Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 2012 Wrap Up

The full effect of fall is upon New York City as you can tell by the gorgeous yellow and orange hued trees. After years of thinking I enjoyed all four seasons equally, I think I've finally realized my heart belonged to fall all along.

October was a busy month but I started out the first week by catching up with some high school friends over a thai lunch. Tofu pad thai is my go-to thai favorite!

I went through some testy weeks of poor health and serious mental dips which led to some unnecessary pamper spending which you might have seen on the blog a few weeks ago. I just had to share this little performance going on at L'occitane though. I think the harp playing is routine at the store and the decor is phenomenal. Shopping can't solve most problems but it certainly dulls the pain, if just for a few fleeting moments.

Many days I'm schlepping my laptop and camera around so I prefer not to carry around a home made lunch like I used to. So I gave my school cafeteria another go and their turkey panini wasn't half bad! I gave away the fries though which made me feel a little less guilty.

This semester I am contributing to College Fashionista and this month they had an industry panel event at NYU. Eva Chen was one of the panelists and being that I am a huge fan, I knew I had to go! The panelists spoke about their backgrounds and how their various paths to their current successes. They also answered any questions that we had and the experience was great for anyone interested in the business of fashion, beauty and lifestyle. 

Being the fangirl that I am, I had to get a word in with Eva and we chatted a bit about some of my questions and concerns. She was nice enough to let me take a photo with her! She is the most down to earth woman I have ever met and her skin is ah-mazing! Also, she has the ability to make a messy bun look incredibly put together and chic which I am in constant awe of. 

I love dressing for fall because I can layer without looking overly frumpy since the weather is still mild. Of course, I'm still loving my earth tones and neutrals. My teal phone case really throws off the whole color combination, doesn't it?

The third season of The Walking Dead premiered mid October and I had been waiting months for the new season! This show is the reason I no longer dread Sunday nights and actually look forward to my weekends ending. It's also very rare for me to watch a show every week during the time it actually shows but so far I've been keeping up!

My best gal pal from high school and I finally found a night to eat dinner together and find a place to chat. I hadn't seen her since the beginning of summer so we sure had a lot to talk about that night. I was so hungry and absorbed in our conversation that I completely forgot to Instagram a photo of my clam soondubu meal. It was super scrumptious and it's one of my favorite asian comfort foods to eat during the fall and winter. We headed off to grab some Red Mango for dessert and you can tell when I'm in a good mood when I'm feeling generous enough to pay $5 for a cup of yogurt....

One of the things that had been stressing me out for the past few weeks was my first driving test. Many of my driving lessons involved yelling and scolding. In my mind, my chances of passing were really up in the air. The days leading up the exam I was feeling a little better as I had practiced several hours in my neighborhood. Thankfully, I passed!

After my driving test I had to head to the city for class and within minutes of emerging from the subway, Julie spotted me and we met for the first time! If you don't read Julie's blog already, you better head over there right now! She's not only hilarious and good natured but she knows her beauty bits. We had been meaning to meet up in real life for awhile but never got around to it and I had never seen her face as she remains anonymous on her blog. Luckily she recognized me on the street and we talked over nice warm bowls of ramen.

Many of you should be aware by now of Hurricane Sandy which unfortunately battered New York, New Jersey and surrounding areas. To be honest, I didn't think much of Sandy as we rarely have very serious natural disasters that hit the city.

I am lucky to say that my immediate neighborhood was not seriously affected aside from some downed trees, damaged cars and homes. I had some brief internet issues but my power stayed on throughout the storm.

Seeing images and videos of other areas that were harder hit were very shocking and almost surreal. It felt like I was watching a movie and it was surprising to see how ill prepared our city was in terms of preventing flooding.

Half of Manhattan is without electricity and classes for most schools have been cancelled for the whole week. I guess that's the one small upside for me as I got an unexpected break from school but it will be nice to return normalcy.

Having a lot of extra time at home with my parents meant having more time to cook! We made homemade pesto with pasta. We didn't have walnuts so we substituted almonds instead....

We also made homemade tomato sauce according to THIS recipe I found. We used to always use canned sauce but I think it's probably healthier and more fun to make our own. The sauce smells amazing but is more tart than canned sauce and more watery. I like my sauces a bit more thick so perhaps next time I should strain out the tomato juices.
After being trapped at home for three days I took a walk to my cousin's house and we were excited to see that Dominos was delivering! It's interesting how much one eats when they have nothing to do at home. This pizza totally offset any of the healthiness that I was trying to go for with the homemade tomato sauce....

Today is also Halloween and surprisingly many children in the neighborhood still dressed up to go trick or treating. I never really dressed up for the holiday but my cousin picked up this banana split costume from Old Navy awhile ago for $1. Today was the perfect day to debut it on her golden doodle, Bella! So happy Halloween to all of you who celebrate it!

There were several highlights of the month that I do not have photos of. I attended a childhood friend's wedding which was an eye opening experience as it sort of marks the beginning of the whole adult experience. My boyfriend's cousin also had a baby girl a few days ago and she's just the most precious thing in the world. Honestly, I'm probably more adept at handling a puppy than a baby but they're still cute too look at! As October comes to a close, good days seem to be ahead and before you know it, the holidays will be here!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Zoya Jules: The New Neutral

After my disappointing experience with Zoya's Ki, I was a bit apprehensive about trying another shimmery shade that looked all kinds of multidimensional goodness in the bottle. Thankfully Jules is every bit as gorgeous on my nails as it is in the bottle.

It's hard to describe Jules because it looks gold, silver, green with a tinge of taupe. I have never seen a polish quite like this one. The shimmers are incredibly fine and the formula is thin. I need about three thin coats of this polish to achieve an opaque manicure. The application was a breeze and there was minimal tip wear in the first few hours but no chipping or smudging.

The shimmer and shine of Jules is subtle and refined. This is a great polish for a conservative office without being the usual pale nude. Instead of a bold red or sparkly polish, this is a great alternative for holiday and new years nails.

Do you love this shade as much as I do? Have you seen any similar polishes to Jules?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Get Ready With Me!

Tutorials are not my forte but they're still fun to film once in a blue moon. I wanted to demonstrate how I use a few of the products from my recent favorites post and this is a look you would find me sporting on any given day. I typically wear very simple, quite natural makeup and this is no exception.

My foundation is more full coverage than I normally wear as I was testing out a sample of the Too Faced Amazing Face Foundation. This was my first time applying it and using the Real Techniques Buffing Brush gave me medium to high coverage. The shade is a bit light for my skintone at the moment but will definitely suit me further along in the season. Also, I decided not to photoshop out my blemishes in the above photos despite having recurring skin issues. It's kind of refreshing to show my real skin once in awhile!

I kept the eyes simple and used the Maybelline Plum Smokes quad which I have been reaching for nonstop in the past two weeks. I wanted to keep my cheeks looking natural so I opted for the NYX cream blush in Rose Petal. My lips are just a clear lip balm gloss by Ole Henriksen.

Check out the quick video below to watch me get ready from start to finish!

What's your everyday makeup routine consist of? Do you like watching getting ready videos?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lush Charity Pot: A Chocolate Lover's Lotion

I had dabbled in a variety of Lush products from massage bars to body scrubs but somehow had never tried something as basic as a body lotion until recently. I gravitated toward their well known Charity Pot hand and body lotion because 100% of the sales go towards a charity. Win for my skin and a good cause!

Lush tries to keep many of their products packaging-free to cut down on waste but when they do need a container to hold a lotion, they definitely know how to provide a good amount of information. Different tubs of Charity Pot have different stickers on the tops denoting which charities Lush supports. For a mere 7.9 ounces the lotion costs $22.95 which is quite expensive. If you were to use this as an all over body lotion every day, this will run out in less than a month. I usually use this about three or four times a week in rotation with other lotions. I can swallow the price this once as it is supposedly going to a socially beneficial cause.

This vegan body lotion contains a mixture of moisturizing ingredients which are all clearly stated on the back sticker. Really, whoever designs the packaging label for Lush needs a high five because they provide a lot of useful information that I don't want to be bothered to look for on my own. As you can see there are various oils such as almond, ylang ylang, geranium and tagetes to help nourish the skin along with organic cocoa butter. As with many of Lush's products, there are some sneaky parabens toward the end of the ingredients list which may turn some people off. Honestly, I don't mind the parabens too much because without them, my Lush goodies would probably expire long before I finished them because I take an abnormally long time to use up products.

As someone with severely dry skin that will develop scabs and scales if not properly hydrated, Charity Pot is surprisingly moisturizing. I say (or should I say type) surprisingly only because the formula is very thin and light rather than being heavy and greasy like some other effective moisturizers. The lotion sinks into my skin very well and leaves no residue but my skin is noticeably softer and smoother hours later.

The one downside is a personal one and it concerns the scent. Charity Pot is advertised as a chocolatey lotion and it's exactly that. I feel like I'm smothering melted cocoa on myself due to the scent (don't worry, the texture feels nothing like sticky sweets) which is a bit odd. I'm not one for confectionery scents in my bath and body products usually but if you love chocolate, cupcakes and dessert scented lotions, this may be love! As for me, I already have my eyes on Lush's other lotion offerings with possibly more pleasing scents.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Recent Favorites // October 2012

I haven't been trying a ton of new beauty products but really trying to find things I love and that I can throw on my face really quickly. These are some of the awesome products that have been helping me look a bit less tired and more alive, even when I'm not feeling it.

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

This is my first dry shampoo and I have no idea how I’ve lived without one for so long. I wash my hair every two or three days and this product works great when my roots are feeling a tad too greasy for my liking. The scent is pleasant and the white cast dissipates quickly into my dark hair. My hair is noticeably smoother and just fresh feeling after using this. I probably will try some other dry shampoos before declaring this an HG product but I have a feeling this might be one of the best there is.

Origins Super Spot Remover 

I've been breaking out a lot recently for a combination of reasons and this acne treatment is really helping with the turnover time between spots. It's not overly drying but gets the job done and is probably going to be a skincare staple.

Origins Vitazing

This is great for lazy days when I want to wear makeup but don't want to slap on a separate moisturizer, sunscreen and tinted moisturizer. I just put on a bit of this, pop on some concealer and powder and I'm done with my base. I was surprised at how much I like this since it's pretty hyped up and I usually end up disappointed by cult favorites.

Origins BB Cream

This is a nice tinted moisturizer that looks very natural and gives a little bit more coverage than Vitazing. I do not think this is a true BB cream but that's not really an issue when it comes to the actual product. The marketing is just a tad gimmicky. The shade selection is a bit troublesome though because I wear the lightest shade when I am tan so I will not be able to wear this in a couple of weeks.

Beauty Blender

I mainly like to use this with the Origins BB cream as it blends it out very well. This gives a more sheer application of base makeup and I think it helps prolong the face makeup just a tiny bit. I am disappointed in how difficult it is to wash and how slow it dries. I also ripped a bit of the sponge while washing it because I dug my finger nails into it by accident. I expected the sponge to be a bit more durable considering the price but alas, it's just a sponge.

Nivea Kiss of Milk and Honey Lipbalm

I actually got this for free as Nivea was doing a Facebook giveaway and I somehow ended up with two coupons. I chose this lipbalm and the Mint and Minerals formula but have only had a chance to test this one out so far. Although this smells like neither milk nor honey, it's wonderfully protective and keeps my lips from drying out. My lips instantly feel better when I put this on and prevents any flaking.

Jouer Lipglosses in Birchbox Pink and Nude 

If you read my reviews on these, you’ll already know I love them. These are some of the best lipglosses I have ever had the pleasure of applying on my lips. Birchbox Pink is a sheer bright pink that is detectable but not overwhelming. Nude is more opaque but lets a hint of natural lip color peek through so I don’t have corpse lips. These non-sticky glosses do not dry out my lips or make them peel which is a huge win.

L'oreal Caresse Lipstick in Sunset Angora

I was on the fence about this lippie for the first few times I tried it but lately I’ve been loving it. The color is a pretty pop of pinkish coral and it leaves a shiny finish that lets me skip a gloss. When my lips are feeling hydrated and in good condition, this lipstick looks the best and does not make them dry or flaky. However, if my lips happen to be chapped or worse for wear, this lipstick clings to the flakes and doesn’t look all that good. 

NYX Cream Blush in Rose Petal

I absolutely love everything about this blush; the color, texture, ease of use and price are all great. Even the plastic packaging is decent enough and lets me see the color of the product easily. This is a great cream blush for starters, especially if you're on a tight budget.

Maybelline Stylish Smokes Quad in Plum Smokes

When I bought this I wasn't sure if I would be able to use all four shades regularly but couldn't resist picking it up anyway as I've always had success with Maybelline shadows. Luckily, the purples are extremely wearable and look great in the outer corners of the eyes. The colors are not extremely pigmented but add a little something to the look. The peachy pink base color makes a great all over lid shade for brightening tired eyes and the dark brown is great for setting eyeliner.

Check out the video below to see some swatches and to hear more about the products!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Zoya Ki: Great Color, Not So Great Formula

Zoya Ki is rather stunning in the bottle with its dark purple base and greenish teal reflection when the light hits it. I love the complexity of duochromes and subtle shimmers in a nail polish so I was all over Ki. Above is what Ki looks like most of the time in low to medium strength light. The deep plum purple is gorgeous and looks great for the cooler months.  

In direct sunlight and stronger lighting conditions, the polish looks mostly green and it's extremely hard to capture the shift on camera. In outdoor lighting the polish is a sparkling grass green that is nothing short of stunning. 

Despite the interesting duochrome qualities, Ki fails to impress me for numerous reasons. Firstly, this polish is sheer and I had to do three to four coats in each nail to achieve decent coverage. The drying time took a lot longer than my other Zoya polishes and I smudged several nails in the process. I wouldn't say I'm a pro at doing nails but I paint my nails pretty frequently and rarely have to clean up or touch up. This was not the case with Ki. Even after it seemed to dry and I applied a top coat, Ki somehow managed to smudge and migrate from the nail tips. I mentioned before that the cream Zoya polishes I have tried gave me some nail tip issues within the first day but stopped after day one. Ki managed to separate from my nail tips for several days and did not seem ready to ever "set" on my nails. After about three days I couldn't take it anymore and just removed the polish.

Even though this is a shimmer finish, it actually looks quite dull and flat in artificial lighting. This polish definitely shines and sparkles in the sunlight but indoors it looks quite boring and almost, dare I say, ugly. The green is not very noticeable indoors and the color just looks a bit muddy. Unlike the Zoya creams I have tried, this polish lacked glossiness. 

Perhaps I over applied layers and should have used a dark base color and Ki as a top coat of sorts. After good experiences with the Zoya creams, I was hoping this gorgeous shimmer duochrome would fare as well. But so far, no luck. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Origins Super Spot Remover: Zap Zits Overnight

The combination of stress from class, less sleep than usual, poor eating habits and hormonal issues resulted in an outburst of angry pimples on my forehead and cheeks for the past few weeks. I needed something a bit stronger than my La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo to target the individual zits. The Origins Super Spot Remover has gotten a lot of buzz,both positive and negative, and I thought it wouldn't hurt to at least try it since Origins was having a deal I couldn't pass up (more about that HERE).

Origins claims that this product will "instantly help speed healing while anti-spot technology helps visibly correct post pimple darkening. Skin-calming Caffeine and Red Algae help visibly relieve irritating redness. And to help keep skin looking spotless, super exfoliators eliminate excess oils and pore-clogging debris". Those are mighty lofty claims for such a pint sized product. For $14.50 you get only 10ml but you only need to use the tiniest amount directly on top of the breakout. At first I started off using a cotton swab to apply the treatment but the cotton soaked up too much product and now I just use clean fingers. The compact size can be a big bonus if you happen to travel a lot and like to downsize your skincare.

Salicylic acid (1.5%) is the primary pimple fighting ingredient in the Super Spot Remover. The other ingredients are primarily water and denatured alcohol. Usually I stay far away from denatured alcohol in my skincare but I did not realize it was in this product and honestly, I don't really mind it's presence too much in this spot treatment since I only use it over top of spots. I don't really worry about drying my spots out too much since that's sort of the point. There are various other beneficial sounding ingredients such as witch hazel (still loving my witch hazel toner!), various plant oils and fruit extracts. There is a noticeable herbal medicinal scent that I find somewhat calming and pleasant.

So does it work? Yes, it definitely reduces the size and inflammation of my larger breakouts and speeds up the recovery process. I use this over cystic acne bumps that are about to form, forming and recovering. Sometimes this product stings a bit but it's nothing excruciating. It's just a bit of tingling and nothing as scary as when La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo burned my skin (felt like it but didn't actually burn anything) when I first started using that. Due to the small size and somewhat drying effect, I use the Origins Spot Remover on large spots and breakouts and my La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo on larger areas of enlarged, congested pores and less severe skin ailments.

I am very pleased with the Origins Spot Remover and would probably repurchase it as it's very handy for the spot that surfaces right when there's places to be and people to meet the next day. Have you tried the Super Spot Remover and if so, what do you think of it? What's your favorite acne treatment?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Few Firsts from Lush

Every time I walk into a Lush I am greeted by wonderful aromas of intoxicatingly yummy lotions, shower gels and so many more interesting concoctions. I ran out of the last of my Lush soaps a few months ago and haven't indulged in their other bits for far too long. I had tried to stay away from Lush for most of the year to avoid shelling out more than my budget can handle but I couldn't wait any longer to try a few new (at least to me) products I've had on my mind for some time now.

Ro's Argan Body Conditioner is a post body wash treatment that is slathered all over the skin and then rinsed off to inject the skin with moisture. As someone with chronically dry skin, I was craving a product that would make moisturizing more fun and less of a chore. I'm also obsessed with rose scents at the moment which was another reason this was a must try.

Charity Pot is a special purchase because 100% of the proceeds go directly to a grassroots charity. I was in the market for a new body lotion to try out due to my incredibly dry skin and the added incentive of somewhat contributing to a good cause was enough to justify adding this to my shopping basket.

The Almond and Coconut Smoothie was a total splurge simply because I do not need a special body wash. This is purely for relaxation and pampering purposes and I use this in place of body soap. So far, I like it.

Lastly, I asked the lovely lady at Lush to recommend me a hair treatment for the drier weather and she provided me with a very generous sample of R&B, a "hair finisher". It's essentially an after shower hair product that nourishes the hair and prevents fly-aways.

Individual reviews on all of these products will be popping up on the blog within the next few weeks so stay tuned for more details! I'm also planning a whole post just on pampering products and you can bet that a few of these Lush goodies will be featured in that edit. Have you tried any of these products? What are some of your favorite Lush products or things you're interested in getting?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

In My Stash: Taupe Cream Shadows

There's just something about taupe eyeshadows that draw me in, regardless of how many I have already in my collection. Cream eyeshadows also never fail to lose their allure as they are effortless to sweep across the lid on lazy days while looking all kinds of gorgeous. Combine two cult favorites and you've got yourself a sure winner so I figured someone might appreciate a post on the taupe cream shadows in my stash.

I only have four to share which is, in my opinion, a modest number. Most of these are well known products, notably Maybelline's Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze and Loreal's Infallible in Bronzed Taupe. The oldest out of the bunch is NYX's Jumbo Pencil in Iced Mocha which I depotted. Last but not least is Bobbi Brown's Long Wear Cream Shadow in Galaxy.

Taupe is one of those shades with a wide range of definitions. In my mind, taupes are mixtures of brown and gray tones and usually have purple tinges if cool tooned and gold tinges if warm toned. As you can see from the swatches above, all of the colors I own are different in their own regard in terms of both color and finish.

L'oreal Bronzed Taupe is not only beautiful in terms of the color but the texture and pigmentation are phenomenal. If you are familiar with these or the Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill, you will know the rich, pressed pigment-like quality to these. The formula is somewhere in between a powder and a cream. The shadow translates into a shimmer medium taupe on the skin and this is the most true to taupe out of the four cream shadows.

NYX's Iced Mocha is the most affordable out of the bunch but still packs a good amount of pigmentation and looks great as a base under powder shadows. Iced Mocha has been in my collection the longest and a little goes a long way. If you are on a tight budget and want a base for a smokey eye, look no further than Iced Mocha.

Bobbi Brown Galaxy is the most gray toned shadow and barely looks taupe at all in photographs. It is incredibly difficult to capture the gorgeous nuances of color and shimmer of this cream eyeshadow. This is the most complex cream shadow I own and it really is long lasting. The formula sets and dries quickly so it is difficult to layer powder shadows over top. I prefer using this alone, all over the lid, with some eyeliner to complete the look. This is a great product for a quick makeup routine.

Maybelline Bad to the Bronze has garnered something of a cult following in the past year due to it's affordability, lasting power and gorgeous color. This is the most brown toned shadow and it barely looks taupe in the jar. On the skin it looks very similar to Iced Mocha and leans more taupe than it seems. This shadow is great alone or under powder shadow and can be sheered out to a very light skintone color or built up to an intense dark brown.

I love all four of the taupe cream eyeshadows in my stash and highly recommend all of them. Each of them have different qualities so I can justify owning all of them. Which are your favorite taupe colored cream shadows?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Zoya Kristen: Lovely Sky Blue Nails

The Zoya swatches continue and this time I have Kristen: a pale sky blue with just a hint of dustiness. I have nothing like this in my collection and it is a great shade for any time of year. The cream finish was pretty easy to work with and two coats was enough to cover every nook and cranny along my cuticles.

I have to mention that all the Zoya polishes I have tried have had some tip wear within the first day. For some reason the polish tends to migrate up and leave the tips of my nails bare which drives me quite mad. I guess it might be attributed to my incessant typing and clacking of fingernails against hard surfaces. Luckily the issue is easily mitigated with a few swipes of an emery board.

After the initial tip wear, Kristen lasted about five whole days without showing cracks or chips. The cream finishes I have tried so far (Kendal and Caitlin) all seem to go strong for at least five days which is great.

If you have nothing like Kristen in your collection, I can whole heartedly recommend it. It's a lovely soft blue that would look striking on any skintone and the formula is good (albeit the initial tip wear issue).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Goop Birchbox: October 2012

This month's Birchboxes shipped out especially early for some reason but I'm not complaining one bit; the sooner my box comes in, the faster I get to sample new goodies! Subscribers got the chance to choose between a Goop collaboration box or a regular themed box. Of course I chose the special collaboration box as I'm usually interested in any special partnership.

To be honest, I'm not sold on Goop's website. It seems a bit clunky to me and the shop offerings are a tad meager. That being said, the editors have simplistic yet refined tastes that appeals to me and I like the aesthetic of the brand. Can their personalized tissue paper get any cuter?

The DDF cleanser was the most exciting product this month because I am almost out of my nighttime cleanser and was looking to try something new. The generous sample size is about half of the full version making it worth about $19, nearly double the price of a Birchbox. I like to try any products that claim to brighten or fade discoloration and my skin is currently recovering from a pretty bad stress and bad eating induced breakout. The Orofluido hair oil is the second most exciting product for me since I just finished up my Josie Maran Argan Oil sample (which I really enjoyed). I can't wait to see if the Orofluido gives my hair a little boost despite the drying, cool weather. The Caudalie sample is nice just because I think their products are always luxe and fancy. But the size of the sample is sorely disappointing.... I think the 2ml sample will last me about half an application. I really do not think I can judge a serum based on such a small amount. The per-fékt Beauty Lip Perfection Gel is another incredibly small sample that will get me one or two uses. The color seems pretty but I wish it was a somewhat larger size. I would rather have one decent sized sample instead of two of the teeny tiny samples. The tea bags are a nice bonus as I've been starting to drink green tea in the mornings again.

Overall, the value of this month's box was on point. I checked out some of the other box variations and I was impressed with those too. There were some Chantecaille lipgloss and mascara samples as well as some Malin+Goetz items which I would have loved to received as well. What did you get in your latest Birchbox? Have you tried any of these items before?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Disappointing Products Not Worth The Hype

Despite researching and testing multitudes of beauty products before making a purchase, there are a few duds here and there in my collection. These products are not only disappointing because they don't work for me but because a vast number of other people seem to get on well with them. Perhaps some of you will disagree with me about a few of these products and I'd love to hear why. Please don't be upset or confused as to why I don't particularly fancy any of these products; they just didn't live up to the hype for me!

The Blinc Mascara came in one of my Birchboxes and I was super stoked to try out my first tubing mascara. Unlike regular mascaras, the Blinc formula coats each lash in water resistant tubes that supposedly adds volume and length. Instead of using eye makeup remover, the tubes only remove with warm water and the pressure from a cleansing tissue or fingers, if need be. The tubes coated my lashes alright but there was barely any difference before and after application. There was absolutely no curl factor which is my top priority in mascaras. It was a pain to have to use warm water to remove the tubes instead of just a few wipes of eye makeup remover. This gimmick just didn't work out for me but if you already have super long, thick lashes and want a natural look, you might like this.

When I bought Mac's Patina Eyeshadow, I was ready to fall in love and pronounce it my new favorite shadow. Unfortunately, things didn't turn out that way and it's almost a complete dud in my book. I expected it to be a "shadeshifter" color because it looks sort of beige but gray with hints of green, not to mention Patina is often said to be an underrated Mac shadow. But on me, Patina looks like, well, nothing. The pigmentation is lacking and the shade comes off as chalky on my eyelids. They look rather dusty and despite the frost finish, there is barely any sheen. I bought this shadow thinking it would be a great all over lid color but now it's relegated to being a less than mediocre blending shade when I'm going for a smokey eye.

The Physician's Formula Eyeliner Trio in Glam Green Eyes was a disappointment simply because I love the same product in the brown eyes shade. The trio I have for brown eyes is pigmented and creamy; the liners stay in place all day and look great. The Glam Green Eyes trio was on sale for 75% off I believe so I got it for a steal but nonetheless, only the black shade is useable. The other two shades are a shimmery gray-green and a shimmer lilac. The shimmers are quite chunky and make the gel liner patchy. The pigmentation is barely there so I would get absolutely no definition with these shades. The colors also fail as cream eyeshadows as they do not blend very well onto the eyelids due to their dry formula. For the price I guess just having a good black liner is a decent value but I wish the other shades had better pigmentation so they could function as eyeliner.

When Temptalia gave the Covergirl Lip Perfection Lipsticks scores of A across the board, I had to jump on board and try one. I picked up Heavenly because it looked like the perfect midtone pink with yellow undertones. Sad to say, I'm not as in love with the formula which I found to be drying and somewhat uneven. My lips craved moisture and I can only get away with wearing this with gloss over top. The smell is another disappointment as it smells like... outdated cosmetics, for lack of a better description. The scent is rather off putting and I would rather have no scent in my lip products than an unpleasant one.

Ever since I was interested in the beauty world, I was enthralled by the Benefit Boxed Blushes due to their pretty, shimmery blushes and adorable packaging. Most people seem to get on with the boxed blushes and when some of their most sought after shades, Coralista, Bella Bamba and Hoola, were released in the limited edition Powda Wowza Box, I jumped on the bandwagon. The colors in the box look flattering and they swatch easily on the fingers but once applied, I find it hard to notice a difference. The texture of the blushes are extremely powdery to the point where a few swipes across the cheeks lead to over blending. Coralista and Bella Bamba have a generous dosage of shimmer and very little actual color. While I am tempted to try some other shades like Hervana, my poor experience does not bode well for my stash of Benefit blushes.

In the past year I've gone nail polish crazy just like every other beauty loving person out there. I tried out the Julep subscription box since there was a promotion where you can get your first box for one cent. In my box I received two polishes in Demi and Leighton and I was very excited to try both as I do not have similar polish shades in my collection. Those of you who read my reviews on these polishes will know that I had terrible luck with the Julep formula. Leighton was extremely streaky and too thick to easily apply while Demi chipped within two days. These are expensive polishes at $14 each for only .27 ounces of product (standard polishes are .5 ounces). Save your hard earned pennies and look elsewhere for a reliable nail polish formula.

Check out the video below to hear my thoughts and to see some (pathetic) swatches of a few of the aforementioned products!

I was surprised at how few products I could find in my current stash that deserved to be on this disappointing line up which means I actually enjoy most of my beauty products. Periodically I give away products that I don't get on with which you see in my empties posts just to clear out my collection of anything not worth having. Research is essential in building a solid makeup collection and although you may find a few duds, you learn and move on. What works for others, might not work for you and sometimes it's down to trial and error. What are some disappointing products you've come across? Do you love any of the products I didn't like?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Little L'Occitane Pick Me Up

The last couple of weeks have been stressful and after a long day of classes and interning, I want nothing more than a relaxing shower to cleanse away the day's worries to end the evening. When my makeup lemmings have somewhat died down, I am on a body care kick. Soaps, scrubs, lotions and any kind of pampering products are attracting my attention. L'Occitane must have read my mind because they sent me a 20% off coupon and I was in need of some new play things.

This was actually my first time purchasing L'Occitane products at an actual store. I have used several tubes of their famous hand cream (three to be exact and working on my fourth!) but two of the tubes were free from offers. This time I wanted to branch out and I knew I wanted a bar soap and a candle.

I had never given bar soap a chance until I stumbled upon some free samples from Sabon. After using up the sliver of soap, I was hooked onto the simple luxury and couldn't get enough. There is something infinitely more appealing, intimate and calming about bar soap than shower gel. I finally used up the last of my Lush bar soaps last month and was relying on some Dove body wash until the L'Occitane Extra Gentle Milk Soap entered my life.

I chose this soap as it seemed like a calming formula due to the shea butter and various oils included. The scent is light yet soothing; I absolutely love the smell. The lather is perfect, not too sudsy but enough to remove grime and oil. A little goes a long way and this huge bar will last me months.

The soap is imprinted with the simple L'Occitane crest which is a nice touch. This product is extremely basic and no frills but I adore it and I wonder why anyone would want to use a shower gel after trying good old fashioned bar soap.

When everyone and their mothers were running to Bath and Body Works and Yankee Candle to haul boatloads of home fragrances, I scoffed, thinking that candles were overrated and unnecessary. Well, looks like the hype got to me and I was lemming for a nice little candle to sit atop my vanity for decorative purposes. I thought it would be nice to have a candle to burn when I am having a pamper evening.

I chose the Amber scent as it smells warm and cozy, perfect for the coming winter. The scent is quite mature but not overwhelming. For the retail price of $19, this candle is... tiny. The 100 gram container will supposedly last about 20 hours but I have yet to know if that is true. The size and packaging make this candle perfect for traveling though. If you go on a lot of trips and want to bring a lightweight, compact candle that has a lid, this is perfect. This was definitely a splurge purchase but I love it all the same.

Inside the tin there is an instructional insert which is fantastic for candle newbies like me. I think the tin will look lovely as a storage box for jewelry and small trinkets when the candle burns out. Will I purchase another L'Occitane candle? Probably not, but I'm happy with the one I have and am definitely interested in trying other brands.

I had a lovely experience at L'Occitane and cannot wait for another excuse to visit again. The sales people were incredibly nice and helpful. The lady who helped me check out threw in some skincare samples which I'm always happy to test out. The interior decor of the shop is beautiful and very well thought out. I went to the Flatiron flagship store and at the front of the boutique there is a harp where a lady was performing. If you're looking for a truly luxurious pamper session, head to L'Occitane and take a few whiffs. I know I'm saving my pennies so I can explore more of the brand and their products in the future.