Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sephora - The Ultimate Guide

I was able to give this book the once over at the Bare Escentuals event at Sephora U last week and have been very excited to get my hands on it and read it cover to cover.

Therefore it pains me greatly to say....the ultimate guide is underwhelming.

I am a loyal Sephora shopper and purchase an absurd amount of products from them and spend an even more ludicrous amount of time just playing around in the stores. I was really looking forward to this book because I figured it had to be a sure thing. The idea of hearing from the creators of some of my favorite brands was thrilling and I couldn't wait to read their tips and tricks.

I hate to say that I really feel that the book reads like a very informative Sephora catalog. Ouch! I know...don't think dear reader that I want to say this. I heart Sephora and so this is super disappointing.

Now in all fairness there are good parts, such as:

1. an ingredient guide

2. a brush guide that explains brush shape and use in detail

3. a quick fix section

Here is my issue....for any self respecting makeup junkie who subscribes to say, Allure, this info is old hat. I own a number of makeup books that offer great instruction and technique but sadly this one pales in comparison.

Perhaps that is the crux of the matter....this is a great book for beginning makeup junkies but not those of us with an advanced addiction.

I realize I may be reviewing this with a very critical eye. But in my humble opinion if you have someone like Vincent Longo available to pick his brain for his tried and true makeup techniques, ask him.....don't describe his trials and tribulations on getting to a runway show on time and the cab strike!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chanel - Aqualumiere

I love lipgloss in all forms and when I received the mailer for Chanel's new Aqualumiere line I ran right down to Nordstrom to check it out.

The line consists of:

9 new Aqualumiere gloss shades which are very light in texture and offer a transparent wash of color. My choice was Ironic Tonic which looks like MAC's O in the tube but is a sheer wash of brandied berry with hints of gold.

5 new Aqualumiere Lipshine shades with the best of the bunch being Samoa! This is a fantastic summer shade that we first saw on Marion Cotillard at the Oscars. It is a coppery rose that looks great on just about anyone and warms up my complexion nicely.

4 shades of Le Crayon Gloss which is very different from a traditional lipliner. This pencil is really like a gloss in lipliner form offering very sheer color.

Almost all the products are $26 and between Ironic Tonic and Samoa I think I have found the colors that will get me through the summer!

Monday, April 28, 2008

MAC Naughty Nautical Event

This is a great collection....there is something here for everyone.

Naughty Nautical is not a traditional summer collection. There is not a bronze or gold shade to be found amongst the products with the exception of the Skinsheen leg sprays. Nontraditional is okay by me because I am not a sun worshiper and like alternative summer colors that set off my paler complexion.

MAC Hillsdale's pre-release event Sunday night was great fun with 2 hunky sailor boys bearing trays of drinks and nibbles and a sailor girl luxuriating in all her red lipstick and marine blue eyeshadow glory. I always have a great time when I can talk to the artists and get little tips, finding out which products from the collection they are really liking. So without further ado here is what I brought home:

Eyeshadows in Shore Leave (shimmery slightly pink champagne), Illegal Cargo (frosted gray lavender), and Meet The Fleet (matte indigo).

Lipstick in Party Mate is a sheer mid-tone raspberry rose. Think Kool-Aid stained lips.

Brush 239 is a medium paddle with a soft rounded tip. Perfect for lid application that requires both precision and blending.

Now don't get me wrong I could have bankrupted myself and purchased the entire collection. I fought the temptation to just say "One of each!", but there is only so much makeup I can buy each season and not feel like I am spending the equivalent of a small countries annual budget.

Go see Naughty Nautical on May usual, MAC gets it right and I worship them for it!

Sally Hansen & Carmindy

I am a big fan of Carmindy and What Not To Wear. I admit that while I will makeup shop 'til I drop, clothes shopping is another ball game. To be frank, I am busty and so a lot of clothes just don't fit correctly and I get frustrated. What Not To Wear has helped a lot in that department, especially in making the point that to get great fit most women must see a tailor.

But in truth my favorite part of all the episodes is when Carmindy does her makeup magic! She is the one who really turned me on to highlighting and how it wakes up your face with minimal effort. Naturally I have been looking forward to her collaboration with Sally Hansen hitting stores to test out the products for myself!

So I think that in the interests of being fair I will list the pros and cons:

  • eyeshadow palettes come in 8 different color choices and are very easy to wear shades
  • lipstick is a gel based cream and the texture is wonderfully light
  • foundation and powders offer good color choices for fair skin

  • no sunscreen in anything which is a serious faux pas in this day and age
  • fragrance in the lip products is sweet and slightly bubblegum (I don't like fragrance in lip stuff)
  • no testers which drives me nuts

There you have it. I give it a C+ or B-, which is a passing grade but not the A+ I was hoping for. I have read the rave reviews on Makeup Alley for the foundation but the lack of sunscreen in the foundation and the primer just kills me.

I found this after some hunting at Ulta with the product line ranging from $7.99-$12.99.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lancome Cabana Bronze

Happy Friday! As the weather continues to warm up in my neck of the woods I thought I should mention another makeup collection that I really like.

Lancome Cabana Bronze is based on two looks, Sunrise and Sunset, and has two eyeshadow quads to match. Sunrise are softer shades with plum and bronze shades together (my fav combo) and Sunset is pure bronze goddess!

But these are not what really caught my was the Eye Pencil Duo!

I love duo pencils and had to really restrain myself from purchasing all the duo pencils in the MAC Heatherette collection.

Lancome has 7 duos to pick from with the browns and the exotic plum being my favorite. I love plum eyeliner and this one has a creamy deep plum on one end and a lilac shade on the other. These pencils of glory are $28 and widely available.

Top 10 Highlighters - #10 MAC Dazzlelight Veluxe Pearl Shadow

Dazzlelight, how do I love you, let me count the ways. I love you for making the inner corners of my eyes look amazing. I love you for the polished glow you give my brow bone. I love you for being the perfect shade of gold and silver glow. Most of all I love you for making me look extra pretty.

Yes dear readers it's true. I love me some MAC Dazzlelight shadow. If they ever discontinue this shade I will buy in bulk as many as I can get my hands on and carefully store them to last my lifetime.

In the interests of full disclosure I had purchased this shadow and then put it away without ever really trying it for highlighting purposes. After reading Carmindy's 5 Minute Face book I went looking for a pale yellow-gold shade since I am very fair and thought it would do the job best. I had a heck of time.....most things were too warm or too gold or too pink or too shiny and just not what I had in mind!

For some reason I decided to consult my own makeup tower (it is organized by color family with labels...sick I know) in the hope that a treasure was hiding out. I discovered this shadow and was forever changed.

I use a #213 MAC brush and sweep this under my brow and swirl a bit on the inner corner of my eye. It instantly makes my brow line look crisp and cleans up any shadow drop from applying brow color.

It is perfection and I use it EVERYDAY. If you met me walking down the street and asked what I had on the inner corner to alleviate that dark shadow or along my brow for polished perfection, I would happily sing, DAZZLELIGHT!

This concludes my Top 10 Highlighters list and I hope it has provided some inspiration and products to try. Highlighter or luminizer or whatever you want to call it is a product that you should have in your arsenal. As we get older or just don't get enough sleep, that luster and glow vanishes and we look tired and older than we are. With a little help from our pal highlighter this is a thing of the past.

There are so many formulas from powder to liquid that you are sure to find one you like. A little luminizing click pen in your purse is a godsend when you want to hit happy hour but look bedraggled.

Seek out your highlighter my friends and look better for it!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

MAC Naughty Nautical Event

MAC's Naughty Nautical collection will be in stores May 1st....but if you want to get a sneak peek at it here are the details.

What: Naughty Nautical Preview

When: April 23rd from 5-7pm

Where: MAC Hillsdale Mall in San Mateo, CA

You must RSVP @ 650-378-5906 as space is very limited. There will be refreshments and the chance to play with the new collection and make your purchases. This is a full week before is hits stores!

Oh my friends, there are few things I love more than MAC.....but the chance to chat with the artists and get my paws on what is supposed to be a great collection. Now that is this makeup junkies idea of heaven!

Plus if you haven't already....go to the MAC store and get your Dazzleglass! Seriously I have already purchased 4 of the 16 and they are limited. As I said before...this is gloss of the gods!

Happy MAC shopping!

Top 10 Highlighters - #9 Vincent Longo Concealer/Illumina Pencial

This is #9 in my highlighter series and while they are not in any particular order, unconsciously I have saved my tried and true for the last two.

Vincent Longo's Concealer/Illumina Pencil is a double sided pencil with concealer on one end and a highlighting formula on the other.

I have recommended this pencil to many friends who are looking for a concealer that is easy and not the battle ready camouflage that some people associate with cover-up. Instead this pencil is silky smooth and super easy to blend. You just swipe it on where needed and pat.

This pencil won't hide any major black circles and can't be layered for disco shine. Instead it does a great job of balancing ease of use with reliable performance.

The highlighter is subtle and the concealer is sheer but effective. You can use a few swipes of both ends of the pencil to achieve a natural glow that lightly conceals while brightening.

It's a workhorse product that I reach for almost daily to give me the look of a few more hours of sleep without the work of a major concealer/highlighting routine.

This wonder pencil comes in six shades and the sharpener for $32.50. This little beauty soldier is worth the trip to Sephora to check out for yourself.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

MAC Dazzleglass

Wow...this looks like serious lipgloss! Described as high shine with large particle crystals....I had to see this for myself. I was either going to love it or hate it and by hate it I mean, chunky glitter teenage mall hair, hate it!


Holy Crap! I just returned from my local MAC store and they were unpacking this gloss as it goes on sale tomorrow. Dazzleglass is the right name for this is heaven in a tube!

Dazzleglass comes in 16 shades and I loved every last one including the blue! The blue takes red to purple and oh my word the shine and sparkle of these is unparalleled.

Truly the description can be a little off putting....the part about large particles....I imagined gritty glitter, but not so. Instead the base is super high shine and the crystal and opal particles are spectacular shine!

Due to the thicker texture it stays put for longer than most gloss and your lips are a magnet of shiny-ness the whole time. Don't be worried about thicker texture...this is not sticky or tacky at all....just shiny!

I was able to test a few shades today and right after went to the grocery store. No less than 3 women stopped me and asked what kind of gloss I was wearing.

Get thee to the MAC store and pick your favorite my fellow makeup junkies! Gloss like this only comes along so often.

Revlon Gloss

A great drugstore find is how I would describe this gloss. I have many favorite glosses and most of them cost a lot more than $6. I bought my first one of these in a pinch. I had somehow left my entire makeup bag out of my purse and did not have a thing in the way of lipstick, lip balm, or gloss and my only option was the drugstore. A few shades in this line looked alright and I figured that even if I hated them, I was only out $6 each.

This lipgloss plays ball with some of the big boys. The colors are not as dark as they appear in the tube and are easy to wear. The texture is not sticky and they are fragrance free which I love.

My issue with fragrance is that most companies who fragrance their cosmetics, especially their lip stuff, favor rose or some other cloying scent. I don't want to eat roses and the scent right next to my nose just drives me nuts. I know this is a divided subject but MAC's vanilla scent is about the only one I can handle.

These colors are a pretty basic range but the surprise for me was that I kept going back to 2 of the shades I bought and passing over my glosses that normally see heavy rotation.

Glossy Rose #070 is a natural rose pink shade that is your lip color but better. It is a no brainer, can't screw it up color that you can swipe on and head out the door.

Pearl Plum #090 is a sheer plum shade that pumps up your lip color and is my go to when I feel like I am looking tired in the morning and just need a little extra something.

I admit that I do not normally go to the drugstore to makeup shop and before you get the idea I am a makeup snob, it is the lack of testers that keeps me away. This gloss was a pleasant surprise and confirms the news that quite a few of the drugstore brands have improved dramatically. I use Paula Begoun's Beauty Pedia to make good suggestions on drugstore stuff and I am rarely disappointed.

Top 10 Highlighters - #8 Laura Mercier Secret Brightener

Secret Brightener and Secret Brightening Powder are a dream team. As part of Laura Mercier's Flawless Face they are real standouts. My main complaint with a lot of highlighter is that it's too darn shiny! This may seem counter intuitive for something called highlighter, but the best of these products are not shiny at all but are glow-y instead.

The Secret Brighter ($30) pen comes in 2 shades for lighter and darker skin tones. It does not provide coverage but instead attracts light to create an optical illusion. The pink-ish liquid helps to minimizes fine lines making the eye area look fresh and awake!

Secret Brightening Powder ($22) is a bit of an addiction for me. The intended use is to set the fluid product and help it wear throughout the day. Even when I don't want to fuss with any liquid highlighter a quick swipe of this powder wherever I see shadow brings a boost of light. 3

Mind you the powders effect is subtle and the very white color can seem bit scary, but I assure you that it is magic. When I forget to finish my makeup routine with this I notice, usually under gross fluorescent lighting.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

MAC Parrot Eyeshadow

I was surfing the MAC site today and noticed in their Goodbye section (colors they are sending out to pasture) that the famous Parrot eyeshadow was among them.

This eyeshadow is an electric teal and is really amazing.

Blogdorf Goodman wrote about it in her Cult Classics series and there is even a YouTube video of someone doing a smoky teal eye with Parrot!

So if ever you wanted to get your paws on this teal unlike any other, now is the time to visit MAC online!

Allure's Fragrance Guy

Today I received the new Allure with Hilary Duff on the cover. On page 134 is Frederic Malle's monthly feature, The Fragrance Guy.

This month it appears that Frederic Malle is reading my kidding! This page is devoted to summer fragrances (see my Weekend Hunt posts) and the dilemma of finding a fragrance that is fresh but doesn't fade instantly. Mr. Malle assures his dear readers that they do exist.

He recommends everything from florals and citrus to ozonic notes and by and large I love his ideas and have made note of a few to go out and smell. Some of his fav's are Lys Mediterranee which is gorgeous and Chanel Cristalle which is a scent that I always have on hand. Cristalle is crisp and sophisticated.

Also mentioned are Diorella and the ubiquitous Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue. I have never sniffed Diorella but will ASAP, as he mentions it has melon notes that give the fragrance a watery effect!

I also always read Linda Wells, Letter From the Editor as I find her insights into everything from the fashion world to perfume hilarious and true. This issue she focuses on fragrance and why people aren't wearing it. She makes the point that fragrance conveys your personality in the most intimate way and I couldn't agree more.

I for one know that memories of my mom will forever be associated with Cristalle and the heady scent of Tiffany. I also see the change in a SA's expression when I mention that Noir Epices is my all around fragrance of choice. It is not the most accessible scent as it is long on spice and short on flowery sweetness.

Maybe that says something about me and whatever it is, it's alright by me. Noir Epices is beautiful and mysterious and I feel I am the height of sophistication whenever I spray it on.

Top 10 Highlighters - #7 Bare Escentuals Radiance Powders

I have certain Bare Escentuals products that I gravitate to like a moth. I love the eyeshadows, Buxom Lips lipgloss and the Radiance Powders. The key with Radiance Powders...less is more. Start with a small amount swept on the cheekbone and build to the desired glow! (I put a lot of product on my hand so you could get the idea of shade color)

Clear Radiance appears pinkish in the jar but goes on as a translucent glow. It seems to blend with skin but attract light in a subtle way.

Rose Radiance is just that....a rosy glow that is just right for spring and that fresh cheeked prettiness that evokes this time of year.

Pure Radiance is my latest love. This powder is a peachy golden tone and is truly summer pretty. On pale skin Pure Radiance gives the illusion of sunlight and glow of summer, sans tan.

As I often mention I avoid the sun at all costs. I think of Grace Kelly (also a sun avoider) and her flawless porcelain complexion. There are many versions of pretty and for me this one ranks high. It is also the reason I adore a good highlighter in a warmer shade. It gives the glow of sun and outdoors without the tan.

Any of these and quite a few other color choices can be found at Sephora, Bare Escentuals or Ulta for $18. Happy Glowing!

Monday, April 21, 2008

DressCamp Shutout!

Okay, as promised I hoofed it on down to my local MAC store and questioned my MAC girls about this collection.

They told me this was a release in Asia and only a few Pro Stores in the US. Apparently both the Pro Stores and online were sold out within a few hours of the products being made available.

I figured that the MAC girls would have first dibs but they assured me that they too were trying to get their hands on the palette or a lip color and came up empty handed.

We then discussed that the products are already on EBay for some serious cash. Plus they let me know that the Naughty Nauticals collection will launch May 1st and that there are many great products so I better be quick!

We also talked about how makeup has become more of a collectors item with people really going wild over certain colors or collections...think Lancome's Gucci Westman lip colors or this collection.
When did this change? I have loved makeup for years but don't remember when wait lists and clamoring at the counters became commonplace.

Anyway, you can bet I will be at my MAC store on May 1st! See you there!

Cargo Plant Love

This is great lipstick for so many reasons. From the earth friendly corn resin lipstick tubes to paper packaging embedded with wildflower seeds you can plant to a great shade selection of sheer glossy colors, well I like this stuff.

Plant Love lipstick is not new but new colors are added periodically. The new issue of Shape magazine with Denise Richards on the cover highlighted the 2 shades she designed. Sam, a sheer red and Lola, a shimmery nude are named for her daughters.

I really like Cece and it embodies what I like best about these lipsticks on the whole. They are transparent but have lots of color payoff and are glossy without being sticky or messy. Plant Love lipsticks get it right when it comes to a modern lipstick finish that is easy to wear yet polished looking.

These lipsticks are moisturizing and wear really well. I feel like I am gushing a bit but I love when cosmetics companies hit it out of the park and like to help celebrate their success!

My fav shades are:

Cece: sheer berry plum (reminds my of Clinique's Black Honey with a stronger purple undertone)

Majella: sheer rose plum

Muir Woods: sheer shimmery natural mauve pink

Killarney: a warmer pink shimmer that lasts for hours

Please do check out these 20 lipsticks if for no other reason than the planet friendly packaging or that $2 is donated to St. Judes for every purchase. Oh and you are bound to look great in one as well!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

MAC DressCamp

Am I the only one that this little collection was hiding from? I feel like this one snuck up on me and with 4 products it is small but mighty! It is also completely SOLD OUT online! What the....

Surfing online this Sunday night I happened upon this little collection.

I will be going to my local MAC store first thing tomorrow morning and grilling my MAC girls about this one. The palette looks gorgeous, the 2 lipglass shades and 1 lipstick are amazing.

Was there some secret MAC memo that went out and I missed it!?

I will report back.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Conclusion of the Weekend Hunt!

Yipee! My hunt is concluded and the fragrance I settled on is luscious. I want to come right out and say that I had an epiphany in Barneys yesterday, one which the nice SA helped me come to gently.

I headed straight for L'Artisan as I had a few scents on my smell list from them and described to the SA what I was looking for. The wise SA then asked what I currently own and love. I mentioned that my absolute fav is Noir Epices and she frowned. Constructively she suggested I was barking up the wrong tree, pointing out that I love spicy, yummy, scents and yet I was describing something completely different. (see Update-Weekend Hunt post)

Well dang it if she wasn't right and her solution was to stick closer to home and look for a version of spice and woods that would suit for spring. I tried a few L'Artisan scents and while I have not a bad thing to say, they just weren't The One!

I skipped on over to Parfums DelRae which is a collaboration between DelRae and Michel Roudnitska the creator of Noir Epices. I had high hopes and smelled all 4 scents in turn.

Holy Cow! #4 was Bois de Paradis! Where in the heck has this been hiding!

A few weeks ago Blogdorf Goodman wrote about the now discontinued Donna Karan Chaos perfume and all it's woody goodness. Well when I first sniffed Bois de Paradis I smelled a hint of Chaos.

What I mean is, you might see pictures of a gorgeous woman when she was growing up....maybe she was pretty but a little gawky and not the gorgeous beauty she would become. There were hints of how lovely she would be but she just wasn't there yet. Bois de Paradis is Chaos all grown up and super model lovely.

This is the thought I had when luxuriating in the scent on my wrist. It is woody but it has fruity notes and the sexiest rose imaginable to balance it. The combination of spices and sweet is masterful and somehow not heavy.

If you loved Chaos, go out and get yourself some Bois de Paradis. It is my choice for this spring and summer and as the name implies, I think it smells just like paradise!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Top 10 Highlighters - #6 Benefit High Beam & Moon Beam

High Beam is a pink, white opalescent pearl and Moon Beam is a gold pink pearl.

Both of these highlighters come in nail polish sized bottles with a brush on applicator.

The beauty of these two highlighters from Benefit are the ability to blend them down to a very sheer glow or build to an almost foil shine. Plus the two color choices are very versatile and super easy to apply.

I think liquid highlights can seem a bit intimidating but these two are a cinch. Use them on the brow bone, bow of the lip, or as a sheer wash of eyeshadow color.

Benefit is available all over, but of course I go to Sephora.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bare Escentuals & Sephora U

Tonight I attended the Bare Escentuals Master class in San Francisco located at the brand new Sephora University. Leslie Blodgett (CEO, Bare Escentuals) was there as were most of the national makeup artists for the brand.

First off, the place is lovely and would do any makeup junkie proud. They have a scent organ and huge bottles of various fragrances all back lit and glam in the main reception area along with a library of beauty books and magazines, including the new Sephora Book!

The class itself had two of the artists demonstrating some of BE's newest products with Leslie Blodgett talking about upcoming Sephora exclusives and taking questions. After that the artists dispersed among the tables of attendees and helped with any BE questions or application techniques. It was like a giant girls night with products in the middle of each table so you could play.

The $25 fee was redeemable for orders placed online at the class. I chose the kit pictured. The three shadows are Winter White (white with gold fleck), Smoke (smoky grey taupe) and Nurture (deep purple grey) with blush in Kiss. The Buxom lipgloss is Dolly. Plus 3 brushes for $49!

The best part of this whole night was the chance to be among my know other women slightly obsessed with makeup and eager to chat about it. Leslie Blodgett is a charmer and lovely in person....QVC does not do her justice!

According to Sephora they will continue these classes with other brands and I can't wait to see what will be up next. If for no other reason the sneak peeks at upcoming products makes the event a great time.

Korres Body Butter

As mentioned in my previous La Vanilla post I am super picky about lotion. I have 3 main requirements when it comes to lotion and they are super moisturizing, non-greasy and pleasingly scented. I usually find that I must sacrifice one requirement to get the other two and so the hunt continues.

However this winter and early spring my hands have been DRY. Not a little dry but Mojave desert dry and if I have not constantly applied lotion they have taken on that crepey old lady hand look. AHHHH! This was a lotion emergency.

After much consulting with my favorite Sephora girl she led me to Korres. She was upfront that these lotions and butters would take some time to absorb but the results would be worth sacrificing my non-greasy lotion ban.

Boy howdy was she right! I bought the Guava body butter to start which is a light scent and was hooked. I went back for the Vanilla Cinnamon body milk and the Fig body butter which is a spicy scent that men can deal with.

Speaking of men, there was a suspicious amount of my Korres lotion being used up and all paths led to my husband. This is a man who will not use any of my other lotions as he claims they smell like the perfume counter at a department store.

Well he was using Korres and finally fessed up that the scents I chose were "not bad" (high praise from my husband) and that he thought they did a great job at banishing dry skin.

These moisturizers range from $6-$27 depending on product and size. Korres is a line that prides itself on natural ingredients used to their best advantage and come from the oldest pharmacy in Greece.

In my house Korres is makeup junkie tested and husband approved!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Top 10 Highlighters - #5 YSL Touche Eclat

Touche Eclat is my mom's hands down favorite highlighter. The main reasons for this are it is effortless to blend, can be applied right over makeup and can be used throughout the day without building up or looking cakey. You may be skeptical but it's true.

Most people know about Touche's one of those products that has been around a long time and I think sometimes we forget there is a reason for it's longevity.

I use shade #2 Luminous Ivory and finds that this works on most skin tones except darker complexions. It is the most yellow based of the 4 so it works to reduce redness and the dark circles around eyes.

YSL is available at Nordstrom and most upper end department stores. Touche Eclat comes in 4 shades and is $40. It is a bit more expensive than some of the highlighters I am putting in the top 10 but I do think it is money well spent. My reasoning is is a liquid brush on pen and has never spilled in my purse. Plus you can truly reapply throughout the day and get an instant lift and the stuff doesn't settle into fine lines or buildup. This is truly the wonder and genius of good cosmetics, a phenomenon I can't explain.

Laura Mercier - Gold Digger Eye Color Pot

I love spring, all the flowers and green grass. Warmer weather and longer days.

What I can't stand are the Easter egg type colors that seem to dominate the cosmetics counter and hold me hostage until fall. I admit that by the time the fall makeup collections roll around I am feeling deprived and grumpy. No more pastel is my plea!

That is why this spring has been cause for celebration in my neck of the woods. First Bobbi Brown had all that raspberry lusciousness and now Laura Mercier and Gold Digger! Hallelujah!

The Eye Color Pot comes in 3 combos. Bronze Gold (pictured), Solid Gold and White Gold. All have a cream shadow on top and shimmer powder on bottom in a double decker pot. I think I drooled a little when I tried White Gold. White Gold, there just aren't reflects silver, but the light shifts and the coolest yellow gold flecks stare back at you. White Hot!

I was's true. I felt the makeup gods had smiled upon me and I was content to go home with White Gold. But then the artist who was visiting suggested I hop on the chair and she would give my eyes the Solid Gold treatment.

Readers, I am afraid of counter artists. I have a particularly traumatic incident with a national artist in my past that haunts me. I will say eyeshadow can be washed off with public bathroom soap in an emergency situation.

The Laura Mercier artist has restored my faith and made me less likely to swing my handbag when I am asked if I would like to hop in the chair for a touch up. Solid Gold was beautiful. I gulped when I saw the warm gold powder but I needn't have worried. It made my eyes POP! Gold at it's best is a wonder....there is just so much trashy gold out there it's easy to lose faith.

They say a thing of beauty is a joy forever and these little gems are beauties. Run, do not walk, to the Laura Mercier counter and snatch up your favorite. I promise, hand on heart, you will never prefer a pastel hell eyeshadow once you have seen the glory that is Gold Digger!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Top 10 Highlighters - #4 Cargo Eyelighter

The Eyelighter conjures up magic wand thoughts for me. With both a shimmer and matte powder I am Glenda the Good Witch, sweeping stardust on my tired eyes.

I first saw this product around the holidays on HSN's Sephora shows that were live on 5th Avenue. It was love at first sight with this dual tipped pen. I was over the moon that I no longer had to use 2 different products to get the lift of the matte powder and the brightening from the shimmer.

The Eyelighter is $17 at Sephora and you have a choice of white or gold! I can not help you pick between the two....I love them both equally but for different reasons.

White is my everyday choice, but the gold is so great for the spring and summer. For those of us who do not tan and avoid the sun at all costs, gold has a way of bringing the illusion of warmth and sunlight to our face.

At $17 I say go for both, but no matter what you choose, you will be pleased and feel a little like Glenda!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Update - Weekend Hunt

Well I have to say that by and large my hunt was a bust! Now don't get me wrong, there were some good choices out there, but none that were the embodiment of the summer fragrance I have been dreaming of.

My favorite of the bunch I tried was Jean Paul Gaultier's Classique Summer. As you can see from the pic, the bottle is super cool but to my nose it was just a lighter version of Classique and not really different.

So what am I looking for you ask? Words really fail me here but I want something slightly green without being sharp, fruity without being sugary sweet and something with that coolness of the best marine accords AND I want the darn thing to have staying power!

Staying power being my chief complaint about summer doesn't have any...zilch!

So dear readers, my search continues. Just last night I was watching a travel show about the south of France and how french women treat finding the right fragrance as a very personal and worthwhile goal. Perhaps I am a little french!

I will report further on my hunt with a trip to Barneys New York looming in my future. Wish me luck!

Top 10 Highlighters - #3 Laura Geller Wonder Wand

Wonder Wand's best feature is the ease of use. The sponge tipped applicator makes it easy to deposit the light reflective powder anywhere.

I love that this product is compact and while some other brighteners can be used all over the face this is really intended for the eye area.

Wonder Wand contains a sheer shimmery lightly golden powder that can be dabbed on the inner corner of eyes, swept under the brow or used as eyeshadow. I have seen Laura Geller put a dab of this right over eyeshadow on the lid, above the pupil and it has eye popping effects. It is much like the trick of using lighter colors of gloss in the center of the lip to make them look fuller. Same thing here.

My favorite use for this is the brow bone. After filling in my brows I sweep this under and it makes them look finished and glamourous. Think 50's screen star where impeccable brows defined the face.

The wonder wand is $17.50 and available at Sephora.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Weekend Hunt

In my John Varvatos post I mentioned that I am on the hunt for a spring/summer fragrance. I think I also mentioned that light, clean, summery scents are usually the last thing I go for.

In the Bay Area the temperatures are already warming up and I have been inspired to look outside of my comfort zone. I want the scent I wear this summer to be light and fresh even if I feel wilted. This is my motivation and here is the list of scents I will be checking out this weekend.

1. Bobbi Brown - Beach
2. Annick Goutal - Mandragore
3. Estee Lauder - Bronze Goddess
4. Bulgari - Green and White Tea
5. Caudalie - Fleur de Vigne
6. Jean Paul Gaultier - Classique Summer
7. Burberry - Summer
8. Guerlain - Aqua Series (I plan to smell as many as I can find)
9. Cartier - Eau de Cartier

Whew! My nose may be worn out by the end of this, but I am determined to not wear my usual spices throughout this season.

If there is a fragrance that screams summer to you please leave it in the comments and I will add it to my list. Of course I will regale you with the details of my hunt in the new week! Wish me luck!

Top 10 Highlighters - #2 MAC Strobe Liquid

When I saw this product among the Strobe collection I swear I had heart palpitations. Finally all the beauty of Strobe Cream in liquid form.

That in a nut shell is the genius that is Strobe Liquid. It is lightweight, absorbs quickly and drys down in a flash. It can be applied right over makeup and doesn't disturb your foundation. It gives dimensional glow and can be layered to get 80's type shine or use a light hand for soft illumination.

For those of use with oily skin highlighter can be tricky. It can make us look like one giant shiny head! That is highlighter gone bad. I had always shied away from the cream version because I need light moisture at best.

So if anyone at MAC is out there, thank you and your product development folks for this miracle in a bottle. Truly, on behalf of all my shiny skinned sisters, thank you!

Get on down to your local MAC store and try this out. Put this liquid wonder on anywhere you want the light to catch and make you look like the world is your soft focus lens!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

John Varvatos Women

I am on the hunt for a spring/summer scent and after reading about John Varvatos' new fragrance for women I decided to give it a try.

Pretty. That is the word that came to mind as I walked around Saks Fifth Avenue smelling the spritz on my wrist and I don't mean that in a trite way. This perfume starts out floral and slightly fruity to my nose and drys down soft and with just a touch of spice.

I am so used to wearing spicy, slightly heavy scents that it is always hard for me to evaluate lighter more floral scents without comparing them to my favorites.

In the interests of full disclosure I do not usually go for florals especially if they are are super sweet.

At the end of day, as I write this, this scent is pleasing. It is not as complicated as the spice heavy fragrances I lean towards but it is not a teenager's confection either. Fruity and lush without too much sugar. As I said...pretty. Go to Saks and give it a sniff!

Top 10 Highlighters - #1 Tricia Sawyer Eye Slept

I love highlighter. I know I say I love lots of makeup but highlighter or brightener or luminizer, whatever you want to call it, really is a gift from above to us poor sleep deprived mortals. Good highlighter makes you look awake, bright eyed, and gives that glow of youthful skin that getting older or just being really hungover can take away.

The first person I saw really treat highlighting as religion was Carmindy on What Not To Wear. She always uses it on the inner corners of the eye and along the brow bone and every time I am amazed what a little shimmery stuff can do. She discusses the idea and gives product recommendations in her book 5 Minute's a great read in general.

With that said I have tried a lot of products in this category and some are great and some are better left on the shelf. In honor of the magic of highlighters I will start off with the first of ten products....Tricia Sawyer Eye Slept ($21). Tricia Sawyer is a movie makeup artist best known for her work with Sharon Stone. I was super excited when this became available at select Sephora stores so I could see if the magic was real.

This stuff is in a small tin and is a bright, slightly green white. It takes the TINIEST amount to get the desired result. I put a dab on my finger and used it for both eyes, gently patting under the eye. It is instant awake in a tin.

The real pitfall of this is over using the product. I think a lot of people think if a little is good, more is better! Not so with this stuff. Plus I noticed that setting it with a touch of powder really improved the wear and kept it out of fine lines. I do have oily skin so this might not be necessary if your skin is normal or dry.

It is available at select Sephora stores and online, also check out Tricia Sawyer's website. Great makeup demos and product demonstrations.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Sephora Refillable Powder Brush

I have been tempted to buy one of those pre-loaded mineral powder brushes but I always think they are a little pricey since they can't be refilled. Plus you end up throwing a perfectly good brush away.

Voila! Sephora has filled that niche nicely and you can decide what kind of powder to put in there. Now you're talking!

I first saw this little wonder on Beauty and the Blog, which naturally required that I go on down to my local Sephora to check it out. If you are thinking that it doesn't take much to prompt me and that the staff must know me name, you would be right on both counts!

This brush was just as neat in person, with a little scoop to ladle your loose powder of choice in with a minimum of mess. The bristles are soft and rounded and for $22 bucks its a fun tool to have in your arsenal, especially for travel. I did find myself daydreaming of far away places without opening my makeup bag to find loose powder everywhere. Well done Sephora!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Mally Beauty

I have a tough time buying makeup without getting my paws on it first. A prime example is Mally Beauty. I have seen Mally Roncal on QVC a few times and always want to try out her line but hesitate and don't order. So when I went to NYC in February I headed straight for Henri Bendel so I could test this line out.

First off, Henri Bendel's cosmetic department is heaven on earth. I could have spent days in there but was focused on seeing if this line lived up to my expectations.

In two did! I could have spent the better part of a day just playing with this line but alas I only had about an hour and I used every last minute. Mally Roncal is famous for some of her celebrity clients and also her infectious attitude about makeup and wanting every woman to look her best. Don't take my word for it...catch on her QVC and see for yourself!

I purchased the two shadows pictured which are Natural (on left) and Taupe (on right). Both are easy and foolproof shades for daytime wear. I often use Taupe all over my lid and blend Natural into the crease. I am not a morning person and makeup applied in the morning can not be elaborate or take master blending....I leave that for night time.

Taupe is a cool sandy taupe that is super neutral and I can not imagine the person it wouldn't look good on.

Natural is a pinky shade that is not garish or bubblegum. It just makes you look awake and refreshed but not very pink. I don't understand the magic of that one but I am alright with that.

Mally Beauty also has City Chick Smokey Eye Kit ($39.50) in 6 different color combos that all come with 3 shadows and a shadow base. I use the 2 lightest shadow shades in any set for day and save the darkest for night.

I don't think you can go wrong with the return policy either. QVC gives 30 days to try and return if you aren't satisfied but I am happy to report that I won't be returning any of the shadows I purchased.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Choose Your Weapon

No matter what kind of makeup you like best everyone has a preferred method of applying it. Pictured here are the methods I tend to bounce between depending on my mood and patience level.

Foundation brushes are time consuming for me and I have a tough time blending out all streaks. Maybe there is some technique I don't know about but most of the time this is my last choice.

The pink egg is the Beauty Blender and the cleanser to keep it clean. The Beauty Blender does an A+ job of applying makeup, blending well and absorbing less foundation since you use it wet. My one and only complaint with this egg is the time (I am not patient as a rule and the morning is no exception) involved in cleaning the sponge daily. On the website they give a great demo video on how to use it and I agree 100% that the bouncing method of application yields great results, it just requires a little time.

My third and most often used choice are regular old non-latex wedge sponges. There are all sorts of brands and they vary wildly between thirsty little foundation drinking vampires to race cars of speed and performance. I have tried at least a dozen different brands and my current favorite are Walgreens Perfection Ultra Wedges with Vitamin E. I stumbled upon these when my old fav, Target wedges, changed texture and not for the better.

These do a great job of using a small amount of foundation, leaving very few streaks to be blended, and you can wash the larger ones for extended use. Plus they are inexpensive at around $3 for 8 large or 24 medium wedges.

In the end I know this is a personal choice and for me that choice is dictated by speed and ease. What is your favorite application technique?

Friday, April 4, 2008


Oh it was love at first sight with this set. I have been a BIG FAN of the Bare Escentuals Tutorials....I mean any tips a makeup junkie can pick up are alright by me! I had recently seen Leslie Blodgett, CEO of Bare Escentuals on QVC and she demonstrated this foiling technique. Simply put, foiling is applying the shadows wet for a high shine look.

I was intrigued and tried it with my very own fav Bare Escentuals shadow, Celestine. If you have never tried Celestine, my word, you are missing out on a jewel. Celestine is a shimmery cool taupe wonder and it looks good every dang time I apply it. It is one of those go-to shades that like the best friend you have ever had, never lets you fooling!

The two colors in this set are delicious....truly divine. Disco is described as a sheer lilac but I see a bright silvery shade. Night Owl is a steely grey amethyst and I agree with Bare Escentuals that these two shadows are great whether used wet or dry. Plus the included brush makes the whole thing a cinch. This set is available in Sephora stores and online for $32 and is a shoo in to join Celestine on my super all time favorite list.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Kiss Kiss by Guerlain

Oh doesn't the name say it all! It's true I love Guerlain makeup and have no problem paying for it. Some of my very favorite perfumes and lipsticks are Guerlian and I have so many of their eyeshadow quads it defies imagination, but more on that later. My new love in this line is the Kiss Kiss Stick Gloss that comes in 8 colors with a limited edition color that can be found in stores now.

It's hard for me to say what I like best about these shiny little wonders. There is no doubt that the packaging alone screams I am worth the very best and as I have mentioned before I am a sucker for great packaging. But rest assured that it takes more than a pretty gold case to make me plunk down $28 bucks.

The texture of this gloss is somewhere between a gloss, lipstick, and a stain. There is a color here for everyone and I love that come summer time, when the temperature starts climbing, these are not sticky or heavy and the color really lasts and has a beautiful sheen on the lips.

Here are my picks from left to right:

#963 Berry Pink is a sheer berry pink

#961 Cherry Pink is a sheer berry rose

#964 Fleur de Feu is a juicy sheer raspberry shade and is limited edition

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

It's easy to be green!

I love me a good palette and boy these two beauties are among the best! On the left is My Favorite Powders, a limited edition palette, available online at Josie Maran and in Barneys stores. The palette on the right is Wildflower and is new for spring.

My Favorite Powders consists of 5 eyeshadows, 2 blushes and a bronzer and the colors are warm but not orange! I am hooked on Valentine and Cinnamon eyeshadows (2 &3 from left) and can not believe the texture and color payoff of these shadows. The bronzer is very neutral (no orange) and has a touch of shimmer that makes it luminous not shiny.

Wildflowers is a cooler toned palette and has gorgeous grey, lilac and taupe eyeshadows and the shimmer powder in Posey (large pan on bottom) is to die for. It gives just the right amount of highlight without looking glittery at all.

Both palette's are $45 and worth every last penny. I have packed them for trips to NYC and Chicago and kept coming back to them for easy morning makeup and a night out.

For those of you who are new to Josie Maran's line, this line is all about luxury with a conscience. Josie wanted to create a line that was both top quality while being a responsible steward of our planet. The cosmetics are packaged in a corn based resin, can be recycled and the paper is 30% post consumer waste product.

I think we can all agree that anything we can do to be responsible consumers is worth doing and this brand not only does that, it delivers gorgeous products to boot!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

LipFusion Plump + RePlump

After seeing this advertised in the pages of my beloved Allure, I had to check it out. This latest product from Fusion Beauty said that it would not only plump my lips, but replump them every time I licked them. Could this be true or was this all a bunch of lipgloss hooey?

In all fairness I have never jumped on the plumper bandwagon, although I have many pals who swear that without the original LipFusion Color Shine Gloss, they would have thin pathetic pouts. They are devotees of certain colors (mainly Summer a shimmery rose shade) and greeted the limited edition Velvet Bling gloss, complete with a sparkly rhinestone wand, like a religious event!

Well I could hardly stand by and let them have all the Angelina Jolie pillow-y lipped fun...I needed to try this for myself!

So I went on over to the local Ulta and slicked on this new fangled lipgloss in Baby (bright pink). I cruised around the store and noted the slight tingling sensation and that the color was more sheer that I had anticipated.

I went home and did all manner of things and kept checking my lips for the colors staying power and if I had morphed into Angelina Jolie (well at least her lips). I am happy and surprised to report that the pink wash of color had surprising staying power and although this wasn't slick like a gloss, the texture was comfortable on my lips. My lips did look a tad fuller but my Angelina dreams were not happening.

I have since tried a few different plumpers and I think it has put my results with this product into perspective. Most of the plumpers I tried just tingled mildly or like hell and didn't really seem to plump anything and instead just felt irritating. LipFusion on the other hand did plump up my pout and while I was not mistaken by anyone for Angelina, my kisser looked pretty darn good!