Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wedding FOTD #4: Blushing Bride?

I don't blush. But I thought perhaps I'd do a rosy-cheeked look, because I thought it'd pair well with my Hourglass lip stain. It all came together for one of those fresh-faced looks. I think. I'm not sure. I kept the eye makeup minimal and pink-toned, with winged liner. I tried to beat my brows into some semblance of good behavior and added generous amounts of pink blush. I think I need to do more looks like this just for going out. The Hourglass lip stain is one of my absolute favorites, and I need to showcase it more often.

With that said, many of you have expressed that your favorite pick for the big day is red lipstick, and I have to agree. I am still going through a variety of looks, though, because I think it's a fun learning experience and it's giving me a chance to actually use the makeup that I have. I do think I want to go with a red lip, and I will try a few more variations of those, but I'm having fun exploring my options. As always, any thoughts and comments or suggestions are very appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!
With flash
No flash.
MAC MSFN in Medium (I wouldn't use this on the actual day; I would use a full coverage foundation)
Chanel Perfection Lumière in B20 (under eyes)
Smashbox Radiance blush

NARS Smudgeproof Eye Shadow Base
Tarte Jewelry Box soft pink, eggplant matte shades
Sephora Long-lasting liner in 01 Black
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on liner in Crash
Milani Brow Tint pen in Dark Brown (brows)

Hourglass Aura Sheer Lip Stain in Flush
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment (I find a clear balm seals the stain in and keeps it glossy)

I quite like this one, actually, mostly because I really love the Hourglass stain - it's such a beautiful color and it does last. It's also quite fuss-free once it's applied. What do you think? Is this too spring-esque for an autumn wedding? I don't know that I really care about conforming to seasonal standards, but perhaps it should be considered. What say you? Should I focus on fall colors? Are you still voting for a red lip?

Friday, March 30, 2012

March Favorites

The months really need to slow down. I feel like I was *just* writing February's favorites post.

Josie Maran Argan Oil, travel size (not pictured)
Yes, this was here last month. I still like it. My skin's not really oily (more normal/combination) but I prefer it as a nighttime treatment; it's a bit much in the daytime, I feel. This, coupled with my FAB Ultra Repair Cream, has pretty much eliminated most of my winter dry patches, though overall, my skin is still a little drier than it is in warmer months. Boo.

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium
Featured in January's favorites. Still loving. I've sort of moved into the moisturizer + MSFN routine, as Chanel PL is a little too dry for my winter skin and it's not flattering at all. My review on this will finally be up next week.

Jo Malone Vanilla and Anise cologne
I had a sample of this which I used up before moving on to the bottle shown here. On first sniff, this was not quite what I was expecting (I will have a review on the cologne set sometime soon, hopefully) - neither quite vanilla nor quite anise. It wasn't instant love or anything like that, but it's an easy scent to wear, so on lazy days when I wasn't quite up to choosing a fragrance, I'd just spritz some of this on and go about my day. It's slightly spicy and I enjoy it.

Stila Kitten eye shadow
A standard favorite. It comes out a lot when I'm lazy and feeling uninspired, because it's easy to wear and brightens my face.

MAC Early Morning mineralize blush
The color is utterly flattering on my skintone. That is all. (Okay, that's a lie. Of course I have more to say. I wore my glasses a few more times than usual this month because the weather was drying out my eyes. I usually only wear a bit of powder when I wear glasses, but adding a hint of blush really polishes the look.)

NARS Smudge-proof Eye Shadow Base
Much, much better than my old Urban Decay standby. I will do a full review soon. It's colorless, glides on smoothly (feels a bit silicone-y, though) and makes shadows and liners stay put. However, it is still easy to blend shadows over this, which I feel puts it miles ahead of its contenders.

Milani Brow Tint Pen
I've just recently started to pay attention to my brows. Powder is the most natural finish (using some sort of eye shadow) but I don't have quite the right color at the moment; I am ogling the new Bobbi Brown kits, though. This pen, which only cost me $4.49 (on sale!) is actually a pretty easy way to give my brows a bit more color and oomph, if you will. I really jumped on it because one day I noticed a bald spot in my right eyebrow. How did it get there??? I have no idea. I probably accidentally plucked the wrong hair or rubbed it out somehow (how someone does that, I have no clue). So the sale came at the right time. This is the darker of the shades they offer, and while it's not a perfect match for my brows, it's pretty good, and it makes filling them in pretty simple. I was a bit apprehensive about "marker-ing in" my brows (should we really be coloring in our features with something that looks like an elementary school tool?) but it's really not that bad. Since it's easy to use and pretty quick, I've actually been doing my brows more often. Will review this soon, too (I'm so behind! Haha).

That's it for me. What about you? What were your favorites this month? Acquired anything new and exciting?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Thursday Post

Foals: Spanish Sahara. Soothing, beautiful, and dance-worthy. The way it works itself into a frenzy toward the end is...cathartic.

Can I live here? Seriously. It's like a dream. The white, the spaces, the wood and simple furnishings...I adore.

Sephora needs to carry more of Illamasqua's cream blushers. I want Crush. Purple blush is something I covet, for whatever reason. I don't know why.

I'm finally getting an iPhone (more on that later), so I've been digging posts like this. What are your favorite apps? Do you use any of those?

As a chemist and a whiskey drinker, I appreciate. I don't think you have to be either, though!

Ballet dancers in slow motion. So strong and graceful.

I has the makeup SAD, too. I blame it on the weather. But that lipstick and the Bugs Bunny quote cheered me right up :D

Also, one last thing before we get to the weekly Dennison photo: what are your favorite concealers? I'm in the market. I've only tried the CoverFX one (don't like), and I have a Bobbi Brown corrector that I rarely use. I need something to cover my undereye circles, and maybe the occasional cheek redness.
You'd think it'd bother him that his tail is poking his eye out, but no, apparently not.

Oh, I lied. One more thing! I updated my blog sale - you can find it here.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sweet Anthem: In the Vault

In January, Sweet Anthem incorporated a new element into its store: The Vault.

(Oooh. Sounds mysterious, doesn't it?)

It's a tremendous undertaking, because it is the complete archive of all of the perfumes that they've come out with since their opening in 2007. It's quite a list. However, these fragrances are available for purchase only during seasonal Sweeps Weeks; you can find information about those dates in the calendar.

I was able to get hold of three perfume oil samples during the last Sweeps Week, thanks to Meredith. My nose has hated me for the past few weeks though (something about weird weather mood swings aggravates my nose) so I've only been able to get to these very recently. Worry not - each has had its fair trial time. I bring to you, my thoughts. Ha.

I have Lizie*, Lori*, and Mary*. The women's names always make me curious about the perhaps real person who inspired the scents. I rather like it. The official scent notes and descriptions (if available) are taken from Sweet Anthem's website.
image source
Lizie*: Dirt, Oakmoss, Immortelle, Neroli, Petit Grain, Tomato Leaf

Oh, Lizie. The dirt and oakmoss in the vial kind of turned me off, because let's face it, I don't actually like getting dirty and I don't really like smelling "earthy" in the literal sense. Once applied to skin, it slowly grows into a clean, green scent, but still very earthy - exactly like a sprouting plant. I have to admit that I don't know what tomato leaf smells like; to me, it's faintly medicinal and very green, and I am surprised by how much it appeals to me. I didn't think I'd like this one, but something about it is delightful to my senses. I think I like fragrances with the slightest of herbal turns.
image source
Lori*: sandalwood, sea moss, lemon, jasmine, bergamot, and black tea.

I started with Lori, because it was the most pleasing to me on first sniff. It's ultimately a tea scent, I think, but not heavily sweet like sweet tea from the South. In the vial, I get some of the sandalwood and sea moss in an almost leathery, vinyl smell that balances out the stronger sweetness from the tea and citrus. On my skin, it's sometimes floral, sometimes vinyl, and inherently tea. Like a young girl on the edge of transformation - walking the thin line between being a carefree child and being a rebellious teenager, but still with a core of sweetness. I like it for when I'm feeling slightly edgier, but still girly. You know, like wearing a leather jacket over my girliest dress.

image source
Mary*: New Mown Hay, Sea Moss, Wildflowers, Daffodil, Black Cherry, Tangerine Peel

I was initially a bit nervous about this one, because in the vial, I get cherry. I'm not a fan of cherry scents or flavors (although I will eat fresh cherry pie, ha!). But what the hell. I dabbed some on my wrist (a teeny bit! I'm not that brave!) and let it do its thing. Immediately on my skin, I get the hay and the wildflowers. The cherry persists, but it's no longer flamboyantly cherry; the fruit simply lends its sweetness to the musky, floral scent. It's not excessively spicy or grassy or powdery, but retains the mossy, moody element. It's interesting, and an unique spin on cherry. I think it was originally a summer release, and I can see that. It's more of the calm after the storm, though - rain-washed flowers, damp moss, cookies on your porch.

I really liked the variety of these; sometimes scents from a single perfumer tend to feel recycled or repeated, and that is definitely not the case with Sweet Anthem. I have toyed with the idea of a "signature scent" for a while, but you know, I'm not in the same mood all the time, so it kind of makes sense that I wouldn't want to wear the same perfume all the time, right? Just like I don't wear the same makeup every day. I guess I'm fickle that way. These scents as a whole are unexpected and all of them offer an experience, from first sniff to the last echoing notes on your skin. If you see something you like, I'd give it a go. You never know, right?

Perfumes can be purchased at

*Items marked with a star were sent for evaluation and review by the company. This is not a paid review, and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


So I was tagged by Winnie and Cassy for separate posts, but I am combining them. One is about nails, and one is just a general...awesomeness thing? I have no idea. But Winnie and Cassy are both fabulous bloggers and you should go visit them. They're sweet. Thank you both, ladies!

Before we get any further, I'll just tell you that I am tossing rules out the window. I feel awkward passing these things on, so if you want to answer the questions in the comments or do the tag, feel free, and please let me know! If not, that's cool, too.

Nail thing first.

1. How many polishes do you have?
I don't know. I won't count. Next.

2. What is your favorite brand of polish?
Um, Zoya? I like that they're 3-free and their polishes last long and don't chip. I would say Dior, but my wallet protests against the price tag and I only have four.

3. Do you like crackle polish?
You know, I've still never tried it. Not really keen on it for myself, but I think it does look cool sometimes.

4. What was the brand of your first nail polish?
No. Idea. Actually no wait! This! Tinkerbell Cosmetics, do you remember that? I owned a few of the peel-off polishes, I think, though I could only apply them with my mom's permission.
image source
5. If you were going to have a nail polish line, what would you name it?
Oh no, I hate coming up with name things. Future kids will be named One and Two, or something. I have no idea!

6. What nail polish does not flatter you?
I think colors that are too warm look awful on me. Yellowy greens, yellow oranges, orange browns. Weird things like that.

7. What nail polish does flatter you?
I like dark shades. I feel all vampy and rockstar.

8. Name two of your best nail-art friends.
I suck at nail art and rarely attempt it, so I'd have to say...I don't have friends. :*(

9. What was the best nail polish gift you've received?
S. bought Dior Silver Lake as part of my birthday present last year. That was pretty awesome and unexpected.

10. Make a speech thanking the blogger who tagged you.
<3 Winnie :D

Okay, on to the general one. Seven things you don't know about me! Uh, lemme go check on what I've told you before. I'm so boring - I need to make sure that I don't repeat facts!

1. I love spicy food. The spicier, the better! Although it still has to have a good flavor. Habaneros aren't tasty to me, so I tend to avoid dishes that are heavily spiced and flavored with habanero, but it's not because of the heat level - it's because I don't think they taste like anything! I grew up on Korean food, so spicy dishes are just familiar to me. I also love the heat of Thai and Indian cuisine!

2. I've been wearing glasses since I was four. I switched to contacts in high school, but I do still wear glasses at night and on lazy days or when I have a cold. I like them better now than I did as a kid, obviously, but it'd be nice to have good vision, haha.

3. I hate ghost stories and zombie/monster/scary-ass-imaginary-creature movies. I will occasionally read a scary novel, but that is only because I am now old enough to share a bed. As a kid, when my parents would tell me to go back to bed and monsters weren't real etc. etc., I was always a bit miffed. Of course it's fine when you sleep with someone else!

4. I really like puzzle games. Both the Professor Layton type, as well as ones like Picross 3D (and the original) and all of those Puzzle League/Bejeweled-esque games - win!

5. I'm not a necklace girl. At all. They bug me and I rarely - if ever - wear them.

6. Along those lines, I also cannot get excited about a watch. I never wear them. Something about having time strapped to my

7. I don't really like Easter candy, except for two things: Starburst Jelly Beans (nothing like other excessively syrupy, gross things) and Sour Patch Bunnies. How can you pass on Sour Patch Bunnies??? I cannot.

Hurray, I finished! You would not believe how long it took me to think up interesting facts! Or well...just, facts. Happy Sunday! Leave me some interesting facts about yourself, if you'd like!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wedding Series FOTD #3: "Natural" Beauty

Whenever I hear "natural beauty," I kind of feel snarky, because well, that implies that there is some beauty already there, doesn't it?

(I know. I sound like a horrible person. I might be. It's not been confirmed yet, but I have my suspicions.)

All I'm saying is, it may be difficult to enhance something that's not there. Which is why I'm loathe to do the "natural" look on myself. I like winged liner, I like bold colors. But you know, this style of makeup has its merits, too. It's at least great to wear around every day, because it doesn't take much thinking and the colors are all easy-to-wear and beautiful. This is probably what I go out with daily, but I tried to put on a little more blush (blush does not photograph, I swear. It only catches on camera when it looks like I have clown cheeks in person, and believe me, that is not a good look) and there is mascara. Okay. Let's roll.
No flash.
And with flash.
Close-up of the eyes.

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium
Chanel Perfection Lumière B20 (under eyes)
MAC Fresh Honey Mineralize Blush

NARS Smudgeproof Eye Shadow primer
Stila Kitten, Bare Escentuals Night Owl
Sephora Long-lasting Liquid Liner, 01 Black
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Liner in Underground
Revlon Photoready 3D Volume Mascara, 01 Blackest Black
Milani Brow Tint pen, Dark Brown

Dior Serum de Rouge in 215 Primrose Crystal (my MLBB lipstick)

If I were to go with this kind of look, I'd definitely put more effort into a full-coverage foundation and concealing, but I was curious to see how the MAC MSFN photographed. Not bad! There would also be false lashes involved, but those things are annoying to put on, so here and in the future, just, erm, imagine them.

S. says he would prefer to see a bit of color in my face, so this one is not his favorite (though it's fine for every day). What are your thoughts? Also, if you have a look you'd like me to try, please let me know! Thanks for stopping by and reading!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Darling Girl Cosmetics Kiss You Off Color Rich Balms

Darling Girl Cosmetics recently (okay, like a couple of months ago) reformulated their Kiss You Off Color Rich balms, and I ordered seven of them before the ban. Erm. I like them a lot, okay? And I wanted to get my hands on the newer shades before I was banished to the land of no new purchases. I was good, though! I didn't order the red one! (I wanted it. But then I remembered this.)

I've been slowly working my way through them, which is why it's taken me so long to get this review up. As I've mentioned before, though, I really like this line. They're not drying, incredibly pigmented, and happily affordable at $4.75 each. I also like the slimline tubes, which are easy to carry around and make them easy to apply - though I will admit that a teeny tiny part of me misses the luxe packaging of my high end lipsticks. I don't miss the ridiculous price inflation, though!

The other thing that I liked about the colors I chose is that for the most part, they are not shimmery. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy some shimmer in my lip products every now and again, but usually I prefer glossy or opaque colors that are shimmer/glitter free, and you don't often find those in indie shops.
All swatched in one swipe. Awesome, right?
And there are the swatches. Aren't they lovely? The bumps are because the surface of the new balms is a little rugged, but they wear down nicely soon enough. Ms. Nude'Tude has an obvious duochrome (greenish) shimmer, and some of the others have a bit of sheen to them, but they are not glittery or sparkly. They all wear well (Oh My Darling lasted through a meal with just some reasonable fading) though they do tend to bleed around the edges after a few hours; it's nothing a lip liner won't solve, but that does detract a little from the perceived simplicity of a "tinted balm." However, these are maybe like those Revlon Lip Butters - not quite a lip butter, but really a lighter lipstick. If you like those, you'll like these. If you like lipstick, you'll like these. If you're trying to take a step up into lipstick, you'll like these.

Demure is a high gloss plummy pink - the kind of color many ladies love.
Ms. Nude'Tude is a shimmery mauve with an iridescent sheen to it.
Oh My Darling is a glossy tangerine.
Pebbles is a glossy coral with a beautiful, faint lavender sheen.
Sanctuary is dark. It's a vampy plum, and quite possibly the darkest lip color I own.
Tan Lines is a creamy, warm beige.
Velvet Rose is a soft strawberry red with the barest hint of a sheen. Extremely ready-to-wear.
Ms. Nude'Tude
Oh My Darling
Velvet Rose.
I'll have lip swatches up for the other two in a little while (Sanctuary and Tan Lines). Though I'm not particularly a fan of Ms. Nude'Tude and Tan Lines against my coloring, the quality of both of those are on par with the rest, though, so if they seem like your sort of color, don't let my tastes stop you. My favorites? Oh My Darling, Pebbles - yes, I like brights - Demure, and Sanctuary. Velvet Rose is pretty, too. Oh okay, so I like pretty much all of the other ones. This is good, right?

They are $4.75 each and can be purchased at the Darling Girl Cosmetics shop. They come in two formulas - one with shea butter, and one without, for those with allergies. All ingredients are listed on the product page, which I really appreciate. If you're looking for a budget-friendly and fabulous lip product - perhaps dipping a toe into new colors without too much of a monetary investment? - I'd take a peek at the shop!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Thursday Post

Made In Heights: Skylark Interabang?!. I love, love, love this song. The singer's ghostly voice, the piano, the beats. Keep listening, it gets heavy soon enough.

A good read on perfumery and elitism.

I love the bedside lamps in this bedroom. They are amazing and I want them. I actually want the whole place (minus decorative plate nonsense). I love spacious interiors with lots of brightness and sleek, simple fixings.

I'm not sure why this is so hilarious, but it is.

Yes, it's Sweet Home Alabama and I apologize, but it's pretty cool, isn't it?

If you play Professor Layton, you will understand.

Tom Ford eye things, anyone? (Okay, they're called "Cream Pots for Eyes" or some such). I actually kind of desperately want one.

And I'm dying over the Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2012 nail lacquers. Pastels!!! I don't know what the hell it is with pastels. Sticking Easter egg colors on candy isn't going to make me more likely to buy and eat it, but nail polish? I'm so there.
He was sleeping so we covered him with a blanket. He didn't seem to care after the initial "What is this?" look he gave us. Sleepin' like a people!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Beauty No-buy: Update #3

Two months have passed. Still holding strong! I haven't bought anything frivolous/unnecessary. Really.

I will admit that in the past month, I purchased a few things, but they are all a-ok under the ban rules. And come out to about $32 all together, which is not so bad, right? It's about the price of a Dior lipstick. (Oh, Dior. How I miss you so.)

wedding prep
Ardell False lash kit, $7.99

Milani brow pen, $4.49 (sale at Walgreens)
Revlon Photoready 3D Volume Mascara, $5.99 (sale at Fred Meyer, replaces two dried out mascaras)
Cake Beauty It's a Slice hand cream, $14 at Amazon, replaces my old Cake Beauty Milk Made
I'll have reviews for these up soon.
I also passed on my opportunity to buy anything this month. Remember? I said that I'd give myself an allowance of two items, totaling less than $75, when my best friend came to visit. Well, she came and went (sad face!) but I didn't buy anything. There were things that I wanted, definitely (NARS Pure Radiance Tinted Moisturizer, I'm talking to you!) but I just couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger on that one. The Dior tinted moisturizer I have sitting in my train case is taunting me. I'm going to try to finish that up, but it may be a battle, as it's a little heavier than I actually prefer. Imagine that, right? I figure, if I do manage to finish that sucker, buying the NARS tinted moisturizer would be allowed. Since it'd be a replacement. And you need a TM for the summer, right? Right?

I don't know. I guess I'm finding it harder to justify purchasing items when I know how much stuff I already have; I find myself longing for that simpler, more streamlined routine that I used to have in the very beginning, when my stash was limited to a small makeup bag. I'm also kind of hoping that this ban will induce a permanent change in my makeup shopping habits. You know, so I'll be able to walk away with just one item every once in a while, and not feel guilty about it because it's not in excess. I can then buy something pretty when it catches my eye, but perhaps those occasions will be more spaced out because I'll be more discerning about what catches my eye. I think I'm heading in that direction, as evidenced by my unfruitful (or very fruitful, depending how you look at it, I suppose!) shopping trip this month. Don't get me wrong - I still like to shop. For clothes, makeup, shoes, etc. But: everything in moderation, even moderation.

How are you all doing? How are your bans/limited buys? What are your beauty-related goals? Thanks for reading my confessional! I may also be posting an updated blog sale soon (with some MAC items, at least), so keep your eyes peeled.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Wedding Series FOTD #2: A Brighter Red Lip

This one is kind of a cheat look. I wiped off the darker red NARS Mascate from version #1, and replaced it with the brighter, shimmery/satiny Rouge Dior Belle de Nuit, which is honestly one of my favorite lipsticks. It's comfortable to wear, and I've never had any problems with it getting all over my face, either. Both of these make it a fair candidate, in my opinion. I also love the way it brightens up my face! A lot of you mentioned last week that you'd like to see a brighter red lip look, and I agree - Belle de Nuit does seem better. I think this one may be a serious contender, but we have a lot of looks to try on.
With flash. Look - I'm reading Liz's blog! Hahaha.
Natural light, no flash.
(For details on what else I'm wearing, see the first post). Don't worry, next week I'll have something different.

What do you think? Still not a fan of red lips on a wedding day? Too bright? Too orange? Too shimmery? Can't tell the difference (S. couldn't)? All thoughts and opinions are welcome! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Thursday Post

Mandy Moore: Gardenia. Hey, before you throw tomatoes, give it a listen. I actually quite like her voice, now that she's moved more into folk territory.

Click this link. Unless you're Liz :P

I love penguins! This is adorable.

This may be the coolest climbing wall, ever.

This is amaze!

I wish I had a house and plenty of monies, so that I could have a wooden bathtub. Unorthodox, but so sexy!

OMG I want some. I have no idea when I'd ever wear them, but I want them.

I wish I could planning a trip to this beautiful place. Sigh. I've been once, once enough?

!!! Please do this.
This is the Dennison Pose. It's how he spends most of his day, I'm convinced.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Milk

I'm not really sure why this photo was taken at that ridiculous angle, but it's the only one I have of the full bottle, so, erm, just cooperate with me and tilt your head, okay?

I realize reviews about cleansers are boring, aren't they? They really are. Even though good cleansers are necessary, no one really gets excited about the prospect of shopping for them and trying them out. It's not like a good lipstick, or something.

But this will take that off for you. It'll take it all off. Oooooh, steamy!

Okay. Down to business. I've tried a few makeup removers (Boscia, other Clinique versions), but this is my favorite. FAVORITE. It goes on more like a lotion than an oil or a liquid soap; it rubs into my skin nicely and smoothly - it's a bit different, but I really like it. Then I rinse it all off and voila! Fresh, clean face. I like. It's gentle and I kind of feel like it cushions my face, if that makes any sense. I do use a separate eye makeup remover, but I do that regardless of what cleanser I use. I also still use my Clinique 3-step facial soap at the end of the day - I don't think this is meant to be your sole cleanser. Another note - you need to have a dry face and dry hands in order for this to really work for you, I feel. If your face is already wet, the cleansing milk will just slide around on it, instead of working itself into your skin the way it should.

I will say that it has a slightly sour smell, like, erm, sour milk. It's not very strong, and it doesn't linger - I only catch it if I breathe in while I rub it on my face. It's not my favorite, but since it's not so strong and it washes off immediately, I don't mind. This product has otherwise reached the status of: Larie's favored cleanser. *sparkles* I use a pump per, er, face, so essentially I use a pump a day. I've been using mine since last October or so and I haven't even gotten 1/3 way through the bottle yet (the bottle is clear, so you can see how much product you have left - I love this about Clinique skincare products). My search has ended though - this one's a keeper!

$26 for 6.7 fl oz, at Nordstrom or Sephora or other Clinique counters.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Foundation Testing: Thoughts and Comparisons

My current daily foundation is Chanel Perfection Lumière in B20 (review here), but it doesn't photograph well - I get the dreaded "white flash." I do plan on finding a makeup artist for my wedding (searching now! If you have any recommendations in the Seattle area, let me know!) but since I have a paraben-allergy, I decided I should probably put together my own kit so that I could be sure that the products would be compatible with my skin. So, I set off on the hunt. Very resignedly, I might add, as I really don't like foundation searches. So many skin tests. So many trials. So many samples.

Here are the contenders: NARS Sheer Glow in Ceylan, Smashbox Studio Skin in shade 1.2, MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NC25, Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation in Porcelain. I also received a sample of Smashbox's Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light. I was matched at counters for all of these shades, and received samples to try out. I gave each one about a week's wear (a lot of foundation fits into those little clamshells!) to gauge whether it reacted well with my skin, whether it lasted all day, whether it photographed well. And now I'm here to report my findings!

There are some things to mention first, however. The "white flash" from some foundations comes from physical sunscreens like titanium dioxide. Chanel PL has an SPF 10 rating and contains 3.1% titanium dioxide. However, it seems like it's not prudent to simply rule out all foundations with physical sunscreens. Smashbox Studio Skin also has an SPF 10 rating with a listed 4.7% titanium dioxide, and photographs beautifully (S. and I did briefly discuss why this might be. We're chemists, after all). So, the lesson of the day: test it out. There's no other way to know!

Now for the foundations.
Chanel PL is not a contender for the wedding; I swatched it merely as a reference. 

NARS Sheer Glow in Ceylan
I had high hopes for this one, since everyone raves about it. It's on the lighter end of the coverage spectrum (yes, there is such a thing - I just said so) and the color match is good for my skin (high five, Dovey!) It feels light on the skin, and blends well. I didn't really notice a "glow," though. The finish is not matte and not dewy - it's somewhere in between. I don't think it was quite enough coverage for me, and I didn't find it too buildable. I liked it, though, and I could see using this as a daily foundation. It doesn't contain sunscreen, but if I were to use this daily, I use my Clinique Super City Block anyway, so it's not an issue.

Smashbox Studio Skin in shade 1.2
I hadn't even really considered Smashbox, but Monika and I were running around Nordstrom, visiting every counter, so I figured, why not. I had the SA color match me (she did quite well!) and she gave me a sample to test out, along with the light version of their primer (which I dislike). I was surprised by how much I liked this! It seems a bit orange in the swatch above, but it's actually a perfect match for my face, and it glows. Not in a dewy, sweaty way, but in a omg radiant! way. I like. The coverage is heavier than the others I tried (and the SA did tell me this when she recommended it), but it doesn't budge - it's supposed to last 15 hours or something silly like that - and it doesn't feel heavy to me. I am used to wearing liquid foundation daily, though, so that's something to consider. If you want to see it in action, I'm wearing it here.

MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NC25
I didn't even give this one a full face test, because the patch on my chin that the SA tested at the counter was visibly orange by the time I got home. It had looked okay in the store, so I'm guessing, oxidation at its best! Also, I ran my swatch arm under water after I finished taking photos, and guess what? MAC Studio Fix Fluid slid right off in seconds. It was absolutely gone - no trace of it left. The others held on a lot better, and I wasn't rid of them until I scrubbed at my arm and hit it with some makeup remover. I am actually surprised that people use this on their wedding day!

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation in Porcelain
This is the lightest shade, and I was surprised that this turned out to be my match. However, the next shade down is peachier and the one after that was significantly darker, so this one (with its more golden undertone) was the best fit, and it actually does suit me. The texture is quite odd, but I don't mind it; it really does turn into a powder finish on my skin - you can see that it has a powdery, matte texture in the swatch above. The feel on my skin is powdery, not dewy or wet. Probably not the best for drier skin. Also, it photographed beautifully with flash when I wore the foundation alone, but when I wore it over Smashbox's primer, it looked patchy and powdery and under flash I had that white ghost effect. Not good at all. I think the primer keeps it from adhering to skin and seems to affect the finish somehow. This one is beautiful for everyday, as well, and if I didn't already have 23948023984 foundations, I might pick up a bottle.

I'm tired of testing foundations, and a lot of them aren't paraben-free anyway, so that's about the end of my testing run. My favorite? Smashbox Studio Skin. It's supposedly made for the camera, but it also looks great in person; I was also concerned about photographing well but then looking hideous and cakey in person, but that's definitely not the case here. I love the glow it gives my skin - a natural, beautiful glow that is not, erm, moist in any way. I am hiring a MUA for the wedding, but the one I have been talking to says that she is willing to utilize some of the things I might have in order to work around my allergy, so I think Smashbox Studio Skin will be one of the things I buy. Plus, it's just a great foundation, and would be good to have for the honeymoon and all of the other wedding-associated events that will probably generate lots of photos.

Okay, sorry for the exhaustive review! Hopefully it was helpful in some way. If you have any questions, let me know - I'll try to answer them as best I can. If you're on your own foundation search, the best thing I can say is: ask for samples! I'm usually a bit timid, but all of the SAs I talked to were perfectly willing to give me a sample (with enough product to last 1-2 weeks) to try out. Apparently nobody expects you to buy foundation without testing it out first, fancy that!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wedding Series FOTD #1: Classic

Okay. I'm sure you are all going to be tired of hearing about my upcoming wedding (me too :P), but I decided to do a series for it. I know it's only March, but I'm one of those plan-ahead types. Seriously. I like making lists and having things nicely squared away. Sigh.

Now, everyone has different perceptions of what is appropriate for a wedding; this depends on cultural traditions and largely on the individual bride. For some women, the "natural beauty" look is perfect - minimal makeup, glowy skin. However, I'm not sure that that is quite me, and I'm having some trouble figuring out what kind of look I do want for my "wedding face." So, I thought it might be fun to do a variety of them, just to try them out - and get some input. From S., and from all of you! I also thought it might be helpful for other people out there who have no idea what they want. To be clear, I will be hiring a MUA for the actual event, but even then I think I should have some sort of idea of what I want, right? I have tons of makeup waiting to be played with, goes!

First up: the "classic" look. (Many of you have already seen this on Twitter - sorry!) I know there are lots of opinions about a red lip for a wedding, most of them negative. I understand all of the issues: high maintenance, too strong, possibly too vampy, not "ingenue" enough. I'm not saying they're not valid reasons (except for that last one - I find it ridiculous and am tossing that one out of the window. Sorry.) and the last thing I want to worry about is red lipstick smeared all over my face. But, you know, my mom wore red lipstick as a bride, and her photos are beautiful. Almost thirty years later, I still find them classic and gorgeous. I think it depends on the bride. I'm not crossing anything off the list without trying it first!

Here's my first version. There are so many things to consider: how it all looks with flash, how it all looks without flash, what the lasting power of each product is, etc. As far as the high maintenance issue goes, I've worn Mascate for full-length days before without any problems - no smearing, no traveling, and easy reapplication. It's a pretty effortless red (except for the initial application, which takes precision and time). So, that aside, I'd love to hear your thoughts, but please try not to be too deflating. Thanks in advance :)
With flash.
Natural light, no flash.
And a close-up of the eyes.
Smashbox Studio Skin in 1.2
Clinique Teddy Bear quad, darkest shade (contour)
Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous (highlight)

Tarte Jewelry Box, gray + black matte shades

Stila Natural Beauty palette (matte peach)
Tarte Jewelry Box, matte black
Sephora Long-lasting Liquid liner, 01 Black
Revlon Photoready 3D Volume Mascara, 01 Blackest Black
Ardell False lashes

NARS Pure Matte Mascate lipstick

Obviously I don't know how to conceal, do magic with my brows, or put on false lashes, etc. (which is why I'm going to find a MUA for the actual day!), but I'm mostly interested in seeing the overall look - if the colors suit me or not, etc. In this case, I think it's overall a little too dark. Maybe a brighter lip (Rouge Dior Belle de Nuit?) would suit. S. is in agreement. What do you think? I'm going to do a bunch of these - not just until I find one I like, but just to explore all kinds of looks. I won't know until I try, right? Hope you don't get tired of seeing my face! Also, please let me know if you have any suggestions or looks that you want to see!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Blog Switch: For the Love of Roses

Hello, Eye Heart It readers! My name is Liz and I run a sometimes-downer blog about attempting to reduce beauty products over at Beauty Reductionista. Thanks for having me and thanks to Larie for letting me hijack her blog. I wanted a break from the reducing business for a day and Larie kindly obliged. I hope she knows there's a chance I may never give it back, muhaha! ;)

Today I want to share one of my newest but greatest passion: roses!

Image Source

I don't know what it is, but lately I can't get enough of the scent, references to it in skin care, and even song lyrics. It's strange, because while I've always loved the vision of the perfect rose, I never really thought about roses in products one way or another before. And suddenly -- WHAM! I've fallen in love. Here are some rose-related products that have captured my heart:

Diptyque Eau Rose

I sniffed the candle on a whim and it was like spring time hitting me in the face. It was instantly head over heels. The full size Diptyque candle is about CAD$70 and I wasn't about to go there yet, so the Eau Rose rollerball came home with me and I've been applying and applying shamelessly all day every day since I got it about a week ago.

I find that when the rose scent is too strong, it can be headache-inducing. And I like for it to resemble the real rose as much as possible without smelling too much like old ladies or hippie herbals. The Diptyque scent balances everything just right and sits elegantly and softly.

Available at

Alternative: Happ & Stahns 1842 Rose Alba from Anthropologie.

Weleda Wild Rose Skin Care

Formerly a part of the First Lines series of anti-aging products, this toner and moisture cream are packed with antioxidants and are such a treat to use at the end of the day. It's like bathing your face in a rose garden at night. Neither of the products have given trouble to my sensitive, acne-prone skin, and the moisture cream is perfect for the oily-skin types out there who need to add hydration without adding heaviness or grease. Weleda is well-known and regarded in the industry and it's second-best to going out to the gardens and picking the ingredients yourself. Um, scratch that: I think they know what to pick and gather better than I do!

Alternative: Korres Wild Rose Regimen Kit

C. O. Bigelow Rose Salve & By Terry Rouge Delectation in "Vanilla Cinnamon"

There's hardly a need to talk about what the Rose Salve is. Personally, I must admit that I prefer the Smith's Rosebud Salve as it contains more actual rose content, but this C.O. Bigelow one is about a quarter finished and I'm determined to see it through to the end. It's still a good balm and the rose smell is faint and translated into something more sugary.

By Terry is a luxury brand from France that costs about an arm and a leg per product, and I would never have been able to splurge for this lipstick had it not been slashed for clearance when departing from Sephora. By Terry infuses the scent of rose in every single one of their products and applying this silky smooth lipstick leaves me feeling utterly decadent and indulgent each time.

Alternative: Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Balm

Stella McCartney Stella

Another product that doesn't require an introduction. I've had Stella for quite a while and find it an interesting floral. It's not as delicate and ladylike as one might think. Sniffing Stella always makes me want to be more active, which is a real feat in a scent. The headiness of the rose is balanced securely by the amber, and despite its popularity and commonness (I know five people who wear Stella as their "signature scent"), it's a unique perfume to have in my collection.

Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous

The beauty of this palette can only be surpassed by the even more outrageously expensive and limited Guerlain Cruel Gardenia. I must admit, I bought this purely for the beauty of the rose pattern, but the rose-gold highlight works well with most skin tones and currently I'm using a corner of this palette carefully in order to preserve the unique design for as long as possible. 

Alternative: Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Rose

Fresh Milk & Rose Shampoo

I had my doubts about this CAD$30 shampoo. Ordinarily I would not go there but this rose obsession took a hold and won't let me go! Like all things Fresh, the scent is light and far from overwhelming. My test for a good shampoo is to use it on its own without a conditioner to see how drying (or not) it is. I could tell by the time I was rinsing this out that it's well worth the hefty cost. Hair feels silky and light and my normal wavy hair is perfectly fine with just some serum to keep the frizzes down. Note to wallet: purchase this as a treat for every one or two drugstore shampoo that I finish.

Alternative: Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Shampoo

Dr. Hauschka Rose Body Oil

To be honest, I just got this and used it at the same time I applied some tea tree oil to my face. Damn tea tree oil overwhelms everything and I couldn't smell the rose in this oil. (The Weleda Wild Rose skin care has a stronger scent than this body oil, though.) However, as a body oil, this holds up quite well. It's a bit on the heavy side when you initially apply, but it absorbs nicely into the skin, leaving a thin layer of sheen and slickness. It's fully absorbed by the time you wake up in the morning (I take night showers) and today I feel soft and silky smooth all over.

Alternative: REN Moroccan Rose Otto Body Oil, L'Occitane Rose 4 Reines Body Milk

Aaaand that's it! Sadly I must return Larie to you now, though I want to keep her to myself. (Isn't she so wonderful??) But I feel as though this wouldn't be a proper post on Eye Heart It without some music...

Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is la vie en rose
When you kiss me heaven sighs
And tho I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose.
When you press me to your heart
I'm in a world apart
A world where roses bloom
And when you speak, angels sing from above
Everyday words seem to turn into love songs
Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be la vie en rose.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Thursday Post

Walk the Earth: Somebody That I Used to Know (Goyte cover). I love this cover! I never used to like covers very much, but now I love hearing how different bands put a spin on songs that they love. Very cool.

Kind of terrifying - okay, very terrifying - but also fascinating in that morbid kind of way.

OMG another blue cream. I need it. I also really like the new Revlon bottles, I have to say.

I agree. We need a stainless steel colander, too. We only have a plastic one.

You already know I'm not very DIY, but someone do this, please!

Pretty! I love these but they sound like too much work.

Hats! I'm not really a hat person, but I love looking at them. I kind of wish we wore more hats.

So. Tomorrow. We're getting a VIP up in here. The Reductionista herself is making an appearance, and she promises an un-reductionista-esque post. So hold on to your hats - and your wallets.

And...I leave you with another Dennison photo!
Yeah, I don't know. That's just how he sits, sometimes. *shrug* He also climbs trees, so...yeah.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A England Princess Sabra (Tristam Eyes)

I have a lovely for you today! This is Princess Sabra* from A England's The Legends collection. It's a gorgeous, gorgeous golden olive holo polish. I'm not convinced it really works with my skintone, but it's so pretty, I still wear it. And stare at my nails distractedly while I'm supposed to be doing real work. Eep.

The formula is lovely - thin and easy to work with, opaque in two coats, and relatively quick-drying. I find this thinner than Tristam, in a good way. Now that you know it's fabulous, on to the swatches!

In boring, filtered sunlight, you see just a speckled olive color that is deceptively demure. But then you take it into direct light or outdoors into sunlight, and bam! You are dazzled.
Two coats of Princess Sabra, with an OPI base coat and a Zoya top coat. Indoor, natural light.

Indoor, with flash. Looks more olive here, but the holo shines!
Under my Ottlite lamp. It's more gold than green here, and full of holo goodness!
I don't have anything at all like this in my collection (does anyone???) but I thought I'd show some colors that seemed to be in the same color family. Um, once I swatched them, I realized that they really aren't, but I figured that it's still worthwhile to show, since it might give you an idea of just how different Princess Sabra is.
Exquis is much darker and does not have as much shimmer. Jules is more sheer, lighter - more gold, not green. 
And there you have it! I think it's truly a unique color, and definitely worth having, especially if you're into odd, interesting nail colors. You can purchase them here at A England's site - they offer free worldwide shipping.

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

Monday, March 5, 2012

Fyrinnae Lip Lustre: Romantique

Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy (white tube), Lip Lustre, and a sample of a Fyrinnae highlighter.
Fyrinnae's Lip Lustre in Romantique was featured in my Valentine's Day favorites snapshot, and I'm only finally getting the review up. Erm. Eep.

You already know that I like it. I'm not sure that I would order other colors, though. You see, it's kind of my perfect nude color - shimmer and all - but I'm not sure that the formula would work with darker, non-shimmery colors. It's slightly slippery, but adheres well to lips. I wouldn't call it moisturizing, but it's not particularly drying either, and it layers well; you don't get any sort of pilling on your lips or any build-up of that wonderfully attractive gunk that sometimes forms with lip gloss.
Comes with a doe foot applicator that makes it easy to apply; the formula isn't sticky or goopy or even particularly liquid, actually. It's not comparable to any lip gloss formulas that I can think of.

Fyrinnae says these are "not intended to be like lipgloss. This product is a non-sticky lipcolour 'stain,' leaving moisturising colour on your lips but no goopy tackiness" (taken from Fyrinnae's website). I think they're rather spot-on with that description, actually. The formula is kind of hard to describe, but I really like it. It applies smoothly and lightly to lips, and it never looks patchy or uneven; in this case, though, that could be because the color is really forgiving. In the tube, it looks like a lip version of Rapunzel Had Extensions, but on my lips it's not as peachy; it's more gold, and actually looks like a really lovely nude.
Light from my Ottlite.
In natural light.
Color and shine remain for about two hours, I'd say, without eating or drinking. Not the longest lasting product in the world, but man, I love it. The color, the formula - everything. The website says they're "lightly vanilla scented," but they kind of smell like cupcakes to me! And not the cloying, fake cupcake kind of smell. Like real, homemade, vanilla frosted yellow cake. So yummy. Not very strong, but definitely noticeable.

The verdict: They smell good and I adore this color. It's so easy to wear, and they are only $6. Buy one. Now.

Have you tried any of these? 

$6.00 for 8 mL at Fyrinnae.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bronzer + Illuminator Inventory

Ha! I bet you weren't expecting that, right? I have two full powders (one purchased, one received as a gift), a GWP sample of a Fyrinnae highlighter, three mini highlighter/colors from Darling Girl Cosmetics, and a GWP mini Tarte bronzer.

The Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous is a rose gold shimmery powder; it's not as finely milled as some but it's still not glittery or chunky. The Dior Aurora powder is a bronzing glow powder that is a favorite amongst beauty fiends, and I hope they come out with something similar very soon. It's lovely. Tarte's bronzer is nice, but still sparkly - I'd prefer a browner matte. The Darling Girl Cosmetics Spectral Shifts are colored and shimmery, but act as a nice highlight on cheeks or browbones - yes, even the teal one. Fyrinnae's Center Stage is a beautiful, shimmery soft peachy powder; I really like it, but think I prefer liquid or pressed powder illuminators, as they're less messy. 

I think I have room for a champagne-colored illuminator and a matte bronzer, but that will probably be the end of it. Paltry stash, huh? I guess these are things I don't really use that often! Or, well, that I don't need variety in? Even with just this, I will admit that some of them rarely get used; I hardly use the DG Spectral Shifts (I should try to use them more often, but I just don't, erm, "illuminate" that often!) or the Tarte bronzer. I think I do want a liquid luminizer that I can mix into foundation, and have my eye on a few, but that's it for me.

Do you have a favorite matte bronzer - one that's not too orange? What about a favorite liquid illuminator? I'd love to hear about what's in your stash!