Sunday, May 13, 2012

What's In My Travel Makeup Bag?

Since my last post, I've done a bit of travel.  It's always difficult for me to decide which makeup products will make the cut when it comes to packing.  I try to keep heavy foundation bottles out of the mix, and I'll make use of my travel eyelash curlers (Koji)--giving myself just a tad more room to add an extra lipgloss or two.

The cosmetics bag that i've been using recently is one that Alice Temperley designed last
Summer for Elemis.  It's sturdy enough to keep its structure, yet moldable enough to squish into my carry-on luggage.  I prefer to travel with my makeup bag on me, as airplanes do a number on my skin, and I like to have it all handy.

In preparation for our most recent trip, these were the items that I packed.  We were headed back to the islands, so I knew that the reality of applying heavy layers of anything, were little to none.  Chantecaille's Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer (in Glow), Urban Decay's cream highlight (in Sin), and NARS' Multiple Stick in the peachy Turks & Caicos seemed to fit the agenda.  Also, when traveling to warmer areas, I tend to either pack blotting papers or blotting powder.  I can't stand the idea of being in thick humidity, and caking on a colored powder to my nose.  Once I've done my makeup for the day, I'm only going to blot excess oil.

I do have some favorites (and if I were to do a Current Favorites post, these would absolutely be listed).  First, is Sue Devitt's Gel Bronzer in Beau Dore.  In comparison to Soleil Tan de Chanel, I much prefer the Sue Devitt.  It doesn't come across as muddy, has a beautiful thin texture, and can be built up without looking overdone.  It's a bit fail-proof in application, and I would even say fail-proof when used as a contour gel.  In general, Sue Devitt's products are formulated with such high quality natural ingredients, that my skin has yet to be irritated by them.

Kevyn Aucoin's Creamy Moist Glow in Bliss, is another lightweight product.  This one is superb for adding a bit of flush to cheeks, but much like with many of his products--it seems to be impossible to make a dent in the pot.  I've been using it for well over a month, and you'd never know by looking at it.  Kevyn Aucoin products tend to be winners for me.  They feel fresh on the skin, and are offered in a color range that is safe yet flattering.

The YSL Glossy Stains.  Of course I've fallen for these.  They are what I've been looking for.  Color, pigment, staying power, and moisture.  I couldn't believe that a YSL product would actually keep my lips moisturized in this way.  I like to do 2-3 coats.  The first, patted into the lips.  The second a very thin coat to seal in the color, and a third only if I'm trying to up the glossiness.  #13 (Rose Tempera--the Nordstrom exclusive), and #17 (Encre Rose), are the two that I've turned to the most as of late.

I may review some of these in more depth on a future post, but there you have travel makeup case!  Are you planning a holiday, or at least have one in mind?  What are your travel makeup must-haves?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Taking a Break This Week.

His Majesty King Siaosi Tupou V

04 May 1948 - 18 March 2012

"...if only you could see the Kingdom at this very moment, so calm and peaceful with absolute silence...solemn and sad, as if the land knows what happened..." -Hon. Frederica Tuita

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Leaning Natural.

Over the past year or so, my crunchy level has risen to an all-time high. The crazy makeup collection (laden with difficult to pronounce ingredients) isn't going anywhere, but I'm always on the lookout for product lines which promote natural solutions. One of my favorite websites from which to source herbs and oils, is Mountain Rose Herbs. Their products are certified organic, always packaged well, and are fairly priced. I typically order ingredients for homemade medicines and immune-boosting syrups (told you I'm granola), yet the last time I placed an order, a facial mist caught my eye.

Now I had recently finished a bottle of Melvita's Rose Floral Water, which was absolutely lovely. If compared to Mario Badescu's Rosewater Facial Spray, Melvita takes the prize (total side note). It has a slight creamy factor in the scent, and doesn't cause any tightening of the skin (more on all of this later). However, Mountain Rose's Tulsi (Holy Basil) Hydrosol is what is now on the bathroom vanity.

Tulsi is often used in Ayurveda, and one fantastic thing about the line as a whole, is that most of the products are food or therapeutic grade. Meaning, they can be ingested, used for cosmetic purposes, topically, etc. It is refreshing in a strange herb-like way--fitting, if you are both a cosmetic hound and foodie! It is best used spritzed all over the face after cleansing, and prior to any serums or treatments. The scent is very much basil--a complete detour from typical rose or orange blossom facial sprays.

Mountain Rose's essential oils are some of my favorites. There are endless numbers of uses for essential oils--whether it be homemade beauty products, cleaning supplies, baby wash, nappy wash...I could go on and on. If you're interested, a good starting place is Valerie Wormwood's book on the topic. I never purchase essential oils in stores--I find that the quality typically isn't high enough. Here, you can find everything from Manuka (amazing for skin/acne/eczema) to Sandalwood from Vanuatu (another one which is great for skin, but also anxiety issues).

These are a few that I either needed to replenish, or had been interested in adding to my arsenal. If you're curious about any of their uses, do ask! The site ships internationally, and is prompt.

Are you a little crunchy? What are your favorite facial mists and essential oils? Any favorite home remedies?

Monday, March 12, 2012

We're All Adjusting...

Oh my gosh, hi. *hiding face* I know, it's been months. I mean, I'm not even sure what I've been waiting for to post an update--my son's college graduation? Let's just pretend that break was some sort of post-pregnancy sabbatical. Even though I'm pretty sure I had a beginning, middle, and end-of-pregnancy sabbatical (lame!). I have about three thousand things to chat about with you lovely people, and around ten minutes each day to compose it. Thank you for being so patient. I haven't stopped testing, fawning over, or (shockingly) wearing there is lots to cover.

So how about we start with a couple of things that I picked up over the weekend? I'm experiencing a major foundation kick--which is sort of ridiculous since I rarely wear any. Last week, I swore no more foundation until I've used up a bottle. Well, oops.

Josie Maran came out with a new powder foundation, the Argan Matchmaker Powder Foundation (SPF 20). And let me tell you, the finish is creamy and light. Nothing like the heavy cakey things that promise extra coverage..more like, the kind of product that will reach in and pull out your inner-argan glow. The shade adjusts to your skin tone, which means I chose the light/medium shade. So far so good, however this must be applied with a sponge. Using a brush results in a huge powdery mess.

As I'm not a fan of products which claim to adapt to your mood, body heat, sexiness, etc. I didn't think that I'd be very interested in Dior's Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush. It really didn't matter anyway, because every time I went to have a look, it was sold out. Until the day I came across that darned Josie foundation. I swatched what seemed like a too-powdery bright pink over the back of my hand...only to look down minutes later, and find a warm sunset coral. Sold. The trick is to swipe and wait. If you don't give it some time to develop, you risk ending up with serious dolly cheeks.

I'll be back to give you the pros and cons of the foundation, but have any of you been on a foundation binge lately? Also, please leave a link if you have a swatch of how the Rosy Glow developed on your skin. I'm excited to be back ladies!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

And Then There Were Three...

Twelve weeks ago today, I was blessed with the sweetest baby boy.

Just a few days old

He was born in water at 6:43am, weighing 9 pounds, and measuring 20 inches long.

I can't even begin to express how quickly these past weeks seem to have flown by...he has already grown to be 20 pounds, and 26.5 inches long.

The baby burglar, asleep in the car

His gummy little smile and content spirit, have made us the happiest parents imaginable. We love you, 'Inoke.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Nordstrom Anniversary Picks - 2011

It's Nordstrom Anniversary Sale time! I purchased these items about a week or so ago, and figured I'd wait until the sale went live (this morning at midnight) to discuss them. For those without a Nordstrom in their neck of the woods, the Sale is when the department store brings out all of their new items for Fall. It's a madhouse here (being that this is where it all began), and you will find shoppers waiting at 7am for the doors to open with a serious plan of action, and an enorme coffee in-hand.

Each year I seem to pick fewer things from the sale. Growing up, my sister and I would be taken to Plum Avenue (then, the little girls department) to pick out back to school clothes. In later years, we would graduate to the Juniors department, and then go on to work the sale during university. If only you could see those back to school outfits. Atrocious. But we were positive that they were the height of style.

There are a handful of Anniversary exclusives in the cosmetics department (special beauty combos that have been put together). A few that made it home with me were the Jo Malone set, a gorgeous Alice Temperley for Elemis Collection, and one of the MAC Cine-Matics Duo's i
n Feature 4. More on those later.

My favorite purchases were put to use right away. First up is Shiseido's Benefiance Smoothing Anti-Wrinkle Eye Set. For the price of a single eye cream, you also receive the Benefiance Cleansing Foam, Bio-Performance Corrective Serum, and the Balancing Softener--all housed in a soft and sparkly rose-gold pouch. This eye cream is my favorite of the many that I've tried--it's one of the only ones that have actually made a difference in the suppleness of my eye area (I've gone through several tubs over the years), as it is extremely hydrating. If you've ever considered trying it out, now is the time to pick it up!

Of course there are shoes. Many many shoes in this store. I've been trying to plan ahead for post-baby-delivery days. Although I will never forsake my heels, I've realized that it will probably be a hell of a lot more comfortable pushing a buggy around in flats (well, at least while shopping). These leather "Foleys" by Report caught my eye, as they appeared to be rose-gold toned as well. The bows struck me as a cute way to dress up a plain pair of denim jeans, or cigarette pants. Once I tried them on, I realized that they were indeed more pewter than rose gold...nonetheless, they are comfortable and can be thrown on in a second.

Now that I'm browsing online, I'm noticing a handful of other items that I may have overlooked. It's a little overwhelming to shop in-store during this time...and even if you thought this post didn't apply to you, don't forget that Nordstrom now offers International shipping :)

Are you planning on/already did pick up any items from the Anniversary Sale? Doesn't it seem a tad early to think about Fall, when for many of us Summer has just begun?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

All Gone!

I always enjoy hearing about what others have used (product-wise) completely, as it gives me a good idea as to whether the item is really worth its weight. To me, it's a bit different from "monthly favorites", because monthly favorites can be a bit more trend-driven--but a product that gets used till the very last drop usually has a bigger story. Plus, there's always the question: would you re-purchase?

It is very unlike myself, to finish up a product completely. For whatever reason, it's been happening a lot lately! So with that, I present to you the items that are no more:

Lumene's Vitamin C+ 24 Hr Lotion: I did a short review in my last post about this one. It's light, helps to even out skin tone, and can be used at night just as well as during the day. It has worked well at balancing my combination skin, without adding any additional problems. Repurchase? Yes, although I think I will try the Vitamin C Day Cream version first.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe Herbs & Rosewater: A lovely toner-like spray that doesn't dry out the skin at all. This is spritzed directly after my balancing lotion, and prior to applying a serum. It's very refreshing, and doesn't lend a tight feeling afterwards. Repurchase? Yes, especially for travel (the size is great, and it isn't too heavy). However, I've been using a different rosewater spray by Melvita which I may like just a tad more!

Carol's Daughter Sexy Belly: My official favorite belly balm during this pregnancy. The description is in the last post, and going half a day (while waiting for my order to come through the mail), was pushing me to believe that invisible stretch marks were forming. Repurchase? Done and done. Two more jars sit right on the countertop.

Korres Body Butter - Guava: Such a delicious and sweet scent, this has been in the rounds for some time (as you can see by the old packaging). It's quite thick, and really takes some rubbing for the product to absorb--but moisturize, it does. Repurchase? One for now, I have plenty of other body butters that are calling for my attention.

And a few other things...

Sunscreen has been on my mind day and night. It started with this pregnancy--not that my skin was any more sensitive, but I can't say that the anti-aging thoughts haven't sprung up a handful of times. A never-ending internal conversation about chemical vs physical formulas...the reminder to all close family members that they ought to remember to apply their sunscreen. They're sick of the girl who joined the sunscreen police.

These two were recent additions based on scent and practicality. The thought of re-appyling sunscreen throughout the day made little sense to me--especially over makeup! Peter Thomas Roth's Instant Mineral SPF 30 can be used in just that way by touching up on the high points of the face where the sun hits first. It travels in your makeup bag with an extendable brush, and with just a couple of shakes and a swish your protection lifeline is extended.

Lavanila's Healthy Lip Screen is a vanilla/mint balm that can probably be used in the same way--but is meant primarily for the lips. If I were going makeup-free, I wouldn't hesitate to dab this lightly on my face as well.

And in other news, I'm about 12 months pregnant. Okay, roughly 38 weeks. That means our baby boy will be here very soon. I've been trying to communicate with him about taking his time--and for whatever reason, I think he's getting the message. You didn't think that I'd be all about beauty products, and leave him out, right? I'll try to keep you updated with mini reviews on these guys (I've been known to use a baby product or two on myself), as well as a What's In My Baby Bag post (requested by the lovely Bubblegarm).

What have you used up as of lately? Has sunscreen been on your mind this summer?
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