Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 2011 Favorites

Hi guys! I've been planning this post for a couple of weeks but have been fairly absent from the blog world over the holiday and never really got a chance to draft it... so I am literally writing this up as quickly as possible on the last day of 2011.  Thanks so much to everybody who has read and commented on my blog since I started back at the end of July, and even more thanks to all you bloggers who inspired me to blog in the first place! Love you guys! I don't know how much I'll continue to blog in 2012, but I know I'll be reading your blogs because they are my most trusted beauty sources :D I think you guys know who you are but be sure to check out my blog roll on the right to see my faves <3

NYX Crystal Glitter Liners $3.99 at (no affiliation):
These go on sale periodically at Ulta, too, so keep an eye out!  They have been fabulous especially over the holidays for quickly turning a no-makeup look into a festive one.  I went all Pokemon-collect-'em-all on these but if you only want a couple I recommend Crystal Hip and Crystal Onyx for the most versatility.  I have rebought these a few times this year!

EcoTools Bamboo Angled Eyeliner brush ($3.99-$5.29, depending where you buy it. It's also available in some sets):
This is cheap, vegan, available nearly everywhere, works with cream/gel/powder wet or dry... it is a great all-around brush must-have.  I've been using it tons this month for several diverse reasons.
- precise red lipstick application
- eyebrow filling (to my surprise, I just watched Vivianna's December favorites video and noticed she featured this brush as well! So random!)
- cut crease eye shadow looks (like this one)
- eyeliner application (of course!)

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation (I got it for $10.99 from but it may have been a sale price):
I'm afraid this might break me out but the finish is so gorgeous that I intend to keep using it for any special occasion. My preferred application tool with it is the beauty blender sponge.

L'Occitane en Provence Shea Butter hand cream $10 for 30ml:  After using this a few days I went out and bought the 150ml size and another small tube for my mother-in-law.  I don't love the baby-powder fragrance, but the texture is great - rich but non-greasy and it absorbs so well and makes your hands feel uber-soft.

Smashbox Lip Enhancing Gloss Sheer Color in Pop: I'm pretty sure this was a freebie I got earlier in the year. I found it rather unexciting at first, but once I threw it in my handbag I realized I reach for it more than my regular lip balm because it adds gloss and polish while being non-sticky and you don't need a mirror to apply.  It has a nice coconut fragrance, too, so if you don't like coconut you won't like it but I happen to love the yummy smell!

Revlon Beyond Natural Lashes: I hadn't ever tried false lashes before 2011, and of all the lashes I've tried this year these are the easiest to apply and look incredibly natural.  I love the clear, flexible band and that they're comfortable to wear.  I've used Flirty and Defining and you can click the links to see them on me.  I've got Defining on in my banner!  These are amazing for any occasion and nobody will even know you're wearing falsies... they'll just think you've got gorgeous long lashes :)

The Fossil Watch my husband got me for Christmas - Geneva AM 4116 $85 Silver (men's):
I was really feeling the boyfriend-watch trend but I didn't want my husband to spend $200+ on something so trendy of the Michael Kors variety.  Fossil is a brand of watches we both like and the prices are reasonable, so I checked out their boyfriend watches but found the faces to be slightly too big for my wrist.  They made the band kind of form a "tent" around my wrist!  I spotted this one with its unisex crystals in the case and loved it the instant I tried it on.  Because it's an actual men's watch instead of being the "trendy" women's watch, it's about $50 cheaper than a "boyfriend watch" made for that purpose.  Sweet deal :D I catch myself staring at it all the time.

I hope you all have had an amazing 2011 and once again thanks so much for reading my ramblings <3  I love you guys and wish you the BEST 2012!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hanukkah and Christmas Eve FOTNs

Hi Guys! I hope you're having a wonderful holiday break, or that you've enjoyed your celebrations past if you're back at work now.  I've been doing the family thing so I apologize for my lack of posts!
Just thought I'd share with you my Hanukkah and Christmas Eve looks :) I hope you like them <3


Face: Hourglass Veil Mineral Foundation Primer, Chanel Perfection Lumiere Beige 30, Maybelline Dream Mousse blush in Coffee Cake
Eyes: Urban Decay Primer Potion in Greed, this cheap palette, NYX Crystal Glitter Liner in Crystal Onyx, Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill mascara
Lips: DuWop Blue Venom

Christmas Eve

Face: same as above
Eyes: Urban Decay Primer Potion in Greed and Rollergirl Palette, Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill mascara
Lips: Rimmel Kate Moss lipstick in 005

Easy-peasy and festive!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

REVIEW: L'oreal infallible 24HR Eye Shadow in 997 Eternal Sunshine

Hanukkah starts tonight, and I had planned to do an elaborate blue-and-gold EOTD.  Unfortunately, I got some sad news yesterday and it's not a good time for a party eye look.

I was cheered up on my grocery run last night when I spied the L'oreal Infallible eye shadow display and I selected a festive, liquid-gold shade, "Eternal Sunshine."  Here's my first-impression:

The pot is a slim affair, and I think it's quite elegant (though the shade sticker makes this blatantly a drugstore item).  You can see the color easily through the bottom window, which I also like.  Inside, there is a sort of plunger just like Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense (ETKI) shadows. 

The texture is more creamy than the ETKI shadows, but still has a powderiness that is very similar.

I couldn't capture how stunningly metallic Eternal Sunshine is in a photograph... it kept appearing kind of margarine-colored in my crummy photos!

Applied to lids with my index finger, NOT over primer. If you'd like to know, my mascara is Majolica Majorca Expander Frame Plus... it is an AWESOME fibre-mascara!

It's not cheap at about $8.49, but L'oreal will of course go on sale at drugstores so that'd be the time to load up on several shades of this.

I am really liking it - it seems to me they are an awful lot like my two pots of ETKI without the ouchie price tag!  The only thing I can't yet speak to is the longevity of it, but I'll update this post with a wear-time evaluation later tonight.
UPDATE: I didn't see any creasing until the 8-hour mark. I bet they'd go much longer with a primer underneath. I'm really impressed!

Have you seen the infallible eye shadows display near you yet?

Monday, December 19, 2011

REVIEW: Blinc Liquid Liner

This one will be short 'n sweet.  As you may have seen, I got blinc's liquid liner in my December Birchbox.  I was excited to try the liner because I found it rather entertaining to pick off the little rubbery bits of blinc mascara back when I tried it, even though overall I thought the mascara was a fail.
Blinc liner doesn't disappoint in this area.  When you wash your face with your regular cleanser (it doesn't require makeup remover, but water is not enough.  It will stick around until you remove it), blinc liquid liner balls up into little rubbery bits just like blinc mascara did (photo here).  That's really all this liner has going for it, sadly.

Top, blinc liner.  Bottom, K-palette liner for comparison.
The brush (here, compared to the K-palette liquid liner nib) is too thick and doesn't taper to an effective point.  It is a bit floppy and just a bit tricky to control.  You won't have the option of a nice, super-skinny line.  The liner may have fared better with a thinner brush, but...

If you look closely, you will see that as this liner dries striations form (basically, it gets a stringy look).  The directions state you must apply all necessary coats before it dries, which I managed to do. In spite of that, the liner still dried with this glue-like appearance.
No, thanks.
My experience with the blinc line thus far suggests a fun little science project but as "innovative makeup products" they fail.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Top 7 in '11 (and the 7 HG products I'm still on the hunt for)

This year I've truly been a blush and eyeshadow hoarder... I've loved so many and amassed such a collection of palettes that I could probably do all the makeup for NYFW 2012.
That said, here are the Top 7 products that have made the biggest difference in my beauty life in 2011:

Yes, I bought all of these... please don't do the math!

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips - I am all thumbs and have ZERO patience for drying my nails! So unless I was going to be absorbed in an activity which doesn't use my hands (Gemini = Ruled by Mercury = cannot NOT use my hands!) my stained nails would have shown all year!  I love lime green and yellow polishes and managed to stain my nails several times, necessitating constant cover.  Enter Sally Hansen Polish Strips, and suddenly a girl without the patience for nail art can have snazzy tips that fit her eccentric personality <3 It's true love <3 The only improvement I could imagine is if the glitter ones would not dry out and peel off too easily, but I had no problem with the regular "creme"-finish patterns.

I cut the tube open and depot what's stuck inside when I can't get anymore out - it's about another week's worth!

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo - I've suffered with moderate-to-severe acne since I was 10 years old (yucko, I would only wish this on a truly heinous enemy ;) ).  I've used every brand and strength of antibiotic pill, lotion, Retin-A cream, you-name-it that can be prescribed by dermatologists.  I went through uncomfortable microdermabrasion and laser treatments.  I've been willing to try just about anything for years.  I did have luck with a daily antibiotic pill back in college that kept me clear for about a year but it has since been pulled from the market for turning limbs blue (I had to quit it after that year when the blue spots began to appear... luckily, they disappeared several months after I stopped!).  So basically, NOTHING has worked... until I decided to be a bit spendy and give another pricey drugstore brand a go on the recommendation of Tiffany from Will Work for Makeup and Lil Lady's Life.  The change in my skin was swift and dramatic! While it hasn't cured my acne completely, I don't get all the nasty whiteheads and clogged pores that I used to. I still have leftover red spots and some other inflammation, but the pores on my cheeks have gone MIA and I swear to you I look much younger!  Even though mild acne remains (as well as scarring), I will seriously cry if I have to be without Effaclar Duo!  It has refined my skin in a way my Clarisonic Mia and various peels promised but failed to do.  I've been using it for about three months, since October of this year.  One tube lasted me two months applied once daily (though I think I'll want to step it up to twice daily soon) and it can be found for around $30.  If you're oily and spotty you MUST try it!

My third tube

Origins VitaZing - Thanks to thorough reviews from Jessica of Getting Cheeky and Vivianna Does Makeup, I decided to give Origins another shot after years of avoiding them because of a spoiled mascara episode.  This is what a tinted moisturizer should be - so many in the past have required another moisturizer underneath and as much blending as foundation, but not VitaZing! I can slap it on in a rush and it self-adjusts and gives me a wonderful, lively glow.  It also has enough coverage that I can simply spot-conceal and run out the door if I need to. Bonus - it smells lovely. Total win, people!

You know you love it when you buy every color

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Enhancing Gel Creamliners - This has been featured as a favorite already recently, so I don't think I need to go on and on.  Check out my previous mentions here and here for some swatches and a breakdown of their sweet, sweet HGness.

TBH this is a mere fraction of the Colorburst lippies I've got...
You know you love it when you've got a pile of it!

Revlon Colorburst Lipstick, Gloss, Lip Butter - Not one of these disappoints.  The lipstick alone made me believe in drugstore lipsticks again (and made me brave enough to try some of the more-raved Cover Girl LipPerfection, Maybelline Color Sensational, and Wet n Wild Megalast shades).  The glosses' packaging looks just as chic as Chanel Glossimers, IMHO, and I love that they are non-sticky and pigmented.  The lip butters, released so recently, were really the coup de grace and I have little desire anymore to invest in anything more expensive than MAC's $14 lipsticks (I must confess a moment of weakness, though, in a recent purchase of Chanel Rouge Allure Lacques in Dragon and Empire... but I have a little bit of buyer's remorse about them). Save for Wet n Wild eyeshadows, I don't usually find bargain shadows to be worth it (conversely, neither have I found $32 shadows to be worth it), but I really feel Revlon can do no wrong with their affordable, amazing Colorburst line!

My workhorse - tube #2

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara - One of the few items I use all the time, you can find my original review here.  Now I never want to be without a dedicated bottom-lash mascara!  It's not pricey at $10, but I'm still hoping drugstore brands will roll out versions of this in 2012 for me to eagerly try ^.^

Shu Uemura Lash Curler - I've had tons of other curlers, but since I got this one I don't bother with them.  It lives up to its hype, but its so annoying that it's more difficult to find in the U.S. these days! I got mine from

 HG Products I'll be hunting for in 2012:

1.Makeup remover wipes that are extremely effective (ala Lancome Bi-Facil) and affordable
2.Eye cream that is highly moisturizing but won't cause milia
3.Foundation that looks as good as Chanel Perfection Lumiere in photos, too!
4.Concealer opaque enough to cover zits but won't crease under my eyes
5.Face cleanser of Philosophy Purity -quality at a more affordable price
6.Hair Styling Product - I love Ojon Damage Reverse Serum and other oils I've tried, but my hair needs a bit more control along with the frizz-fighting
7.Primer that works well enough to justify the extra step and expense (recently I tried a sample of Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, and this might be The One... I'm going to have to get my hands on a bottle to find out for sure!)

What products attained HG status for you in 2011? 
What products will you be seeking in 2012?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December 2011 Birchbox, plus Cupcakes and Snowmen

My husband and I had a little gift-exchange date last night, and he couldn't even wrap my present... because it is a Cupcake Ottoman!

I think I'll use it to store makeup... of course!
This month I keep posting up photos of cupcakes and snowmen (in spite of the utter lack of snow... very odd for December in Michigan), so here's another: my breakfast today

Krispy Kreme... my weakness.  It was mochi-mochi and super-delicious!
And since I know we all love spying into each others' beauty subscription boxes, here's my December Birchbox.  The box is a little different as it's printed with snowflakes.

I've seen this exact box all over the interwebs. 

I like the "Ageless" perfume - it smells nicely of grapefruit and I like the artwork on its accompanying card.  The name of it makes me cringe, though.  Even if the bottle were pretty, which it's not, I'd be embarrassed to have the bottle out on my vanity screaming, "I want to be perceived as younger than I am! Please think I'm 21, PLEASE?" Blech.

In spite of my disappointment in the blinc mascara (review here), I'm looking forward to trying the blinc eyeliner.  That's why I got the birchbox subscription - to play!

I think it's really cool there is a jouer birchbox-exclusive shade of fuchsia gloss. It's also tiny so I'll probably actually use up a lippie for once!

ShowStoppers are double-stick tape to ensure you don't have a wardrobe malfunction... they could actually render the black column dress I have wearable. Now I just need to get the husband to take me on another holiday date (more swanky than Red Robin this time, perhaps?).

Benefit The POREfessional primer - I have another sample of this unopened somewhere. I really ought to give it a try already!  Some of my fave bloggers (i.e. Gaby and Vivianna) use it  (:

EBoost drink mix - I guess I'll try it but I usually like to get my vitamins from whole foods or Whole Foods (Deva/VegLife).

Not a bad birchbox, but kinda forgettable in my humblest.  I think for the holidays it would have been wise to pull out all the stops and throw in a full-size makeup item.  Wish I could get a GlamBox...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

... because I can eat Oreos with red creme in them! NOM!

I think the Oreos look like anti-hero oreos... just a little bit evil >:D

Isn't this snowman polish adorable? I got one in white opalescent glitter (like China Glaze Snowglobe) as well.  These were available at Rite Aid a month or so ago, but I'm not sure if they'll still be around now.  From what I understand, though, they come out every year  <3

Unrelated find: Yesterday at CVS I spotted this cheapo, $2.99 palette for the holidays:

If you see it, I recommend picking it up.  Its style is quite reminiscent of Guerlain, Dior and Lancome Spring 2012 with the embossed flowers.  I found the pigmentation to be quite nice and the texture soft and easy to blend.  It's definitely higher quality than I expected!
This time of year can be all about extravagance, but it's nice to find joy in small (budget) pleasures ^.^

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I am a Dork

I am a huge fan of this makeup artist, so I'm kind of geeked to get a reply on Twitter. You can tell I'm new to Twitter, can'tcha?

Anyway, if you haven't heard of him he's got an amazing Youtube channel: Goss Makeup Artist

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Party Look 2011

Hello girls :) I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  This weekend was my office Holiday Party, and thanks to your help in the comments on my 100 Followers Thank You post, I devised a smokey purple look:

Glitter is so darned difficult to photograph!

Face: Dermalogica Active Moist, Stila Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer in Medium, Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer (a sample I had. I knew it was risky to try it out for an event, but the risk paid off and I LOVE this stuff! Best primer I've ever tried, as far as feel on the skin and finish it gave my foundation.  I'm definitely going to invest in a bottle!) applied with a flat Eco Tools Foundation brush, Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation in 52 Vanilla applied with the beauty blender sponge (this is the best application method for this foundation.  My skin looked nearly flawless!  If it wasn't more time-consuming than my Sephora #55 brush, this combo would be my HG). Just FYI, I had prepped my skin earlier in the day with Vivo Per Lei Facial Peeling, followed by a wash with Philosophy Purity on my Clarisonic Mia. I'm sure this helped with smoothing my skin under the foundation.

Please pardon the weird shadows cast on my face

Cheeks: I used the NYX Highlight and Contour Powder (review here), and kept my blush very subtle using sheer Rimmel Santa Rose on the apples.  Then I highlighted my cheekbones with a little Benefit Highbeam.

Eyes: I didn't really need it, but out of habit I applied Garnier Tinted Eye Roller to the dark circle area.  This messed up the finish of my foundation a little, but I was able to blend it in the end.  The Bourjois Healthy Mix had actually covered up enough of my shadows, though.  I applied Too Faced Shadow Insurance to my lids and lower lashline with a synthetic concealer brush (this is kind of drying on my lids. Can anyone tell me if the NARS shadow base is less drying but not oily like UDPP?).  Next I dabbed on Tokidoki shadow in Donutella, a shimmery champagne with silver glitter.  I think it is a lot like Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy in that it has tons of glitter fallout.  I liked this effect for my festive look, so no worries! This went on my lids' inner third and corner, and the purple from NARS duo eyeshadow in Bysance went on my lids' outer two-thirds.  I found this shadow frustrating as I really had to pack it on with effort.  I hear this is common for purple shadows, though. I was originally going to use the gold in this duo as well but decided not to.  Next, I applied NARS single in Ondine (a plummy brown) in my crease and outer v.  It wasn't giving me the depth I wanted, so I darkened the crease with Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense in Red Lust (probably any black eyeshadow would have done the trick; this one just has a reddish nuance that won't really show in this look). The last shadow I used was Wet n Wild Brulee, a matte cream, to blend Ondine out and highlight my outer browbone.  I had to reapply and keep blending all the shadows until I got the desired balance of the colors.

Next I lined my lower lashline up to the inner half of my iris with Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner in Asphyxia. I wanted to bring in the pinkish-purple shade to match the amethyst look of my Jewelmint Screen Siren earrings. I topped it with NYX Crystal Glitter eyeliner in Crystal Pewter.  I applied Revlon Beyond Natural Lashes in 91182 Flirty with Duo Lash Glue and used a liner brush in the black gel shade from Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Glam Gel Creamliner trio in Glam Green Eyes to hide the lash band.  I topped this with NYX Crystal Glitter eyeliner in Crystal Onyx.  Lastly, I applied Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus Mascara. And after all that, I forgot to put any mascara at all on my lower lashes... argh!

Lips: MAC Hue topped with Too Faced Glamour Gloss in Barely Legal.  There was heaps of glitter on my eyes and I didn't want my lips or cheeks to compete.

It's pretty obvious which dress I ended up wearing:

It wasn't very cold, even with the snow on the ground :D
Originally I was going to do a regal combo of gold and purple as many of you suggested.  I did up my nails with over-the-top bling to bring more gold into the outfit and planned to use a little gold handbag to tie it together.

Sadly, it wasn't meant to be! My nail decals trapped water in the shower and the whole shebang just peeled off with only hours until the party and my full makeup left to do.   Rather than freak out, I removed the nail look, replaced the gold in my eye makeup with a glitter-bomb champagne shadow, and switched to a duo-chrome evening purse.  Right at the last minute, I applied two coats of NYX Girls nail polish in Spot Light, a polish with hexagonal holographic- and silver micro- glitter in a clear base.  This would up looking awesome with the boyfriend watch my husband bought me for my first Christmas present!  I had been wanting a boyfriend watch but the Michael Kors ones were too big for my wrist.  The Fossil ladies' boyfriend watches were also too large.  In the end, I got a real men's watch with crystals... would you know this was meant for men? The only differences were we had to remove more links... and it was $30-$50 cheaper than the Fossil ladies' boyfriend watches! I love it <3

Yay, thanks G <3 xoxo!
So, obviously I'm really in the spirit this year... are you guys still psyched for the holidays or are you over it already?