Friday, October 25, 2013

Shift Happens

I've decided that while I enjoy blogging, I just don't have the level of commitment to makeup specifically to have a makeup-specific blog. So there's going to be a little of everything here.
Recipes, organization ideas and projects, makeup and beauty related stuff,  all kinds of things.

If anyone's even reading.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide


Now that the Christmas shopping rush is officially heading into full swing, here’s my take on the
beauty scene, and the best buys for this season. I have organized each section, by price, with the 
help of BeautySets, (polyvore for makeup). When I give gifts involving beauty products, unless it's 
something very specific off a wish list, I try to go for as much visual impact as I can. Cosmetics are
so small, it can wind up looking like a lame gift, even if it was pricey.   
I tend to go for gift sets and baskets, and I often make my own.
Here's some help to get you started this holiday season.

Beautysets - Stocking Stuffers




In clockwise order, we've got
  • Sephora Nail Art Set ($10) - perfect for someone who's packed their pinterest boards with nail 
    art inspiration.
  •  Bath and Body Works Pocket Bacs ($1.50, often on sale for $1) - the ultimate stocking stuffer 
    in my opinion, they're inexpensive, cute, practical, and easy to stock up on.
Beautysets - Secret Santa
  • Sephora Collection Gloss Lab ($25) - A $100 value of lipgloss! Any girly girl would love this,
  •  because we're all genetically hardwired to need 80,000 different colors of lip gloss. 
  • Too Faced Suddenly Sexy Set ($25) - a great set with a little of everything. I would love this for
  •  a teen, who is just starting to get into makeup.
  • SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE® Opulent Lacquer Trio ($18) - a great little nail polish set for a reasonable price. They have sets of silver, red, gold and black, but obviously I'm partial to the
    silver, a perfect winter nail color, and a staple for New Years Eve.
  • philosophy Sweet Rendezvous Set ($25) - a lovely set of three unique and yummy body washes      from philosophy. Pistachio Cherry Macaroon, Creme Brulee, and Black Currant Tart, oh my!
  • 21 Drops Pick up Fix Set ($14.50) - a unique gift, a set of four aromatherapy oils, Uplift, Calm,     Sleep and Willpower, all made to be purse and travel friendly. These are apparently not perfumes,        but oils you can apply that are designed to aid the purpose after which they're named.

  •  Laura Mercier Artist Palette for Eyes ($48) - a beautiful alternative to the Naked palettes, wearable colors, BUT as it's got half mattes (!) and half shimmers, even more appropriate for someone a bit more mature.
  • Sephora by OPI Tinseltown Colletor's Set ($49.50) -a big nail polish set with 16 minis and 1 full size glitter top coat. While I always lament the size of the Sephora by OPI mini bottles, how many of us EVER finish a nail polish? If you have, I'm pretty sure you're a unicorn.
  • Tarte Five Piece Lipsurgence Set Collector's Set ($34) - Tarte friggin BROUGHT IT this holiday season with their value/gift sets. It was really hard work to not have this whole post be just entirely Tarte products.
  • Dior New Look Set ($28.50) - this upscale, but reasonably priced set comes with the 5 eyeshadow palette in Royal Khaki, and Dior New Look mascara. This is best for someone with whom the Dior brand name will resonate, because it's not as big and bad as the other sets.
  • bareMinerals The Star Treatment ($40) - I love bareMinerals pressed eyeshadow palettes, and I think these colors are a great contrast to the Laura Mercier palette, because this has more warm tones, but is still a departure from the Naked overload I'm personally experiencing (although I own and love both palettes-there are other ones out there!!)
Beautysets - Special Splurges


  • Sephora Collector's Edition Fragrance Sampler For Her ($75) - I've raved about this before, and     this is the only fragrance set I would purchase for someone unless it was from a wish list.         Perfume is so personal and you never know someone's taste! The only person I think I've ever bought perfume that wasn't a replacement of their favorite or from a wish list is for my mom,         and I've known her for just a little while, so I know what she likes. I love this set because it has           10 bestselling fragrances in large sample sizes, with a gift certificate to receive a full size of your favorite fragrance from the set. To me, this set is IDEAL for gift giving.
  • Make Up For Ever All Eyes on You Set ($59) - another great all in one, with an Aqua Cream,         some Aqua Eyes liners, a Smoky Lash mascara and of course, a pot of HD powder.
  • Sephora Embossed Train Case in Black Houndstooth ($55 for mini, $110 for full size) - Can you          tell I dig houndstooth? Sephora train cases are fabulous, sturdy and well built, and this          embossed pattern just makes me drool all over my keyboard. Storage solutions are always           better when they're FRIGGIN ADORABLE.
  • Sephora Collector's Edition Premium I.T. Brush Set ($68) - Another great value, with all the               individual brushes running you $220. The I.T. brushes are stellar, and if you know someone                 who is beauty obsessed, you cannot go wrong with this brush set.
  •  Tarte Carried Away Collector's Set ($54) - One of the most comprehensive sets I've ever seen,           with a blush, face powder, large brush, 24 eyeshadows, 8 glosses, a mascara, and an exotically patterned case that holds everything, what more could you ask for? I purchased this for a good friend of mine and she is still raving about it! $54 is not cheap, but for all you get in this set,               I think it's VERY well worth it.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and happy shopping! :)

Sephora VIB Sale Haul

The Sephora VIB sale came and went again this year. Unfortunately I wasn't able to go as cuh-razy as I wanted to, but I still think I got some pretty awesome stuff. I got the Collector's Edition Fragrance Sampler For Her, Illamasqua Alter Ego Mystery Selection and Buxom Stay There Eyeshadow Brush.
I also got a Sephora tote bag thrown in my order.

The Fragrance Sampler comes with Calvin Klein euphoria, CLEAN Warm Cotton,Dior Addict to Life, DKNY Golden Delicious, Givenchy Ange Ou Demon Le Secret, Jennifer Aniston, Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy, Paco Rabanne Lady Million, Philosophy Amazing Grace, and Thierry Mugler Angel.


One of the coolest aspects of this set is that while it is pricey, at $75, it comes with a Scent Certificate to receive a full size bottle of your favorite scent from the kit. I love the concept of being able to try so many different perfumes and then pick your favorite without paying a fortune. So far my favorite is Jennifer Aniston, which shocked the hell out of me, I thought I'd be all over Dior or Thierry Mugler Angel. But I still have more to try out, and there's enough in each sample to probably wear each one for a week or more! The only bummer is that the samples are mostly bottles without an atomizer spray top, so I'm just waiting for the day I pour a whole bottle all over a new top or something equally spastic. Stay tuned for that.

  

I was INSANELY excited for this Illamasqua set. While it is another pricier item, at $60, it comes with $200 worth of products. The only products you know you're getting is the nail polish Jo'Mina and the lipstick Fable. I think it's a really cool introduction to a brand, because although I've drooled over Illamasqua products for ages, I've never purchased anything.
 

The suspense was killing me. The mystery products in each kit includes a cream blush, a cream pigment, a liquid metal, two pencils, two lipglosses and a lipstick. The reviews on Sephora.com were mixed, so I was a little apprehensive...

 

BAM. Nuthin but net on this one. I love this set with my whole heart. The colors are unusual and dramatic and I expected nothing less from a brand who comes up with such amazing concept art.


Here we've got Fable lipstick, Drench lipstick, Divine sheer lipgloss, Succubus intense lipgloss, Brazen cream blush, Delirium cream pigment, Enrapture liquid metal, Severe pencil and Forced pencil. Succubus and Enrapture were worth the price of admission alone. This set is the bee's knees.

 Lookit the precious....


Less exciting than my two value sets was a brush I'd had my eye on for some time. The Buxom Stay There Eyeshadow Brush. It's a different shape from what I've seen out there, and is designed for cream eyeshadows. Which is handy because I happen to have just acquired two new cream eyeshadows. Stay tuned.
 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mini Fall Walgreens Haul

This weekend I dropped by Walgreens to use the ATM inside, and wound up walking out with some stuff I needed wanted.


A London Soho Crease Brush, the Alice in Wonderland eos lip balm set, and a Sinful Colors nail polish begged me to take them home. I couldn't say no, they sounded so pathetic.


There are three flavors in this set, Watermelon Wonderland, Blueberry Potion and Sweet Vanilla Nonsense. I think I paid about $10 for this. I love eos lip balms and I couldn't pass this up.


This is the inside of the package once you pull the insert out. Cute!

(Not so) Hidden Mickey!!

Blueberry Potion smells like blueberry pie, and is the strongest scent of the three. Watermelon Wonderland is very Jolly Rancher-ish, but softer. Sweet Vanilla Nonsense is the softest scent of all three, and kinda reminds me of the smell of MAC lipsticks.


This polish called to me. Sinful Colors polishes are only $2, and this one is so unique so I couldn't NOT get it, right? It's a blurple glitter polish with gold bar glitter that flashes teal. The base is clear, so this bad boy is gonna be a kick ass layering polish.



I mean, look at that! Where do you see a polish like that?


The obligatory soft focus glitter shot. Get used to it.



My last purchase was this London Soho crease brush. It was an orange tag item, on clearance for half off, so instead of $10, I paid about $5. I'd been lemming for another crease brush so I had the perfect excuse. 


It's got this ergonomic handle, and I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. Time will tell. The handle is very lightweight plastic, and I prefer a heftier brush personally, but it still seems like a relatively well made brush, especially for the price.
 

Also, these pictures have made me realize that my vanity is frikkin FILTHY. What happened here? Time to bust out a sponge so the interwebz doesn't judge me for my gunky vanity.



Monday, November 12, 2012

Storage Solutions - Lori Greiner Makeup Bag Set

This is just a quickie post to talk about some really great storage I've acquired for my kit. This Set of 2 Quilted Cosmetic Cases by Lori Greiner is awesomesauce. There is a large case and a small case, it comes in a bunch of patterns and if you're a normal person, this would probably be all you would ever need to store your makeup. They're spacious and super organized and I really like them.


 

The big one


The little one


I use the small one to hold tools, q-tips and disposable mascara wands. 


The side sections closes with velcro and the middle portion closes with a zipper and flips like a book page. It snaps into the case, so you could take it out if you wanted.


The larger case has a LOT of sections. It's kind of hard to explain how it all works but you'll see in the pictures how it folds out. You can fit a TON of stuff in these bags.


As you can see, there's another "page" that snaps into place, so there's another removable section.


This case also has a combo of zippers and velcro, and as you can see, it holds a TON of stuff. The majority of my kit (aside from foundation, blush and eyeshadow palettes and a few other doodads) fit in these two.

 

There's even a section for brushes (I don't actually use this section right now, my brushes usually stay in my brush belt, or in their containers on my vanity, but I wanted you to get the full effect.)


These are pretty easy to clean and I am really happy with how compact they are. These are great for travel or for regular storage, but I wouldn't say they're particularly useful as a makeup bag to throw in your purse. The small one wouldn't really serve you well and the large one is WAY too big. 

These go for $32 at QVC and I think they were definitely a worthwhile investment.

What are your favorite storage solutions?



Thursday, November 8, 2012

I have a crush on Lorac 3D lipgloss

I bit the bullet and finally bought the lipgloss I've been visiting in Sephora for months.

Lorac Multiplex 3D lipgloss in the color 3D is one of the most unique lipglosses I've ever seen, that is simultaneously so subtle on the lips. It has a rose gold base with pink iridescent shimmer that flashes green and gold.


It has a brush applicator and a relatively thick consistency. 



 It doesn't look cray-cray on the lips, it's relatively subtle, but still special and different. 


Here are a few swatches, to help you get a better idea of the sparklisciousness. It is a tiny bit gritty, as you will see from the quite large chunks of glitter, but isn't uncomfortable or bothersome.


I really dig soft focus glitter shots. In case you couldn't tell.


 Droooool.....


Prettyyyyyy...





 You can purchase this lipgloss at Sephora and it retails for $22. I think this should be on your fall shopping list. Are you picking up this lipgloss?

Monday, November 5, 2012

10 Things I've Learned from The Cosmetics Cop

Paula Begoun, also known as The Cosmetics Cop, and author of "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me", is a consumer advocate in the cosmetics and skin care industries. While I disagree with some of her reviews on makeup (she's a fan of the understated and natural, and I am too, but every once in a while, a girl needs a little color), the education I've received on skincare has been invaluable. Her website is a goldmine of information based on ingredients and the science of skincare. Beautypedia is a great website to get a membership to, so you can view all the research her team has done. She's come under fire a bit as of late, because she now has her own line, Paula's Choice (which I have not tried...yet) and she now recommends her own products alongside other effective and inexpensive products. I don't mind it, because she has every right to promote her own products, and she doesn't exclude other great products out there. She has said, her products aren't THE best, they're among the best. I think that's a good attitude to have, and frankly, it makes me trust her more.

1. Eye creams are a waste of money.

Most eye creams are just a company's moisturizer and put in a smaller jar. There is no scientifically based need to have a different moisturizer for your eye area. So save the money and the space on your vanity for a great moisturizer with sunscreen to put ALL OVER your face.

2. Jar packaging is a no-no

Speaking of jars, jar packaging is bad news for skin care products. Even if the formula is good, the bacteria on your hands, and the large amount of air that gets at the product destabilizes the antioxidants, etc, which renders it useless. Plus, it can get gross!

3. Expensive ≠ Good

For anyone who's been shelling out the big bucks, but expensive products are not necessarily the best, or even GOOD products. There is one very infamous, disgracefully expensive skin cream that is hardly better than petroleum jelly. And it comes in a jar.

4. You shouldn't "feel" your skincare doing anything

I used to love the tight feeling after washing my face with harsh astringents as a kid, or the tingly minty feeling of certain cleansers. That is no bueno. If you can feel it, I can almost guarantee it's because it's too harsh or has a skin irritating ingredient.

5. Dark circles around your eyes have lots of different causes

It can be hereditary, irritation, hyperpigmentation, or (believe it or not) allergies. Mine are partially hereditary, but are exacerbated by allergies. Taking a daily antihistamine makes them fade significantly.

6. The gentler your products are, the better.

Almost all the products I use either have the words "sensitive", "gentle" or "mild" in the title. I do have sensitive skin, but let's face it, even if you're not as prone to redness as I am, your skin is sensitive too! It's not that my skin is irritated by a specific ingredient, it's that EVERYONE is irritated by a specific ingredient and my skin just yells about it. This is especially true of fragrance and alcohol.

7. Just because the commercial says it, does NOT make it true.

We all know advertising exists to sell us products, not to educate us. The skincare industry makes all kinds of claims that are not only untrue, but also in some cases, they couldn't prove even if they wanted to. You'll also notice in recent years, the language has changed to "improves the appearance" or something similar to that. That's to save their butts when it doesn't work.

8. Sunscreen is the NUMBER ONE anti-aging product

Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. Get a good one, put it on every day. Sunscreen should be in your daytime moisturizer, as well, for an added layer of protection.

9. There is a difference between chemical and physical exfoliation

When we think of exfoliation, we tend to think of scrubs with beads, clarisonic machines, and other similar methods. That's physical exfoliation and is a great thing (as long as it's not too harsh or abrasive). But there's another kind of exfoliation that's even more beneficial. BHA and AHA exfoliants are the chemical exfoliant products. BHA products (usually with salicylic acid) are great for cleaning out pores and for people with oily skin (I use one, especially on my nose and cheek area, where I'm prone to get blackheads. EW.) And AHA products are good for folks with dry, flaky skin or skin problems like brown sun damage spots or Keratosis Pilaris, which I have, and trying an AHA product is on my to-do list.


10. Last but not least, the components of a good skincare routine, and everything I use.

Cleanser - I currently use Cetaphil. It's a standard gentle cleanser, and although I hate the texture, if I lather it up well before applying to myself, it's less weird. I also want to try Cerave, which is a similar sort of deal.


Toner - One of the only effective ones on the market without alcohol is Clinique's Mild Clarifying Lotion. I love it, it's a shimmery green liquid that I apply all over my face with a cotton pad.
BHA Exfoliant - The one I use is a mouthful - Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control 3-In-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment. But it does wonders for keeping blackheads at bay and a little goes a super long way.
Moisturizer with sunscreen - I use the Olay's Complete All Day Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15 for Sensitive Skin, but I think I'm going to try Yes to Carrots Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15 once I'm done with this bottle.

Moisturizer without sunscreen - In the evening I use Boots Expert Sensitive Hydrating Serum, which is not really a serum, but I love it anyway. I love the pump packaging and it feels really luxurious on the skin without a big price tag. I wish they would make a version of this with sunscreen!!
 
Check out Paula's 100 best beauty buys, it's a great place to start researching products. :)

Have you tried any of Paula's Top 100?