Sunday, December 15, 2013

Too Faced La Creme Lip Cream

The Too Faced spring collection will be arriving on their website in the beginning of this week and therefore I have decided to write my review of this Too Faced lipstick before this collection arrives on the website.  The website has always crashed with the initial releases of the spring and fall collections so I wanted to get this review done while I have their website up and functioning.  Once their website has come back up after the initial launch, I will start my spring collection coverage with Too Faced.  I ordered two of the Too Faced La Crème lipsticks several weeks ago and have been putting them to test since Thanksgiving and I am now ready to review this formula.

This lipstick formula was an instant hit since it's first release last year and many shades of this product are often sold out at Sephora and Ulta.  Many ladies consider this lipstick to be one of their favorite cream formulas and it is now a cult favorite product from this company.  I will state very early in the review that this is NOT my favorite lipstick formula and I will not be buying any more tubes after I use up what I purchased.

We are going to start with the product description and shades from the Too Faced website.  "Indulge your lips with rich creamy color, drenched with luscious, hydrating moisturizers including white lotus flower and power peptides.  Moisture has never been so pretty!  16 Must-Have Colors: Something for every fashion and mood in sought-after shades for each color family: nudes, spices, pinks, and reds.  Lotus Flower Extract: Hydrating, soothing, and lip-conditioning with environmental protection provided by anti-oxidants.  Power Peptides: Conditioning, smoothing, and firming for delicate lip area.  Indulgent color: Saturated, one-swipe formulas drench lips with sexy, pure color."

The shades that are found in this formula are...

- Naughty Nude - chestnut
- Naked Dolly- satin pink
- Nude Beach - nude peach
- In The Buff - warm beige
- Spice Spice Baby - pinky brown
- Cinnamon Kiss - spiced brown
- Honey Bear - toasted mauve
- Sweet Maple - plum brown
- Marshmallow Bunny - marshmellow pink
- Razzle Dazzle Rose - pink rose
- Juicy Melons - pink coral
- Fuchsia Shock - fuchsia pink
- I Want Candy - raspberry rose
- Coral Fire - coral red
- Stiletto Red - classic red
- Divine Wine - Bordeaux

I started with buying both Naked Dolly and Marshmallow Bunny, I wanted to start with nude and neutral pink lipstick shades from this product in order to start working with the formula.  I had originally planned to then order more of the saturated shades; I had my eyes on Razzle Dazzle Rose, I Want Candy, and Stiletto Red but I quickly decided against purchasing more shades once I started to work with this formula.

I am going to start with why I didn't like this formula and how my wear testing of these shades went.  I was looking for a creamy lipstick that was easy to wear and hydrating on the lips, I had a picture in my head of these being a more hydrating version of the Urban Decay Revolution Lipsticks that I have been loving the past few months.  The La Crème Lipsticks are not at all like those in formula and they reminded me very much of the MAC Sheen Supreme Lipsticks that I loved so much last spring.  If I would have know this fact, my initial wear tests probably would have gone better...

I will be the first to admit that I didn't plan out the initial wear test and I should not have done my first impression on a Monday morning while getting ready for work.  I decided to grab Naked Dolly instead of my usual Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Naked, the shades look similar in the package and I was expecting them to be very similar on the lips.  I will also admit that I did not properly exfoliate my lips as I have found that I usually can skip this step with the Urban Decay formula.  I should not have skipped the exfoliation step and I should never test new products out on a Monday morning...

The initial application was quite nice, it applied smoothly and felt very creamy and hydrating.  I was very happy with my first impression but this happiness quickly wore off in the morning hours.  Naked Dolly is a nude pink that looks very wearable.  My first huge issue with this formula occurred when I looked in the mirror once I got to work.  I noticed that my lips had a golden shimmer cast in certain lights and I went back to look up the product description again, I wondered how I had missed the detail about a shimmer finish when first looking at the product.  It turns out that this fact is never mentioned in the product description but has been noted by quite a few people that reviewed the product on the Sephora and Too Faced websites.  I felt like I had been mislead a bit because I don't think that I would have purchased this product if I would have known that the majority of the shades contain shimmer.

My biggest issue with the wear on the first day is how the lipstick behaved over the first few hours of wear.  The shimmer particles clung to the dry patches on my lips, creating a clumpy appearance to my lips.  I dabbed a drop of coffee off my mouth and the formula smeared all over the place, ruining my overall lip look.  After several hours, I was so disgusted with the product that I wiped it all off and just applied a clear balm to get through the rest of the work day.  I tried the Marshmallow Bunny shade once I got home and saw that it has a silver shimmer finish to it.  At this point, I was ready to return both tubes and never try this formula again.

I forced myself to give this product a second test before deciding that I couldn't stand it.  The next morning, I exfoliated my lips well in the shower and prepped my lips the way that I would when getting ready to wear a bright shade of the Stila Stay All Day Lipstick.  The application and wear of this product was much improved after exfoliation, the initial application was smooth and it stayed smooth much longer throughout the day.  I did add a touch of lip balm before reapplying this product after lunch and this helped the formula stay smooth throughout the rest of the day.  Once I got home, I did the same test with the other shade and obtained the same results.

Due to my issues with the more neutral shades of this formula, I decided against buying the rose and red shades that I initially liked.  I can only see the issues with this formula being even worse with a more pigmented shade and I wouldn't want to wear a formula that moves around so much in a shade that will be even more evident when it smears.

Overall, this is probably one of my biggest product fails in the past few months.  I was expecting a pigmented creamy lipstick and received a cream formula filled with shimmer.  I can make this formula work with a bit more effort than I was expecting and I will keep both of these tubes and use them up over the next few months.  I prefer more of a matte finish lipstick and I won't be buying any more shades in this formula...

photo courtesy of Too Faced

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Spring 2014 Runway Trends

I have decided that we are going to check out the upcoming beauty trends that we will be seeing all over the place in the coming months.  I finished up my holiday collection coverage the other week and I am ready to see what collections and products will be making up the bulk of spring makeup shopping.  It is snowing like crazy today and I need to think about something other than cold and snow, it might be very early to start deciding on what trends I will be loving this spring but I need a distraction from thinking about all the shoveling that I will need to do this weekend.

I have already started to see pictures of the Too Faced spring collection and that collection will actually be releasing on their website early next week.  This company is always the earliest but I am sure that several companies will have their spring collections out by the week after Christmas and we will then go full swing into the newest beauty products that will be arriving in the next month or two.

Allure has always published the spring and fall runway trends and this is the article that I have traditionally used to review what trends we will be seeing each season.  This spring will be no different and I am using the Allure article about the biggest runway trends from the December issue of this magazine.  They have highlighted the top nine hair and makeup trends from the runways, I have found this article to be the best source of the trends that we will be shopping from in the coming weeks.  I am also going to start picking the trends that I will be following this spring season and starting to get ideas of what products that I will need to add to my collection (and what products I already own that will work well).

Allure's top trends for the upcoming spring season!

The Rumpled Braid - The trick to creating the textured plaits at Alberta Ferretti was scrunching first: Hairstylist Guido misted the volumizing spray all over damp hair, then scrunched as he blew the hair dry using a diffuser.  Then he curled the top layer, combed through the resulting waves with his fingers, and teased the crown before weaving a classic braid at the neck.

Romantic Ponytail - Guido called the ribboned hair at Nina Ricci "simple and feminine".  We call it one of the most elegant ponytails we've seen.  He secured the low ponytail with a black elastic, then tied a ribbon in a bow to conceal the band.  The ponytails stayed intact, even after one model was almost wrestled off the runway by a protestor who stormed the show.

Casual-Cool Bun - To keep the chignon at Celine from looking like something you'd wear to ballet class, Guido ran his fingers through the top of the hair to add a little volume and brushed the sides to keep them flat.  Once the hair was twisted into a knot and pinned, he used a lightweight hair spray to smooth flyaways and make sure it was clean, not crunchy.

Hottest Lip Color: Orange - Orange is the new red.  And pink.  And any other lipstick shade you might think about reaching for.  "Right now it just feels cooler than red, " said makeup artist Gucci Westman, echoing the sentiments of pretty much every other pro.  Creamy, matte, neon, or pastel - every single orange looked fresh and strong.

Metallic Smoky Eyes - Whoever said not to mix metals clearly never saw how sexy gold, bronze, and copper can look together.  Case in point: the glimmering smoky eyes at Gucci, which combined all three hues into one beautifully burnished halo.

Messy Updos - The most beautiful updos were the ones that looked a little (or a lot) unkempt.  To create them at Michael Kors, hairstylist Orlando Pita curled random sections, then sprinkled in texturizing powder before twisting and pinning the hair into a haphazard chignon, letting pieces fall out along the way.  At Rochas, hairstylist Eugene Souleiman achieved "multitextured, chaotic-yet-beautiful twists" with beach spray, furiously brushing out sections of hair that had been curled, crimped, and straightened.  "It's a bad hair day gone right," he said.

Gold Fever - Makeup artists and hairstylists glided everything in sight.  (No, really, you should see our notebook.)  "For 15 years I've done metallic looks in blues, yellows, and greens," said Pat McGrath.  "This season, when designers asked for metallic makeup, they wanted it to look more sophisticated."

Gilt-y Pleasure - We first spotted this Sylvain Le Hen barrette at the Jason Wu show - and soon after on several editors.  Stylist Kate Young found the clips at Colette in Paris and gave them to hairstylist Odile Gilbert, who snapped them on the models' low, sleek ponytails.  "It looks graphic and elegant," said Gilbert.  "The rose gold is my favorite".

Artsy Eyes - Talk about works of art: At Derek Lam, makeup artist Tom Pecheux created cubelike cat eyes, referencing sculptor Donald Judd.  At Celine, makeup artist Dick Page drew "surrealist" brows.  McGrath looked to street art when she airbrushed graffiti-style scribbles across the brow bones at Prada, and at Chanel, Philips made miniature abstract paintings by brushing rainbow-colored theatrical paint around the eyes, framed with black lines across the lids and brows.

There are five new hairstylists that we will be seeing all over this place this spring season and I am quite fond of the Romantic Ponytail.  This look will work well in many different situations and I will be able to wear it to work if I change out the type of ribbon used in the look.  The Gilt-y Pleasure style will also be a favorite of mine this spring, this look will be easier for me to wear in a professional environment.  I will be looking for a few different styles of gilded barrettes and ponytail holders and I will be wearing this look all through the spring and summer.

I am not a fan of the orange lip look and I will be skipping over this.  I have never liked or looked good in peach or orange hues so I will be sticking to my classic pink and red lip looks.  I like both the metallic and the gilded eye looks that were all over the runways and I will be working with these looks to make them more friendly for the professional environment.  The Artsy Eye look is probably not for me, I don't think that I have the skills to create these types of looks and I don't know that I like them enough to spend a lot of time learning how to create them.

I will be adding more hair styling products to my shopping list and I am excited to see some new eye shadow palettes.  I am a bit on the fence about what lip products I will/won't need for spring since I am not going to be adapting the orange lip hues that promise to rule the collections.

photo courtesy of Google

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fitness Friday - Supported Shoulderstand

Today is another Fitness Friday that will be focusing on yoga poses, I feel that many of my Fitness Friday posts have been all about yoga and I know that many more will be about yoga.  One of the most exciting parts of the semester end was signing up for a few more yoga classes over the next few weeks and knowing that I will have some time to start up a home practice.  One of my goals over this vacation is to create a special night flow that I can use before going to bed at night.  I will post that flow once I have come with the pose sequence.

Today's yoga pose is the first inversion that I ever tried, Supported Shoulderstand is the pose that starts most students' experience with inversions.  I still struggle with an unsupported version of this pose, so we will look at the supported modification of the pose.  This pose can easily become unsupported by pulling the blankets away and using no support on the shoulders. 

Yoga Journal provides details on the pose and the steps to follow in order to safely start working up into Shoulderstand. 

- Fold two or more firm blankets into rectangles measuring about 1 foot by 2 feet, and stack them on top of each other.  You can place a sticky mat over the blankets to help the upper arms stay in place while in the pose.  Then lie on the blankets with your shoulders supported (and parallel to one of the longer edges) and your head on the floor.  Lay your arms on the floor alongside your torso, and bend your knees and set your feet against the floor with the heels close to the sitting bones.  Exhale, press your arms against the floor, and push your feet away from the floor, drawing your thighs into the front torso.

- Continue to lift by curling the pelvis and then back the torso away from the floor, so that your knees come toward your face.  Stretch your arms out parallel to the edge of the blanket and turn them outward so the fingers press against the floor (and the thumbs point behind you).  Bend your elbows and draw them toward each other.  Lay the backs of your upper arms on the blanket and spread your palms against the back of your torso.  Raise your pelvis over your shoulders, so that the torso is relatively perpendicular to the floor.  Walk your hands up your back (toward the floor) without letting your elbows slide too much wider than shoulder width.

- Inhale and lift your bent knees toward the ceiling, bringing your thighs in line with your torso and hanging the heels down by your buttocks.  Press your tailbone toward your pubis and turn the upper thighs inward slightly.  Finally inhale and straighten the knees, pressing the heels up toward the ceiling.  When the backs of the legs are fully lengthened, lift the balls of the big toes so the inner legs are slightly longer than the outer. 

- Soften the throat and tongue.  Firm the shoulder blades against the back, and move the sternum toward the chin.  Your forehead should be relatively parallel to the floor, your chin perpendicular.  Press the backs of your upper arms and tops of your shoulders actively into the blanket support, and try to lift the upper spine away from the floor.  Gaze softly at your chin.

- As a beginning practitioner, stay in the pose for about 30 seconds.  Gradually add 5 to 10 seconds to your stay everyday or until you can comfortably hold the pose for 3 minutes.  Then continue for 3 minutes each day for a week or two, until you feel relatively comfortable in this pose.  Again gradually and 5 to 10 seconds onto your stay until you can comfortably hold the pose for 5 minutes.  To come down, exhale, bend your knees into your torso again, and roll your back torso slowly and carefully onto the floor, keeping the back of your head on the floor.

Supported Shoulderstand is usually the first inversion that a yoga teacher will start to work their students into.  I will say that I fell out of this pose many times before my teacher decided that I was going to learn this pose in a different way.  The only way that I could learn how to straighten up correctly was to do this pose with my feet against a wall.  Once I mastered being able to hold that for 3 minutes, I then worked on doing this pose with the blanket supports and holding it for a minute.  I have worked up to holding the pose for three minutes and I am still working on holding it for longer.

I have yet to try this pose in the unsupported fashion and I will be working up to this in the next few weeks.  I plan to use this winter break to practice yoga as much as possible...while pushing myself at the gym.  I have four weeks until class starts again...time to use it wisely!

photo courtesy of YogaJournal.com

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Benefit Fake Up Hydrating Undereye Concealer

I have been using the same Benefit concealer since the end of last year and Erase Paste has quickly become one of my favorite face products.  Based on how much I love that concealer formula, I jumped at the chance to try another Benefit concealer formula when I had my choice of Sephora VIB Point Perks.  I have been trying the Fake Up Hydrating Undereye Concealer since the beginning of this week and I can already say that all of Benefit's concealer formulas are not created equal.  I think this is one of the few products that I have not liked at all in the past few weeks and that I could never see myself buying again.

The Benefit website provides the following description of this undereye concealer formula, "This hydrating crease-control concealer - with vitamin E & apple seed extract - hides dark circles and diffuses fine lines for a silky smooth, ultra-natural look. It’s proven to keep skin hydrated for six hours."

The following testing results are also provided for this product...

- 100% said it hydrates skin
- 100% said it feels comfortable on skin
- 91% said it conceals dark circles

This is one of the most unique products that I have ever used on my eye area and I give Benefit points for this aspect of the product.  This product combines the coverage of a stick concealer and then hydrating properties of an undereye balm.  The concealer itself is in the middle of the product and it is surrounded by the hydrating balm.  Once applied to the skin, they mix together and become a two-in-one product for hydrating and concealing.  Benefit states that the product should be applied directly to the undereye area and then patted in using the ring finger.

I have used this product each morning and I have determined that I just cannot use it as described and this is just not the product for me.  I started by hydrating my undereye area with the Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream and then blend my foundation in the undereye area using a Beauty Blender.  I have dark undereye circles and have always relied on a high coverage concealer to cover them up.  Once I had all of these products in place, I applied the Benefit product to each of my undereye areas and then blended it in as suggested on the brand's website.

As with many two-in-one products that I have tried, this product falls short in both the hydrating and concealing aspects.  I cannot use this without another eye cream as it seems like the application and blending of the product drag my delicate undereye skin.  I have found that it also falls short in the concealing aspect, it is too sheer to fully cover my dark undereye circles.  I have found no way in this product lives up to its description and I will not be buying this in the full size.

I found a way to use through the large sample size that I have of this product, I apply it after my foundation and use it as a primer to apply a full coverage concealer over.  It works nicely in this aspect however this just adds an extra step to my routine that I don't reap much benefit from.  I will use it in this fashion to finish the product up but I would not buy another tube to use only in this fashion. 

This might be a nice undereye concealer for someone who doesn't struggle very much with dark undereye circles and only needs a small amount of coverage in this area.  I just cannot really make this product work as I have to use it with both another eye cream and another undereye concealer, it only creates an extra step in my morning routine that isn't needed.

photo courtesy of Benefit

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Calvin Klein Downtown

I received samples of the new Calvin Klein fragrance with my last Sephora order and then was given even more samples of it when I bought some perfume gift sets at Macy*s.  Downtown is a fragrance that is inspired by New York City.  I was very excited when I saw that the Rooney Mara (in Lisbeth mode) was the model for this ad campaign and I tried this fragrance out with high hopes.  I initially liked this fragrance however I have decided that Downtown will be added to the list of Calvin Klein fragrances that are not my cup of tea.  With the exception of a handful of fragrances, Calvin Klein has never been a brand that has created perfumes that I have liked.  I find that this company creates many fragrances that skirt the line between masculine and feminine and these are just not the types of minimalism fragrances that I would wear very often.

I think that I really wanted to love Downtown for two big reasons.  The first reason is that it Rooney Mara is the cover model for this ad campaign and I love her minimalist downtown style.  The second reason that I wanted to love this fragrance is that it smells like nothing that I already own and it is very unique.  I own nothing like this fragrance for a reason...I just do not like unisex fragrances and would rather own a massive collection of floral fragrances. 

I found this fragrance on the Macy*s website, it states that Downtown is, "This urban women's fragrance is sophisticated and extremely feminine yet has a confident edge. Featuring scents of watery plum and gardenia, you'll never get tired of this divine scent." 

The key fragrance notes are: Neroli tunisia, fresh green pear, watery plum, gardenia petals, pink peppercorn, violet leaf, Texan cedarwood, vetiver, benzoin Laos orpur and musk. 

As I stated above, I find that Downtown could be a unisex fragrance.  The gardenia and violet leaf notes barely come out on my skin and I usually wear white florals very strongly.  I get mostly the pear, cedarwood, and vetiver notes from Downtown.  I did like how different this was but I didn't like how it wore on my skin.  It reminded me more of a men's cologne than a fragrance geared toward females.  If the floral notes were stronger, I probably would have been able to wear this fragrance but that is not the case so I will not be buying a full bottle of this fragrance.

The other disappointing aspect of this fragrance is the wear time.  Calvin Klein fragrances have never worn very long on my skin and I find that they tend to be heavy on top notes and don't last on many people's skin.  I got about two hours worth of wear time from this fragrance and I found that I needed to reapply it several times throughout my day and have been running through the samples that I have very quickly.

I was very hopeful that I had found a new perfume when I started trying these samples and I really wanted to like this fragrance but it just isn't for me.  I will finish the little bit left in my samples up but then I will be moving onto another perfume.

photo courtesy of Macy*s

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bath and Body Works Velvet Sugar

The holidays are less than three weeks away and I am done with my Christmas shopping and am trying my hardest to stay away from the mall.  I did have to run over the other day and was able to try out the new fragrance that Bath and Body Works has just brought out to finish the holiday season up and I know that I will not need it for either myself or anyone on my shopping list.  Bath and Body Works fragrances aren't really doing much for me lately, the only one that has worked for me since the beginning of last fall was Forever Midnight and I haven't even been using this one on a regular basis.  I have been loving all the candles and other Home Fragrance items that have come out this holiday season but the fragrances just aren't winners for me.  Maybe next spring will bring some new ones for me...

Velvet Sugar is the Bath and Body Works version of Pink Sugar, a fragrance that I wore in college and got over as soon as I finished up my bottles of the perfume and the matching body products.  I wanted to like this fragrance for the same reason that I love the Vanilla Bean Noel fragrance, I love sweet cupcake fragrances around the holidays and then will use them all the way through Valentine's Day.  It's a good thing that I buy Vanilla Bean Noel body products every single year and have a good stock pile of them to use once the stores are sold out of the fragrance.  I wanted to like this fragrance and add the body products to my line up but this one just isn't for me.

Velvet Sugar is said to be modeled after a Red Velvet Cupcake, one of my favorite desserts and one of the best holiday candles that Bath and Body Works has come out with this season.  "Savor every moment of this sweetly sumptuous blend of red velvet créme and golden plum laced with a swirl of sugared musk, pink jasmine and wild strawberries. Too much is never enough."  The top notes are: Wild Strawberries, White Nectarine, Pear Blossom, Apple Nectar.  The middle notes of the fragrance are:  Pink Jasmine, Golden Plum, Red Velvet Créme, Dewy Honeysuckle, Freesia.  The base notes are: Golden Amber, Vanilla , Tolu Balsam, Caramel, Baileys Créme, Sugared Musk. 

What is Tolu Balsam and what is it doing in this fragrance?!  I tried this fragrance in the EDP and the matching Body Lotion and didn't fall in love with either.  I loved the perfume bottle and actually wanted to love this fragrance just to have it sitting on my bureau but I couldn't bring myself to buy the perfume just to set the bottle out.  This fragrance is all strawberries, sugar, sweet musk, and more sugar.  I think I got a tooth ache from just trying this fragrance on...

The perfume is a mixture of the berry and sugar on me and then it settles down into the musk note, I got several compliments on the fragrance when I was wearing it but I still didn't like the way that it smelled.  The lotion was more sugar and the shower gel was more strawberry, I considered buying the body products but I didn't love the fragrance enough to add more products to my already overloaded bureau and shower caddy.  Maybe I will revisit this fragrance around Valentine's Day and see if my views on it change.

I put up a picture of the EDP in this fragrance because I love the packaging so much.  The rest of the packaging and products are more in line with the traditional Signature Collection products.  You can purchase the following products in this fragrance: Fine Fragrance Mist, Shower Gel, Body Lotion, Triple Moisture Body Cream, Luxury Bubble Bath, and Shimmer Mist.  I am only considering the body products to be worthy of retrying next Valentine's Day, I cannot wear any of the fragrances in Velvet Sugar and doubt that my mind will change any time soon.

This hasn't been the best fall season for fragrances for me from this company but the candles and matching Wallflower Bulbs have been spot on and are one of the best holiday collections that I have seen in several years from this company.

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works

Monday, December 9, 2013

Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream

We are now in the second week of December and I have been changing up the products in my skincare regime to match the cold weather outside, I have been using one new skincare products over the past few weeks that I have become a big fan of and I am really happy that I decided to purchase.  I have never used skincare from the brand Bobbi Brown before and I decided to try a hydrating eye cream from this company.  I tend to use two very different types of formulas for day and night, I only want a very hydrating formula to use at night and I don't need any of de-puffing properties that I require in a eye cream used for daytime.  I started off by using this eye cream for night use but I do think that this is one of the few eye cream formulas that I could actually use for both night and day usage.

There are two hydrating eye cream formulas from Bobbi Brown, I chose the less rich of the two as the richer formula was not available in the store when I bought my jar of this product.  I would consider switching this formula out to a day usage during the coldest days of the winter and then ordering the richer of the two formulas for nighttime use.  As for right now, I will be using this product for my night eye cream and then I will update and review the other formula if I decide that I need more moisture in my eye area as the winter continues.

"A hydrating cream that refreshes the eye area and prepares it for a seamless concealer application.  This luxurious, concentrated cream is absorbed quickly, allowing it to deliver naturally occurring humectants that virtually melt into the skin. Before makeup application, a perfect level of emollients imparts a lightweight texture, allowing concealer to glide on evenly. Use in the evening to boost skin's ability to recharge and rehydrate during the nightly repair process. It plumps fine lines and improves skin's overall tone and texture. Skin looks and feels stronger and healthier. It leaves the eye area soft, smooth, and refreshed for up to 24 hours.", states the Sephora website. 

I have been really loving this eye cream so far and I would recommend it to anyone that has normal to dry skin around their eyes.  A very small amount applied to each eye fully hydrates and soothes the delicate under eye skin and this area looks and feels moist and plump when I wake up each morning.  This product has a light creamy texture and sinks easily right into the skin and doesn't leave an oily residue on this area.  There is a slight perfume smell to the product but it does not bother my eyes at all. 

 My least favorite aspect about this product is that it is contained in a jar, I do not love dipping my finger into the same jar over and over again.  I wish that this product was contained in a tube, the product is a thin enough texture that a tube container would be very workable.  I can see how the very hydrating formula might not work with a tube but I don't see any reason why this one can't be housed in that type of container.

The Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream is a solid formula for anyone with normal to dry skin, I wouldn't recommend it to someone with very oily skin.  I think that I would continue to use it more as a night cream as it doesn't contain any special ingredient for relieving puffy eyes before makeup application. 

photo courtesy of Sephora 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Urban Decay Naked 3 Eye Shadow Palette

This has certainly been a weekend full of Urban Decay and we are now ready to start looking at the Naked 3 palette in more detail.  We started talking about this new Urban Decay palette yesterday with a brief review of the first two palettes in this series and then looking at where in the series this new palette fits in.  Naked 3 is different than both of the previous two palettes and I do feel that I need to own all three of them, this new palette contains rose gold shades that I will be wearing in the warmer weather.  I find this palette to be less "neutral" than the other two and this one will be used for a very specific type of eye look in the summer months.

The Urban Decay website provides the following product description and descriptions of the shades contained in the palette.  "Experiment with 12 NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN (and insanely beautiful) rose-hued neutrals—from pale, shimmery pink to deep black matte with rosy red micro-glitter. It's finally here: the long-awaited follow-up Naked and Naked2 (two of the industry's all-time bestselling palettes)! And this time around, we're giving you a dozen NEW ways to get Naked. (Yes, we loaded this palette with 12 NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN shades.).  Choose from every finish imaginable: ultra-smooth mattes, gorgeous pearls and glimmering metallics. From the palest, shimmery pink to deep, warm black, these neutrals will make you want to get Naked all over again. Every shade features our Pigment Infusion System™ the proprietary blend of ingredients that gives each shade its velvety texture, rich color, serious staying power and blendability.  Naked3 includes a NEW double-ended shadow/blending brush."

I love that this palette contains all brand new shades that are exclusive to the palette, I have some repeats between the first two Naked palettes and my current collection of single eye shadows from this brand.  The shades contained in the newest Naked palette are: Strange (pale neutral pink matte-satin), Dust (pale metallic pink shimmer w/iridescent micro-glitter), Burnout (light pinky-peach satin), Limit (light dusty rose matte), Buzz (metallic rose shimmer w/silver micro-glitter), Trick (light metallic pinky-copper shimmer w/tonal micro-sparkle), Nooner (medium pinky-brown matte), Liar (medium metallic mauve shimmer), Factory (pinky-brown satin), Mugshot (metallic taupe shimmer w/slight pink shift), Darkside (deep taupe-mauve satin) and Darkheart (smoky black matte w/rosy red micro-sparkle).


I have started to swatch and use this palette over the past two days and I already see that I will be using the shades on the left side of this one much more than I will be using the shades on the right side.  This trend has held true with the two previous palettes and I am sure that it will hold with any other palettes that might come out in this line.  Overall, this palette contains more shimmer and satin shades than some of the other palettes and I also think the formula on these is slightly softer and creamier than the previous two palettes.

I have already created eye looks with Strange, Burnout, Trick, and Factory; any combination of these shades will create a pretty rose gold eye look that would look lovely in the summer months.  I haven't created eye looks with any of the more pink-toned shades yet as I am not quite sure how I plan to combine these shades.  In addition, I have only used Darkside as a liner with the four shades that I had mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph.  I think that my least favorite shade of the palette is Darkheart, I can't see myself using this matte black with red shimmer in it and I doubt that I will get much (or any) use from it. 

I will putting this palette aside for the next few months and then pull it out again in the beginning of the summer, Naked and Naked 2 will continue to be in my constant rotation until I change my makeup around for summer.  I also feel that many of the shades in Naked 3 will look better once I pair them with a bronzer on my face and a pretty nude gloss on my lips.  I have to admit that I might not have bought a palette with these shades in if it wasn't put out by Urban Decay and a part of my favorite collection of eye shadow palettes but I have bought it and I will be using it on the days that I want to recreate a sunset on my eyelids.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Urban Decay Naked 3 Eye Palette - Where Does It Fit In Your Makeup Collection?

One of the most anticipated releases of the month is the newest addition to the Urban Decay family of Naked Eye Shadow Palettes.  Everyone that reads this blog is aware that the original Naked Palette and the Naked 2 Palette are two of my favorite eye shadow palettes and ones that I tend to reach for over and over again.  I have been using the Naked 2 palette at least three times a week since the middle of fall and I got very excited when I heard that Urban Decay was adding another palette to this collection.  Naked 2 was one of my favorite releases of late 2011 and I feel this Naked 3 will be one of my favorite products of late 2013.  It arrived in the mail yesterday after ordering it late last week from Urban Decay's website and I have started to swatch and play around with the shades in it.

I am saving my reviews and thoughts on the actual Naked 3 palette for tomorrow's post, I wanted to start with a post that quickly reviewed the other two palettes and then looked to see where Naked 3 would fall into the mix.  The original Naked palette is full of warm shades and the second Naked palette is full of cool shades, is this palette closer to one of them or is it completely different creation?

We will start at the beginning...  The Urban Decay website provides the following description of the original Naked Eye Palette and then the following shade descriptions, "It’s the palette that revolutionized neutrals forever. Loaded with 12 bronze-hued shadows in an insane range of textures only Wende and our product development team could dream up—including matte, satin, shimmer and sparkle—Naked proves that neutral is anything but boring. From the palest champagne to the grittiest gunmetal, it’s all here. Whether you’re going for a laid-back, beachy vibe or black-tie drama, you’ll definitely look better Naked.". 

The shades contained in the original Naked palette are: Virgin (cool pale beige shimmer), Sin (champagne shimmer), Naked (nude matte), Sidecar (beige shimmer w/silver micro-glitter), Buck (fawn brown matte), Half Baked (golden bronze shimmer), Smog (deep coppery bronze shimmer), Darkhorse (deep mocha shimmer), Toasted (antique copper penny shimmer), Hustle (plum-brown satin), Creep (onyx shimmer w/gold sparkle) and Gunmetal (dark metallic gray shimmer w/silver micro-glitter).

I dip into the shades on the left side of this palette more than I use the deeper tones on the right side of the palette.  Virgin, Sin, and Naked are the shades I use all over and then I use the rest of the shades right on the lid.  All of the shades are the classic Urban Decay eye shadow formula and only Darkhorse and Buck are on the challenging side to fully blend.  Half Baked applies so smoothly that it feels like I am applying a cream shadow, this is one of the few shades that I can apply perfectly by tapping it on with my finger.

The second palette contains shades that are much more on the cool toned side and features a range of lovely taupe hues.  "You demanded “MORE NAKED!”—and Naked2 delivers. From luminous shades with shimmer and sparkle to the smoothest mattes imaginable, Naked2 is packed with 12 never-boring taupe-hued neutrals (including a gorgeous grayish brown, a glittery copper and our lewdest, blackest black). Expand your Naked range to create even more sultry neutral looks, smoky dramatic looks and everything in between.", states the company's website.

The shades contains in the Naked 2 palette are: Foxy (cream bisque matte), Half Baked (golden bronze shimmer), Bootycall (cork shimmer), Chopper (copper shimmer w/silver micro-glitter), Tease (creamy pale brown matte), Snakebite (dark bronze shimmer), Suspect (pale golden beige shimmer), Pistol (light grayish brown shimmer), Verve (oyster shimmer), YDK (cool bronze shimmer), Busted (deep brown shimmer) and Blackout (blackest black matte).

I find that I also tend to use the shades more on the left of the Naked 2 palette more than I do the shades on the right.  I use Blackout mostly as a liner and use Busted and YDK only in very dramatic smoky eye looks.  Foxy is the only shade that I use all over the eye and I have nearly hit pan on it already.  Chopper is my staple from this palette, it has a beautiful shimmer finish and is another shade that I prefer to tap on with my finger.

I have found that I use the original Naked palette in the fall and then tend to pick up Naked 2 more in the winter months.  Naked 3 is really not like either of the two palettes, I could call this palette "Naked: Summer Edition" and this would be a fitting title for the shades found in it.  It leans more on the warm side so I find it the least like the shades in Naked 2.  I am sure that any makeup collector will be adding this to his or her collection without a second thought and we will look more in depth at the actual palette tomorrow.

photo courtesy of Google
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Friday, December 6, 2013

Fitness Friday - Yoga Bridge Pose

We are back on yoga poses for this week's and next week's Fitness Friday.  Today we are looking at Bridge Pose and then we will be looking more at Shoulder Stand next week.  Bridge is one of the preparatory poses for Shoulder Stand and belongs to the family of Backbend Poses.  Bridge is a very versatile pose, I have done it to get ready for Shoulder Stand and to begin preparations for more inversion poses.  I have also done this pose in a more supported fashion using well placed blocks during a  restorative yoga session.  Nearly anyone can perform this pose in the supported fashion, we will look at the true pose and then I will provide details on how to modify the position as needed. 

Yoga Journal provides steps to safely get into the pose...

- Lie supine on the floor, and if necessary, place a thickly folded blanket under your shoulders to protect your neck. Bend your knees and set your feet on the floor, heels as close to the sitting bones as possible.

- Exhale and, pressing your inner feet and arms actively into the floor, push your tailbone upward toward the pubis, firming (but not hardening) the buttocks, and lift the buttocks off the floor. Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel. Clasp the hands below your pelvis and extend through the arms to help you stay on the tops of your shoulders.

- Lift your buttocks until the thighs are about parallel to the floor. Keep your knees directly over the heels, but push them forward, away from the hips, and lengthen the tailbone toward the backs of the knees. Lift the pubis toward the navel.

- Lift your chin slightly away from the sternum and, firming the shoulder blades against your back, press the top of the sternum toward the chin. Firm the outer arms, broaden the shoulder blades, and try to lift the space between them at the base of the neck (where it's resting on the blanket) up into the torso.

- Stay in the pose anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Release with an exhalation, rolling the spine slowly down onto the floor.

To modify the pose into Supported Bridge, place a block under the sacrum and rest right on it.  This modification makes the pose more restorative and is a wonderful addition to a nighttime routine.  The modification is best used to start the position and by anyone that feels any type of twinge or pain in their lower back when getting into the full pose.  I have been trying to deepen my pose by getting my shoulders closer and closer together each time and then lifting even higher to deepen the back bend. 

Bridge is one of the most versatile yoga poses, it can be relaxing or challenging based on how deep you wish to get into the pose.  I have found that this pose helps to work out the cramps that I can get in my shoulders when writing blog posts and graduate school papers and I have been using this pose more and more as the semester is coming to a close.  Next week, we are going to look at how to start in Bridge position and then begin to experiment with yoga inversions by pushing up into Shoulder Stand.

photo courtesy of Yoga Journal

Thursday, December 5, 2013

RiRi Hearts MAC Holiday Collection

We are now onto what I believe is the last holiday collection from MAC, it is another one in the series of highly popular RiRi Hearts MAC collections that started coming out in the very beginning of the summer months.  I have no idea when Rihanna's popularity will begin to wane but at the moment it shows no sign of stopping and these collections have been instant sell outs and cult favorites. I am considering going onto Ebay when I have some spare time (maybe after finals week) and looking to see what products from the summer and fall collections are being resold for.  I am willing to bet that they are only rising in price and popularity...

In the previous seasons, I have liked many of the eye makeup from the RiRi collections but I have never liked the lip or face products in the collections.  None of those shades have ever looked like they would work for my skin tone, something to be expected since myself and Rihanna have two very different skin tones and there is no way that shades for her would flatter me and vice versa.  I don't have high hopes for this collection and I would only really look at some of the eye makeup shades from the latest part of the RiRi series...

"Rihanna's latest creative collaboration with M·A·C is a series of stunning looks for lips, eyes and face in shades of metallic majesty and confident colour. This limited-edition collection is encased in exclusive white-pearl packaging with RiRi's iconic rose gold detailing. Wrapping it all up, the pink metallic sheen of the RiRi ♥ M·A·C Makeup Bag in a quilted design, uniquely Rihanna.", states the MAC website when providing a description of the overall collection.

Here is the holiday version of the RiRi collection!

RiRi Hearts MAC Veluxe Pearlfusion Shadow: Pfresh Out - Five complementary shades by Rihanna for infinite day-to-night looks: soft champagne, peach gold with pearl, blackened plum, pearlescent pink and violet mauve. Highly pearlized frost finish. Encased in an exclusive white-pearl packaging with RiRi's iconic rose gold detailing. Limited edition.

RiRi Hearts MAC Veluxe Pearlfusion Shadow: 2X Dare - Five complementary shades by Rihanna for infinite day-to-night looks: white silver, deep grey blue, beige-grey, cement with pearl and light crystal mauve. Highly pearlized frost finish. Encased in an exclusive white-pearl packaging with RiRi's iconic rose gold detailing. Limited edition.

RiRi Hearts MAC Superslick Eye Liner - A liquid liner in two limited-edition shades by Rihanna - the shimmering white of Pisces Persuasion and rose gold of Cockiness. Water-based, water-resistant, quick and precise to apply. Dries in 15 seconds to a sleek, long-wearing, wet-look, no-smudge line. The superior no-fuss, no-wobble application lies in the "magic tip" of the easy-to-control dipstick applicator. Exclusive white-pearl RiRi ♥ M∙A∙C packaging.
- Pisces Persuasion - shimmery white
- Cockiness - shimmery rose gold

RiRi Hearts MAC Lipstick - Colour plus texture for the lips that made M∙A∙C famous. Three limited-edition shades created by Rihanna. In Retro Matte - the signature red of RiRi Woo. In Matte - the nude taupe of Bad Girl RiRi and fuchsia of Pleasure Bomb. Exclusive white-pearl RiRi ♥ M∙A∙C packaging.
- Pleasure Bomb - matte fuchsia
- RiRi Woo - matte cool red
- Bad Girl RiRi - matte taupey mauve

RiRi Hearts MAC Bronzing Powder - Rihanna's limited-edition soft, golden brown powder with overspray of gold pearl gives sheer, natural colour and highlights. Ideal for enhancing a skin tone or accenting and enhancing a tan. Formulated for smooth, even application on all skin types. Exclusive white-pearl RiRi ♥ M∙A∙C packaging.
- Love, Rihanna - soft golden brown with overspray of gold pearl

RiRi Hearts MAC Nail Lacquer - Limited-edition matching shade of Rihanna's signature red RiRi Woo in our high-gloss formula. Contains conditioners and UV protection. Exclusive white-pearl RiRi ♥ M∙A∙C packaging.
- RiRi Woo - matte cool red

RiRi Hearts MAC Double-Ended Brush: 217/239SE - On one end: 217 Blending for shading or blending of colour or creamy products. This brush has fine, densely packed fibres arranged in an oval shape. On other end: 239 Eye Shader, smooth, firm fine fibres in a tapered shape and rounded edge to shade or blend eye shadow or emollient-based products. Can be used to build intense colour on the eyelid. Exclusive white-pearl RiRi ♥ M∙A∙C handle.

RiRi Hearts MAC Makeup Bag - Wrap it all up in the pink metallic sheen of a small rectangular, quilted makeup bag by Rihanna. 6.5" x 4.5" x 1.5" with zipper closure. Limited edition.

I think that this might actually be my favorite of the RiRi Hearts MAC collections, in the other collections I haven't liked any of the face and lip products and this collection is the complete opposite.  A big change with this collection is that the lipsticks are my favorite of the collection and the eye makeup shades don't really do much for me.  I love the fuchsia and the red shades that are included with this collection, the red shade is the original shade that came out when the first RiRi collection was released in the early summer and quickly became a sell out classic.  I am betting that the re-release of this shade with the holiday collection will make a lot of ladies very happy and will cause much more traffic coming to the MAC counters, I was never able to get my hands on it the first time around and now I am very excited to see that I have a chance to buy it again without resorting to Ebay!

The Lipsticks are my first choice from this collection and then the next item that I buy will be the red nail polish made to match RiRi's most famous MAC Lipstick shade.  I only like one of the Eye Shadow Palettes, Pfresh Out is the only eye shadow palette that I am interested in from this collection and I don't know that I like it enough to order it.  Some of the warmer shades are nice but they are nothing special and I am sure that I already own every single one of them from previous eye makeup purchases.  I don't like the other palette and I wouldn't use either of the liquid eye liners so the eye makeup products in this collection hold next to no interest for me and I will be skipping over them completely.  I will also be skipping over the bronzer as I am not a huge fan of shimmery bronzers and I don't use them this time of the year.

I am wondering if the RiRi Hearts MAC collection will continue into the spring months and come full circle early next summer or if this is the last collection in the line.  I guess we will see in the coming months if MAC will be continuing with Rihanna or if they will have a new face for their collections.

photo courtesy of MAC

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

LUSH Tisty Tosty Bath Bomb

I rarely focus on the same brand two days in a row but my latest Lush haul is temporarily changing the way that I like to blog.  I have been digging around in my latest package from this company and thinking about the lovely Twilight Bath Bomb yesterday made me want to take another LUSH bath last night.  Therefore, today we are looking at the Tisty Tosty Bath Bomb and then we are going to move onto a few different brands and products in the next few days.  There are very few LUSH products that I do not love and Tisty Tosty is going to be yet another one of my favorite products from this company.  I wish that we had a store closer to my house as I either have to drive over an hour to visit one of these stores or I have to order all the products online and hope that I like the fragrances that I pick out.

Tisty Tosty is one of the few floral bath bombs that I have found from this company, this is a true floral fragrance and not one that mixes florals with either vanilla or fruit notes.  You will only like this Bath Bomb if you love true floral fragrances and I am sure that this is not a product for everyone.  This will be a favorite of mine but I cannot see this being one of the best selling bath products from LUSH, it does not have much universal appeal but will end of up being one of their products that achieves cult status among its devotees.

"At the heart of the matter, Tisty Tosty is a bathtime love potion that's made to stir passions. Drop it into the tub to luxuriate among the romantic aromas of rose and jasmine absolutes, and watch as whole rosebuds saunter across the softening waters. Invite a friend to share your bath—it'll be love at first sniff with this sensual fizzer!", states the LUSH USA website.  This website also states that this product was created as a limited edition for Valentine's Day several years ago and then ended up being such a crowd-pleaser that the company decided to keep it in the permanent line up.  I do not remember when the product initially released and I can't find this date anywhere in my past posts so this must have been released quite a few years ago.

This Bath Bomb contains a very strong mix of rose and jasmine notes and the fragrance lingered in my bathroom for several hours after my nighttime bath.  The bomb released dried rose petals as soon as the product hit the warm water and began to explode.  One of my favorite pleasures in life is watching any LUSH Bath Bomb explode in the water and seeing all of the assorted treats inside start pouring out.  With my love of floral fragrances and rose petals, this bomb was destined to be a favorite of mine and I will order a few more of these in the next few weeks.

I wish that I had found this Bath Bomb earlier, it was hidden at the bottom of the LUSH Bath Bomb category and I have never seen it displayed well during any of my store visits.  These facts back up my surmises that this will be a cult product but never one with universal appeal.  I have always loved LUSH Bath Bombs and this is yet another one of my favorites and will be repurchased over and over again!

photo courtesy of LUSH

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

LUSH Twilight Bath Bomb

The most stressful season of the year has arrived in full force and I am trying to find ways to distress...without wine.  I have about ten days until finals are over and I am working on finishing all of my final projects as early as possible so that I can invest even more hours into studying for my dreaded finance final.  Last weekend, I received a small LUSH order and I took the time on Sunday night to try out a newer Bath Bomb.  The Twilight Bath Bomb came out a few seasons ago but I was ordering and trying it for the first time with my last order.  I purchased a few of these and plan to use them all throughout the holiday season for a bit of extra relaxation during this busy season. 

"Recreate the magic of a dreamy, starry night in your tub with our most relaxing bath bomb yet. As Twilight slowly fizzes away in the tub, its dusky pink exterior gives way to streams of purple, and finally to a deep indigo hue with delicate shimmering stars. Relaxing lavender oil and comforting tonka absolute soothe stressed bodies and minds, leaving you feeling warm, fuzzy and ready for a restful slumber.", states the LUSH website. 

Twilight might be the perfect fall and winter bathtime treat, I love using deeper lavender fragrances in the cooler weather and I love the strong mix of lavender and tonka bean that develops from this product.  I laid in this wonderful bath for about thirty minutes and had not a care in the world when I got out and went to bed.  This is the perfect scented treat to help me through finals season.

I am torn between what I love the most about this Bath Bomb, the relaxing fragrance or the color that it turns my bath water.  The Bath Bomb is a medium pink shade when it is first unwrapped and then turns into a pale purple when it first hits the water.  As the product dissolves, it develops into a deeper purple hue with small pieces of gold shimmer in it.  It really reminds of a beautiful sunset and then the full night sky.  I was enchanted with this aspect of the product.

I am very glad that I bought several of these and I will continue to use them all through the next few days of finals season and then to combat the rest of the holiday stress.  I will order a few more of these to use for the rest of the winter months.  Twilight is among my top five for LUSH bath bombs and it might be one of my favorite products from the whole line.

photo courtesy of LUSH

Monday, December 2, 2013

Benefit Gimme Brow! Volumizing Brow Gel

Today is Cyber Monday and one of the biggest online shopping days of the year, we all know that stores do certain offers only on their websites but many stores also have great offers.  I decided to hit the mall very early this morning and do a bit of shopping for my family before I start cramming for finals season.  My last stop today was Sephora and I already started to pick up some items on my Most Wanted List, many of the holiday products are getting hard to find but I am very excited about my newest purchase from Sephora.  I have been interested in the Benefit Gimme Brow! product for a few weeks now but have never used this type of product on my eyebrows.  I bought this product this morning and tried it on as soon as I got home today.

I must confess that I don't spend much time thinking about my eyebrows, I usually get them cleaned up every few weeks but I keep them on the thicker side and don't change the overall shape of them.  I have dark hair and dark brows so I also don't have many concerns about the color of them matching my highlight/lowlight mix.  I used this brow gel once and I all I could think was "Why did I wait so long to try products like this?!", I love this product!

The Sephora website provides the following description of this awesome brow gel formula, "An award-winning, brow-volumizing, fiber gel that mimics the look of real hair for fuller-looking brows.  Gimme Brow’s innovative brush-on gel has tiny microfibers that adhere to skin and hair, creating lush-looking eyebrows where before there were none. The water-resistant, long-lasting, formula builds easily for thick, full arches, thanks to a tapered brush for blending and precision tip for shaping perfect brows.". 

This product is available in the following shades...

- Light/Medium - matches light brown to medium brown eye brows
- Medium/Dark - matches medium brown to dark brown eye brows

I use the Medium/Deep shade and it matches my hair perfectly, it is a shade deeper than my natural eye brows and the shade change make them stand out and look more defined and groomed.

This is a very easy formula to use, I was a bit worried that I would be having to draw my eyebrows on and run the risk of looking very unnatural.  This product has an applicator that reminds me a very small mascara wand, the product both tints and shapes the brows in one step.  I start with the inner corner of each brow and then sweep the product all the way to the outside.  One dip of the product is enough to do both brows in this fashion, I can just sweep this product on and be done with my brows.  This product quickly tames any stray hairs and makes my lashes look perfectly groomed with minimal effort.

I absolutely love the results of this product and I have fallen in love after using the product for only one day.  I decided that I needed to experiment a bit with the wear of this product, I don't want it to melt down my face in the hot weather or when I am at the gym after work.  I jumped in the shower before writing this post and just let the warm water run over my face.  The product didn't move at all and I had to use eye makeup remover to clean it all off my eye brows, I will be able to use this product every single day and I will be making this a staple of my makeup routine.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Most Wanted December 2013

Today is the first day of December and we are in the final stretch of time before my finals for this semester and the end of the holiday season.  I have a few last products from the holiday collections that I want to look for and then I will start thinking about what types of beauty trends we will be seeing for the spring season.  I am the most excited about Urban Decay releasing the Naked 3 Eye Shadow Palette in the very beginning of this month and I will be waiting on pins and needles until I can buy and try it out.

I also make a larger Most Wanted List in the month of December, I get inspired by the Twelve Days of Christmas and I want to pick up a few extra holiday gifts for myself.  This month I have a mixture of makeup and perfume products that I want and then I plan to try some new skincare products in the month of January.  I am feeling all kinds of new color products right now and I want quite a few new eye shadow palettes this month.

My Christmas List!

- Urban Decay Naked 3 Eye Shadow Palette
- Bobbi Brown Old Hollywood Eye Shadow Palette
- Bobbi Brown Old Hollywood Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick in 24 Karat
- Zoya Zenith Nail Polish in Seraphina
- Lancôme L'Absolu Rouge in Absolute Rouge
- Tory Burch EDP
- Benefit Gimme Brow! Brow Gel in Medium/Deep
- Aerin Evening Rose EDP
- YSL Parisian Night Blush Collector Palette Rue de Babylone
- YSL Parisian Night Rouge Volupte Shine in Pink in Paris
- Dior Golden Winter 5-Couleurs Eye Palette in Golden Flowers
- China Glaze Happy Holiglaze Nail Lacquer in Mingle With Kringle

I am so ready for the first new full Urban Decay Naked Eye Shadow Palette since December of 2011, the small Naked Basics palettes are not near as exciting as this release and I am hoping that I will have my hands on Naked 3 by the beginning of next week!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Caudalie Divine Oil

I have decided that the China Glaze collection that we looked at the other day will be my last holiday collection of the year.  Many of the special gifts that were put out by Tarte and Stila are already sold out and I cannot see the point in showcasing products and collections that are sold out and have little to no chance of being restocked.  I am guessing that I started my holiday collection coverage a bit too late this year, other blogs had pictures of products from these two brands up in the end of September...a time when I was in no mood to even think about the holidays.  I am also starting to get excited for spring after reading the Spring Trend Report in the last issue of Allure.  I think that I will have coverage of the upcoming spring trends coming within the next three weeks.

Today I wanted to focus on a great skincare product from Caudalie, I have been loving the Divine Oil as my skin is changing with the end of the fall and the beginning of the winter season.  I bought this product at the end of October and saved it until my skin got a bit drier as the temperatures dropped.  I bought this oil to use as a body moisturizer but I didn't realize that it could be used on the hair and face also.  I have only tried it on my body and sprayed into my hair so I can't comment on facial use but I can review how it worked in the other two scenarios. 

"A luxurious dry oil that provides nourishing moisture and lasting comfort to body, face, and hair.  Divine Oil contains a blend of grape seed, hibiscus, sesame, and argan oils combined with patented grape seed antioxidant polyphenols to leave skin soft, visibly firm, and radiant. Perfect as a post-sun product, its glamorous texture is instantly absorbed, imparting a subtle, floral, and sunkissed fragrance.", states the Sephora website. 

Caudalie is a brand that it well known for using grapes as a main ingredient, the anti-oxidant benefits of grapes and wine are becoming more popular in both the United States and Europe.  This brand has harnessed the power of grapes ever since its first few products and I have used this brand for many years.  I always get excited when new products come out and I have wanted to try this oil for the past few months.  I had wanted to order the oil since late last winter and forgot until the weather warmed up too much to reap all the benefits of oil.  I tend to use oils more in the fall and winter but this oil is light enough that I could it in all but the warmest months of the summer.

The key ingredients contained in this multi-purpose oil are...

- Grape Oil: Rejuvenates and nourishes.
- Extra Virgin Argan Oil: Restores hydrolipidic film.
- Sesame Oil: Softens and moisturizes.
- Patented Anti-oxidant Grape Seed Polyphenols    

Divine Oil provides a light spray of oil all over the body or hair.  I spray it right onto the skin and then rub it in with my hands, it hydrates quickly and leaves little to no residue on the skin.  I also liked to use it as a pre-shampoo oil treatment on the ends of my hair.  I shied away from using this oil on my face as it has a bit more fragrance contained in it than I normally like to use on my face. 

The fragrance is a light floral with a hint of green notes.  It is a slightly more floral version of their best selling perfume and I would also love a perfume in this fragrance for the spring.  The fragrance will let me use this oil into the warmer weather and I will see how long I can use it into the spring and summer months.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Friday, November 29, 2013

Fitness Friday - Reclined Spinal Twist Yoga Pose

I was on the fence about what to look at this Fitness Friday, yesterday was Thanksgiving and there was a part of me that wanted to look at a high intensity cardio exercise and another side that knows that there are very few people that have the motivation to hit the gym today.  I was fully planning on hitting the gym this morning and then I woke up later than usual and did not want to move out of my bed.  I have decided that I will be skipping both the gym and the mall today so I am hanging out in my favorite sweatpants and I have decided that I will not be writing a post about cardio activities until I return to my normal routine in the next few weeks.

Today we are going to be looking at a restorative yoga pose that I have done in both the beginning and end of many yoga classes.  This pose also helps with stomach issues and bloating, two common problems that occur after the Thanksgiving meals.  This would be a great yoga pose to try today and I enjoy doing it as many nights as possible before bed.

The Yoga Outlet website provides some great background on the benefits of the pose and how to reap the benefits of it.  "Twists are a great way to decompress and squeeze out the anxiety and frustrations of your day — just like wringing out a sponge. They also stimulate and detoxify the organs of your torso. If you’ve ever felt worn out at the end of a workday or after a weekend of over-indulgence, Reclined Spinal Twist is a great pose to help restore balance."  This pose is great for back or stomach issues but today we are going to focus on how it helps to relieve bloating

Reclined Spinal Twist helps to "wring" out the digestive organs and simulate digestion.  It will help to send fresh blood to the digestive system and keep them functioning in a healthy manner.  It will help move excess gas out of the stomach and reduce bloating, while keeping digestion flowing in the correct fashion.

- To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. You can rest your head on a pillow or blanket for extra neck support. Let your arms rest at your sides.
- On an exhalation, draw both knees to your chest and clasp your hands around them. This is Knee-to-Chest pose.
- Extend your left leg along the floor, keeping your right knee drawn to your chest. Extend your right arm out along the floor at shoulder-height with your palm facing down.
- Shift your hips slightly to the right. Then, place your left hand on the outside of your right knee.
- Exhaling, drop your right knee over the left side of your body. Keep your left hand resting gently on your right knee.
- Turn your head to the right. Soften your gaze toward your right fingertips. Keep your shoulder blades pressing toward the floor and away from your ears. Allow the force of gravity to drop your knee even closer to the floor. If your right toes can touch the floor, allow your foot to rest.
- Hold the pose for 10-25 breaths. On an inhalation, slowly come back to center, bringing both knees to your chest in Knees-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana).
- Exhale, and extend your right leg along the floor. Repeat steps 3-6 on the opposite side.
- When you’re finished with the pose, hug your knees to your chest for a few breaths in Knee-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana). Then, slowly exhale as you extend both legs along the floor.

The digestive benefits of this yoga pose as easy to understand on the day after Thanksgiving but this pose also will help with back muscles and wringing tension out of them.  It also helps to tone and refine side abdominal muscles, which is how I will be using this pose the majority of the time.

Hopefully this pose helps to make yesterday's Thanksgiving dinner a fond memory and I am sure that all of us will get right back on the exercise bandwagon next week...

photo courtesy of Yogaoutlet.com

Thursday, November 28, 2013

China Glaze Holiday 2013 Collection - Happy HoliGlaze Collection

Happy Thanksgiving!  The Macy*s Thanksgiving Day parade used to be the official start of the holiday season...a season that has been starting around the beginning of October for the past few years.  I find it interesting that I am nearly looking upon Thanksgiving as the beginning of the end of the holiday season, we have been seeing holiday products and collections early October and many of the top products are sold out by now.  My Christmas shopping has been started and I have been working on my Amazon shopping cart for early Black Friday deals.  Today's post returns us to holiday nail polish collections and I might be adding a few new red shades to my collection.

China Glaze is always one of my favorite nail polish lines but I have traditionally not liked their holiday collections.  I find this line turns out beautiful collections for spring and fall, all kinds of great bright shades in the summer months but the holiday collections usually repeat the same shades over and over again and are overly glittery or metallic.  We will see if Happy HoliGlaze is any better than the last few collections but I don't have high hope for it.

The Happy HoliGlaze collection...

- All Wrapped Up - blue purple microglitter
- Be Merry, Be Bright - purple and red hexagonal glitter suspended in a clear base
- Bells Will Be Blinging - large chunks of blue glitter suspended in a clear base
- Elfin' Around - bright orange-red foil
- Just Be-Claws - medium red foil
- Mingle With Kringle - medium gold foil
- Put A Bow On It - medium purple microglitter
- Santa Red My List - magenta foil
- So Blue Without You - mermaid blue foil
- This Is Tree-Mendous - olive green microglitter
- Your Present Required - multicolored microglitter
- There's Snow One Like You - white textured pieces in a white cream base

This collection rivals the Essie holiday collection as the ugliest collection this holiday season.  I hate the majority of the shades in Happy HoliGlaze and will be skipping over this whole collection.  I will admit that I like that this company has not released multiple versions of the same red shades over and over again this collection but I can't say that I would wear most of these shades and have no idea what some of them are doing in the holiday collection.  There are way too many "non-traditional" holiday shades in this collection and the collection lacks a theme.  It appears that China Glaze has grabbed a bunch of shades from their permanent shade line, modified the shades a little bit, and then slapped some type of holiday-inspired name on the bottle.  Elfin' Around and So Blue Without You look like they belong in a summer collection.  This Is Tree-Mendous, All Wrapped Up, and Put A Bow On It look like they belong in a fall collection. This is the oddest assortment of shades in any holiday collection...

I only like two of the shades, Mingle With Kringle and So Blue Without You are very pretty even though I wouldn't use So Blue Without You until next summer.  The rest of the shades are not my cup of tea and they range from the odd to the ugly.  The ugliest shade award goes to There's Snow One Like You, this was supposed to be inspired by snow but looks like huge white chunks applied to the nail.  Every photo that I find of that shade is uglier than the next. 

This collection is a huge miss for me and I won't be buying nail polish until the spring collections release. 

photo courtesy of Google

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dior Holiday 2013 Collection - Golden Winter

Yesterday we looked at the YSL Parisian Night collection and today we are continuing this season's obsession with Parisian-inspired holiday collections.  Dior has released the Golden Winter collection, a group of holiday products that are inspired by the gold grandeur of Versailles.  Nearly every surface in Versailles is covered in gold or mirrors, this was grand palace of the royal family before the French Revolution and one of the most visited places in the city today.  I have not yet been to Versailles but have seen many pictures of the beauty and splendor of the buildings and grounds, I want to visit Versailles very much and this collection from Dior has me very excited!

I am not sure how much of this collection will work for my cool pink-toned skin, gold tones (with the exception of eye makeup) tend not to be flattering on me.  I might not be attracted to as many products from Golden Winter as I was from the YSL collection yesterday but I love the idea of this collection and it is time for us to start checking it out.

Dior's holiday collection!

5 Couleurs Eye Palette - Dior reinvents the 5 Couleurs legend.  True to the bold colour creation from the House of Dior, each harmony explores a unique world of colour. Based on a central shade, the signature of the palette, 4 accessory shades are used to create a multi-faceted look.  Like a couture wardrobe for the eyes, 5 Couleurs gives free rein to your creativity to achieve custom makeup results. Dior has also created two ready-to-wear looks for the eyes—natural and sophisticated—based on the central shade. 
- Golden Flower - shades of golds, bronzes, and roses
- Golden Snow - shades of grays, purples, and pinks

Diorblush - The iconic blush from the House of Dior: the new colour accessory for face makeup with style. 
Diorblush boasts a wide palette of shades available in 4 colour groupings (pink, red, coral and nude) and 3 finishes (iridescent, matte, satiny). Red, pink, coral and nude—an explosion of colour for the finishing touch to your makeup look.
- Gold Addict - warm deep rose with subtle gold shimmer
- My Rose - cool deep rose with a matte finish

Diorific Haute Couture Lipstick - Diorific, the legendary lip accessory with an Haute Couture finish, holds the signature of Dior glamour in its jewel-like gold case.  A unique formula in rich shades with a luminous, long-lasting matte finish and perfectly shaped and defined lips to create a captivating, sophisticated look.
- Diva – ruby red cream
- Etoile – frosted beige satin
- Joy – neutral glossy pink
- Royale – rose gold shimmer
- Winter – warm raspberry cream
- Midnight – fuchsia cream

Dior Addict Ultra-Gloss - More than just a gloss, Dior Addict Ultra-Gloss is a lip plumper and gloss all in one.  For the first time at Dior, an Ultra-Gloss with a hydra-plumping texture that offers 3 benefits: Ultra-Plumping:  +14% immediate volume. Its plumping formula gives lips a supple, plump shape bursting with freshness; Ultra-glossy: 97% of women say lips are glossed with an incredibly thin and easy-wearing mirror-shine film; Ultra-hydrating: 6 hours of continuous, deep moisturisation for smoothed, plumped lips.
- Enchanted Rose - deep rose cream with silver shimmer
- Pink Fantasy - pale sheer pink with gold shimmer

Diorific Vernis Nail Lacquer - Ultra-shiny, long wearing and sensational gel shape… Discover the new Dior Vernis range: alluring shades that team true colour with professional results and a new expert brush that makes it easy to achieve that "just-stepped-out-of-the-salon" finish.
- Winter – milky pink with lots of gold shimmer
- Marylin – ruby red cream
- Royale – pure fuchsia cream
- Midnight  – vibrant plum with lots of silver shimmer

I like this collection a lot but I do think that I prefer the YSL collection over this one.  I preferred the YSL collection because it contained a wider range of lip products but I do prefer the eye makeup palettes contained in the Dior collection.  I will be purchasing products from both of these collections but I do think that I will end up with more from the YSL collection.  I think my biggest issue with the Dior collection is that so many of the products are loaded with shimmer and this limits my ability to make them work for more occasions than just going out at night.  I understand that holiday makeup is supposed to be about dressing up and having fun however it can be very hard to work many of these shades into more subtle makeup looks. 

One of my favorite aspects about Dior collections is the special packaging, this brand always has the best packaging and product presentation but what is contained on the inside has doesn't always live up to expectations.  This is a brand that has some of the hugest variances in quality and pigmentation, an issue that I would love to see get sorted out because I would buy more from them if the products were of a more consistent quality. 

I would like the 5 Couleurs Eye Palette in Golden Flowers, this is a pretty palette with warm shimmering tones that will complement my blue eyes.  I should be able to use these shades well past this holiday season and they should be able to work with many of the shades that I already love in my Urban Decay Naked Palettes.  I also want the Diorblush in the matte pink shade, this is one of the most wearable pieces of this whole collection and I don't wear shimmer on my face if I am doing a dramatic eye or lip look.  I like the Diorific lipsticks in Diva, Joy, and Midnight but I can pass on the others.  None of the lip glosses are impressive to me and I am not interested in any of the nail polishes.  I wanted to like the nail polishes because the packaging is so pretty but the shades are pretty generic and I don't love any of them.

Dior isn't one of my favorite brands and I haven't fond any products or collections to change this around.  This company does packaging very well but the products and formulas are all over the place and I haven't been in love with any of their past few seasonal collections. 

photo courtesy of Dior

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Yves Saint Laurent Holiday 2013 Collection - Parisian Night

Christmas is now less than a month away and we have only a few more holiday makeup collections to look at.  I tend to finish up all of my holiday coverage about two weeks before the holiday itself, at this point most of my holiday shopping is done for myself and others and I am beginning to think ahead toward what types of trends we will begin to see in the spring season. 

Today and the next two days will be all holiday collections, I want to finish up all of my personal holiday beauty shopping within the next week and I want to finalize my Most Wanted List within the next few days.  At this point in the season, I will be doing all of my shopping online as I refuse to go near a mall after Thanksgiving unless I am forced to.  I am sure that I will be forced to a few more times but I will try to stay away as much as possible...

Today we are looking at the new YSL holiday collection, Parisian Night is another Paris-inspired collection for the holidays and I am as excited about this one as I was to read about the Guerlain color collection.  I have always loved Paris and I am dying to visit that city again, I have to live a bit through French beauty lines right now until I finish graduate school.  My last night of class before the Thanksgiving vacation is tonight and I am ready for a mental trip to Paris to relax before I get my load of homework to do over the short break.

YSL has chosen French model Lindsey Wixon as the new face of this collection and she fits the brand's vision for this glittering holiday season.  "Her eyes sparkle with a romantic glow, her complexion simmers with passionate pink. Her lips smile with the colour of a French kiss.", states the YSL website to describe the Parisian Nights collection.

YSL's Paris-inspired holiday collection!

Pure Chromatics Collector Palette Avenue Marceau - Create Eyes like a work of art with our Couture Palette. The intense color is long-wearing, crease-proof and available in 11 matte and satin shades. Our formula includes a high concentration of pearls and pigments and a network of transparent powders that result in a long-lasting complex for optimal hold. This smooth even blend finish is crease resistant for up to 12-hour hold. The result is pure, intense color in 11 stunning palettes.
- metallic pale pink/metallic warm gold/metallic champagne pink/metallic violet

Blush Collector Palette Rue de Babylone - The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion: the complexion is fresh and radiates from happiness.The true brilliance of these precious moments is captured in Blush Volupte Harmonies, as dangerous liaisons between pure color and light heart. All the magic is here: in the interplay of contrasts. Freed of opaque powders, color expresses itself without any constraint, while each brush stroke sculpts the feature in light.
- medium pink matte and pale blue pink shimmer

Vernis a Levres - Gloss? Stain? Lipstick? Stop compromising and have it all. PREMIERING Vernis a Levres Rebel Nudes. Revolutionary Nudes, our first Glossy Stain with reflective shine. Weightless feel. Long lasting color. 3D Luminosity. What's new? Vernis a Levres Rebel Nudes captures the revolutionary formala of Glossy Stain and combines with Euphotic Colored Light technology to allow light to pass through and give an all day luminous 3D effect.
- 104 Fuchsia Tomboy - bright magenta
- 109 Fuchsia Fugitive - muted rose pink
- 110 Reckless Pink - pale bubblegum pink

Rouge Volupte Shine - Introducing Rouge Volupté Shine.  Give in to the temptation of dazzling color. Succumb to a unique sensorial experience with extreme comfort and luminous shine.  Hyaluronic acid microspheres help seal in moisture for 8 hours of hydration. Anti-oxidants and emollients help condition and soften lips.
- 6 Pink in Devotion - bright blue pink
- 13 Pink in Paris - neutral pink
- 19 Fuchsia in Rage - deep violet

Rouge Pur Couture - Lipstick is the ultimate gesture of beauty. For YSL Beauty, this gesture began in 1978, with the birth of a defining era in lip color, championed by Yves Saint Laurent who wanted to dress women’s lips in couture colors. It was then that the ROUGE PUR COUTURE legacy began; a wardrobe of iconic lipsticks able to deliver the promise of pure color, draped elegantly onto the lips. The lipstick of heroines.
- 55 Luminous Red- creamy blue red
- 56 Luminous Vanilla - creamy warm orange
- 57 Luminous Pink - creamy medium rose
- 58 Luminous Mauve - creamy violet

La Laque Couture - A new generation nail lacquer that’s both elegant and practical is presented in a sleek elongated glass bottle imprinted with the timeless YSL logo. A pantheon of fashion-inspired shades, from subtle and natural to vibrant and dramatic provide a high-shine finish for an instant touch of glamour. Long wear formula with Chil Rose Oil strengthens, moisturizes and protects nails from chipping and cracking. Dries fast and applies evenly without streaking. La Laque Couture is equipped with a new custom-made brush that allows an easy and smooth application.
- 12 Rose Renaissance - bright magenta cream
- 14 Violine Surrealiste - bright violet cream
- 29 Dore Orfevre - shimmering metallic gold

I love this collection!  YSL is not a brand that I typically purchase most of my makeup items from but I love these products and shades and now I think that I need to try more color products from this company.  My favorite piece of the collection is the limited edition blush duo, this product contains two great pink shades and I must add this to my pink blush collection.  I can use either of these shades alones or mix them together to create a third shade, I need to order this product from Sephora and I will use it all throughout the year.

There are so many pretty lip shades in the Parisian Night collection, I haven't tried any of these lipsticks or glosses and I think they could become some of my new favorites.  I want all three pinks in the Vernis a Levres products, the deeper pinks I can wear in the winter months and then the pale shade will take me right into the spring and summer months.  I love two shades of the Rouge Volupte Shine, both of the pinks shades will be part of spring lip rotation.  The neutral pink hue will be able to be worn all year long and I would consider purchasing a back up if this shade is limited edition, I find it very hard to find the perfect neutral pink cream lipstick or gloss and I am always on the hunt for new shades.  The Rouge Pur Couture lipstick shades will round out my lipstick obsession with this collection, I love the red and rose shades and both of these will become new additions to my collection.  I always love a new red shade and the rose has the potential to be a cool weather neutral shade for me.  I have a nice amount of lip shades to investigate from this collection and I always need to grow my lipstick collection...

The last pieces that I want from the Parisian Night collection is all three of the three new nail polish shades.  I would wear these shades during the holidays but I also think they will look great as pedicures during the summer too. 

This collection from YSL is one of my top five of this season and I have a nice amount of shopping to do from it.  All of these pink hues will work now and then many of them will appear in my makeup looks as we head toward the spring and summer months.

photo courtesy of Yves Saint Laurent