Saturday, November 16, 2013

Living in Italy: The Pros and Cons Pt. 1

left to right: Husband & I in Munich, Germany, Cliff Diving location in Italy, Seafood pizza, Venice, Italy

The longer I live in Italy, the more I feel equipped to tell you all the nitty gritty of living here. Mind you, I've only been here for roughly ten months, but I feel like I know enough to give you a few pros and cons. So for those of you ladies who's husbands are trying to get stationed in Italy, if you've already got your orders, or if you're just curious about life here, keep reading! 


1. Italy is not at all like what it is in the Lizzie McGuire movie. Bummer, I know.
2. Italians are not exactly the nicest people, but then again, I'm from the South. So my views on courtesy may be different than yours. Southern hospitality is unheard of here. 
3. Getting things done can be quite the pain in the rear. Italians REALLY like their leisure time, so most businesses are closed at random hours during the day (Reposo), and during August, almost all local businesses take a month long vacay. Lucky bastards. They aren't quick to move, either. So patience is key! 
4. While most people know a bit of English, the preferred language is, of course, Italian. This is expected, but the language barrier sucks nonetheless.
5. Getting used to Italian/European customs can be pretty hard. Or really, REALLY hard in cases like mine. 
6. You're not exactly wanted here. Think about it. If Italians were to open a military base in America, the entire country would more than likely go hay wire. 'MERICA! 
7. There's no such thing as mexican food or a good burger. Everything is Italian or made with Italian flair. 
8. No Alfredo sauce. None. Alfredo is an American Italian thing. NOT Italian. 

left to right: Garmisch, Germany, Vicenza, Italy, Jumping Germans at Medieval Times.


1. You live in ITALY! 
2. Gelato. The dessert of the gods. At least in my mind. 
3. You can travel pretty much anywhere in the EU on a long weekend. *Phone call home: "What are you doing this weekend?" "Oh, just going to Paris. No big deal."* 
4. Long weekends. Since we're in a different country, the soldiers (or airmen or sailors) get American AND Italian holidays off. Now, think of all the holidays America has. Now imagine how many holidays a country over 2000 years old has. It's definitely a plus. 
5. Going back to #1, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. Think of the stories you'll get to tell! 
6. Experiencing a different culture. This one has been tough for me, but I'm slowly starting to appreciate it. It definitely gives you a new understanding of people. 
7. The scenery. Everything in Italy is ridiculously old. It amazes me that there are 1000 year old churches and buildings here. The oldest building in America is less than 250 years old. How crazy is that?! I'm able to marvel at things daily.

I know that this list wasn't exactly the longest, but I figured it's a good starting point. Maybe after my next ten months my list will have doubled, and hopefully only in the pros! If you have any specific questions, or actual PCS related questions, please feel free to comment! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Save or Splurge #1

I've decided to start a new post series called Save or Splurge. In this series, I will bring you high end products that have drugstore "dupes." The whole point is to give you my opinion on whether or not I think you should save by buying the dupe, or splurge on the real deal. 
Today, I'm bringing you the Nars Orgasm blush and Laguna bronzer duo vs. the elf Contouring Blush & Bronzer duo. I'm sure you've all heard about this"dupe" but I wanted to bring you my opinion on it. Keep reading to find out just how much of a dupe this really is. 

You may notice that the packaging is very similar. Mind you, I have the miniature size of the Nars blush and bronzer, but you can still see the similarities. Elf is of course a cheaper plastic and it doesn't have the same rubber finish as Nars, but the shape and layout is still the same. The product even looks very similar in the pan. Until you swatch it, then you see the actual differences. 

The picture above are the swatches from the elf contouring blush and bronzer duo. The blush is a very pretty matte pinky coral, and the bronzer is a very dark, matte brown. The blush has a few pieces of chunky glitter in the pan, but the glitter is pretty unnoticeable on. The bronzer is a bit too dark for me, so I have to use a VERY light hand when applying. The colors are very pigmented, which is a plus. However, there is a good amount of fall out so tapping off the excess is necessary. Especially with the bronzer. 

Above is the Nars Orgasm & Laguna duo. Once swatched, the colors are much sheerer than they appear to be. Orgasm is a lovely pinky coral with a bit of shimmer, and Laguna is a GORGEOUS golden bronze. It's shimmery, but only slightly. I would say it has more of a "glow" than anything. Both colors are definitely wearable all year long. 

 From left to right: elf blush, Orgasm, elf bronzer, and Laguna. 

I think it's clear to see that, while packaging is pretty on point, the actual products themselves are not really all that similar. The elf contouring duo is more pigmented and both are matte, while the Nars duo is more shimmery and and has more of a glow. 

For me, personally, I would have to splurge for the Nars duo. The elf one is perfectly fine, and I have used a lot of it, but it's definitely different from the Nars version. What do you think? Do you prefer the pigmentation and matteness of elf's duo? Let me know! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Fall Tag

In case you didn't know, fall is my absolute favorite season of the year. Next is winter, then spring, and lastly summer. I just really love the cooler months! And Fall trends! So when I saw The Fall Tag I had to do it! 

 1. Favourite thing about Autumn? 
I would definitely have to say the clothes and the weather. I love the look of layering so much. I love walking out to crisp, cool, windy air! 

2. Favourite drink? 

I'm really not one for the "seasonal" drinks. I like cold drinks all year round, so the pumpkin spice craze doesn't really faze me. I would say that the only thing that I kind of like in the fall that I don't like any other time of the year is hot chocolate. 

3. Favourite scent/candle? 
For perfume, I am really loving Katy Perry's Killer Queen. It's floral and fruity, but dark and sensual all at the same time. It's definitely a warm, seductive smell that I plan on wearing all fall. My favorite candle scent is either Apple Crumble or Mahogany Teakwood from Bath and Body Works. Both of these candles are just to die for!

4. Best lipstick? 
Revlon's Cherries in the Snow! It's such a lovely blue-red shade. But if we're talking berry/purple hues, Mac's Rebel is number two.

5. Go to moisturiser? 
I really really really love my Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream. It's got a slight tint, which is perfect for evening out my skin before applying foundation. It's also very moisturizing and it smells heavenly!

6. Go to colours for the eyes? 
Taupes, browns, and purples. 

7. Favourite music or band/singer to listen to? 
Right now I am loving Katy Perry's new album Prism (are you catching on to my obsession yet?) but I'm slowly starting to listen to Christmas music. I like to start preparing for the Christmas season early, okay? Mistletoe by Colbie Caillat will be on repeat until Christmas.

8. Favourite outfit to wear (i.e. boots & a scarf combo)? 
I love to wear tights, boots, dresses, sweaters, and scarves. That's my go-to fall outfit. There's just so many possibilities with layering!

9. Autumn treat? 
Because I'm a fatty, I'm going to assume this is about food. In that case, bring on the pies!
10. Favourite place to be? 
I really like to be outside during the fall. Is that strange? Well, most of the time. I love the way it feels outside. Anything between 55-65 degrees is perfect to me! But I also love being bundled up on my couch, snuggling up to my husband, smelling the sweet aroma of whatever is cooking in my crockpot. 

I hope you enjoyed my answers! Now I tag YOU! I want to know all your favorite things about fall! 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Benefit Rockateur Blush Review

Since the moment it arrived I couldn't wait to get my hands on Benefit's newest boxed powder blush. The name sounded so badass, and the swatches of this rose-gold blush made me swoon. I had to have Rockateur in my hands ASAP! 

During my trip back to the States, on one of my many Sephora trips, I picked up my very own. Since then, it's been my "go-to." I love it so much! The color is a beautiful rose gold in the box, but once on the skin it's a warm, perfect for fall/winter deep rose. Because this shade is so deep, I don't tend to contour on the days when I wear it. I feel that this shade and bronzer together will deepen my skintone too much for the season. 

The packaging is the basic Benefit boxed powder box. But I'm going to come out and say that the packaging is pretty gross. I feel like they could have done so much more. Benefit is known for their gorgeous packaging, and I feel like this particular package is lacking the Benefit "wow" factor. 

 The product itself features a pretty nifty prism design with the work "Rock" embossed on the top. This part is definitely different from the other blushes we've come to love from this company. I do think the design is very pretty, but I think they could have done without and actually put more product in. 
Benefit has went down in product amount pretty significantly. I'm not sure if this is across the board or if it's just for Rockateur, but they've cut down three grams, making it five grams instead of the usual eight. And no, the price did not go down. Come on, Benefit! Not cool. 

Please excuse my poors and untamed eyebrows. It wasn't a full face kind of day. 
As you can tell from the swatches, Rockateur isn't exactly as rose cold as it appears to be in the box. It's actually a more warm rose color with orange undertones. It warms up the skin so beautifully! It will definitely be my go-to blush color for the next few months. 

All in all, do I love this blush? Absolutely. Is it my most coveted Benefit blush to date? No, but not a whole lot will ever beat my beloved Coralista. Could Benefit have done a better job with the packaging/overall design? Of course. Based on product alone, I give this a 5/5. But if we're going to do an overall judgement of this, just because the packaging is horrid (in my book) I give it 4/5. 

I hope you all found this review helpful! 
Which Benefit Boxed Powder is your favorite?