Casual Wedding Attire

Andrew and I attended a friend's wedding on Saturday. It was a really lovely non-traditional ceremony and reception at a fun space called Catalyst Ranch. I was a bit unsure of what to wear because I didn't want to be too casual or dolled up, and I ended up in something a little more matchy-matchy than I'd intended. Whoops!

The details on my super comfy, unintentionally two-toned outfit are:
Belted Dress: Target
Flats: Payless
Jacket: Old Navy
Purse: Thrifted
Jewelry: Macha, Forever 21, my mom

Of course, there was no time for photos before the mad rush to catch the bus thanks to poor planning on my part. Try as I might, I'm almost never on time. I didn't even get to put on any mascara until after the ceremony! I felt so naked! This actually worked in my favor because I cried and cried like a big mushy baby when the vows were exchanged. Other people crying = Jaimielee crying.

We had so much fun, I wore my happy-squint face all night. My enthusiasm for free delicious mixed drinks opened my eyes right up, though!

Poop Bag Fashun~*


How to Spot a Fake: theBalm's Nude ‘tude

Consider this post a PSA of sorts. It's obvious that you need to practice caution with eBay purchases, BUT (BIG BUT!), I guess I still give people too much credit. You'd think after my Wet n Wild Spring Forward hunt I would know better than to turn to eBay... I'd heard of people selling counterfeit Urban Decay NAKED palettes, but I hadn't seen anything on theBalm Nude ‘tude palette. Well look who got played!

The real palette is on top, the knockoff below.

I was pretty excited I won this palette for $18.49, which is half of the regular price. The description was vague so I figured some girl in Ohio just didn't want it anymore. Ha! I should have been way more skeptical. The knockoff has a cool, blueish hue, whereas the real one is very warm and brown. The real palette is also thinner and shorter than the knockoff.

The knockoff is actually really impressive, though you can immediately see how blurred and dull the printing is, especially with the photos of the shadow colors.

theBalm Nude ‘tude eyeshadow palette comes in two versions: Naughty and Nice. The only difference being the background images (if they're real), however a lot more is different with these two. The shape of the brush slots vary, with the real one being rectangular, and knockoff much more rounded. The width, length, and color of the ribbon is also inconsistent. Plus, the knockoff is unraveling (lol).

The logo is also quite different! Aside from the illegible "cosmetics" below "theBalm," the real logo has magenta lips.

The brushes are totally different. The real brush has the actual logo printed in pink, whereas the knockoff couldn't even match the typeface and it's purple. The length of the real brush is much shorter than the knockoff and the bristles are much longer and rounded on the shadow side. And now to the shadow comparison:

In the pan some of the colors are pretty close, albeit duller, but when swatched it's a totally different story! They're extremely chalky, have almost zero pigmentation and the fallout is out of control. They also kind of stain? Terrible.

Of course it's difficult to see all of these differences online, especially when sellers use other people's photos of the real product. My advice is to buy the real thing online at theBalm's website, on HauteLook where it's offered at 50% off ($18!!), or at Walgreens locations with a Look Boutique like I did. Luckily, I received a full refund thanks to eBay's Buyer Protection and now I have this spare, completely useless palette... If you do risk it and buy from eBay, hopefully this post will help you spot if it's a fake.

UPDATE: theBalm is back on HauteLook today (6/20/14) through Monday (6/23/14) 8AM Pacific! Get this palette for 50% off - only $18!


Giveaway Winners

Thank you so much to everyone who entered my giveaway! It took quite a few tries on Random.org before I could find a craft prize pack winner, so many of you lovelies entered for the nail enthusiasts prize pack. Without further adieu the winners are...

Congratulations to Peras & Manzanas and Melissa Boo!! I'll be contacting you shortly for your addresses. Yay! :)


The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies on Earth

Well, this is a little embarrassing... I baked these cookies in October while trying out recipes for Giftmas. A new food post is still a new food post though, right? So let's get to it! The delicious cookie goodness that is Jacques Torres' Chocolate Chip Cookies absolutely surpassed my expectations. I mean, they're cookies, right? Wrong. They're more than just cookies, they're Heaven. Look at them:

All of the usual suspects go into this recipe, with a few key exceptions: it requires both cake flour and bread flour, and the star of the show - chocolate wafers.

The cookies are bursting with these dark chocolate wafers, and I didn't even use the full 1 1/4 pounds of chocolate the recipe called for! They were a little difficult to find but my search ended at Sur La Table (which I was still pronouncing as TABLE) where I picked up a box of E. Guittard 72% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Wafers.

What makes these chocolate chip cookies so special is the 24-hour chill period they require (at a minimum) prior to baking; it allows the dough to develop seriously rich flavors. The dash of sea salt sprinkled on each scoop right before they go into the oven just makes them that much better. Who doesn't love a salty-sweet dessert?

Are your mouths watering? Just me?

Do you have a go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe? Jacques Torres' recipe has become one of mine. In fact, I think I'll start a batch today!


The Great Hunt of 2013

The moment I saw this on wnwbeauty.com the hunt was on. It was like something in me snapped even though I already own way too much eyeshadow to begin with.

Wet n Wild promotional display for Spring 2013 Limited Edition eyeshadow palettes in nudes and pastels

All of a sudden the need for these consumed me and I called THIRTY-FIVE STORES. Who has time for that, you ask? Me, apparently... So did I hit the jackpot and find these $4.99 limited edition eyeshadow palettes? Nope. No CVS, Walgreens or Meijer in the Chicagoland area has them in stock. I even called places in Rolling Meadows! Bloomingdale! Algonquin! No luck. In the end I texted my mom and asked her to keep a look out in MD just in case.

There are even people on eBay selling them for over $30 each! I'm sure this is a very lucrative business model but I think they're jerks for buying up inventory when I can't find a single one! Did you picture me flailing like a baby as you read that last bit? Because that would be 1000% accurate.

I did manage to find some other Markwins goodies though, so I'm not too displeased. I picked up a Black Radiance blister pack with Downtown Browns plus a mascara and a Wet n Wild box set with Lust, Vanity and brown liquid liner.

BR palettes alone are $6.99 at Walgreens but this was magically $4.99!

Dollar General had a 60% off sale on all box sets so I got that bad boy for $1.60!

I know, I know... It's just makeup and I'll live without the Nude Awakening palette. But still!! Luckily, after I instagram'd this yesterday Carletta said she's seen Going in the Wild at her local CVS and she'll mail me one! Fingers crossed I'll find Nude Awakening someday. Does anyone else get this obsessive with makeup like me? No? Wait a minute, it isn't just me.

So, yes, I have purchased seven BR/WnW eyeshadow palettes this month alone and I am still complaining. Wet n Wild should just make me a beauty ambassador already. Imagine if that's all it took?

MASSIVE ETA: I FOUND THEM! I FOUND THEM! I found them at the third CVS I called, no less. Hah! The person I spoke to on the phone probably just put me on hold and didn't actually look at all. Thank goodness for random trips to the drugstore.

I felt so lucky I even bought a scratch-off bingo!


Becoming Sociable

It's time for this blog to grow up, right? It's not a baby anymore! I'll be pushing it and myself to new limits. I considered using my first giveaway (don't forget to enter) as a platform to start and boost a new Facebook page and Instagram, and to direct people towards my Twitter, but that didn't seem fair. Plus, I usually get really discouraged when giveaways ask you to do 100+ tasks to enter.

In addition to a new Facebook and Instagram, I started my very own YouTube channel! We have so many ways to stay connected now, goodness! You can find me here as Hippopotamuslee. It'll be a mixed bag like this blog is and I'm really excited. You can subscribe if you'd like, though there's nothing up just yet! Let me know what kind of videos you would like to see. :)

ETA: Per Sarah's great comment, I've added some buttons/banners on my sidebar if you'd like to plaster them on your beautiful blogs! Thanks for the suggestion, Sarah!


Blogiversary + Giveaway (CLOSED)

It's hard to believe Hippopotamuslee has been around for three whole years! What?? I'm so happy you've stuck with me for this long, and to celebrate, I'm having my first giveaway! Yay! There are two prizes because I know this blog isn't centered on one specific topic so I want to appeal to those of you who are here for X even when I'm babbling on and on about Y.

Prize Pack for Crafty Followers:
Sew Darn Cute by Jenny Ryan, Lion Brand Bonbons Yarn in Brights, 2 1/2 yards of Iridescent Rick Rack, Extra Small Pom-Pom Makers (3/4 inch & 1 inch), Jumbo Yo-Yo Maker (3 1/2 inch), Large Yo-Yo Maker (1 4/5 inch), and 2 Fat Quarters! Plus some bonus goodies!

Prize Pack for Nail Enthusiasts:
China Glaze Nail Lacquer in Dance Baby, Sweet Hook, and Turned Up Turquoise, Sinful Colors Nail Art in Bad Chick and Love Me, Sally Girl nail polish in Glitzy, Later, and Way 2 Disco, 8 mini viles with multi-colored "caviar" beads, 8 mini viles with confetti, combination brush/dotting tool, Gem Nail Kit (240+ gems, wood stick and top coat), and a polka dot zip pouch from Forever 21! Plus some bonus goodies!

The Nitty-Gritty:
  1. This giveaway is a thank you to my followers, so you must follow Hippopotamuslee using Google Friend Connect, Bloglovin', e-mail, etc...
  2. Leave a comment below letting me know which prize pack you'd like to win.
  3. Good news! This giveaway is open to international readers!
  4. The giveaway will close at MIDNIGHT, Monday April 15th, 2013.
  5. Winners will be selected using RANDOM.org.
  6. I will announce the winners in a future blog post but be sure to include your e-mail address when commenting so I can contact you if you win.
  7. Only one entry per person! Good luck!!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored giveaway and none of the items in either prize pack were provided to me. This is coming from me as a thank you to my awesome followers! I also promise to be more present in the future, promise.