Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Bit About Me . . .

I loved reading all your responses to my poll earlier last week! Thank you for sharing a bit about your lives with me. Here is a bit about me:
  1. Some non-beauty related things about me - I love to bake sweet-flavored things (cakes, cookies, cupcakes, breads), I just celebrated my 1 year anniversary with my husband, I have 2 jack-russell terriers and 1 cat, my clothing style is simple/classic (along the lines of Banana Republic & Jcrew), TV shows I love include The Office, 30Rock, Fringe, Bones, The Closer.

  2. Where am I from? I'm from Southern California, been living here most of my life.

  3. A few things I bought recently that I love - Williams Sonoma Chef'n Salad Emulsifier (this is genius!), Chanel Enthusiast Nail Polish LE from Neimans but also available on, Paul & Joe Lip Lacquers, Shu Uemura Tsumori Chisato items (more details/pics coming soon)

  4. At the top of my wishlist? The Neimans Exclusive Bobbi Brown Mini Shimmerbricks, Edward Bess Holiday Jet Set, Paul & Joe.

  5. What other hobbies do I have besides shopping? Going for walks with my hubby and 2 dogs, baking, cooking, blogging, reading other peoples blogs, watching TV.

  6. What other things do you collect besides makeup? Flats, scarves and purses, here are few of my favorites:

Friday, October 30, 2009

YSL Golden Gloss & Gloss Pur

YSL has released a few new Golden Glosses that are currently exclusive to Neiman Marcus. The shades released include #22, 23, 26, 28 and 29. Check out this link for the Exclusive Shade Online Swatches. I've seen a few colors like #24 and #25 on ebay, hopefully these will be released soon at all counters.

Here are some pictures and swatches of the new ones I picked up with the other Golden Gloss (shimmery ones) and Gloss Pur (non-shimmery ones) colors that I have:

Overall thoughts: I'm not the biggest fan of YSL because of the gold packaging and because of my super sensitive nose. These are among the sweetest-smelling lip products I have which I'm not always able to wear. The Golden Glosses are very sparkley with the sparkles being very strong in gold tones - sometimes the lighter ones simply show up as gold sparkle because the base is so sheer. The Pur Glosses are pretty basic, but I really like to use them to enhance lipsticks and add a little shine without changing the overall undertones.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Few Alternatives to Super Dark Nail Polish (That Are Still Kinda On The Dark Side)

When it comes to fashion and beauty trends I am not always brave enough to be a true follower. There are always styles that are cute and chic on others that I could never pull off (for example teal eyeshadow, black lipstick/gloss or leggings with boots). If you like dark nails but feel the new releases are a bit too vampy or deep, here are four softer alternatives I really like:

L to R: OPI Melody in Mocha, Paul & Joe #20 Manhattan, Urban Decay Gunmetal, Dior Lemon Balm, Chanel Noir Ceramic

* I believe the OPI and Chanel are both discontinued, but you can still find quite a few online through swap boards, ebay or discount nail e-tailers

* OPI Melody in Mocha is a complex fawn grey with slight mauve tones and gold shimmer, I was lucky to get one in a swap and love it - I think there are quite a few dupes, there's one from China Glaze that might be similar (the flash makes it look lighter and emphasizes the silver - in real life it's not quite as pale for the swatch at least)

* Paul & Joe #20 Manhattan is a sparkley medium-light gunmetal shimmer, it is on the sheerer side so I had to use four coats but the finished result has a lot of depth - it's hard to explain but it looks different depending on the way the light hits the color

* Urban Decay Gunmetal is currently only available in the Apocalyptic Nail Kit, I really hope it comes out in full size, it's a deeper gunmetal shimmer with slight brownish tones in it so it doesn't turn blue on me like most gunmetal shades

* Dior Lemon Balm was a Nordstrom Exclusive for their last Anniversary Sale, I believe you might still be able to find it online at, it's an oddly-named color, in the container it looks more greyish, but on the nails and compared to the other greys, it definitely pulls more purple with brown shimmers

* Chanel Noir Ceramic was photographed mainly for comparison purposes, but it's a nice black with silver shimmers which make it softer and less harsh than most blacks, a close dupe is Chanel's Black Satin which is darker

One more view:

I'd really LOVE to hear your favorite shimmer nail polishes that are medium-to-dark. I'm always looking for more colors by recommendations to check out. I tend to feel overwhelmed when I shop at Ulta or Sephora for nail products - too many colors to choose from and I usually end up with too many reds that look almost identical.

New L'Occitane Limited Edition Scented Shea Butter Hand Creams

My favorite hand cream is L'Occitane's Shea Butter Hand Cream. I almost always have a small tube in my purse or car in the Original Formula or Cherry Blossom scent. This holiday, they have released some new scents and kits that are great for gifts. The scents are subtle enough to not be overwhelming but not so faint that you can't smell them.

The two sets I got were from the L'Occitane boutique and Nordstrom. I plan on splitting them up into little gift sets for friends and mixing them with some other items.

Individually, they retail at L'Occitane Boutiques for $10. However, there are several specials, promotions and sets where you can save money.

At L'Occitane Boutiques, they have a 6-pack set called Hand Cream Bouquet for $45 (comes to $7.50 each) that has 2 regular Shea Butter creams and 1 of each of the new scents Ylang, Rosebud, Frangipani, and Acacia.

If you don't like all the scents, they currently have a promotion where you can mix and match any 3 for $27 (discount comes to $9 each).


At Nordstrom, they have a cute 3-pack called Enchanting Hands for $25 that has Shea Vanilla, regular Shea Butter and Frangipani.

There were a few other sets I saw instore that I don't see online yet. Also new is a hand cream/lipgloss set which is cute. Check out your local Nordstrom for more sets.


Sephora has a few sets as well. Their Hands Celebration for $25 is a 3-pack containing Shea Vanilla, regular Shea Butter and Lavendar hand creams. Their Hands Delice set for $25 has Cherry Blossom, regular Shea butter and Lavendar hand creams.


I'm sure there are a lot more sets to check out and I expect more to be released in the next month or so for the holidays.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nars Holiday 2009: Taiga Eyeshadow Duo + Mousson Cream Eyeshadow

Last week I shared a few other items from Nars Holiday 2009: Luxor, Brousse, Eurydice & Aigle Noir. This weekend I was able to check out the entire tester unit (since it wasn't blocked by tools and tissue boxes from the event) and picked up two more items Taiga Eyeshadow Duo and Mousson Cream Eyeshadow.

No swatches for these, but Taiga has a sheer sparkley light golden color and a shimmery olive-greyish green. The duo does seem to be a bit more sheer than most of his eyeshadows, but is still gorgeous in my opinion. Definitely test it out before buying.

Mousson is the prettiest sparkley silvery-green color. I don't have a crease so I don't have to worry about creasing. I know a lot of ladies don't like the Nars Cream Eyeshadows - I must be in the minority because I have several that I use regularly and love. I do find they fade faster than most, but I personally don't mind!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Giorgio Armani Holiday 2009: Crystal Palette and Silk 94 Lipstick

Giorgio Armani's Holiday collection has been arriving in stores in limited quantities, so if you like anything, I suggest you grab them fast! I called Saks today to find that they had sold out most of their palettes and had only one left which the SA was kind enough to hold for me.

I came home with the Crystal Palette and Silk 94 Lipstick:

Silk Lipstick #94:

The top layer of the Crystal Palette 2009 and Silk 94 (the embossed parts of the palette are overspray):

The bottom tier of the Crystal Palette:

One more view:

I wish they had released an eyeshadow the same shade as the lipgloss, it would have made a gorgeous eye color! No swatches yet since it's too pretty to touch!

I don't remember all the shade names/numbers but this is what I saw:

* Crystal Palette - two tiered compact with crystals that contains a highlight powder oversprayed with silver sparkle, and 4 eyeshadows in shimmery cool charcoal, shimmery multi-dimensional teal, light silvery-blue, cool taupe grey
* Silk 94 Lipstick - sparkley (more shimmery than most armani lipsticks) golden-taupe
* Silk ?? Lipstick - shimmery warm red
* Lipshimmer 61 - matches the gold lipstick, but looks a bit more metallic/brassy
* Sheer Shimmer Powder #5 - I believe Armani had shimmer powders before, I can't remember how many there used to be, but they are the same size as the blushes/bronzers, this one is a pale iridescent light pink (similar to Chanel Rosee Poudre Douce)
* Mascara Top Coat in a glittery bronze/gold

Friday, October 23, 2009

More Paul & Joe Lip Lacquers & Nail Polishes

Another package arrived from Bergdorfs from Paul & Joe with the new holiday catalog and a swatch card from the Paul & Joe counter of a few lacquers and nail polishes.

I got the nail enamels in #1 Secret of Gold, #3 Lampshade, #4 Provence and #20 Manhattan. I haven't been able to swatch these, because I just got a manicure. From looking at them in the bottles, I have a feeling these will be on the sheer side which will require at least 3 coats. But at least they are pretty to look at!

Here are the lip lacquers lined up (except for #9 and #10 which I didn't get), several views:

To reiterate from yesterday's post, I think I found my new holy grail tube glosses. The pigment is medium - better than MAC Lipgelees (which I found too slick/sheer) and not as highly-fragranced like Lancome Juicy Tubes. If you remember back in the day when Armani had the tube glosses, the Paul & Joe are similar to the Armani with a bit more pigment and not quite as sticky, but still thick enough to feel on the lips. They have a pretty glossy finish.

Swatch card of a few nail polishes and the 2 lip lacquers I didn't get (thanks Caroline!):

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Paul & Joe Holiday 2009: Face Highlighters, Pearl Powders and Lip Lacquers

I have fallen completely head over heels over Paul & Joe's Holiday Collection and new Lip Lacquers. If you haven't checked it out, go to the Paul & Joe Beaute website or the Facebook Paul & Joe group page to look at their new holiday items. Josie shared her new items with us last week from her guest review with some gorgeous pictures and detailed descriptions. Check out the article First Look at Paul & Joe Holiday from Guest Writer Joey.

My holiday order from Bergdorfs arrived this past weekend and here is what I hauled along with my descriptions:

* Highlighting Powder in Sheer Radiance 001
(top left) - soft pale peach undertone
* Highlighting Powder in Sheer Glow 002 (top right) - soft highlight with a slight pink undertone
* Pearl Powder Smoke Black 001 - shimmery deep steel grey shimmer with silver flecks
* Pearl Powder Smoke Brown 002 - complex warm auburn taupe shimmer
* Lip Lacquer Nectar 01 (top gloss) - nectar peach
* Lip Lacquer Serenade 03 (middle gloss) - soft pink beige
* Lip Lacquer Riviera 05 (bottom gloss) - a cute coral pink with sparkles

My thoughts, photos and some swatches:

Highlighting Powders: The best thing about the highlighters is the packaging and the cute box it came in. The packaging/size is larger than the face colors and they come with a cute brush. The downside is that the pretty design on the powder is only an overspray so once you swipe it, the design is gone and you are left with a pale iridescent glowy powder.

Pearl Powders: Both Pearl Powders are limited edition and gorgeous for a smokey eye. They have an excellent pigmented base wtih silver flecks. 001 is a gorgeous deep smokey grey without blue undertones and 002 is a pretty auburn shimmer that might be too warm/copper for some, but I love it. With any loose powder, there is always a potential for some fall out. When applying these, they did fall on my face, but once on the eyes, they stayed put.

Comparisons to some other loose powders in the same color family (you can see that the Paul & Joe colors are unique!). Two views with contrasting backgrounds:

Swatch comparisons (applied over Paul & Joe's Moisturizing Primer #2 as a base to pick up the pigment better):

1) Stila All Over Shimmer #13
2) MAC Dark Soul Pigment
3) MAC Sweet Sienna Pigment
4) Paul & Joe 001
5) Paul & Joe 002
6) MAC Gold Stroke Pigment
7) MAC Copperbeam Pigment
8) MAC Chocolate Brown Pigment

One more comparison set to include MAC Tan Pigment which looks similar in the container, but goes on a lot lighter than it looks in the pot (applied on bare skin without a base):

1) MAC Chocolate Brown Pigment
2) Paul & Joe 002
3) MAC Tan Pigment
4) MAC Copperbeam Pigment
5) MAC Gold Stroke Pigment

Lip Lacquers: These come packaged in squeeze tubes in 10 different shades. The Paul & Joe Beaute website and Facebook Paul & Joe group pages both show excellent photos! These are my new holy grail tube glosses. The pigment is medium - better than MAC Lipgelees (which I found too slick/sheer) and not as highly-fragranced like Lancome Juicy Tubes. The ones I bought are fairly similar: 01 is a nectar peach, 03 is a soft pink beige, 05 is a cute coral pink with sparkles. I don't have swatches yet because I'm expecting another package soon for most of the other shades. I will post all the swatches together then. Check out Josie's post for a swatch and picture of gloss #10!

Overall thoughts: P&J Holiday = huge win for me! Gotta love the cute samples and GWP from Bergdorfs that they had from their artist event. Are any of you Paul & Joe fans? I'd LOVE to hear what your favorite products are. I don't have access to this line in person near me, so I rely heavily on internet blogs, message boards and reviews to try and figure out what to get!

Laura Mercier Baked Eye Colour Palette for Holiday 2009

I normally get excited about all the holiday palettes and kits that come out every year, but felt this year there were too many palettes and not enough individual products to choose from. Laura Mercier has some gorgeous palettes which are nice if you don't have a lot of products from her line. But if you're like me and are looking for something you don't already have in your collection, then you might be more inclined to wait and see what comes out for spring.

She does have quite a few bath & body kits that look interesting, but for her color items, the only thing that really caught my eye was her Baked Eye Colour Palette which retails for $48 and has 5 colors with a double-sided brush.

Left to right: Champagne, Sepia, Mink, Malt and Sterling

Overall thoughts: Champagne, Malt and Sterling are very sparkley and light. If you remember those Diamond Dust Eyeshadows from Bobbi Brown years ago, these are similar in concept. Light base color with loads of silver sparkle. These are nice and not over the top, but since they are so sheer, all three colors look the same on me.

Sepia and Mink are gorgeous shades, but feel a bit "over baked" making the pigment so-so. It's still workable and they show up if you apply them with a brush that is slightly damp or over a cream base.

The Laura Mercier website states this is a $108 retail value which I am completely at odds on how they calculated this.

If you like Baked Shadows but want more pigmented and fun colors, check out the Gemstone Eye Collection which is exclusive to Saks. I actually never used the kit and ended up returning that kit soon after I received it in the mail because I couldn't justify the price - but have to say the colors were stunning and if you don't mind a splurge the brushes are fantastic and colors cute.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Macy's Dior Exclusive Lipgloss & Nail Polish for Breast Cancer Awareness

A fellow Dior fan told me about a few exclusives she found at her Macy's for Breast Cancer Awareness. The two exclusive items include a Dior Addict Ultra-Gloss Reflect Pink Layette 067 & Dior Vernis Nail Lacquer Pink Dahlia 251. When you purchase the 2 items together you get a cute little pink envelope mirror in a pink satin pouch. Both are pale shimmery pinks. The lipgloss is very pale and milky (see my other milky pinks lipglosses) and the nail polish is very sheer and needs 3 coats to show up, but reminds me of a more sparkley version of Chanel's Pink Satin that came out several holiday/springs ago.

Updated nail swatches per request compared to Chanel Pink Satin (3 coats) v Pink Dahlia (4 coats):

I've included pictures of the tops of the boxes because I know Dior sometimes has two sets of names for each item, one used in the US and the other in other countries.

The little gift mirror with pouch:

I couldn't find any information or products online, but check your local Macy's Dior counter and ask about their exclusives. I believe these might have been part of the Dior Lilas collection that seemed to be available everywhere except the US (we only got the Pearly Lilac Quint).

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Nars Holiday 2009: Luxor, Brousse, Eurydice & Aigle Noir

My local Nordstrom was having a store wide event and each line was having makeovers or gifts-with-purchases. The place was packed, so I wasn't able to see the new collection tester unit and was only able to pick up a few things. From Nars Holiday 2009, I came home with Luxor Multiple, Brousse Eyeshadow Duo (top), Eurydice Eyeshadow Duo (bottom) & Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil.

Luxor Multiple ($37) is an pale shimmery pink. The Nars promotional picture on their website is fairly accurate in showing how light it is. If you like light colors like Giorgio Armani Blush #12 and Chanel Wintersky, you will probably like this one. I feel it's a bit pale and more on the sheer side for me (Chanel Shell/Beige, Armani Lasting Silk 5.5-6.5) but it's different from any other cream product I have.

Nars Luxor vs. Giorgio Armani Blush #12 (see #12 comparisons at Armani Sheer Blush Comparisons & Giorgio Armani Sheer Blush & Giorgio Armani Fall 2009 Manta Ray):

For Brousse & Eurydice Eyeshadow Duos ($32 each), I felt the promotional pictures were a lot more exciting than the actual product, but I did find them both very unique for Nars and different from anything else I own as well. Brousse has a soft shimmery brown (think a puppy chocolate lab) and a soft purple shimmer. Eurydice has a brighter purple-eggplant with hints of fuschia and a dark complex charcoal.

Left = Brousse, Right = Eurydice:

Some comparison pictures:

1) Brousse (L) versus Cordura (R):

2) Kalahari vs. Brousse vs. Charade:

3) Eurydice vs. Dior Night Butterfly vs. Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill 3:

Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow ($24) is a blackened gold. Along the lines of Clinique Egyptian but in a chubby pencil form.

I haven't had a chance to play around with the products except for the multiple. This will be a busy week for me, so I don't think I will be able to get swatches up until the end of the week. Hope these pictures help a bit! I plan on going back to Nordstrom to check out the rest of the products in the collection hopefully when it's not so crowded.

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