Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Heart My JR Jewels - a sophisticated dazzling dark red
Here are some of the pieces I'm loving right now! Seriously, how cute are these???
Teardrop Stone Earrings, $12
Three's a Charm Necklace, $16
I LOVE the layered look! Two of these chains are attached, and the third is included to complement the look.
Stretch and Stack Bracelets, $12
Braided Tie Top, $24
Longer tops like this one are great to pair with a skinnier pair of jeans. Look how well it coordinates with the bag, too!
I saved my favorite two pieces for last!
Have a Heart Necklace, $22
100% of the net proceeds of this necklace go to the m.powerment by mark. charity, an initiative for which Lauren Conrad has partnered to help stop dating violence and abuse towards women.
Glitz and Glimmer Ring, $14*
This one is my absolute favorite from the collection. I am totally going to rock this one everywhere! I love larger cocktail rings, and this one is too adorable with the stone detailing!
*This ring will be available soon on the mark. website!
Hop over to http://www.meetmark.com/ and check out the rest of the accessories line (and of course, the make-up)!
Are you all pleasantly surprised at the fun accessories?!? I am! I think I'm going to wear the Have a Heart necklace tomorrow. On second thought, how about Three's a Charm? Too many choices, I tell you!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
We all know that it is important to prime the skin for a smooth foundation application (and to help foundation stay on longer!), to fill in fine lines, and to minimize the visibility of large pores. With so many different products on the market, now, though, how do you know which one to use? Fear not, I have you covered! In this post, I'm going to mention some drugstore options for the beauty lover on a budget, and then provide you my take on a few of the high-end primers that I have grown to love.
Two of my favorite drugstore make-up lines, Revlon and Rimmel, offer affordable versions of face primers. Revlon's Beyond Natural Smoothing Primer, is a lightweight gel formula, with a bit of fragrance, and Rimmel's Fix and Perfect Foundation Primer, is a slightly tinted (apricot) primer (don't worry about the color, it blends into the skin). Both are great to use to fix foundation in place and even out the skin's surface. I would recommend checking these out, as they are available in most drugstores, and are often on sale (in fact, Walgreens is currently running a BOGO offer on Rimmel products!). Regardless, you should be able to snag both for under $10.
Revlon Beyond Natural Smoothing Primer
Rimmel Fix and Perfect Foundation Primer
If you are on the market for some higher-end alternatives, I have a few suggestions for you as well! I'm going to talk about some of my favorite primers (I grab for one of these every day). On the top of my list are two primers by Make Up For Ever, the HD Microperfecting Primer and the (relatively) new UV Prime Daily Protective Make-Up Primer with SPF 50, and one by CoverFx, the Skin Prep Fx Nourishing Foundation Primer & Anti-Aging Serum. Now I'll get into each one in a bit more detail.
The Make Up For Ever HD primer is available in a range of seven shades, each designed to help you achieve a particular look with your make-up. I have been using the blue one for the past several months (I am seriously working my way through the bottle!), which is designed to reduce minor imperfections and brighten fair skin. This primer smells really nice and applies very easily (I apply primers with clean fingers), to subtly illuminate my skin, hydrate it, and create the perfect canvas. While the product does have a light blue tint when you first pump it out, which can seem a bit scary, fear not! When it is blended into the skin, no color is detectable. This product can be found at Sephora, and it retails for $32.
Here are some of the other colors that are available and what they are designed to do:
Neutral - adds natural luminosity to the complexion; no color
Green - minimizes redness (rosacea, for example)Mauve - counteracts sallow (yellow) undertones
Caramel - combats ashiness in medium to dark skin tones/warms golden tones
Yellow - lightens dark complexions
Pink - brightens the complexion/counteracts sallow undertones
As you can see, there is an option for everyone! I have a little bit of redness in my skin, so next on my list is definitely the green!
Continuing with the discussion of Make Up For Ever primers, another of my favorites is the UV primer. This product also has a very enjoyable scent (while not directly relevant, it is always more uplifting to the senses to use products with nice fragrances!) and the consistency is one of a light lotion (much like the HD version). It is white in color and blends flawlessly into the skin. What I especially like about this product is that it includes an SPF factor of 50 (and it protects against both UVA and UVB rays), which makes it a great option for the intensely sunny summer months. Though I usually apply a light moisturizer or sunscreen before I prime, it is not absolutely necessary, as this primer pretty much covers all bases! This UV primer retails for $30 at Sephora.
Last, but certainly not least, I want to introduce you to the Skin Prep Fx Foundation Primer and Anti-Aging Serum by CoverFx. I actually stumbled upon this product completely accidentally when I won it from the Naimie's booth at the Make Up Show. I had been intrigued to try out something from the line after eyeing it at Sephora, so I was happy to receive it! Their concealers and foundations look fabulous (FYI, I have a concealer review in the works)! This primer has a different consistency than the others I have mentioned. As the name suggests, it is a serum, rather than a cream formula in nature. There is a slight yellow tinge to the product and the scent is fruity. This blends in easily, as with the others, and acts in much of the same way to prep the skin for flawless foundation application. The great thing about this product, too, is that it works to reduce inflammation, and, as suggested by the lovely people at CoverFx, this can also be added to the skin at night to nourish and hydrate. This primer retails for $45 at Sephora and Nordstrom. While you can't purchase online at their website, I would definitely recommend checking out the CoverFx site for more information on the product line.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
New discovery, folks! If your skin is dry, tired, and in need of a little pick-me-up, then listen up! I have recently started using the Sampar Cosmetics Ultra Hydrating Fluid on my face (especially after exfoliating), and I could not be happier! My skin, even in the summertime, sometimes craves a bit of moisture. I generally reach for this lotion at nighttime, as for day use I tend to go for a moisturizer with SPF or a sunscreen.
More than just a skin cream, this product also acts to strengthen the skin, reinforce the skin's natural defense system, restore its balance and prevent water loss. The innovative "Urban Active Complex" - a mix of shea butter extract (to protect the skin against the effects of pollution and help build its resistance), mint leaf extract (to soothe, relax and protect the skin and to reduce inflammation), and plant sugar and lactate extract (a filler that helps reinforce the skin's defense system by developing beneficial germs) contained within the moisturizer works together with other active ingredients to accomplish this, and it also serves as an antioxidant as well. Applied consistently, you will notice some long term gains; more youthful looking skin with the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.
While I can't comment yet on the extended benefits of using the lotion (I've only recently started using it), I can say that I definitely am impressed with the texture of my skin after I apply it. My face feels almost instantly rejuvinated and awake. With the stress I put on my skin with the daily use of make-up products and the drying effects of some exfoliators and masks, my skin gets thirsty quite often. I have tried other face lotions before, but I have found it difficult to find one that really seems to "lock in" the moisture while keeping my skin from feeling oily. This product, I have discovered, does the trick for me. The scent is also very pleasant, light and floral, perfect to calm my senses before going to sleep.
A little background on the Sampar line:
This skincare line was created by Patrick Sounigo, a specialist in medical cosmetology, to provide a combination of "high performance, state of the art technology" and "efficacious aromatherapy" for the modern woman - definitely for the luxury-lover.
You can find the Ultra Hydrating Fluid and other products from the Sampar skincare line at a variety of online retailers (as prices may vary, I would suggest doing a Google search!) I do believe you can find it for $49.70 (for a 50 mL bottle) at http://www.eskinstore.com/.
So now that I've introduced you to this new moisturizer with which I have fallen in love, tell me, what are your go-to/fave products for quenching dry skin?
OCC has done it again! Say hello to my little friends, six new shades of their famous Lip Tars and four new Loose Colour Concentrates!
Anime - neon pink
Conquest - opaque, polished ivory
Petty Beige - opaque and true, deep-toned ecru
Fondue - super dark chocolate
Hush - pale, antique bridal pink
Botanical - true forest green
Loose Colour Concentrates:
Glazed - Bronzed plum
Authentic - Intense, true copper shimmer
Spectral - frosty white with blue duochrome
Frigid - dead of winter sky blue
As usual, the Lip Tars retail for $12.50 each and the Loose Colour Concentrates retail for $10. Find them all on the OCC website!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
When it comes to make-up kits I tend to have a "just say yes" attitude. When I spied this Benefit set at Sephora, I knew I needed it in my life. I had been pleased with all of the Benefit Cosmetics products I had previously used. In fact, R.S.V.P. Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner, as I've mentioned before, is my go-to for a simple low maintenance eye, and I've wanted to try one of their lipsticks for quite some time. This Sephora-exclusive collection includes some of their best-selling products - great items to help you achieve a beautiful look.
Here's what you get in this cute little kit:
Creaseless Cream Shadows/Liners in Birthday Suit (brushed chrome) and Skinny Jeans (pretty pewter)
Full-Finish Lipstick in Lady's Choice (a nude shade)
3 Love Your Look mannequin magnets
A lesson on how to use the products
For $38, this is a pretty sweet deal. If you purchased the brush, the shadows, and the lipstick individually, that would run you $74. The two shades of the cream shadow that you get in this set are very versatile shades - Birthday Suit would be great as a quick all-over wash on its own (the color can apply sheerly), but if worn in tandem with Skinny Jeans to deepen the crease would take the look to a more dramatic level. You can even use these as bases for other eyeshadows. They really are wonderful colors to have in your make-up stash. The lipstick included in this set, Lady's Choice, is a fairly universally flattering nude shade (I find it is more of a brown-nude on my lips). It would be a great everyday lip color. The talent brush is a synthetic bristled brush that is great to use to apply the creaseless cream shadows (or any other emollient products). With this lovely set you really do get "a bang for your buck." The case that holds the products can even be used as a makeup bag!
Here's a look at the shadows and the lipstick:
You can find the Girl's Night In!! set at your nearest Sephora store or online at http://www.sephora.com./
Friday, July 24, 2009
***Affiliate of the Week***
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I am counting down the days until the collection pops up in the new NYC Sephora location. I'm totally there! Do you think it's too early to line up now?!? ;-)
Let me know if you'll be at the launch party! I would love to see you/meet you!
Here are the collection details:
Reign Eyeshadow Palette ($42 each): These compacts each feature six baked shadows in both matte and shimmery finishes.
Majesty - matte champagne/shimmery champagne, matte cabernet/shimmery cabernet, matte black/shimmery black
Monarch - matte soft gold/shimmery soft gold, matter copper/shimmery copper, matte deep brown/shimmery deep brown
Reign Jet Set Palette ($48): This palette contains four metallic shades of Smashbox's cult favorite budge-proof gel eye liner - matte black, matte deep brown, matte deep gold, metallic bronze. Also included is a bent liner brush for easy application.
Reign Lash DNA Mascara in Plum ($19): This mascara is formulated to lengthen, strengthen, and define lashes, while decking them out in gorgeous color.
Reign Doubletake Lip Color ($22 each): Each of these double-ended lip pencils features a long-wear lip liner and a smooth lip color.
Amaretto - nude pink lip liner/creamy peachy pink lip color
Currant - deep wine lip liner/deep berry red lip color
Reign Lip Gloss in Crowned ($19): This gloss offers ultra-moisturizing creamy color and shine, and in this soft peachy-pink shade it offers the perfect complement to a smoky eye.
Reign Fusion Blush in Regal ($32): This compact features a gorgeous dual-toned blush which offers both matte and shimmery peachy nude shades.
After all of that description, I can only imagine how anxious you all are to check out the product images!
Reign Lip Gloss in Crowned
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
This is how it works - tell your readers 10 things about you that they may or may not know, but are true. Tag 10 people with the award, and be sure to let them know they've been tagged (a quick comment on their blog will do). Don't forget to link back to the blogger who tagged you.
1. The summer before 3rd grade, while attempting a back dive off of the side of the pool at my local swimclub, I scraped my bottom front tooth on the cement of the pool when I tried to come up from the dive. I've tried to have it bonded, but it never stuck. I have sported the chipped tooth look ever since.
2. I am the oldest of three children. I have a brother who is 20 and a sister who is 23 (almost exactly 23 months younger than I am). I love that my siblings and I are so close together in age. We are a pretty tight bunch (even though they can occasionally irk me to no end!)
3. I have an incredible sweet tooth; I love anything with chocolate, especially dark chocolate. I can't resist a good dessert, and I won't even try!
4. I am addicted to Diet Snapple Peach Iced Tea. It is all I drink at home, and when I run out of it, I am inconsolable. Zero-calorie goodness, my friends.
5. I have recently changed my career plans. I was a pre-med student throughout college and was extremely close to taking the MCAT. After all of that, I decided that my heart was not with the medical profession. Without the passion and drive to become a doctor, the long road just seem daunting. Now, I'm looking to pursue a role in the world of beauty! Do you see the connection?!? I don't! ;-)
6. I have a healthy crush on actor Bradley Cooper. I think he is gorgeous, funny, talented....did I mention he's HOT??? Bradley, call me!
7. I fight to deal with my curly, frizzy locks daily. I haven't yet found the best way to tame them, and I always welcome haircare tips! I would currently kill for Karen Robinovitz's gorgeous, shiny curls!
8. When I was younger, I used to only eat raw veggies - green beans, broccoli, you name it! I wouldn't touch it if it was cooked at all. This lasted probably until my pre-teen years...not so sure why or how I grew out of it!
9. I love meeting new people and making new friends. I might come across as shy, quiet, and aloof when you first meet me, but when you get to know me, I am anything but! The friends I have mean everything to me and will be with me forever.
10. I love to sing! Contrary to popular belief, I can carry a tune (though I wouldn't say I'm ready for American Idol or anything!) I was in my high school's chorus for four years. I also love to dance and I'm the queen of the mood-elevating solo dance party!
You can also click below to be linked to my contest submission:
Monday, July 20, 2009
On a recent trip to the drug-store - I couldn't help but scope out the make-up selections! - I stumbled upon this new product from Cover Girl's Simply Ageless line. The Cover Girl & Olay Simply Ageless Sculpting Blush immediately caught my eye with its pinwheel-type swirl pattern of color and the Olay Regenerist Serum (reminded me of berries and cream ;-) ). Available in four very pretty shades, I ended up snagging the blush in 230 Lush Berry, a gorgeous rosy berry color. I have recently been getting into cream blushes, and I thought I would start out my tour with this one.
This cream product is designed to allow you to "define your cheekbones" with a wash of color, while getting the added benefits of the Olay serum which is packed full of vitamins, antioxidants, and other skin conditioners to give your skin a radiant and glowing look. When I swatched the product on my skin, I was immediately impressed by the smooth texture, and when I blended it into my face, I was left with a natural flush of color, which is buildable. The consistency is smooth and it feels soft and moisturizing on the skin, not at all heavy. You can apply this with your fingers, a wedge sponge, or stipple it on and blend it in with a brush (the product comes with a small sponge applicator, which I probably won't use). You also get quite a bit of product in the container; for
Here are the four colors that are currently being offered:
200 Plush Peach
200 Rich Cinnamon
220 Royal Plum
230 Lush Berry
For a closer look:
Has anyone test-driven this before? What do you think?
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Now that the humid, sticky weather is upon us, though, I feel like my skin preparation should follow more of a minimalist approach. Liquid foundations can feel a bit heavy when the days are hot, and so I have tried to work with other options. Tinted moisturizers are great (especially when they have sun protection), but they generally provide more of a sheer coverage, which doesn't work out so well for me.
A month or so ago, while browsing the Stila display at Sephora, I came face to face (hello, gorgeous!) with their tinted moisturizer options. They had a few different ones to offer, and the Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 Oil-Free quickly caught my eye. I had read on the Stila site that this formula offered more of a medium coverage foundation, and taking into account the sun protection properties it provided (twice as strong as the original formula), as well as the moisturization factor, I decided to give this one a try. For my super-ghostly-white skin, I ended up with the lightest shade (shocker!! lol), Fair, Light 01. This shade matched my skintone very nicely and blended in amazingly.
Sooo.....now for a little review of the product and some insight into why I think this product works for me. I have found that the formula of this tinted moisturizer, while it does feel a bit thicker than usual when you apply it (I use my fingers), absorbs nicely into my skin and does not leave my face feeling greasy. The result is a more even looking skintone; redness/blotchiness is minimized, while my freckles and beauty marks are still visible ;-). When I sweat, I don't feel like this is melting off of my face. I have been using the tinted moisturizer without a primer (I generally use one when I apply foundations) with an additional light sunscreen underneath - hey, you can never have too much sun protection! - (Right now my sun-protectant of choice is the Jan Marini Antioxidant Daily Face Protectant with SPF 30. See here for product review), and a light setting powder on top. The only thing I dislike about this tinted moisturizer is the packaging. It comes in a rather hard to squeeze plastic tube, which I can see having to cut open eventually to retrieve product (think Urban Decay Primer Potion).
Here are some photos from yesterday of me wearing this Stila tinted moisturizer (please ignore the extremely frizzy do!). I wasn't kidding about the minimalist make-up! This was a lazy day!
The finished look after adding Laura Geller Blush n Brighten in Roseberry and Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Whisper
For further swatches of this product (in my shade, of course), you can check out my previous Stila haul post here. The Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 retails for $36, and can be purchased from the Stila website and from Sephora (as well as other locations Stila is sold). I recommend giving this one a look, especially if you dig the lightness of a tinted moisturizer with a little more coverage.
Have you tried this tinted moisturizer before? Any of the others from Stila? Are you a fan of any other tinted moisturizers? I want to hear about your experiences!
Friday, July 17, 2009
Eyeshadow Duos ($32 each):
Indian Summer - Frosted champagne/Mustardseed
Silk Road - Icy pink/Rose gold with golden flecks
Brumes - Matte charcoal/Blue slate
Single Eyeshadow ($22):
Mekong - Espresso infused with gold
Nail Polish ($16):
Tokaido Express - Black Amethyst infused with gold flecks
Fast Ride - Sheer Mulberry
The bold and dramatic, yet wearable hues have me lusting big time. I adore NARS eyeshadows - the quality and pigmentation is amazing - and these new shades look like they will fit in nicely for Fall looks. And who can resist a berry lip? I will most certainly be checking out this collection! See it for yourself now at http://www.narscosmetics.com/.
Thoughts on the new NARS goodies? Does anything call out to you?
Thursday, July 16, 2009
A trip to NYC with a friend
Monday, July 13, 2009
Lately, I have been using a new product (new to me, at least!) by Jan Marini Skin Research, however, that has truly changed my feelings about sun-protectants and the way they can peform. The Antioxidant Daily Face Protectant, which contains SPF 30, is also waterproof and provides protection against both types of harmful sun rays, UVB and UVA. The SPF factor on sunscreen packaging tells you about the amount of protection the product is giving you against the "burning rays" (i.e. the ones that will give you a sunburn and can cause skin cancers) - the UVB rays - but the number tells little about the protection that is provided to combat the effects of the UVA rays, those that can really lead to the aging of the skin.
I love the way this product smells (very fruity and pleasant!) and when applied to the skin, it is instantly absorbed for a nice matte finish. It is also oil-free and I don't experience any greasy residue - it stays put! The packaging states that this product is "very water resistant" and that it "retains SPF after 80 minutes of perspiring or water activity." I am a believer thus far! I use this under my foundation, sometimes in conjunction with a primer, and apply it, as is the case with all sunscreens, about 30 minutes before I go out.
A little more information about the product as the Jan Marini site states:
The formula contains a "microscopic sponge encapsulation system, state-of-the-art sun protection, and a PhytoMelanin plant extract that mimics human melanin and provides further UV and antioxidant protection." The formula contains Nayad (trade-marked), a "potent antioxidant technology."
This Jan Marini "broad spectrum" sunscreen is available in the original formula (which has no color when rubbed into the skin) and also in three tinted shades, Sunkissed Bronze, Sunkissed Sand, and Sunkissed Neutral. I'm definitely interested in trying out the tinted varieties! If I can get the great benefits of the original while imparting a pretty golden glow to brighten my fair skin, count me in!
You can purchase the Antioxidant Face Protectant online at http://www.myjanmarini.com/, and a 2 oz. tube (also available in a 2 oz. pump form) retails for $48. I agree it is a bit pricey, but not very much product is required to cover the face and it truly performs beautifully. I recommend checking out the other products from the brand as well. There are a lot of great skin care items to be found here!
This HD powder is available on the Smashbox website for $38 only until the end of the day! Snag yours before it officially launches in stores!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Getting In Touch With My Inner Sexy: Burlesque Dancing With PurpleLab, Gorgeous Bloggers, And The Fabulous Veronica Varlow
Introductions made, everyone feeling a bit more comfortable, we all donned our feather boas and long gloves (both purple, of course!) and got ready to learn some moves, guaranteed to make the boys go wild.
Some things that I took away from my lesson in Burlesque:
1. Carry your purse in the crook of your arm, you'll instantly look sexier and more appealing.
2. Don't rush into a room to find your friends, rather stop at the doorway and take time to scan your surroundings. As people's eyes naturally look towards the door, you need to make an entrance. Walk in with a confident swagger, and you will be sure to be noticed.
3. Perfect the sexy walk; walk "slow and steady" and after each step, pop your hip!
4. Slowly pulling down your glove to expose your elbow will make the boys freak! Just a little bit of skin is all it takes!
I learned a lot about myself from being able to let go and allow myself to be sassy. It was truly a lesson in self-confidence! I would totally do it again ;-)
Here are some pictures of me with the rest of the Burlesque dancing crew!
L-R: Adina (the lovely Krasey Beauty), Sharon, Karen, me, Aly, Shoshi, Dee, Morgan
Everyone wearing the purple boas and gloves! How hot are we??
L-R: Me, Evie (Product Pasha), Adina, Aly, Veronica Varlow, Karen, Sharon, Shoshi, Elizbeth, Dee, Morgan
And for a shot of me and Veronica:
If you haven't yet checked out PurpleLab's Huge Lips Skinny Hips lip glosses, you must!! Once again, you can find some info on them at the PurpleLab website, including where to purchase.
Special shout outs to Veronica Varlow, Karen Robinovitz and her girls Dee, Sharon, Morgan, and Elizbeth (who is Miss Baker Extraordinaire!), and the fabulous bloggers Krasey Beauty, Aly Walansky, Product Pasha, and Shoshi! You ladies, rock!