Thursday, June 30, 2011

June Favorites

 
Blake Shelton: Who Are You When I'm Not Looking.  Um, his eyes are so blue.  And okay, yeah, it's country, which is not my go-to genre of choice, but you know, there's such a raw, intense emotion present in country songs, that sometimes they're just the right thing to listen to.  Country singers also just seem to have so much fun with their "I'm full of attitude" songs, as well.  Anyway.  Blake.  His voice is sexy.  And yes, I started listening to him because he's on The Voice.  Don't judge.  :D

In terms of makeup and beauty, here are the month's superstars:
Zoya Get Even base coat, EcoTools Bamboo Finishing Kabuki, Clinique Colour Surge Eye Shadow Quad in Teddy Bear, Sephora Professionnel All Over Large Shadow Brush #21
Zoya Get Even base coat: This one is touted as "ridge-filling," and you know, it actually works.  It takes continuous use over several weeks and isn't instantaneous, of course, but after using it under every manicure for the past month or so, I find there is a marked difference in my thumbnails.  They're usually very bumpy and thin, but this has evened them out considerably.  It also prevents stains on my nails, so it's a great base coat.
Clinique Colour Surge Eye Shadow Quad in Teddy Bear: Most of my skincare is from Clinique, but I usually find their color makeup options rather blah.  Sometimes you want blah, though, haha.  Well, maybe not blah, so much, but natural and soft.  I bought this when I was looking for a completely matte neutral shadow palette ($25.50 at Clinique counters, Sephora, etc.).  At first, I thought it was too muddy, and it sat unused for a while.  I just dug it out again though, and this time I'm really loving it.  The brush and applicator it comes with are pretty useless; I use my regular shadow brushes.  The colors aren't strong or super-pigmented, but they're perfect for a neutral, natural look.  The lightest color is also a great highlight color. These colors are matte, with just the barest hint of fine shimmer.

EcoTools Bamboo Finishing Kabuki: Find the review here.  It's a great brush for liquid foundation; I dab a little bit of whatever I'm using (it's still Dior's TM, lately) on my cheeks, under my eyes, on my forehead, and chin, and then dab it out with this brush to provide nice, even coverage.  It's also really easy to clean this brush - it dries completely overnight, making it ready for use the next morning.

Sephora Professionnel All Over Large Shadow Brush #2: I have some other Sephora eye brushes, but this is the one I've been using the most often lately.  It has a large, fluffy head, that's good for patting or swiping on color.  It's not the best for blending out (the brush head is a bit too thin and narrow for that), but it is adequate, and it's nice to use just one brush for everything sometimes.

What were your favorites in June?  Let me know, or link to your post in the comments! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Zoya Faye

Zoya Faye has a plummy base with tons of coppery-gold microglitter - kind of foil-y.  It's really, really lovely, though I don't know how "summer-y" it really is (how many words can I add -y to?).  But I find it a nice, go-to color - it's not something I get tired of very quickly, and the peachy-gold shimmer is so beautiful.  The formula is also fantastic; it's really thin and so easy to apply.  And since the coats are thin, it dries reasonably fast.  I get about a week's wear with Zoya polishes, with very minor tip wear (using Zoya's Color Lock system, though).  I wore two coats, plus base and top coats.  It was still a bit sheer, so for full opacity, I would suggest three coats, though two satisfied me.
Indirect sunlight, no flash. 
Direct sunlight, no flash.  You can kind of see the visible nail line (VNL) under two coats, but it didn't really bother me.  If that kind of thing irks you, though, use three.
This was one of the 2011 summer collection colors (I also picked up Breezi, Riva, and Kimmy).  This one may be my favorite, and I kept thinking that there totally needs to be an eyeshadow this color!  Do you know of one?  If you do, point me in that direction, please!  I did an eye look inspired by Faye, but I think it'd be lovely to have a plum-colored eye shadow with tons of coppery-gold sparkles.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Scent by the Sea Part II: My Two Cents on These Ten Scents

Excuse the cheesy title - I had to do it.

Like I said in Part I, I bought ten samples.  Even though I had read all of the descriptions when I picked them out, when they got to me, naturally I had already forgotten what scents were supposed to be associated with each sample.  So I played a little game, got out a notebook, and tried to write down my thoughts on each scent as I went through them.  Then, I went back to Scent By the Sea's Etsy site to read the official descriptions.  Fun!  I'll try to describe them for you here, though I encourage you to read their descriptions if you're interested in some of these. 
The samples come in lovely little glass vials, and you are given are a generous amount - more than enough for several days of wear, each.  With some scents, I definitely had to give it a few days before I could decide whether I liked it or not; others were more polarizing.  I would definitely like to emphasize, though, that fragrances are probably one of the most subjective "beauty and bath" products out there, so even though I didn't like them, please don't write them off.  And, my preferences say nothing about the quality of these; I found these to be well blended and long-lasting.  They are oils, so they will leave a tiny bit of residue, but that fades in a few minutes.  I wore one scent a day for a week or so; I found that a few dabs - in all the right places, *wink wink* - lasted all day, well into the evening (haha, yes, my cheesiness knows no bounds today!).
1. Moon Bride - smells like jasmine flowers, but is a little more understated; there are additional notes in this one, versus the strongly one-note Jasmine (below).  It's softer, sweeter.  It smelled okay to me out of the sample vial, but when I wore it, it became too heady and powdery, and I got a headache after a day of it.  Not for me.  I didn't even attempt to wear Jasmine after this.

2. China Rain - in the vial, it was sweet but somehow clean smelling - exactly like rain.  The melon scent was pretty strong, and usually it's not one of my favorites.  When I dabbed some on and wore it around, I was really confused.  Sometimes I didn't like it, sometimes I really did; it was definitely melon, and sweet, and also ever so slightly floral, but it still retained some of its soap-like, fresh aspects.  It smells like melon, and soap, but not like melon soap - it's an important distinction!  S.'s first impression was that it smelled like fabric softener, but he also said he liked it (yeah, I left it at that :P).  I wore it a couple more times, and decided that I actually really liked this one.

3. Lolita - lemon cookies!  This is what the bag smelled like when I opened it, and I desperately hoped that that meant one of the perfumes smelled exactly like that!  And it did.  When I put it on, though, it's not citrusy and is sweeter - more cotton candy-esque, but not sickening.  It reminds me of another perfume, but I can't think of it. (I do find that most scents turn sweeter and fruitier on me than in the jar; I don't know if this just means I'm sweeter than I let on, or if the fragrance is trying to make up for a certain lack :P).

4. Fiori di Roma - Floral, but not like the jasmine scents.  It's lighter, cleaner, more fresh (S. said it smelled like soap, :P) and strangely alluring.  It didn't seem like something I would like, initially, but I find that I really do like this one.  I think it's perfect for summer.

5. Côte d'Azur - when I first opened this one, it smelled like a box of crayons.  I know.  Not cool.  But I forced myself to take another whiff.  Spicy and sweet, but kind of cloying to my nose.  I dabbed some on and wore it around for a bit, but then I had to wash it off.  Not for me.  If you like spicy scents, though, I'd suggest this one. (Strangely enough, the smell kind of reminded me of tequila!  Haha).

6. Green Tea - citrus.  Just citrus.  Another "one-note Diva scent," that turned out subtler on my skin than in the vial.  Kind of reminded me of bathroom sprays, though, and it wasn't a favorite.

7. Winter Beach - I get a lot of rose, and a bit of the saltiness that is in the description.  Mostly rose, though.  But it does have that extra bit of something that gives it an edge, and keeps it from being overly flowery or feminine.

8. Jasmine - Too heavy and flowery for me.  See Moon Bride.  It's a simple, powerful jasmine perfume oil, so if jasmine is your thing, this might entice you.

9. Morpheus - my first impression was of incense and exotic places; it's spicy, with just enough floral sweetness to keep it interesting and not too harsh.  Not my favorite, though, but I think this just isn't my kind of scent.  I'm not a fan of the smell of incense.

10. Egyptian Honey - Sweet and somewhat too musky and floral when I put it on.  It does have the heavy sweetness of honey at the bottom, I've noticed.  Not entirely unpleasant, though, and it reminds me of banana pancakes, for some reason.  I like banana pancakes!  Not sure I want to wear banana pancakes, though.  Hm.

So, would I purchase again?  Yes.  I didn't really fall in love with any of these (well, maybe China Rain) - that is, none of these will be my new signature scent, or anything - but that's just personal preference, and I'm picky with my smells.  I do like the company, and the sample prices were reasonable ($14, including $2 shipping, for 10 samples).  If you don't want to pick your own ten, they also have themed and preset combinations of samples to try.  They also introduce new perfume oils every few months, so I'll be keeping an eye out for anything I might want to try in the future.  I will probably pick up full bottles of China Rain and Fiori Di Roma, too; after my initial test, I've been wearing China Rain every day, and I love it - fruity and clean and light, perfect for summer.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Scent By The Sea Samples: Part I

Scent By the Sea is an indie perfumery on Etsy; I found them via Ki and Makeup, who always features a lot of interesting fragrances, amongst other things.  The perfumery's Etsy Shop has a clear policy, and photos and descriptions of all of the offerings; there are also nice snippets that given insight into the inspiration behind the fragrances.  They sell perfume oils in bottles, and roller balls.
I purchased a custom, ten-sample pack for $12; with shipping, it came out to $14.  I made the purchase on Thursday, and the very next day, I received a convo from them saying that my package was being mailed out that day, and was given a tracking number with USPS.  I really appreciated the quick update and the quick shipping! (I'd like to mention though that their policy states that they typically ship 2-3 days after an order is placed.)  I received the package on the following Monday, and played around with them for a few days to get a really good feel for them.  Everything came in a bubble mailer, packed in a pretty pouch that was sealed in plastic.
Ten fragrances is a lot - I was worried that I would be overwhelmed with them.  I was definitely overwhelmed during the decision process.  It's so hard to buy perfumes based off of descriptions!  In general, I like light, citrusy, slightly floral scents with a bit of sweetness to them (the other two I own are Hello Kitty and YSL Parisienne).  However, I also like fresh smells sometimes, and sometimes I like dark, amber type scents.  I guess I'm kind of wishy-washy.  I do not, however, enjoy the smell of chocolate at all (it gives me a headache and kind of makes me gag - and no, I don't eat it, either), and I also avoid powdery scents.  I ended up with these ten: Moon Bride, Lolita, China Rain, Night Blooming Jasmine, Egyptian Honey, Morpheus, Green Tea, Cote d'Azur, Fiori di Roma, Winter Beach.
Now, I need to tell you that I am definitely not a fragrance connoisseur and I have a hard time describing scents.  I also know nothing about the structure and science behind fragrances (here's a pretty helpful post about the top, middle, and base notes of a perfume).  I do know that different fragrances react with your personal body chemistry in different ways, though, so it's important to sample perfumes before purchasing.  When I browse indie fragrance shops, I always looks for sample sizes first - I have no idea what I would do with an entire bottle of a fragrance that I didn't like.  Eep.

The sample vials from Scent By the Sea are glass, with simple tags that I really like (samples are 5/8 dram...and a dram is 1/8 of an ounce).  I bought these with the hopes of finding a few that I could later invest in full bottles of.  So I wore them around (let me tell you, it takes a bit of bravery to put on something that smells not so good to you out of the jar...) and tried to get a better feel for them.  What did I think?  Well, that has to be another post - this one was longer than I intended, already!  Stay tuned for part two - the scent reviews!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunshine Award

The lovely Laura from Laura's Lacquers tagged me for this - thank you, dear!  Everyone should check out her nail blog; her cheerful, fun personality always comes through, especially in her original post names :)

So I'm supposed to name at least one everyday thing that makes me happy.  There are a number of little things that help me get through the day: tasty breakfasts, good coffee, having something I bake turn out well, seeing a really cute dog (or ducklings!  'Tis the season for them :D), reading a good book.  And more, but I won't bore you. 

Now I'm supposed to tag 10 bloggers.  I always feel awkward doing this, so please don't feel obligated to pass it on.  I don't mean to be a creeper, either - I like to lurk, haha, so don't be surprised!  These bloggers always seem to be so extra cheerful and sunny and positive.  In no particular order:

Ice Queen of Ice Queen's Nail Parlour
Chaos Butterfly of The Phalanges Files
JC of The Makeup Diary
Tracy of Beauty Reflections
Arianne of Glitter Geek
Jess of StylePint
Vonnie of Socialite Dreams
Cassykins of Cassykins vs. The World
Steph of DSK Steph
PurrpleCatClaws of PurrpleCatClaws

Okay, everyone, go forth and have a great Sunday! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Clarins Instant Light Eye Perfecting Base

(I actually haven't used this in a while, since I mentioned that I'm trying to forgo heavy concealer type products under my eyes lately.  However, the post was lined up and ready, so I figured I'd set it loose! )

I use UDPP to prime my eyelids, and I prolly won't deviate from that, because it works for me, but I've never used anything to prime my under eye area for concealer.  I don't know that it's really necessary, but my under eye area is so dry (even with application of eye cream twice a day) that even most liquid concealers go on a bit cakey, and dry down to emphasize lines.
Clarins Instant Light Eye Perfecting Base - it's a pen.
Ingredient panel: click for larger.
I've been trying the Clarins Instant Light Eye Perfecting Base as an under eye concealer.  It's not really marketed as an under eye product (though it is listed in Sephora's "concealer/shadow base category), but I figured that anything gentle enough for my eyelid, should be gentle enough for the under eye area.
It has a brush tip, and you click the bottom to get product to come out.  Truth be told, I really hate this type of pen, because one click is never enough, but two clicks is overwhelming!  And when you first start out, you never know how many turns to make.  If these pens were cased in a clear plastic instead, that might be helpful, so you could actually see the product moving up.

So, does it work?  Well, it's definitely light and brightens my skin considerably.  Sometimes I layer concealer over it, and sometimes I don't.  Sometimes I try it under foundation, and sometimes I try it over foundation.  Regardless of the exact method/ordering of products, I don't feel like it does a lot to keep my under eye area moisturized - the lines and milia there are still emphasized by any additional concealer and even this itself.  It does brighten the area a bit, though, which is nice, and the brush is gentle enough not to drag at the skin.  It doesn't seem to last very long without a concealer though, and that's prolly because it is intended as just a base.  I don't know that I really need another eye shadow primer, though - UDPP Eden and Greed are more go-tos, and they are excellent.

Would I repurchase?  No.  I think I just need to find a new concealer with more moisturizing power, as I haven't seen too many under eye base type products.  I may try some MAC ones.  Any suggestions?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Thursday Post

Lykke Li: I Follow Rivers.  I'm not a fan of all of her songs - some of them are too obscure and don't move me - but I really like this one.  It's hypnotic.

Some fun things around the web:
- Unstitched shows a beautiful underwater restaurant!  So cool!
- I wish I had my own house, instead of a rented apartment (someday!), so I could decorate it in clean and fresh colors, and big open spaces...le sigh, right?  I love The Diversion Project's posts, and this one is one of my favorites.  Love the bar counter in the kitchen, especially.
- Want.  Want want want want want.

Alex Puccio: The Centaur.  This isn't more music; it's something different.  Alex Puccio is one of the best female climbers in the world at the moment.  If you were ever curious about rock climbing, watch her here!  I love to watch female climbers, especially; it's so empowering to see how strong and self-assured they are, and shows that women can do just about anything.  For the curious: the name of the first problem is "The Centaur," V12 is the rating (how hard the problem is), and this style of climbing (free, no ropes) is called "bouldering." She goes through a couple in this video.  Climbing is so satisfying, and all you really need is a pair of climbing shoes and a chalk bag.  If you're going outdoors, you'll need a crash pad and some friends - spotters, you know? 

I made strawberry rhubarb cobbler.  It was delicious - sweet and tart and biscuit-y.  Ripe berries are one of the best things about summer!

Tomorrow we're headed over to a friend's for a wine-tasting party, and then on Saturday night we're headed to a coworker's house for group dinner ("group" as in a lab group...yeah.  I'm a scientist.  We're cool like that.)  What are your weekend plans?  Don't forget - weekends really begin on Friday nights!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sinful Let's Meet

This color was a disappointment; it doesn't look good against my skin tone, and it just looks messy.  It's also fairly sheer, which may be part of the problem.  I suspected that it would not be a match for me, but I haven't seen many colors like this, so I was intrigued.  I hate how that happens sometimes - my desire to obtain something interesting and unique gets the better of me, even when I know that it won't look good on me.
Sheer, shimmery goldenrod yellow.
I think it'll look better on a different skin tone - especially darker lovelies.  On me, it might be fun for layering, but I don't think I'll wear this alone; I took it off immediately after swatching this.  The formula is reliable and even, though, and made for really easy application.  Would you try it?  And are you guilty of buying colors you know won't look good on you, just for the novelty of it?

Sinful Colors polishes are $1.99 at most drugstores.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Beauty Survey

I was in the mood for a survey, and when I saw this one on Beauty Reflections, I decided to go for it.  I tossed out some that weren't relevant.  Here's more than you ever wanted to know about me!  Haha.

MAKEUP:

blush or bronzer?    Um, depends.  Usually blush.
lip gloss or lipstick?   Lipstick.  The lipgloss, it's sticky :P
eye liner or mascara?  Eye liner!                                   
foundation or concealer? Foundation.  Concealer is so tricksy.                          
Liquid Foundation or Powder?  Liquid.                 
neutral or color eye shadow?  I like colors!  I rarely do neutrals, but I love them, too.                       
pressed or loose eye shadows?  I prefer pressed, but I do love my indie loose shadows, too.
brushes or sponges for foundation? Brush.  Sponges make me feel icky.

NAILS:

OPI or China Glaze? I've never tried China Glaze before, so I guess OPI.          
Long or Short?  Short.  I'm a rock climber and I play the piano, so I'm more comfortable with well-trimmed nails.
Acrylic or Natural?  Natural.  Acrylics are pretty, but so darn irritating!  The grow-out period is not-attractive, either.
Brights or Darks?   Both.

BODY:

perfume or body splash?   Perfume.
lotion or body butter?      lotion.
Lush or other bath company?  I like B&BW shower gels, but their lotions aren't p-free, so...I use drugstore ones.

FASHION:

jeans or sweat pants?    Jeans                            
long sleeve or short?    Depends on the weather.                             
dresses or skirts?    Love them both in the summer, and I love sweater dresses and wool skirts in the winter.             
stripes or plaid?    More of a plaid girl, I think.                                   
flip flops or sandals?  Both, depending on the situation.  I grew up wearing slippers (yes, we call them slippers :P) everywhere, simply because you really don't need covered shoes so often in HI!                        
scarves or hats?      scarves
studs or dangly earrings?  dangly earrings are my first love.                  
necklaces or bracelets?    bracelets; I rarely (if ever) wear necklaces.                          
heels or flats?   Either.  Both.                                    
cowboy boots or riding boots? All.  I like boots.  All boots.
jacket or hoodie?   Both?
Forever 21 or H&M? H&M!
Abercombie or Hollister?   Ugh, neither!                   

HAIR:

curly or straight? straight, though when it gets longer it tends to grow into waves                                    
bun or ponytail?  right now it's not long enough for either, but I usually do ponytails - easier!                                   
bobby pins or barettes?  barettes
hair spray or gel?  Pass!                                  
long or short?   It's usually short, and I love it short, but I'm growing it out right now.                                  
light or dark?   dark                                       
side sweep bangs or full bangs?   side
up or down?  Whichever.  When it's long enough, it's up when I'm working out or if it's really hot/sticky.

RANDOM:

Rain or shine?   both are nice; I do love rainy, curl-up-with-a-book-and-tea days, but if you live where I do, you take sunny days when you can!         
Summer or winter?  winter
Fall or spring?   fall                                
Chocolate or vanilla?     vanilla, no contest!                  
East coast or west coast?   West!

Clinique Super City Block Oil-Free Daily Face Protector SPF 40

To herald in summer, I figured I'd do a sunscreen post!
This has been the facial sunscreen of choice since I started college, I think, so I've been using this for six or seven years now.  I started with Clinique City Block SPF 25, but recently moved up to SPF 40.  There are a few differences in the formula, as far as I can tell; SPF 25 is a bit thicker in consistency, while SPF 40 is a little looser.  Some say SPF 40 leaves a white sheen on their skin, but I don't notice this on myself, so it's not an issue for me.

I wear this over moisturizer and under makeup.  It comes in a tube, which I really like; it's easy to squeeze out just the right amount, and I only use a pea-sized dot for my entire face.  It rubs in easily and is foundation-colored, though I don't notice any sort of color on my face - it's pretty colorless once applied, and blends in really well.  It *might* leave a whitish cast on darker skin tones, but I don't really think it will - it's not intended to provide a foundation-type coverage, so color-matching isn't important, and it doesn't leave behind a noticeable tint.  It does smell of sunscreen, but well...it is sunscreen, and the scent fades very quickly - it's gone after a couple of minutes.  The finish isn't greasy or drying or otherwise noticeable at all, really, and makeup layers well over it.  I wear this in lieu of other primers, whether I wear makeup or not.

It's supposed to provide "broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sun-blocking ingredients" (via Sephora), which is another plus for me; it is important to use sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB rays (if you want a good overview of the two types of light and the differences between them, check out this post from The Skin Cancer Foundation).

This is a skincare essential for me, and I've repurchased it numerous times, though a tube does last a fairly long time, even with religious daily use.  $18 for 1.4 oz at Sephora, Nordstrom, Macy's, or Clinque's website.

Monday, June 20, 2011

EOTD: Purple People Eater

I always wondered: does that mean the People Eater is purple, or that it only eats Purple People?
UDPP in Eden
Shiro Cosmetics Triforce (sparkly gold), Rattata (matte purple), Spiritomb (purple with sparkly green)
UD 24/7 liner in El Dorado, Tarte EmphasEYES Aqua-Gel liner in Plum
BE Buxom mascara (mini, from a set)
I found a use for my Tarte EmphasEYES gel liner!
I hardly wear purple because I have really dark undereye circles, and more purple on top of my eyes to match the panda pockets under my eyes is rarely flattering.  It means that I need to wear a bit of concealer there, but it cakes up, and...well, I'll save my woes for another day.  Here's purple!  The colors were inspired by Zoya Faye, which is such a gorgeous color (I'll have swatches for you later) - all purple and gold and glittery. 
Zoya Faye

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Boscia Enlivening Amino-AG Eye Treatment (Comparison Post)

I received a sample of this with some other Boscia products as one of my Sephora 500-pt perks a while ago.  It's tiny, but a little goes a long way, and I've been using it for several weeks now without any sign of running out.
This is the sample I received as part of the 500-pt Boscia perk gift at Sephora.
Sephora's website says this is a "silky cream that hydrates and revitalizes the delicate eye area."

"Silky" is definitely the right word here.  The texture is smooth and slippery, almost like silicone-based primers (and it does have dimethicones in this, for all of you silicone-sensitive peoples) and melts into skin beautifully.  I also find that this layers beautifully under foundation - it doesn't pill up or rub out like some other eye creams do.  In terms of banishing dark circles and puffiness, well, I can't say that I see a huge, miraculous difference, but you know - it's hard to gauge these kinds of things in your own face.  I use this more because I like the texture and feel of it, and haven't had any adverse reactions.  I do think that it mitigates puffiness, and it does keep the area hydrated.  My dark circles appear to be genetic, so they're not going away anytime soon, no matter how much sleep I get or what kind of eye creams I use.  Generally, I look for eye creams that absorb well, don't pill under makeup, hydrate the area, and contain light-reflecting particles.

It's difficult to evaluate eye creams (and skincare in general) with anti-aging benefits, since they're preventative measures.  I'd have to be able to see my future self in two alternate timelines (one in which I did use eye cream, and one in which I didn't) in order to be able to see any significant difference, and well, that's sort of not possible, you know?  I don't think all eye creams are just fluff and lies, though, because my mom (and the women in her family) have all been pretty serious about their skincare - including religious use of eye cream - and their faces are much more youthful looking than women of comparative ages, ethnic backgrounds, etc.  Of course, this could just be genetic, so I'm crossing my fingers!
I've reviewed Bliss's eye cream in the past, and still haven't run out of that, though recently I've been alternating between the two.  How do they compare?
  • Bliss's version is $28 for 0.5 oz, versus Boscia's $38 for 0.5 oz, though I do find that I need a little more of the Bliss than I do of the Boscia. 
  • The texture of the Bliss cream is a little more oily and greasy than the Boscia; Boscia absorbs slightly better into my skin
  • Bliss's version seems to reduce the appearance of dark circles a little more (light reflective particles), though it does appear a bit oily to the eye as well, because of this
  • both are formulated without: parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, phthalates, GMOs and triclosan (per Sephora's website)
  • The Bliss eye cream doesn't appear to contain variants of silicones (though please double check the list to make sure)
  • Bliss comes in a tube (haha, does it really?  Get me some of that!), and the Boscia full size comes in a pump bottle
I have been switching between the two after using just the Boscia for a couple of weeks; both are good, I think, so it depends what your needs are.  The Boscia is marketed more as an anti-aging product, while the Bliss is intended to be "all-purpose" for eyes.  I've been using Boscia at night, and Bliss in the morning; I'm not sure which I would repurchase at this point; there are also some other alternatives that I've been interested in, like Dior's Hydra Life Pro-Youth Sorbet Eye Creme.  That one is quite pricey, though, and I think if I had to choose, I'd buy the Bliss again, because it does make dark circles appear a little lighter, and it still absorbs well into my skin. 

Ingredients for Boscia Enlivening Amino-AG Eye Treatment (from Sephora.com): Water, Cyclomethicone, Butylene Glycol, Triethylhexanoin, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Vinyl Dimethicone/Lauryl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Betaine, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Leaf Extract Epilobium Angustifolium (Willowherb) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Coix Seed Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Alanyl Glutamine, Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Angelica Keiskei Extract, Jujube Fruit Extract, Glycyrrhiza (Licorice) Extract, Squalane, Polysorbate 60, Rosa Canina Fruit (Rose Hips) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Zoya Breezi + Glitterfest!

Look, I don't fail at summer after all!  Zoya Breezi is from one of Zoya's Summer 2011 collections, and is a dusty teal blue.  I had a vision of Breezi with lots of glitter over it, so that's what I went and did.  I stuck to one coat of Breezi, because I put on one coat of Sinful Colors Smoking Hot (iridescent glitter) and then one coat of Cover Girl Disco Dazzle, in addition to a Zoya base coat and top coat.

Breezi's formula is a dream - just loose enough to apply easily and smoothly.  I think you would get complete opacity in two coats.

Smoking Hot was a bit thick, but still easy to work with.  Once applied over Breezi, my nails appeared a bit matte and a little gritty.

After Disco Dazzle (also a very nice, easy to use formula - but clear, suspended glitter formulas are usually pretty fool-proof), I had the glitterfest I was going for.
In sunlight, with top coat.
Here's a shot blurred, to emphasize the sparkle.
I think Breezi would be fun by itself too, and the formula is easy to work with, so it'd be easy to throw on for a quick, fun manicure :)  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Thursday Post

Emeli Sandé: Heaven.  This single will officially be released on August 15 in the UK, but I have no idea when it comes here - very soon after that, I hope!  If you "like" her on Facebook, you can download her demo, "Easier in Bed," which is really sexy. 

I read The Greyfriar, by Clay & Susan Griffith.  Not as trashy as most vampire novels, and actually surprisingly enjoyable.  There's adequate violence for a vampire novel, though the plot is somewhat slow-moving and wandering.  Princess Adele, the main character, is a bit stiff, but the love interest is appealing, and hopefully the princess herself gets better in the sequel.  It's touted as "steampunk," though I think it sits just on the fringes of that genre.  Still, it was a fun summer read.

image from: BobbiBrown.com
I also borrowed the Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual from the library.  It's actually a very informative read, with information about common makeup ingredients, troubleshooting for common application problems and tons of photos.  Best of all, her techniques are applied to women of all skin colors and ethnic groups.  That is one of the things I like best about Bobbi Brown's line - the attention paid to a range of skin tones and the way she embraces diversity.

And the inner geek in me directs you here, to "Sci-Fi Ikea Manuals" on collegehumor.com.  Hilarious!
Start your Sunday mornings right!  :D
And I don't know if you all already do this, but seriously - orange zest in your French Toast batter: do it.  It makes all the difference.  I'm usually a pancake girl, but French Toast is also delicious, so crisp and yet eggy and...yum.

Some of you know I'm from Hawaii, but I rarely miss the ocean...until I see posts like this, with beautiful clear water, and clean sand, and bright skies...sigh.  That Chantecaille whale palette is also gorgeous.

I have some fun things coming up - fragrance reviews,  and hopefully some more EOTDs!  We're also hosting pizza party + board game night tomorrow for some friends, which should be fun; I'm making lemon bars tonight, and sangria tomorrow.  S. is in charge of pizza-making.  What fun plans do you have for the weekend?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

MAC Tinted Lip Conditioner in Soothing Beige

"Soothing Beige?"  What the heck does that even mean?
Okay, mini-rant aside, I do love this color.  I like MAC's lip conditioners (see my review of Fuchsia Fix here) because they seem to be the only product that keeps my lips moisturized - not dry and flaky, which is apparently the normal state of my lips.  Yes, it comes in a pot, but after going through so many other duds (in both high-end and drugstore brands), I'm willing to tolerate that.  These are also the only makeup product I always carry around.
I was looking for a brown, nude sort of color.  This looks muddy and chocolate-colored in the pot, but on my lips, it's just kind of glossy and natural looking.  Fuchsia Fix imparts the same sort of healthy shine, but it is decidedly brighter and more pink than my natural lip color, whereas this is much more natural, and coordinates better with my bronzy looks this summer.
I've had fun dabbing bits of Shiro Cosmetics Triforce on top, too, for a bit of gold shimmer and shine.
Shimmery, shimmery!
Love!  I'm not gonna lie; I will prolly have all four of MAC's permanent, potted lip conditioners at some point in the very near future.  I love them that much - and I can actually see variations in color on my lips.  If you're used to the intense pigmentation and color payoff of lipstick, then you're prolly not wowed by these, but they are also good bases under lipstick.  Also, I will add that the different colors of tinted conditioners may not be strong enough to stand out on their own, but they contribute different flavors to your overall look, if that makes any sense.  For example, if you have peachy gold eye shadow and peachy gold blush, you prolly don't want fuchsia pink tinted lips.  They just don't suit.  This browny, understated tint is a much better match for that eye and cheek combo.  Even if I'm the only person who would notice this kind of inconsistency in my own face, it would still bug me, so I like to avoid those kinds of things.  Peace of mind you know?  Haha.

MAC's tinted lip conditioners are $14.50 for 0.5 fl oz; I still haven't made a noticeable dent in my Fuchsia Fix pot and I've used it nearly every day since I bought it, so I think I can safely say that these will last you a long time.  They are rated SPF 15 and are vanilla scented and unflavored.  I like vanilla :D

Monday, June 13, 2011

Zoya Casey: Is It Worth It?

I fail at summer.  I want neutrals and dark shades, haha, instead of the brights that everyone else is rocking!  Oh well.  Maybe some of you aren't feeling brights at the moment, either?

Zoya Casey is a gorgeous dark, dark purple - a rich wine/maroon color, in some lighting.  However, it is one of the worst Zoya formulas that I own, and it's extremely annoying to work with.  My bottle is kind of gloopy; one coat is extremely patchy and streaky, and you really need three for a decent color and opacity level.  I also experienced a lot of dragging with each coat - very annoying!
It doesn't always look this brown.  It usually has a plummy tinge.
But the color is so very pretty; it's dark, but with a jelly quality, like real blackberry jam or something - you know, dark in the jar, but you can see parts that are more translucent, more purple.
I'm not sure what it is with this polish, but smudges and smears and what not from daily activities show up very clearly.  I used the same Zoya top coat I always use, but the nail surface gets so cloudy throughout the day.  Yuck.
Formula issues aside - I really love the color.  It's perfect and vampy, and slightly different from your usual black.  I know that it may not be what you would expect to see in the summer.  However, I figure if I'm going to cavort around in my romper and sandals and what not, I need to be grounded somehow, right?  This is just the right touch of sophistication, I think.  And well, dark, dark polishes have a special place in my heart, anyway.  I just wish this one was easier to work with; I'm not sure if all this vampy deliciousness is worth the annoying formula!  Do you put up with finicky formulas because you love the color?

And, to brighten your Monday, watch this.  I've never played Angry Birds, but I understand the appeal.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Antoinette's Revolution Cosmetics

[Update: 12.12.11

ARC has gone through a lot of issues lately, it seems - I've seen a lot of posting on their Facebook page about unresolved/outstanding orders.  It seems that ownership has changed hands, but the company is still not back in operation (it appears they are trying to sort out any outstanding orders and making sure everyone either has product or a refund, which is admirable). I still enjoy the shadows that I have, but I can't in good conscience recommend a company that's not really functioning as a proper business at the moment. I'll let you know if I hear anything else.]

I've been hearing a lot about this company - all good things, and they were having a sale!  15% off everything - how could I say no to that?  Their eye shadow colors appealed to me, especially since some of them appeared to be quite matte, rather than the usual sparklefest I see around.  Don't get me wrong - sparklefest is generally good - but I have a lot of eye shadows, and I don't need any more that are quite similar in shade/finish.  The site is easy to navigate (they're on Artfire), with swatches for most of the shadows.  They are offered in sample or full sizes, and there are also a few collections and discount packages (and their current 15% off sale ends on June 15th, so hurry hurry!)
Look how pretty!
I purchased seven samples with jars ($0.64 for a sample of ~1 g, and an additional $0.50 for a jar, so $1.14 per color), because a sample size is a lot and I never go through the entire thing (I learned this from poking at Shiro Cosmetics' generous samples).  However, sample bags are messy and not cute, so I was really excited to learn that they had the option of buying jars for your samples!  They come packed in the jars, too, if you purchase them that way.  Having the shadows in a jar guarantees that I will use them - I really hate fussing around with the little sample bags.
Isn't it pretty?  And a little button was included with my invoice.  Cake!  Yes!
I bought Le Gateau, Le Soleil, Pomp, Masquerade, Gardens, Gouttiere, and Powdered Wigs.  There were several more that I wanted, but I was trying to keep it under $10; I've done a lot of spending recently, and I need to calm down with it.  With $2 shipping, my order total came to $9.98.  Yes!
I love the aesthetic of the company - the French Revolution era is one of my favorite historical periods.  My order came with two business cards and a sample of "Patina."
I ordered on a Thursday, and they ship every Tuesday.  My order got here the following Friday, which isn't bad.  I do prefer companies that ship on multiple days, but waiting is good for me, haha.  I received a notice as soon as it shipped, as well as a USPS tracking number.  Very nice!  Everything came in a bubble mailer, packaged tightly, and all of the individual jars were shrink-wrapped.  They weren't perforated, but I have a tiny pocket knife that did the job neatly.  One of the jars (Le Soleil) was loose and as soon as the shrink wrap came off, lots of yellow spilled out.  I'm not exactly sure what happened, because the jars also contain sealed sifters, and the sifter was in place, and the seal was in tact.  Weird.
Isn't the label fantastic?  All of my jars came with ingredients labels on the bottom, and the brand label on the top.
Okay, now, down to the swatches!  I ordered yellows, interesting greens, white, and an interesting "pumpkin" color.  These are some of my favorite eye shadow colors, but they were also shades that I didn't really have.  Going for variety just for variety's sake is sometimes dangerous, though; there are occasions when I really want to own a color because of its unique nuances, but I know it won't look good on me...such a dilemma!  Haha.  I had fears that Pomp would be one of those, but it's not.  "Pumpkin" is definitely the right description for it, but even against my skin tone, it works - it's not too burnt orange or rusty.  Click the picture for a larger version.
L-R: Powdered Wigs, Pomp, Le Soleil, Le Gateau, Gardens, Masquerade, Gouttiere
All swatched dry, no primer.  Sorry about the bad light...there was
no sun today.  At all.
Powdered Wigs is white, subtly shimmery, but more matte in appearance.
Pomp is a pumpkin orange with sparkles.
Le Soleil is a true yellow with sparkles.
Le Gateau is an off-white, creamy color; it has a pearl-like base.  It's a nice bone color.
Gardens is a moss green; it looks awful on me, but it's a pretty color in theory, haha.  It has a blue sheen in the jar that doesn't show up at all on my skin.  I hemmed and hawed over this one, because I suspected the olive tones of my skin would ruin this one; I should've stuck with my initial feeling.  Oh well!
Masquerade is a sea-green with beautiful green sparkles.
Gouttiere is a dark teal-green with lots of gold sparkles.  Very, very gorgeous.
Here's a picture of the shadows in jars, so you can get a better idea of the colors.  These are sample sizes - very generous sample sizes!
The texture of these shadows was impressive - very smooth and it didn't take very much product at all to get a nice swatch.  Gardens was the sheerest, I think, but it can be built up.  I know these kinds of shadows can't quite be matte, but they're very close - more of a satiny, opaque finish rather than a sheer wash of sparkle and shimmer.  They're interesting, and different from some of the other colors I have.  The packaging is excellent, and these are sample sizes - they'll last me forever!  I love the option of having these packed in jars, too, even with the extra cost.  I wore Le Gateau and Le Soleil yesterday; over primer, they applied beautifully with minimal fallout, and stayed put all day (though I did notice that Le Soleil had lost some of its vibrancy toward the end of the day).  I never wear shadows without primer, so I can't comment on that.

So, would I purchase from ARC again?  Yes.  I've noticed that a lot of their colors do tend to be warm, and I usually lean toward cool-toned shadows (even though I have warm-toned skin...it's just what I find works best for me.), so I would like to see a little more variety in their shades.  However, they are a fairly new company, so I'm sure they have a lot of new colors coming up!  Like I mentioned, the finishes of their shadows is also different from a lot of other indie companies that I've seen, which I also like.  I have nothing to complain about, with regards to my experience with the company.  Go check them out!

(For those counting, this order, since it's composed of extremely budget-friendly samples, counted all together as one item against my new "Three Strikes" policy (described here).  The second one has already been used up, as well, and a review is coming up shortly; I only have one left!  I'm still well under my spending cap, though, which is fantastic for me.  I'll do a summary post at the end of every month called "The Moment of Truth" to see if I actually stuck to my new policy.)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

EOTD: Corals Aren't Just For Lips (Or In Oceans)

Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden
Shiro Cosmetics Likelike (shimmery white-gold), Shaymin (coral with green sparkles), Hearts (cool red)
Benefit Magic Ink (black liquid liner)
Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Binge (navy blue)

I love peachy coral colors. 
This is yesterday's eotd, actually.  I like to complement colors in my clothing, though I try not to get too matchy matchy.  This is the fabric of the top I wore yesterday:
I usually do try to tie my makeup into my whole outfit, which sometimes means that I wear less exciting eye makeup, simply because a more neutral look would suit my clothes.  Do you take your outfit into consideration when you do your makeup?

Anyway, today's plans: Chores and cleaning in the morning, and then a sushi lunch date with a friend (woohoo!  Sushi!  My first love :D  Sorry, S.).  Then homemade pizza and relaxing through the evening, maybe with some board games or a movie.  What fun plans do you have?

P.S. The review for this is coming up tomorrow!  Have a great Saturday!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Hunt For the Perfect Nude: MAC Freckletone

I've been looking for the perfect nude lipstick to go with neutral looks, because I'm on a neutral kick.  I picked up MAC Freckletone when I bought Bust Out (I'm not sure why I always buy lipsticks in pairs.  It's like I'm not capable of just buying one!); it's a permanent line lustre finish shade.
Here it is!  So, is it the perfect nude?
Um, yes.  Glossy but not overkill on the shine, with a subtle peachy brown tint that I love.  Hear that?  LOVE.  It gives the perfect subtle touch to strong eye looks - with a touch of peach blush, these lips kill.  It's prolly difficult to see why I'm so in love with it just from the lip swatch - it's really a Gestalt kind of thing here: you know, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts?  Freckletone just makes the look - any look!  I can see myself actually going through a tube of this one.  It's a lustre finish, so it feels comfortable on the lips, and, that's the end of the story.  If you're looking for a matte, opaque nude, this is obviously not it, but it's a great option for those less-is-more days.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Thursday Post

Bad Meets Evil: Fast Lane.  It's the explicit version, so if you're not a fan of Eminem or swear words, you may wanna skip this one.  I know Eminem's controversial, and I'm not going to discuss any of that - I just like his music.  I think he's a clever wordsmith, and his lyrics often make me laugh, but I don't take him seriously, and separate his music from his personal life.  I do have most of his albums, and I'm looking forward to this collaborative album.

Some of the pretty things I've been wanting:
- Bobbi Brown's Tortoiseshell collection.  I do not need any more eye shadow, but those palettes are so pretty!
- I want a fun new hat.  I don't think I could pull off something like this, but maybe a straw fedora - something summery?  Like this?  I think it's cute.
- Yves Saint Laurent's Fall 2011 promo pics = breathtaking. (Sorry, the website is in French, but lookittheprettypictures!)
- Nintendo Wii U: mind-boggling!  (Do you surf Uncrate?  It's fabulous.)
- I don't like chocolate, but don't you think these would be fun for a party?  It's best for me not to be tempted, anyway :P
- This is embarrassing, but I am hooked on The Voice.  I think the interactions between the judges are hilarious, and they're all so darn likeable.  Um, I want Christina's red, red lips.  Any tips?  Product suggestions?  (I also want the coaches' spinny chairs, but I don't think that's as attainable :P)

Speaking of things I want, I have a new policy for myself.  My makeup/clothing/frivolities budget per month is $ X, or 3 items, whichever comes first (not counting skincare or other "necessities").  When it comes to indie companies, I am counting a single order as one of these items, since an indie order for samples can be as little as $10 for numerous items, so I don't think that counts.  I gave this one a lot of thought, and I'm pretty happy with it - we'll see how it goes.  I'm trusting you guys to help hold me accountable!  I've already used up one item this month (an Antoinette's Revolution Cosmetics order that should be coming in soon!) but there isn't anything that I'm really feeling this month, so it's looking good so far.  However, the nearby mall is having a huge sidewalk sale in a week or so...eep!
 
Also, two questions for you.   
One: what do you eat for breakfast?  I'm a big breakfast girl; on a normal day I will eat a bowl of oatmeal with fruit and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with coffee and juice (I swear that I eat half of the day's calories at breakfast.  I'm hungry in the morning!).  Recently, though, I've been wanting more savory foods for breakfast, but a girl can only eat so many eggs, you know?  What kind of delicious things do you eat in the morning?  I've been known to eat cold pizza, leftover pasta, beans and rice...yeah.  Throw anything at me.  I wanna know.
Two: Where do you get your makeup inspiration?  I subscribe to a lot of blogs and I love reading product reviews and XOTD posts, etc, but I feel like I need something new - high fashion blogs, or professional photo shoot type things, magazine shoots, something.  Where do you turn for inspiration - eye looks, colors to try, etc?  Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading, and have a great rest of the week!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eco Tools Bamboo Finishing Kabuki

Look!  A duo-fiber kabuki brush!  $7.99 at most drugstores, and cruelty-free.  Isn't that awesome?
Except, what do you do with a duo-fiber kabuki?
It is very much a traditional duo-fiber, with two fiber lengths at different thicknesses.
Well, it's called a "finishing brush," so I assume it's meant to buff out your liquid or powder foundations.  I tried it with my Dior tinted moisturizer and my Guerlain Lingerie de Peau = win!  Nice, airbrushed, soft finish.  It's a much more even coverage versus using my fingers, and there is the added benefit of not having foundation all over my fingers afterward. The bristles are really soft, though, so there's not a lot of control - it's best to just dab all over your face haphazard like.  If you're looking for precision and control, this is not the way to go.
Look how soft and fluffy!
I did want to use it as a blush brush, too, even though the brush head is fairly large - it might work for subtler colors (or something like the Dior Nude Glow bronzing powders) to build up color, but I'd be really careful with more pigmented colors, for sure.  It'd also be good for oil-control powders (MAC Blot, perhaps, which I'm interested in, or Dior's Crystal Nude powder).

Overall - win!  I love EcoTools brushes; they're great quality brushes from a company with ideals, and all of their brushes are very affordable.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Essie Tart Deco

I only own two Essie polishes: Tart Deco and Mint Candy Apple.  I bought them during one of Ulta's sales quite some time ago.  I haven't been in a rush to acquire any more of them, because I find the formulas a bit runny and fickle, they generally have a strong odor, and I can usually find similar colors in other lines.  But, I do love the two colors that I do have.
Here is Tart Deco - a beautiful, punchy coral cream - kind of like MAC's Vegas Volt lipstick for nails.  It requires three coats for full opacity; the formula is a little more watery than I'm used to, though it does seem to dry fairly quickly.  Because of that, I did experience some dragging, but with some patience, I was able to finish up a tolerably even manicure.  On its own, it also has a high shine factor, which is nice - I've gotten so many compliments on this color, because of its vibrancy and shine.

Both of these photos are of one coat of Zoya Ridge-filling base coat, three coats of Tart Deco, and a final coat of Zoya Armor (click for larger).  Perfect for summer, no?
In sunlight, with flash, so you can see how bright it is!  Please ignore the fingerprint on my index finger.  I'm not sure how it got there, and it's not there anymore :P
Sunlight, no flash.  Still bright.
I love coral, so I'll definitely be wearing this one again and again.  I love how it seems almost neon bright under some lighting conditions, and yet can be an almost demure pastel in others.  Very fun.  Yay for summer!