Wednesday, 31 March 2010

NOTD: Opi Tickle My France-y

 This is OPI’s Tickle My France-y from last Spring. I just picked it up this week as part of my bi-monthly transdesign haul. Well, sort of bi-monthly. More like every 6 weeks. Anyway, who’s counting? I keep a list of things that catch my eye that gets constantly updated as I surf the never-ending world of beauty blogs and nail blogs, and then I make my order. This time I was obviously heavily influenced by All Lacquered Up’s Mannequin Hands series as I had a quite a lot of nudes make it into my shopping cart. One of them was this little beauty.

This is 3 coats, and it is still very slightly sheer at the tops. I really love this polish. It is a cool, pink-toned nude that almost has a touch of taupe-purple in some lights. It was very pleasant to apply. I am terrible, terrible at sitting still for long enough to actually let polish dry, even with quick drying topcoat, but I did these just before I left to work, and by the time I got there, there were nearly dry and almost smudge free. I know this sounds crazy to all of you who have the patience and skill to wait for polish to dry, but for me, a tiny wrinkle on the thumb is a full-blown victory! This is definitely a technique I’ll try again.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Spring and Summer Fashion Choices

I haven't bought any clothes for a couple of months. For me, this is unheard of, but I'm trying to move away from random disposable purchases to awesome pieces that will make me unbelievably happy and last years.

A couple of things I'm majorly lusting after right now:

This 3.1 Phillip Lim dress that Leighton and Alexa are both wearing is unbelievable beautiful. At $495 it is just about out of my price range, but I'm still tempted. There is only a size 10 left on the Bergdorf website, or I might wander down to the store in Soho sometime this week to try it on and see if it is worth the pain.

I've asked my husband to get me every single item in this picture, including the hair. I don't know if he'll manage that, but I think I'll be wearing this dress this summer. I'm imagining it with bright white keds for day and a chunky heel for night...

This Coach heel looks both amazing and wearable. I can myself wearing it dresses or shorts all summer long. I went to the store today, and they are all sold out until May! I'll have to contain myself until then...

To continue on my amazingly preppy vibe that I have going on right now, this Kate Spade straw clutch looks beautiful and timeless. Large enough to fit my credit cards, some lipgloss and a blackberry, I'm more than sold :)

Have you got your eye on anything for Spring / Summer this year?

Monday, 29 March 2010

Quick Spring EOTD: Bronze & Pink

Just a quick single EOTD post today. I'm still getting used to my new camera, so pictures can take a little bit of a while to work out. I bought Stars & Rockets as one of my first eye shadows when I first got into MAC about six months ago (I know, has it really only been a few short months?). The purply-pink duochrome is incredibly pretty, but I admit I do struggle with working it into a look regularly, especially since I'm not as young as I used to be! However, this is a fun, simple easy daytime look that is fresh and springy, and I like to wear on the weekend. Oh, and excuse the eyebrows - I'm debating growing them out and getting them done, or doing them myself, so they are a dreadful inbetween!

Base: MAC Paint in Bare Canvas
Lid: MAC Gleam
Crease: MAC Bronze
Highlight: MAC Manila
Lower Lid: MAC Feline Pencil and MAC Stars & Rockets
Mascara: Maybelline Full & Soft

Sunday, 28 March 2010

New Smoky Eye Technique

Does anyone ever learn anything from flicking through magazines? I hardly ever do, but did come across a tip that seemed interesting and worth trying out. The tip was to line your eyes with a black kohl, and then smudge that out using a cream eyeliner to create a subtle, smoky eye. I tried it out late one night this week, so these are not the best photos of it. I found it a fun technique, but a little messy and will rely some practise to get it even. It felt much harder to control than a straight up powder eyeshadow look, although I very rarely use cream eyeshadow. I did like the subtle smudginess, and there was an organic prettyness of not being perfect that I did love. One issue that I did have was that I used MAC's Feline pencil, which is very very black and very very smudgy. It smudged very heavily, and it was hard not to end up with a generally dirty, messy looking eye, rather than an artful smudgey one. I will keep working on this technique to get it working, because I do think it's got lots of pencil. Maybe in a few months I'll post again and those pictures will be lush!

Products used:

MAC Paint Pot
Stila Smudge Pot in Kitten
MAC Feline Pencil

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Nails of the Week: Sally Hansen Gray By Gray

This is Sally Hansen's Gray by Gray, which I picked up after seeing that it was a dupe for MAC's Blue Indigo from the new Liberty of London collection. I was totally surprised to see the brush on this thing - it was crazy wide and flat. It did make applying the polish pretty easy, once I got use to it. It's an awesome, gorgeous muted blue, chic and sophisticated without being dull. Definite must-have.

This week has been so strange for me. The weather here has been so amazingly beautiful here (apart from since Monday when it started pouring with rain) that I just had to spend all my time outdoors. I started to run again which was great for the first 45mins, and then hell for the next three days while my muscles recovered! I used to run last summer and really enjoyed it, but then fell out of the good habit. Of course starting out with 4 miles was a little exuberant. I've done 2 more runs since then which felt pretty good, so I'm hoping I keep up the good habit.

So that's some good news. The bad news was that I came home from a few drinks on Friday night to find myself a victim of a Google special. I had an email from Google telling me my blog had been deleted for spam, and when I logged in, all it said was my blog was deleted, with no contact details, reasoning, logic, apologies or anything. You know, the usual "Do No Evil" Google corporate nonsense of how they know best and you are wrong. So I tweeted about it, and luckily some Google employee saw it and put me right, getting my blog back up in a couple of hours. Still, I was pretty mad about it, and didn't really feel like doing any posting or writing for a couple of days.

Buuut, because I don't want to leave you with a bad experience, I also was lucky enough to get a new camera this week from my lovely husband. I am the very proud owner of a new Canon G11. I'm still getting the hang of it, but mostly, it's good good times, and a little bit of a break from my DSLR.

How was your week? Did you get a chance to enjoy the good weather?

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Elf's High Definition Powder - Not For The Big Screen

Elf’s Studio High Definition Powder is a product that receives a lot of hype in the blogosphere. It is regularly compared to Make Up For Ever’s HD Powder and MAC’s Prep & Prime Powder. Unfortunately, I have not tried either powder, but I have been playing around with the Elf powder for the last couple of days and putting it through its paces.

The powder comes in a solid black box about 2 inches square. It has a sifter lid and a powder puff inside. The powder itself appears to be a bright white although it goes on translucent. It promises to mask fine lines and imperfections by using a light diffusion, and work particularly well in photographs. I have to admit, I would rather that my make up looked amazing in real life than in photographs, because I’m just not being photographed every day, apart from the blog things. But something that could do both would be worth taking a look at, for sure.

Although it come with a powder puff, there is no way I could apply it with it. I just couldn’t imagine applying anything with a puff for fear of ending up looking cakey and overdone. The puff is really there, for me anyway, to make sure that too much powder does not come through the spiller top, and for that it is useful. I use an Elf Fan brush or a standard powder brush to lightly apply this to my skin. It definitely make skin look matte and has good staying power. In terms of masking imperfections, in real life, I have not yet seen any real improvement. I do notice that I have to make very sure that I’ve blended it all in otherwise I’m left with the odd random white / gray patch, which does not look at all good. I’ve been using it for about a week, and I haven’t had any problems with breakouts, or irritation which is encouraging.

Do I think that this is a great product? Um. I think it’s a good enough, matte powder. I haven’t noticed it doing any of the things that it promises to do, but then again the price point is very nice (to check). I got it during a 50% sale on the website which made it even sweeter on the wallet. However, despite the low price point, I do not think that I’ll be purchasing again as I have not noticed any significant improvements. Instead, I’ll either spring for the MAC or MUFE powders, or look for something else entirely, ignoring this whole HD powder phenomenon.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Nails of the Week: Orly Iron Butterfly

This is one of my all time favorites!! It's rocking, it dark, its matte with a shimmer. I could wear this all year round every single day. The only thing I don't love about this is that it lasts about 10 minutes before it chips. I think that's because it's a matte. Anyway, I wore this for a crazy night out last week and it definitely helped me stay up until 5am :)

Friday, 19 March 2010

Make Up Remover Face Off: Who Will Win Against The Smoky Eye?

Make up remover is a product that does not always get a lot of love, but you sure do know when you get a bad one. Right now in my bathroom I have three bottles, so I thought I would undertake some scientific experimentation and analysis so next time you are roaming the aisles of your drugstore you might not make the same mistakes I have!

The three products I have are Rimmel Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover ($7.29 / 4.2oz), L'Oreal Refreshing Eye Make-Up Remover ($6.99 / 4oz), and Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover ($5.99 / 3.8oz). The Rimmel one I picked up about a year ago, and the L'Oreal and the Neutrogena I bought based on recommendations from the blogosphere.

I decided first to test their removal strength by pitting them against 3 different black eyeliners: MAC Penultimate, MAC Feline, and Stila Smudge Pot in Black. I actually forgot to take pictures of the whole experiment here, but all 3 performed about the same. The L'Oreal was a bit watery and felt like I was moving the makeup around rather than really cleaning it, but overall, performance was good from all three. Penultimate was the easiest to remove, then Feline, and finally Stila Smudge Pot.

So, if they all do their job, what's the differentiation? Well, first the bottles. The Rimmel is taller and you get the most product. More importantly for me, the top has a hole in it rather than opening fully. I like this because it means that you can just get a cotton bud dipped in remover for quick clean-ups. The Neutrogena is tall as well, and has a opening that is about half an inch wide. Too big for cotton buds, although I could easily fit one all the way into the bottle (okay until you have used up most of the bottle), but easy for cotton wool pads. You do get least product with the Neutrogena.  The L'Oreal bottle is shorter and much wider. The opening for me is a particularly annoying as it is too wide even for a cotton ball, so every time I use it  end up wasting a lot of product.

Winner so far: Rimmel, with L'Oreal is last position.

What about how they feel? Well, the Rimmel is watery, and can sometimes feel a little harsh on the skin - like I have to rub it to really remove the last specks of eyeliner. The Neutrogena, although it is oil-free, leaves behind a bit of a film, and this takes about 10 minutes to wear off. The L'Oreal stings my eyes so much for some reason, so I almost never put it near my eyes anymore, and just use it for swatch removal. Things that are meant to be used around the eyes should not bring out this problem, so I have no idea why I am so sensitive to this product.

Winner: Neutogena, with L'Oreal again in last position.

Overall, I think I prefer the Rimmel by a nose, but the Neutrogena is perfectly good as well. As you can probably tell by now, the L'Oreal product really do not work with my eyes or my requirements, so will definitely not be bought again. However, none of them really blew me away, so if there are any other removers that you guys really like, I'd love to hear about them.

This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links do not in any way influence the outcomes of reviews on this site.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

MAC Liberty of London Review and Haul

MAC’s Liberty of London collection is the collection I have been most excited about since Style Black in September. I’m a Brit expat living in New York, and anything British makes me feel all nostalgic and homesick, and the iconic Liberty print is just one of the most British things possible, so as soon as it was announced, my little heart started racing.

The first, and most obvious thing to talk about is the amazing packaging. It is based on a decades old Liberty print that has been reworked for MAC exclusively for this collection. [insert more notes about the packaging here]

I’m a notorious eye shadow fiend, but strangely, the eye shadows in this collection did not really do it for me. The first reason is that it felt to me that they lacked cohesiveness. Instead, the colors came across as a little bit random and chaotic. Some were strong on their own, and others were a little bit meh for me. I’ve only included my own photos from what I purchased.

Give Me Liberty Of London is a pale, matte pink. This one was fairly sheer when I swatched it, and I’m in two minds about it. Part of me thinks that in itself, it is actually fairly unusual as an eyeshadow shade (really, think now, have you ever seen a matte pale pink?). However, I have to admit that I decided I could think of little uses for it and was worried about it giving me a weird case of pink eye, so decided to skip.

Free To Be is a pretty coral matte shade. This is now in the permanent line, so I think you could definitely take your time about making up your mind with this. Maybe a sheer matte sunset eye with Give Me Liberty…? I thought it was a pretty good color with reasonable payoff considering it is a matte.

Birds & Berries is a very pretty darkened shimmery teal. It has delicious color pay-off and a gorgeous shade. The only reason I skipped is because it is practically the same as Strike a Pose from the Starflash collection, but if I didn’t already have this color, I would so be grabbing this.

Bough Grey is a lovely gray with a tinge of green. This reminds me in some ways of Silverthorn from A Rose Romance, but it is darker and greener. I am going to use this is a smoky eye and can see this being great as a neutral. 

Dame's Desire was repromoted from the Dame Edna and I skipped right over it at looks close to a couple of pinky / purples I already have. Purples and me have historically not got along very well, so that one wasn't going to catch my eye. 

There are 2 blushes - Prim & Proper and Dirty Plum. Prim & Proper is a great neutral with a touch of pink. Shocking - I do not have any neutral blushes at all - how terrible am I?!?! I keep buying pinks instead! Anyway, this is a gorgeous, useful every day color that can also be used for contouring. I can see myself using this regularly to work. 

I also picked up the Shell Pearl Beauty Powder. It's a pretty sheer pink shimmery highlighter. This is going to be a great summery shimmery powder. It's just a great, pretty color. Very simple. There is also a Summer Rose Beauty Powder that I nearly picked up. I saw it first the A Rose Romance last summer, and wanted it then. I'm still debating that one as well. Trying to be strong here!

Shell Pearl, Prim & Proper, Bough Grey

This collection really came into its own on the lip products. Wowser. There are two cool lip colors - Blooming Lovely and Petals & Peacocks. Cool lip colors don't work so well with my warmer tones, so I looked over the and scored Ever Hip and Peachstock. Ever Hip is a super gorgeous creamy summer color (coral is the color of the summer girls!!). Peachstock is a creamy peachy-nude. It's from the PRO line, so you do not have to run to pick this one up.

There are 4 lip glosses - English Accents which is a cooler pink toned gloss, A Different Groove which is a dark blackberry gloss (I didn't buy this one but it is really tempting!), Perenially High Style which is a yummy summer coral, and Frankly Fresh which is a nude pink shimmer gloss.
Peachstock, Ever Hip, Frankly Fresh, Perenially High Style

All in all this collection has some real hits and some total skips. What did you pick up?

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Lipstick Queen Saint Berry Lipstick

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to come across Lipstick Queen on sale at Gilt. If you do not what Gilt is, it is basically an online sample sale store. It has flash sales which typically last 36-72hrs, where designer goods are sold at discount. Like the sound of it? Click here for an invite.

Lipstick Queen has been on my list of brands to try for quite some time now. I first came across it in Space.NK Apothecary back in the UK. Space NK also has stores across the US now. It is a boutique cosmetics store that initially specialized in hard to get American brands, but has since branched out into niche, high end brands sourced from across the world, as well as their own brand of goods as well. The stores are a make up lover's dream, and the staff are knowledgeable and excellent, and also happy to let you browse at your own pace. The founder, Nicky Kinnaird, is also from my home town, so I'm especially pleased by her success.

Lipstick Queen was founded by Poppy King who has been in the cosmetics business for years. With Lipstick Queen she aims to give women amazing lip colors which are glamourous, fun, sexy, and a little bit cheeky. The first product I tried out was from her Saint / Sinner line of lipsticks ($18 normally - I paid $11 on Gilt) . This consists of 10 shades, each available in two finishes. Saint is light, sheer, smooth, and moisterizing. Sinner is matte, rich, and creamy.

I chose the color Berry. It is described on the website as "Sheer chocolate berry shade that delights
the lips without adding to the hips", and that seems fairly fitting. The only issue is that I was in a rush buying it from Gilt when I was shopping (Gilt fans, you will know what I'm talking about), so didn't read the website description, so I thought that Berry was going to be a bit more pink than chocolate. It is much darker than I expected, and really closer to a Wine color. Although, I guess Wine and Saints do not really go together.

It goes on like heaven - smooth, silky, moisterizing, and is a true pleasure to wear. Although it's a sheer shade, it is incredibly buildable and I ended up with a very rich wine mouth, which will be gorgeous come fall-time, but doesn't feel quite right now.

I still have a couple more products to try out, so expect more reviews coming soon.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

China Glaze Pink Varnish Comparisons

 Please excuse the terrible state of my cuticles and nail here - I have neglecting them! Anyway, I have been looking at my collection of varnishes and there are some very similar bottles and shades there, so I thought I would give them a chance to display their dupe-ness (or lack of, in this instance)

The top color is China Glaze Sugar High from the Up & Away collection. It is a creme shade, no shimmer at all, and for me a thick consistency that was not the easiest to work with. It is a clean, bright pink, with cool undertones.

The bottom color is China Glaze B Girlz from the Kicks collection last year. It applied much much sheerer, and has a cool, blue shimmer in the polish that gives the color some life. This is going to be a great color to wear in the summer sun.

Both are lots of fun and great for summer mani and pedis. Which is about the last thing I can think of since it is pouring as I type this in New York. :(

Monday, 15 March 2010

FOTD: My Wedding Look

Last summer I had two wedding celebrations following my real wedding to my husband which was in NY City Hall back in January. My family lives in Ireland, and his family in Israel, so you can see why we had so many weddings. Because of that, I decided to go to MAC and get a very simple look that I could do myself on the day rather than stressing about arranging make up artists and dealing with all that pallaver. I went to MAC and in just over 30 minutes got a very simple, easy, innnocent and sweet look that I could easily do by myself and was not so complicated that an evening of sweaty dancing (of which there was plenty) would ruin it.

My base was MAC Studio Sculpt in NW25. I apply this with a brush spritzed with MAC Fix+, and I really like it now, although I am going to deviate from it with my next foundation purchase (NARS Sheer Glow I think). I used Smashbox Primer which I think is amazing at keeping skin looking smooth and matte all day.

My eyes were incredibly simple - MAC Paint in Bare Canvas as a base, All That Glitters on the lid, the tiniest, lightest tough of A Little Folie in the crease, Vanilla to highlight, and then I used Nehru as a shadow to line both the upper and lower lid. Nehru is a dark navy, although in this look it shows up as grey. The MUA explained that lining as a shadow would keep the look very soft with no harsh lines. This was the only part of the look that took a while. I also made sure to line my lower waterline with a white eyeliner and get no shadow on the lower waterline.

My cheeks were NARS Orgasm in cream blusher form. I knew that I wanted a sweet, pink cheeked look, and this gave a great glow.

My lips were A Rose Romance lipstick followed by Virgin Kiss gloss. I actually had no idea what I wanted to do for my lips (the original look had Creme Cup which was sweet but not quite right), and then the day before my wedding I was in MAC and saw the new Rose Romance collection and picked up a bunch of things on a whim, and luckily they worked! I still love those colors to this day.

The best thing about this look is that although it was great for my wedding, I can wear it anytime without being over the top. It's just a classic, simple, pretty, summer look.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Living Proof My Hair Can Be Saved

I think out of all aspects of fashion, style, and beauty, hair is my least favorite and I am least skilled at. I have shoulder length highlighted blonde hair, and have had some aspect of that pretty much all my adult life. My hair is super thin and a tendency to be a bit flat, and I never really got into doing things with it. In fact, I have only used a hair dryer 3times in the last calendar year, and 2 of those were because if I had gone outside with wet hair, I would have literally had frozen hair. The other time was last night, when I was playing around with Living Proof’s Full Thickening Cream ($14 / 1.8oz).

Full Thickening Cream uses “a new technology invented by our scientists that creates a micro-pattern of thickening points on each strand. Full creates beautiful, natural fullness and touchable body that lasts throughout the day. Because it's a completely flexible technology, your hair won't collapse or become stiff and crunchy.”

Those are big words, no? The instructions say to use a hair dryer, but I used it both with air drying and blow drying.

With air-drying, I was left with very cool beachy styled hair, and my husband commented that he liked the volume it had. He really did! I could definitely feel the product in my hair – it almost had the same texture as dry shampoo, which makes your hair feel dry with a slightly dusty feeling. It wasn’t unpleasant, and definitely not stiff or crunchy. I was pleasantly surprised, because I have not come across many products that work on air-drying hair, so that was pretty cool.

With blow-drying, I definitely had more volume, but unfortunately I also felt that my hair frizzed up more and looked a little bit out of control. I do admit that I am not the world’s best blow-dryer, but I don’t normally have a frizz problem when I do it, so I guess that you need to take a bit more care in shaping your hair and making sure that you end up with a controlled result.

All in all, I would repurchase living proof’s thickening cream, based on the low maintenance approach to beachy, surfer girl hair. Next time I blow dry it I’ll be more careful rather than blasting it from all angles. I have heard great things about the no-frizz product, so that will go on my list of must-tries.

Have you used Living Proof? Or any other hair products that you love?

Saturday, 13 March 2010

The Cutest Nail Files and Tweezers You Have Ever Seen

I mean, seriously? How could anyone pass these up? And they weren't even pricey. The tweezers were $15 and the matchbook style nail files were $4 from Sephora.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Velvet Matte Makes My Day

One of my all-time favorite discoveries of 2009 was Mad Men. Oh! The dresses! The style! The old-fashioned manners and repression! Don Draper! The cinematography! And the patience as things actually develop. I only have seen season 3, so I know I have some serious catching up to do, but in the meantime, that doesn't mean I can't get inspired. A couple of months ago had a post up about the makeup used on Mad Men, and a lot of it was NARS. One of the key products was the Velvet Matte Lip Pencil ($24) in Calliope and Belle De Jour. Well, it took about 35 seconds between me reading that and ordering up a couple of pencils for myself. And so a beautiful love affair was born.

The Velvet Matte Lip Pencils are like jumbo, crayon-esque lip pencils. They go on lovely and smoothly, which is one of my favorite things about them. They are slightly drying, I'm not going to lie, but in a similar way to most matte lip products, and definitely not more so. They have a slight sweet scent and flavor that I personally like. Lip products have a habit of sliding right off me, but these last at least 3-4 hours. 

Belle De Jour is the most perfect nude lip I have ever found. It has just enough pink to keep you from looking dead, but neutralises any color and goes amazing with a smoky eye.


Calliope, as you can see, gets the most wear from me. This is quite often my wear to work lips. It's a gorgeous pinky-nude, and incredibly chic and sophisticated. So versatile. I can see me wearing this out and more. 


Okay, so Dragon Girl was not a Mad Men recommendation, but it's amazing!! It's a slightly pink red, very bright, and gives an awesome matte red lip. If you apply it lightly and blend it out, you can get a more subtly berry tint. Gorgeousness in a pencil. 

Dragon Girl, Calliope, Belle De Jour


I did see these NYX Jumbo Lip Pencils so I thought I'd give them a try. The biggest difference is that they are not matte, which for me is the whole point. They also have quite different pictures than in real life, so I've had some interesting experiences buying these! They are only $3.50, so it's not so bad if it all goes wrong!

What are your favorite matte lip colors? Any products you recommend I try?

This post contains an affiliate link. Affiliate links do not influence the opinion of reviews.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

The Simplest Pleasures Set You Up

A year ago, I would never have thought I would be writing this post. I would have laughed at the very idea of spending $16 on shower gel. And I was wrong. I can undoubtedly say that the quality of my life is better since my husband bought me  Philosophy Caramel Apple Showergel . I can quite honestly say that it is far and away the most heavenly scented shower gel that I have ever come across. It is rich and sweet, and the scent hangs around for a while afterwards as well. The Caramel Apple is a deep red, and the consistency is thick, and actually, a little goes a long way. This is the kicker for me: it makes me happy every time I use it. Just think, every time that you take a shower, you might be sleepy, or having a bad day, or just had a fight with someone, and you use this shower gel, and the scent of delicious caramel fills the air, and wow, you’re happy. And that, for me, is worth every penny. Just talking about pennies – I’ve been using this since Jan 1st, and I am maybe a third of the way through. For some reason, this bottle is going the distance, justifying that $16 again and again. I definitely recommend heading to your nearest Philosophy counter and picking out one of their shower gels for yourself? Can’t make your mind up? Try their recipe books or selection packs.

This post has an affiliate link. Affiliate links do not influence the opinions of review. 


Related Posts with Thumbnails