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.
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