Posted on 23 September 2013 | Comments Off on Nails Did: Mariah Carey x OPI Holiday Nail Lacquers Tags: beauty & health, nails did
Just in time for the holiday season, OPI has announced its limited-edition 18 lacquer collection in collaboration with international superstar Mariah Carey. The seasonal release includes an assortment of textured polishes ranging from champagne glitter to an ice blue Liquid Sand shade. Each of the Liquid Sand lacquers showcases OPI’s innovative technology that leaves nails with a textured, matte finish infused with a reflective sparkle. The polishes are slated to release in October and will retail for $9.
Mariah Carey Holiday includes the following (*Liquid Sand shade):
My Favorite Ornament: Make this champagne glitter your new personal favorite.
All I Want for Christmas (is OPI): This marvelous maroon is present-ly my top choice.
Cute Little Vixen: This deep red violet has foxy written all over it.
Underneath the Mistletoe: Is my kiss as spicy-sweet as this candy-apple red.
In My Santa Suit: This generously pigmented red is worth staying on the “nice” list.
Visions of Love: I see this rich burgundy in my immediate future.
Warm Me Up: This spiced coffee hits all the cold spots.
Wonderous Star: This gold-flecked shimmer has heavenly shine.
All Sparkly and Gold: What more can we say…the name says it all.
Sleigh Ride for Two: There’s only room left for this dark hot chocolate.
Ski Slope Sweetie: This golden pearl is everybunny’s favorite.
I Snow You Love Me: Just like I snow you love this disco light confetti.
Silent Stars Go By*: This blush of textured pink has parades of sparkle.
Baby Please Come Home*: Can’t wait to see you…in this textured and sparkling lilac.
Make Him Mine*: But make this textured glistening rose mine first!
It’s Frosty Outside*: This frosted silver is so icy it’s hot.
Emotions*: This dramatic sparkling coal has got me feeling fine.
Kiss Me at Midnight*: It’s time to fall in love with this frosted ice blue.
Posted on 12 September 2013 | Comments Off on My New Lipstick Crush: Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick Tags: BEAUTY
I know I gush about another cosmetic brand but honestly my heart is huge enough to love other brands equally. Urban Decay is one of those brands that owns a portion of my heart – I’d say upper right side. I love their eye pencils, liquid liners and awesome eye shadows. I am also a fan of their minty fresh lip glosses but I soon noticed their lipstick was lacking and then the collection disappeared.
Until recently. The lipstick collection came back late this Summer and they came back HARD! The reviews from my fellow bloggers all raved just how awesome they were and this really piqued my interest. But I, QUEEN of the most sensitive lips had another thought – “I’ll be the judge of that!”
I did and what can I say? It’s LOVE!
What makes this so wonderful?
Well aside from 22 colors to choose from – the most demure nude beige to the most sultry devious plum and sexy, gorgeous reds. I would challenge you not to find a shade that would disappoint! It also has tremendous staying power. I only have to reapply this twice (after lunch) if I wear this lipstick to the office. UD’s Pigment Infusion System gives the formula a super creamy texture, superior color dispersion and long wear.
Urban Decay also launched new 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencils that coordinate with these shades. For ultimate long wearing power, pair the lipstick with it’s matching lip pencil. The pencil is also nice, creamy and very easy to apply. This is also comfortable on my lips. I have worn this lipstick by itself and while it may not be as opaque it still lasts for quite sometime.
Long wearing power, universally flattering shades, what more could I ask for? It keeps my lips soft and comfortable even when wearing this lipstick on consecutive days. Sometimes I can’t wear certain brands of lipstick consecutively because in the end my lips become raw and peel. I have yet to face that problem with this formula. That said, I really hope I didn’t jinx myself just now.
Here’s a swatch of the colors I went with – it was a really hard choice!
Jilted, deep fuchsia with blue shift, Lipstick and Venom, rich plum, Lip Pencil (far right)
A sensible beauty consumer would have chosen the safe nude pink, or rosy mauve for the office but since this lipstick’s tagline is Creamy Badass Luxury, I just couldn’t resist this fuchsia shade. Plus the subtle blue shift brightens my smile.
The color is actually brighter in person. I apologize for the bad lighting.
It’s fragrance free and like all Urban Decay products, they are cruelty-free.
I was really hoping that this lipstick was going to fail me but I couldn’t be further from that. My downfall will be choosing the next shade for my collection.
Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick ($22/USD) and 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencils ($19/USD) are now available online at www.urbandecay.com, Sephora, Ulta and Selected Macy’s.
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Posted on 21 August 2013 | Comments Off on Don’t Call it a Comeback… 90s Wine Lipstick Tags: BEAUTY
Not too long ago I received an email from one of the many online shopping sites I subscribed to and it was fashion story I just could not ignore.
It was a natural transition from the 80’s incarnation in past collections but it seriously made me feel my age when I noticed a very strong 90’s reference hitting the Fall season very hard, especially with younger fashions.
The collage above describes how I dressed my Sophomore year in high school, 1990.
Well actually I went through different periods through each grade. Freshman was more New Wave/Punk, Sophomore was still a bit New Wave but leaning on a European Sade kind of vibe, Junior year was influenced by my growing interest in Hip Hop and Senior year was a blend of all of the above. It was also helpful that I worked at Contempo Casuals to provide the wardrobe of my ever growing needs.
A few disclaimers, I did not include any Freshman photos because that 1989 and I wanted to stay true to the 90’s and the middle pic was well after high school but mid-90’s.
Here’s are some visual references that I looked to often during my high school years:
But what really had me feelin’ the 90’s? Lipstick. It’s nothing new – it shouldn’t be a real surprise but what is a surprise to me is that I haven’t been craving my usual (safe) pink nude shades. If you noticed in my collage of old photos, you’ll notice that I was wearing only red or a wine. Honestly, I didn’t wear start wearing nude pink lipstick or gloss till well into my twenties. Like Gwen Stefani, I didn’t leave the house without a deep colored lip and now, it feels foreign to me.
I did dip my toe in the deep end again recently, I started buying lots of red and even bright pinks. I am now obsessed with collecting wine/berry shades. Dark lips also allow for less eye makeup. I didn’t get into detailed, contoured, 4 blended shadow looks till my late 20’s if not early 30’s. I can get away with a nude shade, a slash of black liner on my top lash line and a few coats of black mascara and let me lips take the spotlight.
I also get an extra five minutes of sleep in the morning – WIN!
Here are a few of my current favorites:
The first two are by MAC. All out Gorgeous is a warm deep red and Lush Life is cool tone plum. These two are part of the Mineralize collection, which is my favorite – nice, moisturizing and great pigment payoff. The last two are by NARS and on the matte side – 413 Bleeker (deep brown wine) and Amsterdam (deep maroon red). This shade evokes memories when I would try to create the perfect maroon red by blending Prescriptives lip pencil in Fudge with MAC’s Russian Red in 1993 – it’s also a very Truth or Dare Madonna shade. Matte lipsticks were also my finish of choice in high school probably because the lipstick never moved off my lips and teachers frown upon pulling out your compact to see if your lipstick is bleeding or feathering every 10 minutes.
This is probably why I stopped wearing bright and deep shades – the upkeep. I’m so lazy that I avoid sandwiches and burritos the days I’m not wearing nude lip glosses. Sorry but smeared red lips after demolishing a BLT or a burger – not sexy. So lucky for me I found matte and long wearing shades that last on my lips for more than three hours.
The shade I’ve been wearing the most is NARS 413 Bleeker:
It’s the latest shade that’s exclusive to the NARS boutiques and online. It’s a semi-matte formula that’s actually comfortable on the lips and stain the lips with lots of color.
It makes me happy and feel youthful if you can believe. The annoyed look on the right also hasn’t changed over the years – just ask my little sister and my husband.
I’m really glad I discovered my love for deep lip shades again. I’m just mad at myself that it took a 90’s inspired fashion story to rediscover the awesome power of a sultry wine stained pout.
Looking back at my young self, I know a simple thing like lipstick stirred controversy in my family and probably among my teachers. These dark colors are very edgy, if not mature and what the hell is it doing on a fifteen year old? Is she about to do a tap dance recital? But like a lot of teenage girls, I wanted to be 18 or 21 right at that moment. The closest thing I could do to speed up that process is to wear a racy lipstick shade. And now I’m doing everything it takes to slow down the aging process – lip balm, sunscreen and anti-aging serums are my new best friends!
Ugh, I’m constantly praying the my daughter will outgrow her girly Princess phase and will turn into one of those girls that just can’t be bothered with cosmetics. Yeah, I know…karma is a bitch!
The next thing I want from my 90’s past – great black motorcycle or cowboy boots. Or even oxblood Dr. Marten boots – I think I can pull that off. Okay now I’m jumping way ahead myself. And, I promise I won’t bust out any floral baby doll dresses. God, I loved me a baby doll dress. Help me if I ever run into a clearance rack of them.
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Posted on 14 August 2013 | Comments Off on NARS Radiant Cream Foundation Review Tags: BEAUTY
NARS seems to be on a new item rampage and I’m the last person to complain. Honestly, for the first time I’m trying hard to keep up with all of their new launches. The one I’m reporting about today really piqued my interest. The Radiant Cream Foundation compact…
This isn’t a very compact compact. In fact, this will take up most of the space of your makeup pouch unless you like to ride around with a large makeup bag. A slight annoyance but isn’t a deal breaker. Especially since this is a refillable compact case.
I chose two refillable foundation shades: Barcelona (deeper medium with golden, peachy undertone) and Syracuse (medium-dark with brown undertone).
Syracuse is definitely the best shade since I am still holding on to the tan I got back in Florida three months ago and from running outdoors on rare sunny lunch breaks.
Syracuse locked into place on the left and Barcelona to the right for color comparison.
I didn’t receive the refillable foundation sponge so I improvised with my foundation brush and a foundation sponge I purchased from a beauty store. My preferred application is with a dry foundation sponge. I felt that I needed more when using the brush and it was too sheer when applying with a damp sponge. This is a medium coverage formula, sets in a few short minutes and it is comfortable on my face all day. I notice slight bumpiness but my face tends to react this way with any new foundation or tinted moisturizer I try out. I’m bumpy for a few short days and then my skin adapts.
Did you notice the lid on the refill itself? Keep that lid shut until it’s time to use the foundation. This formula is enriched with the NARS Advanced Emulsion Technology, the velvety cream formula blends seamlessly and uniquely allows for the modern artistic versatility of a wet or a dry application. The buildable formula delivers medium to full coverage leaving the skin soft, smooth and glowing.
Test results showed: 90% noticed their skin looked brighter and more radiant; 95% felt their skin was smoother; and 93% felt the appearance of dry skin was improved.
This foundation is air sensitive due to it’s unique texture. To ensure the integrity and life span of this product, make sure you close the inner lid of the refill securely and keep this out direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.
I have been using this for the past week and I’m very pleased. It stays on my skin all day and I still feel comfortable while wearing on my light workout days. I don’t like wearing foundation on days I run 3-6 miles during my lunch break – I wear tinted moisturizer on those days.
Since this is a two piece item, you have to purchase the compact and refill separately. The empty compact is $10/USD and the refills will set you back $38/USD. So yes, the two items together are $4 dollars more than the bottled foundation ($44/USD) and $6 more than a tube of tinted moisturizer ($42/USD) but when it’s time to purchase another refill it’ll be a money saver.
I’ll always be a NARS girl since the first time I discovered the Multiple and the colors always spoke to girls like me, on the warmer side of the color spectrum. Monsieur Nars always incorporated foundation shades to suit fair, tan and deep faces of the world. I use to have problems finding suitable foundations, I still do with certain luxury and drugstore brands but it’s never a problem with NARS.
The NARS Radiant Cream Foundation is available now at the NARS flagship boutiques and on narscosmetics.com
This compact set was sent to me by the NARS PR department for my consideration. Merci and keep doin’ what you do!
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Posted on 08 August 2013 | Comments Off on Fragrance Review: Imaginary Authors Tags: BEAUTY, fragrance
He welcomed me with a warm and friendly smile. I was ushered into his cozy space where he pulled out a seat for me and offered me a shot of Four Roses Bourbon. We exchanged stories and laughter. What I thought was a quick five minutes became a rapid fire twenty minutes. I was caught up in the moment. My husband and daughter came looking for me and there I was caught red handed with an empty shot glass and perfume samples.
I know it almost sounds like a tawdry affair but I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in dramatic word play when it comes to this independent fragrance from Portland, Oregon: Imaginary Authors.
Meet Josh Meyers (see that dapper guy in the crew neck sweater), a former real estate agent turned self-taught fragrance creator and brain behind the brand. I found Josh’s table at the Renegade Craft Fair at Fort Mason, SF. My husband was selling products from his own line, 265 Design. As I walked away from his table to make a phone call to some girlfriends to break the news that I was just too worn out to make a drive out to Napa for a girl’s weekend, I felt so defeated. I need a pick me up. I turned around walked a few steps and noticed a quirky fragrance booth. It immediately lifted my spirits.
Each fragrance, there are seven in the collection, is set up on two hardcover books. The fragrance is captured on a bookmark that’s meant to be sprayed with the fragrance and is placed inside a wineglass right side down.
I first smelled The Soft Lawn and was taken by the fresh lime scent but there was something different, odd perhaps? Next he had me smell Violet Disguise and then he mentioned The Cobra and The Canary for it’s tobacco flowers, orris root and leather. I asked if had an animalic quality. He shot me a quizzical glance and asked what kind of fragrances I wore. I mentioned that I loved the independent and lesser known brands such as Slumberhouse and Atelier Cologne. His eyes lit up as if he were lost in a foreign land and met someone that magically understood his language.
I inhaled the base of the wine glass that trapped the aroma of The Cobra and The Canary and then I smelled Violet Disguise. At first I was more smitten with Violet Disguise because I detected the plum note right away. I sniffed my way through the remaining five fragrances in his collection but I kept going back to Cobra and Violet Disguise. His top seller, Memoirs of a Trespasser slyly entered the scene by tempting me with its boozy vanilla presence. I quickly reached into my wallet and pulled out some cash to buy a sample of The Cobra and The Canary and Memoirs of a Trespasser. Josh also slipped me a sample of Violet Disguise – what a gentleman! I walked back to my husband’s booth in a cloud of plum from one arm, smoky vanilla on the other and a dreamy smile on my face.
Lucky for me this was the first day of the craft fair. I’d be returning the last day to help out my husband transport some of his wood crafts home. I wanted to make it a point to return back to Josh’s table to see if I could steal the last ten minutes of the day with a quick conversation of the wonderful world of fragrance. I was extremely lucky that it also involved some bourbon.
I love learning about the earliest fragrant memories of fragrance makers and Josh’s was no different, “my youth spent in Southern California…a mix of linden blossoms and the salty sea.” So I was really surprised when I asked the Sophie’s Choice like question about the one note he would love to repeatedly work with was leather because it can take on a dramatically unique appearance or it can be soft and subdued in the background.
Josh in action
Josh even provided some advice to the young female novice that only buys department store brands, “buy fragrances for yourself and not what you think your boyfriend might like…you might be surprised what you find.” I could have used this advice sooner. I started buying for myself in just the past three years. I will admit that I make my husband smell every sample I procure on my arms. However, if he doesn’t like a scent that I truly love, it doesn’t stop me from keeping on loving or purchasing it. I just try not to wear it around him.
When asked about the creative approach to his fragrance marketing, Josh explains that he wanted to create a fragrance world that was smart and evoked memories without relying on in your face sexuality. Therefore, creating authors and story lines behind each fragrance reinforces Josh’s vision. Also, for the literary nerds like me, it’s pretty awesome. It also goes without saying that a big goal for him is to create complex scents that will not be found in your average mall retailer.
Here’s the fragrance lineup and I included the brief synopsis each scent inspires, as well as my own thoughts:
Falling into the Sea
At the age of nineteen Nica Galas published her first book, the autobiographical tome Falling into the Sea which chronicled her short and torrid love affair among the hot beaches and lemon trees in the Gulf of Naples. The breathtaking story opens with Nica and her girlfriends picking bunches of jasmine flower for boys while they cliff-jumped into the sea. An innocent first kiss erupts into an ardent summer entanglement which is cut short one moonlit night when her lover leaps into the dark abyss never to surface, leaving Nica naked on the cliffs screaming his name.
Notes: Lemon, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lychee, Tropical flowers and warm sand.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to test or smell this fragrance. I’m really bummed that I missed this one. Bergamot is one of my favorite notes that always puts me in a bright summer state of mind. I may have to purchase a sample of this one from Josh’s site.
The Soft Lawn
Claude LeCoq published his first book, The Soft Lawn, in 1916 while still attending Princeton University. A controversial portrait of adolescent upper-class rebellion in New England, the coming-of-age story follows Hampton Perry, a charmingly snotty college tennis champ who, after years of having everything handed to him on a silver platter, finds himself handing it all back.
A little known fact about the author: Claude LeCoq wore only seersucker suits, known in that era as the wardrobe of the poor, and it was his gallant presence at high society dinners and prestigious sporting events that brought the fabric into popularity among the affluent in the ’20s.
I can’t recall exactly what a fresh can of tennis balls or even a clay court smells like because I never really played tennis but the lime from the linden blossom transported me to sunny country clubs. I gave this a few minutes to bloom and I did get an aroma that was reminiscent of gym class tennis activities. It’s a rubbery green scent. I did get an earthy, woody vibe when at the drydown. This is great fragrance that adds a creative twist to a traditional summer scent. It will boost and elevate your mood.
The Cobra and The Canary
When a tip from a clairvoyant leads 23-year old Neal Orris to a rural Connecticut barn housing his deceased father’s secret obsession, a pristine 1964 Shelby Cobra Roadster, it is the getaway ticket he was desperately searching for. After liberating his best friend Ike from his dead-end job on the family farm, the two hit the open highway. Aiming for the Palm Springs race tracks, their journey is a blur of seedy motels, cool swimming pools, hot debutantes, cocktails, and cigarette smoke. Each stop finds the friends inventing new pseudonyms and personas for themselves, their innocent game hurtling into the depths of decadence and desolation.
Notes: Lemon, Tobacco flowers, Orris root, Leather, Hay fields and asphalt
This was a first runner up to Violet Disguise but then I gave it another go around. I found myself wearing this three days in a row. I need a full bottle of this in my life. I love the fresh lemon opening accompanied a dry, leathery accord. This is the tobacco flowers working with the leather and hay fields. I can still detect tobacco in the background. When this beauty dries down, the leather is softer, and the orris root kicks in more by making it a bit powdery. It’s still dry but now I can detect a bit of floral and even a bit of clean skin musk. There’s now a faded tobacco scent lingering. If anything this is for a girl that is loves a good leather jacket and perhaps owns a leather purse with a worn out inner pocket that carried around her bad habit many years ago, a pack of smokes. This is a great a scent for men and women. I am dying to spray this on my husband and I’m dying to smell this on him while we sneak off into a dark corner of a dive bar.
A stunning portrait of Paris in the fashionable 50’s, Audrey Blavot’s L’Orchidée Terrible tells the story of Honey Martine, a young girl from England who, while on holiday with her family in Paris, is discovered by a fashion designer and thrust into the glamorous world of haute couture. Her mantra “I’ll try anything once” leads Honey from one adventure to the next and stirs in her an insatiable lust for trouble.
Though the true identity of Audrey Blavot has never been revealed it is rumored that she was, herself, a model or designer of the era. A post address in the 8th Arrondissement is published in each of her books but no one has ever been seen coming or going from the residence. Fans now leave orchids on the doorstep as a tribute to the elusive author.
Notes: Orchid, Aldehydes, Honey, Muget, White Musk, Satin
This is a very soapy aldehyde scent on me. It’s bit overwhelming but I can’t help but be impressed with it’s longevity and how it transcends into a deep honey scent. This isn’t a big winner for me but I bet I may change my tune if I wear this with a pencil skirt, a leopard print twinset and killer patent black leather heels.
Devante Valéreo was raised in a dusty Spanish village on the Balearic Sea. He fondly recalled going to the bullfights with his father, an ex-picador, and credited those early experiences with inspiring his most popular novella, Bull’s Blood. The book’s lurid tale of seduction garnered obscenity charges against the author. Though the charges were rejected by the court, a ban on the sale of his works persisted for a number of years.
A fixture in Barcelona, smoking cigarillos and writing in the cafés and bars into the night, Valéreo disappeared as a fugitive in 1967 after a highly publicized bar scuffle with American sailors, one of whom later died from his injuries. “A man who has killed,” he wrote in Bull’s Blood, “is a man who knows passion.”
I love patchouli, rose, musk and sometimes tobacco but costus root and bull’s blood? Ugh. So I spray a bit on my arm and immediately I get patchouli and then some rose. Okay this isn’t so bad but wait, what is that hair tonic smell? Costus root. It actually reminds me a bit of my late grandfather, who was a barber, he would put tonic in his hair daily. This is also the first scent that gave me a bit of a headache within the first 15 minutes of wear time. But I persevered, if not for Josh but for myself and I wanted to discover the next scent it would turn into. I’m glad I did because about three hours later it was a faint tobacco and soft musk. This scent reminded me of my father that often smoked a cigarette right before his shower. Not a huge fan of this scent but I was happy of the memories it stirred within me.
“Invigorated by the reckless blooms of spring she took to the street like a blossom on the breeze.” So begins Violet Disguise by Lenora Blumberg. A Californian through and through, Blumberg’s early stories invoke the innocence of picnics in the park, days whiled away picking plums in the orchard, and warm nights cruising canyon roads with the top down.
After Violent Disguise was adapted for the screen Blumberg spent several years consorting with Hollywood’s elite but abandoned the glitz for a quiet life on a plum orchard in the Ojai Valley.
Notes: Violet, Plum, Dried Fruits, Balsam, Amber, Evening Air and The Month of May
Okay, honestly I do not know what the month of May smells like because I live in city that has only two seasons: winter and a very short summer that comes around the end of September and lasts for just two weeks. I am a sucker for plum scents but this one is a little different. I like my plums to settle with some tartness. There is some plum there in the background but it is overshadowed by the fruit notes. If you love violets, this may not be for you. The violet comes right out the gate and then fades. Then the amber comes in and it settles into a deep fruity resinous scent. If you’re patient and willing to put the time in, this scent is worth checking out.
Memoirs of a Trespasser
The early exploration writing of Philip Sava bent the limits of post-modern fiction, revealing fantastical worlds that fooled many into believing they were, in fact, real. Sava’s kaleidoscopic collections, of which Memoirs of a Trespasser is the undeniable centerpiece, drew upon true experiences from his exotic travels but were infused with a hallucinatory inventiveness that set his work apart from others in the genre.
Though Sava had associates all over the world, he spent most of his time living in solitude on a ranch in southern Madagascar. When interrogated by the press on his cloistered lifestyle he notoriously answered, “Who needs love when you have cognac?”
This is not your usual sweet gourmand vanilla. It goes on smoky then transcends into boozy and within time it settles into an incense scent that is reminiscent to church. This is a vanilla that may be an acquired taste for some but for complex fragrance lovers like me, this is comfort.
Longevity is an A+ with all of these scents. Do choose with care because the scent will stay with you longer than four hours!
As you know, I’m a sucker for packaging and presentation so again kudos to Josh’s keen marketing sense. I love that the usual fragrance strips you’d use to spray and sample are actually book markers. I just wished I grabbed all seven book marks.
I am a new fan of Josh and his impressive line of fragrances. I think I’m in awe of him not because he is self-taught and walked away from a lucrative corporate career but because he listened to his inner voice and wasn’t afraid to jump into his passion. He is an inspiration to people like me, late 30’s still asking myself what am I really doing? What do I really want to do. I am hoping that I can answer that question myself. His last bit of advice to me on fragrance writing, “keep writing, read lots of fragrance books and just keep smelling.” I guess I was hoping for something more profound but it doesn’t get any easier than that. It’s up to me to stop being lazy and just start writing.
In the meantime, I’ll be busy burying my nose into my wrist to get every whiff of The Cobra and The Canary, from beginning to drydown.
Each scent is 60mls/$85.
For more info on each scent, how to purchase samples and where to find these scents at a boutique near you. Please check out the Imaginary Authors site.
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