Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blog Tools & Widgets

My list of blogs I read and follow regularly is growing at an exponential rate making it challenging for me to manage. I wanted to know what all you tech-savy readers like to use to manage your daily reads!

I started my blog off Google blogger which has a nice follower application and a reader list on my personal dashboard. However, it's a bit small to read and tedious to scroll through since the window space is limited. I like using it to keep track of my bookmarked pages but am looking for additional ideas to manage my own list.

I don't use Facebook for my blog and I still have yet to figure out how Twitter works. I started using Bloglovin which seems to be very easy to use, but I'd love to hear what forms you all use to get ideas!

For widgets - I try to keep these to a minimum. I removed a number because they were cluttering the blog and making the download slower. But if you have any you absolutely love, I'm all ears :)

You can follow me here:

Rococo Nail Apparel: Stone Cold Karma

Rococo Nail Apparel has released a few new shades for spring and Stone Cold Karma caught my eye from SpaceNK. I ordered this online along with a few other shades (will be featured soon). Stone Cold Karma is a grey-mauve cream with a subtle pearl finish that you can only see when you look closely. This is an odd shade because sometimes it looks mauve, sometimes it looks more grey depending on the lighting which you'll be able to see in the photo swatches below. In this way it reminds me of Chanel Particuliere - it looks brown in the bottle, but on the toes, sometimes it pulls more mauve, sometimes straight grey, sometimes a mushroom brown. Perhaps my eyes are just playing tricks on me.

Rococo Nail Apparel Stone Cold Karma (3 coats):

Manicure: Rococo Nail Apparel Stone Cold Karma
Pedicure: Chanel Particuliere

Rococo Nail Apparel Stone Cold Karma compared to:
Rescue Beauty Lounge Grunge
OPI Tickle My Francey
Chanel Particuliere

I had 3 coats applied to get full coverage. It's lovely, but I think I'm just not really used to greys on my fingers. It's in the same color family as RBL Grunge and OPI Tickle My Francey. In the bottles, they look really similar, but as you can see in the swatches, they are very different once applied on the nails. Compared to RBL Grunge, Rococo Stone Cold Karma's sparkles are more visible giving it more depth so it's not so flat-looking.

Rococo Nail Apparel Nail Polishes retail for $16 each. I found the line at SpaceNK.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What I'm Loving Right Now (The Non-Beauty Edition)

This is my first non-beauty version of things I'm loving right now I thought I'd feature to give everyone a quick break from my beauty obsessions. I'd love to hear more about what you love (outside of makeup)!

Flats by J.Crew and Sandals by Tory Burch
- I love J.Crew flats these days because they are super comfy and have are shaped to give just the right amount of toe-cleavage. Tory Burch is a favorite of mine for flip flops when I want something a little more dressy than your average beach flip flops. I've been eyeing Tory Burch flats as well, but can't get over that huge medallion on the tips. They look so cute on my friends, but when I try them on at the store, they just don't really seem me.

LV Epi Jasmin in Ivoire + Sweet Flowers Scarf - This photo was from several years back, but I still find my Epi Jasmins to be the most classic versatile bags that I own. They have a unique shape and the pattern is subtle which makes it appropriate for almost any occasion. The material is pretty sturdy which is a plus for me. I like their skinny scarves for their delicate designs. They have so many pretty patterns released each season, but I like the ones that are more subtle.

Alain Milliat Jam Gift Set from Williams Sonoma - Saw this cute little box with tiny jam containers and flipped out because the little jars were too cute. Yes, pricey, but I'm a sucker for packaging. Made in France with 63% real fruit and all-natural ingredients. I've tried the Strawberry one which is divine and love it. Gotta love Williams Sonoma, there's always something fun there.

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas - Every baker knows that the Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla is known as the king of vanillas. I love using this for baking, sauces, ice creams. I recently bought a mini trio which has the Tahitian, Mexican and Madagascar Bourbon flavors in a trial sized vial. Check out for more info on the uses of each flavor. I bought this set at Williams Sonoma but you can look at for locations near you at other stores. Most baking ingredients, I'm fine with using the generic grocery store-brands, but I'm an avid fan of using premium vanilla for baking.

Glee - I love this show even though I'm well past my high school days. The last Madonna episode was incredible. I think this is the only high-school based TV show that I can stand watching. A few little known facts about me: when I was in high school, I was also in the choir group, orchestra (played violin) and also involved with other areas in fine arts. I was originally planning to go to art school right after high school, but decided a Bachelor's Degree in Business was more important for the academic/educational value. My first year in undergrad, I did a full load of academic courses + community college for figure drawing and illustration but both were too much for me to handle at one time. I had planned on going to art school after I graduated, but here I am today almost done with my MBA in finance and management. Back to Glee - of course I had to download the latest songs on my iTunes.

Sunsets - This was a photo I took from last summer, I can't wait for the end of May when it will start getting warmer hopefully. But I love sunsets anytime of the year.

Fashion Blogs - I was a fan of fashion blogs and style diaries long before I discovered beauty blogs. There are so many great blogs that I'm discovering everyday. I find them truly inspirational even if they don't reflect my personal style. I love how they coordinate various pieces that I would have never thought of. Check my sidebar for a list of the ones I'm loving right now. If you have any favorites I'm all ears!

* All photos are my own.

Monday, April 26, 2010

New From Edward Bess: Soft Orchid, Soft Smoke & After Sunset

I featured a sneak peek of the newest items from Edward Bess about a month ago and am happy to report my presale finally arrived! I am thrilled with my new purchases - the colors are amazing in texture and finish. The new items I ordered:

Soft Orchid Blush, Soft Smoke Eyeshadow Trio, After Sunset Compact Rouge

I had the pleasure of speaking to Edward over the phone and he was so kind to give me detailed descriptions and he was spot-on in comparing the new shades to his existing line. To recap:

  • Soft Smoke Eyeshadow Trio: which has a pale color similar in concept to their Nude eyeshadow, but brighter less creamy/beige, a soft dove-grey which is described as EB's first true grey (a sister shade to Dusk which isn't a true grey since it has a more mossy finish), a deep dark charcoal not quite as dark as Night Eyeshadow
  • Soft Orchid Blush: soft cool pink
  • After Sunset Compact Rouge: described as a burned rose, almost bronzey reddish-brown

I don't have swatches but I do have comparisons to some other colors, so hopefully this will help you get a better idea of the shades:

I really like Soft Smoke for a good smokey eye. It's what I wanted Chanel Smokey Eyes Quad to be (but was just not the right combination leaving me with tired eyes). The shades are similar in color family to Night, Nude and Dusk, but just as Edward described, are definitely different in undertone and finish.

The new Soft Orchid blush looks coolish in the pan but is very flattering giving a soft pink glow.

After Sunset is equally stunning - something I know darker skinned girls would definitely love. But as a light-medium girl right now, I think it's very flattering on my skin as well since it blends out nicely.

All were purchased from Bergdorf Goodman for their giftcard event. For more info about the line, click on the Edward Bess Tag below and you'll find lots more articles and reviews on his products that I've tried plus a few guest articles from other EB fans!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ten Things I'm Loving Right Now

I can't believe it's nearly the end of the month, where did the time go? This is April's Edition of what I'm loving right now. As always, I've love to hear what you are loving right now too!

1. MAC Goldenaire Pigment - From MAC Lingerie 2006, a lovely pink with pearly shimmers. Goes well with almost everything for a neutral all-over wash.

2. Bobbi Brown Bronze Gel Liner - A nice soft but defined bronze shimmer. One of the few gel liners I've actually used up.

3. Diorshow Mascara - A mini one, but this is one of my holy grails. Love that the minis are just as good as the full sized ones. Can't say that it really holds the curl, but it does give full lush lashes without clumping, smudging or flaking.

4. Dior Iridescent Leather Quint - Limited from Fall 2008. A gorgeous palette of neutrals and warm beigey taupes. The closest alternative is Earth Reflection which is cooler-toned. I read from Rouge Deluxe that this was re-released in Asia. If they brought this back in the US, I wouldn't have to use this so sparingly.

5. Bobbi Brown Maui Illuminating Bronzer - A lovely natural pink glow. You can see it here compared to Antigua. Maui is the darker version with a bit more pigment.

6. Dolce & Gabbana Desert Bronzer - Lovely soft warm bronze with subtle shimmer. Those who find NARS Casino/Laguna too shimmery, this one is a nice option that is softer but not completely matte.

7. Chanel Pink Crystal Glossimer - Came out Holiday 2007, not the most unique pink shimmer. Chanel has released quite a few similar shades including the new Spring Futile. But I love this one over other lipsticks.

8. Chanel Bondi Beach Aqualumiere Gloss - New for Summer 2010. A soft peachy gold shimmer. I love the way this looks on the lips even though it's medium-sheer. You can see an additional swatch here.

9. Chanel Stresa Aqualumiere - I'm not sure if they still make this shade, but it's a sheer hot strawberry iridescent cool pink. I love this with Chanel's Nude Lipliner and Bon-Bon Aqualumiere gloss on top for a healthy pink lip. Bright as it looks in the tube, on the lips it's very wearable. See a makeover breakdown I had with it here.

10. NARS Mojave - I've been a longtime fan of NARS Viva Las Vegas. Mojave is it's darker more pigmented sister which is like what I wanted MAC Plastique to be (still lovely, but too frosty for my taste without gloss on top).

Check back soon for my list of what I'm loving right now - the non-beauty edition!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NARS Summer 2010: Love Devotion Lipstick + Versaillies Nail Polish

NARS Summer Collection has been spotted at Nordstrom along with the new Pure Sheer Lip Treatments. I stopped by to check everything out and left with only 2 items:
  • Love Devotion Lipstick ($24) - a bright peachy coral with a super sheer texture
  • Versailles Nail Polish ($16) - a light pale shimmery yellow gold

NARS Love Devotion actually reminds me a lot of MAC Blow Dry. Looks bright in the tube, but the sheerness makes it so it only gives you a sheer peachy tint to the lips. The main difference is that MAC Blow Dry has a slight pinkish tint while NARS Love Devotion is more of a straight peach.

NARS Versailles is a pretty shimmery light yellow. Not quite a baby-like yellow, but pretty close in my opinion. Here it is compared to some other golds: Chanel Gold Lame, Chanel Beige D'Or, NARS Adelita, and Chanel Antilope.

I was initially excited about the new Enchanted cream blush and Lamu multiple from promo photos, but unfortunately, they both have a sheer base with chunky glitter making them completely unwearable for me. Enchanted was too sheer for my liking. If it had been a powder formula, I think the finish on the skin would have been divine. Lamu is a more intense version of South Beach. It has a slightly deeper color and also contains micro-gold-sparkles. I tried it on my cheeks at the counter but it turned out to be a glittery mess.

I passed on the cream eyeshadows and lipgloss - they were just not me. I didn't find them very "summery" either.

The Pure Sheer Lip Treatments were all incredibly sheer (just like the name implies). I could barely see a slight tint on my hands. So I didn't bother to ask the sales associate to clean any for me to test on my lips.

I typically find NARS to be very inspirational for me. The collections are usually artistic and fun, but this one just wasn't as impressive to me mainly because of the formula and finish of most of the new shades in this collection.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Le Metier de Beaute Crème Fresh Tints: Tenné & Poppy

Le Metier de Beaute recently came out with a few new items and I couldn't resist ordering their Crème Fresh Tints which are described as giving "a sheer wash of color to brighten cheeks and lips for a radiant glow." The blush comes in two colors, Tenné (a nude pink brown) and Poppy (a brighter pink), and both retail for $28 for 5g/0.17oz each.

Le Metier de Beaute is one of those harder to find luxury brands. They were originally exclusive to select Neiman Marcus locations and Bergdorf Goodman, but have been expanding into various boutiques and other counters. I purchased these from Neiman Marcus. Check out Le Metier de Beaute's website for locations. I spotted the line at Fred Segal in Los Angeles as well.

Here they are compared to Whisper & Fresh blush:

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by these. The texture is smooth and blendable, but they have decent pigment. Similar to that of Stila Convertible colors in pigment, but a lot easier and smoother to blend without being too sticky, thick or dry like some other cream-lip-cheek products can be. For another swatch, London Makeup Girl has swatched Poppy here. The Non-Blonde has also written a fabulous review + has a great swatch on Tenne.

After wiping it off my arm, I did see a stain left - to me this is a good sign that since they stain a little the lasting power should be better than your average cream blush. I have on Poppy today on my lips and cheeks so we'll see how well they last.

Le Metier actually had creme blushes available for their custom kaleidoscope kits in the past where you pick out a concealer, powder, bronzer and cream blush. This was not available online and I heard from a few that this was a limited edition thing and not permanent. Tenne seems similar to one of the other cream blush shades I have but the texture is slightly different. Both are fabulous though.

Overall another winner from Le Metier de Beaute! Those not familiar with the line or new to my blog - click on the Le Metier de Beaute tag/label beneath this post and you'll find all the other posts and articles related to the brand. You'll find more info about the items I've tried so far and more resources. My current favs are The Non-Blonde, London Makeup Girl, and Visionary Beauty.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mini Shu Uemura + Laura Mercier Haul

I had a $50 giftcard to Neimans that expired on the 18th and since Shu Uemura was going to be pulled from the store soon, I decided to look at the line to see if there was anything I could find. I found two shadows that I didn't recognize in IR Brown 850 and P Purple 781, and to reach the $50 minimum for my gift card, I decided on one of the new Laura Mercier summer lipglosses in Glistening Sand. I also had a few cards I received in the mail for a mini Rouge Coco in Legende and a mini DiorShow. I had received the cards in the mail about a month ago - but they didn't get their samples in until recently.

Laura Mercier has 3 featured glosses for the summer collection: Glistening Sand (a beige with gold sparkles), Bon Bon (repromote, a bright salmon coral pink), and another bright coral (forget the name). She reformulated her bronzers with a wave-like pattern, but as far as I could tell they looked the same as the older ones. There were also 3 new eyeshadows which I neglected to pay attention to, one was a teal, the others were golden. Glistening Sand seems pretty sheer unfortunately - but it will be pretty over other beigey-nude lipsticks. (I don't test glosses at the counter for sanitary reasons.)

The Shu Uemura eyeshadows have good pigment when applied over a base or with a damp brush. IR Brown 850 is a taupe with a slight greenish tinge on my skin. P Purple 781 is a matte purple-brownish base with silver micro-sparkles.

Eyeshadows are swatched wet (with a damp brush) and dry:

Minis: DiorShow Mascara + Chanel Legende Rouge Coco

All in all, not bad for $15!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lunasol Cool Beige #19 Nail Finish

This was a present thanks to my sister who went to Japan about a year ago - I had given her a list of things to check out for me and asked her to pick out a pretty nail polish and this is what she brought home: Lunasol Nail Finish in Cool Beige #19, a pretty beige base with gold-silver complex sparkles and glitters.

This is the only Lunasol nail polish I have but I am really impressed with the formula. It's rich and opaque and needs only 1 coat to get a full even finish. This mani is with 2 coats because that's what the nail tech did. The color is chock-full of so many colors, I can't even describe how complex it is. I'm not usually a huge fan of super-sparkles unless they are super sheer (ala Chanel Cry Baby or OPI Hollywood Blonde) but I really like this one and am glad my sister picked this one out.

Is this dupeable? I would say no. The finish is truly unique and so complex, I haven't seen anything like it. Paul & Joe #27 Gilded is similar (check here), but slightly darker and has a similar finish but with a darker gold base. I am curious to find out how the new one from P&J coming out this summer will compare to it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bobbi Brown Antigua Face Palette (Bloomingdales Exclusive)

Bobbi Brown has released a new palette in the U.S. exclusive to Bloomingdales called the Antigua Palette. It retails for $55 and has the following colors:
  • 3 eyeshadows in Navajo, Oat, Caviar (all matte)
  • 3 lipsticks in Ballet Pink (creamy), Kitten (creamy) and Azalea (metallic)
  • 1 illuminating bronzer in Antigua

The Bobbi Brown collections this year seemed to have been a slight digression from her typical Bobbi-style, but this palette seems to be right on track for her typical classic, feminine, natural sense of color. Four of the shades are repromotes, but the combination is convenient, simple and chic in an all-in-one compact. My only gripe I have is that it mixes powders and creams in the same level which can get messy for the lipcolors if you're not careful - but the size for the price is great so I'm not complaining.

My descriptions:
  • Navajo is your basic matte bone white (but not stark white)
  • Oat is a medium oat-brown color which appears to be a true neutral (like the name implies)
  • Caviar is a matte black (which is one of the few wearable true blacks for me)
  • Antigua is a soft shimmery pink
  • Ballet Pink is a bright pink base with gold shimmer
  • Kitten is a creamy beige (but goes on a light pinky-beige)
  • Azalea is a cool-plum with subtle gold flecks
Overall thoughts: The eyeshadows are great neutrals, but don't apply well without some kind of base, so if you tend to find Bobbi Brown's matte shadows a bit chalky, try applying them over a cream eyeshadow or shadow base. I had initially wished there were more new/exclusive colors to this palette to make it more unique, but I like the fact that it has everything I need in one palette which makes it convenient to put in my purse for touch ups. I like that it has 3 different lip colors which allows you to customize your look for neutral to more dressy. Definitely a winner for me, but mainly because I like all the colors and find that this will be good for a no-fail look when I am short on time and need a quick touch up.

Two more views:

FYI - Check your local Bloomingdales for their Beauty Benefits event GWP. I don't see the details online, but saw one at my local Bloomies. I didn't spend enough to get the GWP so I didn't pay attention to the details, but definitely call yours to see what they have!

Like the concept of her Iluminating Bronzers? Check out some of the other shades like Maui, Aruba, Bali Brown and Laguna Bronze here: Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzers + New Bronzer Brush from last May.

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