Sunday, February 22, 2009

Help me find a new blush!

I am on the hunt. I just scraped bottom with both of my Dior blushes. There are so many wonderful choices that I am turning to my two loyal readers to ask for feedback. First, let me start with some information about me. One of my loyal readers and seen me in person so she is familiar with the skin. The other has not. I have pale skin. Typically, I use very light foundation. During the summer, I redden instead of tan so I tend to use products that have SPF. Still when I work in the garden during the summer, my skin runs a bit darker. I am looking for two blushes. In my color kit, I typically keep a brown or neutral tone blush and a dusty rose blush. I stay away from obvious pinks, the bright colors look fake. I don't use coral or oranges because they tend to be too harsh on my skin. I also avoid cheek stains also for the same reason. I like blushes that over a variety of ways to use them. Both of my current blushes have a range of similar colors that I blend or use as highlighters.

Now, for the question of the moment, how much will I spend? Since I have to buy two blushes, I would like to keep the price low. I like nice blush that will last awhile so I am willing to spend a bit. I've had both of my blushes for a year and used them quite a bit. But this doesn't mean that I am unwilling to go with a drugstore option like Revlon or other brands.

Some potentials (although I am still open to suggestions).

Nars - Blush and bronzing duo - Go from spring to summer with an outstanding color. Have heard raves for the past few years about the color "orgasm" and have thought about trying.

Dior - I could stick with what has been successful for me in the past. Two shades or a lovely palette in the Diorskin Shimmer Star (I have the amber diamond).

Cargo - I've never tried their products before but look at these luscious colors in the SuedeBlush!

theBalm - Again, a product line that I have never tried, has a "less is more" kind of blush that looks fun. Called "Hot Mama", it really has been thinking about summer!

JK Jemma Kidd - Not adverse to Target ever....I find more style and deals there than anywhere. Saw this pretty color and thought....maybe?

Anyway, I could go on and on! This is why it's so hard to make a decision. I had this problem LAST time I was shopping for blush. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Creaseless, Longlasting Eyeshadow

Obtaining crease-less, long-lasting eyeshadow is like searching for the Holy Grail. It just may be a myth created by beautiful airbrushed models in advertisements. On the other hand, with a few helpful make-up aids, it may be closer than you think. Tired of creased oily eyeshadow that had lost it's luster at the end of the day, I began the search for a base. In the past, I have just used my foundation but it is insubstantial. Two products came to my notice in this quest.

1. Trish McEvoy's Bare Eye Base Essentials - This tiny round tube retails at a whopping $24 but it is so far my favorite of the two eye bases. It spreads on with a thin finish that dries to a powdery softness but does not flake. I have it in the color Bare which is light and adds brightness to my eyes. It says it can be worn alone but there is nothing dramatic about the color. The applicator is spongy which allows for even spreading but it is more difficult to feather the sharp lines. As far as our "holy grail qualities", shadow does stay creaseless during the day. However, color wear is reduced somewhat - not nearly as bad as without entirely but still not full color.

2. Laura Mercier Eye Basics Base - A square tube does not a different product make. Very similar to Trish McEvoy's, this eye base retails for exactly the same price. I received it as a sample so did not get the right color. Wheat is too dark for my transluscent eyelids. The consistency of this eye base is a bit thicker, probably with the intent of adding staying power. It does add a bit to color stay but with the thicker product, the edges of my eyes feathered, threatening to flake off. The product has not actually flaked but it doesn't look smooth on the corners of eyes. It seems then that you have a choice to make, crease or feather. Either way, your color is not smooth. I found that some colors of shadow covered up the feathering though.

Both of these products were incredibly alike, enough to make you think that perhaps they were manufactured in same facilities. I don't believe this is true. Perhaps they are relying on brand loyality instead of flawless results to sell the product.

My next product to try in regards to the Holy Grail of eyeshadow is Urban Decay's Primer Potion. In the meantime, the quest resumes.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sephora's Hidden Eye Gems

Apparently, Sephora does not want you to buy their new eye palette. I don't know why not because it's absolutely spectacular. But in the effort of writing this blog, it took me nearly five minutes of web searching on their site to find the Moroccan Sunrise Palette. This spread of five eyeshadows is just as pretty as it's name. Also just as surprising, these beautiful colors are not individually named (at least not that I can find anywhere). From left to right, there is dusty orange, velvety sand, deep latte, matte milk chocolate, and lush golden rose. The gems are encased in a scrollwork gold compact with full-sized mirror and double brush. It is reminiscent of Turkish tiles or ironwork.
Soft and easily brushed on, the shadows give you maximum color impact and a nice thick coverage. I love the brush! All of the color that you swipe onto it comes off on your eyelid making it easy to switch between colors. Plus it is super soft on your tender eyes. I have received compliments on all the variations of color that I have used from this palette. For everyday, I tend to stick with the neutrals, mostly using the sand and latte colors. At $30, it is a bit of a pricey splurge. I bought it for my birthday and it makes me feel pampered every time I open it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Valentine's Wish List

My husband always asks me what I want for Valentine's Day. It always forces me to think of fashionable and loving items. Something to make me feel treasured. I never ask for much (my birthday is just two weeks prior to V-day and he spoils me on that day). But here's a few lovely gifts that I think ANY fashionista would enjoy.

The Kate Spade "Red Letter Day" bracelet is a memorable way to show your love. At Kate Spade's website, it retails for $98 and would make a trendy addition to any jewelry collection (mine particularly). But if your girl isn't a jewelry kind of lady, check out the other Valentine's gifts including the adorable "Griffen" tote with exclamations of love.

My favorite chocolates (it's hard to pick just one) are Vosges Haut Chocolate. I am lusting after the Gatsby truffle collection which blends roses, chocolate, and champagne for a lovely and delicious (sinfully so) truffle. My favorite thing about Vosges is the unusual blend of flavors. I was lucky enough to visit a Vosges boutique while I was in New York. The staff was friendly and helpful. I felt pampered after I left. But the important point is that everytime I open a purple box of their chocolates, I breathe in a sigh of indulgence. World Market Cost Plus carries a limited selection of the Exotic chocolate bars in case you are running out of shopping time!

Despite the fact that this next treat has a weird top and I can never figure out how to spray it, I love the look of the bottle AND the juice. The perfume girls must think I am an idiot. Emilio Pucci Vivara is one of my favorite perfumes. I have only possessed samples of it. I will wear it all spring. However, Pucci has released three new perfumes. Each celebrates the upcoming spring and elements of nature - sea, sand, and sun. My favorite of these is Vivara Variazioni-Sabbia 167. The perfume has a citrus smell on first spray - tangerine and lemon and on dry down a smooth sweetness which is listed as iris. I like the floral drydown because it is not heady or overwhelming unlike most florals. The citrus top notes cheer me up in the gray days of Winter. Plus the bottle, a sweet pink Pucci print cap with a pink glass container would look adorable on my dresser.

For beautiful flowers and a good deal, have your honey run down to Costco. They also have gorgeous bouquets online and even a lovely heart shaped topiary. But I prefer their rose bouquets. After all, roses are classic and rich.

Over the years, my husband has bought me little things on Valentine's Day. These are the everyday items that when you pull it out of the cupboard or wear it daily, you tend to remember those loving moments. One of those items was a pretty pink mug from Starbucks. This year, Starbucks has focused their sites on lush red mugs. My favorite set is the coffee for two, natural brown and cream mugs with hints of red. To pair with these crisp, glossy cups, try a spicy Tazo tea or the Bella Vista blend of coffee. The beautiful view will be the look of delight when your lover opens their goodie bag!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Lush - Eye candy extraordinaire!

I have heard mixed reviews about Lush. So when I popped into one of their stores this weekend, I was already slightly jaded. If you are a Lush fan, I can understand why. They have eye-popping, mouth-watering treats in each window. The huge cakes of soap look just like that....cake. Even their smaller treats look like cookies or french meringues so it's no wonder that they do a steady business. The temptations offered are delightful to the eye and smell over-powering. I asked my husband to go off somewhere else mostly because he hates shopping but also because he is asthmatic and the last thing I wanted was him to have an attack because I was shopping for soap.

I was not only skeptical because of the other customers that I'd heard who were less than enthused with the results. A few years ago, my friend and I set out on a soap making venture where we make homemade soaps for everyone for Christmas. It was fun, inexpensive, and our friends loved them. Lush just seems like it is a company profiting off of everyone else's laziness. Granted, I know that I do not have time or skill to make some of the things that they make. Also, there is a certain level of presentation that goes into their soaps. If I could make my own soap, why was I buying ANY soap from ANY company or that matter! Putting these feelings aside, I went for a few items that I thought I might enjoy or at least had heard good reviews about on other fashionista blogs.

1. Lush is not only famous for their soaps. They make and sell quite a few bath bombs. I don't have a bath tub in my master bathroom and find it difficult to relax in the kid's bathroom. Something about spiderman staring at me from the soap dish is not condusive to a spa moment. So when I heard that they were making shower bombs for people like myself, I was very happy. It's not difficult to make one of these things but who has the time? So I bought the Sex in the Shower emotibomb which is the one that I know fashionistas rave about. It's got a great name and let's face it, I am a sucker for ginger. I used it that night when I came home. Just drop it on the floor of your shower when it's hot and steamy. I made sure to drop it off to the side so that I wouldn't slip on it. It is a one time only thing because it melts right away. I made the mistake of using it while I was using a scented soap and the experience of having the wafts of ginger affect my mood was lost. Or perhaps this one emotibomb was not heavily scented itself. I would hesitantly try it one more time just to make sure. It's not a hideous waste of money for a one time try since it retails at 3.95.

2. I have looked for massage bars everywhere and was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon them in Lush. Both my husband and I hate greasy oils and look for natural ingredients in products. Plus, I would like the option of massaging my hands and feet with something that hits all the tender spots. I bought the Soft Couer massage bar. It is firm enough to not melt. I keep it in a tin of my own although they do sell tins at Lush for travel and to keep the bar clean. Not only is it sensual, it is practical as well, filled with soft moisturizing ingredients.

3. My last purchase was the most disappointing. I bought a solid shampoo which I think is a fantastic idea. Swish it around your hair two or three times and it foams up like crazy! It saves on plastic bottles which is a bonus for the environment and my landfill bills. The Godiva bar looks lovely in my shower (place it on a top shelf or out of the direct stream of water so it doesn't melt away) but it reeks. I mean REEKS. True to the sales lady's word, three swipes did it but it is hard to control and my shampoo only ended up at the top of my head so I had to swipe at the bottom. Consider that inexperience at work. I did get it to foam up quite nicely but the smell nearly knocked me out. It smelled like perfumed dog. Rinsing off, I noticed that my hair had a funny sheen to it....a plasticy feel. Thick with moisturizers, the Godiva bar made my hair limp with product. Even the next evening when I wet my hair for my shower, the bar residue made it oily and heavy. For the rest of the night, I could not sleep. Every time I rolled over, I gagged with the smell even though I felt I'd rinsed off sufficiently. There are plenty of other options in Lush's solid shampoo line but I was not excited enough with the results to bother.

One note about Lush; all natural products are fantastic but let me give you a strong advisory warning. All of these soaps are scented with natural oils. A few times I reached for something pretty only to have my eye caught by the label. Citrus, pine, lavendar, and other herbal oils/extracts can be quite abrasive if used in large quantities. Considering the overwhelming smell emanating from Lush, the oils are used in the extremes. For some people, it's no big deal. But I break out from pine oil. So if you have sensitive skin, be careful. I picked products carefully after nearly making a mistake.

I won't mind shopping online from Lush. They have a great website with honest reviews and a fast interface. But the storefront salesperson who helped me was trying to hard and caring too little. It was clear that she sensed my initial sketicism and knew that I was a hard sell. She was right.