Tag Archives: cosmetics

Beauty in the Movies: Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead

Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitters Dead is one of the best movies ever, please don’t be misled by the title. Sure, if you like super serious movies where you get knocked over the head by meaning and intense emotion and all that, then fine, you might not agree, but if you were a girl who was growing up in the 90s, you probably love this film—and there’s no shame in that, only pride!

DTMTBD is like Working Girl for the 90s teen set, only kind of better because the fashion is way more fun. When Sue Ellen (or “Swell” for short) Crandell’s mom decides to jet off to Australia with her new boyfriend leaving her five children alone for the summer, at first they think they’re going to have the time of their lives. So it comes as quite a surprise when an old woman shows up at the door proclaiming to be their babysitter. It’s even more of a surprise when she drops dead leaving the kids with no money.

Sue Ellen soon realizes that, being the oldest, she’s in charge of her ramshackle gang of siblings for the rest of the summer. She and her burn-out brother Kenny (Keith Coogan) toss a frozen pizza to decide who will get a job and who will stay home with the kids. Sue Ellen loses the pizza toss, and soon finds herself cleaning fat vats at fast food joint Clown Dog. She quits pretty quickly, but not before meeting Brian (Josh Charles), a cute delivery-guy.

As a result of copying her resume straight from a book, Sue Ellen lands a coveted position as Executive Administrative Assistant at General Apparel West, making an enemy of the original candidate for the position, bitchy receptionist Carolyn (Jayne Brook).

Swell’s killer interview outfit and fake resume may have won her the job, but now Carolyn and her boyfriend (a greasy pre-X-Files David Duchovny) are determined to take her down.

Luckily Sue Ellen has the best boss ever, Rose (Joanna Cassidy) who not only can’t stand Carolyn but also gives us viewers the delightful phrase “I’m right on top of that Rose”, which to this day I still hear in my head when given an important task at work. Unfortunately 17-year-old Sue Ellen is in a bit over her head and things soon unravel, but not before an amazing work montage, beach romance, and some truly amazing 90s fashion.

DTMTBD has stuck around and remained in our hearts because it’s atypical for a teen movie. I love that Sue Ellen has a power-suit wearing female boss who is awesome and supportive instead of evil. It’s also great that while she gives herself her own “business” makeover, her younger brother is really the one who ends up going through a typical physical transformation—haircut, clean clothes, etc.

Swell was a fashion icon for me in my formative years, I still marvel at how she made harem pants and over-sized blazers look so effortlessly hip. Her awesome early 90s friends are also an inspiration, they remind me of the babysitters I had as a kid who I though were just the coolest. girls. ever. Side ponytails, teased hair, chunky jewelry, as far as I’m concerned they still look damn amazing.

Don’t be betrayed by the name, if for some reason you’ve never had the delight of watching DTMTBD, give it a try. It’s great this time of year if you’re working your butt off in business wear and feeling bitter about the tourists and day-trippers that surround you on your commute (I speak from very strong personal experience). It’s worth it alone to watch for the fashion show at the end, but really, whether she is wearing doc martens or shoulder-pads, Christina Applegate is just so damn wonderful. So crank up the AC, microwave some popcorn, and revisit a teen movie with style and charm that far exceed its title.

Beauty in the Movies: Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

Maxi dress
$38 – topshop.com

Diane von Furstenberg sheer blouse
250 – net-a-porter.com

Off the shoulder shirt
$15 – alloy.com

Viktor Rolf slim fit blazer
$698 – lagarconne.com

Freda blue jacket
144 – matchesfashion.com

River Island long jacket
50 – riverisland.com

French Connection harem pants
women.fashionbeans.com

Forzieri black leather briefcase
$659 – forzieri.com

Dannijo silver cuff bracelet
238 – net-a-porter.com

Black earrings
$7.99 – amazon.com

NERIDA FRAIMAN vintage hat
259 – harrods.com

Ray-Ban ray ban sunglasses
€71 – my-wardrobe.com

Calvin Klein wide leather belt
$38 – zappos.com

Cuteberry floral scarve
$16 – yesstyle.com

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Zoya Earth Day Promo Polishes

Last week I was positively giddy when my Zoya earth day promo polishes were delivered a whole day before they were supposed to! I got eight polishes for the promo, and they arrived in these cute little boxes:

Here are my ladies all lined up:

Charisma, Maura, Ali, Jolene, Happi, Adina, and Faye.

Poor Kara missed this photo shoot because she was still in my purse after I brought her to the nail salon for my first pedicure of the season. Here’s a pic so she won’t feel neglected (yes, I know I’m anthropomorphizing nail polish, but with these polishes it’s hard not to!):

Here are some swatches (not my best, sorry I was rushed!) in both sun and shade:

Happi (thumb): This color is really different, it’s a light shimmery pink duochrome with a golden undertone that really makes it pop in sunlight.

Kara (pointer): While I really love this color and think it’s a great summer shade, it’s not all that different from others I’ve owned, but it’s a nice bright coral.

Faye (middle): This is another really unusual color, in the shade Faye might just look like a standard gold polish, but in the sun it explodes with a sparkling purple/bronze shine!

Maura (ring): I’m always on the lookout for a really bright red, basically something that looks like what a character on Mad Men would wear, so Maura is perfect, she is a straight-up, classic, tomato-y red cream.

Ali (pinky): Ali is super bright! It’s the hot pink polish I’ve always wanted, she will be perfect for scorching summer days.

Adina (ring): Adina has an “oil-slick” finish. It’s hard to get a good shot of this color because it’s almost a trichrome (probably not a word). It has shades of green, purple, and pink with an overall metallic sometimes gray looking finish. This is a very different shade, definitely unique.

Charisma (middle): Ok, so I was more excited about this shade than any other, and of course it was the biggest disappointment. I LOVE the color, but unfortunately both the application and the chip-age (also not a real word) were really bad. I’m surprised this is one of Zoya’s top sellers because I’ve tried to wear it at least four times and it always chips within the first day of wear. It also goes on very streaky, which I wouldn’t mind if the polish were stronger. I’ve tried a few different top coats but it fails every-time which makes me very sad.

Jolene (pointer): In the bottle I wasn’t so thrilled with Jolene, but on the nails she is actually a really pretty, girlie pink. It’s a very feminine shade, maybe not the most unique, but overall very nice.

All these polishes (aside from Charisma!) went on easily and stayed on for a long time without chipping—and I’m really tough on my nails. Zoya’s polishes are lovely and made even lovelier by their earth-friendliness. If you haven’t tried Zoya polish yet I highly recommended testing it out for yourself. Rumor has it if they reach 50,000 “likes” on facebook they will have another totally free polish giveaway, so if you’re on facebook head over to their page now!

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Beauty Grab-Bag: Random Pretties

First of all, hooray, it’s finally spring!! I’m not freezing at the moment and I even have a window open, it’s a miracle! I haven’t done a grab-bag in a while so I thought I’d share some fun products I’m liking right now.

I haven’t bought a nail polish for more than $8 in years, but when I was at Ulta over the weekend they were having a promotion where if you bought a butter London nail-polish you would receive a free mini bottle of their powder polish remover, so I decided to indulge and purchase the color “Macbeth”. The powder polish remover is nice, it leaves behind a sort of baby-powder smell on your skin rather than a strong nail polish remover smell.

Butter London polish is $14 at Ulta, and despite the name it’s actually an American company. I really like the bright reddish-orange shade I bought and even on the third day there is minimal chippage, but when it comes down to it I’m still cheap and I’ll have to be impressed by an unusual color for me to purchase this brand again.

I fell and skinned my knees in front of Penn station last week both hurting and embarrassing myself while also ripping a new pair of $15 tights to shreds—so what did I do after that? I dusted myself off and went to Sephora where I bought this Hello Kitty eyeliner for $16 to cheer myself up. When you fall down, pick yourself up and buy some makeup—trust me.

It’s an olive-green color called “picnic basket” and it’s a nice alternative to my usual black winged liner. I’m a little worried it might dry out fast, but I’ll just have to wait and see. I’m very happy with this liner and thinking I might buy the purple the next time I find myself in Sephora (or the next time I take a spill).

This Pangea Organics lip balm came in my March Birchbox and at first I was like “whatever, sure, another lip balm”, but then it slowly won me over. It has a relaxing jasmine-y smell and goes on very smooth and moisturizes well. I haven’t decided if I can bring myself to buy another for $12 but I’m thinking about it.

This is the biggest problem with birchbox, they make you fall in love with expensive products and then you feel compelled to by them—I guess that’s kind of the point though right?

Last but not least, I’ve written before about my disappointment in the totally wasteful and annoying packaging of Urban Decay’s primer potion, they’ve finally listened to their fans and Sephora has changed the packaging for more efficient use. It’s always nice when a brand actually listens to their customers, isn’t it?

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Zoya Earth Day Polish Promo Funtime!!

Do you have a box of old, separating, nasty, nail polish that you just haven’t gotten around to throwing out either because you feel guilty for buying them in the first place or you don’t know how to dispose of them safely? Well if you do, it’s your lucky day! From today until April 27th when you buy 6 Zoya polishes you only pay a shipping charge ($4 each) and can choose from over 300 lovely shades! Just enter the code EARTHZOYA at checkout.

If you haven’t tried Zoya polish yet, I can tell you that it’s awesome. Zoya is formaldehyde, toluene, camphor and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) free, which makes it one of the earth-friendliest, healthiest polish brands out there, plus it is long-lasting and has some truly amazing, unusual colors. Today I’m wearing the color “Kieko”—cats love it too!

Here’s the deal, choose your 6+ polishes (max 24) and you pay $4 shipping per bottle, you have to order at least 6 bottles—which means spending a minimum of $24. Then once you get them, you ship your nasty, crusty, old polishes back to Zoya and they promise to dispose of them in the proper manner (rather than them seeping into a landfill somewhere). You can think of it as paying half price for each bottle and getting free shipping, plus you’re doing something nice for mother Earth.

It might not be for everyone, but if you’re a polish fanatic and haven’t tried Zoya yet, now might be a good time to give it a whirl. They only do this promo once a year, so start choosing those polishes! If you don’t send back your old polishes, they won’t hold it against you either, you can use the promo code anyway, but if you’re like me, you’ll feel guilty about it. I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of my order, and when I get it I’ll be sure to share my pics with you! Happy polishing!

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Beauty Inspiration: Peggy Moffitt

Last week I talked about spring cleaning and organizing my makeup. What I didn’t mention in that post was that I had tried to accomplish that task before, but this happened instead:

Um yeah, so it’s not the most productive thing to do with an afternoon, but it’s way more fun than cleaning. For this look you need black liquid eyeliner, black and white (frosted) eyeshadow, a good angled brush, and a steady hand. It doesn’t hurt to have a few baby wipes or makeup removing pads in close reach either—they help you get a smooth line and are the best thing for fixing mistakes (buy them in bulk at Costco!).

The ’60s were a great time for makeup, and even though I didn’t have false eyelashes on hand, I was definitely drawing inspiration from Peggy Moffitt for this look. If you’re not familiar with the model and muse, she was famous for her “five-point” haircut given to her by Vidal Sassoon as well as her kabuki-like makeup which became iconic of ’60s style. She often worked with photographers William Claxton and Rudi Gernreich, here are some pictures of her from the ’60s.

Pretty cute right? Definitely a fashion and makeup inspiration!

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Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips

Last week I finally tried out Sally Hansen Salon Effects Polish Strips. Since they’re kind of pricey I’ve been waiting for a special occasion to use them (this past weekend was my sister’s 30th b-day party, a worthy event). There are two sets of 8 strips in each package, I’m totally confused as to why they don’t just give you an even 20 to assure that you get two uses out of each purchase—I mean most of us have 10 fingers right? Am I missing something?

If you have relatively short nails you should easily be able to get all 10 fingers covered with the 8 strips, using a scissor just cut off the top part of the strips you place on your thumbs and apply them to your pinkys. If you do that you can set aside the other 8 strips for another use. Once you’ve opened the vacuum sealed package, these will dry out and won’t stick to your nails as easily.

I followed the directions on the insert, but I added a top coat which makes for a shinier finish and adds extra protection. The hardest part of application is fitting the strip on to the cuticle line. If, like me, you have small nails you might have to trim off some of the excess around your nail bed, but for the most part I was surprised at how easily these fit on my nails. Just remember to press down and smooth out any air bubbles. Also note that application can be a bit messy due to the discarded bits of polish getting everywhere, as you can see here:

…but it’s worth it because they’re really f-ing cute!! I couldn’t stop looking at my nails and have received many compliments. I especially like this pattern (Check it Out), because the black and white make it sort of (a crazy) neutral as compared to some of the other patterns available.


I don’t see why you would buy these in the solid colors, you might as well just use regular polish, the patterns are pretty awesome if you love nail art though. Apparently they can last up to 10 days, but I may be harder on my nails than anyone on the planet so as you can see from this picture by Tuesday morning (I applied them Thursday night) they’ve started cracking and chipping.

I will be buying these in more patterns, especially when there is a promo like buy one get one half off at CVS. They sell out quick though, so when you see them be sure to snap them up, they’re definitely worth a try!

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Spring Cleaning

It’s officially Spring, April showers and all. Over the weekend I faced the fact that my bedroom didn’t look like it was inhabited by humans—mountain goats maybe, but definitely not rational people. Piles of dirty laundry, unpacked suitcases, and general clutter had taken over, it was time to put an end to it. So I rolled up my sleeves, opened my windows, and decided to engage in the ancient tradition of spring cleaning.

There’s something satisfying about weeding through your belongings, throwing a bunch of them out, and then rearranging what’s left. It leaves you with a sense of accomplishment and a firm resolution to keep up the cleanliness for good. My resolution usually breaks after about a week, but it’s nice while it lasts.

There are tons of articles in magazines about making your belongings easily accessible and adorably tidy. They make it look so easy with the colored containers and compartmented trays. Unfortunately I hate putting things away, I like to have all my things out so I can see them or I forget I have them. The problem is space, there just isn’t enough of it, and that’s why I end up with piles of crap everywhere.

I know there are people who keep all their stuff in good order, who don’t run around jamming things in closets when they’re expecting company or panicking that said guests might show up early and catch them in the midst of a cleaning hysteria. Sadly I’m not one of those people. I’m the person with way to many tchotchkes covered in dust who won’t let friends anywhere near my bedroom when they come visit (where do you think I throw all the junk from the rest of the house?).

I’m envious of those who keep pristine households (like the ones seen in these lovely pictures, all courtesy of that bastion of organized perfection to which I aspire, Real Simple), but maybe they miss out on the catharsis that spring cleaning can bring. You need to have a lot to organize in order to feel the sense of renewal that comes with finding a place for it. At least that’s what I’ll tell myself when my room reverts back to a mess and it’s time to clean it again.

At the moment I’m still riding a high from organizing the mound of makeup that has been piling up on my dresser for months. I took some tips from Real Simple and used a variety of containers to arrange things:

Ok, so it’s not Real Simple caliber, (I could never have that much white in my house anyway, I stain everything) but I really tried! Here’s the breakdown:

I am going to put a lot of effort into keeping things clean this time, for real—unless I’m in a rush. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Anyone else attempting to reorganize themselves in some way this spring? Share your tips!

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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: 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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A Journey into the World of Anna Sui

Somewhere in the midst of the holiday craziness my very lovely friend Annie (thanks Annie!) sent me the amazing Anna Sui book which was just released in November. I meant to post about it a while ago, but I didn’t, so here for you today is a look at some beautiful Anna Sui magic.

Inside the pages of this book are images that span Anna’s career from her first runway show in 1991 to her 2009 Autumn/Winter collection. The book is loaded with gorgeous pictures that endlessly entertain as you flip your way through two decades of Sui’s unique fashions. Check out this spread from her first collection which was inspired by the teen magazines she read in her youth. These must have influenced the costumes in the film Clueless right?

(click any image to enlarge)

It’s even fun to look at her less successful pieces, like these 1993 grunge-era gems which were relevant in their time, but now seem very dated (but still in a good way).  I especially like the look on the inside lower right, parachute pants and cropped vest over a striped bodysuit? Totally 90s Awesome.

There are also pages and pages of Sui’s fantastical, feminine, timeless looks which have become her signature. She isn’t a designer who has to be “of-the-moment” rather, she creates her own world and takes inspiration from many different times and places.

While a majority of the book is filled with runway shots, there’s also a number of posed images in which the surroundings are as inviting and interesting as the clothes.

In addition to Sui’s fashions, the book features many of her stunning cosmetics ads as well. These are so pretty, and so different from any other beauty ads out there.

My favorite part of the whole book though, has got to be the inclusion of some of Sui’s inspiration boards. It’s fascinating to see all the different things she pulls from to create the ideas for her collections. Interior design, textile swatches, art, graphic design, vintage scarves, all sorts of diverse pieces that add up to a whole idea—it’s amazing to see her process.

There is also a great preface by Jack White (whose wife Karen Elson has long been one of Sui’s favorite models), an intro by photographer Steven Meisel, and a forward by Sui herself.

If you love Anna Sui, or just fashion in general, this book is a must-have. I could look through it over and over and keep finding new inspiration in the pages of stunning patterns, unusual combinations and whimsical characters that make up Sui’s dream-like, fantastical world.

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