Monday, August 29, 2011

Recent Favorites // August 2011

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free in Bisque and Sand
After hearing so many positive reviews on this tinted moisturizer, I wanted to try it out for myself before I bought it. This is tinted moisturizer has barely-there medium coverage and it blends out seamlessly into my skin. I really enjoy this product and am seriously considering paying $42 for the full size. The only cons are that I am between shades at the moment but that may change once my skin lightens for the cooler months.

Revlon Age Defying Concealer in Medium 
This is my go to concealer during the summer but only because it is too dark for me to wear the rest of the year. This concealer does it all. It erases dark circles and any spots I have on the rest of my face. The formula is not runny but creamy enough to blend easily. I highly, highly recommend this product and I'll be sad when my skin tone lightens and this will have to go unused again.

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder in Translucent
This was my powder of choice this past month to combat the humidity of August. I used to over apply this powder witha  kabuki which gave me an overly matte look. I've learned my lesson and I only apply a bit of this powder with a fluffy powder brush and a light hand. This controls oil very well but not for the full day. Nonetheless, it is an economical powder and I'm happy I have it in my stash.

Urban Decay Book of Shadows II (specifically YDK, Half Baked, Twice Baked, and Sellout)
I often get stuck in eyeshadow ruts because I tend to reach for the same few shades daily. This month I've been using my Urban Decay shadows a majority of the time, partly because I want to get use out of the palette but mostly because they are great neutral shades. You can see the back to school look I did using some of the shades HERE.

Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in Petal, Wet n' Wild Lipstick in Just Peachy, Revlon Colorburst Lipgloss in Peony, Sephora Lipgloss in Rosy Glow
I have already dedicated a whole blog post two these four lip products which I have been using for much of the month. You can see swatches and how some of the products look  on my lips HERE.

Lush Godiva Solid Shampoo (not pictured)
I only bought this product about a week ago but I'm loving it already. My hair is softer and smoother than usual and even my second day hair feels clean. You can check out THIS post to read more about Godiva and see how it looks!

I also have a few miscellaneous favorites this month. For about a month now, I've been on a pescatarian diet which basically means I don't eat land animals anymore. I did slip up once because I didn't realize there was pork filling in a pastry and another time I ate dumplings with meat filling because I didn't want to trouble the people who were feeding me.Nonetheless, I'm actually surprising myself because I don't really crave meat at all. I resisted steak and my favorite chicken wings at a recent barbeque and I don't really miss it. I will make exceptions during special occasions and holidays but for day to day life, I'm staying away from meat. Thus, one of my favorites has to be one of my favorite lunches, canned tuna with mayonnaise, celery, and onions on toast. Nom nom nom :)

I have also been keeping up with my reading this month and I believe I have finished nine books since the beginning of the summer. I finished up the Stieg Larsson trilogy which consisted of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest. I enjoyed the first book but the second and third were even better. It's always bittersweet when a good series is finished because I'm craving more. The first book in the series is in the process of being turned into a Hollywood movie so I will definitely be watching that. I also finally read The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri which I have been meaning to read for more than three years because I watched the film in school because one of my classmates' mother directed the film. I highly recommend both the novel and the film. Now, I'm reading The Hunger Games trilogy which is also on it's way to the theaters (though to be honest I don't like the cast very much). I have finished the first and second books, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, and I just got my hands on the final book called Mockingjay. I like the books and the cliff hangers are very good but the standard of writing is not as descriptive and rich as other novels I have read recently probably because this series is geared toward a younger crowd. I guess one of my favorites has to be the New York Public Library since that's where all these books came from....

Enough about me, what were your favorites for the month of August? :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mac & Drugstore Haul: Swatch Heavy!

Surprise, surprise, I'm back with another haul! In my last haul, I purchased mainly skincare and bath and body related products. This past week I've accumulated a few makeup goodies :) This post will be quite picture heavy with the swatches and all so I'll try to keep the writing to a minimum. I have also recorded a haul video so you can see some of the eyeshadow swatches better!

The drugstores were running some decent deals on Wet n' Wild and I had some extra bucks so I picked up two new lippies. These were all items I have had on my wishlist for months now so I thought it was about time to pick them up.

I have been lemming for Wet n' Wild's Silent Treatment trio for a long time now because they seemed like the PERFECT cool toned neutral colors. I love me a good taupe shade and this one has my name written all over it. It's a beautifully soft midtone taupe with a hint of purple. The other two shades were surprisingly dry and not extremely impressive. I was a bit let down but I'll make the shadows work over an eyeshadow base.

I also purchased I'm Getting Sunburned because the deep brown was calling my name, I swear.... This palette is amazing! All three colors are buttery smooth and these swatches were down with a single swipe. The shadows are soft and somewhat creamy to the touch. I wish all of the Silent Treatment shades had the same texture and color intensity as these shadows.

I purchased my third Revlon Colorburst lipstick, this time in the shade Peach. The colors are a bit off in my pictures and the lippie looks less dark and red. It's more of a subdued coral shade in real life. I have yet to try this out on my lips but so far, the consistency seems similar to the other lipsticks I have from this line, smooth and moisturizing yet providing noticeable color.

I also picked up my first lipstick from Covergirl from their somewhat new Lip Perfection line. The shade Heavenly is a cream mauve pink, a great my lips but better shade. I have yet to try this on my lips but the swatch applies evenly and easily on my skin. I have high hopes for this lippie based on other reviews I have read. I have a few more colors I want to pick up from this line if I end up liking the formula.

I have decided to cut down on my drugstore purchases (ironic since I hauled some stuff from the drugstore...) and invest in higher end makeup. The idea behind this is that I will be purchasing fewer products but ones that will be better quality and thus, more enjoyable to use. I know that a high price tag and brand name do not guarantee a great product but I do my research before buying almost everything. I dropped by Mac because their newest campaign, Mac Me Over, was released on Thursday. I picked up only three things as I really cannot afford to do a ginormous haul (not that I need to anyway).

I knew I had to get the limited eyeshadow called Carbonized from the Mac Me Over collection. This veluxe pearl finish eyeshadow is a super gorgeous dark black brown. Judging from swatches online before the actual collection release, this shade reminded me a lot of the crease shade from the Maybelline Natural Smokes Quad which I love dearly. If you can't afford Carbonized or can't find it anymore, I think the Maybelline shadow is your best drugstore dupe. The texture of Carbonized is amazing, butter smooth and super pigmented. The lighting in the picture makes the swatch look lighter than it actually is. Check out my video for a more accurate depiction of Carbonized! I am so glad I purchased it despite the $15 price tag. I hate that Mac raised their prices without warning by the way.... This is my third eyeshadow by Mac and I hope to slowly expand my collection as my wallet sees fit.

I also purchased the limited edition 226 blending eye brush which is like the 224 brush but with a tapered tip. I thought this would be a good brush for applying shadows to my non existent crease and blending out shadows on my small eyes. I'm still testing this brush out so no solid thoughts yet.

Lastly, I purchased a lipstick from the Sheen Supreme line which was introduced and made permanent a few months ago. Of course, I chose the neutral shade called Bare Again. I really wanted to get a bright shade but after changing my mind about ten times, I decided on Bare Again since I need something quick and fool proof as I won't have much time to do my makeup once school starts again.

I love the packaging of this lipstick with it's sleek, shiny exterior and sturdy weight. The lipstick is very creamy but I find that I like blending out the color with a lip brush after applying it straight from the tube. Actually, I pretty much blend my lipcolors out with a brush everytime now....

Here is how Bare Again looks on my lips by itself. I wore the lipstick by itself and while it wasn't as moisturizing as, say a lipbalm, it wasn't drying either. This lipstick looks fine by itself but I can see myself adding a clear or shimmering gloss over top just to prolong the wear a bit and give it my lips and more radiant finish. Overall, I do like this lipstick formula and plan on purchasing other shades. One downside is that because of the extremely creamy texture, I feel like it will be very easy to use up this lipstick so I have to be careful not to over apply.

To see more about these products with additional swatches, check out the video below!~

That wraps up my semi-small haul from the past week! It was nice to be able to purchase a few new goodies to try out after more than two months of not purchasing makeup. I'm pleased with everything I purchased so far and I can't wait to really test them out. What have you purchased recently? Have you tried out any of the aforementioned products before? Let me know what you think in the comments!

On a totally non beauty related note, I hope everyone on the East Coast is well after the earthquake on Tuesday and the imminent approach of Hurricane Irene. Stay safe everyone!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lush's Honey I Washed The Kids Soap

I knew would eventually purchase Lush's infamous, best selling soap, Honey I Washed The Kids. Formulated with honey water, rapeseed oil, coconut oil,and other ingredients necessary to make soap, Honey I Washed The Kids is meant to be soothing.

The color of the soap is a beautiful mixture of caramel and honey tones, layered under a sliver of honeycomb. The presentation of the soap makes it even more appealing and mouthwatering. The scent is sweet yet subtle. I can detect notes of honey but to be honest, it's not amazing to me. Honey I Washed The Kids has a pleasant scent but it is by no means my favorite Lush scent (that honor would have to go to Sugar Babe) and the scent does not linger on your skin.

Nonetheless, one of the things I love about Lush products is that their scents are very authentic and not over powering. They are complex and rich, not obnoxious and overpowering like most run of the mill bath products. I find that I tend to appreciate the scent of Lush products with use and even if I find the scent somewhat icky at first whiff, I tend to accept it and like it after a few uses.

This is the first soap I have tried from Lush and I asked the kind sales person if she could cut me a smaller chunk to take home. The piece she came back with was $7.18 which is quite reasonable. Using a butter knife, I easily managed to cut the soap into about 30 small pieces which each last one to two showers each. I normally cut all of my Lush products into single use pieces so that I can prevent any unnecessary melting and wastage.

Aside from the pleasant smell and aesthetic, Honey I Washed The Kids is a decent soap. It easily creates a somewhat creamy lather and makes my skin feel clean. Although over priced compared to drugstore shower gels, I find this a decent priced novelty item. I believe that Lush is an environmentally conscious company and that purchasing their somewhat over priced products has it's benefits and reasons.

If you can afford to try this soap, I would recommend it. You probably will enjoy it considering how many others swear by this soap. I don't think I would repurchase this particular soap (no need to buy more bath products for at least another month anyway) because I'm not crazy about the scent. Also, there are so many more soaps for me to try! I have a feeling I will be indulging in several splurge bath and body products this upcoming season as I want to try out some products from Lush, L'occitane, and Sabon just to name a few.

Also, if soap bars are not your thing, there is a shower gel called It's Raining Men that is supposed to have the same scent as Honey I Washed The Kids. It was a limited edition item that has been brought back and made permanent due to its wild success!

Monday, August 22, 2011

(Finally!) A Sephora & Lush Haul!

First off, I just want to say I hope you guys like the changes to the blog layout. I've been meaning to change the width of the page to allow for bigger pictures as I know it can be annoying to have to click each picture to view it in full size. Let me know if you guys like this layout and the bigger pictures! :) Now on with the actual post!

I know I love seeing haul posts and according to my page views and counters, you guys do too! After more than two, slow grueling months of self restraint (okay, I'm exaggerating just a tad), I finally made some beauty related purchases! You can read my blabberings or watch me blab and show you the products more in depth in the video. It never hurts to read and watch! :)

About a month ago Sephora released their Sephora Favorites "In The Glow" Set online and I was quickly drawn to it. But I had no extra money to spend and I wanted to see how long I could hold up. Eventually it became sold out online and I thought of it as a good deal gone forever. A few days ago I was walking past Sephora (one of the perks of living in New York City is that there's a Sephora in almost every neighborhood) and I saw two of these boxes on a ledge near the windows. I rushed in and quickly made my purchase. For $35 you receive seven mini skincare and makeup products which according to Sephora should be a $110 value. I rarely trust what companies tell me and I decided to calculate the real value based on the retail price and size proportions. Here's the breakdown:

- Exfolikate - Retail: $19 for .05 oz // Set: .05 oz = $19
- Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation - Retail: $50 for 1 oz // Set: .5 oz = $25
- Boscia Luminizing Black Mask - Retail: $34 for 2.8 oz // Set: 1 oz = $12.14
- Ole Henriksen Truth Serum - Retail: $48 for 1 oz // .5 oz = $24
- Clarins Delicious Self Tanner - Retail: $42 for 4.4 oz // .7 oz = $6.68
- Josie Maran Argan Oil - Retail: $14 for .5 oz // .17 oz = $4.76
- Tarte Smooth Operator Illuminating Serum - Retail: $32 for 1.7 oz // .3 oz = $5.65

TOTAL = $97.23

Nonetheless, the value is still good since you're paying $5 per product. I have already tried out a few of these samples and so far, so good.

I also stopped by Lush to pick up a few items that have been on my wishlist for awhile. I picked up Whoosh shower jelly, Buffy body butter, Godiva solid shampoo, and Honey I Washed The Kids soap. Expect reviews on these products in the upcoming weeks! I'm super excited to try all of these new bath, body, and hair care products out especially since school is about to start and I know I'm going to be exhausted when I get home. I feel like having unique and somewhat indulgent bath and body products soothes my mind and it gets me excited about hopping into the shower.

Let me know if you are interested in any of the products featured in this post so that I'll be sure to test it out and report back in a timely manner! Have you hauled anything recently? I'm planning to purchase a few more things in the upcoming week and will most likely have another haul post up soon~

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gilded Bronze EOTD

I wear gold eyeshadows year round because they're neutral, but not really, if that makes any sense at all. They look amazing with browns and I'd like to think they compliment my dark brown eyes as well. But really, I think everyone, no matter their eye or skin color, should have (at least) one stand-out gold shadow in their collection.

I usually like to pair my golds with warm colors which usually ends up being some sort of brown (go figure, heh). I like to keep the liner in the color family by opting for a dark brown gel liner to create a defined wing. In the winter months I wear mostly black eyeliner and in the summer, mostly brown.

These are the three shadows (Urban Decay's Half Baked, Twice Baked, and Mac's Tempting, all of which are permanent shades by the way!) I  used to create my look. I did my basic eyeshadow application technique. If you watch my video tutorials you'll see that I basically use the same technique over and over again. My tip for those of you who have no crease or very small eyelid folds is to apply the "crease" color on the outer third of your lid and concentrate the color closer to the lash line. After proper blending your eyes should look more defined, deeper, and substantially larger. 

This is what I would consider a very easy, everyday eye which I would pair with a clean face with a bit of bronzed contour and a glowy blush. I used Milani's Luminous if you're wondering. On my lips, I was wearing Wet n' Wild's Just Peachy lipstick and Revlon's Colorburst Peony lipgloss which you can see pictures of in THIS post.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

In My Stash: Lip Balms

Two lip product related posts in a row? You betcha! :) Only this one is all about my lip balms which is more skincare rather than makeup. But you need well hydrated, smooth lips to get the most out of your lipsticks and glosses now don't you?

I used to believe lipbalms were the culprits behind my cold sores so I never used them But that just left me with extremely chapped, painful lips and the cold sores didn't stop. I figured it wouldn't hurt to try one out and lo' and behold, I can never be without lip balms anymore. (It turns out that sunburn was the culprit of my coldsores and I needed something with SPF). 

After trial and error with various brands and products, my favorite lip balm of all time is Softlips. The rest shown above are what I have in use at the moment and they are just okay. To find out more about each balm, watch the video below! :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Current Favorite Lip Combos!

Normally I am one to skip lip products altogether when I'm doing my makeup in the morning. It's always the last step of my makeup routine and more often than not, I simply forget to put on a lipstick and gloss. But lo' and behold, I found some lip combinations that match with everything and are pretty much foolproof!

These are the swatches of the lipglosses and lipsticks in the same order as above. While there are subtle differences between the shades, I use the lipstick and lipgloss combinations in no particular order and I still end up with a similar shade on my lips. The Revlon lipstick is a lot creamier and moist compared to the Wet n' Wild lipstick which is matte and more pigmented. I think peachy lip and cheek colors suit my skintone much better than pinks do (but that still doesn't stop me from purchasing pink shades....) and I think most people will agree with that. I think these are all relatively inexpensive (the Sephora lipgloss is only $3 for a larger tube!) and easily available products that everyone can get their hands on.

In the above photo I am wearing Wet n' Wild lippie in Just Peachy topped off with Revlon's Peony lipgloss. I applied the lipstick straight from the tube and spread the color evenly with a lipbrush and applied the lipgloss with the same brush. I have found that using a small, detailer brush (I use the eyeliner brush from the Physician's Formula gel eyeliner trios) really makes a difference when applying lipcolor. Apologies for not having pictures of each lipstick and lipgloss combination but I assure you that all four combinations look pretty much the same :)

I'm really getting more into lip products and have a bunch of my wishlist! I can't decide what to get first! What are your favorite lip products at the moment? I'd love if you recommended me some products that you guys have tested and loved :D