Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Contouring Basics

I have chubby cheeks.

I’ve had them since I was a cute little kid with pigtails and a standing appointment with Scooby Doo (I wouldn’t go to play dates unless my mother made it clear to my friend’s mom that Scooby Doo had to go on the TV at the prescribed time).  I used to think that I’d outgrow them, lose that mythical baby fat and suddenly have gorgeous, model-worthy cheekbones.

But here I am, 20 plus years later, and I’ve still got these ridiculous chipmunk cheeks.

Thank goodness for makeup, right?  A couple of swipes under the cheekbones and you can have sculpted, catwalk ready cheeks.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bare Escentuals' Return to Radiance TSV

Bare Escentuals Return to Radiance TSV

My UPS man made another visit to my doorstep yesterday to deliver yet another beauty related TSV from QVC.

I seriously cannot resist these deals.  It’s a major weakness of mine.

This time, my friendly UPS guy dropped off the Bare Escentuals’ Return to Radiance kit that is scheduled to be the TSV this Saturday, March 3. Again, I couldn’t wait and ordered early. Still, it was a somewhat impulsive buy. I knew that the kit came with a foundation and Bisque concealer, both of which I have plenty of, so it didn’t seem like a good fit for me. The fact that it did contain one of Bare Escentuals’ new Ready Pressed Blushes did have me slightly on the fence because I’ve been interested to see if the pressed blushes are as good as their pressed eye shadows.  Still, I figured I could wait until the blushes were available on their own and pick one up.

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Skincare Routine

My skincare routine is a work in progress.

I got my acne under control several years ago, but there are still some issues that I’m working on – mainly large pores and an uneven skin tone due to old acne scarring. Also, as much as I hate to admit it, I am getting older and while I don’t really have any major lines and wrinkles (except the gigantic one across my forehead that I’ve had since I was a kid. Seriously.  I guess I furrowed my brow too early and often.), I am hoping to prevent as many as I can. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Favorite Perfume

This is almost half my perfume collection - it's seriously that small.

I like smelling good.

That’s probably not too surprising. Most people like to smell good, right?

The thing is, I have a slight challenge when it comes to smelling good because I’m extremely picky when it come to perfumes and fragrances. I probably dislike 98% of the perfumes I try – and that’s a conservative estimate.

For me, most perfumes are just too strong and heavy. Some are so bad that they give me headaches if I wear them. I’m sensitive, I guess.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Everyday Makeup Bag

My everday makeup essentials

I have a ton of makeup. 

More makeup than any one person needs, really.

When you’ve got so many products, it can be really difficult to find a particular item that you need when you’re in a rush to get ready in the morning.  I try to organize my makeup as best as I can but that’s not really one of my strengths. To cut back on the time that it takes me to get ready, I keep all of the items that I use on a regular basis in a makeup bag so I only have to grab  face products, shadows, blush and lip color for the day when I’m getting ready.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Current Wishlist Or: Items I'm Interested in Trying

My foundation drawer's already overflowing, but more than half of my wishlist is face products. Crazy!

I try to responsible when it comes to the money that I spend on my makeup – I generally give myself a budget that I’m allowed to spend each month and try my hardest to stick to it. Now, admittedly, I’m probably only half successful. I have a habit of buying things kind of impulsively. So far in the new year, I’ve been pretty good, though. One of my tricks for sticking to my budget is keeping a running tally – a wish list, if you will – of all the items that I’m interested in so when I have money to spend, I know what I’m going to get. Here are the things I’m interested in trying right now (in no particular order): 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Neutral Eye Shadow Palettes

Ever since Urban Decay released the Naked Palette about two years ago, nude, natural or neutral eye shadow palettes haven been all the rage. I remember that when the trend started, I was kind of disappointed because I didn’t think of myself as someone who really liked neutral shades. I tend to gravitate toward soft peaches, purples, greens, and other colorful shadows.

But I bought the Naked Palette anyway, just because I love Urban Decay’s shadows and figured it would be a good basic collection for traveling – and a funny thing happened. I started to realize that over the course a normal week, I probably wore colorful shadow looks two or three time. The rest of the days, I was using neutral shadows – many from the Naked Palette and other single shadows I’d accumulated over the years.

It turns out – whether I knew it or not – I am a big fan of neutral, natural, nude, whatever you want to call them shadows.   

Monday, February 20, 2012

How to Make Your Concealer Last All Day

Let your shadow primer do double duty.

I have light to medium dark circles under my eyes (and lots of veins that show up pretty clearly beneath my fair skin) so concealer is pretty much a must for me.

And nothing bugs me more than when I check my makeup halfway through the day and see that my concealer has faded or creased so my under eye area actually looks worse than when I woke up. 

It’s a bummer.

Enter this fabulous little tip that’s kind of one of those ‘It’s so obvious… why didn’t I think of that?’ things.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Brand Spotlight - Hourglass

Hourglass Goodies

I had heard about Hourglass Cosmetics for a while before I actually tried anything in their line.

All the chatter was pretty positive, but the brand is kind of pricey, to my mind anyway, so I was hesitant to buy anything. Then one day, a friend and I were just kind of window-shopping at Sephora. When we passed the Hourglass section, I pointed them out to my friend and told her that I’d heard it was a really nice line. Just at that moment, a sales person came along - as they always seem to – and she talked me into letting her try the Illusion Tinted Moisturizer on me. I had no intention of buying it even as she was applying it, but once I looked in the mirror and saw my friend’s reaction (she insisted the girl try it on her right after!), I was a goner.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Favorite Concealers

I have two main weaknesses when it comes to makeup – foundations and concealers.

Well, actually, that’s not exactly true since I also have a weakness for blushes, highlighters, peachy lipsticks, navy liners, and glittery polishes.  But foundation and concealers, those are my two biggies.

I suppose it has something to do with the fact that my skin is far from perfect – lots of blotchiness, old acne scars, large pores, etc.  I’m willing to try anything that can fake the look of a flawless complexion. When it comes to concealer, I usually use it just on my dark circles or areas of redness. If I have a breakout, I typically let my foundation cover as much as it can and leave it alone since I can’t seem to prevent concealer from looking cakey on a zit.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tarte's Miracle of Maracuja TSV from QVC

Tarte's Miracle of Maracuja TSV

I have a subscription to QVC’s InsideQ  magazine– but not for the articles.  Each month, you get a sneak peek at upcoming TSVs so you can pre-order, and while there’s really no risk of missing out on any of these values, I guess I just like getting my beauty specials early.

I don’t have much patience.

I knew that there was a Tarte TSV coming up in March, and I knew that I was going to order even without seeing it. When my InsideQ arrived earlier this week and I actually saw it, I ordered without hesitation. I didn’t expect it to come so quickly, but I was giddy when the UPS truck stopped in front of the house yesterday. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Holy Grail Found: MUFE HD Primer

I have been really and truly obsessed with makeup for nearly 20 years (yikes!), and in all that time, I’ve never really found a Holy Grail product. 

Not makeup, not skincare, not a hair product. 



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Loves: MAC's Innocence, Beware and Milani's Amber Nectar Illuminating Face Powder

Where have you two been all my life?

I’m in love. 

Head over heels-crazy-in love.

Now that I think about it, maybe this post should have gone up yesterday, on Valentine’s Day, since it is all about new loves.  Don’t you just love it when new products enter your makeup life and immediately make it better? 


That’s what has happened for me with the introduction of MAC’s Innocence, Beware Cremesheen Lipstick and Milani’s Illuminating Face Powder in 01 Amber Nectar to my makeup collection.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Red Lips

As I’ve mentioned before, I have very fair skin.

I also have red hair. It’s not natural, mind you, but with my porcelain skin and freckles, I may as well have been born with it.

Now, I happen to think red hair and fair skin is a pretty combination – it certainly works for Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman (sometimes).  But when you’ve got that kind of coloring, it can be tough to get certain makeup shades to look right on you. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Beauty Ticket's 5 for $10 Deal

I was only in Brownies for two years, but the thing that I remember most fondly about the experience (besides having firsthand access to Samoas and Thin Mints during the cookie sale, of course) was the holiday grab bag that we did each year.

Everyone would bring in a gift that fell under a certain price limit, and our troop leader would collect them in a giant garbage bag. I’m not quite sure how we decided the order in which we picked, but we’d each get a turn reaching into the bag and pulling out one of the packages. Sure, it was a total crapshoot – you could wind up with something really cool like Ballerina Barbie or something not so cool like a Chia Pet (which actually happened to one of my friends) – but I loved the excitement and anticipation, not knowing what possible treasure you might come away with.

So when I saw that Beauty Ticket, a website that offers high end beauty brands at discounted prices, was having a sale where you could get 5 mystery prestige items for $10 – essentially a kind of grab bag – I had to take advantage. Twice.  I got two bags for a total of $20 with an extra $6.95 for shipping and handling to give me 10 items for $26.95. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Brand Spotlight - The Balm

The Balm's many amazing shadow palettes

With so many great makeup brands out there, it can get pretty pricey to sample items from them all. I thought it might be fun – and informative – to do a little series where I point out my three favorite products from a specific brand in case you’re curious about where to start with a certain company’s offerings. I hope you’ll share your favorites as well I’m sure there are plenty of goodies that I haven’t gotten around to trying yet.

I wanted to start with what I think it is one of the most underrated makeup brands– The Balm.  Even though the only products that I’ve tried from them are their shadows (I have a couple of their blushes and their luminizer on my wish list), they are one of my favorite brands. The quality of their shadows is just extraordinary – soft, creamy and so easy to blend. I love their color selection as well – from light shades that work for everyday looks to dark, rich shades that create the perfect smoky eye to bright, fun shades that are perfect for adding a pop of color to your look. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dinair Personal/Pro Kit Review

All my Dinair Goodies

Like any serious makeup junkie, I always want to try new things – even when they’re not something I necessarily need.  I usually justify the impulse by telling myself that makeup is the one hobby that I have that really eats up money, so it’s okay to splurge every now and then.

For a while now, I’ve been interested in getting an airbrush makeup system. It’s a fairly costly investment, though, and since I didn’t see myself using it every day, I was somewhat hesitant to bite the bullet. Fortunately, I have an extremely generous sister who gave me a Dinair gift card for my recent birthday so I didn’t have to pay the full price out of my pocket – no reason not to treat myself, right?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Favorite Everyday Lipsticks

The other day, a friend asked me to recommend a MAC lipstick that would work well for everyday. I love when people ask me for advice like that – I love talking about makeup the same way that I love Diet Coke and caramel creams - but it’s also a tough question to answer since your coloring and personal preferences play such a big role in determining what constitutes a good everyday lip color.

But my friend’s question did get me thinking about what my go-to lipsticks for everyday are, MAC or otherwise, and when I looked through the lipstick drawer in my makeup stash, I realized that there was definitely a few shades that got more love than all the others. I was going to try to limit my selections to five shades, but in the end, seven made the cut because I just couldn’t bring myself to cut two.  These are the lipsticks that I turn to when I don’t want to think too much about what I’m wearing or worry about my lip color working with the rest of my makeup.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hockey Games and Vet Appointments or: Why I Wear Makeup

One of the few things I like as much as makeup: the Islanders

Later tonight, I’ll be going to a hockey game (Let’s go Islanders!) with friends. As I was deciding what to wear earlier, I started thinking about my makeup and what kind of look would be right for the occasion. That got me thinking a little more broadly about how, where, when and why I wear makeup. 

Right off the bat, I’m not someone who won’t leave the house without makeup. There are plenty of places that I go without wearing a stitch on my face besides sunscreen and tinted lip balm – doctor and vet appointments, the grocery store, the bank, and the post office.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

QVC & TSVs (Tarte Glow Your Way to Gorgeous #3 Swatches)

There's nothing better than having a brand new box of beauty goodies to open.

As any savvy makeup junkie knows, buying a kit that includes several products is a surefire way to save a little money. 

Sure, there’s some risk – you might not like all of the products included or some of the shades might not work with your coloring – but if you can get five full size products for the price of two and a half, it’s a good gamble to make.

While you can find kits at Sephora, Ulta, and brand websites, I find that the best values usually come from QVC – if you happen to shop the Today’s Special Value (TSV). If you’re not familiar with QVC, a TSV is either a single item or – in the case of most beauty TSVs – a kit of products that is on sale for a 24 hour period at a lower price that the network typically sells it. In most cases, when you purchase a beauty TSV, you also have an auto-delivery option, which means that you lock in the TSV price for a series of two or three future kits containing the same products in different colors.

Depending on the brand and the kit, it can really be a great deal.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Foundations for Fair Skin

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall... What's the palest foundation of them all? 

I have fair skin.

Actually, saying it’s fair may be an understatement. I am Casper the Friendly Ghost, Edward Cullen sans shimmer, Frosty the Snowman- white.  It’s a combination of being naturally fair, staying out of the sun, and smothering myself in SPF of at least 50 every time I’m even thinking of setting foot outside. (I had a few bad sunburns as a kid so I’m slightly paranoid about skin cancer.)

I don’t really mind being pale – I hate self-tanners and have a hard time finding a bronzer that looks natural on me - and in fact, I’ve started telling myself that given the current obsession with bronzed skin, my super pale complexion is kind of exotic.

But as much as I like my fair skin, it does present a significant challenge – finding a foundation shade that matches just right. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Getting Started

The first time I got makeup of my own, I was five or six.

It was Valentine’s Day, and along with my heart-shaped chocolates, my mother gave me a Tinkerbell Cosmetics set.  My oldest sister had already started wearing makeup by then, and my mom must have noticed all the envious looks I was giving her fruity lip glosses and dark black liners. The little set was a way to appease me – and keep my sister’s stash safe from my grubby little fingers.

Now, if you weren’t a kid in the ‘80s, you may not be familiar with the Tinkerbell brand, but it was a fun, little line targeted at kids, with lots of pink packaging covered in hearts and flowers and a pretty little fairy to serve as the brand’s namesake. There are some great photos of the brand’s offerings here.

My set came with an obnoxiously bright pink lipstick and a red nail polish. The cool thing about Tinkerbell nail polishes was that they were super easy to remove – you could peel all of it off your nail in one big piece. To say I was obsessed with my new makeup is an understatement. I would polish my nails each morning, peel it off each night, and start all over again the next day.  My mom wouldn’t let me wear the lipstick to school, but as soon as I got home, I’d be in front of the bathroom mirror, going to town with all that pink.

I never looked back after that first Tinkerbell set – my obsession with makeup had been well and fully cultivated. A half dozen more Tinkerbell sets followed before I started stealing my sister’s makeup, and begging my mom for the lipsticks that came with her gifts with purchase. Once I was old enough to babysit, I had money of my own to buy makeup – and I’m pretty sure that’s where every penny of my earnings went.

I love makeup.  It makes me happy.

I’m hoping that this blog will be all about sharing that happiness. I work as a freelance writer, and while I do focus mainly on beauty and style topics, I don’t always get to write about the things that I want. I don’t usually get to chat with other makeup junkies about the things that they love, hate, or covet. I hope that you’ll share your thoughts on the topics posted here when the mood strikes – I welcome comments, emails, tweets, any way that you want to get in touch. In particular, feel free to let me know what types of topics/posts you’d like to see on the blog. Pretty much anything makeup, skincare, and beauty-related interests me, so I’m up for anything.
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