Wednesday, January 30

Under the Microscope: ELF Total Face Brush

A new video in my Under the Microscope series on YouTube. This time the ELF Total Face Brush is the one being examined. I know this is a popular brush because of how affordable it is at stores such as Target, but perhaps one should be wary before putting down $1-3 for this product. The bristles are hard on my face and after filming this video I threw mine away. Just take a look at how thick and unruly the bristles are underneath the microscope. You might be surprised.
Pin It

Daily Inspiration, January 30, 2013

Daily Inspiration, January 29, 2013

Monday, January 28

10 Days of Inspiration: January 17-27, 2013

My apologies for getting a bit behind on the daily inspiration posts. When a new semester starts it is often difficult to acclimate to the new schedule and, unfortunately, the blog tends to suffer for it. But I'm making up for it with with ten days in one and the regular daily inspiration posts will continue as usual!

Pin It

Tuesday, January 22

Under the Microscope

If you're a strange one like me then perhaps you've once wondered what your makeup looks like on a microscopic level. Well my curiosity got the best of me and since Jeff received a USB microscope for Christmas I decided it was time to look into that very curiosity. What does our makeup look like on a microscopic scale?

I first decided to take a look at makeup brushes to see if quality could be seen underneath the microscope. It can, but what was even more surprising (to me) was what product looks like on the brush/applicator after it's been used. I try to clean my brushes as often as I can but sometimes I get behind. After taking a closer look at what's on my foundation brush I can tell you I will be cleaning it more often.

I was so giddy and excited about this (like the nerd that I am) that I decided it would make a great feature for the blog and be an excellent way to start up my YouTube channel. The first in the series is that very foundation brush, my RealTechniques Buffing Brush that I use to apply Revlon ColorStay in Medium Beige. Care to take a look at it under the microscope?

If you have an idea of what you'd like to see under the microscope then please leave it in a comment and I'll see what I can do! If you like this type of video please let me know so I can keep making them. I have 9 more I've recorded but have yet to put together in their fancy YouTube form so if you like them, know that there are more coming!
Pin It

Monday, January 21

Review: Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo

There are those who will tell you that washing your hair every day is actually bad for it, and that you shouldn't do it. Whether or not you follow that credo is up to you, but personally I like having "fresh" hair every day. But in an effort to have healthier hair I've decided to give up washing daily and try out some dry shampoo.

The first product I used was the Dove dry shampoo based off the recommendation of GlamLifeGuru on YouTube. It doesn't have a bad smell, is super affordable, and it really works. But never content to have something just work fine I opted for a more expensive alternative. It happened really quite whimsically; I was running errands and itching to get a few items from Ulta, so I thought I'd search around for a dry shampoo. Well my first mistake was not doing some research beforehand. I walked around aimlessly looking for suitable options and trying to avoid any two-digit price with a 2 in front of it. Honestly, $20+ for a dry shampoo is silly, especially when the Dove dry shampoo is something like $3. Eventually an Ulta rep came over to ask me for help. I told her what I was looking for and she proceeded to look through the aisles with no more knowledge about the products than I possessed just minutes prior. Quite frankly I think she just picked up the first one she saw, and that was Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo.

My second mistake was not really glancing too long at the price and kind of brushing it off for fear of looking cheap in front of this incredibly made up Ulta worker, even though she didn't know any better than I did. It's $17.95, but for some reason I thought it was closer to $15. I mentioned that I didn't want anything that smelled awful and when she sprayed it on her arm I couldn't really smell anything bad. Now that I think about it, why the heck would you spray that on your arm for a customer to smell? If you're wearing perfume then it is completely pointless. Whatever. I bought it, went home and used it.

It smells awful.

Not only did it smell awful but it turned my hair into straw. All the effort I put into moisturizing my hair the days that I do clean it is completely gone with one spray of this stuff. It was like straw. And while it did volumize I felt like all I could do with it was put it in a bun and go about my day. I don't want to be limited to just wearing a ponytail or pulling my hair back similarly just because it's a dry shampoo day, and that really irritated me about the product.

But I didn't want to dismiss it after just once use so I decided to wait and use it again. That second time happened to be this morning, and sadly my opinion hasn't changed. While the straw hair feeling does diminish somewhat, my hair is still crunchy and dry; I don't even want to try to smell it.

I don't often return beauty purchases because I don't often spend too much money on them, but for $17.95 I think I'll return this and get my money back. My Dove dry shampoo will have to suffice for now until I find something better, but it's clear I need to do some research before I go back to the store to pick one up. And perhaps I'll avoid Ulta next time and head straight for Sephora, where I know the reps are much more knowledgable about their products.
Pin It

Thursday, January 17

Unboxing: Palmolive VoxBox from Influenster

As an Influenster member I was both happy and pleasantly surprised to receive their Palmolive VoxBox. Press play for the unboxing and initial impression of what was inside!

Pin It

Daily Inspiration: January 17, 2013

Wednesday, January 16

Just Delivered: Sephora!

Last week I made a somewhat pricy order on and I have been impatiently waiting for it to arrive ever since (especially since it shipped the very next day). I just Instagrammed what's inside so I thought I'd share with you!

  1. Jurlique Moisture Replenishing Cream (link)
  2. Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Face Polish (link)
  3. (sample) Anthony Shave Cream (for Jeffrey)
  4. (sample) Stella McCartney L.I.L.Y fragrance
  5. (sample) YSL Touche Eclat 
  6. (deluxe sample) Tarte Lights Camera Lashes! (100-point beauty bonus)
I just used the very last smidgen from my Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Face Polish sample so I'm happy to get started on a brand new bottle! And now I can take it from my Beauty Wishlist and dream up some new beauty wishes! 

Hmm, maybe I should post about my little splurge at Ulta yesterday...

Pin It

Daily Inspiration: January 16, 2013

Monday, January 7

Anniversary Post: January 3rd

It's really fun to see what sorts of plans and ideas I had for our kitchen a year ago. We had just received our KitchenAid stand mixer and five sets of Fiestaware in an assortment of colors for Christmas and we were really excited about expanding our kitchen collection. We were also inspired by the colorful palette that was developing, and over the past year our kitchen has exploded into a rainbow of beautiful colors. It continues to be one of our main motivators when it comes to selecting and purchasing new items.

From that wishlist the only item we have since purchased - and almost exactly one year to the date - is our two new dining chairs. I plan on doing a more comprehensive post on those in a little while, but I'm glad we ended up with a nice option from Pier One rather than the cheap chairs I selected from Ikea. 

I still eye every set of candlesticks I come across when we're out shopping. I will be getting my hands on a pretty set one day!

Pin It

Daily Inspiration: January 7, 2013

Thursday, January 3

Anniversary Post: January 2nd

I had so many ideas for gardening and including greenery in our apartment a year ago, but I came to find out that I'm really not the greatest gardener. In fact, Jeff is much more adept at it than I am. Of all the items I loved from the gardening section of the Ikea catalog the watering can was the only one we ended up getting (in green, and not from Ikea).

For a while we were growing parsley in this contraption that sat on top of our kitchen counter but eventually we stopped that when it just became too much. Honestly who can eat that much parsley? It was like a mini jungle. There were other attempts at growing herbs and small plants but they pretty much just died.

For now we have four distinct and separate areas for growing greenery, the last of which is a brand new addition to our home. From left to right: On the table we are growing a gardenia that is doing much better in the winter than it did in the summer/fall, some bamboo, and dirt (used to be growing daisies); the big plotted plant is a dwarf lemon tree that I blogged about here back in May; I'm not sure what this plant is but it is tropical and very very green; our newest addition is another tropical plant that we decided to put in our newly redone bedroom. 

One day I'm sure we'll have more time and space to devote to beautifying any of our outdoor living space but for now these four areas will have to suffice. 

Pin It

Daily Inspiration: January 3, 2013

Wednesday, January 2

Daily Inspiration: January 2, 2013

Anniversary Post: January 1st

The very first post on Apartment 54 was a brief introduction into what it would be about. Although truth be told I wasn't so sure how things would turn out. We had been living in our first apartment together for just a few months and things were starting to come together. Everything was a mishmash of furniture and decor from our separate homes and nothing really signified our joint style and aesthetic. Christmas had just ended and we received a lot of great things, including a KitchenAid stand mixer which completely revitalized our dining experience(s).

Our apartment is still a work in progress but we've come so far in making it a true home. This past Christmas we had our first every real Christmas tree, a beautiful Noble Fir (that is still alive and flourishing), and it was the perfect way to cap off a year of positive changes.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what 2013 brings and I especially look forward to sharing it here on Apartment 54!

Pin It

Celebrating 1 Year!

I would have liked to have posted this yesterday but we were running around town all day shopping for furniture. January 1st marked the one year anniversary of Apartment 54! All this year I will be posting anniversary posts highlighting what was posted exactly one year prior (excluding Daily Inspiration posts). There should be a lot of blogging this year!

I still have so many exciting things to share and I'm really thrilled to be celebrating this special anniversary! If you've enjoyed any post or feature in particular over the past year please share it by leaving a comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for a great year!


Pin It

Daily Inspiration: January 1, 2013

Tuesday, January 1

2013 Home Wishlist

2012 was such a great year for Jeffrey and me. Thanks to the support of our families we were able to furnish our kitchen and living room with brand new appliances, kitchen accessories, lamps, a coffee table, and a couch. We received even more great stuff from them at Christmas, and we're looking forward to investing in more pieces to make our apartment a true home.

This is my 2013 Home Wishlist for the kitchen, dining room, living room and bedroom. Everything is affordable (the furniture is under $200 each), stylish, and comes from either Amazon or Target (and with our Amazon Prime and Target Red card memberships we will enjoy discounted prices and free shipping!)

Read on to find out what we plan on purchasing in the new year!

Fiesta 5-Piece Place Setting, Shamrock at Amazon.
Last Christmas we were fortunate enough to receive five of these 5-piece place settings from my uncle, who is a user of Fiesta himself. We later purchased two sets ourselves and then were gifted two sets of the matching silverware for my birthday and two baking pieces this Christmas season. To even out our collection to a healthy set of 8 I am eyeing this set in Shamrock. I'm also eyeing Sunflower since we don't have a yellow color currently. But I really love how Shamrock looks!

Fiesta Stoneware Spoon Rest, 12" Bread Tray, and Sugar Packet Caddy in Sunflower (Amazon)
To go along with the two serving dishes (in Tangerine) we received this Christmas I've found these three pieces in Sunflower that would add both functionality and bright color to our kitchen. We currently have a spoon rest but it is wine-themed and I would prefer something a bit more plain. The bread tray would be perfect for when I make homemade bread from scratch, and the sugar packet caddy perfect for storing packets of Truvia, which I use for my coffee and tea.

Keurig Mini Brewer at Target
I've been wanting one of these for a few years now. However, I could never really justify the purchase and still can't. When we moved into this apartment I purchased an inexpensive coffee maker, and also used an inexpensive espresso machine Jeff had purchased for me back when he lived in Camarillo. During the year we upgraded to a nicer espresso machine and have used it primarily for coffee brewing ever since (and the occasional Starbucks-inspired white chocolate mocha). The Keurig uses K Cups which come in an assortment of flavors and varieties (including tea and hot chocolate) and is perfect for me as I am the only one who drinks coffee. I still plan on using my espresso machine, but I've had my eye on this for so long that I've decided I should treat myself. And isn't the color fantastic? 

Keurig K-Cup Carousel Tower at Target
I saw this K-Cup carousel tower in a YouTube video and instantly fell in love with it. It looks so cute and is a great way to display and choose from K-Cup varieties. 

Wine Enthusiast Hanging Metal Stemware Rack from Target
 A hanging stemware rack is an item Jeffrey has wanted since we moved in, and we have a perfect place to hang it right above where we prepare food. This is a very inexpensive version and would allow us to get our wine glasses out of the dusty top shelf and looking chic.
food storage
At one point we purchased a set of food storage containers from Fresh & Easy but they've been scattered here and there and don't really get used. This is just one of those items that we need to keep food fresh, especially when we bring leftovers home from Jeff's parent's house (which is quite often!).

EZ-Serv Dry Food Dispenser from Target
To be honest with you, Jeff thinks I'm silly for wanting this. But it is perfectly reasonable to have fun items in your kitchen/home! We eat a lot of cereal and store the boxes on the counter (since we're short on storage space). This would be just a cute visual to have in the kitchen and a great way to keep track of when we need to buy more cereal. And one would be solely dedicated to Reese's Puff cereal. 

White Queen Upholstered Headboard from Target
Moving on to the bedroom, one item we are sorely missing is a headboard. Right now our pillows tend to fall in the space between the mattress and the wall and we often find ourselves stuffing other pillows in the space just to keep our pillows propped up and neat. It's very annoying! So imagine my surprise when Jeff not only agreed that we needed a headboard, but expressed an interest in the very same kind I want! I love the tufted, upholstered look (think of Don and Betty Draper's bed from Mad Men) and found this very lovely and super affordable version from Target. It's an off-white white that may not be the best as far as collecting dust and dirt is concerned, but it's the bedroom, not the kitchen, and shouldn't get too dirty. Just imagine how beautiful it would look against a painted wall!

Uptown Dining Chair Black & White Chevron (set of 2) from Target
The final piece we are looking to invest in is new dining chairs. We currently have an oak dining table that used to belong to Jeff's parents and some matching chairs he found on Craigslist. I'm not a fan of the chairs at all and they are mighty uncomfortable, so I've been looking for a reason to get rid of them! As soon as I saw this set of black and white chevron chairs I wanted them. It's a bold print to have at the dinner table and wouldn't exactly match the oak table (which can be remedied with a tablecloth) but they are so beautiful to look at and I feel would definitely add a chic element to our dining-slash-kitchen room. It might look really beautiful with our bold colored Fiesta ware, too!

So those are the items we're looking to add to our home. I'm also on the lookout for some nice nightstands for the bedroom but so far haven't had luck finding something I like. That will likely require going from store to store to find something perfect, and I have a feeling I'll find that something perfect at Home Goods or World Market.

If you haven't had a chance yet, be sure to Like Apartment 54 on Facebook! There will be so much more to come in 2013!
Pin It


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...