured this wouldn’t be for me. I thought my skin tone and a pink this bright would not be friends at all. Luckily, it was love at first sight. This added a beautiful flush of color to my cheeks. Even though it seems really pigmented, it’s actually quite soft. It looks really natural.

*I hope this picture didn’t freak you out๐Ÿ™ƒ

I’m super happy with the outcome. It looks like I’ve found a new makeup soul mate. 

Take a look at my hand. Do I have a royal blush? ๐Ÿƒ

Until Next We Meet

Gem or Junk

Ulta Twisted Volume Mascara: Lashes Going to New Lengths?

I picked this mascara up a little while ago. I tend to have pretty mixed thoughts on Ulta as a beauty brand. Some of their items are a bust while others are a blessing. It’s so inconsistent that I try and avoid their beauty products as a whole. One thing I can say, is that I’ve never gotten a bad mascara from them. So before we see if my last statement holds any water, let’s go over a few quick facts about the brand:

  1. Ulta is essentially the Walmart of Cosmetics. 
  2. Ulta’s home is in Illinois.
  3. The process to get your brand into Ulta is pretty straight forward.

Now let’s get to it. I purchased this mascara for $10.50. The reviews are mostly pretty positive. The one thing that I was most excited about was the wand. Apparently the volume of the mascara is determined by the twist of the wand! Mascara Sorcery!

So basically the wand can twist and untwist to match your desired lash volume. In theory this sounds like a splendid idea. Who doesn’t want to have that kind of power? It’s like being a fairy godmother except the only magic I have is control of lash length. 

This works OK. There are no dramatic results or anything. The wand is basically just a gimmick.  This works like a regular mascara. 

What do you think? Is this a bust or a blessing?

Until Next We Meet,

Gem or Junk

Becca Pressed Highlighters: High Life or Over Hyped?

I received this in a sample with some things I ordered from Ulta (I got two other Becca Highlighters that I’ll be reviewing pretty soon). To be perfectly honest, I assumed Becca was one of those brands that pretty much bought all the love it gets. Pretty much paying for trade. I thought it’d be interesting to test this out and see if it’s really deserving of all the praise. Before we find out if the church should say Amen, let’s go over a few quick facts about the brand:

  1. Becca is pretty much known for their highlighters.
  2. Much beloved beauty guru Jaclyn Hill, had a fantastic collab with the brand that Still seems to leave a lasting impression.
  3. The brand’s site has free shipping on All U.S orders.

Now let’s do the deed. The pressed highlight sample I have is in the shade ‘Opal’. The highlighter is priced at $38.00. 

I’ve gotta admit, the swatch left me pretty impressed. Despite being a pressed powder, it applies pretty effortlessly. The shimmer is beautiful and is certainly eye catching.

So this is a Fantastic highlighter. It blends so well. My favorite part is that it doesn’t really emphasize the texture of your skin like some other highlighters do. To be honest, I get why people speak so highly of it. The glow is stunning!

All that being said, I do still feel like it’s a tad over hyped. It really is a great product and I do really like it. I just don’t see myself paying $38.00 dollars for it. There are so many other amazing highlighters out there for half the price. 

What do you think? Is Becca the highlight of your life?

Until Next We Meet,

Gem or Junk

Mikasa Beauty Brushes: Glam Game On?

A couple of weeks ago, this brilliant little brand contacted me in hopes that I would review some of their products. Before we find out if they made the right move, let’s go over a few quick facts about the brand:

  1. This brand’s home is in the heart of Vancouver.
  2. There’s a whole team of experienced professionals behind this brand.
  3. They are committed to making the best brushes with the best prices.

Let’s get down to business. 

I received the lemon drop sponge (S100) free of charge for review purposes. While I did pay for the foundation brush (F300) and the eye shadow brush (E320) with my own funds, Mikasa provided me with a special 40% off coupon code in order to do so. Regardless of how I received these items, all opinions on them, as stated in this blog, are 100% my own, promise.

Although I received these in a bit of a special way, we’ll examine them as if I hadn’t. The foundation brush I picked (the F300) is priced at $16.00. The eye shadow brush (a tapered blending brush, E320) was priced at $12.00. The lemon drop sponge (S100) is $11.00. Since the company is Canadian, shipping to the states was a bit steep. The shipping was $9.95. It only took about a week for everything to arrive. 

OK, so I may have gotten worked into a frenzy over the packaging. The boxes are a foiled gold and black with the brand name embossed on the top. One side tells you how to properly care for the items and another describes how they work. I love the detail and effort put into it.

*as you can see, I snapped a lot of pictures.

I used the lemon drop first. I used it to blend in a little purple concealer under my eyes. It’s extremely soft and the point of it worked well.

It blended out pretty well!

Next up I gave the foundation brush (F300) a whirl. I used it to put on my foundation and then I used the lemon drop sponge to blend it out. The brush was decent. I did find it a little too stiff for my liking but it certainly didn’t make for difficult application, and the brush didn’t seem to soak up much product.

While the lemon drop was great for my concealer, it just couldn’t handle the battery it met when dealing with my entire face. It’s so soft that it wound up malformed. Poor little baby. Maybe I was a little too rough. The packaging does say it can be used wet Or dry so maybe next time I won’t wet it. 

I must admit, both products did my face justice. They have their pit falls but they work pretty well as a team. 

The best brush of the bunch is Definitely the tapered blending brush (E320). I used it for my bottom lid and fell in love. The bristles are light and just a tad separated so you can really pick up pigment. 

I have certainly found a new brush bff. Even though it’s fluffy, when I used a palette with kickback, none of the shadow got into my eye. This is brush boo for sure.

I must admit, I’m pretty happy. I do prefer my Pรผr Cosmetics sponges to the lemon drop and the foundation brush is a tad stiff (though that will Not stop me from using it). That eye brush is literally amazing. I love it and am so happy I got a chance to try it. I can see more wild eye looks in the Very near future.

Are you in the market for a few good brushes? Would you give Mikasa a try? Does their packaging also remind You of really nice business cards?

Until Next We Meet,

Gem or Junk, Unboxings, Writings

What’s Going On With My Blog? (I Need Your Help)

So it’s pretty clear to me that I probably should’ve done this a week ago. I’ve talked about it on my Snapchat (poisonedannie) quite a bit, but I’ve yet to mention it here and I’m realizing a great deal of you don’t know what’s happening. 

Firstly, I have my own domain name! I’m actually Very excited about it. It means I’m one step closer to my dream career ( I’ve always wanted to blog and travel). The best part? An incredible team of blog designers (I’ll be doing a full review of the whole process soon enough) gave me a customized layout and design. It’s beautiful and really fits my aesthetic. I am officially poisonedannie.com!!! You can check out the site and all its glory here.

I’ve recently learned that self hosted blogs are not visible via Tags or Discover in the WordPress Reader. While I have been assured that this is temporary, as WordPress is currently working on a way to fix this, they have no plans to unveil anything in the very near future. That means the only people who can see my boo in the WPreader, are people that already follow me and those that actively seek me out. This is great, but in an effort to remain discoverable, I’ve been double posting. That means whatever I post on my main blog (I always post there first) I also post on my old, and now secondary, blog. I assure you, this is temporary. I won’t be double posting for long.

In the wake of my double posting, a few of you might be thinking that you were somehow removed as a follower from my blog. I know this because you’ve been re-following the secondary blog. It honestly makes me smile that you guys care so much. The crazy truth is that you don’t have to re-follow me. All of my followers from poisonedannie.wordpress.com were migrated to the main blog. That means you never stopped following me in the first place. Each new follower the wordpress blog gets will be migrated over to the main blog too. Jetpack makes it super easy. I just send them an email and they take care of the rest. The only thing I beg of you is to make sure you’re liking and commenting on posts from the main blog. Some of you have been really good about this. You can still find me under the ‘Sites I Follow’ tab. To be sure, when you click on the blog from the reader, you’ll see my user name as Arrianne (which is my real name). Either way though, I’m so incredibly greatful for all of the support, and you guys make all the tough parts worth it, promise.

I know I may be asking for a lot, and inconveniencing quite a few of you. I’m really sorry for that, and you should do whatever is most comfortable for you. Blogging is amazing, but it’s tough sometimes. I really believe that the most incredible things come with the biggest challenges, that’s part of the reason why they’re so incredible. That being said, Anything you need me to do to help with your blog, I am more than willing to do. I think we can all grow if we support each other. If no one else has your blogger back, I do.

Until Next We Meet,

Gem or Junk, Unboxings, Writings

Affiliate Links: Bad for Blogging?

This post is a tad different from what I typically do. This is something that’s been nagging at me since I made an email address specifically for my blog. It seems many people think affiliate links show a lack of integrity, while others believe they are a good way to make a living. In this post, I’m going to tell you why I think they’re both, a double edged sword of sorts.

Firstly, let’s go over what an affiliate link actually is. An affiliate link is a link that you post on your blog or channel or wherever. It’s often in the form of a coupon code. More often than not, the affiliate/poster receives a commission (monetary compensation) for posting the link and helping the brand to gain exposure to the poster’s following. Basically the blogger gets a coupon code to give their followers, and each time a follower uses the code, the blogger gets a little bit of money. Many commissions aren’t much higher than 15-20%, but that adds up quickly if a blogger has a loyal following.

Affiliate links are important, especially for bloggers. Youtubers can make money for each view, but bloggers often rely solely on ads and affiliate links, and the occasional sponsorship. For someone trying to make their blog something they can live off of, an affiliate link is their bread and butter. It can be a way to make money for recommending a product they probably already recommend.

The danger in affiliate links comes up when we start talking about proper disclosure. Did you know that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) considers it Illegal when affiliate links, sponsorships, and PR are not disclosed properly? Punishment for violating the FTC guidelines can be a fine of around $16,000! Now I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t consider that pocket change! It’s a hefty penalty for what seems to be a pretty common. In fact, I was recently contacted by a brand that wanted to give me an affiliate link. I looked them up and found out they had a lot of affiliates. Now that’s fine. It does mean that the market for this brand is pretty saturated and individual affiliates are more likely to make a little less money. Trust me, I have No problem with people getting their coin. I say snatch it like it’s running from you. The problem I Did have is that none of the affiliates seemed to be properly disclosing and I could just see it ending poorly. Therefore, I decided against it because it could damage my integrity to be associated with such a large instance of FTC violators. It would be like a Guilty By Association thing. 

Proper disclosure would be explicitly stating the nature of your relationship with a brand. Think of explaining it the way you would to a 2nd grader. If you received the items for free, say that. If you’re paid to review, or make a post, say that. If you receive monetary profit (or really any kind of profit) each time a follower purchases through you, say that. It’s best to overstate than to understate. If you have Any questions about the FTC guidelines, and how to disclose according to them, click here.

To wrap all this up, no, affiliate links aren’t neccesarily bad. They don’t mean you’re selling out and for a lot of bloggers, they’re just a way to make a living. Just be sure to disclose properly. I’d hate to see anyone slapped across the head with a fine for a silly mistake. Keep the Bloggerspehere Clean.

Until Next We Meet,

Gem or Junk

E.L.F Shimmering Facial Whip: Oh Glow On?

I picked this up a little while ago when E.L.F had this massive sale. I just Had to take advantage of it. It took me so long to get this out because I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.  Now I’ve already given all the major deets on this brand here and here so if you wanna check that out, feel free to do so. 

That being said, let’s get down to it. I snagged the $1.00 whip in the shade ‘Pink Lemonade’. 

I was originally excited for the shade. It’s such a rosy color. Soon enough I was worried it would be too rosy for my skin tone. I knew on fairer skin it would be a nice pop of color. I was worried that it would look like I smeared pink ChapStick all over my face. 

Luckily, it was more of a natural glow. It didn’t show up anywhere near as saturated with pink as the swatch did. This would make the perfect blush topper. The best part is definitely the price.

For $1.00 we could all glow crazy!

Until Next We Meet,

Gem or Junk

Milani Color Statement Lipstick: Making the Right Statement?

Every once in a while I come across products that really catch my eye. Milani’s lipsticks have a way of doing that. I see one, and then I buy it. I’ve never stopped to think about if the product is any good or not (I’m a sucker for packaging). Before we see if these are worth the grab, let’s go over a few quick facts about the brand:

  1. The brand is both PETA, and Leaping Bunny Certified.
  2. The brand might be debuting some Vegan products soon. They’ve added a tab but nothing’s displayed on it yet.
  3. The brand is based in the City of Angels.

Let’s get busy! I purchased all four of these lippies at various times. Each one was $6.00. There are two Matte shades, and two Satin shades. I’m gonna be perfectly honest and admit my reason for purchasing these is the packaging. Good packaging has that effect. It makes you want to buy something even when you have no idea about it. There’s something about those little gold plastic tubes that catch my eye as I’m in the makeup ailse of Walmart, or Publix, or where ever. 

To be perfectly honest, three of the shades look incredibly similar. While Matte Love is the lightest of the shades, Black Cherry is a little pinker, leaving Cabaret Blend smack dab in the center.

The lippies are incredibly comfortable to wear. The mattes don’t dry out your lips either. They are certainly not transfer proof, but the colors are saturated enough to not fade or wear even if you do get lipstick all over the place. 

I still can’t really get over how I managed to grab three shades so similar I can barely tell them apart.

It seems like I might need to bring a list the next time I pick up these lippies. Aside from incredibly similar shades, I wish the packaging had a way to differentiate between the satin lipsticks and the mattes. I’m betting it’s pretty easy to walk away with a satin when you really wanted a matte and vice versa.

All in all I’m pretty OK with these. I’m not excited or upset, just OK. They’re decent lipsticks but they do have their problems. If the shade variation were better I’d probably be really praising these. 

These might just be lippies to love. 

Until Next We Meet,