Tag Archives: products

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!

6 Comments

Filed under advice, cosmetics

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!

7 Comments

Filed under cosmetics

Beauty in the Movies: The Devil Wears Prada

I had a job interview this week, and on my way I couldn’t help thinking of The Devil Wears Prada. That might sound silly, but it was reassuring to know that even if the interview went badly, it couldn’t possibly be as bad as finding Miranda Priestly (or Anna Wintour) sitting at that desk across from you.

The Devil Wears Prada is the story of Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway), a Midwesterner in New York, fresh out of college and desperate for experience. Andy wants to be a journalist, but she finds herself at the world’s top fashion magazine, Runway, interviewing to be the assistant of Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), a job a thousand girls would kill for. Miranda isn’t just an editor at a fashion magazine, she is the voice of fashion. Her word is the last word, and all other opinions be damned. She is cold, brutal, and unsympathetic, but also elegant, successful and respected beyond compare.

Miranda hires Andy despite her “frumpy” (ahem, I have the j. crew coat she wears in the opening sequence—it’s cute, ok?) appearance in the hopes that she is different from the fashion obsessed girls who usually land the job. While Andy is up for the challenge, the demands of her new position put her relationship with her family, best friend (Tracie Thoms), and boyfriend (Adrian Grenier) into jeopardy. Andy has to choose what’s important to her, but in the process of self discovery there’s also a bunch of montages, a few Madonna songs, a makeover, and some great designer clothes.

This is not the most unpredictable film, but it certainly has its charms, most specifically Meryl Streep’s perfectly frightening portrayal of Miranda. It’s hard to take your eyes off her, everything from the way she enunciates her words, to the cruel flicker in her eyes while torturing Andy with impossible tasks, further propels the believability of her character. Miranda Priestly makes Working Girl‘s Catherine Parker look like a whiny, disheveled brat. Rumor has it the character was based on Anna Wintour, the notoriously steely editor-in-chief of American Vogue, but Streep creates her own Miranda and delivers a woman who is both vicious and awe-inspiring in her approach to life and business.

Emily Blunt is fantastic and funny as Miranda’s other assistant (the 1st assistant), she is the stand-out among the supporting cast and steals all her scenes right out from under Anne Hathaway. Stanley Tucci is also charming, while stereotypical as Nigel Runway’s Art director who is adored by both Miranda and Andy. Simon Baker plays a roguish writer and Valentino and Giselle (proving she shouldn’t quit her day job) make appearances as well.


Most people have had a boss or supervisor whom they’ve found less than pleasing, but this film takes it to new levels. Miranda’s treatment of Andy could be seen as character building—a tough love of sorts, after all she does learn a lot and come out on top in many ways. Unfortunately the ugly side of that coin is that her sadistic treatment virtually ruins Andy’s life, and as we learn, Miranda’s personal life isn’t all roses and sunshine either, leading the viewer to believe that great success comes only with great sacrifice. It’s an issue I wish the movie explored a bit more, because it feels like we’re meant to believe Miranda must be evil in order to be respected, which forgives her cruelty just a tad too much. There is too much of a shine put on everything in this film and the minute you think you might get to look deeper, you’re placated by pretty clothes, which is fine and can be really enjoyable, but it doesn’t make you think too hard either.

The Devil Wear Prada is a fun, entertaining, possibly unrealistic look at the fashion world. It’s also a coming of age film, and a film about figuring out who you want to be as a professional and as a person—but most of all it’s about really pretty clothes, Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana and Patricia Field’s beautiful styling. I’d take a film like this over a bland rom-com with Jennifer Aniston or Katherine Heigl any day, because while it might not be groundbreaking, it’s about something other than just men and cliches. Don’t expect to be surprised by the twisting plot or unconventional characters, just get lost in the brilliance of Meryl Streep and the beauty of Chanel while you sit back and wish you could afford designer clothes.

The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada by justinez featuring peep toe shoes

PAUW SS10/42330 009 COTTON –
172 GBP – farfetch.com
Wrap blouses »

Trimmed Cardigan by D&G Dolce&Gabbana
153 GBP – my-wardrobe.com
Knit cardigans »

Whyred Pasca pleated mini skirt
145 GBP – brownsfashion.com
Pleated mini skirts »

Lanvin T-Strap Sandal
$955 – barneys.com
Peep toe shoes »

Bianca Patent Platform Pump
$735 – bergdorfgoodman.com
Christian louboutin pump »

Christian louboutin shoes BLACK
535 GBP – matchesfashion.com
Peep toe shoes »

Gepa Vitello Daino Tote
$1,650 – bergdorfgoodman.com
Prada handbags »

Marc by marc jacobs bags DARK BLUE
440 GBP – matchesfashion.com
Leather totes »

Susan caplan vintage jewellery GOLD
475 GBP – matchesfashion.com
Gold jewelries »

CA & LOU Bracelet
315 EUR – colette.fr
Couture bracelets »

Chanel Gold Medallion Chain Belt
$900 – cmadeleines.com
Chanel belts »

6 Comments

Filed under Beauty in the movies

Questions Anyone?

A while back my friend Katie suggested I open up Beauty Dart for questions, Katie is a very smart gal so I’m (finally) putting her suggestion to action. I originally created this blog because I applied for a job giving beauty advice, unfortunately I didn’t get it, but I had such a good time answering the sample questions that I thought it would be fun to start my own discussions on beauty.

I used to work as a makeup artist, I have more cosmetics than I will ever need, I am always sampling and buying new products, I enjoy doing online research, plus I love to talk to people about their beauty routines and I have a sick love/hate relationship with the glossies mostly because I enjoy looking at pictures of pretty cosmetics. If I can’t help you with your question, I’ll find someone who can. So ask away! Questions on products, beauty, life, whatever, please don’t be shy—I’ll be nice I promise! Shoot me an e-mail at justinezwiebel@gmail.com, or drop a note in the comments anytime.

As a perfect way to get started, last week in the comments Corrie asked a question:

“I started going grey as a teenager. I’m almost 30 now, and I’ve got a thin stripe at my temple, and greys all throughout. I used to dye my hair as soon as I thought they were too noticeable, but about six months ago, I decided it would be the last time I put colour in my hair. I think it can actually look refined, especially when you see a nice, shiny streak in an updo. I’ve even thought of trying to enhance the streak a bit (like that X-Men chick), but I’m not sure how. Any suggestions?”

Corrie, I think you’re definitely right about gray looking refined. Stacy London of What Not To Wear rocks that gray streak and she always looks very classy. There isn’t too much information out there about encouraging or containing gray in certain areas. I’ve always thought once I go totally white I’ll leave a streak out and dye the rest, it seems like it might be hard to section off though, so I’ll have to experiment. If you have an area that is heavily concentrated with gray already, you could peroxide the hair around it to make for a more dramatic streak. You might try stressing yourself out or shocking yourself to turn your hair whiter, but that’s apparently an old wives tale, so don’t go inflicting trauma on yourself, gray hair is actually determined by genetics.

If you’re encouraging your natural gray, there are a bunch of shampoos and conditioners formulated to help gray/white hair look shinier and keep it silver rather than yellow—just don’t use them too often (just once a week) unless you’re going for the little blue haired old lady look. Try one of these:

Shimmer Lights Original Conditioning Shampoo, $8.99

Rene Furterer – Okara Mild Silver Shampoo, $23.00

Something else you can do to keep those grays in good shape is use a deep conditioner. I try to deep condition as often as possible (especially around my temples) because the grays are so much dryer than the rest of my hair, it helps keep those hairs from being wiry and gives them a smoother, glossier look. I like this one:

John Frieda Frizz Ease Deep Condition Reinforce Strengthening Triple Creme Masque,$9.95

I hope that helps a bit Corrie, thanks for the question! I will be on the constant look out for other gray encouraging/taming products for both of us.

I’m staying on this hair dyeing trend a bit longer, tomorrow I’ll be bringing you some reviews of semi-permanent dyes along with other hair dyeing tips. For those of you lucky people who are blessed enough to love your natural color and/or remain free of gray, well just think of these posts as informative—and here’s a picture of a cute fuzzy animal (a Loris?) if you were feeling neglected.

Awwww.

3 Comments

Filed under advice

Beauty in the movies: Hocus Pocus

I’m sorry to say this is a sort of budget Beauty in the Movies post. I thought it would be fun to celebrate Halloween with one of the best Halloween movies ever—Hocus Pocus, but there is a “long wait” for the film on Netflix so I wasn’t able to take my own screen-shots, thankfully I kind of have it memorized and it was on the ABC Family channel so I was able to watch it again.

Hocus Pocus is the story of Max Denison (Omri Katz) the new kid in Salem, Massachusetts who loves wearing tie dyed T-shirts and doesn’t believe in witches, especially not the local tale of the three Sanderson sisters Winifred ‘Winnie’ Sanderson, (Bette Midler) Sarah Sanderson, (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mary Sanderson (Kathy Najimy) who were put to their deaths on Halloween night in 1693 for sucking the lives out of little children.

In his effort to woo the cute girl in his class with “big yabos”, Allison (Vinessa Shaw), Max drags his little sister, Dani (Thora Birch), along to check out the Sanderson house on Halloween night. Once there, he foolishly lights the ‘black flamed candle’ which legend tells will bring the witches back from the dead if lit by a virgin on Halloween night—can you guess what happens? Yeah, Max brilliantly not only brings three evil witches back from the dead, but also outs himself as a virgin to the girl he is trying to impress, smooth move Hollywood.

Max also really pisses off Thackery Binx, a 300 year old cat who is really a teenage boy (Sean Murray) who was turned into a feline by the witches after they killed his sister Emily. Wild Hi-jinx ensue, and Binx, Dani, Max, and Allison must figure out a way to stop the witches before they suck the life from all the kids in town.

Some kids are obsessed by pop-stars or fairy tales, but for some reason I was obsessed with the Salem Witch Hunts, I’m not sure why, but this movie probably played a part in it. I made my parents take me to Salem, I read the crucible more than five times, gave my Barbies the water test in my old fish bowl, and I actually learned a lot about history and the screwed up things people do to one another—so thanks Disney for representing history so badly I had to go learn it for myself!

Hocus Pocus is what I would call a delightful romp, Bette Midler is fantastic as usual, and I personally think it’s a perfect Halloween movie. There’s singing, zombies, and a freaking talking cat! Plus, look at these 90s bullies, that’s “Ice” (Larry Bagby) on the left, he would later appear on lots of TV shows including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but he has never had more awesome duds than the ones he sports in this film.

If you want to get mushy about it, this movie sets a good model for kids in terms of being nice to your siblings too. When the movie opens Max is a total jerk to his little sister and whines about being too cool to take her trick-or-treating, but after hearing how Binx lost his sister, he realizes just how precious younger siblings can be.

And also, when you’re a virgin who lights a black-flamed-candle bringing three evil witches back from the dead and they’ve put your parents under a spell in song, you really need to learn to stick together, because you’re kind of all you’ve got—now isn’t that an important lesson for siblings to learn?

I have to say I was super annoyed when they showed this on TV the other night and cut out the ending with all the parents walking out of the Halloween party dazed and crazy from being under the witches spell—bad form ABC family, bad form.

Somehow I managed to lose the polyvore collage I made for this post, which really sucks and I have no idea how it happened, so I apologize for that. One week from today I will be getting married, so Beauty in the Movies will be taking a break and returning in November with more beauty and more movies!

Happy Halloween kiddies!!!!!!!!!!!


5 Comments

Filed under Beauty in the movies

Guest Post: Amanda’s 10 Favorite Nail Polishes for Fall

I am so grateful that the very kind and generous Amanda has stepped in with a guest blog post today, and you should be grateful too because she is awesome and has great taste in nail polish! Amanda blogs over at mandabear and she is amazingly stylish and always has great beauty and fashion picks, so I highly suggest you check it out, you can follow her on twitter too! Many thanks to Amanda today, she has allowed me the time to work on my table numbers and iron out my wedding makeup, thanks again Amanda!

***********************************

When fall comes around, I don’t dabble with vampy colors all that much just because summer’s over.  Once in a while I do, but I switch around a lot because I am more of a “I wear what I like” type of girl.  Though I will admit that I can easily get sucked into seasonal color trends with makeup, nails, clothes…I just can’t help it.  It’s almost like a part of my materialistic mind is telling me to switch to a darker color palette when cooler weather hits.  True, it’s easy to grab your trusty bottle of OPIs Lincoln Park After Dark because it fits the season, but I still want to play around with some fresh colors.  Here are 10 nail polishes that I picked out from my own collection that I think are unique, rich in color and work for those who do like to change their polish color seasonally. Enjoy!

1. Essie “Sew Psyched” – A new take on the standard neutral polish.  It’s a gray/green mix that is just really interesting and cool.
2. American Apparel “Passport Blue” – A dark blue alternative to black. Very pigmented in one coat.
3. Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear “Concrete” – This is an opaque gray-lavender that works for the office but also fits in with the neutral look that is oh so trendy.
4. OPI “Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous” – A festive nail polish for those who hate chunks of glitter in their polish.  It’s a dark glitzy polish that is perfect for going out.
5. Zoya “Harley” – One of my favorite Zara nail polishes.  It’s a light silver gray that is slightly shimmery but not light enough to wash you out.

6. OPI “Ate Berries In The Canaries” – A rich magenta that pops.  Great if you are transitioning from hot pinks.
7. RGB “Toast” – A “dirty” neutral. It’s so chic and resembles the popular Chanel Particuliere.
8. China Glaze “Mummy May I” – A black base with a pink glitter explosion inside. This is part of their Halloween collection.
9. Rescue Beauty Lounge “Sheer Nude” – I would consider this an “interview polish” but it really does give your nails an elegant, finished look.
10. Orly “Royal Navy” – One of my favorite blues!  This color is so special because it hits the spot on perfecting both brightness and blueness.

6 Comments

Filed under cosmetics

Beauty in the Movies: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

At age 10 a became obsessed with The Rocky Horror Picture Show (I was a strange kid what can I say?), I didn’t understand most of the dirty parts in the film even though I knew they were dirty somehow, but I loved the music, the costumes, and the craziness of the whole thing. So, Rocky Horror holds a special place in my heart forever, and a special place in my DVD player every Halloween.

If I had understood this movie better I might have had reservations about sharing it with the sweet, normal sisters who lived next-door to me, but I think they ended up loving it too (though I’m sure their parents wouldn’t have been too happy about them watching it). When I heard that Glee was doing a Rocky Horror episode I was darn excited and I thought it would be a perfect time to feature it. So what if it just squeaks by the Bedchdel test? A pass is a pass in my book!

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the story of Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon), a wholesome, newly engaged couple on their way to visit their old teacher, Dr. Scott (Jonathan Adams), but they get caught with a flat on a dark and stormy night and end up having to knock on the nearest door (which happens to be a giant gothic castle) for assistance. They are invited into the castle by the butler Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien, who is also the author and creator of the show) and his sister/lover Magenta (Patricia Quinn). They soon learn they are in the home of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry) and find themselves caught up in a celebration for the unveiling of his new monster (and boy toy)—Rocky (Peter Hinwood). This all leads the unknowing pair into a night of debauchery, insanity, and murder, culminating in a swimming pool orgy.

Obviously Tim Curry plays the role of Frank-N-Furter with astonishing ease, it seems he was born to play this role. Between this movie and Legend, he was pretty much my favorite actor. Both Sarandon and Bostwick are perfectly corruptible and enjoyable, plus you will be amazed by Bostwick’s high kicks in heels. There are a lot of other great performances in there too, like Meatloaf as the literally “half-brained” ex-delivery boy Eddie, and Nell Campbell as the adorable tap-dancing groupie Columbia.

Rocky Horror is a send-up of classic B horror and Sci-fi movies, the opening song references the films it parodies; The Day The Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet, Doctor X, and others. It pokes fun at the seriousness and the campiness of those films and in doing so became one of the biggest cult movies of all time. It has the longest release of any film, it has never been pulled from theaters by Fox, and after 35 years there are still tons of midnight showings. Funny story—in college I convinced my friend to go to a midnight show at the Waverly in Manhattan because I had never been, we got all dressed up in our Rocky Horror costumes and then it started raining, and then we took the wrong train and people were shouting things at us, and we were scared and wearing uncomfortable shoes, and ended up going back home—we were such crazy wild college kids! Unfortunately I’ve still never been to a midnight showing.

Recently, knowing my love of Rocky Horror my fiancé got me the sequel, Shock Treatment, which I had never seen. It was an odd film to say the least, and not in a good way. It’s also far less coherent than Rocky Horror, but if you’re a fan it’s worth watching just to see some of the same actors in new roles, but the leads just aren’t as interesting and there is no Tim Curry to carry it for them, such a shame.

If you haven’t seen Rocky Horror this is the perfect time to check it out, it’s almost Halloween, and you only have a couple of weeks before the Glee episode, and you’ll want to understand why your favorite teens are running around in fishnets and bustiers (thought somehow I have a feeling this episode is going to be extra sanitized compared to the original). Not a Glee fan? Give it a try anyways. If you are a fan you might want to know that this year marks the 35th anniversary of the film, so they’re putting out a fancy blu-ray edition with all sorts of extras on October 19th—and let me know if you want to check out a midnight showing!

Vedette lamé bikini
$86 – theoutnet.com
Halterneck bikini »

White Lace Balcony Bra
$118 – pret-a-beaute.com
Panties bras »

La Perla Sirena garter belt
$74 – journelle.com
La Perla »

Hue Fishnet Tight
$13 – lorisshoes.com
Fishnet tights »

Glitter Slingback Bootie
$895 – kirnazabete.com
Lace up shoes »

Glittered Crisscross Bootie
$595 – bergdorfgoodman.com
Miu shoes »

Ivory Pearl Necklace
$53 – pret-a-beaute.com
Kenneth jay lane necklace »

Sequin Mini Top Hat With Veil On Band
28 GBP – monsoon.co.uk
Top hat »

Bling Sequin Cut Off Gloves
12 GBP – monsoon.co.uk
Sequin glove »

Blue Glitter Belt (Thick Flecks)
8.66 GBP – fashionaddict.com.au
Belts »

Gold Glitter Top Hat from Windy City Novelties
$1.60 – windycitynovelties.com
Gold hat »

NARS Shimmer Eyeshadow – Tropic
$23 – barneys.com


Lab Coat
uniformcountry.com
Coats »

red boa
fashionfix.net


Mickey Mouse Ears
blogspot.com


7 Comments

Filed under Beauty in the movies