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

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Urban Decay Primer Potion Eden

I have been trying a newer version of my favorite Urban Decay Primer Potion and I have to say that I think this version is the best one that I have tried so far.  I have used the traditional Primer Potion for years and I have always gone back to it after trying other formulas.  This company has released multiple special versions of the product but I have always found the original to be the best of the group.  I was on the fence about trying yet another version of the Primer Potion as I always end up preferring the original but I was in the mood to branch out and find a new product to review.  I have been playing around the Lorac eye primer since last month but I wanted to try another formula and see which one I prefer.

The Urban Decay Primer Potion Eden is one of the newer versions of the best-selling Primer Potion and was out of stock on the Sephora website when I originally wanted to order it.  It had been out of stock for so long that I had actually forgotten about it when I started using the my new Lorac eye products and then I decided to order the Urban Decay product once it came back in stock.  I have been using it the past few days and comparing it to the Lorac product, I didn't love the Lorac eye primer so I was looking forward to trying something different.  I was attracted to this version of the Primer Potion as Eden is supposed to resemble more of a concealer finish on the skin and leave a smooth canvas for eye shadow application.

The Sephora website provides the following description of this newer version of the Urban Decay Primer Potion, "A creamy, nude matte primer that gives you vibrant, crease-free eye shadow for 24 hours.  Get a primer with multiple benefits.  This 24-hour wear, crease-free shadow provides vibrant color and smoother application.  Eden, a nude matte shade, glides on effortlessly, reduces the look of redness, and delivers full coverage for a gorgeous, subtle look when worn alone.  Its innovative polymer technology fills in any imperfections on the skin's surface, prepping lids for all day shadow."

I think the first aspect that I love about this product is the newer packaging that it is in, I have always loved the Urban Decay eye primers but have found that the original packaging left a lot of  product left inside the tube.  The newer tube is more a squeeze tube but does not have the doe-foot applicator.  I miss the doe-foot applicator but I love the new tube and I will be able to get all the product out of it, more than making up for the lack of applicator.

The second aspect of this product that I really love is the finish that it leaves on my eyelids, the original formula dries clear but I think that I really prefer the soft matte finish that it leaves on my eye lid skin.  My eye shadows apply very smoothly on top of this product and it fills in any fine lines on my lids before shadow application.  I apply one drop to my finger and this has been enough to apply all over both eyelids, it applies tacky and then dries down to the soft matte finish.  It has a velvet feel while it is drying down and then it fully dries in about 60 seconds.  It does take this formula longer to dry down than the original formula or the Lorac formula that I have just been using.  I find that I like to apply this product once I finish up my foundation and then let it dry while I am applying the rest of my concealer, powder, and brow products.  My first few uses of this product slowed my morning makeup application down and then I found that I needed to change up my routine in order to save time.

I still set my primer with a matte bone shade, I have not yet applied a bright or deep shadow right over this product and I don't plan on trying.  I will continue to set my primer in this fashion no matter what primer I use.  So far, my shadows have been applying very nicely over it.  I have mostly been using the Urban Decay Naked palettes with it, I will be working with the Too Faced Chocolate Bar next week and then I will be finishing my review on that product but I happy to report that the shades that I have used so far have applied nicely and stayed bright all day.  I haven't paired this primer with every shadow and palette that I already own but it is working well with the Naked palettes and I have high hopes that it will work with everything I own.

I never thought I would say this but...Eden is my favorite of the Urban Decay Primer Potions and I will be repurchasing both this one and the original.  This one ranks with my favorite eye shadow primers and I am happy to see that one of the variations on the original product has actually worked for me!

photo courtesy of Urban Decay

Friday, January 10, 2014

Fitness Friday - Bolthouse Farms Blue Goodness Juice

It is the dead of winter and I have been feeling that lack of ready fruits and vegetables available at my grocery store, this is the hardest time of the year for me to keep up with my diet and exercise plan.  I have been missing all the fresh fruits that I eat all throughout the summer and I have been trying to find new juices and smoothies to tide me over for the next few months.  I have used a lot of Bolthouse Farms products in the past and I visited this area of my local grocery store when I wanted to start my search.  My favorite drink from this line is the Strawberry Banana and I wanted to find more colors in these juices as to mix up my diet.

The Bolthouse Farms website provides the following description of this juice, "Blueberries, blackberries and black currants are often described as super foods. Our Blue Goodness is made with the juice of these fruits and gives you an excellent source of 11 essential nutrients."  Each bottle of this juice contains 3 and 3/4 servings of fruit therefore less than one bottle of this juice per day would provide me with all needed servings of fruit.  

Contained in this juice are: Apple Juice, Banana Puree, Blueberry Juice, Lemon Juice, Black Currant Juice, Purple Carrot Concentrate, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B7, and Vitamin B12.  This juice will provide a whole host of vitamins and anti-oxidants and I hoping these juices will make me feel better during the winter months.  

I think my favorite part of this juice is how great that it tastes, blueberries are one of my favorite berries to eat when they are in season and now I can drink them all year long.  I will be drinking this juice all throughout the winter and I will be trying even more juices from this company.  I will be reporting back once I have tried more from this company and I will be reporting back once I find more juices worth posting about.

photo courtesy of Bolthouse Farm

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Eye Shadow Palette

Too Faced is always one of the first companies to release their seasonal collections, we looked at the spring collection right around Christmas and I started my spring shopping with this collection.  I loved the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Eye Shadow Palette from the moment that I first looked at the collection and it lead my Most Wanted list for this month.  It had been out of stock on both the Sephora and Ulta websites since it's release but it finally came back in stock and I was able to order it from Sephora earlier this week and it has finally reached my doorstep.

I liked the way that I did the reviews of the Lorac Pro Eye Shadow Palette late last month and I wanted to follow that format from now on.  Today's post will be an introduction to the palette and some initial impressions upon opening and swatching the palette, a more detailed review will be arriving in the next ten days.  We will re-look at the details of this palette and then go into my first impressions on the overall set up and a few of the shades that I have been swatching.  I have applied this to my eyes once and I have only created one eye look with it therefore I don't feel that I can provide anything more than a first impression at this time.

"A sweetly tempting array of 16 matte and shimmer shadows scented with real chocolate.  Too Faced Co-founder and Creative Director Jerrod Blandino learned of the healing properties of cocoa while getting a chocolate facial in Maui. With Chocolate Bar he created a first-of-its-kind palette that combines the healing benefits of chocolate with richly pigmented, velvety smooth shadows. Chocolate has been used for centuries for its soothing properties and to protect, condition, and heal skin that has been damaged by sun and wind. Studies have shown that the scent of cocoa powder can increase memory and brain power.", states the Sephora website.

I have included a picture of this palette that I found on Google, this photo displays the shades much nicer than the ones on the Sephora and Too Faced websites.  Chocolate Bar is definitely a neutral palette and one that has the potential to be a staple in anyone's collection.  I already feel that I will be getting good amount of use from this palette for the rest of the winter and then into the very early spring.  There is a full range of neutral hues in this palette and I do wonder how different they will all look when applied on the eyes.  

The shades included in this palette are...

Gilded Ganache - deep chocolate brown satin
- Milk Chocolate - medium brown matte
- Black Forrest Truffle - deep warm brown shimmer
- Triple Fudge - deep warm chocolate brown shimmer
- Salted Caramel - warm brown matte
- Marzipan - medium champagne shimmer
- Semi-Sweet - medium brown matte
- Strawberry Bon Bon - pale pink satin
- Candied Violet - bright violet purple satin
- Amaretto - medium warm brown shimmer
- Hazelnut - medium neutral brown shimmer
- Crème Brulee - medium warm gold shimmer
- Haute Chocolate - deep chocolate brown matte
- Cherry Cordial - deep plum satin
- White Chocolate - cool champagne matte
- Champagne Truffle - cool champagne shimmer

The first aspect of this palette that I really like is how Too Faced decided to make the two palest shades in larger pans than the others.  These are the types of shades that I tend to go through the quickest and then end up dipping into single shadows to use with the palette.  I also love that this palette smells just like milk chocolate and this palette has been pleasure to use in the morning.

I have already stated that I like the mix of the shades and finishes in this palette, I like the mix of mattes and shimmers and I will be able to use every single shade from this palette (with two potential exceptions).  There are three neutral matte hues and all of these will work well as transition shades and then any of the shimmers will work well when applied directly to the lid.  I like that there are three matte transition shades and all three have different undertones in them.  I also really like the range of brown shades, I think that this will be a palette that I can grab on a daily basis.

My only potential concern with this palette is that it contains nearly all neutral shades and I do wonder how different the eye looks will end up looking when I start pairing these shades together.  I did not have great results when I swatched Strawberry Bon Bon or Candied Violet, these are the only two non-neutral shades and I was hoping to use them to add a pop of color to a few of my neutral eye looks.  I don't know that I will be getting much use from either of these shades but I need to work further with them before I can decide how well they do or do not work.  

My first impressions of the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette are quite positive but I will be reporting back in the next few days once I have used every shade in the palette and created several different eye looks with it.  This palette has the potential to be a new staple for me and I can see myself adding it to my eye makeup rotation for the next few months.

photo courtesy of Google

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Urban Decay Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Foundation

I have been playing around with two new foundations over the past few weeks, we are looking one of them today and then I will be reviewing one later on in the month as part of the Brand of the Month series.  I typically prefer foundations from either MAC or NARS and I decided that I wanted to try formulas from brands that I love but that I have never bought foundation formulas from before.  Today we are looking at the first of the two foundations that I will be reviewing this month, the formula that is my least favorite of the two and one that I would probably not repurchase again.  I reviewed a lighter coverage and a fuller coverage foundation, today's review is of the lighter of the two formulas.

Urban Decay has been a favorite brand of mine for years and I have used their BB Cream and liked that the formula.  They introduced a new foundation formula about a year ago and it quickly became one of the best selling foundations on the Sephora website.  The Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Foundation was sold out when I was looking for a new foundation late last summer and I had been putting my review on hold until I could finally order my correct shade and really try this one out.  I finally found my correct shade in stock while I was at Sephora buying the other formula and I just decided to buy both of them while I could find the shades that I needed in both.  

"An oil-free, lightweight liquid foundation that feels like wearing nothing at all, while leaving a demi-matte finish.  Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Liquid Makeup leaves skin looking natural, illuminated, and bright with a luminous demi-matte finish: like the beautiful skin you were born with. Light-diffusing spheres provide a visible reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, blurring imperfections for beautifully perfected, ultra-definition skin that looks completely real.  It provides truly buildable coverage with a weightless feel and a luminous finish. And it’s loaded with nourishing ingredients, including: Matrixyl 3000 (a powerful anti-wrinkle peptide), protective and brightening Litchiderm™, antioxidant green tea, and sodium hyaluronate for optimal skin hydration and nutrient absorption. The sleek, hygienic pump provides more control, with less waste of product.", states the Sephora website

Sephora states that this is a "medium" coverage and can be built up as needed for fuller coverage.  I do not agree with this classification, I found this formula to be sheer coverage and then it needed to be build up to a light-medium coverage, two coats of this formula were needed to coverage any red areas of my face and I still found patches of redness to be peeking through on my cheeks throughout the day.  I tend to prefer fuller coverage foundations and I knew within a few days of wearing this formula that I was not going to be a fan of it.  One pump covers my whole face and then I use a second pump in targeted areas.  The texture of this formula is very lightweight and runny, it feels like nothing when applied and I am a fan of the lightweight feel.  This product provides a matte finish to the skin however it clung to a few of the dry patches around my nose and I always have to be very careful when I apply the product in this area.  This product just makes my dry patches look even worse and I might be putting it to the side until my skin gets less dry as the spring season approaches.  I found that it does not wear well throughout the day and clings to my dry patches even more as it wears.

I apply this product with a Beauty Blender and I have found that I needed to use it dry in order to get any coverage from this product.  The biggest downside to this method of application is that the sponge absorbed more product than it should have and I have been burning through my tube of this product.  I have not tried the product with a brush as I dislike applying most liquid formulas in this method.  

There are two aspects of this product that I really like.  The first is the bottle, I love the packaging and the pump on it.  The second aspect that I like about this product is the shade range.  There are about twenty shades of this product and the palest shade works perfectly for my winter skin, I am using Shade 0.5 right now and could probably use Shade 1.0 during the summer.  I can't find a shade match in many shade ranges and I love how nicely this shade works for my complexion.  I wish that Urban Decay had a different foundation formula in this shade range...

I know that many ladies absolutely love this foundation formula but it just isn't for me.  I would recommend this to someone with more normal to oily skin and who doesn't suffer from redness in their complexion.  This would be a good formula for someone who dislikes the "feel" of foundation on the face and tend to like a lighter coverage BB Cream.  This formula doesn't provide enough coverage for the redness in my face and doesn't work with my dry patches and therefore would be much better for someone with a different skin type than me.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Brand Spotlight 2014 - Bobbi Brown Cosmetics Lip Gloss

We are looking at the first product that I will be featuring in my Brand Spotlight 2014, it only makes sense that I would start with a lip gloss as I am always looking to add more lip products to my collection.  I thought that I should start with the Bobbi Brown Lip Glosses as I first got the idea for spotlighting new brands when I received a Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lip Gloss sample from Sephora.  I still have not yet tried that product enough to review for my blog and I will be putting that product review on the back burner until I can order a few more shades of this product.  I contemplated ordering more of the shimmer formula first but I decided that I needed to add more lip glosses to my collection that I could wear in a more professional environment.  Bobbi Brown has been known for her nude lipstick shades and she has a great lip gloss formula with all kinds of wearable shades.

"This high-shine formula gives lips a sultry sheen for a fuller look.  Formulated with jojoba and avocado oils for immediate hydration, plus Vitamins C and E.  Aloe extract soothes lips and helps keep them feeling comfortable.", states the Bobbi Brown website.  I ordered my shades off the Sephora website but I see a few more shades available on company's website and now I will be needing to head over to counter to add even more shades of this gloss to my collection.

The Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss shades...

- Buff - beige pink
- Nougat - light beige
- Nude - medium pink brown
- Pink Beige - light pink beige
- Petal - soft pink
- Hot Pink - strawberry pink
- Bright Pink - watermelon pink
- Rosy - sheer bright rose
- Tangerine - sheer bright coral
- Hollywood Red - bright candy red
- Aubergine - deep grapey plum
- Pink Lily - bubblegum pink
- Scarlet - deep red

This formula is one of the best lip glosses that I have ever used, if not the absolute best formula.  The applicator is a traditional doe-foot, I think that the applicator is slightly smaller than that of the MAC Lipglass and this allows a more precise application.  The formula is hydrating without being sticky, it feels smooth and soft upon application and does not become sticky throughout the day.  I have had some issues with other lip gloss formulas that start off smoothly but become patchy and sticky with wear.  I have had absolutely no issues with any of the shades that I have bought and I doubt that I will have issues with any others that I will be buying.  The wear time is similar to that of any other lip gloss and it will needed to be reapplied after eating or drinking.

I bought the following shades; Buff, Petal, and Rosy.  Buff and Petal are my two favorite shades, these neutrals can be worn with any makeup look and in any environment.  Rosy is a brighter pink shade and I will be saving this shade for next spring/summer.  I really want the Nude shade now, as it will work just like the other nudes that I have already bought.  I thought that several of the pink shades looked very similar when I swatched them on my hand so I only bought one pink shade but now I want more of them since I love this formula so much.  Pink Beige, Hot Pink, and Bright Pink are on my shopping list for pink glosses for the upcoming spring season.  I think that I want to pick up Scarlet and Hollywood Red for next fall and I am tempted by Aubergine too.

Bobbi Brown has always been known for her lip products and she started her whole brand with ten nude lipstick shades.  I have started my love of Bobbi Brown lip products already and I would love to feature four more lip formulas this month but I will hold back on the temptation to scoop up the whole lip area of the Bobbi Brown counter.  I am not sure which lip formula from this company that I will try next to review but I know that I will be trying more lipsticks and glosses from this brand!

photo courtesy of Nordstrom