Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Best of 2011 - Product Favorites

I was kind of torn by this post. The idea of it excited me, but the sheer immensity of the project kind of put me off of it. Apparently, though, I powered through that, because here it is! The "Best of 2011," as picked by Larie. I've decided to make it mostly short and sweet, with little blurbs. The links are to my previous reviews.

Most of these aren't new to the market, but were new to me, as this is the first year I really started paying attention to new releases, different brands, indie products, etc. It was also my first year as a beauty blogger! I'm so appreciative of all of you who read and comment daily - it has been great getting to know all of you, and forging fabulous friendships. The interaction is the best part of the blog, honestly. 2012 will bring great things, I know it!

So. Let's do this!
Please forgive the amusing photos...I'm still trying to get the hang of shooting with the Ottlite.

  • perfume oils: These are a completely different experience than alcohol-based perfume sprays. I feel like they transform a lot more on your skin, and are so interesting! A few of my favorites are from: Flourish, Scent by the Sea.
  • indie perfumes: They're more affordable and come in smaller quantities, and there are so many to explore and choose from! Some are also quite unique and intriguing.

  • Dior nail vernis: I always wondered if the high end polishes were worth it and anything different from the drugstore variety. I'm not sure these are exactly worth $22 and there are cheaper brands that are also awesome, but the Dior polish formula is amazing. Wears well for at least a week, easy to apply, great brush, comes in great colors...I am quite sold. I currently have just three - will be scooping up more.
  • Zoya Remove +: My favorite remover. That is all.
Okay, well, that's it. This was a fabulous year in terms of beauty products - I think I found a lot of my daily go-to items! What were some of your favorites and best discoveries this year?

Friday, December 30, 2011

December Favorites

Ahh, the year is coming to a close! What exciting New Year's Eve plans do you have? We're going to Joule for their NYE Indulgence dinner! It's a prix fix meal with five courses and wine pairings, and worth a yearly splurge. We went last year, and it was absolutely amazing. We're never disappointed at Joule!

Anyway, here are the month's favorites. This month I've been into versions of the "five minute face,"mostly because everything always felt so hectic, and it was always so cold, I didn't want to stand around messing with my face. The eye looks have been boring (which explains the lack of EOTD posts this month, sorry!), and everything has just been streamlined and simple. I've also been going for natural looking stains - both a lip stain and a cheek stain (cream blush) make the list this month.

Silk Naturals Cherry Bomb cream blush*
I love that the tube is small - not like those absurdly large Tarte cheek stains. I usually draw a little circle on each cheek and blend it into my foundation with my fingers. Cherry Bomb is a lovely natural, non-shimmery fuchsia flush. It leans cool, so it doesn't look like my cheeks are simply ruddy. It's also really quick and easy to apply, which made it perfect this month - no-fuss! Find the original review here.

Hourglass Aura Sheer Lip Stain in Flush
I have finally found a stain I like, and a showerhead applicator I can tolerate. This thing is fabulous! I'm sure you've heard me rave about it enough. The review is here.

Rouge Dior 841 Belle de Nuit
Yeah, it's pretty much official: I love the Rouge Dior formula. I don't love the $32 price tag, but I know I won't stop buying them. The formula is smooth and non-drying; it doesn't get all gunky or pill up, even after re-applying. Belle de Nuit is a limited edition holiday 2011 shade, and it is a beautiful coral-red with gold shimmer. I love. It brightens up my whole face! The original review is here.

Sephora Long-Lasting Liner in 10 Glitter Khaki
I like Sephora's take on liquid liners, as they come in a lot of colors and the formula is great. They are also only $10! This color is beautiful, with the black, smoky base and the gold glitter. It adds instant oomph to any eye look, and I love it. Review coming soon!

Annabelle Smoothie pencil in Down to Earth**
I usually am not one for chubby pencil shadows, as I find them hard to blend out and don't really like the idea of, erm, drawing on my eyeshadow. This one does take a big of rubbing out to blend all over the lid, but I adore the color (I am so into smoky khakis lately - expect a color-themed post soon, à la Danielle) and it doesn't budge or crease! It really does make life easier, too, as you don't need to dig out pots/pans of shadow and brushes.

Nails Inc. The Donmar Overglaze top coat
Nail products rarely make it to the favorites list because I always wear something different. This month, though, I put The Donmar over everything! It's just so sparkly and festive, and is not as easy to tire of as regular chunky glitter. Even without a separate top coat, this glitter coat wears for a week without chipping (of course, there is minor tip wear). The original review is here, and here is another combo I used it in.

I also debated doing an "end of the year roundup" type thing, though the sheer immensity of the idea just kind of stunned me. Still, I prevailed, and it was actually kind of fun. That post will be up tomorrow - a great way to round off the year! What were your favorites of the month - and of the year?

*Items marked with a star were sent for evaluation.
**Items marked with two stars were a gift from one of my favourite Canadians ;) Thanks, Tracy!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Thursday Post

The Civil Wars: Poison and Wine. Super mellow, super dreamy, super romantic. I love male and female duos.

I like to look at sexy cars. This is a sexy car.

Eye. Heart. Books. Link courtesy of Liz, @reductionista. Also, I found it quite exciting that UW's Suzallo made the list! *cheer*

Some kind of gorgeous. I love that it is Beauty and the Beast inspired. I've seen the Cocteau film; it's weird, but strangely beautiful.

This made me giggle. So cute!

Love this photo shoot!

Editorial Beauty: Year in Review.

I have a Kindle. It's kind of amazing. What books have you been reading lately? I need new recommendations! My to-read list is already ridiculously long, but I like putting new ones on it. Also, does anyone have the Amazon Prime membership and access to the lender library? How do you like it?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Lipstick Bandits Go Glam

We're celebrating the holidays the best way we know how: with red lipstick. But we've glammed it up for you this time around - and no, we don't have masks. We've got something better: sparkles.

As usual, everyone is doing something different, and this is the big reveal, so I'm excited to see what my fellow Bandits came up with!  You must check them out, as well - here are the links! (We're missing Dani because of the huge asshat who broke into her car and stole her laptop, but hopefully she'll be back in full Lipstick Bandit glory soon!)
And what did I do? Well, I don't own a lot of gloss (erm, Lipstick Bandit, yeah?) or sparkles. I also am not much for gloss + lipstick combos because, uh, well, I'm lazy. And um, I guess if you were going to get real technical about it, neither of these is lipstick. But we've all broken rules before, right? (Just, erm, don't tell the other Bandits. Thanks.) Even though lipsticks don't feature, I do quite like what I came up with, and find this particular combination to be pretty wearable!
I went indie this time: Darling Girl Cosmetics (DGC) Poison Apple Holo-Gloss + Holly Jolly Kiss You Off Color Rich Lip Balm

I didn't go for super pigmented red lipstick + super high sparkly gloss because I'm not skilled at layering products. You're going to have to visit the other bandits for that kind of action. I went with a lip color that was slightly more subdued, but still sparkly, and smoothed a green gloss over it. Separately, they look like this:
Darling Girl Cosmetics Poison Apple Holo-gloss (green with red glitter), Holly Jolly Kiss You Off Color Rich Balm (red with green and gold sparkles).

L: DGC Holly Jolly balm, on bare lips. R: DGC Poison Apple gloss, on bare lips
All together now! The effect is rather muted but cheery, and the shimmer is gold/green and not at all gritty.
I thought these products were perfect for each other: the red balm with gold and green sparkles, and the green gloss with red sparkles. Right? I paired this lip combo with naturally flushed cheeks and simple, well-defined eyes. Thoughts?

Ta-da! I didn't go for a dramatic red because well, I spend my holidays eating. If you're anything like me, continuously munching on cookies and yummy New Year's Eve dinners, you probably don't want to touch up fussy, high-maintenance reds, or be constantly worrying about it smearing all over your face. Also, this combo goes perfectly with your low-key, day-after-the-holiday-dinner look (when you can barely open your eyes and need to wear your glasses because your eyes are too blood-shot for contacts. And your head hurts. And you want a plate of eggs and bacon really badly. Or ramen.). See? I'm looking out for you!

So, there you have it! Be sure to check out the other Bandits' posts, and let me know what your go-to holiday lip color/combo is!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Empties + Rejects V2

Here we go, empties + expired products + rejects, volume 2! I think I've been pretty ruthless with cleaning out my train case. Plus, Christmas is over and there are all kinds of new things, so we need to start the reducing, right?
I got an empties bag. Liz said to.
Let's start with the empties. There are only three. Sad face. If we compare the number of products going out with the number coming in...we are not at equilibrium, folks. Damnit.

Bath & Body Works Vanilla Bean Noel shower gel
A typical B&BW shower gel. These last forever and go on sale quite often, so I usually pick up a bunch. I may switch to some other type of soap or shower gel after I run out this time, though, just for the sake of variety (I have three more bottles, various scents). This one is pure vanilla goodness, like buttery cookies. I don't find that the fragrance lingers on the skin much, but it's a lovely shower experience.

Benefit Magic Ink liquid liner
I actually didn't want to run out of this. It's my favorite black liquid liner, though I realized that I never did a proper post on it. I'm torn on whether to buy a replacement, because I currently do have a Sephora brand black liquid liner. The Benefit dries more quickly and has a satin finish, though, while the Sephora dries matte. I also prefer Benefit's brush tip for my black liner. We'll see what happens.

Clinique Moisture Sheer Tint SPF 15
I actually really liked this Clinique tinted moisturizer (this is the second tube I bought, after using up the first). It's quite sheer, as advertised, but does a fair job of evening out my skin tone. I have the lightest color, of course. There is about 1/4 of the tube left here, but it's from several years ago and I'm tossing it. I no longer use this and I don't know if the formula's still the same (it seems like Clinique has been revamping some of their products to phase out parabens - but that's just an observation I've made from reading ingredient lists over time, I haven't heard anything official).

On to the expired.

Chanel Teint Innocence in Cameo (discontinued)
This was my favorite foundation, but it is not paraben-free. After I took my allergy test, I had to stop using it. It was so sad. For whatever reason, I left it in my train case, but now's the time to let it go. It's about 3/4 full but there's no point in keeping it. It's also now been discontinued. So long, Chanel.

And finally, the rejects.

Very Irrésistable Givenchy L'Intense (sample)
"Notes of Turkish rose, plum, musk, patchouli" (off of the insert I got with the perfume sample).  Just based on the description, I was intrigued, but wary. I actually kind of like rose scents, if they're not too, erm, "antique" smelling. I sprayed it around and it smelled mostly of rose, slightly musky. Then it was sweet, and a bit too...generic. Nothing interesting or noteworthy here! It's also the kind of scent that ends up giving me a headache, so I tossed the sample.

Smashbox Wish palette (from 2009, I think?)
I purchased this to try out the Smashbox primer (don't like it, but finished it) and the famed Smashbox gel liners (also a miss for me) as well as the shadows, all in one go. I gave this a fair amount of use at the time because I didn't have a lot of colored shadows, and I also traveled with this one Christmas. The shadows aren't the best quality - quite chalky and low color pay-off - but it served its purpose back then. Now, though, I have much better things and there's no point in keeping this; it just takes up room in my train case. Bye bye, lame palette. I will be avoiding things like this in the future.

Dior Hypnotic Poison (sample, not pictured)
This came as a sample with the Dior Silver Lake polish that S. ordered for me. The scent is very, very heavy and kind of fussy to me. It's richer, oriental, heavy on the woodsy spice. Not for me.

Boscia Skin Perfecting Primer (sample)
Another sample I got in a 500-point perk way back when. My foundation usually stays put (especially since I wear it over Clinique City Block every day) and I don't have huge issues with shine. In general, primers don't seem to do much for me and sometimes even break me out. Not worth the effort, time, or risk of breaking out. Tossing!

Okay. I think it will be a while before my next empties post, as things are not emptying!!! Eeek.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays!

We were walking through the grocery store when we passed some enormous fruit baskets. Which prompted me to say, "You know, I never really understood the whole concept of fruit baskets. Don't people usually buy their own fruit on a weekly basis? Wouldn't they want to pick out their own fruit?" Pause. "And then if they don't buy fruit often, well, they probably don't like fruit, so then it's still a pointless gift."

S. just laughed. At this point, we were strolling past cakes.
Me: "Shouldn't you give people something they'd want but wouldn't pick up for themselves frequently? Like cake? We should have cake baskets."
S.: "Cake baskets? I think that'd be a little messy."
Me: "Well, okay, I guess, but still."
S.: "They make those cookie bouquets."
Me: "Bouquets? What?"
S.: "Yeah, they're basically cookies on sticks."
Me: "Why? Putting it on a stick doesn't make it more awesome. Just hard to eat."
S.: "Well, it makes them more like flowers. Hence, bouquet."
Me: "No! I like flowers. I want real flowers. No mixing my cookies and my flowers. People really need to work this gift-giving shit out."

I'm charming, aren't I? I know. But the point is: don't give people fruit baskets. Or at least, don't give me a fruit basket. I won't give you one, either.

I hope you get other lovely presents (if you exchange gifts) and that you are able to spend your holidays with family and friends and fluffies. Here are some photos that S. took during our trip to the Bellevue Garden D'Lights (clever, right?). They put up tons and tons of lights in the botanical garden there, and it's really quite wonderful to walk through. So many lights!
Really big dragon. It took a ridiculous amount of lights and volunteer time to construct! 

The fountain scene; S. was having fun playing with his camera settings. They had the lights set up so that the fountain actually looked like moving water. Very cool! 
There were a bunch of these trees with hanging lights that constantly rotated through so that it looked like it was snowing.  

Another insane amount of lights!!! This thing totally lit up the area.
Happy holidays, everyone!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cartoon EOTD: Frosty the Snowman

image source:
To finish off De-Grinch Week, I'm doing Frosty the Snowman for today's Cartoon EOTD. This is from the Christmas special animated feature. One night, we were watching something on TV, and when that wrapped up (I can't remember what it was, now), it was announced that all the Christmas specials were starting. I looked over at S., to see if this was a planned move (he often knows what is on TV, and I never do).

Me: "Is this on purpose?"
S.: "I love Frosty!"

Which answered that. So we watched it, with my acid commentary the whole time (S. was a good sport. And I wasn't being mean-spirited. But really? We're going to take a refrigerated train to the North Pole?). And here's the EOTD. I thought of his hat, with its flower.
Silk Naturals Stick 'Em shadow enhancer*
Antoinette's Revolution Cosmetics
Powdered Wigs (matte white), Tarte nameless gray shade
Darling Girl Cosmetics Yule's Angel Aqua Liner (gold)

Don't forget to check out Tracy's look! And happy holidays :)

*Items marked with a star were sent for evaluation.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sweet Anthem at the Urban Craft Uprising

A couple of weeks ago, S. and I went down to the Urban Craft Uprising in downtown Seattle with some friends. Sweet Anthem had a booth there, and I had the chance to meet the lovely Monika (Rocaille Writes) and Meredith (the owner and perfumer of Sweet Anthem) in person! It was supremely awesome.

The booth was very, very busy (the UCU is always crazy!) so I didn't have a lot of time to sniff perfumes, but I did manage to pick up two eau de parfum sprays (each one was 10 mL for $18, though other sizes are offered), as well as a set of the six Winter 2011 perfume oils (6 sample sizes - 2 mL each - for $12; this was a really great deal, as it's usually 3 for $12). Since it's still De-Grinch Week, I figured this was a good time to talk about the Winter release.

The first time I tried to sniff these, I was a little too overzealous and sniffed them all at once, in an extremely haphazard manner. I dabbed just one of them on my skin, but I had no idea which one it was after it was all over. And of course, I ended up with some of it on my nose (I need to stop doing that. I'm a chemist, I know how to smell things. Waft, damnit, waft!) so then I was smelling something else entirely, but who knows which it was - or what combination of scents it was. Amateur, right? So the second time, I went at it alphabetically and methodically, spending adequate time with each one in order. I bring to you my thoughts, as well as the official descriptions from Sweet Anthem's Etsy site. The Winter 2011 scents are available until January 31, as per Meredith's post.
1. Ayn: "Just a dab prepares you for any philosophical discussion. An objective perfume for him or her featuring deep herbs, fruits, and spices."

• Top Notes: Blackberry, Rosemary
• Heart Notes: Hollyberry
• Base Notes: Sage

My thoughts: In the vial, it's too sweet; it almost has an almondy-rich scent. On my skin, it's suddenly spicier, like cinnamon and nutmeg (which I think is the hollyberry). I get whispers of sage (how's that for synesthesia?), floral and green - I kind of wish it had a stronger green note. The spicy, cinnamon scent is stronger than I'd like, but I was amused to find that I could actually smell all three layers, one after another. 

2. Eugene: "All your wits will vanish this season with a dry spices blend perfect for making merry. Green spices and black pepper celebrate with clean woods and musk.

• Top Notes: 
• Heart Notes: Orris, Black Pepper
• Base Notes: Musk, Sandalwood
" [this is how it was presented on the site]

My thoughts: On my skin, extremely powdery. The kind that gives me a headache. I couldn't give this one too many tries, because it immediately morphed into a powdery scent that simply doesn't agree with me. Kind of clean, kind of floral, kind of powdery.

3. Linda: "A gold-wrapped chocolate infused with sweet liqueur, enjoyed in a cozy leather arm chair by the fire. Nothing entirely too fancy, but a staple nonetheless.

• Top Notes: Cherry
• Heart Notes: Black Pepper, Currants

• Base Notes: Cocoa, Gold, Leather"

My thoughts: In the vial, it is richly sweet - the cherry came through strongly, and cherry is not one of my favorite flavors or scents. On the skin, it was at first a bit green, but dried down to a sweeter, leathery finish. I get a hint of the black pepper throughout, with a subtle fruity softness, a faint hint of cocoa, and an almost powdery note. I'm still undecided on this scent, though I do have one question: what is gold supposed to smell like?

4. Sheila: "Oh, most gracious of beings, my queen. A commanding perfume with sharp, herbal top notes that demand to be heavy, smoky, green, and woody on skin.

• Top Notes: Chamomile, Rosemary
• Heart Notes: Lotus, Tuberose

• Base Notes: Myrrh"

My thoughts: In the vial, it's kind of like those green-scented candles, with perhaps the slightest sweetness. On my skin, it starts out kind of like chamomile, but ends up quite soapy. The smallest dot lasted forever on me, as well. It might be interesting layered, because that soapy note could be interesting if it were melded with something else. Although, who am I kidding? I don't know how to layer scents - the end result will be me, smelling like I accidentally spilled fifty bottles of perfume on myself. It smelled good with my raspberry hand cream...haha.

5. Stanford: "Made for tarts, harlots, and chastised sweethearts. Herbal teas and heady liqueurs are softened by sweet woods and fruits.

• Top Notes: Absinthe, Orange Peel
• Heart Notes: Cassie, Fig
• Base Notes: Angelica Root, Green Tea"

My thoughts: Kind of piney and almost reminds me of Christmas trees in the vial, but also quite fruity, somehow. On my skin, it's immediately kind of...bad. It's like how grapefruit turns horrible on some people - yeah, this, on me. Funny how that happens sometimes, huh? As time passes, more of the green tea note comes out, which I rather like; most "green tea" perfumes just smell like citrus to me, but this one is actually reminiscent of green tea - it has an earthiness to it that I associate with tea. However, that odd note still lingers (Meredith, via Twitter, said it must be the angelica, which is apparently a rather polarizing scent). I'm really kind of torn about this one! Incidentally, S. says it doesn't smell strange to him at all, so it must be a combination of my skin + my nose. 

6. Sylvia: "How frail the human heart must be. When a hot bath won't cure what ails you, this perfume surely will: a bit of bubbly under the mistletoe, with wreaths of osmanthus and tuberose, will make anyone merry and bright.

• Head Notes: Champagne, Mistletoe
• Heart Notes: Osmanthus, Tuberose
• Base Notes: Cedarwood"

My thoughts: In the vial and initially on my skin, it smells like soda! Like fizzy, lemon-lime soda. I suppose that's the champagne in action, as well as the osmanthus (the slightly fruity aspect). I smell hints of the tuberose and a slightly spicy note - the cedarwood? This lasts and lasts through the drydown. Altogether - love!  

Final thoughts:
All in all, I guess wintery scents are not quite my cup of tea, though I am kind of in love with Sylvia. With some of the others, there were notes that I wanted more of, but they were not the focus of that particular perfume. However, perfumes - and perfume oils, in particular - are extremely personal experiences, and subjective, so if any of these descriptions sound interesting to you, I definitely recommend you giving them a try! Sweet Anthem is closed for the holidays, but should be open shortly after the new year.

I will say that even though some of these scent notes weren't for me, I had a lot of fun smelling these - I'm training my nose! They are all quite complex and the experience is completely different from the vial, to the initial skin test, to the drydown. They all last quite long on my skin, as well. I will have to make a trip down to Sweet Anthem's brick and mortar shop to give their other perfumes a sniff - perhaps when the next season's collection hits us? In the meantime, I'm putting Sylvia on the wishlist!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Thursday Post

Braid Paisley feat. Carrie Underwood: Remind Me. We are going country this week, kids! Yeah!

I love polar bears!!! :D

I want this Kate Spade bag. $475, I do not have, but I can ogle, right?

Have you read about this study? It kind of makes me smile. I wanted a rat, but S. said Dennison would eat it. He is prolly right. Sigh.

Did everyone see this? It's kind of cool - I hope they do more like it! It's nice to see it all in one spot, on real nails.

This Christmas tree is flat out gorgeous, and a fitting symbol of hope. (Which reminds me...I have a lot of cranes to finish making. Aiya).

Still looking for a gift? This is sexy. (Of course it's a French press, what were you expecting???)

And because it's still De-Grinch Week, here: my favorite Christmas lawn decoration photo.

This cake is all kinds of gorgeous!

Also, to round out day four of De-Grinch Week: Dennison is festive, too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

De-Grinch Week Day 3: All Red.

I decided to swatch all of my red lipsticks for you, since red seems to be a go-to color for the holidays. I have more red lipstick than I will ever be able to use up, so, erm, here you go! Some of them are more orange-based, some of them are more blue-based, some of them are glossy, some of them are matte, some of them are sheer...hopefully you can find something that suits you! (Warning: this post is extremely picture heavy!)

I broke them down into three categories: "full-strength" (matte, satin, creamy and opaque), "sheer, shiny, glossy" (balms, butters, etc), "metallic" (gold or metallic sheens). All told, I have fifteen red lip things. Glosses, tinted balms, stains, lipsticks = fifteen. Thus starts my red lipstick ban. No more! Not until one of them gets used up, or Dennison eats one, or something (I hope that doesn't happen. No lipsticks for the fluffyhead!).

Full strength: creamy, opaque, satin/matte finishes.
Top to bottom: NARS Mascate, MAC Runaway Red, Marcelle Amour**, Bite Beauty Pomegranate, Revlon Fire and Ice

Swatched on bare skin. Fire and Ice is the brightest, most orange-red; Mascate is the darkest, and most matte. Pomegranate and Amour look similar, but Pomegranate is darker, and more opaque on lips; Amour is glossier and more slippery. Runaway Red is a satin finish and an intense, vibrant red.
Same photo, lightened slightly; no labels.
Sheer, Shiny, Glossy: Balms, glosses, "butters," lipsticks with a sheer finish.
L-R: Darling Girl Cosmetics Raining Blood, MAC Can't Resist, Clinique Cranberry Cream, Darling Girl Cosmetics Holly Jolly, Dior 850 Red Serum, Tarte Enchanted, MAC Hot Tahiti

Hot Tahiti is one of my favorite MAC lipsticks; the glaze finish is superb. I'm not a fan of Tarte's lip things; Enchanted is a berry-red and I rarely use it. Dior's Red Serum is a sheer, glossy red; pulls almost coral on my lips. Darling Girl Cosmetics Holly Jolly looks pinker here, but more red on lips; it's full of gold-green sparkle. Cranberry Cream is a darker red; seems more sheer on my arm but glossy and rich on the lips. Can't Resist and Raining Blood look reddish-brown on lips; both have gold/copper sparkle. Can't Resist is smoother, slightly sticky, applies more evenly. 

Metallic: Gold sheen, or super metallic finish.
L-R: Lise Watier Grenadine**, Rouge Dior Nocturne, Belle de Nuit
With flash. The Rouge Diors aren't overly metallic, really - they just have a gold sheen that actually makes them extremely wearable and less in-your-face. Belle de Nuit leans coral, Nocturne leans berry. Lise Watier's Grenadine, on the other hand, is intensely metallic and very red - leans very cool.

No flash.

The complete list, with little blurbs:

  • Tarte Lip Stain in Enchanted: a berry red stain. I don't like these much, even though I have two; I find them drying (not moisturizing!) and they smell like mint crayons. Blech. The color does last, though.
  • Dior Sérum de Rouge in 850 Red Serum: Glossy, comfortable (a little slippery), beautiful. Lighter in shade, pulls slightly coral.
  • Rouge Diors in Belle de Nuit, Nocturne: The Rouge Dior formula is hands down my favorite for lipsticks. These are gorgeous and totally need to be purchased, now. They're LE!
  • Revlon Fire and Ice: I'm not a fan of this formula - too heavy and creamy for me - and this is an attention-getter. It pulls red-orange on me, but I've seen it pull blue-pink on others.
  • Lise Watier Rouge Gourmand in Grenadine**: The color is beautiful but probably best reserved for nights out; it also has a really sweet, synthetic smell that I'm not particularly keen on.
  • Marcelle Rouge Xpression Lipstick in Amour (cream)**:  tends to feather and bleed and is slightly drying, but it has great staying power, and is fabulous for a drugstore brand. 
  • MAC Runaway Red (satin), Hot Tahiti (glaze), Can't Resist (Sheen Supreme): Hot Tahiti is a comfortable-wearing glaze that's quite sheer; Runaway Red was limited edition and a satin finish - very red. Looks dark in hand and arm swatches, but lightens up on the lips. Can't Resist is a tad sticky.
  • Clinique Colour Surge Butter Shine in Cranberry Cream: Darker red; glossy, comfortable but slippery on the lips
  • NARS Pure Matte lipstick in Mascate: Dark red, softly matte.
  • Bite Beauty High Pigment Matte Pencil in Pomegranate: Very, very pigmented red.
  • Darling Girl Cosmetics Holly Jolly Kiss You Off Color Rich Balm, Raining Blood Holo-gloss: Not a huge fan of the gloss, but I love DGC balms. Review for this one coming shortly.
And now I bet you want to know if I have a favorite. Or favorites. Or ones that I hate. Well, erm, I guess the reason why I have all of these is because they all do look different on my lips. I think the most wearable are the Diors - the holiday limited edition colors are gorgeous, with the soft gold sheen, and extremely wearable, and the Red Serum is glossy. The boldest are the Revlon, the Bite Beauty, MAC Runaway Red, and the Lise Watier - that is one shiny and metallic lipstick, let me tell you.

My recs for specific qualities:
A show-stopper: Bite Beauty Pomegranate
Sophisticated matte: NARS Mascate
Fun, cheery, summery: Dior Red Serum
Gateway red: MAC Hot Tahiti

The ones I turn to the most? MAC Hot Tahiti, NARS Mascate, all three Diors.

Okay! If you stuck around through that monster of a post, three cheers for you! Now, even though I just put myself on a red lipstick ban, I have to know: what's your favorite red? Will you be scooping up any of these?

**Items marked with two stars were gifts from my favourite Canadians. Thanks, Tracy and Liz! ;)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

De-Grinch Week, Day 2: Holiday Nails

Okay, we're on day 2 of De-Grinch week, which means: holiday nails! I've brought out a few of the colors I turn to during the holiday season, and I also have a NOTD feature. I usually turn to glitters, metallics, and sparkly colors.

Here we go: golds.
L-R: Zoya Jules, nails inc. The Donmar Overglaze, Dior Exquis, Sally Hansen Set the Stage

The silvers, glitters, sparkles.
Dior Silver Lake, CG Disco Dazzle, Sinful Colors Smoking Hot, Zoya Trixie

Red and green.
Zoya Kimmy, Sinful Colors Call You Later, Zoya Reva
And here's the combo! Zoya Kimmy (a bright, festive red) under The Donmar Overglaze top coat (flakie glitter). It's a perfect Christmas combo - it's red and glittery, with the green flash. Perfect! It flashes gold under most lights, but outside it usually flashes green.
Zoya Kimmy (2 coats) + The Donmar (2 coats), outside.

Blurred to show the flash. This combo lasted a week (with minor tip wear) with no additional top coat. Impressive!
And there you have it. What fun nail combos and colors are you trying for the holidays?

Monday, December 19, 2011

De-Grinch Week Day 2: Sparkly, by Color

I decided to try to show a couple of photos that are themed by color, incorporating a few jewelry pieces, as well. I am an earring/bracelet girl; I used to wear more rings, but now I just wear my engagement ring, and I'm not sure how to pull off the multiple-rings-on-one-hand look. I also refuse to wear bracelets or rings on my right hand (the hand I write with), because those just get in the way and become very annoying. I know these photos aren't very good, but I found that it's really hard to style these shoots! Credit to those of you who pull these vanity snapshots off so well.
Chanel Mirifique, Dior 5 Golds Quint, Dior Silver Lake, China Glaze Fairy Dust; various fashion jewelry pieces.

Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous, Dior Aurora, Urban Decay El Dorado, Shiro Cosmetics Triforce, S.S. Anne; various other jewelry pieces.
Well, there you go. Not much to say, here, I apologize. I guess this was my attempt at letting photos speak for themselves. What are your favorite jewelry pieces, and do you have a favorite color scheme for them (e.g. gold, silver, rose gold)?

Okay, stay tuned for the rest of De-Grinch Week!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kicking Off De-Grinch Week with an EOTD!

So, you already know that I'm not much for festivities. I hate Christmas music and I hate the hectic chaos of shopping malls during the holiday season. Essentially, I'm the Grinch, without the cool curly green fingers. But Christmas is next Sunday and I thought it'd be fun to put together a bunch of holiday-esque posts this week. I'll try to be spirited for you. We'll see how it goes. Thus: De-Grinch week!

Here's how it'll go:

Monday: I feature some sparkly, shiny things.
Tuesday: Holiday nails. Glittery, sparkly, red, metallic shades, plus a fun Christmas combo.
Wednesday: The Reds. My red lipsticks, all twelve (ugh, twelve!) of them.
Thursday: The Thursday post, of course, but with a few more festive links than normal.
Friday: Winter Scents. Sweet Anthem Winter 2011 thoughts.
Saturday: Cartoon EOTD: Frosty the Snowman

Today's post? A glittery, gold EOTD, of course.
Silk Naturals Stick 'Em Shadow Enhancer*
Annabelle Smoothie Eye Pencil in
Down to Earth
Tarte Jewelry Box (highlight shade)
Sephora Long-Lasting Liquid Liner in 01 Black, 10 Glitter Khaki

There you have it! I felt like this look had enough dramatic flair to be worn to a party (of course, I didn't attend any...haha.). It would probably pair well with a nude lip - or you can be daring and pair it with red!  I've also been really loving these smokey olive and gold colors - the Annabelle Smoothie pencil is pretty awesome, and probably adds to that recent obsession; thank you, Tracy!

*Items marked with a star were sent by the company for evaluation.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cartoon EOTD: The Lorax!

image source:
I actually am kind of excited about the movie coming in March - it looks funny! I loved The Lorax as a kid (and still do, obviously) and I decided he'd be great for a cartoon look. He has such a spectacular mustache!

You know I love oranges, so I was happy for an excuse to bust the orange shadows out. We're still on the "wearable" kick, though, sorry! I wanted to do softer colors, to get a sort of "fuzzy" feel.
Shiro Cosmetics Yatta (pastel yellow), Charmander (shimmery orange)
UD El Dorado liner (gold)

Hurray! Can you tell that I tried to smile in the first shot? Haha. My eyebrows are probably bushy enough to represent the Lorax all on their own.

Don't forget to check out Tracy's look!