Saturday, January 18, 2014

MAC Vintage Vamp

I am going to warn all of you right now...in previous years I have hated Valentine's Day and spent a whole month before it complaining about it.  This year, I am actually looking forward to Valentine's Day since I have a boy friend for the first time in ages and I think that some of my posts might be a bit different than from previous years.  I will try not to be sappy and goofy, I will be happy this holiday but not silly about the holiday as I have seen from some people in the whole month before.  I will now be coming up with an outfit and beauty ideas for going out that night and this is more likely to be my focus for this blog.  I am thinking that I might wear a favorite black and white dotted dress on mine and then I might want to do bright pink accessories and makeup in this same hue...

I hadn't starting thinking about Valentine's Day beauty until I got the email from MAC about the new Vintage Vamp collection.  This is a Valentine's Day themed lip collection and MAC does one of these collections every single year at this time.  In previous years, MAC has highlighted their best pink and red lip and nail hues and is the start of the Valentine's Day beauty shopping season.  I have always picked at least one or two new shades from this collection in past years however I think that my collection of these hues is getting so large that I may not need any items from this line up.

This collection is online only and will only be offered at the MAC website.  "M•A•C Vintage Vamp - From seductive reds to playful pink, our online-exclusive selection for that pinup-perfect matte lip on Valentine's Day."

Here is the Valentine's Day collection!

Lipstick - Colour plus texture for the lips. Stands out on the runway. Simmers on the street! What made M·A·C famous.
- Candy Yum Yum - neon pink
- Ruby Woo - very matte vivid blue red

Pro Longwear Lip Pencil - A new generation of longwearing lip pencil technology. Glides on fluidly and adheres instantly. Defines the lips with an instant release of rich, saturated colour. Pro-longs the hours between re-application.  Transfer proof.
- Kiss Me Quick - yellow red

The only shade that I need from this collection is the Candy Yum Yum Lipstick, this shade is sold out at my counter all the time and is periodically sold out on both the MAC and Nordstrom websites.  I have both NARS Schiap and Funny Face however this face is in between the two shades and I still want Candy Yum Yum really bad.  I will just keep watching for this hue and order it as I can.  I would like to have this shade before Valentine's Day but I wouldn't mind wearing Schiap (as this is still a favorite pink shade of mine) with my black and white dress.

photo courtesy of MAC

Friday, January 17, 2014

Fitness Friday - Java Pro Protein Shake

I have been focusing on many different yoga poses and workout moves on my last few Fitness Fridays and today we are going to look at one of my new favorite things of the month.  I have tried certain different kinds of protein shakes and none of them have been all that great.  I have found that the vanilla flavors tend to be way too sweet and the all the chocolate flavors just taste fake.  My boyfriend decided to give me a different brand of protein shake, he wanted to find me something that he thought that I would enjoy based on my love of Starbucks.  I am happy to report that I have finally found a protein shake that I can actually drink and enjoy every single morning!

The Java Pro protein shake tastes like Starbucks iced coffee and I was excited to see that I can order this shake in a bunch of different coffee flavors.  "Each serving of Java Pro consists of 'roughly' one and a half scoops of powder, which amounts to 110 calories, 2g of carbs, 1.5g of fat, and 20g of protein.  Plus the oh-so-lovely 80mg of caffeine sourced from real coffee.  Java Pro includes whey protein concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate.  Aside from the protein powder and vitamin-mineral-amino acid blend, the only other ingredients in Java Pro are coffee, sucralose, and soy lecithin.", states the company's website when describing this protein powder.

This company recommends using 1 and a half scoops of this powder for every 12 ounces of water.  The website recommends using this shake in a shaker bottle or a blender, I find the shaker bottle method to be the easiest way to use this product.  I mix it up before I go to sleep each night and then put it in the refrigerator for drinking in the morning.  I typically drink two or three cups of coffee every single morning and I found that I will substitute this shake for one of those cups.  I am not affected by caffeine in afternoon or evening but I can imagine that not everyone could use this product depending on how they are affected by caffeinated beverages.  

Java Pro is a great choice for anyone that loves the taste of iced coffee and wants to add whey protein into their diet.  I can see how this wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea but this is the best protein shake that I have ever used.  There are a few flavors available in this product: Expresso, Hazelnut, Mocha, French Vanilla, and Caramel.  The best flavors are the French Vanilla and original Expresso.  I find that the Caramel and Hazelnut are slightly too sweet for me to drink every morning, I always order two different flavors of this product and then the I alternate them each day.

I think that I have finally found my perfect protein shake and I will be ordering bags of this product for as long as I can!

photo courtesy of Google

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Brand Spotlight 2014 - Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick

I wanted to return to my Brand Spotlight slightly earlier than I had planned on, I was going to look at more spring collections today however this blog series is rapidly becoming one of my favorite topics.  Today we are going to look at one of my new favorite products and one that I already know will be on my list of top favorite products of the entire year.  I loved the Smokey Eye Mascara that I reviewed the other day and I have already decided that this brand has some of the best eye makeup products that I have ever used.  

I started my shopping of Bobbi Brown eye makeup products last summer when I tried out a few of their cream eye shadow formulas and now I am in love with their stick cream eye shadow formula.  I have been playing around the Long-Wear Cream Shadow Sticks for the past few weeks and I needed to force myself to put these down so that I could start working with the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Eye Shadow Palette.  I am going to review these shadow sticks today so that I can get back to working on my thoughts of that palette.  

"A long-lasting, do-it-all eye shadow that's a stroke of genius - just swipe and go.  This budge-proof formula stays put for 8 hours.  Glides on lids tug-free and can be used to shade, define, smoke up, and highlight eyes.  Comes in subtle to eye-popping shades that last for up to 8 hours without creasing, flaking, or fading (and its completely water-resistant).", states the Bobbi Brown website.

The colors available on this product are...

- Vanilla - white cream
- Truffle - creamy beige
- Sunlight Gold - beige gold
- Malted Pink - deep nude pink
- Taupe - medium caramel
- Stone - medium gray brown
- Nude Beach - grayish taupe with a hint of shimmer
- Pink Sparkle - light pink sparkle
- Dusty Mauve - shimmering lavender
- Soft Peach - pastel peach
- Sand Dune - medium beige tan
- Golden Pink - shimmering peach pink
- Goldstone - shimmering brown gold
- Golden Bronze - deep bronze sugar
- Shadow - smokey blue gray
- Heather Steel - deep gray purple
- Bark - rich brown
- Violet Plum - deep shimmer eggplant

I purchased a few of the neutral shades in this product and now would like to order even more shades.  I didn't see all the shades at the counter in Sephora so I will need to visit the counter to find more of these shades.  I purchased the following shades: Vanilla, Truffle, Sunlight Gold, Sand Dune, and Golden Pink.  These shades have either a satin or a shimmer finish and I use each finish a different way.  My favorite finish is the shimmer finish but every shade that I have used is very high quality and pigmented.

The satin finish shades I use right over a primer, I draw them right onto my lid and then buff the edges out with a MAC 224 brush.  I will one shade all over my lid or I will combine two shades to create more definition on my lid.  The shimmer finishes can be used in exactly the same way but I do set down a matte bone colored shadow and a subtle transition shade before applying the shadow sticks.

Bobbi Brown has always preferred a more natural, polished beauty look and enjoys creating products that are effortless to use and last all throughout the day.  These Long-Wear Cream Shadow Sticks certainly fit the bill and I love that they take very little time to apply in the morning and then last on my lids all throughout the day.  The neutrals are very easy to work with and Golden Peach is my favorite shade of the group.

I want to grab a few more of these shadow sticks, I am hoping that some of the deeper shades will work to quickly add drama to an eye look or to create the gradient needed for a smoky eye.  I want to order the following shades to round out my collection of this product: Nude Beach, Goldstone, Golden Bronze, Bark, and Violet Plum.  I would like to see these in a deep charcoal hue or a pale gray hue, most of these shades trend to warmer or neutral hues.  I would love to see more cool shades offered in this product.

We will be picking back up on my Brand Spotlight series next week, I will be picking back up with a face product and then rounding out this month's spotlight with a new fragrance!

photo courtesy of Nordstrom

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Essie Resort 2014 Nail Polish Collection

We just looked at the Deborah Lippmann spring nail polish collection the other day and now we are looking at what I believe is the first of two Essie polish collections.  I first saw this collection in an ad contained in Allure and I have finally found it up on their website.  The reason that I believe that this the first of two collections is that the company's founder describes this as more of a "late winter" collection than a true "spring" collection.  I am sure that the second collection will contain the traditional pastel shades that we saw in the last spring polish collection and I am happy that this company has decided to release two collections so that they can cater to all tastes...not everyone loves pastels.

The company's founder (Essie Weingarten" describes this collection with a quote.  "A beach escape is just the thing to recharge, renew, and break free of winter's icy reach.", states the Essie website.  There are four shades contained in this little collection, one deep shade and three lighter shades.  I am not looking for any new shades of dark polishes so I am more interested in the paler neutrals contained in the collection and then I will save my shopping of pastels for the next release from this company.

The four shades contained in the Essie Resort collection are...

- Resort Fling - bright peach cream
- Find Me An Oasis - very pale blue cream
- Cocktails and Coconuts - neutral tan cream with gold shimmer
- Under The Twilight - very dark purple cream

Under The Twilight is such a dark shade of purple that I actually thought that it was a black cream until I saw the shade description.  I might have been interested in this shade last fall but I am certainly not in the market for this dark of a shade right now, I will be skipping over this shade.  Resort Fling is a bright peach and this is not a color that I tend to prefer, I will also be skipping over this shade.  I initially thought that Find Me An Oasis was a pale silver cream but it is actually a very pale blue.  It appears almost white in pictures that I found on Google and I don't like this shade either.  The only shade that I really like is Cocktails and Coconuts, this neutral cream contained a gold shimmer and has the potential to be another one of favorite neutral shades.  I will definitely be picking up a bottle of this shade but will skip over all the others.

The Essie formula is not one of my favorites and I tend to only buy bottles of these polishes when I really like the shades.  I have found that this formula tends to be very hit or miss, I have had shades that are great and then I have had shades that take three or more coats to fully build up.  The neutrals and the jewel-toned shades are usually the best and the pastels typically are the hardest to work with.  I will be checking out a bunch of other spring polish collections before I decide if there are any other shades from those collections that I will want more than those in this formula...

photo courtesy of Google

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sephora Collection Express Cleansing Face Wipes

The latest addition to my gym bag is a new kind of facial cleansing wipes, I had been using the Korres wipes and then these new ones were recommended to me during my last Sephora visit.  I have been visiting the gym more than three times a weeks since the end of last semester and I have been burning through my makeup remover wipes (and post workout shakes!).  I was considering just stocking up on my favorite Korres wipes but I decided that this might be a good opportunity to try and review a new product.  The associate at Sephora recommended the Sephora brand wipes as a great option and I have used them after my past few workouts.

Obviously I will be pulling all of my information from the Sephora website as this is only place that I can purchase these wipes.  "A collection of biodegradable, pre-moistened wipes for cleansing, exfoliating, and purifying the face, eyes, and lips.  Perfect for travel, these handy wipes cleanse and tone the skin.  They remove all types of makeup, even long-wearing formulas, without leaving behind an oily residue.", states the company's website.  There are several kinds of wipes from Sephora Collection and I chose the ones that are just for cleansing.  Other formulas help to exfoliate and purify however I didn't want to use anything like that on my dry skin.

The Cleansing Wipes are designed to "Cleanse and tone with a formula that includes HydroSenn+, a natural ingredient proven to deliver immediate and long lasting hydration more effectively than hyaluronic acid".  I was only looking for wipes that would remove my makeup without drying out my skin, the other formulas would have been better for use on oily skin.

The Sephora associate recommended that I give these a try, I decided to pick up a pack of these plus a pack of the Korres ones (in case I didn't like these).  I have used these a few times and can give my review of them now.  I can't say that I would be able to tell the difference in texture between these two formulas and they both feel quite nice when used on the skin.  I don't experience any tugging or dryness during application and neither formula dries out my skin.

I will start by saying that I like the Sephora Collection wipes but I do prefer the Korres version.  The Korres wipes are infused with milk proteins and help to hydrate my skin while removing my face makeup.  I do like that the Korres version is soothing to my skin and I haven't experienced this from the Sephora version.  There are quite a few aspects of these wipes that are very similar, both formulas remove my face and eye makeup and do not dry out my skin.  The Korres formula is better for me in that it helps to soothe the redness and I will continue to purchase the Korres once I have used up the Sephora version.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Monday, January 13, 2014

Deborah Lippmann Spring 2014 Collection - Spring Reveries

Spring nail polish shades are always my favorite releases of the year, I usually buy all my pastels and brights this time of the year and wear them until after Labor Day.  I am alternating between pale pinks and dark grays right now but I will be adding more pinks and purples to my line up within the next few weeks.  I am ready to start looking for new shades and I was very excited to see that Deborah Lippmann has released her new spring polishes to her website.  Spring Reveries is the name of her newest collection, this is a range of pastel hues that reminds me of Easter Eggs.

I can already see that I am not going to be finding any new pink or purple shades from Spring Reveries but I am going to start looking to see what holes are in my pastel nail polish collection.  I have loved this nail polish formula for years and I love that it is now widely available at Sephora.  I haven't seen it very often in my local store but I will just order many of the shades online instead.

This line typically releases three or four new shades each season but they have decided to actually release six brand new shades for this spring and I hope that this trend will continue for the next few seasons.  Some of the shades have already been seen on the spring runways and I will make a note of which shades have already been shown in which shows.

The Spring Reveries collection...

- La Vie En Rose - pastel pink shimmer (shown on the Spring 2014 Badgley Mischka runway)
- Blue Orchid - baby blue cream (shown on the Spring 2014 Badgley Mischka runway)
- Spring Buds - pistachio cream
- Tip Top Through The Tulips - pale peach cream
- Build Me Up Buttercup - pale yellow cream
- Flowers In Her Hair - pale mint green cream

I really like quite a few of these shades and I want to pick up every shade but the peach and yellow ones.  If I had to pick just one shade to order, La Vie En Rose would be my top choice as I could alternate it with the rest of my favorite pale pink polishes.  Blue Orchid and Flowers In Her Hair are my next choices and then I would also consider grabbing Spring Buds to round out my shopping.

I am willing to bet that we will be seeing a bunch of pastel-themed nail polish collections this spring and I will need to decide which polish shades are my favorite.  Deborah Lippmann polishes have one of the best formulas in the industry and I would choose these other many other brands with similar shades.

photo courtesy of Bigelow Chemists

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Brand Spotlight 2014 - Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara

We are going back to the Brand Spotlight today and I have been enjoying testing out all kinds of new products for this series.  Today we are looking at the Smokey Eye Mascara from Bobbi Brown, everyone knows that I love to try new mascaras.  I am sure that I will trying new versions from all different brands in the coming months and will be adding quite a few new formulas to my list of favorites.  I have always seen Bobbi Brown mascara formulas recommended in Allure magazine and I have been wanting to try one for quite a few months now.  I decided to visit the Bobbi Brown counter for my mascara purchase in order to make sure that I could see and choose from every single formula.  I have found that my Sephora doesn't have all of the products in the Bobbi Brown brand and I have to visit the counter for the best selection.

Bobbi Brown is well known for having a mascara to suit every single need and makeup look.  The company's website has a "Mascara Finder" and I took this quiz before visiting the counter.  I have always preferred volumizing mascara formulas and the quiz decided that I should try the best-selling Smokey Eye Mascara.  This is actually one of the formulas that I was the most interested in from the beginning so I was more than happy to head to the counter and pick up a tube of this.  The makeup artist working at the counter assured me that I had made a great choice and this Smokey Eye is a favorite formula of hers.

"The perfect complement to a smokey eye look, this kohl-pigmented mascara delivers high drama by creating extremely black, stretched-out lashes in an instant.  Plus, the long-wearing formula holds its own against flaking, smudging, sweat, and humidity.  Builds volume lash by lash as opposed to traditional volumizing formulas that create the appearance of volume by clumping lashes together.  Plus, a thicker brush base evenly combs through eyelashes from roots to ends, while a tapered tip grabs those small, hard-to-reach lashes.", states the Bobbi Brown website.

This mascara is only available in a black shade and this is one of the most pigmented black shades that I have used.  I prefer volumizing formulas over lengthening formulas and my mascara formulas tend to be wetter and then cause clumpy lashes.  I am used to this type of formula so I was a bit disappointed when I first worked with this formula and it didn't instantly volumize my lashes.  I had to get used to building this formula up a bit more than I would with the Too Faced Better Than Sex formula but the extra effort turned out to be worth it.  Many traditional volumizing mascara formulas tend to work in one coat but then the second coat will then start clumping up (until the formula begins to dry out with usage).  The first coat of this formula will provide natural-looking volume and definition and then the second coat is needed to build up the volume.  The second coat doesn't clump up like many other formulas do but it takes slightly longer to apply and perfect.

I feel that Smokey Lash Mascara is one of the "updated" volumizing mascara formulas.  Brands have been alternating traditional volumizing formulas with ones that can be used to create natural-looking volume but can be built up to create much more volume.  One coat of this product works very well for work but then a second coat can be applied to build up the look for going out at night.  I have also found that this is one of the few volumizing formulas that can be used successfully over a primer.

This is my first Bobbi Brown mascara and I am very impressed with this formula, I will be purchasing more tubes of this product and then trying even more formulas from this brand.  I think my next Bobbi Brown product to review will be another eye makeup product before I start moving onto other categories.

photo courtesy of Bobbi Brown