Sunday, June 30, 2013

¡Buen Viaje! - Travel Essentials Part 3 - Makeup

A may find my travel makeup choices a bit excessive.  However, 1) I'm ok with that, 2) I'll be there almost a month, and 3) I need lots of options when it comes to makeup.  I just do. As my mom says, "It requires a lot of products to be you, Elizabeth."  You said it, mama.

Let's start with face products:

 From top to bottom:

 - Blush/bronzer brush - MAC #116 - a fairly new purchase and the most perfect blush brush I've ever owned!
 - Powder brush - Real Techniques Multi-Tasking Brush - Real Techniques is an excellent line of brushes created by YouTube beauty guru Samantha Chapman.  And while I haven't yet blogged about my favorite brushes, I will tell you that good ones are the KEY to makeup application.  This line is a great, affordable way to start building your brush collection.
 - Foundation brush - Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki - Sigma is another excellent line of affordable brushes.  They can only be purchased from their website, but they have great starter kits and always have coupon codes. 
 - Concealer brush - MAC 217 - This brush is a staple in most makeup artists' kits, and many actually carry more than one.  It is a domed eyeshadow blending brush, but it also makes a fabulous brush for blending/buffing in concealer.
 - Mac ProLongwear Concealer in NW20 - I use this long-wearing concealer to cover a few spots of hyperpigmentation on my face.
 - Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer - one of the goodies from my Sephora Superstars set.  I am loving this primer, and I think I'll be buying a full-sized bottle of it once I run out.  If you want your foundation to go on flawlessly and last all day, a primer is a MUST.
 - It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye concealer - this is a creamier concealer that I use for hiding undereye circles.  It is VERY thick and pigmented, and a little goes a long way.
 - My new love...Chanel's BB Cream.  Review to come on this lovely product, but I am now using this in place of my regular liquid foundation.  It is heavenly!
 - MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural powder in Medium to set concealer/CC cream

Face products part dos:

From left to right:
 - Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in Dollface (a cool-toned pink blush that lasts all day) 
 - Laura Mercier bronzer in Golden Bronze - got this in a GWP and it is the perfect little size for travel. Still on the hunt or my holy grail bronzer, though.
 - My beloved, discontinued Jane Be Pure Mineral Blush in Rose Satin.  It is the most beautiful, perfect, peachy-pink blush.  I'm so sad that this is not sold anymore. :(
 - Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray - holy moly this is a fabulous makeup setting spray.  Takes away the "cakey" look of any powder products and really helps makeup to last all day.

Moving on to eyes:

 - The pink palette is a Z Palette that I keep all of my eyeshadows in.  (OK, not ALL of them are in this one...don't get crazy, girl.)  This is a travel-size Z Palette, but the rest of my shadows are de-potted and kept in two larger- size ones.  From top to bottom, left to right: - (all are MAC Shadows unless specified otherwise) - Sable, Woodwinked, Satin Taupe, Club, Star Violet, Seedy Pearl, Omega (for brows), Jane Iredale Peach, and Wet'n Wild Brule.
 - The palette on the right is the Bare Minerals Ready Eyeshadow palette in The Truth.
 - The containers at the bottom are 2 small sample jars from Nordstrom that I saved and cleaned out to store little dollops of my favorite eyeshadow bases (much better than packing 3 bulky jars!) - left to right - Benefit's Skinny Jeans cream shadow, MAC Painterly Paint Pot, NYX White Eyeshadow Base

More eye essentials:

The two products are both from Anastasia - the top is a felt tip brow pen and the bottom is her clear brow gel, which beats the pants off any clear mascara or hairspray/baby toothbrush combo I've ever tried.

The rest, from left to right:

 - Jordana Best Lash Extreme mascara - for more dramatic lashes
 - Cover Girl Lash Perfection mascara - for more defined, subtle lashes
 - Shiseido eyelash curler
 - Milani Shadow Eyez in Champagne Toast (a good eyeshadow base for a shimmery eye)
 - Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner in Bourbon - the perfect brown eyeliner that doesn't budge
 - Milani Liquid Eye eyeliner pencil in black - for lining upper and lower waterlines
 - Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in black - another GEM from the Sephora Supertars kit.  It has a teeny-tiny thin point that allows me to easily control the thickness of the line and get it as close to my lashline as possible
 - A new great little find - NYX Slide On Glide On pencil in Golden Bronze - a bronzey liner like this (or you could even use a shimmery plum or other rich color) used under/over/blended into black liner is the key to a dramatic, smokey eye that doesn't look harsh.

What? You thought I was done with eyes?  Not yet...

 Left to right:

 - Sephora eyebrow brush/eyelash comb - a METAL eyelash comb is the key to clump-free lashes.
 - For applying eyeshadow base/primer - MAC 252 (more sanitary than sticking your finger in your primer pots for months)
 - For patting shadow onto the lid - MAC 239
 - For applying an all-over color to the eye - a sorta-flat-sorta-domed/fluffy brush that came in a Bare Escentuals kit many moons ago
 - For blending eyeshadow into the crease - Revlon Contour Eyeshadow brush
 - For smudging eyeliner out with eyeshadow - Chanel Eye Brush #4 (actually not its real name, and I can't find it on the website anymore, but the linked brush, #14, looks like it is the same one as the one I have).  I've had this little baby for years and it is perfect for blending out eyeliner and creating a soft smokiness on the lashline.
 - For grooming brows - Anastasia brow brush (the best brow brush I've ever owned)

Now on to lips:

The top two glosses are my beloved, discontinued, two favorite glosses in the history of glossdom - Chanel's Electric and Tickled Pink

From left to right:
 - Revlon's Super Lustrous Lipgloss in Pink Whisper (the old formula...these were fabulous and on par with MAC Lipglasses.  Revlon and I are so in a fight right now because they re-vamped their Super Lustrous gloss line into a newer, less-pigmented, thinner formula.  You can probably find these old formulas on clearance now in drugstores, though, so hurry!)
 - MAC Lipglass in Strange Potion (limited edition, part of the Venomous Villains collection)
 - Holy Grail lipgloss that I can't live without - MAC's Nymphette
 - MAC Fanfare lipstick - boring in the tube but a pretty, warm pink that gives such a beautiful, polished finish to just about any makeup look
 - MAC Bombshell lipstick - awesome, shimmery, Barbie pink
 - L'Oreal Tropical Coral lipstick - a great new drugstore find
 - Maybelline Color Sensational lipstick in Make Me Pink - in my opinion, this line is the best line of drugstore lipsticks on the market.  They have super pigmentation and a smooth, creamy, non-drying finish.
 - In case I decide to get wild and crazy - Wet 'n Wild 525D - I wore this in high school and I still love it for creating a bright pink lip.

If you saw my post on Instragram and Facebook the other day, you know I have a little bit of a lip liner problem.  So, of course this problem comes with me when I travel:

From top to bottom:

 - Buxom Big 'n Healthy Lip Stick in London - the perfect base for just about any lip gloss
- Urban Decay 24/7 lip liner in Wicked (cool, plummy pink)
- MAC Prolongwear lip liner in Staunchly Stylish (pinky-nude)
- Clinique Quickliner for Lips in Cocoa Peach - I love a peachy or coral lip, and this lip liner is my go-to for this look
- Clinique Quickliner for Lipst in Bamboo - holy grail nude lip liner
- NYX lip liner in Edge Pink - awesome bright pink that can be blended in with lighter pink lipsticks, too
- NYX Retractable Lip Liner in Grapefruit - perfect medium-toned pink
- NYX Rectractable Lip Liner - another holy grail - a shimmery, light pinky-peach that goes great with lots of glosses (this liner + MAC's Nymphette = GORGEOUS)
- plain Chapstick - I lived at 9,000 feet above sea level for 5 years where everything is dry - skin, nails, eyes, lips.  I have found that this is the best for keeping lips smooth and moisturized, and I don't even bother with any of the all-natural, fruity-patooty, or high-end lip balms any more.  My family doctor actually told me about this gem!

LORD HAVE MERCY THAT IS A LOT OF STUFF! And how, you may ask, is this makeup-crazed woman going to fit all of this in her suitcase?  I'm glad you asked!  I use this fabulous little makeup case that I found at Target, and YES, it all fits!  (OK, well...apart from the lipsticks...but fortunately it comes with a separate little pouch)

As for my travel fragrance, if you saw my post on Instragram, Twitter, and Facebook, you know that just yesterday I found my PERFECT summer fragrance, Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche.  It is a crisp, clean floral with a sweet, yummy drydown that is just perfect for hot weather months:

Ta-daah!  There you have it, my travel makeup essentials (for a long-ish trip).  What are your travel makeup essentials?

p.s. - My internet access will be limited while I'm in Ecuador, so I will be taking a break from blogging.  However, I would love for you to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to see pics and updates of my travels.  I hope that you all have a safe, restful, and enjoyable rest of your summer, and I'll see you when I get back!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

¡Buen Viaje! - Travel Essentials Part 2 - Haircare

I have never been a "wash-n-go" kind of girl (I don't think that any of the "and-go" adjectives would ever apply to my beauty routines...), and whenever I have tried to be one, my fine, wavy-if-I-do-nothing-to-it-but-not-"pretty-wavy" hair goes full-force Bon Jovi.  I have a lot of hair, and it requires a lot of work to "tame" it to make it look smooth and frizz free.  Even when I have been stuck without a hair dryer or somewhere with no air conditioner and even the thought of drying my hair made me sweat, I still have had to follow a certain routine to get pretty, air-dried, beachy waves.  Whether I'll be able to "do" my hair or just have to let it dry on its own, here are the products that I always travel with:

 - I bought these 3 oz. sized containers recently at The Container Store, and they seem a bit more sturdy and hopefully leak-proof than your average drugstore travel bottles. (*Always remember to squeeze a little bit out and close the containers with them still "squeezed in" so that they'll have room to expand and not explode at high altitude.  Quito is 9,000 feet above sea level, and I always find one or two casualties of this in my bag.)  The shampoo is Herbal Essences Body Envy, and the conditioner is Giovanni 2Chic Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Ultra Sleek Conditioner (I have been loving both the shampoo and conditioner from this line lately. They are excellent for smooth, frizz-free hair). And, even though I'm sure these two small bottles will not be enough for my whole stay in Ecuador, one of the things I LOVE to do when I travel is visit the local pharmacies/drugstores and try new products. Yes, I get excited about foreign shampoo, and I'm not ashamed.
 - It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Conditioner - I LOVE this leave-in conditioner!  I can't remember off the top of my head all of the "10" things it does, but I can tell you that it leaves my hair soft and frizz-free and also serves as a heat protectant.
 - The Wet Brush - You need this brush!  It glides through wet hair of any texture so easily, and it's also good for brushing/styling your hair after you have dried it.  I found it to be much better than the famous Tangle Teaser, too.  It's the only hair brush that I'm bringing on this trip, as a matter of fact.

- GHD straightening iron - This is the most expensive hair tool I've ever owned, and it is worth every penny!
 - I always take a few velcro rollers with me so that I can create volume at the crown (I straighten each section first, then lightly spray it with hairspray and wrap it around the roller to set while I straighten the bottom layers).  I love velcro rollers.  They're my lazy alternative to round brushing.:)
 - Dry shampoo (I just happen to have this travel-sized bottle of Oscar Blandi, but my favorite dry shampoo is Batiste, which comes in an aerosol spray) for my no-wash days.  I usually wash my hair every other day, unless I get all sporty and sweaty for some reason that day (which hasn't happened much lately...)

 - Mousse (this one is Vidal Sassoon, but any brand will do for me)
 - Travel size spray of Sebastian Shaper hairspray.  Where have I been all these years?  This hairspray is GREAT and has a nice scent and a brushable, flexible hold.
 - Morrocan Oil (transferred to another container that has a pump) - This is an essential finishing touch to ensure that my hair stays frizz-free.

Even if I am somewhere where I let my hair air dry (In hotels on the coast of Ecuador, it is not uncommon for your only source of cool air to be a fan and a steady ocean breeze.), I still use the leave-in conditioner, mousse, and Morroccan oil to help my hair dry into beachy waves.

One last essential that is not pictured in this post is this nifty little ionic travel hair dryer that I picked up at Sally's today.   I have no tolerance for wimpy hotel hair dryers and their slow-drying ways.  

What are your travel essentials for hair?  Have you found any great travel-size hair styling tools or containers?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Follow Big Girl Lipstick on Bloglovin!

If you follow several different blogs like I do, Bloglovin is a great tool to use.  It is an easy way to keep up with all of my favorite beauty blogs (versus going through the bajillion bookmarks in my "Beauty" folder on Firefox).  They even have an app, too!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thanks, everyone! 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

¡Buen Viaje! - Travel Essentials Part 1 - Skincare

I love love love to travel, and of all of the things that I have experienced in my life, my travels are ones that I consider to be of utmost value and importance.  I have had the privilege to travel to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and in Central and South America.  In my early 30s my wanderlust was so bad that I decided I didn't want to be a tourist anymore, and I packed up my bags and moved to beautiful Quito, Ecuador to live and work for 5 years:

El Batan, my former neighborhood in Quito

Beautiful Quito

The hillsides always remind me of patchwork quilts of green
This last (school) year has been my first full year back in the U.S., and I am taking advantage of my summer vacation to spend 3 weeks visiting my beloved Andean country.  In the words of Swiss explorer and writer Isabelle Eberhardt, “Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.”

Travel in Latin America can be exciting, challenging, breathtaking, a little bit "sketchy" sometimes.  However, no matter what adventure I may encounter, I am not a happy tourist if I can't keep up my beauty routines to some degree.  Can I take my entire arsenal of products?  No.  But after 5 years of traveling by both bus and plane and to places modern and primitive, I have gotten my travel beauty essentials down pat.  Let's start with skincare, both face and body:

For a morning routine, here are my must-haves:

  - Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 55.  I have test-driven this a couple of times lately, and it is an excellent daytime moisturizer that absorbs quickly and makes a nice "primer" for makeup.
  - Johnson & Johnson Head-To-Toe Baby Wash - Holy Grail Alert!  Super-cheap and gentle and has been my in-the-shower face wash for years.
  - My good 'ol standby - Clinique Clarifying Lotion #3 (It really is number 3...I just use a sample-size bottle from an old gift for travel)
  - Jergens Natural Glow Facial Self-Tanner - Because of the sun's intensity in Ecuador ("ecuador" = equator!), I slather myself in sunscreen every day.  Any tan that I have there will also be "falso." :)

For cleansing, I can get by with a good cleansing wipe plus something to remove stubborn eye makeup:

 - I bought these Equate Refreshing Cleansing Towelettes because they have a convenient lid that "snaps" and keeps the wipes from drying out (versus the packaging of other facial wipes that simply has the sticker-like seal).
 - What's the mystery substance in that jar?  Coconut oil!  I have been using this as an eye makeup remover (and for skin, nails, smoothies, etc.) just this week for the first time, and I am already SO in love with it that I don't think I can travel without it.

Sun protection, convenience, and necessity also rule for skincare for the body:

 - Vaseline Spray 'n Go Moisturizer in Aloe Fresh - I will spend a lot of my time on the coast in Ecuador, and it is just too dang hot there to mess with heavy body lotions.  This spray lotion is light, refreshing, and absorbs quickly. 
 - OFF! Familycare Smooth & Dry Insect Repellant - In some regions (especially the coast), you can find our lovely fever friends malaria and dengue.  No. Thank. You.  Plus, I have spent many a night in air condition-less hotels with just mosquito nets (trust me...those are only romantic-looking in the movies)and maybe a squeaky fan if I'm lucky, only to wake up with mosquito-bitten feet, arms, and even my entire face on one occasion.  This repellant has 15% DEET, and in travel situations such as this, I go for the strong stuff. 
 - Banana Boat Protect & Hydrate Suncreen SPF 50 - This is a new one for me, but it promises to be an effective sunscreen with the feel of a body moisturizer.
 - The best deodorant/anti-perspirant EVER - Donna Karan Cashmere Mist.  I don't care if it weighs 5 lbs...I'm not leaving home without it.

Lastly, a few other shower essentials:

- Soap (duh).  I will say, though, that I rarely mess with body wash when I travel.  A good 'ol bar of soap won't leak and it's cheap enough just to toss at the end of my trip.
- Salux Nylon Japanese Beauty Cloth - (folded under soap) - Listen up, mamitas - YOU NEED THIS!  I discovered this years ago, and it is a fabulous exfoliating washcloth (long enough to use on your back, too!) that is perfect for scrubbing off a day's worth of sweat, sunscreen, and South-American-traveling-grime.  All you need is a little bit of body wash (or just run your bar soap over it) and it lathers wonderfully.  You will never need to buy another body scrub after having one of these, either.  It can be hung from any hook or towel rod, and it will dry in about an hour.
- Mr. Pumic Ultimate Two-Sided Pumice Bar - I don't care if you are traveling in a third world country...there is no excuse for dirty, calloused feet.  Period.  At least not for me there isn't. 
- Olay 4-in-1 Daily Facial Cloths - Of all of my Ecuadorian travel must-haves (apart from motion-sickness medicine and Pepto-Bismol, lol), this was one of the biggest lifesavers for me.  Hotels in Latin America rarely, if ever, have washcloths.  (WHY?  Who doesn't use a washcloth?  How do you get clean without one?  Never not answer that question...)  Each dry cloth will suds up when dampened, and then after giving your face a good scrubbing, it can hold up for the rest of your shower to use with your soap or shower gel as a good substitute for a washcloth.  Then, simply toss it when you are done.

Later this week I'll share my haircare and makeup travel essentials, too.  But for now, what are your travel essentials for skincare?  Any good packing tips for us?

p.s. - For the background of some of my photos in this post, I used a couple of pieces of traditional Ecuadorian artwork called Tigua.  These colorful paintings originate in the indigenous cultures of the Sierra (mountainous) region of Ecuador.  Hope that you enjoyed this glimpse of my beautiful "other" home!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June Ipsy Bag Review

Ahhh, the thrill of seeing this metallic hot pink padded envelope in my mailbox every month (shouldn't all U.S. mail be sent in packages like this??!!):

Ipsy is my only beauty sample subscription service as of right now, and I am always so excited when it arrives each month.  The theme of Ipsy's July bag was "On the Wild Side," and as always, the items come zipped in a fabulous little cosmetic pouch.  I love Ipsy's bags that come with their products, as they are always sturdy and well-made with cute designs and are perfect for travel or carrying in your purse. 

LOVE this month's Ipsy bag!  ROARR!

June's Ipsy bag contained several really nice products, though every subscriber's Ipsy bag contents may not have been *exactly* alike.  (I have seen reviews stating that some received the original Pssst dry shampoo, but mine did not contain this.  I have also seen some other bloggers or YouTube beauty gurus who did receive the same brands and types of products, but the colors they received were different from mine).  Let's take a peek inside my June Ipsy bag:

First, we have an insanely glittery cream eyeshadow palette by J. Cat Beauty and NYX's blush in Angel:

Sparkle, sparkle, shimma, shimma

Next, we have a lip liner in Tickle Me Pink by Star Looks, a highlighting pencil in Ivory Lace by Chella, and a gel eyeliner in Iron by Cailyn:

All 3 of these are creamy and super-pigmented

The lipliner is super-smooth and creamy, almost like a lipstick in pencil form, and is a beautiful pink shade that can work for many different pinky/rosey lipsticks and glosses.  The highlighting pencil...meh...I am not big on highlighters for eyes in general, but this does make a pretty good base for eyeshadow if you sort of "sketch" it on your lids and blend it out with a brush.  The Line-Fix Gel Eyeliner by Caila, though, was the total ROCK STAR of this month's Ipsy bag for me.  It comes with its own brush that is actually part of the cap itself:

How neat-o torpedo is this?!
All you do is gently pull the top of the cap away from the base, and inside of it is a small brush that is actually GREAT for applying gel eyeliner.  It is very small and flat with a pointy tip that is perfect for creating a thin, smooth line.  And, the gel eyeliner itself is a gorgeous, slightly shimmery gunmetal shade that glides on like butta and does NOT budge.

This gel liner gave me a smooth, soft line and was so easy to apply!
 Handy-dandy tip - Gel eyeliners also make great primers for creating a smokey eye.  Simply use a flat, synthetic brush to pat a gel eyeliner in a dark, smoldering color that is similar to whatever eyeshadow you are going to use for your smokey eye (or, I find that a nice, shimmery charcoal color like this one is an excellent base for just about any color smokey eye - plum, gray, teal, navy, etc.), and then your shadow will be even more intense and rich in color when applied.  

The NYX Blush in Angel was also a winner for me, though I have to say that it took some experimenting a few times with this shimmery, peachy-pink shade (a couple of which ended up in the whole entire side of my face looking like a disco ball) to realize that on my skin (for reference, I am NW20-25 in MAC and #118 in MUFE HD Foundation), it makes a MUCH better highlighter than it does a blush.

Helloooooo, shimma!
Tarte's Amazonian Clay blush in Dollface with the NYX Angel blush applied just above it as a highlight. 

I also love the smooth, creamy texture of the lip liner, and for this look I simply lined and filled in my lips with it and then used just a little bit of MAC's Bombshell lipstick on top to give it a little dimension.  

 As for the glittery cream eye shadow palette...

 ...I'm so sorry, J. Cat, but I am just not a glitter-on-my-face gal.  I teach high school, for heaven's sake.  When I have to have a "Come to Jesus" talk with any given wayward little 9th grade lamb, I just don't foresee a sparkling eyelid working in my favor.  Would you obey your teacher if she looked like she had just stepped off the set of a Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion?  I think not.  However, attention future students who might have stumbled upon this blog - maybe if you are good next school year, you will be the winner of this palette!  :)

I was very pleased overall with this month's Ipsy bag, and I look forward to seeing what Ipsy will send me in future months.  You can register for Ipsy on their website, and for $10 a month, I think that Ipsy is a fabulous beauty  subscription service.  

What sample subscription services (beauty or others) do you subscribe to?  Tell me all about them!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

FOTD: MAC Woodwinked Eyeshadow - You Need This!

Good afternoon, sunshines.  I thought I'd give you a FOTD (Face of the Day) post plus a couple of makeup holy grail recommendations today.  (By the way - in the beauty/makeup/skincare world, tried-and-true, can't-live-without products are called "holy grails.")  This was the first time I have done close-up photography for this blog, and was a humbling experience.  With a little distance between us and the lens and lots of Instagram filters, we all look like total perfection, don't we?  But these photos made me reconcile myself with my rogue eyebrows that go their own way despite multiple products used to tame them, fine lines, asymmetrical lips, etc. So, imperfections and we go!

Products Used:

 -Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer (from Sephora Superstars set)
 - Makeup Forever HD Foundation #118
 - Wet 'n Wild Coverall Pressed Powder in Fair/Light (loving this lately as my setting powder)
 - Benefit's CORALista blush
 - Milani Shadow Eyez Shadow Stick in Champagne Toast as a primer for eyeshadow
 - MAC eyeshadows in Woodwinked (lid and lower lashline)- HOLY GRAIL, Sable (crease), and Shroom (browbone/inner corner), Espresso (smudged over liquid liner on top lashline)
 - Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner in Carbon Black (top lashline, another from the Sephora set)
 - Milani Liquif'Eye Eyeliner Pencil in Black (upper and lower waterlines)
 - Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner in Bourbon (lower brown eyeliner ever!)
 - Christian Dior Diorshow Maximizer Lash Primer (makes any mascara 10 times better)
 - Jordana Best Lash Extreme mascara in Black
 - MAC Omega shadow to fill in brows plus Anastasia Brow Pen in Universal Light (fills in a few more gaps/holes and gives outer edges more definition) and Anastasia Brow Gel (forget clear drugstore mascaras...this brow gel beats them by a landslide with a nice, thin texture that doesn't flake or clump plus keeps brows FIRMLY in place)
 - Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray (another recent favorite that keeps makeup looking fresh all day long)
 - NYX Retractable Lip Liner in Nectar - HOLY GRAIL
 - Flower Beauty Lip Service Lip Butter in Haute Honeysuckle

Inspired by a blog post from my friend Sheila at Pained Ladies, I decided to whip out my beloved MAC Woodwinked, which is a beautiful eyeshadow that EVERYONE needs to own.  Woodwinked is like a blind date that seems unimpressive at first, but then you get to know him and, HELLO!  L-O-V-E!   Woodwinked looks kind of blah in the pan...

...but when applied it turns into a beautiful goldy-bronzey brown. 

The lip combination that I'm wearing is also quickly becoming a go-to lip look for me as well.  Flower Beauty Lip Service Lip Butter in Haute Honeysuckle was a gift from a wonderful friend who found this for me when I mentioned that I could not find this line by Drew Barrymore in any of the Walmarts near me (apparently it is only sold at certain Walmarts...boooo). These lip butters are highly pigmented with a smooth, glossy finish.

Flower Beauty Lip Service Lip Butter in Haute Honeysuckle
Use a lip liner underneath (line lips first and then fill in outer corners), and you will get good staying power from these lip butters.  My recent favorite lip liner, NYX Retractable Lip Liner in Nectar, is a must-have for those of you who love pinky-peachy glosses but don't want to necessarily alter the color of the gloss with a "normal" pink or coral lip liner.  If you were to take a pretty, shimmery, pinky-peach lipstick and put it into liner form, this is what you would get! 

NYX Retractable Lip Liner in Nectar
Top-Flower Lip Butter in Haute Honeysuckle; Bottom-NYX lip liner in Nectar

Hope you enjoyed this FOTD, and let me know what sorts of looks or color you'd like to see in future posts!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Snoop In My Bathroom Cabinet! (I've Probably Snooped In Yours...)

Confession - I LOVE to see what other people keep on/in bathroom countertops and medicine cabinets.  I'm sort of a beauty product "peeping Tom"...errr..."Liz," I guess you could say.  Disclaimer - Don't worry, friends.  I am truly not interested in nor do I even notice what medicines you take, how old your products are, etc.  I want to see what you use on a daily basis.  What are your good 'ol, tried-and-true, standby products?  These are what we usually have out on a vanity or in a medicine or bathroom cabinet so that they will be in easy reach, right?  Our "experimental stuff" that we got tired of or that didn't work after a week or two (the moisturizer that gave me a zit the size of a cannonball, the self-tanner that made me look like I had rolled around in a vat of Doritos, etc.) goes under the cabinet or into storage usually.  (random tip for teachers - all of those Bath & Body Works lotions that bored you after a few uses?  Put them in your classroom and they will be used in no time.  Trust me, even 15-year-old boys these days do not mind smelling like Sweat Pea or Japanese Cherry Blossom.)

So, today we're taking a peek into my bathroom cabinet...

My lovely little jam-packed bathroom cabinet 
As you can see, this is where I store my daily face and body products, plus washcloths, hand towels, and samples and other things I'm experimenting with on other shelves.  Next are some close-up pics, followed by a detailed list of products with links to a few items that I have really been impressed with lately: 

This post is a beast (What can I say?  I require lots of products.), so go fix yourself a snack and get comfortable.

Main shelf, from left to right:

 - St. Ives Naturally Indulgent Coconut Milk and Orchid Extract Body Lotion, which has become my new favorite body lotion (I was a Curel devotee for years).  It is rich and moisturizing but doesn't leave a greasy film and keeps my skin soft for hours.  Plus, it smells HEAVENLY.  And, did you know that St. Ives has re-formulated most of their
products within the last year or so to be paraben-free?

 - The little black cap peeking out from behind the St. Ives lotion is Listerine.  And by the way, I love the old school, full-strength Listerine.  Don't give me any of this wimpy, alcohol-free stuff.  I even love the original yellow kind.  Keeps your breath fresh for hours and it's even excellent for treating ulcers (if you ever get one of those painful, pesky sores in your mouth, swish some original Listerine around and sort of just "hold" it around the ulcer for as long as you can stand it.  Do this a few times a day and your ulcer will be gone in a couple of days)

 - Clinique Clarifying Lotion #3 - I have used this toner morning and night every single day for years (starting with when I worked for Clinique for a couple of years back in 2002).  The #2 is the most popular one, but trust me, try the #3.  It is higher in salicylic acid content (not in alcohol content) and gives you excellent, daily surface exfoliation.  Follow with a moisturizer and it will not dry out your skin.  I know that some experts consider toner to be unnecessary, but I feel like this has always been one of my most effective products for fresh, glowing skin.  

 - Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Deodorant/Antiperspirant -   Three words - Believe. The. Hype.  I have used this for a couple of months now, and it is FABULOUS.  $15 for an antiperspirant may seem insane, but it is worth every dime.  It is heavily scented, but Cashmere Mist is a nice, soft, soapy fragrance, so I don't find that it competes with my perfume.  Keeps you dry and smelling great all day long.  Beats any drugstore antiperspirant I've ever used(even the "clinical strength" ones).  Also, it seems to be a very concentrated, densely-packed-in-there product.  (It's actually kind of heavy...I could use it for bicep curls in a pinch!)

 - Vaseline Intensive Care Spray-and-Go Moisturizer in Aloe Fresh - It's a neat product, but the jury's still out on this one. Doesn't provide superior moisture, but I think it would be nice, light, and convenient for travel or your gym bag.  If you like a really thin body lotion or live in a really hot or humid climiate, though, you might like this.

 - RoC Multi-Correxion 4-Zone Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 - When people ask me what my skincare "secrets" are, the most important one is not a secret unless you have been living under a rock - sunscreen of at least SPF 30 EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Rain or shine.  My holy grail daily moisturizer for years has been Olay Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizer-SPF30.  I bought this RoC one to "match" the serum I am using at night,and I do really like it, but I have decided that during the day, I'm not looking for skincare miracles or treatments. I just want to be protected from the sun's harmful rays.  And considering that sunscreen should be applied liberally, I will not be repurchasing this $30 RoC one.  It does work great, though, and has a nice texture. Whatever you use, just be sure to use an SPF of 30 or higher, and don't go a day without it!

 - Trader Joe's Jojoba Oil - I think everybody needs some sort of oil in their beauty regimen.  Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil will do.  They are excellent for cleansing and removing stubborn eye makeup, plus they work well on dry patches, too. 

 - RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum - This is a RoC product that I really like.  And, even though I am an English teacher with zero tolerance for creative spellings, I will forgive them for the goofy "correxion" name.  RoC is touted as being one of the most effective drugstore skincare brands, and this serum really keeps my skin smooth and gives it a healthy glow.  It contains retinol, magnesium, zinc, and copper to promote cell turnover and skin cell renewal.  Its texture is light and silky, and some nights I don't even feel the need to top it with a moisturizer. 

 - Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser - This is my favorite nightly facial cleanser.  I will do a future post on my nighttime routine, but this is what I use to wash my face after I've taken off my makeup.  What's nice about this cleanser is that it will remove any leftover traces of makeup (a smokey eye is not going away with one swipe of eye makeup remover, folks), but it leaves your skin feeling both clean and soft, unlike more "sudsy" cleansers. 

 - CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM - I discovered this last summer, and it is a great, simple way to moisturize normal-to-combo skin at night, especially during hot summer months.  It has a nice gel-cream texture and absorbs instantly.  Works nicely alone or on top of a serum or treatment. 

 - Clinique Take The Day Off Eye Makeup Remover - another one of my holy grails since my Clinique days.  It will remove most all stubborn eye makeup.  A good trick is to saturate your cotton pad and hold it on top of your lashes/closed eyelids for a few seconds, then gently swipe downwards.  (versus rubbing eyelids vigorously)  To be honest, though, when I'm trying to save $$, I will just use olive or jojoba oil instead.  (yes, yes, I know...I need to get on the coconut oil bandwagon...that's will be a future experiment and post, I promise!)

 - Bath & Body Works Bali Mango body lotion and body spray - I love to have some sort of yummy-smelling body lotion and body spray handy at all times.  This lotion and spray smell fresh and fruity, and they even compliment the other perfumes that I wear quite nicely.  I even like to smell good when I go to bed, so these get a lot of use.

 - Tarte Maracuja Self-Tanner (application mitt is on the top shelf in the back) - I am currently test-driving this and I like it so far.  This will definitely be a future post!  I am not a huge self-tanning girl, but I do like to have a bit of color on my face and upper body.  I am not sure about the mitt, though...I feel like it absorbs a lot of the product.  Please let me know your thoughts/tips if you have used one of these!

 - Top shelf, from left to right - Bath & Body Works 60-Second Manicure Hand Scrub (I LOVE this stuff, but I am thinking I could make this myself), Kate Somerville Exfolikate (part of my Sephora Superstars kit...another to-be-posted experiment), Lancome's Visionnaire Serum sample, some sort of Clinique eye cream (came in a free gift), Jose Maran Argan Oil (same status as the Exfolikate), CVS Eye Makeup Remover Pads (these are cheap and super-handy for removing glue/mascara from false lashes), Tri-Luma (I purchased this in Ecuador before I left and used it for about 3 months to treat my melasma.  It worked some, but that's a whole other battle that I will post about another day.), Murad Intensive-C Radiance Peel (to-be-test-driven).

WHEW - That was a lot!  Thanks for hanging in there with me, and I would love to know what you have in your current rotation in your bathroom as well.  Happy snooping!