September Faves

October 5, 2010

 

1. Tarte EmphasEYES Aqua-Gel Eyeliner, $18, in eight colors, sephora.com: I haven’t been wearing eyeliner almost all summer, with the exception of a few days. I like the way liner looks on my eyes, I just really dislike taking it off at the end of the day.  Tarte liner lasted all day and was actually easy to remove! It felt a little cool when I was applying it and that weirded me out a bit because my lids felt wet but it subsided after a few minutes. I would love to buy other colors (I have black) and might add them to my holiday wish list. I even thought the ultra-slim stick was easier to handle and use for creating a cat-eye. 

2. Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol III, $54, sephora.com: Since I’ve missed out on previous book of shadows palettes, I figured I’d give this new one a whirl. I think it’s a good value for the assortment of shadow colors, two liners, and a primer. Oh, and the cute little diorama that lights up. Super cute! My only beef with Urban is the glitter shadows. I know the glitter is supposed to “lightly float under the eye creating a halo effect,” (those words were from a UD artist) but it makes me feel like a glitter bomb exploded on my face. Luckily this palette only comes with a few glitter pans and the rest have a light shimmer. It’s not yet on urbandecay.com and most Sephora stores should have them in-stock already or will be getting them soon. If you don’t see them out on display, ask. Mine came from the stock room. =) 

3. Ojon Volumizing Two-Minute Hair Mask, $34 6.5 oz, ojon.com: I love what Ojon’s products do for my hair and at the same time, I can’t handle the scent and had to stop using the brand a while back. Luckily a fellow beauty-junkie that knows my qualms gave me a new jar of the Volumizing mask and said, “I know you aren’t loving the rest of the line but try this. I promise the scent won’t make you gag.” Um…where has this mask been all of my life? The scent is more of a jasmine and “green” scent and not the traditional coffee/chocolate/woodsy/”natural” scent of the rest of the line. It makes my hair feel bouncy, hydrated, soft, and makes it smell so good. The texture is also feather-light and feels whipped to perfection and I always look forward to using it. 

4. Lancome Definicils Precious Cells Mascara, $29, lancome.com, sephora.com: I like natural looking mascara and this delivers the results I want with an added bonus of lash conditioners. I like the unique brush; One side has a traditional wand, the other has longer bristles. I did a more dramatic last by building up mascara layers for work one day and one my clients thought I had on individual faux lashes. It also promises lash doubling properties and less lash fall-out when removing mascara. 

5. GHD Blue Serenity Styler (MK IV), $230, sephora.com, ghd.com: Ohhhh, GHD, how I love thee. I already own a GHD MK IV and I’ve been worried that my most favorite beauty tool in the world (yes, in the world) is slowly dying. It’s starting to not perform as it once did. It’s still functional, of course. It’s just taking slightly longer to heat up and the little beeper no longer beeps at me when it’s ready. I’d been eyeing the sleek, pretty limited-editions for a while. The Blue Serenity color lured me in. I love the bonus quilted case even the hard black case it comes with. I’ve tried many brands of styling irons in the past and I’ll be sticking with GHD, possibly forever. 

6. Peace, Love & Juicy Couture, $18-$87, nordstrom.com and sephora.com: The newest offering from Juicy Couture is supposed to be inspired by the “free-spirited, sixties-style vibe of Malibu.” It reminds me of something familiar but can’t quite figure out what. It is actually quite nice. It’s lighter than the other fragrances in the Juicy range and a bit more girly. Out of the featured notes, the magnolia, honeysuckle, and patchouli flower come out more with my skin chemistry than the others. Interesting, since I’m not into magnolia or patchouli. If you happen to be in Nordies or Sephora, give this one a wiff. I like the rollerball size. It’s small enough that I’ll use it all up before I grow tired of it and the price is right. 

7. Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Foundation, $50, lauramercier.com: In the past, cream foundations and I have not been friends. They felt heavy on my oily skin and they even looked heavy. I was given a small sample of this to try and I pretty much love it. It’s designed to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, a feature that I can’t really vouch for since I have neither. It doesn’t feel heavy at all, only perhaps a tiny bit tacky when first applied. I didn’t set it with powder one morning when I was in a rush to get out the door and it lasted the same amount of time on my skin as when I do set it. I was a bit more dewy than usual but no biggie. A little goes a long way and if cost is a concern, I’m certain the jar would last a very long time as I’ve been using my little 5 g sample for three weeks and I’m just now running out. I’m debating if I love it enough to buy a jar of my very own because I’m between colors. Warm Ivory is a little light and the next color up, Sunny Beige, is too dark.

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Men take note: rising temperatures and more humidity in summer can make your deep, rich, or bold winter fragrance smell more intense. If you love your current fragrance too much to change, consider skipping your regular eau de toilette or cologne for an aftershave, deoderant, shower gel, or body lotion in the same scent. Most brands produce these ancillary items to match their fragrances. Another option is to dillute your fragrance by spraying a bit into an unscented body lotion and applying to your body. You can also spray your fragrance into the air and step through the mist. If you do the latter, please take heed to spray only a little.

If you’re open to something  new, try switching to a cool, crisp fragrance during warmer months. You can often find similar versions of your winter fragrance that wear better when the murcury rises. Not sure where to start? Check out my suggestions below or hit up your local Nordstrom (I find their fragrance sales associates to be wonderful) or Sephora (look for or ask for a certified fragrance expert or peruse their Scentsa computer on your own).

Some of my faves for summer (or any time of the year because they are light) include:

1. Fresh Citron de Vigne, $18.50-$75; fresh.com and sephora.com: Founder Lev Glazman created this new and exciting fragrance inspired by sparkling notes of pinot noir. Its fresh and sensual notes of neroli, bitter orange, pinot noir accord, lemongrass, sandalwood, and amber make it optimal for everyday wear. I’m a huge fan of Fresh fragrances overall, and think that Lev, who is also a certified nose, has a very unique, fun, and sophisticated point of view in all of his creations.

2. Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme, $55-$75; bergdorfgoodman.com, sephora.com: Inspired by the sea and mediterranean, this summer-esque fragrance is both fresh and soft while still masculine. It features only five notes, four of which are unique (mandarin, petit grain, santolina, posidonia, mineral amber).

3. Kenzo L’eauParKenzo Pour Homme, $54-$72; sephora.com: Subtle, fresh, and light, this remarkable fragrance from Kenzo embodies leisurely summer days. Notes include yuzu (one of my favorite notes), lotus leaf, aquatic mint, mandarin, and waterlily.

4. Burberry Touch for Men, $57 for 1 oz, burberry.com; While this fragrance has some spicy notes of white pepper and nutmeg, it’s rounded out by cooler notes of violet leaves, and mandarin tree leaves. This is a great option for guys who like a heavier fragrance during the winter months.

5. Burberry Classic for Men Summer Edition, $60 for 3.3 fl oz, sephora.com; One of my favorites for men, this fragrance is pleasantly surprising. The top notes of pineapple, citrus, and frozen mint are a fresh and unique blend. I love that this fragrance is rounded out by woody notes and tonka bean.

 I keep a small basket of items I use regularly in my nightstand. I also sometimes stash things in my basket that I know I should totally use but don’t as a reminder to actually use them.

1. The neighbor that lives behind me is notorious for having parties that last into the wee A.M. hours. And they don’t invite me! To be fair, we aren’t acquainted. Since I’m not in attendance at these parties and I need my beauty sleep, I always stock plenty of ear plugs in my nightstand. I also always travel with ear plugs. I usually get mine from Target and buy whatever’s the cheapest. You can even find them in fun colors. My current selection is a bag of grey ones that were around $5 for 20.

2. I love girly, fruity fragrances. When it comes to home scents, I prefer more masculine scents. My three favorite notes are amber, sandalwood, and vanilla. I’m currently down to my last few sprays of Diptyque John Galliano room spray. It’s described as having a burning wood note but smells more cuddly than like camping. $60 for 150ml at beautyhabit.com. My next spray is a generic spritzer from Target simply called Amber Vanilla.

3. I love lip balm! My daytime favorite is Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm with SPF 15 in natural mint. My bedtime fave is Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment. It has a calming, subtle lemon scent and smooth texture that sinks into my lips and doesn’t settle into my pillow slip. $22.50 at fresh.com.

4. I love the light fragrance that candles give off while unlit. Among my favorite scents (yet again) are sandalwood, vanilla, amber, and other woody fragrances. My selection du jour includes K. Hall Designs Sandalwood vegetable wax candle. I’ve also used their driftwood candle and it was just as fab. $25 at khalldesigns.com.

5. & 6. I constantly moisturize my hands. The only hand lotion I will use (unless I’m really desperate) is Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream. The ultra nourishing formula has a suble, uplifting scent and doesn’t leave your hands feeling greasy. $19 at Sephora or Caudalie.com. I spend so much time hydrating my hands that I often forget about my feet, so I keep Bliss Foot Patrol cream in my nightstand. It’s loaded with exfoliating alpha-hydroxy acids that help slough off dead skin while I sleep. $18 at Blissworld.com.

7. If I can swing it, I will sleep as late as I possibly can. On days where I can sleep in until the sun has risen, I need a sleep mask to block the flood of sunlight my bedroom gets in the morning. I prefer satin versions because they are soft and don’t leave creases on my face in the morning. This version is $8 at nicolejane.com. 

8. I sleep with my hair up because it drives me insane having my long hair down. I sleep kind of crazy and waking up because my hair is in my face is annoying. I always keep a stash of Goody elastics close at hand. I prefer the ouchless version because they are gentle on my hair.

Eau de V-day: Men

January 22, 2010

Fragrance is a great Valentine’s Day gift for yourself or a loved one. Here are my top picks for anyone close to your heart: 

1. Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme, $43-$100, sephora.com: Modern and sensual, this offering from YSL will dazzle your senses with bergamot, cedar, ozonic accord, white ginger, cedarwood, and vetiver.

2. Givenchy Play, $53-$71, sephora.com: Fresh, play-ful, and inspired by hottie Justin Timberlake, this well-rounded fragrance features bergamot, mandarin orange, bitter orange, grapefruit, Amyris wood, and black pepper.

3. Diesel Only The Brave, $53-$65, sephora.com: Bold, confident, and masculine, this fist shaped bottle with Diesel knuckles only needs four fragrance notes to get its point across: lemon, leather, amber, and cedarwood.

4. Dolce and Gabbana The One For Men, $40-$70, sephora.com: Mmmm…I saved the best for last as this fragrance is pretty much sex in a bottle. Who wouldn’t want to get close to a guy wearing The One? With its notes of grapefruit, coriander, ginger, orange blossom, cedar, and amber, it’s both fresh and woodsy all in one bottle. Or…snuggly.

Eau de V-day: Women

January 21, 2010

Fragrance is a great Valentine’s Day gift for yourself or a loved one. Here are my top picks for anyone close to your heart: 

  

1. Nanadebary Classic Pink Eau de Parfum, $98-$160, at luckyscent.com’s Scentbar 8327 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles or nanadebary.com: With jasmine, bergamot, sandalwood, and vanilla, this fem fragrance is delicate and grounded.

2. Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum, $100-$150, nordstrom.com: This sweet, heady floral features notes of bergamot, orchid, freesia, and rose with a patchouli base note.

3. D & G 3 L’IMPERATRICE, $65, sephora.com: This is one of my current faves because it’s soft, modern and flirty with notes of pink cyclamen, watermelon, jasmine, musk, and sandalwood.

4. Dolce and Gabbana Rose the One Eau de Parfum, $60-90, sephora.com: I am not a rose girl in the least, or so I thought, until I tried Rose the One. It is NOT your grandmother’s rose. This version of Dolce & Gabbana’s The One opens with zesty pink grapefruit, mandarin, peach, Bulgarian rose, peony,  and closes with vanilla, amber, and musk .  

5. Victoria’s Secret Love Rocks Eau de Parfum, $39, victoriassecret.com: This new fruity floral from VS is featured in a stunning red flacon and is packed with notes of  peony, raspberry  sorbet, jasmine, peach nectar, plum, violet, and cashmere musk.

Beauty: Save vs Spend

September 9, 2009

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In an ideal world where money is not an issue, I wouldn’t mind all of my beauty products to be the creme de la creme of their category. In the real world, I am more prone to spending a lot on some items, while others make no sense for me to drop a small fortune on. Here are some of my suggestions on when to shell out the big bucks and when to be thrifty.

Invest in:

  • Quality brushes: Trust me, quality makes all the difference. “Quality” by the way, does not necessarily equal pricy. I have a $15 blending brush by brand A and the same one by brand B that was $25. I like brand A the best and it’s $10 less!
  • Foundation: Go to a counter or beauty store and get matched for color. Some places will even offer you a sample to try first so you can see how it will look on you. If they don’t do samples, see if they will apply it for you so you can see how it looks.
  • Fragrance: Even this little luxury can brighten the gloomiest of days. If you can’t afford the whole bottle a lot of lines now offer less expensive travel sizes or rollerballs for much less. It you love the scent and want the best value, look for gift sets because they offer a lotion (and/or shower gel) along with the fragrance. Tip: Sometimes places like TJ Maxx or Costco will have the same fragrances at a lower price.
  • Skin Care: Spring for acne or anti aging products.
  • Sun protection for your face with both UVA & UVB protection (or broad spectrum).
  • Brow, face, or body waxing: You usually get what you pay for in this category.
  • Clothing staples: Investment pieces that are timeless, high quality, and go with everything.
  • Handbag/Purse: Choose a style that is durable and has structure. Neutral colors are best. Or buy designer at a lower price from stores like TJ Maxx or from websites like Hautelook (membership is required and is free).

Save on:

  • Sun protection for the body: Drug store is just fine. Still look for UVA & UVB protection (or broad spectrum).
  • Lipstick: This age old mood enhancer is very cheap for companies to manufacture. A lot of drug store colors and textures are very similar to higher end lines.
  • Brush Cleaner: Make sure to purchase brush cleaner to protect your investment. Most brush cleaner is fragrance and alcohol, so I say why spend $20 on a bottle when a $10 bottle has the same ingredients?
  • Body lotion: Look for hydrating butters (shea, coco, etc.) and essential oils on the label.
  • Shave gel, lotion, or cream: There isn’t a huge difference in expensive vs cheap.
  • Clothing trends: Why spend $200 on a piece that will be out next year?
  • Handbag/Purses that are trendy: Target usually has a good selection of trendy bags.
  • Manicures (if not getting faux nails): Basic mani’s are done the same way at pricy salons and budget friendly salons.

 

 

 

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I made a small Victoria Secret order recently thanks to birthday gift cards and VS coupon codes. I got one of the new Biofit 7-Way bra (OMG amazing), a self tanner kit (reviews coming when I try it), and a lotion from their new Naturally Victoria’s Secret line.

The scent is Vanilla Sandalwood, which sounded like my cup of tea since I like both vanilla and sandalwood. Have you ever been at a Catholic mass and incense was burned during the service? That’s exactly what this lotion smells like. It is not for me at all and will be sent back. It also doesn’t feel very hydrating. Perhaps other scents within the line are better and this experience reminds me to never buy scented items online without sniffing them in person first.

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Yum, yum! Pacifica’s Brazilian Mango Grapefruit fragrance smells like summer. It features notes of tropical fruits including mango, peach, pineapple and grapefruit. I really smell the mango and don’t get any of the other notes. I love that the packaging is portable and petite. The fragrance didn’t last very long at all on my skin, only about an hour. This would be great layered with Pacifica’s other scented body products or as a refresher to any of the perfumes. At only $9, it’s a fun little indulgence.

Winter Splurge vs. Save

March 5, 2009

Splurge:

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1. Bvlgari Jasmine Noir, 1 oz $68, Sephora.com and Norstrom.com. With notes of Green Sap, Gardenia Petals, Sambac Jasmine Absolute, Satiny Almond, Precious Wood, Licorice, and Tonka Bean Absolute, this deep, sultry fragrance will liven up a dreary winter days (and nights).

2. Makeup Forever Faux Lashes #109, $15, sephora.com. Put a little flirt in your wink with fluttery faux lashes. Tip: make sure to let the glue dry for 30 seconds before applying. This will help the lash grip better to your lid and prevent it from sliding off.

3. Fresh Winter Picnic Eye Palette, $48, sephora.com. With icy hues of  lavender, white pearl, khaki taupe, deep chocolate shimmer, muted blue, and pink shimmer, this palette includes all of the colors you’ll need to create sheer to dramatic looks in one palette.

4. Make Her Think Swallow Ring, $380.00, makeherthink.com. This whimsical sparrow ring features oxidized sterling silver with .20ct pave rough white diamonds and a textured feather band.

5. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15, $22.50, fresh.com and Sephora.com. This lip balm is a daily indulgent treat and  feels divine. Real sugar imparts a sweet scent and acts as a natural humectant to hydrate parched winter lips. Oils, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamins are blended in to protect your lips from the elements and keep them glowing and healthy.

 

Save:

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1. The Body Shop Shimmer Cubes Palette #15, $22, thebodyshop.com. With two blue hues, one shimmering white, and one shimmering grey, you can create looks that range from simple, colorful, and smoky. Also, check out the new Shimmer Cubes 18 Palette, which features lighter shades.

2. Laila Rowe Metal Flower Ring, $2.50, lailarowe.com. A great way to wear trends of the season is to pick up cheap and chic jewels and accessories from Laila Rowe. You can look up to date without dropping a bundle.

3. Sephora Flirt-It Lash Duo, $8, Sephora.com. These are some of my favorite lashes because you get a half strip, great for accentuating the outer corner of your eye, and a full strip that makes for a super flirty wink. Tip: apply the full strip, then layer the half strip on the outer corner for a full flutter.

4. Sephora Tropical Jasmine Collection, $6-$16, Sephora.com. If you want the sultry scent of jasmine without breaking the bank, try anything from this collection or layer products for an indulgent fragrance experience. With notes of Jasmine, Coconut, Sandalwood, Tahitian Vanilla and White Amber, you’re sure to turn heads.

5. Victoria’s Secret Pink Tinted Lip Balm, $7, victoriassecret.com, “Love” (a rich pink) is currently the only shade available. Lightly tinted, this lip conditioner packs a punch of moisture to keep lips looking healthy throughout the day.

lvanillavanillavender

 

When the LAVANILLA brand debuted about two years ago with three fragrances, I was instantly in love with the vanilla grapefruit scent. It was soft and the perfect balance of sweet and tart. I was also excited about the brand because the fragrances were sans alcohol, which can be drying to skin. Other items in the brand are formulated with natural ingredients and boast being free of parabens, synthetic fragrances and dyes, petro-chemicals, phthalates, GMO, and triclosan.

I’m currently burning their new lavender vanilla candle and I’m totally loving it. The scent is perfect in this form, not too heavy, not to soft. The “throw” is fairly decent (the distance you can smell the candle from). I also love that it burns clean without emitting any soot or toxins into the air. If you need a simple, relaxing indulgence, this candle might be for you. It burns for up to 60 hours, so you have plenty of time to enjoy the relaxing scent.

Love candles but want another way to enjoy the fragrance? Try their fragrances, body butters, shower gels, and lip products. LAVANILLA is available at Sephora, Nordstrom, Bliss, Fred Segal, and at the Home Shopping Network.