Friday, September 27, 2013

REVIEW! | Givenchy Paradise Pink Rouge Interdit Satin Lipstick

Givenchy.  Even the pronunciation makes me think "luxe".  Zshee-von-shay!  Can you feel the French-ness?  Oh mon dieu!  J'aime ce rouge à lèvres!  I'd hoped to discover my next lipstick love from Givenchy's copious options, and after swatching the happiest cool pink of the bunch, I was in heavy like.  I hoped it would turn to love after I'd had the chance to test it.  Spoiler alert: it has!
Givenchy Paradise Pink: 3 swipes, 1 swipe (on NW20 skin with flash)
Paradise Pink is one of twenty three color options in Givenchy's Satin lipstick line carried at Sephora.  The finish does not remind me of MAC's satin finish lipsticks; Givenchy's feels feather-light, almost like a gel that is silky smooth and lasts about 3 hours on me.  This lipstick doesn't leave my lips feeling hurt and confused at the end of the day, either.  You guys know by now how much I love a non-drying lipstick!
Givenchy Paradise Pink (upper right corner), natural lips (lower left)
Givenchy Paradise Pink
Givenchy is a luxury brand that knows how to kick up the special with their packaging!  You open the lipstick by pulling on the ribbon loop and a metal tube inscribed with their insignia slides out to reveal your lippie.  For me, it's the thoughtful little touches like these that I love, and that I also think Tim Gunn would really appreciate.  He would never need to remind the people at Givenchy to "use the accessory wall thoughtfully"; they've got it down!
My Rating: A+
Where to Buy: GivenchySephora
Sporting Givenchy Paradise Pink
Makeup used in the above photo.  The NARS blush is Deep Throat.

In other news...oh HAAAII guys!  

I'm sorry I've been so absent lately, but both Jason and I have been sick (oy on seasonal allergies!) and we're moving in 2 weeks.  Tonight Jason packed the kitchen and I worked on the spare room while we listened to some Doobie Brothers, Metallica, and Pink!  I plan to attempt to catch up on blog reading this weekend.  I still love you guys, though!  BFF power!  I've barely even been Instagramming, which y'all know I have a slight addiction to.  I checked my feed a little while ago and saw people posting their RiRi loves MAC Fall 2013 collection goodies and was like OH HAYELL NO!  I did NOT miss that launch!??!  Luckily, I haven't!  It's in US/Canadian MAC stores now and online on 9/30!  So mark your calendars if you're in the Northwestern hemisphere and you've been jonesing for that collection!  How was your week?!  T.G.I.F.!  Hugs to you all!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

TAG! | The Skincare Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Megan of Maybe Its Megan Leigh to do The Skincare Tag. Her timing was perfect as I've recently uncovered a few skincare gems that I'd love to share with y'all!

Describe your skincare routine in 5 words: Cleanse, lips, tone, moisturize, eyes.

CLEANSE: I've been using the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser [full review here] after another bad experience with an oil-based cleaner.  Sigh.  My skin just cannot get down with oil cleansing!  After 4 bad experiences, I'm bowing out of the ring!
LIPS: After cleansing, I exfoliate my lips several times a week with Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub and finish with a swipe of Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm (the Lemon & Chamomile is my JAM!).  Before bed, I amp it up with a layer of Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm and wake up with flake-free baby lips.
TONE: Next, I use Bioderma Sebium H2O Cleansing Solution for Oily or Combination Skin to tone.  This is how I double cleanse!
MOISTURIZE: I then apply my super serum cocktail: a dot of Paula's Choice Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum, a dot of Kate Somerville Quench Hydrating Face Serum, and a dot of CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM, mix it up in my hands and then massage it into my face.
EYES: My final step is to gently press some of the delightful Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin E Active Moisture Eye Balm under my eyes and along the orbital bone using my ring finger.  
What’s your skin type? Oily-Combination in the summer, and just straight up Combination in the cooler months.

Top Blemish Zapper: Noxzema Triple Clean Anti-Blemsh Pads.  When I have a flare-up of chacne (chin acne), this stuff REALLY helps stop the madness so much quicker than anything else I've tried.  I swipe one of these pads over the problem area after cleansing and don't put any moisturizer over it.  My break outs aren't magically cured by morning, but they seem to stop producing and start healing overnight.  Also, the Proactiv Solution Refining Mask is a BIG help!  The sulfur in the mask really seems to punch break outs in the face!

Face Wipes, yay or nay?  Nay!  I think these are only a good idea for someone debating between using a one or not washing their face at all.  A wipe is better than not washing, but I don't think wipes are very effective for removing all of your makeup and getting your skin truly clean.
Toner, yay or nay?  Yay!  I've only recently gotten back on the toner bandwagon but I can already feel a difference in my skin.  It feels happy!  I used to always tone, as I began my late teen years as a Clinique 3-Stepper, but over the years I'd completely stopped using any kind of toner.  I am so glad I've found one I like again because they really do such a great job of getting the remains of your makeup out of your pores.

High-end skincare or high-end makeup?  I feel like my skincare routine is pretty well-rounded with drugstore, mid-range, and high-end products, but it wasn't planned out that way.  I just use what works best for me, which is what I encourage everyone to do!  For some, expensive skincare products equal better results, but that is certainly not always the case.  Many products recommended by dermatologists are available at your local drugstore for under $20 bucks.  There is no rule; if something works well for you, then it's right, regardless of price point.
What’s the most unusual skincare product you've tried?  Oh boy, I've definitely had some Pinterest fails in the skincare realm that I would absolutely NOT recommend!  There was one DIY exfoliant involving baking soda that promised glowing skin.  I thought my face was going to catch fire it was burning so badly!  Lesson learned: the only time I'll be reaching for baking soda in the future will be when I'm making cookies!

Tell us your top skincare tip:  I have 2!  1.) Finding products that work best for you takes a lot of time, patience, and experimenting.  Until you find your HG's, I highly recommend shopping at retailers with good return policies in case something you try results in bad break outs or allergic reactions.  2.) Use an eye cream!  Even if you're a bright young thang!  I started using anti-aging eye creams when I was 20 and that was one of the best beauty decisions I've ever made.

I tag: anyone who'd like to participate and share their skincare tips and secrets!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Beauty Newbies: Foundation Top Picks!

My friend Emily works in the high-stress medical field and is constantly wearing surgical masks and the dreaded bouffant hair covers.  With so much of her day spent, you know, saving lives, she doesn't have a lot of spare time for lipstick touch-ups or powdering her nose.  Suffice it to say, a smoky eye isn't high on her list of morning to-do's.  
"I'm too sexy for this hat!
Whatchu think about that?"
She's never been a big cosmetics user to begin with, but after years of living makeup-free, she approached me for help.  I was so excited!  Not that I think everyone should start wearing a full face at age 13 - far from it - but if enhancing your natural beauty with the help of cosmetics makes you feel more self-confident, I'm all for it!  She came over and I did her makeup; well, technically she did it.  I just picked out the products and tools and answered her questions while instructing her through the application process.  I wanted her to apply everything herself so she'd get the feel of it and wouldn't have any trouble doing it on her own.  She was adorable.  

After applying primer, base, and concealer, I had her do a very simple neutral eye using the UD Naked palette, she buffed on a soft neutral pink "easy breezy" blush (Tarte Exposed), and she finished the look with a swipe of soft pinky brown lipstick (UD Super Saturated High Gloss Lip Color in Glinda).  I could see that she felt good about the finished look, but she wanted to have a little fun.  She wanted to try something totally out of her comfort zone, which I think is great!  Out of everything in my arsenal, she reached for NARS Carthage, an absolute BOLT of in-yo-face matte magenta madness!  She applied it as sparingly as one could, smacked her hot pink lips together and headed for the better lighting and bigger mirror in the bathroom to check out Emily 2.0.  

While she hasn't picked up a tube of Carthage just yet, I did make her a list of fantastic no-fail products that she should add to her shopping list.  I thought I'd share the list here in a series of posts called Beauty Newbies in case anyone else is just starting out and doesn't know what to invest in.  The world of cosmetics is seemingly endless and can be quite overwhelming!  

Where should you start?  A GREAT foundation.  
While there is no universal "best" choice since people have different skin types, tones, issues, and wishes, I do suggest you invest in a great foundation.  It's a product that you will use every single day, so finding one that works best for you is literally the KEY to the rest of your makeup turning out well.  After all, it's called foundation for a reason!  The rest of your look is built upon it.  

If you have no idea where to start:

Determine your undertone:  Are you warm, cool, or neutral?  A solid guide is sitting right in front of you!  Look at the color of the veins in your wrist in direct sunlight.  Are they green?  You're probably warm.  Are they blue?  You're probably cool.  My wrist veins are blue and my arm veins (inside the elbow) are green.  I'm neutral, and if you've got the green and blue vein thang going, you can technically wear warm or cool colors.  

Another great way to determine undertone is to think about your clothes.  What shades are you wearing when you think you look your best?  Rich, warm colors like plum, saffron yellow, warm magenta, and golden brown?  You're probably warm.  If your features come to life in icy blue, cool pink, true kelly green, and blue-based red, you're probably cool.  If you can pull off colors from either spectrum, you're neutral.  

The best thing I can recommend to anyone just starting out is to get shade-matched.  Go to a makeup counter, MAC, or Sephora and ask them to match you.  Sephora has a cool new shade matching option from Pantone that will help you find your shade in any line.  MAC is great, too.  Knowing your MAC shade number can really help you find great matches in other lines as it's a guideline used by many beauty bloggers.  If you're matched to NW20 (that's me!) and you're reading a foundation review at a blogger's site who is matched to NW25, you'll know they are a bit darker than you but have similar undertones.  If you're NC30, you'll know they are lighter and have cooler undertones than you.  It's just a great starting point, whether or not you're planning to purchase a MAC foundation or powder.  

If you already know your shade match in a particular foundation, a visit to Temptalia's Foundation Matrix can really narrow your search for a new base.  You enter your undertone and skin tone, then you can narrow it further by brand, finish, coverage, and type.  For instance, if you're cool toned and deep dark pink and you're curious about a shade match to a Clinique product, you enter that info, click submit, and BOOM - there you'll find that your match is Clove in their Superbalanced Liquid Makeup.  The Foundation Matrix is especially helpful if you're looking for a drugstore match since you can't go to CVS and swatch them or ask for samples!  

Back to you getting shade matched at your local beauty counter!  Ask for a sample of the foundation shade you are matched to, and go one shade lighter or darker depending on your observations about the colors.  Does your match seem a bit yellow or pink to you, even though the sales associate or makeup artist says it's perfect?  If you think the lighter shade might be a closer match, ask for a sample of that, too.  Sometimes the best person to determine your tone is YOU!  Having a lighter or darker option to try in addition to your match is a great way to ensure you find your perfect color.    

What do you want from your dream foundation?  Flawless, full coverage?  Light coverage with a dewy finish?  Do you have hyperpigmentation or melasma that you know won't be masked by a sheer coverage product?  Then you probably want medium to full coverage.  Is your skin in need of a more subtle effect to even out your face?  Sheer coverage is probably all you'll want.  

Is your skin dry, oily, or combination?  Knowing this will help narrow down the formulation that's right for you.  If you have very oily skin, anything that says it "adds radiance" or "moisturizes" is probably not going to be your new BFF!  You're naturally "radiant", amiright?!  Regardless of your skin type, choose something that flatters it.  If you're dry, something labeled "hydrating" could be right up your alley!  

EXPERIMENT!  Try different brands and formulations and types!  Try out a powder, a creme, a tinted moisturizer, a BB or CC cream, a liquid!  If you're lucky enough to live near a Sephora, they will give you samples of different foundations so you're not stuck with a 2 ounce bottle that breaks you out or leaves your skin dry and uncomfortably tight.  I know it's harder for people in certain countries to experiment as freely since return policies are incredibly restrictive or completely non-existant and that is a huge bummer.  However, from what I've learned from friends around the globe:  you can ask for samples at beauty counters, which is a BIG HELP!  

If you don't live near a shopping mecca or have limited access to beauty brands, it is possible to pick out a foundation online but it's certainly not as simple.  My recommendation?  Find a blogger with a similar complexion to you and look at their foundation reviews.  Google "beauty blogger" and millions of possibilities appear.  If there's a specific base you're itching to buy, Google "[name of foundation] review and swatches" and look through the results, or even through the Image Search results, until you find someone who has your coloring and tone.  Bonus points if you find someone who also has the same skin type! 

Here are a few of my top foundation picks broken down by coverage type!  
NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer:  This product is a perfect fit for anyone looking to simplify their routine since this combines a facial moisturizer with a bit of foundation.  [Full review & swatches here]
bareMinerals Matte SPF 15 Foundation: This used to be the only foundation I used!  I've since graduated to fuller coverage formulas, but I still have a fondness for this one.  It offers light coverage but can be built up to medium, and the matte powder formulation is great for anyone with oily-combination skin.
L'Oreal Magic Nude Liquid Powder: Ok, so my personal results with this one aside (not enough coverage for my liking and left my already oily skin too oily), I do think this is a nice drugstore pick for someone with normal skin who wants sheer coverage.  It's literally a liquid that dries to a powder finish and offers just enough coverage to even out the skin.

Lancome Teint Miracle: This is one of my absolute favorites and one I have recommended time and again.  This medium coverage beauty gives you a youthful lit from within look without making your skin appear greasy (KEY for anyone with oily skin!).  It blends like a dream.  This is one foundation I would recommend across the board if you're not sure what type of coverage and finish you want.  It's right in the middle: not too dewy, not too flat, and the medium coverage can be sheered out by applying it with a wet sponge, or built up by applying it in layers with your fingers or a foundation brush.  
Illamasqua Skin Base: Medium coverage and a natural finish, this one is ideal for someone looking for a bit more coverage without the "heavy" feel sometimes associated with fuller coverage products.  
MAC Studio Fix Powder: Medium coverage powder foundation that can be applied wet or dry.  Applying it wet bumps up the coverage, and it sets to a beautiful matte finish. 
CoverGirl Clean Whipped Cream: This one feels DE-LUXE!  Like whipped butter!  The medium coverage can be layered over areas where you desire more and it never feels heavy.  In fact, it feels like you're not wearing anything on your face!
Guerlain Parure Extreme: This is my #1 favorite foundation in ze world!  It feels like a satiny serum when applied, and gives you radiant full coverage without the shine.  This one is very similar to the Lancome Teint Miracle; both give you a lit from within look sans greasiness, the Guerlain just offers more coverage.  This is one of my go-to products when I want my skin to look as close to flawless as it can.  Granted, everything about it screams luxury, including the price tag, but it's truly the best foundation I have ever used.  
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage: This is a great matte finish option that lives up to it's long-wearing claims.  It performed especially well for me this summer!  No melting or sliding, even on the hottest of days, and the coverage is pretty fabulous, too.  The only thing I wasn't wild about was the thickness of the product, which I felt didn't work perfectly with my extra oily summer skin.  I think this could be a dream product for someone with combo, normal, or dry skin though.  I plan to use it this winter when my skin is less of an oil factory!
Laura Mercier Silk Creme: AMAZE!  Feels light as clouds but leaves you with a full coverage, airbrushed result.  This one is an ultimate fave.  [Full review & swatches here]
Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H: Breathable, full coverage liquid that delivers a matte finish without a hint of powdery-ness.  Lancome knows what they are doing when it comes to foundation! [Full review & swatches here]

If you're a beauty newbie, I hope you've found this post helpful!  If you're a beauty junkie (you know who you are...), what are your top foundation picks for someone new to makeup?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fall 2013 Polish Picks!

A lot of happy words come to mind when I think Fall.  Jackets!  Boots!  Pumpkin Spice Lattes!  Rich nail colors!  That being said, here are 8 of my top picks to enhance your autumnal delight! ;)
I've broken them down into two categories: Bold and Rich.  The Bold and the Rich!  Sounds like a soap opera!

Revlon Plum Seduction, OPI...Eurso Euro, Essie Trophy Wife, OPI Jade is the New Black
Revlon Plum Seduction: A brightened pink plum creme.
OPI...Eurso Euro: A deep cobalt blue creme. [review here]
Essie Trophy Wife: A teal pearl.
OPI Jade is the New Black: A jade creme.
Revlon Plum Seduction, OPI...Eurso Euro 
OPI Jade is the New Black, Essie Trophy Wife
Revlon Plum Seduction, OPI...Eurso Euro, Essie Trophy Wife, OPI Jade is the New Black
OPI Kennebunk-port, Sally Hansen Save the Date, Milani Black Cherry, OPI Russian Navy
OPI Kennebunk-port: A saturated port wine red creme.
Sally Hansen Save the Date: A rich plum pearl with magenta shimmer. [review here]
Milani Black Cherry: A deep boysenberry pearl.
OPI Russian Navy: A blackened navy blue pearl.
OPI Kennebunk-port, Sally Hansen Save the Date
Milani Black Cherry, OPI Russian Navy
OPI Kennebunk-port, Sally Hansen Save the Date, Milani Black Cherry, OPI Russian Navy
Obviously I'm a fan of all of these shades since I picked them out (ha!), but I think my top two favorites are OPI Jade is the New Black and Milani Black Cherry.  Black Cherry reminds me of using the juice from the berries we'd pick from bushes to "paint" our nails when I was a kid!  I'd completely forgotten about that activity until I swatched this!

What are your Fall polish picks?  Is there a seasonal color you've been waiting to wear?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

In Remembrance

Credit: NY Daily News
I will never forget 9/11.  I had the radio on at work and they broke in to report that a plane had crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  Stunned, I went to a news site with a live feed of the crash.  It was a moment of absolute horror as the country watched the second plane hit the South Tower live.  9/11/01 was the worst day of my life.  I remember being so scared and completely devastated.  12 years later, I can still barely speak of it without crying.

Every year on the anniversary I deeply reflect on that day, on the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives, and the countless people who lost their loved ones, who did nothing more than get on a plane or go to work.  

I reflect on the amazing stories of everyday people who stepped up that day and became heroes.  On the way the country came together in the days, weeks, and months that followed to donate blood, volunteer, and send money.  I was so proud to be an American in the days that followed those horrible attacks, more so than ever before.  

I was deeply moved by the love, prayers, and support from people all over the world who grieved with us in those moments of tragedy and later, cheered on the rebuilding effort.  I get emotional whenever I see someone from another country post a picture of the beautiful new Freedom Tower and say a few kind words.  

I remain forever grateful to those who did everything they could to help save lives on that day, those who sent their thoughts and love when we were hurting, and those who protected our country then and now.    
In Remembrance

Monday, September 9, 2013

TAG! | The One and Only

The beautiful Megan Leigh from the adorably named Maybe It's Megan Leigh blog recently posted The One and Only Tag and shared her holy grail makeup products. It looked like fun so I decided to do it, too!  Let me know in the comments if you decide to do it so I can check out your answers!

The Only Question: If you could only have one ____ what would it be? And, why? 

Primer: MAC Prep + Prime Skin. It mattifies my combination-oily skin better than any other oil-control primer I've tried, the bottle has lasted FOREVER, it doesn't break me out, and it helps my makeup stay put like a boss.
Base Product: Oh jeez, only 1?!  Guerlain Parure Extreme Foundation.  Fantastic coverage, no break outs, natural matte finish, and a perfect shade match.
Blusher (cream or powder): I just cannot pick one!  The best I can do is to narrow it down to three: NARS Deep Throat (full review here), Tarte Exposed, and MAC Blushbaby.  I definitely prefer powder blush for my skin type.
Highlighter: I have been LOVING MAC Shell Cream Colour Base lately!  It's a beautiful pinky beige that gives my skin a believable, non-sparkly glow.  I will do a full review on this puppy soon!
Eyebrow product: Maybelline Master Shape Brow Pencil.  The pencil is only slightly waxy so it doesn't make my brows look greased down, Soft Brown is a perfect color match, and the included spoolie is fantastic for combing the color through and making it look very natural.
Mascara: Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara was first introduced to me by Karen at Makeup & Beauty Blog and the non-waterproof version has remained a fave ever since.  It volumizes my skimpy lashes without clumping, doesn't smudge or flake, and comes off easily when I wash off my makeup.
Concealer: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla for under the eyes (full review here), and MAC Select Cover-Up for blemishes (full review here).
Powder: MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium is my ultimate jam!  Full review here.
Bronzer: Too Faced Chocolate Soleil FTW!  Full review here.
Eye shadow: One single shadow: Urban Decay YDK (found in the Naked2 palette and is also available as a single) is the most flattering rosy champagne that wakes up my eyes and adds a little glimmer without being too over the top.  A single palette: The Urban Decay Naked palette (review here) has been a constant companion of mine for the past couple of years. 
Eyeliner: I love to use Urban Decay Darkhorse (found in the Naked palette and is also available as a single) as a liner.  This beautiful dark brown with gold shimmer works beautifully wet or dry and stays in place all day.
Lip liner: The clear Make Up For Ever Lip Line Perfector because it matches any lip color!
Lip balm: I have a few favorites but my ultimate #1 is Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25 in Lemon & Chamomile.  It's my lips' BFF.  Nivea Lip Butter Caramel Cream Kiss and MAC Lip Conditioner (Tube) are photo-finish runner-ups!
Nail polish: My favorite brand is OPI.  Because they are lacquers (and not polishes), they are more pigmented.  I've never had to go to the dreaded third coat with an OPI; they always cover in two!  They have such exciting collections and the shade range is incredible.  My favorite colors are Eurso Euro (review here), Mod About You (review and swatches here), Kennebunk-Port, Cajun Shrimp, Jade is the New Black, Sweet Heart, and My Very First Knockwurst.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

TAG! | 20 Facts

I've seen this tag floating around Instagram for a while now and I finally did it today!  If you're on Instagram and follow me, you've seen this pop up already.  I figured it wouldn't hurt to post it to the blog, too, since some of my favorite people aren't on Instagram and I'd love for them to do it, too!  
I tag YOU! :)

1) I do not own a single black purse. 
2) My #1 dream place to visit is FRANCE. 
3) I have 14 pictures of the Eiffel Tower a/k/a Tour Eiffel in my house. 
4) I'd love to dye my hair "bronde" but I'm scared it won't turn out well and will be a pain to maintain.
Image credit: FATAL-E (tumbler)
5) My first pets were 2 cats, a tuxedo named Pete and a calico named Samantha. 
6) My fiance Jason proposed to me at Discovery Cove via dolphin and it was the best day of my life!
7) I was born and raised in Atlanta and while I normally love it here, I wish it wasn't so unbearably hot and humid in the summer. 
8) I LOVE to read and am always up for a recommendation!  I'm on as krisabelle if you'd like to be friends. 
9) I live for weekends when I can drink my morning joe out of a real mug and enjoy it slowly. 
10) My mom is one of my best friends and someone I love to be around. 
Stylin' & profilin' circa '81
11) I still have a baby tooth. 
12) I did gymnastics in high school. 
13) I have known my friend Emily for 19 years. 
14) My favorite drinks are root beer and Smart Water. 
15) I drive a stick shift and I love it, unless traffic is horrible and then it's not the greatest thing in the world. 
16) I love watching Roseanne re-runs. 
17) My favorite colors are coral and shades of blue. 
18) I once won the employee of the month award, didn't know it, and showed up to my boss' office barefoot where he and a few coworkers were waiting to present me with the award and take my picture. Luckily, he thought it was hilarious that I arrived sans shoes! 
19) My childhood dream was to ride whales at Sea World. 
20) My favorite meal is breakfast for dinner.