Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Favorites!

My makeup was kind of all over the place this month. Mostly very boring, because, well, I don't know if you've noticed, but...I'm pretty boring.

There. The secret's out.

This seems like a random mishmash of stuff, huh? Sorry. A couple of these haven't been reviewed yet, but they will come up soon!

Josie Maran Argan Oil, travel size
A while ago, I bought the travel size just to try out (I didn't want to be stuck with a full bottle if I didn't like it, you know?). I've been using this at night, as an additional moisturizer, and I really like it! I think it may be a bit heavy for daytime use - I haven't tried it yet, though I will soon - but at night it soothes my skin and I feel like I'm a little more glowy in the morning. Bonus: it comes in a bottle with a dropper. The first time I brought it out to use, S. did a double take. "Is that magic potion?" Why yes, darling, yes it is.

Jo Malone Red Roses cologne
I am a rose scent girl. This is a lovely rose scent - green, fresh, and a little bit sweet. This was part of a set that S. gave me for Valentine's day, and I really like the idea of several small bottles; I get variety, and I don't have to feel guilty about having huge bottles that I will never finish. Jo Malone packaging is elegant and gorgeous, and the scents are crisp and clean - not in a soapy way, but in a straight-edged, targeted way. No muddling here.

Bite Beauty Pomegranate High Pigment Matte Pencil
I brought this out for Valentine's Day, even though we didn't go out or do anything fancy. It's just so fabulous. So red. I do find it a bit hard to apply evenly, and I am unable to take off the cap without putting a dent in the product tip, but once applied, it's long lasting and so stunning.

Illamasqua Libido cream blusher
I showed this in my Valentine's Day Snapshot, and I still love it. It's so pretty, and gives me a natural-looking flush. I apply with a stippling brush. Once, I accidentally applied too much. That was fun. I wouldn't recommend it. You can find my original review here.

Solstice Scents Snowshoe Pass perfume oil
I know, I know. This came up last month. BUT I'M STILL ROLLING AROUND IN IT, OKAY? It smells good. The original review is here.

Smashbox Studio Skin in 1.2, sample
This is one of the foundations I've been testing for the wedding. It is a bit heavier coverage than I'm used to, but it's not "heavy coverage," by any means. The color is a perfect match for me, and I really like the finish. It also photographs beautifully. I have a few more to test, but this is my favorite so far, and I'm debating buying a bottle even if it doesn't end up being THE ONE.

Okay, there we go. What were your favorites this month?

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Blush Count

Yes, it's an inventory post, à la Liz. The blush fiends made me count. Here they all are - Tracy said bronzers and illuminators don't count, so that's going to be another post.
Erm, clearly, I like MAC blushes. *cough*
MAC: Harmony, Frankly Scarlet, Sakura (mineralize blush from the Quite Cute collection), Early Morning, Subtle Breeze, Fresh Honey (all three mineralize blushes from Naturally)
Clinique: Black Honey gradient blush
Silk Naturals: Entice*, Cherry Bomb*
Smashbox: Radiance
Makeup Forever: Quickie cream blush
Illamasqua: Libido cream blush
The MAC Mineralize blushes. 
Matte powder blushes (well, actually, Black Honey might have a *faint* shimmer to it, but it never shows up on my cheeks so I consider it matte for all intents and purposes.
My cream blushes.
I like blushes that are all mostly different in color; I'm not one to collect five different cool pink blushes or whatever. The average person could probably get away with one blush and one bronzer, if they kept their makeup simple and similar every day. But I think of it like this: I like to change my eye shadow colors frequently (as in, I usually don't wear the same eye colors twice in a row, even), so I need the appropriate complementary blush. If I wear a cool gray shadow, for example, I want a cool pink/lavender blush. If I wear a warm gray shadow, then I want a warmer pink blush. Is it necessary to have twelve blushes? Well, no, but sometimes I still feel like I don't have quite the color that would complete my face. I think I could be better about mixing them up to create colors, though, or layering them more creatively. I could always turn more eye shadows into blush, after all.

Realistically, I probably will buy more blush at some point, but I don't have a really pressing need for any, even though I do oooh and ahhh over every new one. I think the next one I buy will be a true peachy cream blush, like Illamasqua Rude. I like cream blushes. I wish my stash was made up of more of them, but then I suppose they don't really keep as long, huh?

Now, I know I'm on a ban, but curiosity compels me to ask: what is your favorite blush? Is there something you think I should have? Or is twelve blushes already ridiculous?

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

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fun Reads for the Weekend: Link Love

I'm running around a bit right now (okay, *right* now I'm having lunch, but I will be running around again!) trying to do some errands and take the dog outside to enjoy the sunny weather. Then I'm going to sit down and chat about the Oscars with my girls. I have some fun posts this week, but for now, here are some reads I've enjoyed this week and weekend, though!
  • Cherries in the Snow - did you know it's a dessert, as well as that iconic Revlon color? - Lenallure
  • I want to try this reverse-gradient flakie manicure. It looks almost easy enough for me to try - Laura's Lacquers
  • Kimchee and...cheese?  (S. says no. Haha) - Beyond Kimchee
  • Is it summer yet? I'm not really a beach girl, despite having grown up in HI, but Liz has me missing home a little bit. Home and sunshine - Beauty Reductionista
  • Eugenia's stunning take on Adele's Louboutin manicure. - Ommorphia Beauty Bar
  • Restore the softness of your expensive brushes - Sudo-Beautify
  • Mint green, cream, gold tan - lovely. - Fairytale Wishes and Dreams
  • Wanna know how much you're paying per weight of your shiny blush? - Beauty Obsessed
Okay, I'm out! To the dog park we go ;) Any fun reads to share with me?

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Beauty No-Buy: Update 2

So, another few weeks have passed, and I still haven't bought anything beauty-related! I think it's been about a month, total, and I haven't purchased any makeup for myself, really. Not even basics, like skincare. I think I'm still good for another month or so on those items, even. *throws confetti*

Here are more "things-I've-been-doing-to-keep-me-from-shopping:"
  • I've switched from reading reviews of new products, to looking up reviews - and sometimes video tutorials - about products I already own, so that I can find new ways to use them. I'm not much for videos, actually (I usually have music on and videos take too much attention and time to watch) but I do occasionally watch Lisa Eldridge and Pixiwoo.
  • Spent some time doing research on wedding makeup. I don't want to buy tons and tons of things. I want to be able to use some things I have, and buy what I need - foundation, under-eye concealer, setting powder, things like that. Speaking of which, does anyone have any suggestions on a wedding look? What kinds of things did you go for? What kinds of things would you like for yourself?
The other thing I've been doing? Working on my wishlist! Yes, I can't buy anything on it, but this whole ban thing is actually making me carefully reconsider every item's worthiness. Is it awesome enough to be on my wishlist? Is it awesome enough for me to spend money on it? Will I wear it? Can I find something better? I'd really like to think that I'm becoming more selective in the items that I purchase. Maybe. Ha!

I've also been working on a list of non-makeup things that I want/need to buy (yes, such things exist). I had to buy some new, um, undergarments, which are really boring things to shop for - especially stuff like sports bras and T-shirt bras. But I've needed new ones for a while, so it was nice to finally get that out of the way. Most of the other items on my list are also practical, like new socks. Sad, huh? But it's kind of grounding, to realize what I can really buy if I don't buy that Edward Bess bronzer or that new perfume. These things may not be as exciting, but there is something happy about a new sports bra or cute new leg warmers. I also want those TOMS flats in a fun color, like blue. And I have always loved shoes, so I've been looking at them more often. Some of my favorites so far:
image source: Nordstrom
DV by Dolce Vita "Jude" Sandals in red, $89.95. I love the bright color and the suede! (Oh wait. I already have red sandals.)
image source: Nordstrom
Vince Camuto "Ladell" pump in light beige, $118.95. The pop of color on the heel is awesome. However, I've seen these in person and they feel really cheap - the heel also looks really high. It's a shame, because I rather like the color-blocking shoe trend.
image source: Nordstrom
Earthies "Lucia Too" sandals in Light Khaki, $148.95. These look comfy and casual! I like 'em.
image source: Nordstrom
Betsey Johnson "Gemmma" pump (yes, it has that many "m's"), $149.95. I cannot pull off this heel, and the bulky shape is a bit too Kardashian for me, but I adore the royal blue shade.

Sigh. Shoes. I love them. I just ordered a pair of Cole Haan rain boots (the Lizzie style, in red!) because my old ones, which I wore faithfully for the past four years, have finally torn and are beyond repair. I love them; they're comfy and completely waterproof! Since I need to wear rain boots for approximately 8 months out of the year, I feel it's a good idea to invest in solid ones. My old ones were black, but this time I decided to go for red. My coats are black and sometimes I feel like I want bright boots. So here we go.
image source: Kaboodle
I also need a new pair of easy-breezy sandals soon, since my favorite pair finally broke last summer, and I need new ones for this summer. Maybe those Earthies? Any hot shoes on your wishlist lately? How are you doing with your bans (if you're on one!) or what exciting purchases have you made? I will live vicariously!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Thursday Post

Iron and Wine: Boy With a Coin. This video is amazing - love these dancers! So feminine and strong.

Whoa, this game. It's kind of terrifying for something with unicorns in it. And the music. Uh. Yeah. Just click the link.

I know Valentine's was last week, but I think these multi-lingual guys are cool.

Intriguing. Intriguing! I'm on such a perfume kick right now.

This blogger puts together fashion pieces inspired by Disney characters. I've been loving them for a while now, but forgot to share!

It's a good thing Guard Duck doesn't live around here! :P

Please ogle with me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Guest Post at Laura's Lacquers!

Hey all :) Just a quick note to say that I did a guest post for the lovely Laura of Laura's Lacquers. It's, erm, not a nail post, per se, but it's...nail inspired? Pop over and check it out! And say hi to Laura. She's a dear.

A England Tristam

Aren't they gorgeous? Love the branding and the sleek lines of the bottle.
Everyone has been going crazy over A England's The Legends collection lately, but I'm a little behind. I'm here to show you...some of The Mythicals!

A England had a sale at the beginning of the year, and it was a good one - 30% off. Since they also offer free worldwide shipping, I finally made an order. I kept my order down to two polishes, since price in pounds confuses me (I just input it into Google and ask for the conversion, but still, it's easy to get carried away when I'm not looking at straight-up $ signs), and it was hard to narrow it down. In the end, I picked Camelot ("black onix glaze with unique luster"), and Tristam ("night blue sky with starlight glimmer and glow," descriptions taken from A England's site), which is a navy blue holo. Many thanks to Eugenia for her great swatches and help in narrowing it down!

I love the fact that the collections are based on mythology and stories, because I adore those sorts of things. As a kid, I devoured Greek and Roman myths, as well as Celtic tales; I didn't delve so much into Norse mythology, but I think I will start to do that now. I have a soft spot for very old stories. I'm not too familiar with Tristam's role in the Arthurian legend, but since A Once and Future King is on my reading list, hopefully I'll figure it out someday. For now, I'll just appreciate this polish, because it is gorgeous.
Two coats of Tristam with Zoya base and top coats. This is inside, without direct light, it looks like a navy blue with lots of silver sparkle. I liked it immediately.

And then, I went outside.
The sneakily silver sparkles turned into a myriad of colors! So. Pretty. This is my first holo, too, which is wildly exciting.

Here's another shot, to hopefully better capture that holo goodness. 
You may have already guessed, but I have a soft spot for blue polishes. Which makes this even more appealing to me. It's kind of a denim color, deep and dark and not too warm, which is lovely. I think the base color is possibly similar to Dior's Tuxedo, but really, with the holo, this is an entirely different beast. A hot one.

The formula for Tristam is a little thick, but applies smoothly and dries fairly quickly. I think with the A England top and base coats, I'd have an even better time of it, and those are definitely on my wish list. Tristam dries to a super glossy finish all on its own, which I really love. I also want to try wearing this matte, because I think it might look awesome.

A England polishes are £ 9, which is roughly $14.25 US. They always offer free shipping, and since I scooped these up during the anniversary sale, I paid $19.95 for two polishes. I'll try to have Camelot up for you soon, and I also have three of the new Legends polishes, too, so watch this space. I definitely think you should try some, if you haven't already; I have a few others from The Mythicals collection on my wishlist: Iseult and Morgan Le Fay. Have you tried any? Do you have a favorite?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Back to the Very Beginning

Over the new year, the Lipstick Bandits decided that we'd gently encourage non-lipstick wears to try some out. With that in mind, we decided to pull out all of our "starter" lipsticks - our first tubes, or the ones that got us going in this downward spiral of lipstick obsession. These are meant to be easy-to-wear, non-scary, soft, pretty shades that give you a boost in the right direction. If you're already a lipstick pro, feel free to reminisce with us!

Some of us couldn't remember our first lipstick or no longer had it, so it might be the close second or third for some Bandits. The idea is the same though - something to ease you into the practice. Everyone has something different!

Here's mine. I only started wearing lipstick in, say, spring of 2011? Oh, sure, I'd worn it once or twice before for prom or something, but I usually felt like lipstick made my face look funny (I actually still have that feeling quite often, ha!). I made the mistake of admitting this to Rae, though, and I was severely admonished. So I slunk off to MAC to peruse lipsticks, and, er,'s a slippery slope. Join us!

My first lipstick? It's not soft and pink and barely there (oops), but it's extremely easy to wear and - I feel - flattering on many skin tones. It's sheer but still noticeable, and has a comfortable formula. It is...
MAC Hot Tahiti. It's a glaze finish (one of very few) and still one of my favorite MAC lipsticks. It's red, I know. I know. But it's not scary red. It isn't! See?
The color is kind of a muted, dusty soft red that looks almost natural, I think. In the beginning, when I was still feeling tentative about this, I tried to pair it with barely-there eyes and a mostly natural-looking face, because I was afraid lipstick would overwhelm my face if I tried to wear it with bright blush and bright eyes.
On lips: MAC Hot Tahiti (glaze).
Then, when you're feeling braver, you can keep the same overall makeup, and just swap the lipstick out for a more intense one. Like Bite Beauty's Pomegranate High Pigment Matte pencil - a favorite of mine.
Ramping it up! On lips: Bite Beauty Pomegranate.
I know - baby steps. Red still scares me, to be honest. But I figure, you're only young once, right? If not now, when?

Don't forget to check out all of the other Lipstick Bandits to see their picks!
What was your first lipstick? 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cartoon EOTD: The Bimbettes

image source: fanpop
Did you know they were called that? I didn't. I also didn't realize this: they have lookalikes in Aladdin.
image source: Disney Wiki
Maybe next week's pick? Hahahaha!
Hahaha. You learn something new every day, no? Anyhow. I wanted to continue on my trend of tying in consecutive Cartoon EOTDs; since last time I did a tri-color look with the three chipmunks, this week I decided to do a different sort of tri-color look with another triplet pairing: the Bimbettes, from Beauty and the Beast. I detest them and they're ridiculous, but they fit the bill. And the colors seemed kinda fun - red, gold, green. I decided to go a little less, erm, garish than last week, though, so this one is a little softer, better blended, and perhaps wearable. I actually wore this all yesterday!
Bare Escentuals
Envy (green), Kiko (gold), Citrus Twist (peachy pink)
UD 24/7 Glide-on pencil in
El Dorado (lower lashline)
Sephora Long-lasting liner in
01 black, Milani Liquif'eye pencil in black

I decided to go with a thick, dramatic winged black liner - seems like their kind of thing, right?
Don't forget to check out Tracy's look!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Foodie Friday! #7: Slow-Cooker Recipes

I think a slow-cooker is pretty versatile and a good thing to have in the kitchen. It may sound a little retro and fifties-era, but you can do a lot of things with one. For the slow-cooker, I prefer recipes that don't require you to do a lot of prep work or cooking beforehand, because I feel that kind of defeats the purpose, you know? So I choose simple ones. You do the prep work in the morning, plug it in, and let it go, and when you come home, the apartment smells wonderful and your dog is going nuts. Haha. Slow-cookers are good things to have!

Unless you have a big family, you don't really need a large one, and they're not that expensive. I decided to share some of the recipes that I have bookmarked for the slow cooker, as well as some that we've tried and liked. You can make breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert in the slow cooker, it seems - I've seen recipes for all kinds of things! If you try any of these, let me know how it turned out!

Ann's BBQ Pulled Pork, from Andrea Meyers
We've made this recipe before, and it is delicious and simple. Sometimes we make BBQ pork sliders, sometimes we just have it with beans and cornbread.

Slow-cooker Chicken Caesar sandwiches, from Sweet Treats & More
This is another recipe I've been itching to have S. make, but I think we'll save it for the summer time. It sounds refreshing and delicious though, no?

Winter Tomato Soup for the Slow-Cooker, from One Perfect Bite
This is what we had for dinner last night! We are both fans of grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup.

Slow-Cooker Lentil Soup, from ABC News (Good Morning America)
I hear lentils need a lot of cooking and time and perhaps attention, and with the slow-cooker, at least you don't have to pay constant attention to them. This is another one that seems like a good winter supper!

Slow-Cooker Mashed Potatoes, from The Yummy Life
I'm not much a fan of mashed potatoes (which, my dad insists, makes me un-American), but I bookmarked this one because S. likes them, and I figured it's good to have a mashed potatoes recipe, right? Also, sometimes for big, multi-component meals, you're already using the stove and oven for a lot of other dishes (like Thanksgiving!) so it might be nice to have the option to use the slow-cooker for one aspect.

Sweet and Spicy Slow-Cooked Chicken, from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Simple, probably best served with rice. There are a lot of variations on recipes like this (different seasonings, etc.) so that you could make chicken tacos, enchiladas, etc. All very yummy sounding!

Slow-cooker Orange Beef, from Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen
Sounds better than take-out, right? Gonna try this one, for sure.

Bananas Foster in the Slow cooker, from
I'm not a huge fan of banana recipes, but every once in a while I get in the mood for bananas foster. I've had this one bookmarked for a while, and maybe I'll dig it out at the next dinner party we have.

Slow-cooker Sour Cream Cheesecake, from Food and Wine
Doesn't this sound awesome? It seems kind of complicated - and you need a BIG slow-cooker, but the theory seems sound.

Slow-cooker Tapioca Pudding, from All Recipes
This sounds like the simplest thing imaginable, with a tiny list of ingredients and directions. I need to find some tapioca pearls - I love tapioca pudding!

Yogurt, from A Year of Slow Cooking
I've read about this a few times, though I've never tried it. You need a starter, but you can definitely make your own yogurt. The starter can be something simple, too, like a tub of store-bought yogurt! I think this is next on the list of things to try.

Okay, this has been good for me, too - pulling out all the old recipes I have stored away! I haven't tried all of these, so I can't attest to how good they all are, but hopefully this is a good starting point if you've let your slow cooker collect dust. Or, it may be enough to convince you to get one! ;)

Next time, by popular request, I'll do a Foodie Friday post on yeast breads. It's gonna be wild.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Thursday Post

Gorillaz: Rhinestone Eyes. I love me some Gorillaz. They have great beats, if a bit unorthodox.

iPhone Apps for art.

This is so freaking awesome. So tiny! So cool!

Okay, this whole bacon thing is getting out of hand.

I did not realize that Tokyo Milk made bubble bath soap, and now I want some.

We didn't do an engagement shoot and I doubt we will (though now I sort of want to do one, haha), but I still look at them sometimes on wedding sites. This one is super cute and really original.

Yes! Play with your food! ;)

Ahhh! Cute necklaces!

Not sure I could handle my perfumes super-strength, but this is an interesting experiment.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Snapshot: Valentine's Edition

Clockwise, starting at top left: Illamasqua Libido, Stila Pearl Palette, Fyrinnae Lip Lustre in Romantique, Hourglass Aura Sheer Lip Stain in Flush, Silk Naturals cream blushes in Entice, Cheery Bomb, Stila Natural Beauty palette.
To honor St. Valentine's day, here are some things that I have been completely loving lately. These aren't really heart/pink/red themed, but I figured it was a good day to showcase current loves, right?
  1. Matte eye shadows. I don't have a lot of them, but I've been really digging their subtlety lately. The ones I have are in the Tarte Jewelry box I ranted about before, and the Stila Natural Beauty palette that showed up in January's favorites. I have noticed that while I still find Tarte's shadows chalky (they kick up a lot of excess powder when used), they are easier to blend over a non-UD base; I've been using Silk Naturals Stick 'Em Eye Shadow Enhancer*.
  2. Eye shadow palettes. While I do have a lot of love for my indie loose shadow pots, you really can't beat the convenience and ease of pressed shadow palettes. In addition to the two I talked about above, I've been using the Stila Pearl Palette. The last coppery shade is gone because I traveled with it quite often; Stila shadows, crumbly as they are, can't take a lot travel. 
  3. Cream blushes. They have such a lovely, sheer, natural quality to them, and they are actually quite easy to use. Illamasqua Libido and the Silk Naturals cream blushes have been my go-to blushes recently.
  4. Doing my brows. This one leaves me kind of torn, because I'm lazy and I hate adding things to the routine. However, I can't deny that well-groomed, shaded in brows definitely add oomph to my look, and leave me looking more polished and put together. I do still skip it sometimes, when I'm in a rush or if my eye makeup is particularly heavy, but otherwise, I feel it is becoming a necessary step for me.
  5. Lip stains. Like Hourglass Aura Sheer Lip Stains and Fyrinnae Lip Lustres. They take a little bit of work, it's true, but the payoff is totally worth it - long lasting color that's easy to wear. For the Hourglass, throw a bit of balm on top, and you're done. It also layers well under glosses. The Fyrinnae (review coming soon!) takes a bit of warming up before use, but it applies nicely and leaves a nice stain, as well. This one is not nearly as long-lasting as Hourglass, but the formula is almost like a gloss, so re-application is no issue.
One of my favorite lip combos lately: Hourglass Aura Sheer Lip Stain in Flush, under NARS Albatross lip gloss. Wintery and perfect!
That's it for me. What kind of things have you been crazy about lately? Any special plans for the day? We're not really big into Valentine's, but don't have the energy to hate, either. It's kind of just another night, although we did exchange gifts and I'm making dessert. We'll prolly open a bottle of wine, too - any excuse, right?
This is what I came home to yesterday! :) I'm not that girly, I don't think, but I will admit to a fondness for receiving flowers. Especially lilies. They smell nice.

And here: a shot of two of my other loves:
*Items marked with a star were sent by the company for evaluation.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My Take on "Neons and Nudes" With MAC Neon Orange

image source: Temptalia
Bobbi Brown's collections don't usually attract my interest, probably because I feel like they're all the same. I'm not shooting down neutrals or anything - far from it, as I've really been in love with them lately - but nothing ever jumps out at me. When I saw the Neons and Nudes promotion photos, though, I immediately fell in love with the model's clean face, bold lips, and strong brows. Gorgeous!

When the collection first came out, I lingered at a Bobbi Brown counter or two and looked over the neutral shadow palette, but passed - I felt like the colors weren't really distinguishable from one another. I easily passed on the blushes, too, but it took a little more effort to walk away from the sheer lip glosses and the lipsticks. They are so pretty! I especially wanted the orange one. But $23 is a lot of money for a lipstick that I, if I was being honest with myself, would probably only wear once. Maybe twice. So I walked away from the counter, wallet happily still full, but hands empty.

And then I saw that MAC had Neon Orange on its "bye-bye" list (or whatever it's called), so I figured, ah, what the hell. I ordered it when I did my blush haul (also because Tracy made me), and when it got here, I opened it and went, "Holy smokes, that is orange." And I put the cap back on, set it all down carefully, and walked away.
MAC Neon Orange, which looks practically like Morange. They're both Amplified Cremes (which is not my favorite MAC lipstick finish, to be honest - it's often a bit too mod looking on me). 

But of course, curiosity got the best of me and I eventually put the damn thing on. I wanted to know if it would pull red on me (as I've seen on some bloggers), or actually be orange. Verdict? It's orange.
Perhaps a reddish orange, but it's definitely orange. Creamy, opaque, and orange. But I like it. I think it's wearable, if you tone down the rest of your makeup. Since it's yellow-based, it does make my teeth seem more yellow (dislike!), but I think I'm going to try some of those Crest whitening strips soon, with the wedding coming up and all. Is it my fault that all the fun things stain my teeth? Tea, coffee, red hiss.
Chanel Perfection Lumière B20
Natural Beauty palette
Sephora Long-Lasting Liquid Liner,
01 Black
UD Underground 24/7 Glide-on eye liner
Buxom mascara
And of course, I had to try to recreate the model's look. Well, perhaps not recreate, since my face is very different, and no makeup is gonna change bone structure, etc. But uh, uh, I tried to do something similar. Yeah. That. (Oh man, I'm eloquent today).
My face is scary! Last time I posted a FOTD, I lost a follower. *giggle* I'm sorry in advance!
Okay, so. MAC Neon Orange is a win in my book. I do find that the Amplified Creme finishes are sometimes *too* creamy and a bit heavy, but they do wear for a couple of hours (probably more like 3-4 hours, without eating/drinking) and they're not particularly drying. Could I have found a Revlon orange lipstick to experiment with? Probably, but MAC has a better return policy than most drugstores and I find Revlon's lipsticks to be even heavier in formula, which I dislike. I still saved $9 compared to Bobbi Brown's Atomic Orange, right? And while it is quite bright, there are several ways to tone it down. You can apply and blot it. You can apply, and layer a coppery gloss over it (this is actually quite pretty and gives you a shimmery, peachy lip). The possibilities are endless!

What about you? How do you feel about the orange lipstick trend?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Recent Returns

Edward Bess All Over Seduction in Sunlight, $38, and Ultra Luminous Bronzer in Desert Sun, $45.
We don't always love things, right? I'm trying to be more disciplined and strict about this for myself. Products have to wow me - especially high-end, expensive products - or they are just going back. They cost too much money to be failures, you know? I figured that you might want to know what I dislike as well as what I like, so I thought I'd do a quick mini-review for each one.

Products 1 and 2 on the chopping block: an Edward Bess highlighter and bronzer. Edward Bess products have recently become available on Sephora's online site; with all of the hype surrounding the line, I had to try some to see if they delivered.

1. Edward Bess All Over Seduction in Sunlight: Before I start, I have to tell you: the "All Over Seduction"product name and the big "EDWARD," as well as the shade "Sunlight," make me think of Twilight. I'm sorry if I've forever more ruined your Edward Bess experience, but it had to be said.

Anyway. I love champagne-colored highlighters, so I really had high hopes for this one, but in reality I find it dry, unremarkable, and definitely not worth $38. From reading other reviews and the Sephora description, I was expecting this to have an emollient, creamy consistency. To me, though, it's actually a bit dry. At first I thought that there was just some sort of film on top of it that I had to work through, but I don't think that's it. The other thing I considered is that perhaps the cold, dry weather here is making it a bit too stiff; if you work at it with a finger, it gradually starts to warm up (I've found brushes ineffective). But do I have time to sit there nursing my illuminator? No. Do I want to run through layers of it just to warm the damn thing up? No, again. Also, did you know this thing is scented? Why? Why does a highlighter need to have a fig scent? Back to Sephora, thanks.
The compact is tiny; it's slightly larger than a Bobbi Brown Creamy Corrector.

Stila Kitten is not a highlighter, but I swatched them together to show the similarity in color and the difference in texture and finish. You can see that Sunlight sinks into skin a little better and is not as frosty, which is good for a highlighter. The color is similar to Kitten.

2. Edward Bess Ultra Luminous Bronzer in Desert Sun: It's a nice bronzer, finely milled and easy to use, but the brush is useless and scratchy - I'm not sure why they changed their packaging to include it (the old version was just a round compact, no brush). It's matte, which I like, but again, to me, it's simply not worth $45. There are other, lovely bronzers for far less than this. And again, this is strongly fig-scented, and I dislike that immensely. It seems unnecessary to me and kind of cheapens the product.
Desert Sun is the darker of the two shades offered. I wanted to use this to contour, but it's *slightly* too orange for that. If I wanted an all over bronzer, I would have gone with Daydreamer, the lighter shade.

Like the highlighter, I think this may be one of those products that is simply overhyped because of its previous limited availability and "hard-to-find" status. It's not a bad product, not by any means, but nothing compelled me to keep it. Also, since we're on the subject: what do you use to contour?
3. Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Nylon Nude: Dry. The color is unflattering (too peachy for me), and the formula is not my favorite, not by far. It kind of reminds me of a MAC Amplified Creme, though it is far drier and doesn't apply as smoothly. Once on my lips though, it has a similar opaque, heavy finish and I'm not really a fan (for the record, Amplified Creme finishes are not my favorite). My hunt for the perfect nude continues! These are $19, so that's almost a twenty, back in my pocket!
Not my color. Could be yours!
Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick ingredients
Okay, that's it for me here. Anything you've rejected lately? 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Thursday Post

Drake feat. Rihanna: Take Care. I like it. It's catchy.

It's my brother's 21st birthday today! Happy birthday :D I'm not home to buy him a drink, but at least he can have wine at my wedding now, right?

Um, this is the cutest lip balm ever.

These are cute! I'm not sure I'm hipster enough for them, though. Wayfarers fall off my nose and stuff.

Haha, look! A detailed map of the nation's trees!

Pretty, so pretty. Love the full lash look this spring!

The one about the brain and the cantaloupe made me laugh.

Dennison! He loves this toy. S. and I are both surprised that he hasn't torn it up yet, but he seems content to just chase after it, nom on it gently and carry it around.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sephora Hot Hues Baked Eyeshadow Palette in Burnished Cocoa

A smattering of nice neutrals, and yes, the right half of the big disc is matte. The brushes came taped down, though there was still fall out on the bottom of the brush cavity. Weird.
I was browsing through Sephora (never a good idea) on a snow day, and saw this pop up. They had two palettes; this one, and Mulberry, which looked like it had purple shades. I picked this one. I figured, I have tons of pressed powder shadows, loose shadows, a pencil shadow, and even a cream shadow, but I have never had a baked shadow (worst reasoning ever, right?). So, erm, yeah. This went in the cart.
Yeah, so this thing is almost neon. It practically glows in the dark. Also, it came wrapped along the edges, which is nice. It's also a little more reddish than it appears here; to be honest, the fluorescent color kind of freaked my camera out, I think.

Lately, it seems like Sephora has been stepping up their game. I love their liquid liners, and I've seen great reviews on the new Prisma Chrome shadows and lipsticks - a lot of things. So I was pretty optimistic about this one - optimistic, but also slightly wary, because from what I've read, it seems like baked eyeshadows should really be used wet. And, well, I'm lazy, and using a shadow wet means I have to wet my brush. And then wash and dry them. And then you need lots of brushes...yeah. I know. Whine, whine, whine, right?
All swatched on bare skin, no primer, dry. Matte shade on the far left, then lightest to dark. The color payoff of the matte shade isn't the best - it's powdery - but it's better than it seems here. It's almost exactly my skin shade, so it doesn't show up well here.

However, in this case, it's worth it. Baked shadows should be used wet, right? It makes quite a difference. Except for the matte shade - I think the matte shade is worse when it's wet, but you really want to wet a matte shade? I'm not sure.
Swatched wet over bare skin, no primer. They are shimmery, but not glittery - an important distinction. When used wet, they apply creamily, like a...cream shadow. Ha! The darkest shade has an almost-matte base, which is nice to see.

I think these colors are lovely, and all together they make quite the neutral palette. Sometimes I feel like brown shadow palettes are too brown, or too warm, but the inclusion of the peachy golds in this palette make me happy. Also, the dark shade isn't overly warm (red-based browns make me look dirty) which is a relief. At this price point, it seems like a nice little palette. When you think about other baked shadows (MAC's single shadows, Laura Mercier's singles), the value here seems significantly better. However, I think as far as application goes, you really only use one or two shadows wet at a time (any more than that and they all just start to blend together, I feel) so it's a matter of personal choice in this case. The palette offers more versatility in a small package - essentially, six colors for $24 - but you would only use one or two of them at a time. If you'd rather just the single baked shadow, go for that.
In case you were curious about the size: here it is with a Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter next to it as a reference. Also, this is closer to the actual color of the palette.

I will say that I still hate applying shadows wet - and don't have much practice with it - so if that's not at all your thing, you can safely skip this one. Likewise, if you don't want shimmery shadows, skip. Otherwise, it's a lovely palette and I look forward to trying out some different looks with it. Here's one.
Sephora Hot Hues Baked palette in Burnished Cocoa, various shades, all used wet
Sephora Long-lasting Liner in
01 Black
UD Bourbon liner

Nice neutrals, right? Not too metallic or glittery, just the right amount of shimmer, and has the soft finish of some cream shadows.
$24 at Sephora, limited edition.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Illamasqua Libido

Illamasqua cream blushes are paraben-free, and their powder blushes are not. Weird, but true. So, since I couldn't have a powder blush, I snagged one of these, and of course I bought the brightest, most obnoxious color available to us (Sephora in the U.S. only carries five of the Illamasqua cream blushes; more, please!): Libido. It's orange. Very, very orange.

In the pan it's quite red-orange. Almost just red. Lovely, right? Bright, yes. Obnoxious, just like me. In all seriousness, though, for blushes, I do prefer strongly pigmented products, because to me, it's easier to apply them sheerly than to build up an already-sheer product.
I rather like Illamasqua's odd packaging. It's like the blush has feet. 

And of course, you will want to know if it really is that orange once it's swatched. Why yes, yes it is.
Swatched with my finger; heavy swatch on the left, sheered out on the right. It's definitely orange with a yellow undertone in the heavier swatch, but it sheers out to an almost peachy coral color.

On cheeks, however, worn sheerly (no clown cheeks for me, thanks), it's actually quite peachy. But still orange. That sounds ridiculously unhelpful, doesn't it? Here you go. Have a look for yourself.
Forgive the messy hair. It does that sometimes. I don't usually care.
Other products used: Chanel Perfection Lumière
B20, Stila Natural Beauty palette (brows), Tarte Jewelry Box (eyes), Buxom mascara, MAC Neon Orange lipstick (review coming soon)
Here, it is applied lightly with the Real Techniques stippling brush (I love this brush, and will review it shortly, as well as compare to the MAC 188 brush). I've tried using my fingers, but I prefer the brush. On my cheeks, it's peachy, but with an obviously yellow base; it has become my favorite blush for a warm, natural glow. This is especially true because it doesn't have any sheen or shimmer, so it pairs well with shimmery/glittery eye looks. However, I do think that if you are fairer or more cool-toned than I am, Rude may be a better bet for your peachy blush - it doesn't seem as orange. Darker ladies can just apply this more aggressively, I think, and it will still show up beautifully.

For those curious, it does seem similar to MAC Optimistic Orange Cremeblend Blush, even though they look really different in the pan. They may not be *exactly* the same (perhaps Libido leans slightly redder), but probably close enough on the cheeks to merit not owning both.

Bottom line? I love the consistency, wear, and color range of Illamasqua's cream blushes, and I think I will need another one. Betray is next on my list, after the ban, of course. I also don't think I need to explore any other brand's cream blushes - these are that good.
Illamasqua's cream blushes are $24 for 0.14 oz at Sephora or on Illamasqua's website (UK).