The Tank Top Necessity

Hello once again! Sorry for the long break, but not to worry, as I have new posts coming for you. I will try to continue blogging for as long as I can, but it does get difficult with my time being consumed by schoolwork and extra-curricular activities.

On the eve of Christmas Eve, I went to my local mall just because I knew there would be great deals in stores. I kind of already had the idea of buying a new white tank top at American Eagle (like I did last year, which I promptly lost after wearing it just once), but I was not 100% sure of the idea.

My first stop was Old Navy because I remembered watching a beautybaby44 haul where she raved about Old Navy’s tank tops. Plus the sign outside said the entire store was up to 75% off.

Inside I found the tank tops that Lindsey loved, but I did not but any because I prefer the ribbed look. Luckily for me, I found them, and they were 65% off! And so I bought a white and a black one. I also almost bought a black and gray striped v-neck but decided against it (black and gray is one of my favourite colour combinations, and I own a maxi-cardigan from Urban Outfitters in it).

Next I ventured into American Eagle. Their tanks are nice and soft; however, they weren’t as good a deal as the Old Navy ones. Originally I wanted to pick up an army green one because I thought it would have complimented my wardrobe. But I realized there was only one green one in a large. Then I saw some gray ones, and I remembered I had lost my gray one from Joe Fresh during a basketball practice. So I picked one out.

I am very happy with my purchases, and not just because this all cost less than $15. All of the shirts feel comfortable, but the American Eagle one is slightly more relaxed in its fit. If you are looking for a more body-hugging top, I would suggest the Old Navy ones. Tank tops are very versatile basic pieces, and I am glad I can utilize more of them now.

So now I bid you adieu. I hope you enjoyed this latest post and I wish you all a happy New Year!

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You Never Know Until You Ask

If you follow my Twitter you would have seen some tweets already complaining about the workload of my IB classes. But when given the opportunity to take on the entire IB Diploma program, I said yes, fully aware of the intensive course load.

Last year, I had asked my school’s IB coordinator if I could join the Diploma class after the initial class was chosen. He told me that if he could see that I can succeed in it by the end of the year he would put me in. Well by the beginning of this school year I saw I had gotten into three IB classes (one HL, two SL), and I felt content with that.

When I went to the program coordinator, he became confused because he believed he had already asked me in. When he realized I wasn’t in the program, he offered me a place because school was only just starting and they had enough room for me.

Gladly I accepted. So now I’m going into my junior year as a full IB student, in English HL (the class I was talking to him about moving up in). Obviously I didn’t just get my position in the two by asking, but with the effort I put in, my wish came through. And I hope if this one post can teach you anything, it’s that if you want something and you work hard enough, take the initiative to ask for it. There will be so many opportunities coming your way in life, but if you don’t reach, no matter how embarrassed, angry, or shy, you can’t get them. After all, nobody knows what is going on in that head of yours except for you.

Fabulous Fingers: Hand Looks featuring Red Nails

Now that it’s autumn, deep, dark colours like this rich red are all the rage.

 

 

 

 

 

But I’m still not going to stop wearing all of my dainty midi-rings which everyone was sporting this past summer (in truth I wear lots of rings all year round anyways, whether they’re in style or not). The juxtaposition of the autumnal red hue against summery jewellery contrasts nicely and is eye-catching.

 

The red shade is "Valentine"

The red shade is “Valentine”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For this look I am using two Revlon nail polishes: the base/top coat and a scarlet one called “Valentine”. Fun fact: when I first bought the red I thought the name was “Valentino” like the designer.

I love accessories, like Elle Woods. So I can always be seen with this new hat I got from the Aritzia Warehouse Sale (from $98 to $9.99!!!), a beanie, or even my cloche hat I got from Joe Fresh last year.

FullSizeRender (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because my school is starting the year late, it’s only beginning to feel like back-to-school season for me. So I am trying to get back into reading real books again, starting with the one I left half-finished all summer: Emma by Jane Austen.

Just because I love these pins I got from a local anime convention.

And so those are some ways I like to rock my summery rings during the fall time. The lovely polishes are from Revlon, and you can probably find them at any drugstore or supermarket. As for the rings, the come from different places, like Urban Outfitters, Brandy Melville, Topshop, and various flea markets. I hope you enjoyed, and have a wonderful day!

Internet Icons: Claire Marshall

My first victim internet icon is Claire Marshall, aka heyclaire. Hailing from the Washington DC area, she comes across like someone from the fast-paced New York rather than from LA, where she actually lives. She is worldly, having travelled so much in her childhood with her mother. She is a beauty and fashion personality on YouTube, but her brand also includes a Twitter, Instagram, tumblr., and blog.

For me, she is a style inspiration. She has identified her style as “hobo-chic” and she utilizes basics to her advantage. Her wardrobe consists of enviable items she has curated from designer brands like All Saints and Alexander Wang, mall stores like Zara and J. Crew, vintage finds, as well as lesser-known online stores, like Runway Bandits. Her style is not typical, though it does include very classic pieces, it is completely her own.

In her videos she often speaks to her precious black cat, Bruce Lee. Claire very much has personality, which translates into her edited videos, some of which she doesn’t even talk in, as well as her vlogs. For anyone wanting to watch a video that can make you laugh, warm your heart, entertain, teach you, and/or inspire, her channel is where it’s at.

Besides beauty videos, Claire also films many vlogs, often featuring her hilarious friends, behind the scenes footage of different projects, yummy-looking food, and of course, Claire driving in her car. These vlogs are always sweet videos. My favourites usually have Claire just simply talking to is while she’s driving. It’s like a very mellow one-sided conversation!

Claire also uses very good, catchy, albeit more indie, music. I wouldn’t say she has introduced me to my new favourite bands, but I have rediscovered old favourites through her videos (Foxes and Fall Out Boy). She seems to really like pop punk, alternative and indie rock, but she has expressed appreciation for Top 40 pop, having said “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift was her most listened to song at one point. Because she had grown up in the DMV area, she listened to a lot of pop punks in her youth, though from what I can tell she still does, seeing as she’s done the Pop Punk Challenge twice.

Side Note: One song in particular that she introduced me to was Radio (Juno Jay remix) by Mansions on the Moon.

Another place I follow Claire is her tumblr. It looks very “tumblr”-esque for those who are only familiar with tumblr’s repute: eclectic, kind of hipstery, humorous, stylish girls, and of course, cats. I love it. Personally I like all the selfies; when your brow and cat eye games are that strong, who wouldn’t want to see your face?

My favourite photos from her Instagram and tumblr:

I have not spent much time on Claire’s blog, but scrolling through I noticed she posts YouTube video updates pretty often. I noticed one series that looked cool on her blog: Music Monday, originally Monday Morning Mixtape. Again she’s got great taste in music, so it should be interesting how I get on with her recommendations.

MY FAVOURITE HEYCLAIRE VIDEOS:

Tutorials — heyclaire offers many tutorials for makeup, hair, and occasionally food. Here are just my favourites:

My Manicure At Home — I found this in-depth video helpful as I am only recently getting into painting my nails.

Sweet Sunday | Buttercake — this looks pretty freaking delicious and it was really cool how she took the risk to adjust the recipe as she saw fit and how it worked out well.

EASY BEACH BABY HAIR — This is a fast no-heat waves, though she gives the option of more defined curls with some heat. Plus I know I’m not the only one interested in Oribe after watching this.

Vlogs — Claire does not separate her vlogs from the rest of her videos, making her channel all the more personal. Even though they’re not as heavily edited as a normal video would be, she still shows how creative and funny she is on an everyday basis:

VLOG: BECAUSE THAT’S DIFFERENT — this was pretty chill, but we got to see the work put into creating a lookbook.

VLOG: BOYS BOYS BOYS — this was supremely cool. We followed Tennis System for a day, you know, living like a rockstar vicariously through this video.

VLOG: Behind the Scenes – NBD Vintage Holiday Video — this video was absolutely perfect; some parts of the video looked like they could have been taken from any multi-million dollar ad campaign. I know the magic in this video was not accomplished by Claire alone, but I really appreciate her sharing this video with us.

Lookbooks — I have already stated that I adore Claire’s style, but I think I love her lookbooks even more! They are creative and fun and they look like a lookbook coming from a big, well-known brand:

Summer Looks with ShopWasteland.com — This lookbook is my favourite! It lolo’s like she had a huge team to help her with the concept, locations, filming, and modelling. It reminds me of H&M commercials, the MyBurberry as campaign with Cara Delevigne and Kate Moss, and various America’s Next Top Model photo shoots. Except Claire did it best.

CALIRE’S CLOSET • BLACK BOOT COLLECTION — This video was too cool. It probably took forever to choreograph and make sure everything fit perfectly, but it looks effortless.

FAVORITE NAILS INC. POLISHES — Nails Inc. made a wise decision to have Claire make a video about their nail polishes. As always, this looked super professional and was perfectly edited.

FAVORITE MAC LIPSTICKS – Va Va Voom — Is this a commercial? No? Well it certainly looks like one.

And so that was the very first of the Internet Icon series. If you hadn’t heard of Claire Marshall beforehand, I hope you at least check her videos out. I can’t wait to see what Claire does in the future! As always, have a good day and you’ll hear from me soon!

Introducing: Internet Icons

I want to start a series on my blog highlighting people from the internet who I follow and love. For the most part I will feature people from YouTube, tumblr., or bloggers, just because those are the internet hubs I frequent.

My first official post on this series will be up tomorrow, but let me know if there is anyone in particular you want me to talk about! As always, have a good day and you’ll hear from me soon!

P.S. In case you didn’t know, I have a twitter, which is @SmudgeofScarlet. Follow me for updates and occasional moments of inspiration, as well as random thoughts that pop in my brain.

The Simple Sensitive Skin Experts Soothing Facial Toner: A Gentle Toner for Anyone

Simple Sensitive Skin experts Soothing Facial Toner. The name perfectly describes the product.

The Simple Sensitive Skin Experts Soothing Facial Toner which you can find at the drugstore.

The Simple Sensitive Skin Experts Soothing Facial Toner which you can find at the drugstore.

I first bought it about two months ago just because I hadn’t been using a toner and Simple has a reputation for being gentle but effective. I have used either a cotton ball or a round and put a generous amount, then gently swipe it over my face and neck every morning and every evening. I never miss this step of my skincare routine even on days when I’m too lazy for serum or eye cream.

This isn’t some miracle product, but it does its job well. When I was researching what exactly a toner is, I found that there are multiple types of toners depending on what it does and its ingredients. This one utilizes pro-vitamin B5, witch hazel, and flower extract, and is also alcohol-free as well as vegan. It is refreshing and shrinks pores. The soothing face toner cleans any residual dirt left after cleansing, and I actually use the cotton pad to clean my neck after I’m done with the face (I don’t know if I’m supposed to; it’s just what I do). In my first week of using it, I looked in the mirror and was flabbergasted at how small my pores were on my forehead. They are naturally very big and I never really cared or did anything about them, so this was a nice surprise.

On the back it simple says “Our Soothing Facial Toner leaves you skin feeling clean and refreshed. Perfect especially for sensitive skin.” While it is true that it cleans and refreshes the skin, it did also shrink my meteor-sized pores as an added bonus. The Simple Soothing Facial Toner left me satisfied with the job done. If you’ve never used a toner before, or if you want something good for sensitive skin, I recommend this one.

If you’re still not sure what a toner is and how it works, you might find these links useful:

http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/beauty/skin-toner.htm

http://www.just-health.net/What-Does-Toner-Do-For-Your-Face.html

The Netflix Diaries: Lost

Lost was a drama that ran from 2004-2010. It ran for six seasons and was a success, dubbed by my older supervisor as “The big show at the time”. When it first aired I was only a kid, so obviously I never watched it. Thank goodness, though, because I don’t think I would have had the patience to wait around for the next episode every week. Lost, I find, is well-written, to say the least, and highly enjoyable and addictive for the audience.

The most important aspect of Lost is its characters. You guys might not know this about me, but I am a completely character-driven person, which is why I love a good Bildungsroman. I get attached to characters, whether they are good or bad, and I really appreciate the characters of Lost, particularly Sawyer, Charlie, Desmond, and Ben.

From the very start I fell in love with Charlie Pace. He had a boyish innocence to him, despite the fact that he was originally a heroin addict. His backstory was the first that made me teary-eyed because the idea of being used and abandoned by those we love is ultimately one of the scariest things in the world. In all honestly I had no major problems with Charlie until his tragic death (yes I justified his stealing Aaron and “kidnapping” Sun). It did not make sense to me why he locked himself in what became his death chamber rather than shutting the door from the outside and escaping with Desmond the way they got in. I felt that it wasn’t his time yet because he was really showing his promise, pretty much acting as a dad to Aaron.

The most complex characters on the show were The Others, particularly their leader, Benjamin Linus. He was so human; he was calculating and hurt and was seeking love always, from his unhappy father, his rebellious daughter, from the island he sacrificed everything to. But he lost them all. So he took solace in The Man in Black because “he’s the only one who’ll have [him].” At first I believed him to be just a clumsy, troublesome captive of Jack and John, but I immediately warmed up to him when he started showing his deceptive and manipulative side. I believe he epitomizes extreme qualities desirable to most people. He’s smart, cunning and knows how to get what he wants, but he’s very much a human and cares deeply for his daughter and the island.

Lost was not without bad characters, however. For example, I really disliked Kate. I didn’t think she was well-written or likeable but she was obviously a favourite amongst the writers from the get-go. She didn’t have any surprises to offer the audience (except maybe when she handed Aaron over to his grandmother); her being the criminal on the plane, falling for Sawyer, becoming overly attached to Aaron, it was all predictable. But on the show she was treated with so much importance it really irked me.

The overarching plot of Lost was interesting and provided enough surprises to keep the audience captivated. The first few seasons did not deal with the exciting science fiction elements that the last few did, but they were mortally entertaining nonetheless. At first I thought the polar bears from Season 1 came from some sort of unreported storm or tsunami that carried them all the way to Oceania. When it was revealed that the DHARMA Initiative brought them, it made a lot more sense, though it was not as fantastical. Again, I loved seeing The Others, seeing that they are people, not heartless mutants. These ordinary humans who somehow got sucked into that world and chose to stay and obey, yes, they were fascinating.

I did find that I became even more invested in the series by the fourth season. I loved Daniel Faraday because he was played by the talented Jeremy Davies, who I also loved on Hannibal. I loved him on Lost because he made the unreal sci-fi believable when I was freaking out over what was happening with Desmond in the beginning of Season 4. I comforted myself by believing he would be safe following Daniel.

In Season 5, there was the most science fiction in the series. I love finding sci-fi shows and novels and movies, so I really appreciated the time-travelling early on. The writers did well in making the time-travelling easy enough to understand but confusing enough to be believable and keep the audience engaged. A standout scene from the season was when Miles was explaining how nonlinear time is/was because of their jumping around different times to Hurley confidently but still not know how Ben did not recognize Sayid. I still don’t know the answer to that, but I liked how it was done.

Season 6 kept me on my toes, and I loved it. Mark Pellegrino’s Jacob was another one of my favourite characters on Lost. Because of the flashbacks and his appearances to Hurley (and his comrades later on) we saw this character unravel and reveal himself but also still take control of everything. Jacob was completely brilliant and shone light on all of the Candidates. Because of Jacob we saw the Candidates show these brilliant and mature sides. I also appreciated the flashes of that alternate dimension because it was quite a sweet ending that tied the entire series in with a bow.

With good there are always going to be some bad aspects. Not too many because this show was superb, but a little here and there. My main “problem” (for lack of a better word) was how connected the characters were. It struck me as odd how they had passed by each other, drank with, visited each others’ hometowns, but not really know each other until the plain crash. I found small things in individual plot lines odd; like how Sayid fell in love with Shannon, even though he was going to LA to find his true love, who he then immediately married after escaping the island sans Shannon. And just a small note, I know that Jacob manipulated some passengers to board the Oceanic Flight 815, but why were there no families and so few Australians? Considering the plain is departing from Australia I would have expected more than just Claire.

All in all, Lost is an absolutely solid show. It provided satisfying characters who were realistic and showed qualities unique and familiar to us. While the characters and their development were my favourite aspect of Lost, I did also greatly appreciate that they took the risk of adding science fiction elements. I know I’m not the only one who appreciated it, as The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences did, too (though they are still not prepared to honour the hands down brilliant Orphan Black, see details here) To anyone reading, I recommend Lost 100%. Whether you’ve seen it before or not, if you have Netflix, you need to watch this.

4.5/5 STARS

4.5/5 STARS

And so there you have it folks! If you have any TV shows you want me to watch or review feel free to comment down below. You’ll hear from me soon. Ciao, bella.

An Introduction to The Netflix Diaries

Hello all you people! So basically I became obsessed with Netflix during last year’s Spring Break. I had it for a few months before, but it wasn’t like I was constantly watching it and needed it. When I started watching TV shows on Netflix, I couldn’t stop. With the press of a button I can watch any episode of any show at any time, and there are so many incredible shows that I had missed while they were airing that I just have to take great advantage of Netflix.

So while I was watching Lost (I had two episodes to go until it was over), the most incredible idea popped into my head: to make a series here on my blog of reviews of TV shows I have watched on Netflix. I mean, I’ve already finished Breaking Bad, Gossip Girl, 90210, Sherlock, and Hannibal, so doesn’t it make sense to review them for you guys?

With that said I figure that the most appropriate first series to review is Lost. While it’s not the first show I watched on Netflix, I did come up with this idea while watching it and actually finished the entire series in the same day. I will post my review of Netflix tomorrow so that you can have time to read this, get a breather, and come back for a whole review. Have a great day, you guys!

Hot Picks: Back to School Tunes for 2014

As you guys know I am a student. I’m going into my Junior year of high school, and honestly, it is daunting. I feel a lot of pressure to do my best this year in order to pick up the slack from the previous three years (not that I’ve done horribly, but I don’t feel I have reached my potential yet).

To lighten my heart I find myself escaping through music more than anything. When, in June, I felt all of this end-of-the-year pressure from my teachers, and from exams, and definitely from myself, I would sulk alone to The Script.

Side Note: The Script are incredible and you’ve probably heard “Breakeven” as well as a bunch of other songs like “For the First Time”, but they’ve got four great albums and multiple singles to listen to for any or no reason, but particularly if you’re in a bad mood. I call them The De Facto Sad Band.

With that said I have a playlist for going back to school. Correction: an upbeat, non-depressing playlist for going back to school. It’s fairly chirpy so we can feel alive as our environment dies during the last stretch. So without further ado I present you with this year’s back to school playlist:

1. Wake Up by Hilary Duff — Wake Up is a positive, upbeat song by Hilary Duff released oh so many years ago. I had completely forgotten about it until I heard her new single, Chasing the Sun, which inspired me to go listen to songs I loved when I was younger. Back when I was about 10, I loved Wake Up; now I love it for the nostalgia rather than the actual music, but I will still listen to it.

2. R U Mine? by Arctic Monkeys — I have no idea why but I had never listened to the Arctic Monkeys until this year even though all of my friends loved and recommended them. When I first heard AM, R U Mine? was not a favourite; I liked it but I preferred Arabella and I Wanna Be Yours. But I don’t know, I just randomly started listening to it on repeat, but it’s not my favourite, just the song I listen to all the time.

3. Defying Gravity by Idina Menzel (from Wicked) — I was going through lyric videos on YouTube and came across this. Randomly I played it but then instead of moving on to another song to listen to I had this on repeat for a half hour. Now that I’m preparing to go back to school I want to listen to this instant Broadway classic everyday going in to school.

4. Someday We’ll Know by New Radicals — This song was included in last year’s playlist as well, but I just don’t think I’ll ever get over it. I listened to the whole of Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too and this one is the best, better than You Get What You Give. If there is one song j could not recommend more to you guys, it’s this.

5. Landslide by Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks — Landslide is a classic. It’s been covered by Glee, The Dixie Chicks, The Smashing Pumpkins, by all these people on YouTube, practically everybody has heard this song. It is very mellow and calming and, I believe, can be appreciated by everybody.

6. Raging Fire by Phillip Phillips — if you follow me on twitter, you would have seen that I attended a Phillip Phillips concert recently. About midway through his performance, after Gone, Gone, Gone, he played Raging Fire and it was pretty good, though I didn’t think much of it at the time. But when I was driving home after the concert what I was remembering most vividly was the chorus of Raging Fire. So when I got home, I turned it on full blast and I can totally sing it out (not really, I’m practically tone deaf).

7. Not Ready to Make Nice by The Dixie Chicks — “Forgive sounds good/Forget I’m not sure I could.” Yes, yes, boring high school drama in a nutshell (I think, I actually try to stay away from that). But seriously, this song is personal for The Dixie Chicks and when you listen to this powerful song, you really feel it and that is something I think all music needs.

8. Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks — In contrast to Not Ready to Make Nice, I don’t actually feel too connected to this song, but I really like it and have always ever since Jack Black and Joan Cusack sang along to it. Nothing more I can say.

9. To the Lost by The B-List — The B-List is a fairly small band from New York; I hadn’t heard of them until I found them on twitter, do I wandered over to their Bandcamp ( theb-list.bandcamp.com ) and listened to their February 2013 demo, and they remind me so much of Green Day and a little of Every Avenue, two of my favourite bands. They’ve got a rad pop punk sound and I’m pretty excited to see what they do in the future.

10. Boom Clap by Charlie XCX — Boom Clap is featured in The Fault in Our Stars (which I unfortunately still have not watched yet, but I have listened to this song multiple times). It’s got a nice catchy hook that you can bet your bottom dollar will wake you up on lazy autumn mornings.

11. You Can’t Stop the Beat from Hairspray (2007) — I honestly hadn’t heard this song in years, but like with Defying Gravity I randomly played it and fell in love. It’s supremely danceable, so for me, that makes walks on slow, dreary mornings enjoyable.

12. All I Do is Win ft. Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross & T-Pain by DJ Khaled — This is a surprise for me because I don’t normally like rap, but this song is so catchy. Plus when I hear this song I visualize Emma Stone lip syncing it on Jimmy Fallon (psst… you can find it here)

13. Fancy ft. Charlie XCX by Iggy Azalea — again, I’m really surprised I like this song. When I first heard it I only heard the chorus. When I listened to the whole thing, initially I was thrown off but I then rolled with it. And so it became my summer jam. It’s so good! I don’t know, maybe I’m just a white girl inside.

So there you have it folks, my Back to School Playlist for 2014. If you like it, yeah I guess that’s pretty cool. If you’re interested in last year’s Back to School Playlist, you can find it here. Don’t be shy and leave me some rad music suggestions. Until next time, bye, chums!

Michael Kors Phone Case Review

Like most teenagers, I am absolutely always on my phone. Mine is a black iPhone 5, which happens to be very scratched with some unfortunate cracks, too. Some of the scratches and cracks that adorn my phone could have been prevented by a highly protective phone case.

In a previous post I mentioned that I splurged on a gorgeous red saffiano leather phone case from Michael Kors. I really did fall in love with it; it was beautiful and luxurious without being overtly flashy and tacky. Remember when those bunny ears phone cases were all the rage? Well, I would have been filled with rage if someone put a tacky thing like that on my phone.

My beautiful MK case was my shine new ball for a while. Unfortunately u took it to the Bon Jovi concert, and, well, it was dark, so,…yeah it dropped. It wasn’t even that high off the ground when I dropped it, but I still got a small crack on the front of my phone.

For a while my broken screen did break my heart, but I quickly got over that and tried to be more gentle with my previous phone. And it worked! For an infinitely small amount of time. Maybe a little longer.

Flash forward to June and three corners have snapped off. Two are understandable (I dropped my phone on the occasions) but the other?! I just handed it to my friend! While the corner bits that broke off were irksome, I still deemed the case usable. Until I tried to take my phone out of my back pocket, like normal, and one of the broken corners cracked and bent up the side! Now I know the plastic part that cracked was probably not of the best quality compared to the leather, but still it was a designer phone case. I expected it to be better made than this.

If this case is any indication of Michael Kors’ other cases, I am not impressed the plastic is very poorly made It stains easily from my jean pockets and cracks worse than my free one I got for buying my phone. As beautiful and luxurious it felt, I feel that I can get a much better case for the same price. Like an OtterBox.

What about you? Where do you get your phone cases? I actually haven’t been using one since this case broke, so I could really use some recommendations.