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 day...as 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?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Yogurt for the Body

Since I've been slathering myself with copious amounts of moisturizer as of late, you can imagine the difficulty in an attempt to avoid these yogurt-esque tubs while doing the weekly grocery shopping at Costco. If you're unfamiliar with Costco, I'm referring to the store that only families of 12+ shop at (well, and our family of 2...who eat like a family of 12+), here in the US.

Who says you can't do your groceries and find a few quality body cremes while you're at it?

Aquolina's Mousse Corpo is a line of moisturizers from the same brand that brought us the infamous Pink Sugar fragrance. Each one is packaged in a yogurt-styled tub, and the Creamy Collection include Ananas (pineapple), Albicocca (apricot), Cocco (coconut), and Frutti di Bosco (wild fruits). Clearly, they are produced in Italy.

As they are water-based, they absorb quickly into the skin, thus avoiding a greasy or slick effect. They also include yogurtene in the ingredients. Yogurtene is essentially a powder consisting of milk, whey and fermented yogurt bacteria. Just typing that creates a vision of some sort of body kefir.

Either way, they come in at a little over 4 ounces each, and are compact enough to be finished at around the time you're longing to smell like another fruit (which may be never). I wouldn't recommend them for travel, as the lids aren't all that secure--but these lightweight moisturizers are a good answer to warm, muggy summer weather. I'd say that if you're tired of buying the usual organic spinach and bread at Costco, pop on over to the beauty section. Otherwise you can also find them at the above link.

Have you tried Mousse Corpo? Any discoveries from whilst you were food shopping?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

June Favorites

There are about four weeks left until D-Day (delivery day), and although I haven't posted much in the past couple of weeks, I'm committing to posting as often as possible during these upcoming ones! Everything is in preparation mode, but my basket of items to review, gossip about, and trash is overflowing...so I will do what needs to be done!

I bring you my most-used products of June. Sadly, the last post was on the most-used items in May--so this is a reminder to me that time is flying by!

Some of these deserve their own special posts (which they will get in time), but do let me know if you have any specific questions on one in particular. The one product missing is Anastasia's Brow Pencil (featured in May's favorites), which will soon be joined by a handful of back-ups. It's THAT good.

Working clockwise:

Paul & Joe Lipstick #20 (Milk Chocolate): A somewhat sheer, moisturizing lipstick that looks great, regardless of my lip's condition. It's not so much chocolatey as it is a slightly deeper rose, with hints of brown. The texture melts into the lip and offers a flattering sheen, yet keeps skin soft with the help of avocado oil.

Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer (Warm): This sulfate, phtalate, nasty-ingredient-free concealer is pretty much everything I've been looking for in an under eye concealer. My all-time favorite has always been Cle de Peau's version, but this one is getting way more airtime these days. It's more moisturizing, although just a bit more sheer. The latter is easily rectified by layering a couple thin layers to any under eye circles and gently dabbing with the ring finger. It includes Vitamin E and doesn't cake or crease in the least. This discovery has been perfect timing, as I'm sure some under eye concealer will fix a world of hurt in the next couple of months!

Estee Lauder DayWear Sheer Tint Release (SPF 15): Lighter than a tinted moisturizer, yet full of ingredients that will offer sun protection and just the slightest bit of coverage. Nix coverage--it's more like a bit of evening. My sister introduced me to this one, and it's fabulous for the summer. It is scented a bit like cucumber, and in some ways reminds me of a very lightweight bb creme (it offers several skin conditioning treatments, and also starts out a bit grey prior to blending). I wouldn't go for this if you're much darker than an Armani 6.5, but it does seem to adjust to skin tones up to that point. I had been testing it out in comparison to Origins' VitaZing, and this one was much less orange-tinted and greasy.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place EyeShadow Base: What is it with Estee? I go for years without having a single desire to dip into the brand, and then within the course of this last year, have found several noteworthy products! I can appreciate an eyeshadow base that is light, and doesn't have a thick texture. Something along the lines of Too Faced Shadow Insurance. It doesn't need to prime my lid to the point of dehydration, because I'm far too paranoid about my eye area being dry. This one ticks all of the boxes--it's easy to access as the pot is wide, and keeps things in place. It doesn't alter the pigment in my shadows, but does prevent the creasing that will inevitably happen if I skip using it. The marketing boasts 15-hr staying power...but I am never awake that long these days to tell the story.

MAC Eyeshadow in Modelette (satin): From the Warm & Cozy Collection (Dec 2009--are you serious?!), we have one of my favorite blending shadows. Warm & Cozy was one of my favorite releases (along with Naked Honey), and listing the release date reminds me of how long it's been since I've really enjoyed a collection. Anyhoo, I turn to this little love time and again, for assistance with blending a neutral eye. It's quite sheer yet offers a tiny bit of shimmer--mostly due to its satin blend. You can currently find something similar in Cargo's Essential Eye Palette (possibly the third shade down?)

What did you love in the month of June? Are there any items you have had your eye on for this month? If you're in the US, enjoy your Independence Day...and to my lovely Tongan readers, do you remember this time as once being HRH's Birthday Week? :) Happy times.

Monday, June 13, 2011

4 Top Pregnancy Moisturizers & May Favorites

Happy almost-Summer! It's so much easier to get things done when the sun is out and the air is warm, isn't it? It's been nasty busy lately, and I've been running in circles with hundreds of to-do lists posted around the house. Having the weather shape up makes everything a little more tolerable.

I mentioned in a previous post that I would share a few belly moisturizers that have been effective in keeping hydration levels up (and hopefully stretch marks down). At the point of writing, I am T-6.5 weeks until baby's birthday...so far stretchmark-free, and doing every last thing I can to encourage my skin's elasticity.

Around eight different products have been tested through in the last eight months, and these are the four that have risen to the top. Let's face it--stretch marks aren't exclusive to pregnancy, so this may be something that we can all draw from. Why don't we stave those (sometimes unavoidable) things as long as we can, together?

Carol's Daughter Sexy Belly: tamanu oil, rose hip extract, cocoa and shea butter. At first, I thought this one would be a bit of a miss. It was gifted to me, and felt quite hard to begin with. Within a day however, the entire tub softened up and it began spreading like semi-melted butter. My favorite of the bunch.

Mama Mio Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Oil: before trying Sexy Belly, this was my favorite. It smells heavily of rose hip oil, but is also combined with wheatgerm and borage oil. Having a bit of a celebrity following, I really enjoy this one as you can apply it at night and wake to amazingly moisturized skin. The range also offers a body butter version which smells just as lovely.

Wild Carrot Stretch Salve & Growing Belly Balm: this has olive oil infused with St John's worth, calendula, chamomile, raw shea butter, sea buckthorn...the list goes on and on! With this, I was a bit hesitant--the color is yellowish, making you think that it will stain your clothing. If you let it absorb for a few minutes before dressing, you'll spare your tops. It has been the easiest to travel with, and doesn't smell overwhelmingly herbal.

LaLicious Body Oil in Island Guava: you knew I couldn't just avoid a good coconut oil all together, right? My mum introduced me to this line a few years ago, when she gifted me with some gardenia scented versions of their bath scrubs. I knew there had to be other scents to choose from as well, and fell upon this guy. It includes coconut oil, sweet almond oil, macadamia nut oil, and also vitamin e oil. It is most similar to any bottled coconut oils you may have (in that it will solidify in the cold), but the scent is sweet and fruity.

Every once in a while, I feel as though something lighter would fit the bill. When this is the case, I call in one of two spray mists that have been emollient enough to moisturize, but not sticky enough to wait around for absorption.

c.Booth Brazilian Nut Dry Oil Spray: the scent of this thing is amazing! It's a little musky, while warm and comforting. I actually preferred this scent to their monoi one.

The Body Shop Olive Oil Dry Oil Mist: you can detect a bit of citrus mixed in with this olive oil moisturizer. While it is hydrating, watch where you spray it as it will leave your floor a bit "hydrated" as well. (this item may no longer be available for sale)

Since we're in the mindset of favorites, I thought I'd show you a belated May Favorites roundup. I haven't really taken to writing these types of posts in the past, but I always enjoy reading others'...so here you have it:

Jane Iredale PurePressed Base (fawn): I've reviewed this powder before, and I still enjoy it for a mineral powder. Used very lightly to set foundation in the t-zone, it helps to keep things put all day. This also includes SPF 20. I'm obsessed with SPF lately...I'll tell you later.

Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse (#240): I have no idea what the deal is with this thing! I've never ever used a foundation up to the very last bit (can you believe that)...as much as I may have enjoyed some. But this one, used with Sephora's Airbrush 55 brush is a match made in heaven. I receive so many compliments on my skin every time I choose that combo, that it makes me question why I continue to shell out for the Guerlain's & Armani's of this world...

Josie Maran Argan Blend Concealer (suede): If you're looking for a very creamy and moisturizing concealer, this may be your last stop. It's not full coverage, but blends well in the under eye area. When baby's kicks keep me up until 4am, I'm in desperate need of the corrector/cover combo. The compact is very thin, which is convenient if you're the type to throw it in your handbag.

Bourjois Bronzing Powder (52): Yes, this is scented of chocolate. Yes, it looks like a bar of it. Yes, I usually go and eat some chocolate after using this. This bronzer smells delicious, and is slightly different than some of my others--in that it leans a tad bit red. Any trace of shimmer is so slight that once applied to the skin, it appears matte.

Escada Taj Sunset: Each year, Escada brings out a new summery fragrance. This one has been my favorite by far--and since I don't collect them, I didn't mind picking it up in a purse form. I may regret that and grab a bottle, as it has a clean mango-like scent to it. Every time I turn to spray a different scent, I revert back to this...it just has summer scribbled all over it!

Sue Devitt Eye Intensifier Pencil (Kenya): There's a lot of hype surrounding these pencils. While they're very pigmented and creamy, I think their rightful place belongs on the waterline. During the day, I often opt for brown liner over black--this one is easy and seems to last for a handful of hours. I do appreciate her homage to her travels around the world, and of course I'm always swayed by those small details.

Anastasia Brow Wiz (medium ash): This one deserves its own special post. Hands down, my new favorite brow shader. The first thing I see on someone's face is their brows--so naturally I get a little particular about my own. Many powders and pencils are too warm--they actually make my brows appear slightly red. As it goes with my hair, I do not like things red! I prefer an ash-toned shade at all times. I had been using Anastasia's brow powder duo for years (with an angled brush), and while I don't dislike it at all, this is more precise. You don't need a brush, the back end contains a spoolie, and you can pinpoint the tiny areas that you'd like a little filling in, with the quickest swipe. The tip is so fine that it's the least obvious filler I've ever come across!

Whew! Now that that's out, tell me what your favorite stretch-mark cremes are! And do you do a monthly favorites post? If so, I'd love to check it out...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Random Update: Skincare, Nails, Rings & things

Happy Sunday! It's been a little bit since my last post, so I thought that some quick coverage of some random items would be a nice way of getting back into the swing of things.

Pregnancy skin can be so fickle. For about 18 weeks, my skin--everywhere--was all over the place. It was disheartening to say the least. As an avid beauty lover, I've read and heard my whole life that pregnancy is when your skin will look its best. I'd heard unendingly about the "pregnancy glow", and then I get there and all of the sudden I'm thinking "well, who lied to me?". I thought it would never end, and there were few correcting products deemed safe to use during that time.

But then 18 weeks hit...and everything snapped back into place. And even better than before! Let's hope this is a trend in...*ahem*..all areas, say post-pregnancy. Now I seem to be able to use whatever I like without any reaction at all (knock on wood). It's sort of reminding me of my high school/university years--those days when I could have poured hot grease on my face, and there'd have been no ill effect.

Lately, I've been loving the effect of re-introducing a serum into my routine. Thanks to Mrs Ruffles & Rouge, I found the wonder that is Lumene's Bright Radiance Skin Nectar, paired with their Vitamin C+ Pure Radiance 24 hr Lotion. The active arctic cloudberry encourages circulation, consequently smoothening the texture of the skin. After the first day of use, I could see a visible change in brightness. It doesn't weigh on the skin like a thick gel, but rather absorbs quickly and non-stickily. The lotion is a nice combination, as is also quite light, yet hydrating. I don't think I'll be switching anytime soon!

To add to the fun, I've thrown in my new favorite facial sunscreen. Kiehl's Super Fluid UV Defense (SPF 50), which was just introduced in a larger bottle. This is a very lightweight sunscreen that can be patted into the skin directly after moisturizing. Although I think it's important to apply sunscreen, I often skip it because many formulas congest my skin. This one does not at all, and is very thin and runny. It absorbs quickly and does not leave a white cast. I do prefer the dispenser on the smaller bottle however, as it is narrow and pointed--eliminating any potential spillage mess.

My nails have been changing throughout the weeks, from neon to pastel, to nudes, and back to brights. I can't seem to make up my mind about which Spring/Summer shades are my favorite. China Glaze's Pool Party is a throwback from their Poolside 2010 Collection.

It dries to a surprisingly matte finish (ew, yuck, barf), so there was no question about topping it with a glossy top coat. Looking at the bottle, you'd think it was a hot pink--but it ends up leaning a little red/orange on the nail. This one received a lot of unexpected compliments (don't they always though? The ones you can't make up your mind about receive all the compliments..).

Lastly, there was a silver bow ring pictured in my last belly photo. I received a handful of tweets asking me where I found it. Well, none other than Forever 21! Cheap and cheerful it was, to pop into our new 3-story Forever 21 and find a few chunky and fun silver rings. I don't expect any of them to last all that long (you get what you pay for), but they made me smile on an otherwise boring shopping day.

I gravitate towards pieces that are unique--sometimes chunky, other times so delicate that they appear breakable. Clearly, this was a chunky mood day :)

How goes your weekend, and what have you been up to? For those of you in the states, happy Memorial Day weekend!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pai Faina, Mother's Day & an Update

It's no secret that I love to eat. And cook. And bake. And every once in a while I'll tweet about it (by once in a while, I clearly mean a few times per day), and quite a few people who follow me on Twitter have asked for recipes. Well, here we have it!

On Easter (it may have happened a few times since then..give me a break--I have a big appetite; I'm pregnant!) I prepared what Tongans affectionately refer to as Pai Faina--Pineapple Pie. There are many ways to go about making this, and honestly this is the easiest one in my book. The big emphasis for my family is that the filling is quite custardy, and the crust/pastry not be store-bought. Even better, the filling ought to utilize fresh pineapple...but beggars can't be choosers in these non-tropical parts of the world. There are several variations (we don't mind a bit of rum in the filling) that are much more time-consuming, but it's usually up to what you have the energy for. This is a simple dessert--one that can be finished in under an hour.

Pai Faina

Pineapple Filling:

3 cups pineapple, crushed
3tbl custard powder
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 tbl butter (you can add a bit more for a creamier effect)

Pastry:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
5 egg yolks

Meringue:

5 tbl sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
5 egg whites

Set your oven to 350 degrees F.

Next heat up your pineapple in a saucepan, slowly adding the custard, sugar, and then a bit of salt. Let it thicken just a bit, and then remove it from the heat. Before it cools, add in your butter and stir until it has melted within the mixture. Set aside to cool.

Cream your butter and sugar together, later adding your egg yolks. Be sure to reserve your egg whites for your meringue. Add the remaining dry ingredients, being sure to have sifted them first. Nobody likes a big chunk of white flour in their crust!

Transfer your dough to a cutting board, after having floured your board and pin. Roll out your pastry and then place it into a 13"x9" pan (hey, a pie doesn't always have to be round--there are
mouths to feed!). Bake this in your oven for about 25 minutes, or until it's golden brown.

Once you've removed your pastry from the oven, pour your pineapple mixture on top.

Take your remaining egg whites, beating them until frothy, and then add your cream of tartar and sugar. Beat them some more until they form stiff peaks--if you are using a mixer, turn up the speed! Get the air into them but don't overdo it, lest they collapse.

Add this atop your pineapple mixture. The more creative you are with your swirling, the prettier the final outcome :) Pop this back into the oven at 375 degrees F, and watch it for a few minutes. The peaks will brown slightly, and then it's ready to be removed.

At this point, you should probably just take your share and run--because if your house is anything like mine, waiting will leave you hungry.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and we've now had Mother's Day. I was able to celebrate for this first time this year! In my mind, it's a-ok to celebrate Mother's Day while you're still pregnant--I'll never have this opportunity again, and I believe that one becomes a mother at the start of pregnancy. We were able to grab very last minute tickets to a talk by a midwife that I greatly admire--Ina May Gaskin. Then we spent time in the sun taking a walk, riding the swing at the park (I don't know..I've been doing this more than i ought to admit, lately), and visiting my nan at the cemetery. Later, the two (or is it 3?) of us had a lovely Italian meal and called it a night.

He's getting so big at 29 weeks--even getting off of the couch has required a new routine! I'll update you soon with some pregnancy skincare bits. They're things that I feel are good for pregnant and non-pregnant ladies alike.

Did you grow up eating pai faina...or something similar? For those of you in the US, what did you do for Mother's Day?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Oh Honey: The Body Shop's Honey Bronze Collection

Whoa, 400 followers? Thank you so much, lovely readers! It means a lot to me--that the things I write about mean anything at all to you. I appreciate and always look forward to your interaction and comments :)

Just mentioning how unimpressed I've been with MAC's LE collections, reminded me of my favorite collection of last year--Naked Honey. Some of my favorite beauty treats have honey in the formula--milk & honey, honey masks, honey salve. When I heard that The Body Shop was releasing a Honey Bronze Summer collection, I knew that I needed in.

The bronze packaging of each product screams warm weather and beachy days. Those kinds of days are everything I live for, year-round. There are five pieces to the collection, three of which I picked up for a little pre-summer daydream.

The bronzing powders are offered in four shades. I chose shade 03, as it appeared the least orange on my skin. I can't overdo it (I promise...I'm not just saying this), as the effect is warming but not oompa loompa status. It's completely matte, yet moisturizing in a way similar to Korres' Monoi Bronzer. It does remind me of the Naked Honey High-Light Powders, in appearance--minus the shimmer.

The lip nectars are similar to many glosses on the market, texture-wise (think Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush gloss)--although the shade Honey Beige imparts a slight gold sheen on the lips. In my humble opinion, it's nothing to write home about. The jelly-like honey shade makes me wish there were at least a sweet scent to them (as opposed to being unscented).

Speaking of scent, we have a winner: the Shimmering Dry Oil. Naturally, this smells like something you'd find on the beach--a bit reminiscent of monoi, without the strong floral component, and a tad more of the coconut effect. It really and truly is a dry oil, absorbing quickly into the skin. Compared to the NARS Body Glow, you'll find that this formula is much less shimmery. I'm alright with that as it means one less worry about it staining my clothing. This one will be making its debut poolside, on my big 'ol pregnant belly. Yup, I'm one of those women.

The fair trade honey found in these products is sourced in Ethiopia, while other ingredients are products of Cameroon and Namibia. Not bad, not bad at all.

Are you ready for Summer like I am? Will you be checking out the Honey Bronze Collection?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Just a Couple of MAC Lipsticks..

If we're being honest here, I should admit that it's been some time since any of the MAC limited edition collections have wowed me. I try so hard--swatching and contemplating; but for the last few, they've come off as just a bit...meh.

No need to fear. There are always 3,000 good MAC lipstick choices to rummage through. So recently I did just that, choosing two that happen to always be placed next to each other.

The first is Impassioned--a bright coral/watermelon pink. This one packs a starbursty punch of color..almost so much so, that it can prevent you from wearing it. Chatterbox is the second pink. It's much more wearable, with slight blue undertones. Surprisingly, either of them look very daring when swiped next to each other. The true difference comes through on the lips, and I will update with lip swatches soon.

In other earth-shattering, ground breaking news..we celebrated a family birthday a couple of weeks ago. I prepared an orange chocolate cake (what can I say, I'm a Jaffas addict)--and I thought these little birthday candles topped it off nicely. You know, just in case any family members were confused as to what we were celebrating...

Speaking of celebrations..how about that Royal Wedding? I was glued to the television for a good 7 hours straight. Absolutely stunning!

What is your favorite MAC lipstick? Err..any other Jaffas fans?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Nails!

This week has seen only pastel painted-egg shades on the nails.

Starting with China Glaze's For Audrey as the primary color, I then dripped a bit of Island Girl's Island Volcano from the base.

Last night, they were switched out for China Glaze's Lemon Fizz. Yellow nails have been popping up everywhere this Spring, and although this guy has sat in my collection for the past year, it never really felt like the right time to use it. Perhaps Easter has made it feel more wearable.

And on that note, for those of you who celebrate--Happy Easter! What are you wearing on your nails this weekend?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fairy Drops: Scandal or Not?

So, up until recently I've been pretty reliant on one brand when itcomes to Japanese fiber/tube mascaras. They're not an every day product for me--they're a funeral/very-warm-weather/sad movies type of mascara. At times, it can be a lower lash product as well.

When I started hearing the hype surrounding Fairy Drops Scandal Queen Mascara (longer, curlier, waterproof lashes), I figured it was time to test out a new fiber mascara. This one comes in a very pretty tube--shiny and metallic. I'm pretty sure it was the wow factor of the tube that pushed me to pick it up...it reminds me of a design you'd find in old Las Vegas.

There are five essences contained in the formula: squalane (emollient), jojoba oil (balancing), panthenol (humectant), collagen (strength & elasticity), and sodium hyaluronate (hydration). The curved wand consists of three poofy bulbs, which are said to increase length and volume. The formula is quite wet--not overly so, but definitely has a moisturizing appeal. I've had a few issues with using the brush on my lower lashes--it's quite wide, so smudging can occur easily.

The verdict: It does a fine job lengthening, but the effect leans more to the natural end of things. When it comes to volume, I much prefer a mascara such as Lancome's Hypnose--even if it does risk a little rub-off under the lash line. If you have trouble with keeping a curl, this one may be a good pick..but you're using a lash curler anyway, right?

In other news, I've been having cravings for caramel frappuccino, boba tea and sushi. Is it the weather? This is another favorite creation from SushiSamba, which leads me to believe there ought to be at least one more SushiSamba holiday before baby arrives...

El Topo roll: salmon, jalapeno, shiso, melted
mozzarella & crispy onion

Are you a fan of Japanese mascaras? Which are you favorites?
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