Tuesday, June 16, 2015

NARS Starscape Blush Review

What can  I say? 
It was love at first site ♥
While strolling the always tempting Sephora aisles I saw this blush, and it was pretty much over.
I immediately turned heart eyed emoji compelled and drawn to this blush.
Feeling gravitated I edged closer to a color that would probably send most women flying the opposite direction, but all I could think was "MINE"
From the latest NARS collection, in collaboration with designer Christopher Kane, I spotted this neon beauty. Not only was the actual blush shade alluring, but the name "Starscape" won me over.  NARS  finally doing something with their normal packaging that gave this the extra push to purchase.
The hot pink lettering- LOVE.

Starscape is described as a neon pink, but the theme of the collection a la Kane is neon's as neutrals.
It may look scary but when swatched and applied, it's wearable, it's beautiful, and nothing to be feared. 

That's the beauty of the shade. The outside looks crazy, but when used, it's so normal, in a good way.

The texture is apparently a revised version of the NARS matte formula. It's not as creamy, nor as soft as the previous make.  It's dry and thin feeling. It's not powdery, but it feels thinner, as if a face powder.

The shade itself is a bright matte pink that seems to have blue undertones. Normally this is not really the blush shade I go for, but this seems to work with my skin tone (surprised, I was!) especially now that I have got a bit of a tan.

I actually prolonged this purchase, and gave myself a pat on the back for it. I tried it on about three times and couldn't put my finger on it, but there was something nudging me to say no. Then I watched Tarababyz haul where she described this as a stain. EUREKA, that's exactly what this blush is like. It's a powder but applies sheerly almost like a cheek stain shade but lacking the sheen.
Something about that description put me over the edge. My love for cream blushes/stains most likely was the cause.

I normally apply this with a powder brush. Something big and fluffy such as this large one from Sonia Kashuk, but for the post, will apply it with both a big powder brush, and proper blush brush for the comparison and pigmentation.

Powder brush first. This is how much I pick up on the brush for one layer of application.
I applied three layers for the comparison.

As you can see, the product applies sheerly. The first time I applied a layer I thought to myself  "Where is the blush??" You begin to see it build up on layer two, but even with three layer's you do not look clownish. 

Blush brush is next. Trish McEvoy for anyone wondering. 

The color was more impactful with the denser brush but again you can see it's sheer, it builds, and develops into a beautiful shade that does not look clownish.

When applied very sheerly I do notice the lasting power fades- mostly due to the fact there is less product, and it does seem to lose it's neon-ness and turns to a neutral pink.
A good solid application (two layers +) in the morning leads to the blush lasting 10+ hours for me with minimal fading.

In the end, I LOVE THIS SHADE.
I recently went on some pink blush obsession and purchased a slew, and skipped this shade thinking I just bought the others. I don't know why this was not first on the list.
With a tan, bronzer, or highlighter -whatever! it looks great. 
I think it's going to be my go to pink blush for summer. I picture this being that perfect pop with those breezy white dresses, and simple make up days.

It will be a struggle for me to steer clear from the collections gorgeous glosses...

Oh yes...
It is a limited edition shade ladies, so if I have spiked some interest, I would highly suggest a swatch in person before they get off the shelves :)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

& Other Stories

When what seems like long ago, I saw a sign in Soho, and became *excited*
The long awaited & Other Stories was finally arriving state side. 
Soon my instagram feed was flooded with fellow New Yorkers who rejoiced in it's opening, and off I went.

Located in Soho, where the uber trendy, fashionistas, and models dwell, lies the new store.

H&M's newly launched brand already made it's mark in Europe, but it's finally time for us to have a peek at what the brand holds.

Tonight, I made my first rounds of the store and below are my general thoughts based on first impression.

 Aesthetically the store is well balanced for the eyes.
The store was actually far larger than I imagined which was a pleasant surprise.
More to see while I par ooze.

Here are my general thoughts based on first impression:

1. The store and the clothes are quite posh looking. If Club Monaco and J Crew came together, the baby would be & Other Stories. A little posh, a little casual, with some bold colors thrown into a sea of neutrals.

2. They have quite an accessories and shoes selection.
The purses and other small leather goods come in the classic materials and shades such as black and camel, but in the corner of my eye I noticed neon orange and red bags. Slight pops of color in unconventional materials.

3. The store does not have classic H&M prices. 
The prices are like Club Monaco and J Crew. Most blouses I saw were $75-$100 
All the shoes I checked were over $100

4. There is a Sales section, and all I saw was 50% off stickers so that was a plus, and where I scored a small souvenir for the night. 
Additional plus with the fact that the section was not completely disheveled which is a huge turn off - *ZARA...*

5. The jewelry pieces are just ok.
Nothing seemed very heavy or made from any great materials. It all seemed dainty and charming but light feeling and quite cheap.

6. They have a very over priced body care section.

Overall thoughts.
It's okay...
 The materials of the clothes seem nice enough, though prone to wrinkling for those quite nice and simple blouses. The style seems simple, nothing incredibly out there but does involve color and splashes of quirkiness. They also have some interesting material pieces using scuba and neoprene.
I appreciate the large variety of shoes, bags, accessories, and body products created so I am able to wander around the store without being bored, but it does not seem like a place where I would actually leave with a shopping bag full of goodies.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

On My Brain - March 2015

I always feel like my brain is busy.
Outside the normal life of working, working out, and general being, my brain wanders all day.
Here are the things I've thought about non stop and am currently been obsessed with- sharing time!

Le Pain de Quotidien- HOT. CROSS. BUNS.
The other day I walked into LPQ and saw hot crossed buns. 
I've never seen them in person and bought a few. At first bite an addiction was born.
Soft, not too sweet, filled with raisins, and unfortunately seasonal for Easter.
If you would like a treat to have with your morning coffee or a bite when shopping, get these buns!

Clarins Skin Care: Clarins and La Roche Posay are the two skin care brands I am devoted to. The French have taken over my bathroom because with all their products I only see positive results. This photo is not even my whole Clarins collection. My love runs deep, and my wallet opens wide.

Backstreet Freestyle: I try to work out regularly and constantly need new music to help motivate me through the sessions. This song is explicit and to me it's funny what he is saying. The chorus gets me every time and I sing everyday on the bus "Damn I'm amazing" the only line of the song slow enough for me to be in tune with.

Going Out: Winter was brutal but I think it's finally freaking over.
All winter going out took a hiatus because of snow storms, terrible ice, and bitter cold.
We warmed up recently eating delicious Szechuan food and it felt great to go out again.

Irene Kim: I follow so many people on Instagram ( #addicted) but each week I have feeds I go back to over and over again. Irene is a Korean model with ever changing rainbow hair. She boosts a young and free spirit and I love all her instagram videos and personality. A full feed of fashion week, but her's was one of the few I actually paid attention to.

Spring Sneakers: Nothing like new gym gear to get you to go work out. I've decided this spring and summer I want to fill my closet with sneakers of crazy colors. Gym gear is one of the few places you can feel more comfortable buying and wearing items in out there colors, because people know, gym folk like to wear some crazy ****. Makes the workout more fun ;)

Clique by Kanye West: Another workout song. Again explicit so if it's not your thing you can pass, but on repeat for me.

Sonya Esman: The second Instagram feed I can't stop refreshing. A globe trotting model ( I'm sensing a theme...) who posts regular Youtube videos. She has English videos but I enjoy Sony's videos enough to subscribe to her Russian channel. I have NO CLUE what she is saying but she posts there more often where I can get a peek on her worldly adventures.

Hope you enjoyed this mini peek into my brain!
Do feel free to share your current obsessions.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Till the End

I sometimes find empties posts, over whelming...
The amount of products to describe... I tend to stagger for the proper words.
I get frustrated and never post.

For 2015, I'm just showing all the empties I have recently used up.
When the pile starts to grow, I will try to blog to shorten these posts.
Every year I try to do these posts differently, this is the 2015 version.

Bioderma: My HG make up remover. Gentle, fast, EASY. 100% recommend.
Added benefit: Suitable for sensitive skin.
Have repurchased.

Kiehls Ulta Facial Cream: My 2nd tub of the large size.My new favorite day cream for the fall/winter months.Fast absorbing, non fragranced, not sticky.
I bought an enhanced version of this to try next, but more on that soon ;)
Would repurchase.

Boscia Blotting Linens: HG linens! Takes off the oil and leaves the make up in place. Very thin and soft sheets, not plasticy feeling like other brands.
Will repurchase.

L'Oreal Miss Manga Lash: Soooo nice in the beginning. Fans lashes but not an extended fan effect like Maybeline the Falsies flared but seems to fan them more densly on your lash line. Very black and offers length. So-so volume. Only con is as it started to dry in the tube after 1.5 months it started to flake.
Would probably repurchase.

Benefit Speed Brow: This only comes in two shades but believe it's meant to be used to set your brows. I used it ever day as my only brow product to add color and hold shape. If you apply it to an area with brow hair it looks great and natural, if you apply it to a place where you pretty much have no hair and are faking it, you need several swipes for enough pigment, but this tinted brow gel lasts much longer on the brows than most brands I have tried.
Also the wand is teeny tiny. It took me months to get the hang of it. The brush seems better suited for someone with thicker brows, but if you have thin non existant brows, this may take some getting used to.
Would repurchase.

Dior Skinflash Radiance Boosting Pen: I wish listed this for about two years and finally bought it for my wedding.
Over concealer as a brightener it's great. If you are like me and use this alone for your under eyes, it's just ok. The coverage is better than most brightening pens but the lasting power is not there. Lasted about 3 hours under my eyes, with or without setting with a powder and the pen only lasted me about 3 months. Pretty consistent use, but not daily.I thought it ran out pretty fast considering the price tag could have got me a full sized foundation.
Honesty, I prefer the L'Oreal True Match Lumi Pen!
Save myself some dollars next time.
Would not repurchase.

Jo Malone Wild Bluebell: This smells young but not juvenille. Floral but not sickeningly so. It does not smell like several notes of layered flowers but one or two scented flowers then "woods" to enhance the nature aspect. I liked it but am looking to the new Wood Sage and Sea Salt next.
Would not repurchase. Too many fragrances to try!

Rapid Lash Lash Growth Serum: This stuff works. It's relatively cheap on Amazon or other beauty sites. After about three to four weeks of use every night I originally saw no difference. After week four my lashes started to grow like crazy. 
I found out after I finally had long lashes, they looked so WEIRD on me. They just did not look right on my eye shape. If you are looking for a growth enhancer this one is a very nice and effective entry level one to give a go. I personally experienced no side effects.
Would not repurchase.

Origins Super Spot Remover: My go to for cystic acne stuck under the skin. The moment you feel that tiny bump forming under the skin apply this right away to zap it. Once the spot has progressed too much, this is pretty useless. It seems only effective in early stages of spots for myself.
Have repurchased. Bottle #3!

Mario Badesqu Drying Lotion: The best for white heads. It really doesn't seem to do much to spots under the skin or on the skin. It has to be that ripe white head for this to work.
Have repurchased. Bottle #4!

Pretty specific spot treatments but if you know when to use them, both are effective.

Hand creams: Would repurchase both but prefer L'Occitane as it seems more hydrating and faster absorbing. The Body Shop is not a bad alternative and at a cheaper price but in my personal opinion not as good. 
Will repurchase.

Now I have been racking my brain to find a new name for these posts. I'm tired of Empties and Finished Products so any suggestions are more than welcome. 
The current title is most likely going to change because I ain't feeling it...

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentines Day

Valentines can be full of pressure, high expectations, and anguish.

My solution?
Buy some flowers, play some games,have a drink and enjoy the night :)
Chocolate also helps. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Del Frisco's Steakhouse

On easily the coldest day this winter, we bundled up head to toe, and headed towards shelter.

Beneath those coats, hats, scarves and mittens we wore our wardrobe best, to celebrate Valentines Day early over drinks and steak. *Cheers*

Situated in the heart of midtown lies one of the most popular steakhouses in the city.
The location is convenient, and the crowd is mostly yuppie I will admit.
The service is excellent and swift moving to ensure everything is to your desire. 
While customers are seated and chummy, the staff maneuver throughout to ensure everyone is completely satisfied, but it's the food, everyone is smiling about.

Personal recommendations from the menu: Shrimp cocktail-excellent sauce, filet mignon-swanky but this place does it right, chateau potatoes (aka mashed potatoes), and their signature VIP drink are all ace.

Looking forward to the long weekend, where I cross my fingers I can take some beauty blog photos ;)

Happy Friday!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Ice Age

Today's Postcard 

For anyone wondering, the North East is still cold.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

January Favorites

As I get older I am seeing starting to see the limitations I am now facing with beauty.
Skin preservation has become more of an interest of mine, because youth when you reach 30 is a time where you actually see it noticeably fading for the first time. *GROAN*

Calm-ish, but slightly panic stricken I began taking care of my skin again.
I say that as if I stopped, but no.
I went through a phase(4 years...) of skin care simplicity which I still attempt to adhere to because I believe it actually does work, but serums are being re introduced to my night time routine.

I had picked up the La Roche Posay Effeclar Serum long ago.
I recall Tiffany mentioning it in a post ages ago and made a mental note.
I have been using it nearly every night for three months and I have noticed two very important things.
Tighter skin, and clearer skin.

The serum is marketing to be pore refining and anti wrinkle. Both terms sounded good to me, and was the first time I had ever seen a serum claim to do both.
It applies a bit sticky but does feel like serious skin care due to the addition of a pepped!
I plan on trying another serum once this completes, but until then, it has been a lovely addition where I have noticed a difference to my skin due to this added step.

A non pictured favorite - it's empty sorry
Is the Clarins toner for normal-combination skin.
I noticed when using this every night how much more clean my skin feels and seems to absorb my skin care products better.
It's a bit too drying for day time especially with these North East winds, but for night, I find it superior to my day time witch hazel.

Next is the base and make up itself. 
Same philosophy as skin care. Less is more.
People apply make up for different reasons. I applied it to look older funny enough.
Now I finally reached a age where I need to step back, back in time would be preferable, but I accept I just need to change my beauty application because the other option ain't happening.

For base I have been testing the Peter Thomas Roth CC cream. My first CC cream and ...it's just ok...
The actual formula is thick. 
Thicker than I like in base and spreading with the hands leads to streakiness.
You need a buffing brush with this.  
It also offers very little coverage so why is it a favorite?

My skin has improved since using this as my daily base.
This CC cream boasts a list of beneficial ingredients that claim to make your skin better.
After about two months of use I can definitely see my skin is better and improved from this product. It seems a bit brighter and clearer. It may be the vitamin C, it may be the Camu Camu amazonian super fruit they inject in this but I just see the benefits.
Light coverage, thick and claims to be glowy. I actually add in a radiance primer because I personally feel this is as a satin finish. Combine that with winter winds and I reach a semi matte finish which I avoid. 
I usually end up mixing this product with other things to get the coverage and color I desire ( FYI color selection is pretty crap but I wear the newly added shade Light) but the results to my actual skin, not just the make up is noticeable enough where I just want to keep using this!
Added SPF 30 helps the cause when thinking of adding this to my daily base rotation.

I've skipped my beloved bronzers recently because I am just too pale right now to pull them off. Winter has also provided frigid conditions where all powder products are now omitted from my routine, so bring on the cream crusade.

Kjaer Weiss cream blush in Desire Glow has been applied daily to the cheeks as one of those blush/bronzer combo colors where liveliness is added to my face in a shade that looks more of a healthy flush than dolly pink.
On top of the cream blush which I is usually apply with the fingers, is topped with the RMS living lumizer.
I apply this dewy cream above my cheek bone and just under my eyes from past the iris outwards.
I started doing this after watching this video from Rachel and have liked the change to keep going with it.
Sometimes you just gotta try new things.

Since Kjaer Weiss is still not huge on the blogosphere yet and can be a bit hard to find, Laura Mercier's cream blush in praline is in the same family.

Laura Mericer on the left, Kjaer Weis on the left:

Last favorite is Essie's Adore-a-ball.
As the neutral nail lover I constantly rotate through the Essie sheer's and this month it's been all about Adore-a-ball. I actually don't love it on it's own. It is a touch too cool toned and not as shiny of a finish as I prefer so I apply two coats of Adore-a-ball followed by one coat of Mademoiselle.

I may be more steam lined and simple with beauty now a days but with the treasure trove I've collected over the years mixing and matching to find that perfect shade is something I don't think I can ever give up.

Expect a Kjaer Weis blush post in the near future as a final note ;)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2014 Favorites

Long over due but better late than never. My yearly favorites.

Due to my own incredible lack of blogging, this post should provide some insight to some of the best items I have tried this year, and loved.

Very few skin care favorites, both moisturizers and both highly recommended.
I use the Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream for day and the famed Embryolisse at night.
Both are thick but apply thin and hydrating on the skin. Non fragrant, no special colors, and sink in to feed the skin.

The Kiehls is excellent for day to remove any hints of dry patches, and base make up applied on top always seems to look more even and smooth. The Embryolisse I apply heavily at night. I look shiny and it does feel a touch sticky but in the AM, all that vanishes and I am left with soft and hydrated look to the skin.
My husband has noticed the effects of this cream. He states after using this, it looks like my skin has absorbed a large amount of vitamins!
I doubt there are much vitamins in this cream to be honest, but the comment leaves me to believe my skin looks and feels overall better.
An added bonus is this product can now be easily be found on the Sephora website, but I pick my tubes up from Urban Outfitters.

For the best base, this year the overall favorite came from the budget friendly brand of Bourjois.
My review can be found here but here are the reasons why Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum was my #1.
1. Glowy finish-check
2. Light and breathable on the skin -check
3. Light to medium coverage -check
4. No break outs-check!

This foundation has a slight fragrance which I can ignore as it quickly dissipates but by far the best drugstore foundation I have found, and one of my favorite bases in general. My shade is 53.

My favorite way to apply it was with my Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face brush.
Short handled and convenient. It reminds me of the Sigma face brushes but I feel this one provides just as quick of an application and is just as perfecting but doesn't rub onto my skin as much. It feels gentler on my face, thus I prefer this.

2014 was the year I appreciated the combination of just highlighter and bronzer being all I needed.

Highlight of the year was easily the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone. I used this nearly everyday for about five months and still have more than half the tube left.
The amount used impressed me considering I used about half a pea size a day.
This is easily my HOLY GRAIL liquid illuminator. Love, love, love.

The two bronzers which I could not decide between for favorites are the Chanel Terre Ambre bronzer (discontinued-sorry!) and the NARS Multiple in Palm Beach.

The Chanel bronzer lasts on my skin for over 12 hours, blends seamlessly to look like it was a part of my skin rather than being just on top, and the color and slight shimmer are what I go for. Admittedly a touch orange which works for me!

The NARS bronzer looks intimating but is so much smoother than other multiples I have tried from NARS-they are not created equal it seems. In the summer when my skin actually had a color this looked AMAZING on. Natural, fresh, undetectable, and healthy.
If you thought the NARS multiples were pretty meh, like I did, give this one a try to restore your faith.

2014 was the year I discovered to love firstly cream blushes, secondly nude blushes.
When I found a nude cream blush I deemed it..."Perfect".

The YSL Kiss and Blush in shade 12 looks pretty subdue and passable in the pot, but applied on the cheek with the very sweet applicator left the most amazing nude beige shade on the cheeks.
It looks like nothing, it looks like something.
It looks natural, subdue, and as if I was not wearing a shade.
Build able, and lasted 12 hours.
Applied on the lips- it's just ok. but on the cheeks and lips with a gloss, it's called a Down Town Abbey look with a modern twist when added with frivolous applications of highlighter-a must for me.

Eye shadows of the year went to NARS All About Eve.
I was on the fence to shell out the cash for this for years, When I finally bit the bullet, I. Fell. Hard.
These are the shadows for me.
Virtually non existent but provides just a touch of  youthful life.

I don't crave make up to make me look made up. I reach for products that enhance, look barely there, and adds vitality. These shadows with these products provide that effect. 

I must point out, I only love this with a specific type of brush. Specifically  the Bobbi Brown eye blender brush.
I love a wash of these shades. When applied with a normal shadow brush it looks too heavy for my taste.
The wash of sheer almost there color has led to me find this as my most reached daily palette.
Fluffy 224, 217, or Bobbi like brushes converted me to be a shadow lover.

Lastly are the lip products.
Three to report.

The Gloss: Tom Ford in Sahara Pink
Worn on my wedding day. A testament to my love for this.
Saturated pink rose. Creamy, non shimmery, not bright, but brightening.
Non sticky but admitting not very long lasting. Still a favorite.

The Pencil: NARS Sati Lip Pencil in Isola Bella
Smooth, pigmented, moisturizing, and easy to apply.
No mirror needed, the color is peachy with a touch of brown- a non deathly nude, and feels comfortable. A+ to NARS.

The Stain: Stila Convertible Color in Poppy
I own of a few of these cream blushes, but this shade is the only one I LOVE on the lips.
A wearable day time red which can be built up. Its not a straight blue toned red. It looks to have a hint of coral in it to make it wearable. Long lasting and face brightening. Noticing a theme?

AND I believe that's it for the overall yearly favorites BUT before leaving I will mention three honorable mentions.

The RMS Living Luminizer: Dewy and healthy looking when applied in a convenient pot.
OPI Don't Touch my Tutu: An actual 2014 favorite but could not find the actual bottle for this post.Ugh.
Thin, you need three coats to be applied but it's a sheer white. A jelly and shiny finish. Also worn on my wedding day for that I don't want to wear pink and sheer but a white and sheer effect.
Hourglass blush in Luminous Flush: The last wedding day mentioned product!
I didn't actually like most of the shades from the Hourglass blush line but when I tried this I knew...I had to have it. I normally don't wear pink blushes but this is one of the few I highly recommend. Light on the face, a very pretty amount of pigmentation, along with a great non traditional but *brightening* yes I did! pink.

Though my favorites are late, thank you VERY much for reading!
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