Bite Beauty Best Bite Remix Set: Review + Swatches

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And the most Halloween-appropriate brand name award goes to... Bite Beauty! I mean, come on, it's called "Bite"—that's just asking for vampire references. Not to mention, they have plenty of lipstick shades to satisfy anyone's vampy lips needs. I have recently fallen in love with Bite Beauty lip products, so I was kind of stalking Sephora in hopes of a holiday set for the past couple of months. When the Best Bite Remix set appeared on their website, I ordered it immediately, and I'm pretty sure this was one of the best beauty purchases I've made all year. I actually talked about it in my October Favorites video a couple of days ago.

The set contains four of Bite Beauty's High Pigment Pencils: two permanent shades (Rhubarb and Pomegranate) and two shades exclusive to the set (Sablé and Winterberry). The formula is really nice: creamy, pigmented, and comfortable to wear. On me, the lasting power is about average: they will stay on as long as I'm not eating or drinking. As you can see in the photo, the shades are very opaque, but they don't feel heavy at all on the lips, which is nice. The Best Bite Remix set is $25 at Sephora and I think it's a great price for what you get: each pencil is 0.05oz (one regular size pencil is $24 for 0.09oz). Now, let's take a closer look at the shades:

First up, Sablé is a perfect everyday pink-toned nude. It's very wearable, but also has enough pigment in it to not leave you looking washed out. Initially, I didn't think I would get a lot of use out of this one (I struggle with nude lipsticks being too light for my pigmented lips), but I actually really like it.

Rhubarb is a really pretty mauve shade that makes the lips stand out without being too intense. I would still consider it an everyday shade, even though it's much darker than your average neutral pink. 

Pomegranate is a stunning cool-toned red that will flatter any skin tone. I wore it a few times already, but I can tell that this is going to be a big hit in my book during the holiday season. It's worth noting that, out of the four shades, this one stains my lips the most and therefore stays on longer than others. 

Finally, Winterberry is a berry fuchsia shade with a very appropriate name. I can't think of a more perfect lip color for the cold seasons! I wish this existed in full size—it's my most used pencil out of the four at the moment, and I'm going to be really sad when I run out.

Have you tried any Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencils? What is your most coveted holiday set this year?

On My Wish List: Sephora VIB Sale

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If there is one sale beauty bloggers look forward to, it's the Sephora VIB sale. Every year I see huge hauls after this event, but I've never actually been one to do much shopping during that time. This year, I actually have a wish list going, and though it may not seem like much, it looks quite impressive to me. I don't think I will actually buy ALL of these (that's $185 even after discount and I'm just not ready to part with that much money at once), but this is what I've narrowed things down to:

  1. Drybar Hot Toddy Hear Protector Frizz Fighter is one item that I am 100% sure I will be buying. If you watched my October Favorites video, you already know that I fell in love with the sample of this. Though it looks like a pretty small bottle, the amount of product needed for one use is very little (especially for my short hair). It's a great leave-in conditioner with a delicious scent.
  2. NARS Audacious Lipsticks in Rita and Brigitte. Now, I think I will only pick one of these and I'm leaning towards Rita (the scarlet red) at the moment. I feel like I need a lipstick named after Rita Hayworth in my life. On the other hand, I have a few nice reds in my collection already, and Brigitte is a much more wearable nude rose shade that would make more sense. Decisions, decisions...
  3. Boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil comes highly recommended, and my friend tells me it's worth every penny. I'm only a few uses away from being out of my Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil, so I'm due for another makeup remover, and this one is on the top of my list of things to try at the moment. I'm pretty sure it's staying in my cart for good. 
  4. Kat Von D Monarch Eyeshadow Palette is something you may remember from my fall wish list. Believe me, I have been eyeing this one ever since it came out, but I just don't know if I need to buy another palette. Actually, I DO know that I don't NEED it, but that doesn't mean that I don't WANT it. I swatch it every time I'm at Sephora and force myself to walk away. Maybe it's time?
  5. Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Champagne is the item I am most likely to leave behind after cutting one of the NARS lipsticks. After reading reviews on trustworthy blogs and inspecting it at the store, I really want to try it, especially considering how much my lips rebel again the upcoming cold weather. However, I still have plenty of lip balm left and I don't think this one is going anywhere anytime soon.
  6. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure. I know what you're going to say: "Marianna, there is a palette that includes this shade and it's a great deal!" But guys, it's only a good deal if you actually WANT the other blushes, and that isn't the case for me. I don't really care much for blush—all I want is a few different shades that look natural (no shimmery peach for me, that's NOT a natural blush), but this mauve actually looks really pretty on the skin and I don't have anything like it in my collection. 

Will you be shopping the Sephora VIB Sale? What's on your list?

The Halloween Tag!

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You didn't think I was going to pass up an opportunity to do a Halloween tag, did you? Especially when my lovely friend Lindsay decided to make her own! This doesn't have much to do with beauty products, but I felt like going for something a bit different. I hope you guys enjoy watching this video—I definitely had fun filming it! Don't forget to check out Lindsay's original post, and answer your favorite question in the comments! 

People I'm Tagging:

And anyone else who wants to do this tag!

The Halloween Tag Questions:

1. What is your favorite Halloween movie?
2. At what age did you stop trick-or-treating?
3. What is your favorite Halloween tradition?
4. What is your favorite Halloween food/beverage?
5. Do you like going to haunted attractions?
6. Vampires, witches or werewolves?
7. What is your favorite Halloween candy?
8. Do you decorate your house for Halloween?
9. Pumpkin Patches, Corn Mazes, or Hayrides?
10. What are your plans for this Halloween?
11. What is your favorite Halloween TV episode/special?
12. Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever held a seance or done ouija?
13. What is your scariest Halloween experience?


The Crow (1994) (watch the trailer here)
Tazo Pumpkin Spice Chai
The Big Bang Theory Season 5 Episode 7 "The Good Guy Fluctuation"

Inspired by... Snowpiercer (2013) + 5 Reasons Why You Need to Watch This Film

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Today I am back with another Inspired by post (which is officially a "thing" now, here on Impression Blend), and this time it's brought to you by a fantastic movie called Snowpiercer. It got released on DVD/Blu-ray two days ago, and you best believe I had this pre-ordered. The setting for this film has to do with a global ice age and a train circumnavigating the Earth. Naturally, I was inspired by by snow, ice, and metal, and I had the PERFECT eyeshadow duo for the look I had in mind. The one I'm talking about is the Kevyn Aucoin Eye Shadow Duo in #206 (which was part of my birthday gift from the wonderful Gummy) with two beautiful shimmery shades: a pale taupe and a blue black. I have to say, I am beyond impressed with Kevyn Aucoin eyeshadows because they are incredibly soft, easy to blend, pigmented, and have no fallout. For the eyes, this duo was the only thing I used.

First, I put the light shimmery taupe shade all over the lid, as well as the inner corner. Next, with a fluffy crease brush I started to gradually blend the shimmery blue black shade into the crease and the outer third of my eyelid. Blending is really key for this look, since I'm not using any transitional shades. I also blended whatever blue black eyeshadow was left on my brush under my lower lashes to smoke out the look. Then, taking a winged liner brush, I picked up more of the blue black shade and pushed it on top of my upper lash line, winging it out slightly, and also  a bit on my lower lash line. I added some mascara, and the eyes were done. After applying some cool-toned blush, I took a fan brush and went back to the light shimmery taupe shade, picking up a very small amount and using it as my highlighter on top of my cheekbones, on my brow bone, down the bridge of my nose, and on my Cupid's Bow. I normally don't go this crazy with a highlighter, but I really wanted to give this look a frosted effect. Finally, I applied Lime Crime's Carousel Gloss in Snowsicle (appropriate name, isn't it?) to my bare lips. This is a clear gloss with the tiniest hint of blue and some iridescent glitter. Click the photos to take a closer look!

I hope you guys like this makeup—it's really easy to do, but I think it gives the icy effect I was looking for. Now, let me tell you about this film that inspired me and that you REALLY should watch. 

Snowpiercer is a post-apocalyptic story based on a French graphic novel (which I have NOT read). It's directed and co-written by Bong Joon-Ho, the same man who brought us The Host (not the terrible Stephenie Meyer novel adaptation, but the Korean monster film). Here is the premise: in 2014 us humans decided to attempt to counteract global warming by launching a coolant into the atmosphere (smart, huh?), and it all went wrong, plunging the planet into an ice age. The only people who managed to survive are on this train called Snowpiercer, and just like in modern day society things aren't great for everyone. 18 years later,  a revolution is stirring because the disadvantaged have had enough.

Here are five reasons why you need to watch this film:

  1. Because the story is great. This movie is dark, gritty, and imaginative. It is not your cheesy "unique and individual snowflake" dystopian tale. Even though there are some elements that seem a bit far-fetched, it all works together. 
  2. Because Chris Evans is doing it right. To be honest, the acting in this film is great across the board, but Chris Evans is something else. I actually love him now. If you need a film to convince you in his acting ability and prove that he's not just Captain America, this is it.
  3. Because the world building is excellent. There is so much attention to detail! Throughout the story we see different sections of the train, and it's like seeing different worlds. You can feel the mood of every location—it's actually creepy. And when it gets violent, it doesn't hold anything back.
  4. Because the structure is smart. I can't tell you how many times during this film I said "Ahhh! THAT'S why he said/did that!" In Snowpiercer every detail matters, everything is connected and makes sense sooner or later, small phrases reveal their meanings as the story goes on. I loved the fact that everything was there for a reason!
  5. Because it makes you think. This film is filled with metaphors and thought-provoking content. Most of it I can't really talk about without giving spoilers, but consider this: the train is a microcosm of today's society. At the engine, we have the creator of the train, who is worshipped, but almost nobody has seen him in years. Then, there is a small number of rich and privileged people, taking up the front of the train. After them, there are train cars that have to do with production, and at the tail there is a large group of poor people living in horrible conditions, most of whom have never set foot past their section. Reminds you of something, doesn't it?

Even talking about this film makes me want to watch it again! If you're surprised you haven't heard of it, it's because of stupid studio nonsense that really hurt the release and marketing of this movie. Basically, The Weinstein Company got freaked out and decided this movie needs to be more mainstream, because it's too smart for the Midwest. They wanted the director to cut 20(!!!) minutes out of it and add opening/closing monologues. After the director refused, the film was given a very limited release, which is pretty much a crime. 

Will you be watching Snowpiercer? Have you heard of this film?

Paper Towns | Book Review

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I've always been a strong believer that a good book is good regardless of its genre, and that it appeals to any age group. I have found that to be particularly true with YA novels: think about Harry Potter, or The Hunger Games, or The Fault in Our Stars—all of those appeal to a wide audience, despite being written for young adults. They are masterfully written, carry important messages, encourage questions, and challenge their readers' world views. Why am I bringing this up? Because after a great experience reading The Fault in Our Stars (you can check out my review here), I couldn't wait to be challenged by another highly-praised John Green book.

Paper Towns is about Quentin Jackobsen, better known as Q, who has seen Margo Roth Spiegelman as the perfect unattainable girl ever since they were children. To him, she is an enigma and a promise of an exciting adventure. One night, at the end of their senior year of high school, Margo climbs through his window and challenges him to join her on a night of revenge. Of course, Q accepts this quest, and after a crazy night out with Margo he feels like they can finally be friends. The problem arrises the next day, when he comes to school and finds out that she has disappeared. Paper Towns is a book dedicated to Q's search for Margo, both in a literal and personal sense, as he starts realizing she may not be the person he thought she was.

The story is told from Q's perspective, and that means there is a lot of teenage boy drama and nonsense that go along with it. This may be a realistic depiction of how teenage boys are (I wouldn't know, I've never been one), but wow, this was annoying. I thought I may hurt myself with all of the eye rolling that kept happening—I just didn't care, I couldn't relate to it. At the same time, I had to appreciate the writing: John Green has a great writing style that I really enjoy, but I almost felt like it was being wasted on these ridiculous boys. Of course, if his goal WAS to show how ridiculous these boys with their #FirstWorldProblems were, then I applaud him for succeeding. I really couldn't stand Margo either—every single character in this book was completely self-absorbed. Speaking of which, I nearly bursted out laughing when Q lashed out at Ben for being self-absorbed—it was a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. 

Despite the absurd teenage drama, I still found the plot engaging at points. I particularly enjoyed the mystery solving parts—the actual search for Margo. There even were a couple of moments that were surprisingly tense. It was almost as if Paper Towns was a fluffier, teen-apropriate version of Gone Girl. Obviously, they are very different novels, and I'm in no way suggesting that one author borrowed another author's idea, but there are some similarities. To avoid spoilers, I'm not going to go into exactly what those are. I will say that Paper Towns has a very important message for the YA audience, which has to do with seeing people for who they really are. Very often it's easy for people to idolize someone they don't know very well, to fill the artificial air of mystery with positive qualities, to let the imagination run wild and fall in love with an idea of a person, rather than the reality. Here is a quote from the book that's a perfect example:

"The fundamental mistake I had always made—and that she had, in fairness, always led me to make—was this: Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl."

The main message of this book was its redeeming quality for me. It's a simple one, something we all learn sooner or later, but it's a trap most of us fall into during our teenage years. I think I would have enjoyed Paper Towns more if I read it about 10 years ago. This brings me back to my original point: thought this is a good book, it's not one that translates well beyond the age group it's intended for. I definitely felt as if I was too old to enjoy this. My experience with Paper Towns is also the reason I am not likely to read another John Green book: I originally was planning to read Looking for Alaska after this, {C}but after reading the premise and looking through the first few pages, I realized it seemed very similar. Maybe one of his future books will grab my attention?

All this being said, I think fans of John Green's writing would enjoy this book a lot. Clearly it has been doing well, as it has a lot of rave reviews. I just don't think this is something an audience that doesn't read YA would care for.

Have you read Paper Towns? What's your favorite book by John Green?

Inspired by... The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure

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Since a lot of you enjoyed my last Inspired by... post, I thought I should do these more often. Today, I present to you: cover inspiration from the second and third books in The Maze Runner trilogy—The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure. If you have read these books or are considering them—I have a review attached at the end of this post, but for now, let's look at these gorgeous covers. There wasn't really a character look I could do based on the story, because of the setting (I'm pretty sure nobody has time for makeup in THAT predicament). However, I knew I had the PERFECT makeup and nail polish to match up with these colorful covers, so I thought I would share those things with you.

First up, The Scorch Trials cover shows an area devastated by the heat and sun flares, turned into a desert. Orange and brown are the main colors here and I could not pass up the opportunity to break out Butter London's Silly Billy—my October favorite from last year. I also decided to add a bit of flare (no pun intended) with Julep's Diamond Theory—a copper glitter top coat. I think my improvised manicure goes perfectly with this scorched land on the cover.

The Death Cure presents an entirely different landscape and color scheme: it looks like a snowstorm hitting the mountains, covering the trees, and coloring the sky a menacing blue gray. The eyeshadows I used are all from MACSteamy—a shimmery teal that I applied all over the lid, Strike a Pose—a gray-toned blue I blended into the outer corner and dragged into the crease, and Crystal Avalanche—a shimmery white I applied in the inner corner and blended towards the middle of the eyelid. I also used MAC's eye pencil in Industry, a metallic dark gray, to line my upper lash line.

Do you ever get inspired by book covers?

If you would like to hear more about the book, check out the video below!

Cover FX Blemish Banishing Line: Review + Swatches

Press samples

You guys probably already know how much I love Cover FX—I talk about their CC Cream all the time, so when a month an a half ago they kindly sent me some new blemish banishing products to try, I was very excited. It was also perfect timing, because my skin was having some issues. I have been testing them out for a bit over a month now and I thought it was about time I shared my experience with you. I have four things to talk about: the BB Gel, the Blemish Treatment Concealer, the Calming Primer, and the Blemish Treatment Primer. Overall, I found them to be effective, but because of my skin type I had an issue with the BB Gel—more on that in a minute.

Let's talk about the BB Gel first (the shade I have is N Light). This is a mattifying anti-blemish treatment with buildable coverage (light, but can be built up to medium). It contains 1% Salicylic Acid and Thyme Extract to treat breakouts, as well as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. It definitely did a good job calming my skin down and preventing new breakouts. It's VERY liquid, so when it says to shake well, you better give it a good shake, and the best way I I found to apply it is with my fingers. If I'm trying to build up the coverage a bit, I like to apply it in layers and blend with a sponge. The product is very lightweight and I find that buffing it in with a brush leaves streaks. 

As you can see in the photos above, the shade definitely changes as it gets blended: when it first comes out of the tube it's quite a bit darker and looks orange, but as soon as I start blending it, it turns much lighter. This is one of those products that you absolutely HAVE to try on your face before buying. The BB Gel does a good job filling in pores and sets into an almost matte finish. Here is where I had an issue: it says it's meant for normal to oily skin, but on my normal/combination skin it settled around any area that was even a little dry, and didn't sit well on breakouts that were already dried out and in the process of healing (looks perfect on my t-zone though). You can even tell how on my dry hand the texture of my skin suddenly becomes more visible. So, the verdict for this one is: it works, but unless your skin is actually oily, it will not look as smooth as you would want.

Next up is the Blemish Treatment Concealer (again in N Light), which also contains 1% Salicylic Acid. This is a full coverage concealer and I love it for covering up breakouts! As you can see in the photo, it's pigmented and goes on smoothly. It's also easy to blend. I tried using a brush to apply it, which is useful if you're covering up a small spot, but I am once again a fan of finger application here—I think it's easier and warming up the concealer on my finger makes it creamier. It doesn't aggravate my breakouts (which regular concealers do), so they can heal faster. The only "issue" here is that I can't use this concealer on my under eye area: it's not a place where you want Salicylic Acid, but even without it the texture of this concealer is definitely not meant for under eyes—it's a little too thick for that. It's worth noting that this concealer also has a matte finish, so it stays put very well, and I don't really need to set it with powder.

Onto the primers. The Calming Primer isn't going to treat breakouts, since it doesn't contain Salicylic Acid, but it still has a calming and soothing effect. Now, I'm not big on primers in general—they're a step I normally skip, but I actually like this one when my skin is freaking out. It also has none of that silicone texture that I hate—it actually feels moisturizing and slightly cooling. I did notice that at the end of the day my skin looked calmer and the breakouts didn't look as "angry" as before—I'm definitely a fan. With this primer my biggest tip is to let it set before applying foundation. This sounds like a basic tip, but let's be honest: when we are slapping on makeup in a hurry, are we really going to give things enough time to set? Have some coffee, or do your eyebrows, but give it a minute—it makes a difference in how smooth your foundation will go on afterwards. 

Finally, the Blemish Treatment Primer isn't something I would actually call a primer—it's more of a straight-up treatment. I don't particularly like using it under makeup—if I'm applying anything over it, there is a slight difference in texture. However, as a treatment this works great: it's packed with Lactic Acid, 0.5% Salicylic Acid, Tea Tree, Thyme, Rosemary, and Lemon Peel Extracts, Witch Hazel, Aloe Vera, and Algae. If all that doesn't scare your blemishes away, I don't know what will. On my skin, this works fast: I apply it a few times a day directly to the spots, and by the end of the day there is a lot of improvement. It's a great overnight treatment as well.

In my opinion, those blemish banishing products are a hit. The only one that doesn't work for me is the BB Gel because it's simply not right for my skin type—I'll stick to my CC Cream. Other than that, I will definitely keep using this line in times of skin crisis. Have you tried anything from this line yet? What's your go-to treatment when your skin is breaking out?