Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tarte Fall 2013 Collection

Today is the last day of July and tomorrow is the day that I officially start thinking hardcore about fall and all the clothing and beauty products that I will need to add to my collection for the upcoming seasons.  I can't help but get very excited when I think about all the new items that I am going to want to pick up from my favorite collections and how I will make some of the great new fall trends work with my current style and wardrobe/beauty products.  One of my favorite collections this year is Tarte, I started really using a few of their products late last winter and then kept adding more and more items from this line to my collection over the spring and summer months.  I have found their new fall collection on their website this morning and I am so excited to see what this company has decided to bring out for the fall season!

The fall collection from Tarte could be considered a group of new product rather than a full collection, there does not seem to be any type of theme in this collection and the products range from face to lip to body products.  I am surprised to note that the only eye makeup product in this new group of products is a new mascara formula, there is nothing in eye shadows or liners.  I am disappointed to see the lack of eye makeup since their eye shadow palette are among some of my favorite pieces in my train case and I have been using their cream eye liner formula regularly over the past few months.  I am excited to see more lip products from this line as I currently don't own any of their lip products and I am always ready to try new lip gloss formulas.

Here are the new fall products from Tarte!

Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation - Seamlessly brush over imperfections with this waterproof, weightless powder foundation that delivers up to 12 hours of natural-looking, full coverage for a flawless, airbrushed appearance.  Introducing the latest addition to the Amazonian clay foundation line for total complexion perfection! Amazonian clay full coverage airbrush foundation delivers flawless, natural-looking coverage that lasts, while the skintuitive™ formula invigorates skin tone and texture for a youthful complexion. Powered by Amazonian clay enriched with the Earth’s natural, light-reflecting gemstones, this moisture-rich powder buffs on smoothly for waterproof, 12-hour coverage that won’t settle into fine lines and wrinkles. Available in 11 shades to perfectly complement a wide range of skin tones and undertones, this innovative foundation also employs a custom mesh delivery system for a fool-proof, mess-free application every time.

Airbuki Bamboo Powder Foundation Brush - A soft, versatile brush to flawlessly apply your tarte Amazonian clay full coverage airbrush foundation.  Buff your way to airbrushed complexion perfection with the new airbuki bamboo powder foundation brush! The perfect complement to the Amazonian clay full coverage airbrush foundation, this soft, versatile, cruelty-free brush allows you to flawlessly apply powder foundation like a pro. Just gently press the perfectly-sized brush into the custom mesh sifter on the Amazonian clay full coverage airbrush foundation for clean and easy application every time.    

Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation SPF 15 - Achieve flawless skin that looks healthy and natural with this supremely blendable liquid foundation that delivers up to 12 hours of satin-matte coverage while protecting the skin from powerful UVA/UVB sun rays.  Achieve flawless skin that looks healthy and natural. This supremely blendable, buildable and full coverage formula delivers up to 12 hours of satin-matte coverage with a weightless texture. Reduce the appearance of pores, discolorations and imperfections and ensure a perfectly flawless complexion every time with this best seller.

Amazonian Clay Waterproof 12-Hour Concealer - Cover and conceal any beauty boundary from dark circles to breakouts to redness with this full coverage, waterproof concealer in an easy, twist-up stick for seamless applications and a lightweight, satin-matte finish.  Designed for a brush free application, this creamy concealer glides on smooth and masks any and all imperfections from dark circles and breakouts to blemishes and redness. The buildable, full-coverage, and oil-free formula is rich in pigments for truer color without a heavy or tacky texture, making it ideal for an easy application and satin finish. This formula works for all skin types and is ideal for normal to combination skin.

Lights, Camera, Flashes Statement Mascara -
Take your lashes to the extreme with this ultra-black mascara that lengthens, curls and magnifies for an intensified look proven to increase lash volume by 752% instantly!  Take your sultry, flashy lashes to the extreme with this amped up, ultra-black mascara that lengthens, curls and magnifies lashes for an intensified look proven to increase lash volume by 752% instantly! Powered by tarte’s proprietary triple black complex, this longwear, vitamin-infused formula emphasizes length and volume while conditioning lashes for a dramatic look that won’t dry out, flake or budge.  The custom-engineered, dual-molded brush boosts even the skinniest lashes for an exaggerated, voluminous look. First, the shorter, denser side of the brush delivers the optimal amount of mascara to volumize and coat each lash perfectly, then the longer, firmer side of the brush lengthens and separates for maximum volume without clumping.

Glamazon Pure Performance 12-Hour Lipstick - tarte introduces its very first long-wear, clay-infused lipstick. A unique blend of emollient-rich butters (mango, avocado and shea) is encapsulated in this tarte12-hour power™ formula to achieve rich, vivid, and long-wearing color that applies smoothly and won’t fade away.  This high cushion lipstick keeps lips moisturized all day long, minimizes the appearance of fine lines, and stops feathering in its tracks to give lips a perfect, plumped-up appearance, and long-wearing color that applies smoothly and won’t fade away.
- Fierce - bright red cream
- Playful - purple rose cream
- Foxy - deep pink cream

Double Detox Amazonian Clay Exfoliating Facial Mask - A double-duty detoxifying and exfoliating facial mask.  Transform skin with the powerful double detox™ Amazonian clay exfoliating facial mask. Harnessing the balancing and restoring power of Amazonian clay, this double-duty at-home treatment resurfaces, replenishes and purifies skin for a smoother, healthier appearance in as little as 5 weeks.

Maracuja Rainforest Glow Instant Matte Waterproof Body Protector - A bronzing, matte, waterproof body perfector naturally formulated to blur the appearance of skin imperfections for a seamless, flawless finish.  It’s time to blur away the look of dull, uneven skin tone with tarte’s revolutionary instant matte waterproof body perfector! This award-winning formula imparts healthy, natural-looking color, with a no-fuss, no-wait instant bronze-on-demand that helps blur the look of uneven skin tone, imperfections and varicose veins. Infused with maracuja & rich antioxidants, this quick-drying bronzing lotion brightens and restores skin’s natural luster, so even after you wash it off with soap and water, your skin still feels soft and looks radiant. The creamy, whipped formula and included application mitt guarantee an easy, clean and streak-free tan that won’t budge or transfer throughout the day.

This is quite a mixture of products to put into a fall collection, I am excited for the mascara and the lipstick but I was hoping that I would see more color products in this collection.  My first choice from the collection would be the new lipstick formula, I would love to have it in all three shades but my favorite is the red that I have pictured with this entry.  Not that I need yet another red lipstick but I just love them and always want to add more of these to my collection...

The mascara would be my second choice and I will want to pick this up next time that I am running low on mascara, I want to see if the claim of increasing lash size by over 700% is valid (doubtful) and I want to see how I like formulas from this company.  If this formula works well then I will order more mascaras from Tarte.  I would really like to try the liquid foundation from this collection, I can see this one being a great formulation and I have high hopes for finding a full coverage, long lasting foundation to add to my collection.

I can't say that I am very excited about any of the skincare products in this collection and I would have been happier to see more color products included with the collection.  The mask might be too drying for my skin and I will be sticking with the Pure Maracuja Oil from this company.

photo courtesy of Tarte

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Oscar de la Renta Essential Luxuries Mi Corazon

I have really been diving into last month's Glossybox and will start looking at my July box on my next day off from work (the July box actually contains a few items that I already own so I will not have many reviews to post on this box) and I am still loving nearly every product that I have tried from the box so far.  I can't wait to order more body products from C. Booth and will start using the Honey Almond oil as soon as the weather begins to get cooler.  The past two days I got back into the Oscar de la Renta Essential Luxuries perfume samples that I received in my first box and have tried out the last of the summer fragrances in this line.  I will hold out for a few weeks on the other samples and then start some of those reviews once the cool weather is on the horizon.  I am ready to shop for fall makeup but not quite ready to start thinking about cool weather fragrances yet.

Mi Corazon is the next fragrance in the Essential Luxuries series and so far I haven't found any of these fragrances that I have loved or considered one that I need for my collection.  Sargasso has potential but changed too much once it settled down and I liked it much less each time that I smelled it.  If Mi Corazon is not a good choice for me then I wouldn't be finding a good warm weather fragrance from this collection.  I am hoping that the cold weather fragrances from Essential Luxuries might be more to my liking...

Mi Corazon is sold exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue and I pulled the fragrance description and photos from their website.  "An unmistakable, white floral bouquet intrinsically associated with Mr. de la Renta's devotion to family and his passion for gardening embodied in a lush, creamy accord of tuberose and ylang-ylang that mingle with peach for a warm tropical twist and an intoxicating trail." 

I read the description of this fragrance before I tried it for the first time and knew that I would either love or hate this fragrance, I do very well with Tuberose but find Ylang-Ylang to be too sweet for me.  If the fragrance is not sweet and errs more on the floral side then this will be the clear winner so far from Essential Luxuries.  I have tried this fragrance twice now and I can see that this is another loser from this company and I am wondering if I will find any fragrance that I like in this group.

Mi Corazon is a very sweet and strong floral fragrance and the Ylang-Ylang note trumps all the others in this blend.  When I first tried this fragrance on my skin, the Peach notes came out very strongly and then the Ylang-Ylang followed.  I did not get very much of the Tuberose in Mi Corazon and was left with a strong mixture of Peach and Ylang-Ylang that was too sweet for me to ever wear.  I couldn't stand to smell this fragrance soon as spraying it on and this is obviously not a fragrance for me to wear on a normal basis.

The Essential Luxuries collection is turning into a huge dud for me, I had high hopes for all six of these fragrances and so far I have tried and disliked three of them.  I can only hope that the remaining three fragrances are more to my liking and that I find a new fragrance from those.  I will return to this collection later on at the very end of summer/early fall when I start thinking about new fragrances for the cool weather.

photo courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue

Monday, July 29, 2013

C. Booth Honey Almond Nourishing Dry Oil Mist

Today we are moving back to a product that I first tried in last month's Glossybox, the products included with July's box didn't do much for me and I gave several of them away already.  The July box theme was all about product that were blue (or inspired by the color blue) and were all about summer beauty.  I wasn't really interested in a box full of summer products at the end of July, I have been thinking about fall for the past few weeks now and don't have any place in my beauty product collection for more summer products.  There is a pretty good chance that I will not get to use any of them yet this year and they will wait until next May to be opened.  I find it interesting that a product in June's box will be better for fall than the ones in the July box.

When I got my June box, I was most excited about the Oscar de la Renta perfume samples and put most of the other products to the side.  I picked up one of the body products for the first time the other day, C. Booth was not a brand that I had ever used before and I was interested in trying a completely new body product brand.  I have so many Bath and Body Works and Body Shop products that I tend to have tunnel vision with body products and may not notice new brands (a habit that I need to change soon!) and I wanted to see what this line was all about.  The Honey Almond Nourishing Dry Oil Mist was included in my box and this is the kind of fragrance that I love in the cold weather months.  I also used to love using oils on my skin during that time of the year and wish that Bath and Body Works still carried all the body oils that they used to when I started there in college.  Oil sprays seem to be harder and harder to find each year even though I find them to be one of the best moisturizers for dry skin.

I found the C. Booth products on the website and will be ordering more products from this company.  "This dramatically lightweight dry oil for face & body imparts a light, lasting glow for instantly touchable skin.  Elegant, nourishing oils quickly absorb to smooth & soften.  Infused with a gentle sweet blend of Honey & Almond, it's the ultimate aromatic indulgence for skin & the senses!"  This oil is very easy to use and the results of it are great for normal to dry skin.

I hold the bottle about six to eight inches away from my skin and then spray it twice over each part.  I then rub the oil into my skin for best usage.  You don't have to rub the oil in but I do recommend it and have used all kinds of spray oils in this fashion for quite a long time now.  The oil leaves very little residue when rubbed in but leaves more residue if you do not use it in this fashion.  I love the hydrating properties of this oil and it works as well as heavy moisturizers without the sticky feeling that many of them leave on the skin.  If you don't like the feeling that creams and butter leave on the skin, then you might want to try a dry oil and see how you like it.

I love the Honey Almond fragrance but I find it a bit to heavy to use in the summer months, this is a lovely blend of the two notes and I recommend it for a cold weather scent.  I saw on the website that this product also comes in a Tahitian Monoi scent that would be much better for the summer.  I also saw that the Honey Almond scent comes in a butter, a lotion, and a body wash and I will want to order and try all of the products in this fragrance.

I have found a new body product line to order products from and there will be many more reviews on the way from C. Booth!

photo courtesy of

Sunday, July 28, 2013

OPI Fall/Winter 2013 Collection - San Francisco

Today we are back to the fall collections and I am ready to look at more new nail polish shades for fall!  We looked at the Butter London fall collection earlier this month and while I did like them, I was somewhat dismayed because the company released several shades that would be perfect for summer and decided not to create "traditional" fall shades.  I am ready for some deep jewel tones and want to expand my collection, I must say that my neons are getting a little old and I am ready to buy some new shades.  I saw the advertisement for the new OPI collection in several of the August issues of leading beauty magazines and this is a collection that will meet my expectations of what I want for fall.  I have been using OPI more than usual recently and I love the huge brush and how easy the polishes are to apply, this brand is truly error proof in application and the recent shades that I have used have much better formulas than those from when I first started using the brand about a year and a half ago.  I wonder if I got a few bad bottles in the beginning or if OPI has slowly been revamping its polish formula...

The fall/winter collection for this brand is another one of their city-inspired collections, this one is inspired by San Francisco and contains a huge variety of hues and some shades that are available in the new Liquid Sand finish.  I personally have not found a shade that I like in this finish but maybe this collection will change my mind.  I like OPI collections for how easy they are to find and how wearable most of the shades are, this is one of the safest and most widely used nail polish lines on the market today.  I am excited to see silver, blue, and deep purple hues in this collection and am already starting to think about what shades I want to add to my collection this fall!

Here is the San Francisco collection from OPI!

- A-Piers to be Tan - medium warm tan cream
- Dining al Frisco - medium blue with silver frost
- Haven't the Foggiest - medium silver foil
- Peace and Love and OPI - deep charcoal foil
- Keeping Suzi at Bay - navy blue cream
- Incognito in Sausalito - very deep navy blue cream
- Lost on Lombard - deep cool berry red cream
- I Knead Sour-Dough - warm plum brown with subtle shimmer
- Muir Muir on the Wall - deep plum with shimmer
- In the Car-Pool Lane - deep oxblood cream
- Embraca-Dare Ya! - bright magenta with warm gold shimmer
- First Date at the Golden Gate - medium warm red cream
- It's All San Andrea's Fault - medium cool taupe (Liquid Sand Finish)
- Wharf! Wharf! Wharf! - medium navy blue (Liquid Sand Finish)
- Alcatraz...Rocks - deep cool purple (Liquid Sand Finish)

The blues and silvers in this collection are the shades that I will be adding to my collection first.  Haven't the Foggiest is my first choice, I am almost finished with my bottle of Platinum Silver from China Glaze and would benefit from a new bottle of silver foil.  Peace and Love and OPI is my second choice, I use silvers as neutrals all throughout the year and this is another good choice for me.  The blue shades would all have a home in my collection, I love Keeping Suzi at Bay and Incognito in Sausalito and I will be playing around with them and the silvers in accent manicures this fall.  Muir Muir on he Wall and In the Car-pool Lane will round out the rest of the collection for me and Muir Muir will fill the lack of ox blood shades in my polish collection.

The navy blue shade in the Liquid Sand finish makes me want to try it more now than in collections past.  I will try to find more photos and reviews of Wharf! Wharf! Wharf! and see how finish looks when applied.  I will also see if my salon carries this shade and what the overall thoughts are on it.  I will report back if I decide to purchase this Liquid Sand shade.

photo courtesy of Google

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Korres Milk Proteins Foaming Cream Cleanser

I was using an oil based face cleanser for the past few weeks and I have decided that this type of formulation will one that I will use more in the late fall and throughout the winter, I like face oils but I don't think that I need one at this time of the year.  I finished up that product and was excited to see that Sephora has restocked the Korres Milk Proteins Foaming Cream Cleanser after several months and I ordered it right away.  You guys may remember me lamenting that this product has been out of stock in both the stores and the website for at least three months and I have wanted to try it ever since I first saw it on Sephora's website.  I have used it for a few days now and I can firmly attest that this face wash was worth the wait...

I used the original formula of the Milk Proteins Face Cleanser earlier this year and that was a good formula for the fall or spring, I would find it to be too heavy for the summer months and am glad that I can use the foaming formula for the rest of the summer and early fall.  I couldn't use this formula in the cold weather but the combination of the two formulas would get me through the whole year in this face care line.

I am not sure if this product is exclusive to Sephora but I have only ever seen this product there and that is where I ordered it from.  "A gentle cleanser that transforms into a rich foam for effective, soap-free cleansing.  This product cleanses in one step, effectively washing away dirt, impurities, and makeup from the face and eyes. Formulated with milk proteins, it provides skin-enhancing lactose and essential amino acids to form a protective hydration shield on the skin. The combination of 100-percent natural emulsifiers and vegetable oils leaves skin supple and hydrated. This pure and mild formula is ideal for all skin types."

The following are key ingredients of the face cleanser.  "Milk Proteins: Nourish and moisturize the skin; provide essential amino acids.  100% Natural Emulsifiers and Vegetable Oils: Leave skin supple and hydrated while ensuring excellent tolerance across the eyes and skin."

I used too much of this wash my first time around and hated the results, I used the amount for this one that I would have used for the regular cream formula (about a nickel size, maybe slightly larger) and I was left with residue all over my face and couldn't stand the feeling that was on my face.  The next time that I used the product, I used the correct amount and got a much better result.  The dime sized drop foamed up completely and created enough foam to completely cover my entire face.  It rinsed cleanly and left very little product residue.  The only way that I knew there was product residue was that I used a Clinique toner after it and there was very little cleanser residue on the cotton ball.  There was a small amount of foundation/concealer/bronzer/primer residue on the cotton ball and this is normal for me.  I usually tend to have this issue with any face cleanser since I use such high quality primers.

This product doesn't dry my face out like some foaming or gel cleansers have and I attribute this to the Milk Proteins and the vegetable oils that don't strip skin and help to build the strengthen the skin's moisture barrier.  I need more products like this in my life, I love the Korres brand of skincare and will continue to eagerly jump on new products from them as they release to Sephora.  I think I might own the whole Milk Proteins line at this point...

photo courtesy of Sephora

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fitness Friday - Cat and Cow Sequence Part 1

This week's Fitness Friday post veers of the course that we have taken for the past two weeks, we are moving away from food and juice and now we are going to look at beginner yoga poses.  I started doing yoga lessons at the beginning of this month and I have been really enjoying it so far and wanting to learn more with each passing week.  We start with warm ups and then do a whole hour of the primary sequence and move on to cooling down, I have increased my flexibility a good amount but still have more to work on with upper body strength.  Once I have my upper body strength built up, then I can start inverting and building up my poses.

We are going to start with a core beginner yoga sequence, this is one that is often used in warm ups and one that anyone can do to improve posture and flexibility.  This is the first part of a two week post, today we will look at Cat position and then next week we will look at Cow position.  They can be done in a sequence or done individually during stretching.

Cat is an early front runner for my favorite yoga position, the name itself makes me want to love it and I love the benefits of the position even more.  I tend to do make a sequence of this position with the Cow position and use them in my opening sequences of my yoga session.  If you do this pose alone or in the sequence, this is one of the best back stretches that I have ever done.

The Yoga Journal website provides a photo of the position and instructions on how to achieve the best posture in the position.

"Start on your hands and knees in a "tabletop" position. Make sure your knees are set directly below your hips and your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor. Center your head in a neutral position, eyes looking at the floor."

"As you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling, making sure to keep your shoulders and knees in position. Release your head toward the floor, but don't force your chin to your chest."

"Inhale, coming back to neutral "tabletop" position on your hands and knees."

"This pose is often paired with Cow Pose on the inhale for a gentle, flowing vinyasa."

This sequence is very versatile, I have used it to warm up for yoga and for any type of cardio workout.  I also use it in the morning to wake up and I know people who have used it to help fall asleep at night.  With use of that logic, it could also be used to relieve tension and stress throughout the day.  I would recommend it to those who spend most of their days working in an office setting and experience back pain...only if their co workers could not see what they are doing of course.

Next week we will look at the Cow position and then how to best use the two positions in sequence, I recommend trying this position to start getting the feel of the stretch and then mixing it up with the Cow position that we will look at in detail next week.

photo courtesy of Yoga Journal

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thierry Mugler Angel

All of us have fragrances that we want to love and will try on several times in an attempt to fall in love with the fragrance.  Sometimes it is hearing a million great reviews on a fragrance and sometimes it has to do with loving the brand that makes the fragrance and wanting to add their newest one to your collection.  The first try of the fragrance doesn't work well and we refuse to give us.  Personally, I give a fragrance three tests before I really decide what I think on it.  I rarely find a fragrance that I fall in love with on first wear (Versace Yellow Diamond and Stella McCartney are exceptions to my rule) and visit Sephora several times to keep testing the same fragrance.  Gone are the days where I try something and then take it right up to the register, I had made way too many of those rookie mistakes when I was younger and still have a shelf full of fragrances from that time.  I have to really love a fragrance now before I can add it to my huge collection and will test it many times before I make my decisions.

I have been trying to love Thierry Mugler's Angel for several years now, I first tried it back in college and preferred Angel Innocent to the original version.  I then tried the men's version about a year and a half ago and this was a dismal failure for me.  I then decided that I wanted to try Angel yet again and see if anything has changed.  I was obsessed with liking this fragrance when I read about it in the Perfumes: The Guide book by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez.  This is one of the few scents in this book that received five stars and is considered one of the most original scents on the market.  I wanted a unique fragrance for the cold weather and this is one that I was determined to like.  Angel was equally as determined to not like me...

Here is the review of the fragrance from Perfumes: The Guide, this review was written by Tania Sanchez. 

"The first time I smelled Angel, a flamboyant six-foot-three salesman with the shoulders of a linebacker encased in a baby blue zoot suit leaned over the counter and sprayed me.  I recoiled.  'Is this a joke?' I thought of it, for years, as possibly the worst thing I had ever smelled.  I suffered then from the naïve belief that women should smell only like flowers or candy; yet Angel, perversely, smells of both, with the same relation to your average sweet floral as the ten-story-high demonic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters has to your average fireside toasted sweet."

"In that sense, Angel certainly is a joke.  Countless perfumes have copied parts of it (for a sample, see Euphoria, Flowerbomb, and Prada), but they mistakenly play it straight.  Although Angel is sold as a gourmand for girls, spoken of as if it were a fudge-dipped berry in a confectioner's shop, it's all lies.  Look for Angel's Adam's apple: a handsome, resinous, woody patchouli straight out of the pipes-and-leather-slippers realm of men's fragrance, in a head-on collision with a bold black currant (Neocaspirene) and a screechy white floral.  These two halves, masculine and feminine, share a camphoraceous, icy brightness above its overripe (some say 'rotting') rumble.  The effect kills the possibility of cloying sweetness, despite megadoses of the cotton candy smell of ethylmaltol, leaving Angel in a high-energy state of contradiction.  Many perfumes are beautiful or pleasant, but how many are exciting?  Like a woman in a film who seethes, 'He's so annoying!' and marries him in the end, I returned to smell Angel so many times I had to buy it."

"When this striking idea proved a hit, it gave perfumers hope that, as once was done with Chypre, they could mask this structure a thousand different ways to create new effects.  It doesn't really work, though not for lack of trying.  The fruity chypres, leather chypres, floral chypres, green chypres, and so on, smell very different.  But the Angel format, combination of masculine and feminine, in nearly all cases still smells like Angel no matter what you use from columns A and B.  Don't fuss with pretenders.  Buy the perverse, brilliant original, but wear it only if you know how to sell the joke properly."

I will counter Sanchez's review with a product description and fragrance notes from Sephora.  "Angel, the first perfume by Thierry Mugler, evokes the emotion of tender childhood memories together with a sense of dreamlike infinity.  Angel, which launched a new fragrance category called the "oriental gourmands," seduces us with angelic flavors found deep within the heart of our memories, as well as sensual and passionate notes."

The notes are: Bergamot, Hedione, Helional, Honey, Dewberry, Red Berries, Vanilla, Caramel, Patchouli, Chocolate, Coumarin.
I wanted to love this fragrance and I used the tester over and over again in attempt to make this fragrance work with my skin chemistry.  Alas, it never did and I think it got worse every time that I used the product.  I got a super strong mixture of caramel and chocolate which is then soured with a massive hit of patchouli which just smells horrible on me and would horrify those around me if I would wear it.  This perfume is very strong and lasts all day and well into the night on me, this is yet another fragrance that still lingers around after I shower and try to wash it off.  Of course this is one of those fragrances that would stick on my skin for over twelve hours...

In short...I wanted to love this unique and untouchable fragrance and it wanted to hate me as much as I wanted to love it.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Too Faced Primed and Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer

In the summer months, I rely on a good formula face primer more than ever.  This is the time of the year that I give up on foundation and use a combination of BB Cream and bronzer and need to make sure that I have a solid base for the semi-sheer BB Cream, a low quality primer will not set me up for flawless skin and will make my face look as though I have not tried to improve the texture of it.  I have finished up an Urban Decay formula that I liked but didn't really love, that formula was a spray that worked nicely with a foundation but I wanted a creamier formula to use with my BB Cream this summer.  The Sales Associate at Sephora recommended a good formula from Too Faced and I decided to give it a try, I was considering a formula from NARS but really wanted to try something a bit different.  So my latest foundation primer purchase is Too Faced Primed and Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer and I have been playing around with it for about a week now.

The Too Faced formula is slightly thicker than what I am used to and I was a bit afraid that it might be too heavy for the summer months but it hasn't affected my skin during the most humid days of the summer and therefore I think that I should be good for the rest of the summer and then into fall when I go back into using foundation and loose powder as I normally do.  I am liking this formula and having quite a good run with all of the new makeup products that I have bought in the past few weeks.

I bought this product from Sephora but I know that it is available at Ulta if that is where you prefer to do your beauty product shopping.  My goal is to get to the next Sephora 500 point Beauty Insider reward before the end of the summer and so I have been ordering from them more than usual. 

"A makeup primer scientifically formulated to achieve the look of flawless skin without makeup.  This one-of-a-kind makeup primer was scientifically formulated to wear alone or under bronzers and foundation powders for a look of flawless skin without makeup. Vitamins A & C, mulberry extract, and a powerful dose of Retinol virtually banish pores while tired skin is left hydrated, firmer, and detoxified. Primed & Poreless creates the perfect canvas to allow powders, bronzers, and foundations to slide seamlessly on the skin—delivering a flawless and perfectly blended look that stay in place all day. Skin appears brighter, fresher, and younger.  It looks great on any skintone! The nude tone becomes invisible once applied."

I was expecting a white or clear formula so I was a bit surprised when the product squeezed out of the tube and was a deep nude color.  I then warmed the product up in between my palms and then the product turned clear and was very easy to apply.  The formula comes out a bit thick when first squeezed but the formula melts nicely when rubbed in between my palms.  I would not want to use this product without first melting it a bit, I can't see that it would apply well when used straight out of the tube. 

The product applies smoothly to the skin and then blends in easily, this is as easy to apply as many of the thinner formulas on the market.  The sets up my skin for the application of my BB Cream and then using a bit of concealer directly under my eyes.  A base application of this product smoothes any texture issues that my skin is having that day and helps the BB Cream and concealer apply much more smoothly and I have to use less product to cover up the flaws on my skin surface.  The vitamins in the formula help to brighten my skin and I look better after the initial application of the product itself.

I had no idea that the product contained Retinol, I have never heard of a primer containing this ingredient and have only seen it used in night treatments and creams.  I also have not seen this ingredient used in products that are made to be used in the daytime, retinols have the reputation of making skin more sensitive to UV rays and now I am surprised that I haven't had any issues with sun sensitivity or redness.  I honestly cannot believe that the dose in this product can be very large because it would not have been approved for day usage, so I am doubting the claims of Too Faced when they claim "a powerful dose" and feel that there is a very small dose of the ingredient in this primer.

With the claims of the Retinol in this product put aside, I do really like this primer and will be using it for the rest of the summer and then into the winter.  The formula applies well and keeps all of my makeup in place throughout sweating and the hot weather.  It sets the stage for great makeup application and I am loving this product so far.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Benefit Stay Don't Stray Eye Shadow Primer

I have finished up with my Bare Minerals eye shadow primer and have been playing around with a new formula.  I liked the Bare Minerals formula but the little tube that the product comes packaged in went much faster than most other formulas that I have used.  I liked the results from this formula but don't know that I would purchase it again unless the company changed the sizing of the tube or offered the tubes in packages of two for a special promotion.  I went through this product too quickly for my happiness and felt the need to order another formula within three weeks in of use.  I went with a formula from Benefit this time around, I have been using formulas from all different companies but Benefit is one that I have used face primers from before but never an eye shadow primer. 

Stay Don't Stray is packaged differently than the past few formulas that I have used and the most similar one to it is the NARS formula.  Both of these formulas are more of a liquid and are applied with a doe foot applicator instead of the traditional cream formula housed in a tube.  I love total change in formula once in a while and this product provides that happiness. 

I ordered this product from Sephora and will use that website for all product details and photographs.  "A primer for concealers and eye shadows.  This dual-action power primer works 360 degrees around the eyes to make concealers and eye shadows stay put. Concealers don't crease; eye shadows stay vibrant and true. Now in two neutral shades to suit all skintones, Stay Don’t Stray features a new dip-n-dab wand for easier application. Remember: just a dab'll do ya!  Sodium hyaluronate is known to hydrate, while vitamins C and E are known to help fight signs of aging."

This eye shadow primer comes in two available shades, one of the light skin tones and one for medium skin tones.  I ordered the Light shade (of course) and wouldn't be able to use the Medium shade unless I would use it as a shade of liquid eye shadow. 

I use next to none of this product to make my eye makeup stay all day long, this is the exact opposite of the Bare Minerals formula.  I will be using this product for the next few months, the tube is good sized and very little product is needed for use.  I use two dots of this product on each eye and then blend them into my eyelid.  I then apply whatever eye makeup that I am going to use that day and I am good to go.

This formula is a thin liquid but is quite tacky and good at keeping Urban Decay glitter eye shadows in place, my litmus test for eye shadow primers.  The product blends easily into my lids and then sets a smooth base for my eye shadows and eye liners, it is thin enough that I work with it easily and then it doesn't change the texture of my eye makeup when it is applied.  It helps my bright eye shadow shades to stay pigmented and vibrant and I can use less of these shadows (versus not using primer at all). 

I get a full eight to ten hours of perfect eye makeup and then it removes decently at the end of the day.  I will admit that I need an extra swipe of eye makeup remover to get all of my eye makeup off when using this product and I would prefer that over having my eye makeup fade half way through the day.  With the little extra remover, I can easily get all of the product off and then have a clean slate for eye cream and treatments. 

This is a very good quality eye shadow primer and can be used by anyone who has never used eye shadow primer all the way to someone that has used every single formula on the Sephora shelves.  This formula belongs in the halls of greatness with NARS and Urban Decay, this is a formula that I love so far and will be using for the next few months and then would definitely repurchase.  I would recommend this formula to anyone interested in this type of product especially to someone that used glitter-heavy formulas or prefer bright hues with tons of pigment.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lancome Fall 2013 Collection - L' Absolu Desir

After blogging about the new collection from Butter London last night, I started playing around on some of the other beauty blogs and product websites.  I wasn't planning on going right into another fall collection today, I have just started trying out a new eye shadow primer and have been testing my new Urban Decay Revolution Lipsticks and was planning on going more into product reviews today.  But life intervened and I was so impressed with the fall collection from Lancôme that I just couldn't wait to look at the products in details and show all of you the newest selections.  I have stated several times already that Lancôme has really improved their collections and products over the last five years, I used to only use the Juicy Tubes from this line and now look at all different products from it and each collection usually inspires some type of product lust from me.

The fall collection might be one of their best yet, L'Absolu Desir showcases the effortless beauty of the Parisian woman and has Kate Winslet as their model for the collection.  The packaging is limited edition and beautiful and brings out the packaging nut in me without even looking at the products inside.  I predict that I will be going crazy for this collection and a combination of this collection and the earlier one from Chanel will be the basis for my entire fall makeup look.  I really want to use this look find new products for deep red lips and perfect porcelain skin, a look that I can pull off very well as the weather cools down.  Kate Winslet is the face for this collection and I think she is beautiful and this makes me want the collection products even more!

The Lancôme press release states the following to describe the Parisian look that inspired this collection.  "She is elegant, chic, superb and totally effortless… She constantly reinvents her style with joy and individuality. She has that “je-ne-sais-quoi ” chic touch; she casts a spell without even noticing. She has just the right amount of sophistication and is always understated. In a word, she is…Parisian !"

"This season, Lancôme draws inspiration from iconic, effortless made-in-Paris chic ». A unique sense of elegance nestling within a secret: luxury teamed with creativity, bold twists on classics and new arrivals alongside the art of rewriting codes with a touch of wit. Following in Parisian steps, take an inspiring walk with Lancôme from the roses in Parc Monceau to the lights of the Eiffel Tower. The essence of their inimitable style is captured in a sumptuous collection with a fresh take on Paris’ best-known beauty symbol: red lips, skillfully sculpted in vibrant colour, accompanied by the perfect manicure… Effortless…"

Here is the new collection...

L'Absolu Rouge - Wrap your lips in rich, satiny color with this deeply replenishing lipstick. Infused with moisture-boosting Pro-Xylane™, lips stay moist, soft and comfortable for up to 8 hours. Antioxidant-rich Vitamin E helps keep lips safe from environmental aggressors, so they’ll look and feel healthier day after day. The stay true color won’t feather, flake or fade, so your pout will always look picture-perfect.
- 06 Rose-Nu - pink nude
- 47 Rouge Rayonnat - radiant crimson
- 132 Caprice - deep red with a warm orange tint
- 186 Rouge Desir - rich deep red
- 322 Rose Desir - bright magenta
- 386 Prune Desir - deep plum

Blush Rose Desir - Lancôme has created Blush Rose Désir, a precious powder with an all-new design reminiscent of a postcard from Paris, complete with the Eiffel Tour, roses and lipstick kisses…With two light-infused, orange- and pink-toned shades, this blusher for all complexions has been specially crafted to enhance the lipstick and bring out its radiance. Orange, the tinted shade is used to sculpt the cheeks, while the pink-tinted shade can be smoothed on to warm the top of the cheekbones.  The black case of Blush Rose Desir is embossed in gold, matching the L’Absolu Rouge design and part of Lancôme’s charming tribute to Paris this season. For perfect application every time, Blush Rose Désir comes with an exclusive, ultra-precise, double-ended brush. The wide brush is used to sweep blusher over the cheeks, while the smaller brush delivers just the right amount of powder for application round the lips, to illuminate the lipsticks and prevent feathering all day long.

Vernis in Love - Inspired by the new trendy Rouge In Love lip collection, Vernis in Love is a high potency nail lacquer perfectly themed to compliment every woman's mood and style. With ultimate brilliance, intense color, and a mistake-free application, your nails will love the lasting shine and pop of color that stays put for days.
- 185 Purple Fiction - intense plum
- 385 Black Sepia - deep brown
- 485 Gray Lumiere - deep slate gray

This is a smaller than normal collection for Lancôme but all the products in it are stunning and I am excited to start adding a few of these to my traincase.  The Blush Rose Desir is an amazing products but one that I don't know that I would be able to bring myself to use, the blush has the amazing design of the Eiffel Tower embossed in it and I would stare at the product more than I would actually use it.  I can't say that I would ever buy this product because it might be a waste of money for me and I can't justify spending excess money on a product that I would barely use...especially when I need school books for this semester.  I will focus more on the lipsticks and nail polishes in this collection.

I have not yet tried the L' Absolu Rouge lipstick formual yet, I tend to buy more eye makeup and lip glosses from this company and have not yet tried any lipsticks from them.  I will start with the lipsticks in this collection, I love the limited edition packaging and the new shades from this collection.  My first choice would be the 186 Rouge Desir, this deep red will be perfect for my fall makeup look and red lipstick is my favorite way to try new formulas.  Next on my shopping list are the following shades: 06 Rose Nu and 322 Rose Desir.  Now onto the nail polish formula, I haven't tried this formula either, this is a newer formula and I haven't used it yet.  I would like to try the 185 Purple Fiction and the 485 Gray Lumiere shades, both jewel tones will be great for fall.

I will be stopping at the Lancôme counter the next time that I am in Macy*s and I think that I will be starting with red and then the rose nude shades.  I will then work my way to the new nail polishes in this collection and then add even more products from this line to my traincase.

photo courtesy of Lancome

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Butter London Fall 2013 Collection - The Colour Clash Collection

Butter London has just released their fall nail polish collection and I couldn't be more ready to add more nail polish colors to my collection.  The last time I bought several bottles at once was at Sally Beauty Supply last June and they were all bright China Glaze colors.  I am ready for something new and we all know that I love Butter London's formula and all of the shades that they have brought out so far (and all the English names!) and this is exactly where I wanted to start my fall nail polish shopping.  I can't really say that there are any shades that I need except a black hue to do an accent manicure with.  I won't really be looking for black in many of the seasonal collections when I know that I can get it any time from China Glaze or Chanel.

The fall collection from Butter London is called The Colour Collection and actually reminds me more of a summer collection than the tradition jewel tones for the fall.  This is a company that would break the mold on the traditional fall shades and I am interested to see what they have brought out.  I see six new shades with this collection release and I am sure that I will want at least two or three of them.  I want to see how these shades will play out with some of the fall fashion trends that we have been seeing going down the runway since last Fashion Week.

There are six new shades to this collection and now it is time to start looking at them  I see a bright pink, a pretty periwinkle, and then bright yellow and orange hues.  I know that I will rule out the orange and yellow hues right away and I am just not sure how I will work some of these shades into my fall look, these might be best for the very end of summer and the very beginning of fall.  I think I could use the periwinkle shade into the fall but I am not sure about any of the others.

Here is the Colour Collection!

- Cotton Buds - An opaque, pure white crème. Wear under your lacquer to make colours pop!
- Cake Hole - An opaque, nearly neon pink crème nail lacquer. A pink so bright, it can’t be wrong!
- Giddy Kipper - Opaque, indigo shimmer.
- Pimms - Opaque, sunflower yellow crème.
- Silly Billy - Opaque, fire orange crème.
- Wellies - Soft lime crème.

I want two shades in this collection, Cake Hole and Giddy Kipper.  Cake Hole would be a shade that I wear right now but then put away about half way through September.  I would try matching it with a bright pink lipstick to extend the wear further into fall but I need to play around with this look before I would make the decision to extend the wear time longer than usual for summer shades.  I love the Giddy Kipper polish and would wear this now and I am pretty sure that I could take it all the way into fall.  This would be my first choice for the collection and is the one that I will order first.  Butter London is hard enough to order at Sephora and Ulta and I have to focus mostly on shades that I love when dealing with the painful ordering of these polishes.

I will be interested to see if the other large polish collections are made up of more traditional fall hues or they follow the bright trend that Butter London used on some of the runway collections.

photo courtesy of Butter London

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Versace Yellow Diamond

Today I am wearing a fragrance that I am trying for the first time and wishing very much that I had tried a few months ago.  Versace Yellow Diamond is a sample that I was just sent from the Sephora website, I had never smelled this fragrance before and randomly picked it from the available samples on my last order and just tried it on this morning.  I do like the Bright Crystal fragrance but never had the excess room to add it to my collection, it is also is very similar to Dior Addict 2 and many other bright florals with a citrus top note and is similar to a few fragrances that I already own.  I skipped over Yellow Diamond, thinking it would be more of the same and wouldn't hold a distinct place in my collection.  I will admit that I was completely wrong and have been enjoying this beautiful and unique fragrance all day long.

Yellow diamonds are some of the most rare and expensive jewels, I have never seen a yellow diamond in real life and doubt that I will anytime soon.  A yellow diamond ring was what Richard gave to Samantha in Sex and the City to apologize for cheating on her and this is always what I think of when I hear about this shade of diamond.  Now I can think about yellow diamonds when I wear this beautiful fragrance.

"Infinite beauty reflects itself in the transparency of a diamond and radiates all around in beams of crystalline light. Pure as sunlight, a bright, extraordinary yellow light radiates with a fiery intensity and sparkles the way that only a diamond can. An authentic jewel of rare beauty is unveiled in Yellow Diamond, a fresh and vivid floral perfume by Versace.  Like a burst of light, the fragrance gleams and glistens as it opens with notes of bright citron, a fresh pear sorbet, sparkling bergamot, and an accent of neroli. As its heart emerges, the rare elegance of orange blossom shines through the light of freesia and mimosa with the natural transparency of nymphea. The lingering base notes add a fascinating sense of sensuality with ambery woods, the sunny and vibrant character of palo santo wood, and the refined presence of musk.  The bottle is a unique creation featuring the luxury of clean geometry. It’s a design of timeless elegance, an exquisite modern piece of unrivalled beauty. "The color yellow recalls the brightness, sensuality, and great energy of this fragrance, able to depict and emphasize the charm and femininity of a woman" —Donatella Versace.", states the Sephora website.

The notes of this fragrance are: Citron from Diamante, Pear Sorbet, Neroli, Bergamot, Nymphea, Freesia, Orange Blossom, Mimosa, Amber Wood, Palo Santo, Musk.

I tried this fragrance for the first time this morning and it has been going strong for over 12 hours now, I can safely say that this is one of the longest lasting fragrances on my skin.  I believe that the Freesia is responsible for this lasting power, it is in the same family as magnolia and these types of florals stick on me all day long. 

This fragrance started off with the citrus top notes and quickly the floral notes came out.  The citrus notes were very light and actually worked with my skin chemistry.  The Freesia, Orange Blossom, and Mimosa then quickly come out and the fragrance develops into a unique and sweet white floral.  The bottom notes never really developed on me, I smell no Musk or Wood in this fragrance and I am very happy with that fact.  This fragrance is a white floral through and through.

The reason that I wished I had gotten this sample earlier is that this is a spring and summer fragrance for me and I am not buying any new fragrances for summer right now.  I am in full fall mode so I will finish my little sample in the coming weeks but then will hold off on a purchase of the full size bottle until next spring.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fitness Friday - Bolthouse Farms Strawberry Banana Smoothie

I have been a fan of Bolthouse Farms juices and smoothies for many years now and today we are going to look at the first one that I ever tried from this company and my overall favorite from them.  I go back and forth between my favorite Strawberry Banana and the Mango.  I am drinking the Mango as I type this however we are going to look at the Strawberry Banana today and then the Mango smoothie later on.  Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits and I will spend all of the late spring and early summer eating them and then go into depression when they quickly go out of season.  This Strawberry Banana smoothie is one of the only ways that I can get my fill of strawberries in the off season.  This is one of my favorite treats in the fall and winter months and I can actually say that it is good for me too!

Bolthouse Farms is one of the more widely known and easy to find natural juice and smoothie brands.  As I stated above, I have used this brand for a long time.  I actually began drinking their juices and smoothies before I ever started exercising or became a vegetarian.  So I have a pretty good track record with this company...

"We have a sneaking suspicion that strawberry and banana always knew they were meant for each other. So they were probably really excited when we put them together to make our classic Strawberry Banana Smoothie. Sweetened only with natural fruit, this is one combo you won’t soon forget."  This product is: Gluten Free, Vegan, and Dairy Free.  It contains no High Fructose Corn Sugar and is high in Vitamin C.  This is a great smoothie to try is you get sick easily when the seasons change and in the cold weather. 

The taste of this product is stronger on the strawberry than on the banana and provides on the best natural strawberry flavors on the market.  This product comes in three different sizes, I would recommend trying the single serving bottle first (8 oz) however I have been buying the 52 oz bottle for a few years now.  I drink one 8 oz glass every day so this size is what I need to get through the week.  One serving delivers all the needed Vitamin C and delivers more than the Daily Recommended amount.  I might graduate to two 8 oz glasses if I feel a cold coming on but I only need one serving to feel great each day.

This is not a miracle smoothie, it will complement a good diet and add additional Vitamin C to enhance health.  It is great way to enjoy strawberries all year long and good for a sweet taste without eating candy or other not-so-great for you sweets.  My goal is to try every single one of these smoothies and I will continue to report back on Fridays as I find more flavors for you to try!

photo courtesy of Target

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bobbi Brown Metallic Long-Wear Cream Eye Shadow

I have made my first purchase from Bobbi Brown and already one product has convinced that I will be buying many more products from this brand in the coming months.  I had often read great reviews of the best sellers in this line and really liked many of the seasonal collections but being the creature of habit that I am, many of you know that I will immediately head to the NARS and Urban Decay counters as soon as I enter Sephora and miss most of the other products that are featured.  I decided to ignore both counters when I was in there at the beginning of this month and see what I walked out with.  The answer - Bobbi Brown...and a new obsession is born!

The Bobbi Brown area of Sephora is pretty large and there is a full counter from this brand in Macy*s so it was hard for me to decide where I wanted to begin with trying this brand out for the first time.  I considered lip gloss but I have been trying to expand my eye shadow horizon and add to this area of my makeup collection more than any other.  I also wanted a makeup product that I could use now and then into the fall and winter months, nothing super trendy or that would only work with a summer tan.  After looking at nearly everything in the collection, I decided to buy a pot of the Metallic Long-Wear Cream Eye Shadow and see how I liked it in comparison to my favorite Chanel cream eye shadow formulation.

I just bought this product at the beginning of the month but cannot find it on the Sephora website at the moment so I pulled all my information and photos from the Bobbi Brown website.  "Luxe metallics for eyes. Our award-winning formula-infused with sparkle. For a sheer effect, blend on lids with your fingers. For a more dramatic look, add another layer. Or wear on top of your favorite matte cream shadow for soft shimmer. Stays color-true and crease-free all day."

I only saw this product available in one shade at Sephora so imagine my surprise when the Bobbi Brown website offered it in six shades.  I will have to order more from that website since I really like this formula. 

This product is available in the following shades:

- Antique Gold - deep gold sparkle
- Black Pearl - medium purple
- Brown Metal - warm brown sparkle
- Goldstone - gold sparkle
- Opal - opalescent pink
- Pink Oyster - shimmering pink

Sephora only offers this product in Goldstone and this is the shade that I purchased.  This is a bright gold shade with a great sparkling finish to it.  I used this product with the Bare Minerals eye shadow primer and I wouldn't use any product without some kind of primer on my eyes, I can't use any type of eye makeup by itself anymore.  I have used this product in both ways that are mentioned in the description, one coat is good for a sheer day time wash of gold shimmer and two coats are best for a full shimmering gold eye.  I prefer to use the product in the second way, this is how the product really shines and makes it unique among the rest of the cream eye shadows on the beauty product market.  Two coats are best reserved for getting dressed up at night, this look is a bit dramatic for the daytime and would not work in a professional environment.  Either method of use will ensure all day wear and the color doesn't budge until I use eye makeup remover to clean it off at night.  I do need two swipes of an eye makeup soaked cotton ball to get this product off fully, it really is long wearing and I wouldn't even attempt to remove it without some type of good quality makeup remover.

When compared to other cream eye shadows, this is one of the better performing products that I have used.  It is higher quality and longer lasting then the Paintpot formula from MAC.  It is on the same level of quality and pigmentation as Chanel's Illusion d'Ombre (a current favorite of mine).  It is less dramatic than either Liquid Metal or Cream Pigment from Illamasqua and is easier than both of the formulas to wear.

This product from Bobbi Brown is very high quality and I am very excited to order more of the shades from the Bobbi Brown website.  I want to order most of the shades now, I want Antique Gold and Black Pearl for the fall months and then to order Opal and Pink Oyster for next spring.

photo courtesy of Bobbi Brown

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil Dry Oil Mist

I first began using Alterna hair products last year when I started out with a new salon and my stylist used the Kendi Hair Oil on my wet hair before styling it and I brought it before I even left the salon that day.  I then followed with purchasing shampoo and conditioner from this brand and it is now ranked as one of my favorite hair product brands.  I have used up my first bottle of the hair oil and have replaced earlier this year, I use it almost every single day to keep my hair smooth and hydrated before styling.  I have now discovered another version of this hair oil and bought it a few days ago at my salon, the spray oil is a lighter version of the product and I have been alternating the two oils and having wonderful results so far.

The Bamboo line of products from Alterna is made for smoothing and adding shine to the hair.  I have used styling products from this line and want to order the shampoo and conditioner to alternate with the color care formulas from this line and from Matrix.  I am so glad that I was introduced to this awesome hair care line!

"A weightless, nutrient-rich oil mist that protects hair from heat styling tools, enhances shine, and boosts hair's health.  This double-duty formula can be used as both a deeply nourishing treatment that helps to repair split ends and environmental damage, and as a color protecting style primer. Made with strengthening organic bamboo and smoothing organic kendi oil, it banishes frizz and imparts intense shine while providing vital nutrients."

"Bamboo extract and kendi oil contained in this product are eco-certified, fair-trade compliant, and certified organic. Their production and sale aid in supporting the development of local communities while remaining environmentally friendly. Free of gluten, TEA, and phthalates.", states the Sephora website in a product description. 

The website states that this product is best used on damp hair before styling but can also be used on dry hair to add shine to the finished product.  I have only used it on damp hair so I will need to try it the other way very soon and see how the results compare to the Fekkai Glossing Cream that I have been using for years.

I can only comment on how the product is used on dry hair and I have gotten great results from the use in this way and now I want to try it the other way too.  I spray the product from root to tip all over my hair and then start the blow drying process.  I have gotten to a point where I only blow dry using my fingers and try to never touch the brush to my hair, my hair is much smoother and easier to straighten when using this technique.  The product takes that even further, after just blow drying my hair is smoother than when not using one of these oils and much softer to the touch.  Both products perform equally well in this regard and both leave the hair cuticle soft and very shiny.  I can't say that one of the two versions of the oils are better than the other but I like having and using both of them, alternating the two helps keep build up from forming on my hair cuticle and reversing all the good effects of this product.

I love Alterna products and I would recommend these oils to anyone who has issues with frizz and dryness throughout the year.  I might recommend the spray oil version to those who has medium to thick hair and then the true oil only to those with thick or coarse hair, both versions will be too heavy for anyone with fine hair.  I have another winner to add to my hair product line up and I will continue to purchase both versions of the Kendi Oil.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

NARS Fall 2013 Collection

My favorite brand has now brought out their fall collection and I could not be more excited to review and start my shopping list!  NARS already creates beautiful collections and just like Chanel, the fall and spring collections from this company are among the best seasonal collections of the entire year.  I have been collecting NARS products at a rapid rate since earlier last year and this trend shows no sign in stopping anytime in the near future.  I was looking forward to some pigmented hues when I looked at my last fall collection and was sorely let down by Laura Mercier's vain attempt at dramatic nighttime makeup.  Today we are onto the real pigmented products and hues, NARS makes some of the best pigmented shades and I have never been let down by any purchase that I have made from this brand (however my obsession with Orgasm has been rapidly declining over the past few years...).

I already spy a bright red lipstick pencil in the preview pictures of this collection and I love NARS red lipsticks and always want to add the newest shades to my lipstick collection.  I also see two lovely new shades of nail polish that I must have along with a deep lilac eye shadow that might need to come home with me too!

Here is the NARS fall collection!

Shimmer Eye Shadow - Luminous, light-reflecting powders for shading, highlighting and lining eyes. Highly pigmented, long-wearing, crease-resistant colors glide on smoothly and evenly and blend effortlessly. Can be applied sheer or layered for a more dramatic effect.  True color application.  Can be applied dry or with a dampened brush for heightened intensity.  Multi-function use for shading, highlighting and lining the eyes.  Sophisticated, luminous shades.
- Bavaria - deep sea blue

Matte Eye Shadow - Highly pigmented, velvety-matte, ultra-fine powders for shading, creating depth and lining eyes. Long-wearing, crease-resistant colors glide on smoothly and evenly and blend effortlessly. Can be applied sheer or layered for a more dramatic effect.  True color application.  Can be applied dry or with a dampened brush for heightened intensity.  Multi-function use for shading, lining and brow color.  Rich, vivid shade range, with ultra-matte finish.
- Kamchatka - navy smoke
- Namibia - gray moon
- Yamal - maple sugar

Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner - Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner takes liner to the next level. Rich, creamy color that glides on smoothly with a completely budgeproof finish. Incomparable 12-hour wear with no smearing and no caking. Deeply dramatic shades named for the most iconic streets in the world.  Long-wearing.  Achieves rich, intense color.  Twist up delivery and built-in sharpener.
- Las Ramblas - yellow gold
- Via De' Martelli - chocolate

Velvet Matte Lip Pencil - The application of a lipstick combined with the convenience of a pencil in a jumbo crayon design. Lips are instantly saturated with rich pigments and a velvety matte finish. The long lasting, non-drying formula is enriched with emollients for a creamy texture, while a combination of unique silicones ensures long-lasting, seamless color for hours. Use for lining, all-over lip color, or pairing with another lip product.  Rich, vivid shades.  Enriched with Vitamin E.  Convenient, easy application.
- Mysterious Red - crimson red
- Paimpol - pink chiffon

Pure Matte Lipstick - Bright. Bold. Perfectly matte. This super-rich lipstick provides high-impact payoff: an ultra-pigmented, long-wearing formula that glides on effortlessly with comfortable wear.  Contains wild mango butter, know to provide advanced moisturizing properties to repair dryness and scaling.  Long-wearing application.  Enriched with Vitamin E and açai oil for antioxidant benefits.
- La Paz - orchid
- Peloponnese - ginger pink

Nail Polish - Knockout color. Genius formula. Introducing the new NARS Nail Polish, formulated for nothing less than pure color perfection. Wildly chic, this brilliantly curated palette of extended wear enamels features a flexible, high gloss finish for a freshly-painted look that lasts.
- Galathee - dove gray
- Fury - regal purple

I love this collection even though I am not sure that I could pull off the look that the model is wearing with it, it might be too much for me and would be better for going out in New York City than around where I live.  I will buy key pieces of this collection but will make them work with my "look" of the moment, there are some great shades offered this fall from NARS and they will work well with the shades I already own to make some great new looks for fall.  The first piece that I must have is the Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Mysterious Red and then I also want to pick up the other new shade for more neutral looks.  I want both of the new nail polishes from this collection, I will use them together to create a perfect fall accent manicure.  Rounding out the collection, I love the Matte Eye Shadow in Nambia and the Larger Then Life Eyeliner in the gold hue, Las Ramblas,

I have a bunch of items that I love from this collection and then a few more that I would like to add to my collection.  I like the Yamal shade of the Matte Eye Shadow and could see it working well with my favorite hues from the Urban Decay Naked palettes and I want to pick it up soon.  I could go either way on the Pure Matte Lipstick in La Paz, it is very unique shade that I might either love or hate.

This isn't the strongest NARS fall collection that has been released but it is a very good one and will be one of the best fall collections for this year.  I will be adding a few items to be Most Wanted list right after I finish here.

photo courtesy of Nordstrom

Monday, July 15, 2013

Anna Paquin's Blowback Hair Style

I love wearing my hair up especially when the weather outside makes it very difficult for me to wear my long, thick hair down (at least without dying of heat stroke) and I try to find as many ways to style it like this as I can.  Right now, I have my bangs swept to the side and they are getting a bit on the long side.

I have a hair appointment later this week and part of me wonders if regular bangs would let me pull off a look like this a bit better or if they would only make it worse.  I am thinking that this might be more of a creative blow dry technique than an actual style.

I love this picture of Anna Paquin from early in the True Blood series (a favorite show and book series of mine) and this is exactly how I would love to get my hair to look for the summer.  It's clean and non fussy but still polished enough to wear with a sundress.  I am going to try and my bangs back and see what happens over the next few days!

photo courtesy of Google

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Laura Mercier Fall 2013 Collection - Dark Spell

Laura Mercier has now brought their fall collection out and this is one of the few from this line that is flirting with the more dramatic shades and trends of the fall season.  This company normally brings out collections and shades that are very easy to wear and can be worn in any type of professional environment and this is a collection that goes against the norm and will be used more for going out and getting dressed up.  This is not a company that is known for carrying very pigmented products and I wonder how some of these shades will perform against companies that are known for carrying very dramatic and high pigmented shades.  I cannot see this company suddenly changing their formulas for this collection release and I am not seeing that NARS has a very competitor...

One photo of this collection proves that there are some very pretty shades included in the collection and I might do an extra bit of fall makeup shopping from this line.  This will be a huge fall for me, I already love products from Chanel and Urban Decay and now I have another collection to obsess over.  I see some new formulas included in this collection, especially a cream eye shadow formula that looks very exciting to me...

Here is the Dark Spell collection from Laura Mercier...

Baked Eye Colour - An innovative wet/dry Eye Colour formula featuring Baked technology in beautiful shades that last all day.  This smudge resistant, lightweight eye colour gently smoothes onto the lid for an even application.  Ultra blendable and versatile, apply dry with the All Over Eye Colour Brush for an even wash of colour or wet with the Crème Eye Colour Brush for a more vibrant effect.  Ophthalmologist tested. Appropriate for contact lens wearers.  Fragrance-Free. Paraben-Free. Dermatologically and allergy tested to minimize the risk of allergy and irritation.
- Magical - white with black
- Mystical - black with silver specs

Sateen Eye Colour - A lightweight eye shadow with a creamy powder texture that provides an immediate release of intense luminous colour with superior blending for a long-wearing, crease-resistant application. Compatible with Laura’s signature 3 and 6 well Custom Compacts, create your personalized look for eyes, cheeks and lips.  Distinctive and full of colour with one stroke application  Unique blendability and silky application imparts a supple film of comfort on the skin.  Creates a harmonious blend of pigment and pearl.  Pop each shade from its compact case and place in a Custom Compact creating a customized eye colour palette.
- Dark Spirit - deep charcoal gray satin

Kohl Eye Pencil - Formulated specifically for lining the inside of the eyelid & the base of the lashes. The soft, creamy formula glides easily along the eyelid, creating a smooth and well-balanced line. The luxurious texture allows anyone to achieve the perfect "smoky eye" with maximum wearability. Each pencil contains a thicker diameter than the Eye Pencil to create a more pigmented, dramatic effect.   Luxurious texture for maximum wearability.  Allows anyone to easily achieve the perfect "smoky eye".  Soft, creamy formula glides easily along the eyelid.  Creates a smooth & well-balanced line.  Contains a thicker diameter than the Eye Pencil to create a more pigmented, dramatic effect.
- Black - deep black

Caviar Stick Eye Colour - A long-wearing, creamy shadow with an innovative, lightweight texture that glides on and adheres to the eyelid perfectly, leaving an even finish that lasts for hours.  Inspired by Laura Mercier's cult classic Caviar Eye Liner, Caviar Stick Eye Colour offers a new technique to enhance the smoky eye look. In a range of eight beautiful shades, this creamy formula provides endless options for a flawless smoky eye. Each convenient stick is long-wearing, transfer- and crease-resistant. The colour glides onto lids and blends easily with a rich colour payoff.
- Smoke - dark charcoal

Spellbound Facial Illuminator - Beautiful face illuminating hybrid product with a soft rose gold shimmer perfect for highlighting; the unique formula of pure light-reflecting pigments provides buildable long-wearing colour. 

Nail Lacquer - Limited Edition. The ultra-smooth formula provides chip-resistant, fast-drying and long-lasting color. Nail Lacquer does not contain formaldehyde, toluene, or dibutyl phthalate (DBP).
- Forbidden - deep forest green with black shimmer
- Bewitched - medium cool nude shimmer

Lip Plumper - Instantly plump, hydrate and moisturize for healthier, sexier looking lips.  A refreshing, cooling effect builds up over 20 minutes to plump lips, lasting up to two hours.  Infusion of unique ingredients penetrate skin, stimulate collagen production and beneficially smooth the lip surface.  Offer a slight tint to the lips for natural looking lips that are perfectly pouty and kissable.
- Charmed - peach
- Rose Flush - plum neutral rose

Crème Smooth Lip Colour - A luxurious lipstick that gives lips the ultimate in colour, texture, and finish. In one smoothing swipe, the crème formula envelops lips in rich colour with a semi-lustrous finish.  Cushiony, lightweight creamy texture feels comfortable on lips.  Provides medium to full coverage with a semi-lustrous finish.  Longwearing formula (6 hours to 8 hours).  Provides rich colour with one smoothing swipe.  Colour glides evenly onto lips; does not skip or drag.  Give the appearance of visibly fuller and younger looking lips.  Formula does not bleed or feather; does not dry or fade; does not setting into lip lines.  Features an elegant, modern case with a metalized finish.  Dermatologically and allergy tested to minimize the risk of allergy and irritation.  Fragrance-free.
- Angelic - delicate nude pink
- Merlot - deep burgundy

I am little bit disappointed by this collection, there really isn't anything in it that sets Laura Mercier apart from the rest of the beauty collections.  I like many of the products but I can't say that there is anything that I truly love and would be obsessed with buying this season.  My favorite product is the eye shadow that I have pictured with the collection, the Baked Eye Colour in Magical is the most unique product in this collection and the only one that I would really want to add to my fall shopping season.  I have very few white eye shadows and this one would work well with the charcoals and blacks that are already part of my growing eye shadow collection.

I like many of the other products but I can't say that I must have them.  The Lip Plumper interests me, I haven't used this type of product in years but this formula does not seem like it will give me the "Goldie Hawn in First Wives Club" lips.  I might have to try out the Rose Flush color, this will be a good rosy hue for me that I will be able to wear all the time.  I am looking at this product as more of a hydrating lip stain than a gloss or stick.  I also do like the Angelic shade of the Crème Smooth Lip Colour, I would like to broaden my lipstick collection and add more brands to it.  The last piece of the collection that I would like is the Caviar Stick Eye Colour, I want to try using it with a smoky eye look and see how it compares to the MAC formula that I typically use.

Not the best collection of the season but I doubt that it is the worst.  It has a few good pieces but none that inspire beauty lush from me.

photo courtesy of Nordstrom

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Urban Decay Lush Lash Mascara

After looking at the fall collection from Urban Decay earlier this week, I headed over to Sephora to rekindle my love of this company.   I wasn't able to get all the products that I wanted yet, some hadn't come in every shade and some were already sold out.  My first attempted shopping trip of the new fall collection was a bust but I did pick up a new item from this company.  Last month, I wrote about the 100% Pure Fruit Pigment Mascara that I was using and how it just wasn't doing it for me in both appearance and performance.  I can now add to that also seemed to try dry up in the tube much faster than most brands of mascaras (maybe a difference in the natural ingredients that are not found in other formulas) and I needed a new tube faster than I thought I would.  My tubes last about two and a half to three months for me and that formula gave up very soon after two months.

I have used a formula from Urban Decay before (the original Big Fatty) and I hated it...even before the tube broke after only having it for several weeks.  Urban Decay has now done away with that formula and has introduced a new series of mascara formulas and I was drawn to this counter after getting excited over the fall collection.  One of the formulas that was available is the Lush Lash formula and this is the one that I decided to purchase and try out.  I wanted a solid volumizing and lengthening formula and this one's description sounds like it will be one that will do the trick.

I bought this product at Sephora and it is also available on their website, I searched for it on the Urban Decay website but I didn't see it on there.  So Sephora it is for this product...  "A thickening and lengthening mascara formulated to help lashes actually grow longer.  This nourishing, thickening, and lengthening mascara is infused with peptides and moisturizing panthenol that allows your lashes to grow for a longer period of time. Its formula builds and beautifies so your lashes will grow longer and fuller over time. Used in conjunction with Urban Decay's Lush Lash System (Growth Accelerating Serum and Conditioning Mask), it provides additional lash nourishment. This very enduring formula is not technically waterproof, but there was zero smudging or running after road-testing it in a hot yoga class. The outer component features a lush swirl motif, and the large hourglass-shaped brush provides generous mascara distribution. It's the ideal mascara for anyone who suffers from brittle, fragile lashes, as well as those with great lashes who want to build and strengthen them even more."

I have been using this formula for four days now and I can already state that this is a much better formula that the previous one that I used from Urban Decay and better than the one from 100% Pure that I just threw away.  I like how this formula has nourishing and hydrating ingredients along with ingredients that will deliver the lengthen and volume that I require in a good mascara.  This formula is best for lengthening, it is one o the best formulas that I have used in that aspect.  The volumizing aspect is good but not the best that I have used , the formula is passable and works well enough for me to like this formula. 

The formula lengthens my lashes very nicely without clumping and this formula is never sticky or tacky.  Lush Lash enhances the volume of my lashes about double (against when I am not wearing anything at all) while still enhancing the definition of each individual lash.  It stated in the description that the formula is not considered to be "waterproof" but does perform in extreme conditions.  This formula has worn through many work outs for me (even the one when the air conditioning died the one morning) and I have not seen any running or smearing from this product.  This is a great formula for the summer months, it wears well in extreme weather and would be great for outdoor activities.  The wear on this product is above my expectations and I would recommend for anyone who is active when the weather is warm.

I wear one coat of this product for day and two for night.  One coat is enough to see a difference in the length and volume of my lashes. two really builds them up and this look is best reserved for going out at night.  Two coats would be too much for most professional environments or classes.

The mascara removes relatively well, a cotton ball with eye makeup remover gets about 80% of the product off and then the washcloth in the shower will clean the rest of it up.  This is one of the better formulas for clean removal and it performs much better in this aspect than the original Big Fatty formula from this company. 

Overall, this is a good quality mascara that works well for both lengthening and volumizing.  I have not seen any of the long term benefits and I personally believe that they will come more with the use of the full Lush Lash system and not just the mascara.  I doubt that I will see much of a difference in my bare lashes in the next four weeks but I will report back if I do.  This formula is the best in the warm weather months, it stays put in extreme workouts and temperatures and this aspect would be wasted in the winter months.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fitness Friday - Blueberries

It is time again for Fitness Friday, yesterday I took my first yoga lesson and I am still sore from all of the new positions that I learned (and probably looked terrible doing) and I decided that our second Friday should be about one of my favorite healthy snacks in the summer months.  I love blueberry everything but spend most of my time eating them straight in the middle of the summer.  We are in the season for locally grown (at least as close as New Jersey is to me) blueberries and I can get easily and eat as many as I want.  My favorite fruit is still strawberries but blueberries are a close second and they contribute to making summer one of my favorite seasons and the one where I have the easiest time eating a healthy diet and really enjoying it at the exact same time. 

The World's Healthiest Foods website has a great feature on this superfood, "In terms of U.S. fruit consumption, blueberries rank only second to strawberries in popularity of berries. Blueberries are not only popular, but also repeatedly ranked in the U.S. diet as having one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings. Antioxidants are essential to optimizing health by helping to combat the free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA. We recommend enjoying raw blueberries — rather than relying upon blueberries incorporated into baked desserts — because, like other fruits, raw blueberries provide you with the best flavor and the greatest nutritional benefits.  As one of the few fruits native to North America, blueberries have been enjoyed by Native Americans for hundreds of years. They have also enjoyed great popularity around the world in cuisines from Asia to the Mediterranean. For more on the Healthiest Way of Preparing Blueberries, see below."

"What's New and Beneficial about Blueberries. 
  • After many years of research on blueberry antioxidants and their potential benefits for the nervous system and for brain health, there is exciting new evidence that blueberries can improve memory. In a study involving older adults (with an average age of 76 years), 12 weeks of daily blueberry consumption was enough to improve scores on two different tests of cognitive function including memory. While participants in the study consumed blueberries in the form of juice, three-quarters of a pound of blueberries were used to make each cup of juice. As participants consumed between 2 to 2-1/2 cups each day, the participants actually received a very plentiful amount of berries. The authors of this study were encouraged by the results and suggested that blueberries might turn out to be beneficial not only for improvement of memory, but for slowing down or postponing the onset of other cognitive problems frequently associated with aging.
  • New studies make it clear that we can freeze blueberries without doing damage to their delicate anthocyanin antioxidants. There's no question about the delicate nature of many antioxidant nutrients found in blueberries. These antioxidants include many different types of anthocyanins, the colorful pigments that give many foods their wonderful shades of blue, purple, and red. After freezing blueberries at temperatures of 0°F (-17°C) or lower for periods of time between 3-6 months, researchers have discovered no significant lowering of overall antioxidant capacity or anthocyanin concentrations. Anthocyanins studied have included malvidins, delphinidins, pelargonidins, cyanidins, and peonidins. These findings are great news for anyone who grows, buys, or picks fresh berries in season and wants to enjoy them year round. They are also great news for anyone who has restricted access to fresh blueberries but can find them in the freezer section of the market.
  •  Berries in general are considered low in terms of their glycemic index (GI). GI is a common way of identifying the potential impact of a food on our blood sugar level once we've consumed and digested that food. In general, foods with a GI of 50 or below are considered "low" in terms of their glycemic index value. When compared to other berries, blueberries are not particularly low in terms of their GI. Studies show the GI for blueberries as falling somewhere in the range of 40-53, with berries like blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries repeatedly scoring closer to 30 than to 40. However, a recent study that included blueberries as a low-GI fruit has found that blueberries, along with other berries, clearly have a favorable impact on blood sugar regulation in persons already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Participants in the study who consumed at last 3 servings of low-GI fruits per day (including blueberries) saw significant improvement in their regulation of blood sugar over a three-month period of time. (Their blood levels of glycosylated hemoglobin, or HgA1C were used as the standard of measurement in this study.) It's great to see blueberries providing these clear health benefits for blood sugar regulation!
  • If you want to maximize your antioxidant benefits from blueberries, go organic! A recent study has directly compared the total antioxidant capacity of organically grown versus non-organically grown highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L., var. Bluecrop) and found some very impressive results for the organically grown berries. Organically grown blueberries turned out to have significantly higher concentrations of total phenol antioxidants and total anthocyanin antioxidants than conventionally grown blueberries, as well as significantly higher total antioxidant capacity. Numerous specific antioxidant anthocyanins were measured in the study, including delphinidins, malvidins, and petunidins. The antioxidant flavonoid quercetin was also measured. "

  • Let's trim this done and sum up the benefits!  Blueberries are best when eaten by themselves or mixed with plain Greek Yogurt and a bit of brown sugar (as I enough eating them), they taste great in dessert but this isn't the best way to reap the health benefits of them.  I want to try making a smoothie with these same ingredients and see how well they work together in this medium.  I primarily use this fruit for it's anti-oxidant properties and low sugar level, this is one of the few fruits that I love that don't top out my sugars and carbs for the day. 

    My next steps will be to investigate how to freeze this fruit or to find out where I can buy them already frozen in the dead of winter, this should allow me to make healthy smoothies all throughout the year and keep reaping the benefits of the fruit when I can't get it as easily as usual.  I also want to look for the blueberry juices that this article talks about and start reaping the health benefits this way too.  I learn a few great facts from this article and I look forward to continuing to learn more about my favorite foods over the next Fridays!

    photo courtesy of Google