Saturday, 27 April 2013

Inspiration: Marissa Carter of Carter Beauty

So I have decided to do some posts about people who inspire me/who I aspire to be like. The first up is Marissa Carter, an obvious choice - I don't know too much about her (and have never met her so this post may make me sound like a bit of a stalker - I promise I'm not) but even the little I do know makes her top the poll of inspiration.

Marissa Carter is an Irish entrepreneur who set up her own beauty salon, Carter Beauty, in Dublin. More recently (and how I heard of her) is from her tan "Cocoa Brown". I heard Marissa speak about her tan at a blogger meet up (organised by the incredible Adoreabubbles) in Dublin in December. Marissa went through a little bit of her history and told us how she decided she wanted to make her own product, as well as how she made it, about contacting different wholesalers and she gave us a very detailed description of all the ingredients in her tan, what they were, what they do and why she chose to include them. Marissa's energy and passion for her product were contagious, her wealth of knowledge was incredible (if they made some kind of University Challenge of tan and ingredients in beauty products she would definitely win), her presence was captivating and she looked incredibly glamorous the whole time. There aren't many people who could enter a room, give a short talk and leave literally everyone in said room wanting to be them but honestly Marissa did just that. I remember (and I'm pretty sure will never forget) a part of Marissa's talk where she said she had "caught the bug" that had lead to her creating her tan, and her enthusiasm was so electric that it resonated within me and it's what made me realize that I had "caught a bug" too (albeit for something completely different to designing a product). I know it sounds a bit made up, but honestly Marissa's enthusiasm made me realize what I wanted to do as my career!

And here is the very embarrassing/strange part about this post - I received a bottle of Cocoa Brown tan at said meet up and I haven't touched it since I got home; I have this really weird thing of saving any product I think is special - it's why I only use my UD naked palettes if I'm going to a big event or why I've had my Guerlain meteorites for about 7 years - they are too precious to use. I know this is a bit silly considering that Cocoa Brown hits around the €7 mark but for me I think it's more that that particular bottle is special because it holds some kind of sentiment of how I felt during the meet up when I heard Marissa speak. Even though I haven't tried the tan I have been recommending it to everyone - on my first day at my volunteering job I told the staff about it (and one of the amazing things was that I could explain what the different ingredients did - and that was about 3 months after Marissa's talk) and I told my boyfriend to tell all the girl's in his workplace about it. I know I probably sound crazy to recommend a product I haven't even tried but I just trust in it from Marissa's passion and pride in her product as well as literally EVERY blogger review I've read on it. I told all my friends about Cocoa Brown and because my girl crush is so strong I even went around showing my guy friends pics of Marissa from the meet up so they could see how beautiful she is (!).

Marissa has recently released a new tan which sounds like something from a space fiction novel - a tan that goes on dark for a night out but when you shower the next morning it leaves a subtle glow. Is that not the most futuristic and amazingly unique product description ever?! I didn't even consider that a product like that was a possibility!

 It's not often that a perfect amount of beauty and brains combines so effortlessly but it has definitely happened for Marissa who also somehow manages to be incredibly kind and genuine as well as having a contagious energy and enthusiasm. I have no doubt that Marissa Carter will become a household name both in Ireland and worldwide and I really hope she does. I know she will never see this but I guess I want to put a thanks out to the world for Adoreabubbles (Sarah) inviting me to the event and for getting to hear Marissa speak - it honestly was an unforgettable experience.

P.S: I know you have but IF for some reason you haven't heard of Cocoa Brown run to a pharmacy or Penneys and buy yourself a bottle or two (you can thank me later)


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Champagne (Vodka) lifestyle, shoestring budget

Honestly I think that even if I was some kind of millionaire I would shop around to get the best deals on everything I could, I just love a bargain! There's nothing like seeing an item you got for €17 in one shop on sale for €20 somewhere else even though you could lose three euro and not notice it! I think it's the thrill of getting one over on "the man" or whoever it is that profits off my "I NEED THIS" attitude... So I thought I could help some sistah's (or brothah's) out and write my list for being on a budget as well as the cheapest shops to buy things. I already did a video on this a few months ago but I have discovered some more helpful tips recently so I will write them all down below. As a thank you you can send all the money you save to me, cheers ;)

Obvious ones

  • Shop the sale - probably the most cliche tip of all time but its cliche for a reason and the reason is that it's a really good tip!
  • Wait for offers/Be friends with the shops - I'm friends with or have "liked" my favourite shop's facebook pages because they post offers on there, alternatively you can just wait until you see offers in store like 3 for 2's etc and stock up on things then. Waiting for offers feels amazing because it's like going on a mini shopping spree with none of the guilt.
  • Shop around in store and online - some shops will have online only offers where you could save 20% on what you buy in store. It's also well worth shopping around different online shops to get the best offers. This tip counts for everything: clothes, make up, electricals etc can all be bought on multiple sites online so it's worth checking out where is selling what for cheaper (just make sure to take delivery rates into account too).

Less obvious

  • Don't buy drinks when you're out - seriously it is SO expensive! I can go on a night out and spend a €10 - one naggin of vodka and a mixer and I will have a great night. One naggin is 7 and a half drinks which makes it like less than a euro per drink, but out one drink could be €5, so if I didn't predrink I'd end up spending €35 instead of my €10! Plus predrinking is always the funnest part of my night anyway!
  • Shop the kids section!! If you are quite skinny you can get clothes there - loose tops and maxi dresses especially as these will tend to be bigger fitting but if you're not I recommend looking there for shoes. They usually go up to a size 5 or 6 for kid's shoes and they are SO MUCH CHEAPER than adults shoes.
  • For any chemist product I recommend shopping in your local one rather than boots - I know this seems like a weird tip and you would think Boots would be cheapest but recently I've noticed boots charging more than Sam McCauleys etc for lots of different products (one example springing to mind is L'oreal true match foundation which is €10 in Sam McCauleys but €15 in Boots!).
  • Girl time products (tampons and pads) are definitely cheapest in Aldi and the exact same quality as Always or any other brand ones (82 cent for Aldi brand compared to like €4 for a pack of "Always" somewhere).
If you have any tips leave them as comments down below - I'm always up for new ways to save money...

Sarah xx

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Current Hair Saviours

You possibly don't know this about me but I can be a bit of a bully, a hair bully!! I used to be so nice to my hair but in the past year or so I find myself using heat styling products much more than before and have also bleached all my ends in my quest for ombre hair. As you can imagine this has left my hair in a bit of a state to say the least. I cut my own hair (with an awesome tweezerman scissors) and so I am super aware of it's quality and the amount of split ends it has. Unfortunately I am not in a position to afford the apparent hair miracle that is Kerastase (will I ever be?!) and so I had to search for cheaper but hopefully-just-as-good alternatives. That's where L'oreal's (newish) range of shampoos and conditioners comes in. I saw these on offer in Tesco around the time of my birthday; it wasn't too much of an offer - just a third off but anyway) I figured it was a good time to try a more expensive shampoo than my usual l'oreal elive. I picked up the everpure shampoo (for coloured hair) and the everstrong conditioner (for damaged hair).

sorry for the horrific quality pic but trust me - you did not want to see a pic of how my actual bottles look at this stage!

These have quickly become my favourite hair products ever despite the price (normal price ~€8, reduced price ~€6), I have noticed a big different to the amount of split ends and general quality of the ends of my hair using the conditioner. One con is that I do need to wash my hair more often (before I could get away with 2 days in between washing but now it's gone to 1 and a half days) but then again I hear it's the same with Kerastase so maybe it's a good sign?! The smell is odd in both products - not unpleasant by any means but its certainly different to any shampoo or conditioner I've tried. The conditioner in particular is strange because it smells of rosemary and mint. The smell doesn't linger at all though (this could be good or bad depending on your point of view) but I'm glad it doesn't - minty hair ends is a step too far for me. Regardless I would definitely recommend and repurchase both products (but only if they were on offer again).

What do you think? Any other (cheapish) hair fixers I could add to my dream team?