Summer Beauty Finds

6.28.2018

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I love trying out new beauty products. While it can be easy to fall into a downward spiral at Sephora, I've learned to pace myself and try out new products only when I need a change. Summertime means warmer weather, bright colors, and showing off tan skin. Swapping out thick moisturizers for lightweight ones and really slathering on the SPF are just a couple changes I like to make when the sun starts popping out. I've found a some beauty products to put in my rotation this summer that I absolutely love and wanted to share them with you!


Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored or endorsed by any beauty brands, but affiliate links are used, meaning if you purchase through my link I will receive commission at no additional cost to you. I only ever recommend products that I use and LOVE. Affiliate marketing allows me to continue to share free and affordable information and services! Thanks for your support!

Skincare


After eyeing it for a few months, I finally bit the bullet and bought Glossier solution. I've tried tons of physical exfoliators on my face, but I always felt like they were too abrasive on my skin and didn't make a difference on my skin quality. Glossier solution is a chemical exfoliator that wipes away dead skin cells to reveal fresh looking skin. I was nervous about trying it because I've seen mixed reviews, but thankfully it worked wonders on my face and I had no bad reactions at all. I have a couple small acne scars and rough patches on my cheeks from past acne that hasn't gone away after using my holy grail Vitamin C serum. After just a week and a half of using solution, I noticed these dark spots were much lighter and my skin overall was so much softer. I highly recommend this product to anyone with acne or rough skin, but definitely beware of the allergic reaction some ladies are having when trying this product. Try it on a small patch of your skin first before wiping it all over your face just to be safe.


Last month I swapped out my favorite Instanatural face lotion for the Glossier priming moisturizer. After the weather started to warm up, I noticed my Instanatural lotion was almost pilling off my skin when applying makeup. While it gave me a solid layer of moisture, it didn't create a good base for makeup so I decided to stash it away for winter and switched to the Glossier moisturizer. This lotion feels so light on my face and melts into the skin without making me feel oily or sticky. It's also very buildable which lets me apply an extra layer overnight so I wake up with super soft skin. The priming moisturizer is also a perfect base for makeup.


A week ago I was doing my bi-monthly restock on serum and eye cream. Typically when I reorder products on Amazon, I just go to "My Orders" and select the same products I've purchased before. This time around, I spaced out and just searched for the products I needed and bought them. When they came in the mail, I realized I ordered a different type of eye cream than I usually buy. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise! The Instanatural eye gel cream is much more refreshing than the other Instanatural cream I'd been using. It also has a cucumber scent that is very pleasant and the gel feels cool when you apply it to the skin.


After seeing Emilia Clarke at the Solo: A Star Wars Story premiere, I was absolutely enamored by her eyebrows. They were so full, big and bushy yet stunning. I have an obsession (okay maybe it's an addiction) to plucking my eyebrows as soon as one new hair pops up. I decided last month to stop plucking my eyebrows and started using Ardell brow and lash growth accelerator to make them grow faster. This stuff really works! Within just a couple weeks I noticed all of my sparse patches were getting fuller and I had hair growing in places that I've over plucked for years. I'm not up to Emilia Clarke status yet, but I'm really happy with my fuller brows.


In case you're wondering, here's a breakdown of my updated skincare routine:

1) Glossier solution (morning only)
2) InstaNatural Vitamin C serum (morning and night)
3) Ardell brow and lash growth accelerator (morning and night)
4) Glossier priming moisturizer (morning and night)
5) Glossier balm dot com (morning and night on lips)

If I'm not wearing makeup, I apply sunscreen after my moisturizer too. On normal days though, I just wear my tinted moisturizer with SPF as foundation.

Makeup


I know it sounds like I'm a Glossier rep because I talk about them so much, but I swear I'm not. I just really love their products! Glossier launched two new cloud paint shades for summer and I ordered them the moment they went up for sale. Storm is a dark berry shade whereas Dawn is a bright pop of orange. Out of the two, I think the cloud paint in Dawn is my favorite for summer. It's extremely pigmented so you only have to use the tiniest bit on your cheeks, but it gives such a nice sun kissed look. I also wear Storm on my lips when I want a berry pout.


Wearing lipstick in the summer is so fun because there are tons of bright shades you can wear. I hate having dry lips so I'm always on the hunt for a good lipstick or gloss that is really moisturizing. Right now my favorite summer lip color is NYX creamy lipstick in Doll. It's a super soft lipstick that glides right on and makes your lips feel silky smooth. This shade is really beautiful because it's not too bright- just the perfect plum rose hue. If I want it to last longer, I will wear a nude lipliner before applying the lipstick so it doesn't slide around too much. Otherwise, this is a great lip color that will wear off beautifully throughout the day rather than leaving a harsh stain or lines on your lips.


Nails


I rarely go to the nail salon because I'd rather spend that extra money on things that last a little longer than nails that will chip or grow out in less than two weeks. However, I love painting my nails at home. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri nail polish is the longest lasting bang-for-your-buck nail color I've found. I've used several shades and they all last at least a full week before chipping at all. It also performs to the name, it dries almost instantly! Two quick coats, a clear top coat, and a couple minutes to dry leave my nails looking perfect for summer. My favorite shades so far are Espresso (a deep rose color) and Set Sail (a bright sky blue color). They have a really wide range of colors.



Body


When I lived in Florida, I was always outside and had a pretty nice tan. My dad has really tan skin and even though I take after him and get brown really fast when I'm out in the sun, Seattle hasn't been so kind to me. We've had some really sunny days here, but most of the time it's still a little overcast or cloudy- not really the best tanning conditions. While I'm not one of those girls that needs a glowing Malibu tan all the time, I think my skin looks a lot healthier when I have a tan. Rather than baking in the sun and harming my skin, I've been using Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer and I really love it. It's not streaky at all and the scent doesn't bother me. In just a week I've built up a nice healthy tan without having to spend time in the sun. I apply it in the morning after I shower and then use a non-tanning lotion at night before bed.


What are your favorite beauty finds for summer? Share them with me in the comments below!

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Star Wars Fan Projects I Love

6.27.2018

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One of my favorite things about the Star Wars fan community is the unfailing love to create projects that were inspired by everything the Star Wars universe has given us. Podcasts, blogs, fan art, fan films, cosplay, and so many more projects are shared amongst the fan community to celebrate Star Wars. While I spend most of my time on The Dorky Diva promoting my own projects, I wanted to share some of the fan projects that inspire me.


Podcasts


It's no secret that I love podcasts. While I host a show of my own these days, one of my earliest introductions into the Star Wars fan community was through podcasting. I found a few shows that I really enjoyed, ended up co-hosting a couple shows for a few years, and then finally branched out and started my own.

Skytalkers Podcast
 is by far my favorite podcast I've ever listened to, regardless of the topic. The hosts Charlotte and Caitlin had me on their show over a year ago to chat about how I started The Dorky Diva and what Star Wars means to me. During our chat, I had such a genuinely fun time that I went back and listened to their previous episodes, as well as continued listening up to today. It's so rare to find an all-female hosted show that really intrigues me, but Charlotte and Caitlin have such interesting discussions that sometimes I listen to their episodes two or three times just to catch all of the details. Their three-part format is really great and helps them stay on track while discussing their topic of choice. They are huge Kylo Ren fans, which couldn't be more opposite from me yet I somehow absolutely love their show even when I disagree with their thoughts. Skytalkers always ends on such a light-hearted note that you can't help but feel full of hope and happiness when the show ends. Definitely subscribe to them on iTunes if you haven't already!



The Interesting Podcast is hosted by my good friend and fellow co-host, Brian Ballance. His show isn't marketed as a Star Wars centric podcast, but he interviews many Star Wars cast members and contributors which makes it fun for Star Wars fans to hear. This podcast is actually the reason why Brian and I became friends. He interviewed me a few years back and I found his insight on Star Wars to be so intriguing that I later asked him to co-host The Dorky Diva Show. He's talked to ILM artists, creature performers, authors, and fan creators on The Interesting Podcast. My favorite show so far is the episode with Hal Hickel, ILM Animation Director and creator of K2-SO. Hal's story really hit a special place in my heart as he talked about his journey at ILM and how he got his dream job. You can't go wrong listening to any of the episodes Brian has done. They're all amazing!



Fan Films


When I was about nine years old, my mom told my brother to stop wasting our summer by watching TV and make a movie with our video recorder instead. Of course, we chose to recreate Star Wars in our own way- complete with a tin foil Death Star and trash can lids as X-wing pilot helmets. True story! While we had fun with our little fan film, there are tons of Star Wars fans out there making their own films...with real production budgets!  

Looking for Leia is a six episode docu-series that explores the Star Wars phenomenon from the perspective of fangirls. I've talked about this project previously on the blog, but I wanted to share it again in case you haven't read about it yet. This docu-series is being created by Dr. Annalise Ophelian and her team of female producers. I was lucky enough to be interviewed for the docu-series last month and I couldn't have been more excited to voice my stories as a fangirl of Star Wars. There's no set release day yet for the docu-series, but I would highly recommend watching the preview reel and teaser trailer that are on the Looking for Leia website. I'm super eager to watch the series when it's all done! It's sure to be a stunning labor of love that celebrates women in fandom...finally. 




Odyssey is a Star Wars fan film created by Mark Vogt and other young film makers from the Savannah College of Art and Design. I remember meeting Mark when I was probably twelve years old at Disney's Star Wars Weekends. He was probably about the same age or younger and while I don't know him well, it's neat to see how a Star Wars fan just like me has grown up to start making his own Star Wars inspired films. I was so impressed by the quality of the production when I saw behind the scenes photos from their first filmed sequences. The story includes lots of elements from Rogue One including the Shoretroopers and follows a young rebel named Quinn on his first mission with Odyssey Squadron. You can watch the trailer for the film on the Odyssey website. I look forward to seeing the complete film! 




Artists


I can't draw stick figures. I can't even draw a decent smiley face. But thanks to my lack of drawing skills, I've gotten to know a lot of wonderful artists who take commissions and make my ideas a reality on paper!

Melissa Thomas is an illustrator and graphic designer who creates the most amazing stylized Star Wars, Marvel, and Disney artwork. Melissa is just a wonderful beam of light in the Star Wars fan community, but also one of the greatest artists I've had the pleasure of working with! Whenever I need some sort of artwork for my blog or podcast, the first person I contact is Melissa. She's so professional yet easy-going and has the best ideas. She recently launched a series of prequel-inspired stickers in her Society6 store. The first series features characters from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace including Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Padmé. If you ever have a crazy idea of character mashups or just a moment in the Star Wars story that you want commemorated in artwork, Melissa is definitely the best artist to check out. 


Cosplay


As a former member of the 501st Legion, I have an obsession with really high quality Star Wars costumes. Creating an outfit or set of armor that looks like it walked off a movie set (or animation cell) is much harder than one would think!

CallMeSnips AKA McKenna Fellows is an Ahsoka Tano cosplayer that I saw at Ahsoka Lives Day back at Celebration Orlando in 2017. She was wearing the most incredible Mortis Ahsoka costume- the first one I had ever seen! Later that year, McKenna moved out to California very close to where I was living at the time and we became close friends. After seeing how much time and passion she puts into her Ahsoka cosplays, I can say she is truly talented! Ahsoka's headpiece is probably one of the most difficult cosplay pieces that you can make, but McKenna nails it every time. She has almost all of Ahsoka's costumes including her classic season three look from The Clone Wars, the Fulcrum look from Star Wars Rebels, her epilogue outfit from Star Wars Rebels, and more variations including her slave outfit, snow coat, and Mortis transformation in The Clone Wars. It's exhausting keeping up with this girl because she's always doing amazing things. Her love for Ahsoka knows no bounds! 


Other


365 Days of Star Wars Women is a project started by Amy Richau that celebrates the women of Star Wars including characters, actresses, and crew members from the entire franchise. Every day, Amy highlights a woman and shares her story, whether it be her fictional story in the Star Wars galaxy or the real work they do in the Star Wars franchise. It's easy for me to think of key female Star Wars characters and crew members, but she's featured so many that I've never even heard of before. 



Black Series Rebels is a weekly Star Wars talk show hosted by Alex Backes and Stephen Ellis. Each week they discuss the latest Star Wars news and merchandise releases as well as chat with a special guest. These guys are absolutely hilarious and totally embrace their fandom in a way I've never seen before. The best part about their show is that it's fully funded by the fans through their sales of limited edition enamel pins. They've created a huge assortment of Actions Pins that feature the likeness of our favorite Star Wars characters. I was on their show last fall and had such a blast talking to them and seeing their set. They're also really supportive of other creative fans in the community, which is so rare. I can't thank them enough for all of their support to The Dorky Diva. 


I hope you guys check out all of these awesome creators that make me proud to be a Star Wars fan! As there are literally hundreds (probably even thousands) of fan projects out there, I'm sure I'm not aware of all of them so please leave your favorite Star Wars fan projects in the comments below! 

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Prequel Defense Force- Episode I

6.22.2018

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Savanna and Brian are introducing a new summer-long series titled Prequel Defense Force where they will be discussing the Star Wars prequels and sharing their love for Episodes I-III. In this episode, they break down Episode I: The Phantom Menace!

The Beginning: Making Star Wars Episode I- https://youtu.be/da8s9m4zEpo

You can follow the show on Twitter at @DorkyDivaShow and the hosts at @Savanna_Kiefer & @JediBrian

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Star Wars Makeup by Her Universe Review

6.06.2018

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If you haven't heard the awesome news, Her Universe is now making licensed beauty products! For their initial launch of this new line, they debuted a selection of Star Wars items. I grabbed the Lightsaber Lip Collection and Hyperspace Eyeshadow & Highlighter Palette. They also released a set of Lightsaber Makeup Brushes and some droid bath bombs, but for now I'll just be reviewing the lip kit and eyeshadow palette. This post is not sponsored by Her Universe and these are my honest thoughts of the products!



First Impressions

To be honest, I had pretty low expectations for the quality of these products since the retail price was so low. I've tried Hot Topic makeup products before and they've always been sub-par as far as quality, so I didn't expect anything amazing from these items either. After sampling each lip color and the eyeshadow/highlighter palette, they definitely didn't exceed any expectations I had. The concept for each product is really awesome and overall the items are good, but it's not anything revolutionary in the world of beauty. So what I'm trying to say is that you get what you're paying for with these items! That's not a bad thing, but just don't expect Tarte or Colour Pop level of quality when you buy these makeup kits from Her Universe.

Lightsaber Lip Collection

Flashback to a little less than a year ago when I was working at Hot Topic HQ- I got a random phone call from our beauty buyer asking me to name three Star Wars lip colors. I had no idea what the shades would look like or what the product would turn into, but I had to come up with something on the spot. Luckily they went with the names I suggested which is pretty cool! The names are Tatooine (sheer glitter gloss), Dagobah Dusk (semi-matte nude) and Dark Side (dark cherry semi-matte). As for the packaging, I like the tin they come in. I'll probably use this again to store little knick knacks. Each of the lightsaber lip colors comes in a fogged plastic tube with a corresponding lightsaber shade and a plastic handle with a sticker around it that looks like a lightsaber hilt. Each one has a doe-foot applicator too. The kit sells for $16.90 and you can pick it up from Hot Topic or Her Universe online as well as in stores at Hot Topic. 


Tatooine- This one is my favorite! It's a sheer, rose-gold glitter lipgloss that can be worn for any occasion. I wear pretty sheer lip colors on a daily basis and I love lipgloss so I think this one will be used the most in my makeup bag. My only gripe is that you can feel the flecks of glitter when you rub your lips together. I really wish they had made the glitter a little more refined so you couldn't feel it. It's not too coarse like sand, but it's definitely a little rough. Overall not terrible though! I would give it 8/10 stars.



Dagobah Dusk- I was expecting this to more of a pinky nude shade, but it's definitely more on the brown side. Sad face. I think brown nude colors make my skin look too washed out, so I don't expect to wear this very often, but I did like the formula! It's a semi-matte so it didn't dry completely on my lips, but it dried enough to stay put for most of the day. If you're into brownish nudes, you'll love this. I give it 7/10 stars because the formula is good and my personal preference on the color might not apply to everyone. 



Dark Side- Alright guys, this one was a bummer. I was hoping for a bright pop of red, but this shade is a very dark mulberry semi-matte shade. It doesn't cover your lips very well unless you apply like five layers and when you remove it, your lips will be stained. I honestly preferred the way my lips looked after I removed the product rather than when it was on my lips! If you love dark lips, I would not recommend this product. Even if you enjoy the color, the formula is not worth the hassle of applying. 4/10 stars on this one for me. 




Overall, these lightsaber lip colors are a really fun concept! I think a little bit of fragrance in each tube would have been a nice touch. If you wear semi-matte lip colors on a daily basis, you might really like these! I always prefer lipsticks and lip glosses over matte colors, so I wasn't the target customer for this kit as there was only one gloss. I hope one day in the future Her Universe will make some lightsaber lipsticks with a twist-up tube for the ladies that don't prefer glosses or mattes. 


Hyperspace Highlighter and Eyeshadow Palette

This highlighter and eyeshadow palette features matte and shimmer colors themed after different Star Wars elements and characters The center features an opalescent highlighter with a Resistance logo embossed into it. I initially tested out all of the shades and swatched them to see how pigmented they would look on the skin. Some were very pigmented while others were mild. I don't like to wear super dramatic eyeshadow, so I was okay with the less pigmented colors not looking very bright.

The packaging is half awesome, half not awesome in my opinion. I LOVE the Millennium Falcon shape, however I don't like the size or the way it opens. It's very large and has a huge mirror on one side which is nice, but the whole "book" is only held together by an inch or two of cardboard and I have a feeling that will rip apart after a few uses. I think if it had opened from the side of the ship rather than the nose, it would've had a stronger binding and would last longer. Other than that, it looks really cool. I totally forgot to photograph the palette before I swatched the colors, so please forgive the way it looks! It didn't arrive like that.



I plan on doing a video tutorial with a few examples on how to create eye looks with this palette, but in the meantime I wanted to share how each color looks on my skin. I swatched the colors on my arm to show you what they look like with a couple swipes. As you can see from the photo above, I had to press hard on some of the eyeshadows to get them on my brush and show up on the skin. The darker shades are really nice!


The Hyperspace palette is also $16.90 and you can get it online or in stores from Hot Topic. Just a word of advice, I ordered my palette online and it was shipped to me in a non-padded plastic mailer. Thankfully it didn't arrive cracked or broken like a few others I've seen, but I would highly recommend going to your local Hot Topic and getting it there to avoid the risk of receiving it broken. 

There you have it! Those are my initial thoughts on the Lightsaber Lip Collection and Hyperspace Eyeshadow Palette. I can't wait to do a full look with these products, but that will come later this week in a video tutorial. If you've tried out either or both of these items, I'd love to know what you think. Leave a comment below to share your thoughts!

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