Monday, May 30, 2016

On Instagram

It's been a while since I've done an Instagram roundup on the blog. I've been incorporating a few accessory and fashion bits about new discoveries and loves. It's peony season right now and although I suspect will be ending soon, I've been enjoying every bit of it while it lasts.

I'll be in NYC and Brooklyn next month and would love any recommendations on what to see, eat or visit. I'll only be there for a few days but I have a list in the making right now :)

I've been on a shoe kick recently - a few of my beloved J.Crew flats were seeing better days and I reluctantly threw them away and gave my shoe closet an update. Thankfully they brought back the Cece Flats which are the same fit but a lot more comfortable (I picked up the black suede and tan leather options). These Chloe Scalloped Flats are by far the most comfortable I've tried and well worth the splurge. There's a $100 Sam Edelman dupe here and $42 version/similar style here. I haven't tried either for sizing/fit but if you're looking for a similar look you may want to check those out.

For sandals, the Madewell Boardwalk Lace-Ups are perfect for summer. I wouldn't recommend them for active wear or super long walks, but they are comfortable for weekend beach wear. I sized a half size down (they ran a bit big). If you need something a bit more sturdy the Boardwalk Crisscross is more substantial option.

A few of you recommended the La Mer Hydrating Facial Sheet Mask a few weeks back. I was gifted a couple sheet sets and you were all right - it's amazing!! I'm waiting for a good gift with purchase to pop up before splurging on a full pack. I'm also about to start testing the AmorePacific Moisture Bound Sheet Mask as well so depending on how that one works I may wait and splurge on that set instead (review soon).

Several of you have been e-mailed me for bronzer recommendations. If you're looking for something new and matte, the two Urban Decay Beached Bronzers are really nice (I prefer sunkissed). If you can't do warm bronzers, Tom Ford Terra is the best neutral-cool matte I've tried. I'll have a summer beauty round up soon and will do a separate bronzer post in the next couple of weeks.

Two last notes - if you're in search of a beautiful coffee table book or gift, Gray Malin Beaches is amazing! I ordered a few of the special edition ones and the photographs in the book are phenomenal. (Regular edition available on Amazon.)

If you haven't checked out the Diptyque Voyages Collection - I recommend doing so soon. They have select perfumes, skincare items and body care in mini travel sizes. The perfumes are so cute! (Quick post on one of them here.)

To my US readers I hope you are enjoying the day off this Memorial Day!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day Sales and Promo Code Roundup / May 2016

I've rounded up a list of Memorial Day Weekend sales and promos going on. It's almost summer season and there are tons of cute sandals out this year. I'm a flats kind of girl and there are lots of good affordable finds. The four shown above are ones I bought recently (shoes are photographed were me so you could get a better idea of color) and they are all on sale this weekend! If you have any more good ones you've spotted let me know in the comments.

1  /  2  /  3  /  4  /  5  /  6  /  7  /  8  /  9  /  10  /  11  /  12  /
13 14  /  15  /  16  /  17  /  18

Beauty, Skincare, Cosmetics
  • Ahava – 40% off + free shipping on $35+ with code MEM40 at checkout, excludes sets and new products, ends 5/31
  • Bobbi Brown – 4 deluxe samples at checkout with orders $40+ and free shipping
  • Diptyque - receive a 35g Genevrier candle with any $75+ order using code MAY at checkout, ends 6/1
  • Glamglow - Free travel size cleanser trio with $69+ purchase, use code GGTRAVEL, ends 5/30
  • Kat Von D Beauty – free vegan leather makeup bag and choice of 3 deluxe-sized samples with orders $100+, ends 5/30
  • Kiehl’s – 5 packette samples of your choice with $50+ purchase, use code SAMPLES, ends 5/29
  • L’Occitane – gift of 3 hand creams with purchase of $65+, use code PRETTY, ends 5/30
  • Lancome – 20% off orders with code FRIENDS at checkout ends 5/28, receive a gift bag with 3 travel-size products + free standard shipping on orders $49+ with code MEMORIAL, ends 5/31
  • La Mer – complimentary mini perfecting treatment with $150+ order use code SILKY, or enjoy duo sample offer of 2 masks with orders $150+ use code LAMERMASK
  • Laura Mercier – 4 free samples + free shipping with online purchases $75+
  • Marc Jacobs Beauty – 3 free minis and mirror in the nude pochette with orders $50+, use code MAY2016, ends 5/31
  • NARS – 2 piece bonus of mini Orgasm Lip Gloss and mini Orgasm Illuminator with orders $50+ with code AFTERGLOW at checkout, valid until 5/31
  • Nuxe – 4 free minis + 1 deluxe mini (of choice) at checkout
  • Sephora - weekly specials and codes listed here
  • Smashbox – spend more get more offer ends 5/30: 
    • Spend $50 get $10 off
    • Spend $75 get $15 off
    • Spend $100 get $25 off
    • Spend $150 get $50 off
  • Supergoop – 30% off all orders with code SUNSCREEN, ends 5/28
  • Ulta Beauty – Buy more save more on select sale items

Fashion / Accessories
  • Ann Taylor – extra 50% off full-priced styles with code SUMMER50, ends 5/32
  • Banana Republic – 40% off your purchase with code BRTAKE40, ends 5/30
  • Bloomingdale's – take an extra 20% off sale and clearance with code BROWNBAG at checkout valid through Memorial Day
  • J.Crew – 30% off your purchase with code WEEKEND, ends 5/31
  • Joie – extra 20% off sale styles with code MD2016, ends 5/30
  • Madewell – 20% off all sale styles with code META20, ends 6/1
  • Nordstrom – save up to 40% off during the Half Yearly Sale, ends 6/5
  • Rebecca Taylor – extra 25% off sale styles, use code EXTRA25, ends 5/31
  • Paige – 20% off sitewide, use code SUMMER2016
  • Splendid – 30% off everything with code MEMDAY16
  • Truffle – 20% off everything with code EVERYTHING20, ends 5/30
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Collection

The Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Collection launches today online at Sephora and everything is beautiful. The collection features items focused on creating the ultimate glow for the complexion, eyes and cheeks. The original Champagne Pop Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Powder (reviewed here) has been extended into two other formulas. In addition two palettes created by Becca and Jaclyn Hill have launched as limited-edition pieces. The collection launches online today 5/26 at Sephora and will be in stores 6/16. In the collection (the image below is interactive so you can click on the icons to go directly to the product pages online at Sephora):

A closer look at each item starting with the Champagne Collection Face Palette which comes a large sturdy mirrored compact. The two palettes have gold reflective packaging so if you see that they look different on other blogs or on social - it's because of the highly reflective nature of the surface. The Champagne Collection Face Palette has three blushes and two highlighters. All the colors in this palette are extremely pigmented but easy to blend - in testing this I found it best to use with a light hand. There is one shade of Luminous Blush called Rosé Spritz which is a very shimmer pink gold finish. There are two shades of Mineral Blush which are more on the satiny side and more natural-looking in Amaretto which is a medium tan and Pamplemousse which is a pink grapefruit color. You can use shades individually or mix to create different looks. I found I liked the look best when I used either of the mineral blushes first before layering any of the shimmery shades on top.

There are two highlighters - both of which are extremely shimmery and very glowy. I have and adore the original Champagne Pop (originally reviewed here and compared to Anastasia That Glow here). The Champagne Pop in the palette is identical in color but for some reason to my eye both highlighters in the palette seem to be a couple notches up in terms of glitz and shimmer. Both are still wearable if you apply with a light hand. Prosecco Pop is the more yellow gold option which usually isn't a flattering color on my olive yellow-based skin. I can wear Prosecco Pop with a very light hand, but I still prefer Champagne Pop by far. A closer look:

Swatched below with a medium hand, you can blend to sheer out or apply with a denser brush for more intensity. Pigment is so rich I suspect these colors will show up on a wide range of skin tones. The overall effect is very glowy but still wearable for conservative makeup lovers:

A look at the palette without sunlight or flash:

Next up is the Champagne Collection Eye palette which has two shimmers and three mattes. The overall undertone is warm. It has Chardonnay which is a pale white gold frost, Champagne Toast which is a warm tan copper frost, Cordial which is the prettiest mauve matte, Cognac a very warm toasted brown matte and Bordeaux a soft plum matte. The shimmers offer rich high pigment color while the mattes have a softer medium finish. Textures are soft making them easy to blend on the eyes but I do recommend using a creamy base (I like using the Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid or Poured Creme on the lids, but I think I'm the only one I know who does not have oily lids). For me the colors did take a bit of experimenting and blending because I cannot wear reds or warm shades like this easily. I swatched it next to Ombre Rouge which I just ordered (have not tried yet) for reference. Here in direct sunlight:

Another shot of the Becca Champagne Collection Eye Palette - because the packaging is gold it looks different depending on what is reflecting in the compact:

Last but not least are the three Champagne Pop complexion items. The Shimmering Perfector Liquid offers the most natural finish. It's very natural on the skin and on the medium-sheer side. The color almost matches my skin exactly so it adds a naturally dewy sheen. It does look luminous so if you have oily skin you may find it will look more luminous as the day progresses. The Shimmering Perfector Poured Creme has a more visible finish compared to the Liquid but still looks very natural. Out of the three Champagne Pops this finish and color is my favorite. Then you have the classic Champagne Pop Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed - for those who love highlighters there is a different formula for multiple colors in the Becca line so you can pick the finish that works best for you.

Below the Champagne Pop formulas swatched along with a few other Becca colors:

I've only been playing around with the collection for a few days but first impressions are that I really love all three Champagne Pop formulas. I did think there might be a chance that having Champagne Pop in three formats would be overdoing it but after testing them I think they are different enough to justify all three if you love highlighter. If you want to limit yourself to 1, my favorite is the Poured Creme because it has the perfect in between finish (powder being the most shimmery and liquid being the most natural).

For the Face Palette - I had already ordered it when it launched as a very brief preview and was able to test this one for a few more days. I tried this a number of ways and found it to be extremely pigmented and very glowy - but the colors are easy to blend for a wearable look and the blending does not require a lot of extra effort which is nice for me since I'm more conservative in the makeup I wear. The colors are naturally flattering for and the warm undertones brighten the complexion. Since the colors are pigmented I prefer to apply with a lighter hand. The Champagne Pop highlighter in the palette does seem to be more glowy and shimmery compared to the individual version (Prosecco Pop is exclusive to the palette). If you prefer a more natural glow or softer color this may be too shimmery or too pigmented for you.

The Eye Shadow Palette is all kinds of gorgeous but very warm. I have been experimenting with warmer shades recently though and the palette from Becca is really stunning. I start with the medium matte mauve shade, then layer the ivory and gold, then use the deeper shades to contour - the effect is very pretty and soft without being too warm. Pigment for shimmers is rich while the mattes have a sheerer more natural finish but still offer smooth easy to blend coverage.

Bottom line everything is beautiful and worth checking out. The Becca Face Palette may be too glowy for some in which case I'd recommend you opt for the Tom Ford Afternooner which has a much softer effect but similar warm color scheme.

You can find the Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Collection exclusively at Sephora. It launched online today 5/26 but everything is scheduled to launch in store by 6/16. 

The Champagne Collection Face Palette and Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed were already purchased by me, however Becca also sent the entire collection for review consideration.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Edward Bess Threads of Silk Powders in Bellisima and Ciao

I love all things Edward Bess and his new Threads of Silk Multi-Use Powders ($45 each for 0.42 oz/12g) are beautifully crafted glowy powders with a lovely satin luminous finish. There are two shades Bellisima and Ciao and they have the most amazing woven pattern that has a mix of three shades in each compact. These are made in Italy and are infused with real silk which I think is incredible! I added a few snapshots from my trip to Italy last year. We visited a few cities and it was amazing. I hope to go back someday. They have a very unique texture - they are clearly powder and soft to the touch but the product is dense. It has a slightly hard texture although it's not stiff and very easy to use and blend. Color is easy to pick up with a brush and apply to anywhere you want color - eyes, cheeks or temples.

I think this year seems to be the year of glowy highlighters. There are many to pick from with a wide variety of textures. This year alone I have reviewed quite a few new formulas including the Laura Mercier Face Illuminator Powders, Hourglass Ambient Strobe Powders, Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powders, Anastasia Glow Kits, Urban Decay Afterglow 8 Hour Highlighters, Natasha Denona Glow System Highlighters and NARS Hot Sand Duos. Picking the right highlighter for you depends on what kind of texture and degree of shimmer you want. Color is also important. For those who like a natural visible glow but don't want the high frost or extreme shimmer, the Edward Bess Threads of Silk Powders are probably your best bet because true to Edward's style they are perfect for the classic beauty lover who wants to look polished and a better version of themselves.

The shimmer on both is visible - on the arm + flash the colors look like they could be frosty but they are not. I usually photograph my swatches with a flash and any light (whether it's sunlight or flash) captures the complexity of the colors and catches the pearl particles. I did a quick look (scroll down) to show them on the eyes and cheeks and they have a very pretty sheen.

Bellisima is the more neutral nude option. It looks beautiful on the eyes as an all over wash - the bronzy tones makes for a nice lid contour. The pink adds a bit of warmth and depth. The ivory mix to it gives it a lovely sheen. On the cheeks it can pass on my medium skintone as a nude blush although it has a highlighter feel.

Ciao has a mix of warmer tones with a soft coral sheen. On my medium complexion I can wear it as a blush but it could also pass as a highlighter to add on top of bronzer or regular blush. 

Since you may not be able to see these in person (they're available at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and QVC), I've included a lot of photos in different light. They glow depending on how the light hits these powders. I really recommend both of them.

A closer look at each powder with the individual shades swatched and then swirled. I like the effect you get when swirling the colors, plus the way the colors are woven together it's almost impossible to not mix the shades:

Simple beauty look with:

Bellisima Threads of Silk Powder on the eyes as an all over wash

Bottom line both winners. These are some of the prettiest most natural looking highlighter powders I've tried. If you want more of a traditional kind of highlighter, my holy grail cream highlighters are his All Over Seduction Highlighter (all three shades reviewed here). Both are multi-purpose wonders that you can use anywhere you want a glow. Lasting power was very good for both on me lasting from early morning until evening without fading or darkening. I love that they come in a large sturdy mirrored compact (same size as the Flawless Illusion Foundation swatched/reviewed here).

You can find both shades online at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and QVC. In store at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills and Bergdorf Goodman in NYC. If you can get to a counter I recommend it. The reps are very helpful and friendly.

Have you tried these yet? What did you think?

Many thanks to Edward Bess for sending me such beautiful items for review.


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