Monday, 18 November 2013

elf Cosmetics Store - Cardiff: VIP Opening Event recap (GIVEAWAY CLOSED)

Hey y'all!

Are you familiar with elf Cosmetics yet?  If not, you really should be.  This is a brand that started online, offering high-quality cosmetics for less-than-drugstore prices.  I remember my first order with elf - pretty sure I got about $100 worth of makeup for around $20, plus shipping.  I've been a loyal fan ever since, utilizing mostly their online store, but occasionally picking up brushes and eyeshadow palettes in stores like Target.  Last year they launched a flagship retail store in NYC, and last month they launched the first European store in Cardiff.

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I got so beside myself because I got this:

Well, despite having a last-minute attack of social anxiety, I buckled down and went, and I'm glad I did.

I wasn't really sure what to expect, having never been to a store opening party before.  Hubby spent a lot of time beforehand talking about how he wanted to meet a celebrity - wanted his picture taken with a Welsh rugby player.  Despite my repeated instructions for him not to get his hopes up, he persisted, even speculating at one point that since John Barrowman lives in Cardiff and might like makeup, maybe he would show up.  Well, we did see one celebrity there - Miss Monmouthshire 2013.  Hubby was not impressed.  Cardiff isn't even in Monmouthshire.

Since I know a few of you will be wondering, here's the mani I wore to the event:

I started with two coats of OPI Vesper, a deep dark purple Liquid Sand from the Bond Girls collection.  Then I created a Ruffian-style second layer using OPI DS Pewter from the Raw Granite series - a very thick polish in a black base, filled to the rim with silver micro and slightly larger round glitters.  The effect is textured and looks a lot like black granite to me!  I topped off the look by adding fuchsia rhinestones over the arch of the Ruffian, et voila!  A mani fit for the overall black, white, and fuchsia look of the Cardiff store.

I also went and got my hair did because I am so not on the ball with hairstyling anymore, so I had the curls piled high and added a rhinestone butterfly to the side.  Unfortunately I didn't think to have hubby take pics of that.  Continuing with the black and fuchsia look, I wore a black cowl-necked top with fuchsia sequins over a black skirt and black leggings with black boots.  Pics didn't happen this time, sorry.

Anyway... a little over an hour after setting off, we arrived in Cardiff and only had to drive around the city for a half hour before finally figuring out how to get to the same parking garage we go to every time we go to Cardiff.  Hubby swears they keep changing the roads around, and I can't argue because lord knows I have no idea where I'm going!

For my American audience, let me describe the Cardiff city centre.  We parked in the huge multi-story parking garage over the mall.  This garage always makes me a bit nauseated because you have to drive in a tight spiral up several floors before you finally get to a floor where there's parking available, and my vertigo kicks in if I'm not careful coming up or going down this spiral.  After riding the elevator (or "lift") down to the ground floor of the shopping center, you basically wind up in the food court.  Now, around the mall are several side-street alleys called arcades, which are covered but open-ended.  Inside there are shops of all different sorts - clothes, food, gifts, you name it.  Luckily, the arcade where the elf shop is located is directly adjacent to the main shopping center, so we only had to walk out the door of the mall and across a cobbled pedestrian street to enter the arcade, and the shop was about 3/4 of the way down the strip.  The arcades were all lit up with white Christmas lighting, which I found quite beautiful.

Although we arrived about 5 minutes after the official opening, the store was already quite packed.  This was, of course, incredibly disconcerting for me, because I do suffer from severe anxiety in tight-packed crowds.
Luckily, there were all sorts of little cocktails available to sooth my nerves, but the music was fairly loud and it was kind of hard for me to move around much at all.  We managed to negotiate our way through the crush and see all the products on display.  All in all, the store looks great.  I think they've laid it out really nicely and of course I'm already in love with the products!
We finally pushed our way to a back corner beside the checkout registers where I could get a little breathing room and try to figure out my next move.  Of course I knew nobody there and my "fabulous" was feeling shy, so I only really connected with a couple of people.  The first of these was Neil Phillips, codirector of Distribeauty UK, who owns the store with his sister Jo Westlake.  I knew of Neil through a FB group called The Beauty Crowd, which was created by Distribeauty to reach out to the beauty blogging community.  I joined shortly before I started this blog, and it's through my membership there that I was able to obtain the invite to this event, so I'd like to send out a huge thank-you to the folks at Distribeauty UK and the Beauty Crowd for that, specifically Amy White, who I've corresponded with via email, but unfortunately I wasn't certain who she was in the mass of people and didn't get to introduce myself in person.

The other person I was able to meet was Chelsey, who is one of the makeup artists in-store.  I gave her my card when she rang up my purchases from the event, so Chelsey if you're reading, "HI!"

So, I spose maybe y'all wanna see what was in my mini-haul?

A breakdown:  Matte Lip Color in Rich Red, Mineral Infused Face Primer in Clear, Nail Polish in Chic Confetti, Copper, Party Purple, and Sea Escape, and Pressed Powder in Porcelain.

Besides the copious amount of booze that was going around there were also deliciously adorable cake pops, both round and shaped like little lipsticks!  We got round ones.
I mean, seriously, how cute can a simple cake pop be?

In addition to my purchases, we got swag bags!  Since hubby has very little use for makeup, even the free kind, that means I've got a spare VIP Gift Bag from the event to giveaway!  Entering is easy, using the Rafflecopter widget below.  I'm going to run the giveaway for 3 weeks, so it ends December 10, 2013, at 6:00AM GMT.

The prize package consists of the elf Studio Baked Eyeshadow Palette in NYC, the elf Powder Brush, and the elf Eyelid Primer in Sheer, all in a cute black "I <3 elf" tote bag!
Retail value £15.25 (about $22).
This giveaway is open internationally.  I will randomly select the winner on December 10 and notify the winner immediately.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond or I will pick a new winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway