Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tarte LipSurgence Lip Luster in Sweet: Perfect for Spring

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
There are two colors I especially associate with spring:  soft pinks and light greens.  Now that the weather is starting to warm up where I live (thank you semi-tropical climate zone), I pulled out one of my Tarte LipSurgence pencils called Sweet to wear for the week.  I don't know why I've been neglecting my LipSurgence lip pencils, but I've got to say Sweet has renewed my appreciation:-)
Sweet is part of the lip luster line of the LipSurgence lip pencils, which essentially means there is a bit of shimmer in the finish.  Sweet is a medium pink with a gold shimmer, giving it a peachy pink color which works well with my complexion.  I just look more alive and healthy when I wear colors like this, or at least I think so :-)
The formula is mildly hydrating with a slight mint scent and cooling sensation on the lips, no doubt due to the vitamins C & E, peppermint & jojoba oils in the formula.  I'll be honest and say that I think the $24 price is a bit on the high side, but I've always acquired mine as parts of a set, which makes them much more reasonable.  Regardless, I think Sweet is a perfect spring color!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

February Birchbox: Step and Repeat

In honor of all the awards show that happen at this time of the year, February's Birchbox was a collaborative effort with US Weekly. I've got to admit that the tag line "Step and Repeat" keeps bringing up images of the cheesy dance section "Bend and Snap" in Legally Blonde.  Somehow, the fact that a musical was built around this movie escaped me.  Anyone else?  If you did miss this cultural phenom, you can check it out as part of Maxim's "The 10 Most Uncomfortable Movie Dance Scenes". 
Fortunately, my box this month did not fall into the cheesy category.  Somehow, when I was taking the box photographs, I missed that one of the items was hidden behind the tissue paper.  Chalk that up to my foggy, sleep deprived brain :-)  But, my box contained 5 items, so let's take a closer look!
Hair oils continue in their popularity with most brands entering the foray in some fashion, and this month brings us the exclusive launch of Beauty Protector's Protect & Oil.  This one is argan oil based but also heavy on silicones.  It does provide protection from heat and UV rays and I'd say it's most attractive feature (for me) is it's scent.  I could be crazy, but I'm smelling some Pink Sugar here, and as I like that fragrance, that's fine by me.  It's a generous sample size and I'm estimating value at $1.50.
Whish visits us again, this time as a Pomegranate body butter.  It's a nice formula and I like that it contains naturally sourced organic ingredients.  The scent is light and spring like and it remained for a few hours before dissipating, but was not heavy enough to interfere with wearing perfume.  Sample value is $3.52.
I love receiving eye creams as samples, as a little goes a long way in this category.  I haven't tried It's Potent Eye Benefit Cream before, and I'm intrigued with the extensive ingredient list.  I don't know if more=better, but it's got a lot going on there, and the packaging from the box to the jar is lovely.  Sample value is $6.80.
A new item (and the one that was hidden under the tissue paper) from Miracle Skin Transformer is the Face Spotlight, a subtle skin smoother with shimmer and SPF20 that can be used all over or as a highlighter.  I wore this under my eyes and along my cheekbones Saturday, and I like it.  It gives a soft glow with its peachy gold color.  Sample value is $3.25.
The extra this month were 2 packets of 32 Efferverscent Breath Treatment.  Think pop rocks with the ability to freshen your breath, and you've got it!  The Honey Mint version tasted like candy to me, and considering I crave something sweet after eating, I could see this as a smart option for soothing my sweet tooth while freshening my breath.  These don't just mask odor, but have the ability to kill bacteria that causes bad breath.  Sample value is 98 cents, bringing the box total to $16.05.  Overall, a solid month from Birchbox and I continue to enjoy my $10/month subscription!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pure Nude Color Tattoo 24HR Eyeshadow by Maybelline

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
I've been wearing my four new Maybelline Color Tattoo eyeshadows from the Dare to Go Nude collection all this week, and I've formed a solid impression:  they are wonderful!  First up for show and tell is Pure Nude, the lightest of the new colors.  Pure Nude is a pale beige shimmer that makes for a great inner eye highlighter or an all over base for other eyeshadows.
One of the features I'm really liking about these new Color Tattoo's is how well they layer and blend together.  There is enough of a creamy slip to them to make blending possible, without sheering out or going patchy.  I especially liked that I could use Pure Nude to lighten other colors if I wanted, without any resulting muddiness.
Barely Beige (top) Pure Nude (bottom)
You may be wondering how Pure Nude compares to the other lighter Color Tattoos such as Barely Branded or the limited edition Barely Beige.  While I don't own Barely Branded, above you can see that Purely Nude is lighter and cooler in tone than the slightly warmer toned Barely Beige.  Pure Nude has shimmer but is not metallic in finish, making it a very wearable color for me.
Below I've used it as an inner eye highlighter.  It brightens but does not announce it's presence in capital letters, making for a nice, natural look.  If you were not fortunate enough to snag the coveted Barely Beige when it was available or if you prefer a cooler toned highlighter that is not metallic, Pure Nude might be a good option.  Definitely no complaints from me regarding the formula!
I still have not seen a definitive word on if the Color Tattoo's in the Dare to Go Nude spring 2014 collection are limited edition or permanent.  I got mine from Rite Aid for $6.99.

Monday, February 24, 2014

stila Acoustic Countless Color Pigment

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
I picked up another Countless Color Pigment by stila called Acoustic a few months back, this time a neutral with a splash of color.  Considering these were $22 when I got Lyric and Lightshow last summer, at the bargain basement price of $4 when I purchased, I figured why not?
The colors can be worn separately or blended together to create new colors, and the finish is a soft satin that I thought was flattering to less than smooth lids.  These apply best with your finger or a foam applicator, although a flat brush with a patting action works as well.
Considering the container is just a littler larger than your average single eyeshadow, you can get a surprising variety of different shades from it.  Above are the three single colors and then a blend of all three together.
Here are other combinations, and I wore the third from the left as a blush on Saturday.  I may have found another good multitasking travel option!
The Countless Color Pigments are now listed on the "Phased Out Favorites" stila section at $8, but I've seen them for as low as $3 on Hautelook.  Factor in that these can be used for eyes and face, and at those prices, they are worth a look if you are craving something to do a bit of finger face painting with :-) 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Accountability Sunday: Resolution Progress for the Week v. 8

I'm a bit late getting this up, as I'm operating on a lack of sleep.  The last two nights have seen some fierce thunderstorms, which causes more than a bit of anxiety for Lulu, my Westie.  She and Lily sleep in their own room, with my Border Collie mix Maggie (and personal body guard) sleeping with me.  However, on stormy nights, all 3 dogs end up in bed with me.  I'd like to say it's cozy and comfortable, but in reality it's hot and crowded.  Maggie gets jealous and feels the need to meld herself against me, Lulu is shivering and sometimes licking everything out of anxiety, and Lily usually decides next to my head is her best sleeping spot.  Gives a new visual for the term "three dog night", doesn't it?

I've definitely hit a wall concerning some of my resolutions, no doubt reflective of monotony now setting in and affecting my motivation regarding them.  It's the day to day challenge of life, you know?
  • eat better:  start cooking more and eating out less
  • exercise more: practice yoga/Pilates again, use a standing desk at work
  • declutter house
  • no buy on makeup/beauty items Jan-March:  can develop a wish list and purchase one or two items from it in April
Eating healthy in general is going fairly well, so I've definitely made progress in that area.  I also bought a huge bottle of Vitamin D3, as it seems Vitamin D deficiency is a chronic issue for many people and I'm wondering if my general fatigue could be an indication I'm one of them.
A highlight from this week was another slow cooker stew I threw together, which is my favorite I've made to date. 
  • 3 chick breasts
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 10 small sweet peppers, chopped
  • Swanson Thai-Ginger flavor infused broth, 1 box (really needed 2 boxes)
  • 3 cups water (to make up for not having enough broth)
  • 3 teaspoons Goya Cream of Coconut (was looking for coconut milk, but couldn't find any)
  • white pepper and sea salt to taste
Exercise suffered slightly this week from time crunch, with more "rest days" than I would like to see.  Rest days happen when I don't have time to exercise, so it's not like they are planned or anything.  I also have not made it to the gym the last 2 weekends, so need to turn that around as well.  On the plus side, after 8 weeks of regular exercise, I'm seeing the results with clothes that fit better from having lost a few lbs and having toned up.  I need to not slack off now, but take it to the next level.  Somehow, some way :-)
No decluttering to speak of this week, and in fact I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by my house and yard.  Lots of debris to pick up from the storms, and things will start growing like crazy very soon.  Those little green clumps in the yard are Spiderwort and can get to 2 feet tall in no time at all, once the weather turns warm.  They have pretty little purple flowers, but I know from experience if I let them get too big, I'll need a machete to clear the land :-)
My no-buy of makeup/beauty items bit the dust this week, precipitated by those limited edition Maybelline Color Tattoos (you can see my preview here).  I'm not sure if I will get back on that wagon or go to a low-buy with a set amount I can spend each month.  It was a good exercise and I think it showed me the value of creating a wish list as opposed to impulse buying, so I will definitely continue with that.  So how was everyone's week - was it the good, the bad, or the ugly?

Friday, February 21, 2014

NOTD: Where Did Suzi's Man-Go?

Not to rub salt in anyone's wound, but we hit the 70's this week in Mobile.  I walked into work yesterday and more than a few students were wearing shorts.  Ice one week and shorts the next - welcome to one crazy winter!  The downside of the warm front was an intense thunderstorm that had me up from 1:00-3:30 am last night with anxious dogs.
To celebrate the warmth, this week I went with Where Did Suzi's Man-Go? from OPI's new Brazil collection.  It clashes with my winter clothes, but I don't care.  I wanted brightness and sunshine, and this orange cream screams warm weather!  The formula was a bit thick and wasn't the easiest to work with, but it does level out pretty well when all is said and done.  Hopefully, continued warm weather and spring are right around the corner, but if not, at least my nails look the part:-)

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Linking up with The Nail Files hosted by Jennie Shaw.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Miracle 10 Retinol Treatment 30 Review

Disclosure:  Product provided for review.  All opinions are my own.
The very first time I can remember hearing about retinoids was back in the 1980's, in an article that talked about Cher's love for Retin-A.  Fast forward 30 years, and retinoids have been on the scene long enough to amass a fair amount of evidence to support their use for:
  • minimizing the appearance of wrinkles
  • slowing down the breakdown of collagen
  • bolstering skin thickness
  • lightening brown spots
  • fighting acne
There's not a single thing on that list that I couldn't benefit from, so I was quite happy to try Miracle 10's Retinol Treatment 30, developed by The Plastic Surgery Clinic in Toronto, Ontario.  Retinol Treatment 30 contains 0.30% retinol to produce cell turnover and Defensil Plus, a proprietary blend of oils and botanical extracts for skin repair.  There are also Vitams E, A, C and B in the mix to help soothe and hydrate skin.
I've been using Retinol Treatment 30 for 7 weeks now, so thought it was time for a review!  I'm just a tad over halfway through the bottle, and that's using 3 pumps for each application.  I started with every other night initially, and then worked up to consecutive nightly use for 4-5 days at a time.  If my skin started feeling too dry or flaky, I would take a day or two off from using.  I did apply once (by accident due to lack of attention) to my under eye area, and it did promptly peel.  I'm kind of okay with that, as my under eye area is where most of my wrinkles are.  However, I'm pretty sure you are not supposed to apply to the eye area :-)
Considering I was using Retinol Treatment 30 during the coldest time of the year when my skin is drier than it usually is, I've got to say that my skin still tolerated this well.  One note about the consistency:  there is a slight grit to the formula that is evident when you first apply.  You can see a bit of it in the photo below, but since it's for night time use, it wasn't really an issue.
After 7 weeks of use, my skin is noticeably smoother.  I tend to experience regular breakouts on my temple area, and those were diminished and my pores overall look smaller.  I also have sebaceous hyperplasia, with under the skin bumps as a result.  I was actually prescribed Retin-A years ago when I was first diagnosed, but never renewed my prescription once it ran out.  While retinoids do not cure sebaceous hyperplasia, they do seem to help, and I'm happy that there are now non-prescription retinoids available in a high enough concentration to see results, but with skin soothing ingredients to help minimize the flaking.
Retinol Treatment 30 is the lowest concentration of the Miracle 10 formulations, with Retinol Treatment 60 and Retinol Treatment 90 versions also available.  It took several weeks of use before I noticed skin turnover in the form of flaking and peeling.  I did not experience any burning or tingling sensation, but that could be because I was using another retinol product prior to this, so my skin is already a bit conditioned to retinoids.  Overall, I'm quite pleased with the Retinol Treatment 30 and would consider using the Retinol Treatment 60 next to help with the sebaceous hyperplasia.  To be quite honest, I'm not really sure how you purchase this as I'm not seeing a price or link on the Miracle 10 site, but I'm sure you could email them to inquire.

Update:  I found out that the Retinol Treatment 30 is currently out of stock due to high demand, but it retails for $82 and should be available again in the near future.  The Retinol Treatment 60 ($87) is in stock.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24HR Eyeshadows in Pure Nude, Nude Compliment, Caramel Cool, and Sleek & Spice: Preview and Swatches

If anything is going to motivate me to break my no-buy before April 1st, it would be limited edition, neutral Color Tattoo eyeshadow by Maybelline.  These hit my radar on Saturday and I bought them on Sunday, and I have nary a single regret :-)
There are actually 6 new shades available, but these 4 were the ones that appealed to me.  Rite Aid had them in a Dare to Go Nude display with other products from that line, and there were only 2 of each color.  There is some speculation that these may not be limited edition, as they are not marked LE on the plastic safety wrappers.  I wasn't taking any chances, however, especially after missing out on the LE matte cream shades from last year.
From top to bottom:  Pure Nude, Nude Compliment, Caramel Cool, Sleek & Spice
I wanted to get swatches up in case anyone else feels the same urgency I did to snap them up.  I'll be posting separate reviews for each once I've had a chance to play with them, as well as comparisons to some of the other Color Tattoo shades.  I can say that they smooth and creamy and do not have that slip that caused sheering out like some of the Color Tattoos from last summer. 

From left:  Pure Nude, Nude Compliment, Caramel Cool, Sleek & Spice
Rite is having a BOGO sale on Maybelline products this week, and if you buy $15 worth you get a $3 UP+ reward on your next purchase.  That brought the $6.99 price down to a more reasonable $4.50 for four of them.  Have you seen these out yet?   Any that appeal to you?
Wearing Pure Nude, Nude Compliment, and Sleek & Spice

Monday, February 17, 2014

Captiva Colour Core Moisture Stain Lipstick by Le Métier de Beauté

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
The Colour Core Moisture Stain Lipsticks by Le Métier de Beauté are named after famous vacation spots, and today I have Captiva to show you.  I received Captiva in my February VIP subscription box, and I've got to say the terra cotta color didn't have me swooning initially.  After wearing it for the past few weeks, however, my knees have started to weaken a bit :-)
Captiva is actually a much more wearable color than I was anticipating, even for my winter white skin.  Can I digress and say I cannot wait for spring and warm weather?  I'm truly tired of being cold, and will even put up with the mosquitoes again without complaining.  Okay, I take that back - the best part of the cold temps has been no mosquitoes.
Containing jojoba, lanolin and shea butter, Captiva was comfortable for a semi-matte.  I wouldn't call it moisturizing, but neither was it drying.  These are actually marketed as a lip stain, and while it wore for a decent 3 hours, I'm not sure I saw significant staining going on.  Maybe that's more evident with some of the darker shades, and there are a respectable 26 colors in the line.  If you'd like to say some really great swatches of all of them, check out this post by So Lonely in Gorgeous.  Seriously, best lipstick swatches ever!
At $32, this may be the most expensive lipstick I own to date.   Not sure I'd pay that much for it personally (another reason I'm loving the VIP subscription), but it is really nice!  What's the most you're willing to spend on a lipstick?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Accountability Sunday: Resolution Progress for the Week v. 7

February, why you so mean to me?  Sickness has been dogging me, this time in the form of a low grade UTI.  So, I spent part of Valentine's Day in a health clinic.  Fortunately, it was a quick visit and I've now got my antibiotics, so hopefully I'll be well in no time.  On the downside, I had next to no energy this week.  So how did that impact progress with my resolutions?  Well, let's see....
  • eat better:  start cooking more and eating out less
  • exercise more: practice yoga/Pilates again, use a standing desk at work
  • declutter house
  • no buy on makeup/beauty items Jan-March:  can develop a wish list and purchase one or two items from it in April
I've mainly been eating my current slow cooker concoction and another batch of sausage and cheese English muffins, so all is good on the eating healthy front.  Chocolate consumption may have been higher this week, but that's par the course for Valentine's Day week, so no biggie.
Exercising took another hit, as I felt like a wet dishrag for much of the week.  I did try a different DVD this week (see snippets of it above), which focuses more on traditional yoga poses.  The stretching was just the right fit for a low energy week, yet still challenging enough - especially with the balance poses - to make it interesting.  The core portion of this DVD was really good and I'm a bit sore as a result.  Mixing up the workouts is helping me not got bored and keeping my muscles from getting used to any one routine, so I'm pleased with that.

I did a small, but psychologically helpful, decluttering project this week.  I was really, really tempted to buy one of the new Clinique blushes this week, as Bloomingdale's was have a nice GWP event.  So, to combat this urge, I decided to organize and inventory my blush collection.

Well, I have 120 blushes all nicely cataloged in an Excel spreadsheet now, which was an eye opener.  On the plus side, I could shop my own collection for months to come and not be deprived.  On the downside, how many peachy pink blushes do I really need?  Will that stop me from getting one of the Clinique Cheek Pop blushes when my no buy is over?  Of course not.
So, the no buy limped on.  Some new items have emerged for the wish list, namely the new Maybelline Color Tattoo cream shadows from the Dare to Go Nude spring 2013 collection.  My local Rite Aid has a display of them with other products from that collection, and Musings of a Muse posted a preview here and Nouveau Cheap has swatches of all six here.  There is a bit of uncertainty as to whether these are limited edition or not.  Rite Aid has a Maybelline BOGO going on this week, so I'm pretty my no-buy is about to go bye bye.  Or buy buy :-)