Saturday, November 30, 2013

Caudalie Divine Oil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

photo courtesy of Sephora

Friday, November 29, 2013

Fitness Friday - Reclined Spinal Twist Yoga Pose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

photo courtesy of

Thursday, November 28, 2013

China Glaze Holiday 2013 Collection - Happy HoliGlaze Collection

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

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

The Happy HoliGlaze collection...

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

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

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

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

photo courtesy of Google

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dior Holiday 2013 Collection - Golden Winter

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

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

Dior's holiday collection!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

photo courtesy of Dior

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Yves Saint Laurent Holiday 2013 Collection - Parisian Night

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

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

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

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

YSL's Paris-inspired holiday collection!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

photo courtesy of Yves Saint Laurent

Monday, November 25, 2013

Lancome Tresor Midnight Rose

I feel like I haven't talked about fragrances since the beginning of the month, the holidays are normally one of the best times to go fragrance shopping however this year hasn't been living up to my expectations in that regard.  With the exception of Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black, it seems that next to nothing has been appealing to me lately.  There is one fragrance that I have now tried several times since the end of the summer and I have been waiting to see if it grows on me but I have officially come to the final conclusion that it will not be working for me at all.  Lancôme Tresor Midnight Rose falls into the category of fragrances that I really wanted to love but they didn't love me back...

I have tried a few Lancôme summer fragrances over the years however I have never owned one of their core fragrances, many of these have been best sellers over the years but I have not yet found one that has worked well for me.  I was hoping that Tresor Midnight Rose would be the winner, I get excited whenever I can find a new rose fragrance to try and this bottle would look beautiful on display in my room. 

"Charming. Mischievous. Desirable. It is time for a new love story to begin, when love is still to be conquered, full of smiles, mystery, and charm. It is the game of love. Set in Paris, the playground for a romantic game of hide and seek. A sexy, sweet blend of raspberry, rose, vanilla, and sensual musk for mischievous femininity: catch my heart if you can.", states the Sephora website. 

The notes of Tresor Midnight Rose are: Blackcurrant, Raspberry, Rose Absolute, Jasmine, Vanilla, Cedar, Musk.

The Black Currant and Raspberry notes are the first to come out on my skin and are the ones that kill the fragrance for me.  The fragrance never seems to fully develop on me, the Rose and Jasmine notes are very faint and the top notes never abate and fade.  This is one of the rare fragrances that starts with the top notes and then goes right into the base notes, the Vanilla notes develops before any of the floral notes and then the fragrance becomes a sweet mixture of the berry and the vanilla notes.  At this point, Tresor Midnight Rose becomes a cloying mixture of sweet berries and vanilla.  I found this fragrance to be more of a gourmand fragrance instead of the floral mixture that I was hoping for. 

I first tried this fragrance at the very end of the summer and I was hoping that it was just the heat that was making the perfume develop oddly on my skin.  I tried this fragrance on while I was getting ready to leave Sephora and the humidity outside brought the sweet berry notes on my skin.  I didn't like the fragrance then but I wanted to give it another try in the hopes that the heat was the issue this time.  The last two times that I used Tresor Midnight Rose, it was during cooler and dry weather and the fragrance developed in exactly the same fashion on my skin.  I came to the conclusion that this fragrance was never going to work on my skin in the fashion that I was hoping it to. 

Tresor Midnight Rose will be very appealing to someone who loves sweet gourmand fragrances.  The berry and vanilla notes in this perfume overwhelm the rose notes and turn this fragrance into one that I would have loved but I could not wear on my skin.  Berry notes and I have never gotten along and this perfume is yet another example of this issue...

photo courtesy of Sephora

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Josie Maran Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation

Today is the final post from my Josie Maran hauls at Sephora and my least favorite product of the group, I have found that the skincare products from this line are much nicer than the color products.  I liked the Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee but it wasn't my favorite cream blush formula and the foundation formula follows much the same pattern.  The foundation and the blush are nice formulas but the skincare products are stellar, this line could easily get rid of the color products without detracting from the overall line.  The Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation is a fair foundation formula but not one of the better ones that I have used and my least favorite product from this brand.

The Sephora website provides the following description of this foundation formula.  "A serum foundation formulated with chameleon pigments, an innovative color-match technology that goes on white and instantly adjusts to match your unique and changing natural skintone as it balances and nourishes the skin.  This is the only foundation you'll need year-round to provide age-defying undetectable coverage. The breakthrough serum foundation suspends over fine lines and wrinkles to smooth and correct visible signs of aging. The one-of-a-kind Organic Argan Oil infused formula strengthens and balances your skin while keeping oily areas shine-free, and dry spots naturally moisturized for totally flawless, younger looking skin.This serum works with whatever range of coloring that you fall into, either light/medium or medium/dark. The foundation starts out white and then changes color to match to your skin."

Unlike most foundations, this formula is only available in three shades.  I was lucky enough that the palest shade worked well for me however I am sure there are quite a few skintones that will not work with any of these three shades and this product will prove unworkable for.  I understand that this formula is designed to be "color-matching" but I cannot see how only three shades will work for the whole range of skintones.

The three shades are...

- Fair/ Light Shade Range: for the fairest porcelain skin with pink undertones to light skin with pink undertones
- Light/ Medium Shade Range: for the lightest skin with yellow-olive undertones to medium skin with yellow-olive undertones
- Medium/ Dark Shade Range: for medium tan skin all the way to the deepest skin tones

I use the Fair/Light Shade Range in this product.  Two drops of this foundation were what I needed for light to medium coverage with this product, it does come out of the bottle white and then began to change color as I was doting it all over my face.  Working it into my skin with a foundation sponge developed the color more fully and applied it evenly all over my face.  The product feels nice and light going on and I do enjoy the texture of the Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation.  It glides over my dry patches and doesn't settle into the dry patches on my cheeks, I use this with a primer underneath and this makes application very smooth and simple.

I am not a big fan of the pump bottle, I see this clumping in the nozzle and I believe that I will need to start opening the bottle and applying it to my skin with a Q-Tip.  Not my favorite way to apply this product...

This formula is a nice light coverage foundation, it never works up to much more than light-to-medium coverage and I needed a separate concealer on my red areas.  I tried building the coverage up with a second coat in target areas but this only made the product streak and look much worse.  This foundation is basically a glorified tinted moisturizer and I should have just bought the tinted moisturizer formula from this company instead.  I was looking for a medium coverage foundation and this product did not live up to my expectations, it is nice formula as a light coverage foundation and performs more like a tinted moisturizer than a full foundation.

I doubt that I would repurchase this product again as I could just purchase a tinted moisturizer and get the exact same coverage from it.  I was hoping for a product with better coverage and this one just did not live up to what I needed from it.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Smashbox Holiday 2013 Collection - Wondervision

The holiday shopping season is officially in full swing for myself and all my friends and family, we have less than a week until the Thanksgiving weekend and it is really beginning to feel like the holiday season.  I finished burning my last fall candle of the year the other day and I am burning a lovely Winter Candy Apple candle as I type this.  I am really ready to intensify my Christmas shopping and to begin getting my decorations up and ready.  We are going back to looking at holiday collections today and we should be finishing up with them by the middle of next month...

Smashbox's Wondervision collection is my choice of the day, I have not used much from this company recently and I would like to try some of their new products.  The holiday collection is quite small and contains more gift items rather than new products and shades designed for the season.  I think my early favorite piece of Wondervision is a set of lip glosses that I would very much like to add to my collection.

The Wondervision collection contains sets of lip glosses and brushes, along with several eye makeup palettes.  I have loved nearly every single eye makeup product from this company so we will start with the new eye palettes and then move through the rest of the new collection.  Many of my friends love Smashbox and I know that they would all love to receive gifts from Wondervision.

The Wondervision gift collection!

Wondervision Cosmic Eye Set - These sets bring 6 cool eye shadow tones in three color versions. In addition to the hexagonal eyeshadow compact, each of the eye sets features a 0.32 oz Full Exposure Mascara in Jet Black, 0.04 oz Limitless Eye Liner in Onyx and 3 get-the-look cards.
- Silver - shimmery oyster
- Luster - matte taupe
- Aqua - shimmery teal
- Smoke - matte dark gray
- Sapphire - deep navy with blue shimmer
- Sandstone - matte warm ivory

Wondervision Sparks Eye Set - These sets bring 6 cool eye shadow tones in three color versions. In addition to the hexagonal eyeshadow compact, each of the eye sets features a 0.32 oz Full Exposure Mascara in Jet Black, 0.04 oz Limitless Eye Liner in Onyx and 3 get-the-look cards.
- Bare - matte peach
- Peach - soft shimmery peach
- Gold - shimmering copper
- Coral - pink with gold pearl
- Bronze - golden brown shimmer
- Cocoa - rich dark brown

Wondervision Flash Eye Set - These sets bring 6 cool eye shadow tones in three color versions. In addition to the hexagonal eyeshadow compact, each of the eye sets features a 0.32 oz Full Exposure Mascara in Jet Black, 0.04 oz Limitless Eye Liner in Onyx and 3 get-the-look cards.
- Pink Shell - sheer opalescent pink
- Ballet Pink - matte pink
- Taupe - shimmery taupe
- Purple Shimmer - shimmery violet with rose gold flecks
- Slate - shimmery slate
- Plum - deep rich purple

Wondervision Mega Palette - Create multi-faceted looks from subtle to sexy! This mega palette is bursting with color – 34 hues for eyes and cheeks, all in a range of finishes from matte to metallic.
- 30 Eye Shadows (Blue, Citrine, Dark Blue, Golden, Green, Mint, Orange, Peach, Pearl, Pewter, Red, Silver, Slate, Turquoise, Umber, Almond, Beige, Black, Brown, Chestnut, Chocolate, Fawn, Glitz, Grey, Lavender, Maize, Pink, Purple, Taupe, Violet)
- 3 Blushes (Baby Pink, Sherbet, Glow)
- 1 Bronzer in Bronze

Wondervision Lip Gloss Set - This lip gloss set contains a variety of hues to create festive looks for the whole season.  A combination of cream and shimmer finishes provides the finishing touches for any makeup look.
- Pout - sheer pastel pink
- Ruby - sheer bright red
- Luster - sheer with golden pearl
- Tease - sheer raspberry
- Radiant - metallic golden rose

Wondervision Brush Set - Our signature brushes dressed up in chrome, just for the holidays! Swipe, sweep and blend like a pro with this limited-edition set-all wrapped up in a super-luxe clutch.  Includes: 5 full-size, limited-edition brushes & a zippered clutch.- Powder Brush
- Blending Brush
- Crease Brush
- Shadow Liner Brush
- Dual-Ended Liner Brush

This is a great gift collection but I feel that many of the sets are more on the generic side.  I do love the lip gloss set but I think that I own many of these eye shadow shades already and I know that a bunch of my friends do also.  I own more eye and face makeup from this brand, the lip gloss will be a new product for me and therefore this is the only product that I really want from this holiday collection. 

I love the Sparks Eye Set, these neutral hues will work well with all of the shades from the Urban Decay Naked Palettes and this is the only other product that I really want from this collection.  There are a few pink-toned neutrals in this palette and I don't work with those types of shades as much as I do the more neutral hues so I want to mix them in to create more rose gold eye looks.  I can skip the other two eye shadow palettes as I wouldn't wear them very much.  I hate the huge palette as I find these types of palettes to be lacking in quality and they take up took much room in my traincase. 

Overall not my favorite collection for the holiday season, I find the sets to be pretty but a bit too much on the generic side.  I would like the Sparks set and the lip gloss set but this collection is a miss for me.  Smashbox is a brand that I normally love so I am quite disappointed with some of the choices in Wondervision.

photo courtesy of Smashbox

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fitness Friday - Squats vs. Lunges

Lunges were our topic of choice for last Fitness Friday, I started thinking more about this subject after writing that post up and it lead me to wondering if lunges are better than squats or vice versa.  They both work similar muscle areas and I have found that lunges are much harder for me to do.  Is it a better use of my time to work to better my lunges or is it more useful for me to continue my squat routine?  I set out to find the answer to my question and decide how to best use my time during leg day, I have limited time until the end of finals and need to maximize every moment that I have at the gym.

I found a great article from Pop Sugar Fitness that addressed this topic and gave me a much better idea of how I should be using my time at the gym.  The article agrees with me that squats seem to be much easier for beginners and lunges are a more advanced exercise.

We will start with Pop Sugar Fitness' thoughts on squats.  "If you're just starting to get your backside into shape, then consider squats your go-to exercise. Because they are a functional movement, squats are a good introduction to the weight room; it's easy to add weight or resistance to the exercise, which quickly helps to increase strength. Since the weight is distributed onto your heels when doing squats, the exercise requires less balance than lunges. Instead, doing a squat is much like sitting down in a chair, making them a great exercise for working the glutes and hamstrings. Turn squats into a quick cardio workout by adding jumps, or challenge your core with the addition of a BOSU ball. Whatever you decide, expect to build a firm backside in no time!"

I do add weights to my squats but I have never tried adding jumps or any type of BOSU ball.  I have squats pretty well mastered but I was excited to see ways to make them harder and to burn more calories working through them

Lunges work many of the same muscles but in a very different way.  "Rather than the up and down motion of a squat, lunges require a step forward or backward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Because lunges involve the transfer of weight to one leg, they are a test of balance, especially when using weights, meaning your core gets a workout too! And depending on the variation, lunges can also allow for an increased focus on the glutes or inner thighs; do side lunges to work your hips or reverse lunges to counter the forward movements of everyday life. Bonus: lunges offer something that most exercises don't — a good stretch! Depending on your depth and range of motion, lunges help to increase flexibility in your hips"

Pop Sugar is very correct when they state that lunges require much more balance than squats do, I tend to lose my balance at least once or twice during a set of lunges.  I also can feel the core work that this exercise does and I love that they work two muscle groups at once, I can get double the bang for my buck once I get better at these exercises.

Reading over this article, I feel that my best bet for gym will be to spend some time working more cardio into my squats and then deciding how it balances out with reducing my time spent on the treadmill.  I need to continue to improve on my lunges and keeping my balance while doing them so that I can do a bit of extra core work on leg day.  I'm not surprised that this article didn't give a clear answer as to which exercise is better and I agree that doing both of them will be more beneficial than trying to only do one.  It will be easier for me to work the cardio into my squat routine now and then I will need to take more time at the gym after finals in order to put the time into perfecting my lunge formation.

photo courtesy of

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

I have been shopping like crazy at Sephora the past few months and I have been earning Beauty Insider points just as quickly.  I typically prefer to save my points up and spend them wisely on the 500 Point sets however I was very excited to see that one of the newest mascara formulas from Too Faced was offered as one of the 100 Point Rewards and I snapped it up on my last order.  It is rare that I open a product the second that my package arrives and start using it the next day but this mascara formula was rumored to be the among the top rated formulas for creating huge, beautiful lashes.  My last few mascara purchases did not give me the big, thick lashes that I usually crave and I wanted to find another formula that would.

I can't remember if I have ever used a mascara from Too Faced before, there is a very good chance that this is my first mascara formula from this company and I don't have much background with this type of product from Too Faced.  The Better Than Sex Mascara is a fabulous formula and I would completely satisfied if this was the only formula that Too Faced ever offered...

The Sephora website states, "An intensely black, volumizing mascara with an hourglass-shaped brush that separates, coats, and curls each lash to voluptuous perfection.  Inspired by the curves of a woman’s body, the hourglass-shaped brush was designed with extra stiff bristles to maximize the performance of this carbon black, collagen-fueled formula. One coat and lashes are full and defined. Two coats and lashes are even more luscious, curled, and dramatic. Three coats help you achieve the most intense, black, multidimensional lashes possible.  Better Than Sex mascara contains a film-forming polymer for smudge-proof, all day wear and unique peptides for the deepest, intense black possible."

The first aspect of this mascara that caught my eye was the unique shape and size of the wand, the past few formulas that I have used have been applied with small to medium-sized wands that were completely straight.  The brush reminded me of many of the more volumizing formulas that I have loved in the past and it made me very excited.  Thicker wands tend to take a bit of getting used to however I have used them enough times that it was very easy to pick it up again.  One of the keys to using a thicker wand is to make sure that your eyes are fully open when applying the mascara so it can be applied easily to the lash.

One coat of this formula is enough for the day and then I like to add a second coat for going out at night.  I have not needed to add a third coat yet as two coats give me the thick, full lashes that I love.  Better Than Sex holds a curl very well in the lash and it keeps the shape for about eight hours.  My lashes remain nicely defined with use of this product, I have had next to no issues with clumping during both application and wear.  My lashes remained soft with one coat of this product however the addition of the second coat had a bit of a tacky feel.  Overall, this formula from Too Faced is wonderful for those love very volumized lashes.

This mascara formula is very similar to Buxom Lash and the formulas from Benefit.  Better Than Sex is definitely going to be one of my Holy Grail mascaras and I will be picking up another tube of this product very soon.  I can't find any drawbacks to this product I love every aspect of it.  This is a formula for those who love high volume lashes and can work well with a more complex mascara wand, I wouldn't consider this a formula for beginners or ladies that like a more natural lash look.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lancome Holiday 2013 Collection

I have just come across the new holiday collection from Lancôme on the company's website and I have decided to look at their newest releases today.  I am very excited to see a new shade of red lipstick contained in the holiday collection, I can't wait to add more red lipsticks to my collection and this seems one of the best collections for red lipstick this season.  After looking at the Encrusted Treasures collection from Essie yesterday, I am looking forward to a slightly more traditional holiday color collection today.  The Lancôme collection is certainly a traditional holiday collection; it contains red lipstick, shimmering eye shadows, and pretty nail polishes. 

Lancôme has released both this color collection and then a small gift collection.  The gift collection appears to contain a few giftsets that are full of the brand best selling makeup products.  I have not yet been able to find details on these sets so we are only going to look at the new color collection today.  I am quite sure that I will find quite a few products that I will want from looking at the collection today.

The Holiday 2013 Collection from Lancôme...

Blush Subtil Face Sculpting and Illuminating All-In-One Contour, Blush, and Highlighter - Sensationally smooth. All-in-One Blush Palette to sculpt and enhance your best features.  Artistry is made easy with three simple steps to contour, blush and highlight your complexion.  For any skin tone, any face shape – your complexion naturally enhanced.  Define your face, enhance or diminish any features for a complexion that is illuminated and brightened.
- Menage A Trois Kissed - peach pink blush with pale pink highlighter

Artliner Precision Felt Tip Liquid Liner - This effortless liquid eyeliner features a unique combination of two film-forming polymers that make every look last. Rich, deep, luminous color pigments offer the most intense color, and its uniquely shaped foam tip pen allows for precise shaping and defining of the eyes.
- Noir - deep black
- Smoke - deep charcoal

Color Design Sensational Effects Eye Shadow Smooth Hold - Make a statement with these shadow singles designed by Lancôme Global makeup artists. Available in a variety of chic shades and finishes—from shimmer to sheen and metallic to matte—to complement every wardrobe. Lancôme’s Micro-aired technology promises effortless application and smooth-gliding color that’s beautifully blendable. The long-lasting, pigment-packed color stays true for daylong wear.
- All That Brightens - gold taupe with a shimmer finish
- All That Glistens - purple taupe with a shimmer finish
- All That Shimmers - silver with a shimmer finish
- All That Sparkles - charcoal with a shimmer finish

L'Absolu Rouge Hydrating Shaping Lipcolor - An ultra-luxurious, hydrating lip color with a comfortable feel and all day wear.  Same amazing formula, now in a sleek, new click-to-close pack.  Wrap your lips in rich, satiny color with this deeply replenishing lipstick. Infused with moisture-boosting Pro-Xylane™, the formula gives high color payoff without dryness, leaving lips moist, soft, and comfortable for up to 8 hours. Plus, antioxidant-rich Vitamin E helps keep lips safe from environmental aggressors, so they’ll look and feel healthier day after day.
- Absolute Rouge - blue-red cream
- Berry Noir - deep berry
- Cherrywood Luxe - medium brick red

Vernis in Love - 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.
- 071 Neige Argent Noel - deep charcoal with a high shimmer finish
- 520 Flacon Blanc Noel - shimmering pale gray
- 010M Crystal Quartz - clear

I love this collection, this might be a favorite of the season for me!  I love the red shades in L'Absolu Rouge and I also like the deep berry shade in this collection.  I would wear all three of these shades and they will work all the way through the winter.  I also think that I will need to do some shopping from these new eye shadow shades, these have a beautiful shimmer finish and will look great when getting dressed up for holiday parties.  I want All That Brightens and All That Shimmers, both of these metallics will be staples in my makeup collection and I can wear them all throughout the year. 

I want all three of these nail polishes to finish up my shopping from this collection, I have not tried this polish formula before and I think would be a great time for me to see how well it performs.  This formula will be on my list of products to start reviewing after the holidays and I can't wait to see what other shades come out for the spring season!

photo courtesy of Lancome

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Essie Holiday 2013 Collection - Encrusted Treasures

I have been reading reviews of the new holiday collection from Essie and I think that I will tackling the Encrusted Treasures collection today.  This collection contains six new polish shades and is the first time that Essie is trying the "textured" polishes that OPI has made popular in the past few months.  I am not a fan of OPI's Liquid Sand polishes and I have heard that the Essie shades make these look nice...

The prettiest holiday color collections gain media and blog coverage for beautiful shades and unique products, this collection is gaining coverage for being one of the ugliest collections of the season.  I was reading about Encrusted Treasured on The PolishAholic's beauty blog and I was intrigued by her reviews of what she considers to be a group of truly hideous shades.  It is rare that I am attracted to ugly shades but I couldn't look away from the swatches of these over-the-top colors.  This collection contains six new shades for the holiday season, four of which are glitter finishes and two of which are this company's version of the textured finishes.  There is a chance that I might be attracted to one of the glitter finishes but we will see what my thoughts are when I look at the whole collection.

We are starting with the four glitter shades and then finishing with the two textured shades. 

- Ignite The Night - silver and gray glitter
- Lots Of Lux - bright blue glitter with hints of gold
- On A Silver Platter - bright blue hexagonal glitter suspended in a gold base
- Peak Of Chic - large white bar glitter suspended in a clear base

The textured shades...

- Hor D'oeuvres - silver and gold glitter with large silver pieces in a clear base
- Belugaria - big black pieces of glitter in a black cream base

This collection has a few pretty shades in but it is definitely not my cup of tea.  Ignite The Night is my favorite of the collection, I would wear this silver and gray glitter more often this winter than any of the other shades.  Lots Of Lux is very pretty and quite unique, I don't own any blue bright glitters in my collection and I think this shade will fill the hole very well.  Peak Of Chic is a good neutral glitter shade and I like that I would be able to wear this shade all throughout the year.

The rest of this collection are not shades that I would wear.  On A Silver Platter is an ugly combination of hues, I have never seen anything like this shade and I doubt that I will ever see anything like it again.  Both of the textured shades have too many going on in the bottle for me to ever want to wear them.

I can see the Belugaria shade being a cult favorite, this is a one of a kind shade that only comes around once in a few years.  I like that Essie has broken with the "traditional" holiday shades for this collection but I can't say that I really love this collection.  This is probably one of my least favorite collections of the season however it is certainly one of the most unique.

courtesy of Essie

Monday, November 18, 2013

Clinique Soft Powder Blush

I have been using my Tarte blushes for the past two months and I was ready to try some more blush formulas and shades.  I went back and forth about which brand and products to try this time around and I decided that I wanted to revisit another color product from Clinique.  I have tried and reviewed quite a few Clinique makeup products in the past and I have never found them to be of similar pigmentation and shade selection of brands like NARS and MAC.  Much of the makeup that I have used from this company is best for a professional setting or a more natural look for casual weekend looks.  Clinique still remains one of my favorite skincare product companies and I will continue to purchase many items from this aspect of their product line.

I wanted to give Clinique makeup products another shot, I have been using brighter blush shades from Tarte and MAC for the past two months and I wanted to look for shades with slightly less pigmentation.  I decided that the Clinique Soft Powder Blush might work well for the type of shades that I was looking for.  I found a few shades that I have been wearing to work and grad school classes over the past three weeks and I am growing more fond of this formula than many other of the Clinique makeup products.

I bought my blush shades at Sephora but I did find more shades on the Clinique website so I will need to visit one of the counters if I want to add more products to my collection.  "Silky formula sweeps effortlessly over cheekbones to create a natural look. Fresh, jet-milled colour builds and blends beautifully to desired intensity with custom sculpting brush. Long-wearing, colour-true. Oil-free.", states the Clinique website. 

The shades available on the Clinique website are...

- Cupid - shy, pale dusty pink
- Aglow - soft coppery nude with gold pearl
- Sunset Glow - midtone reddish bronze
- Smoldering Plum - heathered purple
- Iced Lotus - blue pink with white shimmer
- Precious Posy - energetic pink peach with gold pearl
- Berry Delight - midtone pink berry
- Spiced Wine - earthy brownish red with flecks of gold pearl

I bought Cupid and Berry Delight from Sephora.  Cupid is a pale pink matte with a very light color payoff.  This is a very nice shade to use for a natural look or with statement eyes or lips, it reminds me of a less intense version of Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Katie.  Berry Delight is a deep pink matte shade, this one applies as a medium pink on the cheeks and has slightly more pigmentation than Cupid.  Berry Delight is a more universal pink than Cupid as it could be worn by ladies with pale or medium skintones but Cupid is best for those with very pale skin. 

I am interested in ordering Iced Lotus and Precious Posy, both of these have a slight shimmer finish and I want to see how they compare to the shades with the matte finish.  Iced Lotus can be worn all throughout the year but I will be waiting a bit longer for Precious Posy, this peach-pink shade will work best with a bronzer in the warm weather months.

Both shades that I bought have light to medium color payoff, these are not the shades that I would wear if I wanted to do a bright cheek look.  They are best used for a more natural or professional makeup look.  Both of these shades last the whole day and are still in place when I finally leave my grad school class at night, they are a great choice for busy days. 

This is one of the better Clinique makeup products and I will be ordering the other two shades of this product.  This is a good formula for a wear-to-work look or for someone who doesn't like to wear a lot of pigment on their cheeks.

photo courtesy of Clinique

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Josie Maran 100 Percent Pure Argan Oil

I have been using my new purchases from the Josie Maran product line for the past few weeks and I am liking the products more and more every single day.  We have already looked at the face cleanser and blush from the collection and today we are looking at one of the hero products in the Josie Maran line.  The majority of her products contain her exclusive Argan Oil ingredient and today we will looking at the purest version of it, the 100 Percent Pure Argan Oil moisturizer.  I have used the Tarte Maracuja oil last winter and I was very happy with the results.  My experience with that product were the primary reason that I decided to try this product from Josie Maran.

With the exception of when I used the Tarte oil as my night moisturizer, I have always used a lighter face cream or lotion during the day and then a heavier product at night.  There are two versions of this face oil and it is also contained in multiple moisturizers in this line.  I wanted to try the most pure form of the ingredient first and I will be trying more of the moisturizers throughout the rest of the winter.

"A 100 percent natural, organic, and antioxidant-rich oil to hydrate and nourish skin, hair, and nails.  This legendary, 100 percent pure Argan Oil is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids to deeply hydrate and nourish skin. Grown organically in Morocco, the multitasking formula contains astonishing healing, conditioning, and antiaging properties to create a nourished, youthful-looking complexion. It easily absorbs into skin, delivering a fresh, dewy glow, and keeps you looking beautiful from head to toe. Especially great for sensitive and acne-prone skin, it may also be used to treat split ends and soften cuticles."

"Pure Argan Oil is first cold pressed to ensure the best quality, highest-grade oil. It is housed in a recyclable glass bottle and purchased from women's cooperatives in Morocco to support their social and economic welfare. These cooperatives work within a UNESCO biosphere reserve that ensures the protection and reforestation of Argan trees.", states the Sephora website.

The Sephora website provides further results of the clinical trials of this product.  "In a 4-week clinical test:
- 83% of women showed significantly improved skin hydration
- Participants saw a visible reduction in coarse wrinkles and fine lines in the eye area"

I have heard this product described as a "Holy Grail" by those ladies who have dry, sensitive skin and love the feel and hydration results from face oils.  This is one of the best selling and top rated face oils at Sephora and a product that was recommended to me by several Sephora sales associates and managers during my visit. 

I use this product only at night, it is richer and more hydrating than I usually prefer in a day cream.  I doubt that I would ever use this or any type of oil during the day and I also am not sure how long into the spring that I would be using this product.  It is pretty safe for me to say that oils are best during the cold weather for me and would take the place of my traditional night cream.

There are quite a few advantages to this product for those with dry and/or sensitive skin.  The oil hydrates wells and absorbs very quickly, I have been looking at my pillowcase every morning to see if there is excess residue on it and so far there have been no major issues.  My red cheek area has been soothed with the use of this product and I have had no issues with any type of irritation on my delicate facial skin.  Overall, I am very happy with this product for my skin type. 

This oil is recommended for all skin types but I cannot see how this would work on oily skin types.  I might have a better idea of an answer to this question as the weather warms up and my skin becomes less dry.  Facial oils are a great idea for me in the winter months however I can't see myself using this product much into the spring season.  I would consider switching over to one of the Josie Maran face lotions at this time so I could reap the benefits of the argan oil but in a more diluted form.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Guerlain Holiday 2013 Collection - Crazy Paris

One of the most anticipated collections for this holiday is the Crazy Paris collection from Guerlain, this company's holiday collections are always a hit and this one promises to be one of the best.  I love anything inspired by Paris and I am very excited to see what Parisian-inspired products are featured in this little collection.  This collection celebrates the grand re-opening of the Guerlain flagship boutique on the famed Champs-Elysees in Paris.  A visit to the Parisian boutique would be a dream of mine but I think it might be more reasonable to hope that I can visit the counter at the Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City.

There is a beautiful eye shadow palette contained in this collection and I am pretty sure that this will be my favorite piece of the collection, Guerlain's eye shadow palettes are beautiful and all the shades have great pigmentation and texture.  I have also heard rave reviews of their bronzers and lip products and I am quite excited to pick up some pretty new products to wear for the holidays.

The Crazy in Paris collection!

Crazy Paris Eye Palette - This eye shadow palette embodies the nighttime glamour that has come to be associated with Paris.  The grey and black matte powder liners – to be used wet or dry – are perfect for defining the eyes, while the four alluring shadows in beige, copper, white and festive hot pink can be used alone or blended together to create gorgeous, sexy eyes. The Eye Palette is enclosed in a sleek black lacquered case and opens to reveal a large panoramic mirror illuminated with the letters ―P.A.R.I.S.‖ in an electric pink.

Crazy Champs Elysees Meteorites Pearls - Born of expert craftsmanship, this cult constellation of multi-coloured powder pearls with an unforgettable violet fragrance created in 1987 is now available in an unprecedented harmony dedicated to Blanc de Perle. Today, the Météorites hold the secret to Stardust technology - a light-creating polymer, which transforms light invisible to the naked eye into a pure and endless glow on the skin. A subtle blend of matte, rosy and radiant blue-toned white pearls, combined with corrective coloured pearls – yellow to counter redness, pink for freshness and mauve to catch the light – they light up the face in an illuminating and corrective halo to give endless radiance.

Crazy 68 Meteorites Illuminating Compact - As a perfect example of its beauty expertise, Guerlain has transformed its legendary Météorites pearls into a stunning compact. The pearls are finely pressed to form a beautiful mosaic of light-enhancing and corrective shades. Together, they create a subtle and natural effect by giving every skin tone just the right amount of light and correction. The Météorites signature palette of corrective matte shades - refreshing pink and light-catching mauve - gently balance the complexion, while the dazzling pearls temper the shades’ intensity and blend harmoniously for perfectly tailored luminosity. The complexion glows with purest light. The skin looks soft, smooth, delicate and beautifully natural.

Crazy 68 Terracotta Bronzer - The Terracotta powder by Guerlain is the authority in bronzing powders. It naturally reproduces varying shades of the sun, offering women an instant natural glow, at any time of year, in one quick, easy motion. Its formula, enriched with moisturising active ingredients, does not dry out the skin. It ensures long-lasting comfort.  This special holiday shade warms the skin with a delicate wearable peach-hued harmony infused with invigorating bursts of pink. These 5 shades invigorate skin to provide a subtle, natural-looking and healthy complexion that counteracts dull winter skin.

Crazy 68 Rouge G De Guerlain - Lipstick is reinvented in an exceptional jewel with Rouge G, a subtle balance of intense colour and the comforting pleasure of a creamy lip balm. Behind this magical creation is an astounding formula: the unique combination of ruby powder for spectacular radiance, hyaluronic acid spheres for perfectly smoothed lips and wild mango butter for lasting hydration.  Lips are intensely coloured, perfectly smoothed, moisturised and plumped up. For excessively perfect lips!
- Provocative (863) - deep vibrant pink

La Laque Couleur - Guerlain creates fragranced color and imagines an absolutely essential and utterly irresistible La Laque Couleur in deliciously shiny texture to dress up your style with color!  A real La Laque Couleur miniature perfume bottle with its lid in the shape of the famous upside-down heart. Its flat brush allows optimal, easy and precise color application.
- Sulfurous (861) - pure black with flecks of violet
- Ultraviolet Top Coat - glossy clear finish that turns fluorescent under UV light

I am in love with the eye palette from this collection, I would love to have this product just for the special "Paris" packaging but I also love the shades that are contained in it.  I would use this palette right now and then all the way into spring.  This piece will be going right to the top of my next Most Wanted list.  My second favorite piece of this collection is the Crazy 68 Rouge G De Guerlain, this deep pink hue has the potential to battle many of the red lipsticks as my hue of choice for the next few months.

I have not yet tried the Meteorites or the famed Terracotta bronzer, these are both cult products and I will need to try and review them at some time soon.  I am not sure if I will be buying the shades featured in this collection or if I will wait a bit and visit the counter at Sephora.  I would like to finish my collection shopping with both of the nail polishes from this limited edition shade offering. 

This might be one of my favorite collections of this holiday season and one that I hope to pick a few products up from before it is sold out...

photo courtesy of Guerlain

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fitness Friday - Lunges

The semester is over in a month and I need to really start hitting the gym as I did during the summer months.  I have a month until the break starts and my goal is to add more time and reps to my current cardio and weight lifting moves and also start to work new moves into my daily regime.  I decided to start with adding more moves to my leg workouts, squats are usually my workout of choice and then I end with multiple reps on many of the leg machines at the gym.  While flipping through an old issue of Women's Health, I saw that lunges are among the best workouts for the lower body area and this is the first move that I want to add to my leg workouts.

There are traditional lunges, side lunges, and walking lunges.  Today we are starting with traditional lunges and then I may start trying the other moves once I have these down to a science.  Traditional lunges work the butt and thigh area, two of the largest muscle groups in the human body.  Tightening both of the those area certainly won't hurt me and we will see what the results start looking like in a few weeks.  If I can master the simple version of the lunge, then I will learn and report back on the other versions.

How to do a forward lunge...

- Start by standing up straight with your feet hip-width apart and flat on the ground. Relax your shoulders and allow your shoulder blades to sink down towards your hips. Keep yourself in this position by flexing your abdominal muscles to keep your spine straight and stable.

- Place your right foot on the ground, heel first. Lean your body forward so that about 70% of your weight is on your front foot. Keep your back and upper body straight. Hold this position.

- While keeping your upper body and back straight, continue to move your body forward until your right upper leg (thigh) is parallel to the floor. You may need to bend your hips slightly to stay in this position, but keep your back straight.

- Once in the lunge position, your left (back) knee should also form a 90-degree angle, but your lower leg (shin) will be parallel to the ground while your upper leg (thigh) will be perpendicular to the ground.

-  Use your right foot to push yourself upwards. Return your body to the position you started in, standing straight with your feet hip-width apart.

- Once you’ve completed a lunge with your right leg, you can either switch sides and perform a lunge with your left leg, or you can continue to work your right side. It doesn’t matter what order you do lunges in, but try to do an equal number of lunges using both your left and right side before you finish.

I have seen people at my gym doing lunges and putting their knee on the ground instead of keeping it level with the ground.  I tried it the first way and found that I could barely hold myself upright doing the exercise.  The way that was outlined in this article from Wiki How is much easier for the beginner to maintain position while doing reps and I would recommend following the steps exactly while you are learning how to do this exercise.

I find that alternating legs is my favorite way to do more reps of lunges, I started by doing ten on each side and am want to see how I am able to work up to more.  I am looking forward to seeing what the results are in a month or two...

photo courtesy of

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Illamasqua Holiday 2013 Collection

We are right back at looking at the holiday collections today, we have two weeks until Thanksgiving and I am trying to really ramp up my gift shopping.  I don't think that I will find any gifts for others while looking at the holiday collection from Illasmasqua, I am the only one of my friends who uses and love this brand so I will only be shopping for myself while checking this collection out.  I love Illasmasqua lipsticks and blushes and I am excited to see what limited edition shades are available for this holiday season.

This collection contains mostly new shades to create all kinds of glamourous looks for the holiday season and very few gift ideas.  This is a company that is well known for dramatic makeup shades and creating glamourous combinations that will set the wearer apart from the crowd.  I am looking for a few beautiful eye makeup shades and a bright lipstick or two from this new collection.

The newest holiday collection from Illamasqua...

Fatale Palette - Expertly crafted, each new Illamasqua palette features a combination of shades to speak for every age, skin tone or personality, allowing you to create bespoke looks that ensure all eyes are on you.  Use the iridescent shimmers under the brow bone, in the inner corner of the eye, or centre of the eyelid to illuminate and widen your eyes. Combine with a smoky definition across the socket line, building at the outer corners, to create intrigue and mystery.
- bronze gold/berry shimmer/chestnut brown/medium violet shimmer

Sculpting Powder Duo - This formulation can provide up to four to five variations of the same shade depending on how lightly or intensely it is applied. Use wet for a bolder colour pay-off, and it can also double up as an eye shadow. Apply using Blusher Brush 1 for colour on the centre of the cheeks, or using the new Blush Up Brush for more definition and contouring.
- Heliopolis - soft brown matte
- Lumos - champagne gold shimmer

Intense Lip Gloss - Super glossy, with a sensual, sheer colour designed to enhance your lips. Use Illamasqua Sheer Lipgloss in Maiden on its own or with Illamasqua Lipstick for added pout. Add a little more sexiness to your smile.
- Maiden - warm peach

Nail Varnish - A spectrum of bold shades with a range of finishes including matt, rubber and high-gloss. Award-winning, extremely hardwearing and chip-resistant, there's an Illamasqua Nail Varnish for every shade of humanity.
- Blizzard - clear base with white sparkles suspended in it

I think the only piece of the collection that I must have is the Fatale Palette, I love the combination of the neutrals and the berry shade.  Berry is one of the few eye shadow shades that I do not own (unless I have a berry shade somewhere in an Urban Decay palette that I have never used) and I want to try adding it to my crease with neutral eye makeup looks.  I will be ordering this palette pretty soon and working this shade into my eye makeup collection.  The Nail Varnish is a pretty shade and I would like to own it but its not a must-have for me.  I can skip over the rest of the collection, I am a bit disappointed by these shade offerings as I was hoping for something more dramatic for the holiday season.

photo courtesy of Illamasqua

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Age Defying Exfoliator

My past few skincare purchases have been from the Josie Maran Argan Oil collection and I have been loving the more natural ingredients in these products.  I still have two more products to review from my purchases but I can already state how much I love this brand and all of the products that I have tried so far from it.  One item that is not available from Josie Maran is any type of facial exfoliator.  During the cooler weather months, I only exfoliate my facial skin one every two weeks and it takes me a long time to use a product up so I prefer to go through the samples that I have been sent in my past few Glossyboxes and try all of these out.

I have used one of the best selling facial products from Dr. Brandt the past two times that I have exfoliated my face and I still have quite a few more uses from this sample that I received in a summer Glossybox.  The Microdermabrasion Age Defying Exfoliator has been around for quite a few years now, I have wanted to try it before and I jumped at the chance to when I received the sample earlier this year.  I am glad that I was able to try this without ordering the full size as this product is not one of the best choices for my skin in the winter, I found it very drying during the cold weather and I will be setting the rest of the sample aside until next spring.

"A skin exfoliating scrub.  Get a youthful glow with this microdermabrasion solution. This formula contains aluminum oxide crystals, lactic acid, and soothing botanicals to polish away dead skin cells, provide a radiant, healthy look, and smooth skin's texture. Watch as the appearance of fine lines, acne marks, and skin discolorations diminish for maximum results in minimal time.", states the Sephora website. 

The product contains the following active ingredients...

- Aluminum Oxide Crystals: Polishes and removes dead skin cells.
- Lactic Acid: Gently sweeps away dead skin cells and softens texture.
- Jojoba, Aloe Vera, and Chamomile: Blend of botanicals that soothe and refresh.

Sephora recommends that this product be used once or twice a week, leaving three days in between applications.  I cannot use this product correctly this time of the year as it dried my face out after one usage.  My face was tight and dry after getting out of the shower and this is not a product that I can use until the warmer warms up and my skin becomes less dry.  I will be putting this product to the side and then trying it again later on next year. 

I am not sure what ingredients in this product dried my face out so much, I have never used an exfoliator with Aluminum Oxide Crystals in it before so I tend to believe that this is the ingredient that affected my skin so much.  I will have more details on it when I try it again in the spring and I will relook at this product then.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Zoya Holiday/Winter 2013 Nail Polish Collection - Zenith

The nail polish collections for this holiday season have been some of my favorites so far.  The Butter London collection has produced a bunch of hits for me and I am very excited to look at the Zenith collection from Zoya and I continue to stalk the China Glaze website in hopes of the new holiday shades debuting slightly sooner than normal.  China Glaze is often one of the last collections to come out every season so I will have to keep waiting and check the Zoya collection out today.

The new collection from Zoya is named Zenith and contains six brand new shades.  I seem to remember that most Zoya collections have a whole range of shades in and six is much less than I am used to seeing.  Zenith contains two pale shades and four deeper shades, all of which contain copious amounts of shimmer and shine.  I am already looking forward to heading over to Ulta and shopping from this new collection.

Zoya's new holiday shades!

- Mosheen - Mosheen by Zoya can be best described as an astro ice blue topper, great for layering over other hues.
- Payton - Payton by Zoya can be best described as a full-coverage, galactic cranberry with holographic glitter.
- Belinda - Belinda by Zoya can be best described as a full-coverage, cosmic purple metallic. (Originally designed for designer Zang Toi / AW2013)
- Dream - Dream can best be described as a full-coverage, deep space blue with holographic glitter.
- Cassedy - Cassedy can best be described as a full-coverage, celestial pewter metallic.
- Seraphina - Seraphina can best be described as a full-coverage, Polaris silver metallic.

I love all six of these shades and I want each of them.  My favorite shade is the one that I have included a photo of with this post, Dream is a unique bright blue glitter and I have nothing like this shade in my collection.  My second favorite shade is the other full glitter in this collection, Payton is a deep cranberry glitter that is a bit less "Christmas" than China Glaze's Ruby Pumps.  Cassedy and Seraphina are my versions of neutrals, I love silver and pewter shades.  I have found that silver hues tend to look more attractive with my skintone and match the majority of my wardrobe choices.

Mosheen and Belinda are both very pretty shades and I would like to own them but I won't be heartbroken if they sell out before I can order them.  Mosheen is a shade that I would either get tons of use from or forget that I even have it.  There is something telling me that I have a pale blue topper shade from Chanel already and I almost never use it.

I love this collection from Zoya and I am heading to Ulta to pick these shades up then I will be right back to stalking the China Glaze website!

photo courtesy of Zoya

Monday, November 11, 2013

Laura Mercier Holiday 2013 Collection

I feel that I have stepped away from the holiday collections for the past few days and today I am jumping right back onto the party product and gifting track today.  Today's post is getting this blog back on the gifting track, the Laura Mercier holiday gift collection on the docket for today and I really need to begin thinking more seriously about my holiday shopping list.  I will admit that I haven't really given gifts for others much thought since last month and I must change that.  My goal today is to look at the Laura Mercier collection with the intentions of working on my gift list and not adding any more products from it to my personal collection...

The Laura Mercier gift collection!

Petite Baked Eye Colour Bon Bons - Trios of mini Baked Eye Colours that will delight gift recipients.  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.
- Amethyst Trio - three shades of purple
- Bronze Trio - three shades of neutrals
- Emerald Trio - three shades of green

Luxe Colour Wardrobe Dual Decker Colour for Eye and Cheeks - Laura Mercier’s ultimate holiday accessory features a range of products that will leave your eyes and cheeks flawlessly glowing. Palette includes:
- Eight eyeshadows in Morning Dew matte, Coffee Ground matte, African Violet luster, Ballerina Pink sateen, Deep Night matte, Dusk luster, Sable sateen and Crystal Beige luster.
- Three Tightline Cake eyeliners in Black Ebony, Ground Espresso and Bleu Marine.
- Two Second Skin cheek colors in Barely Pink and Heather Pink.
- Face highlighter in Golden Shimmer.
- Longwear Crème eye pencil in Espresso.
- Double-Ended Crease/Smudge brush.
- Travel Pony Tail brush.
- Travel Flat eyeliner brush.
- Instructional insert

Artist Palette - Enclosed in a luxurious textured, chocolate brown case, this complete compact includes a large mirror and 12 eye colors hand selected by Laura Mercier. Mix and match for endless eye looks. 0.03 oz x 12 in Eye Colour in Sparkling Dew, Guava, African Violet, Plum Smoke, Kir Royal, Violet Ink, Vanilla Nuts, Primrose, Fresco, Bamboo, Truffle, Espresso Bean.

Luxe Travel Brush Collection - The Laura Mercier travel brush collection features a chic clutch filled with nine go-to brushes for perfect makeup application while you’re on the go. Full-size cheek color brush. Secret Camouflage/Camouflage powder brush. Allover Eye Color/Pony Tail brush. Eye Crease/Smudge brush. Flat Eyeline/Angled eyeliner brush.

Line and Define Mini Longwear Crème Eye Pencil Collection - Cover your eyes in luminous color with a sampler pack of Longer Crème eye pencils by Laura Mercier.  Line, define, and create customizable, all-day eye definition.
- Violet - bright purple
- Espresso - deep warm brown
- Noir - pure black
- Sage - deep olive green
- Cobalt - deep navy blue

Mini Lip Glace Collection - Apply perfectly pigmented, long-lasting colour and brilliant shine.
- Bare Nudes - shades of sheer neutral hues
- Bold Brights - shades of bright pigmented hues

Souffle Body Crème Sampler - A silky, smooth crème that luxuriously nourishes the skin with the lightly whipped feel.
- Ambre Vanille - vanilla, tangerine, and brown sugar
- Fresh Fig - fresh fig and sweet apricot nectar
- Almond Coconut Milk - milk, coconut, almond, and vanilla
- Fresh Pistachio - pistachio and sugar.

Bath and Body Duet - Indulge in the ultimate luxury of a warm, fragranced bath. These softly scented bath salts work to melt away the stresses of the day, while the Soufflé Body Crème exfoliates, softens and soothes skin. Available in Almond Coconut Milk or Creme Brulee.
- Almond Coconut Milk - milk, coconut, almond, and vanilla
- Crème Brulee - warm caramel, spun sugar, and French vanilla bean

Hand Crème Sampler Collection - Give hands a luxurious taste of ultra-rich and velvety hydration.
- Fresh Fig - fresh fig and sweet apricot nectar
- Crème Brulee - warm caramel, spun sugar, and French vanilla bean
- Almond Coconut Milk - milk, coconut, almond, and vanilla
- Crème de Pistachio - pistachio and sugar

Bath and Body Luxe Quartet - Indulge and escape with Laura’s luxe quartet in three delectable gourmande scents, which contains Honey Bath, Body Scrub, Souffle Body Crème and a candle.
- Almond Coconut Milk - milk, coconut, almond, and vanilla
- Crème Brulee - warm caramel, spun sugar, and French vanilla bean
- Ambre Vanille - vanilla, tangerine, and brown sugar

I like the body product gifts in this collection however I have given so many Bath and Body Works gifts to people over the years that I don't know that any of my friends or family would really want anything like these.  I am most interested in picking up a few of the Baked Eye Colour trios, I could many of my friends liking the bronze or the purple shades and this is will be a great gift idea for me.  The other item that I am really interested in is the Lip Glace sets, some of my lip gloss obsessed friends would be more than happy to receive a great gift to feed their obsession.

photo courtesy of Laura Mercier