Monday, September 30, 2013

MAC Viva Glam - The Original

MAC Viva Glam is a worldwide phenomenon and has been among their best selling products since the first shade was released in the early 1990s.  Viva Glam has been a huge piece of the MAC collection for almost twenty years now and has contributed more to the MAC Aids Foundation that I could ever imagine, I own the original Lady Gaga shade and there have been many more that I have wanted but they sold out before I could ever get my hands on them.  I consider it an honor for any celebrity to be the face of Viva Glam and I love the choices of the company so far.

This month, MAC is revisiting the original Viva Glam shade and spokesperson, I was in elementary school when this was released so I never saw the campaign or even knew what MAC was.  For many people in the beauty industry, this is a blast from the past but this is a whole new collection for me since I had never seen it before.  RuPaul is the original spokesperson for this collection and is the iconic spokesperson in my book.  The original shade was a deep red that quickly became a classic shade in the MAC Lipstick shade range!

The MAC website provides the following as a description of the collection, "The original VIVA GLAM girl is back! The fabulous RuPaul, first face of VIVA GLAM in 1994, returns with her outspoken burgundy red Lipstick - now also available as a Lipglass. Every cent of the selling price of VIVA GLAM - The Original goes toward helping women, men and children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS."

The Original Viva Glam!

Viva Glam I Lipstick - In 1994, M·A·C introduced VIVA GLAM, an outspoken deep red that was universal in appeal and glamour. In 1997, a second lipstick was created VIVA GLAM II, a pinked mauve. VIVA GLAM III, a foxy brown plum launched in 2000. VIVA GLAM IV, a heartful rose charged with gold, introduced in March 2002. In March 2004, Viva Glam V makes its debut, a pure neutral pink with a delicious Lustre finish! VIVA GLAM VI, the newest member of the VIVA GLAM family, is a warm terracotta-plum with pearl finish. Wear it alone or finish it off with a coat of VIVA GLAM VI Lipglass. Every cent of the selling price of VIVA GLAM Lipstick and Lipglass is donated to the M·A·C AIDS Fund to support men, women, and children living with HIV and AIDS.
- Viva Glam I - intense brownish blue-red (Matte)

Viva Glam I Lipglass - A unique lip gloss available in a wide variety of colours that can create a high gloss, glass-like finish or a subtle sheen. Designed to be worn on its own, over Lip Pencil or Lipstick, Tinted Lipglass is the perfect product for creating shine that lasts. It's pigmented, very shiny and can impart subtle or dramatic colour. It contains Jojoba Oil to help soften and condition the lips. Tinted Lipglass is packaged in a convenient bottle with a sponge tip applicator that provides a quick, smooth, even application.
- Viva Glam I - intense brownish blue-red

This collection is more than a Lipstick/Lipglass collection for me, these shades take me back to the 1990s and the supermodels that dominated the fashion world in this decade.  I remember looking at mnay pictures of Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell wearing either this shade or one that looked exactly like it both on the runways and on the streets of New York City.  This was when I first started to become obsessed with fashion and supermodels and this lipstick shade was a big reason that I always tried to steal my mother's lipsticks and wear them around the house.  I have a sneaking feeling that I am not alone in these behaviors and that the Supermodel Era inspired lots of young girls at this time...

I guess it goes without saying that I must have both of these products and I will wear them all fall and winter!

photo courtesy of MAC

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fresh Sugar Lip Polish

I have just finished raving about one of the new Fresh skincare products that I have been using and now I am moving onto to another one of their products that I have been loving the past few days.  The Black Tea Face Mask has already established its place in my weekly skincare regime and I am continuing to think about what other products I will need to purchase as the winter starts to cool down.  A weekly face mask will be quite helpful to me and I will continue to check more products from Fresh out.  Today I am looking at a Fresh lip product that I picked up the last time that I visited Sephora.  I love the Fresh Sugar lip product line and the Lip Polish might be one of my new favorite lip products.  I used to use a lip scrub from C.O. Bigelow but Bath and Body Works didn't have it the last time that I was at the store and I needed to find something else to use.

My lips are always dry and I have to use lip balms and scrubs on a regular basis in order to keep them smooth and lipstick ready.  "A sweet exfoliating treatment that leaves lips incredibly soft and smooth.  This unique formula is enriched with real brown sugar crystals to gently buff away dry flakes as it exfoliates and conditions for a smooth finish. It nourishes the lips with quick-absorbing meadowfoam seed, jojoba seed, and grapeseed oils while shea butter provides long-lasting moisture. Lips are left smooth, protected, and hydrated.", states the Sephora website. 

I use this product once a week right now and then will increase up to two times per week as the winter comes.  I use in on my lips before I get into the shower and then scrub them with my finger for about thirty seconds before rinsing it off.  It helps to get rid of dry patches and improve my overall lip texture.  I can't say that it helps to hydrate as I use a lip balm as soon as I get out of the shower.  I once tried skipping this step and my lips were dry soon after getting out of the shower and using the scrub. I will just continue to apply the balm right after showering. 

Sugar is an essential ingredient in the Fresh lip care line.  "The inspiration for the Sugar Collection dates back to Fresh co-founders Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg's childhood. Each of their grandmothers used sugar, a natural antiseptic, to heal their scrapes. Wanting to pass this effective ritual on to the world, they bottled their shared tradition, pioneering the use of sugar in the beauty industry."  I can't speak for sugar's healing properties but I do like that this scrub doesn't contain foul tasting chemicals since I always manage to get the product in my mouth when I use it. 

The Sugar Lip Polish is another high quality product from the Fresh brand and I will be repurchasing it once this jar runs out.  I use only a very little bit at a time so I doubt that I will need to repurchase any time soon but I am glad that I have another formula to rely on since my C.O. Bigelow one seems to have disappeared...

photo courtesy of Sephora

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Aveda Damage Remedy Intensive Restructuring Hair Treatment

Aveda is a relatively new brand for me and I have branched out from the using the makeup to adding the hair care products to my beauty product line up.  I have heard the most amazing reviews of their Smooth Infusion hair care line and I will order several bottles of the shampoo and conditioner when I am in need of some new products.  I just bought new liter bottles of my favorite Biolage Color products so this won't be anytime soon but a review will be forthcoming once I get to try them out.  One of the few hair products that I was actually in need of is a new deep conditioner so I started my love affair with Aveda hair products by ordering one of the best selling formulas.

The Damage Remedy Intensive Restructuring Hair Treatment is designed to help hydrate and repair signs of surface damage.  I have both problems with my hair all the time since it is chemically treated and heat styled on a regular basis.  The best deep conditioner that I have found so far is from the Carol's Daughter line at Sephora and the Aveda formula is on par with it, I am glad that I have two formulas that I love just in case either ever becomes unavailable.  Both formulas are quite similar and I will touch on why I love both of them after a few more details about the Aveda formula.

"Intensive treatment packed with quinoa protein strengthens damaged and chemically-treated hair with deep repair.  Quinoa-packed treatment fills in damaged cuticles to help strengthen and reinforce hair—which also makes it more resilient to future damage.  Replenishes natural oils with jojoba, to leave hair looking and feeling healthy, shiny and strong.  Part of a four-step restructuring system.", states the Aveda website. 

The Aveda treatment is top rated and best selling for many reasons, the biggest one being that it is very effective and really improves my hair.  I use it once a week for about five minutes in the shower and it guarantees that I will have a good hair day after use.  It hydrates well and rinses clean without leaving any traces of residue behind.  This mask hydrates the dry and damaged areas of my hair and helps to restore shine to the areas that need it most.  It helps to repair signs of surface damage, improving the overall look and feel of my long thick hair.

The proteins in this product will help to fill in the cracks and weak areas of my hair but cannot repair or bring hair back to life.  It helps to smooth the surface by filling in the top cracks and reducing the appearance of frayed ends, both of which I need with my love of heat styling.  My hair is soft to the touch and overall I am very happy with the results that I get from this product.

I get great results from both this product and the Carol's Daughter Monoi Mask, the Aveda product might come out on top for me because of the fragrance.  The Aveda product has a slight herbal fragrance, it is light and doesn't bother me at all.  The Carol's Daughter product has a strong tropical floral fragrance which might deter some users of the product and therefore I would recommend the Aveda product over the other for anyone who has issues with or doesn't like much fragrance in their hair products.

This was a great introduction to Aveda hair products for me and I will be buying more from this company.  I think my next purchase will be the Smooth Infusion Shampoo and Conditioner and perhaps the same products from the Color Care line.

photo courtesy of Aveda

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fitness Friday - Tricep Dips

I have spent several Fitness Fridays talking about my new love of yoga and some of the positions that I am trying to learning to get comfortable in.  I am hitting the point where I want to try some of the more intermediate poses but I know that I need to increase both my core strength and my upper arm strength.  This Fitness Friday will focus on helping my improve the strength in my triceps, getting me to the next step in some of the yoga poses that I want to try and improving the look of my upper arms.  One of the trainers at my gym has suggested that I work my way up to Tricep Dips and that will be today's topic.

I have started to do Tricep Dips with a bench on the floor and am working up to being able to do them as pictured here.  They remind me very much of a reverse push up, another move that I am working up to doing the full pose of.  The Pop Sugar website has provided a series of instructions that I will share here for anyone that wishes to work this move into their fitness regime. 

- Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a secured bench or stable chair.
- Slide your butt off the front of the bench with your legs extended out in front of you.
- Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints.
- Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle. Be sure to keep your back close to the bench.
- Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press down into the bench to straighten your elbows, returning to the starting position. This completes one rep.
- Keep your shoulders down as you lower and raise your body. You can bend your legs to modify this exercise.

A rep is 15 to 20 of these dips and I am working up to doing two or three reps on every arm day at the gym.  I am currently at one full rep and then I try to add as many more as possible.  I can feel it in my biceps and triceps the next day after my workout however I am already seeing improvement in both the number of reps that I can do correctly and the amount of weights that I can lift when doing other exercises.

My goal right now is to work as many of these in as possible at least three or four times a week.  Tricep Dips can be done anywhere as they require no equipment and only a minimal amount of room.  I bet that I could even work these into my work day as long as none of my co workers are around!

I will continue to work on my upper arm and core strength for the next few weeks and then we will head into some of the more intermediate yoga poses at the beginning of the new year.

photo courtesy of Pop Sugar

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Face Mask

I have been wary to try any new skincare products the past few weeks ever since my skin went crazy at the beginning of this month but I need to start opening some of the products that I have bought to get my skin ready for the cooler temperatures.  I wanted to ease into it and decided to start with the a Fresh mask as my skin has never reacted to one of their products and I have been using them for a few years now.  I bought the Black Tea in stead of the Rose but want to try that one very soon too.  The Black Tea Mask is about providing anti-oxidant protection to the skin and added hydration, both of which I need the most in the fall and winter months.  I have used in twice so far and I am quite happy with this mask so I am sure that this will become a winter staple and then I will investigate switching it on and off with the Rose Face Mask.

The Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Face Mask will be a staple in my skincare regime to help my skin retain moisture and appear healthier as the cold air sets in.  I ordered the product from Sephora and I will provide their product description, "A hydrating treatment that immediately reveals softer, firmer, healthier-looking skin.  Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask with advanced antioxidants is a hydrating treatment that immediately reveals softer, firmer, healthier-looking skin. The innovative formula’s velvety whipped texture has an immediate cooling effect to refresh the skin and the senses. Black tea ferment, also known as Kombucha, is an advanced antioxidant that helps to defend against wrinkle-causing free radicals while softening, smoothing, and enhancing luster. The formula is further enriched with lychee seed extract, known to support natural collagen, firming polysaccharides that help to smooth the skin, and jicima root juice, notable for its hydrating and nourishing properties."

Fresh co-founder Lez Glazman adds more information about the development of the mask formula.  'After first trying Kombucha, a drink made with black tea ferment, I noticed an instant boost in my energy levels and began researching the extract at once. Referred to as the ‘Immortal Health Elixir,’ its history traces back to 250 B.C. I found that just as it reenergized my body, black tea works to reenergize the skin’s cells"'

The first reason that I was attracted to this mask is that I love to drink unsweetened black iced tea from Starbucks and I drink it about three times a week all throughout the year.  I find that green tea has more of the soothing effect and the black tea will keep me going all day long.  It's nice to see that this effect was not all in my head after reviewing Glazman's statement and that this mask will help my skin in a similar fashion. 

As stated before, I have used this mask twice in the past ten days and I have liked it very much so far.  The instructions do say to use it for five to twenty minutes at a time twice or three times a week.  I think that I will move into using it twice a week, I wanted to start slow with how many skin issues I had at the beginning of the month.  I use the mask on clean skin for about ten minutes and really like that I can see and feel a difference right after rinsing the product off.  My skin typically feels dry right after I get out of the shower and towel off.  I need to get some type of serum or cream on my face quickly or my cheeks will begin to hurt.  After use of this product, I don't get the dryness right after I get out of the shower and my skin holds the moisture in better.  I could not skip face cream but I use less and my skin looks much smoother and clearer than before I started using it.  The effect lasts for the next two showers after use so I do think that using it as Fresh directs will continue to improve my skin even more.

The mask not only helps to hydrate my skin but it brightens my overall complexion.  The redness in my cheeks is reduced and I need have needed a bit less foundation since I have started use of this product.  The texture is very appealing, it is thick jelly and actually feels cool when applied to the skin.  It is does not "dry" and absorbs mostly into the skin when a thin layer is applied all over the face.  This mask is very easy to use and works very well, I will start using it twice a week and then hope to see even more results in my skin.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tarte Lights, Camera, Flashes Mascara

My newest Glossybox just crossed my doorstep the other day and I could not have been more excited to see it arrive this time around!  I tend to start Goggling the boxes about a week before I am scheduled to get them and then begin checking all the products out well in advance of actually trying them.  I was really excited with this month's box because I saw that it contained a full sized Tarte mascara that I actually wanted to try for some time now.  The best part about this for me is that I am actually getting low on my current tube and haven't gotten around to hitting up Sephora with all the chaos of this semester so far.  This box is just perfect timing for me!

The last time that I used a Tarte mascara was when I purchased the True Blood palette and I remember liking the product but I don't remember what the formula was.  Mascara is not one of the products that Tarte is famous for but I have loved nearly everything else that I have ever used from this line so I am open to trying out their range of formulas.

The description on the Sephora website is better than the one on the Glossybox product card and I will provide that one.  "An amped up, ultra-black mascara that lengthens, curls and magnifies lashes for an intensified look, while instantly increasing lash volume by up to 752 percent. Powered by tarte’s proprietary triple black complex, this long-wearing, 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 lengthens and separates for maximum volume without clumping."

More details are provided on this formula from Sephora.  "Provitamin B5, a vitamin B derivative, helps treat and thicken the appearance of lashes, while beeswax forms a protective barrier between the skin and the environment that supports natural collagen production, and mineral pigments soothe and soften lashes. This product is formulated without mineral oil, sodium lauryl sulfates, and gluten. It is ophthalmologist tested and proven to increase lash volume by up to 752 percent."

How can a mascara get lash volume up by 752%?!  I would actually think that was a typo if it wasn't in both the product description and the explanation around the benefits of this formula.  I would love to see how this company even got that number for their research and experimentation since I have been trying to quantify it without successful results.  I am just going to move on from this fact and review the actual formula and how the product performed...

Lights, Camera, Flashes is considered to be a lengthening and volumizing formula that helps to hold curl in the lashes.  It performs nicely in all three areas but is definitely not on par with Benefit's They're Real! or Buxom Lash, I would place it more in the category with Clinique's High Impact Mascara.  One coat delivers a growth to volume and lengthen, two coats are needed for a more dramatic look.  This is one formula that could easily be worn during the day or night based on how the application is done, I am beginning to like formulas like this more and more since I can control the look based on how I decide to apply them. 

If I had to decide, I would say this formula was better at lengthening and holding the curl in the lash than creating really think lashes.  I loved how well it held the curl and opened up my eyes, this is the best aspect of the formula and the one feature that sets it apart rom most others on the market.  It is traditional black shade, nothing special in this regard and it is not offered in any other shades at this time. 

Removal is easy with an eye makeup remover when one coat is used, two coats makes it is bit more difficult and I usually can't get it all off when I take my makeup off at night.  I did find this formula to have some issues with flaking off during the day and this was the worst aspect of the product. 

I liked this formula and am glad that it was in my Glossybox to try out.  I don't know that I would repurchase it again since there are so many other formulas for me to try and I already have a bunch of favorite formulas in my collection.  This is a good, solid lengthening formula that adds a nice amount of volume when two coats are used.  This is good day to night formula but it will not give the huge lashes that I crave.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener with Color

I am always changing my nail polish color out and everyone that reads this blog knows that my nails always seem to need some extra TLC (especially in the late fall and winter months).  I recently started to get one manicure a month, I had dismissed them for years as a waste of money especially since I tend to change my polish color almost every other day.  My view was changed once I saw how nice my natural nails would look once they were filed nicely and my cuticles were cleaned up.  I use mostly OPI shades in the salon and my stylist recommended one for me to use at home and continue to look and feel of salon manicures.

Cue the backstory.  The first time that I got my nails done, I was asked why I kept my nails so short.  I replied that I often cut them all when one or two break and then I keep them all short.  She recommended that I try a good nail strengthener and use it at least twice a week.  Her favorite is the OPI Nail Envy and I loved that it is available in some of their best selling shades so I can use it alone instead of only as a base coat.  I started by buying one shade and am considering the original clear base coat on one of my next visits. 

The Ulta website provides a description of the product and the benefits that can be reaped with the use of it.  "Nail Envy Colors - strength in color.  Original Nail Envy is renowned for strengthening natural nails with hydrolyzed wheat protein and calcium. Now Nail Envy is available in three favorite, classic OPI shades plus one exclusive shade to add a tint of color to nails while strengthening them.  With Nail Envy Colors, your nails can be harder, longer, and stronger - beautifully!"

I didn't know that one of the colors was I have most bottles that I will want to get.  The available colors are:

- Hawaiian Orchid - medium cool pink cream
- Samoan Sand - pale nude cream
- Bubble Bath - pale pink cream
- Pink to Envy - clear with a pink tint

I bought the Bubble Bath shade, I have used this shade for a few months already and had it on frequent rotation in my polish line up.  Using the Nail Envy was a no-brainer on this, I can combine the shade that I love with the benefits of the best selling base coat.  I can already see a difference in the length of my nails after using it three times and I can click them on hard surfaces with ease now (I could never do this before or they would break).  The Hawaiian Orchid shade would be pretty for spring and summer so I will want that shade but not right now.  My next shade will be Samoan Sand and I am on the fence about Pink to Envy.  I will either love or hate the way this tint appears on the nail so I might need to try it in a manicure first.

photo courtesy of OPI

Monday, September 23, 2013

Lipstick Queen Oxymoron Lip-Cheek Rouge

An oxymoron is a term that we all became familiar with in grade school grammar lessons and one that most people continue to make use of long after their college graduation.  An oxymoron is defined as "a figure of speech that juxtaposes elements that appear to be contradictory" and can occur in a variety of contexts.  Some of the most popular ones are "living dead" and "jumbo shrimp".  An Oxymoron is something completely different in the world of Poppy King and is one of biggest cult products.

In the world of Lipstick Queen, Oxymoron is a dual use product that is listed as a "matte gloss".  A "matte gloss" is a great example of a literary oxymoron, a gloss has shine and a matte has no shine.  So how does this product work and what will the final result of use look like?  I have heard of lipsticks having a "creamy matte" finish, a matte finish that is designed to be hydrating and not "dry" while still having a lack of shine to it.  Is this product another combination of a cream and a matte or is this a completely unique products? 

The Lipstick Queen website provides the following product description to help us understand how this product is unique.  "Many women are afraid of matte because they think it is high-maintenance, hard to wear and drying. Not so with this lip-cheek rouge, especially as the four shades were designed to be the colors of blush, very sweet, subtle and flattering."  The website continues the description with recommendations for best use.  "If you are wearing a bold or bright lip color then Oxymoron is the perfect way to subtly enhance your natural cheek color.  Four shades with Oxymoron names; Oxymoron means two opposites together (for example matte and gloss).  It feels as smooth and light as a gloss but on matte!!  Designed to use on the lips and cheeks.  For the lips, use a lip brush or your finger to apply.  For the cheeks, just dab a small amount on with your finger and blend."

This product reminds me very much of Stila's Convertible Color but with a more matte finish.  The application for both products is pretty much exactly the same but the results differ.  I use the Stila product mostly as a blush but use the Lipstick Queen product equally as a blush and a lipstick.  I found the Stila product to not very long on the lips, it's very creamy and lasts about as long as the average satin or cream lipstick.  The Lipstick Queen product has the lasting power of a matte lipstick but feels a bit more hydrating on the lips.  I do need to touch up with a hydrating lip balm once in a while during wear which is normal for me when I am wearing any kind of matte formula.  The Lipstick Queen product functions very well as a cream blush and lasts all day long.  As a lipstick, I get about five to six hours of wear before I need to touch up the color itself.

The Oxymoron Lip-Cheek Rouge is available in only four shades.  Lipstick Queen has never released their products in a wide shade range, which is a shame because I have loved every product that I have every used from them and always wants to buy more. 

- Free Ride - ultimate pretty peach
- Honest Politician - perfect pinky brown
- Minor Crisis - dusky rose pink
- Open Secret - romantic pop pink

I have bought both Open Secret and Minor Crisis.  I used Open Secret through the end of the summer and can use this bright pink all throughout the year, this is my favorite of the two shades.  I love bright pink shades and this is another great option for me, it is easier to wear than NARS Schiap and I can wear it when getting dressed up, for a more professional environment, and for a casual weekend look.  This is a very versatile shade for me and I will be using and buying it for many years to come.  Minor Crisis is more of a fall shade for me, I waited to open this one up until last weekend.  This is a subtle rose hue that works well for a more professional look or a more natural look.  I am very happy with both of these shades and wish that Lipstick Queen offered more shades in this product.

I love this unique product and will continue to watch for new shades or it and hope that this wish has already been expressed by other ladies to the Lipstick Queen company!

photo courtesy of Barneys New York

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Katy Perry's Bangs

I haven't posted it here yet so I am going to break the big news right now...I am now the owner of short bangs a la Katy Perry.  Many of you know that I have worn a side swept bang for about a year now and have been toying with the idea of the shorter bangs for a few months now. 

I have been tabling the idea since last spring, my hair stylist and I agreed that summer is not the best time to make this kind of decision since the humidity won't help me style them very well.  So after over four months of deliberation, I pulled the trigger last week and just got them cut.

Styling is definitely different, I have to change how I blow my hair dry of they will not straighten correctly.  This also is the first time in quite a long time that I have to rely more on my blow dryer than I do on my straightening iron, my iron can do little more than touch them up after using the hair dryer on them.  I have learned that it they look terrible after the blow dryer, then they will be put back into a scarf for the whole day and there is nothing that I can do to help them. 

I haven't changed any of my styling products as of yet and aren't planning on it.  I try not to get any of my heavier creams on my bangs and only treat them with a quick hit of Alterna Kendi Spray Oil.  I am not going to have issues with styling product residue rubbing off on my forehead and breaking my skin.

So far reactions to my bangs have been very favorable and I am glad that I did this.  I am also glad that I waited for the right season to do it since I have a feeling that I would have hated them had I made the change during the warm weather.

photo courtesy of Pinterest

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Donna Karan Cashmere Mist

Fall is now completely in the air and I have been moving over to all my fall fragrances and outfits. I just received some new samples from my latest Sephora order and the fragrance that we are going to talk about today was among them.  Cashmere Mist from Donna Karan is one of the best selling women's fragrances and one that is worn by all kinds of ladies.  Honestly...I hate smelling like everyone else and that was enough to keep me away from this fragrance for years.  But since I have a sample of it, I decided that I would try it out and see if I can understand what all the hype is about.

Fall is the perfect time to try this fragrance, it is definitely a cold weather fragrance and one that I would pair with a cashmere sweater for a casual night out or a day spend outside with friends.  This is one of those fragrances that has cleverly combines the notes to smell like "skin", very similar to Burberry Touch.  I either love or detest these types of fragrances and I feel that they work very differently for everyone.  Cashmere Mist was one of the better perfumes in this category but I don't know that it is worthy of purchasing a full bottle and expanding my perfume collection.

"Inspired by the soft, sensual feeling of cashmere against bare skin, Cashmere Mist Eau de Parfum is a fragrance light enough to wear all over your body all year long. It seduces the senses—skin, scent and spirit.", states the Sephora website.  I don't know that I would call this fragrance light enough to wear all throughout the year but I am sure that it wears very differently on many people.

The notes are: Lily of the Valley, Suede Notes, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine Maroc, Sandalwood, Orris, Amber, Vanilla, Cedarwood, Patchouli, Musk.

I fully stand behind my position that this is a cold weather fragrance, I pull all of the jasmine and sandalwood and therefore would never be able to wear this fragrance in the warm weather.  I reviewed some of the comments made about the fragrance on the Sephora website and wanted to see if others agreed with me or if more ladies were able to really wear it all year long.  There were quite a few ladies who stated that it mostly smelled like a light baby powder fragrance but they were in the minority.  Most of the reviewers pulled many of the similar notes as I did and considered the fragrance to be a cold weather fragrance.  At least I know that my nose is broken today...

I love jasmine fragrances so I will be finishing up the rest of my sample but I don't know that I love it enough to add to my collection, I would use this fragrance for the same occasions that I wear Tom Ford's Violet Blonde and I much prefer Violet Blonde of the two.  The wear time and intensity are both medium, I get about six hours from Cashmere Mist and it remains fragrant the whole time on my skin. 

I can how many women love this fragrance, it contains a mixture of notes that will blend differently on all different ladies however I find this to only be a cold weather fragrance.  With the exception of the few ladies that pull a "baby powder" fragrance from it, all of the notes in it are best suited for cooler weather...especially for the ladies who really pull patchouli or musk.  If you like a heavier, richer fragrance than this fragrance will appeal to you but I don't find it to be quite as "universal" as Donna Karan suggests...

photo courtesy of Sephora

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fitness Friday - Bolthouse Farms Amazing Mango Smoothie

We have been talking about yoga poses the past few Fitness Fridays and I want to get back to healthy eating and how to take in fresh fruits and vegetables as the seasons change.  I love summer for all the berries that are in season during it.  I eating cherries, strawberries, and blueberries nearly every single day and I always miss this when the seasons change and those berries go out of season.  In previous years, I have done great eating well during the summer but then begin to struggle as the fall rolls around and it only goes downhill as the winter months arrive.  I am hoping that I can ward some of that off this year and I will be looking to see what kinds of organic juices are available at my local supermarket and how I can add them into my diet.

Bolthouse Farms has long been my favorite juice company and I have been drinking their Strawberry Banana Smoothie for quite a few years now.  I have been intrigued by their mango smoothies so I decided that there is no time like the present to try a new one out.  I have gone through two bottles of the Amazing Mango in the past three days and I can safely say that I have a new obsession and another way to get my Vitamin C this fall and winter.

"Made with 100% fruit, our Amazing Mango® Smoothie puts the spotlight on Mother Nature’s natural solo artist. Packed with mango and the antioxidant power of vitamins A and C, the word ‘amazing’ really is putting it lightly. But we’re humble, so.", states the Bolthouse Farms website.

This smoothie is pretty simple, it is pure mango and tastes great (if you like Mango).  This smoothie is packed with Vitamins A and C which I love since it is much harder for me to take them in the fall and winter months.  I would like to see this smoothie made with less sugar since the mango is sweet enough on its own and the added sugar can throw my daily sugar grams out of whack.  That's a minor complaint and I will just need to make sure that I am carefully watching my diet around it.

I still love Bolthouse Farms and I will continue to buy their Strawberry Banana and Amazing Mango Smoothies and keep investigating what else is in their juice line up.

photo courtesy of Bolthouse Farms

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bath and Body Works Amber Blush

Bath and Body Works has released a new fragrance for the fall and early winter and it brings the revamping of their Signature Collection products with it.  Fall has just started and it is time for many of us to start looking for new fragrances and body products to use as the weather is really changing.  The Fall Traditions fragrances came out again this year before Labor Day and I skipped over them because they are basically the exact same fragrances that we get every single year and I have never found any of them to be all that great (unless you LOVE pumpkin) and wasn't wasting my time on them this year.  I am glad that I kept waiting and now can feel free to buy another fragrance this fall.

Amber Blush was released earlier than I had first heard but I am glad to see and try a new fragrance for fall.  This is a strong berry fragrance was is a disappointment for me, most berry fragrances either go very sweet or very sour on me and I tend to only be able to wear berries when they are mixed with strong florals.  I doubted that this fragrance would be a keeper for me and I was right after trying out the Fragrance Mist and the Lotion, the lotion is ok on me but the mist goes much too sweet for me to wear on a daily basis.

"Capture the sensual warmth and luxury of a romantic getaway! Raspberry champagne & gardenia petals mingle with a seductive kiss of crystallized amber for an ultra-feminine scent.", states the Bath and Body Works website when providing us with a fragrance description.  The top notes of the fragrance are: Sparkling Bergamot, Juicy Mandarin, Raspberry Champagne.  The heart notes are: Jasmine, Gardenia Petals, Star Anise, Apricot Nectar, Magnolia Blossom.  The base notes are: Creamy Vanilla Suede, Crystalized Amber, Golden Sandalwood, Soft Musk.

I get all the Raspberry Champagne from this fragrance and next to none of the other notes...especially not the floral notes that are in the brew.  This fragrance starts out with the raspberry and a bit of tart champagne but the champagne quickly fades away and the fragrance wears as a very sweet raspberry on me.  I don't get much of the amber notes or any of the bottom notes and this fragrance fades pretty quickly since it has little to no base.  This is not the best fragrance for me and I will not able to wear it, the raspberry annoys me and gives me quite a headache.  The Fine Fragrance Mist was awful on me and will not be coming home with me.

The fragrance comes in the full range of Signature Collection forms: EDT, Fine Fragrance Mist, Shower Gel, Body Lotion, Triple Moisture Body Cream, Golden Sugar Scrub, and Shimmer Mist.  The EDT is better than the Fine Fragrance Mist for me, it is less sweet and the tart champagne note is much stronger.  I bought the small sample of it earlier this month and have been wearing it the past few days, I like it in the EDT but don't love it enough to purchase the full size bottle.  I get sick of this fragrance quickly, I can only wear it two or three days in a row before I tire of it and want to switch over to another fragrance. 

The lotion and shower gel is in this fragrance are better for me than the EDT or Fine Fragrance Mist and the only items that I would consider purchasing.  The body products are still slightly too sweet for me to like, I prefer sweet vanilla scents to sweet berry scents and know that I wouldn't get very much use from the body products and therefore there isn't much of a point in my purchasing them.  If you like berry scents, then you will love this fragrance but I will be skipping over it and setting some cash aside for when the Holiday Traditions body products come out!

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Benefit Dandelion Box o' Powder Blush

I have yet another post about blush today, I mentioned before that I tend to buy lots of blush shades when the seasons change and I have been outdoing myself even more this year.  Once I finish up this big round of blush buying, I probably won't pick any more shades up until my skin needs a pick up in the middle of the winter or early spring.  I don't understand my shopping patterns but I do understand what a good blush does as my skintone changes from tan to pale.  I wanted to buy blushes from multiple companies and Benefit was on my list as having top quality formulas for this product.

I was at Sephora the other day and I bought Dandelion from Benefit, I believe this ranks up there with some of their original products and I remember seeing this one in Sephora catalogs when I was in college and just beginning to shop there.  I have wanted to try this shade for quite a long time but I feel like I always get distracted by what is new and/or limited edition.  I know for a fact this is how the majority of my MAC shopping is done and it tends to spill over to many different beauty brands.

Benefit blushes are cult products and spawned a line of matching lip glosses a few years ago, I find it amusing that I have written more on the lip glosses than I have the actual blushes.  Today I will be changing that around.  Dandelion is a soft pink hue that can be used as a powder blush or a facial highlighter, I have used it only has a blush so far and I cannot see that I would be trying it as a highlighter any time soon.

"A pale-pink, pressed highlighting powder that transforms your complexion from dull to radiant.  Fake awake in just one stroke with Dandelion—Benefit's long-lasting, pressed highlighting powder in ballerina-pink. Its shimmery, satiny, and radiant formula leaves an immediate perk-me-up finish that brightens up your face—even at eight in the morning.", states the Sephora website. 

This pale pink complements my pale skin quite well and creates a natural flush when applied to my cheekbones.  It is very similar to Illamasqua's Katie hue but a bit less pigmented.  This shade would work well on anyone with pale to medium skin and cool undertones.  It is very easy to wear and I can use it with any makeup look or by itself for a bit of color on a casual day.  It lasts for about eight hours and wore nicely throughout the day.  It held up to work and then school after that but wasn't long enough wearing to survive a workout.  This really isn't a big deal for me and I am happy with getting all day from it under normal wear circumstances. 

I can see why this product and shade are a cult favorite and continue to be top sellers at Sephora.  I have a feeling that Benefit will continue to bring these blushes out for quite a long time and they will continue to be best sellers for the whole time.  This was the last blush that I bought however I might end up trying a few more formulas out in the coming weeks...

photo courtesy of Sephora

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

L'Occitance Ultra Rich Face Cream

The last heat wave of the late summer is finally over and I am moving my skincare over to many of the items that I had bought for fall.  I had actually started buying fall skin care early last month but had to go back to summer skin care items with the extended heat wave that occurred.  My skin has definitely realized that the heat and humidity are over and has become much drier than it has been in weeks.  I am slowly switching over to my fall skincare arsenal and decided that I needed to change my night cream before anything else.  I opened up my newest face cream from L'Occitance several nights ago.

The Ultra Rich Face Cream is the first skincare product that I have purchased from this company and so far it is working out quite well.  This face cream is only for dry skin and I would never recommend it for anyone that has any other skin type.  I don't even think that I would be able to use this cream during the day and be able to use makeup over it.  This product hydrates very well but doesn't fully absorb and wouldn't be the best to use during the day.

I ordered this face cream from Sephora.  Sephora gives the following product description, "A luxurious face cream that deeply nourishes and intensely protects dry to very dry skin types.  The Ultra Rich Face Cream is the perfect moisturizer for skin in need of intensive hydration. The formula is exceedingly dense and creamy, although rapidly absorbed without leaving an oily film, and is specially formulated to hydrate, nourish, and protect dry and damaged skin. It has been proven to increase skin hydration for up to 24 hours.  In addition to 25 percent shea butter, the formula is made with wheat and chestnut extracts to strengthen the skin. These extracts are rich in vitamins and minerals, which help to replenish the skin's hydrolipidic film and restore balance to the skin's barrier, defending it against harsh environmental conditions."

The texture of this cream is very rich and creamy, it is more of a balm than an actual cream.  I have to run my finger over the top of this product and pick up the smallest amount possible.  I first tried scooping it out like I would my other face creams but so much product came out that it didn't absorb at all.  Less is definitely more with this face cream and only the smallest bit will absorb in the skin.  This product does not fully absorb into the skin and leaves a bit of a film on the skin, the main reason that I would only use this as a night cream. 

The 25 percent shea butter in this formula hydrates very well but does have a bit of a heavy feeling on the skin.  Again this product is only for dry to very dry skin types.  It reduces some of the redness that is in my skin and helps to keep the moisture in even after I shower in the morning.  The hydrating benefits are great and this is a very good product for those with tight and dry skin.  The more natural ingredients did not irritate my skin and I was very happy with this face cream.

The only way that this face cream could be improved would be to have it absorb better into the skin, I would never be able to use this as a day cream and put primer and foundation on top of it.  As a night cream, it hydrates well and helps to reduce redness due to dry skin.  I am looking forward to trying more face products from this company and more from the shea butter line.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush

I have been in a blush shopping mode lately...yesterday we looked at the Urban Decay Naked Flush palette and today I am reviewing the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush.  I go through phases with blushes, I will buy and try several new ones right in a row and then I won't pick anything new up for a few weeks or months.  I tend to purchase blush the most right around the changing of the seasons, I have been all about replacing some of my current formulas as fall is right around the corner.  I have used mostly eye makeup and skincare from Tarte so blush is a brand new experience for me from this company.

I debated between trying the cheek stain formula or the powder blush formula and decided to start with the powder blush.  I will start trying of the cheek stains within the next few months and then I will decide which formula is the better performing of the two.  I was pleased to see that both formulas are designed to be very longwearing, I need this type of formula as grad school classes are starting up again and my typical day is about 13 hours long and I need products that will look fresh and pigmented throughout the whole day. 

"A long-wearing, solar-baked blush that lasts up to 12 hours.  Infused with natural clay harvested from the banks of the Amazon River and naturally baked by the sun, this nutrient-rich blush benefits all skin types for a fade-free flawless finish that lasts an amazing 12 hours. Inspired by tarte's bestselling shades of cheek stains and lip tints, the colors range from soft to vivid to suit a wide variety of skintones. For oily skin types, Amazonian clay minimizes oil in and around pores to balance skin and keep product in place. Those with dry skin will benefit from the clay's nourishing and hydrating properties, which naturally restore skin's moisture. Combination skin types can rely on its ability to zero in on skin concerns and deliver benefits to restore complexion harmony. The result: Blush that wears better, longer, and truer.  This product is free of petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances, GMOs, and triclosan.", states the Sephora website. 

This blush formula comes in a range of shades and every one that I have tried has full pigmentation.  I have been the most interested in collecting the pink shades due to my pale skintone, my self tan is pretty much done at this point in the year and I am going back to shades that are best with my pale skin. 

The shades of Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush...

- Exposed - nude
- Dazzled - soft rose
- Dollface - light pink
- Fearless - coral pink
- Tipsy - coral
- Blissful - shimmering warm peach
- Captivating - warm peach
- Glisten - shimmering peachy pink
- Peaceful - soft nude peach
- Charisma - warm golden apricot
- Achiote - honeysuckle
- Natural Beauty - muted strawberry red
- Flush - pink berry
- Blushing Bride - plumy rose

I bought both the Dollface and Flush shades at Sephora, these were the two best pinks that are carried in the shade range.  Both shades wear for a full fourteen hours and remain nicely pigmented throughout the day.  The pigment level is medium-to-full, I find that NARS and Illamasqua have higher pigmentation than these but the Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush has better pigment than most brands.  I am sold on this product and I will be looking for a few more shades of this product.  I would like Dazzled and Blushing Bride, I wish there were a few more cool shades in this collection of shades but I am hoping that we will see more as Tarte adds to this product line. 

photo courtesy of Sephora

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Urban Decay Naked Flushed Palette

Urban Decay has been rivaling MAC for my favorite makeup line the past few weeks and I have been heading right to their counter each time that I enter Sephora.  My recent favorites from this line have all been lip products so I decided to try a new type of product from this line and learn more about how their face products stack up against those of MAC.  MAC Pro Longwear Blushes have been my recent favorites and I want to see how the blush formula in the Urban Decay Naked Flushed Palette compares to that formula.  I am in the process of deciding how many more shades of Pro Longwear I want to order and the results of my use of this Urban Decay palette has the potential to change all my orders.

The Naked Flushed Palette is the face makeup piece of the super popular Naked collection of products.  I now own both Naked Palettes, the Naked lipstick shade, and the face palette.  I was slightly hesitant to purchase this product now as it contains a bronzer that I would not use until next summer.  I thought about it for a few moments and remembered that even I am in full "fall" mode, the weather has not caught up to me and I can test this product out for a least one or two weeks.  I now also know that I have a brand new bronzer to use next summer and may not have to spend time searching for new bronzer formulas.

I bought this palette at Sephora so I am using the information that this company provides on the product.  "A silky bronzer, highlighter, and blush in a sleek, travel-ready compact.  Use these pressed powders individually or blend them together to create just the right effect. Urban Decay’s micronized, jet-milled formula has a luxe, featherlight texture that feels amazing on your skin and provides a flawless finish. Light-diffusing particles enhance and perfect to for a fresh, glowy look, even after a late night. The color is intensely pigmented yet blends beautifully, and the universal shades are versatile enough for any skintone.  All shades are full size and come in a sleek case with an easy-open magnetic closure and a mirror that is compact enough for travel or mid-date touchups."

The bronzer is a medium tan shade, the highlighter is a pale pink shimmer, and the blush is a bright pink hue.  I have used the bronzer and the blush the most and am struggling to find the best way to make use of the highlighter. 

The bronzer is a traditional matte bronzer formula, I notice little to no difference between this formula and the one that I tried earlier this summer from Bare Minerals.  It goes on nicely and lasts a full eight hours when I am at work.  It doesn't make it very well through a workout or yoga class at night but I wasn't anticipating that it would so I am not that disappointed.  This shade is a true "Medium" and I have to apply it with a very light hand or my face will not match my neck (even with still using up my last bottle of sunless tanner).  The best mode of application for me is to tap the top of my bronzer brush directly onto the product and then lightly brush it all over my face.  I follow with a second round only on my forehead, cheek bones, and chin.  I don't know if this is the greatest bronzer formula ever but it works well and I will use it for a few more days and then bring it back out next May.

The blush is a bright pink hue that apply smoothly and has a nice amount of pigmentation.  This one is the quality of the MAC Pro Longwear or NARS.  It lasts all day without streaking during a workout and the pigment remains true throughout normal wear.  My biggest issue with this product is that I can only get it in this palette and Urban Decay does not sell single powder blushes (at least as of right now...I am sure that could change in the future).  I would love to see more of these blushes sold alone and in a range of shades.  I will be crossing my fingers that Urban Decay can deliver on this in the coming seasons.

I tend to mostly use the highlighter around my eyes even though many people get the best results with use on the top of the cheek bones.  I dip my finger into the highlighter and then apply a small amount on the inner and outer corner of my eyes.  It makes me look more awake without having to add more eye makeup.  I have used it this way in the morning and then again in the late afternoon to freshen my makeup up after leaving work.  I am afraid to work with it too much on my cheekbones or on the side of my nose since it is quite shimmery and I do not normally apply shimmer products in either of these areas.  This will take some trial and error and a very light hand during application.

Overall, this is a nice palette and I am happy that I could try out more Urban Decay Naked products.  The bronzer will be a staple for me next summer and I am getting my hopes up about this company bringing more blush shades out.  I would love to see this palette in different shades and I am sure that my wish will be answered over the coming seasons!

photo courtesy of Sephora

Saturday, September 14, 2013

MAC Antonio Lopez

We are well into the fall makeup shopping season and I already have my first round of shopping done and am beginning to plot what I need in the second (and third!) rounds.  The collection that MAC has released with Antonio Lopez has the potential be a large part of my second round of makeup shopping, this is one of the biggest fall releases from MAC and I know that it will sell out very quickly and create some new cult favorites for the season.  When I started making my Round 2 shopping list, I began by thinking about what items I need to add to my collection and what holes that I need to fill.  And as of right now...I have no holes that need to be filled in my makeup collection and I will be able to simply shop around and see what I really love and what would work well with what I already own.

Who is Antonio Lopez and why would MAC want to make a huge collection with him?  Antonio Lopez was a legendary fashion illustrator whose career spans all the way into the late 1980S.  He created illustrations for many of the top magazines of the time including Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.  Over the past few years, his work has appeared in exhibits all over the globe and he is remembered as one of the most forward thinking designers of his time.  It was only a matter of time until MAC decided to team up with his foundation and create a collection that marries his illustration talents with their talents for creating the best seasonal collections in the beauty industry.

"The legendary fashion illustrator's vibrant energy and love of life inspire a striking colour collection featuring: Eyes x 6 Palettes, Lips x 3 Palettes and Face Palettes perfect for highlighting natural tones and contours. Each palette's packaging features an exclusive drawing by the artist, making these limited-edition objets d'art to be treasured."

Here is the MAC Antonio Lopez collection!

MAC Antonio Lopez Six Eyes: Creative Copper - Six coordinating Eye Shadows in coral pink, frost pink-gold, pale beige, sparkling gold, tarnished taupe and deep warm brown. The highly pigmented powder formula applies evenly, blends and builds beautifully. Limited-edition M∙A∙C Antonio Lopez compact.
- Easy Gesture - pale warm beige (Frost)
- Artistic License - midtone frosty pink gold (Veluxe Pearl)
- Dear Cupcake - midtone coral pink (Satin)
- Creative Copper - sparkling true gold (Lustre)
- Golden Touch - tarnished taupe (Veluxe Pearl)
- Carbonized - deep warm brown (Veluxe Pearl)

MAC Antonio Lopez Six Eyes: Violet - Six coordinating Eye Shadows in vibrant violet, satin pink, cool cream, dark blue grey, deep silver and intense black. The highly pigmented powder formula applies evenly, blends and builds beautifully. Limited-edition M∙A∙C Antonio Lopez compact.
- Lithe Spirit - cool cream (Satin)
- Envisioning Pink - midtone blue pink (Satin)
- Violet Impact - vibrant violet (Veluxe Pearl)
- Showgirl - dark blue gray (Veluxe Pearl)
- Carbon - intense black (Matte)

MAC Antonio Lopez Six Eyes: Teal - Six coordinating Eye Shadows in dark teal, black with pink pearl, charcoal with crystalline frost, sparkling silver, pearlescent blue and glittery blackened olive. The highly pigmented powder formula applies evenly, blends and builds beautifully. Limited-edition M∙A∙C Antonio Lopez compact.
- Nighttrain - charcoal gray with crystalline frost (Lustre)
- Colourful Life - dark teal (Veluxe Pearl)
- Freshwater - midtone sparkling blue with blue pearl (Veluxe Pearl)
- Sex and Disco - sparkling cool silver (Lustre)
- Sketchbook - glittery blackened olive (Lustre)
- Fashion Legend - black with pink pearl (Lustre)

MAC Antonio Lopez Three Lips: Nude - Colour plus texture for the lips that made M∙A∙C famous. The glazed glossy champagne of Art Directed, the satin light peach of Antonio's Girls and the amplified white pink of Vivid Image. Limited-edition M∙A∙C Antonio Lopez compact.
- Vivid Image - light white pink (Amplified)
- Antonio's Girls - light peach (Satin)
- Art Directed - glossy sheer champagne (Glazed)

MAC Antonio Lopez Three Lips: Fuchsia - Colour plus texture for the lips that made M∙A∙C famous. The matte neon pink of Candy Yum-Yum, the matte blue pink of Moxie and the amplified bright violet of Violetta. Limited-edition M∙A∙C Antonio Lopez compact.
- Candy Yum Yum - matte neon pink (Matte)
- Moxie - midtone blue pink (Matte)
- Violetta - bright clean violet purple (Amplified)

MAC Antonio Lopez Three Lips: Red - Colour plus texture for the lips that made M∙A∙C famous. The matte orange-red of Scarlet Ibis, the satin vivid red of M∙A∙C Red and the matte deep scarlet of Deeply Adored. Limited-edition M∙A∙C Antonio Lopez compact.
- Scarlet Ibis - bright orange red (Matte)
- MAC Red - vivid bright bluish red (Satin)
- Deeply Adored - deep scarlet (Matte)

MAC Antonio Lopez Face: Pink - Features three powders to colour cheeks and face: Iridescent Powder in the light bronze of Belightful, Powder Blush in the satin pink of Pure Femininity and Beauty Powder in the mid-tone peach of Peaceful. Limited-edition M∙A∙C Antonio Lopez compact.
- Peaceful - midtone peach
- Belightful - light bronze with golden shimmer
- Pure Feminity - midtone blue pink (Satin)

MAC Antonio Lopez Face: Coral - Features three powders to colour cheeks and face: Iridescent Powder in the golden peach of Star!, Powder Blush in the satin coral of Passion for Colour and Beauty Powder in the golden bronze of Smooth Harmony. Limited-edition M∙A∙C Antonio Lopez compact.
- Smooth Harmony - midtone peach
- Star! - light bronze with golden shimmer
- Passion for Colour - midtone blue pink (Satin)

MAC Antonio Lopez 129SE Powder/Blush Brush - Special-edition, shiny black short-handled brush featuring a lacquered black, metal ferrule. Designed for blush and powder application. Soft, black fibres form a full, rounded shape. Packaged in a reusable M∙A∙C Antonio Lopez pouch.

MAC Antonio Lopez Mirror - A crushed black velvet-wrapped, hinged square compact mirror with both magnifying and standard mirrors. Features the artist's irresistible fashion illustration. Limited edition.

MAC Antonio Lopez Makeup Bag - Carry treasured tools and colours in style. Flat, rectangular bag with zipper closure. Front exterior is satin featuring the artist's irresistible fashion illustration. Back exterior is crushed black velvet. 78 x 79.5 x 12.8mm. Limited edition. M∙A∙C stores only.

MAC Antonio Lopez Tote - An online-exclusive tote featuring an iconic illustration by the artist printed on the front satin exterior. Crushed black velvet handle and back exterior. 385 x 423 mm. Limited edition.

I am excited about a couple pieces of this collection but overall my favorites are from the eye makeup palettes.  My favorite palette is the first one that is listed here, Creative Copper.  This palette contains six neutral and rose shades that I will use together and then mix then with all the rest of my Urban Decay Naked Palettes.  I know that I don't need anymore eye shadows in these shades however these are the ones that I use the most and will continue to get the most use out of throughout the fall and winter months.  I also love the Violet palette, this palette will work great for a dramatic violet eye and I will be playing with this look when I am going out over the next few months. 

The Lip palettes are my second favorite category from this collection, I really love both the Red and the Fuchsia palettes even though I don't really need anymore shades like this.  If I had to decide between the two of the palettes, I would go after the Fuchsia palette since Candy Yum Yum is always sold out at my favorite counter and I have not yet tried Moxie.  The Red palette would be nice to own but not a necessary, I already own MAC Red and am pretty well stocked on red lipsticks from this company.  I can skip over the Face palettes and I don't need any of the accessories from this collection.

If I could only get two pieces from this collection, my top choices are the neutral eye shadow palette and the palette with the pink lip hues.  I would get use from this choices throughout the whole year and I could started using them right after I bought them!  It looks like Round 2 of fall beauty shopping is starting!

photo courtesy of MAC

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fitness Friday - Reverse Warrior Yoga Pose

Today is the last week that we are looking at the Warrior Pose series from yoga.  Reverse Warrior is the last of the Warrior series and the one that I have tended to use the least in my Vinyasa classes and rarely in my Ashtanga classes.  All of the Warrior poses are standing poses and require a good amount of leg strength and flexibility, along with a good amount of balance.  Reverse Warrior is literally the reverse of Warrior One and flexes a different series of muscles than the other poses.

Reverse Warrior is a mild to deep backbend, depending on how far you take it during your practice.  I am finally able to take it to a deeper backbend than I was previously and this is one of the few backbends that I can do while standing.  I found more information on this pose from the About Health website, Reverse Warrior is a "standing backbend" that strengthens the leg and improves the flexibility of the spine.

The following are instructions for entering and holding the pose...

 - From Warrior II, bring the rear hand down the back of the rear leg.

-  Bring the front arm up next to your ear.

-  Keeping the front knee bent and directly over the ankle, reach the rear hand down as you come in to a backbend. Try not to put too much weight into the back hand so that your support is coming from the core, instead of your hand resting on your leg.

- Bring your gaze up to the front fingertips.

- Hold for up to five breaths and then switch sides.

I started doing this pose a few weeks ago but was placing too much pressure in my back hand and wasn't working my core correctly along with being afraid of putting pressure on my knee.  I need to focus on only placing my hand on the back of my thigh and not pressing down.  To make the pose harder and therefore work your core harder, you can wrap that hand around your back and then place all of the work into your core.  I have tried it this way once and I need to improve my core strength to remain in this position for five breaths on each side.

We are ending our Fitness Friday series on the Warrior Poses today and we are going to move away from yoga poses for the next few Fridays.  I think we are going to move back to food next...

photo courtesy of About Health

Thursday, September 12, 2013

MAC Retro Matte

Fall collections are now in full swing and MAC keeps bringing out the products that will keep me going back to the counter all season long!  I have swooned over their new Indulge collection, craved a new foundation from Pro Longwear, and wanted yet another red lipstick shade with my last visit to the counter.  A good chunk of my paycheck is being set aside each month for my MAC visits and this will be a fall of makeup shopping instead of fragrance and body product shopping.  I hope I don't need another train case by the end of October...

MAC has released yet another new collection that I am going to go crazy over when I get to the counter!  Retro Matte is a collection that contains only lip products and was based off the huge fame of the Ruby Woo lipstick hue and the cult following that came with it.  I have admired the Ruby Woo shade several times however I have not bought it yet for the following reasons: I spent more time at the MAC counter checking out the new and limited editions and this shade is very often sold out at my counter.  I have the worst luck with this shade and the stars have never aligned with me getting to the counter when this product is in stock and when I am not simply picking up all my new collection shades.  Perhaps with the release of Retro Matte, my counter will get more tubes of this shade in than they normally do.

"Inspired by Ruby Woo's overwhelming popularity and one-of-a-kind texture, M•A•C introduces new bold shades in its Retro Matte finish. Eye-catching colours like Dangerous and All Fired Up create a look that's fiercely feminine. M•A•C also premieres Pro Longwear Lip Pencils in a vibrant colour palette, giving this long-lasting and transfer-proof lip pencil an exhilarating makeover.", states the MAC website when providing an overall collection description.

Here is the Retro Matte collection!

Lipstick - Colour plus texture for the lips. Stands out on the runway. Simmers on the street! What made M·A·C famous.
- Steady Going - light pink matte
- Runway Hit - light nude matte
- Dangerous - orangey red matte
- Relentlessly Red - bright pinkish coral matte
- All Fired Up - bright fuschia matte
- Flat Out Fabulous - bright plum matte
- Ruby Woo - very matte vivid blue-red
- Fixed On Drama - rich wine matte

Pro Longwear Lip Pencil - A new generation of longwearing lip pencil technology. Glides on fluidly and adheres instantly. Defines the lips with an instant release of rich, saturated colour. Pro-longs the hours between re-application. Transfer proof.
- In Anticipation - soft yellow pink
- Staunchly Stylish - pinky beige
- Dynamo - intense pink cream
- Shock Value - bright pink cream
- High Energy - bright orange red cream
- Trust in Red - bright cool red cream
- More to Love - intense bluish pink
- Fashion Boost - bright purple cream first choice from this collection will be a tube of Ruby Woo.  After I can finally get my hands on a tube of this lipstick, then I will start looking at the rest of the shades in this collection.  I will be skipping over the Pro Longwear Lip Pencil since I don't use this type of product and will not be starting any time soon.  My lipstick shopping list: Steady Going, Runway Hit, Relentlessly Red, and All Fired Up.  I want all kinds of shades from this finish and I hope that these lipsticks are the same quality as the rest of the products from MAC, I will just add these lipsticks to my MAC lip obsession and end up buying more from this company!

photo courtesy of MAC

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Aveda Nourish-Mint Smoothing Lip Color

I have been getting more and more obsessed with Aveda every time that I visit my salon and see more of their products on the display.  I have a hair appointment next week and that means that I have been stalking the Aveda website and looking to see what products that I might want to try this time around.  Early last week, I decided that I couldn't wait and I ordered a few of the Nourish-Mint Lipsticks and have been playing around with them ever since they have arrived.  I have tried to limit the amount of lipsticks that I buy and I have failed every single time that I try and do this so I have just decided to give up and keep buying more lipsticks...

I have said before in this blog that lip products are the one item that I prefer with natural or organic ingredients.  I once read that the average woman eats about eight pounds of lipstick over her lifetime and using a more natural product will eliminate some of the chemicals that are ingested.  I am not saying that I will only be using natural lip products but I will be trying to find more brands that fall into this category.  Aveda falls right into this category and I couldn't wait to order a few lipsticks from their website.

The Aveda website states the following about their Nourish-Mint Smoothing Lip Color, "75% of women noticed fuller lips after 2 weeks*.  Smooths appearance of fine lines by 26%**.  Increases moisture by 26%**.  Contains refreshing aroma-flavor with the certified organic essential oils of peppermint, vanilla, and ginger." 

These lipsticks smell very similar to the C.O. Bigelow Vanilla Mint Mentha Lip Shine and I love that aspect of the product!  I ordered lipsticks that are in the Berry and Rose families to start with and will continue to purchase more from this product collection.  I surprised myself by not ordering a red shade but I wanted to add some different shades to my collection and I am sure that I will be ordering some red hues in the upcoming weeks. 

Here are the available shades from Aveda!

- 510 Fossil - neutral gold rose with light shimmer
- 520 Sutra - cool earthy rose with light shimmer
- 531 Blushed Honey - cool bronze rose with high shimmer
- 711 Butternut - warm rich brown
- 821 Kashmir Brown - shimmery natural nude
- 312 Lychee Splash - shimmery coral pink
- 320 Sugar Apple - cool deep violet pink with shimmer
- 330 Mulberry - warm rosy pink with light shimmer
- 935 Magenta Berry - deep magenta
- 611 Stargrape - cool shimmery violet plum
- 908 Snapdragon - warm saturated red
- 909 Rare Orchid - cool red violet
- 410 Wild Plum - soft shimmery plum
- 430 Cerise - deep red plum
- 721 Poppy - bright cool red
- 907 Wild Fuchsia - bright fuchsia pink
- 720 Hot Pepper - deep warm spicy brown
- 733 Cherry Bud - warm brick red
- 913 Cana - intense red-orange

I bought Mulberry, Stargrape, and Cerise.  Mulberry is the easiest of the shades to wear, it is semi-sheer rosy pink that works very well with my pale cool toned skin.  I can wear this one with any type of eye makeup look or for a more natural look.  Stargrape is one that I have only tried once or twice at home so far, this deep satin plum will work well later on in fall and will be best for getting dressed up at night.  I would not be able to pull this off in a professional environment because of the contrast between my pale skin and deep hue but someone with a deeper skintone would not have that same issue.  Cerise is listed as a "red plum" but I found it to be more of a warm plum than having a "red" cast to it.  I would use Cerise in the same way that I would use Stargrape, Cerise is a warm plum satin that will be a great shade when dressing up and going out this fall. 

I found that the Aveda lipsticks are not as pigmented as many of the other ones on the market.  If you prefer a more pigmented product than I recommend NARS or Urban Decay.  Nourish-Mint can be described as having a medium pigmentation, every shade appears nicely on the lips but the effect is not as dramatic as a full pigment lipstick.  These lipsticks will be an easy transition for someone who prefers sheer lip balms or lip glosses to a traditional lipstick.  The majority of these shades will be easy to work into a more professional look, exceptions will only be with the deepest of the lipstick shades.

My favorite aspect of this lipstick formula is the hydrating property.  These lipsticks hydrate and feel like a traditional lip balm and help to care for the lips while providing a great color.  The downside here is that this formula tends to come off pretty quickly and does not last much longer than three or four hours (without eating or drinking).  This is common issue with very hydrating lipsticks so I am not surprised but I would love for these shades to last a bit longer than they do. 

I am already making a short list of shades that I will pick up from the salon on my next visit.  I need to get a red from this formula, therefore my top pick is Poppy.  My other choices are Sutra and Magenta Berry.  Sutra will be a good neutral for me and Magenta Berry will be a good fall bright for me to work into my makeup look.

photo courtesy of Aveda

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Oscar de la Renta Essential Luxuries - Santo Domingo

I have been trying to test out a few of the fall fragrance samples that I have collected with most of my summer Sephora orders.  I have been using them at night since the day temperatures have been close to 100 degrees the past two days and I might kill someone if I wear these types of fragrances during the day.  This heat wave should break within the next few days and then I am ready to begin to bring out some more fall items and start wearing my favorite fall trench coat.  I haven't bought any new fragrances for fall yet and I plan to try and work through all of these samples before I make any major shopping decisions.

The first one that I have been playing around with is another one of the Essential Luxuries from Oscar de la Renta, I received samples of all five scents in the collection from my June Glossybox and I have reviewed three of the five so far.  The first three that I reviewed were all warm weather fragrances and I wasn't a solid fan of any of them.  Maybe the cold weather fragrances will be better choices for me.

Santo Domingo is a rich smoky fragrance and one of the more unique fragrances that I have tried over the years.  I don't own any fragrances that are classified as "smoky" and so I was a bit unsure about Santo Domingo when I wore it for the first time.  The Oscar de la Renta website describes the fragrance as such, "A smooth, smoky tabac fragrance inspired by the tropical setting of Oscar de la Renta's birthplace, Santo Domingo. Fresh, citrus notes of mandarin and coriander embrace the rich warmth of tobacco, patchouli and spices in this luscious scent."

The top notes of Santo Domingo are: Italian Mandarin, Cedrat, Italian Bergamot.  The heart notes are: Coriander, Geranium Bourbon.  The base notes are: Indonesian Patchouli, Vetiver, Dominican Tobacco.

The base notes are the strongest in Santo Domingo, the dominant notes of the fragrance are the Patchouli and the Tobacco.  This fragrance is one that I would only wear at night, it would be overwhelming at the office or with any type of casual dress.  I can see this working well with a little black dress and heels, this is a harder fragrance to wear but it would be a stunning accent to a dressed up look for night. 

This is the best of the Oscar de la Renta Luxuries so far, I love that it didn't change while I was wearing it and it is the most unique of the group.  I still have one more to review so this might not be my favorite of the group but it is one of the strongest fragrances in the collection.  I am still deciding if I will buy this fragrance, I know that I would get limited use from it but it is very unique and I have nothing like it in my collection already.

photo courtesy of Oscar de la Renta

Monday, September 9, 2013

Clarins Fall 2013 Collection - Graphic Expression

I believe that today is officially the end of the fall 2013 collections, we have seen all kinds of shades and collections and I have some new favorites that I added to my beauty product collection for the fall.  The heat wave shows no signs of breaking up so I feel like we have "finished" fall before it has even arrived but very soon I will be breaking out my new sweaters and watching football every Sunday.  We are going to finish with a brand that I tend to use more skincare and tanning products from and need to branch out into their makeup collection.  I love Clarins skin and tanning products and I need to start adding their top rated makeup items to my train case.

The collection for fall is named Graphic Expression and it focuses on new eye and cheek palettes plus a new formula of mascara.  This mascara is unique and is specially designed to nourish and grow lashes while making them look fabulous, a rare combination product.  Normally one must purchase a mascara to wear during the day and then a separate treatment for the night.  I will be interested to see how this mascara performs against the option of using two separate products.  This is a heavy eye makeup collection so I am hoping to find a few products that will fill some of the voids in my train case.

There isn't a formal description for this collection so we are just going to go right into our last fall collection!

Graphic Expressions Eye Quarter Mineral Palette - Highly concentrated in mineral pigments, these eye shadows light up all eyes. Their wet and dry texture is extremely soft on application. Easy to blend and shade, their colours are both subtle and even. Harmonies of satin and iridescent shades offer a variety of effects. For a superb, long-lasting make-up result.
- deep forest green khaki satin/taupe satin/bronze shimmer/gold shimmer

Be Long Mascara - This season's most-wanted mascara takes skimpy lashes and makes them long and lush. Clarins' new growth-activating formula, Be Long Complex, makes all the difference. After 4 weeks of use, lashes increased in length by an average of 1.1mm*. Clarins exclusive applicator brush sees that no lash goes unnoticed—even the teensiest. *Test conducted with 33 women for 4 weeks. Measurements performed on bare lashes. Average result.
- 01 Intense Black - deep black

Graphic Expression Face and Blush Powder Palette - Tinted powder with light beige to illuminate, dark beige to even out skin tone, coral pink to sculpt and a touch of golden light to leave the complexion looking smooth, flawless, and sophisticated.
Joli Rouge Perfect Shine Sheer Lipstick - This lipstick combines the transparent colour and shine of a lip gloss with the creamy texture of a lipstick. A unique extreme shine Maxi Lip Complex helps plump and hydrate for full, soft and supple lips, while the deeply moisturizing and long-wearing formula provides the benefits of a balm with lip care.
- Spicy Cinnamon - warm shimmering brown red
- Royal Plum - deep plum satin
- Pink Camellia - medium neutral pink shimmer

I am already starting to collect a few items for my next Most Wanted list and the last two collections were two of the best ones that we have seen for this fall.  I love the eye makeup palette from this collection and am excited to try out the mascara.  I haven't seen anything like this mascara before and I really want to try it out next time that I need a new mascara (which won't be anytime soon since I have about three tubes that haven't even been opened yet).  I want to work this eye makeup palette into the looks that I create with both of my Naked Palettes and this will be great addition to my traincase. 

I am on the fence with the Face and Blush Palette, I doubt that I would ever use it even though it is quite pretty.  I don't love any of the lipsticks and can easily skip over adding any of them to my collection.

The temperatures are still in the high 90s and I am impatient to start using all the new makeup that I have bought for fall.  I hate this strange period of in between, I am not using the majority of my summer shades as the fall is quickly approaching but very few pieces of my fall line up are appropriate yet...

photo courtesy of Clarins

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Estee Lauder Fall 2013 Collection - Metallics

We are at the end of the fall collections and will be looking at holiday collections within the next few weeks.  This seems hard to believe as my area of Pennsylvania is going through yet another late summer heat wave and it doesn't even seem that fall will ever get hear.  But the hot weather will be over before I know it and fall is right around the corner so I will finish up my fall shopping over the next few weeks.  One of the last large collections that I have not touched on yet is the new Pure Color collection from Estee Lauder, this collection is called Metallics and contains limited edition products and new shades all of which have one thing in common - deep metallic jewel tones rule this collection and I am excited to see what this company is bringing out for fall/winter.

I have been getting more and more into the Estee Lauder brand with the recent introduction of Pure Color.  The brand used to be more synonymous with old women that have worn the same fragrances and lipsticks for the past twenty years and now has been changing and bringing out shades and fragrances that can be embraced by a younger customer.

The Metallics collection will certainly be enjoyed by a younger customer but I do believe that this collection includes shades for every customer of Lauder.  Metallic hues are at the heart of the collection and I believe the majority of these shades will be best for nighttime and not appropriate for a more professional environment.  The eye makeup and nail polish shades are the most hyped products of the collection and I will want to check both of these products out next time that I visit the counter. 

Here is the Metallics collection!

Pure Color Intense Eye Shadow Trio - Play in a new dimension of amplified color with NEW Pure Color Instant Intense Eye Shadow Trios. Like molten metal, the liquid-like texture melts onto the eyelids for a high-definition chromatic color impact. A creamy, silk-like formula glides on effortlessly releasing pure, brilliant color that stays true for 10 hours without creasing or fading. The dazzling eye shadows instantly transform from a soft powder to a silky liquid-like texture using slurry technology to give the powder a unique silk-satin feel. True Vision™ Technology – a crystalline (polymer) laminate magnifies and amplifies color for intense clarity and vibrancy, while a unique blend of optics capture light for a reflective flash of shine.  Designed to be applied dry for a refined look or wet for a high metallic finish, the NEW Pure Color Instant Intense Eye Shadow Trios infuse metallic into any look for an added dimension of sophistication. Featuring three brilliant shades, each trio is a total eye look in one: base, contour, and highlight for mistake-proof application. Extremely blendable and color-true, the expertly coordinated shades look stunning on all skin tones and range from soft chrome shimmers to dramatic metallic finishes.
- Arctic Zinc – range of cool blue tones
- Beach Metals – warm peach and plum tones
- Camo Chrome – range of green tones
- Gilded Chocolates – warm gold and deep chocolate tones
- Smoked Chrome – metallic silver and slate blue tones
- Steel Lilacs – range of lilac tones
- Sterling Plums – range of pale and deep plum tones

Pure Color High Intensity Lip Lacquer - NEW Pure Color High Intensity Lip Lacquer drenches lips in an array of seductively rich lacquered hues, from sultry nudes to daring wines. Combining the creamy coverage of a lipstick and the high-shine of a gloss, this opulently pigmented lacquer creates a lusciously brilliant and glass-like finish. Estée Lauder’s True Vision™ Technology provides the ultimate color payoff, while multi-functional polymers seal in moisture and form a color stay barrier to keep brilliant color and impeccable shine looking fresh, supple and vibrant for a long-lasting 6 hour wear. A new moisture-infused formula also replenishes lips for a rich, cushioned feel that radiates from within. For application, an exclusive paddle, with a bell curve design, dips in the center creating a reservoir effect to release the perfect amount of lacquer that glides onto lips with precision.  A hybrid of vividly rich color and brilliant metallic shine meet in six NEW Limited Edition Pure Color Vivid Shine Lipsticks. Exclusive True Vision™ Technology provides rich color that wraps lips in lustrous shine, while a tri-complex of refined metalized gold and silver pearls envelop lips to create an amplified chromatic finish. This high-impact fusion of pigments and pearls create brilliant shades that work across all different skin tones, while the moisture-rich formula keeps lips feeling soft and conditioned all day.
- Electric Wine - deep cool wine cream
- Fuchsia Flash - medium magenta berry cream
- Hot Cherry - medium blue red cream
- Liquid Pearl - pale cool beige with shimmer
- Mirrored Mauve - medium mauve with shimmer
- Peach Glass - medium warm peach cream
- Ruby Glow - deep blue red cream
- Vinyl Rose - medium cool rose cream
- Wet Plum - deep warm plum cream
- Amber Allow - medium bronze shimmer

Pure Color Vivid Shine Nail Lacquer - Color Vivid Shine Nail Lacquer. Born out of a fusion of refined pearls and aluminum platelets, this new high-impact finish saturates nails in a flash richly pigmented chromatic color. The multi-faceted spectrum of color-enriched metalized shades range from dusty rose gold to smoky deep platinum, creating a new dimension of confident style and expressive attitude.
- Rose Gold - rose gold metallic
- Midnight Metal - platinum silver foil
- Chocolate Foil - deep chocolate brown foil
- Smoked Chrome - deep platinum silver foil
- Steel Orchid - deep silver purple metallic
- Brushed Gold - medium gold foil
- Chrome Violet - medium purple with a charcoal metallic
- Metallic Green - deep green metallic

I love this collection and this might be one of the best that Estee Lauder has brought out in recent years.  I don't know very much about Estee Lauder lip products and I think that I will stick more with the eye makeup and nail polishes from Metallics and then look more at the lip glosses later on.  My favorites of the eye makeup are Gilded Chocolates and Smoked Chrome.  I bet that the model in the picture is using the Smoked Chrome eye makeup and then the matching nail polish.  I would also like the Steel Lilacs and Sterling Plums to add to my fall eye makeup shopping. 

I am going to try and keep my nail polish shopping to a few shades or I will want to take them all home with me.  My favorites are Rose Gold, Steel Orchid, Chrome Violet, and Metallic Green.  One of the last things that I need is another nail polish line to be obsessed with but I have a feeling that this is exact scenario will occur very soon...

photo courtesy of Estee Lauder