Category Archives: cosmetics

A Review: Tarte 8th World Wonder Collection from QVC

One day I will do a full post on the ridiculous yet mesmerizing phenomenon that is QVC, but for today I’m just going to review this Tarte collection that I took a gamble and splurged on since I needed a new powder brush anyway. QVC actually has some awesome makeup deals in case you didn’t know. This whole collection was available for pre-order at $48.36, the blush is $25 at Sephora and the mascara is $19, so that’s almost the whole cost right there. Now the price is up to $52.74, I’m not sure how much the cost will go up and when they’ll get in more stock, but even at $60 this collection is a great value.

Amazonian clay balancing foundation SPF 15 with brush

I haven’t worn real foundation in years, I use MACs studio finish concealer and blend it with moisturizer instead. The reason for this is I’m really pale and everything looks orange on me (even tinted moisturizers with names like “extra light”) so I was surprised this foundation actually matches my skin. Maybe because Maureen Kelly is as pale as I am, but that also means all these shades of foundation run light. Hopefully they’ll add more shades, because even the darkest doesn’t look very dark. Also the brush is really soft and fluffy.

Amazonian clay 12-hour wear powder blush in Glisten

I’m very happy with this blush, it’s kind of like Nars Orgasm but smoother. It’s not cakey like powder blushes can be sometimes. It is very pigmented so try not to layer it on. It also has shimmer, so if you prefer a matte look, it might not be for you.

Pure Maracuja oil sample

I’m loving this oil, and not just because I like saying the name “Maracuja”. A little of this stuff goes a long way, and it makes skin look hydrated and healthy without looking greasy.

Amazonian clay long-wear eyeshadow palette

This eyeshadow quad is a little flimsy, I kept trying to pull the plastic off the mirror until I realized it’s just a really crappy mirror. The shadows are nice and smooth, but definitely need to be blended with attention. Some of the reviews on QVC complain that these shadows (and the blush) are too pigmented, but you can’t blame the product if you don’t use it right. Blend, my friends—that is the most overlooked makeup “secret” of all and it’s very easy to do. The more pigment a product has the more use you can get out of it in the long run, just use it in moderation.

Lights, Camera, Lashes! volumizing mascara in Black

While I think this mascara is very nice and was happy to get it with this set, I think my trusty drugstore brands (Covergirl, Maybelline) get the job done just as well.

Amazonian clay automatic waterproof eyeliner in Golden Plum

I was surprised that this liner went on smoothly, stayed put all day, and still came off easily at night. It’s a plummy, brownish-gold color, and it doesn’t have glitter flecks or anything.

Pure Optic moisturizing lip gloss in Golden Pink

This gloss on the other hand is very glittery. In fact it’s mostly just glitter with a teensy bit of a pink hue. I’m not a gloss person, but this one isn’t as sticky as others and also has a fresh minty scent.

And it all comes in this purple woven bag!

Here’s the whole look:

Can I just say, taking pictures of yourself without looking like an ass is really hard. There are so many women out there who do this for their makeup blogs all the time and god bless them, but I don’t know how they do it. I always have to crop out my messy house and sometimes I end up with some really scary wide-angle shots. Anyway, I do it for you readers, I want you to see what the makeup looks like on a real person. If I could use my cats, I would, but they’re kind of busy.

While I’m on the subject of embarrassing pictures of myself and also cats…guess who got to meet Hello Kitty at Sephora last week? Yeah, It was me and she totally grabbed me in a bear hug and I loved every second of it!

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Beauty Grab-Bag: Crazy for Coral

Now that the clocks have jumped forward and the sun sticks around until 7pm, it seems like those breezy, warm, days are just around the corner. I’m currently on the lookout for a bridesmaid dress in the season’s hottest color—coral, so I have that shade on the brain right now. In anticipation of spring, lets look at some pretty coral makeup that will give you that lovely orange glow—not like self tanner, more like you finally got the chance to get out in the spring sunshine.

Nars Illuminator in Orgasm, $29

I received this illuminator in my February Birchbox and it gives a very subtle peachy glow on cheekbones. I think it probably works best on warmer skin-tones.

Mac Eyeshadow in Paradisco $14.50

A beautiful shimmery coral with gold undertones, this shadow works even on women without warm or tanned skin-tones.

Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in Tipsy $25

I have one of these coming in the mail from QVC (more on that later), but the colors look beautiful in Sephora, especially this bright coral.

Dior Addict Lip Polish in Glow Expert $30

If you want a juicy, peachy glow without being sticky, this coral gloss is perfect, but pricey.

Essie Nail Polish in Haute as Hello, $8

One of my favorite Essie polishes, this color just feels happy and warm, it’s a real pick-me-up for your finger tips.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick in Wild Coral, $24

If you prefer lipstick to gloss this new coral from Estee Lauder will deliver color that is both bright and long lasting.

I just finished up this commission for a bridal box featuring coral flowers too:

And if you’re still not sold on coral, here is a polyvore collage featuring pretty things to get you excited for spring:

60s Coral, Cream and Gold by justinez featuring vintage style earrings

River Island lace dress
45 GBP – riverisland.com

Smocked dress
$98 – topshop.com

Chiffon blouse
18 GBP – desireclothing.co.uk

Beyond The Valley tweed mini skirt
149 GBP – farfetch.com

Marc Jacobs short short
558 GBP – matchesfashion.com

Chinese Laundry high heel pumps
$70 – heels.com

TopShop high heels
$135 – topshop.com

Sigerson Morrison slip on flat
$213 – theoutnet.com

Love Moschino shoulder strap bag
132 GBP – my-wardrobe.com

Marc by marc jacobs tote
200 GBP – matchesfashion.com

Kate Spade chain necklace
$195 – zappos.com

Tinley Road flower ring
$22 – piperlime.gap.com

House of Harlow 1960 gold bracelet
$125 – shopthetrendboutique.com

Chandelier necklace
$24 – modcloth.com

Vintage style earring
$12 – modcloth.com

TopShop woven scarve
$32 – topshop.com

Essie Nail Polish – California Coral
$7.90 – apothica.com

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Summer Cravings

Some say January is the worst month of the year, with the post holiday letdown and freezing temperatures. February is just as bad, but at least has the decency to be shorter than other months. Then we have March, which I find the cruelest of all. March teases you into believing it’s spring. the sun sets later, the stores are full of pastel candy, and you keep getting e-mails about sandals and bathing suit sales. And then, just when you’re thinking winter is done, the assault of cold air outside snaps you out of your warm weather delusions.

Recently, I’ve been fantasizing past the spring and have jumped full force into daydreams of summer. You can probably expect more posts in which I complain about the weather and long for the joys of springtime. Also, once it’s summer you can bet I’ll be whining that it’s too hot. Anyway, just for now, here’s what I’ve been pining for these last few weeks:

I am so sick of dry cracking skin, every time I wash my hands all the moisturize seems to disappear leaving me with scary mummy hands and the need to slather on gloppy expensive creams. The same goes for my face, I can’t use soaps or scrubs at all, they reduce me to an ugly flaking mess. I long for the humid days of July when I can once again be lazy and achieve a dewy glow without having to spend time and money dosing myself in products. Sure, I’ll complain about my hair frizzing up constantly, but right now, unruly hair seems like a reasonable trade-off for glowing skin.

There are people who always wear shoes, even in the house, they wake up in the morning and even if they’re not going anywhere they put on shoes—it amazes me! My husband is one of those people, he thinks I’m the crazy one because I never wear shoes inside. As soon as I walk in the door I have to get those things off my feet immediately. If it weren’t considered taboo by society I would walk around barefoot all the time (and yes, I’ve stepped in glass enough to know this is not a good idea). I hate having my poor feet trapped inside heavy socks and constricting footwear all winter long, toes want to be free!

When it’s finally warm enough to liberate my trotters, the first place they’ll be going is into the sand. It’s not a far walk, just a block away actually, I could go right now. Unfortunately I would have to wear my parka and would probably catch frostbite and then be sad about it. Boo March.

Don’t get me wrong, I love apples, they might just be the most versatile of fruits. Apple pie, apple crisp, apple butter, apple strudel, apples with peanut butter—dear god please someone give me some strawberries! It’s so much easier to eat healthy fruit in the summer when it’s in season and delicious. I bought strawberries the other day and half of them were mushy and rotten after a day, then I felt guilty for buying fruit out-of-season and killing the environment all because I’m impatient. I’ll go back to apples for another couple of months and continue to daydream about strawberries, watermelons and avocados (especially when they’ve been smashed into a delicious bowl of guacamole).

Come to think of it, I’ve been craving summer food in general. Not only fruit, but BBQ, hamburgers, chicken wings, salads and being able to eat outdoors. I’m sick of soups and stews, and being too cold all the time to eat anything that isn’t piping hot. I can’t even tell you about the lustful cravings I’ve been having for ice cream recently. I have to remind myself that enjoying a bowl of creamy cold goodness will just force me to add yet another layer of fleece to my already bundled, freezing body.

Obviously you can wear bright nail polish anytime of year, but for some reason it just feels better to wear it in warm weather. Somehow whenever I wear bright pink polish in the winter I feel like I’m lying to myself. This season the beauty world is telling us that darker polishes are in for spring—like Chanel’s black pearl, but I’m not buying it. Give me brights (especially on my toes at the beach) and I’m a happy girl. Save the black pearls for Fall, or for Liz Taylor—since they’ve always brought her luck.

I’m not only craving flowers, but green grass and budding branches. The other day in the supermarket I found myself staring longingly at the flower section, which was kind of embarrassing. I was literally stopped in my tracks by a bouquet of zinnias. This time of year I find myself trying to remember what the trees look like with leaves and what it feels like to go outside without being wrapped in down. I can’t wait for the first crocuses and daffodils to poke their heads out of the dirt. They’ll be a true sign that winter is over and summer, dewy skin tasty food and all, is finally on its way.

Anyone else having summer cravings? Let’s hear ’em.

 

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Fight Winter Dryness

It’s Groundhog Day, and despite what that rodent in Pennsylvania says, I think we still whole lot of winter ahead of us (I know the little guy didn’t see his shadow, but have you seen it outside?). Aside from the freezing weather and the mounds of snow and ice which have moved in for good, dry skin is one of the most irritating parts of this season. Unfortunately we can’t control the weather, but we can control the dryness of our skin, amen for that.

Winter is bad enough without dealing with flaking, cracking, chapped skin. Magazines make a big deal about changing your routine, but I’ve always found that doing the same thing—and often doing less, is what helps skin stay healthy. Too bad the harsh weather and the dry air can change the way skin and hair feel, which means sometimes a change is necessary. Here are the products I find keep skin feeling like June even in the midst of bitter February.

Herbal Works Moisturizing Salt Scrubs

The shower is the best place to trap much-needed moisture on your skin—you’ll also avoid constantly slicking on goopy moisturizers later on. I’m obsessed with this scrub my mom gave me for Christmas from Herbal Works (their online store is closed at the moment, but should be back soon). I couldn’t believe how using just a small amount could completely eradicate my flaky winter skin. It also has an insanely good smell that lasts all day long. My mother is so obsessed with this scrub that she bought it in the bulk size available for spas and salons:

(Cat used for scale)

If that’s not an endorsement I don’t know what is.

Lush Massage Bars

If you prefer to moisturize after you shower, Lush massage bars are an excellent and wonderful smelling way to keep the moisture on your skin. I love Fever, which smells like jasmine and sandalwood. These bars melt in your hands, so you can rub them on yourself—or get someone to help you out (Valentines Day is just a week away!).

Aquaphor Healing Ointment


I talked about it over the summer, but this stuff is even more essential in the winter. As someone who has often found themselves out in the winter chill without a good pair of gloves, I know the only thing to cure my cracked, irritated hands is Aquaphor. If skin gets to the point of bleeding, angry, discomfort, regular moisturizers will do nothing, you need Aquaphor.

Nivea Lip Balms

I’ve tried a lot of lip balms in my day, and nothing goes on smoother and moisturizes more than Nivea lip balms. They’re an affordable essential that can repair even the most chapped winter lips.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

Cetaphil is a drugstore classic, it’s an alternative to more expensive skin moisturizers and great for sensitive skin. In the winter when we need moisture more than ever, so the bargain price tag is especially appreciated. No need to deprive your skin and ration out expensive creams, Cetaphil gets the job done at a quarter of the cost.

Burt’s Bees Avocado Hair Treatment

Winter means dry hair, which if you fall prey to frizz, is actually a good thing, but shiny hair needs moisture and in the winter that can require some work. Wet your hair first, and then brush in some Burt’s Bees Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment, leave it on for five minutes or a whole afternoon, when you finally shampoo you will find yourself with a shiny head of frizz-free hair.

Happy Groundhog day everyone—if you wake up to another ice storm tomorrow morning I hope you eventually find your way out of the time loop!

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Beauty Grab-Bag: Stay Warm, Order Stuff Online

First things first, I am pleased to announce that I am now the happy owner of the purse I’ve been guiltily obsessing over. I bought it through the site bags bonanza which I emphatically recommend (just make sure you check out the seller ratings and ask for photos to make sure the bag is in good condition). This bag (the Rebecca Minkoff Morning After Clutch) lists for $295 and up, I saved my pennies and bought it for $200, which makes the purchase all the sweeter.

Last week I was also lucky enough to receive my free polish from the Zoya facebook giveaway. I had never tried Zoya’s polishes before so when Sara from makeshiftvanity told me that if they reached 20,000 fans on facebook they would give each fan 3 free bottles of polish (you got to choose the colors too!), I was psyched. It took a while, but they were worth the wait:

Valerie is my favorite, it’s a shimmery deep burgundy with flecks of gold and bright red glitter. The coverage is awesome, you could definitely get away with just one coat with this polish.

Malia is a creamy mid-toned purple I like it a lot, too bad it’s almost identical to a color I already have—OPI’s It’s a Grape Fit.

Dea is a chocolaty brown, it’s sort of the color of  light brown M&Ms (remember those?). It’s a nice color, but it reminds me of the 90s when everything was “mocha” colored which looked awful on me, I like my polishes brighter!

Julieanne is a really pretty, dark glitter polish, the coverage isn’t as good as Valerie, but after a couple of layers the deep bluish purple and the gold flecks look gorgeous.

Um, I’m not sure why I got four polishes (Dea was a throw-in) maybe they always do that or maybe it was an accident. I’m not complaining about it, nor am I sending it back! Thanks Zoya!

They also sent me a sampler of their color spoons which you can place over your nail to get an idea of the shade. I found myself more focused on the pointy tear-drop shape of the spoon than on the colors—but it’s a cool idea.

For all you Tarte cosmetics fans out there if you don’t already know, QVC carries a lot of Tarte products. Some of them are really discounted and some are full price which I don’t really understand, but there are definitely some deals to be found. I happen to be obsessed with the lipsurgence lip stains, and wish I had known QVC was selling them at a discount. Here is a set of 3 for $38, not bad at all.

And to cheer you up on this cold, snowy, wet January day here are two adorable seal pups:

Unfortunately both the Ringed Seal and the Harp seal can’t live without the arctic ice which is melting, so that sucks. Global warming is real people. Save the fuzzy animals, and the Narwhals and Belugas too! Sorry to be a downer, I’ve been watching too much PBS.

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My First Birchbox Has Arrived!

My first Birchbox couldn’t have chosen a better day to appear. I was feeling cold and annoyed at the icy, cold, disgusting, weather outside, so that fuchsia box in the mail was like a little bit of sunshine for me.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of the Birchbox you can get more information at their website. Basically you pay $10 a month (or $110 a year) and each month you receive a cute box of deluxe samples. Obviously if you’re not into products, it seems silly to spend over $100 a year on boxes full of stuff you might never use, but if you’re a product junkie, this might be perfect for you. I signed up in December and have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my first Birchbox for the last week, so let’s take a look at what I found.

The box itself is packaged very cute, when you receive it, you don’t feel like you’re getting a throwaway box full of cheap samples, it feels like a well thought-out gift. It comes with a card explaining all the featured products and why each was chosen for the box. This specific package has a sort of “new year, new you” theme, the products inside are meant to be rejuvenating and refreshing. Here’s the breakdown:

Blow Up Daily Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner

I have a lot of hair, so it took almost the full bottles of each of these samples to get my head properly washed and conditioned. That being said, my hair does feel nice and smooth and the smell is also pleasing. Is there an increase in volume? Not noticeably.

Ahava, Dermud Intensive Nourishing Hand Cream

I have to say this hand cream is really nice, it dissolves very quickly, really moisturizes and a little goes a long way. It also has an interesting but unobtrusive natural smell that I personally like.

myfaceworks, Sheet Mask

This mask is a piece of cloth drenched in nourishing liquid. You’re supposed to lay down for 15-20 minutes when you wear it since it might drip, and also because the people you live with might run screaming from the house particularly if they’re scared of Michael Meyers or Leatherface—I’m serious, I scared myself in the mirror several times—yikes!

It does feel refreshing, but these are pretty pricey so I don’t know if I would ever buy them.  It’ nice that you just put it on and then pull the whole thing off in once piece without having to deal with crumbling mud or anything.

Serge Lutens, L’Eau

I really don’t like this perfume, but I think all women have very different tastes in scents, so it depends on the individual. This is a “fresh” scent that reminds me a lot of Clinique’s Lucky, but it’s just not for me.

Zhenea’s Gypsy Tea

I’m usually not a tea drinker, but this light and spicy Chai is really lovely, as is the tin it comes in. Perfect on a cold January day, the sample tin contains 5 tea bags.

And that’s it!

My main concern when I joined Birchbox was that the size of the samples wasn’t going to be worth it, but I’m not disappointed. I was worried they would be like the samples they give you in department stores that come in paper sleeves and can’t be resealed for multiple use, but aside from the face mask all these products can be used more than once. Since the one face mask alone retails for 9$ the whole thing seems like a pretty decent value.

I’m hoping that in the coming months there are more makeup products to play with. I have a feeling there will be some months that are amazing and others that fall short, but you can’t please everyone all the time right? So far I think that for the price, and the fun of getting the cute package delivered to your door, Birchbox is worth it if you love cosmetics.

Anyone else trying Birchbox? Let me know what you think!

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A Holiday Glitter Polish Update

This is just a mini-update to Wednesday’s post. These Milani polishes are amazing! I went back to CVS (which was INSANE, people need to buy their candy-canes early next time.) and poof—the display for these one-coat-glitter polishes was gone! But then, hiding covertly in the display for cupcake lip-gloss were three shining bottles of sparkling polish—it was a Christmas miracle. So I snapped ’em up, bought ’em, and put them under my little Christmas tree as a gift for myself.

I know you’re not supposed to buy yourself presents for Christmas, but I spent hours wrapping presents for other people last night so I felt like I deserved it.

Wow, that’s really faulty, selfish logic, but I couldn’t part with these polishes especially after I found out about this:

(This demo is by a woman by the name of Brooke, she has amazing nails, clearly.)

Now I will wear glitter polish everyday, MUAHAHAHA!!

Ok, I’m a little bit too much in the holiday spirit so I need to settle down, or at least go bake some cookies! But seriously, if you see these polishes at your local CVS, it might be worth it for you to grab them before they’re gone—especially if you’re a glitter fan!

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! Hope you’re all having a safe, healthy, happy holiday with the ones you love!!

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