Sunday, August 25, 2013

Go Shawty...It's My Birthday!

This Saturday I celebrated my 40th birthday at one of my favorite Atlanta-area restaurants, The Iberian Pig, with a fabulous group of friends, good wine, and Spanish tapas.  I then celebrated on Sunday (I plan on stretching this "I'm 40" thing out at least a month, folks) with another group of friends at my favorite Atlanta brunch location, Rise-n-Dine.It was a wonderful way to start what all of my other  40-something friends have promised me will be the best decade yet.  And, before heading out the door for each getogether, I took a few quick snapshots so that I could share my "birthday faces" with you! (forgive the crappy lighting...wasn't the best time of day for pictures when I was leaving for either celebration)

Here is my birthday dinner face.  I decided to go with a bronze eye and a glossy, nude lip:

Face Products:

 - Makeup Forever HD Foundation #118
 - MAC Prolongwear Concealers in NW20 & NW25
 - YSL Touche Eclat in #1
 - NYX Matte Finishing Powder in Light/Medium (new love!)
 - NARS blush in Deep Throat
 - NYC Smoothskin Bronzer in Sunny
 - Urban Decay All-Nighter Makeup Setting Spray

Eye Products:

 - Too Faced eyeshadow primer in Candlelight
 - From the UD Naked 2 palette - Bootycall (brownbone and inner corner), Snakebite (lid), Half-Baked (center of lid), and Busted (smudged over liquid liner)
 - Jesse's Girl Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Black (the most awesome liquid liner in the history of to come)
 - Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliners in Bourbon (lower lashline) and Perversion (waterlines)
 - Benefit's They're Real mascara
 - Anastasia Brow Wiz pencil in Medium Ash and Brow Fix clear brow gel

Lip Products:

 - Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss lipstick in shade #17
 - MAC Lipglass in Strange Potion (from the Venomous Villains Collection)
 - Chanel Aqua Crayon Lip Liner in Rosey

Here is my birthday Sunday brunch face.  For this look I opted for a soft, matte, gray eye and a pale pink lip:

Face Products:

 - Chanel CC Cream
 - MAC Prolongwear Concealers in NW20 & NW25
 - NYX Matte Finishing Powder in Light/Medium
 - NYC Smoothskin Bronzer in Sunny
 - Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Dollface

Eye Products:

 - NYX Eyeshadow Base in White
 - UD Foxy (from UD Naked 2 Palette; all over lid), MAC Copperplate (lid and crease)
 - Jesse's Girl Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Black
 - Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliners in Bourbon (lower lashline) and Perversion (upper waterline)
 - Anastasia Brow Wiz pencil in Medium Ash and Brow Fix clear brow gel

And, can we just have a moment of awe for my new mascara, Buxom Amplified Lash in Loud Black, which I have been growing to love since I purchased it a couple of weeks ago.  However, I just happened to see in one of these pics how black and defined it makes my lashes look!

Props, too, to my new UD 24/7 eyeliner in Perversion, the BEST for tightlining the upper waterline!
 Lip Products:

 - Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick in Gracile
 - UD 24/7 lip liner in Wicked (used with a light hand and blended well!)
 - Revlon Super Lustrous Gloss in Pink Whisper (R.I.P. to this old and beautiful formula...the new S.L. glosses are thin and wimpy...booooo)

Thank you for letting me share my "birthday faces" with you!  I would love to hear from my readers in their 40's.  Do you consider this to be your best decade yet?  I would love your Fabulous Forties advice!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

New Weekly Feature - Beauty Blogazon Roundup

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

High-End Goodies - Old Loves and New Flings

Hey there, big girls.  Sorry to have been absent for the last week or so.  I have been lost in the hurricane of the first couple of weeks of school and am just now getting back to my normal routine.  And, as you probably noticed, I made some changes to Put On Your Big Girl Lipstick!  I spent almost my entire Sunday last weekend updating the look of the home page, and while I didn't get a lick of schoolwork done, I feel like an html/blogging genius now!

I also made visits to Nordstrom and Sephora over the last two weekends, and I wanted to share my loot with you.  First, at last weekend's Nordstrom Beauty Event, I stocked up on a few longtime skincare loves:

In case you didn't read my earlier post on the skincare staples that I always keep in my bathroom, here are three items that I am never without:

 - Clinique Clarifying Lotion #3 - Fabulous daily surface exfoliation (because of a higher salicylic acid content than the #'s 1 & 2, not a higher alcohol content) that is great for normal to combo/oily skin.
 - Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser
 - Clinique Take The Day Off eye makeup remover (I use this pre-Purity, but the Purity will also get off any remnants of mascara or eyeliner that this doesn't remove)

And look at this cool flip cap and pump dispenser for the Clarifying Lotion.  You can usually buy these at Nordstrom around their Anniversary Sale time:

With my Philosophy purchase (I also bought a smaller bottle of the Purity for my mom) I also received a great travel makeup bag (the Philosophy rep insisted that this bag was ALL I'd ever need for travel.  Errr...he hasn't seen my Travel Essentials Posts, apparently. But, nonetheless, it IS a very cute and well-made bag that I could use for a shorter trip!)with a few samples of their Microdelivery line plus an Amazing Grace shower gel:

And, even though the weather is still hot and humid here in Atlanta, I had to replenish a longtime favorite perfume for fall/winter:

While Coco Mademoiselle, Chance, and No. 5 sell like crazy at most Chanel counters, I think that Allure is still the most beautiful fragrance from Chanel.  It has a fresh, citrusy opening of lemon, bergamot, mandarin, and peach; a floral middle with notes of jasmine, water lily, peony, magnolia, and orange blossom; and, a warm, delicious drydown with notes of vanilla, sandalwood, and vetiver.  (fragrance information obtained from Fragrantica, which is a GREAT site for fragrance-lovers)  This time around I am trying out the eau de toilette instead of the eau de parfum, though, which is the form that I have always worn of this fresh, sensual fragrance.   

Now, let's get down to exciting new makeup "flings"!:

First, I bought this GORGEOUS lipstick from Chanel:

 Chanel's Rouge Allure lipstick in Extatique (shown here with NYX's Edge Pink lip liner) is some HOT PINK AWESOMENESS.  Want to know what else is awesomeness?  A smokey eye with a hot pink lip:

I have been loving my Urban Decay Naked 2 palette as well, and this eye look is one that I have been wearing a lot lately:

Lid - Pistol, Crease and smudged over liner - Busted, Browbone and Inner Corner - Bootycall (all from UD Naked 2 Palette); Upper and lower waterlines and smudged along lashlines - Urban Decay 24/7 pencil in Perversion; Mascara - Buxom Amplified Lash Mascara

I also picked up Urbay Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Perversion, which is a matte black and the BLACKEST BLACK I have ever used.  More importantly, I bought this gem specifically for lining the upper and lower water lines, and it does NOT budge!

Oh, and in case you haven't noticed, I have some curly, wacky, BADLY-misbehaved eyebrows:

these are my super-bad brows on a *good* day...

I have spent years filling them in and trying all sorts of gels, waxes, and pencils to keep them "in line," but they are about as spazzy as a few of my new-to-high-school 9th graders are right now.  And, because of overzealous plucking and waxing in the 90s, I had not touched them in years other than to remove a random stray hair or two.  However, during last weekend's trip to Nordstrom, I had the pleasure of meeting the brow expert from the Anastasia Beverly Hills counter, and she graciously squeezed me into her super-booked schedule and whipped my brows into shape:

My newly "reformed" brows!

I also purchased this fabulous Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz pencil in Medium Ash after she showed me how to use it to not only create a more clean, even line on the bottom of my brows but also how to create a slight arch at the top.(I've never really had an arch and have lived with eyebrow-arch-envy for years).  This pencil is super-fine and has a nice, dry texture (which is what you want in a brow pencil, otherwise they end up looking messy/smudged) and a spoolie on the opposite end for blending the pencil into the brows and putting them into place:

 And finally, last weekend was Nordstrom's Fall Beauty Event, so as a reward for my beauty gluttony I received a great little bag full of samples:

That's all for my high-end haul!  But, coming soon, some recent drugstore "flings" and old loves, too, that I am JUST as excited about!

What are your recent beauty "flings"?  Stocking up on any of your "old loves" lately?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Gettin' Rebel-ish with My Gelish

When I returned to the United States last year after having lived overseas, my first "beauty mission" was to try one of the new gel manicures.  However, after shelling out 40-ish dollars a couple of times for this new trend and doing some research, I realized I could put on my big girl nail polish and do this business myself.  So, I ordered the Gelish Basix Kit and a Red Carpet Manicure LED Light, and I was ready to do my own manicures.

However, even though the kit and light paid for themselves quickly in comparison to having gel manicures done in the salon, I became disappointed in the lack of colors available for gel polishes.  In addition, gel polishes (Gelish, Red Carpet, etc.) are ridiculously expensive, and my favorite regular polishes were suffering serious neglect.  With a little more research on various beauty blogs, I discovered that even though this practice is heavily "debated" in the nail care world, some people are bending the rules and using their regular polishes in conjunction with some of the gel products.  So, in the name of good manicures and breaking the rules, I did a little gel nail experiment last week and documented the results.  Here they are...

First, in the Gelish Kit you get 4 mini bottles of products:

 - pH Bond is to "prep" the nail before applying the Foundation.  However I'm not convinced that this is a necessary product.  Isopropyl alcohol would probably do the trick, as the goal is to dry the nail bed and remove any lotions, oils, etc. before the manicure.
 - The Foundation is the first layer of the Gelish system
 - The Top It Off is the top coat
 - The Nourish oil is a nice-smelling cuticle oil to use daily after your manicure.  Good stuff, but dupe-able.

You also get small bottles of "artificial nail remover," which is just plain acetone, and "cleaner," which is isopropyl alcohol.  

Here's a picture of my LED lamp, which is small, lightweight, and fits easily in my box-o-nail-stuff:

Here is what I did:

1.  Gave my hands, nails, and cuticles a good scrubbin' with my Bath & Body Works 60-Second Manicure Hand Scrub

2.  Filed nail edges and pushed back/trimmed cuticles

3.  Applied the Gelish pH Bond

4.  Applied the Gelish Foundation and then cured all of my nails under the LED light

5.  Applied the first THIN coat of my regular polish and let it dry during a Real Housewives of New Jersey episode (if that show gets cancelled because of Juicy Joe and Theresa "Love, Love, Love"'s shady business dealings, I am going to go into MOURNING.)  Don't forget to "seal" (swipe the brush across in a horizontal direction) the edge/tip of the nail, too.  This is one of the keys to making gel manicures last. 

6.  Applied another thin coat of my regular nail polish and then let it dry during an episode of Pretty Wicked Wives (my newest obsession...the Real Housewives of Atlanta could learn a few Southern belle tips from these girls...they are the real deal!)

7.  Zzzz...went to bed.  From all of the articles that I read, another key to making this work is to be sure that your regular nail polish is 110% dry.

8.  The next morning I applied the Gelish Top It Off, cured my nails again under the LED lamp, and cleaned off the tacky residue that is left at the end of any gel manicure with rubbing alcohol.

They looked GORGEOUS and actually didn't have the "thick" feel that some gel manicures have on my nails.  Even better, this manicure lasted me 7 full days with very little wear at the edges, and I probably could have stretched it out to 10 days had I not started peeling the polish off myself (bad habit!).  Here the results, as documented by your faithful beauty blogger:

Day 1 - OPI's Bright Lights, Big Color, my favorite nail color this summer (got a little too aggressive with my cuticle nippers on my middle finger!)

Day 3 - Just a teeny bit of wear on the nail edge (Don't judge my ratty was the middle of a week of teacher workdays.  No students around to do my manual labor.)

Day 5 - Still looking good other than a little bit of growth at the base and a tiny bit of wear on the edges.

Day 7 - A bit more wear on the edges and a little bit of chipping, but still pretty decent! (my pinky finger was a victim of my boredom at a faculty meeting). 

While I know that gel manicures are touted to last 2 weeks or longer, the obvious growth at the bottom of the nail bed and my boredom with whatever color I am wearing are what usually cause me to soak (or peel) them off after about a week. What I normally do after a gel manicure is give my nails a "break" and just use my favorite nail strengthener, Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle, for a week or so.  However, a regular manicure would NEVER last 7 days on my nails, so this gel/regular polish system my new favorite "discovery"! 

Have you ever tried doing your own gel manicures?  Please share your tips and tricks!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Take A Peek In My Shower!

By now you know that I LOVE to peek in other people's bathrooms/makeup drawers/cabinets to see what beauty and skincare products they keep on hand.  Today I thought I'd let you have a little snoop in my shower so that you can see my favorites and staples, too!

I have most of my things stored in this FABULOUS Oxo Good Grips 3-Tier Shower Caddy:

 This shower caddy has 3 trays that can easily be popped out for cleaning, a neat little rubber razor holder, a sturdy frame, and a non-slip hook at the top that attaches to your shower rod.

Let's start with tray 1:

 - good 'ol Dial soap
 - Venus Divine razor - I've tried them all, and this is my favorite.
 - the original Clarisonic - I bought this when they first became popular and before the "Mia" versions were sold. Wish I had waited, as the Mia is less expensive and easier to charge, but I still consider this one of my best "beauty investments" ever.  I probably use it 4-5 times a week, and it keeps skin exfoliated, smooth, and glowing.  Also, I recently replaced my last brush head (it was the sensitive skin one) with the "deep pore" brush head, and I really feel like it gives me better exfoliation.

Moving on up to tray 2:

 - Redken All Soft shampoo and conditioner - These are a longtime favorite.  I usually buy them on sale at Ulta when I can, and they really keep my hair in good condition.  I have long hair and a LOT of it, but it is fine and also color-treated, so I really believe in using a good quality shampoo and conditioner to preserve the color and keep my hair soft and shiny.
 - Herbal Essences Body Envy shampoo - I am usually pretty faithful to high-ish end hair care products, but every once in a while I just need some super good-smelling shampoo!(plus I use it on days that I want a little more volume)
 - Giovanni 2chic Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Ultra-Sleek Shampoo and Conditioner - despite the exhausting name, these recently-discovered products are quickly becoming favorites.  They are fabulous for days when I straighten my hair (which is most days), and they leave my hair super-smooth and frizz-free.  (daily hair routine tutorial in the making!)

And the top shelf:

 - Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle Deep Conditioner - This has been my holy grail deep conditioner for years.
 - Mr. Pumice Pumi Bar (the extra course one) - Best. Pumice. Ever.  Blows away all other pumice stones/bars/contraptions, the Microplane, Ped-Egg, etc.  You can buy them at Sally Beauty Supply and online at
 - Bali Mango Body Scrub from Bath & Body Works - I bought this when I bought the matching body lotion and body spray a few months ago.  However, I normally just use my Salux Nylon Japanese Beauty Cloth with some body wash to exfoliate.  It does a much better job than any body scrub!
 - The little travel bottle contains Suave Clarifying Shampoo, which I use once a week followed by the Aussie deep conditioner for a "fresh start" for my hair.

And now let's go to the corners...what?...did you think 3 shelves would be enough for all of my products?

Corner #1:

 - Johnson & Johnson Head-To-Toe Baby Wash - THE BEST facial cleanser ever for normal-to-oily skin.  It is the exact same formula as Purpose Face Wash (also by J&J), except this version is a whole lop cheaper and can be bought in this big mama-jama pump bottle at just about any drugstore or grocery store.  This is what I use with my Clarisonic.

Corner #2:

 - Another big mama-jama bottle of awesomeness - Olay's Ultra Moisture Body Wash with Shea Butter.  (pump from another container swapped out for the flip-cap top that it came with)  This body wash smells DELICIOUS and leaves my skin smooth and hydrated.

Corner #3:

 - Trader Joe's Honey Mango Moisturizing Cream Shave - This is a new find for me, and so far I like it much better than most shaving creams/gels that I have used.  However, the Olay Body Wash (above) also works GREAT for shaving.  (so why, oh, why did I have to buy ANOTHER product to crowd my shower?  Sigh...)
 - c. Booth Original Bath & Body Oil - Another favorite of mine that I have used for years.  Occasionally I use it to shave, but usually I use it right after the shower while my skin is still damp and before putting on any body lotion.  It has a super-thin consistency and absorbs quickly, leaving behind a yummy and soft vanilla/nutty fragrance.  Holy Grail!!

And one last shower tip (from my mom, who has done this for years in all of our bathrooms) - put an extra expandable shower curtain rod across the back of your bathtub or shower:

This gives you lots of room to hang your towels and spread them out completely so that they can dry thoroughly (Sour-smelling towels are one of my biggest pet peeves.  Hell is probably lined with them.).  Plus, I can hang all of my other important shower "stuff" like my Salux cloth, clothes/lingerie/bathing suits that need to dry, etc.  Best idea ever! Thanks, Mom!

I would LOVE to know what's in your shower, too!  What are your tried-and-true products?  Any useful tips for storage/organization?