Friday, November 29, 2013

NOTD: Smashed by Estee Lauder

Smashed is one of the polishes included in Estee Lauder's Delectable Lacquers gift set.  A deep wine base shot through with flashes of hot pink and blue sparkle, Smashed was easy to work with and I used 2 coats with Zoya's base and top coats.
Sadly, I got some bed sheet impressions on the not quite dried yet nails, as I was probably clenching my bed covers on Mobile's coldest night of the year (mid-twenties).  I know those who live in frozen tundra lands laugh at us warm weather babies, but I swear cold in Mobile feels colder.  Scoff if you will, but I lived in Boston for 10 years, and it feels colder here. 
So, the mice and I have been shivering.  Yes, they are still here.  I'll be making my third trip to Lowes tomorrow to pick up more weaponry.  I've got to admit that I admire their resourcefulness, as they seem to be able to get in places that have no discernible way to get into.  Except for the traps I bought.  I curse the Lowes guy who told me about his wife waking up with a mouse in bed with her, because now that worries me.  My border collie Maggie sleeps with me, so I hope that is enough of a deterrent.
But back to nail polish.  Smashed doesn't quite live up to how it looked in this bottle shot, as it's flash is more subtle on the nail.  It's enough to give it visual interest, however, and make it different then Black Plum from the same set.
Estee Lauder polishes are on the pricey side at $20 each, which made the Delectable Lacquers gift set look more reasonable at $27.50.  I've enjoyed the two polishes from it I've tried thus far!

Linking up with The Nail Files hosted by Jennie from Well Shut the Front Door!

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

November Birchbox: More Good

I'm still not in the holiday frame of mind, although Thanksgiving is today and Christmas an eye blink away.  Perhaps it's because it seems like summer just ended, which happens when temps in the mid 70's are still occurring.  Regardless, Birchbox is helping me to reframe my mindset by emphasizing abundance in all it's forms, as well as giving back.  Featuring beauty items from their favorite charitable brands, I received:
Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter Pencil (full size, $18):  This face illuminator in pencil form can be applied in 10 different ways, but I've mainly been using it as to lessen the redness along my upper lip line and along the bridge of my nose.  Check out the video to see all the ways it can be used - quite impressive!
Next is a charcoal gray metallic/frost polish called Dark'N Stormy from Color Club.  Always nice to receive a polish, and the mini bottle is worth $4.
The hair product this month is one I already have, called It's a 10.  This leave in hair serum is supposed to repair dry, damaged hair, add shine, detangle, control frizz, seal and protect hair color, prevent split ends, stop hair breakage, create silkiness, enhance natural body, and protect from heat.  I admit I haven't really used the one I already have (hair product overload), but this seems to get great reviews so I need to remedy that.  The deluxe sample size I received is worth $10.
Femme is a 100 % natural body lotion featuring artisanal French fragrances from Tiossan Dakar.  Ten percent of proceeds from their products go towards creating innovative schools in Senegal.  More good:-).
Femme is a floral bouquet on a bed of amber, sprinkled with a dash of Ylang-Ylang for a heady and ambiguous fragrance that restores a personal sense of calm, balance and femininity.
Top Notes: Ylang-Ylang, Rose
Heart Notes: Lilly of the Valley, Jasmine, a touch of Tuberose
Base Notes: Cedar, Amber, White musk.
I found the fragrance to be very light, so it's something I would probably layer with other fragrances.  Personally, I like that, as I always put on lotion after a shower but usually want to wear one of my perfume oils as well.  Sample value is about $1.50.
The extra this month was an uber delicious chocolate from Chuao in Orange-a-go-go:  Candied orange harmonizes with the essence of bergamot orange in dark chocolate.  I need to investigate this brand some more.  Seriously.

So, not counting the extra, the value of November's box was $33.50.  Hope those that celebrate are having a lovely Thanksgiving, and that "more good" comes to everyone!

P.S. I woke up this morning to 20 degree weather.  I don't know how those who live in cold weather climates do it - hats off to you!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation in Sand

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
I'm not quite sure what I was thinking when I ordered the shade Sand over Light Beige in the Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation, but I'm sure it was well researched and reasoned  at the time.  Light Beige would have been the more logical choice, as it has yellow undertones as opposed to Sand's pink undertone.  Regardless, I got Sand, and I can't say I'm completely happy with the color.
Sand (medium with pink undertone)
The foundation itself, color aside?  I like it!  It's more pricey than I would normally want to pay ($55), but it was part of my NK Space extravaganza, where I had to spend beaucoup to get the GWP.  Geared towards oily skin, the key ingredient Cashmere Kaolinite Clay can absorb 75% of its weight in sebum, all while retaining moisture in the skin.
It is water-resistant and humidity proof, which is perfect for Mobile's humid climate.  Furthermore, it is supposed to provide good coverage and a matte finish without looking cakey or mask-like.  Another added boon, it does not contain alcohol like many of the other liquid to powder foundations.
Indoor lighting
The color is workable as long as I've got a bit of summer color left, but I won't be able to wear it during my paler winter months. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hourglass Veil Fluid Makeup in No. 2/Light Beige: Sample Series v. 5

Disclaimer:  This was a sample with purchase.
I continue with my quest for foundations, and this sample was courtesy of Sephora.  I believe there were 3 different colors in this particular sample card, and No. 2/Light Beige ended up being the best match for my complexion.
Veil is one pricey foundation at $60 for a 1 oz. bottle, but you are also getting some skincare ingredients in the form of Matrixyl® Synthe'6™, which supports the body's natural ability to produce collagen and help reduce the appearance of wrinkles.  Veil also contains Skin Tightener ST™ PH, which helps to improve the skin's texture and promote a younger-looking complexion.  I applied with my foundation brush and thought the coverage was good and the finish fairly natural looking.
I did end up buying a Hourglass foundation, but I went with the Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation formula (review tomorrow) instead of Veil.  I believe my reasoning was that the Immaculate formula is targeted more towards oily skin.  I actually prefer the color I'm wearing above over the shade I got in Immaculate, which is a touch too dark.  Them's the breaks, as it's always a toss up choosing the right foundation shade online.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Gravité Kaleidoscope by Le Métier de Beauté: Preview and Swatches

Disclaimer:  This was a gift with purchase.
Le Métier de Beauté (LMdB) frequently offers gift with purchase deals on their Vault site, and anytime a kaleidoscope is offered, it's hard to pass up.  So, I didn't :-)  Gravité is consequently my first eye kaleidoscope from LMdB, and it's gorgeous.  Well here, let me show you.
The design is always striking, with a pop up mirror and compartments that unswirl each shadow individually or all at once.  The four shadows in Gravité, as described by LMdB, are (thanks to LisaLeah for finding the shadow names and descriptions, as I could not locate them!):
Nova:  effervescent tan for warmth
Solar - gilded saffron for femininity
Levity:  patina brass for contrast
 Dark Matter:  jewel toned aubergine for depth

Nova is more of a rose gold and Levity has a definite loden green quality to it.  Dark Matter has some copper specks which you can see in the pan but are less obvious when swatched.  I'll post a review of the shadows once I've played with these, but based just on the swatches, they are nicely pigmented and easy to apply.  Gravité ($95), like all of the kaleidoscopes, is limited edition and I'm not sure if it's currently still available as a GWP, but LMdB's Facebook page still has it listed as such.  Here is the original message, if you are interested:
www.metierbeaute.com is giving all customers who make a $200+ purchase this week, an exclusive Gravite Kaleidoscope with the purchase. Its a $95 gift with purchase and available nowhere else in the world. XO LMdB
I'm definitely glad I got mine!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Lancome Dream Tone Ultimate Dark Spot Corrector in Fair

Disclaimer:  Product provided for review.  All opinions are my own.
I went through quite the sun worshipping phase in my teens and twenties.  Growing up on the Gulf Coast, hitting the beach or just laying out in your backyard was de riguere for that tanned look, with Hawaiian Tropic oil sans sunscreen as the tanning agent of choice.  I moved to the Boston area in my mid-twenties, which cut down on the excessive sunning for the most part.  Otherwise, I might look more like a walking Slim Jim.
#bareselfie prior to testing DreamTone (Nov. 3)
It all catches up with you, of course.  I can see freckles I was not born with, and I'm getting age associated dark spots.  Genetically I seem to be blessed with fewer wrinkles, but did I forget to mention I also have sebaceous hyperplasia?  That causes bumps under the skin from the build up of sebum, which I periodically have to, um, excise.  I guess that's a polite way of saying it.

A little long winded, but you get the idea.  I've got discolorations from the sun damage and redness from the sebaceous hyperplasia and broken capillaries.  To say I'm more than a little interested in skincare products that can help deal with these issues is an understatement.  So, I jumped at the chance to test out Lancome's new Dream Tone, courtesy of SheSpeaks and Lancome.
#bareselfie after wearing DreamTone (Nov. 19)
Available in 3 formulations, I've been using Dream Tone for fair skin twice a day for a little over two weeks now.  The fair skin version corrects the appearance of dark spots, uneven skin tone, dullness and provides specific color correction for the look of redness.  While I haven't used it long enough to get the full effects, especially when it comes to dark spots, I can say I think it has helped with the redness associated with the sebaceous hyperplasia.  I've experienced zero skin irritation, and the formula has worked well under my daytime moisturizer, night time facial oil, and under the various foundations in my rotation. 
Two pumps are sufficient to cover my face, as there is a nice slip to the formula.  Like most Lancome products, Dream Tone has a fragrance, but I did not find it off putting and it does not linger.  The packaging is quite nice, and the top of the bottle twists up to raise the applicator.  Fancy!
Immediate skin enhancment come from soft-focus tinted pearls, which help to refract and diffuse light in a way that flatters your skin.   So, you get some immediate gratification while the serum works on the longer term issues.  This all comes at a price, of course.  Lancome's Dream Tone will set you back $98, so you might want to seek out some samples to try before making a larger investment.  I'll have to compare results once I'm finished with the bottle, but so far so good! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

NOTD: Louise with Maria Luisa by Zoya

Disclaimer:  I purchased these.
I broke out Louise by Zoya again, second time in about a month.  This could be because my short term memory is going, or it could be because I love a chocolate cream polish.  Probably a bit of both.
I then dabbled the gold fleck Maria Luisa on the tips of my nail, for a bit of sparkle and shine.  It's just enough detail without being in your face, dark with a flash of glint.
I've been battling a mouse that has moved into my house, so I'm a little sleep deprived.  He/she likes to gnaw on things, namely the containers of my organic lotions and potions, at about 3 am.  One of us is going to have to go, and since I can't afford another house, it needs to be the mouse.  At least I hope it's a mouse, and not it's larger rodent cousin. 

Do you have a polish you revisit over and over?  You might want to check out some other NOTD's via The Nail Files, hosted by Jennie at Well Shut the Front Door!

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lipstick Queen Sinner in Pinky Nude

The Sinner line of lipsticks by Lipstick Queen ($22) is designed to be the ultimate full-coverage matte lipstick, with 90% pigment, a moisturizing formula, no fragrance, and long lasting wear.  I received Pinky Nude in the NK Space Autumn gift event, marking my first foray into Lipstick Queen.  So what did I think?
Well, as much as I'd like to be able to rock a nude lip, I just can't.  They leave me looking a bit washed out and anemic.  Pinky Nude is billed as a "pretty and subtle pink take on nude", and it leans toward the warm end of the spectrum, which should work in my favor.  Somehow, though, I just can't carry it off.  Maybe if I did the smoky eye/nude lip combo, but honestly, the whole smoky eye thing doesn't work for my narrow eyes.  It's important to know your limits, I guess :-)
Formula wise, I would not have recognized this as a matte lipstick if I hadn't read the description.  Pinky Nude was creamy and comfortable for a matte, although I did have noticeable settling into my lip lines.  The only way I felt like I could carry off Pinky Nude was if I topped it with a tinted lip balm, as that gave it enough color and solved the lip settling issue. 
So, I guess I'm on the fence about the Sinner matte lipsticks.  A more flattering color might tip the scales for me.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ladybird True Romance Eyeshadow Palette by Kat Von D

My review of the Ladybird True Romance Eyeshadow Palette by Kat Von D is long overdue, so I did some much needed swatching this past weekend.  This was my first foray into the Kat Von D line despite hearing good things about the shadows - I guess I needed a palette of all matte colors to push me over the edge. 
Released in the spring, I think the colors registered as more autumnal to me.  I was pleasantly surprised by how lovely the packaging is and really like the design of this palette!  Composed mainly of neutrals with a plum and vibrant dark orange thrown in the mix, the formula on these is lovely.  Pigmentation is great, they apply smoothly with no patchiness, and blend out easily.  In fact, these may be the best matte shadows I've tried.
They do kick up a bit of dust, but all the swatches are showing just a few swipes over Urban Decay's eye primer.  I did not have to pick up and apply more color to get the intensity shown.
Fur Elise, Vespertine, Renholder
Siouxsie-sioux, Unrequited
Harlow, Wolf, Cleopatra
I've been using colors from this palette almost everyday since I got it, especially the nudes and taupe.  I usually incorporate a few other shimmer colors as well.  Conversely, I'm also using these matte shadows to tone down some of my more frosty shadows, so it is proving very versatile. 
There is also the eye pencil Immortal Love, a chocolate brown, that comes with the palette.  It applies easily and wore well, although I'm not sure I'd rank it with my Urban Decay pencils. 

Serious love for this palette!  It's showing as out of stock at Sephora at the moment, but you can request an email notifying you when it is back in stock.  It's well worth the $36, IMO!